For my birthday in 2021 I received an Amazon gift card. While there was a lot of stuff I could have picked up with the gift card, I really wanted it to be something special. This was a birthday gift and that should be something that will be remembered, not something plain like a pair of socks. Luckily, Dune Adventures in the Imperium had just been released and I was able to find a physical copy of the book to buy. I’ve discovered that when learning a new system, I prefer to have a dead-tree version of the rules in my hand.
Dune is one of those franchises that I learned to appreciate from my Father. It was one of the many sci-fi loves that he had passed onto me. I was also very excited for the (then) upcoming Dune movie to finally be released in the theaters. However I was a little nervous about the RPG being released by Modiphius. While I’ve been enjoying the Star Trek Adventures RPG, I would always get the urge to re-write the core rulebook to make information easier to find and to read (colored text on a black background was a bad idea). Luckily the lessons learned from the STA fiasco were applied to the Dune core rulebook and I’ve found it much better to read and understand while giving a ton of detail about the universe the franchise is based in. After looking through the core rulebook, I knew that Dune Adventures in the Imperium was going to be my first entry for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.
Before you create your character in the Dune RPG, you first create the Noble House that you and all of your fellow party members are associated with. This makes a ton of sense since the game is usually about various types of political intrigue and they should all be on the same side. For the purposes of this entry, I’m going to create a house on my own pretending that it was done in a group.
In the game a noble house is one of four types ranging from Nascent House (just starting House Minor with few enemies and serving a House Major) to Great House (largest and well known, but lots of enemies and lots of House Minors serving it). The larger the house, the more Threat that the Gamemaster receives for game purposes. In most 2d20 games from Modiphius, Threats are used by GMs like Momentum is used by players. In Dune, just as there is Threat that can affect player characters, there is also Threat that can affect the house as part of the political intrigue part of the game. The type also determines how much land the house actually controls. I’ve decided that House Nimoi would at least control an entire planet (Eridani), which meant it would have House Major status. It would have more Domains (see below) but would also have more enemies (2 Threats per player). As a House Major, Nimoi would have 1 primary and 2 secondary starting domains. Domains are what the house produces or is famous for. I selected Science (expertise) Researchers as the primary. The house is known for educating and finding the best researchers in the known universe. For the first secondary I selected Industrial (produce) Refined Alloys. I felt that this went along with the research angle. Once a new alloy was discovered, then House Nimoi would want to profit by producing it’s new alloy. The last secondary domain would be Political (machinery) Expensive Trinkets. These special items are used as diplomatic gifts with various noble houses to keep House Nimoi in the political spectrum. A gift of one of these trinkets would be considered a great honor.
Next there is a section in the rules to describe the homeworld (choose stuff, nothing random) and Banners and Arms (again choose stuff). So Eridani is Earth like with a variety of continent types and oceans. The banner would be the brazier with a flame and the colors would be Red and Gold. Each house has a trait that members of the house can use as part of their characters. The traits in the Dune RPG are primarily descriptive and can be used for both houses and characters. Luckily there were quite a few character and house write-ups in the back of the book which allowed me to gather an idea of what what could be used. For House Nimoi I selected “Scientific Accuracy” as the house trait. The houses listed in the back had multiple house traits, but the rules did not state how many traits a house starts with. So for the time being I’ll stick with the one. For the Roles of the house, I just filled in some names thinking that the stats would have been generated later.
Enemies of the house is the first section with die rolls. As a Major House, House Nimoi has one Major House and one Minor House that serves the primary enemy and opponents. Instead of rolling twice, I’m going to just name both of them and roll for the primary. House Tevon serves House Malak. For House Malak I rolled a 12 on a d20 for Hatred which means that the house lothes House Nimoi. For reason I rolled a 4 resulting in some past Slight against House Malak. Finally the house stats are done. Now onto the Character
Dune has two character creation options for the game. Planned creation (make the character in full) or Creation in Play (make a few stats and fill in the rest via roleplaying). If I was actually playing in a Dune campaign, I’d be tempted to do the Creation in Play. However I’ll be doing a Planned Creation.
In the 2d20 Star Trek Adventures you have attributes of Control, Fitness, Insight, Presence and Reason. For Dune, Modiphius changed this up to Duty, Faith, Justice, Power and Truth (called Drives). As this is only my second Modiphius 2d20 game, I believe that all of their books under different titles are altered in such a way as to fit the universe that they are for. The Skills are listed as Battle, Communicate, Discipline, Move and Understand. You get a focus(es) for Skills (think specialization) and Statements for your Drives (again something that stands out).
Darkin Tal is the younger Swordmaster for House Nimoi, training under the master Swordmaster: Areth Bishiop. For his Archetype I selected Battlemaster-Warrior. After going through the character creation steps he ended up with the Drives of Duty 7 (My house is my life), Faith 4, Justice 6 (I must shield those in my care), Power 8 (Objects are rarely immovable) and Truth 5. Skill ended up being Battle 7 (Long blades, Short blades, Dirty fighting), Communicate 5, Discipline 6 (Self-control), Move 5 and Understanding 5. I think this is a pretty balanced character. For my three assets I selected a pulse-sword, a semi-shield and an Old-Friendship. I liked how assets could be intangible things as well. After going through the creation process, there are still blank spots on the sheet. Advancement points would need to be earned, but I had to look up faction and determination. Each character starts with one determination and can earn more during play. Factions are specialty groups like the Bene Gesserit or the Spacing Guild. So basically the character is done. Here is both the House and Character Sheet.
Since the game was recently released I did not have any additional supplements to pull character information from. However I did have the core rulebook errata with me. The setup for the rules and character creation was a vast improvement from Star Trek Adventures, but still had a few stumbling blocks. I would have loved to have an experienced GM to answer questions about setting up talents and drives. For some of the talents I had to look at the examples in the back of the book. The overall building process was much easier than it was in Star Trek Adventures. I’d really like to see how this game stacks up in actual play.
I also liked that Dune had a character advancement system and it made sense. If you had difficulty in a task, you earned points towards advancement. I had some friends state their displeasure in a character advancement system in STA. Characters in the show grow on screen, they should do the same in the game.
There has already been a TON of characters posted on the RPG.net message board or found with the social media hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge. I was entering in so many links to the Character Creation Page that I almost rand out of time to get my first character done. Again if you have a link and I haven’t posted it yet, please email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com and thank you for participating. I hope you are having fun with this.
Also the thread on the RPG.net forum has been named a 100 Staff Pick. So the thread is getting a lot of attention.
Coming Up Next:
Wendy’s Feast of Legends