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  • Are Ravnos really that unpopular?

    Reading online I saw many instances and articles about Ravnos being "worst clan ever", "white wolf worst idea", and generally regarded as a very terrible clan.
    Honestly I think they're a cool clan, albeit more underdeveloped than others. Or maybe just worse developed than others.

    I think much hate is due to bothered Storytellers having players using bothersome discipline of Chimerstry in very bothersome ways, like the player that wanted to make Legolas appear on a roof shooting arrows at enemies (why some players want to disrupt the mood so much is beyond me).

    Another problem I'm sure is the fact that the Path of I Do What I Want is... Well, the Path of I Do What I Want.
    But seriously many Malkavian players manifest the same problems (derangement?), but Malkavians are quite popular.

    Please note that my experience with Ravnos is mainly from Revised edition.
    I'd like to know if Ravnos are really so much unpopular among players. I'd be sad if they disappear in V5

    Was the gipsy stereotype really that much bothersome for many? From what I gathered it's a misstep of 2nd edition only.
    I'm italian and I quite like Giovanni. I find the mafia side stereotype fun, so I'm really not able to see the problem with the gipsy thing. I actually think it's a great hook for Ravnos-Gangrel enmity. But again, I didn't read Ravnos stuff prior to revised edition so it's possible Ravnos were delivered really really badly.

    I also understand that the clan weakness handed down as "compulsory criminal" is terribly delivered that way. But I think it has a lot of potential for many interesting characters if handed down as "all ravnos have a vice to which they have difficulties to resist". Of course many players can twist this in very bothersome ways. But again, same happens with Malkavians. So again, I don't see a big problem here.
    Unfortunately I never had the chance to play a Ravnos as a player, but I think I'd have a good time playing someone that is forced to lie all the time.
    Another interesting compulsion would be breaking the traditions (in more than a sense and more than a way) every time you can.
    Feeling the urge of indulge in blood-drinking more than necessity would be another cool one. Basically it's Lust for the Kiss. A variant of this would be Gluttony for Blood, maybe to the point of burning bloodpool unneccesarily just to feel the urge to feed again. Or maybe the vice is a sadistic pleasure in draining the kine up to the last drop of blood, unable to stop once the feeding began.
    What I'm saying is that the Ravnos weakness is potentially one of the best clan curses, much like Ventrue and Malkavian, since it would allow a great deal of character customization and variations once the "compulsory criminal" angle is dropped.
    I'm not saying the vice can't be a criminal act, like theft or arson. If no Ravnos is a thief, the stereotype can't have an origin. But those kind of vices too should be thought a bit more thorough when creating a character, in order to have a more interesting time when playing it.

    I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this matter, and to know if Ravnos are despised at your gaming tables or they are played often.


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  • #2
    Clan Ranvos has two problems:

    1. Chimrestry is a Vicissitude-level pain in the ass. It's an extremely open-ended discipline with many questionable cases. "Can you light up the room with an illusory candle?" is the classic example.
    2. Clan Ravnos is incredibly racist. Giovanni would have been a hate crime a hundred years ago, but racism against Italians in the US is not a thing today. Racism against Romani is a thing today and engaging in the stereotype of thieving untrustworthy vagabonds is wrong and hateful today. It's on the level of using nazi propaganda to design a 'jewish' vampire clan.

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    • #3
      Ravnos are an amazing versatile clan in regards to concepts you can pull from them (I had an embraced conspiracy theorist who would use his Chimrestry to make people believe his feedings were the result of alien abductions and such. Lot of fun!) but the biggest problem is they're directly tied to two groups of people and don't explore any ideas or means of how people not in those cultures would fit in the clan.

      In fact, even the Giovanni have families in other parts of the world so it's very easy to tie in a concept that isn't a mafia knockoff or doesn't feel artificial. You can play someone tied to any one of the other minor families. The Ravnos... don't have that? They're centered around two main groups of people and that's their niche.
      Last edited by Mabs; 09-02-2017, 07:53 AM.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
        Clan Ranvos has two problems:2. Clan Ravnos is incredibly racist. Giovanni would have been a hate crime a hundred years ago, but racism against Italians in the US is not a thing today. Racism against Romani is a thing today and engaging in the stereotype of thieving untrustworthy vagabonds is wrong and hateful today. It's on the level of using nazi propaganda to design a 'jewish' vampire clan.
        You couldn't be any wronger and borderline offensive. Ravnos are actually a romantic version of the Rom. If you lived in a country with a strong Rom presence you'd reconsider everything you said, for the reality is much darker than the WoD. Of course it's not 100% of them, but it's a somewhat accurate representation. You should pay less attention to SJWs and live, like I used to, in a neighbourhood where they are the majority.

