Necroletter
Vol. 1 Number 1.

  1.. Deaditorial (Orpheus)
  2.. Fiction : the Third Plague of Marseille, Part IV (Orpheus)
  3.. Dis Card of the Month : Siphon (Orpheus)
  4.. De(ad ne)ck of the Month : Siphon Purge (Nagaraja)
  5.. The Ercyies Fragments (Tobias)
  6.. Insight of the Month : Igniazio's Stoicism (Orpheus)
  7.. Until Next Time.


1.. Deaditorial

So here it is, the first edition of the Necroletter ever !! Or in other words : what happens when all the Necromancers ally 
their skills.

The team will consist of : myself, Nagaraja, and Tobias "The Baron" op den Brouw. We will alternate the editing, so our 
personalities and preferences will show in each letter.

We will try to bring regular news to you, alternating between the necromancing clans, and our ideas for deck etc. 
This alliance should have, among others, the benefits of bringing more variety, more regularity in the letters, and being able
to evocate any necro-idea without restraining ourselves because it doesn't fit a precise clan. Any idea about some necrostuff 
ll be welcome, and can be sent to us at orpheus.giovanni@free.fr .

So onto the Deadlands we go.


2.. Fiction

"Now, the thing had gone too far. Kindred were disappearing all over Marseille for no apparent reason, while new one, often 
of very weak generations, appeared from nowhere and took the positions of power. That didn't come without trouble : Kei, the 
new Toreador primogen, was so eager to make alliances and deal with powers in other towns that he only succeded in making 
enemies in Grenoble, thus nearly provoking a war between the cities ; Franck the Ravnos (the only one in the city with the 
Scourge) had a flame war with some scions of François on the subject of Gehenna ; some neonates like Aladin tried to explain 
to everyone a situation they had absolutely no comprehension of ; and even Prince Orpheus, tired of struggling against the 
tide, and to busy to teach necromantics - and a few other things, rumors said. - to his new ghoul and lover, thought of 
giving his place to his Tremere intrigant of a seneschal. Rumors of Gehenna were spreading far and wide, some even talking of
Antediluvian Awakenings as humans did of Elvis Sightings.  And one of the necromancing allies the Prince had in the local 
cemetary - the one responsible for his favorite crypt -  had all but tried, in no particular order, to blackmail, destroy
and bribe him. So strong was his will, as if made of iron, that he had to be removed, and the Prince brought him back as a 
mindless corpse to be punished at his leisure. Still, it was a useful pawn suddely lost in the labyrinths of afterlife, for 
no apparent reason save a sudden personnality disorder. But these were only the colourful parts.

The more serious things could be seen all over the papers, or sometimes learnt in much more private circles. .

Three kine were found dead at the gates of Notre Dame de la Garde, the so called "Bonne Mère", with big metal crucifixes 
introduced in their bodies through various orifices - not necessarily the largest ones - and blasphematory remarks written 
in blood all over their clothes, in ancient greek, no less !

All the kindred in Aix-en-Provence had vanished from sight. When asked to find them, Chambellan Pierre De Brouillet had to 
admit he didn't have a clue as to where or how to find them. After a thorough investigation, it was established that all but 
one had either left the city or been destroyed, with no particular evidence for one solution or the other. The lone survivor, 
a malkavian named Yo, was found stark raving mad muttering a children's rhyme in an alley while rinsing his teeth with gutter 
water ; his two vampiric canines had been removed, as if someone - or possibly himself - had pulled his fangs away. He leapt 
on the kindred who found him, and was subsequentely destroyed : unfortunately for him, it was none other than "Claws" 
Mohammed, who was a little too eager in his reaction.

Bums were also disappearing, and politicians, not even worried by the pretense of any social measures,  pretended that it was
due to the efficiency of the local - omnipresent - police. Other people from the streets also disappeared at night : 
prostitutes, thugs from the suburbs, RTM controllers, and even. cops !! The polive investigator who described the
traces left at the places of such disappearances "as if left by a giant  slug" was immediately dismissed from function.

If it wasn't Gehenna, it was as close from it as could be envisionned.

Thinking back on all this, Marcus Simoni, still somewhat crippled after his struggles against some Corse Lasombra fanatics, 
couldn't help but think of the Prince's words at the last reunion, and had to repress a shudder while these words echoed in 
his mind.

