Author Topic: NEED HELP: Mafia Game  (Read 4647 times)

Maze

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NEED HELP: Mafia Game
« on: June 19, 2009, 05:01:06 PM »
Guys, I need help. I'm designing a casa nostra kind of game which would be one-shots. The PCs story would be over by the end of the game, but more games can be run in the same universe as part of either the same, or other families.

The game would consist of following the lives of various gangsters part of a mafia. From cooking spaghetti to blowing some wiseguy's head all over a window. The game would encourage player conflict, but the setting prevents overt aggression of fellow members. I do intend to get at least half the players dead or arrested by the end of it. Players killed or arrested early on can get new characters quickly.

The system is my own homebrew, the ones I've used in the game of zombie mutants (the anecdote with the police officer hoarding the guns) with a few modifications. Basically, gun fights are very short and deadly for the players, best use one's brains instead.

The players will be part of the Italian mafia (in this game at least) which rules over part of the fictional city of "Jersey" in a fictional country. The Russian mafia, the American mafia and the Yakusa also fight for territories in this town.

The way I'll get characters made is by having several cards printed out separated by categories that the players draw randomly which have traits, job and the such. The players can then trade cards but have to design a character based on them, thus forcing them out of their usual PC. They will also draw a "wild card", one they can't show to others, which will be a liability to the group such as "sleeps with X's wife", "wants to get revenge on X", "steals money" or "works as an undercover agent". Something like that, some will be tame, some won't. I'll see each player alone at mid point of the game to discuss how they will act on this. It won't all happen at the same time, but I will arrange the details with the players. I might also tell another player who's card might be "sweettooth" that he finds out that X is stealing money from them, and see how he deals with it.

The main plot of the game is that the capo di tutti capi, the head of the italian family was assassinated along with the underboss. The five caporegimes split and are fighting for ressources. The players will also seek to find out who is behind the hit to get revenge and possibly reunite the others once again. In between, they'll be running protection rackets, smuggling drugs and weapons, going to meetings, having family dinners, etc.

So basically, I'll need help to:
-Create various NPCs in the family, as well as the other families
-Design various events that will happen whether the players do anything about it or not
-Have various jobs for the players to do.
-Have a list of traits for the PC creation
-Have main locations in the city for the players to become familiar with it

I'd like to know who would be willing to help and hear your comments or suggestions. I'd add the stuff in this post as we go, and once I run the game, I'll tell you guys how it went and create a full PDF so you can try it too if you want. It should be fun anyway.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 12:10:49 PM by Maze »

Dawnsteel

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Re: NEED HELP: Lord of the Blow
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2009, 05:46:32 PM »

This sounds pretty cool.  I'd be glad to help, especially if I can manage to think of anything interesting.

I like the card-draw character generation system, but I think there needs to be a static element, even if it is just assigning the players each a letter, that "relationship" cards might refer to.  I'm not talking about the liability cards you mentioned; I mean character links that would be clearly visible.  Player A is married to Player B's sister.  Players C and D have teenage children that are dating.  Players E and F are conjoined twins.
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Maze

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Re: NEED HELP: Lord of the Blow
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2009, 12:11:44 PM »
By static, you mean I force them to be related or should they choose themselves? And would that be before or after they know their individual jobs?

clockworkjoe

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Re: NEED HELP: Mafia Game
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2009, 12:17:18 PM »
NPC

Joey "the legs" Abbiati

A soldier for a powerful crime family, Joey got his nickname for his preference for targeting the legs of his enemies. Not satisfied with breaking legs on delinquent debt holders, Joey actually shoots the legs first, even against people who are shooting back at him. When asked why, Joey just smirks and says its so the bastards can suffer longer and shooting below the waist is only assault not attempted murder. He once shot a hit target fifteen times altogether before the victim died of shock and blood loss.

Ironically enough, when it comes to women, Joey is an ass man.

Dawnsteel

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Re: NEED HELP: Lord of the Blow
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2009, 09:09:06 PM »
By static, you mean I force them to be related or should they choose themselves? And would that be before or after they know their individual jobs?

