Why Bounty Hunting is a Complicated Profession in the Era of Fallen Order

Adam Mathew
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Though Imperial and Alliance admirals will make a show of turning their noses up at bounty hunters, the fact is we need their scum. If you want somebody capped, outright disintegrated, captured, or turned into a carbonite-based conversation piece for your living room, these rent-a-scoundrel can get your dirty deeds done in two shakes of a womp rat’s tail — and often for fees lower than their morals.

All that said, selling your skullduggery for Galactic credits wasn’t the easiest of professions. For example, around the time of the Great Jedi Purge (18 BBY), the hunter market was saturated like never before. Selfishly, the Galactic Empire was keeping their tracking work in-house; Lord Vader’s Inquisitorius and Purge Troopers were essentially government-funded tour de Force-sensitives.

Needless to say, it was not the era to be in if you were a Jedi in hiding, especially a luminescently ginger one like Cal Kestis from the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Be that as it may, this time period still had plenty of private-sector contractors, too. Today’s topic, The Haxion Brood, were a crime syndicate that operated throughout the Outer Rim. They dipped their beaks into a lot of things: slaving, smuggling, gambling, padawan hunting and even the odd bit of pay-per-view gladiatorial pit fighting. You could say The Brood’s asteroid hideout was a one-stop-shop for all your scum and villainy needs. A regular Bloodbath & Beyond.

Cal Kestis fights a bounty droid
"I am fluent in one form of communication, meatbag. PAIN."

THE BROOD FATHER

Led by the crime boss Sorc Tormo, this syndicate’s headquarters was Ordo Eris, an asteroid stronghold that vaguely resembled a satellite dish. (Those aesthetics were certainly no accident, but we’ll delve into this in a second.) The Brood itself consisted of a number of cybernetically-augmented bounty hunters and bounty droids cobbled together from ill-gotten droid parts.

The grand poobah of pain himself, Sorc Tormo, was an Umbaran male crime lord who ruled his bounty hunting crime syndicate with an iron fist. Merciless and bombastic, Tormo’s favorite hobby was orchestrating unfair combat challenges in his own personal fight club arena.

It’s worth noting that Tormo’s sadism was not an uncommon trait for his species. On their gloomy homeworld of Umbara, these so-called “Shadow People” formed an organized society divided into castes, and they constantly schemed and preyed upon one another to improve social rank. Also of interest is the fact that at height of the First Galactic Empire, Umbaran technology was recognized as being cutting edge (to the point where it was appropriated for use in the Imperial Military). This could explain why Tormo and his Brood were so ludicrously well-equipped.

Bottom line: Being marked by the Brood was bad news, but not a death sentence. It certainly wasn’t as unfortunate as getting chased down by a Mandalorian. For example, due to the gambling debts that the pilot Greez Dritus had with the Haxion Brood, Tormo had the former Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis, a companion of Dritus, captured and forced to fight in his arena. After Kestis managed to slice his way through all competitors and escape the asteroid, he effectively kicked off a lasting blood feud with Tormo. From then on out, the young Jedi was constantly harassed by credit-hungry Haxion Brood hunters.

A high flying bounty hunter rains blaster fire at Cal Kestis
Jetpacks: is there anything they can't do (besides keep you out of a Sarlacc Pit).

THAT’S NO MOON, IT’S A TV STATION

Located on the edge of the Outer Rim Territories, Ordo Eris was an asteroid stronghold that held about as many mysteries as it did unfortunate prisoners and murderous scumbags-for-hire. Little is known about the history of this facility, though Old Republic records do indicate that this chunk of rock was once part of a much larger planetoid that was destroyed by ancient super weapons. How it came to cop “the Alderaan treatment” from a proto-Death Star is up for debate.

The surface of this asteroid is honeycombed with a network of claustrophobic prison cells, sluice chutes for easy disposal of bodies and a large arena that produces said cadavers at a steady rate. While the Hutt syndicates and other villainous factions are well known for their love of bloodsports on a grand scale, Ordo Eris is somewhat unique in that it broadcasts all its debauchery out into the galaxy.

Leveraging his fancy Umbaran technology, Tormo ingeniously fashioned his homebase into a giant satellite dish to better serve his media empire side business. Likewise, the same tech was used to spruce up the production values of this universe-wide UFC channel – Tormo installed a wicked sound system that blared Hunnu rock music, plus he used a 40 foot holographic projector for his MC-ing purposes. What a showman.

