A new campaign starts - "A beginning is a very delicate time"

(I am basically ignoring BH/KJA ‘canon’ for this setting where it doesn’t fit in with my own vision)

Know then that it is the year 10170AG and Nikolai Thana is the current head of his nascent House on Caladan, having assumed the reins after the death of his father, Giorgos. House Thana is independant with no affiliations. Thana specialises in the production of factory craft, such as used in hi-tech farming of pundi rice on Caladan.

Nikolai has two siblings; Hera and Viktor. Hera (PC) has recently returned after some 12 years spent with the Sisterhood on Wallach IX. Viktor is the youngest of the three and is responsible for leading the production capabilties of the House.

Eduard (PC) is the heir-apparant, eager to serve and bring glory to his House, lifting it from its humble beginnings on to greater things.

Assisting the House in the role of Spymaster is Hermes Sideris (PC), who has only recently joined with Thana.

The campaign kicked off with Nikolai summoning his son, Eduard, along with Hera (whose somewhat nebulous role within the family has relegated her to act as an advisor) and the House Spymaster. Nikolai wishes that Eduard, assisted by Hera and Hermes, travel by Heighliner to IX to negotiate with representatives of House Vernius to obtain a planetary exclusive contract for the supply of new suspensor field technology that will soon be available. This new technology would allow Thana’s factory craft to operate beyond current paramaters and give them a significant economic advantage in the sale and distribution of its craft.

Unbeknownst to the characters, a rival House Minor, Sarun, are also intending to travel to Ix for the same purpose. The two Houses are competitors of long standing (and there is a secret history the characters do not know of as yet). The scenario intended that the characters would spend a few days on the heighliner interacting with other passengers etc, wildy oblivious to House Sarun until they discover their rooms ransacked a day before arriving at Ix… but noooo… one of the players wants to observe who else is taking the Guild shuttle to the heighliner and makes the roll, spotting Pavel Sarun and entourage trying to keep a low profile at the back…

Eduard then instructs Hermes to covertly follow the Sarun delegation to their rooms and report back, which he successfully does.

Eduard and Hera then hatch a plan to invite Pavel Sarun and co to an informal dinner and drinks to try and wheedle information out of them as to the purpose of their travel etc. At that time Hermes is to break into their rooms and try and find whatever intelligence he can about their mission. Clever!

Pavel accepts (how can he not?) and intends to also obtain what useful information he can from the characters - plus it serves as the perfect opportunity to have their spy turn over the Thana suite as originally intended…

Eduard and Hera meet with Pavel and co and notice that one of the entourage is missing. They suspect the very thing that is happening is happening, and it is, but are in no real position to do anything without causing great offence so brazen out dinner hoping that Hermes can deal with the matter appropriately.

Dinner is a tense affair, Pavel and co being somewhat cold and aloof (but also curious as to why they were invited to dinner) and some verbal barbs are traded between Eduard and Pavel. They really aren’t going to be friends, it seems.

Meanwhile, Hermes completes his mission in the Sarun suite and returns to the Thana chambers, but totally fails an observe check (and scores a complication as well) so misses that the housekeeping cart outside the door is somewhat unusual at that time, as housekeeping is in the mornings (ship time) not evenings. He enters the dark cabin and is immediate set upon, sustaining a solid hit to his solar plexus which winds him and he falls to the ground as his unseen assailant escapes through the door. He tries to follow but has lost the assailant in the crowd (no doubt aided by the Cibus hood the spy is wearing).

When Eduard and Hera arrive back at the rooms, they find Hermes a little worse for wear but basically okay, but their rooms have obviously been searched thoroughly. While they filed a complaint with a Guild functionary, there was nothing that could be done to identify the intruder. Seems they had some idea where security devices were stationed and were able to avoid detection.

The session ended with their arrival at Ix and Pavel Sarun smugly smiling at Eduard on the shuttle trip down to Ixian Majorius.

The first session went quite well for the most part, it was really a bit of a test of the system as I have never played a 2d20 system game before and some of the mechanics seemed a bit obtuse.


Dramatis Personae (I may get around to adding their stats etc at some stage). Portraits mostly courtesy of Midjourney.

Eduard Thana, House Heir (19)


Hera Thana, House Envoy (33)


Hermes Sideris, Spymaster (40)


Pavel Sarun, Smug Gloating ■■■■■■■ with highly punchable face (21)




The characters are met at the spaceport by house functionaries of Vernius and escorted to a diplomatic enclave at the heart of the city. They have a day to relax and organise themselves and then will be picked up for a factory tour and inspection on Day 2, where they can see the facility where the new suspensor tech is being produced and ask any technical questions they may have with the Prime Technician, Arad Sepos.

Following the tour, the characters will have several hours before attending a social gathering with their host, Emil Vernius - a minor membor of House Vernius but one tasked with diplomatic relations, CHOAM liaison, and treaty negotiations.

