What are your Favorite Dune Era?

Butlerian Jihad

I love the adventures of Serena, Xavier, Vorian, Norma and Selim.

How about you?

For me it’s always going to be the time preceding the first book. The unsteady balance of power, corruption and scheming, the factions and organizations are so evocative. They’re what defines Dune to me.

For me, either House Novels era or the Chapterhouse era.
The majority of the audience will be most faimilar with the 1st novel, but it paints a lot of “how it was”

Chapterhouse era has a lot of room for new faces… and the Honored Matres and their evil ways.

I legitimately don’t have a favorite era within the novels (other than being of the demographic that ignores the BH/KJA material), but for gaming, I’d be inclined to set my game universe in an alternative timeline just before Dune. Lacking an alternative timeline, I’d aim for latter part or just following Messiah.

Like Conan or Stormbringer or any literary-sourced rpg, I prefer detailing an outline and then having the group jointly build the game universe. It helps for the players to both understand and to know the world of their characters rather than try to learn/remember details of the source material.

1 Like

The time of Leto III’s reign appeals most to me. The Atreides have been in power for around 300 years, but Leto is Paul’s only direct heir. There are more dealings with the Bene Tleilax, and Imperial society (at least on Arrakis) is in a state of decay.

Other religious orders are the main antagonists, and not other houses, in “God-Emporer of Dune.” It would be cool to explore why that is…
… or was it merely because Frank Herbert wanted to focus on that.

I would also go with the era just before the time of the first novel with the Atreides still on Caladan. It gives us the classic sci-fi Feudal structure; the Imperial family that has been in power for millennia, Great Houses jockeying for control, the secretive cult (Bene Gesserit) so close to achieving what they have been working for centuries…

The next time period I would go for is the Heretics & Chapter House books. This time it is the change that is compelling. The Honoured Matres are returning and completely upending the current structure. Now there is chaos and opportunity in the air. Not sure I would be able to bring my players along as easily though. Only a couple have read as far as me so to them it is not ‘Dune’. (Also I really like Bashar Miles Teg)

Two different times both with different reasons for liking them.

1 Like

I would go with the “Heretics/Chapter House” eras. There is a lot of open space to work with that won’t really tread on the main cannon storyline.

1 Like

I agree the Butlerian Jihad and Machine Crusade are a great game setting. I would love to see a miniature game set in that time period.

For the full on going campaign

I am going to have the players play iconic schemes leading up to the starting time period

Cymek machine Invasion of Salusa
Serinas raid to reclaim Geidi Prime
Space Battle Between Venport and Manion
Subterfuge in the empire at the onset of the great schools
Battle of Corin (Vor and Xavier)

I’m going to let them grab moment, get up and make solid characters while investing them in the history

At least that’s the plan

Nothing from the prequel era; I just don’t like it as much. In terms of campaigns, I would love to run:
The coordination of the conspirators’ efforts to attack Paul Muad’Dib, which resulted in his blinding (Dune Messiah)
The extradition of Malky from Ix by the Fish Speakers (God Emperor)

Nice Bijaz and the stone burners!

I’ll playing catch-up at the moment with the books - currently on Heretics of Dune. I have a few of the KJA/BH books lined up on my Kindle but I think I’ll get the main FH line read first.

I definitely think a period where players can travel about exploring is going to be my thing and keep them away from the main story possibly - unless it’s to help take part in battles/skirmishes. A bit like Lord of the Rings (I’m a massive Tolkien fan, see parallels between the two franchises with sons continuing to bring out books after their father’s deaths), there is canon and I’m not keen on messing with it, but the One Ring RPG did a great job of keeping players away from messing but also having a part to play in Middle-earth, so I see the same sort of idea with Dune - I really enjoy reading about Arrakis in the main story but I think for RPG, I would want to see other places.

There is an archaeologist, Hadi Benotto, who opens “God Emperor of Dune” - that would be a great plot point. Having not read the books on the Bulterian Jihad yet, I can’t fully check, but I think it would be interesting for a dig site linked with that (battle site, store house, etc) and some danger.

But as far as I have gotten in the books, I think the time period just before the Atreides betrayal on Dune is looking the most appealing for freedom - especially in terms of travel between worlds. The period of God Emperor seems to be the most restrictive and I’ll see how things go with Heretics and later - without spoilers, I have a basic knowledge of the Scattering. And also the pre-Paul as Emperor period means you can lead your players into the main arc if you want, maybe on the side of Atreides on Dune during the conflict and fleeing/assisting the later Jihad that spreads out across the known universe.