Ever wanted a criminal organisation in your tabletop roleplaying game? We take a look at how you can go about adding one, and focusing on ways you can ensure it fits into the RPG world you are creating. Whether it is a modern day Mafia organisation or a fantasy underworld of thieves, these tips can be used for any roleplaying game system and can help add depth and a more sinister aspect to your world.

5 Things to Consider When Adding Criminal Organisations in Your RPG – GM Tips

Criminal Organisations – How do you make them? How do you work with them, and how do you make your players want to join or avoid them? 

Here are some questions to consider when adding in criminal organisations into your RPG: 

  • Why did the organization start? What need or gap was there? 
    • Easy money – usually it is because it is easy to make money doing whatever the organization does. 
    • You need to understand where the criminal organization came from. 
    • Understanding how and why it started will allow you to move forward in terms of knowing its goals. 
  • What are its goals? 
    • Where does the organization see itself in 5 years? 
    • Setting specific goals help – create goals that give you adventure opportunities, and that the PC’s can disrupt or prevent. 
    • Their goal should be physical, practical and immediate. Should be things that the players can stop. 
    • Make them short term goals – long term goals do not help you if the PC’s don’t know what they might be. Short term goals are easier to manage. 
    • If the PC’s don’t know – if you make a criminal organization that no one knows about, it doesn’t have any value in your game. (Secret societies are never secret)
    • The players must have a reason to interact with the organization. 
    • Don’t give up – your organization should never just give up on their goals. 
  • Why is the organization still operating? Why has it not been stopped? Who is trying to stop it? 
    • Bribery and corruption – this is often how evil organisations continue to operate. 
    • Blackmail or hostage – having leverage over an official or powerful influencer can be another way. 
    • Maybe they are tolerated for benefits – if the benefits outweigh the costs, and the law is a hindrance, they may be allowed to continue. 
  • What will they do to the PC’s? Will they sacrifice everything for vengeance? 
    • How far will they go? – murder, extortion, child labour, murder of children? What are the moral limits of the organization leadership? 
    • Limits make it interesting – it can be advantageous to the PC’s, but also gives you more interesting plot options. 
  • What if your PC’s sign up to the organization? Is it ok for them to join the evil organization? 
    • What must be done? What is the organization willing to do further its aims? 
    • Must the PC’s murder, steal, blackmail, force? What happens if they refuse? 
    • Let them think as to whether they want to be part of this organization or not. 
    • If you want your organization to be truly evil – show they players just how evil they need to be to be a part of it. 

Your task – design a criminal organization. 

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