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Author Topic: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)  (Read 1557 times)

Marchand

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New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« on: September 12, 2020, 10:08:51 AM »
This was a while ago so it may already have received the response it deserves, but I just came across it.


"Whatever I am writing, I always hope to make the material inclusive and accessible... One of my writing challenges has always been finding a way to make history accessible and engaging to the reader; understanding history is important in real life and doubly so in Dune with the shifting political alliances, power struggles, and knowing the telltale signs of a Face Dancer that may save your life. The books themselves were very white-cis-male-focused [my emphasis]. 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".


On one level, why am I surprised and why I don't I just face the wokeness and let the wokeness pass over me and through me?


I suppose it's because I do actually really love Dune, the novel and the 84 film both, and that is why I am so angry at this guy rubbishing it while cashing in on it, so he can cash in on it some more.



"White-cis-male focussed" - ok... apart from one of the main factions (Bene Gesserit) being entirely women. And female Fremen being clearly depicted fighting alongside men. The Fremen's "whiteness" is unclear to me. More generally, would it not be a bit odd to have people clearly belong to present-day Earth racial classifications in the year 10,191?


What if those classifications were no longer relevant or even in existence? What would you talk about then, Chris?


For the cherry on the turd, is it really that "challenging" to "make history accessible and engaging to the reader"? History is intrinsically fascinating, if you're at all interested in people on any level; that is, people as people in their own context, rather than treating the past as raw material to be twisted into an endless morality play to make political points or for commercial advantage.

I was recently telling someone I would almost certainly buy the RPG, because Dune, even though I don't care for the 2d20 system. Now I know I would be giving money to someone who not only seems to have an issue with people like me, but who doesn't seem to like the story of Dune itself. Instead of all that passion and conflict and crazy mysticism, we are going to get a story about how "we must all work together to succeed".

**

Apart from not liking the 2d20 system, my more fundamental issue with a Dune RPG is, what are the PCs actually supposed to do?

Either you try and engage with the themes of the Dune universe, species memory and predestination and the interaction of civilisation with the physical environment, or you don't.

I am sceptical about the ability of pretty much any group to engage with the big themes in a satisfying way. Unless you are retelling the story of the books, the GM needs to come up with a story of equivalent power and scope, presumably happening at some other point in the future history, or it risks falling flat. I struggle to see it working.

If you don't try and engage with the big themes then you could do spice smugglers on Arrakis or something. Which is fine, but you might as well be playing Traveller, except there is a mild fanboy thrill from using Dune terminology.

I have seen the old LUG RPG and wasn't that impressed with the example campaign setup, of PCs as a house retinue (on some non-Arrakis planet) engaged in a petty feud about a lost baliset. I could imagine playing it and thinking, OK what's going on on Arrakis right now?? I read somewhere the PCs' doings should be the most important thing happening in the game world, at least as far as the players are concerned. Hard to do in Dune.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 10:12:50 AM by Marchand »

Simlasa

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 01:24:14 PM »
Apart from not liking the 2d20 system, my more fundamental issue with a Dune RPG is, what are the PCs actually supposed to do?
The same could be said for Star Wars. Unless you can get past having to have Death Stars and Darth Vader stand-ins with every campaign (which even the movies seem to have trouble doing). You need to extrapolate from what you're shown in the movies... imagine other significant situations and places and characters.


I only ever read the first book of Dune, but I'm guessing there is enough setting material in the series to suggest other intrigues on other worlds between other factions to focus on. No, it probably won't be some huge mythic event, and I'd probably just want to keep it away from Arrakis altogether.
It's why I generally favor the 'not' versions of famous settings... not-Trek and not-Star Wars. 40k has a good chunk of not-Dune in it (along with a truckload of other 'nots').

Pat

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 02:13:04 PM »
I only ever read the first book of Dune, but I'm guessing there is enough setting material in the series to suggest other intrigues on other worlds between other factions to focus on. No, it probably won't be some huge mythic event, and I'd probably just want to keep it away from Arrakis altogether.
Less than you'd think. The later books don't explore the universe as much as they remain focused on (Ar)rakis, just in vastly different eras. The galaxy of Dune is more constrained and has less opportunities for extrapolation than the galaxy of Star Wars, unless they want to jump ahead to the period after the Scattering. Which seems unlikely, because they'd lose the feel of classic Dune, and Heretics and Chapterhouse are the least popular books in the series.

