FOLLOWERS OF SET NEWSLETTER
May 2003

FOLLOWERS OF SET NEWSLETTER

Volume 3, Issue 5
May 2003
Author: Andrew 'Wes' Weston

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Fiction
Setite Tactics -- Do Setites make good Anarchs?
Deck Construction -- Card ratios
Card Analysis -- Mob Rule
Sign Off

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INTRODUCTION

It's springtime in the World of Darkness and the Anarchs are upon us. It's
hard to say what effect this set will have on the game as a whole at this
point. People do seem to be having fun with the pre-releases.

I myself enjoyed the pre-release I attended in Ann Arbor, even though Noal
and I had to go through a potentially frightening border experience. The
things I go through for this game *sigh*. My eternal thanks to Noal for
being so kind as to "smuggle" me into his country yet again. Thanks also to
David Oros for organizing the pre-release.

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FICTION

The old trainyard was empty except for a few old rusty railcars and an
unlikely meeting of the undead.

The elders of the Temple would not be pleased, Hadrian mused to himself. His
attempt to infiltrate the so-called 'Anarchs' of Windsor had ended in his
capture. He was more ashamed of his failure than he was nervous about what
they were going to do to him. Although he had failed in his mission, the
Dark God knew that he was not lacking in faith. Hadrian expected to die a
final death, but he also expected to live in eternal darkness at his
Master's side... eventually.

The two anarch toughs stood nearby discussing with each other what they
would do to their captive. It was clear to Hadrian that they were not
accustomed to this kind of thing. They douldn't seem to decide what to do
with Hadrian. Eventually, one shrugged and walked over to Hadrian, whose
hands were nailed above his head to a telephone pole.

"Tell us who you work for scum.", the larger of the two Anarchs asked
without expression.

This might be his way out, Hadrian thought.

"Who do you think I work for, you idiot?", Hadrian flashed a bloody toothy
grin at the large vampire.

The Anarch nodded, "Yeah, I thought so. So Little Prince Hiram Walker is
afraid of our little movement is he? Needs to send scumfucks like yourself
to try to infiltrate us?" He spat blood at Hadrian's feet to emphasize the
respect he obviously felt for the Nosferatu prince.

"If you kill me, Walker will destroy you all. You know this. Just let me go
and we'll come to some arrangement. What do you say?", Hadrian said,
thanking the favour of the Dark Lord that at least his captors were not that
intelligent. Brujah no doubt.

"If we kill you, he'd never know any better. Besides, this way is more
fun.", the other Anarch said, and proceeded to kick Hadrian in the kneecap,
shattering it. Hadrian grimaced but said nothing. If he survived this, that
wound would heal. They always did. That was one of the blessings of being
undead.

"We don't need any information from this spy, Eddie. Let's just stake the
motherfucker and let the sun take care of him", growled the smaller Anarch.

The other agreed, "Yeah. I ain't no killer. We Anarchs got principles,
unlike those bastard Camarilla. Let the sun do it." Another spit, this time
in Hadrian's face.

"No!!! Don't leave me here. I'll tell you anyth--", Hadrian's scream was cut
off as the stake entered his ribcage painfully. Hadrian was paralyzed,
staring at his captors with his mouth open mid-scream.

"Damn, it's creepy how that works, ennit? Let's get the fuck outta here
Bothwell". The two Anarchs got in their beat up old sedan and drove away.

When they were gone, Hadrian smiled, happy that they had fallen for his
ruse. Hadrian's heart, long since removed from his body, sat in a clay jar
in the basement of the Temple. It was impossible to stake him successfully
without finding that jar first.

Hadrian burned some of his blood to increase his strength and then painfully
ripped his hands from the stigmata pose he had been forced into. He slowly
crawled to an abandoned freight car and crawled inside. Covering himself up
in old dirty boxes, he prepared to sleep for the upcoming day. The next
night he would report back to his superiors. They needn't know everything of
course.

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SETITE TACTICS -- Do Setites make good anarchs?

While it may be a little too early to tell, from what I have seen, the
Setites will not have much use for becoming Anarchs.

The Anarch concept seems to be geared towards low-to-mid-capacity vampires.
If the starter boxes are any indication, they are heavily weighted towards
combat and voting.

Setites tend to avoid combat, and we are already competent voters without
needing to "go Anarch".

One strategy that might become useful however is making Setites into Barons.
Permanent votes have always been a bit of a problem for us, due to the
inherent problems of being Independent. In the past, a vampire would have to
become Camarilla or Sabbat somehow and then declare themselves Prince etc.
By the time you accomplished this of course, someone had probably already
ousted you.

But now it would be relatively easy for a Setite above capacity 4 to quickly
become a Baron, and with very little chance that anyone can do anything
about it. Witness:

MASTER --> Galaric's Legacy on Sarrasine.
MINION --> 1) Sarrasine plays Fee Stake: Boston
                      2) Qufur plays "Go Anarch" and untaps
                      3) Qufur plays Fee Stake: Corte

Voila! You now have 4 points' worth of titles.

Now, defending those titles may be tricky but you could always play around
with Treachery and Dread Gaze just to discourage anyone from thinking about
calling a referendum to burn the titles.

How feasible is this? I have no idea. It seems a bit too card intensive for
what you get. But it's difficult at this point to gauge how effective the
Anarchs cards are without some experimentation.

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DECK CONSTRUCTION -- Card Ratios

How many copies of each card should you include in a deck?

