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Check Out The First Dune RPG Art Preview

Modiphius has shared its first preview of the upcoming Dune tabletop roleplaying game -- it's a piece of art!

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Polygon has some more information. The game will use Modiphius 2d20 System (as expected). You can create your own House or join one of Dune's existing major Houses.

Modiphius has a diverse team on this project. Chris Spivey, who you may know from Harlem Unbound, told Polygon that "The books themselves were very white-cis-male-focused. I wanted to attempt to expand that world, bringing different marginalized groups to the front. My goal was to show the history of humanity is vast and inclusive, and to explore the struggle as one where we must all work together to succeed." Khaldoun Khelil, another member of the team, talks to Polygon of his experiences in the Sahara desert -- "“Herbert was also very concerned with the environment, and the his focus on water and the desert as a living place has a special place in my heart as I’m half Algerian".
 
Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
"The books themselves were very white-cis-male-focused. I wanted to attempt to expand that world, bringing different marginalized groups to the front. My goal was to show the history of humanity is vast and inclusive, and to explore the struggle as one where we must all work together to succeed." Khaldoun Khelil, another member of the team, talks to Polygon of his experiences in the Sahara desert -- "“Herbert was also very concerned with the environment, and the his focus on water and the desert as a living place has a special place in my heart as I’m half Algerian".

cis, yes.... but white and male focused? What, because the main character was? I think they portrayed a pretty "diverse" future for their time - and there was no shortage of powerful female characters in the books as well!
 


zhivik

Explorer
Yeah, how exactly is the Dune universe not diverse, as the Fremen, a prominent ethnic group throughout the series, are based on Bedouin culture, have dark skin and carry Arabic names? Or that one of the main factions in the game, the Bene Gesserit, is an order of highly intelligent and able women, who have a very big weight in all major events that take pace in the books?

Look, I will very much appreciate if there are more diverse authors in sci-fi and fantasy, as it will only make the genres richer. But let’s not rewrite history only because it suits us politically. Such absurd comments are what give liberals a bad name and give fuel to extremists. Let’s just calm down and have some common sense for a change.
 

MarkB

Legend
Umm..

One of the main characters is a gay man, that returns later as a woman.

.. but I guess if it isn't positive representation, it doesn't count.
Well, it's certainly not helpful. As I recall, one of the books also includes a cadre of homosexual kamikaze shock-troopers, on the logic that "having given up the choice to reproduce, it was a short step to giving their own lives".
 

Corrosive

Adventurer
Well, it's certainly not helpful. As I recall, one of the books also includes a cadre of homosexual kamikaze shock-troopers, on the logic that "having given up the choice to reproduce, it was a short step to giving their own lives".
Well, describing it as a choice is certainly problematic.
 

MGibster

Legend
I'm not really in the market for this game myself. I really, really enjoyed the first few Dune books, even as they got a bit strange as things went on, but I stopped with the last one Herbert wrote. I just don't have any desire to play a game set in the Dune universe even though it's rife with adventuring opportunities.

From the linked article in the OP, Modiphius seems very defensive about their upcoming release. It's like they're embarrassed by the source material for their upcoming game and decided to make a concerted effort to stave off criticism.
 


TrippyHippy

Adventurer
I think the comments are just a reassurance that the game is inclusive and welcoming to all. The original books, written in the 1960s and 1970s, could be misconstrued as not being inclusive occasionally, but it was not trying to make a statement as such, as far as I am aware.

Anyway, without breaching any NDA, I think it is safe to say that the game will focus on Arrakis as a setting, and allow you to play lots of character types from the books (sword masters, Mentat, Bene Gesserit, Fremen, etc) within your own collectively designed Houses with different tiers of play. It will have original art, which ought to be spectacular, and will probably tie in nicely with the movie releases as inspiration as well as the books. I’d say more, but I don’t think I can yet...
 
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pemerton

Legend
I recently re-read Dune (ie the first novel). I was heavily reminded of Lawrence of Arabia/Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It didn't strike me as particularly "diverse" at all. And I could see it being quite a challenge to rework it to reduce the Orientalism while still maintaining the tropes and themes that are central to the book.

I think those tropes and themes could make for a fairly interesting RPG setting. I don't have a good sense of what long-term play/reusability might look like.
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
I recently re-read Dune (ie the first novel). I was heavily reminded of Lawrence of Arabia/Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It didn't strike me as particularly "diverse" at all.