The factory tour itself went off without any issues and everything seemed above board in terms of the expected capability, utility, and production of the new suspensor tech. Hera was able to get out of Sepos that the House Sarun delegation had already been given their tour - confirming what they suspected all along that they were there for the same reason.

Following the tour the characters returned to the diplomatic compound and made plans for the evening’s soiree.

Some time later they were collected and taken to the main House holdings of Vernius where they were met by Emil and his wife. There were several other groups of off-world House envoys (including Sarun) and then two other notable personages: the Reverend Mother Agata Mary Avenia, and the Guild Bank Representative Otto Karitus.

The Reverend Mother flashed a signal to Hera that she wished to speak with her, so the character left the group to attend to this while Eduard thoought it prudent to try and smoothe things pver with Pavel Sarun. Yeah, that did not go down well, some spectacularly bad rolls made and ended up with Pavel taking great offence at the way he was spoken to, demanding satisfaction from Eduard.

A duel it is, but to first blood. After all, can’t dishonour the hosts and all that.

So we delved into the dueling rules and decided that whomever was able to first land a blow won. This time Eduard, spending some previously banked momentum, was able to get past Pavel’s guard and shield. The players had up to this point been very guarded about allowing me to obtain any threat, and when a player House is nascent no threat is given at the start of a session, so I had nothing to really counter with.

Pavel is escorted away in a huff vowing to have his revenge.

Meanwhile the Reverend Mother is telling Hera that there is some threat present but she is not certain as by what or to whom. Hera later imparts this information to Eduard and Hermes, who initially think perhaps they were the target by Pavel and House Sarun, but then decide this is unlikely.

The characters split up and circulate amongst the other guests. At some point Hera is speaking with the Guild Bank Representative Otto Karitus and, again thanks to some luck of the die roll as well as the focus of deductive reasoning and the talent ‘hyper awareness’, determined that there is something off about him. Something about his underlying speech patterns/inflections, although masked, being Tleilaxu in origin.

Understanding that there is a major conflict between House Vernius and the Bene Tleilax, Eduard alerts the Vernius security, who apprehend ‘Karitus’. Unfortunately, Karitus dies before questioning but is discovered to be a face dancer. Emil Vernius extends a warm thanks to Eduard for foiling an apparant assassination plot and accepts the proposal of House Thana for the trade agreement (essentially the foiling of the plot reduced the negotiation difficulty to 0 so Eduard rolled far more successes than poor old Pavel).

The session ended with the return of the delegation to Caladan.


Sounds like a great start to a campaign. Also love a good Family tree.

Players can be devious, though I do like that on the Heighliner they had exactly the same plan as the other House. Very Dune.

Looking forward to seeing what else House Thana get up to!



(In the interim, I’ve received The Great Game: Houses of the Landsraad’ and am looking forward to incorporating the new rules for House advancement etc into our game)

It has been almost a year since the players successfully negotiated the the exclusive trade agreement between Houses Vernius and Thana. In that time, Thana has significantly expanded its holdings and operations as demand for their ‘new and improved’ factory craft has catapaulted them to Minor House standing, although this has not yet formally been conferred.

We ran the first House Managemment session and Thana have indicated that their previoulsy only (secondary) domain industrial/machinery now has expanded to a major domain, and they have aquired a new secondary in science/understanding reflecting a new research division to augment their production arm.

It is now the year 10171AG.

House Thana receives an invitation from the planetary governer, Duke Leto Atreides, to an audience at Castle Caladan. An ornithopter is despatched and Eduard, Hera, and Hermes are conveyed to the Castle in a style they are little accustomed to. They are initially met by the renowned Atreides mentat and Master of Assassins, Thufir Hawat.


Thufir extends a warm welcome and briefs the players that the Duke wishes to congratulate House Thana on its imminent ascension to House Minor status and has an offer. The Duke enters…


He also warmly welcomes the characters to Castle Caladan and offers his congratulations regarding Thana’s rise. He indicates that he, as Planetary Governor, will be officiating the Investiture Ceremony whereby House Thana will be officially regognised and that a Herald of the Change is en-route from Kaitain and expected within a few days.

Leto wishes to make an offer to House Thana, in good faith. There are certain requirements and expectations regarding a House’s ascension, including that of pomp and ceremony. House Atreides offers the use of Castle Caladan for the Investiture Ceremony and following social gathering. Leto puts it delicately as he can that understands that, as a newly minted House, Thana may not quite have the facilities at present to do justice to the event.

Leto states he will leave the characters with Thufir to discuss the fine details as to whom should be invited and what other preparations should be made etc and takes his leave.

The players confer and Hermes is able to provide some details as to the other Houses Minor on Caladan who would expect to be invited.

Alexis Stewart - House Stewart - loyal vassal to the Atreides. Neutral at present to Thana.


Tessa Fluxspear - House Fluxspear - loyal vassal to the Atreides. Friendly disposition towards Thana due to being a major purchaser of factory craft from Thana for their pundi rice harvesting.


