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How do you do your Ravnos?

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  • How do you do your Ravnos?

    When I do incorporate the Ravnos in my games, I almost entirely draw from Ravnos Revised rather than previous versions. I also have more or less ditched the wandering Romani stereotype and stick instead with them as a Indian subcontinent mythology-derived clan. My version of the Ravnos consider themselves to be, clan-culturally at least, not too dissimilar to the Kuei-Jin. They are servants of Heaven that exist to torment mortals. The purpose of a Ravnos is to tempt, steal, seduce, and ruin the lives of mortals but for their own damned good.

    If a rich man is too attached to his possessions then it falls to the Ravnos to remove those possessions from him. If a man is truly virtuous then he won't betray his wife (or her husband) when the Ravnos comes a knocking. To the outsider, the typical Ravnos lives a life of decadent excess where they leave nothing but ruin and misery in their wake. To their fellow Ravnos. they are merely fulfilling a mandate of the gods that the good have their faiths tested and hardened by trial as well as tribulation.

    Mind you, not all Ravnos find this a compelling argument. Other Ravnos also are much more mystical about such things and focus themselves exclusively on studying the path of Chimestry. They believe all of reality is an illusion and that you can gain incredibly godlike power as well as perhaps enlightenment by realizing it is all just a dream.

    These Ravnos include monks who spent all of their time studying the truth--others who create illusions of a different kind like actors, CGI artistes, and con men who weave their own realities. Others are class-warriors not that different from Brujah and the clan has had several civil wars between Anarch as well as Elder equivalent.

    The archetypes I list for Ravnos are the followers:

    * Assassin of Elders
    * Bollywood Actress
    * Charming Demon
    * Fake Prince
    * King of the Homeless
    * Illusion-wielding Mystic
    * South Asian Pirate
    * Street Hustler
    * Trickster Mentor

    Weirdly, in my games I've made it so instead of the Gangrel and Ravnos having an ancient rivalry that the Ravnos and Malkavians have an ancient frinedship. The two clans get along swimingly in each other's territory despite their vast differences.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-03-2019, 05:21 AM.


    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

  • #2
    I love this and this is how we have been running them in my campaign. I also have archetypes for

    *Keeper of the Dead
    *Court Trickster - Harpy

    I love using them as a clan that is just outside of normal and using them in areas that have large East Indian populations, as most western vampires don't fit in that well, but the Vetala fit in great.

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    • #3
      I tend to run them as either individual wild cards or a coven with a patriarch/matriarch and their childer. How I flavor them depends on the purpose they will serve in the plot.

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      • #4
        How do you do your Ravnos?

        Smoked with mapple wood.... As the two ravnos I had at the table were so obnoxious the rest of the coterie ate them....

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        • #5
          I base mine largely on the revised Clanbook and their chapter from Dark Ages' LS4, basically as the clan that is cursed with a compulsion to sin, and the various Jati/lineages that cope with this in different ways. The original core out of India, for example, are split between those who revel in their role as monsters (like Ravana) and those who aspire to righteousness (like Ravana's younger brother Vibhishana). The Alexandrites are fixated on behavior and etiquette as they focus on their roles as merchants, businessmen, diplomats and negotiators. The Phaedymites focus on service and duty, acting as ladies in waiting, troubadours, bodyguards, personal assistants, and entertainers. The Sybarites are just into hedonism and seeking out new and interesting experiences and sensations. And so forth. (The only Roma ones in my games are/were the Athinganoi, a minor faction that insist on being "more Roma than Roma" in spite of - or perhaps as a reaction to - being complete and total outcasts from their people.)

          They're also members of the Camarilla in my games, but so is everyone else to some degree or another.


          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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          • #6
            I rather liked the expanded options for Ravnos compulsions in DAV20. That the Ravnos might be either compelled to Vice or Virtue. Not just because I like the option to not play a bad person (which, indeed, is a losing battle in Vampire unless you like playing Hard Mode), but because it presents its own set of challenges.

            After all, any vampire could tell you that being compelled to nobility is as inconvenient - if not more so - than being compelled to villainy. At least a thief gets to keep his stolen property. An honest Ravnos is doomed to be Kindred Enemy #1.

            The addition of Virtues in the mix creates extra dimensions to Ravnos characters and plots. You can have Virtuous Ravnos that try to live up to their Virtue, Vice-ridden Ravnos that play into their Vices, and even Ravnos that work at cross purposes to their compulsions (like a "bad" Ravnos trying to balance their karma, while a "good" Ravnos acts like a bastard for simple spite).

