Modest Providers (a.k.a. Humble Providers) is a term referring to organised crime within the Nariyása Gésh Culture, especially Néyri Bay. The name comes from the primary raison d'être of the organisation - discreetly providing the goods and services that are normally illegal to the paying clients.
It should be noted that Modest Providers are no street thugs - they pride themselves on being respectable men of honour, striving to minimize direct confrontation or violence; they just don't hold any respect for the sumptuary laws of the Gésh cultures, and are even willing to resort to bribes and low-key violence to protect their position (they still pretty much oppose shooting cops, so the conflict stays low-key as much as possible). It should be noted that they mostly reside within the Nariyása Gésh culture only, though there have been unsuccessful attempts to expand.
Since violent crime is bad for business, Providers are in a constant conflict against small gangs, burglars, and even pickpockets. For this reason, Néyri Bay and the nearby regions enjoy a noticeably reduced rate of violent crime against honest citizens compared to other Nariyása states.
Modest Providers mostly live off activities that are illegal in their jurisdictions, but would be deemed 'victimless crimes' in others (or some others). These activities and goods include: gambling, smuggling, production of erotic material and shows, alcohol and some mind-altering substances, prostitution, and even some controversial medical services and goods. It should be noted that assassination and slave trafficking are not on the list, and 'shady justice' is not considered a purchasable service.
Provider's Code of Honour
Being admitted into the society of Humble Providers requires following a traditional set of rules:
- Never handle conflicts through the Authorities, never Whistle (i.e. don't report anything to the law enforcement).
- Never use violence or coercion against Clueless Bystanders (it tends to turn them into Whistlers!); fraud is an edge case. Threats against Quiet Bystanders are an edge case.
- Should a conflict with another Provider occur, wait for a higher-ranking Provider's permission before engaging in any acts of revenge.
- A verbal agreement with a handshake and another Provider of an equal or higher rank as a witness is as good as a written contract.
- When introducing oneself to another Provider as a business partner, always use a mutual acquaintance's reference.
- Lying to, or stealing from any other Provider is strictly forbidden. Lying to Associates is an edge case.
- Money from shady business must be set aside - no less than 10% each for: tribute to the higher-ranked Provider, a reserve for bribes, and the needs of those who got caught or wounded during a cop raid.
This counts as a 5-point Code of Honour in GURPS, though can be upgraded to a 10-pointer for truly strict adherence.
Modest Providers (and some of their clients) employ a small list of terms that are not found outside the culture:
- Clueless Bystanders - people who lead honest lives and know nuthin' about the shady life. This isn't an insult,
- Quiet Bystanders - people who do not partake in shady activities, but personally have seen or otherwise directly know some of it (e.g. friend of a gambler who visited a cardhouse, but never plays).
- Modest Clients - people who use any of the shady services/goods, and keep quiet.
- Whistlers - witnesses and others 'in the know' who cooperate or intend to cooperate (in the Providers' opinion) with the authorities; sometimes informally covers vigilantes too.
- Authorities - what it says on the tin.
- Modest Associates - generic term for people who are only 'one foot' into shady business; one can think of it as probation.
- Modest Providers - full-time organised criminals.
- Loose Cannons - criminals who do not respect the Modest Providers' Code of Honour; typically these are about in the same level of trouble as Whistlers, but for other reasons.