Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

How do you do your Ravnos?

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

  • CTPhipps
    started a topic How do you do your Ravnos?

    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.

  • El Barto
    replied
    In regards to the original question, these are some thoughts on the Ravnos I wrote some time ago(sorry if the the language is rough around the edges, I jotted this down between work assignments)

    Saulot and Zapathasura
    -What is the relationship between these two antediluvians? Is there even a relationship between them? There has to be, seeing as they are both linked with India. Saulot supposedly achieved Golconda in the city of the same name. This is impossible, since the city wasn't founded until millenia later. The name, however, is indian and means grassy hilltop, without specifying which. Contrasting this is the fact that salubri no longer have a significant presence in India, apart from one exception: the Seven who went east searching for Golconda and went mad. The Wu Zao hail from China and travel to Mongolia, Korea, Japan and Indochina, but don't enter India for long. Why do modern salubri unconsciously shun the land where their progenitor achieved enlightment? What did the Seven find that drove them over the edge?
    Then, of course, there's the Wu Zao themselves. But more on that later.
    Saulot traveled east sometime after the Second City was founded but right before the Baali Wars. Whether the clans had already been cursed or not is not specified, but it can be assumed they already were by that time. Furthermore, Zapathasura and the Ravnos in general fall out of myths and legends surrounding the City at that point, with no mention of their participation in the Wars. Maybe Saulot and Zapathasura both traveled east, but only one returned bearing the torch of salvation. Maybe the progenitor of the Ravnos stayed behind to hide something. Or to protect something, since the Salubri couldn't. That interpretation would fulfill an underlying theme of diametry between the clans: Saulot and the salubri, with their path to salvation and their third eye, grant truth, while Zapathasura and the ravnos, with their path of enlightment and power over illusions, conceal it. Maybe whatever secret Saulot gained from the Wan kuei was entrusted to Zapathasura for hiding. Or it could be that the whole thing was a ploy concocted by both, and while Saulot debated with the scholars and sages of the Wan kuei, Zapathasura entered their homes and stole those secrets. He certainly was the 'thief' amongst the third generation. Maybe the scholar and the thief worked together in the east and stole Golconda from demons who did not fully understand it.
    And now we come back to the Wu Zao.
    The Wu Zao are a bloodline of Salubri left in China by Saulot. They are the missing third caste, the watcher caste, mandated to keep Saulot's secrets for him until an indeterminate time. They divide themselves into two subcastes and work in pairs, with one belonging to the scholar caste and the other to the thief caste. Sound similar? They are a bloodline of the Salubri by virtue of recognizing Saulot as their founder. They also sport the third eye associated with the Salubri, but that comes with their signature discipline and isn't really a heritage. They do not share the weakness of the rest of the Salubri, but many bloodlines have different flaws than their parent clans so it doesn't prove anything. That just leaves room to speculate, what if Zapathasura had a hand in creating them? Their weakness, while different from the Salubri's, is similar to the Ravnos' (only with a more scholarly slant). And what of their claim of Zao-lat as founder? Couldn't the master of Chimerstry have impersonated Saulot as part of whatever scheme the two of them had?


