A Guide to crafting a Mandalorian Star Wars RPG
Look, we're watching The Mandalorian religiously too. A deep hole was left when Game Of Thrones ended this year (or even before it ended... those last eps amiright?!) and Ol' Mando is doing a fantastic job of filling it, so much so that it oozes inspiration for a solid RPG campaign. Based on the sudden interest in No Disintegrations, the Edge of the Empire sourcebook for Bounty Hunters, it seems I'm not the only one piecing together a new Star Wars campaigns. So let's ask you a few questions to help you craft a memorable experience for you and your friends.
What will your campaign's hook be?
Do you want to run a long-arcing story exploring the morals of your characters? Or a "Job-of-the-week" style series of games with the occasional interweaving of each character's story? What about a mix of both!
This is an important question to ask because it helps you as a game master plan the overall story. Every great story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and if you're planning a long arc, you need to make sure there is a destination for the players to get to, and it helps you see what steps you need to take to reach it.
In planning your campaign, don't railroad your players into every mission, but with a full idea planned, you can lay in hints and hooks along the way to keep them moving. Maybe collecting the bounty on a rich Mon Calamri bail-skipper lands you a bigger job clearing out a nearby mine? You can even use the show as inspiration. After all, half of the episodes so far have essentially been side-quests.
What era are you setting your game in?
Not everyone wants to play in the Rebellion Era. Most of the information found in Fantasy Flight's Star Wars Roleplaying books does sit in that original trilogy era, but there's a few options available in the SWRPG line.
First, there's Rise of the Separatists, an era around the Clone Wars with character options, gear, and a guide to help running a campaign in this era. Alternatively, you can jump forward a few years and use Collapse of the Republic to play a campaign in an era of the failing Republic as the Empire rises to power. This book has a few more character options and profiles for iconic characters that you can weave into your campaign.
The other option is to pick a point and run with it. In the few episode of The Mandalorian that have been released at the time of writing, some fantastic world-building has already been established. Imperial leaders have devolved into back-alley crime-bosses, guarded by the battered remnants of Stormtroopers now taking whatever protection job they can get, seeing as they're primary employer recently exploded in a ball of fire. I mean, what are they gonna do now? Open up a plumbing business on Mygeeto? They have a very specific set of skills that involved blaster rifles, not power-spanners.
Build your own piece of the Star Wars universe and enjoy the stories you craft out of it. After all, Bounty Hunters usually work on the fringes of colonised space, and there's a lot of galaxy to work with.
Do you have the right stuff?
It's all well and good to buy every book to have every option available to players, but that's a great way to end up with a force-sensitive lightsaber-wielding lobster (learn from my mistake, never let someone play a Sauvax). So, let's deal with what you need right now to get started.
Firstly, there's the Edge of Empire core book. This book is devoted to the fringe-dwellers of the galaxy. In it, you'll find the Bounty Hunter career (along with a few others that would work for a similar campaign) along with an Obligation mechanic, a way to get extra experience during character creation at the cost of your character owing someone something.
If you're going down the Bounty Hunter line, then you'll probably want to grab the No Disintegrations book I mentioned above. It adds in extra character options for Bounty Hunters. If you are planning on having Hired Guns, Dangerous Covenants is a great book to have as well.
Next, you'll want to give yourself and your players plenty of options for gear and enemies. For that, you have the Gadgets & Gear, and the Allies & Adversaries books, respectively. The first a book filled with pages of different weapons and equipment that can come in very handy for a Bounty Hunter, and the latter is a compendium of friendly NPCs and villainous bad-guys to fill your campaign with, or at least give your players someone to shoot at.
That should at least get you well on your way to crafting the ultimate Mandalorian-themed campaign. If you want to dive deeper, you can look into adding music to your games to increase the ambiance. And, if you want to look at what else is available for your Star Wars Roleplaying campaign, check out the full collection of books here.