Now that you mention it though eliminating the competition from the Spanish Lords does actually fit in with what I had in mind. Basically the backstory of Capra's car ring is that he initially has Carlo steal the cars for him before using his connection to Stevie who enlists the help of Niko to steal them instead. This goes above and beyond the story but my long term idea was that over time Capra moves his operation into Boulevard in Bohan (which would now be open territory) and starts using the cars as a front for smuggling in heroin from overseas and shipping it elsewhere. This is why his crew is seen hanging out in that compound opposite the tennis courts in Chinatown Wars. The scheme is based on a mixture of one in the 1970s run by Gambino soldier Roy DeMeo (who also provided the initial inspiration for Capra's character) and another one seen in the movie The French Connection where the mafia are shipping heroin overseas packed into the frames of cars. The movie as a whole is also an obvious inspiration for the opening sequence of GTA IV which has members of the Triads filling a car with Heroin and it being lifted down onto the dock as another car speeds into view. Coincidentally, in keeping with CTW, Capra's scheme is also one involving the Triads, with the Midtown Gangsters acting as dealers and hitmen on the streets. Involving Fredo Volpe and Gerald McReary would put the job under certain time constraints but I don't see why he couldn't work for Stevie alongside Gordon (since the two seem to be friends). Up until now I tried to not step on Akaviri's toes regarding Blood and a Four Leaf Clover but this policy would kind of need to be changed if I were to have you work with Gordon. He has got ample reason to be involved in it though so I'm really in two minds as to whether to include him or not. In order to make it work Carlo would also need to have met Stevie previously so I might make the missions choice dependent like the ones in GTA IV by having them only open up if you choose to spare Mark Volpe in Chapter 14 and meet up with Stevie at the garage when you collect his car.
I've actually been working on a Roy DeMeo character for a while now (coincidentally with Steven Van Zandt as a character picture, though I'm sure you're aware of the uncanny resemblance between the two) sourcing a lot from the car theft racket you mention -- mainly the overseas connection to Kuwait, where I'd have containers return with heroin smuggled in by a shady Golden Triangle figure -- and relationship with the Westies (McRearys) in regards to it. Of course this now interests me a whole lot more as it's becoming obvious you've thought out even the most fleeting plot points extensively.
To tell you the truth I honestly thought you based Jimmy Capra on Anthony Mirra but I can see an amalgamation of the two in his appearances as the ultimate nasty bastard, with Mirra being notorious for his attacks on hookers and unsuspecting civilians. Some of the inspiration in this still astounds me.
Though I can't speak for Akavari (and I hope he's still around to confirm) but I'm sure it's been bought up before and the feeling was we shouldn't restrict each other in using them. I am hopeful you'll run with the Stevie and Gordon idea; it's the perfect opportunity to expand on a briefly alluded connection, which the two of you are famous for.
Something else I think is worth considering after I've had another read through is the Chapter 15 (Part 3) news story of "Slick Vic" Conti being involved in a war over territory in Alderney. Would I be right in saying this is over the events of Payback? I actually not long completed this mission and one thing I noticed is that the Pavanos seem to use the Irish Mob as muscle out of Auto Eroticar.
Now with Slick Vic looking like a pretty mean waterfront operator I'm thinking of adding to the initial idea and suggesting instead of a dock shootout with the Spanish Lords, the Messinas go the diplomatic route (using Carlo's negotiation skills) and conspire to a partnership with the Pavanos for use of the Alderney waterfront to ship their cars. Instead of tearing up the dock, Carlo and Gordon would sever Pavano ties (Slick Vic's condition of doing business) with the Spanish Lords once a deal is cemented between the families on by shooting up the Fan Dang Club in Alderney City and simply making them a casualty. What do you think?
I'm also a big fan of your ideas for building a personal motivation for Nino's favor mission and although you don't want to give too much up at the moment, I'm really looking forward to how that one turns out. For a minor character we've seen so far I have the feeling you imagine giving him a substantial amount of depth that probably puts most the cast of GTAV to shame.
