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".
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

pemerton

Legend
Yes, but a big point of the Dune saga is that the agency of EVERYONE is subordinated in one way or another.
One of most important points of the series is that Paul refuses to accept his role in the myth.

Secondly, Paul is intended to become a controllable product of eugenics. Thinking that for some reason his lineage was strictly white is quite a leap.

Three, Paul is not an outsider to Fremen culture, with all the work of Bene Gesserit and their missionaries. His fate is to become a cog in a complex machine.

I re-read Dune (the novel, not the series) fairly recently. The focus of the action is clearly on Paul. We learn about his thoughts. His choices are central to the events of the story. The prophecies for the future are all introduced and filtered through him as the medium and chief actor of them. He is the trigger for the Fremen beginning the realisation of their destiny.

I think this is the sort of thing @MarkB was referring to upthread. And it belies the point that, within the fiction, everyone is subject to external causation. Paul is a protagonist par excellence.
 

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pemerton

Legend
Anyone who has seen the beta rules (it was briefly posted on Reddit) but taken don) will notice the game abandons the attributes popular with D&D heroes and goes for some thing called beliefs to define characters.
Sadly, that Dune preview of rules did not look like any other 2d20 game. The radical new design seems interesting at first glance, but most people still play D&D so would surely be looking for attributes like Dexterity/Agility or even Intelligence/Reason or something like along those familiar lines.
It does sound promising to define characters by reference to the sorts of personality elements that matter in the story.
 


imagineGod

Legend
With regards to not-everything being 5th Edition D&D, one reason I supported that new Stargate RPG was that D&D angle. Sadly, the classes there stop at Level 5, based on the previews backers got shown.
 

Anyone who has seen the beta rules (it was briefly posted on Reddit) but taken don) will notice the game abandons the attributes popular with D&D heroes and goes for some thing called beliefs to define characters. A hurdle, surely, to convince your D&D group to play Dune.

Modiphus has been hiding those rules from the public. Not sure if that is a winning strategy since maybe something closer to D&D could have been done with more feedback.
Well, it looks like that NDA has just been blown!

The reason why they are using more abstract Attributes than typical D&D, is so that you can play the game at a strategic level as well as typical adventure level. The game will have elements of Ars Magica’s troupe style play. It won’t just run like D&D.
Morrus said:
They’re using their 2d20 system, I thought.
Yes. It’s a variation of the 2d20 system.
 
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ruemere

Adventurer
I re-read Dune (the novel, not the series) fairly recently. The focus of the action is clearly on Paul. We learn about his thoughts. His choices are central to the events of the story. The prophecies for the future are all introduced and filtered through him as the medium and chief actor of them. He is the trigger for the Fremen beginning the realisation of their destiny.

I think this is the sort of thing @MarkB was referring to upthread. And it belies the point that, within the fiction, everyone is subject to external causation. Paul is a protagonist par excellence.
Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with that. Paul does a big job attempting to escape the programmed destiny (ref. the ending of the second book).

What I would like to say, is that Paul is intended to play his role. To become a part of larger scheme. And he (and Alia) appear too soon according to certain BG on the scene.

In a way it is confirmed by Paul moving away from the grand vision, while his son becomes what Paul (and Alia) refused to.
 

imagineGod

Legend
Well, it looks like that NDA has just been blown!

The reason why they are using more abstract Attributes than typical D&D, is so that you can play the game at a strategic level as well as typical adventure level. The game will have elements of Ars Magica’s troupe style play. It won’t just run like D&D.

Yes. It’s a variation of the 2d20 system.
I wondering if keeping the rules secret, protected by the NDA, maybe Modiphius is concerned with scaring away D&D players with its variant rules mechanics in Dune's 2d20, which seems so different from their traditional 2d20 line like Star Trek or Conan?

Previously, Modiphius offered quickstarter previews for Mutant Chronicles and Conan, and even third party products like Odyssey of the Dragonlords, which is D&D by the way.
 


I wondering if keeping the rules secret, protected by the NDA, maybe Modiphius is concerned with scaring away D&D players with its variant rules mechanics in Dune's 2d20, which seems so different from their traditional 2d20 line like Star Trek or Conan?

Previously, Modiphius offered quickstarter previews for Mutant Chronicles and Conan, and even third party products like Odyssey of the Dragonlords, which is D&D by the way.
There is meant to be some sort of rules preview quickstarter type of thing coming out when the pre-orders open (in December). We aren’t actually supposed to be discussing the rules publicly before then.

