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Why the HATRED for Ravnos?

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  • #16
    I know it's a minority opinion, but Chimerstry has never looked over-powered to me. (At least, at levels any book-standard pc is likely to see. Chimerstry 6+ is awesome, but then any power with a "6+" in its name is going to be awesome.)

    It's true, a Ravnos can stand there next to you and make it seem like a hundred heavily armed soldiers are bearing down upon you. Then the illusion goes away, and the Ravnos might run away or whatever. Okay, fine, you'll be scared, and you migth avoid going back to that place. Unless, of course, the victim has high enough Auspex, which is a common discipline.

    The bigger limitation is that Chimerstry runs on willpower, which in most chronicles can be a little difficult to recharge. Oh, you could choose a Nature that is easily fulfilled, and fulfill it often. That kind of compulsive behavior can look like a flaw in itself.

    Compare Chimerstry to disciplines that manipulate the mind and run on blood, like Presence. Never mind that Presence pretty much guarantees a steady-stream of masquerade-friendly vitae. Even if it didn't, it is simply not that hard to grab a vessel in a dark alley and recharge.

    Now, compare both of those with V20&pre Dominate, which requires nothing but the desire to rearrange someone's mind to fuel it.

    A vampire with Dominate can walk up to you, tell you "you remember seeing a hundred heavily armed soldiers protecting this place. This place is forbidden, and you should never return here." Oh, and the victim can be made to not remember the Dominator being there in the first place. They can do the same trick a hundred times a night, if they wish. They could, in theory, stand in the handshake line of a wedding and convince every guest present that each and every one of them has had an affair with the bride. Should make for a fun reception.

    Now, consider some of the clan-specific disciplines. Obtenebration, Vicissitude, Thaumaturgy, and Necromancy all stack up as being at least as powerful as Chimerstry.

    Chimerstry is a decent power, if used creatively. It really flowers at level 6, when the willpower requirement can go away. Otherwise, unless the chronicle is heavy on changelings, meh.

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    • #17
      It should be uncontroversial that the Ravnos were an awful idea for a game element; the only evidence I will present of that point is that the creators themselves nuked them.

      The actual question, though, was about in-story attitudes, and for those I will work with what canon has given us.

      As for why the opinions of other clans in V20&pre seem so anti-Ravnos:
      1. They are mostly the views of Kindred of Western European stock. The Ravnos they will have met are not the main clan. If you had only ever met the Premascine, you would think of Giovanni as "the underwater vampires".
      2. The Ravnos, in most editions, have a flaw which forces them to perform an evil act. This is in a setting where that is pretty much how you become a howling zombie psycho death machine. Oh, they murder people because of their curse, but that does nothing to prevent a degeneration roll. Most Cammies probably think of Ravnos as being "pre-wassail".
      3. To make it worse, they espouse the idea that a vampire's dharma is fulfilled by finding the vice you most enjoy and vice-ing the hell out of it. Think of how that would play with, well, pretty much every vampire. Now picture the reaction in the nights when the church defined right and wrong. At least the Setites hide that view behind a few layers of mystery cult.
      4. Their Path of Paradox, in most versions, has as one of its goals finding objects/beings of great power, and releasing that power back into the cycle. How does that sound to your average elder of another clan? Sound like somebody you want in your domain?
      5. Their disciplines are kind of rubbish. Animalism, okay, but it is no clan's tentpole power. Fortitude is nice if you are ambushed, but is kind of hard to prove you even have. Chimerstry, well, see my earlier post. The Ravnos lost the superpower lottery, and so have limited influence. Those who are not feared, must be despised.
      6. Ravnos who want to not be recognized as such stay on their best behavior. Those who are identified as Ravnos are those who have been caught misbehaving. This adds to selection bias, in which the only Ravnos most vampires know are those who have transgressed.
      7. Western Ravnos are closely associated with the Rom people, who have long been a stigmatized group. The prejudice carries into unlife.
      8. Ravnos contribute nothing to vampire society as a whole. Think about it. Every other clan has something to trade. Ventrue have influence among mortals. Gangrel help navigate the outlands. Tzimisce can give you that new nose you've always wanted. Even the Setites trade in occult secrets and influence among the less savory parts of mortal society. What do the Ravnos bring to the table? In fairness, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those who are outcast have nothing to offer, which makes them outcast. But, it is what it is.
      9. Side topic: which clan gets glowing reviews from other clans? One minor criticism of V20 was how snarky and nasty the clan stereotypes were. Are you certain the Ravnos have it much worse? I don't remember a a lot of quotes along the lines of "The Tzimisce? I love 'em. Great guys."

