Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spotlight - Crime Pays - The Gritty Details

Last time, in my previous post in this product spotlight, I basically gave an overview of the book, but now I am going to get a bit more into the gritty details of Crime Pays.  The Yakuza gang war which has been driving me bloody crazy recently has apparently died down enough that they have moved away from the direct area around my apartment and are no longer keeping me up at night with their goings on. So, let's get right down to it.

Crime Pays provides you with a macro, domain level system for managing your mob and using them to make money.  That is putting it pretty simply.  In the fashion of 4e, this domain level system uses a refined and modified version of skill checks/skill challenges in order to perform crimes and run your mob.

As the leader of the mob, you are the hand that moves everything from behind the scenes.  This means that you direct the big "jobs" that your mob is going to pull in your territory.  These crimes have the chance to earn you and your mob some cold hard cash, which you will probably then have to use to pay off all the people in your family and take care of the daily upkeep of your mob.

Basically, what the mob turn gets you is a chance to pull off a crime once a month and make some money.  For example, you could direct your mob to Smuggle something, which could earn you up to 2d100 GP.  There is decidedly more to it honestly; playing through these rules means that you also have options for random events, random law events, and random underworld events, which may cause problems for your family.  Some of these events can be pretty crazy - war, in particular, might end with your entire burning to the ground as the local prince laughs at you from his tower perched above the city.

Ultimately however, this is all just a very big and complex method of installing a generator for adventure hooks and establishing a crime campaign.  One interesting passage, in chapter 5 notes that, "unless a mob is both very aggressive and very lucky, it is unlikely that any mob is financially sustainable. Left to their own devices,
most mobs run themselves into the ground in a matter of a few months."  This rules set provides some interesting domain level mechanics, but you can't run Crime Pays as a purely "domain level" style of game.  The book is really just a tool set for providing adventure hooks for a group of players hoping to have an awesome urban campaign built on being the money-interested bad guys.

Next time, you can check out my full review of the book at SGW where I finally finish up this review and I provide my opinions of the book.

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