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Emilio Barrera

Posts : 170
Join date : 2015-06-18

PostSubject: Character Background Tips   Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:43 am

From the Guides section.

Emilio Barrera wrote:
This is a guide for both players who are new to prison roleplay and players who might be experienced. If you already have an established character but noticed you may have made a mistake according to this guide, don't be afraid to correct that error. Continuity of your character is ultimately less important than ensuring that the details make sense. Be mindful that I don't claim to have all the answers and this was written based on my own personal experience and research. If you think something is inaccurate then let me know.

This guide was inspired by a similar guide on the White Car's forum, which was posted by Gallagher and credited to Douglas_Nyswonger. Credit to both.

Your character's background is important for the sake of prison politics and keeping the faction realistic. The specific ways in which your character interacts with the sureño car will differ based on the variations in background that you choose for your character. As a faction we have standards of realism to keep and characters' backgrounds play a big part in this. If your character's details don't make sense then it won't be pleasant for other people to roleplay with you.

Ethnic Background

The sureño car is deceptively diverse and accepts a wide variation of inmates from a range of backgrounds into its ranks, depending on the political situation of the institution. The most common background is a young Latino male of Mexican-American heritage who identifies with a sureño gang on the streets. Inmates such as these make up the bulk of the sureño car and this should be reflected on LS-RP. In other words, this is arguably the most preferable option for a character's background. In reality though, your character's background makes little difference to your chances of progressing in the faction. As long as the background you chose is one that is accepted by the car the only thing that will be different for you is your roleplay experience. It really just depends on what you want to roleplay. If you are committed to the faction the background you chose will not hamper you, so don't be afraid to experiment. Alternative backgrounds include:

  • Other Latino males. Variations here could include a Mexican-American who isn't affiliated to a gang (sometimes referred to as "residents" until they prove themselves to be soldiers), an American-born Latino of a different Central-American heritage (gang member or not) or a national from a Hispanoamerican country such as Mexico or Honduras. Nationals are often referred to as 'paisas'. In many institutions the paisas will have their own car which is aligned with the sureños but this is not the case in SACF.

  • Armenians. An Armenian background can be tricky and such an inmate could arguably align himself with either the sureño car or the white car. Armenians fit in with the sureños due to the history of the Armenian Power 13 gang's affiliation with the Mexican Mafia. AP13 affiliates are a common choice of character but these shouldn't saturate the faction. Armenian nationals or Armenian-Americans who aren't part of a gang might be accepted by the white car depending on their physical appearance or outside affiliations. If they look 'too foreign' and aren't criminally affiliated with any members of the white car they will probably be deferred to another car (probably the sureños). If they look more European than Asian in appearance or are criminally connected to a member of the white car they may be accepted. Armenian-Americans and Armenian nationals who have family in the AP13 gang or are criminally affiliated to it in some way will probably align with the sureños. Alignment isn't always to do with race, it can be more to do with your 'homeboys'. That is, if you're more strongly affiliated to one car despite your ethnic makeup you will probably defer to that first car. More on this next.

  • Other members of sureño gangs. Sureños can be white (if you're interested in this look into the IC history of the Las Colinas Valley) or even Asian. It's not uncommon to see a couple of white guys on a yard hanging with the sureños. In almost every case this is because they grew up in a Latino neighbourhood and are virtually indistinguishable from a cholo except in physical appearance, and/or are members of a sureño gang. The Mexican Mafia has in fact had multiple white members who have risen to be very influential and described as 'de facto' leaders (all members of the Mexican Mafia are technically considered equals). The two most prominent examples were Joe 'Pegleg' Morgan and Benjamin 'Topo' Peters. The sureño car also accepts Asian inmates for the same reasons. The most common to be found in the car are Filipinos since the Philippines' history of Spanish colonisation has left them with a distinctly Hispanic element to their culture and find it the easiest to identify with the sureños. Filipino gangs also aren't particularly a rarity in some areas so they are among those more likely to be found in prison. The Mexican Mafia has, however, also had at least one Japanese-American member. Asian members of the car are certainly rarer than white members, especially on yards where there is an Asian car present. No such car exists in SACF, however, so those conditions do not apply.

