This FAQ is intended for the White Wolf Role Playing Game World of Darkness: Gypsies. It is not meant to refer to any real or fictional Gypsies or Romani.

Gypsies have come a long way from the colorful horse drawn vardos (wagons) of old they used to travel in, but their connection to their heritage remains strong. The majority of today's Gypsies travel in more modern means, from Harleys to vans to pickups to RV's. Most Gypsies travel in groups called kumpania, which is a group of close friends or family members. To form a kumpania and see the world is referred to as "going on tour". Teens are encouraged to do a tour both to learn from other families and to establish their own independence. Some Gypsy teens lax about going out on their own may be sent to town for something only to find nothing at camp when they return, save for a note that says "Baxt - see you next year!" (good luck). Kumpania have arranged meetings with other families, usually on a yearly basis, that are called pakives. Growing up on the road allows gypsies a good practical education, but little formal education. Most modern day Gypsies will see their children can at least read and write the language of the country they travel in, but this is not always the case.

All Gypsies are awakened and know of the existence of Vampires, Mages, Werewolves, Mummies, etc. This does not mean that they have that specific knowledge of the factions, only that they know all these groups are real. An ancient pact with a group of vampires calling themselves Gangrel is honored even today, and Gypsies may be asked for or receive aid from one at any time.

The different way of life of the Gypsies is part of their unique outlook on life. Gaje or gajeo (non Gypsy) are basically seen as either prey to steal from or as naive little siblings in not ready for life's truths. This leads Romani, or Rom, to view each other as a large extended family coming from Daenna, the one mother of all Gypsies. All Rom share a kinship and do not cheat or steal from each other. Gaje are viewed as outsiders who it is all right to con, although more Gypsy families are stepping away from this practice. Gypsies will always unite against non Gypsies, and settle personal differences later.

Gypsies view possessions and wealth as transient things. Money, currency and coin are only worth what someone else is willing to trade from them. Gypsies look at the gaje and feel both distaste and pity - gaje spend thousands on cars for image to impress others with, and then spend more on alarms and security devices to protect their possessions from each other. Gaje, who kill each other over expensive sneakers. When will they realize that freedom, true freedom, is the greatest treasure ... and one that cannot be bought.

Gypsies have a family structure which is ruled by a King or Queen of that family. There are five well known families who have kept their connection to their heritage wuzho, or pure. There are several other smaller families who are less well known and carry less heritage in them. (some numbering as few as 20 members). Here is a brief overview of the families:

  • Lupines are the oldest of families, coming from Daenna and her brother Sarrath. They are sometimes referred to as "inbreds", although not too loudly. Lupines haughtily reply they are twice as powerful being doubly related to Daenna. All members of this family are kinfolk, and some are Garou of the Silent Strider tribe. They usually prefer to travel as a circus or entertainer group, as this allows them to keep several kinfolk wolves to keep the Silent Strider bloodline from becoming too homid. They also look for lost cubs among the gaje and have been known to kidnap them and have the Silent Striders reunite them with the Garou.
  • the Phuri Dae are the mystics and seers, and are most adept at the sight of all families. Their abilities to see the future combined with their gypsy instincts allow them a to see a unique perspective on situations. They are also well renown makers of draba, mystical talismans usable only by other Gypsies. They are perhaps the most respected of the families, and the ones most connected to their heritage.
  • Ravnos is the family that has some members of the "cold dead", or vampires. Vampires are referred to as shilmulo, and any Gypsies embraced from other Gypsy families are "adopted" by the Ravnos. The Ravnos family on the whole is mostly known for their underworld connections and crime connections. There are some who believe the Ravnos are marhime, or impure, because in accepting the embrace they turn their back on their Gypsy heritage. Ravnos who care reply Daenna married and loved a vampire and started the Ravnos family. Gypsies from other families have been cautioned not to be fed on by a Ravnos.
  • Tsurara are a new family, and although small their fanaticism has made their rise to power swift. Known as the Knife Tribe or Slayers, they see themselves as the finest embodiment of what Gypsies are, and can become. They are violent, intolerant and radical. Many younger members are in gangs or organizations known for spreading hate, such as the KKK. The Slayers believe they are the best of Gypsies and must lead all others, and it is their duty to strengthen the Gypsies by "weeding out" (killing) any who are marhime (impure). To them, this involves the whole Ravnos family. they actively hunt and kill all Ravnos vampires and their families. A radical view to the Tsurara is maybe a live Ravnos Gypsy isn't all bad ...
  • Urmen is a family related to the fey, and indeed some Urmen are also changelings. They are stereotyped as flighty and unreliable even by Gypsy standards, which are pretty lax. They are the smallest of the five families.
  • Banjara were one of the five families for six centuries until the Slayers took their power. Banjara are known for living within the sewers and having a wealth of area knowledge. Their Queen seeks to recover their former position of power and actively fights the Tsurara. They are mostly in India.
  • Tinkers are the most renown drabarine, but their numbers are so small few outside of the British Isles have met one. They are wonderful at working with any kind of machinery or electrical devices, and many of the young travel the internet as their grandparents once traveled the roads.
  • Every culture has it's version of how the world will end, and the Gypsies call theirs the Convergence. It is not viewed with the apprehension and fear as other cultures see it, but they look forward to it as the birth of a new world. The five Seeds of Knowledge from Daenna, believed to be held by a member of each of the five families of power, will unite and grow into a tree that will link body and spirit together once again. Several rumors surround this, and stories are often told when kumpanias meet. A disturbing story of late is that the Tsurara are so intent and obsessed with being the leaders of the Gypsy they are hunting down and killing other Gypsies, even non Ravnos, in their quest to control all of the Seeds of Knowledge. It is also said there is also a group of old powerful vampires called Inconnu who recognize the importance of the Gypsies and have helped the Gypsies retain possession of the Seeds. When will the truth be known?

    Robin Connor

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