Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter

V:EKN Clan Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter, November 1998

VEKN Official Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter Vol 1 number 9 November 98
[Halloween Special!]

************************************************************ IN THIS ISSUE
..... HALLOWEEN AND THE LIVING DEAD A bit of Legbitery speculation about the
Meaning of our Great Festival. ULTRAVIOLET More plugs for a Brit-vamp TV
series. FICTION; THE ALCHEMIST'S EXPERIMENT An adaptation of a true [?] story
about Han-dynasty Taoist Alchemy, from Joseph Needham's Science and
Civilisation in Ancient China volume 5 [part 33], Cambridge University Press,
mid 1970s. Legbiter's Halloweenies .... a Setite/Giovanni deck which DOESN'T
suck. A follow-up to last month's piece about the Ambrosius/Talbot's chainsaw
combo. [Michael, Son of Legbiter: "Daddy, if the deck doesn't suck, what DOES
it do?"]


HALLOWEEN AND THE LIVING DEAD Once again the great Celtic festival of
summer's end is upon us and the Kine are all busy propitiating/dressing up as
ourselves and their various other nightmares. But why tonight? All that stuff
about All Saint's day is so much tosh, obviously ... the festival is quite
clearly pre-christian ...... but i must admit i personally do not know why it
is tonight. The best guess i can make is that this is the beginning of what
would be the Time of Dying for pre- industrial Northern-hemisphere humankind
.... cold weather, short/bad commons, disease would begin to strike about now
and so there would be sense in sucking up to those powers BEFOREHAND. Does
anyone know a better theory?


ULTRAVIOLET This excellent series finished last Tuesday-but-one, the 21st
October. I taped all 6 episodes. If it ever comes near your TV, WATCH
IT!!!!!! If it never does, come round to my place and watch the lot, and we
can play a few games of Jyhad, too!


"The Tao that can be Written is Not the Eternal Tao
The Name that can be Named is Not the Eternal Name ....."

A voice is chanting the Taoist scripture, and then around the corner of the
forest track we see them coming ..... in the lead is a middle-aged man, and
behind him trot three apprentices, one of whom is holding a parasol over the
older man's head. To little effect, it seems .... all four are soaking wet
..... o no, all FIVE ... there is a white dog with them, too. They stop under
a pine- tree, and the older man looks up and down the track to be sure they
are unobserved. Then he reaches into his robe and produces a pill-bottle. He
holds it up to the dim light, uncorks it and shakes three glittering gold
lozenges into his hand.

"Master! Is that ..... ?" "Yes my boy, this is the nine-times-purified elixir
of eternal life, upon which we have been working these five long years. All
that Red earth, all the silvery metal that flows like a river, all those many
strange ingredients that with so much cost and labour have been conformulated
are here, in these little pills." "So it is ready! At last!" "Alas, we cannot
be sure of that. Remember that the conjunction of the Lead and Quicksilver
had to take place under an Inauspicious Moon, because the city was beset by
the Northern barbarians. Recall that the Arsenic was of poor quality, because
all the good stuff was bought by senior palace officials mere weeks before
the apotheosis of the Late Son of Heaven. And don't forget the night the
workshop was broken into and the seals of the alembics were tampered with
.... who knows what might have been introduced to it while we slept? No, we
will have to test the elixir to be certain of its efficacy. Here, Poo-Chi!
Good Boy!"

The little white dog comes running up, its tail wagging expectantly. It
sniffs suspiciously at the lozenges. Yeck! What does the old bugger SEE in
this stuff? O well, maybe i'll get a biscuit afterwards ...... crunch, munch

Suddenly the dog spins around like a top. It gives a slight moan, falls over
on its back and begins shaking convulsively. Blood gushes from its eyes,
ears, mouth, nostrils, genitals and anus .... it claws at its skin as if
trying to remove it, and then, mercifully, is still. Utter, horrified
silence. The Alchemist stands, stroking his wispy beard.
"It is as I feared. The elixir cannot have been perfectly formulated, because
the pills did not bring the dog to the path of eternal life ... instead,
sudden and painful death was its reward. What, my apprentices, should we do

More silence. The Alchemist looks at each of them quizzically, then smiles

"Boys, boys! Have you learned NOTHING during your time with me? Don't you
know that a seeming death is a well-documented stage on the road to eternal
life? And in any case, even if the pills bring death, wouldn't that be better
than the shame of going back to the city, and being pointed out in the street
as the deluded fools who wasted a fortune on the nine-times-purified elixir
of not- very-much-to-write-home-about? I am going to take the pills."

