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RebelDave

Trade and Smuggling

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OK, so I was looking at trade rules and smuggling, and have read through the CRB and Fly Casual bits, although I am not sure I fully understand them.

 

If my players want to make some extra cash on the side, say for example, by smuggling something to coruscant (which is where they are headed).

 

They either need to find someone to give them a job, and they get paid a percentage as per the rules on in FC. Correct?

They need to buy goods (Streetwise to find), make a deal (Negotiate), and then  Streetwise and Negotiate again at the destination to find a buyer and make another deal. And they earn a percentage as per CRB Pg 150 (Where it says the players net 1/4 or 1/2 or 3/4 based on the number of successes, is that above the listed cost?)

 

What advice can people give me here?

What kind of repercussions might I throw at my players when Customs boards them in Coruscant orbit for an inspection (Which is going to happen regardless).

 

I imagine the base difficulty for finding contraband on the ship would be Average (PPP), while with Smuggling Compartments its Formidable (Increases difficulty +2)

 

Clearly, I dont want the players being arrested as that severely complicates matters for me. And I dont want to look like im going out of my way to stripe the players of money or resources, but obviously confiscating contraband would be a given, would they get fined? (Probably). How much? what else?

 

What items on the ship would also be confiscated?

Personal weapons are clearly legal for the most part (Or are they? would you get away with walking around Imperial Centre with a blaster on your hip?)

 

How many weapons on a ship would be considered "OK" before Customs confiscate them under the charge of "arms shipping with intent to supply"

 

Just looking for ideas really...

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You could set it up so that if they fail to hide their contraband, instead of jail time the customs officer asks for a bribe, and have that bribe cut way into their profits on the job.  It makes failure interesting and risky without sending them to jail.

 

 

Aye... but would an Imperial Customs Agent over Coruscant really take a bribe? Especially if hes accompanied by a team and a couple Stormies?

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Perhaps, that's your call!

 

If you want to play it that way (e.g., the Customs Agents don't take bribes), then make the characters aware of the high risk of smuggling to Coruscant.  If they know beforehand that failure means jail or fighting their way out, then they fail, it's totally fair!

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No reason an Imperial wouldn't take a bribe, depends on their character.  Some will initiate a bribe request, and bribe requests are never straightforward.  In an event I ran recently, the inspection agent was accompanied by two non-stormtrooper Imperials (I don't like to overuse stormies...).  The agent knew the cargo was very valuable, and also knew that time was short because the local government was debating a new import tax on the goods the players were carrying.  So he came on board and immediately started sniffing the air...

 

"What's that terrible smell?"  (there is no smell)  "It smells like your food synthesizer is defective.  That's against health regulations, I'd better take a loo...hey, what have we here?  This panel is loose!"  (slaps wall, panel is fine)  "That could lead to a fire.  We might have to do an inspection before I can clear the goods..."

 

(pregnant pause while he waits for the PCs to respond)

 

"...OR...I see you boys are in a hurry, so I'll tell you what.  I'll do you a favour and put you on the accelerated list.  There's a 200 credit fee to get on the list, and then so long as you get the ship inspected within a month, you'll get a clean bill of health."  He starts writing up something official-looking.

 

The fun part was watching the players deal with this agent scum, and eventually they settled on Coercion, with the Enforcer using Loom in the background.  Basically calling the agent's bluff, telling him he's been on camera the whole time, and threatening to report his attempted bribe to his superiors. So they got away with it, but now there's a PO'd agent out there just waiting for another chance...

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How many weapons on a ship would be considered "OK" before Customs confiscate them under the charge of "arms shipping with intent to supply"

 

I wouldn't over think this.  Smuggling can take various forms, from just loading up your ship and doing a blockade run, in which case the challenge is more of an astrogation/piloting kind of encounter; or it can be trying to "hide in plain sight" with fake paperwork and other pseudo-legal documentation; or it can be small items in hidden compartments.  Either way, if you make the consequences of failure too onerous you've just created a roadblock in your own story.

 

If you shoot down their ship, it doesn't mean they're captured...you can take a page from Long Arm of the Hutt where if they get shot down by Tweek (right at the beginning) they don't explode in space or get tractor-beamed into a hangar, instead they hit atmo and crash land somewhere on Coruscant (and now they have to scramble to get clear, and...oh darn...they lost their ship).

 

If the paperwork doesn't pass muster, charge them a fine for "paperwork corrections".  If the agent finds the hidden stash, have him close the box without saying anything, then poke around the ship waiting for the PCs to give him a gratuity on the sly (and maybe he gives them a card with his contact info and his shift hours).  Or these agents will turn them in, and now they have to flee and it's back to the space combat above.

