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Need better/indepth examples of

Of how warfare, intrigue or any other of the subsystems work. The rulebook just appears to conveniently just pick a single stage/action whereas I want to see the whole process from the beginning to the end.

I don’t suppose the GM toolkit has examples like this does it?

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I have exactly the same problem. The rulebook only shows examples of one single step, but the entire process of how lets say a simple duel should be handled is not clear to me.

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The GM Toolkit doesn’t have any examples of what you describe.

It is primarily roll-tables for random adventure generation.

I believe that is because the rules are so vague and abstract that not even the authors know how to handle a complete duel with multiple rounds and actions.

I hope that’s not the case. My group and I have really enjoyed the whole process of creating our own house/planet so far and are eager to start actually playing.

I agree with redneck that the designers haven’t got a clue how the system works either.

I kept looking at videos of play on youtube to see an example in play and not a single one used any of the contests/assets.

I’m sorry to say I’m having to put Dune in the unplayable category.

Somewhat unfair as I have run the game several times and its worked fine.
(as have our playtesters and the Wrecking Crew)
If it didn’t we’d not have put it out there.

If you put all those examples together you have one long example, that was the idea.
We broke it down so you could see how all the stages worked rather than one long info dump.

The important thing to remember with all conflict is that it is basically the same system for everything, thats part of the design concept. There are no ‘subsystems’, each of the five options is just an example of how you might run the system using particular assets and zones to set the scene and manage the conflict.

If you are having problems with it I’d recommend taking a look at the quickstart (Wormsign) that pars everything down a lot and will give you a simpler introduction to using the system.

Otherwise I’m happy to answer questions about the aspects you are having trouble with.

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@Mordante I dont think its unplayable, it’s just that I am not used to rules that are so abstract … especially when it comes to physical confrontation. It propably will take some time getting used to that.

@Andy-Modiphius Thanks for your offer to answer some question, i appreciate it.

  1. Each duelist has a personal zone and two guard zones. In order to win, i have to move my asset (knife) into the enemys personal zone and make a successfull attack. Do I have to make 2 moves (first: move into guard zone / second: move into personal zone) or is it possible to move straight into the personal zone and attack?

  2. Do defensive assets only increase the difficulty when they are in the same zone? .e.g. when I have a shield and the opponent tries to attack an asset in my guard zone … will the shield help me or not?

  3. The example with Kara and Nasir mentions the possibility to “parry”. How does this work, i could not find it explained anywhere?

No problem :slight_smile:

1 - Each duelist has a personal zone and two guard zones. In order to win, i have to move my asset (knife) into the enemys personal zone and make a successfull attack. Do I have to make 2 moves (first: move into guard zone / second: move into personal zone) or is it possible to move straight into the personal zone and attack?

You will need to move your asset twice to get to the correct zone. Your knife asset will start in your guard zone, then its one move to get to the opponent’s guard zone and another to get it into their personal zone. You can usually only move 1 zone at a time and those zones must have a link.
Remember you won’t get to ‘attack’ every round. The assumption here is that you are trading feints and looking for an opening rather than attacking each round like D&D. Dueling is about pushing your advantage until you eventually get the opportunity to make a strike. The general ethos of most Dune conflicts is that one successful strike takes the opponent down, so the conflict is all about the tactics to get into the right position to strike.

You may find you move an asset, and the defender moves it back, this is fine. But this is where options to keep the initiative and the like can be critical to get a strike once the asset is in the right place.

2 - Do defensive assets only increase the difficulty when they are in the same zone? .e.g. when I have a shield and the opponent tries to attack an asset in my guard zone … will the shield help me or not?

Yes, very much so. If the defender has a shield in a zone, moving through it or attacking in it is more difficult. This is automatic, not requiring an action on the part of the defender. Some defensive assets cannot move and stay in one zone in a duel. You can’t swap which side you have an armored glove on for instance. But in some cases you can move defensive assets by simply maneuvering your body to make sure your half shielded side is towards your attacker. In this way the asset isn’t actually moving, but is moving for game purposes.

3 - The example with Kara and Nasir mentions the possibility to “parry”. How does this work, i could not find it explained anywhere?

Parrying basically using an attacking asset as a defensive one. While you can’t attack with a shield, a knife might parry or attack. So if you have a knife in one of your defensive zones you can consider it a defensive asset. It adds to difficulty as normal and can be assumed to be parrying any attack. Once it is in an opponent’s defensive zones it is too far to usefully parry so can’t be considered defensive. This is one of the reasons knives are pretty good as they can be used as both and its fine to fight with two blades, using one to attack keeping one in your defensive zones for protection.
Of course, a knife in your own defensive zone might be good for parrying, but it still needs to get into your opponents personal zone to make an attack, in this way this duel quality bonus isn’t unbalancing.

As your questions are mainly addressed to dueling I’d add that when it comes to ‘standard’ combat the Skirmish option is the one to go for. Dueling is designed to mirror fights like Paul Vs Feyd, which is why it has a lot more individual back and forth.

Hope thats all useful!

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All three of those explanations are perfect examples of overthinking something for no better reason than to overthink it.

How much more straight forward, common sense, and enjoyable to GM and Play is… …well… …just about every other RPG combat system ever made?

Heck, even MERP makes more sense that that, and in MERP it is theoretically possible to take a wound to the foot and have the top of your head explode.

Can you please explain some of the concept design choices that were made when it was decided to go for a system so abstract that it is all but useless, and even the Rules Author’s explanation don’t actually make anything at all any clearer.

Was the desire of “one rule for everything” so great that it created a terminal blind-spot for just how poorly explained that rule was, and how it was intrinsically flawed to the extent that you not only had to repeat it 6 times (and still say essentially nothing) but were completely incapable of putting a working example of a complete combat - of any kind - in the rulebook?

In combat for example; what is the thinking behind the statement “remember, you won’t get to attack every round”? I mean that makes absolutely no sense at all given that the explanation you were giving was about Dueling - where both combatants are already “engaged” and at Melee Range.

I am honestly struggling to grasp what the thinking was behind these rules, other than “we have to have one rule do everything the same” - which, by the way, is probably the very worst decision any game designer could ever make; because the things you are trying to represent with the rules fall into very different categories.

Stabbing someone with a knife is - even its most abstract - completely different to hacking a computer, or driving a car, or seducing a partner.
You rules fail to recognise this, and that is largely why a) there are threads here asking for much, much better explanations (which we still aren’t getting by the way) and b) the rules are effectively not fit for purpose.

I have just written a review for Amazon UK, and my closing statement is this:

As much as I love the source material in the book, I can honestly say there is no chance at all I’ll be running Dune using these rules, they are simply not fit for purpose.

I genuinely hope my review spares anyone else from wasting money on a product that doesn’t even attempt to be what it claims to be.

@Andy-Modiphius Thank you, thats all very useful. Actually that comment about not attacking every round helped the most because this is something i’m not used to from other games.

As a follow up question: In this system i suppose you would only ever fight with 2 knives, right? It doesn’t seem to make any sense to fight with only one knife in a duel and miss the additional defensive asset.

Cool, glad that helped.
You can fight with two knives, absolutely. Its a good plan to have one for attack and one for defense. However, given this is the system for duels each combatant might be limited to what is considered ‘honorable’ for the contest. Just one knife each and no shields might be considered the standard for an honour duel for instance.

When it comes to Skirmishes, which are more common as thats more like a standard D&D fight, its less detailed so there is less advantage in having two blades.

OK… This is the point where it moves from genuinely confused and frustrated poster to Troll.

So going forward I will react the best way to Trolls and not engage.

I genuinely hope that your group continues to Roleplay with systems they can understand and connect with.
Roleplay is a wide hobby and the more systems we have the better in my opinion.

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Yup, that honestly what I’m getting from this now.
I’m always happy to field questions and if the system isn’t the style you like, well we can’t please everyone.

Well, I am genuinely sorry that asking questions that you don’t have answers for is deemed as trolling.

