Specialized Gear Like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D
Over on Nerdarchy the YouTube channel, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted shared their insights on the best tier 1 spells for the brand new official artificer class for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The artificer in 5E D&D has undergone a lot of playtesting, with several versions presented through Unearthed Arcana. With the release of Eberron: Rising from the Last War the artificer firmly found a place as the first official new character class for 5E D&D outside of those found in the Basic Rules and Player’s Handbook. But it’s not only players who get to have all the fun with the new artificer class. One of the new creatures in the book gives me a great idea for an ongoing bounty hunter campaign inspired by The Mandalorian and there’s a Challenge 0 entry with a lot of potential. I’m looking at you, magewright.
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?
If you’ve been following along with my bounty hunter campaign for 5E D&D you’ve seen how I’ve used various Nord Games products to develop different concepts and themes from The Mandalorian show into my ongoing game. For this entry I’m going to delve into one of my favorite parts of both the show and my campaign — The Armorer. On the show this Mandalorian resides in an enclave where she forges armor and weapons for fellow Mandalorians.
In my campaign, the bounty hunter guild has an armorer too. Characters can bring a rare substance called greensteel the armorer uses to fashion specialized gear and custom equipment for guild bounty hunters. My initial system for this procedure incorporates the Personalized Items content from Hellscapes, which works really well thanks to the scavenging mechanic in the 5E supplement.
After flipping through Eberron: Rising from the Last War several times I’ve got some ideas to help expand on what I started with, in particular the artificer class and the magewright creature from the book. Adding to this, Nord Games has a couple of products that’ll fit right in too. One of the things I enjoy about The Mandalorian show is all the gadgets and special equipment. In the same way money comes and goes in the rough and tumble world of bounty hunting, one time use items often make the difference between continuing the mission and an early grave. Bounty hunting is a complicated profession after all.
So in addition to the band of bounty hunters in my game collecting greensteel on the side, I like the idea of their armorer as sort of like Q from the James Bond films. In between contracts, characters can stop by the guild hall and see what new gear is available. Instead of an armorer, I’m switching this NPC up to become a magewright. In Eberron: Rising from the Last War the magewright is a Challenge 0 creature with limited spellcasting along with a Magewright Specialty, which determines additional spells the magewright knows, including ones that can be cast only as rituals, and gives the magewright more proficiencies.
A magewright’s ritual spells really intrigue me because they’re not all traditionally spells that can be cast as rituals! Spells like lesser restoration and knock show up as rituals for a magewright, and if they can break the mold for these, any other spells are fair game too, right? Visiting the guild hall and stopping by to see the magewright becomes a way to further immerse the players into the setting. Seeing what the magewright is cooking up entices the players, and becomes a path to side quests if the magewright needs particular objects to complete their work.
Mashing up the magewright stat block with the artificer class opens up possibilities for the bounty hunters to get their hands on some nifty special items. For starters, any of the Artificer Infusions are up for grabs. A simple tweak of making them work only a single time means the characters can get their hands on things to augment their abilities without loading them up with magic items. Boots of the Winding Path are a great example. The ability to teleport up to 15 feet as a bonus action to an unoccupied space a character can see is a powerful effect. Maybe the guild magewright needs a special item to complete the infusion, something a character can keep an eye out for while they’re on the job.
Enter the Treasure Deck and Objects of Intrigue Deck
For the specialized gear represented in my bounty hunter campaign for 5E D&D I’m looking at two different Nord Games products to go pair up with our Eberron magewright and their nifty ritual casting and infusion capabilities. While bounty hunters take a contract and head out on the job, they’ll develop their own personal agendas based on the magewright’s needs. When they’re back at the guild hall between missions, their magewright can show off what they’ve been up to and incorporate special ingredients brought back by the characters.
First up, let’s look at the Treasure Deck. For these examples I’m referring to the CR 5-8 deck, since treasure picks up significantly in this range and also because this is my sweet spot for 5E D&D campaigns. The characters in the bounty hunter campaign began at 5th level so it’s perfect. The Treasure Deck has 50 cards, each with a table for random treasure troves. These cards are doing double duty. From the magewright, any or all of the items from one of the cards becomes the ingredients they need to create a new bit of specialized gear. Alternatively they could provide details and vividly illustrate the results of the magewright’s work.
