Smuggler

Everyone wants something, and not all of those things are entirely legal. Sometimes, wealthy aristocrats want forbidden delights, or crime bosses want a shipment of slaves or arms; other times, the starving refugees of a war desperately want food that the besieging force denies them. The smuggler is willing to serve all those needs… for a price.

The smuggler is a master of space travel. She excels at navigation and piloting, and while she's no fighter ace, she's no slouch at space combat either. Unlike the fighter ace, her focus is on the corvette rather than the starfighter, though she might not fair too bad in a starfighter in a pinch. All smugglers also specialize in some technique to get past blockades. Some rely on unusual routes or swift starships. Others rely on their wit and charm, or on social connections within the star port itself. They also excel at getting their passengers to strange or exotic locations, thanks to their mastery of space navigation. They also navigate the underworld well, whether or not they themselves are explicitly criminal.

The typical smuggler is an outlaw, someone who explicitly skirts the law at their own risk for their own purposes. These can be anything from an aristocrat who earns the favor of his fellow aristocrats by smuggling rare relics past the Empire, or an Asrathi pilot with underworld dealings and a criminal record. Thus, by default, smugglers are Outlaw Smugglers.
However, a few specific variations exist. Some smugglers work directly with a criminal cartel, especially in the Umbral Rim, where many smugglers work officially for a Slaver.

Similarly, Trader Guildfleets often direct some members of their fleet to ensure they have whatever resources they need, whether or not the local government approves of their needs. Finally, many organizations (but especially noble houses and corporations) employ smugglers directly on a semi-official basis. These deniable transport assets answer directly to their patron, but if they’re caught, the organization cuts all ties with them.

Smuggler Lenses

Outlaw Smuggler

When one pictures a smuggler, one pictures an outlaw smugger: a denizen of the criminal underworld who offers his skills and starship to the highest bidder, who accept any cargo, no questions asked. Alternately, this might represent someone who keeps their smuggling business a secret, such as a well-heeled aristocrat who secrets away contraband in hidden compartments during routine trips to visit “friends and family.” The outlaw smuggler represents any smuggler who answers to nobody but himself.

Advantages: Choose an additional 10 points from Smuggler advantages.
Disadvantages: Choose one of

  • Social Stigma (Criminal Record) [-5] and an additional -25 points in Smuggler Disadvanteges

or

  • Secret (Smuggler) [-20] and an additional -10 points in Smuggler Disadvantages.

Smuggler Template

Point Cost: 250

Attributes: ST 10 [0], DX 13 [60]; IQ 14 [80]; HT 11 [10].

Secondary Characteristics: Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10 [0]; Will 13 [-5]; Per 14 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 6.00 [0]; Basic Move 6 [0].

Advantages: 3D Spatial Sense [10], Born Smuggler +4 [20], Luck [15].

  • Spend an additional 25 points (and any additional lens points) on improved DX +1 [20], IQ +1 [20], HT +1 to +2[10/level], HP +1 to +5 [2/level], Ace Pilot [25], Ally (Robot, 50%, almost all the time) [6], Appearance (Attractive or Beautiful/Handsome) [4 or 12], Calibrations [1], Charisma +1 to +2 [5/level], Cheaper Gear (Any) [1], Combat Reflexes [15], Contact (Aristocrat, Fence, Junk Dealer, Pirate, Port Authority, Skill 12, 15 or 18, 9 or less, somewhat reliable) [1, 2, 3], Contact Group (Corporation, Criminal Cartel, Pirates, Security, Skill 12, 15 or 18, 9 or less, somewhat reliable) [5, 10, 15], Danger Sense [15], Drunken Piloting [1], Duct-Tape Savant [1], Enhanced Dodge 1-3 (Vehicular, Starship) [5/level], Equipment Bond (Starship) [1], Favor (Any) [Varies], Feel of the Ship [1], Higher Purpose (Deliver the Package) [5], Honest Face [1], Hotshot Pilot [5/level], Foresight (Getaway) 1 [5], Gizmos [5/level], Hard to Kill [2/level], Maverick [1], Primed to Go [1], Quick Gadgeteer (Corvette Tinkerer -80%) [10], Quick Shunt [1], Serendipity 1-2 [15/level], Signature Gear (Any) [varies], Signature Ship [varies], Smuggler Lane [1], Soar like a Leaf [1], Wealth (Comfortable) [10], Wild Talent 1 [20], or upgrade Luck to Extraordinary Luck [30] for 15 points, or on Optional Techniques below.

