V:EKN Clan Ventrue Newsletter, April 1998

[VEKN] Official Ventrue Newsletter: Vol. 1, No. 1 - April 1998.

In this issue: COMMENT - V:TES Requires New Blood 

DECK BUILDING - The Enemy of My Enemy Deck -A Ventrue vote deck for beginners using 
Common cards.

SHORT FICTION - Taking Care of Business - An American Ventrue in Paris
Q & A - Your Comments Are Welcome

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COMMENT V:TES Requires New Blood

"Fellow Kindred, let's let our internal bickering end here, tonight, for just an 
moment.

As Ventrue Prince, I have noticed own numbers have dwindled; be it from enemies, 
boredom, treachery or malaise. This cannot be helped, but must be dealt with quickly, 
or we shall all perish.

We need to evoke the Third Tradition: The Progeny on a massive scale...."

V:TES is in trouble, and we all know it. The game needs new blood, which is why I 
created the analogy above. We must all work together to gain new interest in our 
favorite CCG. By getting more players, we not only benefit from more people to 
challenge against, but the more people who show demand for this game is the only way 
it will continue. WotC is not supporting it, but they also have not YET put the stake 
through it.

Since this is a Ventrue Newsletter, and the Ventrue take responsibility for all the 
Camarilla, it seems appropriate global issues of the game be raised here.
I suggest one way to boost membership is through these newsletters. Legbiter writes 
an excellent article in his Anti-Gangrel Newsletter on how to suck in Magic players 
who are jaded into the game. 

But that is only a launching point, and not a solution. It's very easy to NOT want 
to get involved with V:TES, because it appears to be a dead game! We need to change 
that attitude among our fellow CCG players! (If not us, then who?)

I feel more of us can contribute to demos of the game in game stores and conventions 
(I am hosting a "learning V:TES at GameCon I here in the Bay Area next month.
I think we need CLEARER rules to teach new people with (which LSJ has confirmed is 
in the works, but how long it will take is unknown).

I propose we create our own "starter" decks and give or cheaply sell them to these 
new players (really, do ANY of you remember trying to play a decent deck with less 
then 200 purchased cards!) The strength of this game is built on its inherent 
balance: that you don't need all rares to have a good deck. One simple deck is 
outlined below in this issue.

Bottom line, Let's all make it easier for others to get hooked into this great game! 
Let the Third Tradition begin!

NEXT MONTH: Two Player V:TES: Can It Be Fun?

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DECK BUILDING Enemy of My Enemy Deck 12 Crypt, 80 Library - Use with 4 or more 
players

The Ventrue are known for their vast resources, and who would think the Blue Bloods 
would stoop to something like a deck made entirely of COMMON cards! (Shudder)
But, the Ventrue are wise investors, and realize it is not the amount you put in, 
but the yield on the investment that counts.

So, suppose you really want to play a pure Venture Deck, but cannot afford the amount 
of basic V:TES cards required to make those fancy decks you've seen, but have a 
bunch of friends who are willing to trade their COMMON cards. And, you want to make 
it a deck that FEELS like a Ventrue Deck (not just any card thrown in to make it 
work). Well, this deck is for you.

The focus of this deck is to knock down your enemy (Prey) via votes, directly if 
possible, and if not, then by helping an enemy (your Prey's Prey, or your Predator's 
Predator) to make it possible.

Note: This deck does not exceed 4 cards of any type, only because it is assumed the 
player does not have that amount of cards. Thus, it fits into any house rules that 
have a 4 card limit by coincidence only.

Also, the deck is built for the standard voting rules, which allow discarding 
multiple PA's to increase votes. Any house rules that limit only one extra PA per 
action will cripple this deck.

Vamps - 

2x Gideon Fontaine 
2x Heather Florent - The Opportunist 
2x Jazz Wentworth 
2x Melissa Barton 
2x Sir Walter Nash 
2x Violette Prentiss

Every vampire (except Melissa) has Superior Presence. This is important because we 
are gonna load this deck with common Presence cards, and want to be sure we can 
always uses them to their full extent.

