Gypsies by Mors Rattus
You are Rom, and the Blood of the ages flows in your veins.Original SA post
I am now wrestling with Strange FATE, which seems the best way to run 7th Sea, but also confuses me in places. In the meantime
World of Darkness: Gypsies: You are Rom, and the Blood of the ages flows in your veins.
Well, I've had my fun. I did 7th Sea. Now let's talk about a piece of shit. A complete and total one. The Roma are a real people. They are known as 'gypsies', though it's rather derogatory. World of Darkness: Gypsies is about playing one, because, and I quote: "Forever isolated from other humans by their Blood and their ways, the Rom await with curiosity their role in the upcoming Convergence. Since the first Gypsy walked the earth, individual Roamni have played critical roles at important points in history." Yeah.
We start with the history of the Gypsies, as told to us by an unreliable first person narrator. So, you know, normal oWoD. The Roma are apparently an ancient people who have seen the rise and fall of civilizations. They are accused of being thieves but only because outsiders, the gaje, believe you can own things. The Roma are hated and feared because people can sense their power and their Blood as guardians of knowledge. The Phuri Dae clan are the true keepers of Rom knowledge, with powerful magic in their blood. Their family, apparently, was named after the woman who was mother of the Rom people. Her name was Daenna, a beautiful woman with great intelligence in the time of the first cities man ever made.
Daenna met a tall and handsome man, and the two soon became friend and lovers. His name was Dracian, and it was not long before the two were to be married. However, on the morning of the wedding, Daenna's brother Sarrath came to her, saying he did not trust Dracian. Daenna just smiled, and then the two argued, but Daenna would not relent in her love and Sarrath would not accept it. He swore that he would not remain in the city if it was not with her, and when she invited him to live with Dracian he left. For months, he did not return. The marriage went on, and Dracian took Daenna to his manor. The two loved each other...but that night and many to come, while Daenna learned much, she apparently never had sex. Or something. Because Dracian was, in fact, teaching her about death and rebirth, because he was shilmulo , which apparently means vampire. How no one noticed this I don't know.
Anyway, see, at the time vampires and mortals lived in peace. Daenna allowed Dracian to drink her blood, though she never drank his, because she was wary of its power. Dracian taught her about werewolves and faeries and ghosts and so on, of both magic and science. He was fascinated by experiments to control physical needs and desires, because then as now, vampires wanted to reach a state of peace with the Beast. Eventually, he found a way to do it. He had to make a tree. He makes this tree, which is the most perfect tree ever made. He then shows it to Daenna, and in it is a single, golden fruit, which she hungers for and instinctively reaches for to eat. Dracian catches her hand and warns her, speaking to her some mystery about the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which even the narrator doesn't know.
Anyway, Dracian tells her that the fruit will make him no longer thirst for blood, and it might even give him other powers, though no one knows what they were. Daenna is happy, but as dawn comes and Dracian sinks into the earth to sleep, Daenna hears the sounds of a struggle. The door nearby shatters, and she freezes up. She realizes that someone is comming to the tree, and that no one else must ever have its power, so she takes the fruit and then sets the Tree of Knowledge on fire. Then she runs, as battles rage around her, fleeing to her bedroom, where she finds a gigantic wolf with blood in its fur. At which point it turns human, because fuck it, we needed a werewolf here.
Turns out the werewolf is Sarrath. He tells Daenna about how he discovered he was, in fact, a werewolf, and she asks how he found her. He explains that he'd hunted for her but didn't want to approach her husband, because the vampires and werewolves were at war. The werewolves were being slaughtered by the vampires who ruled the city, and he wanted to avoid the anguish of either himself or Dracian dying and leaving Daenna to mourn. He then tells her about how he became friends with some soldiers of another vampire, Amriat, who had discovered that Dracian had made the Fruit. It was Amriat's soldiers who came to attack that day, and they told Sarrath, who came to save Daenna from being killed.
Daenna decides to trust Sarrath, and the two flee into the undercity, evading capture. There, they flee to Sarrath's cousins, the Kinfolk, who give them refuge. The two sleep by the fire, but the soldiers find them before dawn. Amriat has become very angry, and sent the soldiers after Daenna to find out what she did with the tree, and that's why 'amria' means 'curse', apparently. Anyway, The soldiers make their way in, and Sarrath moves to defend the humans. Daenna pulls out the golden fruit, cuts it in half and takes out five seeds from its silver flesh. She puts these into her locket and then eats the fruit. And then, from the union of fruit and Daenna, the Rom are born. Somehow. Anyway, at this point we enter 'fuck if I know territory' until Daenna wakes up again.
She finds herself in a crowd of refugees, carried by Sarrath. Daenna wills the refugees to move as one and become free, and they do, overwhelming the guards and allowing Daenna and Sarrath to escape. After this, they never stop travelling. Daenna lived for many years, and became mother of many children, each of whom was special due to her magic blood. Many had powers, though none as much as Daenna. One day, she took one of her great-granddaughters aside and gave her the locket with the Seeds in it, telling her that the Gypsies must always be the Guardians of the Seeds of Knowledge. Then Daenna teaches her descendants about magic and about what Dracian taught her, then left. She may or may not be immortal and alive today.
