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I have a large capital city that is in the middle of a particularly large lake set in a standard low magic fantasy setting. In this city there is a agreement between three factions of were-creatures who run the criminal operations within the city. Werecats run the high end districts and activities, get involved in politics and bribes, fancy businesses. Werewolves run the brothels, protection rackets, act as fences and fight off the other gangs that try to operate in the area. Wererats pretty much run the smuggling and docks district. The gangs all have a number of non lycanthropes in them, but senior positions are all held by the lycanthropes, as well as a number of them at most levels of the gang.

Given that they want to keep their lycanthropy hidden, even from the rest of their gang (tongues wag and all that) don't know about the condition, what kind of contract and agreement would their leaders have drawn up/verbally agreed upon to keep it under wraps?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think I might have put in too much detail about the groups. Feel free to remove if it confuses the issue $\endgroup$ – Mourdos Sep 30 '14 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ it is fair enough $\endgroup$ – Envite Sep 30 '14 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ Is this an open magic setting (the world in general is aware that lycanthropy is real) or a closed magic setting (most people think of werewolves as a myth)? This is important, as it will make a significant difference in whether or not such rumors would be believed/investigated or whether the snitch in question would instead be seen as insane to those who aren't in the know. $\endgroup$ – Katie Sep 30 '14 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ People are not aware of them actually existing. They would be hunted by the few who have what magic there is, should it be known. $\endgroup$ – Mourdos Oct 1 '14 at 8:14
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It depends on society's view of the creatures, their control over their wereishness, and how much the higher-ups know about each other.

Assuming the most likely situation, that society fears and hates them, that they totally lose it once a month, and they they more-or-less all know they are all werewolves, it become simply a game of self-preservation and MAD.

Threats:

Losing control over yourself once a month, even if it's by turning in a fearsome beast, is a very vulnerable situation for somebody with lots of enemies, both within your organization and without. Seriously, it just takes ten guys armed with silver weapons.

Gangs, while always hated by everybody, normally operate more-or-less under-the-radar, and rarely are outright despised by the whole of society. If word gets out that the capital city is run by monsters hated by everybody, no matter how strong they are, they are eventually going to fall to the force of an enraged public.

Therefore, you'd have to keep this knowledge as concealed as possible from everybody, probably by threat of personal harm. It's easier if they have something to gain from you on a regular basis, so gang leaders would have to keep both whichever of their members and their 'property' who discover their secret convinced that it's in their best interest not to spill the beans and bring it all down. Of course, if they get too greedy, well, dead men don't talk.

MAD:

The reason mutual assured destruction would set in is because the leaders of each gang know all the above. While they may try to kill and destroy each other, a stability would develop simply because they have an unstoppable weapon: knowledge that the other gang is full of wereanimals. Move too far or push too hard, and eventually somebody will drop the bomb, even if it destroys them as well.

Given the assumptions made at the top, there's no reason they'd ever want the word out, no matter how much the personal threat could help them. The information is just too dangerous.

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Considering that criminal operations are often based on a certain level of violence (or at least a threat of violence) and on top of that lycanthropes are not known for their even tempers I would say it would have to be a very large threat. Letting non-lycanthropes know that they could be the next meal should they step out of line or wag their tongue could be very effective, start growling with glowing eyes when someone disagrees with you would be a strong case in your favor to winning an argument.

So knowledge of their existence has to be a very serious threat. Along the lines that some very serious groups of people would make a serious effort to wipe them out should they learn about them.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 Pretty much, they have a mutual interest in keeping it secret: that gives them an informational advantage over others, makes sure they're not targeted by society as a whole and protects their business by having non-lycanthropes be both customers and employees. $\endgroup$ – mechalynx Sep 30 '14 at 17:35

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