Just as individuals are born, mature, breed, and die, so do societies and civilizations and governments.Paul ‘Muad’Dib’ Atreides
Session 0.2 – House Creation
In this second part for our session 0, I’ll be defining our House for my first Collaborative Game of Dune: Adventures in the Imperium with the Space Cowboy.
You can read the other posts related to Session 0 by clicking the appropriate link below:
- Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.1 – Introduction
- Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.2 – House Creation
- Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.3 – Enemy House Creation
- Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.4 – Character Creation Overview
- Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.5 – Planned Character Creation
- Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.6 – Character Creation In Play
- Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.7 – Enemy Character Creation
- Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.8 – Additional House Creation
Advice to the reader
In order to interpret the structure of my gaming session posts effectively, it is strongly suggested that you peruse A Readers Guide to Play Sessions on The Old Bard, if you haven’t already.
To better grasp what I mean when I bring up Fate questions, you might find it useful to keep the Mythic Fate Chart accessible, potentially in a new window or tab in your browser.
There are 2 primary steps you need to perform to prepare for play in the Dune RPG. Creating Your House and Creating Your Character. We’ll detail house creation here, and in the next post we’ll design some characters. Since I’ll be playing solo for House Maestoso; I’ll of course be creating more than one character.
Creating Your House
Chapter 3: Creating Your House begins on page 85 of the core rule book. To create my house, I’ll need to think about and define the following attributes:
- House Type
- Banners and Arms
- House Traits
I need to make a decision on the general level of power my House commands. For my House Type, I’ve decided to go with House Minor. Here is the description for this House Type:
The House is an established House Minor, one of the most important of the vassal Houses that serve the same House Major. The House has a strong tradition or dedication and service to their patron but has not established itself far beyond their home planet. Their holdings will cover around a third of their world or might be set upon a moon controlled by their House Major. However, they must constantly jockey for power among the other Minor Houses that also serve their House Major, rivals for its favor.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – House Type – Page 86.
I decided on House Minor because I want to have 2 domains which we’ll get into in just a bit.
From reading this section, I interpret this house type also gives my characters a balanced level of importance.
I’m also going to note down that this puts 1 Threat per player character against my house. Threat is detailed on page 155 of the core rulebook. I’ll name it House Maestoso.
A Domain is simply what your house produces or is famous for. Beginning on page 88 of the core rulebook, it breaks down Domains via Areas of Expertise.
You are not limited to these, and it’s even suggested you can create your own, but I like what is presented in the book. I’ve decided that the primary domain for my house will be Artistic Workers.
Here’s what the core rulebook shows for this entry.
Artistic domains may not be very powerful, but they grant the House both fame and respect across the universe. Those famed for their performers might also use the opportunity to put spies within a traveling company. The famous Face Dancer spies of the Bene Tleilax were originally designed as performers (officially at least).
Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Domains – Page 88.
- Machinery: Stage effects, scenery pieces, scenic art, lighting and sound systems
- Produce: Plays, poems, novels, comedy sketches, musical piece
- Expertise: Playwrights, poets, composers, directors
- Workers: Actors, stage crew, musicians, speakers, traveling companies
- Understanding: Philosophy, literary criticism, theatrical performance styles
For my secondary domain I’ve decided to choose Political Workers. Which is ironic that these things where in my mind and the description for the Artistic domain actually detailed that very aspect.
Here is what the core rulebook shows for this entry.
To some Houses, politics is their meat and drink. These social gadflies don’t just play the complex games of the Landsraad for extra power, they make these games
their business. They don’t have much personal power, but they have powerful friends, very useful for a Minor House seeking to rise. Such Houses are the ultimate courtiers, and the leaders of style and etiquette. They know who is doing what to whom and how to get the ear of the most powerful figures. However, they also make good mediators, understanding the complexities of House politics and how to keep everyone happy.
Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Domains – Page 89.
- Machinery: Couture fashion, expensive trinkets, message services
- Produce: Information, secrets, and favors, possibly even from the Imperial House
- Expertise: Political analysts, mediators, diplomats, fashionistas, social planners
- Workers: Courtiers, spies, administrators, servants, entourage
- Understanding: Diplomacy techniques, forms of etiquette
Defining your Homeworld is detailed on page 91 of the core rule book.
