Never Alone

Occasionally, I’m amazed.  Even when it comes to the management of CCGs.

While V:TES will seemingly be forever burdened with Imbued, which have managed to make the game less comfortable for random allies due to an increased interest in ally hate (also helped by Nephandi, War Ghouls, Shamblers, and Carlton), it amazes me the lack of more allies in the game.

What am I talking about?  No, not Salubri allies, though they could use such.  Cammie allies.

You know, Camarilla – the kine “friendly” sect.  The sect that doesn’t think of folks as (just) food but realizes the need to manipulate mortals and other entities as tools to get by in a world of dimness.

Feel free to guess how many new Cammie clan (including Gangrel just because it’s easier to lump them in with the others) allies have been published since 2000.

It’s not zero.

A decent number of folks could think of Ponticulus.

Maybe, folks remember Arcane Appraiser.

Then, there are … um … gangs, no … Nos-, no … political, no … werewolf, no … that’s it – nothing.

One could say that not really that many allies have been added to the game in the 21st Century in general.  It is, after all, a game about vampires … and Imbued.  War Ghoul isn’t new.  Nephandus isn’t new.  Shambling Hordes is quite old, at this point.  Carlton isn’t that old, but he’s not a strategy, just an overly good unique ally; same with Mylan.

But, c’mon m-a-n-n-n!  Camarilla.  Besides the thematics, which one may not agree with but if you do agree with makes it even more unnatural that many ally strategies are non-Camarilla, there’s just what sort of paradigm of expansion one may wish to use.  Expanding CCGs is about expanding options.  Much like how it blows my mind that more effort hasn’t been put into making the Primogen title mean something, for adding options to the Cammies (and Gangrel), I’m amazed [word of the day] at the lack of adding mortals and other allies to the arsenal of the Camarilla.

Brujah

Arms Dealer
Loyal Street Gang
The Knights
The Slashers

Arms Dealer is okay.  I’m aware of decks built around it.  The other three have always sucked.  At least, Brujah got allies, unlike some clans.  They even have a theme.  A terrible, terrible theme from a competitive standpoint.  So, here’s the deal.  I don’t want to throw out some new gangs that are going to be better than the original gangstas to where we continue to ignore the mighty Knights and the salty Slashers.

So, here’s my idea.  I should note that this is real time, off the top of my head stuff and, therefore, is likely missing far better concepts.

Gang Lord
Ally
C = 1p
Unique. Requires Brujah. Mortal.
2 life. 1 bleed. 1 strength.
Allies that require Brujah cost one less blood or pool to play and gain +1 strength for each life counter above one that the ally has.  When Gang Lord would be sent to the ash heap from play, you may burn an ally you control to shuffle him into your library instead.

Gangrel [I know]

Gypsies
Renegade Garou
Werewolf Pack

Another theme and an actual good ally (historically, anyway).  Jacob Fermor did do something with this theme in more recent memory.  Do I care about Gangrel getting more werewolf allies?  Not particularly.  But, what – nature got no better bones to throw than Underbridge Stray?

One might think cutting oneself off from the Camarilla would mean a desire for more buddies.  There are plenty of outdoorsy concepts – hunter, logger, environmentalist, etc.

Park Ranger
Ally
C = 1b
Unique. Requires Gangrel. Ghoul.
2 life. 0 bleed. 1 strength.
Park Ranger may strike for 1R damage.  Park Ranger has one optional maneuver per combat.  When recruiting a werewolf ally, you may tap Park Ranger to reduce the cost of the ally by one pool or blood.  If the Park Ranger is burned from play, its controller must remove a life counter from each werewolf ally she controls.

Malkavian

Muddled Vampire Hunter

Seriously, that’s it?!?

Start with something basic in concept and amusing in mechanics.

Psychiatrist
Ally
C = 2p
Requires Malkavian. Mortal.
1 life. 1 bleed. 0 strength.
Psychiatrist may take a +1 stealth action to tap or untap a ready Malkavian.  When Psychiatrist is burned from play, its controller discards three cards at random and all Malkavians gain +1 strength until the end of the turn.

Nosferatu

Okay, this is a theme.  Much like Nosferatu not having virtually any Presence as out of clan was a theme.  But, c’mon m-a-n-n-n!  The theoretically more scary if not so much so in the background !Nos get frickin’ Couriers.  All sorts of obscure and weird clans get allies.  Demons are increasingly running loose.

Sure, I will say that it’s fairly clear that the indies were given substantial ally themes, which does distinguish them from other sects.  Assamites get ghouls, FoS mummies, Giovanni wraiths, Ravnos crazy expensive choice.