Like the white car, the sureño car accepts absolutely no black members. Even if he is part-Latino and was somehow affiliated to a sureño gang on the outside he will probably be deferred to the black car unless his Latino genes are much more dominant than his others and he appears effectively Latino. There was a time when 18th Street gangs accepted black members but the vast majority purged their ranks of those members following a Mexican Mafia edict.

In effect the sureño car includes anyone of Latino ethnicity on the yard who is not aligned with the white car through affiliation to a skinhead or peckerwood gang (the above rule about white sureños goes the other way too). Norteño gang members and those who identify with them are the only exception to this rule. In some institutions, including SACF, where the norteño car is very weak, norteños will be given the opportunity to cover up their tattoos and will not be targeted so long as they do not gang-bang on the yard. They will not, however, be accepted into the car and will be treated mostly as outcasts who are merely tolerated. They are generally not given the protection of the shot callers and can still be targeted but are not considered active targets. Fully covering up their tattoos (i.e. having them covered with other tattoos) and reversing their affiliation is usually the only way to circumvent this. In other words, do not pick a norteño-affiliated Latino background if your goal is to roleplay with the sureño car.

Latinos who align with a black gang will be deferred to the black car and may be targeted by the sureños for being 'race traitors' depending on the institution's politics.


Your character may technically originate from anywhere you'd like but keep in mind that SACF is a state prison. In order to be incarcerated there, your character must have committed a crime which is an offence against state law (the San Andreas Penal Code) and this must have occurred within San Andreas. Beyond that it depends on what you'd like to roleplay but keep it realistic. If you choose to roleplay a Latino gang member then your character should probably originate from a lower income area where there is a large Latino population present. These include areas in states like New Mexico, Arizona and Texas but the safest option is just to roleplay around San Andreas. Try to avoid roleplaying around California because that state's co-existence with San Andreas in the LS-RP universe is a big grey area and not universally accepted.

Be wary of the fact that a paisa character can be a big challenge. It can involve a lot more research than any other type of character in terms of background, criminal history, the way he will speak etc.

Gang Background

There are an immense number of options available if you choose to make a character with a gang background. The safest options are gangs which are loyal to the Mexican Mafia. These are essentially any sureño gangs which use a '13' in their name or art/tattoos, as well as gangs such as 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha 13. The best path for an affiliated character is to start on the street in an actual gang faction and move into prison roleplay once that character is arrested. There are a number of difficulties associated with doing this though, so it's fine to just start off in prison and roleplay being affiliated to that gang. Just make sure you have OOC permission to do so from its leaders so that your character isn't called out as a liar later on. The third option is to make up a gang or to roleplay being affiliated to a defunct gang. Make sure your choice is sensible if you do this.


This is at your discretion and is based on what you want to roleplay. A young character is recommended because it will leave you the most room for long term character development and it will allow you to begin your prison roleplay as a fresh inmate, giving you slightly more margin for error and allowing you to learn alongside your character. Keep in mind that this isn't a free pass though and prison is ruthless; you will still be expected to learn quickly. Older characters are possible but you must be sure that you have the OOC experience to back this up. A veteran inmate is expected to know a lot about how prison works and shouldn't be learning many lessons. Therefore, since prior knowledge is assumed IC there will be standard consequences for making a mistake even if you are new to the prison scene OOC. My advice will always be to make your first prison character a young man. Even if you have done a lot of research on prison this needs to be coupled with experience of prison roleplay itself and putting your research into practice, so it's unlikely that you'll be able to roleplay a convincing veteran inmate.

The minimum age you should consider making your character is 18 years. Younger men can be sentenced to adult time but it's unlikely.

