Saturday, 17 March 2018

Mad Dogs With Guns - A Prohibition Gangster Campaign.

On October 28, 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act, the popular name for the National Prohibition Act, over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The act established the legal definition of intoxicating liquors as well as penalties for producing them.

Although the Volstead Act prohibited the sale of alcohol, the federal government lacked resources to enforce it.

By the terms of the amendment, the country went dry one year later, on January 17, 1920.

Of course, not all Americans were happy with this! After the Eighteenth Amendment became law the United States soon embraced bootlegging.

In just the first six months of 1920 alone, the Federal government opened 7291 cases for Volstead Act violations. In just the first complete fiscal year of 1921, the number of cases violating the Act jumped to over 29000 and would rise dramatically over the next thirteen years.

Organised crime received a major boost from Prohibition. Mafia groups had limited their activities to prostitution, gambling and theft until 1920, when organised bootlegging emerged in response to Prohibition. A profitable, often violent black market for alcohol flourished. Prohibition has therefore given a financial basis for organised crime to also flourish...

It is now January 1922...

“Welcome to Paradise, Illinois!”

Paradise is a small city about two hours’ drive from Chicago. It is an industrial and port city with a mixed population of assimilated Americans, Italians (primarily Sicilian and Neapolitan), Irish and Eastern Europeans (both Jewish and Christian) with small Chinese and African-American communities. Prior to Prohibition, Paradise was known for its breweries.

The city government is ineffective and corrupt by tradition, the police force especially so.
Several organised crime groups have already begun to establish themselves. Irish and Sicilian gangs have so far asserted their dominance but other smaller groups also vie for power.

The city is ripe and ready for a strong and ruthless Boss to exploit and make a name for themselves…

The city itself is made up of 12 neighbourhoods (see below) with three south of the main river.
The Police Department is divided into three area precincts and a Central Precinct (Downtown).

1st. Precinct - St. Mary’s (known as Cabbageville), Riverside and The Docks.
2nd. Precinct - Hell’s Basement, Little Sicily, Cedar Hill and Lincoln Heights.
3rd. Precinct - Chinatown, Southbridge, The Racetrack and Oak Bluff.


City Officials

The Mayor “Hizzhonor” Joseph Horatio Gunther III
Judge Edward Kessler
Judge Leander Whitlock
Judge Horace Caplan
Chief of Police Ryan O’Healy (Downtown Central Precinct)
Captain Geriant “Jerry” Lafferty (1st Precinct)
Captain Paul Hodge (2nd Precinct)
Captain Enoch Cohen (3rd Precinct)
City Editor of the Paradise Times-Dispatch William “Will” Thompson

Councilmen –

a) Councilman Jack Riley (St. Mary’s / Cabbageville)
b) Councilman Benjamin Rosenfield (Cedar Hill)
c) Councilman Joseph Lazarow (Lincoln Heights)
d) Councilman Harper Bacharach (Riverside)
e) Councilman Richard Hackett (Central District / Hell’s Basement)
f) Councilman Antony Ruffu (Little Sicily)
g) Councilman Charles Whelan (The Docks)
h) Councilman Willard H. Wright (Downtown)
i) Councilman Hamilton Fish-Kean (Chinatown)
j) Councilman Franklin Davenport (Oak Bluff)
k) Councilman Samuel Hoffman (The Racetrack)
l) Councilman Ezra Darby (Southbridge)

Reporters –

a) Amos Clark
b) James Edgar Martine
c) Harry Moore
d) Orestes Cleveland
e) Arthur Walsh
f) Nicolas Brady
g) Donny Gottheimer
h) Peter Cavicchia

Gangs in Paradise City

The Chinese

The Tongs (Chinatown)

Lung Kong Tin Yee Tong (The Four Brothers Tong)
                Li Meng
                 Zhao Quan
                Sun Jung
                Xu Mao
Hip Sung Tong
                Wong Lee
                Raymond Chow Kwok Cheung “Shrimp Boy” (named due to his small size)
Ghost Shadows
                Kwok Wing “Shanghai Tsai” (“Shanghai Boy”)
                Kwok Poon
Flying Dragons
                “Machine Gun” Jonny Eng
                Yu Yin Liang

