Friday, March 22, 2019

Wiseguys on Kickstarter March 26th!

The Wiseguys: Guide to Organized Crime Kickstarter campaign is launching on Tuesday, March 26th at noon Eastern Time.

We're using crowdfunding to pay for more illustrations such as the one in this gorgeous trunk shot illustration by Anna Jarmolowska.

We have the Comp Package with goodies like One Sheet crossover adventures, NPC cards, and a mega-casino gambling floor map! This Comp Package will grow if we reach stretch goals.

Check out a preview of the Kickstarter here.

As you can see, some rewards are limited, so make sure you're there to claim them first!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Why Savage Worlds?

Why Savage Worlds? Why is Wiseguys a good fit for it?

To answer that question I must first begin by talking about Just Insert Imagination. Just Insert Imagination came into existence in 2015 with the release of Winter Eternal for Savage Worlds. Founded by Morne Schaap, it has primarily been a publisher of Savage Worlds products ever since.

I, Eric Lamoureux, have been playing Savage Worlds for over 10 years and it's still my go-to system. I've been freelancing for about 6 years now, writing and designing products for Savage Worlds licensees, and joined the Just Insert Imagination crew late in 2015.

You can be confident that Just Insert Imagination knows Savage Worlds. So that's one reason why we chose Savage Worlds for Wiseguys.

The arrival of the Adventure Edition has made Savage Worlds more versatile than ever. The expansion of the Interludes, update to the Dramatic Task, the addition of the core skills,  new Edges, and Quick Encounters make it an excellent fit for Wiseguys.

Lastly, while this more a serendipitous than anything else, Wiseguys is the most natural setting to theme for your game. Think about it; Las Vegas, gambling? That's right! Your regular deck of card and poker chips are already perfectly themed for Wiseguys!

For today's art preview, we have an illustration by Mike Tenebrae. This character is Manny Sambino, a young but upcoming capo of La Cosa Nostra.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Equal Opportunity Evil

For this designer diary entry, I wanted to talk to you about how we included characters of any gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity in Wiseguys.

The Italian-American Mafia is a secretive brotherhood of thieves whose membership is restricted to males of Italian heritage. During my research, I discovered that the Mafia employs and works with individuals called associates who aren't members. They perform the same tasks as made men of the lowest ranks but aren't privy of the Mafia secrets, aren't included in decision-making process, and don't get the same share of the profits. Furthermore, they aren't subject to the same rules and membership requirements. This was important because it opened the game up to more than just Joe Pesci clones as was the case in the adventure that started it all: Fuhgeddaboudit!

Associates made it possible to include circus acrobats, Las Vegas showgirls, roller derby or glow girls, wedding officiants and any character part of the Las Vegas landscape that you wouldn't typically expect to see in the Mafia while still respecting the integrity of this romantic and iconic crime syndicate.

Now I know what you might be thinking. But playing a real made guy is much cooler! Perhaps so. This is a decision you'll have to make when you make your Wiseguys character. However, I just wanted to share with you some of the precedents in history that may make you rethink that. Two men instrumental to the expansion of the Mafia in Las Vegas, Meyer Lansky, and Bugsy Siegel weren't Italian; they were Jewish. Frank Rosenthal, the man who ran 5 casinos for the Outfit in the 70s, and whose life is depicted by the character of Ace Rothstein in Scorcese's Casino by Robert DeNiro was also Jewish. What about Scorcese's other iconic mafia movie Goodfellas? The three main characters in that movie played by Ray Liota, Joe Pesci, and Robert DeNiro were based on real-life Henry Hill, Tommy DeVito and James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke. Two of these men were Irish, none of them were made men. Despite all this, the mafia experience felt quite authentic, wouldn't you say?

As you can see, the Mafia doesn't discriminate against gender or ethnicity. If you can make money for them, they want you! They are an equal opportunity employer.

The Wiseguys JumpStart is out and in there you can find prime examples of how exotic, unique, and fun your character can be in Wiseguys.

What do you want to play when you play Wiseguys?

I leave you with an illustration by Chaim Garcia. Chaim is on the roster to illustrate Wiseguys. Here is a safecracker!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


When is the last time you used the Gambling skill in your Savage Worlds game?

Chances are that unless you're playing Deadlands, opportunities to use that skill never come up.

In Wiseguys, America's gambling capital; Las Vegas is front and center. The temptation to test your luck and beat the house is everywhere. However, it isn't all you can do with the Gambling skill.

Want to run your own casino or bookmaking business? That's Gambling. You can look at it as a knowledge skill. You know how to set the odds of a wager, how comping works, and what measures are set in place to stop cheating and how to defeat them. Which casino has the best winning odds in town?

In most cases, this would be a use of Common Knowledge but when it involves gambling, the Gambling skill is a valid choice.

Is that gambler over there cheating? Where is the accomplice? Which scam are they working on? Notice can definitely be used in those circumstances but Gambling is also a perfect fit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Take Care of Your Friends

I've played a lot of Shadowrun over the years. To some, it was about the gear, to others it was to stick it to the Man, or various other reasons. To me, it was about the Contacts. In Shadowrun, every Contacts has ratings that indicated how loyal and helpful they are, along with a short bio. I was fascinated by the effects these relationships my character had on the campaign.