        Now, moving to the game itself. They are as much stereotyped as everyone else. And their weakness is not crime, it's "Vice", huge difference in how they are portraited.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Erinýes View Post
          Of course it's not 100% of them, but it's a somewhat accurate representation.
          Just in case anyone wasn't convinced that racism against Roma is a thing today - here's an example.
          Last edited by Kammerer; 09-02-2017, 09:30 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
            Just in case anyone wasn't convinced that racism against Roma is a thing today here's an example.

            Just because you never seen a Rom Community in your life, that does not mean I'm a racist.

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            • #7
              Is it possible to make a point without insulting people? Just saying.
              Now back to the game.

              Clan Ranvos has two problems:

              1. Chimrestry is a Vicissitude-level pain in the ass. It's an extremely open-ended discipline with many questionable cases. "Can you light up the room with an illusory candle?" is the classic example.
              2. Clan Ravnos is incredibly racist. Giovanni would have been a hate crime a hundred years ago, but racism against Italians in the US is not a thing today. Racism against Romani is a thing today and engaging in the stereotype of thieving untrustworthy vagabonds is wrong and hateful today. It's on the level of using nazi propaganda to design a 'jewish' vampire clan.
              1. That's for sure. Yet I think it's also the good thing about Chimerstry.
              2. So let me get this straight. Ravnos are incredibly racist while Giovanni aren't because Italians aren't a problem in today US. I get what you mean. I understand what you mean. I can see that it's true. I think it's terrible, but true.

              Ravnos are an amazing versatile clan in regards to concepts you can pull from them (I had an embraced conspiracy theorist who would use his Chimrestry to make people believe his feedings were the result of alien abductions and such. Lot of fun!) but the biggest problem is they're directly tied to two groups of people and don't explore any ideas or means of how people not in those cultures would fit in the clan.

              In fact, even the Giovanni have families in other parts of the world so it's very easy to tie in a concept that isn't a mafia knockoff or doesn't feel artificial. You can play someone tied to any one of the other minor families. The Ravnos... don't have that? They're centered around two main groups of people and that's their niche.
              Yeah, I can get what you're saying. I agree it's a problem.
              Just let me add that minor families of Giovanni are almost always made up of accomplished necromancers or they are powerful families colluded with dirty money, playing with one of the two stereotypes. So I don't see much variety on them. But I get what you mean and I agree, it's a weak point of the concept.
              Yet it's not too different from Followers of Set [corruptors cultists of a dark god].
              Sure there are some variations of Setites, most notably the Serpents of the Light and the Tlacique, but let's face it... how many players actually play them and in long chronicles? I think 80% of times a player that wants to play a Setite likes the idea of an egyptian-themed vampire with a snake-theme-vibe-personality. And that's it. Nothing wrong with that. Stereotypes work. But I suppose the stereotype not being tied with real world issues makes Setites much much less shameful.
              Same goes with Giovanni actually. Sure you have minor families, but they're good for NPCs or for your second or third Giovanni character. At my first go with the clan I'd probably prefer to play a character from THE family, instead of a Pisanob (despite Pisanob being cool).

              Now, moving to the game itself. They are as much stereotyped as everyone else. And their weakness is not crime, it's "Vice", huge difference in how they are portraited.
              The feel you get from reading a lot of Ravnos stuff is "criminals, criminals, criminals". Or maybe it's just me. And a lot of other people. Don't get me wrong, I agree with you, as stated in my opening post. There's nothing wrong in the clan weakness per se, just that it should be explained and interpreted in a slightly different way.


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              • #8
                Nope. Looking at various Facebook and Twitter games/posts, there are plenty of fans of the Ravnos.


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                • #9
                  I tend to agree with Erinyes, and the Ravnos are no more racist or bad than just about any other representation in the WoD, and lot of the hot buttonness comes from a very vocal minority on the internet and overly SJWness. Things like "in the US" is pretty telling. Most of these claims come from individuals or groups that either actually have no experience with real gypsies (and are trying to speak for them), or are assuming that their particular opinion is a universal one, but within their country and outside of it.