The Italians

Neapolitan Cammora (Lincoln Heights)
Gran-Mama Shiavone                                                (Boss / Capo)
Francesco Shiavone                                                   (Underboss / Capobastone)
Roberto Shiavone                                                      (Underboss / Capobastone)
Lucia Schiavone                                                        (Gun Moll / Daughter of Roberto)
Antonio De Luca                                                       (Accountant)
Vincenti “Pretty Vini” Tucci                                     (Torpedo / Hitman)
Pal Galasso                                                                (Enforcer / Bodyguard)
Rafia Cutolo                                                              (Enforcer / Bodyguard)
Carmine Violante                                                      (Enforcer)

Sicilian Mafia (Little Sicily)
(“Cosca Magaddino”)                                                                    
Stefano “The Undertaker” Magaddino                     (Boss / Capo)
Maria Magaddino                                                     (Gun Moll / Wife of Stefano)
Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik                                   (Accountant)
Joseph “Big Joe” Todaro Jnr                                    (Torpedo / Hitman)
Joseph “Lead Pipe” Todaro Snr                               (Torpedo / Hitman)
Peter Magaddino                                                      (Enforcer / Capobastone)
Angelo “Buffalo Bill” Palmieri                               (Enforcer / Bodyguard)
Frank “Butchie” Bifulco                                          (Enforcer / Bodyguard)
Antony “Fat Tony” Salerno                                     (Hoodlum / Caporegime)
Johnnie “Peanuts” Tronolone                                  (Hoodlum / Caporegime)

La Stidda “The Star” (Hell’s Basement)
Giuseppe Marchesi                                                  (Boss)
Leonardo Offredi                                                     (Torpedo)
Lucio Venturi                                                           (Enforcer)

The Irish

The Cabbageville Mob aka the McLaughlin Brothers (St. Mary’s)
Bernard “Bernie” McLaughlin                                (Boss)
Siobhan Quinlan                                                      (Gun Moll)
Harry Hannon                                                          (Accountant)
Wilfred J. “Large Wil” Delaney                              (Torpedo)
Joe “Rockball” O’Rourke                                       (Torpedo)
George “Georgie” McLaughlin                              (Enforcer)
Edward “Punchy” McLaughlin                              (Enforcer)
Miles “The Fox” O’Donnell                                   (Enforcer)
Steven “Stevie” Hughes                                         (Hoodlum)
Cornelia “Connie” Hughes                                    (Hoodlum)

The Southbridge Rats (Southbridge)
Thomas “Tommy the Snake” Kinney                     (Boss)
Darcy O’Toole                                                        (Gun Moll)
Tierney Egan                                                          (Accountant)
Daley “Dint” Colbeck                                            (Torpedo)
William “Skippy” Rohan                                       (Enforcer)
Patrick Nee                                                            (Enforcer)
Max “Big Maxie” Greenburg                                (Enforcer)
Jimmy “Spike” Fitzpatrick                                    (Hoodlum)
Gordon “Buddy” O’Brien                                     (Hoodlum)
Ethan “Boy” Sheridan                                           (Hoodlum)

The Hogan Boys (Oak Bluff)
“Dapper” Danny Hogan                                        (Boss)
Aileen Ragen                                                         (Gun Moll)
Joseph “Newsboy” Moriarty                                 (Accountant)
Eddie “The Butcher” Cummiskey                         (Torpedo)
George Hogan                                                        (Enforcer)
Harry “Cherries” Dunn                                          (Enforcer)
Owney “Tick-Tock” Madden                                 (Enforcer)
Hughie “Nails” Mulligan                                       (Enforcer / Bomber)
Danny Walsh                                                          (Hoodlum)
Sean O’Connor                                                       (Hoodlum)
Liam O’Connor                                                      (Hoodlum)

Other Criminal Characters
Hitmen for Hire
Salvatore “Sal Sings in the Night” Catalanotte      (Torpedo / Hitman)
Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran                               (Torpedo / Hitman)
Richard “The Iceman” Kowalski                           (Torpedo / Hitman)
John James “Johnny The Cook” Montarano          (Torpedo / Hitman)