Anton Berreth - House Berreth - another loyal vassal to the Atreides. Of neutral disposition to House Thana.


Anatoly Sarun - House Sarun - an unaligned House Minor, of unfavourable disposition towards Thana. They are in direct competition in the manufacturing and design of factory craft.


The players decide that their House should at the same time host a celebration for all their workers and staff, and arrange that Viktor (NPC) will represent their House at this event.

Lastly, Hera thinks that her mother, the Dowager Lady Valentina should also attend the Investiture Ceremony - despite her objections. Valentine makes it quite clear that she does not wish to attend, but is (barely) persuaded and acquiesces.


And we left the session there.



In preparation to upcoming events, Hera and Hermes each create an asset in a minor supporting character.

Hera has been secretly training one of her servants, Zubrette. Her focus is listening


And Hermes has decided that they need to get someone into House Sarun on the ‘ground floor’ to then work their way up into a trusted position. Playing the long game… and thus we have Amelia, looking to be employed by Sarun. Her focus is infiltrate.


Unfortunately, due to some very bad rolling by Hermes which resulted in no successes AND a complication, it is ruled that Amelia was not a successful applicant in the current round of hiring and due to new security screening by Sarun, the next attempt will be at a higher diffulty.

The day of the Ceremony has arrived and Eduard, Hermes, Hera, and Valentina are once again collected by Artreides ornithopter for the short flight across the city, to Castle Caladan. They are greeted by an Atreides honour guard in Thana colours, and with the Thana banners flying from the walls of Castle Caladan. An honour indeed!

They meet with the Duke and Thufir and quickly discuss the upcoming ceremony, so there are no surpises. Eduard also goes off to meet the incoming guests and their accompanying entourages. He is not altogether surprised that Pavel Sarun has attended with his grandfather, Anatoly.

Everyone gathers in place as the Herald’s craft descends. The Herald exits and strides forward towards Eduard and Duke Leto. He is not alone, however. Behind him comes a slight figure robed in black. Hera recognises her as the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. Why is she here?


The Herald unfurles the large scroll he carries and reads out the pronouncement, in the presence of the assembled nobles as witnesses, that Thana is hereby recognised as a House Minor of the Imperial Court, with all the attendant privileges and obligations, by grace of Shaddam IV of House Corrino, ascendant to the Golden Lion Throne of Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe.

Eduard Thana accepts on behalf of House Thana and places the seal on the scroll. The Herald bows and departs but curiously Reverend Mother Mohiam remains and walks past into the castle, flashing a look at Hera as she passes.

The assemblage also slowly make their way into the castle for refreshments and whatnot and this is the basis for an extended intrigue conflict. There are 6 zones, one for each House present:

  1. Atreides
  2. Thana
  3. Stewart
  4. Fluxspear
  5. Berreth
  6. Sarun

Houses Atreides and Fluxspear are already somewhat favourably inclined towards Thana, Stewart and Berreth are neutral. Sarun, well, they are not fans.

I have ruled that there will be 10 rounds for which House Sarun to malign and otherwise try to sully the reputation of House Thana to all and sundry, and for Thana to try to mitigate the reputational damage and court favour for themselves.

Hera decides that Zubrette will run interference, she is present dressed as a serving girl, and try to waylay Pavel Sarun by spilling a tray of drinks on him - and takes the first action. A failure, with two complications! I’m not really sure how to rule the complications so just decide that she can’t take another action for several turns.

The session continues with a series of moves made by members of both Houses, Lady Fluxspear being courted to several invitations to dance - Hermes, as it turns out, cannot move to any beat whatsoever and embarasses himself. Old Lord Sarun cuts in and says something for Lady Fluxspear’s ears only, and she laughs. That sly old fox.

Meanwhile Valentina Thana, left to her own devices, is slowly getting more and more intoxicated.

More moves and counter-moves, words whispered, insinuations made.

Sarun seems to be winning over Fluxspear with their charm. Thana seek to consolidate their reputation gain with Berreth. No-one is too worried about Stewart for now.

And so it continues, Zubrette is back in action but once again spectacularly fails in her attempt to intercept Pavel. Sarun abandon their attempts to sway Berreth and focus on Stewart instead.

More rolls made, rolls failed. Some successes. Threat given.

And when I have enough Threat, the Dowager Lady Valentina strides across the room to Anatoly Sarun and gives him such a slap that the entire room falls silent and watches as she strides out without uttering a word. Did I mention there is a secret history?

The players are now wondering what in hell just happened?

The music resumes and tongues start wagging again.

There are only a few rounds remaining, Hera removes herself to go speak with Reverend Mother Mohiam who earlier had sent a message saying that they needed to speak. Eduard and Hermes continue in their attempts to curry favour and by the end they have managed to regain their good standing with Fluxspear, who are now a little more favourably inclined, as well as Berreth. Stewart, however, gave grown slightly more distant in favour of Sarun.

