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Why the HATRED for Ravnos?

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  • Why the HATRED for Ravnos?

    So I was reading back through the clan opinions in my V20 book and I noticed something quite strange with how the clans view each other. Specifically, my attention was drawn to the fact that every clan seems to have a scathing hatred for the members of Clan Ravnos. Now sure, most of their opinions on the other clans are negative; but those seem to come from a stance of jealous rivalry, or simply disrespect for their behavior. It's only the Ravnos who everybody seems to agree are the scum of the earth!

    Since I don't own any Masquerade book beyond V20, I have to ask if there's something I'm missing in regards to the lore? I know that the Ravnos are habitual criminals, due to the nature of their curse. But they're hardly unique in that regard, when you've got the Followers of Set who are a cult of enablers, and the Giovanni who are the literal vampire mafia!

  • #2
    The basic version? In the dark ages (not entirely justly) the Ravnos gained a reputation for using a nomadic lifestyle to steal from other vampires and then move to a different Princedom and use the lack of organizations like the Camarilla to avoid consequences. The Followers of Set and the Giovanni might be heavily involved in crime (so are lots of vampires) but it's aimed at mortals as a method to control mortals for the most part, rather than making too many waves with other vampires.

    So for a long time allowing Ravnos into your Domain was seen as harboring fugitives (reality be damned) and the Princes of Europe basically agreed to discriminate against the Clan so they could all save face.

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    • #3
      A big thing among the Clan is responding to even minor actions by a Court against a few Ravnos by descending on the city by the dozens, going on riots and rampages in grandiose masquerade-threatening fashion before skipping out and leaving all the locals scrambling to clean up the mess before the Masquerade goes under.

      On top of that (and I've both encountered this and heard of it from other storytellers), every PC Ravnos just seems to be an excuse for players to make characters which will do anything and everything from ripping off NPCs on a whim to committing serial diablerie, and then when caught crying "I can't help it, my blood makes me do it, I'm the victim here!" Namely because the aforementioned players have gotten the impression from the book material that its exactly how Ravnos are meant to be played. That makes me chalk it up to poor writing, which explains the Clans' prejudices.
      Last edited by GilbyTheFat; 09-29-2019, 12:53 AM.

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      • #4
        I'm a Ravnos fan, and (natually) I have some thoughts.

        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
        every clan seems to have a scathing hatred for the members of Clan Ravnos. Now sure, most of their opinions on the other clans are negative; but those seem to come from a stance of jealous rivalry, or simply disrespect for their behavior. It's only the Ravnos who everybody seems to agree are the scum of the earth!
        A lot of it has to do with the fact that the people who wrote the game in the first place didn't like the Ravnos either--small surprise that they're the clan that got all but annihilated during the week of nightmares. Why the hate? First, the company had egg on its face because it made a clan of criminal vampires with a supernatural compulsion for doing crime and heavily associated it with an actual, real life ethnic group that has been unjustly maligned, persecuted, hunted, and murdered for centuries based on racist ideas about a supposed inherent criminal nature. So, they did what they do when they decide they don't like something in the game, and literally nuked it (see also The True Black Hand). The second source for consternation is very likely what other people have said: they had players at their table who did things as a Ravnos they did not like, though I've noted that the bad stories or gripes the haters have about Ravnos players are largely interchangeable with the bad stories or gripes people have about Malkavian players (perhaps you're familiar with the term "Fish Malk"?) It doesn't help that most versions of Chimerstry are open-ended in nature and many storytellers find it difficult to maintain control of their games once the Willpower and Blood start flying. So those are the meta reasons. The non-meta, in-game reasons are simpler: as a whole, Ravnos are rule breakers by their very nature, and (the ones NOT located in the Indian sub-continent) are slippery and hard to pin down--so you're naturally going to have contempt for someone who doesn't follow your rules, and often defies your attempts to visit some reprisal for the rule-breaking. Moreover, they're not exactly one of the more martially (or magically) imposing clans--so it's not like anyone has to give them the grudging respect or fear owed the Assamites (i.e., the Cain Cops) or the usurper Tremere.

        Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
        an excuse for players to make characters which will do anything and everything from ripping off NPCs on a whim to committing serial diablerie, and then when caught crying "I can't help it, my blood makes me do it, I'm the victim here!" Namely because the aforementioned players have gotten the impression from the book material that its exactly how Ravnos are meant to be played.
        The stealing I understand, and if you're going with one of the more expansive versions of the weakness (e.g., such as having to choose a general taboo rather than a crime or vice or something along those lines) I could see being a compulsive diablerist as a legitimate wrong desire a Ravnos' beast may compel them to indulge. Having said that, if the player is doing both that seems bizarre; and what path of enlightenment are they on that they're committing diablerie left and right without suffering automatic degeneration?


        Sig

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
          A big thing among the Clan is responding to even minor actions by a Court against a few Ravnos by descending on the city by the dozens, going on riots and rampages in grandiose masquerade-threatening fashion before skipping out and leaving all the locals scrambling to clean up the mess before the Masquerade goes under.
          That is really more of an early second edition thing, back when clans were frequently presented as these organized group identity hive minds. And also when the clan was Vistani-ing it up all over the place.




          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
            Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
            On top of that (and I've both encountered this and heard of it from other storytellers), every PC Ravnos just seems to be an excuse for players to make characters which will do anything and everything from ripping off NPCs on a whim to committing serial diablerie, and then when caught crying "I can't help it, my blood makes me do it, I'm the victim here!" Namely because the aforementioned players have gotten the impression from the book material that its exactly how Ravnos are meant to be played. That makes me chalk it up to poor writing, which explains the Clans' prejudices.
            Almost entirely this concept is the core issue.

            The clan weakness is designed to create strife for the character and the coterie, while having Chimeristry basically gives the character a quasi-storyteller level control over situations. To use a very antiquated concept, the Ravnos are the Kender Illusionists of the VtM game line. So with that in mind, take that character package and put it in the hands of a Player who gets bored easily or enjoys randomness in their gaming, like playing a Wyld Mage who uses hallucinogens.

            Such a player and character build combination when placed in a political game or just a very social combat game goes beyond "bull in a china shop" and starts heading into "flamethrower dueling inside a fireworks warehouse" levels of game disruption.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
              So I was reading back through the clan opinions in my V20 book and I noticed something quite strange with how the clans view each other. Specifically, my attention was drawn to the fact that every clan seems to have a scathing hatred for the members of Clan Ravnos. Now sure, most of their opinions on the other clans are negative; but those seem to come from a stance of jealous rivalry, or simply disrespect for their behavior. It's only the Ravnos who everybody seems to agree are the scum of the earth!

              Since I don't own any Masquerade book beyond V20, I have to ask if there's something I'm missing in regards to the lore? I know that the Ravnos are habitual criminals, due to the nature of their curse. But they're hardly unique in that regard, when you've got the Followers of Set who are a cult of enablers, and the Giovanni who are the literal vampire mafia!
              No vampire fully trusts another.

              However, the Ravnos do nothing for any of the other clans and have no loyalty even to each other.

              They were the original Caitiff.

              So, there was nothing they brought to the table alliance wise. In the Star Trek view of things, the Romulans and Klingons may be jerks but they can be useful to the Federation. The Ravnos are just the Ferengi.


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

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              • #8
                Clans are just butthurt at how OP Chimerstry is.

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                • #9
                  Okay, so mechanically, I can see why the players themselves might not be fans of them. But my question was more focused on the in universe hatred they receive from the other clans. From the sounds of it, the Ravnos are a clan of griefers who show up to ruin everybody's night, and then skip town after they've pissed everyone off.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    Okay, so mechanically, I can see why the players themselves might not be fans of them. But my question was more focused on the in universe hatred they receive from the other clans. From the sounds of it, the Ravnos are a clan of griefers who show up to ruin everybody's night, and then skip town after they've pissed everyone off.
                    This is basically the (modern and western) Ravnos in a nutshell. They are griefers who make a royal nuisance of themselves in someone else's domain, then skip out when it comes time to pay the piper. If not for the "Treatment" (the previously mentioned practice of every Ravnos in the region rushing in to punish a domain for harming one of their own), the Ravnos would likely be collectively anathema and subject to purges just like Caitiff and Thin Bloods.