Racism and Characters' Beliefs

This is an extremely variable topic and will have a lot to do with your character's background. The Mexican Mafia has been pushing an anti-black agenda in California for at least a decade with the aim of having all loyal sureño gangs turn on neighbouring black gangs in a vicious offensive to expand those gangs' territories. This in turn will result in increased drug revenue for the Mafia. In the midst of this innocent black and Latino residents have also been targeted and there now exists a state of extreme racial tension between black gangs and sureño gangs. Sureño gang members are now almost as racist as gang-banging skinheads (generally speaking and only towards African-Americans), save the absence of white power propaganda and Social Darwinist theories. This phenomenon has been naturally reflected on LS-RP by players roleplaying in sureño gangs and so the same hostile culture exists. If your character is a gang member he will probably have no qualms about using words like "nigger", "tinto", "toad" and "mayate". That will probably be the extent of it though. Sureños only tend to beat on local blacks when they're in groups and feel like showing off their 'ruthlessness', and are often high when they do it. Don't make the mistake of instigating fights with and throwing racial slurs at every black inmate you see because it just isn't realistic. Your character probably isn't that racist and car politics also forbid it. This will be imparted to you IC but I feel like it's worth mentioning here because it's something that you would notice on a real prison yard that is difficult to reflect in SACF due to the amount of trolling that goes on.

Gang members are individuals and the extremity of their own racist beliefs differ. If your character is of an alternative background his level of racism will differ as well. A Latino/paisa male who ends up in SACF but wasn't a gang member (e.g. a cartel affiliate or somebody with no criminal background at all) will probably be shocked by the race politics and will need to adapt. A paisa gang member's beliefs will differ depending on whether he was a member of a gang in the U.S. or somewhere south of the border. If he was in a gang somewhere in Hispanoamerica he probably won't be particularly racist towards blacks because he has had no reason to be or may not have even had much exposure to people of African descent. An exception to this might be people who originate from countries where racism does still exist (e.g. some ex-major slave economy countries) but these characters are rare.

Street Characters

As this faction ultimately encompasses the entirety of the Mexican Mafia there is an important street arm to it as well. While we try to keep the emphasis on prison roleplay, there is still a need for some characters who take care of business on the streets. It's likely that such a character is an ex-gang member (I say ex- because their loyalties now need to be to their superiors in the mob and not to their gang). It's possible to have crew members who weren't in gangs but it's unlikely. A person will usually become a member of a crew in one of two ways. They might link up with somebody from that crew while inside and decide to do business with them once they are both on the streets, or they might be given the details of a crew member while inside who they can contact for "work" once outside. Alternatively a person who is inducted into the Mexican Mafia will contact some of his homeboys (almost always people who he has done time with) and put them to work under his name. If you're seeking to create a character for the streets you will undoubtedly work out your own way.

Female Characters

There is one major role that females can play in a faction attempting to portray the Mexican Mafia. The vast majority of carnales (members) are segregated in high-power units on a 23 hour lockdown program with very, very limited face-to-face contact with other inmates and similarly limited contact with the outside world. Any contact they do have is monitored very closely. As such, members need to delegate power to other trusted individuals who can take care of their business for them and who they can be in contact with regularly without raising too much suspicion. The two major candidates for such a position are lawyers and family members. Family members are always considered more trustworthy so they're usually selected over lawyers, and female family members are considered the best candidates because they're less likely to develop their own interests which will conflict with the member's own. That is, females are usually excluded from the business of other male criminals so they're less likely to get involved in betrayals and will be loyal. On top of that, the best candidate is a member's wife since regular contact with her will raise the least suspicion and the money that the member earns will probably be going to his wife anyway to take care of the family. The only two uses that a person in perpetual AD-SEG has for money is re-investment back into business and taking care of their family - he can't spend much or any of the money on himself.

Therefore, the wives of members are often the official leaders of their crews. Below her might be a trusted homeboy of the member who the wife gives orders to and collects money from, and below him will be all the other members of the crew. This differs based on the individual crew. Female crew leaders are an integral part of the Mexican Mafia and can be important characters on LS-RP.
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