Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

How do you do your Ravnos?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    It's not so much a matter of size as it is that their structure starts to break down as soon as you start to examine them. The Giovanni were fairly fortunate in being one of the last original clanbooks and in having a really easy fix of making it a web of interconnected families instead of just one. The others weren't so fortunate, but their revised versions did everything they could to fix those problems. The Assamites now had a more diverse clan that could actually provide the logistical support needed for a mercenary killer character, the Setites showed how their usual embrace rituals were designed to tear down someone's faith in the things Set was (allegedly) against, and the Ravnos were expanded from a single ethnic group they couldn't really be a part of* while staying tied to that group's actual history. If you're just using the independent clans as antagonists, then the 1st/early 2nd ed stuff works fine (excepting the bit about Ravnos being a potentially offensive stereotype), but for making them PCs, especially in single-clan games, problems will sometimes crop up. At least such was my experience back in the days when we all rode mastodons to school. In the snow. Uphill both ways.


    *Unless you're keeping an entire extended family as some sort of slave-herd, which is entirely fitting for Vampire, especially as an antagonist demonstrating what kind of low-Humanity insanity a player character could end up it.
    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 07-13-2019, 05:37 PM.


    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


    • #32
      Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
      The biggest problem with the idea that Ravnos hang around with and primarily embrace new members from their extended Roma families is that Roma cultures traditionally have very strong taboos about both the dead and blood, considering them to be deeply and inherently unclean in a spiritual sense. To a traditional Roma person, a vampire is essentially an abomination to their culture and beliefs. And a Roma vampire who turns his kinfolk in a blood drinking slave or worse, another vampire, is an entire order of magnitude higher in repulsiveness. 😕
      except that vampires corrupting communities (starting by their own) is a common thing,
      blood is taboo in roma, it is also a sin in islam, yet ashiraa and assamites still embrace muslims,
      same for jews,
      and christians don't see vampires in a good light

      and Ravnos, like others, tend to rationalize the embrace by seeing it as being given a dharmic duty,
      their cursed state would be redeemed once that duty was fulfilled

      it turned out they were right (or at least, partly right)

      also fun fact, the gangrel are said to be the ones who cared about protecting the roma, and they despised the Ravnos for hurting the communities (in part for propagating the negative stereotypes)
      Last edited by Pleiades; 07-13-2019, 05:54 PM.


      -

      Comment


      • #33
        The problem any time you associate a Vampire clan (or Werewolf tribe, or any other splat) with a specific real world group of people, is that it raises the question of what did that supernatural group do BEFORE that ethnicity actually existed. There's no problem with some Ravnos being associated with a certain branch embracing people from one or more families of actual Roma, or that there is Silent Strider Garou kinfolk in a particular (fictitious) branch. But since Roma are descended from a particular event that happened around 1500 years ago, these groups need to have come from other people during the thousands of years before that.

        Falling back to some kind of Path of Enlightenment that is some pseudo karmic religion is also bad because the development of karmic religion is also historically based. I also don't like the idea that these are "Indian vampires" because I don't think geography is something that should be limiting. Then again, I always preferred the Camarilla to be a worldwide organization of vampires and heavily disliked contemporary multicultural considerations that turned into into a "European" organization where African and Muslim vampires were their own thing. I've always ditched those concepts - the vampires of the Middle East and Africa and India are just as much part of the Camarilla as any European one.

        I think for vampires particularly, you need a strong clan culture that can act as a general archetype of the clan (and which also provides the internal organization within the clan), while still allowing for characters to go against that archetype (and presenting what that would mean within the clan). Something that can transcend time and be present in any era from the Stone Age to the present.

        So ideally, you would want some kind of core Ravnos values/themes that would incorporate the stereotype of vagabond thieves (whether associated with gypsies or not), Rakshasas that devour people, "Demon Princes" who rule on the sub-continent, and anything else that might now be considered a core archetype.

        The one common theme that I see is that these are all vampires who actively prey on people, and therefore really aren't "nice". And that they rely heavily on deception, even more so than most other vampires. Now these themes are not unique to them, but they are stronger among them. Maybe there are tweaks to this that should be done, or additional themes to be added. But something like this is where I would start to turn the clan into something I would consider usable.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
          I dunno, it depends whether we assume Clans are meant to be large groups versus what is best for an existing game.

          Assamites, Giovanni, and Followers of Set may not be particularly diverse but they're very easy to write games about.
          These three Independent Clans in particular should be small. Not every clan needs to be large or powerful. They should just have some niche to play in the setting. All three clans probably needed some amount of expansion/development from their first edition origins, but I think it was a mistake to try to make them grow out of the niche they were originally intended. It seemed to me it was an attempt to allow power gamers increased access to those clans, but not wanting to work within the structure provided.