Sadly, the prices of his pay-per-view network have not been recorded in the galactic archives. That said, we’re willing to bet you could only get the fights if you signed up to some sort of package deal filled with awful channels you wouldn’t spend credits on ordinarily. You know, like minor league pod racing, gungan indie films, or some sort of music channel devoted to non-stop cantina jizz.

A droid foolishly fires at a lightsaber
Return to sender. Target unknown. No such number. No such –Zzzzzt. *Thunk*

NO JOB IS TOO BIG, NO FEE IS TOO BIG

If you were to offer a job and/or a tracking fob to the Haxion Brood, you’d effectively get your choice of three types of mercenaries: Bounty Hunters, Bounty Commandos or Bounty Droids. Each of these professionals would undertake their missions with their own unique strategies, skills and toolsets. You would of course have to state beforehand as to whether you wanted your asset brought in “hot” or “cold.” And it’s a general rule of thumb to uncheck “disintegrations” on your order, too, for corpse identification purposes.

The Bounty Hunter class of mercenaries were like a cut-rate Mandalorian. They relied heavily on their jetpacks in combat and often had their limbs augmented with droid parts. These individuals were driven by both the massive reward and the thrill of the hunt, chasing only the most dangerous of prey (which could explain the replacement arms and legs). Cocky and self-assured, these Haxion Brood members included notable hunters like Anti, Atticus Rex, Bing and Null Chance.

The less airborne inclined hunters were known as Bounty Commandos and these warriors were essentially muscle for this vile criminal gang. Crawling from the seediest corners of the galaxy, bounty hunters of this variety were infamous for their violent reputations, smuggled droid part augmentations and a love of thermal detonators (among other nasty surprises).

In terms of modus operandi, these operatives would use blaster fire, flashbang grenades, repulsor blasts and collapsible shield attacks in their all-out ambushes. Interestingly, the latter tools were impervious to lightsabers and were used both as a defensive measure and as a means to bowl over-confident force-sensitives off their feet. Notable Bounty Commandos include Broonsie, Flatakk and the hilariously named Sir Chogs.

Last and, by no means least, in the Haxion Brood were Bounty Droids. Burly, heavily built and assembled from smuggled and stolen parts, they served as imposing enforcers. Our records suggest that The Brood had a particular love of repurposing HURID-327s, masculine loadlifter droids who will be no doubt familiar to anybody who has visited Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana. Personally, we would have gone with HK-74 units, but admittedly these models are difficult to find in the local classifieds.

Cocky and aggressive, the attack programming of HURIDs were especially pugilistic. With a penchant for taunting their foes in various language, the forceful attacks of these Bounty Droids ruined the day of all but the toughest of marks. Our archives are overflowing with bounty pucks completed by Bounty Droids named Ba-Gonk, Chonk, Clunk and the lovely sounding Mich Murda.

Ginger Kestis kills some bounty hunters
Cal Kestis: The only thing brighter than his saber is his pasty padawan skin.

PUCK WORTHY OR TO BE FOBBED OFF?

On the surface the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that the Haxion Brood were a pretty serious Outer Rim outfit during the time of the Great Jedi Purge. Could they be called the best in their parsec, though? Not exactly…

Info from this era and area of the galaxy is spotty at best, but we can draw some conclusions that suggest The Brood found bounty hunting to be a more complicated profession than most. First of all, they bore none of the obsessive professionalism of their Mandalorian peers – weapons and non-removable safety buckets were not part of their religion, for starters.

Secondly, reports are littered with tales of Brood members being cut down by a wet-behind-the-ears padawan. In many cases those defeats occurred even though said bounty hunters had a numbers advantage against Kestis and the element of surprise.

Basically, it seems to us that scary looking armor, jetpacks and an amateur magician flamethrower on your wrist can only take you so far in the bounty hunting biz. If you’re holding a lightsaber and Haxion Brood members have you at a 4-to-1 disadvantage, yeah…we like your odds.

Adam Mathew
I've seen and played it all – from Pong on a black-and-white CRT to the 4K visuals and VR gloriousness of today. My only regret after a decade of writing and 30+ years of gaming: hitchhiking's no longer an option. My thumbs are nubs now.