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RPR Archive Epic Dune Game - Planning Thread

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource Archive' started by BobaMatt, Oct 11, 2008.

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  1. The Loyal Imperial Manager Emeritus

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    Nov 19, 2007
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    Looks good to me. I like nice, bolded information categories, but that's just a personal preference. :p Maybe add one or three example NPCs of importance from the House for reference at the bottom? As a House profile, that's probably about the extent that's needed. Major backstory information being covered somewhere else, and all.
  2. Saintheart Chosen One

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    Dec 16, 2000
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    I must say I'm getting more enthusiastic as we go for this. Consider the advertising!

    DUNE: The Ultimate Sandbox.

    :D
  3. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I think it may be sufficient, too, though more information - perhaps information on the House's relationships to other Houses, and/or a list of the Houses Minor it employs, if applicable - might fit.

    I wonder if, when the GMs unlock Houses, the information will be supplied by the players or the GM. That is to say, when a House is unlocked, should the GMs post the House profile based on what they have decided would be nice to introduce into the game, and players join accordingly?
    I take it you'll be playing, then... :D

    Any thoughts on the summary?
  4. Saintheart Chosen One

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    I believe I will be playing, Matt. :) Mostly because you're making me believe in this game as a worthy flagship in the NSWRPF. We've been waiting for the Lisan al-Gaib over there for quite some time now... :D

    There were a couple of points to raise here:

    Houses: I'm probably being incredibly dense here, but is it contemplated that players will be running Minor Houses -- or are they solely going to be agents/individuals within the Great Houses? (Also, we need a consistent terminology: Great House or House Major?) Not saying I have a preference one way or the other, but I wasn't fully clear on that.

    Mentats: the potential for godmoding will need to be addressed in some way. Even moreso than Fremen, Sardaukar or Bene Gesserit who can kick the butt of any individual House trooper, because Mentat players will be able to try and compute their way out of GM-imposed decisions or suddenly handwave solutions into existence using the justification "I logically included that likely event into my Mentat computations, thus I had built this escape hatch while you weren't looking."
  5. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    HOO-FREAKING-RAY! :D
    That's what the thread's for!
    Both? Perhaps we fill out one or Houses Major and then open up the constituent Minor Houses?

    The question still remains as to who's responsible for House Profiles? We wouldn't want to let the players go completely nuts with House Creation, but we don't want to run the risk of unlocking a House no one is interested in joining.
    Frank Herbert's okay with them being interchangeable, so I am too. :p
    I was thinking extensive vetting...
    Possible solutions? I'd like to make them playable, but I totally understand if they become untenable.

    I'd also like to forward this profile.
    House Wallach
    Siridar Earl Jonas Wallach VII
    House Major
    Coat of arms: A serpent coiled about a closed book, on an indigo field
    Flag: Blue with a green ring at center.
    Controls: Wallach IX, Buzzel, Rossak

    House Wallach is known for its close relationship to the Bene Gesserit; the women of the House have swollen the Sisters? ranks for millennia, ever since the latter were known as the Sorceresses of Rossak. The Sisterhood had long vied for the opportunity to use Wallach IX, House Wallach?s throne world, as a training center for its initiates and a Chapterhouse of its knowledge ? it is perhaps not insignificant that, not long before they established their first library on the planet, the Bene Gesserit punishment world of Buzzel fell under the control of House Wallach, which was then able to gain immense wealth from the soostone trade.

    Another strong link to the Sisterhood is less well known. While many scholars have pointed out the influence of Judaism on Bene Gesserit philosophy, few know that the name of the Sisterhood is not only a phrase the ancient Latin of Old Earth meaning ?that it may be accomplished well,? but also draws inspiration from the ancient Hebrew b?nai gesher, meaning ?people of the bridge,? an allusion to the Orange Catholic Bible?s description of human existence as a journey across a narrow bridge. House Wallach?s religion is something of an open secret among the largely Zensunni and Zenchristian Landsraad. The Wallach coat of arms not only illustrates the jealously guarded knowledge that the Bene Gesserit so prize, but is also an allusion to the Towrah?s story of Creation.