I guess the Forum is only for “yes men” and not people who have legitimate concerns about the obvious problems with the game.

Dude. Tone matters and if you can’t recognize that yours . . . needs some work, it’s not worth the time explaining it.

No one here is a Yes Man (Straw Man much, BTW?). And, I’m sure Andy and the Modi crew are fine with folks expressing any opinion regarding their rulesets, including strong dislike. That said, exercising your right to express an opinion doesn’t insulate you from consequences, i.e. negative reactions by other board members.

Actively discouraging other posters from exploring the mechanics and advertising your posting of negative reviews before you’ve ever even played a session only strengthens the perception that you aren’t asking questions in good faith.

We get it, man. You like traditional mechanics. Dune 2d20 ain’t that. Nobody owes you a damn explanation of the design philosophy. It is what it is.

All I have to say about that.


To those not interested in internet slap fights, I view Dune 2d20 as FATE 2d20 (if you’re familiar at all with the FATE ruleset).

Neither FATE nor Dune 2d20 are exactly rules light (clearly, plenty of nuance in both systems) but resolution is simple (and meant to be). One roll (and, the same structure of the roll) can be used to model anything - a bloody knife fight, a battle, a war, social combat, whatever. It doesn’t use separate subsystems. It’s all there in 2d20 + Threat, your Traits, and Assets.

Dial it up - Architect, dial it down - Agent. Get granular if you want - each move of the knife, each assault on the battlefield, each sentence in a negotiation - it’s on you as GM and player to define the narrative stakes and outcomes of the roll or series of rolls.

Done. Dusted. Don’t overthink it.

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Well, I haven’t played it yet because neither myself nor my players consider the Rules As Written to be actually playable; and each of the five of us have 35+ years playing RPGs of all types.

And despite numerous threads asking for better explanations of X or Y none have really been forthcoming. The explanations given by @Andy-Modiphius are little more than rehashes of the rulebook - and if the rulebook explained the rules properly we wouldn’t be here asking for explanations.

Simple questions that any game designer should be able to answer about their game:

  1. Why isn’t there even a blow-by-blow, Narrative and Rules, side-by-side full combat round in the rulebook?

  2. Why insist on using the same mechanic for everything when the things the mechanics are supposed to represent are wildly different?

  3. What utility was sacrificed in making that decision? Note: claiming no utility was sacrificed is not a coherent argument - some clearly was.

  4. In Warfare how many Troops represent an “Asset”, is there a different Asset Cost for various quality or quantity of Troops, and if not why not?

  5. Is it even close to reasonable that an Asset can theoretically mean “1 Tank” or “50 Troops” or 1 single “Security Access Card” in the same scene?

  6. What benefit is there in allowing Players to “create” Assets out of thin air; just to have them disappear again at the end of the scene?

  7. Are you comfortable with the extent to which 5) and 6) compromise narrative integrity?

Ok, I’ll bite.

  1. Why isn’t there even a blow-by-blow, Narrative and Rules, side-by-side full combat round in the rulebook?
    There are examples littered throughout the entire rulebook. That they are not in a format you prefer is unfortunate but irrelevant. Very few games have a massive example of play in one lump, mainly as they just aren’t necessary. Very few games have quite as many total examples as Dune.
  2. Why insist on using the same mechanic for everything when the things the mechanics are supposed to represent are wildly different?
    Doing so makes all conflict much simpler and in the form it is done here they do all mirror the same system perfectly well. They aren’t any different and so easily work to the same rules structure, albeit one that is adapted a little for each. To reverse the question, why make 5 different sets of rules when one works perfectly well. Not everyone likes learning rules.
  3. What utility was sacrificed in making that decision? Note: claiming no utility was sacrificed is not a coherent argument - some clearly was.
    It really wasn’t, mainly due to keeping a narrative aspect to gameplay. You are functionally doing the same things and reskinning them for the sake of story. So I disagree with your assertion that utility must have been sacrificed.
  4. In Warfare how many Troops represent an “Asset”, is there a different Asset Cost for various quality or quantity of Troops, and if not why not?
    The actual number is irrelevant because it is not a war game. You have ‘some troops’ the other side might have ‘some troops’. If there is a notable disparity the GM can either apply a trait ‘outnumbered’ to one side or allow one side to have a second troops asset for twice the bonus.
  5. Is it even close to reasonable that an Asset can theoretically mean “1 Tank” or “50 Troops” or 1 single “Security Access Card” in the same scene?
    Yes, very much so. While all assets offer basically the same bonus, how and when that bonus can be applied relies on the scene and the type of item it is. You don’t have ‘Asset’ on your character sheet, you have to name it. So when you can use it will depend on what it is, making all assets very different.
  6. What benefit is there in allowing Players to “create” Assets out of thin air; just to have them disappear again at the end of the scene?
    The benefit is that they get to use the bonus of having an asset in the scene, likely useful as they may not have one they can use. It doesn’t’ appear ‘out of thin air’, its something they discover in the scene. As it is only temporary it ‘wears out’ in its use. But if its something they think will be useful later they can spend momentum to make it permanent.
  7. Are you comfortable with the extent to which 5) and 6) compromise narrative integrity?
    Yes, because they don’t.

