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Ravnos

Ravnos clan symbol

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
-- attributed to Albert Einstein

Description: The Ravnos began, as far as anyone knows, in the region of India, and for a long time they remained in the East.   There, Gypsy families lived and traveled together, including a family by the name of Ravnos.  It was from them that a man came, and this man drew the attention of the Kindred.  The Gypsies like to say that Caine himself Embraced the Antediluvian known as Ravnos but most outsiders don't believe that claim; still, Ravnos went on to Embrace other members of his family, though by no means all.  Some say that this caused the worst strife between the Ravnos vampires and the rest of the Gypsies; the feud between the Ravnos and the Gangrel is also traced back to this time.  To this day, many Gypsies shun vampires and keep clear of Ravnos especially.  The Ravnos traveled the Eastern lands until they began to venture into Europe during the Middle Ages.   From there, they wandered everywhere, carrying their ways with them.

The worst of their ways has shaped their enduring reputation, to the point that every Prince knows that a Ravnos in town means trouble.   Why?   Because they just can't help themselves - literally.  Every Ravnos has crime in their blood due to their clan weakness, but Ravnos tend to sire people who are already involved in thievery and underhandedness of all kinds.   The point is to Embrace someone who is good at what they do - and someone who might be good enough to tweak the noses of other Kindred.   The Ravnos happily divest the other clans of the wealth they hold so dear and gladly sow chaos wherever they roam.  So why don't the other clans just destroy them?  Well, it's not as though it hasn't been tried; plenty of Blood Hunts have been called.  It can be difficult to track the crafty Ravnos, however - not only are they suspicious and devious, but they are constantly on the move even when they stick to a particular city.  Worse still, any Prince who bans the Ravnos from a city just baits the clan, which means that Ravnos will journey to the city en masse and start to rob it blind as punishment.  In the end, it is less expensive and slightly less worrisome to batten down the hatches until the Ravnos decide to leave.

During the Middle Ages it was easier to spot a Ravnos coming into town: not only were they dressed in outlandish ways but they were of Gypsy heritage and they often traveled with mortal Gypsies.  Many Gypsies have suffered mistreatment and death throughout history because someone was trying to strike at the Ravnos through them.  It has been argued that the massive extermination of the Gypsies by the Nazis - called the Porajmos, or Devouring, by the Gypsies themselves - was heavily influenced by Kindred desires to be rid of the Ravnos if they could.  But, while the Ravnos were greatly injured by the destruction of their mortal kin, they were not dealt a crippling blow.  This is because the Ravnos are amongst the most wide-spread of all clans and they began to Embrace outside of the Gypsies some time before.  Over the centuries, the Ravnos traveled to all of the corners of the globe and found outsiders worth Embracing, and eventually the taboo against it fell apart.  Their diversity has saved the Ravnos from decimation more times than people know, and has made it difficult to guess who might be of the Ravnos blood.

Allegiances: The Ravnos by and large stick to themselves and do not join up with the sects (unless it's a ruse, and that doesn't last very long).  A few Ravnos have found the Sabbat to be to their liking but this often distances them from their clan.

Founder: Stories about the Ravnos Antediluvian can be found in abundance and they are notoriously unreliable.   Given the clan's reputation for fantastic storytelling and lying, this is not surprising.   One detail that remains relatively constant in the oldest stories is that the Ravnos Antediluvian is male, but other than that, little else corresponds.  The Ravnos Antediluvian can be found fulfilling any number of roles in these tales: often he is the trickster and the hero, other times the wronged party and the punisher of the truly wicked.  This morphing is not merely a narrative feature; it indicates something important about the nature of the Antediluvian as a master of illusion.  Even those who have seen Ravnos - even those who have been Embraced by him - might give conflicting accounts of his name, appearance, devices, and goals.  Thus, no one knows when Ravnos was last seen - but everyone in the clan has their own tale about it.

Weakness: Every Ravnos has a crime of choice, like gambling or pickpocketing, and feels the need to commit that crime whenever they can.

Disciplines: Animalism, Chimerstry, Fortitude

Gaming Concerns: Some players aren't very interested in the Gypsy angle of the Ravnos and Storytellers might want to ask about this if a player expresses interest in the clan.  The modern Ravnos are so diverse that a player could set up a character with no ties to the Gypsies and no knowledge of them at all.  Storytellers should also keep the chaotic nature of the Ravnos in mind when they set up a chronicle.  These characters are best inserted in chronicles that are going to involve travel, since it can be difficult for a Ravnos to stay in one place after they've pulled the wrong prank or stolen from the wrong person.  A Ravnos can also cause a lot of trouble for the other characters in the group; while this is sometimes amusing, it can become quite annoying.  The Storyteller should also be wary of players who use Ravnos to constantly hog the spotlight - while Ravnos antics should garner attention, the other players in the group deserve an equal share.

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