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[India] The Toreador

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  • [India] The Toreador

    I have read several references to the Toreador being considered to be "Pariahs" or "untouchables" among Indian Cainites. Any idea why? I find it odd, considering the importance art and beauty have in most cultures I'm aware of in the Indian subcontinent.

    Any ideas, real world references...?
    Comments by Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan forumites would be highly appreciated, as well as any comments by anyone...


    "No, no, don't look any further, my profile is actually more handsome than me"

  • #2
    While artists are low on the caste system they are far from the very bottom. They fall on the third rung, above manual laborers but below rulers and warriors.

    However if vampires in India simplify the system to a three tier since manual laborers are more then likely ghouls then the Toreador would be the very bottom.
    Last edited by Dwight; 05-15-2020, 11:46 AM.

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    • #3
      It could perhaps be a reference to their tendency to become obsessed over art and aesthetics as a failing to overcome the distractions of the world, but I honestly don't know and that is entirely speculation on my part and not confident speculation either.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Gryffon15 View Post
        It could perhaps be a reference to their tendency to become obsessed over art and aesthetics as a failing to overcome the distractions of the world, but I honestly don't know and that is entirely speculation on my part and not confident speculation either.
        It's the culture putting more value on the product then the producer. However that's the plight of artists worldwide.
        Last edited by Dwight; 05-15-2020, 12:48 PM.

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        • #5
          To be honest, for some strange reason I always had this vague idea that all of the Clans with Auspex as a clan discipline would be considered as Brahman. But that's more head-canon than anything else, really. I sort of suspect that an accurate rendering of Hinduism's caste system and India's diverse ethno-political-religious make up would require that all of the clans have their own internal castes and subcastes based around which specific human group that specific part of that specific clan gets to embrace from.


          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
            The idea that vampire society would mirror human society strikes me as odd. It is one of those attempts at modern human multiculturalism in an alien society that is jarring to me.

            In so far as they are influenced by Hinduism (and the other karmic religions of India), it would seem to me they would place all vampires, as supernatural beings, above humanity and with its own ranking system (which is likely the standard elder-ancilla-neonate hierarchy). Like some kind of Asura or Rakshasa (or one of the kinds of them). Of course newly embraced vampires would carry over their mortal beliefs into their new state as vampires, but I don't think it would be any more prominent than European vampires being devout Christians or Middle Eastern vampires being devout Muslims. Eventually the vast majority becomes self-serving shitbags.

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            • #7
              I don't know much about VTM India beyond having a Tzim Meth, and being the homeland of the Ravnos. But I'd hazard a guess that the Toreador like to create lasting material things, and so run afoul of Paradox Ravnos.

              Keep in mind, that whole "high clan, low clan" thing is actually very geographic. A Tzim in Transylvania is definitely high-clan. An independent Tzim in Paris is a laughable anachronism and practically a caitiff.

              So it wouldn't surprise me if Torries are low-clan in the Ravnos homeland.

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              • #8
                In my head canon The Toreador are subjugated to the lowest caste by the Ravnos as part of the Jyhad. The Toreador are proponents/priests of Humanity vs the Ravnos path of Mayaparisatya so that may be why. It may be the Toreador's habit of focusing on external beauty, personal and artistic, rather internal truth that has set them to the lowest caste. I still prefer the idea that the Ravnos hate the Toreador and so were forced to the lowest caste by the Ravnos. Unlike the Gangrel the Toreador were unable or unwilling to force their way into a better position due to reputation and a willingness to take it by tooth and claw.

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                • #9
                  A simple answer could be that it's tradition and that tradition was established by kindred thousands of years ago because they wanted to keep Toreador at the level of society, have established a position of advantage for themselves. Maybe they'd have done the same to more clans if they could. The rationalisation of that would be more complicated; I'm guessing it has something to do with what they did with humans. Then a meta reason is that it's fun to mix up the statuses of different clan across cultures to create new roles. It's like what Dizzy says about Rio in Camarilla (V5):

                  "The Lasombra control the clubs, the high life, the tourist scene, the beaches. The Toreador are in the favela, the shanties, scrumming around with the beggars on the streets. Doesn't that just seem crazy to you?"

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                  • #10
                    I doubt it has anything to do with any mortal caste system or with artists, since most Toreador are more appreciators of art than artisans themselves. But we know the vampires have traditionally had their own system, and one of the ways they’ve dealt with their state was to rationalize it in terms of karma and Maya and other philosophical concepts that helped them feel more detached from what they were and what they had to do (and how in mortal terms that ought to make them the lowest of the low). So perhaps the Toreador tendency to get caught up in the illusion is seen as beneath the Ravnos ability to master the illusion (conveniently, in the system the Ravnos probably devised).

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                    • #11
                      Thanks all of you for your answers; they are very interesting and useful.