Also, Heather, Melissa and Jazz have special abilities dealing with the Edge. Heather 
gets the Edge's blood put on her when controlled by you at the start of your turn, 
Melissa gains blood when it's exchanged for a vote, and Jazz allows you to get it if 
it's uncontrolled. These are very important cards for the voting deck we are going 
to build.

With these 3 cards out, the best scenario is this: You have start with the Edge. You 
gain one blood for it (which can go to Heather if she is not at her max blood, or 
into your pool), you cast a vote using anyone but Jazz, and throw in the Edge, with 
Melissa gaining a blood (if she is also below max). Jazz is then used to get the 
Edge back, perhaps to cast another vote, perhaps to gain another blood!
If you can't get all of the vampires above, when substituting, try to use ones with 
superior Presence. More of the same Vampires is preferable to ones w/o Superior 
Presence.

Masters - 

3x Blood Doll 
3x Effective Management 
2x Minion Tap 
2x Misdirection 
2x Protracted Investments 
2x Short Term Investments = 14 Master Cards 
2x Uptown Hunting Ground (Uncommon - Optional, swap out Investment cards for this)

These cards are all common, except Uptown Hunting Ground. If you have it, use it. But 
it is not required, as you should get plenty of blood without it (but more blood 
never hurts.)

Try to place the Blood Dolls on Melissa or Heather. Then when they gain blood, you 
can siphon it to yourself.

If you don't have enough of the masters listed above, you can substitute missing 
ones with Ascendance.

Political Actions - 

2x Camarilla Exemplary 
3x Consanguineous Boon 
3x Consanguineous Condemnation 
3x Conservative Agitation 
2x Disputed Territory 
3x Domain Challenge 
3x Kine Resources Contested 
3x Peace Treaty 
4x Regaining the Upper Hand = 26 PAs 
2x Dramatic Upheaval (Vamp - Optional, swap out 2 Peace Treaties for this) 
1x Praxis Seizure: whatever (Rare - Optional, swap out a Disputed Territory PA 
  for this)

Again, all are common, except the PS (which again, if you have one of the many 
different types, use it.) If you only have PS: Chicago, exchange Sir Walter with 
Timothy Crowley, to avoid contesting your own Prince!

Due to your hand structure, you should have enough votes to win any vote early in 
the game, and later when you get your Prince out. However, another player may have 
the same type of voting power, or worse, other players may together have more then 
enough to beat you. So you have to make them your allies.

Do this by excluding them from bad votes, (like CA or KRC) or including them in good 
ones (such at the use of DT to give them control of a location (usually your or 
their Prey's). Make deals with players before your turn rolls around ("Each turn you 
attack my Predator with your weapons, I won't play Peace Treaty." This works even 
when you DON'T have Peace Treaty!) This kind of dealing is what V:TES was made for
(despite what your enemies think.)

RUH is the best one of the bunch for you, because it allows you to take the Edge from 
someone who currently controls it. Try to get as many of these as you can, since 
using the Edge also can give you blood.

If your Predator has Obfuscation skills, he probably has lots of Stealth, and you 
can't stop him from bleeding you. Your job is to focus on ways to make your 
Predator's Predator more of a threat. If you're down to 3 player's and you're in 
this position, you messed up.

To combat this weakness, place the Dramatic Upheaval cards in the deck. Now, you can 
change the seating order to prevent this sort of thing from happening, (as long as 
there IS somewhere to sit to prevent this from happening.)
Other votes can take the place of these if you don't have them all. However, they 
are more likely to be used as extra throw-away PA votes, especially if they require 
a Prince to call them.

Actions - 

4x Enchant Kindred 
2x Legal Manipulations 
2x Social Charm 
3x Restoration = 11 Actions

These actions increase the bleed against your Prey, and since all your vamps should 
have the superior discipline, you should either gain some blood back, or use EK to 
get more vamps out at less cost. (This card is for use with Heather, Sir Walter or 
Jazz, depending on who's active, and who's in waiting. Always try to get one of 
these out early in the game for this reason.)