Anyway, the Gypsies become a people that always travel, because everyone can sense their power and is afraid of it. They sitll have their knowledge, but have begun to war with each other, because...because. They want to find the young who embrace the entire race as one and unite them. And thus we move to Chapter 2, which is not written in character. We learn that the Romani hold a unique position in the world, as they are found in almost all countries and have little in common with each other but loyalty and valuing freedom...and the Blood.
Because, see, the Daenna story is true. The Blood is her line, the power of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which gives the Gypsies magic powers at the price of being persecuted because apparently everyone fucking hates this fruit due to the otherness it makes people have. So, you know, people are prejudiced against Gypsies no matter where they go because they're jealous of the magic blood. They are also always travellers because of the tradition of Daenna and Sarrath. They used to travel in wagons, but most have been forced to change this lifestyle due to technology, using trailers, trucks or motorcycles. Also they like modems and the internet, and, uh...
Fucking Gypsies posted:
Although Gypsies are, as yet, a minor presence on the net, they are beginning to make an impact by running electronic scames and creating magically altered modems, which can crack security measures or even pilfer information from any computer that has ever hooked into the net. Many other electronic devices have been altered or refined to extract money from automatic teller machines, charge items on gaje credit cards, and perform other useful business dealings.
Remember: Gypsies are the victims of hurtful stereotypes as thieves. This is a real world fact. The Romani suffer heavy stereotypes. This book even talks about the stereotype of Roma as thieves, liars and scammers. It talks about how that stereotype is false, how many Roma do honest work and are not bad people. And then it goes and makes things like this . This will be far from the last time the book talks about how good and casually willing Roma are to steal from people.
Anyway, they have their own spoken language, Romany, which has many dialects but no written form. They are also hated and persecuted across the world, seen as crooks and criminals. The reason for this is their magic powers and aura of strangeness. They even believe they are being persecuted by the evil Magadon, Inc., which they think is kidnapping gypsies to do experiments with their blood. Also, some Roma are settling down into civilization, and thus losing their powers and heritage.
Gypsies care about family and clan the most of all, and will generally view anyone with Rom blood as family, treating them with far more respect than gaje, or outsiders. Of course, this doesn't mean there isn't internal conflict; there absolutely is. They just band together against outsiders. Anyway, the families. Each family has its own King or Queen, who runs the place. Many have claimed to outsiders to rule all gypsies, but only Daenna can claim that. The five major families of magic gypsies still retain some of their ancient knowledge, though even the Phuri Dae don't have all of it. We'll cover the families next time.
Next time: Gypsy Subsplats
Of course, the Gypsy always finds out that, yes, there is a terrible curse.Original SA post oWoD: Gypsies: Of course, the Gypsy always finds out that, yes, there is a terrible curse.
We mentioned the five Gypsy elements before - fire, water, air, earth and spirit. There are two theories about how they're represented in the families of power. The first theory is that each family represents an element, with either the Tsurare or Phuri Dae being the spirit and thus the apex of all Romani, depending on who tells the story. The Tsurara claim to be the purest Rom and that the others are past their time, because the Tsurara are the token assholes. Apparently hating vampires means you have to be an ass. Anyway, the other theory is that the families that aren't Tsurara all have a normal element, and tha the Tsurara are corrupt. This one is believed by most Phuri Dae, Lupines and Ravnos.
The book also brings up that there are those who aren't Gypsies that know about the Seeds and want them. It claims that the Gypsies have survived because the Inconnu recognize them as the rightful Guardians and are protecting them, perhaps to later take advantage of them when Gehenna comes. Also, some mages apparently want the Rom to have the Seeds for unknown reasons. Alternatively, no one but a Rom can hold a Seed without dying, which may be why everyone has left the Seeds alone.
Anyway, this Convergence business. The Gypsies believe the universe is a sleeping giant, with the earth in her left little toe. When stretches, reality shifts. The stars, they say, will align to tell them about the next shift, so they'll be ready when it happens. This is the Convergence. Others say that the universe is a snake tracing her way along her own body to find her tail, which she will swallow, and the time when she swallows her head will be the Convergence. Either way, the Gypsies are certain that their actions will help decide what the new age will be, though they aren't sure what their true role will be. Their favorite theory is that their job is to plant the Seeds and make a World Tree, which the Gypsies (and only the Gypsies) will get to eat the fruit of, and then they will climb the tree and go live on the moon.
We get a sidebar now on how the Gypsies seep urity as a critically important thing, and never eat dirty food or refer to bodily fluids by name. There are elaborate cleansing rituals, and Gypsies often commit suicide if they think they can't be cleansed. Most outsiders believe it was a system to keep Gypsies from getting sick, but in truth it is because Daenna told them to keep their Blood secret, and so they developed a taboo against referring to blood and other bodily fluids. Because that makes sense. It's all to keep the secret of the Seeds from paranoid outsiders and preserve their secrets.
This Fucking Book posted:
Many of the Phuri Dae believe that Hitler had discovered the power of their Blood and was thus committed to destroying the Rom. The purity and superiority of the Gypsies' Blood may have intrigued as well as enraged Hitler and the SS. Rumors also speak of terrible torture and experimentation performed on some of the Rom held in concentration camps, in which large amounts of Blood was extracted from the prisoners. This Blood may have been intended for use in the dark rituals of certain high ranking officers of the SS, who were also said to be dark mages.
Anyway. The Gypsies have a second role - they are wildcards. Something in the Blood makes it so they have key roles in history all the time. They say there's no way to know who will get the role, but they say they should always follow their instincts just in case. Oh, and here's a fun one! The reason that Gypsies believe it's okay to treat outsiders like shit and steal from them? It's because of prejudice!
