Mafia, Image I (Shadowrun Sourcebook, Vice)
Mafia, Map (customized map from Shadowhelix)

Mafia, Families of the 3 Commissiones.

The Mafia is a criminal underworld which originated in Italy.


The Mafia was born approximately 2 centuries ago, on the Mediterranean island of Sicily. In the 18th and 19th centuries a wave of Italian immigration to the New World, gave rise to Italian gangs in America which fought against other ethnic gangs. Eventually the Italian gangs joined forces and formed the American Mafia in the early 20th century. It's wealth and power exploded during the Prohibition. and after Prohibition ended the Mafia kept its network and absorbed the Jewish, Irish, and Polish mobs among others.

The most powerful gangster in America, Lucky Luciano formed the American Commissione which was modeled on the Sicilian Mafia's Cupola. It included not only the Italian-American families but the powerful non-Italian ethnic syndicates too. Immigration to Australia by Italians and Americans after World War 2, spread the Mafia to that continent. Eventually new anti-organized crime laws and the emergence of vicious new syndicates like the Mexican Mafia and other national prison gangs weakened its power, and led to the entry of foreign mobs like the Vory and Yakuza.

Back in the European Union, Italian organized crime remained pretty much dominant for decades or centuries, and spread beyond Italy. They diversified into white collar crime and narcotics, leaving behind most of the street level crime to local outfits and gangs. The Crash of 29 crippled their higher-level criminal operations, forcing them to return to the streets and rebuild. The chaos of the EuroWars and its aftermath, the Russian mafia advanced on the Italian syndicates everywhere. They had already been major players in Europe since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the EuroWars provided them with new opportunities which they exploited ruthlessly.

The establishment in 2046 of the Alta Commissione was the turning point for the Mafia's history. Now united, the European Mafia regained a lot of its former power if not the territory which was taken by the Vory. Back in America, the mob wars had resulted in the replacement of the old dons by outfits that were newer and more modern. The Mafia in Australia was finally united in 2067 in the Melbourne Commissione, with the backing and influence of the European and American Commissiones.[1]

Mafia's Hierarchy from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Vice

Organization Edit

In the Mafia, there is great variety in how the syndicates or families are organized. Especially in Europe, where the various Italian organized crime organizations have widely different organizational structures and traditions. In North America, the Mafia is organized along the lines of the Sicilian Mafia. They are divided into families, who are ruled by Dons. These families are organized into regions (based on geographical areas around major cities), with each region ruled by a Capo (fem., Capa). The Capo leaders as a whole are called the Commissione The Commissione, in theory, reports to the Inner Circle, the 12 most powerful Dons and Capos, who report to the Capo di Tutti Capi, the Big Boss.[2]


When it comes to the Mafia, their "Johnsons" don't have major issues with shadowrunners. They prefer to meet in public places they control (often restaurants or clubs), and will either pay the shadowrunners or kill them.[3]

Mafia SetbacksEdit

Of the major criminal organizations, the Mafia is the one that has been most negatively impacted. The Japanese Yakuza, Chinese Triads, Russian Vory, and Latino Drug Cartels (David Cartel and the Ghost Cartels) have for the most part been able to keep foreign syndicates out of their home countries and maintained a near monopoly over the local underworld. The Mafia in turn has lost a lot of territory and still has to contend with numerous foreign syndicates in its cities, in both Europe and in North America (UCAS and CalFree). Not to mention the rise of local ethnic syndicates which have replaced the Mafia in their new sovereign nations (Comanche Mafia, Lakota Mafia, and the Koshari).

The one that was impacted the worst were the Europeans who lost most of eastern and northern Europe to the Russians. What is now the "European Mafia" is to varying degrees under siege as it faces pressure from practically every direction. In the north the Russian Vory in France and central Europe battle the Mafia. Down south in the Iberian peninsula, the Netherlands, and along the western Mediterranean coastline they are in conflict with the Muslim syndicates (Arabs and Albanians). Internally they face the rebellious Baptista Family which has erupted into a long civil war. Not to mention that the American, European, and Australian Mafias have to contend with a dizzying array of street gangs and go-gangs (or biker gangs), which range from being nuisances to challenges at the street level, unlike the Yakuza, Triads, Cartels, and Vory who for the most part don't have to deal with such a problem in Japan, China, Russia, or the Andean nations.

