Criminal characters have access to the same merits and systems as any other character, but some merits deserve special mention in the context of the Crime sphere.
NOTE Unless you belong to a criminal organization (such as the mafia, the gang, or a player-made group), you don't have access to status. Crime is not a sphere that has a default hierarchy; only organizations within the spheres have access to status.
Status (Criminal Underworld)
The Status (Criminal Underworld) merit represents a character's influence and status in the criminal underground. Like all Status merits, it can be earned only in play; each level of Status describes what is required to earn that level.
Status 1: Associate
Status 1 characters are either working criminals who are new to town or people known to be 'crime-friendly.' Other criminal characters will likely know that a Status 1 character is connected, but not of any specific criminal expertise they have. They are people who either new to the life in Fallcoast or who are not criminals themselves but associated with them.
Status 1 characters are often business owners who look the other way, like the owner of a no-tell motel, a scrap recycler, or a pawn shop, or else they may be crooked cops or corrupt bureaucrats -- people who do not make most of their money from crime, but are associated with it. Low-status, new or up-and-coming street criminals may also be Status 1, like drug lookouts, prostitutes, or just junky thieves. Characters with more significant criminal skills who are from out of town may also be Status 1.
Characters can gain Status 1 at chargen or via +request to staff; it's the entry-level status and easy to come by.
Characters at Status 1 are not necessarily going to have a record of any sort.
Status 2: Gangster
Status 2 characters are rank-and-file working criminals. Most are full members of a gang, though others might be professional thugs or robbers. A Status 2 character has a reputation and is known in the criminal community; usually, Status 2 characters have criminal records, as a character who has never been arrested may be viewed as suspicious by other criminals.
Characters who come into play with a criminal record can have Status 2 at chargen; they can gain it via +request after being arrested for a crime, or if a Status 3 or above crime character 'sponsors' them by publicly vouching for them via +request.
Characters with Criminal Underworld Status of 2 or higher gain a +1 bonus to Streetwise rolls in their home turf.
Most characters are Criminal Status 2 have a record as a suspect even if they have no convictions, but law enforcement and other interested parties are unlikely to recognize them by name or face without checking that record.
Status 3: O.G.
Status 3 characters are racketeers, gang leaders, or merely very respected members of the criminal underworld -- not just active criminals, but active criminals at the top of their game. The defining feature of being Status 3 is that you are running some sort of reasonably-sized criminal enterprise, one with several Status 2 criminal characters underneath you. You might head up a street gang or control a smuggling operation or control the drug dealing on a corner, but you are not just a thug, you are a businessman.
Characters gain Status 3 by controlling a criminal enterprise and having several Status 2 characters working for them. Two Status 2 characters can nominate a third Status 2 character to be their boss via +request, at which point the third character will become Status 3.
Characters with Criminal Underworld Status of 3 or higher gain a +1 bonus to Streetwise rolls throughout Fallcoast.
At Status 3 and above, characters are 'the usual suspects' -- law enforcement and others with investigation skills will likely know who they are by name, regardless of criminal record.
Status 4: Crime Boss
Status 4 characters are movers and shakers in the local criminal underworld, the heads of major local syndicates with several lesser gangs or criminal organizations working for them. Most of the time, Status 4 characters are the highest status figures in the Criminal Underworld, with several Status 4 figures serving as criminal rivals.
Characters gain Status 4 by having several Status 3 characters working for them. Two Status 3 characters can nominate a third Status 3 character to be their boss via +request, at which point the third character will become Status 4.
Characters with Criminal Underworld Status of 4 or higher gain a +1 bonus to Streetwise rolls throughout New England.
At Status 4, characters are likely to be known to law enforcement as the criminal movers and shakers in the town.
Status 5: Don
Status 5 characters are rare, the undisputed criminal masters of an entire city. Usually, Fallcoast does not have a Status 5 crime character -- instead, the city is divided between several Status 4 characters -- but sometimes a single leader will arise to unite the criminals.
Characters gain Status 5 via +vote of the entire crime sphere, weighted by Status. Only one character can be Criminal Underworld Status 5 at a time.
Characters with Criminal Underworld Status 5 gain a +1 bonus to Streetwise rolls in any location.
At Status 5, characters are likely to be known to basically anyone with an eye on the news as a major criminal; one didn't need to be a cop to know Al Capone ran Chicago.
Allies and Contacts
Characters can also purchase Allies and Contacts in criminal groups. Allies and Contacts cannot be too broad; Allies (Criminals) for instance is to large a group for allies.
Generally, Allies represent an alliance with a /group/, either a street gang, organized crime, or something else. Appropriate Allies include:
- O'Malley Family
- Biker Gangs
- Third Street Locos
- Three Deuce Crips
- Italian Mafia
- Russian Bratvas
Allies always represent the ability to call upon local resources of a group; for that reason, groups listed as having only minimal influence in Fallcoast like the Triads, Yakuza, or Cartels count as effectively one level lower when used to influence local affairs.
The only exception to this convention is Allies (Black Market). Allies (Black Market) has special mechanics that can be referenced in Armory PG 194 and on the Equipment wiki, under Black Market.
Contacts represent who you know; while you may have contacts with any of the groups listed above, you might also have contacts with members of a profession, regardless of what organization they might be part of. Profession-based contacts might include:
- Drug Dealers
- Sex Workers
- Arms Traffickers
- Human Traffickers
- Cat Burglars
Of course, contacts can also be groups like Biker Gangs, the Mafia, or the Cartels -- but they offer the additional option of being profession-based.