THIS FUCKING BOOK posted:
Gypsies see themselves as unique among all the world's peoples. They may be right. The Romani people thus hold an entirely different set of ethics when it comes to outsiders (gaje). [...] This double standard has evolved over many centuries, and probably came about in part due to the knowldge and abilities granted to the Gypsies from their Blood, and partly due to their almost universally poor treatment by members of other races.
Today's Gypsies do not feel it is ethical to lie to, cheat or steal from another Romani. However, it is perfectly appropriate to manipulate and use a gaje. After all, if the gaje is gullible or slow-witted enough to fall for the Gypsy's tricks, then the Gypsy was meant to succeed at her endeavor. This ethical double standard has led the gaje to misunderstand and even hate the Gypsies. It has also led the Gypsies to develop numerous elaborate plots and schemes to exploit the gaje for money and trinkets.
We then get some descriptions of how Gypsy assholes swindle people out of as much money as possible, by convincing them their money is tainted and cursed and must be burned. The Gypsy then steals the money. But wait, there's more!
Many gaje view the word of a Romani as being about as trustworthy as a politician's campaign promises. When dealing with the gaje this is usually true. But when a Gypsy gives her word to a fellow Romani, it is inviolate. This same double standard threads throughout the Romani's dealings. [...] But when dealing with an outsider, no Gypsy holds his brother to the same standard. After all, the gaje are not to be trusted, and so are unworthy of a Gypsy's trust.
The Gypsies also love to misinform, lie to and cheat researchers who want to chronicle their culture, and so those researchers often believe they have succeeded but in fact are victims of elaborate, assholish practical jokes. This allows Gypsy culture to continue despite pressures to conform! Because being an asshole is great that way.
Fuck it, I can't continue this today.
Next time: Gypsies on tour.
We'll see you when you get back. Beat it.Original SA post oWoD: Gypsies: We'll see you when you get back. Beat it.
The Gypsies maintain a practice of going on tour. That is, as teenagers or young adults they strike out with others of their own age and travel among the Gypsy camps and caravans. The parents like the chance to spy on each other via their kids, and to expose their children to other lifestyles. Since World War II, the custom has grown again in popularity, though the Phuri Dae believe this is linked to the approaching Convergence. Either way, when Gypsy groups meet, their young adults will often create temporary traveling groups and set out - or may get forced to, finding themselves locked out of the family RV with a small suitcase.
Traveling youth companies are not expected to do anything but survive. Sure, picking up useful information or stories is a plus, but not required. Of course, it is also often these groups that end up changing history, and many such traveling bands often are convinced they'll be the next. Other Rom will, of course, look after them - but they're not supposed to stay with angy group more than five days, for fear of bad luck. However, it is also said that the Gangrel vampires will watch over the Gypsy youth.
They have a legend about why. A guy named Jorsce was on his travels when he ran into a big black wolf - a really, really big one. Jorsca was no fool, so he knew he couldn't run. The wolf started to approach him...so Jorsca stripped naked and sat down, looking into the wolf's eyes. He realized it had a man's eyes, so he told it he knew it was either changeling or vampire. The wolf was a Gangrel, so he turned human again and asked Jorsca why he didn't run. Jorsca shrugged and said he liked it on the beach, and that besides - he was too strongly flavored for anyone not related to a Gypsy. The Gangrel laughed and said that no blood was too powerful for him, so Jorsca proposed a contest. He pointed to two rocks, and said that his blood was more powerful than the Gangrel's - he could dissolve rocks with it, and so he was kin to the Gangrel, who could make the earth give way.
The Gangrel agreed to the challenge and then bit his own palm and held one of the rocks against it. Nothing happened. Jorsca then cut himself with his own knife and picked up a rock, closing his fist around it - and then opening his fist to reveal it was gone. The Gangrel got angry and made him do it again. Jorsca kept doing it, and the Gangrel kept getting mad...all the way up to the time when the sun rose. The Gangrel remained unable to figure out the trick, and began to scream in pain at the touch of the sun, so Jorsca took him and brought him back to his wagon, using it to shield the vampire from the light.
The next night, Jorsca and the vampire, whose name was Lareth, talked until the sun came up. Lareth was very impressed with the Gypsies and traveled with them, swearing a pact that neither's people would harm the other, much as they had not harmed each other that first night. And that is why the Gangrel are friends with Gypsies. They help each other out when they can, sometimes greatly, like when a Gangrel Embraced a ton of Gypsies in a concentration camp and helped them destroy the place and escape. More recently, a bunch of Gypsies in Mexico saved a Gangrel from werewolves in Cancun by hiding him in a rotting roast pig.
We get a sidebar now on how the Gypsies may have time travel in their blood, and how they like to prove they're favored by fate by talking about a legend involving the Crucifixion. As Jesus is being ailed to the cross, everyone moves to a safe distance except one Gypsy boy, who snuck up to talk to Jesus and stole one of the nails being used to nail one of the thieves to the cross, becuase Gypsies steal. Christ then, well...
Fuck you, Teeuwynn posted:
With the gifts of his kind, the lad stoleo ne of the nails itnended for use in the Crucifixion. Looking up to see if the guards had noticed, the young boy saw Christ smiling at him, and his his head, the boy heard whispered words. The words told him that his people would forever be free of the seventh commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," because of his small kindness in easing Jesus' pain.