    This is what I came up with when I considered that House Wallach shares the name of a Bene Gesserit Chapterhouse world, that in Dune when a House and a planet share a name it usual means that the House owns the planet, the concerns from some players that they may not be able to play as Bene Gesserit characters, and some interesting ramifications of their House seal's imagery. What's more, it's been stated in some RPG sites - I don't know where they're taking this information from, mind you - that House Wallach isn't frie
  6. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 12, 2002
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    Completely on a tangent: not to go excessively fangirly, but I think Matt doing a great job of keeping the discussion going, making decisions, picking and choosing ideas... this is exactly why I kept pushing for us to elect a head GM early in our previous NSWRPF Flagship planning campaign. :D What every game needs, from the start, is a coherent vision, and we have that here.


    Mentats: just use the old "no backdating - if you didn't post about it, you don't have it" standby? Make Mentat players outline in exhaustive detail what contingencies they've taken into account, whether in the thread or by PM to the GM, or something.
  7. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Aw...thanks. It's really just because I'm getting all Dune fangirly...um...fanboy-y....thanks!
    That seems just exhaustingly terrible enough to make sure only the best and the brightest would dare take on a Mentat! :p

    But seriously...this is an easy way of going about it, but it just doesn't seem like the most feasible thing. I suppose we could extensively vet, and have lots of discussion, but a simpler alternative occurred to me - in the video games, the House Mentats were NPCs that showed up in cutscenes to provide mission briefings. Sounds to me like that's a GM-type position.

    While we have a lot of great ideas so far, it's not quite feeling like a game yet. Perhaps if we got into a discussion of the likely state of each major power in the Imperium, say, a year after the fall of House Atreides we may see a possible story begin to emerge?

    And what do you guys think of House Wallach?
  8. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Don't feel as if you can only respond to me, either. It makes for better discussion if you respond to each others' posts, as well. What's more, if anyone wants to raise something on their own, or make a suggestion or a contribution like a possible character sheet format or a story idea...I mean, I may be pointman and de facto director, but the point is collaboration.

    EDIT: Sweet Duncan Idaho fanart...
    [image=http://fc23.deviantart.com/fs20/f/2007/281/9/6/Dune___Duncan_Idaho_by_zazB.jpg]
  9. Ktala Force Ghost

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    Sep 7, 2002
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    as Much as I love Dune...its been awhile, All these questions make me want to ask a few questions.

    One, it sounds like your making the game ONLY playable for folks who extensively KNOW the Dune universe. If you have no clue to this universe, its going to be kinda hard to just jump right in.

    Two..Just how much of the Dune Universe you planning to play in? I mean, is this just on the Dune planet...or do you really have the time and folks to deal with the entire galaxy? All your GM's would also have to have a good idea about your universe as well...

    I do like your idea of the time period you are thinking of. You could also do a slightly Alternate Universe as well...hehe.. Do something different so players would know it would NOT be exactly like the movies or books.


    Those are just a few ideas off the top of my head. Im sure i'll think of more later! :p

  10. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I dunno...part of that might come from the fact that the planning involves extensive discussion of the universe. I wouldn't expect this to be much more intimidating than a Star Wars RP. I'd like to have it make sense for people who aren't extreme die-hards but also leave room for the die-hards to have fun.

    Again, not much scarier than the SWRPF.
    I would imagine those people playing as GMs would be those posting here with a more extensive knowledge of Dune canon. (Wink wink guys.) Anyway, I would think the "unlocking system" going on with the Houses would help to ensure that the game really only got as big as the number of players in it.
    I suppose we wouldn't need to hew too closely to canon. The fun thing about this time period, though, is that there's a whole three empty years. Paul goes from fifteen to eighteen.
    Hope to hear more from you as you think of it!

