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A Question of Contraband


Fen

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So. Suppose someone was planning to make a smuggler sort of character, someone who gets things that should not be in the cities or should be monitored... into the cities, unmonitored. I was wondering, what sort of goods might be at a... premium, so to speak. Gunrunning is obviously an option, but are there items of contraband? Eorzean drugs, for instance? Or anything else that would be regulated or outright outlawed in certain places?

 

Also,do the Guilds act as governing bodies for their particular product(s) or export(s)? IE would trees downed by a non-Botanist Guild-affiliated person be a no-no? Or perhaps smugglers might just be useful in avoiding tarifs or fees imposed by the cities or guilds.

 

I apologise if this topic has been covered elsewhere, if it has, please point me in the right direction.

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Somnus is veeeeeeery illegal, as I recall. It's a drug, and addicts are definitely looked down on.

 

Ishgard has a ton of banned texts...I suppose those might be valuable to the right people, haha.

 

Garlean magitek, maybe? At least, again, to the right people. Someone more lore-savvy than I might be able to suggest how feasible that is. Smuggling Doman refugees might also be fairly risky, as would any human cargo.

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An important aspect of smuggling deals with merchandise that is not actually illegal, but being illegally traded. Whether its avoiding paying taxes, or avoiding restrictions placed on trade by the Syndicate, there should be many avenues for taking risks for profit :)

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I would imagine that anything dealing with Black Magic would be pretty heavily frowned upon in most of the city-states, yet would be quite enticing for say, that Thaumaturge with an insatiable desire for knowledge.

 

There's also probably a brisk trade in pilfered artifacts from places like Gelmorra, Nym, and even Sil'dah.

 

Texts dating prior to the start of the Dragonsong War would be immensely valuable, and very, very illegal in Ishgard (whether going into the city-state or out of it). Also, I believe most city states charge tariffs, as Aya pointed out, so smuggling ordinary goods in and out and bypassing customs would be a big money-maker, as well. If I remember correctly, the Arcanist questline deals fairly heavily with that issue, as the Arcanists' Guild serves as the customs office in Limsa Lominsa.

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Well slaves and refugees, you could be a good guy, bad guy or amoral about the whole thing.

 

I'd also have a look at smuggling routes, I think there is some good RP in the whole smuggling network between cities. 

 

For example:

  • W.Thanalan Crescent Cove Docs & Silver Bazzar both have docks. 
  • C. Thanalan I like to use the Last Hope as a place where illegal plants are cultivated, and the Coffer and Coffin is a nice dive to meet contacts
  • In the Shroud there are bandit camps galore
  • La Noscea - just think illegal is the norm, and check out Wolves Den for the non tourist Pirate feel
  • With the whole Ishgard areas.. I am sure there is even more to weave in

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An important aspect of smuggling deals with merchandise that is not actually illegal, but being illegally traded.  Whether its avoiding paying taxes, or avoiding restrictions placed on trade by the Syndicate, there should be many avenues for taking risks for profit :)

 

Or worse, the magic tax men known as Mealvaan's Gate.

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On top of my head, I seem to remember having read here and there in Limsa that smuggling is thriving to get tax evasion from Merlwyb little "despotic" government. 

 

Spices, among others various exotic stuff from the other sides of the sea, were mentioned. And i'm pretty sure as said above, in the case of Limsa, most goods except maybe the most terrible of all, are legal. They are just taxed and enforced by the arcanist guild.

 

Also, pirated goods.

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I was wondering, what sort of goods might be at a... premium, so to speak. Gunrunning is obviously an option, but are there items of contraband? Eorzean drugs, for instance? Or anything else that would be regulated or outright outlawed in certain places?

 

Gun-running

Be careful if you're smuggling Lominsan firearms out of Limsa...

 

You were lent a weapon―a standard-issue flintlock―by one of the Knights of the Barracuda' date=' and now that weapon has gone missing. The unauthorized removal of a Barracuda firearm from the city limits is strictly prohibited under thalassocratic charter. Each and every weapon assigned to a knight is magically engraved with a number that identifies the weapon and its owner, making them easy to track and impossible to sell on the black market. Before you make the mistake of your life, I strongly suggest that you hand over the weapon so we can all return to our blissfully mundane lives.[/quote']

 

 

Eorzean Drugs

Somnus... That's the mind warping-substance made from dream flowers. Those who overindulge are said to fall into an eternal slumber.

 

'Case yer wonderin'' date=' that was [i']pluto[/i]! Just a draft of it, an' yer body turns hard as iron! Not even blades can pierce it!

 

The thick white sap extracted from this ochu root has the power to grant its user wondrously terrible visions.