            There's the fact that you never really know from the outset what a Ravnos's compulsion is, and they have a vested interest in keeping it that way. Much like how Malkavians act more insane than they are to throw people off, Ravnos might pile on behaviors - good or bad - to confuse outsiders. Lest the vampire's compulsion be discerned and used to trap them. For some Ravnos, being seen as just completely dishonest and a crook can seem preferable to people getting a good bead on them. Indeed, I wonder how many Kindred actually understand what the Ravnos Clan flaw IS, for exactly this reason?

            I suspect that "high-Jati" Ravnos make a big deal about their Virtuous compulsion - whether their compulsion is actually good or not - as "proof of the high station they are meant for". Maybe in India, one's Jati is partially defined by the nature of their compulsion. I doubt it, since I figure Ravnos gets sorted into a Jati that's similar to the caste they held in life, and/or the one held by their sires (though, of course, there would be the societal expectation that Ravnos wouldn't Embrace across caste lines). Naturally, all of this is relatively moot, since evidence suggests the caste system isn't THAT old, and truly ancient Ravnos care only about age, with lineage being perhaps a secondary concern as it is in other parts of the world.

            At the very least, the presence of vice or virtue probably has some effect on the individual Ravnos's outlook on what their Dharma is, for those of the Clan who care about such things. If you're saddled with a virtuous compulsion, it "obviously" means you are meant to be a paragon. Whereas a Ravnos with a vice is "obviously" a demon, and should act the part. Whenever various Paths of Enlightenment refer to a vampire's Dharma or Destiny, this is likely what sets the tone for that. Ravnos on other Paths (including Humanity) will have different ideas, of course, and it goes without saying that more pragmatic or irreverent Kindred will disregard the concept entirely.

            It also goes without saying that Ravnos in other parts of the world are under no obligation to believe any of this, or even to have heard of it. Honestly, I still think Dark Ages Vampire was off its gourd for suggesting that European Kindred in said Dark Ages ever used the word "Jati" to describe their groupings, let alone considered each other as anything more than distant relations. Indian Ravnos have a caste system and a shared culture (well, cultures) to keep them working in the same framework. European Ravnos "Jati" shouldn't see each other as within the same "sect", let alone expect united action if one of them complains to the others.

            Speaking of Dark Ages "Jati", I'd like to see more of those European groups have representation in the modern nights. Not all of them - the hedonists and doomsday cultists are way out of date - but Alexandrites and Phaedymites seem like the kind of organized movements that would have staying power. Even if only in the sense that small groups of old Elders continue to call themselves by these old names, and Elders of other Clans might recognize them.


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            • #7
              Uhh its "Your Honor", not "Your Ravnos".


              Anyhoooo I have them as Traveling Survivor Grifter/Tricksters first and for most. But besides that I have them influenced by their disdain for Vampires, Cainite and Wan Gui, for cheating Samsara which in itself ties them to the lands influenced by India. This has been downplayed by those not on the Path of Mayaparasattya as they are entrenched in Realpolitik and thus interact with other Cainites to help them with the Ten Thousand Demon Problem (Wan Gui).

              So those who ditch Orthodoxy usually end up ditching culture and quickly lose more of their Indian traditions in their branch of the clan legacy.


              So yeah I too draw almost exclusively from Ravnos Clanbook Revised. Though I keep the Sword of the Night idea as the clan's own Mahabharata. But I don't like the watered down version of the Path of Paradox found in V20's Diary of the Clans.


              It is a time for great deeds!

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              • #8
                IIRC, the Bashirites ended up being part of the core of original Sabbat Ravnos, where their apocalyptic mindset fit right in.

                The Dark Age Phaedymites and Alexandrians each traced their lineage back to a single elder, both of whom originated in India, which is why elders and ancilla of both used the term jati (and may even view each other as seperate bloodlines unless extremely well versed inclan lore and geneology).


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
                  But I don't like the watered down version of the Path of Paradox found in V20's Diary of the Clans.
                  Well, you could always treat it like the version in the 2nd ed Players Guide and have it be the beliefs of a weird fringe cult.
                  Seriously, the only reason the Yoryari exist was to explain that path being what it was, much in the way the Web of Knives exist to explain the original Assimite book. Such are the things freelancers had to deal with when updating material.


