An Outlaw Motorcycle Club is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who has formed a gang or 'club' but who has not registered with the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) or the Canadian Motorcycle Association (CMA). An Outlaw Motorcycle Club is not necessarily an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, and vice-versa, though the lines do tend to blur in many instances.
As defined by the Provincial Court of Manitoba, an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang is "Any group of motorcycle enthusiasts who have voluntarily made a commitment to band together and abide by their organizations' rigorous rules enforced by violence, who engage in activities that bring them and their club into serious conflict with society and the law". The US Department of Justice defines Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs as "… organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises."
Initially, four such gangs (the Pagans, Hells Angels, Outlaws MC, and Bandidos) were recognized and monitored by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, while the Attorney General of California has since added the LA-based Mongols gang to this list. The US Department of Justice has since issued a revised list of known and dangerous Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, as well. According to the FBI, the named gangs support themselves primarily by engaging in the manufacture and trade of illegal narcotics.
Although most bikers are fairly law-abiding, or at least don't go into crime professionally, many enjoy cultivating the "outlaw" mystique.
Game and Story Use
- Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs are a real, present, threat to the PCs.
- The PCs are undercover police officers sent to infiltrate the local chapter of an Outlaw Biker Gang in order to provide intelligence to authorities about a recent string of drug-related murders.
- The PCs are members of an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang investigative unit, who have discovered that a local chapter of the Pagans is manufacturing amphetamines laced with an unknown, alien, compound.
- An outlaw gang serves in place of traditional bandits, terrorising a small, local town - or even a larger area if law enforcement lacks resolve. An easy way to bring western tropes and characters into a modern setting.
- Several instances of biker gangs at war with one another - up to and including the use of anti-tank weapons - in places as unexpected as Canada. A rural town with a war going on in it could be interesting, much more so in a city.
- The motorcycle gang as bandits meme can be turned up to eleven in a Mad Max style After the End setting.
- Alternatively, individual gang members might be friendly towards the PCs and useful allies.
- One or more PCs might be members of a gang themselves.
- This could provide an ethical dilemma (e.g., the gang requires a PC to do something that puts him at odds with the rest of the PCs).
- Or this could could provoke unfriendly reactions from NPCs (e.g., "I'll be watchin' you, son; I don't want any of yer kind makin' trouble in my town!")
- NPC townsfolk, especially in a small, conservative community, will likely assume that anyone who blows into town on a motorcycle wearing a leather jacket is a gang member. In real life in the 1950s, if Fonzie showed up at Richie's house, Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham would call the police.
- Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer included several incidences of demon biker gangs.
- Under suitable conditions, a motorcycle gang might make a suitable nucleus for a paramilitary group - for example, recent incidents in Denmark where Hell's Angels have been active in Counter-jihad fighting with Islamist gangs.