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Ravnos Clan Newsletter

Ravnos Clan Newsletter

June, 2003



1. Fictiony Stuff.

Not really my thing. Legbiter writes enough for two, so let's pretend he's
picking up my slack. However, I do enjoy all the backstory associated with
the game, so here's some bits culled from http://vampirerpg.free.fr. It's a
great site to visit if you want to know more about who or what various cards
represent.



History

The clan is supposedly founded by a gypsy who sold her secrets in return for
immortality. Dannae (or Daenna, or Deanna) bit into the Fruit of the Tree of
Knowledge, later went to search for Dracian she beloved and found him dead.
She is supposed to have created a unique progeny, Ravnos, from her blood and
what was left of Dracian's.

More probably, Dracian is a progeny of Caine who embraced his lover (called
Ennoia by the Gangrel and Deanna by the Gypsies). Being cast out after
Dracian's death she founded the Gangrel, and the Ravnos are descendant of
the other progeny of Dracian (e.g. Ravanna).

[VRev] revealed the older members of the Ravnos Clan are not of Gypsy
origin. Instead they are an ancient lineage of vampires of India, and have
spread into Africa. It is the Clan's outcasts who traveled east joining the
migrating groups that would become known as the Gypsies.

The Ravnos of India were battling the Kuei-jin and were losing, so they
started doing mass embraces, that awoke several Ravnos Methuselahs, some of
them died against the Kuei-jin, that awoke their antideluvian (in
Bangladesh). He was destroyed after a battle against three Bodhisshava and
the Technocracy, and cursed his progeny which didn't help him. That was the
Week of Nightmares leving about only 100 Ravnos, and only two Methuselahs :
Durga Syn and Hazimel. Note that most of the Sabbat Ravnos survived,
protected by the pack.

If you like to visualize your game at all, Hindi vampire mystics are way
kewler than Gypsy thieves. The whole "I steal your stuff, hee hee" is only
surpassed by Kooky Malks in lameness. Instead, all those Chimestry cards
you're laying down are, like, "there is on spoon". Also, note that bit about
the Sabbat. We'll be coming back to that later.

2. Strategy

Blood management is /the/ design obstacle you must overcome in order to
build a successful Chimestry deck. Prior to Final Nights' introduction of
The Path of Paradox, the blood intensity of their signature discipline made
the Ravnos practically unplayable. You should acquire several copies of this
card, if you can. If you can't, I highly suggest convincing your group to
allow proxies (if they don't already), since just a handful of a few power
cards transform the Ravnos from borderline to solid contenders. You'd have
to borrow them from somewhere for tournaments, of course, but odds are
nobody you know is going to be playing these guys at a tournament anyway.

If you can defend the Path of Paradox, great. But even if you can't, the
card is still worth it even as a one pool transient, if played
intelligently. An action-intensive deck (such as this newsletter's Deck of
the Month) could easily have three minions in play. If each minion plays
three Chimestry cards the turn you bring the Path into play, you've just
conserved nine blood. Some tables never catch on, but every other turn you
get out of it, you should view as bonus.

The Coven is the next most useful cards to help the Ravnos with blood
management. It should always be played straight from the hand, but its power
really comes to the fore once the game has collapsed to a three - or two -
way. Getting The Coven every turn means that these blood management issues
I've been discussing have essentially vanished.

Other cards worth considering are Giant's Blood, Park Hunting Ground, Ravnos
Carnival, and Blood Doll, according to the particular needs of your deck.
The Anarchs have opened up some new tech with the trifle Into the Fire. This
card can be more or less bolted on to existing decks with minimal impact on
card flow, and allows you to make use of The Hungy Coyote and Festivo dello
Estinto. Each of these cards would provide a major boost in blood gain for
the clan. An implicit component in the Ravnos' need to conserve blood is the
eventual presence of The Week of Nightmares. More on this card later, but if
it's in play, once your minions get low they tend not to come back. Some of
the miserliness comes from the goal of avoiding that state altogether. Once
the Week is in play, the Coyote will actually become a hindrance as your
vampires hunt of each other for *two* blood, while Festivo will become your
dream as your vampires bypass the Weeks restriction and fill to capacity
from the blood bank (technically, they are still hunting off each other for
zero blood but the result is the same).

