Why Naruto’s Akatsuki Make Great Campaign Villains


A major challenge when it comes to creating and operating a Dungeons & Dragons The campaign is all about finding villains that not only resonate with the setting of the world, but create growing opposition to adventuring players. For several decades, an organization known as Akatsuki terrorized the population of narutoEarth under the guise of trying to make their world a safer place. Too often, badness stems from good intentions, and as the intention becomes corrupted, it creates far greater problems than the bad guys were originally trying to fix.

With a full cast of characters bent on wreaking havoc, the Akatsuki are a capable organization with many members that evolve in power all the way to an otherworldly final boss: Kaguya. Kaguya’s original intentions for peace furthered humanity’s tendency toward war and violence, as the very chakra she introduced into the world became a weapon. The tragedy of Kaguya and the Akatsuki reads like a J&D campaign ripe for adventures, so how can it be successfully integrated into the game?

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Introduce the least powerful members of the Akatsuki in D&D first

One of the downfalls of the Akatsuki as an organization was that they all had different goals dividing their focus as a group. Orochimaru, for example, wanted to live forever, while Nagato, the being more officially known as Pain, wanted to end the violence and suffering by any means necessary. In naruto, the first major Akatsuki villain that Team Seven came up against was Orochimaru, who inevitably corrupted Sasuke Uchiha by appealing to his desire for revenge. To say that Orochimaru was less powerful than the rest of Akatsuki is short sighted. Not only did he defeat and kill his own teacher, the Third Hokage, but he turned Sasuke against the Hidden Leaf and kept Naruto away from a much greater threat for several years.

Orochimaru’s weakness, his mortality, made him easier to control. Experimenting with life and death provided him with resurrection abilities, but he didn’t always pick the best ships. Starting the campaign with a villain like Orochimaru gives adventurers the experience they’ll need later against powerful villains like Pain. The fact that killing Orochimaru doesn’t always mean he’s dead is a great way to introduce a lich to the game early on and watch him grow more powerful when he rises from the dead. He even has the ability to become a temporary ally when needed.

Other lower level Akatsuki to cast early in the party could include Deidara, Kyusuke, Juzo Biwa, and Zetsu. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that an opponent like Zetsu has a bigger goal: to resurrect Kaguya. He’s an expert at stealth, so it’s wise to find ways to use him long-term.

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Mid-Level Akatsuki Members Provide Leveling Opportunities in D&D

Although individual Akatsuki members believe themselves to be the most powerful, they all have weaknesses. Even immortals like Hidan and Kakazu can be subdued if players find the right strategy, such as dismembering and burying each body part in a different grave. A chakra-powered monster such as Kisame can be defeated by providing opportunities to drain its chakra and weaken it. Kisame’s partner, Itachi Uchiha is another excellent mid-tier boss with the power to push the story forward and provide minor resolution before moving on to bigger, more dangerous bosses.

Consider how the characters fit into the campaign plot and what drives them to oppose the party. It is possible to run a game similar to the Naruto Shippuden plot or veer into uncharted territory with an entirely unique story. These characters are go-to players for the seemingly unbeatable entities they face in front of the biggest boss of them all.

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High-level members of the Akatsuki prepare players for the final level boss in D&D

The Six Paths of Pain, Konan, and Madara Uchiha are powerful enemies that test the skills players learn throughout the campaign. Overcoming pain inevitably brings an opportunity for temporary peace and higher skill levels, but at a high cost. He also prepares the party for Madara and his attempt to become the Ten-Tails Jinchuriki. At this point in the game, absolute chaos sets in and despite facing off with Madara, something far worse awaits. The experience gained along the way prepares everyone for a fight that, if lost, puts the whole world in danger.

When creating a campaign in this world as a DM, study the plot for inspiration and research each Akatsuki member to understand their abilities, weaknesses, and motivations. This makes it easier to build monster stat blocks and prepare for encounters. While there aren’t exactly the same chakra-based abilities in J&Dthere are enough similarities that they can be adapted and executed to capture the Akatsuki vibe that set narutoThe Earth is on the verge of destruction.

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