    Ravnos castes
    -Brahmin: The teachers of the Ravnos, the Brahmin caste leads the clan spiritually and provides counsel to the rest of the castes. Their oracular abilities lead them to interact heavily with the kshatriyas, providing intel on enemy forces. Since they also possess a strong personal charisma, they help the vaishya manage the mortal flock. Their purpose has changed the least from the original.
    Disciplines: auspex, presence, chimerstry
    -Kshatriya: The dedicated warriors of the clan, the scalpel to cut away obstacles and diseases that come from without, the kshatriyas are the clan's elite strike team. Of all the castes, their purpose has changed the most from the early nights, due to their progenitor being the only loyal childe to remain to lead the clan. This has seen them adapt to the role of leaders, a rather jaunty change.
    Disciplines: celerity, fortitude, chimerstry
    -Vaishya: There is reason to infer that, in the old nights, the vaishyas were the leaders of the clan, but the times have seen them become the resource managers, who spy and control their mortal flock. Though they don't have the social skills of the brahmin, that is because they do not socialize with humans; they are the caste of landlords and merchants, and humans are their coin and cattle.
    Disciplines: animalism, dominate, chimerstry
    -Shudra: The labourer caste, the shudra are the most numerous members of the clan, with the same amount of members as the vaishyas and kshatriyas combined. As the name says, they are meant to labour under the other castes in a manner of speaking. Just as their progenitor was an adaptable creature, they are meant to fill any weak points in the other castes' plans and be relocated as needed. Their abilities allow them to coordinate with those of the kshatriyas and vaishyas. Besides ravnos, they allow caitiff within their ranks, both embraced by clan members and embraced by other clans.
    Disciplines: animalism, fortitude, chimerstry
    --The Ravnos castes already existed during the Harapan civilization, but they had somewhat different purposes than they have nowadays. When Zapathasura's childer started leaving and he fell into torpor, the only loyal childe, Chandraputra, altered the clan's structure so that each caste would roughly fit the varna most similar to them. He thought of countering those demoralizing events by tieing the clan closer to indian culture, providing an identity and purpose that future embraces would feel validated in.
    --Among the eastern Ravnos there is a mystery surrounding the fate of Ravana's childer. What their role was before the current caste system is also unknown; there is virtually nothing known about Ravana himself apart from his betrayal. Some sources claim they were the sorcerers of the Ravnos, specializing in studying sadhana, and that their founder was a willworker in his mortal years. Some think they were exterminated by Chandraputra, others that he folded them into the other castes. One popular myth amongst the eastern Ravnos is that they fled India and became their western cousins, a theory brimming with self-aware condescension. Others think they followed their founder into bargaining with demons. A few think they still exist as the secret fifth caste, charged by Chandraputra to atone for their progenitor's transgressions by performing their duties from the shadows. Maybe more than one of those claims are true.

    Leave a comment:


  • jamiemalk
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    You don't think ghouldom can cost Humanity?
    If you apply the modern interpretation, yes, it should be a path 1 sin. But the game universe clearly doesn't support that reading.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

    It's only a "new" road if you apply modern standards to it. Prime example, pretty much everyone would agree that getting someone hooked on a drug and keeping them as a slave is a pretty heinous thing to do. But ghouling people is clearly fine, and has been for a very long time, and addicted slave is exactly what that is. It's also such a generic and weird code of conduct that I'd never assume it's meant to be abrahamic. Seems more in line with a Buddhist path to enlightenment, that being golconda, to be honest.
    You don't think ghouldom can cost Humanity?

    Leave a comment:


  • jamiemalk
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    Yeah and I am unconvinced those principles are enough to state it's a universal Morality. But YMMV at your table. For me, Humanity is a "new" Road.
    It's only a "new" road if you apply modern standards to it. Prime example, pretty much everyone would agree that getting someone hooked on a drug and keeping them as a slave is a pretty heinous thing to do. But ghouling people is clearly fine, and has been for a very long time, and addicted slave is exactly what that is. It's also such a generic and weird code of conduct that I'd never assume it's meant to be abrahamic. Seems more in line with a Buddhist path to enlightenment, that being golconda, to be honest.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I also disagree and suggest that Humanity is based on a very generic Judeo-Christian ideal that doesn't apply to, say, Ancient Rome.
    I agree to a point because pagan morality was indeed different from Judeo-Christian morals. Roman moralists thought nothing about infanticide or leaving children exposed to die, and thought the Christians who would take those babies left to die by exposure were very strange. Monotheism does have philosophical implications that worked through their way into the culture.

    Still, I think most of the Path of Humanity is more or less the same. Nor do I think we need lots of individualized Paths of Humanity to reflect this culture or that culture. And ST can just wing it if needed. The hard stuff isn't at levels 1-7. It's above that which is hard because increasingly the world and life throw too many surprises and contradictions at you.

    To me, the important thing is the realization that the Path of Humanity isn't any more natural than any oft he other Paths of Enlightenment. They are all artificial moral codes designed for one purpose in mind - constraining the Beast. What's important to any Path is that it is intellectually consistent and forces the vampire to deny the Beast so that it doesn't take over.

    I would argue though the Path of Humanity is the most successful at doing so because 1) new vampires already have experience with it and thus can follow it more easily, 2) because the transition is seamless, the vampire doesn't realize it is an artificial moral code and just continue to do as before, and 3) the path is the most well developed because of the philosophical traditions of the entire human race working on it as well as any vampires. Vampire philosophers have a lot more work to do in working out other Paths of Enlightenment because they have to start from scratch. Because it is too easy to have a weak philosophy that fails to constraint the Beast, which is why so many players have negatively judged various Paths in the books to be "the paths of doing whatever I want."