Milkroot is a curse upon the people of the Twelveswood' date=' destroying lives and tearing apart families. The sylphs who grow the deadly drug must be dealt with, but until they can be found, we must concentrate our efforts on ridding the forest of the saplings.[/quote']

A slippery substance secreted by a dreamtoad. Known to enhance the hallucinatory effects of milkroot.

 

A prohibited substance. Merely knowing of its existence is hazardous to one's health.

 

A common weed rumored to have relaxing properties when either ingested or smoked.

 

A pack of normally placid antelopes has grown frenzied and begun attacking botanists participating in the Greatloam Growery's reforestation project. After inspecting the carcass of one of the beastkin' date=' it is believed the animals must have [b']eaten the leaves of the blackroot rose, known to cause horrible visions and induce extreme fits of violence.[/b] In their current state, the animals are a threat to the botanists, the forest, and themselves, and so to prevent any further incidents, it has been decided that the antelops must be put down. Our guild is searching for adventurers willing to carry out the grim task.

 

A soft' date=' sticky confection filled with ground catsfoot leaves to give it a bright emerald-green color. Just like grandmother used to make.[/quote']

(Chewing tobacco, essentially. Not illegal, Ishgardian Knights love it. But a stimulant none-the-less.)

 

Cloudcrawler is a swift-growing vine that clings to the bottoms of islets found in the Sea of Clouds. When dried' date=' the vines are pliable enough to weave into baskets or even crude armor.[/quote']

(Appears to off-gas euphoric aroma that affects Gaelicats. Unknown if it also affects the races of man.)

 

 

Gridanian Trade Regulations

Trade in and out of Gridania is heavily monitored to ensure that nothing is taken from the Wood in excess. This includes lumber, hides, and produce from the Wood. Gridania also has close trade relations with Ishgard and because of certain quests in 1.0, Ul'dah more recently as well. A quick chat to some of the NPCs around Camp Tranquil shows some of the trade going on between the latter two. One of the imports is incense.

 

From myrrh to sandalwood' date=' the soothing aromas emitted by these alchemically crafted incense cones will instantly take one back to the Jewel of the Desert.[/quote']

 

I was bringing lumber to market long before the Calamity. I tell you, the things I've seen in the Twelveswood since then boggle the mind.

 

Antelope and dormice abound in these parts' date=' but we must be careful not to hunt more than befits our need. What the forest gives, it can just as easily take away.[/quote']

 

Even the bounty of the forest has its limits. To loot it for your own gains is to court the wrath of the elementals...

 

 

Crystal Trade

All trade of elemental crystals is closely monitored by an organization called the Ashcrown Consortium, which was originally founded by Sylphs, prior to their banishment from Ul'dah. Crystal trade makes up the backbone of Eorzean commerce, so smuggling crystals would be a lucrative, albeit high risk endeavor.

 

I assume you are familiar with crystals—the elementally charged clusters of concentrated aether which craftsmen employ in synthesis? Then you will doubtless have gleaned on your travels that crystals can be difficult to procure, especially in the vicinity of the city-states, where demand is greatest.

 

This shortage is what forces most guilds to purchase the bulk of their crystals from beast tribes who seem, for whatever reason, to possess them in abundance. And that is where a certain trading organization known as the Ashcrown Consortium comes in. The Consortium works as an intermediary between tribe and guild—supplier and buyer.

 

Of late, however, their agents have reported that more and more beast tribes have begun to refuse all trade. Now, if this trend were to continue, it would not be long before the market price of crystals started to rise, forcing crafters to offset material costs by increasing the prices of their products...or risk going out of business altogether.

 

For decades' date=' the Ashcrown Consortium has seen to the realm's crystal trade, ensuring that matters run smoothly. By acting as intermediaries between the beast tribes and the guilds, we have been quite successful in preventing a number of...shall we say, unsavory incidents between the two parties.[/quote']

 

__________________________

Also,do the Guilds act as governing bodies for their particular product(s) or export(s)? IE would trees downed by a non-Botanist Guild-affiliated person be a no-no?

 

This varies city-state to city-state. In Limsa Lominsa, all trade is routed through Mealvaan's Gate. No goods enter or leave the city-state without being first inspected by the Arcanists and assessors.

 

Welcome to Mealvaan's Gate. Hundreds of ships arrive at our docks every year' date=' and to prevent the unlawful import of hazardous materials, we inspect all cargo, crew, and passengers before granting them entry into our fine city. If you arrived via a sea route, then you will have already met one of our upstanding assessors. Our biggest problem at the moment happens to be accomodating all the frightened smallfolk seeking passage from Eorzea to...well, anywhere.[/quote']

 

All vessels that make use of Limsa Lominsa’s ports must submit to a cargo inspection and pay the duties incurred. Please direct all inquiries and complaints to the front desk of Mealvaan’s Gate.