                  Interestingly, that same sense of racism is never really broached when it comes to the Gangrel, who also have a very noted relationship/history with the Rom, which again, a bit telling. Especially if we really consider that the "Gypsy thing" was originally very much a large part of the early Gangrel, and before the Ravnos

                  I've had a few Ravnos players, and really had very little issues with the Clan in play. Chimerstry can be a bit difficult at times, (but generally no more so that Presence or the Toreador Clan), where it is moreso a "RP" thing than a mechanical thing. The Discipline, while it does have rules, is largely an undefined RP aspect of the game, but in this case is also one that heavily relies on the player's ingenuity to really shine.

                  I remember a few cases of it being used in print that where really amazing. One being that the Clans Iconic member tore up the pages of a phone book (thin paper) roughly in the shape of US dollars and then used his illusions to make it appear as currency, with the shape and texture backing it up. Another was an unnamed Ravnos in a Sabbat attack making a rock look like a grenade and tossing it. It didn't explode, but it did cause their targets to scatter just before the Sabbat pack assaulted the area, causing a lot o chaos, but also confused people, as it didn't sound like a bouncing grenade as it landed.

                  As far as in V5, well, the general idea is that it will, sort of, vaguely follow Revised, and a major even that happened in V5 was that the Ravnos Anti woke up, and was attacked (and killed). In his death throes, he essentially cursed his Clan, having them outright Frenzy and attack each other across the globe, nearly eradicating them. They did not become extinct, but their numbers, especially their numbers of Elders and low Gens plummeted. If I recall, the semi-official estimation was that there where only about 100 Ravnos remaining on the planet after that, and the vast majority of them where very young.
                  Last edited by Beckett; 09-02-2017, 11:08 AM.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ravnos View Post
                    Yeah, I can get what you're saying. I agree it's a problem.
                    Just let me add that minor families of Giovanni are almost always made up of accomplished necromancers or they are powerful families colluded with dirty money, playing with one of the two stereotypes. So I don't see much variety on them. But I get what you mean and I agree, it's a weak point of the concept.
                    Yet it's not too different from Followers of Set [corruptors cultists of a dark god].
                    Sure there are some variations of Setites, most notably the Serpents of the Light and the Tlacique, but let's face it... how many players actually play them and in long chronicles? I think 80% of times a player that wants to play a Setite likes the idea of an egyptian-themed vampire with a snake-theme-vibe-personality. And that's it. Nothing wrong with that. Stereotypes work. But I suppose the stereotype not being tied with real world issues makes Setites much much less shameful.
                    Same goes with Giovanni actually. Sure you have minor families, but they're good for NPCs or for your second or third Giovanni character. At my first go with the clan I'd probably prefer to play a character from THE family, instead of a Pisanob (despite Pisanob being cool).
                    For me at least the Giovanni have some scope in regarding the various upbringings and dealings of the various families that vary wildly (IIRC the Dunsirn's have a big hand in shipping, etc?) and there's a lot you can pull up from that - but the Ravnos are fairly strict in either being primarily from Indian or Roma stock with the vague handwave of "They've embraced more around the globe."

                    Which sure, is great... how how do they fit in? There's nothing on that. Even Setites, as you bring up, can be weaved into numerous concepts from drug dealer, cult leader, etc that aren't reliant on any one group of people. You can fit almost any concept into the Follower of Set 'clan' without too much trouble. I struggle with the Ravnos on that.

                    The Ravnos remind me of WTA's Silent Striders in that regard. Wandering people who... do what? At least the Striders have a goal of collecting knowledge and sharing stories, the Ravnos kind of wander about the place.

                    Originally posted by Beckett View Post
                    Interestingly, that same sense of racism is never really broached when it comes to the Gangrel, who also have a very noted relationship/history with the Rom, which again, a bit telling. Especially if we really consider that the "Gypsy thing" was originally very much a large part of the early Gangrel, and before the Ravnos
                    I think that's because that part of their history isn't ever really... focused on. It's something that happened to the Gangrel clan to explain their history with the Ravnos, but there's a hundred different concepts, bloodlines and other stuff that very easily draw you away.

                    When I think 'Gangrel' I think a claws out snarling shapeshifter or a boardroom shark, not the fact they had a turf war over the Roma people a long time ago.

                    What do you think when you think of the Ravnos? You think Roma. That's their stereotype, which I think is what bothers a lot of people. They're defined by something about a real group of people and not anything to do with what they are as vampires.


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                    • #11
                      The hate on the Ravnos clan is not universal. In my gaming group they are played often enough and to me they are one of the best clans/bloodlines in the whole game.

