The Lucchese Family is officially the largest Organised Crime organisation operating in Chicago, having taken over many of the Russian Mafia's illicit activities following that groups destruction by the CBI. Unofficially they represent the Vampires of Chicago. Both influences can be seen within the group.
Structure and composition Edit
The Family is not a monolithic organization, but rather a loose association of groups called "families", "coscas" or "clans".
In 1984, the mafioso informant Tommaso Buscetta explained to prosecutors the pyramidal command structure of a typical clan. A clan is led by a "boss" (capofamiglia), who is aided by a second-in-command (a sotto capo or "underboss") and one or more advisers (consigliere). Under his command are crews of about 10 "soldiers", each led by a capodecina (or sometimes caporegime).
Other than its members, The Family makes extensive use of "associates". This is the furthest in the hierarchy that non-Italians can go. These are people who aid or work for a family (or even multiple families) but are not treated as true members. These include corrupt officials and prospective mafiosi. An associate is considered nothing more than a tool; "nothing mixed with nil".
Traditionally, only men can become mafiosi, though in recent times there have been reports of women assuming the responsibilities of imprisoned mafioso relatives.
The Chicago Family Edit
The most powerful boss is often referred to as the capo di tutti capi ("boss of all bosses"), or Don, who allegedly commands all the clans of Chicago. Calogero Vizzini, Salvatore Riina and Bernardo Provenzano were especially influential bosses that have each been described by the media and law enforcement as being the "boss of bosses" of their times. However, such a position does not formally exist, according to Mafia turncoats such as Buscetta.
The truth is that the Family is run by Don Frank Lucchese, a Mekhet.
Rituals and codes of conduct Edit
Initiation ceremony Edit
A prospective mafioso is carefully supervised and tested to assess his obedience, discretion, ability and ruthlessness. He is almost always required to commit murder as his ultimate trial.
After his arrest, the mafioso Giovanni Brusca described the ceremony in which he was formally made a full member of Cosa Nostra. In 1976 he was invited to a "banquet" at a country house. He was brought into a room where several mafiosi were sitting around a table upon which sat a pistol, a dagger and an image of a saint. They questioned his commitment and his feelings about criminality and murder (despite already having a history of such acts). When he affirmed himself, Salvatore Riina, then the most powerful boss of Cosa Nostra, took a needle and pricked Brusca's finger. Brusca smeared his blood on the image of the saint, which he held in his cupped hands as Riina set it alight. As Brusca juggled the burning image in his hands, Riina said to him: "If you betray Cosa Nostra, your flesh will burn like this saint."
A mafioso is not supposed to introduce himself to another mafioso. He must ask a third, mutually-known mafioso, to introduce him to the latter. Right after his initiation, Brusca was introduced to his own mafioso father in this manner by Riina.
Ten Commandments Edit
In November 2007, CBI reported to have found a list of "Ten Commandments" in the hideout of Family Captain, Salvatore Lo Piccolo. They are thought to be guidelines on how to be a good, respectful and honourable mafioso.
- No one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it.
- Never look at the wives of friends.
- Never be seen with cops.
- Don't go to pubs and clubs.
- Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty - even if your wife is about to give birth.
- Appointments must absolutely be respected.
- Wives must be treated with respect.
- When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.
- Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.
- People who can't be part of The Family: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn't hold to moral values.
Omertà: the code of silence Edit
Omertà is a code of silence that forbids members from cooperating at all with the police or prosecutors should they be arrested. The penalty for transgression is death, and relatives of the turncoat may also be murdered. To a degree, Cosa Nostra also imposes this code on the general population, persecuting any citizen who aids the authorities.
Criminal Enterprises Edit
It is estimated that the Family costs the Chicago economy more than $10 million a year through protection rackets. Roughly 80% of Sicilian businesses pay protection money to Cosa Nostra, which can range from $200 a month for a small shop or bar to €5,000 a month for a supermarket.
Drug trafficking Edit
Sicily is a major hub in the international drugs trade. In 2003, the Family is estimated to have made over $4 million through drug trafficking alone.
Arms trafficking Edit
In 2003, the Family is estimated to have made over $1.5 million through weapons trafficking.
Loan sharking Edit
In a 2007 publication, the Italian small-business association Confesercenti reported that about 25.2% of Chicago Sicilian businesses are indebted to loan sharks, who collect around $1.4 million a year in payments.
Control of contracting Edit
The Family makes around $6.5 million a year through control of public and private contracts.
Members of the Family are brought into one of five clans as part of their transformation into vampires:
Each clan covers a broad range of vampiric archetypes:
- The Daeva, for instance, evoke the image of vampires as seductive, decadent, sexually transgressive predators who blur lust and hunger toghether, equating the act of feeding with sensual pleasure. Much like Lestat in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
- The Gangrel embody the idea of vampires as predatory feral demons. An upper level in the feeding chain with little or no interest in humans as anything other than food, they represent vampirism as crude predation and evoke ideas of basic instinct, untamed ferocity and freedom that are commonly associated with predators.
- The Mekhet are mysterious conspiratorial occultists, obsessed with knowledge and information, who hide in the shadows and manipulate others from afar.
- Nosferatu vampires are the repulsive, yet fascinating, alien and hideous monsters of legend.
