|  Modiphius Shop

Dune & Architect Play

I am very intrigued by the mentions of Architect Play. Is this a new concept for Dune or part of another existing 2d20 product? What would be the best 2d20 product to view Architect Play? This is a concept most systems never mention or miss the mark on.

Thank you

I don’t think any other 2d20 system really has an Architect Play system in it, the focus on it is a new thing for Modiphius.

The closest I have seen in the games I have played is Infinity with it’s PsyWar section. In that you can target characters who are nowhere near you by manipulating characters and organisations that you can interact with.

1 Like

I would have expected the Dune social conflict rules to be more like Psywar in Infinity, but Infinity is very fine-grained in its mechanics, very detailed, and Dune is the total opposite, very coarse-grained and abstract.

The Architect Play for Dune is therefore a first, nothing to be found in any other 2d20-based RPGs.

1 Like

Yup, we had to take a different turn for Dune to allow for Architect play.
It was also important to have a single system for all forms of conflict that adapts with a few tweaks to allow for all manner of different contests. After all, coming at your enemy the way they least expect is all part of it!


I’ve read through combat in the preorder PDF but I have to admit I still don’t really understand it

How are zones determined- what does being hit actually do - and no I don’t understand the opposed tests either…

I’m really hoping the full rule book has an idiots guide because I’m normally fantastic at running systems (at one point I held the majority of Shadowrun in my head - and that’s damn complex) - but I’m simply not getting this one

Its not as weird as it looks, but there are a lot of gear changes that make it confusing. The core system is actually quite simple, but the narrative elements make it look more complex than it is.

It is also key to focus on asset movement and applying traits and momentum etc as the core of combat, rather than the dice rolling. In most systems, movement is just an optional preamble and the interplay of the fight is in the cut and thrust of dice rolls. In dune, the movement and point spending is the cut and thrust, with the dice just determining the victor in a single roll (usually).

Zones- these are defined by the GM, depending on what they want to do and how complex they want it to be. Lets take the alley skirmish for instance.
GM 1 just wants a simple fight so decides there are two zones - ‘Market end of the alley’ and ‘Deep end of the alley’ representing the end of the alley the PCs first come into from the market, and the deeper part of the other end of the alley. Basically the zones are just the alley cut in half.
The GM starts most of the bandits in the deep end of the alley but a couple are waiting to ambush as the PCs arrive and are in the market end.

GM 2 wants a lot of tactical movement and conflict. So they break the alley into more zones with a little more flavour. ‘The dark part of the alley’ and ‘the alley near some steps’ and ‘the alley near a house’ and ‘the entrance to the alley’. The PCs enter the scene in the ‘entrance’ zone, but the bandits are scattered across all the others.

The GM can also apply different traits to each zone that will affect the conflict there. It might be dark, slippery, even trapped.

You can move between zones with an action and so the GM also needs to define where the ‘joins’ are. The 2 zone option is simple as they are next to each other, but more zones might be more complex. The 4 zone option might be placed as a square so they they link to each other, or in a line (like a long alley) meaning you need to move across other zones to get to where you want to go.

You can also decide to just use one zone ‘the alley’ , meaning anyone in the fight can attack anyone else.

If your character is in a zone they can attack anyone else in that zone. Ranged weapons can let you attack someone in another zone. Remember these zones are not specific measurements. All that matters is whether you are in a zone or not, where you are in that zone is irrelevant. People move about in combat - a lot- and so anyone can get to anyone else in a zone.

Making an attack is an opposed roll. The defender makes a roll to set a difficulty, the amount of successes they get being the difficulty for the attacker (no successes makes you an easy target!). The attacker then tries to equal or beat that difficulty.
If the attacker makes the roll the defender is out of the fight. No hit points, no mercy. The moving and interplay of traits and assets is the fight. Making an attack roll is more of an attempt to make a coup de grace on your opponent having found a weakness.

You may find your are looking for more complexity than is there, which I know I did when I first saw it. There is a lot of narrative freedom to determine what zones are and what any attack might represent. But the entire system of any combat is essentially:
-Move to the same zone as your opponent
-make an attack (use asset) opposed test when you have
-if you make the roll the opponent is defeated.

What changes from conflict to conflict is the scale and scope.
In warfare, zones might be different land masses you are placing tank or troop assets on. In an intrigue the zones might be people you are influencing with assets of blackmail or favour.
The rolls are the same either way. But in warfare a win means destroying enemy tanks and taking control of an area, in intrigue it is forcing an enemy to capitulate to your demands.

Does that make more sense?


