Earlier editions of the RPG described the Ravnos as charlatans who use their powers of illusion to take advantage of others. The Ravnos curse was a unique vice, with common examples being thievery or gambling. Vampire: The Dark Ages’ 20th anniversary edition describes the Ravnos as “often mistrusted on sight and treated like criminals before they can do anything wrong” and stresses their nomadic culture. Many fans over the years have noted the similarity with negative stereotypes of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities that persist to this day. As a result, we have changed the Clan Weakness to that from Vampire: The Dark Ages 20th Anniversary Edition, meaning that they are no longer required to choose a vice or criminal activity with which to be obsessed. We strongly encourage anyone thinking of playing a Ravnos to play one of the suggested alternative backgrounds, as the Romani-linked Ravnos are not generally engaged with the Anarch Revolt. We will not approve any Ravnos character from a Romani background whose Clan Disadvantage plays into those negative stereotypes.Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy
- A Clan of Cainites who see through illusions to the reality beneath
- Many have joined the Anarch Revolt to push back against the stifling influence of their elders on the Path of Paradox
Members of this Clan often seek to better understand reality, the truth of their own nature and humanity, hence their sobriquet The Seekers. This search and the Paths they have turned to for guidance have brought them into conflict with elders who still follow the Path of Paradox and see them as wasting their time and shirking their gods-given mandate. This has, in turn, pushed them towards the Anarch Revolt – young Seekers can manipulate reality itself, and do not think they should pay the Camarilla’s laws any heed.
Of all the clans, the origins of the Ravnos are perhaps the most contested. Those who hail from the east claim that they are the children of Zapathasura, a creation of the Hindu gods, sent to destroy the demons who walk the earth, drinking humanity’s blood and living in sin and depravity. These Cainites, and many of the eldest Ravnos in the West, follow the Path of Paradox which dooms neonates and ancillae to an endless fight with all other Cainities. They say it is the Ravnos’ role to save mortals from their tormentors.
In the West however there are other stories. Some remember the tales of their Eastern clanmates, though they tend to call their progenitor Ravanna. Others say they are descended from the Pharaoh Akhenaten, cursed by the god Aten for daring to worship the Sun. Another line claims descent from Judas, cursed to walk to earth by night searching for those capable of betrayal so he may destroy them.
There are four main jati , or loose families, in the West. We expect all Ravnos PCs to come from one of these four jati.
The eldest jati in the West hails from Alexandria in Egypt where they settled sometime before the third century BC. Most Alexandrian Ravnos hold their interactions to a level of formality worthy of the High Clans. They emphasise their connection to the Pharaohs, and cultivate mystique and an air of sanctity about their actions. Their teachings stress that nothing is permanent and everything can be replaced and they apply this philosophy equally to all things in unlife. The elder Ramessu is the de facto head of the Alexandrian jati, and while he does not control the affairs of all the far flung Cainites who claim a link to him, no other elder Ravnos has amassed anything like his level of influence. He is respected as a sage and Seekers who otherwise disagree will often find a point of common ground in heeding his wisdom.
A small portion of the Alexandrian Ravnos follow a thoughtful reading of the Road of Desire, which teaches that the duty of Cainites is to gain a complete understanding of the world through experiencing everything it is possible to and breaking down mortal taboos to gain insight into their true nature.
The Bashirites follow the teachings of Bashir of Damascus and exclusively embrace Christians. Bashir’s teachings speak of the coming apocalypse and weave together Christian and Cainite mysticism, pressaging the return of the Antediluvians who will bring about the end of the world. Bashir is said to have met Christ himself who forgave him his sins and told him to prepare for the Second Coming. After spending centuries gathering his flock and preaching his beliefs he vanished in the 8th century.
Most of the Bashirites now follow Bashir’s childe Varsik who claims that Bashir knew that Christ would return when the world was filled with boundless strife and therefore it is the duty of Bashirites to sow chaos and fan the flames of discontent wherever they go.
