V:EKN Clan Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter, December 1998

VEKN Official Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter Vol 1 number 10 December 98
Bumper Fang-filled Christmas Issue!

[posted 26/xi/98, a bit early because i may have computer problems over the
next few days. Changing to a new version of Netware, apparently].

Contents:

THE GANGREL ANTITRIBU CHRISTMAS REVEL
[Fiction and two decks]

STOCKING FILLERS FOR VAMPY TYPES
[ideas for Christmas gifties]

THE GANGREL ANTITRIBU CHRISTMAS REVEL Christmas is a time for bloodlines
..... and being a clannish bunch, the Gangrel anti-tribu have all gathered
together for the festivities. The Shadow Court Satyr is perched sulkily on
top of the Christmas tree. The Black Spiral Buddy is lying by the unlit
hearth scratching its, er, let's look somewhere else, shall we? Monique is
playing pin the tail on the Huang. "OUCH!!!!!" Merril Mollitor, smelling
strongly of brandy, is trussed up on a big plate in the kitchen with an
apprehensive expression on his face and an unreasonable amount of holly
strewed over him. The Christmas victims are dripping into the seasonal
buckets and Sadie is humming happily as she uses Talbot's chainsaw to slash a
few more throats. Leon and Shane Grimald have already started supping, and
are quite merry as they sing the Gangrel carol:

"Deck the Crypts with Bits of Body, tralalalalalalalala .....
'tis the season to be bloody, tralalalalalalalala.
Don we now our red apparel, tralala, tralala, la-la-la .....
Christmas pudding will be Merril, tralalalalalalala!"

Meanwhile the Elders are morosely flicking across channels and grumbling
about the poor quality of Christmas TV and the general commercialisation of
the Saturnalia and how things have been going to hell in a handbasket ever
since [insert year YOU last got a decent Christmas present here]. "And as for
that bugger Legbiter! Some chronicler HE turned out to be! Nearly a year of
off-topic rambling and virtually every clan but our own spotlighted! Grmbl
grmbl ..... kick im out ..... get Sorrow instead ... grmbl grmbl ....."

At this moment there is a loud THUMP! on the roof .... and down the chimney
plummets the artificially-portly figure of LEGBITER, dressed as Santa Claus!
"Ho, ho ho aren't we Jolly!" exclaims the maniac as he drains a bucket of
steaming vitae, badly staining his cotton-wool beard in the process. He tries
to grab Caitlin for a bit of blood-bonding under the Mistletoe but she deftly
knees him in the groin and hides behind Genevieve. Fortunately he has no
breath to get back, and seeing that the Christmas spirit is perhaps a little
strained hereabouts he proceeds IMMEDIATELY to the distribution of presents
.....

For Sadie, a fetching little black number! Number 2, to be precise. Here, let
me hang it around your neck ..... For Leon, a nice job with Wizards of the
Coast. [This is true! See the newsletter for July]. For Shane Grimald, some
decent clothes and a bit of Elderly advice about cross- clanning [like
cross-dressing for vampires, bit of tough love needed sometimes doncha find?]

For Caitlin, a year's free membership of the Legbiter sanatorium and massage
parlour. Personal service our pleasure! For Monique, a promise to build a
deck where she is actually preferable to her lovely sister. No really, i mean
it. I, erm, i'm sure it can be done. Almost. Someday. For Pieter, a bottle of
washing up liquid and a brush. Sheesh, that scythe STINKS, man. Take it
through to the kitchen and scrub it up nice! For Luther, a really effective
anti-histamine. For Zachary, a wig. In fact two wigs, because they were
small. For Blaise, a century's supply of cigarettes. O, so kind, i will at
that ... and may i trouble you for a light? Hmmmm ... Death Cigarettes, my
favourite. For Samantha, a new boyfriend .... it's BILLY!!! [aka Robert
Shread. this is also true! But a bit of a boring in-joke unless you play in
Portsmouth, so don't ask]. For Genevieve, tinted contact lenses. THAT'S
better! Here, let's look at them together in the bedroom, where there's less
light ......

And .....
[rumble of drums, tinkle of sleigh bells]
For you all .....

Not none .... !!
Not one ..... !!!!
but TWO !!!!!!!! reasonably ok decks containing Gangrel antis!!!!!

Legbiter's Christmas Cracker [A non-Tzimisce Viscissitude deck] This deck is
probably my most successful ever, and its construction was a complete
accident. I was rebuilding the decks i normally use for casual play with Lady
Legbiter to make them a bit more menacing, and when I had finished i found i
had a whole load of vis cards left over, and an equally large number of
vampires who all had vis/VIS but hadn't fitted into decks. I've had a fair
bit of experience playing with a Tzimisce deck so i knew how good vis can be,
not so much the combat but the dual-purpose cards like changeling and Plasmic
Form. So I just threw together what i had and out came the following deck,
more or less - the version i print here evolved a bit through playtesting.