 

All that would pass into Limsa Lominsa must first pass through Mealvaan’s Gate. We levy excises and disallow contraband for the welfare of the market. Trade can only be free when buyers possess the necessary assurances. Without the rule of law' date=' the streets would be overrun by traffickers and cutthroats.[/quote']

 

For every item we confiscate' date=' there is sure to be a complaint to follow. I cannot blame most of these poor folk though. Since taking the Admiral's chair, our new leader has doubled the number of items on the restricted list, and more are added every day. One cannot expect every trader and ship captain to stay current on the latest amendments.[/quote']

 

I've been assigned to a small trading vessel hailing from Garlemald which is due to arrive in less than five bells. Until then' date=' I must review assessor logs pertaining to goods recently confiscated from imperial soil. We would not have any of their unauthorized technologies falling into the hands of unscrupulous individuals... and this city has more than its share of those.[/quote']

 

 

In Gridania, trade routes seem to be primarily protected and monitored by the Wood Wailers and Gods Quiver, though the inspection of exported products are handled by their respective guilds - Greatloam Growery, Atelier Fen-Yll, and the Oak Atrium.

 

We have just received word from a caravan of merchants traveling north from Ul'dah. They claim they adhered to the path we indicated' date=' but find the forest to be ill at ease, and dare not proceed any further. They request we send an escort at once.[/quote']

 

And in Ul'dah, privately owned consortiums and trading companies make up Ul'dah's trade and transport of goods. The East Aldenard Trading Company, owned by Lord Lolorito of the Syndicate, is one such example and owns Eshtaime's Lapidaries and Sunsilk Tapestries. Several other such trade consortiums exist across Eorzea, such as Ashgana's Exports, the Seventy-seven Caravans, Brugaire Consortium, the Baert Trading Company, Black Rabbit Traders, and the Qiqirn Black Market.

 

 

Some of these trade conglomerates are less legitimate than others, the Baert Trading Company immediately springs to mind. Being a smuggler for one of these or a player-made trade company is a feasible goal. There's tons of options and smugglers abound in the setting! As others have said, there's other illegal goods that could be transported, from human trafficking (highly illegal in Limsa) to smuggling Garlean magitek to dealing in rare or occult texts or relics could all fall under your character's purview.

 

On the smuggling and pirating of Garlean Magitek specifically, this is actually sanctioned by Limsa Lominsa under the Galadion Accord. Privateers are tasked with knocking over Garlean vessels and raiding them for Garlean tech or supplies, which are then bought by Limsa and given to the Garlond Ironworks for study and reproduction.

 

Thus it was that Admiral Merlwyb outlawed piracy' date=' and put out a call for all citizens of Limsa Lominsa, pirate or not, to present a united front to their enemies. A pact known as the Galadion Accord was signed, and the nation went to war against the Empire. As part of this agreement, the three great pirate powers- the Bloody Executioners, the Sanguine Sirens, and the Kraken’s Arms -were issued leave to raid the vessels of the Garleans.[/quote']

 

 

 

 

Hope this all helps! ^^ Lemme know if you have more questions!

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Slavers are a thing in this game--as we've seen with the rogue's guild.

If you /do/ deal with human goods though, be prepared to have rogue's come after you.

 

I think the rogue/ninja questline is a good example of smuggling in Eorzea and how complex some of the pirates and smugglers' operations are.

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Too, there's non-slave people smuggling! Getting wanted people in and out of places, be they wanted by government or private individuals.

 

Hot items -- things that have been stolen and resold, or stolen to be resold, or stolen to be given to the person who did the hiring. These don't even need to be things of value; collectors go to some ridiculous lengths to get their hands on things they want. Also, political backstabbing sometimes means either taking said hot item (perhaps some incriminating evidence) or even planting it. Either way, getting caught with it is no bueno.

 

Things like poaching, tomb-raiding, counterfeit money etc would also be things that'd need to be smuggled around. Just take a gander at what gets smuggled irl -- it isn't just drugs, weapons and people! Different countries around the world have different things that people want that might be .... not okay to be harvested where that thing is from. Take the Au Ra for example. Perhaps as people who are from a distant land with vastly different rules, a tribe or two has customs or beliefs that means they require a certain material for medicinal purposes . . . that is protected under such and such merchant blah blah blah trade agreement blah (hiya Gridania poachers!).

 

Or perhaps some bit of book has been banned but some scholar really really really really needs to get her hands on the fourth volume, because it is essential to her current research!

 

Just skirt around the edges a little, sometimes you don't need to be specific (which is then useful in not necessarily breaking lore boundaries) in order to create a need your smuggler is meeting.

 

Happy customs evasion!

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Slavers are a thing in this game--as we've seen with the rogue's guild.

If you /do/ deal with human goods though, be prepared to have rogue's come after you.