Simlasa

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2020, 02:27:54 PM »
Less than you'd think. The later books don't explore the universe as much as they remain focused on (Ar)rakis, just in vastly different eras.
Well, I knew that the story stays focused on Arrakis... but I figured there would be mention of other places to go explore. Like what is the Bene Gesserit getting up to on Ix? (not in the books, in a game based on the setting).
Though, the one time I did play in a Star Wars RPG, everyone at the table seemed set on replaying the setup of the original movie, Death Star and all that. They were having their fun, but it seemed like there was a LOT of other stuff they could have got up to.

Dune is one of those books that always come up in the "What setting should have an RPG made of it?" threads... as if people were hot to play games in it... so what were they picturing doing with it?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 02:31:12 PM by Simlasa »

Pat

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2020, 02:52:36 PM »
Well, I knew that the story stays focused on Arrakis... but I figured there would be mention of other places to go explore. Like what is the Bene Gesserit getting up to on Ix? (not in the books, in a game based on the setting).
There's some additional politicking in Messiah and Children, but it's mostly about the next generation; the universe isn't expanded much beyond what you read in the first book. The problem is the Dune series isn't about exploring a static universe as much as it is about exploring changes over time. There's literally a 5,000 year gulf between Dune and the last two books written by Frank Herbert, which doesn't give the PCs more places to play as much as it resets the setting entirely, at least twice. And the bulk of that period would be very hard to adapt to a game -- the reign of the God-Emperor is placid, static, boring, and you can't even play the resistance, because Leto II is effectively omniscient. Even a trick like PC immunity to his prescience is out, because that would invalidate the main plot of the book.

The difference between the Republic and the Empire in Star Wars is much less stark.

Simlasa

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2020, 03:17:19 PM »
What about setting it sometime before the first book? Houses and intrigues, plots and plotters, but no spicy conundrums in the desert? There's still a lot of stuff that would have to be 'made up', but it sounds more interesting... to me.
(Frankly, I didn't much like the book and that's why I never read more. I liked Lynch's movie though... and I can the desire to put the setting up on blocks and steal its tires.)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 04:33:58 PM by Simlasa »

lordmalachdrim

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2020, 03:21:44 PM »
If you want a Dune feel in a game with room to play pick up Fading Suns (I'd recommend 2nd ed)

Ratman_tf

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2020, 03:24:04 PM »
How I would run a Dune RPG.


Set during the events of the first Dune novel between the fall of House Atredies and the finale of the first novel. (That's a span of many years)
The PCs are all members of a minor House in the Landsraad. Like the Atredies in the books, the PCs are the swordmasters, spies, mentats, and rogue Bene Gesserit advisors to the minor House.
I'd come up with another minor House as their chief rival, but other factions have their interests in this minor House as well.


We're all RPGers here. I'm sure everybody can brainstorm cool and interesting stuff for the PCs to do to protect this minor House and advance it's interests in the Dune universe, while preserving the tone and feel of the novel. Make deals with smugglers from Arrakis to get spice, interact with the Bene Gesserit who have taken an interest in someone's genetic legacy, maybe harbor Atredies refugees from Harkonnens hunting them down. Etc.
The notion of an exclusionary and hostile RPG community is a fever dream of zealots who view all social dynamics through a narrow keyhole of structural oppression.
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LiferGamer

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2020, 05:41:11 PM »
With this jerk wearing his wokeness on his sleeve and you not liking the system it sounds like you know enough that you'd be better off either grabbing something like gurps or Savage worlds, and building your own.
Your Forgotten Realms was my first The Last Jedi.

If the party is gonna die, they want to be riding and blasting/hacking away at a separate one of Tiamat's heads as she plummets towards earth with broken wings while Solars and Planars sing.

Pat

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2020, 09:43:37 PM »
What about setting it sometime before the first book? Houses and intrigues, plots and plotters, but no spicy conundrums in the desert? There's still a lot of stuff that would have to be 'made up', but it sounds more interesting... to me.
(Frankly, I didn't much like the book and that's why I never read more. I liked Lynch's movie though... and I can the desire to put the setting up on blocks and steal its tires.)
Isn't that where most of the Brian Herbert books are set? That could make it tricky, because you either have to ignore the work of the people who currently control the IP, or you have to based your RPG on works that are widely considered inferior to the original.