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I dont want to make it too easy though, otherwise they will just turn it into a massive cash maker.

 

But after many things discussed with my group, I also dont want to keep them too poor. I figured, since they were going to Coruscant anyway for Under a Black Sun, I might suggest (quietly) to my Scoundrel player, he might see fit to take on a small smuggling job (possibly behind the others backs), to earn some extra cash.

 

But I dont want them to simply load up whatever they can get, fly off, and BAM Hard cash. I want there to be a risk to it all. In all fairness, I may well fluff the search roll for the customs agents, in which case thats fine... they got away with it. This Time.

 

 

However, once again Monsieur whafrog, you have given me some lovely ideas I had not considered!

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I dont want to make it too easy though, otherwise they will just turn it into a massive cash maker.

 

But after many things discussed with my group, I also dont want to keep them too poor. I figured, since they were going to Coruscant anyway for Under a Black Sun, I might suggest (quietly) to my Scoundrel player, he might see fit to take on a small smuggling job (possibly behind the others backs), to earn some extra cash.

 

But I dont want them to simply load up whatever they can get, fly off, and BAM Hard cash. I want there to be a risk to it all. In all fairness, I may well fluff the search roll for the customs agents, in which case thats fine... they got away with it. This Time.

 

 

However, once again Monsieur whafrog, you have given me some lovely ideas I had not considered!

 

Honestly, I would make it at least a full session worth of adventure.  

 

Perhaps the purchased goods were stolen and the previous owner has come looking?  Or pirates/thieves hit them before/after they land?  Or the quality of what they purchased isn't the best?  Or maybe the item has a built in encryption or lock for the sub-packaging?  Or perhaps the purchaser wants a forged bill of ownership?  

 

It depends on what they are transporting, who they got them from, and why.  Most jobs wouldn't take a whole adventure arc, but I could see a smuggling job working into a session length depending on how long your sessions are.

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My sessions technically run 3 hours, but depending on how many tangents and random discussion happens, it may be less than 3 hours of game time.

 

I really just wanted to throw something in that would let the players add abit of cash to their coffers while doing something else.

 

I have suggested to my scoundrel (behind everyones backs) that he might want to try and set up a smuggling job on the back of something else (After reading Fly Casual, and the descriptions about Scoundrels getting the party in trouble).

 

I was thinking something drug related, Booster Blue or similar.. nothing too expensive, that they can then try and wrangle past the customs inspection that WILL happen (for flavour) when they try and reach Coruscant for Under a Black Sun,

 

Fines or Bribes aside, i would like them to get alittle cash out of it.. it seems the constantly cash strapped status is grating with my players, so I want to cut them a small break and let them make a couple thousand out of it. (Since they will be pretty much spending ALL they have getting their ship fixed before Debts to Pay... and that depends on how they treat Thakba)

 

I was planning on the Scoundrel doing a Streetwise check to find someone who is prepared to take a risk on them at Sleheyron (Where they will be), to ship a small amount to Coruscant, kinda like a test run.

 

If nothing more comes from it, so be it, but it could provide another contact.

 

After Debts to Pay, and Under a Black Sun, I will run Beyond the Rim, and then possibly Tatooine Manhunt... after which I am out of material.

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I dont want to make it too easy though, otherwise they will just turn it into a massive cash maker.

 

It won't be.  If they run, every hull point they lose is 500 credits to fix, and if they crash somewhere they have to spend more to hide, fix other parts, bribe locals, etc.  Every bribe they suffer at the hands of agents is more money lost.  You can make anything as onerous as you want without it derailing your story.

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Yeaaaah... thing is, they are pretty much going to blow ALL their cash fixing the damage they took catching Bandin Dobah.

 

They stand to make something from Debts to Pay, but the amount will depend on how well they do. Max 10k, unless they walk away with the full 165k and keep the 65k extra.

 

(So if they are feeling exceptionally mercenary, 75k, which may result in obligation... not that ive worked out how to make full use of that system yet)

 

But I wont know that until they finish at the Gavos Mines.

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They need to buy goods (Streetwise to find), make a deal (Negotiate), and then  Streetwise and Negotiate again at the destination to find a buyer and make another deal. And they earn a percentage as per CRB Pg 150 (Where it says the players net 1/4 or 1/2 or 3/4 based on the number of successes, is that above the listed cost?)

