"Welcome, brother. Come sit by my fire and share tales of old. We are the Gangrel, we are the beast." In this issue: Section 1.1 - Fiction - "Yawn" Section 1.2 - The Feral Whispers Section 1.3 - Card of the Month Section 1.4 - Vampire of the Month Section 1.5 - On the Wind Section 1.6 - Deck of the month Section 1.7 - The End Section 1.1 "Yawn" Two figures pick their way through the darkened wood. One, a young girl called Ramona, is limping, looking over her shoulder nervously with every second step. Her eyes glow a dim red in the dark, echoing a wan lonelyness. The second figure is big. Really big. Unquestionably not small. He / she towers above his comrade, and yet his / her features are obscured by a trenchcoat and a wide - brimmed hat. Even in the dark, the occasional ray of the moon gives a glimpse of skin in the cracks of the coat... or is it fur? Ramona is clearly leading the way, cautiously, slowly. She comes to a path of ground and sniffs the air. She points: "Here. One is here". Her large companion tears off his coat to reveal a terrifying creature - tall, feral, terrifying. His skin is mottled, oily and foul and a stench, hitherto unnoticed, spreads around like a farmer tilling his field. His voice, cracked and rasping, seems to emminate from his belly: "Let's get to worrrrrrk". The two sprout claws and rip into the soil of the clearing, creating an eerie tableau in the pale moonlinght - as if they were digging a grave. After a few seconds there is a sound unlike any other, almost as if reality itself were being rent asunder, and a third figure appears between them. It lets of a howl and instinctivly pushes to two figures to the flaw. "Who disturbs the rest of Xavier? Who woul DARE disturb me at rest?" He has also sprouted claws and in the poor light he appears to have the visage of the devil himself - bat faced and red eyed. Ramona and the creature cower before the might of the elder. "Pppplease, Xavier, sir, it's me. I am Gangrel Like you - we've met before, remember? This is my friend... an ally - I don't know what he is, but he helped me find you." Xavier stares hard and clenches his fists at their throat. He pauses and then releases them. They swiftly move away, quickly, but cautiously out of reach. "I remember," growls Xavier "but why do you disturb me? Where are the others?" "Sir, this creature and myslef are the only of our kind I have found on my travels - an I don't rigtly know what he is. We ahve been searching for other Gangrels, but we can't find any. There are some elders, but they are all living amoungst the Camerilla in the cities, and they have been so wrapped up in their petty struggles it's almost like they're not there!" "So why do you trouble me, cub? What concern of it is mine?" Ramona starts, as if she had never thought this through before. "Well, I just wanted to find others like us. Are there others like us? Are we alone?" "Nay, childe," Says the elder, softly "but our time has not yet come. Soon, many of us will rise to carry on the battle. At that time, we will bring the old Camerilla (*spitting blood*) kin along with us or they will be erased. However, the time has not yet come. Leave me be - I will rest some more. But when I return, it will be the herald of a golden time for Clan Gangrel. In the meantime, keep strong, my child, keep safe". Before Ramona can say another word, Xavier slopes into the soil twisting as he goes. The creature tries to grab him, but he slips through their fingers and slips through the soil out of sight, out of reach. "Welllllll," says the creature "we bessssst wait". And they still do. Section 1.2 Feral Whispers. I haven't done one of these for a while because the Gangrel just shifted off my radar. I hadn't done anything remotely Gangrel for a long time, so I was very surprised when I found I had designed 3 new Gangrel - ish decks lately. One is posted below, others are to follow in future months. Of course, the BIG NEWS at the moment is all about the Camerilla set... but there's no Gangrel related stuff in it all is there? Well, lets see: Booo! - No new Gangrel Vampires Hurray! - But the promise of lots in the upcoming Gangrel set Booo! - But that's 9 months away Hurray! - But we have a fairly good idea the Xavier is going to be in it and he looks like a hose-beast! Booo! - Still no new Protean or Animalism or Fortitude library cards Hurray! - But Raptor is reprinted, and Will of the Council is almost Tailored for Wynn. Oh, and Tension in the Ranks kicks ASS! So, it's not all bad, and the future looks