The Lambs of Bashir are a small but vocal faction opposing Varsik, who teach that it is the duty of Bahsirites to encourage virtue and to lead by example. The date of the apocalypse is predetermined by God and attempting to force His hand is blasphemy.
The black sheep of Clan Ravnos, the Sybarites are said to have been founded when a senior member of the late Roman Imperial court was embraced, though which notable figure it was varies from one telling to the next. He is said to have committed Amaranth on his sire within 10 years of his embrace and taught the members of his jati that any Cainite who could not defend themselves deserved to meet the same end. Many think of the Sybarites as debauched and depraved, giving in to every urge no matter how base.
They are self-obsessed and driven by vice, ensconcing themselves in criminality and pursuing narcissistic ends, stopping only to aid a fellow member of their jati. They have been at war with the Phaedymites for two centuries.
This offshoot of the Alexandrites follows the teachings of the elder Phaedyme, who in life is said to have marched with the Army of Alexander the Great wearing the guise of a man out of defiance for the low societal expectations of her gender. Phaedyme’s tale is full of such rebellions, and her progeny see rebellion as their calling. In deference to their founder, Phaedymites tend to work against the sin that flows through their veins, denying what other Ravnos see as inevitable. The framework of the Path of Chivalry encourages them to strive for virtue rather than vice.
The majority of this jati tend to walk the Path of Chivalry, adhering strongly to the principles of honour, obligation, and honesty with little deviation. Over recent centuries, Princes have approached them to act as liaisons with the “less honourable” members of their Clan and they have had some significant successes in this role.
The centre of their power lies in France, though the ages-old Toreador bias in Paris means they are unwelcome there. During the Crusades Phaedymites often joined the mortal knights seeking to test their chivalry in the Holy Land. Now members of this jati often serve as messengers and emissaries to other clans. Others are troubadours, documenting the unlives of Cainites.
- France: Homeland of the Phaedymites, who have established themselves as messengers and heralds of the Courts of Love
- Ottoman Empire: The Alexandrites spread from Egypt to their ideological homelands of Greece, where they have settled successfully. The Bashirites were founded in Damascus, and remain well-established there and in the surrounding lands.
- Papal States: Origin of the Sybarites and still their greatest stronghold, many Ravnos thrive in Rome.
- Alexandrites: Road of Humanity or Road of Desire
- Bashirites: Path of Christ or Path of Sin
- Phaedymites: Path of Chivalry
- Sybarites: Road of Desire
Many Ravnos do not stay in any one place for too long. Some visit cities for as long as they are welcome and the supply of fresh experiences lasts. For some, the only havens they can lay claim to are roadside inns for a few nights. The Seekers are experts at finding out-of-the-way places and small towns to stay in for short periods of time. When Ravnos haven in a city held by other vampires, they tend to form tight enclaves with their sire and brood, heavily disguised with illusions.
Most Ravnos have only one thing in mind when they Embrace; how well a childe might fit into their jati. As a result, there are as many reasons to Embrace, and as many approaches to doing so, as there are Ravnos.
Animalism, Chimerstry, Fortitude
While the Ravnos are masters of changing the reality around them, they have a harder time changing their own fundamental reality. All Ravnos have a key personality trait, chosen at character creation, which they are incapable of resisting if the opportunity to express it presents itself. This can be some kind of virtuous act, such as defending the weak, or something more sinister, such as taking advantage of someone in a lesser position. Often the trait is tied to the jati the Ravnos belongs to. When you encounter an opportunity to express this personality trait, you must either respond with an obvious but mild change in behaviour, clearly roleplaying the day-to-day dysfunction caused by your Clan Weakness, or you must spend 1 Willpower to suppress the urge for now.
- Mind Games (1)
- Waking Dream (1)
- Shady Dealings (2)
- Escape Artist (3)
- Dead Giveaway (1)
- Lost Svadharma (2)
- Confusing Realities (3)