CRYPT [12]
2 x Blaise 7 Gangrel antitribu Sabbat
+1 Hand damage
obf vis ANI CEL
3 x Christine Boscacci 2 Pander Sabbat
Christine gets -1 intercept against any minion attempting to bleed
vis dom
Dominique 7 Ventrue antitribu Sabbat As a D action, Dominique may put a
vandal counter on a location. If a location has a number of vandal counters
on it equal to its cost [or 1 vandal counter if it has no cost], burn it. ani
vis dom FOR AUS
2 x Hugo 4 Brujah antitribu Sabbat
-1 intercept v Lasombra and Tzimisces
pre vis POT
Matteus, Flesh Sculptor 10 Toreador antitribu Sabbat Priscus; may burn an
additional blood to play an action that requires a Cardinal or Archbishop.
May burn 1 blood to get +1 intercept against a cardinal or archbishop
attempting a political action. VIS PRE CEL AUS
Olivia 5 Nosferatu antitribu Sabbat
Bishop
vis OBF POT
2 x Rex, The Necronomist 3 Pander Sabbat
Combat cards cost Rex an additional blood to play
vis pro pot

LIBRARY [90]

MASTERS [19]
Animalism
Ascendance x 3
The Barrens
Blood Doll x 2
Celerity
Dominate
Elder Library
Misdirection
Obfuscate
Pentex Loves You!
Potence
Presence
The Rack
Short-term Investment
Sudden Reversal
Vicissitude

MINION [71]

ACTIONS [9]
Govern the Unaligned x 4
Legal manipulations x 2
Media Influence
Social Charm x 2

ACTION MODIFIERS [13]
Bonding x 2
Changeling x 3
Cloak the Gathering x 2
Conditioning x 3
Faceless Night
Lost in Crowds x 2

ACTION MODIFIER OR COMBAT [3]
Plasmic Form x 3
COMBAT [28]
Blood of Acid
Blur x 3
Body Arsenal x 2
Fire in the Blood
Flash
Fleshcraft x 4
Horrid Form
Mighty Grapple x 3
Preternatural Evasion
Pushing the Limit
Reform Body x 2
Sacrament of Carnage
Thrown Gate x 2
Undead Strength x 5

EQUIPMENT [3]
Aaron's Feeding razor
Hand of Conrad
Leather Jacket

REACTIONS [12]
Cat's Guidance x 3
Deflection x 4
Forced Awakening
Guard Dogs
Rat's Warning
Wake with Evening's Freshness x 2

RETAINERS [3]
JS Simmons, Esq.
Mr Winthrop
Tasha Morgan

Despite its unpromising genesis this deck really works, largely because it
has a lot of good cards from a range of different disciplines that come
together in unfamiliar combos. In that respect it is similar to the 5-colour
Black or Green decks that have been winning the major Magic tournaments
recently. Its basic stock-in-trade is presence- and dominate-based bleed
[with dom and vis bleed- modifiers] and bleed-bounce. It is short on
intercept and voting, but not completely without resources in those
departments ... and it is surprisingly good at combat. However, the main
thing about this deck is that it is always up to something, and there is a
really pleasurable feel of flexibility about it. People playing against it
have a hard time guessing the design principle [because it doesn't really
have one], so it has a genuine surprise factor. Furthermore, it looks to me
as though the off-clan vampires with vis may all be rather powerful .... i
think the designers may have felt that vis was a kind of sucky discipline
[which in my experience it is, as regards combat, unless you have Meshenka
and Dragos] and so they stuck it almost as an afterthought onto vampire cards
that they felt were marginally underpowered.

Legbiter's Christmas Carol [or maybe Turkey] [a weenie animalism deck] I
laughed like a deathless drain at Xian's [?] newsgroup posting about the Deck
of many Raptors, and now present for your entertainment my attempt to
implement this Noble Idea. It is, of course, analogous to the Magic Deck of
Hand Destruction, just as Rush-combat is analogous to Magic Land Destruction
Decks. In Magic, these deck-types are a laugh in casual play but rarely make
it at tournament level .... however in Jyhad we are seeing combat decks make
more of a competitive splash, so who knows whether Jyhad Hand Destruction
might not actually work too? Reasoning along these lines, I actually tried to
make a Raptor deck for the recent Portsmouth tournament, but playtesting it
against Michael Beer revealed that it was a total slow crap nightmare
disaster, so in the end i took Legbiter's Halloweenies [see the last
newsletter] and made it to the final with 5VPs. The Christmas Carol version
of the Raptor deck owes much to discussion with Michael Beer and, i think,
might do better .... it is basically a weenie bleed deck but with a DEADLY
intercept/combat/hand-destruction sting in its furry-and-feathery little
tail. Remember, by the way, that DotB is stackable, and that retainers
"forget" who recruited them when they get transferred to new owners.