I think it could make for a fairly interesting RPG setting. I don't have a good sense of what long-term play/reusability might look like.
In terms of long term play, quite simply you will be building the influence of your House - through politics or just in carrying out missions - against the machinations of other Houses. There is at least a passing similarity to Lawrence of Arabia, in allegorical terms, as Arrakis’ spice production - and general geography - is not dissimilar to the oil production that goes on in the Middle East, which makes it a place of importance to competing Houses and the Imperium that is currently the super-power of the known galaxy. Paul Atriedes is a sort of Lawrence of Arabia figure, I guess.

Other notable tropes can be found in Star Wars and also in Game of Thrones, which has a plot structure with a similar arc to Dune. It is very much a foundational, seminal piece of sci-fi/fantasy with a huge influence.
 

pemerton

Legend
It is very much a foundational, seminal piece of sci-fi/fantasy with a huge influence.
Sure. But that doesn't, on its own, resolve the question about long-term play.

In terms of long term play, quite simply you will be building the influence of your House - through politics or just in carrying out missions - against the machinations of other Houses.
I guess the question is, to what extent will this sort of thing resemble the action of Dune itself?
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
Sure. But that doesn't, on its own, resolve the question about long-term play. I guess the question is, to what extent will this sort of thing resemble the action of Dune itself?
That wasn’t my answer to that question. It was the notion that you play, long term, to build the influence of your House - which all the PCs belong to. This will certainly sustain a long campaign, not least because the GM can also create their own Houses along with the ones already established in the books, to pit against and create political intrigue. This would very much capture the essence of the action found in Dune itself.
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Supporter
That wasn’t my answer to that question. It was the notion that you play, long term, to build the influence of your House - which all the PCs belong to. This will certainly sustain a long campaign, not least because the GM can also create their own Houses along with the ones already established in the books, to pit against and create political intrigue. This would very much capture the essence of the action found in Dune itself.
Exactly what I took from the information that Modiphius has released so far.
 

pemerton

Legend
This would very much capture the essence of the action found in Dune itself.
I don't know the rest of the series - but the action in Dune (the novel) itself isn't really about political machination. That provides the backdrop, but the action itself focuses fairly heavily on discovery - discovery of the world as a context and prompt for self-discovery.

I think this can make for pretty rich RPGing. But am not sure about how it works for long-term play.

If the RPG focuses more on politics than persons, that strengthens the long-term play focus but - to me, at least - seems to take it further away from Dune as a story.
 


TrippyHippy

Adventurer
I don't know the rest of the series - but the action in Dune (the novel) itself isn't really about political machination. That provides the backdrop, but the action itself focuses fairly heavily on discovery - discovery of the world as a context and prompt for self-discovery.

I think this can make for pretty rich RPGing. But am not sure about how it works for long-term play.

If the RPG focuses more on politics than persons, that strengthens the long-term play focus but - to me, at least - seems to take it further away from Dune as a story.
The fundamental plot line of Dune tracks the succession of power, based on political maneuvering. It is the machinations of competing Houses trying to outwit each other. The discovery of the world of Arrakis, and the personal development of the characters interacting with it, largely stems from the outcomes of these conflicts - and I’d imagine the Dune RPG will develop both aspects as fundamentals in the game design.

I think the link provided above by jacleg05 gives a lot of context to how the politics of Dune interact with the exploration and self-discovery aspects. The Dune game will support long term play and be faithful to the books.
 

MGibster

Legend
I think the comments are just a reassurance that the game is inclusive and welcoming to all. The original books, written in the 1960s and 1970s, could be misconstrued as not being inclusive occasionally, but it was not trying to make a statement as such, as far as I am aware.
But what prompted them to make that reassurance? Have there been complaints about the game not being diverse? Are they afraid of the source material?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
So we got a very cool bit if art to whet our appetites. And we're arguing about representation in a game that no one has read yet? Umkay. Why don't we let them write the silly thing before we get our knickers in a twist?

I'm just going to assume there will be mechanics for maneuvering for political advantage. We'll see how good those are I guess, and that'll be the make or break thing for me I suspect.
 

MGibster

Legend
So we got a very cool bit if art to whet our appetites. And we're arguing about representation in a game that no one has read yet? Umkay. Why don't we let them write the silly thing before we get our knickers in a twist?
We got more than a bit of art we also got a few paragraphs attached to it.
 

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