Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter

GANGREL ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 8 NUMBER 11 September 2006

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In this Back-to-Work issue ....

FICTION: FACTS IN THE CASE OF THE STRAWBERRY BANK SLASHER [Chapter 1 of
another Call of Cthulhu adventure starring new characters run by the
usual reprobates at Legbiter Hall, ie Lady Legbiter [as Dr Alison
McDougall], Anklebiter [as PC Jo Jefferson] and Jack Drever [as the
dishy rat-catcher]], with Legbiter as everybody and everything else,
including the cute dog.]
DECK: AN EXPERIMENT WITH THIRD EDITION: CAN ONE BUILD A DECENT DECK
FROM A BOOSTER DISPLAY?

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FICTION: FACTS IN THE CASE OF THE STRAWBERRY BANK SLASHER [Chapter 1 of
another Call of Cthulhu adventure starring new characters run by the
usual reprobates at Legbiter Hall, ie Lady Legbiter [as Dr Alison
McDougall], Anklebiter [as PC Jo Jefferson] and Jack Drever [as the
dishy rat-catcher]], with Legbiter as everybody and everything else,
including the cute dog.]

"Hey! Good Holiday?"
"If you count watching whales in the rain as good, then yes!"
"O, did you go to Newfoundland, then?"
"No, Fort George. Near Inverness. Lots of weird inshore whale
activity this year. We even saw a couple of Beaked Whales, the first
time they've been seen alive off Scotland. I blame President Bush.
Did you get much of a break?"
"No, picked up lots of overtime on the Royal Rat Protection Run,
though."
"Mmmkay. Which does actually mean something, right? Care to share?"
"Can't, old girl. All I can reveal at the moment is that there was
a bit more to the rat infestation at Balmoral than appeared in the
papers."
"O right, this is about the dishy rat-catcher and his ever-so-cute
dog then?"
"Purely professional relationship. Uh-oh, looks like the Press are
here in force. This way, I have a card for the side entrance."

Inside Tayside and Angus Police Authority HQ the two young women
presented their ID to the duty officer and were admitted to the
forensic laboratory where their grisly task awaited them. Gowned,
gloved and hatted in the approved manner, they proceeded to the
chrome-steel trolley where it lay, under a light-green rubber sheet.
Alison McDougall pulled back the sheet.

"Autopsy 14906/1, date is the 14th of September 2006, time is 0945.
Dr A McDougall on duty, Police Officer Jo Jefferson in attendance.
Subject is white female aged 25-30, about 8 stone, 5 foot six, dark
hair dyed blonde. Clothing disturbance but no evidence of sexual
assault. Some bruising to front of face and torso. Now turning cadaver
over ... cause of death is very large wound or wounds on back, largest
of which I probe into now ... hand me the long forceps please, Jo, yes
those ones ... VERY deep incisions, five of them, radially symmetric
around a point 3 inches above the right rear arc of the pelvis,
significant tissue loss apparent, including some internal organs. O.
My. God. Feeling largish loose object and pulling it out ... looks like
a broken, I dunno, end of a bone knife or something. Labelling it
exhibit A for forensic analysis."

Some time later the two friends were enjoying a restorative latte in
the staff canteen.

"So what do you think?"
"MO is similar. Here, I have some of the old photos."
"Similar as in, absolutely identical, you mean?"
"Yes, so either we have an exceptionally well-informed copy-cat, or
the world's first 90+ year-old serial killer."
"90+?"
"The Strawberry Bank Slasher operated in Dundee, Tayport and the
Carse of Gowrie from about 1916 till 1920. I reckon he needed at least
10 years to get ready, you know, be born, get screwed up, that sort of
thing."
"It has to be a copy-cat."
"A really persistent and well-informed one then, as I say. All the
records were suppressed under the Emergency Wartime Legislation that
covered the, erm, other stuff. You know."
"O yes, the Great Zeppelin Raid of 1915."
"That's the one."
A young man approached the two friends.
"Dr McDougall?"
"That's me."
"The sequence analysis on that item from the autopsy."
"O, thanks."
"Well?"
"Gonna have to get this re-done. It's arthropod chitin, an
ur-sequence from the, crikey, Pre-Cambrian. So either our serial killer
is a great big fuck-off fossil sea-scorpion or the lab have mixed up
their capillaries, again. Sorry!"
"O, well. What are you doing for the rest of the day?"
"Whatever I feel like."
"Want to come with me and look over the New and Rat-Free Royal
Residence in Fife?"
"O, yes please!"
Alison happily collected her coat and bag and joined Jo in the
car-park. As the car swung out of its bay and up the ramp several
little dark forms detached themselves from the shadows and dived under
the vehicle. Some were squashed, but others clung on.
....TO BE CONTINUED ...

DECK: AN EXPERIMENT WITH THIRD EDITION: CAN ONE BUILD A DECENT DECK
FROM A BOOSTER DISPLAY?

