Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter



EDITORIAL: A Gamer's thoughts about Evil
DECK: Legbiter's least unsuccessful deck from GenconUK 2001 [Tzimisce

EDITORIAL: A Gamer's thoughts about Evil

This newsletter is late because i was at UK GenCon in early September,
where i had a good time and played some fine games [though i only
actually won ONE game of VTES and that was in the sealed-deck]. Talk
about being overtaken by events! i'm finally getting round to writing
something three days after the appalling attacks on the United States
and consequently i haven't the heart to write the usual jokey fiction
and game-geeky stuff. In fact my first inclination was to write
nothing at all, but now i've decided that there is something worth
saying from the gamer point of view about the events leading up to and
around Tuesday, and those that are about to unfold. To keep this
on-topic i will not here be talking about our collective sadness and
anger except obliquely [as some of you will know, i have done this in
private emails and in another forum].

Why might a person who plays the vampire card-game have anything
useful to say about an incredible act of mass terrorism? i suggest
that there are two insights that we can bring to the matter.

The first relates to the fact that we play a game where we pretend to
be evil. This game springs from a very clever role-playing game which
explores the process by which ordinary people become evil. Actually, i
often think that Vampire: The Masquerade is TOO good a game for many
of those who play it, since some of them clearly think it is cool and
groovy to be evil. Some such people i hope will now see that they were
mistaken, and that in fact [and as shown by a proper reading of VtM]
evil destroys and degrades not only its victims but also its
perpetrators, and even their history. The REAL point of VtM is, of
course, that from very minor initial lapses of conscience and humanity
there springs the most appalling and essentially inevitable
progression to personal destruction. i'm therefore suggesting that we
know better than many of our fellow citizens how one MIGHT become evil
and what being evil feels like from inside. Properly deployed, such
knowledge/empathy could even be useful in fighting evil ["Look, i
understand and sympathise with the fact that initially all you wanted
was to stay young/glorify God/liberate your homeland/save the cute
monkeys but the point you don't seem to have grasped is that now you
are a completely worthless degenerate monster who brings nothing but
shame and degradation upon yourself and all that you claim to care

The second relates to the nature of our game, which is about the use
and denial of resources. In my opinion resource denial is the only
likely tactic that can defeat terrorism. i've been struck by the
widespread sense that the proper response to the hurt that terrorism
has inflicted upon us is to hurt it right back. At the risk of
upsetting people here who have been bereaved, i have to say that in my
opinion this is the wrong response which will [a] not work, and [b]
make things worse. To explain why i think this, let's explore what
resources the terrorists actually have. It won't take long, since
there are only two; they have People and they have Motivation. In fact
they have two kinds of people: a very small number of individuals who
go around killing others [or training people to kill others], and a
much larger number who support them with money and other services.
This larger group is the one that should worry people most, since from
it can spring an essentially inexhaustible supply of new killers. Once
we find out who has done this terrible thing it will be a simple
matter to identify the larger group of supporters and drop bombs on
them; unfortunately while this might have cathartic value for the
bereaved it will not stop terrorism but, rather, actually help it by
creating more recruits for the cause and post facto "justifications"
for the initial attacks.

Instead, i'd like to suggest that resource denial be implemented
against terrorism and that there are two ways to do this, in both of
which we, as individuals, can play a role. We need to deny the
terrorists their people, and we need to deny them their motivation.

