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Kithain and Organized Crime

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  • Kithain and Organized Crime

    This one is another doozy. Given the schlock that was World of Darkness: Mafia, as well as the fact that at least a few splats have themes explicitly evoking Hollywood La Cosa Nostra themes (the Giovanni, the Wise Guys camp of the Glass Walkers, etc), it only seems natural that some Changelings would want a piece of the action, yet there is a notable lack of lore on this subject matter.

    Part of it could be a legacy of 2nd Ed and the ambiguity of Banality. Despite having the ability to derive Glamour from mortals via various forms of Epiphany, the idea of "organization" always seemed to imply a certain degree of Banality; while the Prince was out ghouling choice politicians, the police chief, the state comptroller, etc. the Nockers were inspiring Tesla, the Slaugh were inviting Dickens and other authors to High Tea, etc. Dreamers instead of the Dreaming, etc.

    Still, the idea of having The Fairy Godfather be an actual mentor/quest-giver archetype continues to have a lot of appeal. Turning mafia cliches into Bunks, such as sending a Sicilian Message to cast Naming 1: Between the Lines, bribing a cop for Chicanery 2: Veiled Eyes ("Ya didn't see nothing"), or even setting up a Contract through a favor to be bestowed one day (though that day may never come), in exchange for a gift on the Fairy Godfather's daughter's wedding day.

    So...Kithain and Organized Crime (and I haven't even scratched the surface of other groups) has its appeal. Aside from the Roaring 20s, the Five Families, building up Vegas, or other notable watersheds, another notable factor is the intersection of RICO and the Accordance War. RICO was passed in 1970, but "the Mafia remains strong in the World of Darkness" according to several splats. How would Kithain-run "families" work when it came to negotiating with the Arcadians? After all, a Geas is the ultimate offer you can't refuse. How would Made Men/capos handle any conflicts of loyalty, should they find ancient Oaths of vassalage reactivating oncemore?
    Last edited by MagicJuggler; 10-15-2019, 08:17 AM.

  • #2
    While I myself am not particularly educated on the nuances of the mafia, with only a very surface level understanding of them, I would note the "Banality" is pretty subjective. Looking at the C20 ready made characters book, Steve Market exists in what would conventionally be considered a highly banal environment, but he thrives. While "Science" is conventionally considered a banal undertaking, it also brought about the resurgence. I think of Ready Player One as a perfect example of a Changeling story. In the movie, James Halliday says "I'm a Dreamer, I build worlds", and "I dont think there should be rules". Contrast this with how the antagonist, Sorrento is trying to use the OASIS not as a means to inspire, but as a means to make money, exclusively. I like to think that as our society evolves, the stories we tell evolve, and likewise, the Fae adapt, and exist in environments that would have previously been highly toxic to them. To that end, you could 100% have a creepy Sluagh hit-man, a Redcap racketeer, or a Unseelie Troll mob boss. You just gotta find the right Fae for the role, and then make them play it to the hilt.

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    • #3
      As mentioned, the Banality of science was a relic of the 90s. While C20 cleaned that up, there still remains a relative lack of lore on Changeling interactions with mortal institutions as a whole. Odds are they can't Enchant/Oath a precinct officer with the same efficency that said chief could be ghouled, for example.

      Plus, there is the perverse (in many ways) appeal of running a game set in the City of Sin, where the energy of the mundane world is somehow still a mere shadow of the Near Dreaming, and comic opera Chimera Legions maintain vigil over Caesar's Palace...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MagicJuggler View Post
        As mentioned, the Banality of science was a relic of the 90s. While C20 cleaned that up, there still remains a relative lack of lore on Changeling interactions with mortal institutions as a whole. Odds are they can't Enchant/Oath a precinct officer with the same efficency that said chief could be ghouled, for example.
        Thats fairly accurate; the blood bond cares nothing for you creative disposition, while " to temporarily enchant a mortal ...spend an amount of Glamour greater than the subject’s Banality rating". It's a lot easier for kindred to drag humans screaming into their world, that's part of their tragedy. Conversely, it's almost impossible to keep a human enchanted for any real amount of time without Chimerically crippling yourself. For Changelings, the world is a lot more hopeless. To have a Chimerical mob, I would recommend not actually having a mob full of enchanted mortals, but a Motley who is in charge of the mob itself. A rich boss who works very hard to have a cultured side (see Wilson Fisk from the Daredevil TV show), a few Kinain in their lives that they have brought into the family, probably some of the above roles mentioned. Further, this group would probably be VERY Unseelie, either working with the Shadow court to destabilize Noble institutions or flat out being a subsidiary of Balor. The fact that they work with what is conventionally a banal organization would actually probably make them terrifying, and they might even have a couple Autumn people on their employ they use specifically for attacking Seelie centers of power. It is one of the great hypocrisies of the Unseelie that they claim to be the enemies of banality, but also are the most willing to use it as a weapon. I would also note that there is potential to include Prodigals in this game; I made a Changeling I never got to play that is in a dedicated "relationship" with a Kindred. House Balor is stated in C20 to have basic knowledge of the goings of Prodigals, and the Followers of Set like them some Snake Gods. I think there is real merit to including other supernaturals in the world provided that narrative lends itself to parallel themes.

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        • #5
          I imagine it's a degrees of seperation sort of thing. Mortal teamsters, mooks, goombas, henchmen, and so on so forth. A few enchanted "honchos" act to carry out any orders, with the benefit being that when the enchantments fade and the Mists take their place, they won't snitch. Depending on if your game uses Contempt from the old Shadow Court book, the Fairy Godfather could even falsely frame a few fall-guys to go to the chair in their stead.

          Any Kithain and Kinain are open to more permanent openings in the family, though all but the most exceptional Kinain tend to be restricted to being Made Men, while the Kithain take to lieutenant/caporegime/consigliere roles.

          Of course, the implementation may vary among House to House, organization to organization. While some associations are easier to draw ("House Varich has secured several mafiya/organatzia units"), but some are trickier.

          I could potentially see some Seelie (mainly Eiluned) getting into underworld activities...I mean legitimate business. Others may just be in it for the big band Glamour, as well as for being able to boast that they inspired the Rat Pack. Others may be in it for more idealistic reasons, subverting criminal organizations to support otherwise-neglected neighborhoods. The question of how sincere such help is may vary from boss to boss, however.

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          • #6
            There is also something to be said about the almost mythic nature of some members of these communities. The mysteries that surround them, their tendency to be simultaneously benevolent patrons and also cruel destroyers, the fear they inspire. These are all things that people whisper about, people fear. People give offerings, follow rituals to keep themselves safe from those gangs. These are all bread and butter to the discerning Changeling... or Thallain.

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            • #7
              Naming 2, and the power of the Nickname. Nobody wants to mess with Franky "Typewriter" mac Liam, especially when Franky got that Nickname in Chicago.
              Last edited by MagicJuggler; 10-15-2019, 01:40 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MagicJuggler View Post
                Naming 2, and the power of the Nickname. Nobody wants to mess with Franky "Typewriter" mac Liam, especially when Franky got that Nickname in Chicago.

                Nicknaming is perhaps the most vicious level 2 cantrip available... Not the most powerful, but so cruel to use on a person

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MagicJuggler View Post
                  I imagine it's a degrees of seperation sort of thing. Mortal teamsters, mooks, goombas, henchmen, and so on so forth. A few enchanted "honchos" act to carry out any orders, with the benefit being that when the enchantments fade and the Mists take their place, they won't snitch. Depending on if your game uses Contempt from the old Shadow Court book, the Fairy Godfather could even falsely frame a few fall-guys to go to the chair in their stead.

                  Any Kithain and Kinain are open to more permanent openings in the family, though all but the most exceptional Kinain tend to be restricted to being Made Men, while the Kithain take to lieutenant/caporegime/consigliere roles.

                  Of course, the implementation may vary among House to House, organization to organization. While some associations are easier to draw ("House Varich has secured several mafiya/organatzia units"), but some are trickier.

                  I could potentially see some Seelie (mainly Eiluned) getting into underworld activities...I mean legitimate business. Others may just be in it for the big band Glamour, as well as for being able to boast that they inspired the Rat Pack. Others may be in it for more idealistic reasons, subverting criminal organizations to support otherwise-neglected neighborhoods. The question of how sincere such help is may vary from boss to boss, however.

                  All excellent points. Also, superstition is common among the criminally inclined. Good luck charms, patron saints, rituals, taboos and all sorts of traditions are very common. Add to that the many traditions of ritual tattoos (some of great artistic beauty), rivalries, rights of passage and similar practices. For the fae, this is a powerful Glamour resource as well as "good" company.

                  Overall, I think that a big chunk of fae society would in some way be involved in criminal activities, though they might not see it that way. Bribes, kidnapping and murder all happen surrounding the Kithain, and darker things have always been associated with the fae. If you want mortal lackeys, the best source is usually people that society has little interest in, and who have little interest in society.





                  “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
                  Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy

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                  • #10
                    Actually, Naming 2 would be best in the hands of the mob boss.

                    Bill "The fist" Peterson cannot regain willpower unless he's using his fist. That's a big way to force someone into becoming muscle.

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                    • #11
                      On a sidenote, I always found Nickname a messy ability because of how all the examples mentioned were debuffs and not buffs. Naming the gun Peashooter instead of Handcannon for example. Plus, the whole Free Will aspect. Personally, I would just treat it as a +-1 difficulty mod for a very specific kind of Attribute+Ability roll.

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                      • #12
                        I always figured that organized crime would be an interesting focus for an extended family of Unseelie Boggins (with a mix of other Kiths sprinkled in).


                        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                          I always figured that organized crime would be an interesting focus for an extended family of Unseelie Boggins (with a mix of other Kiths sprinkled in).

                          Honestly our fantasy depictions of the Mafia seem to tend toward very Seelie views I'd say.

                          Death Before dishonor.. never forget a debt? Beauty and Love may not get much play.. those other two.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lian View Post
                            Honestly our fantasy depictions of the Mafia seem to tend toward very Seelie views I'd say.

                            Death Before dishonor.. never forget a debt? Beauty and Love may not get much play.. those other two.
                            Yes. I think a Kithain Mafia would be all about fairy dust, fae debt collection (tooth fairys with hammers), goblin black markets and kidnapping. To name a few.


                            “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
                            Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MythAdvocate View Post

                              Yes. I think a Kithain Mafia would be all about fairy dust, fae debt collection (tooth fairys with hammers), goblin black markets and kidnapping. To name a few.

                              I'm imagining a Seelie Mafia. Debt Collection. Elaborate codes, Human trafficing(Love conquers the unwilling!) Theft(Beauty is life)

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