                      However we do ignore most of the official writing about the clan. It is not racist or wrong but it's just useless. The clanbooks and the novels are filled with bad metaplot that does nothing to give you any ideas on making a good character. Only exceptions I can think of are V20 Dark Ages and Lore of the Clans pages about Ravnos, those are actually very good.

                      Chimerstry is only a problem if the ST allows it to become a problem but that is also true to any part of the game.

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                      • #12
                        One thing that I think gets overlooked about VtM clans is that they are really like big extended families. So you have a Clan that starts out as a group of, say, rich Italian necromancers. They are going to look for others like themselves to bring on board, just like a clan of kings is going to look for powerful domineering types and the artist clan is going to look for other artists, the Brujah want those rebellious scholarly types, etc. None of the clans are really broad groups, imo, and they are always looking for people like themselves to Embrace. The Ravnos are just part of that too. The clan evidently is dominated by or started out with some Rom (or their predecessors) who were thieves/criminals, and the clan keeps that going into the modern nights. Is it offensive to our modern sensibilities? Sure, absolutely. But, that represents a conscious choice on the part of the Ravnos themselves throughout history to bring a certain type of person into the Clan.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Beckett View Post
                          Things like "in the US" is pretty telling.
                          It's telling that you are trying to avoid the issue. Giovanni can be discussed as racist because racism against Italians is a thing that existed in modern history. And it existed in the US. And it makes Giovanni racist in a way that a stereotypical clan of hard-working humorless german vampires prone to trying to take over the world would not be. But since racism against Italians is a thing of the past, this makes Giovanni less offensive than Ravnos are. Because you can unironically put Ravnos into RaHoWa and they would fit. Because antiziganism is still a thing in Europe today. Italians are no longer an oppressed minority. Romani still are.

                          Originally posted by Beckett View Post
                          Interestingly, that same sense of racism is never really broached when it comes to the Gangrel, who also have a very noted relationship/history with the Rom, which again, a bit telling. Especially if we really consider that the "Gypsy thing" was originally very much a large part of the early Gangrel, and before the Ravnos
                          Because it happened a really long time ago. Gangrel had "gypsie contacts" because in "Dracula" Dracula had "gypsie servants". And Gangrel's "gypsie contacts" went far out of focus when Ravnos were written and filled that niche. The problem being that Dracula had gypsie servants because Bram Stocker was racist, and "gypsie vampires" is a bad niche you shouldn't be filling.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                            Italians are no longer an oppressed minority. Romani still are.
                            They aren't. Not at all. And since you don't live in EU and have no idea how things are over here, I would advise you on your prejudice and acusations. Making the Romani abide by a country's law above their own ethnical laws isn't oppression, it's democracy and laws.

                            Living in a country which has a strong gypsy presence taught me that a minority of them are stand up citizens, do their part and really feel part of the country without giving up their traditions. And those never speak of racism. The ones that reclude themselves from the "gajo" society (yes they have demeaning terms for those who aren't gypsy but I guess that's not racist to you), those who do not want to abide by our laws, pay our taxes and have our education, those are the ones who are always crying about racism.

                            I wish this thread which has a lot of amazing contributions is not highjacked in a discussion about Racism, but I will not stand quiet while an American SJW who probably can't even point out European countries in a map acuse Europe of racism and speak about a subject he knows nothing about! It's easy for you to judge inside your sheltered UMC Bubble without ever knowing the reality.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChewyGranola View Post
                              One thing that I think gets overlooked about VtM clans is that they are really like big extended families. So you have a Clan that starts out as a group of, say, rich Italian necromancers. They are going to look for others like themselves to bring on board, just like a clan of kings is going to look for powerful domineering types and the artist clan is going to look for other artists, the Brujah want those rebellious scholarly types, etc. None of the clans are really broad groups, imo, and they are always looking for people like themselves to Embrace. The Ravnos are just part of that too. The clan evidently is dominated by or started out with some Rom (or their predecessors) who were thieves/criminals, and the clan keeps that going into the modern nights. Is it offensive to our modern sensibilities? Sure, absolutely. But, that represents a conscious choice on the part of the Ravnos themselves throughout history to bring a certain type of person into the Clan.

                              What I really like about Ravnos is that it is easy to make a character from any background to be embraced. Ravnos do not have a unifying clan goal like the other independent clans nor a certain personality archtype. A Ravnos Sire can embrace anyone they wan't based solely on the traits that they want in a Childe.

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