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[V5] Who Mourns for Ravnos? (The Ravnos Thread)

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  • [V5] Who Mourns for Ravnos? (The Ravnos Thread)

    The fate of the Ravnos has been up in the air for some time. The decision to kill the Ravnos came out fairly late in the development cycle for Vampire Revised (this is not 100% certain on my part but the way I've heard it) with the choice being the Malkavians and Ravnos on the chopping block to show "Gehenna is really serious now." The Malkavians managed to survive in part because they were a main clan and had a more dedicated fanbase even if people hated "Fishmalks." So they died in TIME OF THIN BLOOD.

    The problem was that RAVNOS REVISED was still in development so when it was released in 2001, it had an entirely different view of the Ravnos. Like the Banu Haqim Revised, it changed a very racially charged clan (even if it was never as direct as people think - it was never WOD: GYPSIES) to a celebration of Indian mythology as well as taking advantage of the fact that Rakshasa have been known to have roles similar to vampires in tempters, seductresses, seducers, and "Sexy Monsters" that makes them better suited to be a vampire clan than, say, jiangshi.

    It also established that the Ravnos were now a Bloodline of about 200 vampires (or 10% of a typical Clan as fan stats place them) but rebuilding.

    However, V20 was "canon agnostic" so a lot of the changes of the setting no longer were canon. The Assamite Schism was something that MIGHT happen and only by Beckett's Jyhad Diary. The Week of Nightmares flat out did not happen and the Ravnos were restored to their rightful place the same way that Los Angeles was once more an Anarch Free State. But then V5 came out and the Week of Nightmares were once more a Bloodline.

    Or are they?

    The word on the street, don't quote me here, is that White Wolf's new owners aren't fond of the Ravnos. So much so that they were removed from the upcoming Modiphius Players Guide. Also, the CHICAGO FOLIOS has stated that Shejana woke up after what seems to have been the Week of Nightmares as well as never found out what happened. However, the Ravnos are now referred to as Caitiff or at least she is with the statement, "Very few Kindred remember them existing."

    Her Discipline spread also has Dominate and Obfuscate instead of Chimestry.

    So what do we think about that?


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

  • #2
    Well, personally, me and a lot of people would be very sad, if the Ravnos would be completely removed. I know, they are problematic, but many people love them. I think it is because of the counterculture. I think for many western people with 9 to 5 jobs the nomadic and spiritual lifestyle of the Ravnos is a most welcome opportunity for escapism.

    On the other hand, the Clan needs a rewrite.

    About the speculations why they are most likely not in the players guid: as far as I know (but that is just hearsay) it is not that WW/Paradox hates the Ravnos, it was rather the way the clan was written by Modiphius’ authors that couldn’t convince WW to green light it.

    About the disciplines: I think Dominate is not the relevant Discipline she poses but presence. In Cult of the Bloodgods a cult is mentioned, that tries to resurrect the Ravnos antediluvians by a strange use of Presence and Obfuscate. I think a Presence and Obfuscate amalgam would fit the chimerstry better than dominate and obfuscate, because Chimerstry is about fooling the senses, while dominate is rather about take control over your consciousness.

    Personally I would be totally okay if the Ravnos would be reduced to a bloodline, to open up the possibility for a new 13th clan to rise. I would love to see the Gargoyle (and V5s Protean has already some aspects of the Gargoyle-abilities in it) or an entirely new clan, maybe created by a blood sample of the Ravnos antediluvians (See week of nightmares loresheet in V5 core). The same method could be used to resurrect the clan with entirely new members, a new culture and a new image and only a hand full of elders who advise the newcomers. That would be a need way to save the Ravnos and create a new clan at the same time.

    But eventually no Metaplot change can remove the Ravnos entirely since we always have the option to go back in time, either in an historic campaign or in flashbacks. And for that alone we will need rules for the clan.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sethos View Post
      Well, personally, me and a lot of people would be very sad, if the Ravnos would be completely removed. I know, they are problematic, but many people love them. I think it is because of the counterculture. I think for many western people with 9 to 5 jobs the nomadic and spiritual lifestyle of the Ravnos is a most welcome opportunity for escapism.

      On the other hand, the Clan needs a rewrite.

      About the speculations why they are most likely not in the players guid: as far as I know (but that is just hearsay) it is not that WW/Paradox hates the Ravnos, it was rather the way the clan was written by Modiphius’ authors that couldn’t convince WW to green light it.

      About the disciplines: I think Dominate is not the relevant Discipline she poses but presence. In Cult of the Bloodgods a cult is mentioned, that tries to resurrect the Ravnos antediluvians by a strange use of Presence and Obfuscate. I think a Presence and Obfuscate amalgam would fit the chimerstry better than dominate and obfuscate, because Chimerstry is about fooling the senses, while dominate is rather about take control over your consciousness.

