I’m very confused by the rules for black market acquisitions and how they relate to Traits or Talents that work in a similar way. The economy rules state that ‘if the item is obtained illegally’, the player may make a Thievery test in place of Lifestyle and reduces the Restriction of the item / service by one. However, any goods obtained that way are considered illegal and may land the character in hot water.
The problem starts with the ‘Under the Radar’ Trait which applies to all Freelance, Criminal and Microcorp characters. It basically states that the only way they can make an acquisition is through black market rules (with all benefits and risks involved). It always stuck me as odd since that option is open to all characters. The only thing ‘Under the Radar’ seems to do is restrict the non-affiliated from using the full acquisition rules. Considering they make (statistically) half of all characters, it hardly seems fair.
In addition, I’m a bit lost on the ‘Relocate Resources’ Lifestyle Talent. Again, it basically repeats the rules for the black market acquisition, with the exception that the talent may be taken multiple times (with, apparently, cumulative effect). Considering no character actually needs ‘Relocate Resources’ to access the black market, it sounds as though this Talent only gave any real benefits if it’s taken at least twice.
With all this in mind, a number of questions comes to mind:
- Can Thievery be used instead of Lifestyle to acquire any items, or just the items with the ‘illegal only’ tag? The main rulebook lists precious few such items, which would make the rule somewhat obsolete.
- Are the benefits of all these means to access illicit goods cumulative? Does a character with the ‘Under the Radar’ Trait reduce the Restriction of goods by two if they acquire them with a Thievery test? What happens when a character with the ‘Under the Radar’ Trait uses the ‘Relocate Resources’ Talent?
- What about the penalties? While there are no rules for the legal system, are the goods obtained illegally by a character with the ‘Under the Radar’ trait penalised harder?
- Can ‘Relocate Resources’ talent be used to further reduce Restrictions when a player uses Thievery to acquire goods?
- Can illicit goods be acquired with Lifestyle skill without the ‘Relocate Resources’ Talent? Or does the first rank of ‘Relocate Resources’ allow the player to use Lifestyle instead of Thievery to make black market acquisitions?
In addition, I have a question that applies more to lore and role-playing than the mechanics. A character with the ‘Under the Radar’ Trait is stopped at a corporate checkpoint. The rules state that every item they own has the ‘Black market’ quality. Are they penalised for everything they carry, from head to toe? Does the police confiscate all their possessions as ‘contraband’, then make them run the streets naked? Are there any base necessities or common, civilian items that are considered legal no matter their source?
I realise this is a lot of questions, but my groups is struggling with these problems to no end. I’d be very grateful for some clarifications!