How might we deny them their people? A good start is to show everyone
who wants to see what the human impact of these attacks has actually
been. For every nutcase who claps and ululates in glee there will be
100 normal people who will suddenly see that NO cause is worth
indiscriminately slaughtering and bereaving other normal people. But
there is also a battle of ideas that could, i think, be won. Suppose,
for the sake of argument, that the WTC and Pentagon attacks turn out
to have been the work of Muslim fundamentalists. If that is so, we
need to drive a wedge between the terrorists and their supporters, and
we will do this most effectively, i suggest, by exposing how very
wrong and un-Islamic is the view of these people and how, by contrast,
we ourselves understand and even like certain aspects of the most
modern of the world's great religions; the guiding principle of this
approach being, of course, that you get respect by showing respect. As
an example of how this might be done, Osama Bin-Laden preaches a holy
war against America because he says the Gulf War alliance desecrated
the Holy Places of Islam when Americans went to Saudi Arabia. He is
just plain wrong about this being un-Islamic; Islam reserves Mecca and
Medina for the faithful [where non-believers may not go, and have not
gone, except like Burton in disguise] but it says nothing about any
other place in the world. In short he's a heretic and not a Muslim at
all; and as it states in the Qu'ran, believers are allowed to dine
with non-Muslims like Bin Laden, but if they persist in attacking or
misrepresenting the faith, even when politely told that their views
are offensive, then the true Muslim is enjoined to make his/her
excuses and leave. If it turns out that another anti-capitalist or
anti-american group is behind the attack then the details of how we go
about driving a wedge between the lunatics and their supporters will
be different, but the principle of engagement with their beliefs, and
rational explanation of why the crazies are actually their enemies,
will be the same. The terrorists themselves will, of course, have to
be killed, which in a way is a pity because it's what they WANT, but
it can't be avoided because if you stick them in gaol their chums will
just perpetrate further crimes to try to get them out again.

If their second resource is motivation, how might we deny them that?
In a curious way the successful attacks on the centres of American
capitalism and defence may actually make this easier. Tactically this
was quite brilliant [MUCH better than Pearl Harbour, though in my
opinion, and like Pearl Harbour, a TERRIBLE strategic mistake],
achieving essentially complete operational success, and killing large
numbers of important soldiers and capitalists. From a terrorist point
of view it can't GET any better, and if our aim is to break their
hearts and spirits we need to show them, by rebuilding and recruiting,
that even their very best still just isn't good enough. Further, we
must show the terrorists that their actions have not made the American
military and capitalism weaker, but rather stronger [and i write these
words as an avowed anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist, recognising
like most such people that there are worse things in the world, and
common enemies of ALL humanity against whom we should and must unite -
again, ideas that are not unfamiliar to the players of VTES]. There
will be no harm in laying it on REALLY thickly when we explain just
what completely pathetic no-brain deluded LOSERS the terrorists
actually are, and it will not be hard. [You knock a wing off the
Pentagon? Man, that's another few billion USD into the defense
allocation, no questions asked. Bring down a couple of NY skyscrapers?
Show me the end of the queue to buy shares in construction and real
estate companies. Hey, did i mention that you are a pathetic no-brain
LOSER already?]. Nor will it hurt to engage with non-violent
ideological competitors of the terrorists in such a way as to allow
them [and not the terrorists] some genuine measure of success.
Encouraging the democratic palestinians to take up Israel's offer of
joint sovereignty over the contested bits of Jerusalem might be a good
place to start [Hey, not only are you a no-brain pathetic loser but
look, geeky peaceful Jo Ben-Slow who you bullied at school is a
big-time success and national hero, howdja feel about that?].

And that's pretty much all that i think i can contribute as a gamer. i
certainly have not [and did not intend to] say everything that might
be said about why all this happened and what we can do to stop it
happening again, because i do share Scott's belief that this is a NG
about the VTES game, and that OT posts should usually either reflect
things that other games can tell us about our game, or things that our
game can tell us about other matters. i've at least tried to do that
here and i apologise in advance to those who find that i have failed.

One final practical thing is that Mr Powell is IMO quite right to say
that this will be a long struggle, which may well mean that some of
you non-Brits find yourselves delayed for lengthy periods of time at
one or other of London's airports. If that happens you are all
ESPECIALLY welcome to come and stay at my place till your plane can
leave again [we are about 90 minutes drive from Heathrow and Gatwick].
Just drop me an email from your laptop or an Internet cafe, and it
will be my pleasure as well as duty to come to pick you up. You will
have to endure my cooking of course, but you're not compelled to let
me win at VTES and it will be a LOT cheaper and better than sleeping
on an airport couch or paying London hotel prices.

