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Why the HATRED for Ravnos?

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  • Nyrufa
    started a topic Why the HATRED for Ravnos?

    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!

  • Baron John
    replied
    Hi all,

    As mentioned in previous posts the original Ravnos were portrayed as a one dimensional and racist stereotype.

    In my games I have changed the Ravnos completely so that they are more akin to the VtR Nosderatu clan. Everyone hates them IC because they give off an unnatural feeling of dread so you don't have yo alter the source material and they have the Virtue and Vice flaw from V20 Dark Ages which give them more rp potential.

    For example I lifted Max Maurey from VtR Chicago by Night. He is the Ravnos elder that lives in the sewer and holds a court to rival the Prince. He is often referred to as the Prince of the Undercity but Max refuses to acknowledge this title himself as he is a modest old fashioned gent. The Nosferatu Primogen is terrified of him and tries to give him a wide berth, due to Chimistry / Knightmare use, wherever possible. Max has the Virtue flaw of charity which gives him the compulsion to take in every waif and stray. These outcasts see Max as a hero, swell his personal power and prey for the day when Max goes to the surface to give those high clans a good kicking.

    The Baron

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Weirdly, I don't think our points contradict on that.

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  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    As I understand it, they intended the Ferengi to be dangerous pirates and capitalist parodies, obsessed only with profit. The problem was that if you're going to do a menacing capitalist parody in the 1980s, most people think corporations instead of pirates. The general fan reaction was also they were ridiculous rather than frightening with the Borg utterly blowing them away.

    So they put a Ferengi in a bar on Deep Space Nine and Armin's natural charm made them a comic relief race.

    Eh. Maybe but the first time I saw them I remember them being alot more aggressive (if self serving) in 'The Last Outpost' which is when they were interrupted and this differed much later (particularly if you compare it to say, Quark, from DS9, but also later TNG-era Ferengi apply.)

    Here's an article that perhaps explains what I am trying to demonstrate: https://trekmovie.com/2018/03/21/arm...xt-generation/

    Originally posted by Armin Shimerman from the article
    What we were told about the Ferengi and what we ended up with were like night and day. The Ferengi were going to be the new Klingons. They were never meant to be a comical race; they were meant to be ferocious and menacing. And unfortunately, they hired me to play one of the lead Ferengi, and I failed miserably.

    My final performance was not at all what [Star Trek: The Next Generation creator] Gene Roddenberry wanted. By that point, he was rather sick, and he was not on set. But I met him briefly–maybe no more than 30 seconds–when he looked at my makeup and looked at my costume.

    “The Last Outpost” was a disaster. And no one one bears the brunt of that mistake more than I do.
    'Mercenary capitalist' could still fit in with that but it's clearly something that changed even in later TNG era nevermind DS9.

    Now with that perspective in mind the fact Shimerman mentions Roddenberry's involvement we can note that what Gene wanted and what others wanted (from other things I've heard behind the scenes at that time) often differed and many of those involved in Trek wanted to (and later on did) take the series in a very different direction than he decided. So its not implausible to believe that someone had wanted a different vision of the Ferengi than what Roddenberry wanted. Trek of that era was often transitional like that, or so I understand.

    This does make me wonder if you've heard other stories that might conflict with this though. That was also a VERY contentious period so I also wouldn't be surprised if there are conflicting accounts floating around.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post

    Interesting parallel there. The Ferengi initially in TNG weren't nearly the money-grubbing parody they were much later in the series (although to be honest you saw much the same 'one-dimensionalness' afflict other groups like the Klingons as well'. Nevermind the myriad forehead aliens.)

    I sometimes wonder if there wasn't some aspect of writing at that time that influenced this sort of thing. A narrative convenience say (you didn't intend to develop them very deeply, so you make them superficially interesting by one or two key qualities and leave it at that.)
    As I understand it, they intended the Ferengi to be dangerous pirates and capitalist parodies, obsessed only with profit. The problem was that if you're going to do a menacing capitalist parody in the 1980s, most people think corporations instead of pirates. The general fan reaction was also they were ridiculous rather than frightening with the Borg utterly blowing them away.

    So they put a Ferengi in a bar on Deep Space Nine and Armin's natural charm made them a comic relief race.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    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.
    Interesting parallel there. The Ferengi initially in TNG weren't nearly the money-grubbing parody they were much later in the series (although to be honest you saw much the same 'one-dimensionalness' afflict other groups like the Klingons as well'. Nevermind the myriad forehead aliens.)

    I sometimes wonder if there wasn't some aspect of writing at that time that influenced this sort of thing. A narrative convenience say (you didn't intend to develop them very deeply, so you make them superficially interesting by one or two key qualities and leave it at that.)

    Leave a comment:


  • CaptOtter
    replied
    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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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    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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  • CaptOtter
    replied
    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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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    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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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

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  • anda
    replied
    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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  • Elphilm
    replied
    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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  • Draconis
    replied
    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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