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Dune one-off concepts

Running a campaign and running a one off are very different propositions. I have a fair amount of experience in campaign games but I have rarely run one-offs. My plotting and time management are not usually good enough.

I have however had some ideas for Dune one-offs and was wondering a) what people thought and b) what sort of ideas does everybody else have.
It’s always good to have multiple views on something to help refine it.

First concept - The Mysterious Affair at Arrakis
Essentially a closed circle murder mystery in a Fremen Seitch just after the end of the first book.
The players are all delegates to a meeting detailing what will happen after Paul’s victory when one of the ex-smuggler Atreides is killed. With a sandstorm cutting off communication they have to find out who killed him and why before the Fremen deal with matters the traditional way…
For added bonuses (with the right group) you could make one (or more) of the players the killer and they have to frame someone else.

Second concept - The Rules of Kanly
The players have been summoned to attend a kanly duel between their House and another. It is neutral ground but both sides are planning on tilting the field in their favour.
They have to fend off the opponents attempt to sabotage their side while simultaneously attempting to get matters in their favour.
Possibly finishing off with fending off an assault by mercenaries or assassins right after the duel.

What do people think of the bare bones concepts and do you have any ideas of your own?

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For a one-off game (possibly at a Convention) how about travelling on a Highliner and the Navigator dies! Multiple Houses have ships aboard and are stranded in an uninhabited star system with little/no hope of rescue. War and Diplomacy in the corridors of the vast ship.

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Depending upon available characters…

One night at the Landsraad…

All PC’s are from different factions, povided with a list of goals…
A chance for an intense PVP social conflict

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Or first contact with the returning Honored Matres?

A team of archaeologists have found something interesting on a planet owned by the House of the players. Could it be some relic of the The Butlerian Jihad? Could it be dangerous? The players are called into either assist with the dig itself or help with security at the site. Could a rival House have spies in the team of archaeologists and even now planning some sort of assault or robbery over potential tech or riches found?
There are several ideas spinning off from this - could you play it like the Curse of Tutankhamun with members of the archaeology team falling ill or disappearing and it becomes an investigation or possibly it is a massive complex uncovered and some sort of “dungeon crawl” with the players accompanying the archaeologists into danger.

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I ran a similar scenario (using a Fate hack) where the players were seeking their ex-patron’s house atomics. They found pre-jihad powered battle armor. The integral AI perceived them as an enemy because they weren’t speaking the archaic house chakobsa. They had to use other forbidden superweapons to deactivate it, but you can also throw in salvaged filmbook spools with the language if you prefer a less fighty finish.

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Another twist: They’ve misjumped to the legendary Tupile system. Was it an accident?

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This one is more of an open-ended concept, it could be used as a one-off or the start of a campaign.

The players are Atreides on the night the Harkonnen & Sarduakar attack.
They have to survive the initial assault and then work out a way to escape Arakeen and survive the fall of the Atreides.
I suspect it is one for a very adaptive GM as they are going to have to make up a lot of stuff on the fly depending on how their players choose to act.
Just off the top of my head I can see them fleeing to the smugglers, trying to join up with another House, going to ground in the cities, preparing a guerrilla campaign…

For added twists they could have something precious with them. The Atreides heraldry maybe (though not the Ducal ring) or even a cousin of Paul. Without knowing the events of the book they (and everyone else) could think they have the next head of the Family with them.

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I thought about a rescue mission as you play members of House Harkonnen. Your mission is to find and return someone from the desert of Dune - like for examlpe Pardot Kynes from the addendum of Dune.
Basically Pardot was the guy that gave the Fremen the idea to terrafrom the planet. He was an planetologist in the Emperors employ and saved Fremen from Harkonnen bullies. The Fremen where unsure what to do with him, so the brought him to their Sietch.
The job of the players is to find out what happened to the planetologist and bring him back savely, or at least provide the Harkonnen ruler of Dune with possible denyability - especially against a truthseer.
It can be an introductory scenario to learn the difficulties/dangers of Arrakis.
One player could be an Harkonnen noble that has a “fight” in one of GPs pits against a drugged, half-shielded prisoner. Just to show how evil these guys are.
Another player could be an Atreides spy or even a facedancer if his own agenda.
Third player might be an imperial Sardaukar training with the Harkonnen soldiers for a certain future event.