fairly bright! I hope you enjoy the newsletter. Section 1.3 Card of the Month. BEAST MELD Discipline(s): Protean + Animalism Blood Cost: 2 Rarity: Rare Artist: Brian LeBlanc Set Introduced: Bloodline Card Text: Basic: +1 stealth. If this action is blocked, this vampire may prevent 1 damage during the resulting combat. Superior: Only usable when the acting vampire's action is announced. Not usable on a bleed action. Vampires cannot block this action. Really, it's only the superior that is worth looking at. This card looked so-so when it was released because it was nothing new. For 2 blood more, you could get Horrific Countenance (making it COMPLETELY unblockable and even bleed). If you wanted to risk torpor, you could Dare the Dawn or make it a Day Operation. However, for 2 blood and having to have 2 superior disciplines, you would at least be expected to bleed (and since only the Gangrels have PRO and ANI, it's hardly likely to be abused much unless you have Stanislava on the table). However, I started thinking about what actions you COULD use with this card using in-clan or disciplineless cards, and came up with quite a nice list: Support / Indirect Actions: Hunting - Don't make me laugh! Even with the Inbase Disco up, you lose (having wasted an action and a card!). No, not a good idea. Restoration - Pointless - you might as well hunt - but useful if someone has a bucket-load of Foul Bloods... of course, very few people DO have Foul Bloods a plenty, so why prepare for it... 5th Traditions - Again, roughly no use in about 2 weeks time - 3 blood for 4 blood - but WAS great. Shadow of the Beast - Well, I can't see that this would be blocked in the first place (most folk just go "Yeah, sure" and breathe a sigh of relief that you aren't rushing them!), but a good saver in an equipment-heavy table if you only have Drawing out the Beast... Army of Rats - Would you want to pay 2 blood for it? Most of the time, people are happy enough for you to waste the action and burn it whenever. Sanguine Instruction - Not a bad call in an intercept heavy environment, but is it worth 2 blood on a normal day? A skillcard could cover the bases cheaper and easier. Equipping (X) - Earth Control will usually do the job anyway (3 stealth at superior) making it cheaper, but when it absolutely, positively has to be there this turn, Beast Meld is good. Votes - Powerful for this, but can the Gangrel reasably expect a vote-lock? Eating Vamps in Torpor - No card needed, great idea, but again, the vote lock is tough to manage. Directed Actions: Arson - OK, hardly THAT great, but useful versus Ventrue HQ's, Ecoterrorist-styled locations, and Hunting Grounds. Rushes - Not earth-shattering, but it means you actually get your man. Tier of Souls - A good choice, since you get 1 of the 2 blood back and stack up for a +1 Bleed at superior. And that's about it. Sure, there are a few other things, but these are all the common "useful" actions. None of these, I would argue, are game breaking or overpowered for getting through unblockably. However, then I started thinking a little harder about out-of-clan stuff. There are 2 "dominant" O-O-C disciplines with the Gangrel - Potence (7 vamps, all inferior) and Dominate (4 vamps, only 1 at superior - however, there are also 2 Gangrel Antitribu vamps who would benefit under the same criteria - Caitlin and Genevive). I'm sure you can already see where this is heading, since Potence has roughly 1 action card which is as about as good as Arson! Using Superior Dominate, only Stanislava would benifit from Beast Meld (nothing a little Sanguine Instruction or Skillcard couldn't fix). But what a benfit! Lets see: Dominate Kine / Kine Dominance - AWSOME! I'll have your Ventrue HQ / Hunting Ground / Elder Library / Barrens / Creepshow Casino GUARANTEED (unless allies are in play) for 4 blood. Pricey, but the benefits are enormous. Govern the Unalligned / Scouting Mission - Again, tasty! 