The Sands of Arrakis Campagn
Based in the universe of James Herbert’s Dune novels, Sands of Arrakis spans a variety of campaign types from espionage to political intrigue. Characters will take on the roles of agents of the Great Houses of the Landsraad, trapped in a web of lies and deceit. Loyalty is not easily won in the Imperium, but often, it is all you will have to cover your back.
Sands of Arrakis stories are often complex tales of back-stabbing and treachery. Players are often trusted with the safety of their master’s deepest and darkest secrets, and are often asked to take care of dirty work that could very well get them killed. Sometimes they are involved in diplomacy and politicking, sometimes they are asked to perform simple smash-and-grab jobs. Occasionally they are asked to use outright brute force.Characters are often far above the human norm, capable of killing with a touch or even a word. They represent the peak of human conditioning, in a universe where machines are outlawed and humans must fill in the gaps themselves. Some are human computers; some are experts at manipulating the human mind. Most are not moral individuals. A conscience can be a serious hurdle to anyone who expects to be able to serve their master as fully as they should.
Teams are often diverse arrangements, with everyone brought onboard to contribute their unique skills. A team of highly skilled killers with no social skills will get nowhere, as they will quickly find themselves manipulated and disposed of. Likewise, social adepts should be expected to get their hands dirty, and the individual that can’t defend himself won’t last long.
Villains can range from easily-disposed of faceless thugs, through professional killers all they way up to ambitious government officials and manipulative nobility. Many are often being used and twisted from behind the scenes. Remember: wheels within wheels.
It is important to remember that in a Sands of Arrakis campaign, attention to detail is vital. Even the simplest of plots will inevitably have been handed down from on-high, and contain several layers of contacts and henchmen. The most advanced, far-reaching plots will span several worlds and may contain agents from the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild as well as the Houses of the Landsraad. Tone is also critical – remember, the players should have no idea who they can trust, and who wants them dead. It isn’t paranoia if they really are out to get you.
The following campaign qualities may apply in a Dune: Sands of Arrakis game. The GC may alter this list if he desires a less traditional version of the genre.
- Big Budget: When you are employed by someone who rules a whole planet, access to large amounts of valuable equipment is an expected perk.
- Fast Feats: Be they mnemonic scribes or master assassins, everyone in the Imperium seems to be very good at what they do.
- Historical: Set more than ten millennia after the founding of the Spacing Guild, the society and technology of the Imperium is a far cry from that of our own.
- Modular: With the conditioning available to the Great Schools, it’s quite common for a character to focus on improving his skills rather than his physique or intellect.
- Tense: In the Imperium, most people are incredibly careful what they say, and to whom. Extended periods of intrigue and back-stabbing can be highly stressful, even for experienced participants.
The following class options are especially well suited for a Dune: Sands of Arrakis game.
- Advocate: As a trusted follower or a dynamic young noble, the Advocate is a fanatic supporter of his cause. In a place like the Imperium, loyalty is a valued commodity.
- Intruder: Equally skilled at infiltration and silent kills, the Intruder is the team’s go-to man for subtle extraction or elimination.
- Sleuth: When so many people are so damned good at lying, it becomes a useful idea to recruit someone who is trained to read people and their responses.
- Soldier: It is easy for a skilled killer to make a living in the Imperium. The Soldier’s large number of feats and proficiencies make him a very dangerous opponent indeed.
Assignments set out by the Great Houses (or the Bene Gesserit for that matter) often revolve around finding out what your enemies are up to. Occasionally the characters may be asked to follow up an investigation by eliminating the target they have been watching. Remember, though, that the characters are pawns. They are tools, and if they should ever outlive their usefulness, they will be quickly replaced.
- Confirm: With many double-blind systems set in place to protect important secrets, it becomes necessary to waste large amounts of time figuring out if your intelligence is actually as accurate you think it is.
- Investigate: Information gathering is standard fare in the Imperium, be it courtly diplomacy, interrogation or actual theft. Information is the currency of the Landsraad, and those without it have little to trade.
- Neutralize: Occasionally it becomes necessary to permanently eliminate a problem. If that problem so happens to be a person then so be it.
- Sting: In the cut-and-thrust of Imperial politics, it is often easier to trick an enemy into revealing his own secrets, rather than wasting time and resources trying to steal them.
The Battle of Corrin (B), The Butlerian Jihad (B), Chapter House Dune (B), Children of Dune (B), Children of Dune (TV), Dune 2000 (CG), Dune (B), Dune (M), Dune (TV), Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium (RPG), The Dune Encyclopaedia (B), Dune Messiah (B), Fading Suns (RPG), God Emperor of Dune (B), Heretics of Dune (B), House Atreides (B), House Corrino (B), House Harkonnen (B), The Machine Crusade (B), The Road to Dune (B).