What this has to do with time travel is anyone's guess.
We move on now to character creation mechanics. Nothing especially odd until we get to elements. Apparently, every baby is tied to earth, air, water, fire or spirit. A baby touched by Earth is called Dhartime and is tied to either the Instinct Blood Affinity or Draba magic. We'll learn waht those are later. In addition, they are unnaturally skilled healers and repairmen, and even hackers. They may spend 2 WP to heal or fix one level of damage to anything or anyone over the course of a turn. Air-touched Gypsies are known as Jhanaki and get either the Luck Blood AFfinity or the Truth of the Rom Blood Affinity. They are able to escape any problem...and are really good thieves, because they're Gypsies. They can spend 2 WP to negate one success in any roll against them.
Fire Gypsies are warriors, called Kuryan, and their Affinity is always the Dance of Knives. They can spend 2WP to ignore the effects of two wound levels, thus resisting damage effects and even knockout for the duration of a scene. They can still be killed, though. Water Gypsies are performers and storytellers, called Jastima. They get either Truth of the Rom or Zapaderin. They can spend 2 WP to decrease the effective WP of any gaje watching or listening to them by 1, which applies to all rolls for a scene. I don't know if this is single target or 'all non-Gypsies watching'. Last and rarest are the Spirit-touched, who have naturally strong Blood and wisdom. They are carelled Satarma and get one of the four types of Romani Magic. They can also spend 2 WP to temporarily gain a dot in any form of magic for one scene, and can even grant abilities above the Gypsy's Blood Purity level, but it isn't cumulative.
Oh yeah, and just in case you were wondering, the book invents the Bujo skill, for swindling people. When used, it gives you 5000 dollars times your successes, but it takes at least one week per 5000 stolen from your target. They also have a Drinking skill. I have no idea why you would ever bother to spend points on it. We also learn that the favored Romani weapon is the talith, a heavy scarf with weighted hooks on the end, which you can learn a special skill to use. If you do, it can blind your enemies, hurt them, disarm them or even get two attacks per round.
Gypsies also get Courage, Self-Control and Conscience like Vampires do.
This Book, This Fucking Book posted:
Gypsy characters have a greater number of points to spend on Virtues than most mortals, due to the Gypsies' inherent connection to the universal life force flowing through their veins. This connection is part of the genetic inheritance Daenna bequeathed to her children.
Apparently, Gypsies are genetically more moral than other people.
Next time: Gypsy blood magic.
The stronger the Blood sings in the veins of a Rom, the stronger the gaje's aversion.Original SA post oWoD: Gypsies: The stronger the Blood sings in the veins of a Rom, the stronger the gaje's aversion.
Your power stat in Gypsy is Blood Purity. Like Generation, you get to buy dots of it, though the first one is free, and like Generation there seems to be no way to raise it in play. Unlike Generation, Gypsies can't commit diableries. Probably. At one dot, "you qualify as a true member of the Rom...barely." It makes your first Social roll with any particular non-gypsy be at +1 difficulty, but you can have one Blood Affinity. Two dots means you have more Gypsy blood and probably know about it, and you can have two Affinities. At Purity 3, that first social roll against non-Gypsies is at +2 difficulty, but all social rolls against gypsies are at -1 difficulty. Also three Affinities. Four dots, four Affinities. Five dots means you rival Daenna in being tuned to the power of the Blood, and that first roll against non-gypsies is at +3 difficulty. All other social rolls against non-gypsies are at +1 difficulity. However, all social rolls against gypsies are at -2 difficulty, and five Affinities.
So, what's a Blood Affinity? Special gypsy powers. They are not strictly magical, some are just dances and songs or ways of fighting, but even if a gaje learns them, he can't get the effect because he's not a gypsy. That's how things work, apparently. The dicepool for all powers is Blood Purity plus your rating in the Affinity unless stated otherwise (which they all do), and you have 3 points to spend on affinities at chargen.
The first Affinity is Dance of Knives , which is the ancient Gypsy martial art of fighting "from the soul", whatever that means, and moving to the rhythm of your Blood. You get superspeed while dancing, apparently, making your knives a deadly whirlwind. You have to be using either knives or kicks, but you can throw the knives. Your rating in Dance of Knives is the number of attacks you can make in the round, and yes, that means one dot does literally nothing . The book is explicit on this. Also your rating in the Dance cannot exceed your Blood Purity, ever.
Instinct is the second Affinity, and it is the ability to sense danger. Instinct is added to any rolls regarding your personal safety, and the ST may roll it to have you sense trouble even if there was no way for you to do so. However, if you botch such a roll, you get misleading information instead. This Affinity only helps you, personally, and doesn't get added to rolls when you're not in personal danger, but it does seem like it'd add to any dodge rolls, so there's another five dice for you, I guess.
Luck is the third Affinity, and it gives you a floating dicepool equal to your Luck rating. You can add these dice to any roll you want, but each die can only be used once per story. This actually seems kind of reasonable, especially compared to Instinct's 'add this rating to all rolls where you are personally in danger.'
Then there's Magic , which comes in four types, each considered their own unique skill/Affinity. These are actually magical, and we'll get into them later. They are the Evil Eye , which curses people, the Sight , which tells the future, Mediumship , which talks to spirits, and Draba , which makes magic items.
The next Affinity is Truth of the Rom .