The Reverend Mother meets with Hera and tells her that the Bene Gesserit have prepared a suitable mate for Duke Leto and that he needs to be convinced to take her as a concubine. This is of the utmost importance to the Sisterhood. And given that House Sarun currently has some favour with the Atreides, they may be well-positioned to whisper into his ear and subtly influence him onto this path.

And there the session ended.



Well, we’ve had 4 sessions and are getting the hang of the rules. The players are loathe to give me any threat but are also quite guarded with their momentum. I think this will change in time. Now that House Thana are a proper House Minor, at least I get 3 threat at the start of every session and that may prompt the players to use their momentum more often.

I’m not giving the players any advancement points. I will grant them some advancements as play progresses as seems fit. As noted elsewhere, player-characters are already quite powerful, so I am mindful of making them even more so, too soon.

Interestingly, none of the characters are combat-oriented, in fact I think everyone has a Battle score of 4. So it is unlikely that we will be featuring too many fights, although perhaps with agents. This makes for a bit of a change from other RPGs that would feature at least one good fight per session…

And lastly, the direction of play is largely up to the players. My idea is essentially that the story arc of the book is happening in the background and that the player’s House may, or may not, be involved to whatever degree. We still have 19 years before Atreides moves to Arrakis, so plenty of time to see which way Thana bends.

I suspect that the majority of this campaign is going to be a bit of a soap opera regarding the rivalry between Sarun and Thana - which is why I created that opposing House in the first place. Looking forward to that story unfolding!


Ha ha, who did I steal the idea from, do you think?

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After the events of the last session, the players really want to know what happened between the Dowager Lady Valentina and Lord Sarun so Hera went to speak with her mother, who was not at all receptive to hert overtures. For a moment Hera considered using the Voice on her mother to compel her to speak, but realised this would break any filial bonds as such, being such a violation of trust.

Eduard, being the favourite, was able to placate his grandmother and slowly come to learn that his grandfather, Giorgos, had formerly been best friends with Anatoly Sarun and had worked together with the young Lord to institute their production facilities and bring them in line with current technological advances. However, Anatoly had grown jealous of Giorgos’ relationship with Valentina and had conducted himself most terribly with her when Giorgos was not present one evening. Valentina tried to keep this a secret but was unable to and Giorgos became enraged, ending his friendship immediately. He ceased working with House Sarun to set up his own company with the savings he had been able to acquire, and slowly grew his holdings to enable his family to rise to a Nascent House status. But the strain, and knowledge of the betrayal by his best friend, eventually killed him.

At this time I thought it would be prudent to go over the rest of House Thana again for the benefit of the players.

Nikolai Thana (40) - (unwilling) Head of House. While he inherited the reins of power from Giorgos, his heart really isn’t in the role and he has been delegating more and more of the work to his son, Eduard.


Calista Thana (18) - younger sister to Eduard


Viktor Thana (30) - he is the House’s head of production. While married to Lady Marika, the union is largely loveless, and he openly is in a relationship with Tatjana Zubek, a House employee (engineer) and she has a son to him. Viktor has yet to officially acknowledge him, however.


Marika Thana (31) - cold, aloof, and generally disiked by most of the House staff, Marika is the daughter of a minor offworld House. Her relationship with Viktor significantly cooled when she moved to Caladan.


Arwen Thana (12) - daughter of Viktor and Marika. Twin to Anette.


Anette Thana (12) - daughter of Viktor and Marika. Twin to Arwen.


Tatjana Zubek (30) - Engineer. Viktor’s lover. Their relationship is an ‘open secret’ and Viktor spends more time at her home in Cala City than at the House compound.


Dmitri Zubek (10) - Viktor’s unaknowledged son. Sickly.


While the players are making plans for the future and discussing the revelations from Valentina, Hera is surprised to find Marika at her door one evening. She is clearly nervous and asks to come in as wishes to ask for advice. Hera allows her to step in and eyes her carefully allowing her to exercise her deductive reasoning while Marika speaks.

Marika begins by acknowledging that the state of her relationship with Viktor is common knowledge, to her shame, but she has tremendous news - she is with child and it is a boy! Hera bluntly asks if the child is certain to be Viktor’s to which Marika has the decency to blush, confirming that she has had a few lovers, but none recently and while Viktor is usually absent from her bed, he did visit her one night at around the right time, while drunk. She is certain the child is his and any check will confirm this.

She asks for help in telling Viktor as she is not certain how he will take the news. Hera agrees but says she will need some time to think.

Because Hera has also found out in her review of the House’s reports that there is something amiss with their production over the last quarter. Targets are not being met, production is down. Equipment malfunction and breakdowns are up, even with gear that is almost new. She had met with Nikolai to tell him of her concerns and he instructed Viktor to go through the detailed reports with Hera to identify which of the workers were most likley to have been on shift or in the area when the breakdowns were reported etc. Anything unusual that might cast some suspicion.

