June Dune - House Solis on Arrakis

I started my Dune June mini-campaign today at my LFGS group we have started.
A very different group to my normal one, being most male teenagers (and one young adult). So on average about 25 years younger than I am used to.
Luckily I only seem to have one murderhobo amongst them.

I am using several of the pre-written adventures as jumping off points for my campaign to cut down on the amount of work I need to do. Though as some of them have the core book I have shifted things around and changed key plot elements to throw them off in case they have read the adventure in the back.

They chose to create a House Minor focussed on Espionage Produce named House Soulless, but it was too close to the bad guys of my first campaign to pass up, so I tweaked it to House Solis.
Two of them used my pregens while the others created their own characters. A motley bunch consisting of the heir to House , his mercenary bodyguard, 2 mentats, a doctor and a negotiator (Seemingly to keep an eye on the heir, our resident murderhobo)

House Solis has a sub-fief on Arrakis for spice mining while their House Major, Ecaz, controls it.
Things have gone well but recently spice production has dropped off. The Lord has tasked his son with resolving the issue as he sees fit.
Narrowing down the losses to a specific region they headed for the Carryall Graf Von Dreissen which seemed to be at the centre of it all.
Welcomed on board by Jaris Obregon they quickly worked out that the place was not well maintained and that the commander was incompetent. A fact borne out by the explosion of a compressor as a harvestor was being unloaded. Jumping into action they rescued the crew in danger and shut down the systems. Though a complication rolled by the Heir meant a large chunk of the spice was ruined.

Realising that the compressor had been sabotaged they narrowed down the main suspect to a workman named Eulor, who had recently gotten into an argument with the commander and been reassigned to a spice depot shortly after he had apparently done the maintenance on the compressor. Making a note to deal with the commanders incompetence later they took a swift Thopter he had provided them and headed for the spice depot.

They made good time across the desert until they were within a dozen kilometers of the depot when the cut fuel line caught fire sending the 'thopter crashing to the ground. Grabbing what they could they headed for the nearest rock formation as the rippling sand tore open beneath the 'thopter and a sandworm swallowed it whole.
After waiting out the heat of the day, the party travelled at dusk from rock formation to rock formation towards the spice depot.
About half way there they realised they were being observed by Fremen. Despite the Heirs desire to immediately attack the negotiator called out to the Fremen indicating their peaceful intentions and desire to avoid conflict.
Negotiations went fairly smoothly after this. With the Doctor offering up some of his medical supplies to the Fremen and them giving a gift of a thumper in return to ensure their passage to the spice depot would be smooth.
Even the Heir seemed to come round to them at this point. Seeing the advantage in being able to direct sandworms to attack their enemies…

Arriving at the spice depot and surprising everyone by walking out of the desert up to the simple boundary fence. After a scramble by the small guard contingent when they realised who had turned up they were suddenly very deferential. Demanding to know the guard captains name he was suddenly promoted from mook to named NPC!
Meeting the boss of the depot, the confused Metzos, they settled in and had Eulor brought in for interrogation. Trying to the keep Heir from constantly telling him he should be killed.

This was a fun interrogation scene with the negotiator and various other PC going back and forth with Eulor about what happened on the Graf Von Dreissen. Eulor for his part was very dismissive about the maintenance on the carryall and the competence of the commander. Which actually had the players nodding along and agreeing with him.
They were able to pick up that while he was telling the truth, he was also concealing things.
They continued to press on this culminating in the negotiator using Mask of Power to make it seem like he had a dossier on what Eulor was actually up to.
At this point Eulor kicked the table into the negotiator and tried to make a break for the window. Swiftly stopped by the bodyguard, he shifted tack and shouted to Metzos that they knew about the smuggling operation and were going to kill everyone connected to it.

Suddenly the situation shifted with two factions forming amongst the depot workers, the smugglers and loyalists. The negotiator chose to throw in his Determination to ensure that the Guard Captain and his squad were on the loyalists side.
With Eulor still trying to incite matters and the negotiator trying to calm things everything swung in the balance before they hit on the idea of offering the smugglers free passage off the base on one of the 'thopters on the understanding that Eulor stayed as the fall guy and they didn’t return to House Solis territory.
After a bit of back and forth this was agreed to.
While this was going on the Heir, annoyed he couldn’t just kill everyone, snuck off and sabotaged the 'thopter. I’m sure this betrayal won’t come back and bite them in the future.

With the Smugglers gone the players turned their attention back to Eulor. His more workman like demeanour gone, he viewed them with distain bordering on disgust.
It was quickly clear to the players that he held a great hatred for House Solis. Viewing them as violent, immoral scum. Careful probing and some record cross referencing by the mentats revealed that his family had probably been unfortunate collateral damage on one of House Solis espionage missions.
Picked up by a currently unknown House he had been offered his revenge on House Solis. Infiltrating via the smugglers he had been sabotaging spice mining operations in the area. Having no care for the smugglers, especially since they had abandoned him, he happily gave up their base. Prevented from killing himself by the players he told them that the others would finish matters.
The players were feeling a bit sorry for him at this point and decided to ship him off to prison, determined to not let him become a martyr. The doctor decided to have a last therapist talk to him before he went. At which point we got the first double crit of the session.
We left it with poor Eulor bawling about his lost family and his choices since then, but possibly beginning to get some closure.

So this was a very different game than what I am used to running. With a much younger group, most of whom have only played D&D before, I couldn’t predict their actions as well as I am used to. I also had to spend more time reigning in the murderhobo (thankfully he doesn’t know much about Dune so I didn’t have to worry about the Lasgun/Shield interactions…)
They all enjoyed it and I think it has opened some eyes to the world of RPGs they may have never thought of.
Next week is the follow up on their main clue. The location of the smuggler base to see what else they may know about the infiltration of House Solis by their unknown enemies.

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This week was another manic one, though the players seem to be settling down. Even the murderhobo wasn’t as violent (though he did still kill someone).

It is really gratifying to see the players develop as Roleplayers between the weeks. I’ve run for my group for so long (20+ years) that I’ve missed the wonder of players being introduced to nuanced gaming for the first time. Hard work steering them still.

The session started off with a series of investigations in Carthag. The players wanted to know which of their rival Houses were on planet. After a meeting with an information broker they learnt the name of the smuggling group that had been robbing their shipments, the Boselli gang.

They also learned that their rival House Strobel had a legal import/export business on Arrakis.

Splitting the party (the bane of a GM) two of them headed to the dive bar, the Eastern Wasteland, where they had heard some of Boselli’s gang hung out. Identifying them amongst the gossip they befriended them and proceeded to get them thoroughly drunk. This made it much easier to wheedle out their bases location.

They had a brief stop off outside to chase down someone who had been spying on them and be given a name of the underworld equivalent of Robin Hood (got to love natural 20’s).

The rest of the group decided to break into House Strobel’s warehouse & offices. Leaving the Noble outside to keep watch (with strict instructions not to kill anyone) the infiltrator and mentat broke into the offices. They were looking for links to the Boselli gang or failing that blackmail material.

Despite almost getting caught (some wonderful improvised RP by the mentat with a pair of guards) they managed to search the offices and find nothing linking House Strobel to Boselli, but plenty of blackmail material on House Strobels activities on Arrakis.

Outside the offices one of the workers came up to the Noble and began demanding to know what they were doing there and to clear off. The Noble, despite being in disguise, took objection to the insult and not only started a fight, finished it with a blade. Leading to him being chased away by a large number of the workers friends who were out for his blood in revenge.

A few days later they returned to House Strobel for some mundane negotiations. Part way through they revealed they knew about their activities and blackmailed them to stay out of House Solis’ way while on Arrakis. Whilst they thought about trying to get more advantages, they felt that removing one of their minor rivals from interfering while they tracked down the active rival was more beneficial in the immediate future.

With House Strobel dealt with they launched a strike upon the Boselli gang’s hideout. They spent quite some time strategizing and planning their attack (a great difference to how they had previously acted). Like all plans, however, it rapidly fell apart upon contact with the enemy. Especially since Metzos from last session had made it back to base after their ‘thopter crash and was in no mood to let the players betray them again.

With half the party held up at the entrance to the base, the infiltrator & Noble snuck on to the landing pad and set of explosions in the fuel supply. With their enemies divided the PCs focussed on killing Andros Boselli himself to destabilise the gang.

Despite taking several blows they succeeded in their assassination and fled the base in one of the gangs own ‘thopters. Confident that the Boselli gang was going to be out of commission for some time.

I called it there as we had at least one of the players mothers waiting for them to finish (Never had that in one of my games before…) Next week I have several players missing, but they are all looking forward to continuing the game until the end of June.

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