You always tell the truth no matter who you are talking to - even when you speak to a gaje. You seem to be able to convince yourself of the real truth of any situation, regardless of those seeming "facts" others speak of.
Yeah, it's the lying power. You tell a lie so good that no one can tell you're lying. When you tell lies, you subtract your rating in this from the successes of any roll trying to tell you're lying.
Lastly, Zapaderin . This is a hypnotic, mesmerizing dance. This lets you mesmerize any non-Gypsy; apparently Gypsies are immune. Your target doesn't have to be willing. If someone watches you dance for ten minutes, you lower their effective Willpower by 1 per successes on a difficulty 6 Appearance+Zapaderin roll, and the effect lasts as long as you keep dancing.
Now then. Magic. The Gypsies know all about magic, apparently. Of course, just because they have power doesn't mean they're not going to be assholes.
Because they're all assholes posted:
Of course this does not mean that your average Joe who stops by his local fortune-telling shop to speak to his dear-departed aunt, or ducks into Madame Eva's tent at the Gypsy carnival to have his palm read, is going to be the beneficiary of true Gypsy magic. Even if his chosen Gypsy consultant has a real gift, she may not strain herself by using it to aid a mere gaje.
Anyway, these talents usually show up early, and the Phuri Dae even prefer to test all their kids. Also, some Gypsies are psychic, but these powers aren't from the Blood, it's just noted that Gypsies still count as human and can learn the Numina in Hunters Hunted or the Vampire Player's Guide. Oh, and there's a sidebar on how Gypsies don't suffer Paradox unless they're actual Mages, because what they're doing is considered hedge magic. Mage Gypsies can use their Gypsy magic and have it always be coincidental, though. Then we learn that when a Gypsy becomes a vampire, even a Ravnos, they lose all their blood magic and any psychic powers...but still know how to use them. Thus, if they drink from a psychic mortal and thus gain temporary powers, they'll still know how to use 'em. Also apparently drinking from Gypsies can give Gypsy powers for a while? Only most vampires haven't a clue how to control it. As long as a Ravnos used to have the power, they can use it normally. All powers cost 1 Blood point to activate, and you can't save your Gypsy blood - blood's always spent in the order it was acquired.
Next time: More Gypsy blood magic.
Just one more thought and we'll stop needling those linear stooges.Original SA post oWoD: Gypsies: Just one more thought and we'll stop needling those linear stooges.
Gypsies, besides having powers, have the ability to buff each other as Blood Foci. Basically - they can temporarily increase each others' Blood Affinities. To do it, all the gypsies involved have to bleed onto some object that the one using the power will carry while using it. Whoever is the focus must be the last one to add blood to it. This costs 1 Willpower from each person involved, and works for any Blood Affinity. It lasts for one scene, and depending on the totalled Blood Purity of all the people involved, you get bonus successes to be added to uses of that Affinity in the scene. For 1-3 Purity, 1, all the way up to 5 free successes with 13-15 total purity. Also, you have to start using it before the blood dries, so within about 15 minutes. Note - these successes are a pool you draw from. You don't get 5 successes on everything - you get 5 successes to spread between rolls of the Affinity this scene. We are told this power is another reason everyone hates Gypsies.
Now, actual Blood Magic, as opposed to only kind-of-sort-of blood magic. The first is the Sight , the ability to see through time. We get another note that Gypsies love to pretend to be fortune tellers to swindle people, because Gypsies. We also learn that the Sight is not completely controlled - you don't always have the power to "step out of the linear timeline in which we function" to learn about the future and past. You have to concentrate and relax at once to do it. Also we get a sidebar on how the Roma think scientists are stupid and childish because they don't get that time is nonlinear, interweaving and splitting. Gypsies either use tarot cards, dice or some other tool to help them, and if they don't have their tool, their Sight rolls are at +2 difficulty.
The base difficulty is 8, but whenever you roll you have to specify what you're looking for. The more specific you get, the higher it rises. The more successes you get, the clearer your vision. For every success, you get one specific image or impression. The ST is told to be useful but cryptic, and to be vague at low success counts. You can only ask about one specific person, thing or event once, no matter how successful you are at it. You can never learn more unless you uncover more about your subject normally, to give you a new focus. At one dot, you can see a month into the past and 2 weeks into the future. 2 dots is a year back and six months ahead. 3 dots is ten years back and five ahead. Four is a hundred back and fifty ahead. Five is infinitely far back or ahead, but more than a century back or fifty years ahead is difficulty 10. We then get a boring list of types of divination and what each one provides bonuses to finding out about.
The Evil Eye is the power to curse people, and it is feared even today. It has also been an excuse to hunt Gypsies and women. It's not solely held by women, though. Anyone who knows Evil Eye powers gets +1 difficulty to all Social rolls with gaje or Romani. Vampires and werewolves don't give a shit, though. When you curse someone, you have to actually say what you'want to happen - bad luck, athlete's foot, whatever. Then you roll Manipulation+Evil Eye, with a difficulty of their Willpower+2. If you get one success, they are affected for a week, and the ST decides how it manifests mechanically, but it'll be mild. Three successes is six months and pretty damn nasty. Four is a year and even worse. Five is indefinitely and permanent if not removed by magic or miracle. However, you can get a draba, which is a magic item for gypsies, to ward off the Evil Eye, with its strength negating successes directly. However, once it's overcome, it is made useless. The only cure ofr the Evil Eye is someone else with the Evil Eye, but you can only try to remove any one curse once.
