Friday, March 02, 2012

In Which The Warlock Post Some Cold Steel Previews...

It's been a while since I've had a chance to play with Cold Steel Wardens, as I've been up to my eyeballs in freelance projects and in other, more mundane tasks.  However, with the weekend nearly here (and a late entry, again...argh!) perhaps it's time to take a look at the three big names in the Greensburg underworld!

(Again, all material here is subject to change and revision.  Copyright pending, 2012.)

Organized Crime

Currently, three major criminal organizations vie for control of Greensburg, each with sharply differing methods and philosophies regarding criminal activity. 

The White Russian—an albino immigrant from Georgia named Piotr Zakrevsky—is believed to be the de facto leader of the criminal underground within Greensburg.  Zakrevsky is an ex-KGB operative, drummed out of Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and amongst the CIA and NSA’s most wanted international targets.  Using his numerous smuggling contacts, Zakrevsky arrived in Greensburg, ready to set up a new organization, building on the corruption already existing in the area.

Zakrevsky’s criminal organization is structured in an almost-feudal manner.  Baklany (normal, street-level operatives) report to pakhan (street bosses), who in turn report to vor v zakonye (lieutenant-level leaders), who report directly to the White Russian himself.  Zakrevsky’s criminal focus lies primarily with international shipping and smuggling, which is done primarily through a ‘legitimate’ British company known as Benson/Hedges Holdings.   The White Russian is known primarily for focusing on illegal narcotics shipments, as well as Soviet-era weaponry, both of which have flooded the streets of Greensburg through black market deals. 

As a former KGB operative, Zakrevsky knows the value of intelligence, and he keeps his vor v zakonye on a very short leash, requiring daily updates on distribution, sales, and resistance.    The White Russian further uses numerous technological measures, both to keep tabs on other criminal elements within Greensburg, but also on other foes, particularly metahumans and vigilantes.  Zakrevsky excels in surveillance, and has a penchant for using high explosives or strange, esoteric weaponry developed during the Cold War. 

The White Russian’s main rival remains the Genovese family, a true-to-life Sicilian crime family that split off from the Cosa Nostra during the mid-1950s.  The Genoveses claim to be the oldest criminal organization within Greensburg, having emigrated from Sicily in 1886.  The original Genoveses were known for their ruthless tactics and ‘take no prisoners’ attitude, leading to a massive crackdown by Federal marshals in the 1930s.  With the family in disarray due to multiple incarcerations, Greensburg was ripe for other gangs to move in.

However, in the 1970s, the Genovese family experienced a resurgence in power that none really saw coming.  Focusing more on ‘social’ crimes such as extortion, money laundering, protection rackets, and the like, the Genoveses grew more and more powerful, until only the White Russian was able to significantly challenge them through the 1990s. 

Since 1978, the Genovese family has been run by Vincenzo Genovese, a 4th generation member of the family business.  Vincenzo is the epitome of the “hot blooded Sicilian” stereotype, and abides no disrespect, whether from his enemies or from his dearest family.  Vincenzo uses a very traditional structure within his family, similar to that of the original Cosa Nostra, with his loyal nephew, James, acting as consigliere.  Many believe that James was granted this position as Vincenzo hopes to groom the young buck to take his place once he passes on. 

While James is believed to the heir apparent to the Genovese family, the most dangerous member of the group may well be Luciano Bagarella, known on the street as “Lucky Bags”.  An underboss of Vincenzo, Luciano is ambitious, ruthless, and fanatically violent.  He runs several protection rackets throughout the city, and loves nothing more than to get his hands dirty, smearing the blood from a poor shopkeeper across their face after bludgeoning them with his favored weapon—a Louisville Slugger baseball bat.  Bagarella resents James for being a “full-blood” and for already being ‘picked’ to take over for Vincenzo.  However, Bagarella believes wholeheartedly in the code of omerta, which binds the family together…at least for the time being.

While the White Russian and the Genoveses have been content to contest one another for control of Greensburg’s streets, another contender has entered the proverbial ring, opting to instead vie for control of the boardroom, rather than the back-room.  A group of influential lawyers and other politically collected, yet morally bankrupt, members of the Greensburg community have banded together under the leadership of Gerard Warren, a charismatic defense attorney.

The Warren Group, as this organization has come to be known, are master manipulators of the legal system, and are amongst the best-connected members of Greensburg’s political and economic scene.  Nearly every member of the Warren Group is independently wealthy, and values power intensely over any amount of money…though money’s not bad, either.

The Warren Group is truly a criminal syndicate for the new millennium.  Using various legal loopholes and political maneuverings, Warren and his cronies are able to manipulate, extort, pressure, and otherwise influence everyone from major political figures to the police and military, to other gangs!  It’s believed that Warren himself has enough accumulated evidence on both The White Russian and on the the Genovese family to put both behind bars for 12 consecutive life sentences, each.  However, Warren’s motives regarding this evidence seems to be enigmatic at best, as he has the tools to crush his rivals, though not the desire…

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