DUNE #2 - Gaming in the Imperium

By Andrew Peregrine

So, we’ve talked about what Dune is, and what it’s about, but what sort of game have we been putting together? Obviously, we’ve packed so much into the core rulebook we can’t detail it all in one blog post. But to whet your appetite, here are a few of the features of Dune: Adventures in the Imperium that make it special and particular to the incredible setting of Dune.

A House of your own

One of the most exciting options is that you get to create a noble House of your own. You create not only its banners and arms but what it is known for, and how it leverages power in the Imperium. The level of power the House has is also up to you. There is a whole universe of planets out there so you can have one of your own. You might serve as newly created Minor House or a Great House with several planets under its command. But take care, the more powerful you are the more enemies you have, and your gamemaster’s pile of Threat can start very high if you get too greedy.

Drives not Dexterity

Only two things matter in Dune when you are attempting an action, how skilled you are and why you are doing it. The will to succeed is what drives most agents, not how strong or dexterous they are. This adds a great role playing dimension to every dice roll you make. Every fight means something, every action is personal.

Conflict not Combat

If you are attacking someone with a knife, you may have already lost the battle in Dune, and conflict comes in several different forms. A conflict is any confrontation where you are fighting an opponent to get what you want. But such conflicts can be social or mental as much as physical. We’ve detailed five different types of conflict: Dueling, Skirmish, Warfare, Espionage, and Intrigue. Each uses a slight variation on the same system, to allow you to face your enemies on the ground you choose and bring your most deadly skills to bear.

Assets: Pawns and Queens

To an agent of the Imperium, every piece of equipment is simply a means to an end. So, we offer several potential assets your characters might have to use in the service of their House. While weapons are useful, so are listening devices. But more important are blackmail evidence and favors. Any of these might be brought into play to either give you new opportunities to challenge opponents or suddenly gain an advantage in a conflict.

Architects and Agents

While conflict is often personal, it need not be done in person. Characters in Dune might be puppet-masters as much as boots on the ground. With the system of assets being moved into play, and drives replacing the physical characteristics of the character, in Dune you can fight at arm’s length, or even across different planets. While the stakes and options are a little different, the system is the same. You might move an asset of a group of soldiers in to take down an enemy and guide them from a distance, or go in with them yourself. In person you can do more to influence the situation if things go wrong, but from a distance no one might ever know it was your hand behind the plot.

All the iconic characters

Dune is full of iconic characters and we’ve offered almost all of them as potential player characters. You might play a lethal Bene Gesserit acolyte, a cunning Mentat, an inscrutable Guild Agent, a noble Suk doctor or even mysterious Fremen warrior.

So, that’s a quick overview of what the core rulebook has to offer, all using the award-winning 2d20 system that you are already familiar with. Whether you already know Dune or not, this game offers several exciting new ways to play.