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Author Topic: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)  (Read 1536 times)

oggsmash

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2020, 06:31:00 PM »
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.


   I can say I am not a fan of the 2d20, but their book production quality is fantastic.  Do you by chance know how they afford the licenses?   I have always read the Conan is pricey, I can see the MC being a bit more affordable, but Star Trek, Fallout, and Dune?  I have to think those are going to cost a lot.  I am considering the dune book just based on quality and novelty to own it.  I agree with their presentation, great art, but the writing is not inspiring, and I would think with a system that plays a bit differently they would provide multiple flavor soaked examples in the pulp they seem to love to produce games for.

jhkim

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2020, 06:34:32 PM »
It seems to me that there's a similar issue to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings -- though it's slightly worse because the main Dune books are centered on a single planet, while Tolkien at least has a wide range of areas. I should note that I've only read the first book, so I don't have a good handle on the wider setting.

The problem is that the books are centered on a big civilization-altering plotline. Setting it away from the big plot means that the game doesn't evoke the meat of the books. It's like running a game set in the Star Wars universe, but all on a single planet dealing with local problems -- it's technically possible within the setting, but it doesn't live up to players' expectations of the game.

In Dune, it seems to me that the whole theme of precognition makes it difficult for the PCs to have a larger impact on the setting. I played in a Dune one-shot game that was set on a remote system after the original book, where the system was holding out against Emperor Atreides's Jihad - with the option that we wouldn't turn the tide of the jihad, but some negotiation was possible based on unusual stuff going on in the system. As a remote system, it wasn't the focus of the emperor's attention - so we avoided some issues there.

oggsmash

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2020, 07:02:19 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.
  I often buy setting books and then use GURPS or Savage worlds on the ideas I get from the setting books.  At this point, I never know if an author is full woke, or if they HAVE to toss a bit like he did out or suffer the wrath of the twitter mob.   So far as I have seen, Modiphius has some great quality with their books, I scratch my head wondering how they pay for some of the licenses they have, maybe they are selling a whole lot better than I think. (edited to add this) I found an interview from last year with the guy who founded the company, it looks like he has a ton of money from being an agent and working with some big companies as well,  he also has a ton of contacts, savvy, and appears to have the gift of gab in the sense of basically every character Jeremy Piven ever played, so I think he is very good at getting deals that will not break him.  Interesting so see a guy who is very good at his business then getting into rpgs as a business.  Not the way it usually works out.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 07:16:14 PM by oggsmash »

Trond

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2020, 04:25:24 PM »
Quote
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".


Ouch. All those social justice buzz-words make this part pretty cringey!

ThatChrisGuy

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2020, 05:24:39 PM »
The books themselves were very white-cis-male-focused


Did this fucking guy even read the book?
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Ratman_tf

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2020, 05:30:28 PM »
The books themselves were very white-cis-male-focused


Did this fucking guy even read the book?


I'm sure he did. And was pitching a fit whenever a dreaded cis white male appeared in the books. And pitched a fit at the Fremen being a pastiche of tribal middle-eastern people. Baron Harkonnen  is probably ok...
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Brad

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2020, 05:44:27 PM »
So another worthless RPG using a property that has been mishandled for decades...

ThatChrisGuy

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2020, 05:59:03 PM »
And pitched a fit at the Fremen being a pastiche of tribal middle-eastern people.


To be fair, they're the crib notes version of the Caucasian Dagestani Muslims of the 19th Century.  The Sabres of Paradise by Lesley Blanch inspired Herbert an awful lot, by which I mean he ripped off chapters of stuff wholesale.  (This isn't exactly a criticism; Dune remains my favorite book and I think that using real world cultures for inspiration is the only way sci-fi can have a grounded feel to it.)


I sincerely doubt the chucklehead who wrote the upcoming RPG knew that, however.
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tenbones

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2020, 05:55:16 PM »
I so detest the idea of this iteration of the Dune RPG...


I'd rather just talk about making our own setting inspired by Dune.


Like we tried here

grodog

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2020, 11:58:59 PM »
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.
I could see this template/approach working well in other universes/settings, but then you lose the mystique of playing Dune, of course, even if you leverage some of Herbert's other worlds that may be as good as Dune---or perhaps better---for gaming purposes since they're not as well-known:  In Destination: Void Herbert created Ship and its environs (a messianic cross between The Computer from the Paranoia RPG and James Ward’s Metamorphosis Alpha RPG/Brian Aldiss’ novel Starship), and built that universe out in The Jesus Incident (and its sequels, written with the poet Bill Ransom) and its deadly planet Pandora.  He also created the ConSentiency universe of secret agent Jorj X. McKie via the stories “A Matter of Traces” and “The Tactful Saboteur,” and his further adventures in the novels Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment.  If you’ve never branched out beyond Dune, Herbert’s other worlds and characters offer the same well-crafted literary themes spanning unique worlds and philosophies.I could see the same thing working in several of James H. Schmitz's setting as well, in particular the Demon Breed:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Demon_Breed
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.
An excellent idea! :D
Allan.
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grodog

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2020, 12:04:43 AM »
Apparently I don't grok the new formatting options.  Any pointers/tips? ;)

Allan.
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Altheus

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2020, 12:29:34 PM »
I've got hold of the beta version of it, and I'm not that impressed.
I don't mind the 2D20 system in its basic form but they always insist on adding lots of customisation options that make it incredibly fiddly to remember how to do anything.

