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Galactic Trade / Galactic Trade Basics

Find Cargo

Source Starfinder #34: We’re No Heroes pg. 51
Cargo in the Starfinder setting is standardized into lots, each massing 25 tons. A single lot of cargo fits into one of a starship’s cargo holds, so the PCs can transport a number of lots equal to the number of cargo holds on their vessel. Finding cargo to buy is a downtime activity as detailed in the sidebar on page 52. For more on downtime activities, see page 150 of the Starfinder Character Operations Manual.

Cargo Type

Source Starfinder #34: We’re No Heroes pg. 51
When the PCs successfully find cargo to purchase, you determine the type of cargo, usually to match the needs of your campaign. Alternatively, you can randomly determine the type of cargo by rolling a d20 on the table below.

1Art or antiques
2Base metals
3Ceramics or glassware
6Hides or leather
7Live animals
8Machinery or electronics
9Minerals or byproducts
10Paper products or books
12Precision equipment
13Precious metals
14Prepared food
16Toys or games
17Vegetable products
19Weapons or ammo

Find Cargo

Source Starfinder #34: We’re No Heroes pg. 52
You look for suitable cargo to purchase with the hopes of selling it elsewhere.

Activity: You spend the day searching the infosphere, talking with contacts, and visiting warehouses or the local starport. You must be within a settlement, though the GM might allow you to find cargo in other locations. At the end of the day, attempt a Diplomacy or Profession (merchant) check (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 × your character level). You take a cumulative –1 penalty to this roll for every find cargo activity you or your allies have previously attempted in this settlement within the last week.

Results: On a success, you find 1d4 lots of cargo that you can buy. The cargo can’t be split up; all of the lots must be bought together. The cargo’s total buy price equals 1d4 BP × the number of lots. For every 5 by which the result of your check exceeds the DC, you can increase or decrease the amount of cargo by 1 lot.

The GM determines the type of cargo and might even tell you where you can sell it for a reasonable price. All of the cargo must be transported and sold together; you and your allies must load the cargo onto your starship yourselves. You might have to deliver some cargoes within a certain time frame. When you’re told the type of cargo, its buy price, and (if applicable) its destination and its sell price, you can choose not to purchase that cargo. However, when you purchase the cargo, you decide what to do with it, though you might want to perform the find buyer downtime activity (see below) at another settlement to sell it.

Special: If multiple allies perform this downtime activity on the same day, only one of them attempts the check, but with a cumulative +1 circumstance bonus for each aiding ally (not including the one attempting the check).

Shipping or Speculation?

Source Starfinder #34: We’re No Heroes pg. 52
When the PCs purchase cargo, they generally have to find a place to sell it themselves. After all, transport drivers who earn flat rates usually cover established shipping routes; as galactic traders, the PCs typically do more than that. However, at your discretion, the seller can give the PCs a tip as to where they might offload the cargo they just bought. This tactic can benefit players who’ve just started interacting with this system or for groups who only want to dip their toes into the trading game. In such cases, the PCs don’t need to use the find buyer downtime activity (see above), and they receive an amount of BP of your choosing per cargo lot.


Source Starfinder #34: We’re No Heroes pg. 52
If you’ve decided that the cargo’s seller gives the PCs an idea of where to sell those goods, you can choose that destination based on the needs of your campaign (especially if the players have expressed interest in going to a specific place). Alternatively, you can randomly determine the general destination by rolling a d10 on the table below.

1Absalom Station. If the PCs are already on Absalom Station, reroll.
2–4A different world in the same star system where the PCs bought the cargo.
5–7A world in Near Space.
8–10A world in the Vast.