DECK: Legbiter's least unsuccessful deck from GenconUK 2001 [Tzimisce

We had a good series of games at GenconUK 2001 but i personally got
soundly thrashed in pretty much every form i played. Good reasons for
that: i was playing the Giovanni as a last-minute stand-in in the clan
wars and didn't have a really competitive and tested deck to play, as
it turned out; and for NL reasons essentially i tried to play a weenie
animalism !Gangrel deck in the constructed deck, which turned out to
be WAAAY off beam for the actual metagame. 1 VP from each of those
tourneys, but i did better in the sealed-deck, and but for contesting
in the final i might have won that [the other Tzimisce deck did win,
in the end]. i did enjoy seeing Rob's deck in action, and was also
heartened by the strong showing of the Ravnos, Assamites and Setites.
Dave Hammond [who did well with the assamites] also IMO deserves
special mention for daring to play his Compelled Escaped Mental
patients deck in the constructed event, and pulling off the combo to
some effect; Oliver and Karsten from Germany played some nice decks
too, and as mentioned elsewhere by Matt and Adrian, Michael aka
Anklebiter made a good show with the Ventrue in the clan wars, and
will probably be playing this clan rather more in the future. White
Wolf and the organisers did a great job with the venue and prize
support and the Hated Coupe, beneath whose iron heel the Kindred of
Central England Nightly Groan, did his usual excellent judgy thing.

Here is the Tzimisce deck which i constructed and with which i
achieved the only sweep, a five-player, in the sealed-deck heats. It's
obviously based on the Tzimisce precon plus some starters [i forget
how many, 4-6 i think] with a smidge of presence and some other stuff
which reflects my relatively-successful sealed-deck philosophy. This
was a fairly competitive game with Mike Nudd playing a Ravnos
sneak-bleed deck as my prey, Martin Cubberley playing a !Brujah
bleed-bash deck as his prey, Barney playing weenie Ravnos toolbox
next, and finally Phil playing another !Brujah deck. It was also a
good game with no unsatisfactory deals and everyone getting a chance
to show what their deck could do ... sadly, i can't say the same about
ANY other competitive game i played in over the three days, and take
no pride in my other two VPs which were down to filthy sneak-bleeding
somebody who had no real defense in one case, and a dodgy [but legal]
deal with Rob in the other. But Matt and Phil and i had a fun friendly
in between clan-war rounds, and then they showed me how to play
Munchkin - GREAT fun.

CRYPT [13 vampires]:
Angela Decker
Corinne Marcon
Devin Bisley
Violet Tremain
Lolita Houston
Wendy Wade

Blood Doll
Elder Library
Information Highway
Library Hunting Ground
Minion Tap
Pentex loves You!
Powerbase: Mexico City
Sudden Reversal

Brass knuckles
Cardinal Sin: Insubordination
Combat Shotgun
Computer Hacking
Dead-end Alley
Eternal Vigilance
Fake Out
Femur of Toomler
Forced Awakening x 5
Laptop Computer
Leather jacket
Lucky Blow
Meat cleaver
War Ghoul

Army of rats
Canine Horde
Carrion Crows x 2
Cat's guidance x 4
Drawing out the Beast
Guard Dogs x 3
Rat's Warning
Song of Serenity x 2
Wolf Companion

Enhanced Senses x 2
Precognition x 2
Primal instincts
Pulse of the Canaille
Scrying of Secrets
Spirit's Touch x 2

Media Influence
Social Charm

Blood of Acid
Body Arsenal x 2
Breath of the Dragon
Changeling x 2
Chiropteran Marauder x 3
Horrid Form
Inner Essence
Kraken's kiss x 2
Meld with the Land x 2
Plasmic Form x 2

A fun deck to construct and play, and definitely one for the


i end as i began with the attacks on the USA, to say that i've just
heard that, mercifully, that fine player and gallant gentleman Stephen
Buonacore, who worked in the WTC, managed to get out alive. i tried to
email him personally to express my relief but alas telecommunications
to NYC are still not all that they might be. i do so publicly, now.

For a' that, and a' that, a time will come for a' that
When Man to Man shall Brithers Be
The time will come for a' that.