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I feel like you've made every bit the same number of assumptions that you're accusing other people of.
    Every ST brings their own assumptions and tastes into the game. At least I lay mine out and explain why. I can enjoy playing in games where the ST does have different tastes and assumption than mine. Those can still be fun. But I do expect the assumptions to be reasonable.

    As a fictional organization, there are no hard facts anyone can use to decisively use to support their side. And even canon is inconsistent because the game line and individual books were written by different people with different ideas at different times. So everyone can find plenty of things to pick and choose from.

    But simply, I liked the Camarilla as an organization that was worldwide, and which an American city like Chicago can have important vampires that include an Arab Muslim Jihadist from the Crusades period, an African witch doctor, a Roman Legionnaire, and a Greek philosopher who knew Socrates, and still have it worked as a setting. Therefore, I like the idea that a modern city in the Middle East could have a Hellenestic era general who served under the Selucids, a Christian stylite monk from the 6th century, a Mazdakite revolutionary Zoroastrian fanatic, and a Viking warrior thrown in to boot not to mention a Baghdad Jew whose family had been in Mesopotamia since the Babylonian Captivity, a relatively recent Chaldean Christian, a Druze soldier from the Lebanese civil war, and an atheist Kurdish Communist embraced before the Iranian Revolution. Simply saying, "nah, they all have to be Muslims, especially the rulers" seems lazy and way less interesting. The Middle East had LOTS of non-Muslims until very recently, and there is no reason why vampires embraced from Muslim stock have to be any more sincere or devoted in their belief than the standard European vampire is Christian (which is not very for the most part). So I don't see why Muslims have to have their own sect. The Camarilla worked just fine, and was more interesting for it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    Yeah and I am unconvinced those principles are enough to state it's a universal Morality. But YMMV at your table. For me, Humanity is a "new" Road.
    I disagree. I think "Humanity-as-measure-of-being-a-social-creature" is a very old Road. Just as the Road of the Beast is, for opposite reasons. They represent the most ancient ways to deal with the Beast: denying its selfish urges by embracing pro-social behavior (as opposed to anti-social behavior) and embracing the Beast's primal nature, respectively.

    Also, no, I don't think the Ancient Romans actually considered Theft, Murder, and Cruelty to be "good". At least, not when it was done to THEM. All else are cultural rationalizations to make it "okay" to do it to "non-Romans". Or, to put it another way, the Romans as mortals hewed to Humanity, they were just bad at it. In much the same way that slavery-era Americans were bad at Humanity, despite being a Christian culture (indeed, pro-slavery advocates used the Bible to "justify" slavery, regardless that it was wrong and un-Christian).

    Mortals have never been immune to having low Humanity scores.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

    I'd be interested in hearing this, as Bluecho said, most cultures agree on "Theft, Injury, Murder, and Atrocity" being wrong. Atrocity obviously has a more vague definition than the others, but he others are fairly clear cut.
    Yeah and I am unconvinced those principles are enough to state it's a universal Morality. But YMMV at your table. For me, Humanity is a "new" Road.

    Leave a comment:


  • jamiemalk
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I also disagree and suggest that Humanity is based on a very generic Judeo-Christian ideal that doesn't apply to, say, Ancient Rome.
    I'd be interested in hearing this, as Bluecho said, most cultures agree on "Theft, Injury, Murder, and Atrocity" being wrong. Atrocity obviously has a more vague definition than the others, but he others are fairly clear cut.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    I would argue that if we're talking about a Christian Path, the Road of Heaven (at least the Christian branch thereof) is more appropriate than Humanity.

    I've been arguing for a while now that Humanity's tenets aren't exclusive to a Judeo-Christian worldview. Most EVERY culture has issues with Theft, Injury, Murder, and Atrocity.
    The Road of Heaven is a Noddist path about being Vampire Batman.

    I also disagree and suggest that Humanity is based on a very generic Judeo-Christian ideal that doesn't apply to, say, Ancient Rome.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Just as a shared cultural identity of Christianized values (The Path of Humanity) worked for the Camarilla to fit into society, so did the Ashirra's adoption of the faith.
    I would argue that if we're talking about a Christian Path, the Road of Heaven (at least the Christian branch thereof) is more appropriate than Humanity.