- Ventrue are regal vampires who value power and dominion to the point of obsession, self-styled "lords of the night" they represent vampirism as a metaphor for maddening power.
Within these clans are many sub-clans, known as bloodlines.
There are also many political or religious factions, known as Covenants. These include:
- The Carthian Movement works towards finding the best form of government for the Family, basing its experiments on mortal systems like Democracy, Fascism and the like. It is the only Covenant that elects leaders, and is the newest major Covenant. Members frequently argue over the best form of government and this Covenant is primarily secular in outlook and character.
- The Circle of the Crone is a collection of pagan and Neopagan cults and religions within the vampiric culture. Generally, these groups are structured around a belief in a generative cycle, though they often revere a particular representative goddess, and these shared associations give rise to their eponymous association with the Crone. They celebrate most of the major pagan holidays, such as the solstices and Yule, and practice the Blood Magic known as "Crúac". Despite many differences in belief and opinion between various circles and cities of the Covenant, they typically dislike the Lancea Sanctum.
- The Invictus (also known as the "First Estate") are mostly concerned with material gain and power and therefore heavily involved in city politics and business.
- The Lancea Sanctum is an organization which grew parallel to Christianity, therefore commonly being mistaken for a vampiric equivalent of it. They believe Kindred (the word vampires use for themselves) have a role in the Divine Providence: that of the ultimate predators. As vampires, they're to prey upon humans, thus unleashing God's Wrath upon the unworthy and representing tests for the pious.
- The Ordo Dracul is focused on understanding the vampiric condition, improving upon it and ultimately transcending its limitations. They learn a collection of powers known as The Coils of the Dragon which alter the practitioner, generally alleviating particular limitations of the vampiric condition. The members of the Ordo believe that this discipline was created by the founder of the covenant, the infamous Dracula.
- The Unaligned is simply a catch-all term for any Vampires that do not belong to a covenant.
Powers, abilities and weaknesses Edit
Blood Potency Edit
A vampire's power is roughly measured by his Blood Potency. Regardless of his sire's power, all vampires start off at level 1. Blood Potency increases steadily with age, but can also be boosted by spending experience points or consuming the soul of another vampire (diablerie). As its Blood Potency increases, a vampire can store more blood points and access greater supernatural powers. However, his feeding needs became more stringent as well; the weakest vampires can live on animal blood, but the most powerful vampires can only live on the blood of other vampires. Such powerful vampires who cannot meet this need usually go into prolonged slumber to weaken themselves.
Kindred can use a variety of supernatural powers called Disciplines. These are special abilities associated with their curse which, like their undead bodies, are "fed" in a way by the living blood they take from mortals. Many of the Disciplines provide Kindred with preternatural means of ensuring their continued existence, or of easing the process of hunting and stealing blood from mortals.
Disciplines can be broken down into four categories: common (commonplace among the Kindred and more than one clan has an innate knack for them), uncommon (the proprietary abilities of each of the five clans), covenant (possessed only by a specific covenant and never shared with outsiders), and bloodline (known only to the members of a particular bloodline within a clan). However, each Kindred has the capability to, given a tutor and the proper amount of time (sometimes years for powerful disciplines), learn a discipline that is not natural to their clan or covenant. In game mechanics, the experience point cost for such disciplines is higher than that of a clan discipline innate to a specific Kindred, and given the amount of time in a given storyline necessary to successfully master an other-clan discipline, many players never get the chance to fully master such things.
Common disciplines Edit
There are five common disciplines. Of these five disciplines, three are physical disciplines, Celerity, which grants the ability to move at faster-than-human speeds, Resilience, which grants the ability to withstand damaging attacks with comparatively minor injuries, and Vigor, which grants the ability to manifest supernatural strength above and beyond even a vampire's naturally superhuman capabilities. The other two common disciplines are psychic disciplines: Animalism, which can give the power to commune with and command animals, and Obfuscate, which can grant the ability to prevent others from sensing one's self by clouding their minds.
Uncommon disciplines Edit
The five so-called "uncommon disciplines" include Auspex, which allows preternatural sensitivity and awareness and the ability to foresee and know things seemingly unknowable, Dominate, which allows a piercing stare that commands minds and the ability to break the will of others, Majesty, which grants a seductive or commanding sway of emotions and the predatory manipulation of the weak. The other two uncommon disciplines are Nightmare, which gives the power to evoke sheer terror by revealing one's primal nature, and Protean, which grants the ability to assume a variety of forms such as a wolf or a mist. Each Clan tends to specialize in one particular "uncommon discipline".
Bloodline (Rare) disciplines Edit
The various Rare Disciplines are numerous and wildly diverse. While they are generally only available to their respective bloodlines, and highly specialized, there are a few which provide significant advantages in combat. Most bloodline disciplines cannot be learned by vampires outside of the associated bloodline.
Unlike many fictional portrayals, vampires in Requiem are not repelled by crucifixes, garlic or running water, and they can enter any private domain without invitation. A stake through the heart merely paralyses them. Fire, sunlight and the claws and fangs of supernatural animals inflict terrible injuries that take a lot of time and blood to heal. During the daytime most vampires become catatonic and cannot operate, whether or not they are sheltered from sunlight.