OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL-ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 7 NUMBER 5 MAY 2004 *********** In this start-of-the-outdoor-sex-season issue ..... FICTION: The House of the McNabs chapter 2: The Last Fight of HIGMS V106 DECK: Smiling Tom's Goulet takes a walk in Hell deck. PROPHECIES REPORT AND NEW PROPHECIES LEAGUE ANNOUNCEMENT, PORTSMOUTH UK ************* FICTION: The House of the McNabs chapter 2: The Last Fight of HIGMS V106 With Anklebiter as Dr Jack Jefferson .... Lady Legbiter as Dr Shona MacConochie .... Jack Drever as Major Colum O'Keefe ..... and Legbiter as everyone else. As the agents rowed for the Scottish shore, the sleek torpedo-boat destroyer turned for home, and Lutyens lowered his binoculars and raised the mug of tea to his lips. There was always danger in these waters, too close to the British cruiser fleet, but so far they seemed to have escaped detection, and their mission had been accomplished. Suddenly this complacent chain of thought was interrupted by the captain of the watch. "Sir! Vessel off the starboard bow!" And there it was, a squat dark shape on the flat grey sea - a large trawler, steaming purposefully or possibly obliviously towards them. Lutyens could take no chances. "Port 15 and prepare number two tube for firing! Action stations!" As the ship turned the men on the opposing bridges focussed their binoculars, trying to assess the enemy. For the trawler was armed, His Majesty's Royal Naval Auxiliary Ship Primrose Bank, Captain Townsend, RN [rtd] RNAS in command. From both sides the guns began to fire. Townsend, a paunchy and pink-faced sexuagenarian, turned to his wireless operator. "Send this to fleet: contact with German Torpedo Boat destroyer 15 miles south of Isle of May. Engaging the enemy." The signalman tapped out the message, and had almost finished it when the cry came: "Torpedo in the water! Fifty feet!" Seconds later, it struck. With a tremendous explosion the British vessel was torn into two parts, which immediately sank into the cold North Sea. Down, deep down they sank, surrounded by a nimbus of debris and body parts, down into the ancient slime which bubbled invisibly in the impenetrable blackness. Something was awake down there, aroused by the radio emissions of the German vessel, and it was hungry, a cruel Eldritch hunger for the stuff of life. So when the ruined fragments of the British crew struck the seabed, blind protoplasmic tentacles snaked out of the darkness to envelop them. Up on the surface the German vessel circled briefly for survivors, but finding none it resumed its homeward course. A mist began to rise, and the first grey glimmers of dawn appeared in the East. The sea was silent and calm, not even the skaw and chakker of Herring Gulls to be heard. As the fog thickened the vessel seemed to be wrapped in a shawl of grey lace, and a profound feeling of lassitude settled upon the crew. Mr Midshipman Reynauld, off-watch, tried alternately to read, to write his diary and to doze, all to no avail, so he decided to take a turn on deck. Leaning on the rail Reynauld found himself gasping for air, the tightness in his chest like that on a stifling summer's night, despite the fact that in the fog it was cold. A light plopping hiss caught his attention, and a dead fish rose to the surface, followed by another. Soon the whole sea was dotted with the corpses of fish, and the ship was wallowing in the midst of a vast piscine mortuary. Wallowing! Reynauld staggered towards the bridge. "Permission to report, sir! Ship has lost way." And sure enough, the fast torpedo boat was at rest on the malodorous ocean, its propellers churning uselessy in the viscous water. "It's like the battle of Actium." "Pardon?" "At Actium, where the Remora fish seized hold of the keel of Mark Anthony's ship. Or was it Cleopatra's? And they could not move." A deep feeling of dread gripped the hearts of the German sailors, and they gazed into the fog, wondering what ghastly fate it held for them. Dawn was breaking over the land too, as Major Colum O'Keefe's batman fussed over breakfast and the arrangements for his officer's golf trip. Thigh-high furred leather boots, indeed! Motoring helmet and goggles, forsooth! Extra balls and tees, and o fiddlesticks! there goes another egg. The preparations made, O'Keefe's batman took the bacon, sausage and easy-over eggs through to his officer's room, where Colum was already up. "Thanks, Jarvis! Any chance of another slice of toast?" Some batmanly grumbling later the extra toast was produced, and a contented Colum threw his bags into the back of a pony-trap. This he always insited on driving himself, and so off he went. But not towards the golf course. Out in the country he alighted, tied the pony to a tree, and swiflty changed into flying gear. Half an hour later found him at the officers' mess of number 7 squadron RNAC, near to Monifieth harbour. "Hullo, O'Keefe! Here for another game of golf, i see!" "Rather! Anything juicy today?" "Maybe. Fleet lost contact with that armed trawler, Primrose Bank - Townsend's ship, the chap who did that frightful