    I've been arguing for a while now that Humanity's tenets aren't exclusive to a Judeo-Christian worldview. Most EVERY culture has issues with Theft, Injury, Murder, and Atrocity.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    That's perfectly fine for your head canon if that's how you want to run it in your chronicles. But I feel there a lot of problems with it. This is why I wouldn't go that route in my own chronicles.

    First, we know from early canon that the Camarilla (and Sabbat) was born as a worldwide organization. Vampires from the Middle East, India, Africa, as well as Europe founded it. So the Camarilla never needed to "move" into that space. Later editions moved away from that (wrongly, in my view), but it was how the Camarilla was portrayed even in Third edition. The Gangrel Warlord of the Camarilla Karsh was a Turk. Khalid of Chicago was a Muslim Arab. Jalan-Alav, Gangrel Black hand of the Seraph, was a Mongol who rode with Genghis Khan. Vasantasena and Unmada were Malkavians from India who helped found the Sabbat and Camarilla respectively. These are not European organizations.

    Second, in the Middle East specifically, there would have been a ton of non-Muslim vampires by the time the Camarilla was created, so I'm not sure how the Ashirra ever seized power to begin with. You had thousands of years before Islam was even born. And even after the Muslim Conquests, Muslims were a minority for hundreds of years, and even after they achieved parity population wise, there was still an extremely large Christian minority throughout the Middle East. Muslims held all the political power, but the population was not monolithically Muslim. So from a vampire perspective, the historical Muslim Conquests did not overturn the established vampire elder hierarchy. It would take a long time before embraced Muslim vampires became elders on their own, and even after the conquests, the existing vampire population would have a large non-Muslim population base to recruit from. So the demographics of vampires would change much more slowly than the mortal population since the non-Muslims wouldn't simply die off, nor would they lose their elite status of being in power of their society. We simply should not assume that the Ashirra were the ones who would be in charge. It's much more likely someone like Critias would have been Prince in the Middle East, a land that was heavily Hellenized since the time of Alexander the Great and was very civilized and cutlured than in the barbarian West with the Latins.

    Third, vampires in the Middle East aren't any more devout than those found elsewhere. So regardless of the religion they had before their embrace, they're monsters with easily destroyed Humanity. Most will quickly fall to lip service, others will abandon any real religious devotion. There will, of course, be outliers - whether truly humane and morale vampires who struggle with their Curse, or total bastards who maintain a fanatic devotion to their faith simply in order to justify their monstrous urges against the "enemy." I simply don't see a sect of Muslim vampires taking over anymore than I believe the Camarilla was ruled by devout Catholics.

    Now the Mongol Invasions destroying ancient cities, the Black Death, and Anarch Revolt would still kill off a lot of those elders, opening up the way for Muslim vampires to share power and one day become dominant in the Middle East, but that is still a historical process that takes time. And the vampires of the Middle East have the same problems as their European counterparts - they've had to face the problems of being over populated after the Black Death, and dealing with the need to end the Anarch Revolt. They have the exact same incentive to cooperate with their other elders to reform their society and keep the neonates down while still reconciling with them. Better to do it with other elders, since the more you cooperate, the greater chances of survival.

    I think it really robs the game of a lot of its mystery, awe, and wonder by injecting contemporary multicultural notions into these old vampires. It takes something that is on the border of uncanny and the weird, and turns into something mundane.

    But everyone's tastes are different.
    I feel like you've made every bit the same number of assumptions that you're accusing other people of.

    But to put it in simple terms, the Camarilla is not an organization of old vampires. It is an organization of new vampires with Hardestadt the Founder being created in the 900s of society while Rafael was sired in 1154. It is an organizaton that was founded long after the establishment of Christianity in Europe with the most powerful vampires in its ranks being ones who lived long after Ancient Rome.

    So with the Ashirra.

    A big thing that has been done and I approve of is reduce the general age of the undead and survivors. The vast majority of undead do not and never will successfully live to age 100, let alone any centuries beyond that. The Ashirra were founded after the establishment of Islam by a bunch of vampires sharing a shared cultural identity because the vampires OLDER than the Prophet Muhammed are dead.

    Or in torpor.