Yes you're right the original character description is based mostly on that of Anthony Mirra.. I just never really got around to changing it. As previously mentioned my interest in the mob had only just been sparked when I started this topic so I didn't really have the depth of knowledge to make the biographies unique. In some cases I literally just ripped off the backstory of a real life mobster and changed a handful of details. With Jimmy Capra I wanted to create a depraved loose cannon type of enforcer but as the character evolved he started to morph into DeMeo a little bit more, he's not completely based on DeMeo though... he's moreso the product of a what if scenario i.e. what if Roy DeMeo's son Albert followed him into the life of crime. How would his father's murder effect him and would he try to set himself apart from the legacy he left or follow pretty closely in his footsteps. In Jimmy's case the murder of his his father Alberto (based more closely on DeMeo) effected him pretty deep psychologically in his late teens and he began to strive to be just like the father he had lost at a crucial time (just when he was on the cusp of manhood). On top of this Alberto was a violent man both in and out of the home and he would frequently abuse his wife and son. This abuse then also carried over into school where he was teased for having a father who was a convicted felon. His mother would have picked up on this and in turn (despite him asking her not to) she would have told his father who would have told him not to be such a sissy and simply beat the sh*t out of those who were teasing him, possibly even arming him with the pocket knife he used in order to stab people. This ill treatment would have not only made him incredibly angry and turned him into a bully himself but would have also made him incredibly tough. This is why he's so desperate to be seen as such a big tough guy when he's around other mobsters. Remember how nice he was to Carlo in their one on one interactions for example? His whole personality is essentially driven by an intense desire to be liked and feared in equal measures. Resemblances aside I felt that Steven Van Zandt (or rather Silvio Dante) was perfect for the role because not only does he have the ability to play both light and shade, we've also seen how he can be when he loses his temper. Actually come to think of it I should really redo that backstory
As far as Slick Vic and the Pavanos go.. yes you would be right in saying that the story refers to the mission Payback.. not only Payback but the whole Pegorino-Pavano conflict starting with Pegorino's Pride. My thoughts on the proceeding events is that the two families would have worked alongside each other for years with the Pavanos controlling part of the Jersey docks (like the Genoveses in real life) and Pegorino "letting" them run their shylocking business there too. In reality however I'm thinking that they treat Pegorino as nothing more than an errand boy. I can see the Pavanos having a good relationship with the Ancelottis dating back to the 1960s due to their former Boss Giuseppe Pavano originating from Naples just like Giovanni Ancelotti and his deceased uncle Giorgio so I'm thinking that the Pegorinos ongoing attacks would have given the Pavanos good reason to strike back in support of their much weaker allies, or at least that would be their excuse. In reality they would have been looking for a way to force the Pegorinos out of Alderney for years so that they could seize their territory (which they eventually do).
Now that we've gotten the exposition out of the way. I have to say yes I do think your idea could work but maybe some elements of your previous idea could also carry over. What if the Spanish Lords were operating out of the docks and cutting the Pavano Family in on their action. They get pissed off when you eliminate their source of income but eventually agree to migrate their allegiances to you if you can finish what you started and eliminate the Spanish Lords once and for all - in order to alleviate them of the burden of having to step in and mitigate the conflict on their behalf. The logic being that The Messinas are offering them a better deal (due to the added profits of shipping the heroin) but the Spanish Lords are unpredictable and they aren't going to take too kindly to the Pavanos simply telling them they're out and will suspect that the two families are cahoots against them (which they essentially are). Do you think this could work or is a bit to convoluted??
As a side note I've actually already started into bringing these favors missions into fruition by making a list of characters and unlock points in the Mini Games and Side missions section on Page 1. You may notice that I have added two previous undiscussed characters to the list namely Sharon Morton and Butch the Boxer from Chapter 9. The reason I haven't mentioned them previously is that I literally only came up with them last night. Basically my ideas for the two characters are these:
Butchy has started reflecting on his life after you beat the living sh*t out of him and now wants to leave his mark on the world by becoming an entrepreneur. Turns out the punch drunk bastard wants to set up a chain of Juice carts around the city and wean everybody off of their addiction to junk food. The first step in his hairbrained scheme is to have you somehow destroy all of those fairly useless hotdog carts around the city to clear out some prime locations for his healthy new offering.
Sharon on the other hand has found herself in a spot of bother due to opening her legs for every two bit gangster she meets. It turns out that her new ex boyfriend has been sleeping with another whore behind her back. But Sharon isn't about to stay mad, she wants to get even. Turns out the sleazeball in question is a pretty successful coke dealer and he keeps a stash of money in a locker at the Grand Easton Terminal. The only problem is he always keeps the key on his person meaning that you must figure out a way to get it somehow. The most direct option would just be to kill him and take it but Carlo refuses to validate the assumption that he has feelings for Sharon by killing her boyfriend, stating that this is "strictly business". As it turns out though Sharon has another plan. The man in question frequently visits a seedy Chinatown bath house where he gets a special rub down from a very gifted "masseuse". The very nature of the service requires him to be naked, meaning that his clothes (and the key) must be left in a nearby locker room. Carlo must sneak in there and steal it from him without anybody noticing and then bring it to Sharon who insists that you drive her to the station so that she can show you her gratitude, hopefully by giving you part of the stash.