How to build up a successful, realistic illegal faction


Silver Member
Feb 2, 2016
Hello and thanks in advance for reading one of my guides!

So, let's start, shall we?

Table of Contents:
  • Planning Phase
  • Preparations
  • First Days
  • How to proceed?

Planning Phase
Okay, so you want to build up an illegal faction.
First you'll have to ask yourself the following questions before you proceed:

1. "What type of faction am I? (Street gang, organized crime, cult/church, ethnic group,...)"
2. "What kind of people do I want to attract? (Nationality, age, wealth, family status,...)"
3. "Do I want to keep the faction silent, medium or obvious towards the public?"
4. "Is my faction violent or nonviolent? Are there exceptions?"

After you have answered all of these questions, you should have a general outline of the faction you're creating. Don't hesitate to try out something fresh, combine things that you wouldn't have thought of before. Try for example a subtle street gang only aiming at middle-age people in their midlife crisis, looking for a new and exciting thing to do, but who don't oppose but rather respect the police forces!

Then, if you want to play it very realistically, you'll probably want to have a legal front to both bring in some money, to launder your money through and of course to have a meeting place for your people. Decide who you are - do you want to open up a barber shop? An auto garage? A music label? Or maybe a farm? Base that on the type of faction you roleplay.
Make sure you have enough money beforehand for the business. If you don't, try and hook up with a business owner you know and maybe become something like manager - that's completely free and doesn't require much roleplay to set up.

The last step you'll have to plan out would be the way your character is being introduced into illegal lifestyle. What reason do you have, if at all? Over all, it's not about what you want OOCly, but what you want as your character. If your character is a happy former FD member with a house in Northern Palomino Creek, chances are that will not be suitable for opening up a faction. You'll have to have a conflict of some sort to start off most of the time.
Plan how your characters gets the idea of opening up a legal front et cetera. Your character will not have the knowledge and experience you have in real life, remember that.

If you read through the planning phase carefully, you'll have an easy time here.

Start off by completely (passively) roleplaying your character's idea and thought process about the faction, it'll help finding logical errors and unrealistic perks of your faction you could have made in the planning phase.
That's probably the most complicated step in this phase.

Proceed by roleplaying getting people on your side - preferably friends. It's far more realistic - and fun - to talk to your best IC friend over a beer about your aspirations, and probably getting him interested over time than posting a public ad about looking for "people to work with" without further detailing.
Important! Don't talk about building up a "gang" or a "mafia" as that's highly unrealistic and probably falls under metagaming too. Rather stick to "making money", "working" and "easy cash" to describe what you want.

First Days
Now, the real fun starts!

You now have a character who wants to make some "easy money" and some friends to join and help you for their cut.
Remember that right now, you're not yet a leader. You're just a nobody with friends who are nobodies as well.

Start off by brainstorming both ICly and OOCly what kind of petty crime your character has witnessed. He's not going to get into prositution or drug trade right away (except maybe for weed in hood situations, but still). Robbing people with a knife (you roleplayed buying), scamming and boosting cars are great ways to stack up your reputation (and money as well) in the first few days without being unrealistic.

It can help to build up some internal tension right now. Maybe you are rivalling with some other member about leadership, or you're heavily disagreeing with somebody? Great! That will create a situation where you can develop your character further, and maybe eventually commit his first serious crime (roleplay the things happening to you afterwards).

Continue by establishing your friendship more, meeting up regularily. If you coincidentally keep a meetup place, stick to it. Maybe it'll become your HQ later. It's important to do a lot of passive RP in this stage, go drinking, drive around, have fun generally. Criminals are not 24/7 criminal.

How to proceed?
Now, all you have to do is develop your character and the faction more.
Live your daily life, meet up with your friends and slowly call yourself a gang/mafia/cult or whatever you are roleplaying.
Now it's time to think about a name, an HQ, a hierarchy and so on and so on. Remember to roleplay that as well!

Make sure that you have a hierarchy by now. Depending on your member count, you can establish yourself as a single leader to a lot of thugs, create a council of wise people, a pyramid scheme or something entirely new. Be innovative, as this is one of the most important parts of a faction.

Maybe it's time too right now to get into more serious crime. If you are the big boss, congratulations! You can distribute more advanced crime to your people, including prostitution, human trafficking, smuggling, high-level scamming et cetera.
Make sure that all of that is still roleplayed properly and that you don't do all that for money but for the RP. (ICly you of course do that for the money, but you can't recieve money for let's say smuggling except somebody is paying you ICly)

Congratulations! You now have a functional, successful gang.
From now, just live on and keep what you are doing. Think of character development and keep it realistic.

Here are some example ideas to make your faction more interesting:

  • Split your faction into two or more "chapters" or groups (that could happen to be fighting or allying in the future)
  • Make music for or with your faction ICly and sell it for extra money
  • Recruiting new members through multilevel marketing
  • Clothe yourself in a certain way
  • Own a business and let people work there to be further initiated in your faction

Thanks for reading, and leave feedback!


Silver Member
Feb 2, 2016
This is still, surprisingly, a very good guide even for my standards.
Jan 2, 2017
IG Name
IG Faction
That was a really good read, might try with some friends to start up our own illegal faction in the future when we get some more experience and we feel able. :p