Thanks. I have read the book. I just haven't gotten to play it. I was hoping from some actual play insights.
Should have made that more clear.
I have to be careful, because a lot of my play of Dune has been under an NDA... and the tested materials are not yet out.
As a GM, remember that most things in game are just traits. Even your guards are just traits. Traits that you can use either as modifiers to a character's abilities, or be expanded into game stats.
Remember the 7 uses for traits (4 are explicit, two are buried in the equipment mechanics, and one is in the complication specific):
- D+1 per rank
- D-1 per rank
- Usually allowed task prohibited
- Usually prohibited task allowed
- +1 effect per rank
- -1 effect per rank
- Complication range expands by 1.
Remember that Complications and Advantages are nothing more than traits with only half the outcomes disallowed... but if they make sense in the story state, you CAN use them for positives - do this sparingly.
As with Fate or Cortex Plus/Prime, a good bit of system mastery is knowing when a character needs to make a trait (F= temporary aspect; CP = asset or complication). Remember that a temporary trait can be used in the same way as a Fate Compel - but without the payoff.
The other vital warning: make certain your players' drive statements are broad enough to be useful and narrow enough to limit them a bit. I've seen a lot of players shoot for too narrow; a few (mostly those prone to rules lawyering) go WAY too broad. This is really the key thematic enforcement element in the rules.
You can use players' drive statements for "defining what I want to see dramatically" if your players are good at putting that in, but you're better off asking explicitly..
Nearly every conflict can be reduced to a single roll if desired, or expanded to, at the least, a race to finish on extended tasks. It's a matter of taste and story state.
Be generous with regaining Determination. Generous, not pushover. Same for applicability of traits, especially scene and story specific traits.
Don't hoard your threat-pile. SOme players will feel like you went too easy on them if you end with a huge pile.
Don't feed the snowball - when you notice they're running on zero momentum carried, don't add to the complication range, and find excuses to not apply any increases of it you've used.
Keep complication traits short lived for the most part. If not short lived, fairly narrow. (Sucking Chest Wound is neither short lived nor narrow. But I did have a player suggest that as a triple during a defense roll botch...) If players suggest ones that fit, all the better - trim them back to suitable.
The book's lack of mention of architect mode will become a major issue in some later materials. Be aware of it, and remember that the warfare and espionage both work really well in architect mode.
(for others: In Architect mode, traits are used as pieces in a conflict; the rolls are made by the creating/owning/controlling character. In agent mode, you turn a trait into one or more minor NPCs, using their stats. Both are supported by the rules, but the semi-open playtest had a much clearer direct explication)
One thing that worked really well for me was apparently irrelevant to current conflict scene PC's being allowed to trait build by use of information and/or remote traits. The fremen handing a supply of bats to the warmaster, for example, in a straightup hunt for harkonnen saboteurs. The BG using the voice at start to create the trait "Focused on task" for the house troops for that mission.
The Doc having "previously" given the men exertion supplements so that they don't suffer electrolyte losses while on the search. Yes, flashbacks for generated traits... Or even for a unit of goons in mufti hidden at the starport.