To the apprentices' horror, their master palms three of the golden lozenges,
pops them in his mouth, crunches them up and swallows them, chewing with an
expression of contentment. For a moment or so they all stand, expectantly.
Then the master's head goes forward, as if he is looking at something on the
ground. A great long strand of saliva comes out of the corner of his mouth,
followed by a gurgling and inarticulate cry. He falls to his knees,
scrabbling at his stomach, desperately striving to vomit, but nothing comes
except more saliva .... the apprentices rush to his aid, but as they touch
him he seems to explode ..... blood, piss, shit and saliva fly in all
directions. The corpse twitches once, and is still. The rain dances on it,
carelessly. The three boys sit in silence for an indeterminate time. Then, as
the light fades, the keenest apprentice stands up and staggers over to his
master's corpse. He turns it over ... the face is a mask of blood. The
pill-bottle is broken, and the apprentice picks up three of the pills from
the mud. Then he turns to the others, and speaks in a shaking voice.

"Our master was a man who perfectly understood the way of the Tao. If the
elixir of eternal life could not be made by him, then it could be made by no
man. So, i will take the pills, and follow wherever he may have gone."

Some minutes later, the other boys, grey with shock and weak with vomiting
and weeping, get to their feet and totter down the road. Night is falling and
the beasts of the wood will deal with the bodies ..... indeed, scarcely are
they round the corner than a grey wolf trots out of the bracken and sniffs at
the corpse of the dog ..... and then backs away, its hackles raised. But not
far enough. With a horrible liquid rapidity the corpse of the dog seems to
FLOW at the predator. The wolf gives a squeak as the dog's hugely-distended
mouth fastens on its flank ... tries to struggle away, howling pitiably,
dragging the horrible thing with it ..... and then SLAM! SLAM! Two more
shapes latch onto it, with the same unnatural rapidity .... a few moments of
struggle and then the wolf is still, its corpse subsiding like a burst
balloon as the three shapes rise, grinning at one another with wide and
toothy smiles. They move away into the forest, seeming to drift over the
ground rather than walk .....

And among the deep shade of the trees, from where we have watched the whole
scene, we too turn and grin at one another with wide and toothy smiles. How
very, very well spent were those few quintals of vitae which we were able to
slip into the potion! Come brothers and sisters, let us introduce our new
friends to the Eternal Way, the True and Nameless Way which leads into
Darkness .....


Legbiter's Halloweenies .... a Setite/GioVanni deck which DOESN'T suck.
This is a deck I've been playing with over a period of some months, and it is
now at a stage where it can do quite well in social play against good
players. In a previous incarnation it was good enough that when David Tatu
[runner-up in Atlanta last year, and all-round Good Chap] was my prey, he
felt it necessary to help his grand-predator [Lunar Moon] to oust me ... but
I've tweaked it some more since then [mainly to improve its pool gain], and
now it wins, regularly. The combination of insane chainsaw-wielding violence,
HORDES of weenie minions, Deathless Allies and corruption is a difficult one
for people to deal with but it kinda appeals to me, for some odd reason ..
remarkable, doncha think, for such a sweet mild-mannered chap as m'self? Here
is the deck:

CRYPT [12 vampires]
4 GIOVANNI [i LOVE these guys. If ONLY the Giovanni girlies could've fitted in
to this deck].
Cristofero Giovanni 3 pot nec
Mario Giovanni 3 pot nec
2 x Rudolpho Giovanni 3 NEC
8 SETITES [and these. Sigh. My two favourite clans, and my favourite combo].
Dedefra 5 obf nec SER +1 hand damage against Camarilla Vampires [Lady Legbiter
in a bad mood]
2 x Hadrian Garrick 4 pre obf +1 hand damage
Khalil Anvari 3 pre ser
2 x Lalitha 2 ser
2 x Nepata 4 obf pre ser [a former Bride of Legbiter in a time-for-a-li'l-
recreation mood ... sigh .. scene fades to reverie of white lacy lingerie and
unbridled passion .....]

[Average 2.83, High draw 17, low draw 10].