You said that the players would be able to trade their "trait" cards amongst themselves.  I meant you should have one card they can't trade, so that other, randomized, tradeable cards have a point of reference.  The static value doesn't have to have any in-game effect, even, it can just be designating one player as "A," one "B," and so on.
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jonnygadfly

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Re: NEED HELP: Mafia Game
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2009, 04:06:36 PM »
-Create various NPCs in the family, as well as the other families

The first thing I would recommend for NPCs is the ubiquitous name lists:
Italian-Americans tend to have anglicized versions of Italian first names, such as Tony, Joe, Mike, Paul, etc. for men and Marie, Phyllis, Josephine, Teresa, etc. for women. For Italian last names simply crib from your favorite Mafia themed movies and television shows. However, another easy cheat is to Google Italian towns and cities and add “De” to the front of the place-name for an easy Italian Surname: for a real-life example, my Grandmother’s maiden name is DeMarco.

Now, as far as the actual NPCs go: follow the RPPR Golden Rule; Steal Blatantly. However, I would advise you NOT to steal from mafia T.V. shows and movies; your players will be looking for this. Instead, steal characters from other kinds of shows, change their names, and work them into the context of your campaign. For example, the crew of Serenity from the show Firefly would make a great mafia crew-just change the names of the characters.  Another great source would be the show Babylon 5: virtually every character from that show makes a great NPC for any game; I have used them myself in my Iron-Age DnD game.

-Design various events that will happen whether the players do anything about it or not

For this list of events (that could easily double as adventure hooks), I would make a list of events divided into two categories: Major Events (that would indirectly affect the PCs but have reaching consequences) and Minor Events (that would directly affect the PC, but are easily resolved, i.e., adventure hooks).  I would create, say, 5 Major Events and 10 Minor events, depending upon the length of your campaign.

Major Events would include: The Boss of a Rival Crew is assassinated; the local DA arrests a major Boss on a RICO charge (bad news for any crew), etc. Minor Events could include: the girlfriend of a PC announces she is pregnant, the brother of a PC is a gambling addict and is in 40 grand deep to the boss of a rival crew, a rival gang (not mafia but, say, Russian, Yakuza, or Irish) moves in on the PCs turf, etc.

-Have various jobs for the players to do.

Most members of Mafia Crews are basically left to their own devices; they must simply give a weekly “cut” to the crew boss, who in turn gives a cut to the Capo, and on and on. This element could introduce a nice sandbox element to the game as the PCs engage in various attempts to “earn,” collecting extortion money (protection), loan sharking, gambling debts, and a little B&E on the side.

As far as specific jobs given by Bosses and Capos: these would mostly include collection of overdue debts (“Frankie the Scab is in ten large and he ain’t paid up in a while. Go convince him to quit being a douche-bag and cough up some of what he owes.”); Babysitting (body guarding various NPCs); and, if the PCs are real toughs, assassinations.

-Have a list of traits for the PC creation

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by this. Are you looking for GURPS-style advantages, disadvantages, and quirks, or are you simply looking for unique personality traits to assign to the PCs? Either way, the aforementioned GURPS mechanics are a good place to start.

 -Have main locations in the city for the players to become familiar with it

Locations would fall into three broad categories: businesses owned by the PCs and their associates that would double as meeting places; ‘Neutral’ territory for meetings with other crews and bosses; and ‘mark’ locations- places where the PCs collect protection money, engage in B&E, fight other crews, etc.

Examples of businesses/ meeting places would be Bars, restaurants, delis, bakeries (Italian-Americans are big on food), etc. The same would apply to the ‘neutral’ territories. The ‘mark’ territories would be anywhere the PCs would be able to pick up easy cash; mostly businesses but residences would do as well. One great resource for this aspect of the game is the out-of-print Shadowrun Book Sprawl Sites, however any floor plan will do- you can even reuse old floor plans by adding “new paint” to them.

I hope these general tid-bits help. If you would like specifics of anything above, feel free to relpy either on this thread or via PM. I will be happy to provide what I can (time permitting). Good Luck with the game!
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 04:10:11 PM by jonnygadfly »
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