Clan Stereotypes: Ravnos
In this new series, we’re going to give you the rundown on an independent clan and what it thinks about its fellow independents and the clans of the Camarilla.
The Ravnos are a paradox of a clan, a family held together by blood and a philosophical system that almost no two exactly share. The only four things all Ravnos share are a weakness for vice (or, in some cases, unbending virtue); a deeply independent streak; a perspective that there’s a deeper truth and destiny below the surface of reality; and a common view that if you mess with one Ravnos, you mess with all of them. This “us-versus-them” perspective, built up over centuries of conflict, colors how they see other clans.
If the Gangrel are disorganized, the Ravnos are utter chaos. Traditionally, the clan has remained very intentionally without sect for philosophical reasons. While most of the clan, outwardly at least, support the Independent Alliance and its Accords, individual Ravnos are always highly independent operators. Any individual Ravnos or kumpaniya (a group of Ravnos and their retainers and ghouls) can range from a die-hard supporter to a die-hard opponent of the Independent Alliance, and the clan as a whole takes no retribution based on any individual’s stance. After all, they’re all family, and each Ravnos has their own svadharma to follow. That said, Ravnos who want a seat at the table, so to speak, with the clan’s elders must at least outwardly support the Independent Alliance.
The Camarilla have, historically, had a very uneasy arrangement with the Ravnos – let them pass into or through cities and let them act as they please, but make it very clear they’re not welcome and they should be on their way as soon as their immediate business is done. Princes that attempted to breach this received “the Treatment,” wherein a group of Ravnos would wreak havoc upon the city and its kine until the Prince relented. This arrangement suited the Ravnos just fine, as it meant little interference from a city’s government.
The Ravnos generally view the Camarilla as a prime target for “enlightenment,” as it’s a collection of corrupt hypocrites and easily twisted words. There’s many truths buried beneath lies that need unveiling. For the Camarilla’s part, it remains to be seen how it will respond to Ravnos now that the clan is a signatory of the Independent Accords, and likewise, it remains to be seen if “the Treatment” will be applied to Sovereigns as well.
As the Ravnos have feelings that range from neutral to positive for their Antediluvian founder, the clan is a prime target for elimination by the Sword of Caine. However, the Sabbat view the Ravnos, like all independents, as lower on the priority list than the most hated Camarilla – or at least they did, prior to the signing of the Accords. For their part, the Ravnos view the Sabbat, which they call the “Church of Caine,” as an unfortunate lure that can pull one of the family away from their destiny and purpose. They do not, however, see themselves as enemies of the Sabbat.
Assamites: There’s no love lost between the get of Haqim and the Ravnos. Ravnos tend to view Assamites as hypocritical “holier-than-thou” types whose obsession with duty and following orders renders them blind both to the world and the possibilities of their own destinies – and Assamites have been used more than a few times by Princes to kill unruly Ravnos. Most Deceivers either give Assamites a wide berth or target them for “enlightenment.”
Followers of Set: The Ravnos don’t like the Setites, perceiving them as, at best, purveyors of evil (as opposed to freers of minds). The problem is less the Snakes’ corrupting influence and more the way that they attempt to bind others’ destinies under their control. Such actions are inimical to the traditional Ravnos philosophy. However, the two clans have more in common philosophically than either would like to admit, so from time to time, a Setite and a Ravnos will form a careful friendship built on exploring their belief systems.
Giovanni: Ravnos tend to see the Giovanni as self-important, vain hypocrites who make excellent marks for cons. A not insignificant part of this is because the Giovanni remove souls from the cycle of rebirth, which is a foul act, but mostly it’s because the Necromancers love to seem cultured and refined despite being incestuous diablerists.
Old Clan Tzimisce: This clan was, until recently, a rumor and a warning to young Ravnos of the Rroma, to be mindful of certain areas in Romania where dreadful creatures of the night held territory. Now that they’ve come into the light, the Ravnos are largely wary of the ancient Fiends – but will still attempt to tear falsehoods away from any who try to deny the truth of what they are.