I wanted Wiseguys to give the players one more reason to interact with the colorful nonplayer characters and cultivate relationships with them so I designed the Friends of Ours Setting Rule that you could use in any setting.

Contacts aren't sitting by the phone waiting for you to call them and do you a favor. They are as much a part of the Underworld as you are and have their own agendas.

In Savage Worlds, Contacts are handled through the Connections Edge. Wiseguys builds upon that by making the interaction between the player characters and their Contacts more dynamic. In Savage Worlds, the Persuasion skill provides guidelines to the Reaction Level of nonplayer characters. This a nonplayer character's attitude toward your character. Each Contact is given a Reaction Level by the Don. This attitude is subject to change through the course of the campaign. Let the attitude fall down to Hostile and this Contact may turn on you. Improve it to Helpful and new services open up to you. You learn that the drive-thru clerk at your favorite local fast food joint is also a biochemistry student and she can provide you with venom or anti-venom doses. The labor union leader you've been in business with likes you enough to declare a strike the day you want to rob the joint. Your personal tailor who always makes you look your best now has access to a bulletproof fabric and can make you a nice suit. Wiseguys contains over 50 such Contacts that you can use out of the box along with guidelines for the Don and the players to create their own.

At the beginning of each session, the Don may ask a player whose character has a contact to draw a card from the Action Deck. Certain cards trigger an event that the wise guy must deal with. The outcome of this event is going to change the relationship between the wise guy and his Contact for better or worse. Wiseguys is a world full with betrayal and unlikely alliances!

Monday, February 4, 2019

We Don’t Need Another Setting

I own enough Savage Worlds settings for a lifetime of weekly campaigns.
When I started designing Wiseguys I set myself two goals. First, I wanted a compelling and original setting with interesting and colorful characters at the core of it. Second, I wanted this book to be THE resource for organized crime for Savage Worlds.
I’m a big fan of Codex Infernus: The infernal guide to hell and Agents of Oblivion because of the practical applications beyond the default settings they were created for. In the former, you found a hellish bestiary, rules for possession, and a plethora of Edges and Hindrances among other things. In the latter, a framework for agency-based campaigns was set in place, again with several edges to support it.
In my previous article, I discussed how you can use Wiseguys to spice up your campaign by using the extensive information on the Mafia, 1% Motorcycle Clubs, Drug Cartels or Chinese Triads to create memorable adversaries.
I’d like to share with you some of the character abilities you can find in Wiseguys that can be used by both the player characters and the antagonists.


Hostage Taker

Requirements: Novice, Intimidation d8+

When the lead starts flying and you must make your way out of a tough spot, it’s good to have someone else take a bullet for you. Even if they are unwilling.

You need one hand free to hold the hostage. Anyone attempting to shoot you while you're holding a hostage must use the Innocent Bystander rule (if they miss and roll 1 on the trait die, they hit your hostage). Furthermore, if you suffer one or more wounds, you can spend a Benny to redirect all the damage to your hostage. Most hostages won't try to fight back or escape; you can just grab them and drag them around.


Monstrous abilities are for monsters. Gangsters and the denizens of the Underworld use Street Abilities instead. Yes, some of them are also monsters, but that’s beside the point. Don’t get smart with me!

Lackey: This Extra possesses a unique skill set that makes him valuable. They roll a Wild Die with every Trait roll.

In the following articles, I want to talk to you about the Friends Of Ours Setting Rules that builds on the Connections Edge to establish a dynamic network of contacts for your character.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Halfling Mafia

While the default campaign setting for Wiseguys involves playing gangsters and scoundrels looking to get rich in Las Vegas, it was also designed to be an organized crime toolkit for Savage Worlds.

That's right! Just Insert Imagination understands that not everybody is interested in playing the bad guys. So what is it to you and your heroic campaign? Sooner or later your campaign is going to need a villain. Crime syndicates make fantastic villainous organizations to oppose the heroes. Wiseguys not only has extensive information on the Italian-America Mafia, but primers on the Drug Cartels, 1% Motorcycle Clubs, and the Chinese Triads. These primers include history, rites of passage, hierarchy, modus operandi, and a lexicon.

Imagine your campaign world with a halfling mafia where the gangsters cook stews instead of pasta? They sure know how to protect the neighborhood! Imagine an outlaw realm that smuggles necromantic artifact into a lawful realm with the help of an organization modeled after the Juarez Drug Cartel? Imagine a group of half-orc mercenary on horses profiting from the war by dealing weapons to the armies? You get the picture?

It's more than just a concept. Wiseguys contains over 35 new Edges and 15 new Hindrances to help give these characters more bite. Coupled with one of the most complete modern bestiaries with over 50 NPC stat blocks, you are sure to have more than enough tools to design a campaign you and your group will remember for years to come!

Next up, we'll share more information on these new edges, hindrances and Setting Rules that you can use in any campaign regardless of the genre. Don't forget to "like" Just Insert Imagination.

The Wiseguys Jumpstart is now available for free on DrivethruRpg!