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Why the HATRED for Ravnos?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Justycar View Post
    Well, Assamites used to see themselves as enforcers and judges of the kindred.

    Enforcers and judges, for whom a guilty verdict usually ended up in carrying out one of the most extreme punishments imaginable.

    By their example, I suppose Vlad the Impaler was only trying to keep the peace!

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
      Enforcers and judges, for whom a guilty verdict usually ended up in carrying out one of the most extreme punishments imaginable.

      By their example, I suppose Vlad the Impaler was only trying to keep the peace!
      Depends on the edition, though. First-edition Assamites were "fanatical all-male Muslim assassins", second-edition were "fanatical all-male Muslim assassins with scary blood magic", revised were "fanatical mostly-male Muslim assassins except some worship an ancient murder-god instead". Finally V20's gotten us to "a bunch of mostly reasonable blood-mages…plus a lot of fanatical mostly-male Muslim assassins except some worship an ancient murder-god instead".

      V5's the first edition where the whole "maybe they're not actually all fanatical Muslim assassins" angle's gotten properly explored, imo. I'm hoping we get more of it in the Player's Guide.

      (Now, to be fair, a lot of the pre-V5 information on the Banu Haqim is very heavily based off sources we now know are extremely biased if not outright fabrications. So I choose to believe that, in-universe, a whole lot of it comes down to Camarilla Elders not keeping up with the times, plus the Tremere running a long misinformation campaign.)
      Last edited by Draconis; 09-30-2019, 11:30 PM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
        By their example, I suppose Vlad the Impaler was only trying to keep the peace!
        I mean, to be technical...

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Draconis View Post
          Depends on the edition, though. First-edition Assamites were "fanatical all-male Muslim assassins", second-edition were "fanatical all-male Muslim assassins with scary blood magic", revised were "fanatical mostly-male Muslim assassins except some worship an ancient murder-god instead".
          This seems to be paraphrased from the White Wolf wiki, and I've always thought that was a ridiculous piece of editorializing with no basis in reality. The terms Muslim or Islam are not even mentioned anywhere in the 1st Edition Assamite writeup, and instead the clan is described as a "mixture of many Middle Eastern religions and Kindred mythology." The only place Islam even appears in the original Players Guide is as a specialty of the Literature Knowledge. Not only that, but the original Assamite writeup claims that the clan recognizes "the value of female assassins and keeps a 50-50 gender ratio as much as possible." Basically the opposite of what the White Wolf wiki claims.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Elphilm View Post
            This seems to be paraphrased from the White Wolf wiki, and I've always thought that was a ridiculous piece of editorializing with no basis in reality. The terms Muslim or Islam are not even mentioned anywhere in the 1st Edition Assamite writeup, and instead the clan is described as a "mixture of many Middle Eastern religions and Kindred mythology." The only place Islam even appears in the original Players Guide is as a specialty of the Literature Knowledge. Not only that, but the original Assamite writeup claims that the clan recognizes "the value of female assassins and keeps a 50-50 gender ratio as much as possible." Basically the opposite of what the White Wolf wiki claims.
            Didn't the original Clanbook Assamite claim they were all male (and generally go hard into Marco Polo's stories of the Assassins)? I unfortunately no longer have a copy of that one, only of the Revised one.

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            • #36
              The first Clanbook Assamite has been retconned as being representative of only the Web of knives, the radical faction of assassins. So, yes, they were all male and fanatics, but that is no more "the clan as a whole" but a subfaction. Is the same strategy the have followed with the first Ravnos clanbook, but with more succes, I think. It helps that in the Libellus Sanguinis and the Dark ages setting, the Banu Haquim had a different perspective, there were introduced the casts and the "judge" archetype of the clan.

              EDIT: I have just read this section of the first Clanbook assamite, they mention that the prohibition to embrace women was until 1746, when the first woman was embraced. And they do not embraced europeans until 1900... As yo see this is not canon any more, Fatima al-faqadi would be a pariah or a renegade in the middle ages under this old background.
              Last edited by Justycar; 10-01-2019, 12:16 PM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Justycar View Post
                The first Clanbook Assamite has been retconned as being representative of only the Web of knives, the radical faction of assassins. So, yes, they were all male and fanatics, but that is no more "the clan as a whole" but a subfaction.
                Oh, absolutely; I'm just pointing out that that was a retcon. And I like the new, post-retcon version (especially as shown in BJD, the V5 Cam book, etc) a whole lot better.

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                • #38
                  Let's not confuse the issue -- even without considering Revised era retcons, the White Wolf wiki is clearly incorrect when it claims that 1st and 2nd Edition Assamites were an "all-male fanatical sect of Muslim assassins." Not only does the original 1991 writeup explicitly state that the clan keeps a 50-50 gender ratio as much as possible, but Islam and Muslims are not mentioned anywhere in the text. If we also consider the 1995 Assamite clanbook, the prohibition against Embracing women is presented as a historical curiosity that is not in effect in the modern setting, and Islam is little more than a footnote to the history of the clan. Nowhere in the clanbook are Assamites presented as a sect of Muslim assassins.

                  Now, of course Graeme Davis's original concept of the Assamites was directly lifted from fictional accounts of the Nizari Ismailis, particularly Vladimir Bartol's 1938 novel Alamut. Given all of the above, however, how is characterizing the clan as an "all-male fanatical sect of Muslim assassins" in any edition of Vampire: The Masquerade remotely correct?

