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Author Topic: Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas  (Read 1318 times)

Eric Diaz

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Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2018, 08:02:35 PM »
Quote from: tenbones;1019901
Darksun is nothing like Dune other than they're set in desert-settings. Darksun is post-apocalyptic dark-ages sword-and-sorcery. Sure they have surface level similarities - but those conceits are largely superficial. Dune is feudal and deeply political and factionalized with a ginormous amount of religious mysticism at the core asking ginormous questions about the fundamental natures of people. Heady stuff for an RPG to be sure - which I'm less concerned with. But they're elements that greatly informs the setting.

It's one of the things I generally don't like about most D&D games I see when it comes to spellcasters, and divine-spellcasters in particular: a reductionist view of how of those forces, and those that wield them are completely absent from the setting's own assumptions. Clerics are reduced to just "the party healer", casters are "glass-cannons" and the context of those individuals as somehow "normal professions".

Dune takes all these things in their respective manner into account. In a Fantasy-version of Dune, the same tact with some twists would have to be established as well to establish why the world is as it is.

1) Being from the Sisterhood/Counters/Guild would have immediate implicit assumptions tied to it. Basically their factions have deep control over their activities. One of the conceits of Dune though it's rarely an issue - is that depending on how high-up the food chain within these respective factions you are, your abilities are predicated on obedience to your faction which they control via the various addictions you've acquired to maximize those abilities.

2) The world has to reflect the *need* for these beings to exist. The very abilities of these factions are the commodities they alone control. The Sisterhood are the ultimate in negotiations and even to some degree in spying. The Counters are masters of whatever skills they've trained in to super-human degrees, spies, assassins, strategy, logistics etc. Guildsmen are commodity controllers of production and the ability to acquire things necessary for the other factions to even survive. This would mean the Faction rules in play would have to account for these things. So being in bad-standing could cost you your life.

One good direct connection you made is the Dragon Lords <> God Emperor. Structurally they kind of inhabit the same space. But for the purposes of a Dune Fantasy RPG that would be way down the line. The God Emperor doesn't come to fruition until the end of the second book in the series and there's a LOT that could be done before that.

Well, these are cool. I'm not that familiar with Dune.

It seems there are some similarities but superficial ones?

For example, Dark Sun has their assassin orders, secret societies, guilds, etc. - each with their own commodities I think. But maybe the world doesn't reflect the need for these beings to exist.

I think it is interesting to compare these settings.

So, how would a Dark Sun bards (spies/negotiators/assassins) look like  if they were Bene Gesserit? Maybe they would be more religious and respected?

What about Psions? How would they differ from mentats etc?

"Mental powers are used on an everyday basis in Athasian culture.

Telepaths allow instantaneous communication across hundreds of miles. Draft animals and slaves are kept under control by psionic overseers. Prophets use their visionary powers to forecast the fortunes of kings and peasants, find missing objects, and solve crimes. Kineticists and egoists use their potent abilities in all manner of enterprises, both legitimate and otherwise. "

So maybe in a Dune-like setting they would have a more pronounced social role instead of individual abilities?

etc.

But, again, just an idea.

ASOIAF might indeed be a better fit with their maesters, septons, etc.
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darthfozzywig

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Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 12:29:25 PM »
Quote from: Eric Diaz;1019948

ASOIAF might indeed be a better fit with their maesters, septons, etc.


I fiddled around with adapting ASoiAF to Dune for a bit awhile back. Making House creation tables, that sort of thing, since in the main the game works as-is: melee focused combat, intrigue rules that can compel PC actions, etc.
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tenbones

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Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2018, 01:28:03 PM »
Quote from: Eric Diaz;1019948
Well, these are cool. I'm not that familiar with Dune.

It seems there are some similarities but superficial ones?

For example, Dark Sun has their assassin orders, secret societies, guilds, etc. - each with their own commodities I think. But maybe the world doesn't reflect the need for these beings to exist.

I think it is interesting to compare these settings.

On retrospect I think I should expand a bit on my view that the similarities are superficial. When I say that, I'm talking about the whole scope of Dune vs. Darksun. But Athas and Arrakis have a more similarities partially due to the needs of their respective biomes which their inherent cultures are set in.

Quote from: Eric Diaz;1019948
So, how would a Dark Sun bards (spies/negotiators/assassins) look like  if they were Bene Gesserit? Maybe they would be more religious and respected?

If we were going to use Darksun as a template (i.e. D&D class-based mechanics), while thematically it would be close. Bene Gesserit would be probably be closer to being Monks with some mystical perceptive abilities tossed in. Ironically you could also do this with Psionic classes via 3.x

Quote from: Eric Diaz;1019948
What about Psions? How would they differ from mentats etc?

"Mental powers are used on an everyday basis in Athasian culture.

Mentats are super-skill-monkeys in Dune. They're capable of *fantastic* cognitive levels that could replicated mechanically as psionic/magic powers. Clairvoyance/Audience, Augery, etc. on top of very high mental stats. By going full Psion, I'd probably give them a specific range of powers to choose from. The caveat here is that the more powerful you allow your psionic/magic systems to be, the harder you'll have to be on controlling the proliferation of such powers. The game could easily have recommendations for such power/control sliders. Or just go wheels off. There's a LOT of powers that Bene Gesserit/Mentat/Guildsmen would have that overlap. But there are some that are unique to each faction/class. Bene Gesserit definitely have Suggestion and at higher levels Charm - one might argue Dominate. Guildsmen may have Blink, Teleport and other space-rending/perceptual abilities.