Congregation of Alligators
Ally
C = 2b
Requires Nosferatu or Nosferatu antitribu. Animal.
3 life. 0 bleed. 3 strength.
When a Nosferatu or Nosferatu antitribu successfully blocks an acting minion, you may tap Congregation of Alligators to enter combat with the acting minion instead of the blocking vampire (do not tap the blocking minion).

Toreador

Arcane Appraiser

Wtf?!?  The most social of all clans gets one ally in the entire history of the game and it’s only been printed in the last couple of years?!?  (Yes, I like using ?!? to end sentences.)

Again, so many concepts could work.  I’m tempted to think of some demonic patron of arts or even angelic, but we know what we want.

Groupies
Ally
C = 1b
Requires Toreador. Ghoul.
1 life. 0 bleed. 1 strength.
Groupies do not untap as normal.  During your untap phase, you may burn a blood from a ready Toreador you control to untap Groupies.  Groupies may tap to prevent 1 damage to a Toreador in combat.

Tremere

Outcast Mage
Thadius Zho, Mage
Ponticulus

A theme, once upon a time.  There are only so many mages to go around, so I see not doing more mages.  Do Tremere really need more allies?  Sure, everybody needs more allies.

Techie
Ally
C = 0
Requires Tremere. Mortal.
1 life. 0 bleed. 0 strength.
Techie can take a +1 stealth action to search your library or ash heap for an electronic equipment card and place it on a ready minion you control who meets the requirements of the card (pay cost to equip as normal).  If none of your ready minions meet the requirements of the card, the card is burned without cost.  If the equipment came from your library, shuffle your library afterwards.

Ventrue

Political Ally

Again, wtf?!?  One ally.  Ever.  Printed in Jyhad.  So many concepts that can be worked with.

Special Agent Smith
Ally
C = 2p
Unique. Requires Ventrue. Mortal.
2 life. 1 bleed. 1 strength.
Special Agent Smith may strike for 2R damage.  Special Agent Smith may search your library (shuffle afterward) for the first Government card and move that card to your hand as a +1 stealth action (discard down to hand size).

Should the game see tons more allies?  Not so much.  On the other hand, Cammie clans (and Gangrel) need *different* things to do.  And, it’s crazy like a Malk how few allies some of the Cammies have received throughout the 17 year history of the game.

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5 Responses to Never Alone

  1. Eric Chiang says:

    Ian, you make some good points. I like your ideas about allies, and it is definitely in theme for the Camarilla sect.

    There is a very simple explanation why there haven’t been more allies for the Camarilla clans: they simply haven’t gotten many clan cards to begin with, ever since the game was picked up by White Wolf in 2000. If you take a look, each of the Cam clans got 1 new clan card in Anarchs and 1 new clan card in Keepers of Tradition. That’s it (discounting errata to Derange when it was originally a Dementation card, and the Gargoyle-related cards and Treaty of Laibach promo for the Tremere).

    Camarilla Edition was mostly reprints, but there was a long stretch of no focus on the Camarilla until Keepers of Tradition (considering that KMW happened after CE, I really think KoT should have come out before LotN).

    You could argue that the Cam clans should have had more clan cards then (though then people point out how the Cam clans are already strong due to Parity Shift and Second Tradition).

    But given that each of the Cam clans has only gotten 2 clan cards from 1996 (after Ancient Hearts, starting with Sabbat) to 2011 (well, at least 2010’s Heirs to the Blood), that goes a long way to explaining why there haven’t been that many new Cam allies.

  2. Brad says:

    I agree. It is absurd, given the backstory, for Cam to have so few (mortal/ghoul) at least allies. Given the hate for mortals from the Sabbat, how come they have lots of ’em?

  3. Ralf says:

    I like them .. especially the Gang Lord makes sense and maybe even the earlier gang related Brujah allies playable (at least in a casual deck).

  4. Azel says:

    This has been something we’ve talked about many years ago. It’s a real paucity of exploiting a thematic and mechanic hole. I dig your thematic analysis and ideas here. Just wished WW could’ve followed through.

    I also think a big factor was how powerful Camarilla decks were/are and that there was a fear to give them any more toys. Which is a pity because in turn they often gave other groups, especially newer ones, a real shaft to their first batch of toys. It took 3 sets for Anarchs to mean something, roughly the same for Black Hand, and Sabbat and Laibon could’ve used quite a bit of player feedback in sect card design. Alas, what is done is done, no?

  5. […] to this post Never Alone but different.  V:TES came out in 1994.  Twenty years, with some years off.  I believe the game […]

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