OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL ANTRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 3 NUMBER 5 MAY 2000 IN THIS BLOOMING MARVELLOUS ISSUE ÖÖ FICTION: A PASSAGE OF ARMS [part one of a three-parter about a sealed- starter deck game we played at louisaís house last monday] HAPPY FAMILIES TOURNAMENT THOUGHTS [a bit of radical thinking about what we want from a game] DECK CONCEPT: RUNNING YOUR ENEMY OUT OF CARDS THE WILLIAM LEE WAY [inspired by Williamís weird shit deck from April] FICTION: A PASSAGE OF ARMS [part one of a three-parter about a sealed- starter deck game we played at louisaís house last monday] After the spring equinox unlife becomes strange and intense for the vampires of the northern hemisphere. Food is more abundant but the time to gather it is less. North of Shetland most vampires lapse into a few months of torpor, but here in Portsmouth they can still be active, which is why Dre, leader of the Cold Dawn is lurking outside Joannaís nightclub, waiting for his evening meal. Something isnít right, though Ė his fighterís instincts tell him that ancient eyes are watching him. Perhaps a wiser or less hungry vampire would have fled and our story would then have been very different, but the Beast is strong, and it drives Dre after the herd of tipsy humans who eventually emerge from the club. Like a lion he tests his prey, discreetly circling the crowd, waiting for one to leave it, ready for his embrace. At last! A curvaceous female has detached from the group and is heading off into the shadowy park around the canoe lake. Easy tonight, or so he thinks. As his talons extend she turns, and her aura of power holds him paralysed. "Hullo, Dre my darling" she purrs, silkily. "I expect you want a little kiss, hmm? Well, I never could refuse a man in leathers. Why donít we go somewhere a bit less public?" She turns, and he follows as she walks away Ö no longer like a lion, but like a childís robot. Up in the heart of Old Southsea another evil is stirring. In the chantry of the Tremere Lydia van Cuelen is preparing a summoning spell of great power sent to her by a mysterious correspondent in Lahore. Her Sanskrit is a little rusty, perhaps, but she thinks these words mean "Raptor" so she is expecting a familiar to appear, and not the darkly handsome but cruel humanoid figure who actually materialises in the pentagram and then steps right through it to grasp her by the throat. It lifts her up and turns her this way and that as she chokes and kicks in the candlelight, inspecting her from all angles. "Yes Ö you will suffice, for now. Come! We have work to do." As for Lupo, he does not know where he is, nor how he came to be there. He is in a labyrinth of black velvet curtains and somewhere nearby there is a presence whose evil is almost palpable, like a subaudible buzzing. Suddenly he emerges into a space which is lit by candles and there, reclining on a red divan, is his Mistress. She raises her eyes and smiles mischievously at him. "Tut, tut, pretty boy, didnít your mummy tell you itís rude to keep a lady waiting? Perhaps I will have to punish you, if it happens again! But I forgive you for now. Come here, let me explain how you can best perform your penance." No mystery about the location of Buddís farm, especially if you are downwind of it. Since the sewage works closed the smell has actually become worse, if anything, but thatís no problem for Koko, whose haven this is. The little Nosferatu is happily reading a Harry Potter book and cooling his toes in the slurry. Suddenly, out of nowhere a large bearded figure appears and sits beside him, lighting a cigarette as it does so. Despite himself, Koko jumps. "Who the FUCK are you, man? Didnít anyone tell you itís bad manners to just appear in peopleís havens?" For answer the man takes the book from Kokoís nerveless hand, looks at the title, then drops it into the pool. "You, my dear fellow, lack ambition. Thatís a bad feature in a young vampire. You need ambition, you see Ė you need to be REALLY ambitious not to die. Fortunately for you, I have enough ambition for both of us. Here, let me offer you a drink. O, and, er, Legbiterís the name. Pleased to meetcha!" And as day approaches and the motorway becomes more busy the traffic sounds permeate the city, and itís almost as if it groans. Well it might, for once again the old devils are hatching their terrible plots, and Jyhad is in the air. HAPPY FAMILIES TOURNAMENT THOUGHTS [a bit of radical thinking about what we want from a game] Up in Scotland at Easter we played a series of games between the happy Families decks in tournament format, ie three heats and a final. As usual we had an excellent time with interesting cardplays and above all balanced games. And that leads me on to a link that I perceive between the forms of the game I like the best. Call me weird, but I would actually rather lose a good, tight game between well-matched players using functional decks, than sweep a game of unequally-skillful players with ropy decks. Actually, if you think thatís weird then I think YOUíRE weird. Isnít balance what we want, all of us, ultimately? This leads me on to a form of the game which doesnít yet exist but which I would like to see introduced, namely fixed-format tournaments. I would like to see tournaments where you played say four games against the same people using the same four decks [not constructed by you] in rotation. Itís a bit like the way that Bridge tournaments work, though there you actually have fixed starting hands because bidding is so important. Maybe this will be possible once the fixed constructed decks come out Ė a pure test of playing rather than playing AND deck-constructing skills, and something of a test for the Treasure proposition [with which I agree] that a large proportion of success in VTES is down to pure player skill. DECK CONCEPT: RUNNING YOUR ENEMY OUT OF CARDS THE WILLIAM LEE WAY [inspired by Williamís weird shit deck from April] William Lee has a very nice spin on the Many raptors idea and he actually played it two Portsmouth tournaments back. Since a key vampire in the play is a gangrel antitribu I thought I would just air the concept, which is to get loads of raptors on a vampire with superior celerity, animalism and obfuscate. Anton is one such and Zachary I think is the !gangrel one. Anyway what you do is get one of your vamps into combat with somebody because they block something horrible like a big bleed Ė caitlin is a good !gangrel choice for this vamp. Then you Hidden lurker your multiply- raptorised vamp onto the blocker. They drop n cards where n is the number of raptors you have. You can bat them a few times if you like but you DONíT kill them Ė strike combat ends is better and this is one deck where you might even want Mercy for the Weak. Then you Psyche. Then you Psyche some more. And so on. If you are lucky you COMPLETELY run them out of cards in no time flat. Neat, eh? Never seen it come off, but the concept, as usual with Williamís decks, is kewl! OK, another month, another Newsletter. See you again in June! Bye!!! Alright, not quite bye. Check out Mike Ooiís HILARIOUS Malk and Kookies Tabloid, if you havenít done so already. GREAT stuff, Mike, and keep up the goo-, erm, amusing work!