    And since responses are slow in this thread (for an idea so many seem excited about :p) I'll get us started on a bit of faction analysis.

    Spacing Guild: Freaking the hell out. Someone's messing with spice production, not to mention there's a big knot of fate coming up that their Navigators can't see beyond.

    Bene Gesserit: Probably have a feeling Jessica survived, all things considered...
  11. Protege-of-Thrawn Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 14, 2001
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    So in terms of the factional architecture currently being posited, we have GM's controlling the heads of Houses Major, and indie groups such as the Spacing Guild, CHOAM, and the Bene Gesserit to be controlled (at least initially) by a group of Gamemasters? If so, I think that manages to address most of the concern raised by Ktala. Most of the canonical knowledge - as BM has noted - need only then be rapped up in the minds of the GMs: players can get right into character development, clear and obvious enemies (i.e. the other houses), and delve into either the politicing or espionage that would have been rife in the time after the Duke's death.

    GMs would have course have to be very creative and hands on in how they manage those other factors (i.e. the Spacing Guilds behaviour) not only to make the game "feel" like the Duneiverse but to keep things interesting for the prospective players.

    It might be helpful for the introductory post to have a brief (about a paragraph) outline of how the Landsraad works and what it means to work for a House Major. Further to that, there is always the option for canny players who want a bit more freedom when they start (so any vets who aren't already recruited into GM duties) to take on a House Minor, so they're a little bit better resourced, albeit still at the beck and call of the GM controlling the Great House to whom they hold allegiance.

    Ultimately, all such a system requires is that the GMs stay in contact with one another, and agree on major (or indeed, minor) intervening events that influence gameplay and canon, to allow for a reconciliation of some of the points discussed above and maintaining a discrete "one GM controlling house x" type system. This collaborative approach worked really well back in the WOTG era, and combined with the "narrative of other events and consequences of actions" style of LSA, would make for a flexible management system for this game.

    One thing I'd like to hark back to if I may, was the system discussed early on for how to handle the economic RPing between houses. It sounds like a pre-existing system was touted as being quite workable, but had trouble getting my mind into it. Are there any posts in other games I should have a read through?

  12. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    The other factions - those outside the Landsraad - tend to mostly operate in the shadows, so perhaps that might be easier to deal with than it at first appears. I'm glad to hear there's a precedent for successful GM cooperation.

    So we're thinking it might be better to keep the GMs as heads of Houses Major, rather than as House Mentats? Under that system, having other Veteran players serving as heads of Houses Minor was pretty much what I had in mind. Good to hear we're on the same page, there.

    And this may seem like an obvious question but it should be asked: House Harkonnen should be one of the initial houses, yes?
  13. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Oh, and get in touch with Saintheart about examples of the commerce system. I'm beginning to have doubts on its practicality, at least as of the game's opening, if for no other reason than that it might seem daunting and scary for new players. On the other hand, it could be a rather intriguing, in depth, unique and daring element to the game, so...I'm torn on including some sort of commerce system.
  14. Saintheart Chosen One

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    Dec 16, 2000
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    I don't have any ego invested in the adoption of "my" commerce system for the game, folks; it was simply an example of how you can make a commerce system work in-game and make it competitive. On more thought it's probably not a good idea to shoehorn my "Monopoly" game into this until (a) there's a demonstrable groundswell for it; and (b) the game is "big" enough to support it.

    It probably follows from the foregoing that I don't think it's really worth sticking commerce into the start of the game -- you can stick commerce events into the game (the curious drying-up of spice from Dune does spring to mind :p and have players respond to it. That's about the only commercial aspect which makes it into the book anyway -- the rest of the Known Universe's trade is handwaved into CHOAM.