I ran this as an extended task with Viktor, who we statted up as a Notable NPC, was run by Eduard’s player. Hera rolled a single die as support.

Hermes, the House Spymaster also had some ideas. It was noted that their House did not as yet have any meaningful security, only a handful of ceremonial guards. They discussed the recruitment and training of a House Militia (which will cost 5 wealth every management session) and the need to establish a counter-espionage capability as well. And this was a good time to see how his asset, Amelia, was doing. She performed admirably and sent a signal indicated she had been employed as housekeeping staff by House Sarun.

Somewhat belatedly, Hermes now has also created another asset in an informant inside the House - one of the production line supervisors.

Over time Viktor and Hera managed to assess the records and work out a small group of employees that were a statistical outlier in relation to the noted events impeding house production. They are:

Maintenance Supervisor Anatol - long-time employee of House Thana


Maintenance Technician Garun - another long-term employee


Maintenance Technician Vuk- a recent hire within the past year


Maintenance Technician Boris - a recent hire within the past year


The players are now planning to have Hermes do some background checks on each, as well as possibly covert surveillance on each before individually questioning them. They are still considering the best path to take so we ended the session there.


Great to see how the plot is developing.

So much scope in the history you have created both between the Houses and within the House leadership. :heart_eyes:

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Yeah, my plan is much like a long-standing Fading Suns campaign I ran years ago - to build up enough of the world around the players that they can decide what they want to do, what direction to take the game to, and then I can fill in any blanks as needed where needed. And in between their plans, I can run whatever story arcs I have come up with, as well as the overarching backdrop of advancing the timeline to the eventual handover of Arrakis to the Atreides (which I suspect won’t be for well over a year or so of play at the current rate - possibly closer to two).

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Hera provided moral and emotional support to Marika as she informs her husband Viktor that she is with child. He does not take the news very well initially and storms out. Hera follows and tries to console him but he rebuffs her and sulks off.

Hermes has been doing some background checks on the maintenance team previously identified: Anatol, Boris, Vuk and Goran. The players initially make some assumptions that while if anyone is suspect, it’s more likley to be the new hires but then decide that a long game could be being played and either the senior employees having been bribed or suborned. They learn that Garun, a long-term employee was passed over for promotion a few times (but this was a red-herring). Hera sends her servant Zubrette to conduct some covert surveillance on Vuk and manages to follow him to a local fishmarket where he is seen smudging off a chalkmark on a wall, before sitting at a park bench and surreptitiously palming a small cannister from underneath. Definitely not the way a maintenance engineer would normally conduct himself.

Hera has also been informed that a Bene Gesserit envoy has arrived on Caladan and has requested her presence. She meets with the envoy and is given a coded dossier on Duke Leto which provides a wealth of psychosocial information on him regarding his perceived ambitions for House Atreides, the risks of continued lack of an acknowledged Heir, particularly when there still exists a declared War of Assassins between Atreides and Harkonnen. It was discussed that an approach that emphasised the risks while also playing up the aspect that taking a concubine would not preclude Leto arranging a political marriage of convenience in the future with another suitable Major or Great House. Eduard also explained that the future of House Atreides also affected House Thana, for good or ill, hence their concerns.

I gave this task a difficulty of 4 (or a base 5 but with a 1 point bonus for the ‘Friend of Atreides’ trait in play) and with Hera assisting, Eduard scored a total of 6 successes! Leto was somewhat taken aback at the forthrightness of House Thana but said he would certainly discuss this with his own advisors and with the seriousness the matter deserved.

Hermes’ additional intelligence gathering efforts were not completely in vein. He determined that the suspect maintenance team were off duty for another day before returning to their assignment of after-hours maintenance and inspections at one of the newer production facilities. He also broke into the apartment of Boris and also exceeded his roll spectacularly, resulting in finding small pieces of snipped coloured wires that had been caught between floorboards in an otherwise painstakingly-cleaned interior. The players considered hauling them all in for rigorous questioning but then decided against it. Knowing where and when the team would be back to work, they decided to wait in the factory for them and capture them as they entered.

The players also took 2 minor ‘House Trooper’ NPCs - Drive 6, Battle 6 (with 2 determination points each as have ‘Unquestionable Loyalty’ trait). Both are armed with a blade and rife and have a blade focus.


Well, this plan of the players certainly was something I hadn’t counted on and actually threw a bit of a spanner in the works, so to speak. I had originally intended a bit of a mad rush through the factory zone map with 2 NPC saboteurs (Boris and Vuk) as well as 2 NPC stoogies to complicate things (Anatol and Garun) but thanks to the players’ actions they arrived early to find that there were some lights on inside the factory and only 2 saboteurs (although they didn’t know this at this stage) - one at Production Hall A and the other in Storage A.