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Did Harkonnen rule Attalid when Pardot was there? I thought it was House Richese? Perhaps I am wrong.

My bad, Harkonnens were there. Hence the six Harkonnen braves he fought.
When did Richese control it?

I am not so sure. I don’t know much beyond the first 6 novels. Richese seems a like a “minor” house to me rather than one that ever was in controll over Arrakis.
The are said to be a technology provider like the Ixians, so I would assume that their influence was there due to the machnies they build. I don’t know if they ever have been in charge of Dune.
Also, I don’t know exactly for how long Dune was “mined” for spice, and what time periode the Harkonnens had to salvage it.

We know that Melange was known about at the start of the Spacing Guild as it is what allowed them their monopoly on space travel.
So it has been mined on Arrakis for at least 10,000 years.

Changes of Fief don’t seem to be that frequent. I think the Atreides had Caladan for 6 generations (which is my mind translates to roughly 250-300 years as Nobles will have longer lifespans) and since the Hakonnens were in charge when Pardot Kynes arrived then they must have held the Fief for at least 40 years at the time at the start of Dune.
Which also roughly ties in to Thufir Hawats estimate of the cost of the Harkonnen/Sarduakar attack of '50 years of spice profit for Arrakis.

TL;DR, Spice has been mined for 10,000 years and the Harkonnens have held for the planet for at least 40-50 years.

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It is mentioned somewhere in Dune that House Richese lost control to the Harkonnens. I just can’t recall where I read it. I believe it’s in Dune, but it might have been in the Dune Encyclopedia, which I read as a kid in 84, before it came out as non-canon. I will dig and see if I can find the source.

10.115 AG House Richese is ousted from Dune and it is turned over to Dmitri Harkonnen. This is from an official timeline from Dune: House Atreides.

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Good find. That would mean that House Harkonnen held the fief of Arrakis for 76 years at the start of Dune.

Makes sense that it is in Dune: House Atreides. Richese was only really a footnote in the original series.

I believe I saw somewhere that the spice mining equipment was originally produced by Richese. I wonder if they still produce the machines? Disrupting that supply chain might be an interesting adventure…

Given how many spice harvesters must get swallowed there is certainly someone making harvesting equipment, possibly a couple of places.
Its one of those odd businesses like making trains for the London Underground. Its a good solid gig but you only have one customer, so if they have problems you’re a bit stuck.

You have to wonder that with each house protected by CHOAM contracts, that the competition for producing exportable goods is very limited. The Fraufreleuches system guarantees a place for every man, and a man for every place. To avoid economic chaos like we tend to see now, any change in the system would upset the 10,000 year old system. I guess what I am trying to say is, that if Richese holds the CHOAM contract to produce the spice mining equipment, that would be safely in their hands without competition, the same way the Guild controls FTL travel. Of course, you wonder if all doctors are SUK conditioned, or just the most desired and trusted ones, and if there are normal medical schools out there, not a form of competition per se, just a higher quality alternative. But to guarantee efficiency in the Fraufrelueches (sic) system, if you are producing the perfect product and upholding the standards set by your CHOAM contract, you will not suffer from competition.
So I guess my take is that NO, there is no other producer of Spice Mining equipment, as this would be a violation of the CHOAM contract for its production, and could unduly effect the lives of millions of craftsmen in House Richese.

My take on this is that the battle simply moves from the marketplace to the Board room (with quiet raids and sabotage to show the controlling House up).
The contract is currently controlled by Richese, but have they always held it? Did they take the contract from a previous House by demonstrating they could improve returns, possibly after a sudden drop in profitability by the previous House.

Depending on how often the contract changes you could have a weird mix of spice harvesters from different House producers, all being jury-rigged to keep them working because fixing is cheaper in the short run than Capital Expenditure.