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AkumaKorgar

Gunrunning and smuggling

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Okay, so recently in my game, the Rogue Trader has heard reports of the Kasballica Mission's ongoing conflict with the other underworld factions on Footfall. He's decided to try and capitalize on this by smuggling in guns and ammo to sell off to them, and then possibly buying up some other contraband from the Kasballica and smuggling it back to Port Wander. The main reason for this is that the PC's ship has excellent Criminal Objective bonuses, and so they're trying to set up a Criminal-themed Endeavour.

This is where my problem comes in. Does this even really count as smuggling or illegal? After all, I imagine the Imperium has Adeptus Arbites-enforced laws against purchasing large quantities of weapons except by certain authorized organizations (so as to put up an obstacle for insurrectionists) but the Rogue Trader, with his Warrant and all, certainly counts as one of those organizations. I might be inclined to say that the Criminal aspect would come in selling those weapons to the Kasballica, who are most certainly not authorized, but then it seems like Footfall hardly has any kind of government in place to handle customs.

How do you guys tend to handle smuggling, and how do you suppose I could make this work?

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I'd say it'd definitely count as smuggling on the Port Wander end being back in the Imperium. I think as long as it seems somewhat suitable then let some of the stuff be criminal objectives even if the players could get away with it, sure the Arbites might not have a go at them once their status is revealed but it could earn them the Rival: Arbites talent if they were definitively found to be aiding recidivist scum. As long as it seems a bit along criminal lines in your opinion than consider awarding the criminal points, technically the party can do almost anything legally out in the expanse so how exactly would you even get criminal achievement points? If they are rubbing shoulders predominantly with criminals to do it seems appropriate.

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Its kinda a iffy thing in my eyes. I mean if your guys where just outfitting a underhive gang or some scavvies then hey no problem but if you want to make a profit instead of just having a fun saturday night then you need to (logicaly) ship in a LOT of contraband, more then enough that if you are caught you will probably get "talked to" very very loadly and depending on the aim maybe fatally and if nay of that stuff falls into the hands of Cultists or Xeno's then just toss your self out an Void Lock, it'll be less painful then what the Ordos Hereticus of Ordos Xeno will do to you. Pluuuus there are the other Traders to worry about, Other criminal empires that might frown on you helping out there enemies, the risk of any of your stuff ANY of it falling into the hands of The Great Foe  or people in a state of Revolt and there is a lot of good reasons why you tread very very carefully when doing a Criminal Enterprise. 

Just look at it this way its a matter of Scale, your not shipping in a truck loud of weapons you are shipping a Shipful of weapons. Also A warrent of trade might cut you some slack when you do stuff like declare war on somebody or "reclaim" a Hulk but I doubt that the Warrent lets you get away with out right breaking the law and supplying crooks with drugs and guns.

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Lord Steel said:

Just look at it this way its a matter of Scale, your not shipping in a truck loud of weapons you are shipping a Shipful of weapons. Also A warrent of trade might cut you some slack when you do stuff like declare war on somebody or "reclaim" a Hulk but I doubt that the Warrent lets you get away with out right breaking the law and supplying crooks with drugs and guns.

Footfall is beyond the borders of the Imperium, so the rogue trader is free to trade what ever he wants. Sure there could be an Investigation if they deliver shiploads of weapons directly to chaos-troops but the casballica is a kind of shadow-organisation, not an outright enemy. Even if weapons sould to them would be found in the hands of the Imperiums enemies, it'll be the casballica the Inquisition would be after, not the Rogue Trader.

If there were any doubts to the fact, that a rogue trader is allowed to buy big quantities of weapons and ship them beyond the imperial borders, look up the ground war chapter of Battlefleet Koronus.

That would only qualify as smuggling if they try to avoid paying customs. Shipping back alien artifacts and the like into the Imperium without an "approved" stamp from the Ordo Xenos on the other hand is DEFINITIVELY smuggling.

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I kind of like the idea of them "smuggling" things they don't need to smuggle.  Perhaps the law wouldn't really care one way or the other if they found out, just let the players have their fun.