2 or Three blood on your vampires for the same cost in blood. Not bad. Graverobbing - VERY cool: steal a vampire for 2 blood, get upright for 4 blood. Well worth the spend. Slaughtering the herd - Offset the high cost of this combo by making your predator give you blood... or cost him a fair bit to shift it! Mind Rape - Who's The daddy? Really awesome - steal a vampire and get him to Rave his blood onto your vampire! Or bleed. Or Vote. Or Diablerise. Or dance a merry jig ("Dance, damn you, DANCE!"). A worthwhile use of 4 blood any day. As you can see, Beast Meld is full of unblockable goodness, but best used with the kickass wonders of Dominate. Or as the kind people at Pentex (TM) would put it - "Dominate - It's been messing up everyone else's night since 1993". Section 1.4 Vampire of the Month Sebastian Goulet Clan: Gangrel-Antitribu Capacity: 8 Sabbat Group: 3 Ability: Allies and retainers cost Sebastian 1 less blood or pool to employ or recruit. Once each action, he can burn 1 blood to get +1 bleed. Artist: James Stowe Set Introduced: Camarilla Disciplines : Inferior Celerity Superior Dominate Superior Obfuscate Inferior Presence Inferior Protean OK, he's not strictly speaking Gangrel, he can't use Beast Meld, and he's rubbish in combat (from the looks of him). However, he is another "missing link" in the !Gangrel catalogue of skills. For a start, he has DOM and OBF. Cool, a bleed monster! This is reflected in his 2nd special. In fact, I expect his 2nd special is the one that will get used the most, since there are very few Allies or Retainers that the !Gangrel are concerned with. Of course, if he Clan Imp-ed to Gangrel, got Charismatic, and went looking for a Rengade Garou, I would laugh my arse off! Let's face it, though, it's unlikely to happen except in the wackiest of decks. The other "neat" thing about him is the presence. That makes 2 !Gangrel with presence, and a step close to the vote deck that could actually use Gangrel City Connections. Huzzah! Not much good for a straight Gangrel deck, but again with a Clan Imp would make a terrific addition to the pool of sanguinely instructable disciplines. Expect him to show up in more Malkavian O-O-T decks with a Clan Imp. Section 1.5 On the Wind OK, I am the first to admit I can't wait for the Anarch set. I am itching to see the new Gangrels and see if there are any new toys (and can't wait to get hold of the old toys easier!). In the meantime I can dream. And so can you! Here's a stupid competition to keep you busy for 5 minutes: Design a Gangrel - related library card that really should be in the next set. Something cool to do with the backstory would help. Bonus points will be given for the completeness and tidyness of the entry (things like "good flavour quotes" will definitely get a thumbs up). If I get lots, I'll post them up next month. I will give a Gangrel-ish prize to the best. You have until September the 29th to send me your entries. All entries are NOT to be poisted here, but are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Section 1.6 Deck of the Month Using Beast Meld to obscene levels, here's a deck that I made in answer to Matt Green's recent spate of Mind Rape decks. The only clan he didn't seem to try is the Gangrel, so here's my attempt: "You've been Beast-Raped" Stanislava x4 Ingrid Rossler x2 Mirembe x3 Faruq x2 Illiana Masters: 18 Minion Tap x6 Heidleburg Castle, Germany x4 Backways Ecoterrorists Golconda Information Highway x2 Parthenon Serpentis Sudden Reversal Zillah's Valley Library: 71 Dominate Kine x2 Govern the Unalligned x2 Graverobbing x2 Heart of Darkness x2 Mind Rape x8 Rave x4 Sanguine Instruction x3 The Fifth Tradition: Hosptiality Protect Thine Own Banishment Beast Meld x6 Daring the Dawn x4 Earth Control x4 Freak Drive x4 Rapid Change x4 Form of Mist x5 Earth Meld Quick Meld x3 Deflection x5 Obedience x4 Wake with Evenings Freshness x5 So, there you are. The key factors... 1 - Get Stan into play. 2 - Get a Heidlburg up (or steal one with a Dominate Kine). 3 - Mind Rape (using Beast Meld) the biggest vampire controlled by your prey 4 - Get them to do something useful (bleed if nothing else!) 5 - Tap the Heidleburg to move all the blood and anything useful to Stan. Variants on this are manifold - if they have Fortitude, Rave whilst Daring the Dawn at inferior (BURN!). If there is a vamp in topor, eat it and call a blood hunt. Etc. It's quite powerful, but I have yet to fully road test it (it has a little trouble going forward). You may well be asking about the Serpentis. This is purely in there to make sure you get a 12 capacity vampire so you can steal ANYONE. Mirembe is in there to ensure you get the Serpentis option if need be (since she is the only Gangrel vampire with an O-O-C superior for Sanguinely Instructing Stan), but it is fairly easy to remove and replace with something else (it's just Heart of Darkness works well with Daring the Dawn for even more unblockability). Give me your comments either here or privately. Section 1.6 The End I hope you've enjoyed this sojourn from torpor. Comments are welcome here or privately at email@example.com. Until next month!