Smuggling contraband is a little side activity that you can do in Starfield to farm a ton of credits throughout your playthrough.
Being an interplanetary traveler has its perks, and you can choose to smuggle rare (and illegal) items into planets to sell them off.
However, smuggling cargo around planets is not as easy as just flying into any planet and you do need to make some preparations before you consider smuggling items around the universe. This guide will help players learn how to smuggle items around the universe in Starfield successfully.
Starfield Contraband Items
There are a number of items in Baldur’s Gate 3 that are considered Contraband. If you are caught with these items in your inventory, you will be in trouble. So ensure that you either stash them somewhere safe, or sell them soon.
- Harvested Organs
- Mech Components
- Sentient AI Adapters
- Stolen Artwork
- Va’Ruun Heretic Writings
- Xenowarfare Tech
How to smuggle contraband in Starfield?
If you are entering a highly secured area (or planet) in Starfield, you are likely going to have to pass your ship through security which is going to scan you for contrand.
Locations such as New Atlantis and Neon will always scan your ship before allowing you to enter, so you must ensure you can hide your contrabands for any scanning and checking.
If you don’t know, any item that has a small yellow mark at the lower right corner is an illegal contraband item. It’s best to always check what you are carrying, as contraband items will trigger an alarm, whether you are not smuggling them on purpose.
You can only smuggle contraband into secure locations by hiding them with the help of certain ship upgrades in Starfield.
If you do not have those upgrades, it is best to jettison illegal items off your ship before passing through security.
The first thing you need to smuggle contraband in Starfield successfully is the Deception skill in your Social Tree. It does two things.
Firstly, Deception makes it harder for enemies to detect you. Secondly, the skill also reduces the chance of your contraband being detected in scanners by 10 percent. This can be increased up to 50 percent by upgrading Deception to rank 4.
Shielded Cargo Hold Upgrade
Next up is upgrading your Cargo Hold Hull Shield to make it difficult for scanners to detect your cargo’s contents in Starfield.
A Shielded Cargo Hold will hide some of your contraband, but note that the size of your cargo hold determines how many illegal items remain undetected. The more contraband you have in your cargo hold, the more chances of some of it getting picked up in scanners.
For this, players must also ensure that their contraband is in their ship’s shielded cargo hold rather than their own inventory.
If your cargo hold has a capacity of 100 kg, means that players can store as much as 20 kg of contraband in their cargo hold without raising suspicion. If you have a bigger cargo hold, you can store even more without any trouble.
Scan Jammer Upgrade
Next, players can also invest in a Scan Jammer. As the name suggests, this device will allow you to jam any scanners on you and keep your contraband items secure.
Scan Jammer won’t completely break the scanners, but it will reduce their efficiency in detecting smuggling contraband items.
Get ship upgrades for smuggling
We just went on and listed what you need to make your contraband items secure. But things that make it easier for players to smuggle contraband are not available at just any vendor. Shielded Cargo Hold and Scan Jammer can only be bought from underground vendors.
The easiest way to get these upgrades early on in Starfield is by stealing a ship from the Crimson Fleet. Stealing any basic ship from these smugglers will allow you to use a Shielded Cargo and Scan Jammer for free. Once players are rich enough, they can join the Crimson Fleet themselves.
This allows them access to the Crimson Fleet’s vendors where players can purchase Shielded Cargo Holds and Jammers.
If players don’t want to join the Crimson Fleet, players can also try and find a Rare Parts Dealer. One Rare Parts Dealer can be found in the Porrima System.
In star system Porrima III, players can go to the planet Red Mile and meet Lon Anderssen. Lon Anderssen will sell you all the parts you need for your gigs as a smuggler.
What happens if you get caught with contraband in Starfield?
Getting caught trying to smuggle contraband in Starfield for the first time yields an interesting choice.
When you get caught by the United Colonies, you will get an option where the UC commander will let you go. But you will have to go undercover to infiltrate a band of intergalactic smugglers, the Crimson Fleet. This will start the Deep Cover mission, and you will enter the UC questline.
Getting caught subsequently renders you a criminal. Players will have three options:
- Pay the fine and be on their way
- Spend time in the jail
- Fight and run away
Players will get out of the sticky situation for the first two options without any problems. If players decide to fight for contraband items, they will get a bounty on their heads.
Depending on the seriousness of your crime and the jurisdiction players are in, your bounty may vary. Players can then spend their time fighting off bounty hunters or pay the bounty at any Kisok and be free.
Where to sell contraband items in Starfield
You cannot just sell your smuggled contraband items to any merchant in Starfield. Fortunately, the Trade Authority faction is always more than happy to buy off any illegal items you have on you. You will also get a good price for them.
Trade Authority vendors in New Atlantis, Neon, Mars, Volii, and Cydonia can be found. There might be more as well.
If you have joined the Crimson Fleet, you will get access to The Key. You can also find a Trade Authority vendor in The Key. Furthermore, the smuggling regulations in The Key are much lighter than in other places. So selling your contraband into The Key will be easier.
Lastly, if you are lucky, you might find Trade Authority ships in space ready to purchase whatever you have. This saves you the hassle of going through a security check and hiding your stuff.