Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder RPG (1st Edition) Starfinder RPG Pathfinder RPG (2nd Edition)

All Rules | Downtime Rules


Running the System

Source Ports of Call pg. 171
The cargo subsystem helps to generate short adventures for cargo-hauling PCs, as there’s always a chance of something going wrong during what (at first) seemed like a simple cargo delivery. It also works hand-in-hand with a sandbox-style campaign, as the PCs will be traveling from world to world looking to buy low and sell high.

Session Zero

Source Ports of Call pg. 171
Before beginning a game using this subsystem, make sure your players are interested in engaging in the life of freelance merchants—an occupation they hold alongside their adventures delving into alien ruins or fighting back against an evil empire. Free trader PCs aren’t beholden to any one patron and can go where they please, but this subsystem does involve additional bookkeeping, and some groups may feel strongly about that requirement.

GMing Expectations

Source Ports of Call pg. 171
On average, the PCs will need to complete three to four cargo transport jobs to gain enough BP to upgrade their starship to the next tier. As the group advances in level, they might need to complete a few extra transport jobs per tier, depending on their market savvy and whether or not they’ve switched to a larger frame that can hold more cargo.Of course, during this time, the PCs should be having adventures and earning XP in the usual way (by overcoming skill-based challenges, defeating enemies, and from story-based rewards) so that the group’s APL keeps approximate pace with the amount of BP they can invest in their starship. At your discretion, you can reward the PCs with XP as if they had overcome an easy encounter (Core Rulebook 390) upon selling their cargo; this XP should be in addition to any XP they earn from encounters that emerge from complications.

Other Sources of Build Points

Source Ports of Call pg. 171
This subsystem assumes that the PCs earn their BP only from transporting and selling cargo. However, at your discretion, you can reward them with BP as treasure from particular encounters (such as a raid on a smuggling operation’s warehouse) or as salvage from starship combat encounters (such as a fight against a rogue Corpse Fleet ship). In the former case, the PCs might have to transport the BP to their ship much in the same way as loading cargo (count 4 BP as a lot of cargo for these purposes), and in the latter case, the PCs can spend a day salvaging BP from a defeated vessel equal to that starship’s tier.