          I think the Ravnos though were always the clan that had the least appeal because their niche was very constrained, and they had a problematic unique Discipline and a troublesome Clan Weakness. (Any ban that compels someone to do something (as opposed to a ban to not do something, or mechanical drawback) is a poor mechanic because the issue always come up with when that activity should be done). They needed to be redeveloped, but I don't think Revised was successful at it. I think more work needed to be done. It's probably wise the Revised Metaplot killed most of them off - they were the obviously extraneous clan.

          Comment


          • #35
            I'm curious about something,since you are the one asking CTPhipps. What clan crest would you give v5 Ravnos?

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
              It's not so much a matter of size as it is that their structure starts to break down as soon as you start to examine them. The Giovanni were fairly fortunate in being one of the last original clanbooks and in having a really easy fix of making it a web of interconnected families instead of just one. The others weren't so fortunate, but their revised versions did everything they could to fix those problems. The Assamites now had a more diverse clan that could actually provide the logistical support needed for a mercenary killer character, the Setites showed how their usual embrace rituals were designed to tear down someone's faith in the things Set was (allegedly) against, and the Ravnos were expanded from a single ethnic group they couldn't really be a part of* while staying tied to that group's actual history. If you're just using the independent clans as antagonists, then the 1st/early 2nd ed stuff works fine (excepting the bit about Ravnos being a potentially offensive stereotype), but for making them PCs, especially in single-clan games, problems will sometimes crop up. At least such was my experience back in the days when we all rode mastodons to school. In the snow. Uphill both ways.
              I feel like the original Independent Clans had a number of issues that has been dealt with in various ways both positive as well as negative.

              1. The Assamites are kind of a clan that I feel like they've had a little too much of an expansion because I feel like they've had some of their theme diluted. If they're Wizards, Viziers, and Warriors they're more like a sect rather than a single Clan. They also don't really have much of a purpose if the Ashirra exists (which I like it). There's a middle ground, I think between the Clan of Judges, Killers, and Wizards and the murderous death cult Muslim clan. I like the Banu Haqim as a bit more of an Eastern Ventrue as they seem to be in V5. They're wizards, rulers, and warriors but it feels a little more consistent than 3 separate Bloodlines.

              2. I feel like the Ministry is a much more interesting group than the Followers of Set and didn't dislike the Followers of Set. Basing a clan on John Milinus' version of Robert E. Howards Conan was a bit silly to begin with but making them one of the non-Cainite believing clans as well as the "intellectual evil" compared to the Sabbat made them always a lto more interesting. Mind you, they probably should have been the Followers of Apophis instead.

              The Ministry is a great group by comparison and can now include Noddism. It just sounds like a wrestling stable.

              3. The Giovanni getting expanded into the Hecata is something I'm back and forth on because "Clan John" was so well written as a horribly evil bunch. Justin Achill took them and made them one of the best personal horror in 1999.

              4. I think the Ravnos were problematic from the very beginning because the Gangrel had already had many Romani as their subgroup. The difference being that Gangrel, as horrible monsters they may be, were still a group with a lot of dignity and dash to themselves. The Ravnos, by contrast, were a group that had the entire thing of, "hated by everyone, thieves, diablerists, and oh yes they have a cool discipline too."

              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              The problem any time you associate a Vampire clan (or Werewolf tribe, or any other splat) with a specific real world group of people, is that it raises the question of what did that supernatural group do BEFORE that ethnicity actually existed. There's no problem with some Ravnos being associated with a certain branch embracing people from one or more families of actual Roma, or that there is Silent Strider Garou kinfolk in a particular (fictitious) branch. But since Roma are descended from a particular event that happened around 1500 years ago, these groups need to have come from other people during the thousands of years before that.
              I think the Ravnos wouldn't be so problematic even if they had a Romani association if not for the fact it's very much associated with certain stereotypes as well as the fact it's limited to them. Like I said above, the Gangrel had been associated with the Romani before and while it wasn't a positive stereotype, I don't think anyone necessarily objected to it strenuously.

