Heighliner travel

I’ve been reading the book again, just seen the movie for the second time this morning, and watched the Lynch version of the movie yesterday.

I’m brewing an idea for a campaign but I have been trying to get a handle on space travel.

There was a section in the book that talks about the size of the Guild Heighliners, and that the Atradies ships and Harkonnen ships could fit side by side inside the liners and not fire at each other. That gives a great indicator of the size of the Heighliners, but I’m not finding much detail about the actual process of guild travel.

Yes they fold space, but would that indicate that the actual space travel would be instantaneous? So travel time would be time taken to break planet atmosphere, entre Heighliner, bingo stingo space travellers, Arrakis?

It seems to be a little bit of a throw away, but it’s huge really (in my mind).

Does this get a mention in any of the later Dune novels? I haven’t read them (yet) or does it get a nod in the encyclopaedia?

Any suggestions?


The Dune Encyclopaedia does have a fair amount on Guild Travel.

The summary of it is that Heighliners travel in set routes. So the jump is instantaneous, but you may have to wait at a couple of stops before you reach the destination you want.
Think of it like a series of bus routes or an underground train system where if you want to go somewhere obscure you have to change Heighliners.

The DE goes into more detail on certain routes, the size of the Guild fleet and even a section on Guild Tourism…


Thank you! I’ll hit the encyclopaedia. I haven’t had a chance to delve too deeply into it but I’ll definitely see what I can find there.

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A cut chapter (found in The Road to Dune) from Dune featured part of the Atreides trip on the Heighliner they took to Arrakis.
No big revelations in that, though interestingly it notes that the Heighliners are globes, which makes sense since a sphere is most efficient shape for minimizing surface area (and therefore mass) while maximizing volume. Dune Encyclopedia has Heighliners to be globes as well.
Guild also had announcers who were apparently skilled in Voice-like speech, being very calming and reassuring.
The chapter says that it takes “subjective day and a half” for the Atreides to be at their destination. Uncertain if this refers to Caladan day or if the Guildsmen, navigators perceive time differently.
FTL travel is said to cause weird feelings but these are harmless.
The ship is noted to be huge, though this is not quantified in any way. I’d say Heighliners can’t be too big though, depending on travel time, how often the ship stops at a place, and how long loading/unloading takes, there’s a point where it just becomes inefficient.

Interestingly, Dune has one scene indicating not all spacecraft have artificial gravity. When the Duke receives Halleck and his soldiers on Arrakis, one soldier notes to another “you feel that? That’s gravity” or something that effect, implying perhaps at least frigates/shuttles/whatever the ship was in the scene don’t feature artificial gravity. (Also Caladan seems to have lower gravity than Arrakis.)
The cut Heighliner chapter makes no note of lack of gravity, so it seems at least ships within Heighliner do have artificial gravity.
Dune series never elaborates on method of generating artificial gravity though. If frigates don’t have that, perhaps Heighliners’ internal docking cradles rotate to provide gravity.


Thank you! That gives me so much info and places to start digging. I’m going through the encyclopaedia now in the dark with a sleeping husband and a grumpy cat (Beatrix - aka Meow-dib).

It does make me wonder why Lynch and the SF folks and Villeneuve have the Heighliners as Cylinders.

I like the idea of gargantuan spheres. And the gravity issue as well!

Can I ask, where could I track down that chapter?

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This is exactly how I’m running it in my game.

You can travel where you want to go on the regularly scheduled Heighliner service, but you have to wait on the schedule, or, if you’re wealthy enough you can charter a Guild ship (in my universe the Guild has smaller courier-type ships for this purpose) to go wherever you want on your terms.

Of course, if your enemies have spies in the Guild, you’ve just raised some red flags for them (in addition to spending a non-trivial portion of your House’s treasury).


Fantastic! I’m starting to pull a potential story arc together. But I’d like the actual travel to be part of sessions.

It would be great (from a gm-ing point of view) to have members of a minor house needing to get off world, having to Negotiate/bribe/beg the guild to get the space and then have rivals screw with them etc before the real guts of the adventure starts.

I’m incredibly greatful for the info posted to my question!


One of my players has Spacing Guild affiliation and Dual Fealty so she is the Spacing Guild Honorary Consul on the planet.

As part of this a Guild envoy requested she undertake an urgent mission on their behalf (to keep things separate from the Guild initially).
The Envoy held a Heighliner in orbit until they were aboard and basically told them they were doing it “because the Guild can”.


Yup, Guild travel is instantaneous, but it takes a while to load and unload each heighliner at each destination.
Plus most heighliners have specific routes so you might have to do several jumps to get to the place you want to be.

Ships have to play nicely in the hold as anyone firing on anyone else will lose Guild privileges’. No one can afford to upset the Guild. Plus no ship can activate a shield as it interferes with the foldspace engines.

There is a lot in the Encyclopedia, but we can’t use it for the game as its officially non-canon.


You can’t use it in the published material as it is non-canon and the Estate has final say. For the rest of us “Bwahahahah:smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp:

I shall steal my ideas from anywhere!


The Road to Dune, a short story and other stuff collection. No idea how available that book is anymore.
In addition to the deleted chapters and scenes and drafts, the book also has “Spice Planet”, KJA/BH novella based on Dune’s drafts; some background stuff about Dune’s writing like Herbert’s letters relating to it; and a couple of KJA/BH short stories.

Unfortunately the deleted material feels like it could’ve been just released online but that wasn’t done :confused:

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I’ve now got Road to Dune! Thank you! I’m disappearing down a rabbit hole now, which will keep me occupied when I need a break from Christmas prep (baking etc), my own work (I have a kids book to finish illustrating)and house stuff.

Where’s a Mapes when you need her??

But this info has been so valuable. I’m heading towards a mini noble house who has the weight of a very old name and pretty much nothing else.

Providing some troops for DL’s army and heading off with Leto to Arrakis has a very crusade-y feel to it.

They’ll either come back to Caladan loaded or … not at all.

I’m wanting them to have rivals, and I am thinking the travel should be key as well.