Yes, but you've got more rolls then needed.

 

The stuff in FC is more to help a GM determine how much a smuggling job as part of an adventure should pay out. The Negotiation roll there is a single check with their employer as a way to try and get more credits out of the job, or to make better arraignments. There's no Streetwise checks because these are already covered in the adventure, the players know who they are supposed to be  getting the goods from and who they are supposed to be delivering them to, they don't have to go out and find them.

 

Now, if the players are running it as a side job to make some extra scrap, you need only what's in the core, and again, it's only one roll, not multiple.

 

If it's legal goods, you only need a Negotiate check vs. the Rarity. That's to both find the goods and determine the price. Sale is the same. Just one Negotiate check. Since this is a three axis you can use the Advantage, Threat, ect, to generate the details that you would normally get from a second roll.

 

Illegal goods (typically ones with an R, but individual planets may have different laws) work the same way, but now it's Streetwise instead of Negotiate.

 

It's actually this free-trading area where things like ranks in Black Market Contacts gets pretty cool. While most players see this as a way of getting a single desperately needed item for a mark up, if you run the numbers and compare it to the trading multipliers, paying the extra money to lower the starting Rarity enough to get the maximum multiplier will actually generate more net profits then moving legal goods...

 

 

What advice can people give me here?

What kind of repercussions might I throw at my players when Customs boards them in Coruscant orbit for an inspection (Which is going to happen regardless).

 

I imagine the base difficulty for finding contraband on the ship would be Average (PPP), while with Smuggling Compartments its Formidable (Increases difficulty +2)

 

Depends on... well a  lot. How are they going to smuggle? There's a LOT of different ways, and they depend on a lot of different factors. After all one entire category of smuggling is the one where you find ways to avoid customs entirely. There's millions of ways to do this. It might be as simple as you have some guys on the receiving planet set up a drop zone under the standard approaches to the starport, and at the right time just kick the crates out the hatch. When you arrive at the starport for inspection all the contraband is long gone. Of course there's other methods. There's a reason why you can get everything from speed boost to stealth gear....

 

This is something the players need to kick around if they want to smuggle regularly, because their actions will dictate things like difficulties and such. Finding ten crates of magic mushrooms in a ship that's otherwise "empty" is probably pretty easy. Finding 10 crate of magic mushrooms in a ship that's loaded with 100 containers of portabellos.... probably a little harder.

 

Even something as simple as the physical appearances of the ship and crew will matter. A clean, painted, well maintained ship with a showered shaved uniformed crew who greets the inspectors with prepared datawork and fresh cookies is probably not going to get the same level of scrutiny as a rusty, carbon-scored smoker, with peeling paint, and a crew of dirtbags who greet the inspection crew with weaponized BO and datawork they filled out an hour before.

 

What items on the ship would also be confiscated?

Personal weapons are clearly legal for the most part (Or are they? would you get away with walking around Imperial Centre with a blaster on your hip?)

 

How many weapons on a ship would be considered "OK" before Customs confiscate them under the charge of "arms shipping with intent to supply"

Again it depends... on a lot.

 

If the crew looks like criminals, and they've got three T-21's marked "For Imperial and Government only" sitting on the floor... they're probably in trouble.

 

If the crew look like seasoned bounty hunters, all have valid IPKCs, have three Armax G-90's with no stamping, and they are stowed in a locking weapons rack, they're probably going to get checked for outstanding warrants and (if those come back clean) a stern warning about local weapons restrictions ("This is Imperial Center. Your IPKC allows you to carry a concealed blaster with a class 7 rating. Nothing bigger. If you need that much help call the real law enforcement forces.") , and not much else.

 

If they are carrying 50 G-90's in shipping containers with factory issued manuals, power packs, bi-pods, and generator adapters.... they are probably going to need a shipping permit....

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Nice ideas, much to add to my melting pot Ghostofman.

 

My group like rolling dice, and in all honestly, since this was more of a 'tagged on the side' thing, rather than a full blown smuggling thing, your advice is good, but possibly more aimed at a full blown smuggling mission.

 

I simply wanted to give the Scoundrel an option for making a few readies. A couple K at most.

 

If it was a bigger operation, what youve suggested would be very much useful, but I would expect the PCs to be bringing in upward of 10k.

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Nice ideas, much to add to my melting pot Ghostofman.

 

My group like rolling dice, and in all honestly, since this was more of a 'tagged on the side' thing, rather than a full blown smuggling thing, your advice is good, but possibly more aimed at a full blown smuggling mission.

