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Author Topic: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)  (Read 1664 times)

TJS

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2020, 05:06:35 pm »
I think the word is arbitrary.

ShieldWife

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2020, 11:36:36 pm »
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?
The Brian Herbert prequel novels caught a lot of flack, and there were certainly elements that I wasn’t too crazy about - BUT they actually do a good job of presenting Dune as a setting where role playing adventures could happen. With Paul Atreides and later Leto II, their precognitive abilities and their dominance over the setting is likely to overshadow anything that the player characters want to do. But, looking back a generation before Paul and we see all of these competing factions from noble families like Harkonnen and Atreides, Bene Tleilax and the biology mastery, the Ixians and their super tech, Bene Gesserit, Mentats, Suk doctors, the Swordmasters of Ginaz, Fremen, and a bunch of others. These could all be player character classes, or the equivalent in the given system. Those novels, despite some of their big flaws, presented a lot of these groups and created greater parity between them, as opposed to Paul or Leto II becoming too dominant. It almost gives a sort of Vampire: the Masquerade vibe, with all of these different organizations, with different powers and resources, scheming against each other.


So, personally, I would set a Dune game in the universe before Paul, maybe without Paul or any Kwisatz Haderach ever showing up. That would give the player characters greater agency and allow the outcome of events to remain more fluid.

Ratman_tf

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2020, 12:07:57 am »
Yeah, Precognition in the Dune universe is a sword with a lot of edges.
Trying to determine something with prescience can hide it.
Trying to change the future can cause it to happen.
Only Leto II had any kind of mastery over the future, and that's because he was willing to sacrifice himself to ensure the Golden Path.
Paul? It just taunted him with visions of the future he dared not change because he couldn't stomach the alternatives.


Just make it a cool RPG ability that prescience gives you a re-roll or something minor like that, and leave the prognostications to the doomed main characters.
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ShieldWife

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2020, 12:27:44 am »
If I were going to do a precognition power for player characters, it would have to be limited precognition obviously. I think that I would use something like Plot Points from Cortex. Since the GM can’t actually know with certainty what is going to happen, without railroading, then maybe the player can spend a precognition point in order to get some kind of advantage in a current situation: “I saw myself getting poisoned, so I brought an antidote with me.” Or, in cases where the GM knows something will happen, then that information could be revealed.

Pat

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2020, 06:11:58 pm »
It's just a random association, but precognition in Dune is a lot like the Teela gene in Known Space. A great concept to tell a single story, but once you tell that one story, it's pretty much over unless you find a way to break it. Both authors broke it in different ways. The problem with the Dune solution is the post-Scattering novels aren't as good as the rest of the series, and have a very different feel.

grodog

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2020, 09:44:26 pm »
The Brian Herbert prequel novels caught a lot of flack, and there were certainly elements that I wasn’t too crazy about - BUT they actually do a good job of presenting Dune as a setting where role playing adventures could happen. With Paul Atreides and later Leto II, their precognitive abilities and their dominance over the setting is likely to overshadow anything that the player characters want to do. But, looking back a generation before Paul and we see all of these competing factions from noble families like Harkonnen and Atreides, Bene Tleilax and the biology mastery, the Ixians and their super tech, Bene Gesserit, Mentats, Suk doctors, the Swordmasters of Ginaz, Fremen, and a bunch of others. These could all be player character classes, or the equivalent in the given system. Those novels, despite some of their big flaws, presented a lot of these groups and created greater parity between them, as opposed to Paul or Leto II becoming too dominant. It almost gives a sort of Vampire: the Masquerade vibe, with all of these different organizations, with different powers and resources, scheming against each other.
This almost makes me want to visit HPB to pick up all of the Brian Herbert Dune novels.  Almost.

So, personally, I would set a Dune game in the universe before Paul, maybe without Paul or any Kwisatz Haderach ever showing up. That would give the player characters greater agency and allow the outcome of events to remain more fluid.
That sounds like a lot of fun---basically still trying to orchestrate the KH among the many factions of the day!
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Spike

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Re: New Dune RPG (including Spivey interview)
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2020, 11:04:58 pm »
My problem with the Brian Herbert novels was Kevin J. Anderson, who I have always regarded as the hackiest of hacks, though I suppose he has some serious competition now from Scalzi... at least Anderson actually does have story ideas, he just sucks at delivering them.


Curiously, many many moons ago I read a book from Brian Herbert that was, to my adolescent self, quite enjoyable, so I'm certain he could have handled the writing chores himself.  Perhaps hiring a hack to do the typing was an easier way to milk notes than doing it himself?


Aside from the Hack Author problem, I do feel a LOT of what is wrong about the prequels is that sometimes a good writer comes up with a consistent back-story to support his setting, but recognizes that its half baked and, well, bad. Good enough for back-story, but awful for... you know... story.  The Prequels of Dune pretty much fit that to a T, if we assume that Brian and Kevin didn't actually make up most of the details.  Too many coincidences, too few highly important characters doing all the heavy lifting for humanity with a population in trillions, and over too long a span of time. How miraculous that Spice is discovered at the same time as the Butlerian Jihad is winding down, and that so and so was the daughter of the leader of the Witches who would found the Bene Gesserit AND was herself the secret mastermind behind the Holtzman Generator... which, ALSO, was developed at the same time the Butlerian Jihad was winding down... which ALSO happened to be the same time the Bene Tlielax were being founded, by someone who helped discover spice AND had a relationship with the Witches of...


Are we sure the universe of Dune isn't a sleepy little seaside village in northern Maine, with a population of roughly twenty people?
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