Have you ever wanted to start your own mafia with dragons . . . and dungeons? Well you should buy this book! The Crime Pays supplement provides a comprehensive, detailed, and well thought out system for creating, running, and expanding an entire campaign where your players are crime bosses looking to make a profit at others’ expense. I’ll let you know right now that this isn’t just some simple reskin of a few mechanics or a few back of the envelope calculations of how you’d run your gang. This book adds a series of rules to allow you to fully flesh out and direct your posse of henchmen for fun and profit.
You obviously start with creating your mob. Every mob needs lackeys to do your bidding, right? Creation is simple to learn, but still fairly deep. Your mob has a stat block that you build out by hiring coves (bands of street folk that do your shake downs, thieving, and selling), lieutenants to direct their activities, and of course your territory. There are charts and costs for all of these as well as what you would expect to earn from a mob family of your size.
When you actually get things up and running, you can have your thugs commit crimes (a laundry list is provided) with various resources needed and risks involved. For every crime, there are also punishments from the law that result in loss of property, limbs, and if bad enough, your life. Stat blocks for each of your types of crew members and law enforcement that might be after them are provided. Of course the law isn’t all you have to worry about as every other syndicate will be gunning for your territory.
The fun of this type of campaign is the solid world building mechanics that create a pseudo-Mafia simulation game feel while you can personally handle major issues. Obviously, it is up to the DM to come up with situation where your underlings can’t quite get the mission accomplished. That’s when your players (one of them likely the godfather) get their hands dirty to show your adversaries that you mean business. There is plenty of information provided on how to run a mafia campaign and the types of issues your players are likely to run into. It even presents one origin story arc for each tier where you can jump right in if you have an ongoing campaign.
I was surprised at the depth and level of detail presented in the book. It is comprehensive and entertaining at the same time. With the newly released Heroes of Shadow book out, it is a perfect time to roll up some nefarious PCs and see just how good it is to be bad.