Official VEKN !Gangrel Newsletter Volume 6 Number 9 September 2003. **************** In this End-of-Summer Issue ....... FICTION: Legion of the Damned VTES HOLIDAY SNAPS/LISBON [more vampire tourism] DECK: Gangrel Serpentis combat [a tourney-winning deck by Jim Suh]. **************** FICTION: Legion of the Damned* "Arnold of Breschia, you have been found guilty by this conclave of the heinous sin of heresy, and of obstinate refusal to recant your dreadful errors in denouncing the Church's holding of property. Your wickedness having been further compunded by your shunning of any food that is not blood, you will be taken forthwith to the ruined Temple of the heathen Diana outside this court, where you will be burned at the stake. Have you any final deposition to put before us?" The hooded inquisitors' masked faces turned towards the slight chained figure before them. The hideous tortures to which he had been subjected seemed not to have marked him, body or soul, and he smiled slightly, shaking his head and folding his hands. "Then take him hence." Burly men-at-arms grasped his elbows and propelled him out into the shadowy square where the temple stood. The eastern sky was slowly lightening, and Arnold of Breschia looked thoughtfully in that direction. "This way, father, if you please." The condemned heretic allowed himself to be attached to the stake, still with that odd little smile on his face. To the executioner and his crew Arnold seemed to glow internally, with a brightness that mirrored the approaching dawn. "I'm truly sorry about this, Sir. I can arrange matters so that there will be no pain, if the Holy Father desires?" Arnold of Breschia shook his head, a beatific expression on his strangely-illuminated face. "Bless you my son, but that will not be necessary. Now my dear sons, in God's name i beg you to withdraw some paces while i pray. And when the event occurs, please be so good as to recite a prayer for my soul. Whilst you do so, be sure that no ill can befall you or yours." The executioner bowed, and signalled his party to withdraw. Arnold of Breschia looked around at the living world for the last time, and then bent his head to pray. The inquisitors came out onto the porch to watch, and now all could see the increasingly bright glow emanating from the heretic's body. Suddenly the morning sun shone into the square and there was a puff of flame: the watchers gasped, for no fire had been set, and the flame came from within the condemned man's habit. In seconds Arnold of Breschia's form was entirely shrouded in flame and steam, as the blood boiling within him streamed down onto the pyre. The executioner and his men began to pray quietly for the dying man's soul, whilst the inquisitors watched, unmoved. The steaming blood flowed down the pyre and into the cracked masonry of the platform, which seemed to groan piteously in response. A minute later, and all was over .... or wait, what was that? A straining, cracking sound came from the platform where the blood and dusty ashes of Arnold of Breschia were settling. Fragments of masonry spattered away from the base of the pyre, and then the pyre itself began to topple, falling forward into the square, where it continued to smoulder. And then, somewhat concealed by smoke and steam, figures could be seen, struggling free of the platform, skeletal figures rustily armed and armoured after the fashion of Roman Legionaries. Stiffly they climbed down, assembling in good order on the square. Ignoring the frantically-praying execution squad they drew their gladii, wheeled and began to march purposefully towards the inquisitors, some of whom had the wit to try to flee. These the ancient Romans struck down with their heavy pilums, striking them in the legs so that they were still alive when they came upon them. Of all that happened when the Legion caught up with the inquisitors the only living witnesses were the execution party, and they were unwilling to talk of it. Certain it is that once it was over no trace of the Legion or of Arnold's judges was ever seen again, except perhaps for a smear of blood on the outer wall of the court, which spelled out in Latin the biblical phrase: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." *[dark-age-ish fiction inspired by the Temple of Diana at Evora, the life and death of Arnold of Breschia, and the Undead Romans in the Russian game Legion of the Damned by Zvezda] **************** VTES HOLIDAY SNAPS/LISBON This newsletter is a trifle late because we are only just back from Lisbon, where we had a jolly good time as usual. Sadly we did not manage to meet up with Luis Duarte and our other old friends from Lisbon, but we did get to meet some new friends in the form of Bruno Robalo, Sergio and Pedro who very kindly entertained us in Bruno's MASSIVE games room. We only had time for one game in which i went fourth, and used my version of the turbo-Baron deck to bleed Bruno, who was playing a Daughters/Ventrue vote deck; Pedro was next, playing a Tremere deck; then Anklebiter playing Kiasyd/Lasombra; then Sergio bleeding Lady Legbiter, both of whom played Tzimisce decks [happily enough, no contesting issues occurred]. Usually the turbo-Baron fails in 6-player games because it runs out of cards but this time it didn't, and in fact i all-but-swept [Michael got the other VP]. Great game, and thanks to all three gentlemen for their kind hospitality! Bruno and co are setting up a gaming shop to the North-West of Lisbon and this meant they had to work, which made it