              Falling back to some kind of Path of Enlightenment that is some pseudo karmic religion is also bad because the development of karmic religion is also historically based. I also don't like the idea that these are "Indian vampires" because I don't think geography is something that should be limiting. Then again, I always preferred the Camarilla to be a worldwide organization of vampires and heavily disliked contemporary multicultural considerations that turned into into a "European" organization where African and Muslim vampires were their own thing. I've always ditched those concepts - the vampires of the Middle East and Africa and India are just as much part of the Camarilla as any European one.
              Part of the issue is that for the majority of human history you're not going to have easy transportation and the idea of all twelve vampire clans (minus the Tremere) in evey part of the world feels a bit silly to me. Having certain clans have a stronger presence in other parts of the world works for me as does the idea of multiple sects. I actually enjoy how in V5 the Ashirra and Laibon aren't being treated as UTTERLY ALIEN and MYSTERIOUS but simply co-sects with the Camarilla.

              But the reason I support Ravnos=Raksasha vs. Ravnos=Romani is that it's a specific type of legend that lends itself to being useful for the vampire, a much-much larger group of people to draw from than the Romani, related to the Romani's origins anyway, and also is a criminally underdeveloped area in the setting anyway.

              The one common theme that I see is that these are all vampires who actively prey on people, and therefore really aren't "nice". And that they rely heavily on deception, even more so than most other vampires. Now these themes are not unique to them, but they are stronger among them. Maybe there are tweaks to this that should be done, or additional themes to be added. But something like this is where I would start to turn the clan into something I would consider usable.
              I admit part of the issue is also presentation as I think the Ravnos would not be as problematic if we had any characters that were well-liked. I think Shejana is probably the only Ravnos who isn't a complete asshole and scrappy in the existing canon.

              I mean, Khalil is the worst Signature Character ever for breaking away from negative stereotypes.
              Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-13-2019, 07:24 PM.


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

              Comment


              • #37
                Regarding the Ravnos as "the Indian clan", my own take away is that at some point their founder decided to dwell there, and after The Flood that is where the majority of his 4th gen childer happened to be, while the rest of the clans had happened to be more west and north of there. But because they found themselves in a war with the eastern vampires, they made a god out of their founder and drafted the younger generations into this holy war. The result is that most of them never left the region, and developed their unique culture based on regional mortal religion and culture. Those that did leave, like the Alexandrians, Phaedymites, and Bashirites, adapted into the European and Mediterranean vampire cultures (just as other clans coming to India adapted to it).

                As for their weakness, in first edition, it was that no one could stand them, especially mortals, with their dice for social interaction rolls being badly hampered.


                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


                • #38
                  Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                  Regarding the Ravnos as "the Indian clan", my own take away is that at some point their founder decided to dwell there, and after The Flood that is where the majority of his 4th gen childer happened to be, while the rest of the clans had happened to be more west and north of there. But because they found themselves in a war with the eastern vampires, they made a god out of their founder and drafted the younger generations into this holy war. The result is that most of them never left the region, and developed their unique culture based on regional mortal religion and culture. Those that did leave, like the Alexandrians, Phaedymites, and Bashirites, adapted into the European and Mediterranean vampire cultures (just as other clans coming to India adapted to it).
                  I wonder how much a war with Eastern vampires really benefits the game. Part of this may be my own past that making Cainites and Cathayans (ugh) hate each other doesn't serve anything.

                  As for their weakness, in first edition, it was that no one could stand them, especially mortals, with their dice for social interaction rolls being badly hampered.
                  The latter is a problem as a lot of people love "Sexy Ravnos"

                  I tend to go with the idea of a "Vice" Clan versus a crime clan myself. The Ravnos each have a vice they are forced to indulge and struggle with be it sex, gambling, bloodshed, or not.


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

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    The Ravnos weakness was just one of a number of oddities from that edition. IIRC, the Assamites were originally evenly split genderwise, with 2nd ed being the start of the all male thing.

                    I honestly quit using KotE for anything but idea fodder for my own settings. The vampires are the same as everywhere else, and since I stopped using Generation, it meant that everyone could have their own idea about where they come from. (The only constant seems to be that there seems to be 13 lineages, but some things throw even that into question.) The Thrashing Dragons, for example, are East Asia's equivalent to the Anarchs (or perhaps more the Carthians). And the Ravnos have a number of Jati in China and elsewhere (Buddhist assura, merchant houses, gamblers, boat people, etc.).


                    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


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                      The Ravnos weakness was just one of a number of oddities from that edition. IIRC, the Assamites were originally evenly split genderwise, with 2nd ed being the start of the all male thing.