                      "No, no, don't look any further, my profile is actually more handsome than me"

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                      • #12
                        My own head canon is that India's vampires - and I mean that in the general sense of it's Hindu aspects; certain other groups may have developed different ideas - believe themselves to be Rakshasa, created by the breath of Brahma at the end of the Age of Truth only to instantly be consumed by an insatiable bloodlust and attempt to devour their creator. Vishnu came to Brahma's aid and banished the Rakshasa to earth. (Since there are 13 clans, when vampires tell this story, it's obviously meant to imply that it's 13 Rakshasa who get banished to earth and each starts a clan.)
                        By the time the world rolls around to the era of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, there are a lot of Rakshasa running around, some good, some evil. They're seen as powerful warriors, skilled magicians, and master illusionists and shapeshifters. Some are very monstrous looking, with huge fangs and claws, glowing red eyes, and the like. (And yes, all of this is implied to derive from the various vampire disciplines - the physicals, blood magic, Auspex, Chimerstry, Obfuscate, Protean, Vicissitude - and from certain clan weaknesses (Nosferatu, Gangrel, and Cappadocian, among others).
                        And this era introduced two rival Rakshasa who'd become the role-models for most of their kind going forward. One of those was Ravana, bloodthirsty and wicked; the other was his brother, Vibhishana, noble and righteous. Those who follow the way of Ravana are monsters, somewhat akin to the Western Sabbat, both in behavior, skewed morality, and their devotion to their own religious rites. Those who follow the way of Vibhishana, are - at least in their own eyes - civilized, somewhat akin to the Camarilla (and in the modern nights, the Camarilla effectively - if a little patronizingly - consider their courts to be the Camarilla of India). Because of their efforts to be, if not righteous, at least moral, they try to adhere to the ideals of the Purusartha, or ideals of human pursuit, as adapted for vampire existence. These include dharma (behavior in accord with the right way of living), artha (pursuit of material prosperity), kama (sensual pleasure), and mocsa (liberation from the sorrow and suffering that comes with the circle of life, death, and rebirth). This isn't a Path of Enlightenment or anything; it's just how they tend to approach Humanity and what it means.
                        The Rakshasa traditionally try to adhere to a form of the Hindu caste system, although one that is more focused on the vampire needs of where and from whom one feeds, where one establishes their domain and areas of influence among mortals, and from what groups one is usually allowed to choose possible childer from. But ultimately, this system is less a matter of trying to follow or mimic human culture or social systems than it is a practical effort to cut down on the number of potential fights and struggles between the region's vampires over these issues. This system is significantly less stable and adhered to in the modern era than it was before the disruptions of British conquest and modern political upheavals.
                        All 13 original clans are present in modern India, though the surviving Salubri and Cappadocians are very thin on the ground. And none of them are exclusively associated with a single caste. Even the Nosferatu, for example, have powerful and famous warrior linages. The Tremere and Giovanni are also there, but fairly rare, and Tremere tend to be a little more integrated into the Rakshasa culture than the Giovanni are.

                        Anyway, that's the set up I tend to use.

                        (I've at times toyed with the idea of the clans all going instead by the name of one of the famous rakshasa from the epics, as some of them fit surprisingly well, but I haven't ever fully committed to it.)


                        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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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                          My own head canon is [...] I tend to use.
                          (I've at times toyed with the idea of the clans all going instead by the name of one of the famous rakshasa from the epics, as some of them fit surprisingly well, but I haven't ever fully committed to it.)
                          - I love your headcanon; would you mind if I take it home and see what it grows into in my headspace?
                          - So, in your headcanon, are Danava and Daitya bloodlines, or the Indian names of the Ventrue and Setite clans?


                          "No, no, don't look any further, my profile is actually more handsome than me"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Alqamar Alaswad View Post

                            - I love your headcanon; would you mind if I take it home and see what it grows into in my headspace?
                            - So, in your headcanon, are Danava and Daitya bloodlines, or the Indian names of the Ventrue and Setite clans?
                            Please feel free.

                            As for names and bloodlines, my knowledge of India's numerous languages is roughly on par with my knowledge of the sport of curling. Which is to say that, I know one has something to do with a rock and a broom, and the other has a bunch of them. So I can never really guess at how well a name fits in with the culture in question or what it would actually mean to people in that culture. I was actually kind of amused to learn recently that in modern Japan, the term "Gaki" is sometimes used as a euphemism for "spoiled brat", from the idea that hungry ghosts are usually greedy and piggish, and so are ill behaved children. Hence why I've never really tried to come up with alternate names for the clans, even if as I said, some of the names of famous Rakshasa characters from the epics actually fit pretty well.
                            I think I could easily see a certain segment of Brahmin Ventrue deciding to call themselves the Danava, though it's entirely possible that other Indian vampires, even some Ventrue, seeing this as putting on airs by trying to claim a more noble origin for themselves than the rest of the Kindred/Rakshasa. I'm not so sure they'd be a blood line as much as they'd been akin to some of the Ravnos Jati.
                            The Daitya Setites, as described in Followers of Set, I would probably see as one of the less disruptive factions of those following the way of Ravana, in the sense that they think their dharma is to fight against the Deva (gods). And, again, their name might be viewed by others as a little self-aggrandizing. But I could just as easily see several other Setite factions with other focuses, including a Warrior bloodline sect devoted to Shiva and Kali seeing themselves as holy destroyers, a Buddhist cult who believe in destroying others' illusions of the world and their attachments to it, and so forth.


                            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)

                            Comment

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