Street Gangs
The Purple Gang               (Cabbageville)             – Monty “Blades” Ahearn        (Irish)
The Billy Boys                     (Cabbageville)          – Terry “Clubs” O’Donovan (Irish)
The Northsiders                (Lincoln Heights)         – Alexi “Titch” Karpis             (Polish)
The Stopwatch Gang       (Lincoln Heights)          – Vitaly Sokolov                       (Russian)
19th Street Swaggers       (Hell’s Basement)         – Verne “Shank” Sankey            (Mixed)
The East Hill Boys             (Hell’s Basement)      – Buck “Bucky” Barker          (Mixed)
Four Corner Hustlers       (Hell’s Basement)         – Freddy Gauge                         (Mixed)
Kielbasa Posse                   (Hell’s Basement)       – Paulus Jarwarski                   (Polish)
Caselisi Clan                        (Little Sicily)            – Antonio Castaglieto        (Italian)
Nuovo Famiglia                 (Little Sicily)              – Luka Fiorentino                (Italian)
The South Side Royals    (Southbridge)                – Micky Kraft                            (Jewish)
Shoreline Kings                 (Southbridge)              – Alphonse “Little Al” Bianchi (Italian)

The Dockworkers Union
Aaron Kitchell                    (President of the Dockworkers Union)
Tomas Mazur                     (Bodyguard to Aaron Kitchell)
Lambert Cadawaler         (Dockworkers Union Accountant)
Elias Boudinot
Edvard Bader
Abraham Clark
Louis Newbold
Zeke Elmer
Jan Wozniak
George Morgansen



Player controlled Gangs are either an Italian/Jewish Crime Syndicate (more organised) or the Irish Mob (closer ties to the local police) often with a mix of other nationalities within them.

Gangs will fight/bribe/assassinate etc to take control of the city ‘Rackets’. There are several other NPC Gangs in the city including the relatively powerful Tongs in Chinatown, the Sicilian Mafia and the Neapolitan Camorra plus various smaller Irish hoodlums and local low-level Street Gangs.

Players start with a Gang that must include the Boss, an Accountant and a Gun Moll. All other Gang members must be “off the rack” as per rules.

Gangs starting locations are St. Marys, Lincoln Heights, Little Sicily, Oak Bluff or Southbridge.

The first few game turns (each Campaign Turn is a 'month') will basically be a land grab as players send out their boys to acquire new business opportunities, influence the local law enforcement and get a few officials on the payroll. Players then need to think about protecting these new assets and adding to their bank accounts / reputations.

The Government of Paradise is a corrupt as any in the country. A smart Boss will take advantage! City Officials can be bought for the right price. Each City Official allows the Gang certain privileges as per rules.

Gangs must worry about the public as well as their rivals. Public Outrage will force the police to take notice of illegal activities and they may even bring the Feds in to clean up the town!

Captured Gangsters will face the Courts and Prison – but there are ways out of this…if you have enough influence…or firepower.

It will only be when other players or NPC's cross paths (as they both vie for that nice little speakeasy in Southbridge or put out a hit on another Boss or paid official) that a table-top clash will occur!

The GM will develop the story and maintain record keeping for players each turn.

Main NPC Gangs are more organised and begin with an equal footing to Player Gangs. They tend to be better armed and equipped and more skilled.

Street Gangs are smaller, disorganised groups comprising of thugs, ruffians and youth wannabes. They are often just armed with knives and clubs etc. If you see one of these gangs with firearms someone must have enlisted their support and equipped them!

Most criminal gangs are aware of each other and the alleged leaders of each group but have little detail on the strength and size of these gangs. This is especially true of the Chinese Tongs who tend to keep to themselves. Players can of course take a risk and investigate other gangs.

Some nefarious individuals have of course already achieved some level of notoriety in the criminal underworld.

Potentially the largest 'gang' is the well organised and militant Dockworkers Union. Though not technically a gang it has large numbers (made up of longshoremen, stevedores, sailors, teamsters warehousemen and fishermen) many of them willing to fight if absolutely necessary. Go up against them at your peril...

Some would also consider the Paradise City Police to also be a gang in their own right.


(We are using the excellent Mad Dogs With Guns rules from Osprey by Howard Whitehouse & Roderick Robertson of Pulp Action Library and some text above taken from the Mad Dogs With Guns rule book - this is just to support our campaign and no infringement of copyright is intended but please let me know if its a problem!)

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