The next most important thing to understand about the Ravnos is the
psychology of playing with Sensory Deprivation. This card is /the/ reason
the Ravnos are feared. Provided you don't overdo it, the mere threat of a
SenseDep can get you concessions from the table, and getting something for
nothing is ee-NORMous. The down side is that nothing makes someone else want
you dead like this card will. It provokes more hostility that flat out
burning vampires. The reason for this is that, if you are ousted, they get
their guy back. Yes, they could burn the minion to do it, but that requires
more precision than most decks can achieve. Ousting players, though, is
something every deck has some capacity to do. Partly for this reason, partly
for others, SenseDep should default to an upstream action. Since that guy
already wants you dead, you really haven't incurred any penalty other than,
perhaps, putting him in overdrive ("overdrive", minus that minion you just
stitched up, heh heh). SenseDep can also be a good choice for a wallish
prey. It may seem wasted on a player with piles of untap, but the SenseDep
ensures that he'll /have/ to have an untap in hand every time that minion
wants to block. Very few decks will have the resources for this, especially
with Red Herrings falling from the sky. The worst prey to apply this card to
is a vote deck. Vote decks can easily sling massive pool damage backwards in
order to get their guys back; I've got the scars to prove it.

3. Power Cards

Assuming you have taken the necessary steps to make their play sustainable,
there exist three card which, when played in tandem, grant the Ravnos a
powerful means of getting their actions through: Red Herring, Mirror Image,
and Fata Morgana.

Name: Red Herring

[FN:C2/PR]

Cardtype: Action Modifier

Cost: 1 blood

Discipline: Chimestry

[chi] Only usable when this acting vampire is blocked. Untap the acting
vampire, do not tap the blocking minion, and cancel the current action and
combat. Take the card played to perfrom the action (if any) back into your
hand. Your vampires cannot attempt the same action this turn. Discard down
to your hand size.

[CHI] As above, but tap the blocking minion.

Name: Fata Morgana

[DS:C2, FN:PR4]

Cardtype: Action Modifier

Cost: 1 blood

Discipline: Chimestry

[chi] +1 stealth

[CHI] You cannot play another action modifier to further increase the bleed
for this action. +1 bleed, or +1 bleed and +1 stealth.

Name: Mirror Image

[FN:C2/PR]

Cardtype: Action Modifier/Combat

Cost: 1 blood

Discipline: Chimestry

This card can be used as an action modifier or combat card.

[chi] +1 stealth.

[CHI] Strike: combat ends. If this vampire was blocked while performing an
action other than bleeding, the action continues as if unblocked.

Chimestry will never be as good as Obfuscate, or even Protean or
Obtenebration, at raw stealth. Instead, these cards combine to form a
complex series of light stealth to draw out intercept resources, and
minion-tapping effects to send those resources to the bin. Pay careful
attention to the text on Red Herring: none of your minions may attempt to
perform that same /action/ again. This is both good and bad. It is only
mildly bad in the sense that you must include a reasonably diverse array of
action types, lest you be left with nothing to do after you've got your
target tapped and vulnerable. It is especially good because Red Herring only
applies to the specific action card you played; for bleed decks, this means
that your other minions can continue to bleed with other cards.

These cards also provide the benefits of dual-use. Fata Morgana is superior
to Bonding, since it can be played as vanilla stealth on any action you
take. Mirror Image is simply +1 stealth or S:CE, all rolled up into one
card. The action-continuing effect is a powerful bonus, but the card is
simply good even without it.

The order in which you play these cards will depend on what you think your
opponent is likely to play. If you are fairly confident that he has no
answer to S:CE, Mirror Image is the best card to lead with; it can be played
multiple times to leave a string of tapped minions in its wake. One Forced
Awakening or Wake with Evening's Freshness will allow that minion to block
the acting vampire regardless of ending combat and continuing the action.
Rotschreck takes effect before your strike, so minions capable of generating
agg damage are better stealthed by, as well. It is usually best to begin you
rturn by declaring the action you least care about succeeding, and Red
Herring'ing (bleah) those actions until you are clear to perform the really
hideous ones. With Red Herring, you aren't really wasting those actions that
get blocked, but merely postponing them for a turn. Many players can be
demoralized by successive use of Red Herring to the point that actions that
do not create an immediate large swing in the game state sail through
unopposed (but don't count on it).