 

I think the rogue/ninja questline is a good example of smuggling in Eorzea and how complex some of the pirates and smugglers' operations are.

 

My characters sole motivation is to find her sisters that like her, were forced into servitude.  And she's tracking down and dealing with one slaver or slaver sympathizer after another.  But she's no Batman, it's not a war against all slavers.  Mia is only interested in finding her sisters as she recognizes that she cannot prevent or even slow such a cruel but profitable and useful trade.

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My previous character, C'kayah, was a smuggler, and I tended to do a lot of smuggling RP in-character, so I've got a lot of insight into this.

 

The big question that I think you'll want to answer for yourself is how big of a smuggling operation do you want to have?

 

Do you want to be one person with their chocobo? If so, then you want to concentrate on small, valuable things. C'kayah operated in this mode for a long time, smuggling rare perfumes, potions, drugs, poisons, and jewelry. You don't necessarily need to find things that are illegal, just things that you can carve a niche out with. For example, C'kayah has ties in the Black Shroud, so he was able to get access to a lot of poisons and potions from the Moonkeeper and Duskwight families living there. Most of these are fairly illegal. But at the same time, he also carried Duskwight jewelry. It was valuable, and it was hard to find (because so many Duskwight families are insular), and it provided a nice cover story.

 

Do you want to be one person with a wagon? That's actually harder, in my opinion, than being one person with a chocobo. You can avoid official attention by being one person on a bird, but we know from the cutscenes that wagons get stopped and searched. You could either carry larger cargos (liquor, weapons, etc) or carry legitimate cargo in the wagon with secret compartments underneath for small, valuable things. The latter would make you more of a legitimate merchant, doing smuggling on the side to supplement your income.

 

Do you want to be involved in a larger organization? This is where you start getting into things like caravans of wagons, or ships. This is the scale you'd be operating at in order to get into things like smuggling slaves. If you go this route (and C'kayah eventually did, controlling an organization that ran a fleet of wagons and had connections with shipowners), I'd highly recommend finding other people to do this with. If you're a solo RPer who says "I captain a smuggling ship!", you'll get some pushback from people. If you're part of a group of 6 RPers who all play smugglers on a ship, then suddenly you're a lot more believable.

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My previous character, C'kayah, was a smuggler, and I tended to do a lot of smuggling RP in-character, so I've got a lot of insight into this.

 

The big question that I think you'll want to answer for yourself is how big of a smuggling operation do you want to have?

 

Do you want to be one person with their chocobo? If so, then you want to concentrate on small, valuable things. C'kayah operated in this mode for a long time, smuggling rare perfumes, potions, drugs, poisons, and jewelry. You don't necessarily need to find things that are illegal, just things that you can carve a niche out with. For example, C'kayah has ties in the Black Shroud, so he was able to get access to a lot of poisons and potions from the Moonkeeper and Duskwight families living there. Most of these are fairly illegal. But at the same time, he also carried Duskwight jewelry. It was valuable, and it was hard to find (because so many Duskwight families are insular), and it provided a nice cover story.

 

Do you want to be one person with a wagon? That's actually harder, in my opinion, than being one person with a chocobo. You can avoid official attention by being one person on a bird, but we know from the cutscenes that wagons get stopped and searched. You could either carry larger cargos (liquor, weapons, etc) or carry legitimate cargo in the wagon with secret compartments underneath for small, valuable things. The latter would make you more of a legitimate merchant, doing smuggling on the side to supplement your income.

 

Do you want to be involved in a larger organization? This is where you start getting into things like caravans of wagons, or ships. This is the scale you'd be operating at in order to get into things like smuggling slaves. If you go this route (and C'kayah eventually did, controlling an organization that ran a fleet of wagons and had connections with shipowners), I'd highly recommend finding other people to do this with. If you're a solo RPer who says "I captain a smuggling ship!", you'll get some pushback from people. If you're part of a group of 6 RPers who all play smugglers on a ship, then suddenly you're a lot more believable.

 

Piggybacking off this, a sole traveler moving with merchant caravans (as a guard or just paying customer for the "safety") would mean that if you're packing stuff on your person you'd be less likely to get too much customs attention; their focus would be on the bigger bulk of goods the merchant is bringing in.

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Wow guys, all these responses are great! I didn't expect to get such thorough information, but it's extremely helpful! Thanks so much!

 

As for the character, at the moment, I think she's more small-time. One person and a chocobo or one person and a wagon. No human trafficking, that's about where she draws the line, and nothing to do with that trade, either. I think I like the idea of her being a gunrunner or a weapon smuggler, mainly, but dabbling in other things when the opportunity arises. I'd love to get involved with an FC, but my schedule usually puts me on later than a lot of FCs are active.

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