Third Edition Vampire: The Eternal Struggle is out and so off I went
one clammy Tuesday morning in September to the Hidden Fortress, East
St., Southampton. 61 having changed hands, or at least e-location, I
took the box home and began to open boosters. And here is what I found.

Either old age has caught up with me or these are the TOUGHEST booster
packs I ever did see, Lawd God Billy Bob. I had to snip the tops off
with scissors to get in. The first vampire card I see is a fine-looking
!Nosferatu Archbishop, quite reasonably costed and no weird stuff, and
the first library card is Bauble, nicely reprinted and probably its
wording tidied up a tad, but I am too lazy to check. I see what people
mean about the edges of the cards looking as if they have been shuffled
some, but overall quality is not bad.

Once the whole box is sorted, here is what I have:

3 Disciplineless Combat cards, including a copy of Glancing blow.
Disciplineless Damage Prevention! Excellent.
24 Non-restricted Master cards including a Protected Resources, Lupine
Assault and two copies of King's Rising, a souped-up version of
Ascendance. Ascendance, Rising, geddit?????
12 Unrestricted vote cards including ONE conservative agitation.
27 Equipment and Ammo cards including an Ivory Bow.
10 Unrestricted action cards.
16 cards requiring titled Sabbat vampires.
22 cards requiring or working best with Sabbat vampires.
10 unrestricted reaction cards, including 2 copies of On the Qui Vive,
a disciplineless wake useable even by Allies.
9 Lasombra Vampires [8 different] and 1 card requiring Lasombra.
5 Panders [3 different].
13 Tremere antitribu [7 different] and 2 cards requiring Tremere
antitribu. Nikolai the Survivor looks like a future staple, the Poor
Man's Ian Forrestal, and I have 4 copies.
9 Malkavian Antitribu [6 different] and two cards requiring Malkavian
antitribu. Fabrizia Contreraz, a 4-capacity archbishop who loses two
votes if her prey has no Camarilla vampires looks HORRIBLY dangerous in
a mixed Malkavian/!Malkavian dementation deck, but I only have one of
her.
16 Gangrel antitribu [8 different] and three cards requiring !Gangrel,
one of which is Shadow Court Satyr. Ryszard stand out amongst these as
a fantastic offensive vampire and I have 4 copies. Leafing through the
others I notice that the usual cacophony of disciplines continues to
afflict our clan. And our Priscus has superior Serpentis! Serpentis
combat springs to mind, but I only have one copy and there are no
Serpentis cards in the box.
7 Tzimisce [4 different] and two copies of the Path of Metamorphosis. 3
copies of Terrefisto, a voting monster with superior fortitude and a
very nasty special.
18 Ventrue antitribu [12 different] and two copies of demonstration.
LOTS of these group 4 !Ventrue have obfuscate. Hmmmm.
9 Toreador Antitribu [8 different] and 3 cards that require !Toreador.
2 Brujah Antitribu and 5 cards that require !Brujah. On the plus side,
the two I have are DeSalle and Jacques "Give ME the Sword of
Judgement!" Molay.
20 Nosferatu antitribu [12 different] and 2 cards that require
!Nosferatu. Some interesting stuff here, including the question of how
on earth Raphael Catarari [5-cap OBF PRE +1 bleed Cornercase downside]
survived playtesting.

1 dual-discipline card [Read the Winds]
19 animalism cards including two copies of Tier of Souls
11 Auspex cards
13 Celerity cards
11 Dementation cards including 2 Comas
10 Dominate cards
13 Fortitude cards including a Freak Drive and 2 Daring the Dawns
13 Obfuscate cards
8 Obtenebration cards
8 Potence cards, including Forger's Hammer. Beating Ploughshares into
Swords! Nice!
10 Presence cards and 2 Marijava ghouls.
5 Protean cards.
12 Thaumaturgy cards including one copy of Mirror Walk. Stealth for
Thaumaturgy!
6 Vicissitude cards.

Now what can we do with this little lot? In particular, does this set
measure up to what used to be one of the joys of Jyhad/VTES/Sabbat
booster boxes of beloved memory, namely being able to build a decent
deck out of one box of boosters? We're not going to be able to do
frightfully much with the !Brujah, that's for sure, and 8 potence
cards isn't going to help us very much with the !Nosferatu either.
This is a real bummer because the only pool-gain cards we pulled were
the Gang Territory and Nosferatu Kingdom. The !Gangrel are ruled out by
there only being 5 protean cards, but two decks do immediately suggest
themselves as buildable out of this box, namely Nikolai and his weenie
buddies, or a !Ventrue deck. Nah, nobody likes to build a !Ventrue
deck, and Nikolai and his weenie buddies suffers a bit from the facts
that [a] I'm not exactly sure what his text means - specifically,
whether he can raise any of his current or acquired disciplines up to
superior by visiting his chums, and [b] I don't have that many weenie
group 3/4s with superior levels of disciplines. What about an obf/pre
deck? It turns out we don't have anything like enough cards for that
unless we limit ourselves to a 60-card deck; furthermore, our average
minion size is large and our defence is sketchy, to put it mildly.