Note that using these Bleed actions allow you to directly bleed anyone, not just 
your prey. This can come in handy when your Prey is defended well, and you need to 
take the Edge from someone else.

Also note LM costs a blood from your minion, so use Heather if possible, since she 
has the easiest chance to pick up an extra blood due to her ability.

When possible, tap the Prey before bleeding him with Misdirection or Consanguineous 
Condemnation. Another tactic is to use a Camarilla Exemplary vampire to bleed (even 
if blocked, the prey loses 1 blood anyway).

Restoration is a Fortitude discipline, and your smaller vampires cannot use it, so 
keep that in mind.

Act. Mods - 

2x Bewitching Oration 
3x Bribes 
2x Cryptic Rider =7 Act Mods

Bribes will sweeten a potentially sour deal. Remember that you get a blood too when 
you use this card! Cryptic Rider allows you to set up a sweet vote and then 
automatically pass a harsh one after the sweet one succeeds. This combo can make for 
a devastating turn with the right 2 PA cards! 

Combat - 

4x Dodge 
4x Majesty 
3x Skin of Rock = 11 Combat

When combat occurs, be careful against Protean or Animalism minions, as they can 
send you to Topor with Aggravated Damage. Avoid or minimize combat damage by using 
these cards.

Sometimes you may want to lower Heather or Melissa's blood, especially if you expect 
a blood later. Combat is perfect for that.

Reaction - 

4x Deflection 
2x Dread Gaze 
2x Political Backlash 
3x Wake with Evening Freshness = 11 Reactions

This deck is built to block incoming bleeds as you set up to lower the table's blood 
with votes and their own aggressive actions. 

Occasionally, you will be able to deflect the bleed to your prey, but in general your 
vamps will have to take the brunt of the damage from your Predator. This should be 
ok since there are so many ways for you to gain blood, or reduce the damage.
NEXT MONTH: A Common Ventrue/Malk Deck, including Dark Soveregns cards.

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SHORT FICTION Taking Care of Business

Gideon Fontaine looked out the penthouse window of the study and surveyed Paris. He 
loathed this city, and wanted to get this business over with so he could return to 
New York quickly.

Sir Walter had ordered him to fly to Paris, to "convince" a resistant CEO of Centron 
Pharmaceuticals to vote in favor of the merger with BosTech Labs. The Ventrue 
controlled BosTech, and the merger would allow the clan to dominate the European 
market share.

In addition, the Ventrue also wanted the research Centron was conducing on various 
diseases. They were experimenting on variants of XTC, and that had to be contained. 
It was feared the Brujah Anarchs were behind this effort, and if the Ventrue could 
not control it, it had to be destroyed. For nothing can interfere with our feeding...

Gideon had not fed before he left and his taste for vitae was so specific he doubted 
he would find time for suitable donor here. He remembered the taste of his last 
victim's blood, a week ago. She was hard to find, too; but the soothing sensation 
that came over him each time he tasted her was unparalleled. She was the perfect 
type.

He felt the Beast inside him, and if this damned assignment wasn't so time sensitive, 
he would have hunted for her replacement. But he couldn't, and now he simply must 
contain the Beast.

Louis Durant entered his study, obviously upset to have Gideon arrive in the middle 
of the night for an "emergency"" meeting that should have waited until morning. 
"What business must we conduct now, before the rising of the sun?"

For a moment, Gideon thought the mortal may has suspected his supernatural nature, 
but then waived it off to the idiotic pompousness of the French. He opened his 
briefcase.

"Durant, it has come to our attention you may back out of this merger. I want to make 
sure that does not occur." Gideon tossed a manila envelope to Durant. 

