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Kaige

Draft - The Commission

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Trying to do some worldbuilding here, tying together our three (technically four?) cities of adventure through related criminal organizations. Today, the Mafia. Feedback and suggestions welcome!

 

I'm considering updating what's going on with Freedom City's three mafia families, but I'd have to consult the ref team first. I plan to add a little more overall, but I'm out of time for today. Ultimately, I'm hoping that the Commission as a massive group of antagonists could provide plot hooks to bring heroes from one city to another for a thread or two, or at least have them hear about each other.

 

The Commission

The Mafia was originally formed in the nineteenth century as a group of Sicilian freedom fighters seeking to expel Napoleon and the French; the name itself is an acronym for "Morte Alla Francia Italia Anela,” which means "death to the French cry the Italians!". The traditions of mutual protection and loyalty at the expense of the state that developed during this period persisted over the following centuries, and as Sicilian immigrants traveled to America and ran up against intense nativism, these families became respected parts of their communities. To outsiders, however, they became synonymous with insidious crime.

 

The Mafia as a criminal organization in the United States began in the early 1900s in major East Coast cities, predominately New York, New York and Freedom City, New Jersey. Early on, they were supposed to be administered by a single "capo de tutti capi," or "boss of all bosses", but brutal infighting over who could hold such a powerful position led the heads of the various Mafia families to reevaluate this style of leadership. In 1931, after a particularly brutal murder of one capo de tutti capi, the nation's most powerful mob branches met in Chicago to decide on an alternative.

 

The result was the Commission, a sort of Mafia board of directors composed of the leaders of the twelve most powerful families: the Five Families of New York; Al Capone's Chicago Outfit; the Scarpias, Igglionis, and Gorganzuas of Bedlam City; and the Drioganos, Olivertis, and Tonifannis of Freedom City. The Twelve Families, as the Commission was also known, met to make all significant decisions about the future of the Mafia as a whole. Meetings approved or denied the admission of Sicilian-born men as Made Men, meted out retribution to traitors, and made the fateful decision to get involved with the drug trade.

 

As lesser families, such as the Manettis (who arrived in Emerald City in the 1940's), began to spread, members of the commission increased their influence by offering to champion their interests; both the Manettis and the Los Angeles mob were long represented by the Chicago Outfit. But despite this show of cooperation, uneasiness between families sometimes erupted into near-open hostility. A series of ugly incidents in 1967 nearly put the Chicago Outfit at war with Bedlam's Scarpias, and although the Commission forbade hostilities, neither group has been welcome in the other's city since.

 

As the Mafia's influence grew with the drug boom, so did law enforcement scrutiny, vigilante attention, and competition within the organization. The activities of superheroes in many of the major cities of the United States began to take a serious toll on families that had until recently been unshakable institutions. After the murder of New York Mafia kingpin Paul Castellano in 1985 and a major defection by insiders who revealed the organization's secret structure in order to get revenge on his killers, the mob began to be muscled out of its nationwide place as undisputed head of the criminal underworld.

 

The Five Families of New York and the Chicago Outfit stayed in contact, but never called or attended a meeting of the full Commission again.

 

In some places, however, local circumstances allowed the Mafia families to hold onto more power. In Freedom City, the corruption that came with the Moore Act era largely destroyed any chance for local superheroes and law enforcement to deal the mob a knockout blow, and the three families there managed to retain significant influence in the city's underworld. In Bedlam City, lack of effective oversight by the half-disbanded commission allowed the Scarpias to wipe out the Igglionis. The city was already so corrupt and economically depressed that it had little chance of rooting them out.

 

With heroes and police in Freedom City still working hard to put an end to the Mafia's operations now that the Moore Administration is a distant memory, and with New York and Chicago largely running their own affairs, the axis of Mafia power in the United States has shifted to Bedlam City, where they rule effectively undisputed. Taking advantage of the situation, the Scarpia family reinstated the Commission in the early 2000s, this time with seven seats: three for the Freedom City families, one for the Manettis of Emerald City, one for Bedlam's Gorganzuas, and two for the Scarpias, representing both themselves and the Igglionis.

 

Although a blatant grab for further power and influence by the Scarpias, this new Commission ("the Seven Families" now, although really there are only six) has had considerable success. The member families run contraband routes from coast to coast, dispose of evidence for one another, hide wanted members of families from other cities, share information on superheroes and law enforcement, and have a shared list of assassins and metahuman contractors to pull from when someone interferes too much in their operations.

 

Whether the new Commission can fully revitalize the Mafia as America's most powerful criminal organization remains to be seen.

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Kaige, this is quite excellent as always, but I've a few suggestions and comments.

 

The Lockdown quasi-setting book has as its principle antagonists the Cartel, a thoroughly international organization with a strong interest in making about as much money as God's rich uncle. They could easily be a source of advanced technology and 'loaned' superhumans for the Commission, or even active participants and instigators of the reformation that are only discovered after extensive investigation by the PCs. Their suggested ties/origins in the Labyrinth could also be part of Taurus' metaplot of reshaping Bedlam into something as profitable and stable as Freedom , as they work like binding agents to meld the far-flung chaos of the lesser underworld into a weapon at his command.

 

The U.S. government doesn't like any threats to its unquestioned authority, at all(just look at what they did to the Black Panthers, or MOVE). Even if it's in a ghastly, dying hellhole like Bedlam, they'd still care about Scarpia people moving personnel and equipment elsewhere, and in a superhero universe they've the likes of AEGIS(or just an FBI with much shinier toys) have a much easier time pinning things on "mundane" criminals. That the likes of Al Driogano has escaped is because his family's got decades of experience while the Manettis enjoy the least-competent AEGIS branch on the continent. That's part of why the Tracksuit Mafia in Hawkeye & Also Hawkeye was just some dudes and the Mob in New York has the Kingpin running the show, that kind of street-level threat works easiest either as a strictly parochial challenge or as a front for super-shenanigans. If they stay some guys who help each other out 'cause friends don't let friends get kicked in the head by Lou the Hitter, they need some way of avoiding detection in a world where world powers need to check to make sure their people aren't actually shapeshifting aliens or Super-Nazi robots.

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