Disadvantages: Divide -15 points (and any additional lens disadvantage points) among Alcoholism [-15], Addiction (Any) [Varies], Callous [-5], Charitable [-15*], Chummy [-5], Code of Honor (Pirate's or Professional's), Compulsive Behavior (Thrill-Seeking) [-5*], Compulsive Carousing [-5*], Curiosity [-5*], Debt [varies], Delusion (“I'll talk my way out of it” or “No ship is faster than mine”) [-5], Gluttony [-5*], Greedy [-15*], Jealousy [-10], Laziness [-10], Lecherousness [-15*], Overconfident [-5*], Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents) [-10], Selfish [-5*], Sense of Duty (Team) [-5], Trickster [-15*], Wealth (Struggling) [-10].

Primary Skills: Area Knowledge (Constellation) IQ+5† [2]-19, Freight Handling (A) IQ [2]-14, Merchant (A) IQ+1 [4]-15, Navigation (Hyperspace) (A) IQ+6†2 [2]-20, Piloting (Corvette) DX+31 [8]-16, Smuggling (A) IQ+4† [2]-18

Secondary Skills: Beam Weapons (Pistol) (E) DX+1 [2]-14; Spacer (E) IQ [1]-14, Stealth (A) DX+1 [4]-14; Vacuum Suit (A) DX+1 [4]-14;

  • One of Brawling (E) DX+1 [2]-14, Boxing (A) DX [2]-13 or Karate (H) DX-1 [2]-12;
  • One of Wrestling (A) DX [2]-13 or Judo (H) DX-1 [2]-12;
  • Choose one of Savoir-Faire (High Society or Mafia) (E) IQ+2 [4]-16, Acting or Fast-Talk both (A) IQ+1 [4]-15, Diplomacy (H) IQ [4]-14, Carousing (E) HT+2 [4]-13, Sex-Appeal (A) HT+1 [4]-12;
  • Choose five from among Fast-Draw DX+1 [2]-14, Beam Weapons (Projector or Rifle), Forced Entry, Gunner (Beams or Torpedoes) all (E) DX+1 [2]-14, Free-fall (A) DX+22 [2]-15, Escape (H) DX-1 [2]-12, Area Knowledge (Any) (E) IQ+5† [2]-19, First Aid (E) IQ+1 [2]-15, Navigation (Land) (A) IQ+33 [2]-17, Electronics Operation (EW), Holdout, or Streetwise all (A) IQ+4† [2]-18, Administration, Armoury (Force Shields, Heavy Weapons, Vehicular Armor), Artillery (Guided Missile), Connoisseur (Starships), Electrician, Electronics Operation (Comms, Security or Sensor), Electronics Repair (Security), Mechanic (Starship) all (A) IQ [2]-14, Engineering (Starships) Forgery, or Law (Galactic) all (H) IQ-1 [2]-13, Intimidation (A) Will [2]-13, Scrounging (E) Per+1 [2]-15, 1or Urban Survival (A) Per [2]-14 or improve any of the above skills or Beam Weapons Pistol by one level to [4].

Background Skills: Computer Operations (E) IQ [1]-14, Pilot (Contragravity) DX‡ [0]-14 and a 20-point background lens

Optional Techniques: You may take these as part of your advantage points (see above): Canyon Dive [1-3]; (Constellation) Navigation [1-3]; Ghosting [1-3]; Hugging [1-3]; Shake [1-3]; Stealthy Maneuvering [1-3]; Storm Rider [1-3]; Well Diver [1-3]; Winding Course [1-3].

Customization Notes

All smugglers are skilled at navigation, know a region of space and are excellent pilots, and have some sort of tactic for getting past customs. The first choice a smuggler has to make, after choosing their lens, is what region of space they know well. The most common constellations for smuggler’s Area Knowledge would be the Morass, the Maelstrom, The Shroud (though any constellation in the Umbral Rim works well), The Arkhaian Chasm, The Rogue Stars, the Galactic Heart and the Trader Belt. All of these constelllations have some mixture of difficulty to navigate, criminal element, or an enforced border that many people would like to bypass.

Next, the character should choose their preferred means of bypassing blockades.

Smooth Talkers talk their way past customs. They tend to prefer Fast-Talk or Acting, invest in Electronics Operations (EW) and Holdout to spoof sensor scans, and might invest in Administration to know what they need to say to get customs officials to not look too closely. Honest Face helps to convince people of your honesty, and Charisma and Appearance help earn the reaction modifiers to avoid inspection.