    Just as a shared cultural identity of Christianized values (The Path of Humanity) worked for the Camarilla to fit into society, so did the Ashirra's adoption of the faith.

    The Cyclical Gehenna also helps explain where all those Pre-Islamic vampires went.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    When the actual Camarilla started to move into the Middle East (along with their mortal European institutions), the Ashirra were "politely" offered membership in "that most august and civilized societies". Ashirra vampires likely agreed, established what they needed to present the impression that the Camarilla was in control, and proceeded to return to Ashirra business. Same ancient power structures, different names.
    That's perfectly fine for your head canon if that's how you want to run it in your chronicles. But I feel there a lot of problems with it. This is why I wouldn't go that route in my own chronicles.

    First, we know from early canon that the Camarilla (and Sabbat) was born as a worldwide organization. Vampires from the Middle East, India, Africa, as well as Europe founded it. So the Camarilla never needed to "move" into that space. Later editions moved away from that (wrongly, in my view), but it was how the Camarilla was portrayed even in Third edition. The Gangrel Warlord of the Camarilla Karsh was a Turk. Khalid of Chicago was a Muslim Arab. Jalan-Alav, Gangrel Black hand of the Seraph, was a Mongol who rode with Genghis Khan. Vasantasena and Unmada were Malkavians from India who helped found the Sabbat and Camarilla respectively. These are not European organizations.

    Second, in the Middle East specifically, there would have been a ton of non-Muslim vampires by the time the Camarilla was created, so I'm not sure how the Ashirra ever seized power to begin with. You had thousands of years before Islam was even born. And even after the Muslim Conquests, Muslims were a minority for hundreds of years, and even after they achieved parity population wise, there was still an extremely large Christian minority throughout the Middle East. Muslims held all the political power, but the population was not monolithically Muslim. So from a vampire perspective, the historical Muslim Conquests did not overturn the established vampire elder hierarchy. It would take a long time before embraced Muslim vampires became elders on their own, and even after the conquests, the existing vampire population would have a large non-Muslim population base to recruit from. So the demographics of vampires would change much more slowly than the mortal population since the non-Muslims wouldn't simply die off, nor would they lose their elite status of being in power of their society. We simply should not assume that the Ashirra were the ones who would be in charge. It's much more likely someone like Critias would have been Prince in the Middle East, a land that was heavily Hellenized since the time of Alexander the Great and was very civilized and cutlured than in the barbarian West with the Latins.

    Third, vampires in the Middle East aren't any more devout than those found elsewhere. So regardless of the religion they had before their embrace, they're monsters with easily destroyed Humanity. Most will quickly fall to lip service, others will abandon any real religious devotion. There will, of course, be outliers - whether truly humane and morale vampires who struggle with their Curse, or total bastards who maintain a fanatic devotion to their faith simply in order to justify their monstrous urges against the "enemy." I simply don't see a sect of Muslim vampires taking over anymore than I believe the Camarilla was ruled by devout Catholics.

    Now the Mongol Invasions destroying ancient cities, the Black Death, and Anarch Revolt would still kill off a lot of those elders, opening up the way for Muslim vampires to share power and one day become dominant in the Middle East, but that is still a historical process that takes time. And the vampires of the Middle East have the same problems as their European counterparts - they've had to face the problems of being over populated after the Black Death, and dealing with the need to end the Anarch Revolt. They have the exact same incentive to cooperate with their other elders to reform their society and keep the neonates down while still reconciling with them. Better to do it with other elders, since the more you cooperate, the greater chances of survival.

    I think it really robs the game of a lot of its mystery, awe, and wonder by injecting contemporary multicultural notions into these old vampires. It takes something that is on the border of uncanny and the weird, and turns into something mundane.

    But everyone's tastes are different.

    Leave a comment:


  • Eldagusto
    replied
    The talk of why Ravnos is in India? My idea is basically he was either Embraced there to battle the 10,000 Demons or he was brought there to battle them. The Greater Bharat area I feel is what he considers his territory, and it has many secrets and his War with Gangrel (the whole Spider Tiger War mentioned in Gangrel Myth) was probably held nearby, and his mysticism matched that of the secrets of the Subcontinent. I figure he went elsewhere in his travels (like I feel the Bird Legacy of the Laibon are his children) but he torpors in Bangladesh because that area is his entrenched Domain. Most of his juiciest descendants also stayed there.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X