Lost in the Mists
The wanderers of the Mists, the Vistani are a group of nomadic people who live their lives on the roads of Ravenloft and beyond. Legends speak that they were wanderers of all the planes and several tribes settled, or where trapped, in the Mists.
The Vistani are swarthy and dress in vibrant clothing: their hair is generally black, though some are born with amber tresses. Their eyes are black and luminous.
Tribes or caravans of Vistani are often connected by blood and are made up of extended family members. Larger tribes will have several families and non-Vistani (called giorgios) as part of the group. The Vistani pursue a number of occupations. All caravans have at least some fortune tellers and entertainers, while the Vistani do not have clerics or priests of an organized religion, this role is fulfilled by individuals who function as shamans, mystics, healers, or oracles. Most of these are Vistani women.
Most Vistani live in traveling wagons. The typical wagon, called a vardo, is small wooden caravan wagon with a high arching roof and a door at the back. The driver sits at the front in an outdoor seat. Vardos are painted in vivid colors and might even have tiny windows of tinted glass, if the owner is prosperous. The vardo travels with a menagerie. Horses and faithful mongrel dogs trot along side. Crates of chickens may be strapped to the sides or beneath the wagon, and a tethered ox or goat may bring up the rear. Sometimes a trained bear accompanies the caravan, ready to amaze and entertain villagers it the next stop.
The campfire is the center of Vistani family life. Each night, the men build roaring fires and play their violins as young women dance and recount the Oral history of the family. Older members recall important legends at their nightly gatherings.
Beyond the independent caravans, the Vistani clans are loosely united into a number of “tribes”. The tribes are further united into three great Vistani “nations”, called tnsques. While each “nation” has its own manner of dress, appearance, and traditions, they all recognize each other as fellow Vistani. Each nation has certain crafts and services in which its members traditionally excel. The three distinct nations of the Vistani are the Kaldresh, the Boem, and the Manusa.