While a card like Disarm is obviously very much a "power-card", it would
make little sense making an "All-90-cards-are-Disarm" deck. Likewise, if one
card is the key to your deck, you will want to have more than one copy of
it.

Therefore, a good deck designer needs to find the proper ratio of cards such
that each card fills its niche without weighing down the rest of the deck in
redundancy.

One of the key considerations I believe is the average capacity of the
vampires in your crypt. If your deck consists only of 1-capacity Caitiff and
Panders then it's likely that you will be taking a lot of actions. If your
minions are all Inner Circle members, then you will be taking fewer actions
comparatively.

A weenie deck might use 20 Cryptic Missions. No modifiers are needed because
you are unlikely to be caught. A few combat cards might work, but not too
many. Your vampires are likely to be tapped as well as being relatively
fragile, so you may not want many reaction cards.

An Arika vote deck however needs a vote card, maybe an Awe, a Voter
Captivation for pool/blood gain and maybe some stealth to ensure you don't
get caught before the vote goes off. As a general rule, the older a vampire
is, the more effective her actions will be. Higher level disciplines mean
you have more access to modifier cards, etc that a smaller vampire would
not.

Another consideration is the number of individual cards that you will need
to get a combo off (even a combo of one!). If your combo requires seven
different cards, all played in order and with the hopes that nobody else
interferes... stop right now, it will never work.

If your combo consists of only one card (votes with titled vampires are an
example) then you don't really need to worry very much.

But let's say you are a Setite vote deck and need both the vote card and
some Bewitching Orations to pass the votes. In this case, how many
Bewitching Orations will you need to make sure the votes pass? Obviously
this will depend on the number of votes that other Methuselah's vampires
have, but for the purposes of deck construction a decision needs to be made
beforehand.

Therefore, when building a deck, you should try to consider how to take
advantage of the frequency of your combos.

To use one of the examples above, if you wanted to use Disarm in a deck,
what would your requirements be? First of all, you know that you need to be
doing more damage in a round to your opponent's vampire than she does to
yours. You would also need to have vampires with Potence. How often will you
be getting into combat? How will you be ensuring that your combat goes off
successfully?

Let's say your deck consists of:

--4 Bum's Rush
--4 Undead Strength
--4 Immortal Grapple

...and that's about it. It is unlikely that you will get the cards you need
at the appropriate times. One Disarm might work, but you'll probably draw it
at the wrong time. Best to leave your Disarm at home. Or even better, mail
it to me for safekeeping.

Let's consider a deck based around vampires that all have an inherent +1
strength and at least inferior Potence. You know that at least some of the
time you will be getting into combat, and that for the majority of those
combats you will be hitting for more than your opponent. Therefore, 4-6
Disarms would work very well.

There are of course no magic numbers. The beauty of this game is that it is
never the same game twice and as a result of this fact there is no way to
plan for any one game.

But a well-constructed deck should be able to survive almost any environment
and any number of random elements without suffering too much. No deck should
bring a knife to a gunfight. Sensible card ratios will ensure that your deck
will at least survive, if not thrive.

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CARD ANALYSIS -- Mob Rule

I would have liked to have introduced our new sister Kahina the Sorceress in
this newsletter, but alas I have yet to actually see her card text. So
unfortunately she will have to wait until a later installation of this
newsletter.

Mob Rule
(Common)
Modifier OR Reaction
This card can be played as an action modifier card or a reaction card. Only
usable during a referendum.
Each vampire with a capacity above 4 can burn blood t ogain votes. A vampire
gains 1 vote for each blood he or she burns. A vampire with a capacity above
7 gains an additional vote for each blood he or she burns.

This card is huge!

It is conceivable that this card will work against you as often as it works
for you. But the nature of most votes are that you need to work with other
Methuselahs to make sure they pass. This gives you another reason to work
with the person who likely has the most votes anyway.

And lest I produce a newsletter that does not mention the bestest card ever,
this card synergizes with Free States Rant quite nicely. Consider this: the
whole point of a Free States Rant deck is to remove blood from enemy
vampires. If they want to spend their blood to make a FSR fail, what did you
lose really? In fact, my suggestion would be to play in the following order:

1) Free States Rant
2) Declare terms
3) Play Mob Rule
4) Wait for your opponents to spend their blood trying to fail this vote. In
fact, encourage them to do so!
5) Play Awe or Bewitching Oration to trump opposing votes

I imagine this will result in a lot of anemic-looking vampires. Better
still, since *you* are the acting minion in this case, earn back all of your
blood with a Voter Captivation.

Note how both Free States Rant and this Mob Rule's power scales with the age
of the referendum-calling vampire. Hell, even the names of the two cards
synergize well together thematically! A match made in... err... Georgia
somewhere.

As a defensive card, Mob Rule also has great potential. Although Setites are
superb offensive voters, we aren't all that great at defensive voting. We
tend not to have a lot of permanent votes on the table. Mob Rule can provide
us with a way to survive a hostile vote, albeit at a potentially great cost.
Still, if you have a choice between being ousted by a KRC or losing 6 blood
from your vampires, survival must always come first.

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SIGN OFF

My original intention for this newsletter was to discuss the basic
principles of anarchism and how they apply to this game. After considerable
thought, I decided that there are few if any ways in which they collide and
that it would have been a rather silly (albeit amusing) newsletter.

Suffice to say that the so-called Anarchs of the World of Darkness have very
little to do with libertarian socialism. But that doesn't make them any less
cool. Go Anarchs!

I hope you have enjoyed this most recent installment of the Followers of Set
newsletter. As always, questions and comments are appreciated.

Cheers,
WES