      Personally I would be totally okay if the Ravnos would be reduced to a bloodline, to open up the possibility for a new 13th clan to rise. I would love to see the Gargoyle (and V5s Protean has already some aspects of the Gargoyle-abilities in it) or an entirely new clan, maybe created by a blood sample of the Ravnos antediluvians (See week of nightmares loresheet in V5 core). The same method could be used to resurrect the clan with entirely new members, a new culture and a new image and only a hand full of elders who advise the newcomers. That would be a need way to save the Ravnos and create a new clan at the same time.

      But eventually no Metaplot change can remove the Ravnos entirely since we always have the option to go back in time, either in an historic campaign or in flashbacks. And for that alone we will need rules for the clan.
      Sadly there's no way Gorgoyle will ever be playable in v5. And you know what thats good. At last NuWW will not ruin the clan as they ruined Nosferatu. "Most Nosferatu are not masquerade breach" Vietnam flashbacks.

      Comment


      • #4
        As for Ravnos, I dunno if it's necessarily a bad thing to just let them have been destroyed. While it's not a popular position, the idea of backpedaling on this kind of undermines that it was a huge life-changing event in the history of the vampire race. The fact it allows player characters to continue to exist as Caitiff is a decent "out" even if, yes, fans of the revised Ravnos culture will feel screwed.

        I also admit I didn't think the Ravnos needed to be Revised twice.

        What are the chief complaints about the Revised version? Why didn't they satisfy the itch the way the Banu Haqim's did?

        Originally posted by blailton View Post

        Sadly there's no way Gorgoyle will ever be playable in v5. And you know what thats good. At last NuWW will not ruin the clan as they ruined Nosferatu. "Most Nosferatu are not masquerade breach" Vietnam flashbacks.
        Apparently, its a flaw now.

        But yes, I understand why they did it that way. Why? Because they want to be able to write Nosferatu in video games without having to do the entire game differently.
        Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-20-2020, 09:20 PM.


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

        Comment


        • #5
          Even if one likes the idea that going forward that one clan is destroyed (and this time, not replaced like the Salubri were with the Tremere, or Cappadocians with the Giovanni), there is still the issue of what to do with them if one plays any kind of historical chronicle.

          So one must either wipe them out entirely from the game's history, or replace them with something that does work.

          I think the changes in Revised were in the right direction, but still ultimately insufficient. Replacing them as gypsies by making them Indians really doesn't solve the problem. I have no problem with them being a dominant clan in India while not being as numerous elsewhere. But you can't base them too much on Indian mythology because that begs the question of what the clan was like BEFORE Indian mythology/religion as we knew it existed. The Ravnos of say 4000 BC living in the Harrapan civilization probably isn't going to look like either the Vedic or Hindu religions. And you can't make them the Indian clan any more than you can make Ventrue the German clan or Toreador the French clan. While they might be dominant in a particular country, you always had other vampires there. India is the same.

          And Chimestry is just a terrible Discipline. I've never known a player to like it.

          And a clan flaw that says "do this whenever you are tempted" is mechanically bad because it will lead to a lot of arguments between STs and PCs as to when that should apply.

          And the archtype is weak. By making them wanderers, it just duplicates the Gangrel shtick. So the clan has to be more than that. And if you say they are all thieves, it really limits what you can do with them as an ST or PC. It's like saying all Ventrue are powerful businessmen. Many are, but there's still a lot you can do with the clan. The archetype of "blue bloods" or "clan of kings" can cover a lot. (All the Independent Clan were like that - they were one hit wonders. But there was something about the Giovanni and Setites that allowed them to grow from that while keeping their core intact. Assamites though were just as bad as the Ravnos, and I think the Revised era changes ultimately don't work - the clan is ever more of a mess now than what it was before).

          So practically everything about the clan was bad. Better to just start over anew. But to do that you have to decide what is the core of the concept that can be salvaged, and then build everything according to those lines. Once we know that, we can figure out things like best Discipline set to give them, their history, and how they interact with the other clans and sects.

          So what should the core concept be? It needs to include what we've known about the clan in the beginning, but not be too limiting.

          Comment


          • #6
            I actually modified the Ravnos by using some Requiem rules to open up the Clan to more character concepts. Some modifications I made were as following:

            CT Phipps' Ravnos

            * Modify the Clan Flaw so that Ravnos are drawn to promoting either one form of Vice or Virtue at least once per game or suffer a -1 dice penalty. They may also be forced to make Self-Control checks if they are presented with their preferred vice/virtue (ST's description). Thus you could have Ravnos addicted to gambling, sex, or drugs but also Ravnos who are celibacy advocates, recklessly courageous, or charitable to a fault.