4. Vampire of the Month

Name: Gabrin

[FN:U2]

Clan: Ravnos

Group: 2

Capacity: 8

Discipline: dom for ANI CHI

Independent: Cards that require Chimestry cost Gabrin 1 less blood to play.
Gabrin can tap an ally or younger vampire as a +1 stealth (D) action.

Hands down, the best Ravnos. Eight is just barely inside the "easily
playable" zone, and they luckily have several much smaller vampires that can
provide good support for The Powerhouse. He has a built-in Path, which
stacks to enable him to play Chimestry cards for two less blood. This is
nice, but the guarantee of playing all the one blood cards for free is what
is truly important. Also note his other special ability. This compliments
Red Herring very well, since their minion is going to be tapped either way.
If the action is not blocked, Gabrin has the potential to Freak Drive and
untap. If it is blocked, he can Red Herring the action and, dang, no one
else can take his built in ability this turn.

Oh, yeah, he has Dominate.

5. Deck of the Month

Deck Name: Ravnos Sabbat

Created By: David Cherryholmes

Description:

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 10, Max: 32, Avg: 5.25)

----------------------------------------------

4 Gabrin ANI CHI dom for 8, Ravnos

1 Joaquina Amaya ANI CHI FOR 6, Ravnos

1 Vaclav Petalengro ANI CHI for pot 6, Ravnos

1 Khalil Ravana ani CHI for pre 5, Ravnos

1 Salbatore Bokkengro CHI for pro 4, Ravnos

1 Tsigane aus chi 3, Ravnos

1 Vedel Esbreno chi for 3, Ravnos

1 Spleen ani chi 2, Ravnos

1 Sasha Miklos chi 2, Ravnos

Library: (85 cards)

-------------------

Master (22 cards)

4 Blood Doll

1 Chimerstry

1 Coven, The

1 Dominate

1 Festivo dello Estinto

1 Fortune Teller Shop

1 Giant's Blood

1 Hungry Coyote, The

4 Into the Fire

3 Path of Paradox, The

2 Storage Annex

2 Week of Nightmares

Action (19 cards)

1 Army of Rats

1 Arson

4 Computer Hacking

2 Fiendish Tongue

2 Govern the Unaligned

3 Nightmare Curse

5 Sensory Deprivation

1 Tier of Souls

Action Modifier (22 cards)

8 Fata Morgana

6 Freak Drive

8 Red Herring

Reaction (3 cards)

3 Deflection

Combat (4 cards)

4 Illusions of the Kindred

Retainer (1 cards)

1 Raven Spy

Equipment (2 cards)

2 Treasured Samadji

Combo (12 cards)

4 Draba

8 Mirror Image



I would judge this to be a fairly complex deck to play. As I recently
commented on a very similiar deck, "If you try to play it like
Stealth/Bleed, expect to die. The Storage Annexes are a powerful piece of
tech. First, they are just generally good cards that will help keep you from
filling up with an unlucky string of the same card. Most importantly for
this deck, though, is the ability to park the Week of Nightmares there and
wait for your moment.

And that's what you do. Bleed just a little for most of the game, and get
you rprey into the rythm of that. On some level, everyone knows the Week
exists as a card, but few people respect the bleeding power of the Ravnos,
so use this to your advantage. I have consistently won games by watching my
prey spend himself down to twelve to fifteen pool, overextending to really
try to get his prey, because he thinks he can soak it even if I go all out,
and then flipping up the Week from the Annex, pounding him out in one shot,
and taking his prey quickly after that.

The Sabbat tech is untested; it may turn out to be worse than the previous
version of the deck, but it will take a reasonable number of games before I
can develop an opinion on that.

There is some anti-deflection tech available to the deck, though it won't be
useable consistently. If you judge it to be worth the activity (I often do),
you may play Draba at inferior on your own minions. Afterward, bleed with
that minion at stealth. If bounced, burn the Draba to drop your own stealth
to zero and encourage your grandprey to block. Play Red Herring at inferior,
retrieve your bleed card, untap your acting minion, and your grandprey stays
untapped. That's about the best recovery I know of from being bounced, since
you are not doing your prey's work for him and you get your bleed card back
in hand for next turn. It requires an action to set up, but it's also one of
the few useful things your small minions without CHI can perform.

Well, that's the end of my first newsletter. I can't promise to make it a
regular thing, but it'd been a long time since one was written and I felt I
had enough to say for at least one.


--
David Cherryholmes
VEKN Prince of Durham, NC