"The Demon of the City has awakened", he had said."


3.. Dis Card of the Month : Siphon


Here is the card text of Siphon, a Common card in the forthcoming Gehenna
extension :

"Siphon
+1 stealth action
Requires a ready vampire
Choose one or more younger vampires in torpor. If there are any gehenna
cards in play, the vampires need not to be younger. Steal 1 blood from each
chosen vampire. If this acting vampire is giovanni, you MAY ALSO move one
card from your ash heap to your hand for each blood stolen. Discard down to
your hand size afterward. Only one siphon can be played each turn"

So, this is the Giovanni equivalent of Baltimore Purge ?

Well, not half as good, but still quite interesting.

Although I'm fully aware that a Storyline card doesn't have to compete with Baltimore Purge, the comparison here cannot 
be avoided. Let's see :

-         they are both actions ; by default, Siphon is at +1 stealth, while
BP isn't ;
-         BP has a powerful effect on vampires around the table, and is widely feard ; Siphon's effect is very marginal 
and never will unbalance anything (it could also be a good thing, as people won't rush you from all over just because you're 
playing it !!) ;
-         BP is useful in many decks, although it is better in Lasombra (or with at least oen Lasombra controlled) or Ravnos ;
I find the base effect of Siphon mostly uninteresting, and it of course takes all its (debatable)might in the hands of a 
Giovanni, and with a Gehenna card in game ; we don't know as of now what Gehenna cards really do, but they look nice ; we 
don't really need them when playing Siphon, though, because for most of the ideas I have a big vampire will be required ; 
on the other hand, if the Gehenna shows its ugly star, he won't need to be the acting one, so that can be actually a very big 
bonus ! So, this truly looks like a Giovanni card.

Now that we compared the two cards, and that we've cried tears of blood because we didn't get the same treat as the Lasombras, 
let's see what we can do with the card.

-         Two things can be gained by the card : blood, and get cards back into your hand. Now, I wonder, who has the most 
trouble with blood gain and card cycling ? Who said "Multirush Fight Decks !" ? Now, the recent Giovanni cards (Ignazio and 
the last necromancy card, Chill of Oblivion) are fight-oriented. Getting the right cards when you need them also has a
toolboxy flavour which makes me think of my old Krassimir Bruise'n'bleed deck (24 combat cards, no more, and so many 
vampires in torpor, so many VPs !!).
-         To be interesting, a Siphon will requirer more than one vampire in torpor with some blood on them. Well, For or Tem 
and Disarm (or "aggravs if blocked) can do that for ya. We're talking multi-rush again, or maybe bruise 'n'bleed. Another 
option for sending lots of vampires to torpor is. Baltimore Purge !!! You'd of course need some more stealth than Nec can
provide, but my, what a coincidence : Ignazio also has Obf !! Well, he isn't really that old for Baltimore, but an Obf 
Mastercard could get him closer to the right number, and Sylvia could use one too. I'm not really sure a Siphon / BP deck 
would be that interesting, because I guess I'd rather Graverob then Siphon, but well, if you can do both, why not. I'll most 
certainly try the thing out and let y'all know !
-         Taking an action for a Siphon may seem a waste of time. It would be if you didn't have ways to have some other 
actions in the turn. Well, the Giovanni have two ways of untapping : Freak Drive (mainly Regina, Sylvia and Ignazio) and 
Domain of Evernight (what, you didn't know Krassimir was a Giovanni ?!). Sure, but what if we don't have any in hand ? 
Well, what do you think lies in your ash heap ? ;-)

So, Siphon may not be the best card available, but it can have its uses, providing with a mutliple Whispers / Carlotta + 
some blood gain. Could work.

Useful or just cornercase ? Time will tell.

But never forget, fellows Giovanni : no matter what this card really is worth : WE won it !!


4.. Deck of the Month


This deck is built on a Baltimore purge core module, enforced by Siphon played by Giovanni. This wonderful card allows you to
lower your opponent's strength by stealing them blood, thus allowing you to bloat with minion tap.
Then, you can take back some cards from you ash heap. This allows you to play with around 60 cards, thus giving you an edge 
because you can fetch the cards that are really needed at a given time.

So the deck contains several cards in one copy, that you can discard when playing siphon, to get them back when needed.
There are Lasombra to choose carefully your targets, 2 political struggle to give them permanent vote when voters go to 
torpor. There are renewed vigor to avoid staying in torpor when purging.

