Making money from Smuggling: How does it relate to Resources?

I’m running a nautical based BW game with my group. Two of the PCs took the Smuggler life-path, and all of the PCs are only 3 lifepath characters, and hence, have Resources B0 (except one, who has Resources B1). Over the course of the first couple of sessions they have accumulated some cash dice by salvaging wrecks (+3D cash).

One of the smugglers have changed one of their beliefs from “Salvage Wrecks” to “Make Money Smuggling” (I’m paraphrasing). My main conundrum is: how do I represent that goal through the Resource system?

My best idea is to let them make a linked test using wises to gain a +1D advantage to a cash-dice-based Resource roll, since any success would bump up one PCs Resources to B1. I guess I envision them buying and reselling some heavily taxed commodity (Sugar? Tobacco? the setting is “quasi age of exploration”).

I guess I don’t understand what the advantage to the PCs is to do it this way as opposed to just making any old Resources check at Ob 1, to purchase a day’s food, or a shirt, and thereby increase their Resources to B1 that way (and get another shirt…!).

My reading of ‘working a job’, within the Resources system is that it relates more to recovering from temporarily taxed resources as opposed to increasing the base Resources score. It doesn’t seem the appropriate course of action in this case.

Am I missing some key point to the Resources system? What would you do in this case, as a GM?

If a player has a Belief about smuggling, you should offer up a real smuggling operation for them to be a part of: cut outs, dead drops, stealthy trans-shipments and tense deliveries. It could be a fun adventure.

Otherwise, smuggling is a way to generate cash or “get a job” during downtime.

Well, the process of smuggling really encompasses a variety of skills: Circles to find buyers and fences, Stealthy and Inconspicuous to not be noticed, Forgery to make necessary documents (“Papers please. Ah, the royal seal? Right this way, sir.”), Appraisal to make sure it’s the genuine article, Haggling/Persuasion/Intimidation/Falsehood/Extortion to get money for the goods, and so on.

The simplest smuggling jobs are “get these goods to this guy to get money.” The final test can essentially be a Duel of Wits or a versus Haggling to get cash dice.

The best smuggling jobs involve secret meetings, few details, mysterious objects from far-off lands, and journeys into potentially deadly territory.

You can still get a job in BW, even if you aren’t Getting A Job. The latter (capitalized) usage of the term denotes a specific rule that covers doing routine work in order to recover taxed resources; since this is pretty mundane stuff, it’s abstracted into a single skill check, with special rules relating the number of dice lost to the obstacle of the test and the margin of success rolled to the number of dice recovered. The other usage doesn’t get any special rules; it’s covered by pain old Task & Intent: the player says what they’re planning on doing (Task) and what they want out of it (Intent), and they the GM tells them what they should roll and at what obstacle (alternately, he could just Say Yes). If necessary, the GM can break an overly broad Task & Intent into a number of subordinate Tasks, each with their own subordinate Intent. The end result is that if the player passes all the tests he is asked to make, he gets his Intent.

In your specific case, the Task is smuggling, and the intent seems to be “make money”. I personally think this is overly broad, and would probably break it down into sub-tasks, such as, for example, finding someone to pay you to smuggle stuff, haggling over how much you’re to be payed, sailing out to pick up the illicit goods, sneaking into port undetected, etc. The end result is that if they pass all the tests that you deem necessary, they get their Intent – in this case, probably a couple Cash On Hand dice.

Thanks for the responses folks. We chatted about Smuggling and how to go about it at our last game session, and I suggested two possible routes for Smuggling as ‘adventure’, one being smuggling of commodities to avoid taxes, the other being the smuggling of restricted relics discovered in ruins on the newly discovered continent… As I suspected the players heartily chose the relic smuggling over the commodity smuggling. Now I just have to sit down and create the indigenous lizard people that inhabit the new continent.

As for rewards from smuggling, I guess recovered relics could be traded for either cash dice, or for other less material rewards (favours, contacts, alliances, titles, property, etc…).