 

I simply wanted to give the Scoundrel an option for making a few readies. A couple K at most.

 

If it was a bigger operation, what youve suggested would be very much useful, but I would expect the PCs to be bringing in upward of 10k.

 

In your case it sounds like you can just keep it simple. They get smuggling compartments, make a few rolls, and it's done. Don't get customs involved to much or you risk derailing the adventure.

 

Of course after they've done this a few times you'd always have the option to integrate it more into the story itself. I suspect if the players are already doing dirty deeds for some crime boss AND running guns and spice on the side, it won't take long for the boss to find out and start demanding a cut.

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@Ghostofman

 

My current situation is this:

They just finished Trouble Brewing, and are on route to claim Thakbas bounted.

Dobah is going to try and escape (and hopefully suceed) resulting in fun on the ship en route... PCs will prevail I am sure.

 

Thakba blackmails them for the death of Teemo.

 

He has them check out his new mine (Debts to Pay).

 

However, the PCs are going to be totally brassic after fixing their ship after fleeing Dobahs henchmen (A made up space encounter after leaving Dobahs base, that didnt go as planned, and left them in a ship so battered its going to cost them pretty much every penny they have to fix... plus a new engine upgrade).

 

Its been made clear to me, that they dont want to be perpetually broke for cash, and without knowing how well they will to in DtP, I wanted a simple side smuggling job as they went to Coruscant for Under a Black Sun (also via Thakba).

 

So I thought i would throw in a small tester smuggling line, not a whole adventure in itself, just a side line, that might grant them some spending cash, and give my Scoundrel, who thus far has not had much chance to shine, the chance to use his skills and have some limelight (Which he will in UaBS anyway).

 

Since BtR and Tatooine Manhunt are next on my agenda, I wanted the Scoundrel a real good shot at the spotlight, and this simply added to it.

 

Its far from the focus of the adventure, and simply a small sideline to run with what they are doing (If they go for it.. and they may need spare cash to make the ship seem legal too).

 

 

 

If I went for a more focused smuggling game, I would certainly look at what youve suggested in more detail, but this is a minor sideline that doesnt drift from the main plot much... just a chance to made some cash on the side.

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i probably wouldnt be able to fill an adventure of just smuggling so i would probably make it so they have more than one reason to whatever job/mission.

like just add in unrelated modular encounters

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this is a topic that could take pages of material to cover fully.

 

Fly Casual has some good material.  Even the Old west end games Galaxy guide 6: Tramp Freighters has some materials.

 

The basic method for a Tramp Freighter to make money with Cargo is drop point shipments.  The payout is based on the size of the cargo and the distance traveled.  "No questions asked" is common.

 

The second method is speculative trading, buying low and selling high.  The way I work is the players find some cargo that has X number of crates (each crate is about 3-10 encumbrance) and each crate will have a profit of 5-100 credits.  I include the costs of docking fees and refueling into the profit.

 

Both of the above might need insurance or a loan shark to cover the costs of the cargo.  Loss of cargo can easily put the players into debt, or even loss of their ship

 

Final method is the black market. which is covered in the books

 

When getting caught.  A Class one (Treason against Empire, or attacking an Imperial ship) or a Class Two (Transporting Illegal goods, or High Energy weapons) will result in impoundment of the ship and prison.  Might spend up to 20k in legal costs of avoid imprisonment for a class two

 

Class three infraction: Bribery of Imperial official, and transportation of restricted goods.  Seizure of goods and impoundment, but prison can be avoided with paying a hefty fine.

 

Class four and five you can just pay the fine.

 

With "smuggling" it is mainly about avoiding customs.  Either outwitting or out running.

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Some other possibilities, for running Under a Black Sun, perhaps the players opt to sell the Glitterstim they may have acquired from Doobah or other activities around Kessel to a representative of the Pykes(offered them a better rate than Thakbas) who can then arrange for a sufficient cover for their approach to working for them on Coruscant.  The work they are doing in Debts to Pay could be filler work to get the funds together they need for any ship repairs or debts they may owe Thakbas in place of Bargos.

 

Want to lay some groundwork for future adventures you can have the meet up with the Pykes happen at The Wheel, while the players are earning some Obligation to Reom for assisting them in repairing and getting hard to find tech for their ship. gives you some preset hooks for Beyond the Rim later if you choose.

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If anyone wants to provide some feedback on those rules, let me know. They are completely un-play-tested and I'd be keen for some feedback.

 

I will ask my players if they want to give it a shot, but they aren't much for smuggling.

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