The fame is here to contest anyone playing it on Regina, which would otherwise wreck your game, or give you an ousting power 
when needed.

Deck Name:   Siphon purge
Created By:  Nagaraja

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 12, Max: 40, Avg: 6,17)
----------------------------------------------
4  Regina Giovanni    aus DOM for NEC POT  10, Giovanni:2, 2 votes
1  Carlotta Giovanni  dom NEC obf POT      7,  Giovanni:2
1  Le Dinh Tho        aus dom NEC          5,  Nagaraja:2
1  Isabel Giovanni    DOM NEC pot          5,  Giovanni:2
1  Banjoko            obt pot DOM          5,  Lasombra:3
1  Gloria Giovanni    DOM nec              4,  Giovanni:2
1  Lia Milliner       dom nec              3,  Giovanni:3
1  Cameron            dom pot              3,  Lasombra:2
1  Aaron Duggan       obt                  2,  Lasombra:2

Library: (65 cards)
-------------------
Master (17 cards)
2  Blood doll
1  Coven, The
1  Creepshow Casino
1  Direct Intervention
1  Fame
2  Fortitude
1  Golconda: Inner Peace
3  Minion Tap
2  Storage Annex
1  Sudden Reversal
1  Visit from the Capuchin
1  Vulnerability

Action (18 cards)
5  Baltimore Purge
1  Ex Nihilo
1  Govern the Unaligned
1  Graverobbing
1  Political Struggle
1  Possession
3  Renewed Vigor
5  Siphon

Action Modifier (9 cards)
3  Call of the Hungry Dead
4  Freak Drive
2  Seduction

Reaction (7 cards)
4  Deflection
1  Delaying Tactics
2  Wake with Evening's Freshness

Combat (9 cards)
1  Burning Wrath
2  Fake Out
4  Spiritual Intervention
2  Thrown Gate

Ally (1 cards)
1  Leonardo, Mortician

Combo (4 cards)
4  Spectral Divination


5.. The Erciyes Fragment


"Unique master.
Put this card in play. Tap this card to move a library card from your prey's ash heap to this card, face down. You may look 
at that card at any time. You may play the card from the Fragments as if playing it from your hand (requirements and cost, 
if any, apply as normal). When that card is burned, remove it from the game instead. Only 1 card can be on this card at a 
time.
Any vampire with a capacity above 4 can steal the Fragments (and any card on it) for his or her controller as a (D) action."

Discovered in a monastery by the humble monk Fra Niccolo Giovanni of Venice after he finds a map with clues leading him to it,
it contains the Book of Nod in what may well be Caine's original version, plus commentaries from vampiric scholars throughout
the ages. Erciyes is a place closely tied to Cappodocia, and if that doesn't set bells ringing in the heads of people...

For those who wish to know more background:

http://www.angelfire.com/de3/darkages/cappadocian.html
http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_2683.html
http://www.fataladdiction.com/giovanni/history.html

A new promo from the prophecies tournaments, a lot of people are really excited about this card, calling it 'must-have' 
tech in almost any deck.
Foregoing the contestation issues that may give (unique, non-removable master - and you thought you contested dreams a lot?),
it's obviously a powerful card - but, like all things with power, with a few angles.

First of all, there's the timing of the thing to consider. Unless you're the person playing it in the first place, you will
not have control over the contents of the fragment untill you manage to get it to untap somehow (beginning of your turn, 
stealing it untapped). Depending on how powerful the rest of the table rates the fragment, it might change hands so often,
it'll never untap.

As such, you'll really have to consider when it's worth stealing - and defending, of course. A 'steal' card is generally 
good for wall-decks, since they can defend it well, and it might even offer the wall deck a chance to beat on something 
(the 'come hither' effect). Another decktype 'steal' cards are good for is a weenie deck - you'll have the action to spare to
go get the thing, it's not like you need to make every action of that 10-cap count.
That has been offset somewhat by the >4 capacity limitation though.  Another decktype a 'steal' card may be good for is a
multi-action deck - with those freak drives floating around, you can easily cycle a FD to go get the thing - and if someone 
blocks your Lazverinus, you have a chance to pound them into the dirt.