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
        [*]Side topic: which clan gets glowing reviews from other clans? One minor criticism of V20 was how snarky and nasty the clan stereotypes were. Are you certain the Ravnos have it much worse? I don't remember a a lot of quotes along the lines of "The Tzimisce? I love 'em. Great guys."[/LIST]
        Well, the Brujah and Gangrel seem to be on relatively good terms with their description. And the Followers of Set acknowledge the kind of threat the Nosferatu can pose if you don't stay on their good graces. None of them seem to outright praise each other, but they at least acknowledge when another clan deserves some level of respect.


        But here's a collection of each of the 12 clans' take on the Ravnos.

        Assamite - Make yourself known, and they will acknowledge their place.

        Brujah - I'll bet I can throw one further than you can.

        Followers of Set - Sorry, I don't take credit. From you.

        Gangrel - If she starts calling you her brother, pop your claws and make your point. It's the only way she'll learn.

        Giovanni - The Kindred have forever to make of their fates what they will, and this is how they spend it?

        Lasombra - Filth, suitable only from which to make an example.

        Malkavian - It looks different, depending on if I close my left or my right eye. (okay, this might be the kindest one out of them)

        Nosferatu - Peddlers of lies, they make great patsies, but they sure can bear a grudge.

        Toreador - There are two types of these creatures; Awful, and absent.

        Tremere - Disorder sows its own punishments, yet I am happy to expedite the results.

        Tzimisce - I'll take thirty, staked for the sun and placed on the ramparts.

        Ventrue - No kingdom survives by mingling with the conquered.

        So yeah, with the exception of the Malkavians, everybody else seems to be of the agreement that they deserve nothing but scorn.
        Last edited by Nyrufa; 09-29-2019, 09:58 PM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
          Giovanni - The Kindred have forever to make of their fates what they will, and this is how they spend it?
          How disgustingly rich of them considering how they spend their time...

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          • #20
            Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
            How disgustingly rich of them considering how they spend their time...

            True, but at least the Giovanni are trying to run a family business.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post


              True, but at least the Giovanni are trying to run a family business.
              Emphasis on "family," just quietly.

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              • #22
                Another thing is, despite how uncomfortable this might be, the treatment/opinion of the clans towards Ravnos isn't really much different compared to the historical treatment of Romani people IRL Europe. Or their treatment today, for that matter.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                  Gangrel - If she starts calling you her brother, pop your claws and make your point. It's the only way she'll learn.
                  It's worth noting that while not positive, the Gangrel entry is something different from the others. The Gangrel and the Ravnos have a long standing feud regarding their origins and competition over nomadic peoples to prey upon.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                    I know it's a minority opinion, but Chimerstry has never looked over-powered to me. (At least, at levels any book-standard pc is likely to see. Chimerstry 6+ is awesome, but then any power with a "6+" in its name is going to be awesome.)

                    It's true, a Ravnos can stand there next to you and make it seem like a hundred heavily armed soldiers are bearing down upon you. Then the illusion goes away, and the Ravnos might run away or whatever. Okay, fine, you'll be scared, and you migth avoid going back to that place. Unless, of course, the victim has high enough Auspex, which is a common discipline.