LIBRARY [90 cards] 20 MASTER CARDS [22%] No particular comment, except for
Giant's Blood .... an unusual card for a weeny deck, you might think, and so
in a way it is. But, of course, the idea is to play it BEFORE the
heavy-hitter does, thus really pissing him/her off. No real skin off your
nose, if s/he plays it first. Also, it's probable that one of these cards
[SC, GB or one of the THGs] would have to be a Barrens, if you wanted to play
this deck in a tourney. 4 x Blood Doll Giant's Blood Heidelburg Castle,
Germany [o alright, ONE other comment ...use this to move the chainsaw
around, and to rescue minions from the Talbot's Chainsaw trap [no blood, and
can't hunt]. DO NOT cheat by trying to move the chainsaw to/from Ambrosius
using this card. He is NOT a vampire.] KRCG News Radio Morgue Hunting Ground
5 x Obfuscate Opium Den Succubus Club [Sigh, OK, ONE more. Michael Beer told
me to put this in. i am not sure why. But Michael is DEFINITELY a better
player than me, so he is probably right.] 2 x Temple Hunting Ground 3 x
Tribute to the Master MINION CARDS 32 ACTIONS [36%] No Comment, except to
point out that Corruption will ONLY work in an No-Card-Limits environment. As
a play-for-fun kinda guy i usually find myself in SPIRITUAL agreement with
the Card-Limits people. But this deck demonstrates why, nevertheless, i
personally am adamantly of the No-Card-Limits camp. 18 x Corruption 10 x The
Embrace Form of Corruption Lure of the Serpent [War ghoul, Succubus, Muddles
and somebody else acquiring/ playing Ambrosius are BAAAD for this deck]. 3 x
Temptation [Two of these i swapped off Pierre Rebstock for the new [Urza's
Saga] versions of Timetwister and City of Brass. Silly ol' Pierre, huh? He
even threw in a Vampiric Embrace .... hehehehe]. 18 ACTION MODIFIERS [20%] A
heavy intercept deck can piss off most people, but not this deck. Also, the
unexpected stealth-bleed for two of Kherebutu is GREAT fun. 4 x Cloak the
Gathering 3 x Forgotten Labyrinth 3 x Lost in Crowds 5 x Spectral Divination
[with the KRCG and Rudolpho, this is enough for +2 Intercept, but you won't
get many of these. Keep them for the important blocks!] 3 x Spying Mission 7
ALLIES [8%] Allies and Equipment benefit IMMENSELY from the mantra: "Allies
and Equipment Suck". Keep it up, News-Group Comrades! It's true that simple-
minded ally/equipment strategies suggested in the VTES literature ARE easy to
spot and easy to counter, and it's also true that a deck BASED SOLELY on
either is likely to fail. It DOESN'T follow that allies and equipment in
GENERAL suck. 5 x Ambrosius the Ferryman, Wraith 2 x Kherebutu (Bane Mummy) 6
COMBAT CARDS [7%] ALWAYS have SOME combat is article I of the Legbiter Code.
When i am feeling romantic this extends to, Combat is Good In and Of Itself.
But, alas, that is not really true ..... [debate to be continued on the News
Group, ad infinitum]. 4 x Fake Out 2 x Lucky Blow 6 EQUIPMENT [7%] 6 x
Talbot's Chainsaw [This is the ONLY thing in the current Newsletter that has
anything to do with the Gangrel antitribu - for why, see the last issue. Hey,
I''m feeling guilty, alright? So I'm TRYING to construct a Gangrel-anti
combatty sorta deck for the next Portsmouth tournament. Happy now????].
Clearly this is a rare-heavy deck so it's unlikely to achieve wide
circulation. But i think it does make the point that apparently-sucky clans
and cards CAN be made to work in unexpectedly-powerful ways in a
No-Card-Limits environment. A deck that brings out little itty-bitty Setites
and Giovanni and plays a few Corruptions lulls people into a false sense of
security .... then WHAM! Embrace! Embrace! 4-5 Corruptions a turn! WHAM!
Ambrosius plus Talbot's Chainsaw! All of a sudden things are looking BAAAAD


K, now i gotta go and do some serious, ie completely fun Real-Life jyhad-ing
with my friends Garry and Andrew, Lady Legbiter and childe Michael .... not
to mention deliver the Moon's Halloween present ... a truckload of Classic
rage cards, since you ask. Next month i MAY tell you what i think of New
Rage, now that the vampire extension [which was my true reason for supporting
new rage] is safely in the blood-bag. Or maybe not .. it all depends on how
crabby i feel, and how November's Rage II card-set pans out. Seeya'all, and
have a good month!

Legbiter, Prince of Portsmouth, JUST ahead of Steve Wright, Rob Treasure,
Barney Baker and Michael Beer in overall Portsmouth tournament points,
Sealed-Deck and Sabbat Sealed-Deck Champion of Portsmouth, Snogger of
Beautiful Girlies, Slayer of Fish, Fanner of the Rules-Fight Flame,
Complacently Slow-Minded Minion of Chaos and Entropy, and Insufferably-Smug
Bastard of the Western World now that there WILL be an expansion for Jyhad in '99.