thing with the whisky bottles up his nose last Trafalgar day. But i forgot, you were in France at the time having shrapnel prised out of your pins. Anyway, it looks as though Townsend may have met his match - a German torpedo boat destroyer, early this morning. We're to patrol for survivors and a pot at the Jerry if we're lucky - make that VERY lucky, given this bloomin' Haar. We'll take the Farman - you can be gunner." Mechanics were guiding the Farman, a rickety-looking pusher floatbiplane, down to the water. Squadron leader Llewellyn and Major O'Keefe climbed into the nachelle and arranged themselves for take off. One, two, three twists on the propellor and contact! The Farman's Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine roared into life, and the aircraft taxied out past the harbour bar, turned south into the wind and raced over the grey-green water. Colum's heart skipped with excitement as they became airborne, and they rose to a giddy 500 feet before levelling off, their airspeed a respectable 70 mph. At this altitude range would be limited, but their chances of seeing things were improved. From the log of HIGMS V106, August 1915; document washed ashore at Dunbar, 18th August 1915. 14th August 0921. Lutyens in command. Wind SE 1 veering. Sea calm. Heavy fog, visibility 30 metres. Near-complete carpet of dead fish on ocean. Speed 1 knot, engines full ahead. 0925. Ship rocked by heavy swell from East. Foul stench. 0931. Ship at action stations. Fog clearing, large vessel of unknown type off port beam. Unable to make way. 0934. Presumed enemy ship closing. Port torpedo tubes ready to fire. No answer to signals or hailing. Foul stench intensifies. 0936. Engaging enemy. Ship underway, speed 5 knots. Launching torpedoes, turning 90 to starboard. 0940. Explosions sighted on enemy vessel. 0942. Counterfire highly accurate, use of new weapon noted. Fires fore and aft, projectiles that melt steel. Forrard gun destroyed, crew killed. 0946. Reynauld in command. Lutyens and all officers killed. Bridge destroyed. Secondary steering still active. Unable to escape enemy craft. Turning 90 to starboard, releasing all remaining torpedoes. 0950 approx. All instruments destroyed. All crew slain save self and Able Seaman Vaas. Torpedo salvo apparently ineffective. Turning 90 to starboard and full ahead. Long live Germany! Long live the Kaiser! High above the sea, some minutes earlier, Llewellyn and O'Keefe had noted the flash of exploding torpedoes, the clearing mist and the curious white carpet on the sea. O'Keefe fired off a few rounds from the Lewis gun as his pilot turned the Farman towards the battle. The mist cleared a little more, and they beheld their quarry, the German torpedo boat destroyer, on fire but still under way. As they watched, the vessel released 3 torpedoes from its starboard side, and immediately turned to follow their silvery trails. The British aviators' eyes lifted towards their target, and then they beheld something which did not seem to belong on Earth, which did not seem capable of belonging anywhere. A thing vast, protean, a great mile-long brown jelly, punctuated by obscene pulsing orifices and congeries of iridescent bubbles that seemed to scuttle across its surface. Numbly they watched as it grew larger, unable much as they might wish it to change course, to scream, to go mad, to die. At the last moment Llewellyn jerked at the controls and they flew over it, pursued by hundred-foot-long tentacles and globules of greenish pus. "They're bloody well following us!" yelled Colum, pointing behind; and truly, the projectiles launched from the dreadful thing were actually turning in the air, following the Farman. At that moment however several things happened simultaneously. V106 struck the thing squarely amidships, its steel prow cutting into the hideous gelatinous stuff like a knife. A ghastly bubbling ululation spread across the sea, audible over their engine even to the airmen. And the pursuing projectiles dropped like stones into the heaving water. Acting Captain Reynauld, on the deck of V106, levelled his Mauser at a passing bubble and emptied the magazine. The ship continued to tear and rip its way through the thing's awful flesh, and he turned to the speaking tube, his little beardless face set and grim. "Vaas! On deck! If we get through, we'll abandon ship!" Long seconds later the ship was through, already settling as the seawater poured into its hull. The two German sailors barely had time to throw a life raft into the water and to step onto it, before the ship went down. They sculled frantically to avoid the undertow. Looking back they saw a hideous sight: the terrible trench which V106 had carved through the thing's centre was healing, filling with clouds of iridescent bubbles .... and other bubbles, trails of them, were spreading across the water, blindly questing .... for THEM. "Why didn't it sink us before we hurt it, Sir?" "The English aviators distracted it, i think. You've done well, Vaas. You'll deserve your medal for seamanship, when we reach Kiel." Both the sailors smiled grimly, but in fact they did reach