                  What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                  Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    I loved the idea of Fanatacism being history for some clans though. Because it makes sense to me that two clans find vampires to be Parasites. And I can see Path of Blood and Path Mayaparasattya considering each other less deplorable as they tries to find some sort of harmony in triaging the Vampire spread, and then the more fundamental ones finding all divergence from exact dogma as heresy.

                    It makes Al-Ashrad stand out more because Ur-Shulgi is Rating 10 Old School Path of Blood, as he even as an ancient Methuselah himself is not as hoary and fanatical as the new Eldest.


                    It is a time for great deeds!

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                    • #11
                      I don't actually use Ravnos because I've never found a good use for them or came up with a way to make them interesting to me. I just found them annoying and irritating in First Edition, and despite some improvements I still don't think the clan is salvageable. It still feels to me that they are 3-4 revised drafts away from something that is really playable.

                      The Independent Clans were originally less about archetypes you can play, than small factions that made interesting antagonists. I actually think that is the best way to proceed even if one considers their members to be "real people" rather than stock villains. But whether as vagabond thieves or demon princes, I just don't see an interesting role they play.

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                      • #12
                        I do Ravnos like this:

                        https://www.dropbox.com/s/zrroxk4xn8...pread.JPG?dl=0

                        Basically, toss the clan. Then replace it with something sort of like Ravnos with a touch of Nagaraja, but geared specifically to be a Subcontinent clan, rework and rename Chimerstry and add a new discipline on top.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Legendre View Post
                          I do Ravnos like this:

                          https://www.dropbox.com/s/zrroxk4xn8...pread.JPG?dl=0

                          Basically, toss the clan. Then replace it with something sort of like Ravnos with a touch of Nagaraja, but geared specifically to be a Subcontinent clan, rework and rename Chimerstry and add a new discipline on top.
                          I think the Ravnos at their worst are better than the Nagaraja. At least in terms of being part of Kindred society.


                          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                            I think the Ravnos at their worst are better than the Nagaraja. At least in terms of being part of Kindred society.
                            Undoubtedly. Most Ravnos don't leave a trail of bodies behind several hundred miles long. Usually. (There's no accounting for Antitribu, of course). For the Nagaraja, the bodies are compulsory.

                            Moreover, there are ways that a Ravnos could make herself useful in a Domain, so long as she doesn't make trouble for other Kindred (habitually, that is) or for the Masquerade. No one cares if the Ravnos is a serial shoplifter, so long as none of their stuff goes missing. It's often as much a matter of Kindred society already being accustomed to hating and driving away Ravnos that forces trouble to happen in turn (not that some Ravnos aren't willing to make trouble unprompted, like the previously mentioned Ravnos who consider it a duty to disrupt systems and undermine other vampires).

                            I can imagine a Ravnos who works in a Camarilla domain as the Keeper of Elysium. Using Chimestry to turn run-down buildings into ones reflecting their prior splendor. Or "decorating" rooms to look like locations out of times past and lands distant, to make Kindred guests feel more at home. Although it's only likely to really work if the Keeper of Elysium is a widely traveled Elder herself, which isn't out of the question. Said Keeper is also likely to be useful in a security capacity, what with the swarm of animals they can have surround Elysium locations.

                            Another idea I had a while back was a Chimestry + Auspex Combination Discipline power that allowed the user to "play back" a scene they'd witnessed. Recording before recording technology was invented, and which certain Ravnos messengers might be hired to employ.

                            On the other hand, a Ravnos Sheriff could be an asset to a Prince and a terror to those who oppose them. Using illusions to fool law enforcement and the press (among other things, to plaster over Masquerade breaches). Spying on Anarch or Sabbat insurgents with animal servitors. Being an absolute tank in a fight. Driving troublemakers away with a squad of gunmen (only some of which are illusions) or more disturbing visions. Nothing tells a troop of lost Caitiff that they aren't wanted, quite like the Sheriff coming in and making them witnesses to a true horror show, the likes of which they've never seen and which they wouldn't be savvy enough to know might be illusions. (When you've accepted that you're a vampire and supernatural stuff exists, you'll start believing anything until you're experienced or informed enough to know it might be a trick).
                            Last edited by Bluecho; 07-04-2019, 08:03 PM.


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                            • #15
                              I've often wondered if Nagaraja need to kill.

                              How "fresh" do bodies have to be?

                              You could be a Nagaraja in a lighter and softer Seattte game.



                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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