08 October 2015

Gnarly Gang Generator

All right, I've been writing and playtesting a new setting, Gathox Vertical Slum, which is a science fantasy faction game with brutal and absurdist undercurrents. A significant part of play revolves around gangs - at first with players interacting with them, later forming their own gangs, and finally engaging in turf war between districts.

A lot of folks have been posting some fun bits and pieces about gangs recently, and I wanted to share a gang generator that I've developed. It happens to be stripped of the setting-specific information which I will be publishing with Gathox Vertical Slum, so you can adapt it to a wide variety of games. It comes with the added benefit of being built off of the structures and motivations of actual criminal organizations from the real world. Research for the win! Here we go:

Criminal Organizations

The following is a multi-die procedure for quickly structuring criminal organizations, which are often key players in larger conspiracies. To generate a CrimOrg, roll a d4, d6,d8, 10, d12, and d20 all at once. The results build off of one another and combine to paint a solid picture of the size, nature, purpose, and flavor of the organization.

1d4 - Type of CrimOrg
1 - Neighborhood Gang - While criminal, their origins are based in social play and mischief. Identities rely on ostentatious bluster or threat.
2 - Mafia/ Tong - Larger families, clans, ethnic or business interests. Initiatory membership, typically featuring discipline and a code of conduct.
3* - Symbolic Alliance - Loose horizontal alliances of gangs or chapters who adopt the same or similar symbols. Umbrella divisions as opposed to hierarchy.
4* - Ideological Alliance - Large alliance of smaller ideologically-aligned groups. Often religious or ethnically homogenous. Most likely to make spectacular displays of public violence.

*Note: The following tables will produce a single sub-goup or cell of the larger alliance in question; simply re-roll the d6 through d20 tables to create multiple cells and sub-groups if you wish to flesh out the entire alliance.

1d6 - CrimOrg Structure
1 - Egalitarian, with an elected boss and/or lieutenants.
2 - Cult of Personality, with a strong, charismatic leader.
3 - Might Makes Right, where leadership is challenged and established based on violence.
4 - Hired Guns, with membership bearing employee status.
5 - Inner Circle, where a central committee of leadership steers the group.
6 - Sleeper Cell, with discrete power distribution and the scope of action is limited.

1d8 - Size and Distribution of CrimOrg
1 - 1 boss, 1 lieutenant, 2d3 mooks
2 - 2-boss partnership with 2d4 mooks
3 - 1 boss, 2 lieutenants, 2d6 mooks
4 - 3-boss triumvirate, each with a lieutenant and 1d6 mooks
5 - 1 boss, 3 lieutenants, 3d4 mooks
6 - Frontman and silent senior partner, 3 lieutenants and 2d8 mooks
7 - Headless: 4 lieutenants, each with 1d6 mooks
8 - 1 boss, 2d3 lieutenants, each with 1d8 mooks

1d10 - CrimOrg Naming Scheme
1 - Honorific, two words. Ex.: Shining Force, Rising Tide, Radiant Fist.
2 - Two word opposites. Ex.: Goodly Scoundrels, Holy Bastards, Burning Sharks.
3 - Outlaw name. Ex.: Pistoleros, Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, The Executioners.
4 - ________ Brotherhood/ Sisterhood.
5-6 - Family name of leader. Ex.: The Muenchen Family, The Jodorowsky’s.
7-8 - Geographical name. Ex.: The Scrape Hill Bandits, The Blood River Reavers.
9 - Business front. Ex.: Talon and Feather Mercantile, The Tanner’s Guild.
10 - Leader’s crew. Ex.: Tamara’s Boys, Agathura’s Raiders.

1d12 - CrimOrg Motivations
1 - Social club/ fraternization.
2 - Defense of territory.
3 - Religious fanaticism.
4 - Hated enemy.
5 - Ethnic/ cultural supremacy.
6 - Class warfare.
7 - Control of legitimate businesses.
8 - Black market entrepreneurship.
9 - Mercenary muscle/ contract work.
10 - Protection of a certain class of people.
11 - General mayhem/ targeted terror.
12 - Reactionary/ revolutionary (against status quo).

1d20 - Points of Interest
1 - Boss has a twin as lieutenant; 50% chance their aims are at odds.
2-3 - Drug addiction runs rampant in the lower ranks.
4 - Members are indentured, and fallen members are replaced by siblings or parents.
5-6 - The mooks are planning a mutiny.
7 - The lieutenants are quietly moving against the boss(es), unbeknownst to their mooks.
8 - The boss is planning to kill and replace the lieutenant(s) as soon as possible.
9 - The gang has recently lost a significant amount of territory/business.
10 - The gang is in it’s heyday, having recently acquired a tremendous resource.
11-12 - Upper management is blind to the machinations of outside forces.
13 - The gang has an extensive network of informants, and is unlikely to be taken off-guard.
14 - Fallen members are martyred and idolized, leading to fanaticism amongst the lower ranks.
15 - All trust has broken down, leading to factionalism.
16 - The CrimOrg is currently planning its most risky operation yet.
17 - The gang is old and semi-defunct, save for one up-and-coming young tough.
18-19 - The leadership is held together by romantic interests.
20 - Roll one additional motivation on the d12 table and roll again here.

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