Mediumship reminds us again that most Romani mediums are swindlers because Gypsies. However, some can actually talk to ghosts ands spirits, because the Tree of Knowledge once closed the gap between the spiritual and material worlds. All mediums are born with a caul over their face, and they wear part of it in an amulet, which can be used to make a draba to protect against spiritual attack. Also the Rom are slightly connected to a group of gaje called the Benandanti who also have cauls and who can go to the Underworld. The Roma sometimes claim they stole this from Gypsies, but they are usually okay with each other. Anyway, you can make a roll to enter the Underworld or spirit world, with a base difficulty of 10, but this dropsthe closer you are to either a thin spot in the Gauntlet or if you have something important to a dead person. However, you can only talk to the spirit or ghost involved for one minute per success, or double that if you spend a Willpower.
Mediums can also banish ghosts or spirits from an area with another roll and spending some Willpower. Also the ST can decide to give you spirit buddies. You can also visit the Underworld, but not the Umbra, by leaving your body. However, your body becomes vulnerable to possession without any protection. You can stay seperated for a time depending on your skill, but can only enter the Underworld or leave at night. If you are out for more than 24 hours, your body enters a coma. The longer you're out, the harder it is to return. Also, depending on your skill, you will start to take damage after a while. At one dot of Mediumship, you start taking damage at six hours. Twelve at 2, a day at 3, a week at 4 and indefinitely at 5. You die if your body dies.
Then there's Draba , the art of making magic items. They are temporary but pretty helpful, and must be personally made. Their magic works only for gypsies, because Gypsies. You can try to make any draba of your skill rating in Draba or lower. This ranges from level one, where you get a bonus die to resist all magical effects for (Draba*Successes) months or a love potion that lasts for (Draba*Successes) weeks or a healing balm that heals one wound level (of any type, apparently) per application, with (successes) applications made to an amulet that lets you spend a Willpower to get +3 to all rolls made to manipulate technology, including making it do something impossible, to a level 5 CD that lets you make a roll to tap into time as if using the Sight, getting the information that power would use via listening to the CD.
So basically Draba can do anything.
Next time: Major Gypsy Families.
A Rom is to be trusted until proven unworthy, while a gaje is an enemy until proven otherwise.Original SA post oWoD: Gypsies: A Rom is to be trusted until proven unworthy, while a gaje is an enemy until proven otherwise.
All right, Gypsy families. There are tons of them, of course, and the book mentions a few minor families like the Asian Zingaresche family who are known to be excellent knife fighters and dancers, or the Tinkers, a British family that make relics and avoid outsiders despite also loving technology. Also the Banjara of India, who livei n the sewers and sneak out to steal from people. And only to steal from them. Yeah.
This is arguably , I think.
Anyway, major families now! The Lupines also call themselves the Children of Sarrath. They're almost all human and are all kingfolk to the Silent Striders. They are also the keepers of Ruzlekin, the Seed of Burning Tears. They are one of the oldest families and trace themselves back to Daenna and Sarrath. Who were all up in the incest, for...some reason. Apparently they had two sons, the first Lupines. The other families refer to them as "inbred" occasionally, but the Lupines believe they're closest to Daenna. The twin sons of Sarrath and Daenna, Abram and Zarrin, apparently decided to seek out others of their kind and eventually found their way to Egypt, where they "decided it would be a proper gesture of the respect they felt for all stuffy, overblown, sedentary gaje to steal the pharaoh's ceremonial beard."
While doing it, they spotted a pair of werewolf women, who recognized them as kinfolk. And then they had sex. The book seems to suggest they did this furry style, and I have no idea why. And then we get a sidebar on the fact that for some reason Gypsy werewolves can't use Blood Affinities but can use Gypsy magic items. Anyway, the gypsies then seduce the pharaoh disguised as women, drug him and steal his beard. Then they found the Lupines.
Sidebar now on the Lupines claiming tha the rebel yell of the South during the Civil War was actually a less effective version of the werewolf Howl of Fear, which the gypsies taught to the rebels because....um...because. Then they tricked General McClellan of the North into believing they'd teach him the trick and then ran off with his money. Great stuff .
Anyway. Lupines now stick around the Silent Striders, and almost all gypsy werewolves are Striders. Only a tenth of the Lupines are wolves, though. They also watch the gaje for "more than just an opportunity to play with the gaje's minds and money", being hunters for lost cubs, whom they kidnap and raise as their own. Really.
I can't make this shit up. posted:
The rescue of these lost Garou cubs is probably the one kernel of truth in all the gaje legends of Gypsy child-thieving. After all, normally the Rom want nothing to do with the weak-blooded gaje or their get.
The Lupines have also developed their own unique Blood Affinity: Spirit of the Wolf. This lets you do various things - at level one, they can spend a WP to get a second action, just like werewolves spend Rage for extra actions. At level two, they can look across the Veil and let others do so as well. At level 3 they can sprout agg-damage claws. At level 4, they can use any level one or two Silent Strider or Homid gift as if they were a werewolf. Any of them. At level 5, they can perform the Howl of Fear as if they were a werewolf, forcing anyone who fails a roll to flee in terror. Anyone who succeeds gets -2 dice to attack the gypsy and any allies.