Whats funny is I am following along and it makes more sense each time I read it. Not there yet but still rereading!

Sorry its proving a pain, its worth the wait though :slight_smile:
Happy to answer more questions as I don’t think you’re alone.

Not a pain at all, a learning curve.

1 Like

That makes sense - thank you

How do you work out the difficulty that the defender rolls against to find the difficulty for the attacker?

Also if someone gets attacked more than once - do they roll a new defence each time?

The defender is setting a difficulty, so they don’t need to beat one.
However we’ll they roll determines the difficulty their attacker needs to hit them.
So they just need as many successes as they can get.

If you are attacked again, reroll defence. It doesn’t cost an action.
You can spend momentum, so multiple attacks may force you to use up more resources.
But to speed things up the gm might rule that once you’ve rolled defence it counts for that round at least against all attacks.

1 Like

I don’t usually use maps when I run games but I found when I did Desertfall it helped me to do some rough sketch maps showing zones so people could see where they were in relation to other actors.
So a fight in the Residence had the main building linked to the Basement which linked to the outside via an access hatch.

It allowed the players and I to understand where everyone was and so what options they had.


Right - that makes sense - partially

Can you give a brief run down on that with some example skills/abilities so I can see how you get the dice pools please and what then becomes a success on what rolls?

Happy New Year btw!

A little tricky without writing a full combat example. Although I’ll look at doing that for one of our blogs.

Lets say Kara our Bene Gesserit trained noble is accosted by two thugs in an alley.
This is a skirmish, and all the participants will be using Battle as their skill. Kara has a focus in short blades so with a knife in her hand has a better chance to critical.

The GM puts the area into two different zones, zone 1 is where Kara is, and zone 2 is where the thugs are.
Given the thugs want to attack Kara, her player is happy to let them go first. The first uses their action to move into Kara’s zone. The GM makes a battle test for the move action and fails, so while the thug moves, he doesn’t get a further benefit. Kara’s player could also move an enemy asset, although she has them where she wants them.

It is Kara’s turn as the initiative passes her her side. As she has a thug in the same zone as her she can use her knife to attack as her action. She decides to use Power as her drive, given she wants to teach these chancers a lesson and make an example of them for trying to attack her. Her statement doesn’t really apply so she can’t use Determination.

Kara makes a roll using Power + Battle. But the thug needs to make a defense roll first to set the difficulty.
The thug rolls Battle + their quality as they are minor NPCs. He does well though getting a success and a critical for 3 successes.
Kara will need to roll 3 or more successes for her attack to succeed.
She spends a momentum for an extra dice (perhaps detailing how she also fixes the thug with an intimating glare as she lunges to represent the extra points) and scores 3 successes.
This is enough for her attack action to succeed, so the thug (being a low grade mook) is down and out.
It is the second thug’s action now as the initiative passes to the GM. He decides to use his action to make a run for it!


“She decides to use Power as her drive … Her statement doesn’t really apply so she can’t use Determination.”

When I read the rulebook preview, there only appeared to be two options: (1) the drive statement aligns and so the drive can be used, or (2) the drive statement clashes and so the drive cannot be used without challenging it. This example suggests there is a neutral third option where the drive statement neither aligns nor clashes. In this third option the drive can be used but determination may not be spent as was described in the example. Just looking for verification to make sure I’ve got enough info to run the system as intended. Thanks!

Very solid and useful example.

1 Like

You are correct, I’m simplifying as it was a question about the dice rolls and skill use, so apologies for any confusion.
Drive statements is possibly worth a new thread as thats the other place people have problems.
Although, if you want to simplify it you can run it as I wrote above, which is essentially how it works in Star Trek to a certain degree.

1 Like

Thanks for that Andy!

So basically NPCS have the same stat blocks - though with probably lower numbers - so they need to roll under their two numbers added together. That then generates the number of successes the PC needs to roll on their check to hit.

There are no hit points (etc) and it’s a hit and out system - is that true of everything?

Hitting a sand worm with a lazgun and killing it in 1 shot doesn’t feel right :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

There are no hit points for mooks, the minor NPCs that you encounter in groups and are mainly there to showcase the PCs & Major NPCs.

For PCs & Major NPCs they have hit points equal to their Battle skill (or other appropriate skill if in something like Intrigue). Damage is 2 + Asset Potency (I think you can spend momentum to boost as well).
You can also spend momentum to finish the opponent off (i.e Kill, etc) otherwise they are defeated for the scene, but may reappear in the future if the GM determines it in the plot.

Rabban managed it, but then he did use a nuke.
So its all down to the assets really :slight_smile: