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  • On the subject of Criminal activities

    I would imagine that waging a invisible war againts your enemy sect involves spending money on guns, ammo, bloodbags, armoured vehicles, drones, maybe even hiring mercenaries and bribing the cops, and it got me wondering, do any of the sourcebooks confirm if either the Camarilla or the Anarchs engage in criminal enterprises (drug traficing, money laundering, human traficing, extortion etc) to fund their war efforts?

  • #2
    Originally posted by AscentionTheMage View Post
    I would imagine that waging a invisible war againts your enemy sect involves spending money on guns, ammo, bloodbags, armoured vehicles, drones, maybe even hiring mercenaries and bribing the cops, and it got me wondering, do any of the sourcebooks confirm if either the Camarilla or the Anarchs engage in criminal enterprises (drug traficing, money laundering, human traficing, extortion etc) to fund their war efforts?
    Yes, all of the books and most of the city-books indicate that the undead have extensive power in both criminal organizations as well as corporate.

    The Followers of Set are heavily involved in drug trafficking and slavery.

    The Giovanni Pisanob family is particularly associated with the Italian mafia.

    Al Capone and Kevin Jackson are the controllers of Chicago's mobs.

    Many Brujah use street gangs as recruits and let them fund themselves.


    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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    • #3
      That's more hobby stuff; Vampires generally don't need to get into blue-collar criminal activities. Vampires have very easy roads into 'legitimate' enterprises and standard-practice tax evasions/embezzlement schemes, and in a pinch they can get people to take on really risky investments for them (IE short-stocking/ hedge funds) and can cut the man out of their lives when the investment goes bust. Vampires have the blood bond, they have dominate, they have presence, they have mask-of-a-thousand-faces, but most importantly they are drawn into a community of people who know how money works, or people who 'own' people who know how money works. And given most vampires are optimistic about their life expectancy, they can be very patient with slower, safer or more lucrative investments. Organized crime and gangs are more about connections and influence and allies than about money.

      Edit: The independent bloodlines are more heavily into criminal enteprises, but that's more out of religion, tradition, lack of alternative, or from some weird power fantasy they all share. Anarchs are commonly associated with gangs because they don't know better.
      Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 02-19-2021, 10:19 AM.


      Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
      There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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      • #4
        In every (Camarilla) city, at least one or more vampires are going to try to claim one or more aspects of local criminal activity as part of their domain. The Setites, and to a degree the Ravnos, get stereotyped with this, but the Ventrue are also big on it. Really every clan gets involved in it to one degree or another.


        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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        • #5
          The tricky thing about discussing financial issues and vampires is that while we can use modern day prices and regulations as a guide, there is one main aspect that doesn't get focused on, specifically time and how vampires could operate.

          If you start with $10,000 and setup a bank account with a 10% return on investment per year (compounded annually), after 100 years that account will have grown to around $137,806,123.40 thus creating a form of wealth feedback loop. The more money you have, the more is generated in investments and bank account APRs. Sure you could lose money if a country has an economic collapse but a smart vampire would have multiple accounts spread across international banks. Imagine what happens if you have a couple hundred accounts all with $10,000 seed money and calculate the results after a century. Then consider what happens if you have a coterie where each member has 500 accounts, each generating funding like this.

          Criminal Activities of a certain level would only be used by Kindred who fall into specific categories. Those who are relatively speaking "just starting out" and need to put that seed money together, those that were embraced because they ran such an enterprise such as a mob boss, or those who just have no interest or skill at planning long term.

          In the case of Sects, they would essentially have whole Coteries who spend their time creating funding generators for the various wars and projects required by that sect. All told each vampire sect could easily be a multi-hundred trillion dollar business group.

          To say that some one has Resources 5 really doesn't approach the scale of financial power a vampire can amass with only simple investing tools just because time is a luxury.

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          • #6
            While that sounds logical there's two problems with it.
            a) 100 years is a hundred years, and that's a long time, even for a vampire, especially a new one. If I need money now, i can't wait 100 years
            b) 100 times $10,000 is a million. A young vampire needs to have that first.

            Generally speaking the criminal activiities are used to get short-term cash, right now, and to get the starting capital for these long term schemes, that they eventually set up.

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            • #7
              I think that criminal activities are something that vampires are inevitably heavily involved in, unlike MyWifeIsScary, not because vampires don't have alternatives to get money (that amount to using their Disciplines to gain things illicitly but "legitimately") but because of a Doylist and Watsonian reason.

              1. The Doylist reason is that vampires are heavily influenced by mafia storylines as part of the setting. Mark Rein Hagen used the Godfather and other gangster movies as a good way of describing Camarilla politics. Also, ironically enough, Mike Pondsmith's cyberpunk stories where the PCs were mercenaries working for criminals and corporates. Crime is something baked into the setting and whether it's heists, assassinations, gang fights, smuggling, or shakedowns--it's all part of the setting.

              2. The Watsonian reason is the fact that vampires find crime terribly CONVENIENT. Need something moved in the middle of the night, someone killed, or a lot of cash that is untraceable without a paper trail? Well, humans have been making these kind of institutions for centuries and there's a never-ending number of them. Organized crime is just USEFUL for vampires. It also protects the Masquerade as if the police find out someone has been dumping dozens of bodies in a landfill for decades, they're probably inclined to think "Mafia" before undead.

              Additionally, certain crimes are going to be extremely useful to vampires:

              * Human trafficking (ick)
              * Prostitution
              * Murder for hire
              * Money laundering
              * False identities and Fraud
              Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-21-2021, 08:19 AM.


              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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              • #8
                The Ventrue are largely too dignified for this shit, the Tremere too smart, and the Toreador too... sparkly. Mobs might have been an inspiration for some writers, but ultimately, from a doyalist point of view, vampires are meant to be alegorical to real life parasites. Landlords, Hedge fund managers, Lobyists, people who evade taxes through 'fine art'. The liberal/conservative elite; the new money and the old money. The Giovanni were made a clan of 'mob guys' because the other clans didnt fit that bill.

                RE:starting out.
                If you arent lucky enough to be sired into a possition where you can ask for 'a small lone of a miĺlion dollars, you can just ghoul a loney business owner or other high-potential money-maker, sugar-your way into having some wealth over a few years, and use that capital to start your own finance empire within the decade. You dont need 4 dots of resources right off the bat. If you are going to want to partake in crime, may i suggest using it to cover your sloppier feeding activities? blackmail is more for influence but it is a pretty good activity for an individual.


                Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                  The Ventrue are largely too dignified for this shit,
                  The Ventrue who include Al Capone, Kevin Jackson, numerous other criminals in 1st Edition and other setting books?

                  What's undignified about controlling the city's illegitimate trades?

                  All Ventrue are murderous parasites after all. The question is how much influence they can assert.


                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                  • #10
                    This is a really interesting thread

                    But the Pisanob are Mayan necromancers. The Puttanesca family (which is actually a pasta sauce that literally means “whore’s sauce” in Italian because it smells like fish which in turn smells like...well, you know) are the ones with Mafia ties.


                    “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her (I saw the Chief Technology Officer for a big company do this so I guess I’ll do it too).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                      This is a really interesting thread

                      But the Pisanob are Mayan necromancers. The Puttanesca family (which is actually a pasta sauce that literally means “whore’s sauce” in Italian because it smells like fish which in turn smells like...well, you know) are the ones with Mafia ties.
                      Sorry, my bad.


                      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                      • #12
                        For some ideas around this in the present day, the TV series McMafia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMafia might be worth a look. Goes into how to move money and deal with people/government.

                        The issue I find with the 100 year investment plan is when you are still turning up to collect it a 100 years later...

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                        • #13
                          I'd recommend some Jake Tran videos, with such gems as "Mob Psychology: A Guide for the Modern Day Wealthy Elite" and "meet America's hedge fund billionaires" and "how to get rich as a corrupt politician" and if you really need it ; "Robbing banks: the real way to getting rich fast". I just came off of "Corporate espionage: make big money spying on companies"

                          Probably on a goverment watch list now, but it's worth it. Great ideas for any vampire game.

                          Originally posted by babi_gog View Post
                          The issue I find with the 100 year investment plan is when you are still turning up to collect it a 100 years later...
                          The idea is probably to make your kids rich and establish a dynasty.


                          Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                          There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Quatar View Post
                            While that sounds logical there's two problems with it.
                            b) 100 times $10,000 is a million. A young vampire needs to have that first.
                            I assume a starter vampire would begin with a single account and build from there. As for having that $10,000 in seed money, that is about 1/2 to 1/3 the price a of car in most first world countries. So when liquidating your mortal life to make things more functional as a vampire having a lump sum of ten to twenty grand isn't unreasonable.

                            But what exactly does it cost to be a vampire?

                            Food is potentially free
                            Vampiric healing means no medical bills or health insurance premiums
                            Most of the time you don't need to heat or cool your haven
                            Since you sleep all day, you skip peak hour usage rates for power and gas

                            Basically you need to pay for lights in your haven at night, owning a vehicle is tricky since few mechanics are open when vampires are awake so without a ghoul you will have trouble getting maintenance done, and most insurance companies don't have vampire friendly coverage policies.

                            Yes you can just ghoul a mortal who is an over achiever and leach off of their career. But that doesn't fit many character builds and lets be honest isn't exactly a good fit for someone on the Path of Humanity.

                            A new vampire whining about needing money now is like a person just starting an MMO but complaining about needing end game gear. You just have to put in the time for the resource grind.

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                            • #15
                              High crime rates in general help with Masquerade protection. As long as it wasn’t sensational in some way another murder victim found in a Chicago alley won’t even be a news story. If the police and coroner are bought off even the victim’s family might never know the real cause... just another senseless death among a sea of them.

                              Another element of gang/criminal activity too is it can mask attacks on your political enemies when the Prince makes killing fellow Kindred a crime. One plot element in my Vampire game was that a lot of vampires getting torched in their havens during last summer’s riots.

                              The vampires didn’t start the riots; they didn’t even start the burning; but once it had started, those with any influence among the gangs and protesters started using them as cover to settle scores.

                              When one building goes up in flames in a peaceful city there’s an investigation and if it belonged to a vamp, attention turns to their rivals for suspects.

                              When a city block or three goes up in the middle of a weeklong riot there’s little if any investigation and there’s well beyond reasonable doubt that any vamps who happened to burn up in their havens were targeted versus just being unlucky. Sure their might be some suspicions, but good luck proving it.

                              This doesn’t even get into the way such disruptions can affect feeding opportunities. When the only 24 hour grocery in a vamp’s domain gets torched, anyone who has to shop at that hour has to go elsewhere. The urban poor without transportation have to wait on buses or walk unfamiliar routes to reach the alternatives... making them easier pickings for those with domains to exploit the opportunity.

                              Again, hurt your enemy by wrecking their hunting grounds in a way you can deny having any part in and/or increase the traffic in neighboring hunting grounds at the same time.

                              For a lower humanity vampire (i.e. most elders) selected application of the criminal element is a tool not just for enriching yourself monetarily, but to punish your enemies and improve your odds of hunting.

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