The Ravnos are one of the thirteen Kindred clans in Vampire: The Masquerade. Initially written as bad Gypsy and Rroma stereotypes, they were considered little better than nuisances and vermin by the other Clans, which was not helped by their compulsive need to commit crimes. Later portrayals show them instead as distinctly Indian vampires, with a caste structure and tradition drawing from the culture of the subcontinent.
Their signature Discipline is Chimerstry, which allows the user to create illusions of varying levels of potency. Use (and abuse) of this by the Western Ravnos has contributed to the reputation of the Clan as liars and tricksters.
Thanks to the fallout of the Week of Nightmares, they're also mostly dead.
Much like many things in the World of Darkness, the Clan was given two different and mutually-exclusive origins.
The first one is that the Clan is descended from a thief named Dacian, who was embraced by Caine's childer Irad to spy on the group who would become the Antediluvians. Dacian would go on to betray his sire, and lead to the fall of the Second City.
The second origin given ties more closely to the Clan's origins in India. The asuratizayya, former champions of the Gods abandoned their duties to become blood-drinking monsters. In return, the gods revived a man that wronged by those fallen champions more than any other -- Zapathasura, who was then tasked with eradicating the former.
Zapathasura in turn Embraced five individuals -- Marizhavashti Kali the seer, Rakshasa the shapeshifter, Chandraputra the commander, Ravana the betrayer (who may be the Yama King of the same name), and finally Ramessu, who served as internal police for his fellows. It is from these five that the rest of the Clan is descended from.
A Tale of Two Clans
Eventually Zapathasura's childer tired of their sire's war with the fallen Wan Xian, (who would soon degenerate into the Wan Kuei) and left him to his own devices. The Antediluvian eventually fell into torpor, while four of his childer began to travel Westward, and from these the "Western" branch of the Ravnos was born.
As for Chandraputra, he stayed behind in India, and it is through his guidance that the Clan restructured into the caste system it followed into the modern age. His descendants became the "Eastern" or "True" Ravnos, and continued with his clan's rivalry with the Wan Kuei.
West and East
For the longest time, the Western branch of the clan had a poor reputation among other Kindred, where they were considered drifters, crooks, and cons of the lowest order and untrustworthy. This is due to a combination of their Clan vice (which is a compulsion to commit crime), the use of their signature Discipline to do those aforementioned crimes, and their adherence to a Path of Enlightment (the Path of Paradox, which actually considered a Heresy by the Eastern branch) that is pretty much just an excuse to disrupt polite (mortal and unliving) society and be nuisances in general.
The Eastern Ravnos on the other hand, have a much better reputation in the Indian homeland. Here they are philosophers, gurus and warriors-priests, and are the eternal enemies of the asuratizayya encroaching upon their lands. The clan follows a much more orderly Caste structure, which match up with the classic varuna of Hinduism: the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisyas, and Chandalas. Shudras are ghouls instead. The Eastern Ravnos still follow the original Path of Paradox (called Mayaparisatya), a much rigorous, humane, and philosophical Path ironically based in part on the Dharmic ideals of their Kuei-jin enemies.
The Ravnos are a much diminished Clan in the wake of the Week of Nightmares. Those that remain in India are forced to band together with the other Kindred for mutual protection, especially as vengeful Kuei-jin have taken over much of its original territory.
The remaining Ravnos are mostly high Generation, and are either fatalistic, depressed, or a combination of both.
|The Clans of Vampire: The Masquerade|
|Independent Clans||Fallen Clans|
|Absimiliard - Augustus Giovanni - Arikel - Cappadocius - Ennoia - Haqim - Ilyes |
Lasombra - Malkav - Saulot - Set - Tremere - Tzimisce - Ventru - Zapathasura