But ignoring those considerations, there are really two major times that seem gameable: The time of the Landsraad through the emergence of the God-Emperor, or after the Scattering. The first is the only one that will feel like "Dune" to most people, so you're really stuck with book 1-3, or slightly earlier.

Which makes me want to steal from Pendragon. Have the Great Atreides Campaign, and run a game from the Harkonnens falling into disfavor, to Leto I, Maud'dib, the Jihad, and the rise of the God-Emperor. Passions, loyalty, and generational adventure in the shadow of galaxy-shaking events.

Marchand

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2020, 07:22:47 AM »
What about setting it sometime before the first book? Houses and intrigues, plots and plotters, but no spicy conundrums in the desert? There's still a lot of stuff that would have to be 'made up', but it sounds more interesting... to me.
(Frankly, I didn't much like the book and that's why I never read more. I liked Lynch's movie though... and I can the desire to put the setting up on blocks and steal its tires.)
Isn't that where most of the Brian Herbert books are set? That could make it tricky, because you either have to ignore the work of the people who currently control the IP, or you have to based your RPG on works that are widely considered inferior to the original.

But ignoring those considerations, there are really two major times that seem gameable: The time of the Landsraad through the emergence of the God-Emperor, or after the Scattering. The first is the only one that will feel like "Dune" to most people, so you're really stuck with book 1-3, or slightly earlier.

Which makes me want to steal from Pendragon. Have the Great Atreides Campaign, and run a game from the Harkonnens falling into disfavor, to Leto I, Maud'dib, the Jihad, and the rise of the God-Emperor. Passions, loyalty, and generational adventure in the shadow of galaxy-shaking events.


I would have zero problem ignoring the Brian Herbert stuff. This is my own gaming, not for publication.


A great houses, faction game could work. Plenty of faction-level play systems out there e.g. SWN that could be reskinned.

HappyDaze

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2020, 10:18:45 AM »
I own several of the Modiphius 2d20 game lines (Conan, MC3, JCoM, and STA) and I'm of mixed feelings about them. The system is functional, but it varies a bit in level of detail (and I don't know where on that spectrum Dune will fall) and the narrative elements create a bit of GM antagonism cooked into the metacurrency that I don't really like. However, what they do for exploring the worlds has often left me cold. They do pull out a lot of material for their settings, but they tend to present it in coldly factual and uninspiring ways. Sadly, I find their books boring to read through...which I guess isn't entirely bad as they want players (and GMs) to get their heads out of the books and into the actual play, but still there feels like a missed mark here. With Dune, I'm not convinced that they will present the material in a way that is engaging for any that are not already steeped in Dune lore (I have only dabbled), and that means the game will likely only appeal to an increasingly small audience.

Spinachcat

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2020, 01:54:37 AM »

Wow. Another worthless woke book of weakass SJW bullshit??


Hey, I get to save even more money!

If you want a Dune feel in a game with room to play pick up Fading Suns (I'd recommend 2nd ed)


Fading Suns is the best Dune RPG. Absolutely recommend, but buy the old stuff.

lordmalachdrim

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2020, 03:05:16 PM »

Wow. Another worthless woke book of weakass SJW bullshit??


Hey, I get to save even more money!

If you want a Dune feel in a game with room to play pick up Fading Suns (I'd recommend 2nd ed)


Fading Suns is the best Dune RPG. Absolutely recommend, but buy the old stuff.


Which is why I recommended 2nd ed. Last edition by Holistic Design and still fairly easy to get your hands on. If your a PDF person you can get them from Ulisses Spiele on Drivethrurpg.

Spinachcat

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2020, 09:43:10 PM »
D20 Fading Suns was a pale copy of 1e/2e, but I enjoyed it enough back when I had players who were D20 junkies. Fading Suns is a treasure trove of great story ideas.
Stars without Number would probably do Dune quite well. We did it with Classic Traveller back in the ancient time without issue.

If I ran a Dune campaign again (obviously not using Modifartus), I would have the PCs in the retinue of House Harkonnen dealing with the aftermath of the treachery. That might be fun.