In turn the Mafia has made few inroads into the territory of other crime syndicates. It has no strongholds in South America. They had a foothold in Tenochtitlan, the capital city of Aztlan but the David Cartel recently wiped out all foreign syndicate operations in their country.[4][5] In China, the only Mafia outpost is in the city of Macao and it does not challenge the Triads.[6] Not one Mafia family has a foothold in either Russia or in Japan, unlike the Triads who established a stronghold in Russia and are now expanding across Russia.[7][8] Not to mention Japan where the Triads have spread throughout Japan and both the Triads and the Russians have strongholds in Neo-Tokyo.[9][10][11]

The Mafia AlliancesEdit

The CommissioneEdit

Each of the three major Mafia alliances have thier own "Commissione" which controls and mediates relations within each area.  There may be some confusion among readers of various in-universe sources using the word Commissione, as well as thier respective founding dates.

  • The American Mafia has the original "Commissione" or alternatively spelled "Commission".  It was founded by Charles "Lucky" Luciano in 1931 in the Fifth World. It has authority over mafia organizations in the UCAS, the California Free State, the Republic of Quebec, the CAS, the NAN, and the Caribbean League.
  • The European Mafia has the second "Alta Commissione", formed in 2046.  It is in control of the Italian, French, Spanish, and Turkish Mafia.  It does not control the British, Austrian, Dutch, Serbian, Polish, or Dutch mobs.
  • The Australian Mafia has the third Commission, called the "Melbourne Commissione", and was founded in 2067.

Reason for the SetbacksEdit

The reason for the Mafia slowly but steadily losing territory in both Europe and North America are many. For starters it faces crime syndicates which have powerful advantages over the Mafia when it comes to their organizations;

  • Yakuza: has the edge in cyberware,[12] it's a more tech-savvy group,[13] has soldiers who are more disciplined and loyal,[14] is backed by Japan's megacorporations,[15] and in San Francisco they were for a time backed by the Imperial Japanese Marines.[16]
  • Triads: has the edge in magic,[17] the edge in cyberware,[18][19] is a more tech-savvy group,[20] has greater manpower,[21] better trained soldiers,[22] they're more ruthless and brutal,[23] harder to infiltrate,[24] with more loyal soldiers,[25] possess superior firepower,[26][27][28][29] offer metahumans greater opportunity,[30][31][32] and have the guidance of the great dragon Lung.
  • David Cartel: has the edge in magic, the edge in cyberware, possesses superior firepower, it's more ruthless and brutal, with more loyal soldiers, better trained soldiers, and offers metahumans greater opportunity (all advantages which come from it being basically part of Aztechnology).
  • Vory: have better trained soldiers,[33] are more ruthless and brutal,[34] and have superior firepower.[35][36]
  • Zobop: has the edge in magic,[37] and more loyal soldiers.[38]
  • Seoulpa Rings: they are more ruthless and brutal,[39][40] and offer metahumans greater opportunity.[41]
  • Ghost Cartels: have superior firepower,[42] the edge in magic,[43] the edge in cyberware,[44] and offer metahumans greater opportunity.[45][46]
  • Mexican Mafia: it's more ruthless and brutal,[47] and as a prison gang it's stronghold is in prison.[48]
  • Jamaican Posses: they're more ruthless and brutal.[49]
  • Koshari: has the edge in magic.
  • Lakota Mafia: has the edge in magic and the backing of the Sioux military.