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Justycar View Post
                    The first Clanbook Assamite has been retconned as being representative of only the Web of knives, the radical faction of assassins. So, yes, they were all male and fanatics, but that is no more "the clan as a whole" but a subfaction.
                    I always found it fascinating that Thetmes (who is a web of knives member) sired the most feared and legendary female assassin.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by anda View Post

                      I always found it fascinating that Thetmes (who is a web of knives member) sired the most feared and legendary female assassin.
                      It makes sense that Fatima is the "first" female if she's just the first Web of Knives member.

                      And no, the original Assamite book was about them all being fanatical worshipers of Haqim not Islam. We had plenty of non-Islam followers among the sample characters. They were all Path of Enlightenment following psychopaths, though.


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

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        And no, the original Assamite book was about them all being fanatical worshipers of Haqim not Islam. We had plenty of non-Islam followers among the sample characters. They were all Path of Enlightenment following psychopaths, though.
                        Isn't "Haqim" just a stand in for Islam, though? One of the tenets for their Path of Blood is to kill any kindred who can't be converted. And when Ur-Shulgi woke up, he demanded for the other members of the clan to abandon all other religions and begin worshiping Haqim, or else he would have them eradicated.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

                          Isn't "Haqim" just a stand in for Islam, though? One of the tenets for their Path of Blood is to kill any kindred who can't be converted. And when Ur-Shulgi woke up, he demanded for the other members of the clan to abandon all other religions and begin worshiping Haqim, or else he would have them eradicated.
                          The original Assamites were all followers of their Antediluvian the same way Followers of Set were. Haqim is the PROTECTOR OF HUMANITY and if you don't worship Haqim then you aren't PROTECTING HUMANITY AGAINST THE OTHER VAMPIRES.

                          It was strongly implied Islam actually wasn't that big of a deal among Assamites because they were all brainwashed indoctrinated cultists from their 7 years of training.

                          It's actually Revised that made Islam a big deal among the Assamites.

                          Perhaps and call me crazy but I think the 1st Edition writers might have realized how profoundly racist making the Assamites (a bunch of psychotic cultists) into the Muslim clan. It's just they made them NOT psychotic terrorists....and then the Muslim clan.


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

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                            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.
                            If you read the first ten pages of Clanbook Assamite revised, it's explicitly stated that the clan was created to police other vampires. There were no Assamites beyond Haqim until the other Antes came to him, and begged him to keep order and preside over their society as judge, after which he disappeared into the desert and came back some time later with a posse: the first Assamites. So they're cop, judge, jury, and executioner; essentially they're the Street Judges from Judge Dredd. Leave it to White Wolf to throw subtly completely out the window and create a clan of vampires whose method of upholding order is a straight faced ripoff of a scathing, absurdist satire of fascist law enforcement.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            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.
                            When I drew the comparison between Assamites' cavalier attitude and superiority complex and that of cops, I was speaking descriptively rather than prescriptively. Particularly where law enforcement and criminal justice are concerned (at least in the states--I won't speak for Luxembourg or Denmark), there is, generally speaking, a pretty wide gap between the ideal and the reality. The Assamites were created to police Cainite society; but they're actually a cult of blood-addicted murder hobos with a clan-wide superiority complex, and (in their minds) a badge of authority to pass judgment on other vampires.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            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).
                            I wasn't saying that I thought the Assamite spoke of the Ravnos contemptuously--quite the opposite actually. My reading indicates that the Assamites don't seem to hold any particular scorn for the Ravnos, so much as the quote affirms that the Assamites believe the Ravnos to be fully apprised of the Assamites' "authoritah". I could see Assamites rationalizing their behavior to each other via some vampiric/Assamite permutation of the "thin blue line" meme.
                            Last edited by CaptOtter; 10-04-2019, 10:28 PM.


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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                              If you read the first ten pages of Clanbook Assamite revised, it's explicitly stated that the clan was created to police other vampires.

                              What they were created to do, and what they are currently doing now are two completely different matters. A fact which I'm sure any Brujah will proudly defend all the way to the grave.

                              Ask the Salubri, or the Harbingers of Skulls what they were originally created to do, and then compare that to their actions in the modern nights.

                              If the Assamites were at the very least trying to prove to the other clans that they were capable of more than just discretely eliminating your enemies, then they might hold some merit. But the fact they are choosing not to dispute this perception, and even seem willing to actively perpetrate it, is almost as bad as if it were actually true.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                                What they were created to do, and what they are currently doing now are two completely different matters. A fact which I'm sure any Brujah will proudly defend all the way to the grave . . .[i]If the Assamites were at the very least trying to prove to the other clans that they were capable of more than just discretely eliminating your enemies, then they might hold some merit. But the fact they are choosing not to dispute this perception, and even seem willing to actively perpetrate it, is almost as bad as if it were actually true.
                                It's largely immaterial whether you or I, or anyone, believe the clan is fulfilling its purpose, if our goal is to analyze a statement made by an Assamites (ostensibly representative of the clan as a whole); what's germane to that analysis is the Assamites' general self-perception, state of mind, and underlying motivation for making the statement. Despite what you and I may agree the effective reality of the situation is, the Assamites leverage how well organized they are as a clan to generally enforce a pretty rigid orthodoxy among themselves--and the company line is that they were made for X purpose and that that's what they're doing. So it would make sense that prevailing attitudes among the rank and file could mirror that of a law enforcement officer on a power trip. Does that make them hypocrites (given the fact that they're actually murderous addicts on a power trip)? Yes--but that only helps my comparison.


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