                    Indeed, there was the implication during the Revised era, following the Week of Nightmares, that the sudden lack of a Treatment would tip the rest of the Kindred world off that the Ravnos were few and far between, and thus "fair game" at last. A state of affairs guaranteed to make any Ravnos PC's or NPC's unlife very troubled. On the other hand, this might have had the side effect (intentional or no) of encouraging Ravnos PCs to play nice with other Kindred and make allies, simply for their own protection. Now, whether Ravnos players ever saw it that way, or if they were (rightly) bitter about White Wolf taking their toys away, I personally cannot attest.
                    Last edited by Bluecho; 09-29-2019, 08:40 PM.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                      Okay, so mechanically, I can see why the players themselves might not be fans of them. But my question was more focused on the in universe hatred they receive from the other clans. From the sounds of it, the Ravnos are a clan of griefers who show up to ruin everybody's night, and then skip town after they've pissed everyone off.
                      There's also a certain element of racism in the Dark Ages onward.

                      Gangrel include Romani among those they Embrace. They're also integrated into the greater Kindred society.

                      Ravnos are indies.


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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                        Okay, so mechanically, I can see why the players themselves might not be fans of them. But my question was more focused on the in universe hatred they receive from the other clans. From the sounds of it, the Ravnos are a clan of griefers who show up to ruin everybody's night, and then skip town after they've pissed everyone off.
                        Clans are just butthurt at how OP Chimerstry is.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          From the sounds of it, the Ravnos are a clan of griefers who show up to ruin everybody's night, and then skip town after they've pissed everyone off.
                          That's pretty much the length of it.

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                          • #14
                            In the background, Ravnos use to be problematic for the authorities wherever they are. They are not only nomads or pariahs, as could be a gang of Gangrels or a pack of Caittifs, they have the tradition and the culture to steal, to be troublemakers, to break rules of every domain. They even don´t have the support of the anarchs or other "low clans" because they do not cause this problems for political reasons or looking for profit, they have near zero political influence in USA and western Europe, and they don´t want this influence.

                            Off game, they were very bad designed, probably the worst clan of the 13 major clans in design. They take a racist concept and they gave to the clan, an overpowered discipline and a path of enlightment to justify every breach of humanity. The can cause all the problems that Malkavians can cause, with the plus of not being attached to the traditions.

                            The different authors have tried to correct this, showing that this picture of the clan was only partial, the western branch. They tried to correct the path of the paradox with another "true" path of the paradox, they have developed western dynasties and jatis in the medieval ages that were not smugglers or outlaws (Libellus sanguinis), they developed a background in the revised clan book where the Indian Ravnos are so noble and honorable as can be the Ventrue. And they have different roles in the Ebony Kingdoms, where they are messengers, the bird folk.

                            But, in the end, the first design from the first clan book still prevails. And no attempt to correct this had endured. Because most of us do not play games in India where Ravnos are pride and noble, or in Africa, where they have a social role accepted for the other clans. Most of us play games in Europe or America where they still are "scum" and they are still associated with an ethnic minority.

                            In spite of all I have said, I like the Ravnos, specially the antitribus. They are not part of the path of the paradox, they do not use to be of any ethnic, they are only nomads, wanderers. The writers have developed two or three interesting characters: Kalil Ravana, Durga Syn and Hazimel. And I am still interest in their progression in the new background.

                            In V5, I am 99% sure that Quimerism will be part of Obfuscate, so the problem of balancing the discipline could be solved, at last.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Justycar View Post
                              so the problem of balancing the discipline could be solved, at last.
                              Unless they make the level 1 through 4 powers not needing a dicepool to create flawless illusions.

                              But here's to hoping that whoever is writing the Players Guide doesn't look at the Ravnos illusion powers and think "let's make these powers of psychic manipulation and deception require no rolls whatsoever."

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