                      I honestly quit using KotE for anything but idea fodder for my own settings. The vampires are the same as everywhere else, and since I stopped using Generation, it meant that everyone could have their own idea about where they come from. (The only constant seems to be that there seems to be 13 lineages, but some things throw even that into question.) The Thrashing Dragons, for example, are East Asia's equivalent to the Anarchs (or perhaps more the Carthians). And the Ravnos have a number of Jati in China and elsewhere (Buddhist assura, merchant houses, gamblers, boat people, etc.).
                      In my games, I've hinted that the Courts of the Jiang-Shi are composed of the usual 13 Clans but for the following details:

                      * The Tremere are replaced by the Salubri who are not as nice as their Western Counterparts but pretty much cover all the Kuei-Jin paths of Enlightenment as well as Demon Fighting.
                      * The Cappadochians are still around under another name
                      * The Nagaraja replace the Followers of Set and may actually be a Clan in their own right
                      * There's an all-female Bloodline of Gangrel foxes called the Daji that substitute Presence for Animalism
                      * Another Bloodline of Alchemists that have a somewhat Tremere-esque roll.

                      It also is only China with Korea and Japan having similar-ish but distinctly different courts.


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

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        That is somewhat similar to my usual set ups. Japan will typically have the Brujah and Toreador as their lead "upper class" Clans, while China has its Lasambra "shadow mandarins" (no one actually calls them that to their face) as the big political types while the Ventrue are stereotyped as the wandering knight guys. The Chinese Tzimisce are big on internal alchemy while the Southeast Asian ones have a unique variation of Horrid Form that turns them into flying heads and entrails. The Japanese perception of the Gangrel is as yamabushi, with the recent crop of young urban delinquents being a totally modern aberation. And so forth.


                        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


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          He's referring to the fact that, when referring to Romani (its used by other groups by themselves non-pejoratively), that gypsy is a slur.
                          My pronouns? Right down there in my signature.


                          Remi. she/her. game designer.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                            I wonder how much a war with Eastern vampires really benefits the game.
                            the kuei-jin are more interesting and intricate antagonists than the second Inquisition and the Antideluvians in the middle east.
                            they should've introduced the conflict more subtly however,
                            the GLO was a ridiculous idea

                            Part of this may be my own past that making Cainites and Cathayans (ugh) hate each other doesn't serve anything.
                            well, the whole hate thing wasn't well executed, but vampires who don't hate each other aren't vampires,
                            even in vtm alone, the clans insult each other in the clan descriptions

                            1. The Assamites are kind of a clan that I feel like they've had a little too much of an expansion because I feel like they've had some of their theme diluted. If they're Wizards, Viziers, and Warriors they're more like a sect rather than a single Clan. They also don't really have much of a purpose if the Ashirra exists (which I like it). There's a middle ground, I think between the Clan of Judges, Killers, and Wizards and the murderous death cult Muslim clan. I like the Banu Haqim as a bit more of an Eastern Ventrue as they seem to be in V5. They're wizards, rulers, and warriors but it feels a little more consistent than 3 separate Bloodlines.
                            the 3 bloodlines were a bad idea, they should've kept it to one

                            and I don't mind them being a sect,
                            after all, in the dark ages, clans were sects in and of themselves,
                            if assamites want to keep the tradition intact, they should feel free to do so

                            the Ashirra aren't much competition,
                            they were big during the middle ages,
                            after that, they became a small extension of the camarilla that were camarilla in all but name,
                            they weren't even that prevalent, since the camarilla still had territories in the middle east, and the assamites were the only serious contenders

                            same with the Jati,
                            even though they dominate India and bangladesh, it doesn't stop the camarilla (and the ashirra) from holding Princedoms there

                            4. I think the Ravnos were problematic from the very beginning because the Gangrel had already had many Romani as their subgroup.
                            not from the start, no.
                            it was 2nd ed that fucked everything up

                            and Roma are definitely in all clans,
                            you can't tell me there aren't romani lasombra, that's statistically impossible,
                            the sabbat alone should have romani in every bloodline, as well as non-roma Ravnos

                            the Ravnos embrace Romani (because they're just as racist as the kuei-jin), but the Ravnos are not the Roma clan
                            Last edited by Pleiades; 07-14-2019, 10:22 AM.


                            -

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Pleiades View Post

                              the kuei-jin are more interesting and intricate antagonists than the second Inquisition and the Antideluvians in the middle east.
                              they should've introduced the conflict more subtly however,
                              the GLO was a ridiculous idea
                              We'll just have to agree to disagree. I love the SI and the Noddism of the setting.

                              I also felt the Kuei-Jin were stereotypes on top of stereotypes that are even worse than the Ravnos in many ways, especially as they were introduced with a big, "Kill the White Vampires!" plot

                              San Fransisco By Night has them running that city as a giant police state with concentration camps.


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

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                                San Fransisco By Night has them running that city as a giant police state with concentration camps.
                                this forum doesn't have the necessary emotes to express how that made me jump off my seat with laughter


                                -

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X