Jetsetters hide their contraband behind a veil of importance. They tend to know people in high places, and often have numerous Contacts or Patrons who can help waive them through customs, and are often aristocrats or senators or some other person whose position shields him from scrutiny. They tend to invest in Savoir-Faire and Law to call upon people in high positions to help them, if they run into trouble, or Carousing to help them find new friends in high places. They often have an Aristocratic background.

Ghosts and Blockade Runners avoid the whole question of customs by either sneaking past a blockade or directly racing past it. They tend to use their superior Navigation and Area Knowledge to pick a point that isn’t well watched; ghosts will try to use their Electronics Operations (EW) and or the Ghosting and Stealthy Maneuvers techniques to slip past the sensor net, while Blockade Runners will just try to bust past the blockade with sheer speed and Piloting. When things go wrong, they make use of Diplomacy to negotiate terms or superior weaponry skills (Gunner (Beams) and Artillery (Missiles)) to fight their way out. If it goes well, they tend to land far from their target region and need to go the rest of the way overland (Navigation (Land)).

Smugglers typically mix several of the above approaches and use the best tools for the job for a given situation.

Consider what ship you want. While not required, smugglers tend to be defined by their ship, so strongly consider the Signature Ship option. Consider the Ronin-Pattern combat yacht or the Prestige-Pattern shuttle, both of which include smuggler compartments out of the gate. If your character is especially poor, the Debt disadvantage goes a long way to explaining how your character got his ship. A GM might even consider allowing the smuggler to go over his point limit by giving them a signature ship worth as much, point-wise, as their Debt.

Smugglers aren't always smuggling, so consider what your character does during the rest of the time. A few suggested directions you can take your character beyond mere smuggling:

Career Criminal: Some players want to really explore a character who is deeply integrated into the criminal underworld, inspired by characters like Han Solo or Malcolm Reynolds. Smugglers make an excellent sort of career criminal, especially the “heroic” kind as their profession consists of transportation, which can be “harmless,” or even heroic if the laws the scofflaw scoffs at are particularly unjust, such as a smuggler who runs imperial blockades with humanitarian supplies. Such characters should invest in Streetwise, Merchant and combat skills (especially Fast-Draw), as they live in a dangerous world. Consider also criminal Contacts, Primed to Go, and Foresight (Getaway) so that when a job goes sideways, they can leave in a rush. They tend to have disadvantages that focus on vice (Addiction, Greed, Lecherousness, etc), explaining why they’re criminals in the first place, and often have lower wealth or Debt, which reflect what traps them to the criminal world. Such characters tend to be Outlaw Smugglers or Cartel smugglers, and usually a criminal background.

Corvette Ace: Smugglers are to corvettes what Fighter Aces are to starfighters. They have amazing piloting skills, and they can invest more deeply into them. Consider the Ace Pilot advantage (though it’s very expensive!), especially combined with Soar Like a Leaf, and Enhanced Dodge (Vehicular). Invest in Gunner (Beams) and Artillery (Guided Missile) and some of the more combat-oriented optional techniques, such as Hugging and Cliff Diving. Smugglers might also excel at keeping their corvette running: consider Quick Gadgeteer (Corvette Tinkerer) or at least Duct-Tape Savant, and invest in Armourer, Mechanic and Electrician. Good mechanic skill also lets you jump to Hyperspace faster. This a good choice for any smuggler, but the Deniable Transport Expert is especially appropriate, as they have something to fight for! These characters tend to have disadvantages focused on their ship, such as Delusion ("Nothing can outrun my ship"), or disadvantages that emphasize foolhardy bravery (Overconfidence, Compulsive Behavior (Thrillseeking) and Trickster)

Space Explorer: In a game that explores the galaxy, smugglers might want to focus on their exceptional navigational skills. Consider additional Area Knowledge skills and improving your navigation, as well as a Signature Ship as you might be the primary mode of transportation for the group. Such characters often focus on disadvantages that drive them deeper into space, such as Compulsive Behavior (Thrillseeker), Curiosity and Overconfident. If your campaign instead focuseson a single, especially mysterious part of space, such as the Galactic Heart, the Stygian Veil or the Morass, and looking for lost worlds. Consider taking the (Constellation) Navigation technique to improve your ability to navigate that particular region of space.

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