Let's see...the Ravnos family! The Ravnos have been around since Daenna. They are guardians of Kooserin, the Seed of Earthly Awakening and many Ravnos are known for falling into darkness. They claim that Daenna found Dracian's blood, which was stained on a stone. She found a guy named Ravnos and put the stone on his tongue. Then she kissed him and stabbed him in the heart and he became a vampire. The Ravnos clan was born, and the guy's kids from before that became the Ravnos family of gypsies. The Ravnos family aids the Ravnos clan with anything, but sadly many Ravnos become addicted to vampire blood.
Wait, what? posted:
The second onus the Ravnos people bear is the ever-present threat of slavery and genocide by the gaje, which always seems to be, at best, barely held in check. Gaje persecution affects all the Rom, but hte Ravnos seem to have a knack for being in places where Gypsy persecution reaches fever pitch (or are particularly targeted by other, less visible enemies).
The Ravnos were apparently enslaved in Romania until a vampire named Durga Syn led a revolt and broke them out. They then headed to Eastern Europe and the Middle East to steal as much as possible. They also beg for money as a way of mocking non-Gypsies, but...
Hearing the gaje remark on how pathetic and shiftless the Rom are, the Ravnos have to laugh. After all, the Rom know they are actually mocking the cloying gaje, who so cling to their material possessions. It's just a pity the gaje aren't able to pick up on the joke. Then again, they probably wouldn't appreciate it. Gaje are like that.
Ravnos gypsies can get help from vampires with a roll, and also all have black market connections. All of them. All of them.
Next time: More families.
But what can you expect from a bunch of gaje?Original SA post oWoD: Gypsies: But what can you expect from a bunch of gaje?
Nowe we move on to the Urmen, who are the smallest major family. They are actually in danger of dying out - one of their three branches vanished 50 years ago in Scotland. They hold Jalomasin, the Seed of Stars. Except that the guys in Scotland were the ones who had it, apparently. Oh, and the Urmen are considered wqeird even for gypsies. They are friends of the Sellie court of fae, and many believe they might even be more loyal to them than the blood. This suspicion has followed them ever since their creation. Which is a doozy.
See, Daenna showed up in Transylvania one day and asks for a shawl and blanket. She's given it, since they recognize her, but the youngest one there, an eight year old kid, asks her why, if she is mother to them all, she is still young. She then launches into an extended metaphor about how things aren't what they seem and cloth is made of threads, and the gypsies are all the threads making up a cloth. And then the world is another cloth, with humans and gypsies and werewolves and then she points out that they're missing the fairies in both clothes. Because this metaphor is weird. So then she takes out a new thread and weaves it into the blanket and gives it to the kid.
That night, they both vanish. Nine months later, Dmitri, the kid who was kidnapped by Daenna, comes back with nine kids in tow. All of them are fey and pretty and have silver and black hair. They became the first Urmen. So apparently Daenna had nine children in fairyland with an eight-year-old? Or something? I would not be surprised. Anyway, the Urmen believe the Rom are supposed to bring the Seelie back to the physical world during the Convergence, and they're looking for ways to increase the magic of the world. They are also in danger because the vampire Baba Yaga has returned and half of them live in Russia. This is a really disjointed passage. Anyway, all Urmen are at least part fae, so they can never have Blood Purity over 4.
However, they getthe Faerie Threads Affinity. What does this do? Well...anything. When you buy Faerie Threads, you get a magic power - maybe you can summon a spirit, or teleport between faerie rings, or entrance people by singing. You can use your power a number of times equal to your Faerie Threads dots per story. Oh, and at level 1 you can also automatically recognize changelings and disguised faeries. At level 3 you can tell if faeries were around or if something is made by faeries.
The Phuri Dae are the closest to Daenna, and they may have just Eiavelan, the Seed of Brightest Waters, or that and also Bonnerin, the Seed of Balanced Scale. They are arguing over whether they are the true Rom, or just part of it. Their origin stoy goes like this: before they were the Phuri Dae, there was a woman named Noahe, who was very powerful but also very nosy. She was scrying one day and found a snarl in the threads of time, where she found a fish spirit caught in the threads. Because they are apparently literal threads. Noahe freed the fish, which then ate her. Inside the fish was Knowledge, which she ate. She couldn't eat it all, though, because the last was knowledge of disasters which - not shitting you - gave her indigestion. Anyway, she got out through the fish's ass and went home, taking that last bit with her, and she ate it at home.
At which point she found that the world was going to be destroyed, so she gathered her family and told them all about it. Thus, Noahe's family built a giant boat, putting all kinds of animals on it, and they survived. Also this is the Noah story except the Gypsies insist that the gaje got it all wrong. So, you know...just read this.
To this day the gaje are still steamed about not getting word of this little Earth scrubbing. So, of course, they lay claim to Noahe and give the flood to their great big daddy of a superego, and then they screw the story up even further. But what can you expect from a bunch of gaje?
Anyway. The Phuri Dae believe thgeir purpose is to prepare the world for the Convergence by teaching the entire planet. Except that this apparently scares them, and of course the Camarilla would kill them if they threatened the Masquerade, as would the werewolves, and so on. As a result, the Phuri Dae are going to have to do something big, to get everyone to believe in magic all at once...and also something subtle, so they don't get blamed. They plan to do this by showing the world magic and then denying it's magic. And so the Gypsies run LARPs. No, really, they run LARPs . It will condition people for the real thing!