    If people really do start banging on GM's doors demanding a commerce system that actually has some mathematics behind it, we can always implant something later. IBOP, IIRC, was also an evolving game: I was involved in the startup to the Hapes Consortium faction -- it wasn't part of the original start. So long as we've got a clear universe, a solid foundation, and a GM team with a <strike>ironfisted</strike> vision of where it's all going, you can always add sophistications later on.

    I've also got to say I appreciate Boba's multi-thread crusade seeking input and support at this stage. Good strategy.

    So, let me restate my understanding of how it all fits together at present:

    Only GMs play as heads of Houses Major, at least to begin with.
    A GM (Boba?) NPCs events concerning the "canon" cast of Dune itself: Paul, Jessica, Stilgar, Chani ... in fact all of Sietch Tabr.
    A GM NPCs the Spacing Guild (as opposed to its agents), the Bene Gesserit, the Tleilaxu, and IX.
    House Mentats must be NPCs. If you want a Mentat as a character, you'll have to demonstrate a very good character concept and show cause why you should be given that level of Awesome. :D
    Only veteran players (sub-GMs?) may be heads of Houses Minor. (House Harkonnen we can handwave into a Great House because it controls Giedi Prime and Arrakis, and in particular needs a veteran to run it. This is important since the Harkonnens are going to be the principal antagonists for Fremen players (and the GM) on Arrakis. We don't want some powergaming nut basically posting "I senz 50 trikes 2 Seetch Tabber an killz everyone inside lol!!!!1!!!!!") I think also it might be important to NPC Piter de Vries and Feyd for similar reasons as Paul and the gang.
    Everyone (novice, vet, GM) has the capacity to run anyone else in the universe. Fremen, Bene Gesserit, etc, etc -- but they're agents of each house, not with decisionmaking power (unless as below).

    Is that pretty much the structure we're looking at here?

    The last part of the old IBOP mechanic was LS_A's rule of "consistent and thoughtful posting brings rewards/advancement". This, I think, is a decent winnowing technique for good players, and ensures you get committed people into the upper ranks of your factions as time goes on. At least that's how I understood he ran it.

    Last random thoughts: I think the core mechanic of this game will mostly be centred around Arrakis, mostly because of the familiarity issue and the bad@$$ery of the Fremen. Although I think we'll also get our fair share of Sting wannabes as well who want to kick butt on Dune. And Arrakis is, after all, the political centre of the universe...so we need to have Dune pretty nicely worked out as well.
  15. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I love responding to you guys, but I'd like to see people responding to each other and responding more often. The best way to get this off the ground in any sort of meaningful way is to get lively discussion going.

    It will also give me more stuff to do instead of homework.
    Yeah, I think most of us agree on at least that much.
    Oh, I think we'll get some pretty...interesting GMs.
    Just call me the thread Pimp. If you want to get in on some of that pimpery, feel free.
    Okay!
    Which shouldn't be a huge issue, considering I think we're only going to start with two Houses Major.
    Actually, I was under the impression that the GMs, together, would decide the larger, non-House, factional goings on - that is, we would move the story as a team while also managing our own Houses.
    Of course, GMs could forego the House Head position and just play as House Mentats. I don't think anyone liked that idea when I first brought it up, though, so you're probably right.
    Absolutely.
    According to most canon I can find, House Harkonnen is a House Major, so that it will be veteran controlled goes without saying. If they're not a House Major by the beginning of the book, I think they'd pretty much have to be after they destroy House Atreides.

    The explanation for House Fenring's classification as a Great House is similar: Count Fenring gets put in charge of Caladan until the Atreides' move is settled in. Once the Atreides are destroyed, he's sort of stuck in control of Caladan - an entire planet! - which means that he's now a Siridar Count and to deny him House Major status would be silly and politically problematic. Not to mention that, given his relationship to the Padishah, it was likely maneuvered for precisely that purpose.
    Piter's dead from the Duke's morning breath. Feyd, I think, could stand to be veteran controlled.
    Precisely.
    That's really useful. It sounds like exactly the sort of thing we need.