CRYPT [13] [aka Santa's helpful little elfs].
Navar McLaren 1 ani
Gillian Krader 2 ani dem
Dani 2 ani
Vliam Andor 2 ani
Anastasia Grey 3 ani pro
Raziya Samater 3 ani pot
Panagos Levidis 3 ani obf
Leon 3 ani for
Wendy Wade 3 ani aus
Tommy 3 ani pot
Shane Grimald 4 ani pot dom
Josef 4 ani obt obf
Laurent de Valois 4 ani dom obf

LIBRARY [90]

MASTERS [18]
Heidelberg castle x 2
Animalism x 8
Tribute to the Master
Ascendance x 3
The Hungry Coyote
Inbase Diskotek
Effective Management x 2

MINION [72]

ACTIONS [13]
Shepherd's Innocence x 2
Computer Hacking x 7
Family Reunion [aka Army of Rats]
Bum's Rush x 3
COMBAT [30]
Terror Frenzy x 2
Drawing out the Beast x 8
Aid from Bats x 10
Christmas Carol of Serenity x 5
Lurky Turkeys [aka Carrion Crows] x 5

EQUIPMENT [1]
Dartmoor, England [Nothing to do with Christmas, but this is one of the top
spots in England for outdoor sex. Another is the New Forest. You need to check
for ticks afterwards, though. They carry Lyme disease.]

REACTIONS [17]
Forced Awakening x 4 [Ooooo .... my poor head ....]
Guard Dogs x 8 [Remember: A Dog is for Death, not just for Christmas]
Cat's Guidance x 5

RETAINERS [11]
Fierce Turkey of Doom x 11 [aka Raptor]

This hasn't been playtested at all so is quite likely to be a disaster, but
perhaps not an unmitigated one ..... the core strategy of weenie minions
doing computer hacks is strong in the early game, and the ideal is that when
the weenie-hating decks finally hit the ground they get a nasty surprise from
the accumulating raptors and ranged combat. I toyed with the idea of
including a deer rifle or two and a few 5-cap vamps with ANI. Playtesting may
well reveal this to be the right approach. I also thought about Tier of Souls
but in the end decided to keep my copies for a nossie or gangrel deck because
of the stealth.

..... Some time, and several buckets of vitae later, we are all sitting
around in front of the tv burping and picking bits of Merril out of our
fangs. Huang is sitting in his wheelchair and looking pleadingly at Monique
who is teaching Zachary to juggle using his severed limbs. Legbiter beams
happily at his joyful little band, and raises a crystal goblet brimming with
AB Rhesus-negative: "Caine bless us, every one!"

STOCKING FILLERS FOR VAMPY TYPES 1. The Kiss-Psycho Circus action figures.
These are TERRIFIC dolls on a 6-inch scale, and pretty clearly they represent
a Gangrel, a Malkavian, an Assamite and a Tzimisce. Plus you get an extra
doll or two in three of the packs, one of whom could be a Ravnos, and another
is DEFINITELY Poo-Chi the Chinese dog from last month's Newsletter story. 2.
Tickets for Blade. Everyone i've talked to says it is good. 3.
Bokhara-Knockoff rugs. These EXCELLENT articles of interior design are as
reliable as a tip from Bleu. Need i say more? 4. 6-inch and 12-inch dolls of,
or, indeed, anything at all to do with, Xena the Warrior Princess. Useful if
you have nieces or daughters and, like me, you deprecate the general
soppiness of girl's toys. Also useful if you are Mrs Peter Bakija. Downside:
you have to stand in the queue with all the other sweaty middle-aged perverts
who are snapping them up. 5. Poutine. This is something you put on chips
[fries, i believe, are the colonial equivalent] if you are French-Canadian.
It turns you into a sex-monster with an uncanny ability to foretell the
future of Jyhad expansions, and guarantees that you will always win at Jyhad.
OK, so i lied about the last bit. 6. Magic: Unglued. This very fine expansion
is the only one for which i have a complete set. It is just TOTALLY
hilarious, in a Black and Vampy kind of a way. I'll never forget the
experience of playing with a Volrath's motion sensor on each hand. 7.
Trinity: Battleground. This is a nice set of tabletop skirmish rules for
Trinity [formerly Aeon] which is readily adaptable for any White Wolf game.
The Aberrant models make great war-ghouls. Games workshop space-orks make
good Nosferatu, and there are suitably vampiric Space Marines and Dark Eldar
from the same line ... or for a cheaper and more contemporary game you can
use the White Wolf/Ral Partha vampire models. Games Workshop also sell nice
Gothic Ruin scenery. 8. Netrunner. The nearest thing i have seen to a
competitor for Jyhad in terms of gameplaying excellence. I had my first
"serious" game [ie against a good player] last wednesday-but-one .... and was
entranced [and kippered]. Just the thing for those tiresome nights when only
two of you show up for VTES. Also, some of the Fine Fellows in the Netrunner
community will GIVE you free cards!!!!! Just do a bit of e-panhandling on the
.misc group, like i did, and get into it for nowt! 9. Black lacy lingerie and
fur-lined handcuffs. No, hang on, that's for Lady Legbiter's stocking .....

10. Pretty much anything by Brain Lumley.
OK, that's it for the first year of the gangrel anti-tribu newsletter! Hope
you've enjoyed at least some of it, but if not, look on the bright side .. you
don't have to read any more of them until 1999!!!!

Have a spiffing christmas and a simply splendid new year, Your Loving Brother
in Caine, Legbiter, Prince of Portsmouth, Slayer of Fish, Snogger of
beautiful Girlies, Fanner of the Rules-Fight Flame and Complacently
Slow-Minded Minion of Chaos and Entropy.