I envision a humerous scene where the players see a police barricade (unrelated to their activities) and make a run for it.  The arbites chase them (mainly because they started running) and when they finally catch the PCs they're just like "oh, yeah, you can do that." =P

Of course, if you want to treat it as a serious criminal enterprise, you can either flat out rule that it IS illegal for the RT to smuggle guns like this (regardless of what technicalities the rules might actually provide to the contrary) or you could add in some more dangerous things that would cross the line betwen acceptable and not (like nukes or highly dangerous xeno trinkets.)  You could even come up with ways to hide such "serious contraband" inside the large pile of guns and ammo, such that the RT honestly thinks he's just breaking the law a little bit when he's actually breaking it a whole lot.  And perhaps those actions will come back to haunt the PCs later.

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Ok got through looking at the main book and while Foot Fall is indeed a vile den of greed and criminal excess nothing in the fluff says that it is not part of the Empire as a whole. It just pretty lawless and crawling with crooks, zelots, hereteks, and most importantly Agents from every major, moderate, and a few of the minor group in the Imperium .... its kinda like the Casablanca of 40k when ya think on it. Anyway just because it is mostly lawless doesn't mean people won't take a dim view of your gun running to out and out crooks. (which begs the question why it IS ok to run gun to Sheldon's Folly and the like.) In the end it is your game and as a old hand at GMing once told me "Go with your first instinct." If ya feel like running stuff into Footfall is less likely to get the arbites up the PC's nose then thats cool.

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I actually had an idea about this today which may solve my dilemma. I was reading Lure of the Expanse and the Footfall Gazetteer. It said that Tanthus Moross, the current Liege of Footfall, isn't much interested in running Footfall and is content to take bribes from the various factions to keep it that way. I think it makes sense, given that Footfall is a logical stopping point for merchant shipments from the Expanse before heading into the Maw, that a cartel of merchants on Footfall would pay Moross for the rights to handle customs themselves. They might very well levy high tariffs on weapons or even ban them outright in an attempt to keep some law and order on the otherwise lawless settlement.

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Going with published fluff, Port Wander is the last Imperial Outpost before you hit the Koronus expanse.

Which only works if Footfall is indeed a not quite Imperial controlled territory.

 

OTOH it is the first outpost outside true Imperial jurisdiction. So while the Administratum and the Adeptus Arbites might not be there, more powerful parties certainly have eyes and ears.

The Adeptus Mechanicus, the Imperial Navy and the Inquisition will certainly know of large shipments going through or towards Footfall. If they dont like the Caasballica gaining too many weapons, theyll do something about it. Well the AdMech wont care unless its high grade Forge World stuff, but a single Inquisitor tapping the hand of the Rogue Trader should make him recall his conscience. No need for potential repercussions within the Calixis sector (unfortunately this includes Port Wander), unless the RT can claim a valid proimperial course by uparming the Casballica. Inquisitors arent stupid.

Arming everyone and letting them kill each other, collecting the weapons afterwards and cleaning up with the remaining recividist scum victor, can be very much what an Inquisitor can get behind, especially if he doesnt have to lift a single finger to let that happen.

Or so i think happy.gif.

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Hmmm it could depend on how they get the weapons in the first place, if they buy them from a manufacturer in full accordance with local laws then it should be okay (though I'd often have bribes/customs duties/licensing fees to bump up the cost a little) but if they decide they don't want to pay any fees (and so have to smuggle it off planet and out of the system maybe dodging system ships or even the adaptus arbites or imperial navy) or decide paying anything is for chumps and say hijack a load of weapons meant to arm imperial guardsmen as part of the planet's tithe (cue super fun times) then it would definitely  be a criminal activity. 

On the other end you could have a group who have managed to wrangle it so they are the customs authority (as has already been mentioned), or maybe a particular group/rogue trader has set themselves up as THE arms dealer and is making a fortune keeping prices artificially high and so doesn't like the competition or maybe if you are just selling to one group their enemies are trying to stop supplies getting there and so you have to run a blockade....

 

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