"We are sweetening the deal, by adding some stocks on other companies to broaden your 
portfolio." Gideon could tell he was getting Durant's attention. "It's all yours, 
now, if you sign the merger request right here, which will be presented at the Board 
Meeting tomorrow by my man. I am on a schedule, and must be done with this before 
morning." Gideon placed the final contract and a pen on the table in front of him.
Durant opened the envelope, and started to flip through the certificates inside. "I 
think this is a good beginning, but I think is not enough for my vote."

Gideon expected this tactic, the man's greed was legendary. He applied his Presence 
discipline on Durant. "Louis, we can be generous, but we do not respond to threats. 
Work with us, and you will be cared for." Gideon pulled at him, willing him to go 
along with his words, to drop his guard enough to, of all things, trust him. Durant 
looked at the pen, then looked away.

"I'm sorry, misure, I cannot when I know there is more to offer."

The Beast was starting to surface.

"Don't kill him", Sir Walter warned, "Otherwise we'll never get this merger. Convince 
him. That's why I'm sending you." 

Gideon swallowed, and tried again, feeling drained as he willed Durant to sign the 
paper, as well as fighting the Beast deep inside him.

"Louis, there will be more, much more, as time goes on. But I only have this now, and 
you must see that we need to get your signature before any more can be done. We will 
be in your debt."

Louis smiled, picked up the pen, and started to review the papers. Gideon licked his 
lips, the beat starting to thump in his head, demanding blood to sooth his soul. But 
he could not kill Durant, not only due to his orders, but due to his own dammed curse 
of victim preference. HE was NOT the perfect type.

It seemed like an eternity as Louis read all the fine print of the contract. Gideon 
was worried his Presence would wear off, but Durant continued. Gideon knew must have 
said all the right things as well as give him the mental push required to get him to 
stay with it this long. His tension and boredom caused him to search the room. His 
gaze fell upon a picture of Durant with other mortals.

"Is that your family?" Gideon asked, with a small tremble in his voice.

"Oui, we had that photo taken last year." Durant turned to the last page, and picked 
up a pen. 

"Do they live here with you, your wife and your daughter?" Gideon asked, hoping not 
to sound too anxious.

"Oui." Durant started to hesitate, perhaps wondering what strange feelings were 
overcoming his guest. Gideon used his superior Presence to steady himself. Don't 
lose it now, Gideon...

"Family is important, Louis. You are a lucky man. Shall we sign?" Louis smiled, and 
agreed.

After the signatures, Gideon placed everything in the attache case, locked it, and 
made one final request laced in Presence.

"Louis, may I rest here for a bit, before I leave. I'd like to meet your family 
before breakfast; I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of each other from now 
on."

Louis could not resist such an offer, especially when the skill of the vampire's 
voice was applied, and offered him his own room. Gideon waited until he was asleep, 
and thought again at the picture of Durant's daughter in the picture. Red hair, 
green eyes, light complexion, long, smooth neck, young and pure. She was the perfect 
type.

Perhaps he misjudged Paris. It had what he craved most, in the most simple of places 
for him to access. He slowly got up to silence the Beast again.

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Q & A

Please let me know if you like the format of the newsletter. I've placed a few 
questions below. If you could take the time to e-mail me back, I will adjust the 
newsletter to match the Vox Populi (Thus, vote in typical Ventrue fashion, and 
your wishes will be heard.)

Letter Grades 1) The Newsletter overall: 2) The Comment Section: 3) The Deck 
Building Section: 4) The Short Fiction:
Y/N 5) Would you like the Newsletter to be shorter? 6) Would you like the Newsletter 
to be e-mailed directly to you? 7) Would you like the Newsletter in a Doc format 
(looks fancier) if e-mailed? 8) Would you like to see it more for Beginners? 9) 
Would you like to see it more for Expert Players?

Comments about anything to make the letter better (both positive and negative 
comments welcome) or other thoughts about our fair game or how the role of Ventrue 
should be presented:

Thanks for reading, Tony Van TonyV@TheGrid.Net Ventrue Archivist (until a standard 
name is chosen for us!)