    THIS is
  16. TheManinBlack Jedi Master

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    Aug 1, 2007
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    I have a question though, for when Paul makes his appearnce will we have the chance to make an alliance with him or is he the big bad?

    In any case why not make Saudukar, Fremen, and the Kung Fu Nuns require a high level CS or Player. Because if they strike you...you pretty much die. Fremen could make Jedi and Sith cry to their mommies on average after all.
  17. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Actually, I'd like for Paul to make as little an appearance as possible. I think it'd feel more real if the players had to deal more with the outer ripples of the Muad'Dib movement.
    I'm with you there.
  18. Saintheart Chosen One

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    MIB, I think when Paul makes his appearance your characters will decide whether to ally with him based on where the characters' allegiances lie. It would be a mistake for the GM to overtly say "Paul = Sauron" or something like it, because Boba's basically refereeing the universe here. Players will decide for themselves whether to go in against Paul, and it should ideally be based around their characters' alliances and motivations.

    I don't think one can require high level CSes or players for those factions you mentioned, though. Half the player base is going to be from the attraction of playing Fremen in particular. No, the test and answer to that problem should be the same as LS_A's, and that of the Bene Gesserit: crisis and observation. You want to play a Fremen? Okay, but you're playing a mere member of a somewhat obscure tribe on the edge of the Great Erg. Let's see how you handle your mission to carry something to Sietch Tabr on the back of a worm. Or your first recon mission to a Harkonnen base. If the new player is a powergamer, he won't stay in the game long enough to bother. If he's committed to the RPG, he'll stick around, and by doing so maturely, will show he can be trusted with bigger and better missions that involve enemy confrontation.

    Also remember: the Fremen, the Bene Gesserit, and even the Sardaukar weren't out smashing people into the ground every day. The Fremen didn't because they wanted to hide their activities to transform Arrakis and most people didn't venture out into the open desert. The Bene Gesserit only used their combat strengths in emergencies; subtlety and manipulation was their commerce. The Sardaukar, meanwhile, were soldiers who could only do as the Emperor commanded - and use of the Sardaukar against a Great House was always concealed by the Emperor because he feared an uprising by the Landsraad against the Imperium. Indeed it's explicit that what happened on Arrakis was the nightmare of all the Great Houses: the Sardaukar unleashed against one House at a time. Thus Sardaukar won't be used in overt combat roles until late(r) in their lives.

    And lastly: each of these factions was superb at hand to hand combat. One Fremen in the open desert was no match for a circling and armed ornithopter. And that the Fremen might've been a match for Harkonnen line troopers, but they weren't invulnerable; it took Jessica's teaching the Fremen her way of battle to make them truly a match and more for Imperial Sardaukar, at least as I understood it.

    Long live the fighters!
  19. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I'd like to thank Saintheart for taking the initiative to respond to a poster that's not me.
    Quite right.
    For some reason, this style of GMing never really even occurred to me, but it's mindblowingly efficient.
    Again, quite right. In a universe like the Dune one, the GM privelege of taking a powergamer's water for the tribe might become quite useful...

    No, I don't actually advocate using that. Often.
    I believe they were fond of messing with smugglers, though.
    Quite right. The terms of the Great Convention exist mainly to make sure that the balance of power in the universe remains.
    Peacekeeping roles, however...anyway, I think it might be best to, for the most part, keep Sardaukar as an extension of the Emperor: an NPC GM-hammer.
    Actually, the Fremen were fantastic at using projectile weapons, even prior to Jessica's tutelage. The reason this made them superior warriors was because projectile warfare has become a lost art in most of the universe. They were also hardy for all the same reasons the Sardaukar are - they come from a planet that does not tolerate weakness.
    Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib!
  20. Saintheart Chosen One

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    Fair points, Boba. Sardaukar perhaps shouldn't even be available to players at all ... maybe to maximise their impact. Also makes for one more (deadly) opponent to face in the universe. Although you could still have Imperial agents and whatnot.

    Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib!

    Kull wahad! No woman-child ever withstood that much.
  21. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I'm tempted to leave one loophole open: if a player character commits serious enough infringements against the laws of the Imperium, they may get imprisoned on Salusa Secundus...

    Anyway, wut duz yoo gais think of WALLACH?!!

    Just a formatting question: do we think we want to format the game in chapters? I just want to write those epigraphs...

    WE HAVE WORMSIGN THE LIKES OF WHICH EVEN GOD HAS NEVER SEEN!
  22. TheManinBlack Jedi Master

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    I don't feel like pulling out the quote machine in my noggin but...Fremen always where the bad boys. They still knew how to shoot like BobaMatt said. They also could kill Sadukar three for one. With training each of them was almost as good as Duncan, whom could kill twelve while unshielded...(basically he could kill 120 men or even more since according to Frank one of them is worth 12 of elite commandoes.)

    When they where trained by Jessica (had finnese to back up raw talent and genetic poetinal) They mowed through Sadukar like they where ants. Nearly all the worlds revolted when Paul took over, each cotnaining a LARGE pouplation (some in the dozen billions perhaps). Paul had a total of 150 million Fremen, witch includes families, and he had a VERY large presence on Arrakis. He was easily winning the war abroad. He said his men had killed hundreads of billions, even trillions. One Fremen at an early point in Dune trained in the weridly ways has to be worth 300 men at least.


    SO how many Houses Major are we going to have, because I'm probaly going House Harkonnen and maybe a Face Dancer (or just a Kung Fu Nun, since we don't know much about the Thileux)


    WALLACH?!! HELL YES!!!
  23. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Someone says this to either Kynes or Halleck, right? Isn't this a little bit after Jessica's been teaching them?
    What's your basis for comparing them to Duncan?

    What's more...
    ...isn't it just the Fedaykin that were this good? I don't think anyone should be allowed to start off as a Fedaykin. They'll have to seek them out and train before we allow for this sort of badassery.
    I'm thinking two to begin with: the Harkonnens and a Good Guy Great House, Wallach, I'm thinking, for reasons I detailed and no one has responded to.

    Face Dancers are interesting at this point in time because they're not the mindless drones they end up being thousands of years down the line in the later books. What's more, gholas are more restored corpses than clones at this point in history, with metal eyes.
  24. TheManinBlack Jedi Master

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    Its as their Palace is burning, and the Harkonnens are cleaning up. Halleck is heading towards Stiglar as he comes out to a Fremen rescue party. The are told of the Water burden, while The Fremen leader is telling how much fun he is having killing these new Harkonnen Soilders, saying how his men are unable to kill more than three at a time. Halleck jaw drops, than to top it all off A Sadukar comes in with a Thoppter with a Lasgun and two unarmed Fremen manage to take it out at the cost of their lives. Halleck jaw drops even futher and goes onto say that with a single Battlion of them, slightly trained (given a month). They could have won this battle depsite being sucker punched.



    Because they start killing them at similar numbers, after Paul and Jessica train them. Fremen wheren't just trained to fight, its in their genes.

    And Wallech is fine. It seems like the perfect team actually. And as the game goes on we can play as other Great Houses Right? Will that Weapon Trader House from the game be playable?
  25. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Yep, that's exactly what I was thinking of.
    Gotcha. Makes sense, considering. Notwithstanding, this is not every Fremen.
    "God made Arrakis to train the faithful. Do not go against the word of God."

    I mentioned that they live and die like the prisoners on Salusa Secundus, in only the harshest conditions, which is why they end up just as bad as the Sardaukar.
    I'd like to leave game canon out of this as much as possible. The Ordos are characterized somewhat differently, outside of the games. Strangely enough, though, House Moritani might fit this description quite nicely.
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