In the end this is what I settle on, taking the view that I need to
make best use of the good crypt and library cards I've obtained.

DECK: What do you expect for 61?
CREATED BY: Legbiter
COMMENT: The best I can do with a 3rd edition booster display.
Ani/aus/for with a touch of surprise vis; lots of permanents and votes.

CRYPT [12 vampire cards]
1 x Ysador the Foul obt ANI DEM FOR OBF POT 10 !Nosferatu Cardinal and V.
	Bad Smell-related special [no manouevering to close for non-infernal
	non-demon minions]
3 x Terrefisto cel obt ANI AUS FOR VIS 10 Tzimisce Archbishop of
	Detroit Can damage people who vote against his referenda.
1 x Konrad Fleischer tha ANI AUS DOM FOR 9 !Ventrue Can treat one agg
 	damage/round as normal, optional press each combat.
1 x Frank Litzpar ani for pot OBF 5 !Nosferatu
2 x Droescher One-Eye ani vis 3 Tzimisce
2 x Stick ANI 3 !Nosferatu
2 x Rico Loco FOR 2 !Ventrue Black Hand Amusing Bomb-related special.

LIBRARY [90 cards]

MASTER [12 cards]
The Admonitions
Communal Haven: Cathedral
Demonstration
Guardian Angel
The Hungry Coyote
Nosferatu Kingdom
Pentex Loves You!
Regent
Slave Auction
Special Report x 2
Yawp Court

MINION [78 cards]
ACTION [17 cards]
Ablative Skin
Eternal Vigilance
Fiendish Tongue x 3
Force of Will x 4
Pulse of the Canaille
Restoration x 3
Revelations
Tier of Souls x 2
Zillah's Tears

ACTION MODIFIER [9 cards]
Changeling
Cheval de Bataille
Daring the Dawn x 2
Freak Drive
Private Audience x 2
Stealth Ritus
Telepathic Vote Counting

ALLY [1 card]
Courier

COMBAT [20 cards]
Aid from Bats x 6
Carrion Crows
Glancing Blow
High Ground x 2
Meld with the Land
Rolling with the Punches x 2
Scorpion Sting x 3
Song of Serenity x 2
Telepathic Tracking
Weighted Walking Stick

EQUIPMENT [7 cards]
Bomb
Ivory Bow
Leather Jacket
Pier 13, Port of Baltimore
Saturday Night Special x 2
White Phosphorous Grenade

POLITICAL ACTIONS/VOTES [9 cards]
Auto-da-fe
Cardinal Benediction
Consanguineous Boon
Conservative Agitation
Deploy the Hand
Honour the Elders
Political Stranglehold
Sabbat Inquisitor
Templar

REACTIONS [15 cards]
Cardinal Sin: Insubordination
Enhanced senses
Guard dogs x 3
Instinctive Reaction x 2
My Enemy's Enemy
On the Qui Vive x 2
Precognition
Read the Winds
Telepathic Misdirection x 3

Not what you'ld call completely awful but also not what you'ld call
good, is how I feel as I review my creation. It'll have some surprise
value, for sure, and I won't be a table target, so it may do better
than currently appears likely. I'm heavy on actions and permanents
and light on modifiers and combat so I'll be ok if I can survive to
the end game. Sadly, however, my pool gain is desperately sketchy, and
so is my defence.

All this would be ok were it not for two facts: [1] I really do think
this is the best deck I can make with the cards I bought; [2] If I'd
bought an old Jyhad, VTES or original Sabbat booster display, I
could've made several separate decks out of it, each of which
would've been better than the above.

Add to this a third troubling fact. If I want a good multi-player card
game with a horror theme I can nowanights buy a LOT of Hecatomb cards
for 61, enough to make 5 or so separate, playable decks, one or two
of which will even be competitive. I know this is so because I recently
did just that, and will add that Hecatomb cards have interesting
additional functionalities as beer mats. Sadly therefore by this
criterion the 3rd edition expansion doesn't measure up to the
Glorious Past as remembered by this old codger.

On the other hand, it does make the creative juices run again and that
is a definite plus; additionally, there is all that cool draft text
which certainly wasn't on the old cards. I think I am probably in the
Texas-version-of-Duffin-Draft camp as far as that aspect of the game is
concerned, but I will hold fire on the official draft functionality
until I have had a chance to try it out, perhaps by the next
newsletter. This will also give me time to play the above deck and
report back. See you then!

Address for correspondence:
Chopsalotapepl@SWIFTIANWORDMEANINGVULGARIAN.co.uk