I explained the whole moving through zones rules again and also said that in order to thoroughly ensure that a zone was sabotage/bomb-free, they needed to do an extended understand test and fill the required number of boxes in each zone. I would count off each round and they had an unknown number of rounds until something happened (15 actually).

I think this portion of the session went reasonably well. Eduard decided he wasn’t really the type to be there himself, but his player acted as one of the House Troopers. The players took their turns either moving or searching, until the first House Trooper entered into Production Hall A and spotted Vuk.

I ruled that the ground floor had a cover trait that was only effective as a +1 difficulty to ranged combat from the ground floor. If a character or NPC was on the catwalk, the elevated position trait nullified the cover trait.

To also speed play up, I decided to implement a rule from World of Game Design on Youtube (Improving Contested Rolls in Dune: Adventures in the Imperium - YouTube) which essentially sets the base difficulty of a contested task by the skill level of the opponent as follows:

There’s a second part to that where Drives can also modify the difficulty, but I thought baby steps first.

I also decided rather than just being 1-hit-and-out minor NPCs to give them the full 6 points each (both Troopers and Saboteurs have a Battle score of 6)

So now we had some ongoing combat as well as the players trying to beat the clock as they searched the factory. House Trooper Iákōbos managed to despatch Vuk after several rounds, having shot at him with his service rifle first and then advanced on him with his sword. While the plan was to try and take the saboteur(s) alive, I spent a portion of threat and the last stab turned out to be a killing blow.

NPC saboteur Boris also ran into the same Production Hall and enaged Iákōbos but the second Trooper, Baptiste, was close on his heels. The combat ended when Baptiste, again meaning to subdue and capture Boris, ended up with a complication on his last success roll - killing the saboteur. Oops.

The players found one incendiary device and disabled it, the second device went off but Baptiste was in the same room at the time and was able to put out the fire.

In a somewhat inspired move, the players decided to put out a media release that they had to close a factory indefinitely due to an accidental major fire - thereby signalling to the enemy (suspected to be House Sarun but not positively known) that they had succeeded. We’ll see how this misdirection may play out.

To wrap the session up, the players learned that Thufir Hawat had been sent to Wallach IX to look into a suitable consort for Duke Leto and had returned with a young woman named Jessica.

I also informed the players that we would next advance another year to 10,172AG next session and would run another House management session then. I would also allow for some character advancement at that time (still to decide exactly how much) and that I may also allow for some limited character redesign since there were some new traits/assets/drives available now with Power & Pawns.

And lastly it seems that I’ll have another player joining us and so she will play the part of Calista Thana, younger sister to the Heir.



Players always throw spanners (and wrenches, explosives, NPCs) into the works. Being able to adapt to what they throw at you is a sign of a good GM.

Nice map. How did it work with the number of successes needed? It look liked quite a few would be required.

It sounds like your players are really playing into the themes of misdirection & intrigue of Dune in your game. Loved the media release gambit.
Really enjoying reading your write ups.

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To be fair, I probably would have fudged it if the players were taking too long and not doing too well on the search front, because the 15 rounds was just an arbitrary number I pulled out of my head at the start - I had no real idea if that would be far more than necessary, or nowhere near enough. Turns out it seemed to be enough for the players to focus on a few rooms in particular that they suspected might have been targeted.

My favourite part was when the Spymaster only needed 2 last successes in Production Hall B but got 1 and a complication, so I say that he’s positive that the room is cleared even though one search box was still clearly still unticked, and he can’t take any more actions in that room since he’s 100% positive. So another player ran there to complete the task thinking that of course there must be a device there. There was no device there but it distracted them from another location.

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Unfortunately the new player couldn’t make it for this session, so we had to do without her. After the recap of the previous session I announced that another year had passed and that it was now 10,172AG. We proceeded with a House management session where, when during the Events section, the player rolled Crisis (Disaster) which I ruled as a major fire during electrical storms. We all decided that there would be a wealth and resource penalty to get production back to normal this year.

Next, I asked the players if they wanted to rejig their characters now that they’ve had some experience with the system (and setting). I would allow them to rejig their drives, skills, talents, or assets within reason. The player playing the Heir decided to swap out Faith drive with one of the new ones; Honour.

Next, each player could choose one of the following increases:

  1. An increase in a single skill score, or
  2. Two new focuses, or
  3. One new talent

Lastly, I covered the latest developments such as the birth of a healthy baby boy to Viktor and Marika Thana (named Giorgos, after Viktor’s deceased father).

This pre-session housekeeping took quite some time but we then commenced the session proper.

House Thana received a cordial invitation to a function at House Caladan where Duke Leto was going to make a formal pronouncement. The characters already had an inclination that this might have something to do regarding Jessica, as it was common knowledge that the Duke was smitten with her and she had been a constant companion to him over the past few months. They decided to arrange for some kind of fitting gift and after much discussion settled on a Methuselah of the finest Caladanian champagne and two flutes of the high-quality crystal engraved with the Atreides crest.