Also they sponsor writers like Lovecraft? Somehow? Apparently racist old Lovecraft was buddies with the Gypsies now. Their special power is Patteran, a Blood Affinity which lets you alter your own thinking. At level 1, you can use the power to get a hint to the solution of a problem from the GM. At level 2, it can sense what the writer or speaker of a statement really meant to say and whather it was true. At level 3, they can tell a story that will give bonus dice to certain actions for their buddies. At level 4, they can set a trap in the threads of time which will trap specific facts, giving them useful knowledge on a subject relevant to the situation at hand. At level 5, they can exit their bodies, becoming invisible both to people and spirits and able to see both worlds, which they can still kind of sort of touch.
Last, the Tsurara, or Knife Tribe. They formed in the 40s when a Gypsy mage named Korasca gathered them up. They believe the Rom are superior to everyone else (I'm not sure how that differs from the rest of the Rom) and that they are the best of the Rom. They claim to hold Bonnerin, the Seed of the Balanced Scale, and they want to kill vampires. Lots of vampires. Korasca was a Holocaust survivor who met a vampire that told him all about how she had helped lead a Gypsy uprising at the concentration camp Glodker. Korasca became horrified when he heard about how the Rom were mostly Embraced and what the vampire actually did. Korasca lied and agreed to guard the vampire, then killed her, for she had done even worse than Hitler: she had destroyed the Gypsy Blood of those she'd Embraced.
The Tsurara are dedicated to keeping the Blood pure, and believe that they will need to purify the world when the Convergence comes. They fiercely debate the definitions of purity, but all agree that vampires, especially the Ravnos, need to die. They're divided on werewolves, but they all agree that having kids with a gaje is a horrible crime which should be punished, possibly by death. They like to either shave their heads and heavily tattoo their scalps, or grow super long hair. So either skinheads or dreadlocks.
Their Blood Affinity is the Blood Sense, which...senses blood. It is never taught to outsiders, on pain of horrible painful death. At level 1, they can tell if someone has gypsy blood and its Purity. They can also detect if a vampire has gypsy blood in their system, but not necessarily that it's a vampire. At level 2, they can tell if someone is a wizard, and what their general powers are. At level 3, it can sense vampires and werewolves. At level 4, it can detect the existence of any vampire, gypsy or werewolf that has been sensed before if they are within a mile. At level 5, this extends to three miles and can tell what physical state the subject's in.
The book says that the Tsurara are intentionally dark and represent the inherent danger of the Gypsies' heritage of Blood, knowledge and being persecuted. So yeah, they are intentionally racist supremacists.
Next time: We finish this fucking book, thank god.
Sinfi's great joys in life revolve around finding new ways to torment and live off the American gaje.Original SA post oWoD: Gypsies: Sinfi's great joys in life revolve around finding new ways to torment and live off the American gaje.
This is a short final bit. We get some campaign ideas, must of which revolve around 'weird things happen to gypsies, go investigate.' The sample characters, likewise, are boring...though notable for including the guy I mentioned above - Sinfi, a thief who loves hurting and annoying non-Gypsies, then lying his way out of being arrested. Basically, gypsies are still complete assholes in this book. Oh, and Sam-Sam, another thief and swindler who is slightly less assholish in that he actually feels mild guilt for what he does, except then the Virtual Adepts told him all about the technocracy and he became a hacker because.
So yes, this is actually a really short one. But before we're done, let's talk about the last thing in the book: Seth Browne. Seth Browne was an orphan gypsy who was raised by gaje.
This book just can't end on a high note. posted:
Completely oblivious to his heritage and Blood, Seth's gaje-parents managed not to neglect or abuse him too much, and he had a pretty happy childhood.
Mmm, backhanded compliments. Anyway, Seth is a nerd, but his parents are okay with him being a nerd because whatever. He attends cons and so on, he's kind of a shut-in and he fucking loves werewolves. Then he finds out about role playing games and LARPs. He becomnes obsessed with them and plays Werewolf whenever he can. Anyway, he starts talking to the folks who run the LARPs he plays in, and they're all very impressed.
And then it turns out his a gypsy and they want him to help them with a new game, which is basically the WoD books. No, really. And it turns out everything written in this new game is the truth, as the gypsy LARP-running folks tell Seth. He finds that the world suddenly makes sense, instead of telling these people they are fucking crazy. Then he gets adopted into the Lupines and there is absolutely nothing written about what his parents think. And there should be, because Seth at this point is barely 20 and a just-published author writing vaguely fictionalized stuff about werewolves and a kid who finds that he's related to them.
Except he's not Lupine, he's Phuri Dae, but who cares? For once, we have a gypsy who's not that much of an asshole, though. He's only kind of anti-gaje.
No, really, they couldn't make him think the other gypsies were racists. posted:
Seth is not nearly as prejudiced against the gaje as most of his people, having grown up among them.
And he wants to reveal the truth to them. So...I guess kind of a high note? As high as this book ever gets, anyway. Because that's it, the end, we're fucking done .
What do you folks want to see next? I've got Feng Shui , which is pretty good in a 90s sort of way and is about Hong Kong and its existence as a nexus for time travelling kung fu power, Dragonmech , which is the weirdest 3rd ed D&D setting I ever saw - it's about giant robots, you see, and Ancient Bloodlines/Ancient Mysteries , a pair of linked books for nVampire which show that White Wolf can actually write good things about history and non-white people if they really try.