Starfield - Contraband Guide

starfield crimson fleet npc holding gun

starfield crimson fleet npc holding gun

Contraband in Starfield is perhaps some of the most lucrative loot you can find throughout the Settled Systems. However, this precious cargo comes with its own set of risks if you plan on reaping the rewards. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about Contraband in Starfield.

To fully benefit from Contraband, you need to know how to find it and its different types. You also need to learn how to hide and smuggle contraband and the penalties for failing to do so. We'll review all this and more with this Starfield Contraband guide, so keep reading.

Contraband Types

There are actually a bunch of items that qualify as contraband. Contraband is any item considered illegal by the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective. Here's a list of all the illegal contraband that will trigger ship scanners.

  • Aurora drugs
  • Harvested organs
  • Stolen files
  • AI components
  • Mech components
  • Xenowarfare tech
  • Heretical scripture

Alternatively, you can tell that an item is contraband by the yellow tag/checkmark that appears right next to its name. You can find contraband lying around in research facilities or as enemy loot. Always keep an eye out as sometimes valuable contraband might be hidden in plain sight.

Repercussions for Getting Caught With Contraband

As mentioned earlier, planets under the jurisdiction of the Freestar Collective and United Colonies conduct ship scans to ensure no illegal material enters their systems. These ship scans will check your cargo and flag any illegal contraband on board. If you're caught with contraband, you'll get a bit of a dialogue option.

starfield contraband scan getting caught and giving dialogue option
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You can fight, but if you choose to surrender, there's a brand new path available for you to try out. You get assigned to infiltrate the Crimson Fleet and become a spy for the United Colonies. We highly suggest taking this option as it allows you to access one of the primary methods to hide contraband (more on this later)

How to Pay off Bounties

If you keep smuggling goods and committing crimes across various star systems, you're bound to get a bounty placed on your head. This attracts bounty hunters who are looking to make their fair share of earnings by gunning you down. However, there is a method to go and clear your bounty yourself. Note that you'll get different bounties assigned for varying degrees of crimes.

starfield tracker's alliance kiosk to pay off bounties
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To pay off bounties in Starfield, you need to head to a Trackers Alliance Self-Service Bounty Clearance kiosk. However, let's say you've committed a crime in the United Colonies' territory. You'll be denied access to that kiosk and be hunted down.

Instead, we suggest going off to a different planet or star system under a non-hostile faction and interacting with the kiosk there. You can clear your bounty there and return to being an upstanding citizen.

How to Hide Contraband

There are three methods that you can employ to hide the contraband aboard your ship from cargo scans.

Shielded Cargo

Having shielded cargo storage spaces onboard your ship will effectively protect the cargo inside from scans. You can purchase shielded cargo from some ship part-selling NPCs.

One of the easier NPCs to access is the one from the Crimson Fleet, but you'll have to get caught smuggling to contact them. You can also steal enemy ships and check if they have shielded cargo.

Last but not least, you can always complete the Mantis quest for a brand-new ship with its own shielded cargo storage.

Scan Jammers

As the name suggests, Scan Jammers help block enemy ship scans on your ship. However, they're not effective by themselves, and you need shielded cargo storage to make them perform their job.

Lon Andersson is an NPC on Porrima III in the Porrima system in a location called the Red Mile. Not only does he sell Scan Jammers, but he can also sell you shielded cargo.

  • Scan Jammer – Single-Frequency: 2,850 Credits
  • Scan Jammer – Dual-Frequency: 4,750 Credits (Rank 1 Starship Design Skill)
  • Scan Jammer – Multi-Frequency: 9,500 Credits (Rank 2 Starship Design Skill)

Level the Deception Skill

Last but not least, the Deception skill is excellent for smuggling buffs to hide contraband. The skill has four ranks, which are as follows:

  • Ships 10% stronger will automatically surrender to piracy demands. Enemy contraband scans are 10% less effective.
  • Ships 20% stronger will automatically surrender to piracy demands. Enemy contraband scans are 20% less effective.
  • Ships 30% stronger will automatically surrender to piracy demands. Enemy contraband scans are 30% less effective.
  • Ships 50% stronger will automatically surrender to piracy demands. Enemy contraband scans are 50% less effective.

While none of these methods will 100% protect you from contraband scans on their own, if you combine all three of them together, you can become the sneakiest smuggler in the Settled Systems. It's a fun path to go down for a trader build.

Best Place to Sell Contraband

starfield trade authority NPC for selling contraband
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You should definitely sell your contraband to the Trade Authority NPCs, who can be identified by their yellow jackets. These are neutral party NPCs, and they won't judge you for possession of contraband. Naturally, this results in them knowing the true worth of your contraband and paying the best prices for it.

That's all you need to know about contraband and smuggling in Starfield. Check our advanced shipbuilding guide if you need help setting up. You can also check our list of best weapons and best planets for outposts.

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