The rules variances are basically about tailoring the game to the setting and mode of play. Conan is about heroic adventure, whereas Dune involves a lot more political intrigue. And yes, Ars Magica was definitely something discussed in the game development.
 




GreyLord

Legend
It's been a while since I read Dune, but I don't recall it stating that Paul is White.
I know that the Harkonen's are implied to be white (and redheaded), and that Jessica is from that heritage/house, but I don't recall it saying that Leto and his family are necessarily white.

I imagined Paul as a more mixed heritage when I read it the first time many years ago, but that could also be because I was much younger then and didn't catch everything.

Does the book explicitly state it? Or if not does this idea come because all the films and such have a white actor playing Paul?

Adding : I don't think the Fremen were labled as white, though once again, there could be something that said they were and I missed it in the book. If they were not, than the children of Paul would definately not be white, though they'd have a partially white background (at least from their grandmother's side). This would mean the greatest of them, the Worm, would actually be non-white...or am I completely off on this thinking?

Conversely, the later books (heretics and chapterhouse) can be controversial as some would think it shows empowerment to women, while others could see it and they way they have to express or gain power as actually be rather misogynistic towards women in some of the views put forth.
 
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imagineGod

Legend
It has been stated in the preview that the core game will focus on playing Houses on Arrakis. We don’t know what supplements will follow.
Only if it sells well enough. Innovation and artwise I think it will win awards but once some of the D&D crowd play one session of it, they will tell their mates, and many will simply say it is way too out there to be worth the time investment for many of those D&D groups.
 

pemerton

Legend
I wondering if keeping the rules secret, protected by the NDA, maybe Modiphius is concerned with scaring away D&D players with its variant rules mechanics in Dune's 2d20, which seems so different from their traditional 2d20 line like Star Trek or Conan?
Only if it sells well enough. Innovation and artwise I think it will win awards but once some of the D&D crowd play one session of it, they will tell their mates, and many will simply say it is way too out there to be worth the time investment for many of those D&D groups.
I don't get your apparent obsession with the degree to which the game's mechanics mimic D&D.

As far as I know, it's not being marketed as a D&D supplement or D&D variant. There are many RPGs that don't resemble D&D in system or play - Apocalypse World and its derivatives, Blades in the Dark and its derivatives, Fate and Cortex+ in all their forms, just to name some well-known ones. The world has room for at least one more.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I mean....it’s a licensed game from Modiphius. All those use some variation on the 2d20 system. Or at least the big, recent ones. Why would anyone expect the game to be like D&D?

I’ve only played the system a bit myself, but it seemed to have some potential, in my opinion.

I’d think that a property like Dune might lend itself to some less traditional elements. And also that people interested in the series and in trying the game would be more open to an approach that didn’t feel the need to be so conservative.
 

MGibster

Legend
I’d think that a property like Dune might lend itself to some less traditional elements. And also that people interested in the series and in trying the game would be more open to an approach that didn’t feel the need to be so conservative.

I'm a big, big fan of games with rules that are focused on emulating a genre, a work of fiction, or a particular idea of some kind. D&D is one of those games that somehow manages to be somewhat generic yet very specifically it's own thing which I find impressive. But give me games like Pendragon, Ars Magica, Vampire, Paranoia, and Call of Cthulhu with rules designed to work with the setting. Of course you run the risk of alienating some of your audience. If you're not really interested in the type of game Vampire is selling then the system doesn't work well for something more generic and the same goes for Pendragon.

I imagine the line between commercial viability and being true to the source material is perilous at times. I certainly don't envy the authors of such RPGs. I'm actually mildly interested in this now and I sure don't want a D&D clone. I want something designed to emulate the Dune series.
 

pemerton

Legend
I’d think that a property like Dune might lend itself to some less traditional elements. And also that people interested in the series and in trying the game would be more open to an approach that didn’t feel the need to be so conservative.
I sure don't want a D&D clone. I want something designed to emulate the Dune series.
Just thinking about PC build:

* Role and training are big things in Dune - being a mentat, having learned how to duel with a shield, playing the baliset, etc. So I'd expect to see ways to acquire these sorts of traits.

* Heritage and conviction are big things too - being a member of such-and-such a house, understanding one's purpose or destiny to be such-and-such, etc. So that should be in there somewhere.

* Equipment also matters: stillsuits, shields, vehicles, etc.

What will be interesting is whether or not they decide to have a granular approach to resolution, where various traits etc modify some core stats that aren't themselves important elements of Dune the story (which is how D&D often does it). I would be more interested in this if they don't do that, and instead just have traits brought directly to bear in action resolution (which is how Cortex+ and HeroWars/Quest tend to do it).
 


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