posted by Ted_Haggard Original SA post

Let's... experience : Clanbook Ravnos

The Obligatory Introductory Fiction

It begins with the bog standard introductory fiction, this one being about a lady named Gwen, who stole some... stuff from an archaeological dig to sell to a vampire named Johann. The very first thing in this book, is about theft. And it continues that Gwen has been stealing from dig sites for her whole archaeological career. This isn't horrible as introductory fiction in a vaccuum, but... well, I'll give WW credit, they let us know what to expect. It continues, as she's called to the deans office and we find out she has a PhD, and has been stealing from dig sites for her entire time as an archaeologist. She ends up with, surprise surpise, Johann who she called for help. Predictably, she finds out Johann is a vampire and then is embraced. So far every Ravnos in this book has been involved in theft. Let's see if it gets any better from here.

Chapter One: Agreed Upon Lies
Ahh, the obligatory clan history chapter. I think I'll let the book speak for itself on this one, and give you some of the highlights (much of it is just dull metaplot and fake history. If you're looking for detail on that, you'll have to go elsewhere. I'm here for the terrible, not the dull).


The Black Mother's childer spread throughout
the Roman Empire and made their presence known.
Though few in number, they got on well with the
Toreador and Malkavians, the three clans that
made up some of the most decadent of Kindred in
that era. These Ravnos eventually became known
as the Sybarites and founded the Path of Paradox
that has earned the clan so much distrust and
outright hatred (though the clan's predilection for
vice in general likely also had something to do
with it).


In India, Chandraputra assembled a new order
with a stronger commitment to opposing the
asuratizayya. He'd learned something about Kindred
psychology and mixed the philosophical
rhetoric with appeals to the Ravnos' selfish character.
In other words, he convinced the clan that
it was in their best interests to stand and fight
rather than leave for parts unknown

Now the Path of Paradox comes in, and the book states that it's used by the "Sybarites", who are basically proto ravnos, to justify their hedonism, selfish behavior, and indulgance. In fact, I think, here, I'm going to let the book damn itself again.


The Sybarites
took the teachings and twisted them to support
a philosophy of unhindered self-indulgence. The
Path of Paradox became an excuse for them to do
whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, to
whomever happened to be convenient.
Of course, the Path of Paradox didn't really
encourage this behavior. The Sybarites were already
well on their way down that road. The
addition of a codified ethos that jusitifed their
hedonism was simply the final straw that ushered
in nearly two millennia of indulgence and sin.
It didn't help matters that Chandraputra's
messengers slid into the Roman Ravnos' debauchery
and vice. In fact, they adopted it
wholeheartedly. They drank the blood of children,
fornicated like still-living mortals and
bought tangible comforts with money they stole
from each other, their Kindred fellows and
wealthy mortals.

The Path of Paradox itself is described a few paragraphs later, as


The Roman Path of Paradox was an odd beast.
On the one hand, it espoused spiritual purity. On
the other, it claimed that its adherents could
achieve such purity through diablerie, theft and

Before we get into the Roma/Ravnos connection, let's have a bit more about what the Beast is like for this clan. I'm sure WW won't be playing into anything here...


No matter whether
it drives us to drain a human dry, go utterly insane
and kill anything within arm's reach, or simply to
grab that trinket that catches our eye regardless of
the risk. That last one is the most insidious because
it's so subtle. Half the time, I'm following
through on the impulse before I realize what's

Nevermind that, then. Moving into the middle ages, nomadic groups of Ravnos arrived with the Roma, slowly filtering into Europe over three hundred years. As for what the book has to say about them.


These Ravnos, who had been Chandalas in
India, felt themselves superior to the Western
Ravnos, who had diluted their pure blood by Embracing
those not of Indian or Rroma descent.

How do they deal with their inferiors? Well, as they aren't completely without mercy, they do things like this


would often use
tactics such as branding and boiling (and killing
mortal relatives and various larcenies...) to recruit
Europeans rather than destroy them out of hand.

Of course, larceny had to be shoehorned in there, because we're about to get to The Treatment, which comes right after the other Kindred's attitudes toward the Ravnos being described as "They've always been Rroma". That, however, will be a second post because I need some scotch before I can handle any more of this without sobbing into a bottle of whiskey. Stay tuned for more.

Next time: Vampires did Bhopal