            * Ravnos are not particularly wanderers in my game but generally live on the edge of Kindred society. This is not because of their associatiuon with the Romani [which is a Gangrel thing in my games] but the fact they were alligned with the Anarchs during the First Anarch Revolt but escaped with no consequences for their diablerie, murder, and looting. They also never surrendered or allied with the Sabbat, leaving them with no friends.

            * The Ravnos see themselves as the tempters of mortals and tricksters but they don't actually want to corrupt them like Setites. The idea is that they are teaching mortals a lesson for their greed, pride, and hubris. A Christmas Carol on good days, SAW on their bad days. This is, of course, often just an excuse to fuck with people.

            * I gave them a Dominate, Obfuscate, Fortitude spread instead of Chimestry.

            * They tend to Embrace people on the margins of society or caught between two worlds. While they were the Dominant clan in India, they Embrace people of mixed heritage, outcasts, and servants. They favor people who are clever, morally ambiguous, and of great zeal. They also Embrace a great number of fanatics and people of exceptionally moral fiber too. Just like the Nosferatu Embrace the very ugly and the very beautiful.


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

            Comment


            • #7
              The whole idea of a clan being associated with the Romani is strange, anyway. It's clearly a holdover from Dracula, but even in Dracula there is no suggestion that all Romani everywhere serve every vampire everywhere. It was just this group of Romani who lived near the castle served him, probably because they were poor, and ignoring the weirdness of your employer is easier when you are desperate for money. It could have easily been any other group of poor people, had Dracula lived somewhere different.

              Comment


              • #8
                I like the Ravnos. 2e had a lot of offensive racist elements, but Revised cleaned up the clan really well, and Lore of the Clans proved another generation of writers could maintain that mojo. I'm sad to see them gone because I think their presence added more to the setting than their removal ones.

                I would say that Revised's, well, revised take on the clan wasn't completely perfect. I think it placed overly much emphasis on the clan's Indian heritage when the trickster archetype the clan takes after (or at least, could have further played up) is so universal. I agree that "wanderer" and "thief" aren't good concepts for the clan when Gangrel already have "wanderer" covered and "thief" has problems of its own. "Trickster" is better.

                The 2e clanbook had a character I really liked, Spider-Killer, who was native to the American Southwest and linked to the Coyote figures out of Native American myth. The writers could produce a ton more awesome material in that vein.

                I don't think it's necessary to turn them into Caitiff. White Wolf could've kept them a bloodline if they wanted to keep the Week of Nightmares, but I don't think the clan is so terrible that it needs to be effectively excised from the setting. I've long believed there's no such thing as a bad idea, just bad execution of an idea.

                Chimerstry also works great as an Obfuscate/Fortitude series of amlagams. Obfuscate to deceive the senses, Fortitude to give those deceptions greater substance.
                Last edited by False Epiphany; 02-21-2020, 05:13 AM.


                Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                  I like the Ravnos. 2e had a lot of offensive racist elements, but Revised cleaned up the clan really well, and Lore of the Clans proved another generation of writers could maintain that mojo. I'm sad to see them gone because I think their presence added more to the setting than their removal ones.

                  I would say that Revised's, well, revised take on the clan wasn't completely perfect. I think it placed overly much emphasis on the clan's Indian heritage when the trickster archetype the clan takes after is so universal. The 2e clanbook actually had a character I really licked, Spider-Killer, who was native to the American Southwest and linked to the Coyote figures out of Native American myth. The writers could produce a ton more awesome material in that vein.

                  I don't think it's necessary to turn them into Caitiff. White Wolf could've kept them a bloodline if they wanted to keep the Week of Nightmares, but I don't think the clan is so terrible that it needs to be effectively excised from the setting. I've long believed there's no such thing as a bad idea, just bad execution of an idea.
                  That's the thing though. The Ravnos seems to be made up of other Clan's things.

                  They're wanders, just like the Gangrel.

                  They're tricksters, the Malkavians are the vampire tricksters and pranksters.

                  They're outcasts hated by all, just like the Caitiff.


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nice job replying to that post faster than I could edit it.

                    I think you can make that argument for many of the Masquerade clans to some extent though. Are the Ventrue and Lasombra really that conceptually distinct? The main thing the latter have going for them is the shadows gimmick. The Tzimisce, if you take them apart, embody a bunch of archetypes that the Gangrel, Ventrue, Lasombra, Nosferatu could all cover too.

                    Completely distinct clans is Requiem's bailiwick. Masquerade is about lots of clans that cover specific niches with some degree of inevitable overlap. The main question for me is whether the clans can be made to feel distinct enough, and how attached I am to them for simply being established parts of the game.


                    Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                      Nice job replying to that post faster than I could edit it.

                      I think you can make that argument for many of the Masquerade clans to some extent though. Are the Ventrue and Lasombra really that conceptually distinct? The main thing the latter have going for them is the shadows gimmick. The Tzimisce, if you take them apart, embody a bunch of archetypes that the Gangrel, Ventrue, Lasombra, Nosferatu could all cover too.