                    The bigger limitation is that Chimerstry runs on willpower, which in most chronicles can be a little difficult to recharge. Oh, you could choose a Nature that is easily fulfilled, and fulfill it often. That kind of compulsive behavior can look like a flaw in itself.

                    Compare Chimerstry to disciplines that manipulate the mind and run on blood, like Presence. Never mind that Presence pretty much guarantees a steady-stream of masquerade-friendly vitae. Even if it didn't, it is simply not that hard to grab a vessel in a dark alley and recharge.

                    Now, compare both of those with V20&pre Dominate, which requires nothing but the desire to rearrange someone's mind to fuel it.

                    A vampire with Dominate can walk up to you, tell you "you remember seeing a hundred heavily armed soldiers protecting this place. This place is forbidden, and you should never return here." Oh, and the victim can be made to not remember the Dominator being there in the first place. They can do the same trick a hundred times a night, if they wish. They could, in theory, stand in the handshake line of a wedding and convince every guest present that each and every one of them has had an affair with the bride. Should make for a fun reception.

                    Now, consider some of the clan-specific disciplines. Obtenebration, Vicissitude, Thaumaturgy, and Necromancy all stack up as being at least as powerful as Chimerstry.

                    Chimerstry is a decent power, if used creatively. It really flowers at level 6, when the willpower requirement can go away. Otherwise, unless the chronicle is heavy on changelings, meh.
                    I do not agree about Chimestry being a mediocre discipline, to me is one of the most powerfull in hands of a creative player. But it is true that Chimestry depends on willpower, and how it is won and regained depends a lot of the storyteller style. I use to give my players the chance to replenish their willpower at the end of every narrative arc, so every 5 or 6 sessions they could recover it. That gave the Ravnos player the opportunity to spend Chimestry once or twice per session of play. However, the power of Chismestry is that one player could make the same effects of Obfuscate, Dominate, Presence or even combat effects with only one discipline, that versatility (even spending willpower) is his strenght, and it is a versatility that I could only found in Thaumathurgy and all his paths (that also rise many criticals).

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                      It should be uncontroversial that the Ravnos were an awful idea for a game element; the only evidence I will present of that point is that the creators themselves nuked them.
                      What? No, that's not uncontroversial at all, and the creators themselves didn't nuke the Ravnos -- most of the original writers were gone from White Wolf by the time the people in charge of the development of the Revised ruleset decided (somewhat childishly, in my view) to literally bomb elements of the setting within the fiction. They could have simply not updated the material they disliked, but instead they turned their opinions about the work of earlier writers in the same company into a plot point.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                        Assamite - Make yourself known, and they will acknowledge their place.
                        I could see a cop saying this about more or less anyone; not feeling the overwhelming contempt here.


                        Sig

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                          I could see a cop saying this about more or less anyone; not feeling the overwhelming contempt here.

                          Assamites aren't cops, they're contract killers. They've basically stated that the Ravnos' behavior could lead to the other clans employing their services to deal with the problem.
                          Last edited by Nyrufa; 09-30-2019, 03:52 PM.

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                          • #28
                            Well, Assamites used to see themselves as enforcers and judges of the kindred.

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                            • #29
                              Last time I checked, the ethical role of law enforcement is to keep the public peace by prudently enforcing laws (it's like it's in the name...), not putting people in their place to maintain unhealthy power dynamics in a community. If a cop tells me they're going to an area to remind a minority of their place in society, I might not interpret it as contempt, but certainly as inappropriate and aggressive (to be generous).

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                              • #30
                                Well, probably the ethical of the Path of blood does not fit very well with the actual definition of enforcer. But what matters is Banu Haquim use to have the tradition of being the "enforcers" in kindred terms and long ago legends.

                                EDIT: And may be more interesting, the Justicars were in the middle ages the persons in charge of enforce the law. In some countries, like mine, it is still a title or a charge given to some judges.
                                Last edited by Justycar; 09-30-2019, 04:50 PM. Reason: Bonus info

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