Given those questions it seems clear to me you don’t want a narrative system and want a combat system with initiative, number of attacks, hit points and all the usual. You also want a completely different system for all five despite the fact it isn’t required. To my mind that would leave an overly rules heavy and impenetrable system, that doesn’t fit the expanse of politics and intrigue, or architect play we have incorporated that is critical to a game of Dune

Clearly you either don’t like the narrative aspects, even though they are coupled with a solid rules set to determine conflict outcome. Its not new though, so I am surprised in your apparent years of gaming you haven’t come across Smallville, Fate or PbtA and many others. But we can’t please everyone.

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Thanks for “biting”; but I’ll reiterate I am not trolling.

You’ve misunderstood my concerns I think, for me Narrative Is KEY without it all else fails.
I would hope we can agree on that.
A good Narrative draws players in, creates a sense of immersion, and enhances player enjoyment.
A bad Narrative pushes player away, breaks immersion, and diminishes player enjoyment.

I hate Hit Points in the traditional sense, I can just about put up with Wounds (WFRP), but I tend to prefer “Wound Status” games like Savage Worlds and the old WEG Star Wars, or even Original World Of Darkness.

I don’t have strong feelings about initiative being a mechanical thing or a narrative thing, I think both can world.

Here’s my concern with Assets as written.

Let’s return to the Security Access Card from one of the “examples” in the Rulebook.

Narratively, it is either logical and coherent that the Security Access Card should exist in “the scene” or it isn’t.

If it is, there’s absolutely no reason PCs should be required to spend anything at all to use that Card (assuming they find it). Furthermore, unless it is somehow “consumed” by being used there is absolutely no reason at all it should disappear at the end of the scene.

It it isn’t, there absolutely no reason at all for the PCs to be able to “create” it as an Asset.

Any other way of dealing with that situation compromises narrative integrity.

Thats a fair question and a fair concern.

Basically, anything that compromises the narrative integrity of the scene isn’t allowed
(as judged by the GM as usual).
So the PCs can’t just say “I need an Ornithopter, there is one parked just next door” if they are in a subterranean complex.
But they might say “I grab a security pass as there was one on the guard we just killed”
Essentially, there always has to be a narrative reason, which is why the keywords on the assets are so useful.
This also free the GM from deciding on every NPC’s equipment list. It is up to the players to find stuff in the environment, if they need it, by using the narrative.

Such an item also won’t vanish, but a keycard might be cancelled from the security system, a thopter might run out of fuel, etc. If there is really no way the item can’t become useless I’d be inclined to let them keep it, but few things don’t wear out or break. Some things are just not worth taking with you.
Sure the lead pipe might be a good weapon, but once the fight is over its heavy and conspicuous so you may dump it and look for something else if the baddies catch up with you.

Basically, its a core value of the system that the narrative guides the rules.
The narrative decides what can be used, then the rules govern how it helps in the test.

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