The party - Eduard, Hera, Hermes and Calista (as NPC for the moment) - made their way to Castle Caladan at the appointed time and were warmly greeted by the Duke and Jessica on arrival.


Other guests from the local noble houses, and their entourages, were also arriving - and the characters could see members of Houses Fluxspear and Berreth, as well as the dreaded faces of Pavel Sarun and his grandfather Anatoly. Notably absent was Alexis Stewart, but in his place was their House Representative Walter Ludvig.


The remainder of the session revolved around the formal dinner. Due to Eduard’s earlier personal venture gaining the Friend of House Atreides trait, the players were seated near the head of the table, close to Jessica and the Duke. Hermes was seated next to the enigmatic Ludvig. The remainder were positioned with Berreth opposite the players, Fluxspear next to them, and Sarun at the bottom end.

Leto stood and tapped his glass (the gift from Thana the players noticed) and called for silence as he raised his glass in a toast to Jessica. He then stated that for too long he had been remiss in his duties, not only to House Atreides but also to the other minor Houses as well as the Caladanian people, by not having made arrangements regarding the continuation of the Atreides line. To that end let all know that from this moment henceforth the Lady Jessica was formally accepted as companion to Duke Leto taking the role of the Atredies House Consort.

After this pronouncement the dinner resumed with various conversations taking place simultaneously. Pavel Sarun opened up with a snipe at Thana by congratulating them on their first year as a House Minor and commented that he’d heard they’d had some issues with fire damaging their production facilities, and then smugly asked if they would be able to meet the following year’s targets?

Hermes noted that throughout the course of dinner, Ludvig was paying particular attention to what House Sarun was discussing and was asking rather pointed questions although phrased in seemingly innocuous wording - particularly regarding Sarun’s economic position. Hermes (correctly) deduces that Ludvig is no mere House Envoy but perhaps serves in another capacity.

The other main activity of interest at the table was that between Eduard and the daughter of Tessa Fluxspear, the young lady Stasia.


Previously, House Thana had established quite good relations with Fluxspear, partially due to their business dealings. There had been some talk about further meetings, to which Fluxspear seemed responsive. Now Eduard is thinking that perhaps one way of strengthening House Thana and possibly achieving Great House status in the future, is by linking themselves to another House Minor through marriage. Lady Stasia is looking like a prospect…

However, Pavel Sarun has noticed the sudden interest in Stasia by Eduard, so naturally decides to also make a play for her attention. There is a bit of a social conflict between them but Eduard gains the upper hand when he asks Stasia for the first dance after dinner and she agrees.

At this point we ended the session, with the next to conclude this social event. It was reasonably roll-light, not a lot happened and there were not too many skill tests - most were to decuce information on the other characters. The players spent a lot of time making plans and discussing various plots they may undertake.

Next session will probably be delayed a week as at least one player has come down with COVID, and hopefully the new player will be able to make it from now on.


I have really enjoyed reading your campaign.I will probably mine it for a few ideas. Great work all around.



The new player was in attendance and statted up Calista Thana, younger sister to the Heir, Eduard. She is essentially trained to be the House Tactician/Warmaster.

The players picked up where we left off last session, with the formal dinner ending at Castle Caladan where Duke Leto publically announcing having taken Jessica as House Consort. Now we had an informal social gathering in the Great Hall where the various Noble Personages and their entourages were mingling.

Eduard was eyeing up the young Lady Stasia Fluxspear and intent on outmaneuvering Pavel Sarun who he noted last session as making direct overtures in that direction for no reason that other to interfere and be a general nuisance.

Calista decides she should run interference for her brother and asked Pavel for a dance, making a communicate D1 test (Pavel is a little reluctant but doesn’t want to appear boorish). She then wants to impress him with her dance moves while learning what she can about him by the way he also dances, makes the requisite move test and deduces that he is not as skilled as her in this area. However, she also scores a complication which I decree is a sprained ankle at the end of the dance, so she tries to manipulate Pavel by falling in a heap at his feet and hoping that he will lift her up and escort her off the dance floor. Unfortunately, she failed her communicate roll and scored another complication - Pavel just looked down at her on the floor with a sneer and walked off without helping her up. Ouch!

Meanwhile Hermes has met with the House Stewart agent, Ludwig, and is informed that there is some information of possible interest to House Thana concerning Sarun’s recent activities. All they want in exchange is a later favour, should this information be of use. Hermes accepts the offer and arranges to meet with Ludwig the following day.

Hera has picked up Calista from the dance floor and taken her to one side. They plot their next moves.

Eduard wishes to resume his overtures towards Stasia so I rule that it is another social conflict in three rounds against Pavel as follows:

  1. The Flirting - D1 observation check

  2. The Toast - D1 communicate check

  3. The Dance - D2 move check

The result being that whoever scores highest in total will receive the Favoured by Lady Stasia trait.