The new addition to it is a system of contests / intrigues / manuvers where you have to create assets for yourself, remove them for the opposition and generally make the other sides' plans fall apart. This system leaves me cold, I just can't see myself wanting to run it.
If I could get past the system I could see a situation where the PCs are one of the Atreides advance teams on to arrakis (The scenario with the beta version has this setup. I don't think much of that scenario either). Other setups might be a group af atreides survivors after the Harkonnen invasion, hiding out in Arrakeen working to undermine the H. any way they can.
A fremen campaign might work, balanced between stabbing and social activity.

All of these require players who can use their initiative in the absence of an external quest giver.
The problem with Dune is the same as with other licensed RPG's, someone else has done / will do the cool stuff and the pcs will always be in their shadow.

Spike

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2020, 02:36:15 AM »
In Dune, it seems to me that the whole theme of precognition makes it difficult for the PCs to have a larger impact on the setting. I played in a Dune one-shot game that was set on a remote system after the original book, where the system was holding out against Emperor Atreides's Jihad - with the option that we wouldn't turn the tide of the jihad, but some negotiation was possible based on unusual stuff going on in the system. As a remote system, it wasn't the focus of the emperor's attention - so we avoided some issues there.


Actually, a major theme of the books is how Precognition is a giant trap, and as a thematic point were an attack on the Great Man theory of History. 


If Precognition is a major problem you have two 'serious' options along with a good, if perhaps mildly unsatisfying one.


The Good Options are


A: Play in the time of the Padisha Emperors prior to the events of Dune (as I did in my big creative thread here a couple years ago),


B: Play after the death of Leto II, when a: There are no more major Precogs, and b: the genes to be invisible to Precognition are being propagated throughout humanity (that is, in fact, Leto's Golden Path, through the trap of Precognition, after all)


The better, but perhaps less satisfying option is to play during the events of the first three books but simply don't get involved in Imperial Politics in a major way.  Paul and Leto II aren't exactly using their pre-cognition to track down Spice Smugglers or win votes in the Landsraad, you know.  Well, maybe a little of the first one, but not ALL Spice Smugglers.   


THe key I find with any licensed setting is to simply NOT GET INVOLVED with the events of the books/films/plays/videogames/dream quests of kadath and just use the elements of the setting (other than characters and major events) that actually appeal to people.  To take Star Wars as an example, the entire Old Republic phenomenon proves that it isn't so much Luke Skywalker and Death Stars that people enjoy, its far more generic shit like Jawas and Lightsabers and bounty hunters.


In Dune, thats shigawire reels, mentats, weirding ways, prana-bindu techniques and Spice.   Toss in some Facedancers, a bit of Semuta perhaps, maybe a foldship or two...


Of course, the Last Unicorn Games Dune seemed entirely playable in the milieu of Noble Houses and their retainers, so what do I know?

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TJS

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2020, 04:39:22 AM »
And pitched a fit at the Fremen being a pastiche of tribal middle-eastern people.


To be fair, they're the crib notes version of the Caucasian Dagestani Muslims of the 19th Century.  The Sabres of Paradise by Lesley Blanch inspired Herbert an awful lot, by which I mean he ripped off chapters of stuff wholesale.  (This isn't exactly a criticism; Dune remains my favorite book and I think that using real world cultures for inspiration is the only way sci-fi can have a grounded feel to it.)


I sincerely doubt the chucklehead who wrote the upcoming RPG knew that, however.
And are they white?


I mean they're literally causcasian of course, but they're also muslim, and muslims don't usually count as white.  It's a bit like a Lebanese guy being not white, when he's probably genetically identical to a southern Italin who is white.  Or how it's wrong to call Jesus white, but no one questions whether Julius Caesar was white.  (Although there was that website on medieval people of colour that claimed that Isabella of Castille wasn't white)


By which I mean there no telling what criteria a race obsessed American may use to decide whether a Dagestani Muslim is white.  (Other than of course it being decide on the basis of whatever they feel to be convenient.)


It's all such arbritrary bullshit anyway.

I mean I would say the Fremen seem to be depicted as pretty much a marginalised people subject to colonialist expansion so that would seem to be pretty much a textbook example of non-white in the kind of power dynamic obsessed sense of the word.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 04:44:13 AM by TJS »

ThatChrisGuy

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2020, 10:18:49 AM »
And are they white?


I mean they're literally causcasian of course, but they're also muslim, and muslims don't usually count as white.  It's a bit like a Lebanese guy being not white, when he's probably genetically identical to a southern Italin who is white.  Or how it's wrong to call Jesus white, but no one questions whether Julius Caesar was white.  (Although there was that website on medieval people of colour that claimed that Isabella of Castille wasn't white)


By which I mean there no telling what criteria a race obsessed American may use to decide whether a Dagestani Muslim is white.  (Other than of course it being decide on the basis of whatever they feel to be convenient.)


It's all such arbritrary bullshit anyway.

I mean I would say the Fremen seem to be depicted as pretty much a marginalised people subject to colonialist expansion so that would seem to be pretty much a textbook example of non-white in the kind of power dynamic obsessed sense of the word.


All I can say is Imam Shamil was a pale-skinned redhead.  If that doesn't qualify as "white," the categorization is a touch too restrictive.
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