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Old 08-28-2012, 10:46 PM   #21
'Grape
 
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Default Re: I love America. America has made my fortune.

In the US in the early 20th Century, this is easily worth -15 for a character who is likely to be involved in gang violence. You're throwing away an extremely valuable potential ally and getting yourself caught up in very dangerous vendettas. It's pretty likely that a character could die as a result of this disadvantage. It could even be -5 for a normal person if it could end with you going to jail for contempt of court when you won't testify your assailant's name after a mugging or something.

I don't think that this requires a secret in and of itself. If you go around declaring that you believe this to everyone, they might react badly if they think it's strange or unethical, but that's it. Unless you live in a totalitarian society, you won't suffer any consequences just for believing this. It is highly likely that you may do something that will have to be kept secret, though.

This is sort of analogous to the de facto justice system of lawless places on the American frontier, but not really analogous to the Icelandic system. The Icelandic system was a lot better because it had courts for working about disputes by payments or other concessions. Any system that's going to endure for centuries would have to be a lot more practical.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:38 AM   #22
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Default Re: I love America. America has made my fortune.

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Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
I should add that the title of the thread is the first words in the Godfather. Perhaps not everyone gets that. :D
Sorry for the OTish reply.
I know, it's only a GURPS discussion over a movie based disvantage but I'm really uncomfortable with the heavy fictionalized romantic mafia portrait in the Godfather trilogy, all the rituals and codes that became a common trope in crime dramas (latest example the Tio Salamanca character in Breaking Bad).

I think the Godfather-like omertà code is a big fat Hollywood lie: a way to make criminal characters romantic leads.

In a less fictionalized way you could see it like a reputation bonus for made men (Follower of the code +2 "-10% Always show in public how strict you are") or a delusion for low level henchmen "The code is real".
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:58 AM   #23
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Default Re: Another reference - to ending blood feuds --

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IIRC it was Edward Muir (Mad Blood Stirring -- Vendetta and Factions in Friuli during the Renaissance, 1993, Johns Hopkins U. Press) who noted that very often it was the women of the family who both perpetuated the vendettas for generations ["Child! Hear me! It was the al-Fulan who killed your father and uncles; when you are grown to manhood you must kill them -- else you are no son of mine."] and who acted as the negotiators to end the same when the costs grew too high.
I've seen stories from modern Sicily (I think it was) suggesting that this is still the case there. Families that had been more or less wiped out except for some women and some pre-adolescent kids, with the former more or less trying to turn the latter into vengeance machines - with predictably unpleasant results.

Anyway - the description at the start of this thread strikes me as the definition of part of a code, though certainly an important one. It's about nothing but vengeance and contempt for law, whereas most GURPS Codes of Honour are a bit broader than that - they say what you're loyal to, who you will protect or respect, and so forth. You need a little more detail about this to make a CoH.

Or maybe just make it a Vow ("Never talk to the cops, always see to your own revenge").
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:05 AM   #24
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Default Re: I love America. America has made my fortune.

There must be people who can break the code and make peace. People whose honor is past question. Don Corleone could call an end to the feud - no other Corleone could because they weren't above suspicion.

But the code is typical for lawless areas. If you can't call the cops then a good defense against being screwed is having a reputation that if someone screws with you they're in a very, very bad place.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:49 PM   #25
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Default Re: I love America. America has made my fortune.

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Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
Sounds like a good set of rules to start and perpetuate multi-generational blood feuds. Given such a system I'd assume there would be some way to 'make peace' rather then acts of vengeance as otherwise such a spiraling cycle would only end with the total destruction of all but one of the involved parties.
Didn't the US have some historical examples of families that were killed off completely in feuds? There certainly are some fictional examples, such as the Sacketts vs. the Higginses.


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Old 08-29-2012, 02:59 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post

But the code is typical for lawless areas. If you can't call the cops then a good defense against being screwed is having a reputation that if someone screws with you they're in a very, very bad place.
Or places where the law is corrupt, antagonistic, unevenly dispensed, or untrustworthy. French-occupied Sicily or English-occupied Ireland. for instance. Or, arguably, immigrant communities in the U.S. at various times and places. To a certain extant, omerta is a point of national pride, saying, "we solve our own problems in this community, rather than bringing outsiders in who don't like us and don't understand our culture."

I'd suspect that one could find a very similar code of silence these days in the U.S. Latino immigrant community.
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:01 PM   #27
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Default Re: I love America. America has made my fortune.

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Didn't the US have some historical examples of families that were killed off completely in feuds? There certainly are some fictional examples, such as the Sacketts vs. the Higginses.


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As I pointed out (alluded to, at least) above, there are entire tribes in New Guinea that have been wiped out in vendettas.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:22 PM   #28
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Default Re: I love America. America has made my fortune.

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
While very ineffective at creating a stable safe culture, revenge is far too innate a human feature to call juvenile.
It is argably biologically necessary, being one of the main reasons humans are not eaten despite being only of moderate strength individually. Few other creatures take revenge. It is only natural for that instinct to continue when dealing with human predators.
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Last edited by jason taylor; 08-29-2012 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:26 PM   #29
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Default Re: I love America. America has made my fortune.

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Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
There must be people who can break the code and make peace. People whose honor is past question. Don Corleone could call an end to the feud - no other Corleone could because they weren't above suspicion.

But the code is typical for lawless areas. If you can't call the cops then a good defense against being screwed is having a reputation that if someone screws with you they're in a very, very bad place.
"Honor" has several shades of meaning. In that context there is a heavy emphasis on the implication of "frightfulness". Yeah Don Corleone was frightful enough that he could spare some of his reputation for the purpose of ending a wasteful vendetta.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:52 AM   #30
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Default Re: I love America. America has made my fortune.

In any real world situtation, Honor gets reinterpreted according to circumstance. Many historical figures, who are praised for their honor by friend and foe alike, have clearly shaved things very close several times. Honor also seems to lack a reflexive property. People always seem to demand to be treated with greater honor and respect than the other guy. Honor is used regularly to get low status people to do risky and unpleasent things while allowing high status people to slide by. Thus Falstaff's declaration the "Honor is a bawd" Bawd equals Whore/Madam.

RPG Honor systems are generally romantic fantasies. Gangsters, Pirates, Knights, or fine Gentlemen, honor was generally honored in the breach.
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