Organized crime can be said to generally have three tiers, plus occasional supervilllains:
- International crime groups include AIM, HYDRA, ULTIMATUM, and several less high-profile groups. These are rarely directly connected to local crime except through intermediaries, subordinate groups, and hirelings of various kinds (though they may possess undercover agents or local spies to keep an eye on things).
- National crime groups include the Maggia, the Yakuza, Chinese Tongs and Triads, and South American drug cartels. This is usually where orders to commit specific crimes originate, though most routine activities themselves are normally delegated. Only in cases where a show of force is necessary will these groups involve themselves directly – though being criminals, it is not unlikely that individual members of a group deal in crimes personally, for a little extra profit.
- Local crime groups includes the local extensions of larger groups and street gangs (who may be independent or work for larger organizations). These are the enforcers, drug dealers, pimps, robbers, thieves, fences, and other street criminals who are most likely to be directly involved in committing crimes. Such street criminals may be entirely mobile (like some biker gangs) or have a permanent base in a neighborhood (a veritable fortress in the case of some street gangs).
Supervillains form a category of themselves, because of their special abilities – in the underworld, personal power enables authority through superior force. They can work either individually apart from other criminals (who usually steer clear of them when they do so), or in cooperation with other groups, and occasionally also controls groups of either size, depending on ambition and power – several international and international crime groups have had superpowered leaders as well as supervillain enforcers on a local level, and for someone with superpowers it’s not hard to rule a street gang.
Anyone with Streetwise will have significant understanding of the tier closest to his or her involvement; international, national or local – with a focus on the local picture, depending on how familiar the local area is. Streetwise provides only a limited knowledge about detail and organizational structure of crime, and this information is vague, ever changing and probably not absolutely accurate.
For instance, the local snitch in the neighborhood only knows about the local crime groups in detail, no matter how high Streetwise may be. At most, she knows how to contact a few well connected people. She wouldn’t know crime bosses personally or be privy to any organizational details (though she could perhaps possess a related KS which cover some limited in-depth information about some specific group).
(more details on campaign events, individuals and groups to come in later posts)