On top of that from a business standpoint, they are disadvantaged in the two most important rackets a criminal organization can be involved in the Sixth World (one an old standby which is the largest and traditionally most critical, and the other one new but vitally important in the Sixth World);

  • Matrix crime where it's not the Mafia which is a major power but its the international foreign syndicates, the Matrix syndicates, and it's domestic rivals who are: Vory, Triads, and Seoulpa Rings).[50][51][52]
  • Smuggling of everything from drugs to custom duty-free goods, where its the international foreign syndicates and pirates which dominate the smuggling rackets: Triads, David Cartel, Ghost Cartels, Kabul Maffiya, the Grey Wolves, the Fanti Syndicates, and the Kussundulola Ghost Cartel


In reality, the Mafia has been in decline since the 1970s and is on its last legs today in the United States. It's only in Europe where the Italians continue to be a major player, one of the two dominant organized crime networks (the other one being the Russians) and one of its major drug traffickers (especially the Calabrian N'drangheta).[1][2] In the United States, the Mafia has only one stronghold left in which it is still at the top of the pyramid, New York City. It has a few outposts elsewhere in the Midwest and the Northeast (Boston, Detroit, Buffalo, and the suburbs of Chicago). A far cry from the two dozen families of the 1970s and its nationwide reach.

The decline began with the rise of the Latino and Black syndicates in the big cities in the 1970s along with the growing drug trade under the control of the Colombians and Chinese. By the 1990s, the Mexican drug cartels began to slowly displace the Italians at the top and in the mid-levels it was the Chicano prison gangs, white biker gangs, and various ethnic groups (Dominican, Jamaican, Chinese, Russian, etc).[3][4][5] As shown in the fictionalized Hollywood stories of American Me (Chicanos), Scarface (Cubans), American Gangster (blacks), New Jack City (blacks), and Year of the Dragon (Chinese).

Today, the Mexican drug cartels command the heights of the American underworld and have done so since the start of the century.[6][7] The Chicano prison gangs dominate organized crime in California and the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, & Nevada), as well as their prison systems.[8][9][10][11] Latino and black street gangs dominate the streets of every major city, and occasionally it might be a Southeast Asian street gang (e.g. Tiny Rascal Gang) or in the poor rural white areas a white street gang (e.g. Simon City Royals).[12][13]. Mostly white biker gangs dominate parts of the South, the Rockies, the Great Plains, and the Midwest.[14][15][16] Depending on the city there might be a Russian, Chinese, Dominican, Vietnamese, Jamaican, Nigerian, or Cuban syndicate but rare is the Italian syndicate and even rarer is the Irish, Jewish, Polish, or Greek crime family (who traditionally have been aligned with the Italians).


  1. o33031982Vice p.26
  2. o33031982Vice p.36-40
  3. o02196230Run Faster p.208
  4. o53561113Aztlan p.166
  5. o33031982Vice p.86
  6. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.27
  7. o94379615Target: Smuggler Havens p.52
  8. o34954845Sixth World Almanac p.151
  9. o33031982Vice p.86
  10. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.82
  11. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.103
  12. o35506625Chrome Flesh p.38
  13. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.53
  14. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.42-43
  15. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.50
  16. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.51
  17. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.53
  18. o35506625Chrome Flesh p.38
  19. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.58
  20. {{src eme}} p.46
  21. o33031982Vice p.66
  22. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.55
  23. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.170
  24. o39478620Runner Havens p.25
  25. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.55
  26. o33031982Vice p.73
  27. o9865633210 Mercs p.6-9
  28. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.36-40
  29. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.56
  30. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.57
  31. o33031982Vice p.68
  32. o39478620Runner Havens p.46
  33. o33031982Vice p.76-77
  34. o33031982Vice p.76-77
  35. o33031982Vice p.76-77
  36. o33031982Vice p.79-80
  37. o33031982Vice p.68
  38. o33031982Vice p.113
  39. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.63
  40. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.63
  41. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.66
  42. o33031982Vice p.88-89
  43. o33031982Vice p.90
  44. o33031982Vice p.90
  45. o33031982Vice p.86
  46. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.88
  47. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.73
  48. o33031982Vice p.26
  49. Shadows of Latin America p.62
  50. o33031982Vice p.79
  51. o54409473Montreal 2074 p.13
  52. o33187922Emergence p.46


External LinksEdit