difficult for us to fix a date for them to obtain their revenge and/or be shown the basics of classic Rage [for which they had IMO wisely obtained some cards]. So that will have to wait for our next visit, and i wish them the very best of luck with the new shop. We did however manage to venture a bit further afield this trip, getting as far as Cascais in the west and Evora in the east. Both were interesting in different ways. Cascais is absolutely lovely, a real seaside town with some cracking gift shops selling mummified fish, wooden WW1 aircraft and elaborate shell mobiles, plus all-day English breakfast and fish 'n' chips. This should not put English-speakers off from visiting Cascais, which appears to have been discovered by the NICE kind of English-person. Having said that, when in Portugal and at the seaside you should eat not fish 'n' chips but grilled sardines [as any fule no], and you should sprinkle them with olive oil. The sea at Cascais is FRIGHTFULLY cold, i think it only right to add. Evora is odd, not perhaps as splendidly mad as Sintra but definitely veering in that direction with its Chapel of Bones, teensy-weensy University, Temple of Diana and jumble of late Roman and early artillery-age fortifications. i bought a super cork Iberian-style windmill which is the right scale for Flintloque, and resolved to paint my Al-Garvey goblins for that excellent and neglected game in the correct Portuguese Napoleonic colours of khaki, black and yellow. This colour-scheme can be checked by visiting the Military Museum in Lisbon, which is interesting but slightly odd in having no major exhibits about the decolonisation wars which led to the Portuguese revolution. Perhaps a sore topic? There was a sad little display built around a Portuguese soldier who was killed when the Indians reclaimed Goa, but nothing else at all. On the other hand there were quite a lot of oil-paintings about Portugal's disastrous involvement in WW1, and that was useful from the modelling point of view: Portuguese soldiers of that time had light blue uniforms with light khaki webbing and British-style steel helmets. A Portuguese division was, of course, right opposite the spearhead of the April 1918 German offensive which so nearly won that war for the Central Powers. Sarah's collaborator Cecilia's grandfather was in that division, and distinguished himself by acquiring cabbages from no-man's-land. This showed a proper seriousness about the important things in life i feel, for the Portuguese are good at food; whole crab and goose-barnacles were other culinary highlights of this visit. Also amazing is the Lisbon Oceanarium at the old expo site, our second visit but like the ocean, always new. And so back home! Thanks again to those Portuguese players whom we managed to meet and apologies to those we missed; next time i promise to be more efficient about notifying people of when we are coming and where we will be. See you all next year, i hope! *************** DECK: Jim Suh's Gangrel Serpentis combat Mattt Stockton in our group is always promising to make Setite combat work, a promise at which we have all been wont to jape and mock with many a mop and mow, but as it turns out the joke is on us. Here is the evidence: a Jim Suh creation which is not exactly Setite combat but Serpentis combat/takeover, and good enough to win a tourney in one of the Citadels of the great game. This is a marginally-edited repost of Lasombra's announcement of the winning deck; i'll point out that the deck is storyline legal and has a significant Gangrel-antitribu component if you take this Newsletter's editorial view that non-Camarilla Gangrel count as antitribu. Elder Intervention DragonCon Atlanta, Georgia August 30th, 2003 15 players Tournament Winning Deck by Jim Suh Deck Name: Setites can kiss my ra Created By: Jim Suh Description: How did this deck win? Luck. Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 13, Max: 32, Avg: 5.50) ---------------------------------------------- 4 Nadima ani aus FOR PRO SER 8, Gangrel 3 Mirembe Kabbada ani PRO SER 5, Gangrel 1 Hesha Ruhadze ani obf pre SER 6, Followers of Set 1 Ramona for pro 4, Gangrel 1 Ramona (ADV) for pro 4, Gangrel 1 Chandler Hungerford PRO 3, Gangrel 1 Sadie pro 2, Gangrel Antitribu Library: (90 cards) ------------------- Master (13 cards) 4 Blood Doll 2 Depravity 1 Dreams of the Sphinx 2 Ecoterrorists 1 Gangrel Revel 2 Guardian Angel 1 Zoo Hunting Ground Action (17 cards) 2 Bum's Rush 4 Form of Corruption 2 Harass 2 Nose of the Hound 1 Ritual Challenge 6 Temptation Action Modifier (1 cards) 1 Kiss of Ra, The Reaction (10 cards) 8 Forced Awakening 2 Wake with Evening's Freshness Combat (46 cards) 3 Bone Spur 3 Claws of the Dead 9 Flesh of Marble 4 Form of Mist 4 Gleam of Red Eyes 10 Skin of the Adder 4 Taste of Vitae 4 Trap 5 Weighted Walking Stick Retainer (3 cards) 3 Raven Spy [Editor's note: i might be tempted to slip in a Dog-pack instead of one raven, and maybe Heidelberg castle for something i haven't decided upon, but much would depend on the metagame]. **************** And that's it for September! We shall be at the Bath storyline tournament, so will see some of you there. Sadly we will miss Watford, because Sarah has been offered a permanent job in Newcastle, and we are going up that weekend to have a look round and to see if they can give me one, too; and also we will miss London because it clashes with our monthly SparkesCon. Obviously we will try to hook up with Anam and Ian whilst in Newcastle. See you all in October!