Another aspect of the card is, of course, what card to fish out? The most obvious thing would be an action card, or an action
modifier. This way, you're almost guaranteed to be able to use it immediately before it's stolen away from you. You could, 
of course, also steal a wake, or something like it, to defend the fragment, but what are you really gaining, then? Another
really interesting option would be to steal a useful Master: out-of-turn, like sudden reversal or direct intervention. 
Oh, the irony of suddening your prey's minion tap with his own sudden reversal !

Generally, you'll not be able to guarantee that you can use the discipline-or clan-based cards of your prey, so here's 
looking at some generic actions and action modifiers you might want to steal (this list is a selection inspired by the last 
20 tournament winning decks - to keep it actual).

-        Retainers: mr winthrop, tasha morgan, js simmons
-        Actions: arson, aranthebes, computer hacking, the embrace
-        Action modifiers: change of target (although this 'telegraphs' your intentions a lot)
-        Equipment: sports bike, leather jacket, ivory bow, sniper rifle, .44 magnum

In case you think you can actually defend the fragment, the list becomes longer, mostly with interesting masters.

-         Blood Control: jake washington, giant's blood, blood doll, minion tap, Hunting Grounds, hungry coyote, the rack, 
golconda
-        Intercept locations or creepshow casino
-        Card control: Barrens, Dreams of the Sphinx, specialisation, fragment of Nod
-        Influence boosters: Information Highway, powerbase: montreal
-        Other: Pentex Subversion, parthenon, heidelberg castle, anarch troublemaker

This card will, of course, REALLY shine for decks that include some sort of tech to increase the usability of the prey's 
cards. The excellent (and amusing) Agaitas/Great Beast deck comes to mind, but Ian Forestal or Infernal Pact are of course 
examples as well. Decks that have vampires with 'excess' disciplines, or are focused on more than 3 disicplines, are also
likely to have at least 1 match with their prey, since for instance dominate, obfuscate, presence and auspex are likely 
candidates to be found in the tournament scene. Stealth by your prey with his own stealth cards.

Given the combination of previous characteristics, the Harbingers of Skulls seem to be an obvious clan to use this card. 
They can defend it with their auspex, have access to freak drive, and are a jumping-board to many '(ab)use prey's cards' 
deck concepts. Also, their capacity is above 4. 
An example of such a deck is one posted by Legbiter, found at:

http://www.thelasombra.com/decks/legbiter.htm#allyourcards

If you take a look there, you'll see an Agaitas/Ian combination as well as a daemonic possessions (in combination with kiss 
of ra), so you get a nice vamp from your prey to use his cards with. A little vote angle in the deck means stealing votes 
becomes an option as well. It won't actually help you mill the cards from your prey, but it's a great piece of tech.

Also, more generally speaking, note that the fragment can be used as anti-recursion tech as well. Your prey's continuously 
drawing back that pesky telepathic counter/misdirection? Remove it from the game for him. The power of the fragment also 
increases as you near the endgame. Why? Well, it's utility is really based on getting it to untap - and the less players
there are, the more (relative) untaps you'll have. Also, your prey's crypt will be fuller, offering you more to choose from, 
and since everything at the table is probably strained already (minions low on blood, methuselah's low on pool), getting to 
choose just which weak point to push with a prey's card can be very valuable.

One thing I'm going to be doing, is putting it in my tabledance decks. then I can choose from ALL the ashheaps which card(s) 
I want.


6.. Insight of the Month


Well, I just realised that one card seems to have been made just for Igniazio Giovanni !

And the winner is. Elemental Stoicism !!

Just look : in sup, we need FOR / Obf. In the game, only 23 vamps can use this effect, among whom 12 have precisely inf Obf, 
he is one of them ! Between this and Chill of Oblivion, who says the Giovanni are afraid of aggravated damage ? The obvious 
idea will be using it in a Dawn Operation Bruise'n'Bleed deck, but it will be useful in any rush deck too, and adding
one or two in any Ignazio deck cannot be a bad thing !!

And doesn't Ignazio look the Elementallly Stoic type ?!


7.. Until next time.


So, that's is for now. Next month, one of my fellows will take the editing. Will you see a "Baron special" or will Nagaraja 
tell you all about the Inquisitors ? Better brace yourself : the Necromancers are dead and kicking!!


Orpheus, Nagaraja and Tob op den Brouw