The Concept Spotlight are a series of articles highlighting the probabilities and the role of a particular character concept and theme. Here we talk about what it is, what it does and how it exists in the roleplay setting. From civilians to warriors, the Concept Spotlight intends to touch on every theme in your Star Wars roleplay galaxy. Eventually. This spotlight has been split into two parts, as its contents are too extensive for one article.
The Criminal - Part I
When an economy falters, criminals rise.
No society maintains complete and utter control over all of their citizens, and no government can monitor their citizens’ every move out in the streets, in their homes or skulking through darkened alleyways. And law may dictate rule, but regulations and justice systems hold no power when they cannot put a face to every crime and stamp it out from the underworlds of their economy, and that is only if they have any intentions of stamping them out.
An economy, a society, a government - all of these things have cracks in their systems, holes to be exploited by the daring opportunists or those who simply fell down to crime as a victim of circumstance. When these cracks aren’t mended, criminals come forward to fill them and make their profit.
Who Are The Criminals?
Smugglers, forgers, dealers of illicit wares, murderers, thieves, and all manner of the unsavoury who deal in the underworld. The criminal makes their gains by inflicting losses upon others and bending the rules, scarcely yielding to any authority but their own. However, some criminals band together underneath a leader or a boss, while some prefer to fly solo as a testament of their mistrust or simply their ego. Many criminals leads exciting lives to some extents of their jobs, while others are strictly businessmen and women, working behind desks and ensuring the steady flow of their illicit services or dealing directly with their questionable customers. Few things in the life of a criminal are simple, and this has the potential to draw significant interest to the concept, because a lack of simplicity creates more and intriguing roleplay with a wider variety of obstacles, and sets it apart from the mundane monotony and upfront measures of the civilian lifestyle.
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone
Leading a life of daring mischief often brings a character close to danger, turning every dirty job into a risk with countless things that could go wrong. One mistake and everything could crumble, and the criminal could find themselves either dead or locked away in a prison cell for many years to come, and few people want that for their characters; regardless, it is an ever over-looming threat to your character. This is why everyone needs someone to watch their back and an extra pair of eyes out there, who may notice the things that slip by their partner in crime. This constructs a group dynamic between criminal type characters and gives you a lot more to roleplay with, especially if it complies with traditional roleplay party construction; designed so that no one character can do everything alone, thus creating a necessity for a companion of a differing albeit sorely required specialization, even if reluctant or temporary. Thus forming The Party!
The Criminal Underworld & The Black Market
The Underworld is anywhere and everywhere in the galaxy, it exists both in and out of sight as business moves through it with a measure of discretion in order to keep the searching noses of the law out of it and of its trail. So much can transpire in the Underworld without having come to the attention of the ordinary citizen or the law, and it operates on a secret economy and society of its own, taking advantage of the restrictions imposed on the government controlled society and economy.
Association with the underworld and other criminal elements is where a criminal might find a sense of belonging; it’s where they may socialize without the need to hide their identities, and establishments where criminals congregate do exist in the Star Wars Universe. Cantinas run by seedier individuals are a place where criminal type characters can come together and interact with one another, pass news and do business without the fear of the law’s eyes. In this place, your kind is numerous and it is where those who are against criminals will find no welcome. Such hubs and underworld channels are how criminals can find jobs befitting their profession, and to create connections with other characters whilst making a name for themselves. Always try to look for jobs relating to your underworld profession in the community and always seek someone to do business with.
Turning to Crime
There are a multitude of reasons as to why a character may turn to crime. To some it may have become a necessity in order to obtain the means to get by; a hard solution to a hard problem. Others simply enjoy the high-risk and high-adrenaline excitement, while some see tremendous opportunities at profit in crime on the side and find themselves willing to go wherever they can find work, often drifting between legal and illegal jobs. Then there are those who do it because it’s simply the thing that they’re good at, how they can excell where in others places they’ve failed; maybe these skills almost came like a natural talent and perhaps all the scattered pieces of their upbringing led up to raising a criminal mastermind. Sometimes, all it takes is a little nudge for someone to turn away from the law, and sometimes the life of crime is one they were born into, turning the law and the governments into their villains. Thus from their perspective, the law is evil.
Banding behind a cause is yet another reason why criminals rise in society. Sometimes people wish to send their governments a meaningful message by either havoc or controlled criminal activity. Criminals with a cause are a particularly interesting concept, because to some their goals often blur the lines between what is morally right or wrong, and have the potential to either be incredibly dangerous or righteous in pursuit of their goals.
Even law-abiding characters might have had it to their wits ends with suffocating rules and may have discovered means to gain more profit via the underworld. The reasons to turn to crime are abundant, just be mindful of the various life-impacting risks and difficulties that follow, as it may not be an easy course for a character to walk down. The motive often plays a large role in the identity of the criminal type character, and that identity determines how the character fits into the underworld. A life of crime may well be the next step for your character.
More to come soon!