It must be noted that I have no direct plans to run a Dune game. But I am a little forced by my mind to examine the game and the concepts deeper than should be permitted as I am after all, running one game, playing another, holding down a job, studying two courses (film production and Spanish) and trying to be an okay human being in the moments between.
On the FB forums, I’d suggested the roles of “Holding Houses”. Minor Houses, vassal to Great Houses, who are charged with the maintenance of things. An example would be the administration that occupied Caladan after the Atreides left for Arrakis. Or, after the destruction of House Harkonnen, it’s line broken, who shepherds Geidi Prime back to some sort of sensible nature.
The Cursed Party
There’s an enchanting idea in the concept of a cursed party: a male of Bene Gesserit training, an Imperial Doctor who failed the conditioning, a Twisted Mentat, a dishonourable Swordmaster. Perhaps there’s room for a party trying to make good on a past sin, perhaps they were destroyed through their use of atomics or lasgun/shields and were sheltered by a Great House (and the Bene Gesserit) to prevent the genetic line being totally destroyed.
The This then leads another enchanting idea for a campaign; re-establishing a lost house. Or changing the direction of a house whose character had been stained. I am reminded of “The Godfather Trilogy”. Led by a fanatical Bene Gesserit, a young House-heir is revealed and works to try and restore the honour, prestige and prosperity of their family; all the while developing the need to have revenge, while old enemies circle to finish the job they started.
Notes on Bene Gesserit Characters: many males in the books receive the benefits of Bene Gesserit training to some degree. Paul Atreides is just something unexpected.
Notes on Fremen Characters: The rule book says that Fremen do not leave Arrakis. What’s missed is that no-one really leaves Arrakis. The Spice is so addictive that few can afford to. As soon as you leave Arrakis, the spice hunger begins. The Dune Encyclopaedia states on page 15 that Fremen do leave Arrakis “to goggle at rivers, lakes, oceans and jungles and then to seek their reduplication on Dune”. No doubt they bring their own supplies.
There are also some big questions that might lead to epic plots that are separate from the Atreides storyline.
The fastest way of sending a communique seems to be to put it on a heighliner. There’s no FTL comms. Though I’d be surprised if the Spice prescience didn’t provide the Guild (and the Bene Gesserit) with communication abilities.
The heighliners are huge but how small can a fold ship actually be considering it needs the life support, folding machinery, conventional propulsion and either nab computer or space for a Navigator.
It’s clear from what I’ve read that the only alien life in the whole universe is the Sandworm. In Dune, Herbert mentions that Terran flora and fauna have established themselves on Arrakis. No mention of native species.
ORIGIN OF THE WORMS
Certainly not native to Arrakis, then where did they come from? And their whole biology is tied up with human biology – surely they must be an engineered species? Or else they evolved alongside us.
There’s certainly more but that’s a good start.