“Traveling through hyperspace isn’t like dusting crops, boy!”
Smuggling is a high risk, high reward line of work. In exchange for the freedom to enjoy the open skies and the money it takes to survive, Smugglers willingly undertake dangerous, sometimes illegal, jobs with employers that can be capricious and unsavory. Every leap into hyperspace, every approach to a planet, every interaction with a buyer or seller is full of risk.
Fly Casual sourcebook for Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ features new guidelines to help GMs add more risks (and a few rewards) to Smuggling adventures. These include expanded rules on hyperspace travel and details for how to run quick-draw showdowns. In today’s article, developer Max Brooke provides an overview of these integral aspects of any Smugglers’ tale. We’ll also touch on how GMs can help a group of Smugglers find work and eventually determine how much they should get paid.
Making the Jump
Thanks to the miracle of the hyperdrive, space ships can soar between the stars with astounding speed, completing journeys that once could have taken millennia in a matter of days. However, thanks to shifting hyperlanes, complexities introduced by mass shadows, and countless other factors, jumps across the interstellar void are far from safe. The calculations involved are enormously complex. Even the slightest error can mean the death of everyone aboard.
Fortunately for PCs and GMs, Fly Casual provides guidance on how to make Hyperspace Travel exciting without bogging down the game. New modifiers for the Astrogation check factor in the circumstances of departure and the route. Expanded options are given for spending advantage, triumph, despair and threat results on these checks, and a list of travel times is provided for many of the galaxy’s most common trading lanes and smuggling routes. Astrogation checks with sufficient advantage or threat can get the travelers to their destination early or help chart new hyperlanes, while threat and despair on the check can cast the ship adrift in uncharted space or even cause a collision with a mass shadow. Any jump is slightly dangerous, but a good Pilot backed by a skilled crew can take advantage of secret routes and shortcuts to arrive ahead of schedule or where the Imperials least expect it.
Showdowns are an important part of the Star Wars mythology, and Fly Casual provides GMs with the resources for quick-draw duels. These rules provide additional options for combatants squaring off in a showdown, from the moment the parties involved begin to size up and intimidate each other to the thrilling point when someone draws and shoots. A showdown can be added to the beginning of a longer battle or be used for a conflict that ends after a single shot. While these rules are especially useful alongside characters with the new Gunslinger specialization, GMs should find them useful when crafting all sorts of Smuggler stories.
Finding Work and Getting Paid
Beyond the expert flying and the shootouts, a smuggling job begins with the search for work and ends only when you get paid – or when you don’t. Fly Casual therefore offers suggestions for GMs about how to make the beginning and end of a job just as suspenseful and action-packed as the middle. A smuggling job might begin with characters meeting an underworld contact in a seedy location, receiving a coded transmission from the Rebel Alliance, or discovering that an old friend could use a little help.
With solid skills, a good crew, and a little luck, you’ll be able to deliver your cargo to its buyer intact and on time – but getting paid for your delivery is an adventure in itself. Your pay may very well depend on a Negotiation check, so Fly Casual includes a table of Payout modifiers that helps translates the results of that check into credits or cargo rewards. Of course, you may fail to deliver the goods you promised when you promised them, so there are also options for what to do when the cargo arrives late or in an undesirable condition. In the worst case scenario, a team of Smugglers may have to face the wrath of their employer empty-handed. Fly Casual gives some ideas about what to do if that happens, from staging a shootout to deepening an Obligation, and how to keep the story moving forward to the next, hopefully more successful, smuggling job.
Shoot Faster and Fly Better
Travel through hyperspace is almost inevitable on a smuggling job, and blaster duels are common in this line of work – especially when a deal goes bad. With the new guidelines introduced in Fly Casual, your Edge of the Empire gaming group will be able to find a job, speed through the stars, draw quickly, shoot first, and, in the end, get paid.