An important distinction would be to illustrate the customs of each faction and *why* they do what they do - and why their respective powers are secret or largely occluded from the others despite their sources being similar. This implies the training techniques would be so arduous and intensive that either it affects their worldview or their respective sources are fundamentally different - The Mentats use Sapho while the Bene Gesserit use Melange. Coupled with their distinctive training, they produce different results (be it class, skills, feats, edges, etc)

Athas has its religious cults around the Dragon Kings (Templars) and would be closer to Dune, post-Paul. Athas largely ignores the world outside its desert environs but the conceits are closer to God Emperor, only you have a bunch of mini-God Emperors each playing chess against one another. Whereas in the Dune scenario you have many powerful factions playing chess against the singular overlord.

Ideally were I to do this setting - I'd set it up pre-God Emperor and have the rules allow for a PC to potentially take that role (but not necessarily mandate it). Call it the egalitarian streak in me, the competitive challenge of designing fiefdom-rules to contain enough heft to allow a PC become the central figure in their world's history is pretty tantalizing. The potential PvP would be very high and might necessitate NPC status for the new God Emperor as the campaign shifts into a generational conflict pitting the PC's against their ancestors. Yeah... that would be daunting and fun.

Quote from: Eric Diaz;1019948
Telepaths allow instantaneous communication across hundreds of miles. Draft animals and slaves are kept under control by psionic overseers. Prophets use their visionary powers to forecast the fortunes of kings and peasants, find missing objects, and solve crimes. Kineticists and egoists use their potent abilities in all manner of enterprises, both legitimate and otherwise. "

So maybe in a Dune-like setting they would have a more pronounced social role instead of individual abilities?

This is the nuts and bolts of designing these conceits into the game and how they would be self-regulated. Guildsmen might have telepathic abilities to communicate over vast distances *in order* to focus their teleportation or navigation abilities. Prophets and ascetics of the Sisterhood advice kings, royalty, personages of power, while carrying on with their Breeding Program to produce their vision of the Messiah, the perfect Bene Gesserit that is male (or whatever cosmic conspiracy floats your boat). Another big aspect is considering what emergent abilities will manifest as time wears on - including itemization- which is also a big part of Dune. In a fantasy version it would be even more pronounced.

tenbones

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Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2018, 01:31:03 PM »
Quote from: darthfozzywig;1020094
I fiddled around with adapting ASoiAF to Dune for a bit awhile back. Making House creation tables, that sort of thing, since in the main the game works as-is: melee focused combat, intrigue rules that can compel PC actions, etc.

I think at its foundation Dune is much closer in structure to GoT than Darksun. But the things that are missing are diametrically in amount to all the *extra* stuff Darksun has in it that is necessary.

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Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2018, 01:03:44 AM »
You could use a heavily-modified Arrows of Indra.
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Re: Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2020, 07:28:34 PM »

http://methodsetmadness.blogspot.com.br/2015/06/mad-max-dark-sun-and-50-things-that.html

http://methodsetmadness.blogspot.com.br/2015/10/mad-sun-part-i-inspirations.html
Eric, these are EXCELLENT!! Thank you.

Love the idea of Mad Max Dark Sun.
(and thanks to Tenbones for linking to this thread in the recent Dune discussion!)

LiferGamer

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Re: Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2020, 09:54:05 PM »
So Tenbones... how would you stat a Bene Gesserit in.... FANTASYCRAFT?
Love this, mostly teasing.
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tenbones

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Re: Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2020, 11:35:26 PM »
Man I really want to get back to that thread! And now... statting a Bene Gesserit in FC for this one??  /makes another earmark.


Honestly I'd make Bene Gesserit in a "Dune inspired" fantasy game martial-artists with self-buffing psionic skills that focused on perception abilities and physiological edges to speed, accuracy, and metabolic abilities.


I could *easily* do this in Savage Worlds.


FC will require the the Adventurer's Companion because they have a lot of kickass open-hand martial artist stuff.

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Re: Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2020, 12:18:33 AM »
Fantasy Dune via Savage Worlds....sounds good.

Shawn Driscoll

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Re: Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2020, 11:20:56 PM »
DUNE is about ideas. Not about characters or setting. Any RPG of it is FAIL.

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Re: Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2020, 11:38:58 PM »
DUNE is about ideas. Not about characters or setting. Any RPG of it is FAIL.


That's the lamest, most negative comment I've ever seen you write, Shawn. Badly done, Emma.
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Re: Dune as a *Fantasy RPG*... campaign design ideas
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2020, 02:25:04 PM »
DUNE is about ideas. Not about characters or setting. Any RPG of it is FAIL.


That's the lamest, most negative comment I've ever seen you write, Shawn. Badly done, Emma.


Gotta agree with Panzerkraken here. This shows a failure of imagination on your part. The political intrigues between House Atreides and House Harkonnen have provided lots of inspiration for my nobles in Traveller throughout the years. Dune is not just about ideas, but the characters who express them and the settings which frame those ideas.