Salubri: Ravnos, being who they are, never truly believed the stories that all Salubri were destroyed. The epic poem of Ravnos history keeps some record of Saulot and the role of his brood, and as such, the Deceivers feel a kinship to the Cyclops, seeing as both clans are misunderstood and persecuted.
Samedi: The Samedi are typically painted with the same brush the Giovanni are; binding the souls of the deceased interferes with the natural cycle and is abhorrent. Most Deceivers draw no clear line between the Giovanni and the Samedi, sometimes very intentionally to infuriate both. Those Samedi who focus on traditional rituals, however, sometimes draw the interest of Ravnos who find there’s something to be learned there.
Clans Generally of the Camarilla
Brujah: The Rabble are easy to rile up and use as sources of chaos or a convenient diversion from one’s own activities. Often, Ravnos see the Brujah as hypocrites, but the rare few who are philosophically minded, or truly committed to a cause of freedom, can be boon companions.
Gangrel: One would think the Gangrel and the Ravnos would get along well – both being itinerants with an independent streak – but a historical conflict between the clans runs long and deep, hailing from the days of Rome. Many Ravnos see the Gangrel, particularly those who “live off the land,” as trying to deny the truth of what they are, and as such are failures as vampires and worthy only of derision or destruction.
Malkavian: The Ravnos often see the Malkavians as a delight, at least until their antics wear thin. To the Ravnos eye, the Madmen commit fully to a purpose in society and have insights that see beyond the truth of the material world, which makes them effective teachers – up to a point.
Nosferatu: The Nosferatu are another misunderstood and often persecuted clan, but they typically clash with the Ravnos because, at least to the Deceivers, the Sewer Rats are more interested in spying for blackmail than searching for truth. Consequently, Ravnos often set up elaborate schemes where Nosferatu are the fall guys.
Toreador: The Ravnos adore the Toreador, mostly because the Roses are vain and highly susceptible both to flattery and illusion. Toreador enjoy being wrapped up in illusions, and the Deceivers are more than willing to provide – always for a cost.
Tremere: The Tremere are the opposite of everything the Ravnos stand for. Where Ravnos seek freedom, Tremere enforce hierarchy. Where Ravnos seek enlightenment, Tremere seek power. Warlocks are often the source of a Ravnos’s persecution in a city (not to mention what they do to other clans), too. Naturally, Deceivers take great pleasure in wrecking everything these liars and diablerists seek to build.
Caitiff: One might assume that Ravnos would have a soft spot for Caitiff, but the concepts of blood and family run very deep within the clan – so much so that those without a clan are viewed with disdain. What sort of person, they ask, would be so useless and so unclean to not have even their sire want them? Caitiff are treated coolly at best by all Ravnos, and some destroy them without a second thought.
Anarchs: Ravnos and anarchs are often natural allies, at least while the revolution is in progress. Anarchs are experts at dropping grit into the bureaucratic machines of the sects, and Ravnos enjoy watching the veils of lies be torn apart by the chaos anarchs sow. Baronies, however, often end up being rather like the oppressors they overthrew, and so Ravnos typically stay out of anarch-held territories.
Autarkis: A few Ravnos are themselves autarkis by the Camarilla definition, and even the Deceivers who aren’t naturally tend to form temporary alliances with those without a sect. Often these are just for mutual protection, but sometimes, true friendships form. From time to time, an autark can find themselves part of a Ravnos’s kumpaniya, though their status as an outsider from the blood will always be lurking under the surface.
Ravnos antitribu: As mentioned before, the Ravnos view those of their kin who have joined the Church of Caine as misguided and deceived, as committing one’s life to a cause that doesn’t match one’s svardharma is a terrible error on the journey of unlife. They are still of the family, however, and can offer truths and insights from “the other side.” Ravnos and their antitribu, when they pass in the night, will often spend time together, but the welcome is often very short due to both sect considerations and the inherent clash between the traditional Ravnos philosophy and the Paths of Enlightenment of the Sabbat.