                      Completely distinct clans is Requiem's bailiwick. Masquerade is about lots of clans that cover specific niches with some degree of inevitable overlap. The main question for me is whether the clans can be made to feel distinct enough, and how attached I am to them for simply being established parts of the game.
                      I know, it's just I've always loved the Malkavians as the Trickster Clan.

                      My favorite archetype.

                      Part of the problems they face is they want to define their mental illness as their defining trait when the Clan Culture is based on something entirely else. Being the Gadfly.


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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think their clan culture is based on them simply knowing more than any other clan, because between the Network, their Auspex, and their Obfuscate allowing them to sneak around searching, they are really better than even the Nos at acquiring information. So any time anyone tries to bullshit them, they are, by far, the clan most able to simply snicker and call their would-be manipulator on his bullshit. It effectively makes them a kind of disinterested version of the Harpies.

                        Kind of like Bran The Broken exposing Littlefinger's secrets without even caring about them. A Malk can be anything from Joker to Doc Manhatten when it comes to exposing your secrets and weaknesses, but he will know what they are.
                        Last edited by CajunKhan; 02-20-2020, 11:51 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Here is how I would treat them if I wouldn’t reimagine the clan entirely as a completely new clan created from the blood of Zapathasura (have to think about how such a clan would look like).

                          I would still make them the clan of wanderers, but other than the Gangrel, it is not just about wandering around the world, it is about wandering spiritually from life to life. The idea is, to slip from one life to another and experience how it is to be another person again and again. Much like the circle of reincarnation, but with the special condition that a vampire can’t participate at reincarnation since he or she is stuck in unlife. It is not so much about the manipulation of other people, but rather to blend in social structures which seams fitting for a social parasite as all vampires are.

                          Chimestry (which I think would be actually two amalgams, one of Obfuscate and Presence to trick someone’s senses and one that involves Fortitude to give an illusion some substance) is used to change your appearance and maybe even your personality, like a supernatural mimicry to blend in.

                          Of cause, that means as well, that Ravnos often impersonate members of other clans, just to know how it is to be a Ventrue or how it is to be a Nosferatu for a decade or two. Naturally that leads to the conclusion that they are frauds and liars and thieves and what have you, when it is revealed, but in reality it is not meant to harm others but to recreate the circle of lives (which, btw, could be a philosophy actually inspired by the Ravnos culture who might came up with that behavior before Indian philosophy even existed) and just to blend in.

                          That way, the clan is not only pretty much clean from racial stereotypes and can be seen as being framed all along, but it might also be totally possible that there are much more Ravnos left then you think, since they blended totally in to other cultures and other clans (as they blend in in Asian Vampire society, but that is a different story). And the cherry on the top is, that every older concept players might have still works, it is just another angle to view it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post



                            But yes, I understand why they did it that way. Why? Because they want to be able to write Nosferatu in video games without having to do the entire game differently.
                            /
                            Just wear heavy face coverings before you unlock Mask of A thousand Faces. /Simple. You can even have some fun options.
                            A Marx-beard with sunglasses
                            Excessive makeup. You ever seen RuPaul's Drag Race? People can do amazing things.
                            Demonic Kabuki makeup. (or equivelent)
                            Bandages
                            Facemask and sunglasses




                            Right, On topic.
                            I don't know why you needed to add V5 to the title, it's really an edition agnostic question.

                            I like Ravnos.
                            They weren't a problem come revised, people just remembered they were a problem.
                            My only real problem with Ravnos was that the Paths of Paradox have some really, really non-starter versions, like absolutely unsurvivable. I really, really enjoyed playing a Samsara character, and i thought another one looked good, but some of them are just suicidal and it doesn't make any sense that anyone could survive on them.

                            I really like the 'And it was all chimestry" angle, and I see the clan rebuilding semi-aggressively regardless. Lots of low gen embraces, Perhaps lots of Diableries.
                            Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 02-21-2020, 08:21 AM.


                            V5 is not VTM

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                            • #15
                              Honestly, i don't care either way? I have already ranted a little on the subject of the Ravnos "upgrade" from the "gypsy clan" (and their first clanbook referenced WoD: Gypsies a lot, really) to "the indian clan" and how i don't see such an ginormous evolution in it, or how getting "gypsy/romani/etc" and replacing it with "drifter/nomad/vagrant/trickster/etc" deals with the stereotype issues quite handily but whatever.

                              Honestly, i stopped caring completely about metaplot or whatever is canon or not in the most current edition sometime between VtDA's Libelli Sanguini books and the 3rd edition. Everything is an event, to mix, match or utterly ignore according to convenience and/or the input of your players, that simple.
                              Last edited by Baaldam; 02-22-2020, 12:38 AM.

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