Sadly for Eduard, Pavel proves he can be exceedingly witty, charming, and urbane when he wants to be, and pulls ahead comfortably scoring higher in the first two rounds. However, Eduard pulls no punches when it comes to the dance, spends all the available momentum and also some threat in order to have a dice pool of 5 and Pavel just can’t compete. By the end of the evening, the Lady Stasia is rather enamoured of Eduard.

The players conduct a few more conversations with the assembled nobles but shortly thereafter the evening draws to a close.

The following day Hermes meets with Ludwig who has brought a filmbook with still images and video of what appears to be a secret and hidden facility on a barren moon. Ludwig explains that the uninhabited 4th planet in the system, Delphi, has 3 small moons and over the past year House Stewart noted some unusual activity taking place on the second. The stills and video show what appears to be a large landing pad in a mountainous area and large camouflaged hangar doors. Also the glint of metal in the reflected light indicated possible armed patrols on the surface.

Ludwig explains that they have been interested in House Sarun’s activities for some time and note that over the past year Sarun diplomats have been travelling offworld by Heighliner quite extensively, more so than previously, indicating that they are probably seeking an off-world market.

But why this secret facility?

After discussion with the other characters, Hermes agrees that it is of vital importance to House Thana to find out what Sarun are up to. He arranges with House Stewart to be covertly dropped off in the area and then inflitrates on foot. There are 2 patrols which, as long as Hermes makes his move (sneak) skill checks will move randomly on the 5x7 grid zone map. I had inspiration for this from a post I had seen elsewhere - but I can’t recall where now.

For the most part Hermes was able to make his way right up to the zone adjacent to the hidden facility without mishap - several bold move tests allowed him to move the enemy patrols away from him. However, while still making his sneak roll he scored a complication and I rule that the closest patrol, while they haven’t sighted him, will move to that last known position to investigate something that caught their eye.

Hermes manages to get to the installation zone and makes a D4 move check to infiltrate the facility. Inside he find a large hangar-like space with massive ground craft lined up in rows. He manages to make an understand check with 4 successes, so deduces the following from questioning me regarding his observations:

  1. The craft are brand new and not used

  2. They are factory craft of some kind

  3. The craft are unarmed (and unshielded)

  4. The craft are tracked (totally unsuitable for most industries on Caladan)

  5. The craft have some kind of grappling hardpoints apparantly for transport by other craft

(While the players have a pretty good idea what these are, the characters do not.)

Hermes decides that he has spent long enough in the facility so now attempts to exfiltrate. He is about halfway to the extraction zone when he completely fails his move (sneak) check. I rule that the patrols now are aware of his presence and are able to move directly towards him, also making subtle or bold moves if desired.

The chase is on!

Hermes finds himself almost trapped with the patrols in adjacent zones, but manages to make a bold move check, moves the blocking patrol one zone back, then spends 2 momentum to move another zone to extraction. Close! I think the player was actually quite nervous remembering the combat he was in way back in our first session. His character is sneaky but certainly no fighter!

Safely back on Caladan Hermes and the other characters look at the evidence they have obtained and consult with Ludwig. He confirms that the craft appear to be spice harvesters.

Now this is an interesting turn of affairs. House Sarun is independant, not allied to Atreides and therefore not otherwise prohibited in trading with House Harkonnen (they are the lawful governors of Arrakis after all). Or are the harvesters intended to be sold to one of the various smuggling factions? This might explain why the facility is hidden.

The characters decide to ponder over this new information at greater length before taking any action and we ended the session there.

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A nice mix of the political and the action this session.
I’m going to remember that sneaking scenario, I can see it being useful in various games I run. :+1:

Pavel certainly seems to be shaping up to be a notable nemesis. I love the flow in the political scene, I can really picture it in my minds eye. Kudos on the writing.

I want to know what plans they come up with now they have this intelligence on House Sarun. :laughing:

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I really wanted something to give the player who is running Hermes something to do as I felt he was a bit on the sidelines for the past few sessions. It can be tricky to give everyone something meaningful to do every session, but I want all the players to feel involved. Still working on this.

If I can find the inspiration for this, I’ll post it up.

Cheers, I really want the players to have someone they love to loathe. I may move the game into other directions but you can guarantee that Pavel will always show up when least expected. Or wanted.

So do I. Ideally, I want the players to direct which way the game runs based on their interests but I also want to include various elements from the canonical plot line as time passes. In this case, I’m intending to introduce House Harkonnen (yes, for it is they) as a very real element if not threat, with the possible relationship between Sarun and Harkonnen.

I’m still getting to grips with the somewhat abstract nature of the rules, as are the players. No-one has really used momentum to create traits in play as yet on the fly so we’re really not yet fully engaged with the rules system.

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Cheers! I sat on the rules for about a year before I started the campaign, and had an idea for the beginning (as a nascent House on Caladan) and wanted to start the campaign well before the events of the first novel.