One of the Treasure Deck cards lists the following potential items:
- 10 gp and 272 sp
- What looks to be an impromptu shrine, made of a longbow and studded leather armor, as well as a tumbled little pile of stones and candles
- A burlap sack containing paraphernalia of worship, including a stoppered, clay bottle, a silver ring with a bright symbol, and cloth-of-gold vestments worth 25 gp (priest’s pack, flask of holy water, holy symbol)
- A smooth, coiling staff, faintly iridescent, with the feel of firm, sinuous muscle (staff of the python)
When the bounty hunters visit the magewright, they could acquire these ingredients and for them and next time they visit get themselves a one-time use staff of the python. I actually like the specific details of things like the impromptu shrine because this adds a wrinkle to the goal. It’s not just any longbow and studded leather armor. The character’s might never come across the right stuff, but it’s fun for them to keep an eye out for it. And for a DM it gives an opportunity to make this discovery something special. Why does the magewright need such a specific thing? Weaving it into the adventure makes it special. Perhaps it signifies a religious sect associated with snakes, and that’s why it creates a staff of the python. If the bounty hunters see a contract involving yuan-ti they might be more inclined to take this particular job.
On the flip side you could use the Treasure Deck to describe the magewright’s workshop. Each time the characters visit, draw a card and use the items listed there to illustrate what the magewright is up to at the moment. Using the same card, the characters enter the workshop. They see the magewright has constructed an impromptu shrine out of a longbow, studded leather armor and a pile of stones and candles. Dressed in religious vestments, they pour holy water into a basin containing a pile of gold and silver coins. Next, they ignite the shrine and melt the coins in the fire. Once the shrine is consumed they pour the ashes into the container and the silver ring on their finger flares with radiant light. They pour the mixture out in a long line, which then solidifies into a staff of the python created for another bounty hunter in the guild.
Objects of Intrigue is another card deck accessory I’m using in a similar way. On hand it’s an easy way to basically create random items the magewright has available. I’m considering all of these one time consumable items, or limited use items depending on the particular item.
One of the Objects of Intrigue cards describes the following:
Stuck to the wall is a cocoon made of white and gray webs. Bones and sticks cling to the outside of the cocoon and tiny spiders crawl in and out of it. A geometric solid bulges from one side of the cocoon. Cutting the cocoon open…”
- … releases a waterfall of 500 gold coins onto the floor with a jangling crash, echoing throughout the area.
- … results in a crystalline cube tumbling to the floor (Cube of Force).
- … reveals a skeleton wearing exquisitely crafted armor (+1 armor of GM’s choosing).
- … reveals a rune-inscribed box (Cubic Gate).
The easiest use here is any of the items on there can be acquired for use during the next contract. Perhaps the parameters for the job come with the benefit of one of these items. The guild can direct the characters to the magewright for specialized gear available to hunters who take the contract. A hefty sum of gold up front isn’t that unusual if a client feels like it’ll ensure success. Either of the two cubes — both powerful magic items — suggests the quarry being hunting is not easy to contain. And the armor conveys the target hits hard. So now we’re creating a new dimension to a bounty hunter contract where taking the job means receiving specialized gear necessary to completing the mission. As a bonus, it becomes a DM aid to inspiration for what exactly the hunt is all about.
On the flip side you could use Objects of Intrigue simply to spice up the mission. The cards include not just items, but scenarios like the one above. They’re not called Objects of Intrigue for nothing! And they’re not all positive results either. Interacting with these objects might cause direct damage, or result in a monster encounter. At least one of them involves a character sticking their hand into a fire, triggering the creation of a flameskull.
Ready to run a bounty hunter campaign?
I’m enjoying the heck out of The Mandalorian every Friday and developing this 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign even more. Finding new ways to incorporate Nord Games products is really rewarding too. At the very least, every little extra detail I glean helps make the world of the bounty hunter campaign more interesting for the players.
With the Treasure Deck and Objects of Intrigue I think the players will get a kick out of using their specialized gear on the job. I like the idea of providing powerful magic items and effects but they only work temporarily, or once. And expanding on the greensteel concept, now the characters have all sorts of extra things they can keep a lookout for while hunting.
If you want to check out the Treasure Decks and Objects of Intrigue by Nord Games, visit their 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. I’ve been a big fan of Nord Games for years now and in particular I love card based accessories for RPGs.
What do you think? Are you enjoying The Mandalorian as much as me? Have you started your own 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign? My game group is having a blast and pretty much everything in our campaign so far is generated using various Nord Games products. Coming up I’ll share how Remarkable Inns helped me create two distinct adventure paths for the characters to begin their hunt.
Until then, stay nerdy!