A Ragtag Crew in a World of Scum and Villainy like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D
I ate up The Mandalorian every week until the final episode of season one dropped this past Friday. The Disney+ show hooked me immediately and the series takes the top spot for Star Wars productions in my book. I enjoy the show so much I started running a bounty hunter campaign for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons inspired by the show after the first episode. I know there’s a Star Wars RPG, several of them in fact but 5E D&D suits my needs just fine. The final episode of The Mandalorian takes the series protagonist full circle from where his most important job began, so it’s only fair to wrap up this bounty hunter campaign walkthrough the same way. Bounty hunting is a complicated profession, no need to further complicate things. When I prepped for the first session of our 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign I took a lot of inspiration from Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery from Nord Games. Here at the end of the journey it’s got plenty of juice to help finish off the campaign. Let’s get into it.
Bounty hunting like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D
If you want to get caught up on where we’re at with our 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign inspired by The Mandalorian, here’s the previous entries in this series.
- Bounty Hunting like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D
- Random Encounters like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D
- Dangerous Combat Like the Mandalorian in 5E D&D
- Playing an Anti-Hero Like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D
- Do You Feel Lucky Like the Mandalorian in 5E D&D?
- Specialized Gear Like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D
- Following Leads and Finding Jobs like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D
Providing options to characters is an important element for me when preparing adventures. More often than not players choose a different path than anything I plan or anticipate, but I have found if I present several options it mitigates the situation. When I got ready for the first session of the Mandalorian style 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign the premise was clear: characters were part of a bounty hunter guild and they took a contract to track down a wealthy family’s son-in-law to be, who had been kidnapped.
As the bounty hunter characters navigate the seedy underworld of scum and villainy, they would encounter and interact with all manner of brigands, thieves, ruffians, assassins, bandits and swindlers. Many of these wind up antagonists, enemies and mooks. The contracts they choose to take certainly draw heavily on these sorts, and along they way the party makes alliances with others, some of who accompany the group for a time or cross paths with the bounty hunter group at a later time. After a few sessions the group established contacts, encountered NPCs they like and loathe in equal measure and in some ways formed their own ragtag crew of specialists, informants and hired muscle.
Re-enter Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery
Drawing from a pool of similar NPCs with strong, easily identifiable tropes like makes a huge difference in setting the tone for the bounty hunter campaign. There’s plenty of great NPCs like scouts, nobles and veterans, and any of these are easy enough to flavor as part of the scum and villainy tapestry we’re creating in our games. But Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery takes your games a step further with each highly specialized lowlife.
Better yet, a huge portion of the book details good, neutral and evil individuals who represent the various tropes. The party’s first contract involved a swindler, Erdan Liandon, with a scheme straight from the pages of Skulduggery. The players were immersed in the setting and their bounty hunting job, and it was super easy to keep the action going just like The Mandalorian show thanks to the awesome resource. Bounty hunting is indeed a complicated profession, and a lot of it has to do with all the obstacles and challenges in the path of the hunters. Moving through a world with dangerous people looking to make coin and a name for themselves means anything from a rowdy group of brigands to a precision squad of assassins might cross steel with the player characters. Some are after the same bounty, some see an opportunity to take down bounty hunters from a prominent guild and others are simply after whatever gold and treasure they can take.
If there is any single resource book most useful to developing a 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign, Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery is it. All the individual NPCs include scaled up versions, making them perfect recurring antagonists for the players. Each one comes with story elements and personality profiles to really help you incorporate them into your games. On top of that several organizations are described throughout the book, giving more structure to the NPCs associated with them and just as easily used as standalone elements for your campaign. The generic NPCs are fantastic as single creatures but with the added flavor and guidelines for creating encounter groups.
To top it all off, the Unique Items section is a great treasure trove of more inspiration for a bounty hunter campaign. Not necessarily magic items (although some definitely are) the unique items are all flavored to this world of skulduggery. One of my favorites is a sword famously used to commemorate the victory of a dark elf army over that of a vastly larger alliance of high elves and wood elves that grants advantage on Intimidation and Persuasion checks against elves because of the recognition. Here is an example of another great item in the book. As you can see, there’s nothing magic about it but the roleplaying and storytelling potential is tremendous.
Enhanced Forger’s Kit
Forgery kit, rare
This kit not only contains all of the standard items contained within a forgery kit, but also contains wooden replica rings of all the major lords and noble houses from throughout the realm. The use of authentic-looking wax seals makes forging documents from the upper elite even more convincing.
Value: 45 gp
Ready to run a bounty hunter campaign?
This past week’s episode of The Mandalorian wrapped up season one of the show, and I’m already salivating for season two. I enjoy Star Wars okay, and although I’m not a super fan of the franchise, I absolutely loved this show and think it is the best Star Wars production I’ve ever seen. The Force and associated struggle between Jedi and Sith never interested me much. In fact I’ve always thought it is kind of dumb if I’m honest. But the bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back and the criminal side of the galaxy fascinated me.
Watching The Mandalorian thrilled me as a viewer and D&D player because I knew right away I wanted to create this bounty hunter campaign. Series lead Pedro Pascal performed spectacularly and the supporting cast took it over the top too. IG-11 played by Taika Waititi was great, Carl Weathers’ Greef Karga was compelling, Emily Swallow as The Armorer kept me intrigued in every scene and I am just as excited to see where the Cara Dune character goes as I am for Din Djarin’s journey. (That’s The Mandalorian’s name, which he shares in the final episode of season one. But it’s not a spoiler! Pedro Pascal mentioned it months ago in an interview.) Gina Carano brought it to her role as the ex-Rebel shocktrooper and crushed it both as an actor and action hero.
If you want to check out Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery, visit the Nord Games store here. You can use our exclusive promo code NORDARCHY20 to get a huge 20% off everything in your cart! Nord Games creates great products and accessories to help you create amazing experiences for your games. Anytime I discover a resource that takes some of the work out of DM prep while inspiring me to add my own creations is a big win.
What do you think? Did you enjoy The Mandalorian as much as me? Have you started your own 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign? I’m having so much fun developing this campaign using products from the Nord Games store I am heavily leaning towards bringing this campaign to D&D In A Castle 2020 for the players in my game. I have spoken.
Until then, stay nerdy!