A very fun book for the smuggler in all of us, but more importantly the Smugglers in the game. This book covers a lot of ground but still maintains the 3 chapter structure of the other sourcebooks. Before the first chapter is a short story and some information on the differences between smuggling in the Outer Rim and smuggling in the Core worlds.
The first chapter deals with the creation and enhancement of Smuggler characters. It introduces new backgrounds and how they can work for each specialization individually such as the Ex-Military or Cynical backgrounds. It also includes a nice chart for Smuggler obligations. The new species that are added are not ones most casua; fans would recognize except perhaps the squid-like quarren. The Falleen are most known for their role in the Black Sun, particulary Prince Xizor. More interesting are the new specializations like the Charmer and Gambler who focus less on combat and more on roleplay, though the Gambler is more of a wildcard than anything. The Gunslinger is the classic combat specialization that focuses more on speed than outright damage. The new motivations are also nice and come with a useful table for describing them. The new signature abilities are where the Smuggler career shines, however. They have two, like all other careers, but both of theirs are extremely useful. The first, Narrow Escape, allows the player and potentially the party to escape any engagement. Useful when Darth Vader shows up. The second, Unmatched Fortune, allows the player to alter their dice rolls to get the result they want and when fully upgraded can be used 3 times per session. It’s a very useful set of abilities and the overall structure make this chapter shine.
The second chapter focuses on the new tools and vehicles available to players. Many of the items in all sections are fun to look at, such as the Dragoneye Reaper pistol, shock boots, vibrorapier, smuggler’s trenchcoat, false credentials, and other tools. The vehicles are also very satisfying with multiple speeders and ships of all roles the chapter is a great addition. The HWK-1000 in particular stands out for having 6 hard points. The ship attachments have some great stealth options like the Nightshadow Coating and Whisperthrust Engines. The chapter is laid out similarly to second chapters in other books making it easy to read through and the images break up the item and vehicle descriptions nicely.
The last chapter is filled with a variety of helpful and fun information. It starts with how to tell smuggler stories based on specialization and each specializations place in the game, before talking about how to incorporate them into parties and how they work with the other careers. Next is the information for smuggling jobs which is very nicely broken up by useful tables and nice artwork. Included is information on potential enemies or other hazards a smuggler might face. Afterward is an important section for calculating hyperspace travel and the rolls involved for the navigation. This information is useful regardless of career since almost all parties need to travel offworld eventually. It even includes a very useful chart for travel times using well-known hyperspace routes. It then goes into detail on con jobs and scams before delving into a great section on heists and break-ins which includes the rules for obstacles and traps the party might encounter. The chapter also covers how to run shootouts like what someone might see in a western film before including the fun rules for gambling and a couple of games to use in the universe. They’re fun and simple making them perfect for nearly any campaign. The chapter also includes a section covering the nemesis of the smuggler and how to let the players establish their own smuggling ring. The book ends with a small section covering the payoff of a smuggler, be it the smuggler’s reputation or material gain. The chapter throws a lot at the reader and can feel overwhelming at times but the charts help to break it up, as does the paragraph spacing.
The book is an excellent read and useful for any party, even if none of them are smugglers. It’s one of the few books I consider essential to playing any of the 3 core rulesets as the information in it is useful to any career and game. The third chapter can feel a bit bloated because of the sheer volume of different things it throws at the reader but it still manages to do a great job of communicating it and organizing it. It’s a great buy and a must-have for any GM of the Star Wars RPG.