Kiel again after the war, and they both had long lives, which were as happy as could reasonably be expected for anyone doomed to live in the appalling twentieth century. For at that moment the Farman taxied up beside them, and in response to its crew's frantic gestures the German sailors each climbed aboard a float. A tentacle came down, missing them by inches, and they took off. ......TO BE CONTINUED ....... ************ DECK: Smiling Tom's "Goulet takes a walk in Hell" deck. Once again this month's featured deck comes from the fertile brain of Smiling Tom, who proposes the following ingenious use of Sebastien Goulet. "Ten days ago, Damnans asked me upon my point of view on Baalis and Heralds of Topheth. After a brief brainstorming, we ended up with the strong belief that the massive bloat you'll need to sustain any infernal vampire recruiting these superb allies, and the cost to mantain the ally itself, would result in an extremely diluted deck. So the way to go was to recruit via non-infernal vamps. Adding clan impersonations drained less card slots than the consistent pool gain you need to afford infernal vamps around. The best recruiter around is, of course, Goulet. But to avoid adding lots of CI (which, after the first one, would be discarded) I added demonic...erm sybil's tongue, which can be used to retrieve the needed cards for the combo. The bloat comes from a hunting module, based on hungry coyote-sunset strip, as the requirements of Sybil and the discipline spread made it useful. Added some surprise cards to be played on/for the Heralds. Not just combat, also some intercept. Comments welcome, as usual. Deck Name: Goulet takes a walk in hell Created By: Damnans and Smiling Tom Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 16, Max: 32, Avg: 6,00) ---------------------------------------------- 2 Sebastian Goulet (ADV) cel pre pro DOM OBF 8, Gangrel antitribu:3 3 Sebastian Goulet cel DOM OBF pre pro 8, Gangrel antitribu:3 1 Reverend Blackwood DOM THA obf 6, Tremere antitribu:2 2 Uncle George aus DEM dom obf 5, Malkavian antitribu:3 1 Cristos Mantigo aus cel dom obf pre 5, Toreador Antitribu:3 1 Roger Farnsworth aus OBF 4, Malkavian antitribu:3 1 Claven aus dem obf 4, Malkavian Antitribu:2 1 Yorik dem obf 3, Malkavian Antitribu:2 Library: (70 cards) ------------------- Master (13 cards)(1 trifle) 1 Barrens, The 6 Blood Doll 1 Charisma 1 Hungry Coyote, The 1 Into the Fire (baali are independent, you know) 1 Secure Haven 1 Sunset Strip, Hollywood 1 Vox Domini Action (10 cards) 3 Clan Impersonation 4 Govern the Unaligned 3 Sibyl's Tongue Action Modifier (12 cards) 2 Cloak the Gathering 3 Elder Impersonation 3 Forgotten Labyrinth 4 Lost in Crowds Reaction (14 cards) 2 Babble 4 Deflection 2 Delaying Tactics 2 Patrol 4 Wake with Evening's Freshness Combat (8 cards) 2 Conflagration 2 Disarm 2 Immortal Grapple 2 Pounce Ally (8 cards) 1 Gregory Winter 6 Herald of Topheth 1 Vagabond Mystic Equipment (3 cards) 1 Aaron's Feeding Razor (could be a Local 1111) 1 Sargon Fragment, The 1 Unlicensed Taxicab Combo (2 cards) 2 Sense the Sin" ************ PROPHECIES REPORT AND NEW PROPHECIES LEAGUE ANNOUNCEMENT, PORTSMOUTH UK Our prophecies league ended on the first Wednesday night in May, after ten tightly-fought evenings, eleven games, and the following Prophecies: Idle Chatter + Foolish Kings Foolish Kings + Eldest Awaken Midnight of the Jyhad + Foolish Kings Midnight of the Jyhad + The Hunger Midnight of the Jyhad + Purging the Thin Bloods Purging the Thin Bloods + Render Unto Caine Purging the Thin Bloods + Nourished on Heart's Blood There were a few weeks where the operational prophecies were not changed, because the league organiser [me] could not turn up. In the end the table looked like this: Michael McClellan aka Anklebiter 6GW 20VP 9LP James McClellan aka Legbiter 4 13 9 John Keech 3 13 11 Steve Read 2 12 11 Carolyn Coldwell 2 7 11 Garry Scarlett 1 4 5 Rob Treasure 1 4 1 Simon Coldwell 1 3 5 Richard Bennet 1 2 8 Matt Stockton 0 4 8 John Shuttleworth 0 0 4 So Michael is the winner of the coveted Black Tee shirt! Congratulations to him! All of his victories came with a Kiasyd-Lasombra deck. We all enjoyed the league formula SOOOO much that we have started a new one [i bought two league packs]. As before, entry is free, and the venue is the public bar of the Northcote Hotel, Francis Avenue, Portsmouth, with play starting at 8 pm. We still have two unused prophecies from last time so these will be added to the mix, giving us 13 weeks of gaming fun. This time, however, we are implementing Ankur Gupta's excellent idea of allowing the LOWEST placed person in the league to choose which prophecy will remain in play for next week. Additionally, this person makes their decision IMMEDIATELY AFTER each session. *********** And that's it for May! Next issue will obviously be Gehenna-centred, but there may also be a light chocolate fondant icing of fiction and other stuff EXTREMELY bad for those of you who are on a diet. See you then! Address for correspondence: james"dot"mcclellan"at"port"dot"ac"dot"uk [all my legbiter accounts have been taken over by spamsters].