My homeworld will be the moon orbiting the planet of my House Major. I’ve decided to call my homeworld Sonatara.
I fed some ideas on what I had for my homeworld into ChatGPT and it came up with the following for its geography.
Sonatara, a tropical moon orbiting the majestic planet of Aurelia, boasts a breathtaking landscape adorned with a tapestry of islands that encircle its pristine shores. As one gazes upon its inviting horizon, an array of vibrant colors unfolds. Islands of varying sizes, shapes, and topography dot the glistening cerulean sea, forming a captivating archipelago.
Lush rainforests stretch across the larger islands, their emerald foliage teeming with an abundance of life. Towering canopies shelter a vibrant ecosystem of exotic flora and fauna, their harmonious chorus of sounds blending with the gentle lapping of waves. Cascading waterfalls cascade down rocky cliffs, forming crystal-clear pools that beckon visitors to revel in their refreshing embrace.
The cities of Sonatara find their place along the edges of these islands, their architectural marvels reflecting the rich artistic heritage of the moon’s inhabitants. Elaborate structures adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant murals stand as testaments to the creative prowess of the people. The cities blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings, embracing the tropical splendor that envelops them.
Majestic bridges and causeways, embellished with intricate designs, connect the islands, facilitating ease of travel and fostering a sense of unity among the population. These pathways, adorned with sculptures and statues that celebrate the arts, serve as reminders of the cultural tapestry that binds the people of Sonatara together.
As gentle sea breezes carry the melodies of distant waves and the rhythmic beats of tropical life, visitors from far and wide flock to Sonatara in search of artistic enlightenment. The moon has become a haven for aspiring musicians, playwrights, actors, and administrators, who come to learn from the esteemed masters who call this paradise their home.
Amidst this tropical paradise, the inhabitants of Sonatara cultivate not only artistic talents but also political acumen. Beneath the tranquil surface, spies cleverly concealed within the artistic entourages hone their craft, engaging in delicate maneuvers of intrigue to serve the interests of the moon and its Major House within the intricate web of the Landsraad.
Sonatara, with its natural beauty and artistic splendor, serves as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of creativity and politics, providing a sanctuary for those who seek enlightenment, artistic expression, and the subtle power of intrigue within the Imperium.
The planet Aurelia shines brightly in the celestial tapestry of the Imperium. Its name is inspired by the Latin word “aureus,” meaning “golden,” symbolizing the abundance, wealth, and grandeur associated with this planet. Aurelia is known for its sprawling cities, opulent palaces, and vast expanses of fertile lands that sustain its prosperous society. The planet’s wealth and influence make it an ideal seat of power for the Major House governing Sonatara.
I used Midjourney to come up with a visual for my homeworld.
Banners and Arms
On the same page, the core rulebook has this to say about Banners and Arms:
Each noble House has a coat of arms they proudly emblazon on all their holdings to remind everyone of what is theirs. The heraldry of the Imperium is nowhere near as complicated as that of old England but still serves as a clear symbol of each house.
Most Houses have a banner made up of one or two colors and a crest, which might be an animal, object, or even chemical element. The colors might be represented on their banner divided horizontally, vertically, or as a stripe, usually behind the crest.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Banners and Arms – Page 89.
Once again, I used Midjourney to come up with a visual for my house’s coat of arms and banner.
Additionally, on the same page of the core rulebook you define your house traits.
The final element of creating the House itself is to select its traits. These traits (see Traits, p.102 & p.142-143) can be used as if they are traits of their own by any player character. But only as long as they are recognized as members of their House and their actions imply the reputation the House has within the Imperium.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – House Traits – Page 89.
Once again, it’s ironic that the rulebook basically describes what I wanted my house to be all about, so I’m just going to use a tailored version of the example they give.
House Maestoso has the primary domain of artistic workers. So, it has the trait ‘Artistic’. As the House hides its political and spy training camps it is looking to create a new name for itself, House Maestoso has been plotting for some time, gaining the trait ‘Secretive’ as its reputation House trait.
I was a bit confused when I first read this section for Roles. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be picking roles for the PCs or what at first. I don’t know why I read it this way, but regardless it’s a bit clearer now after re-reading.
Roles are described on page 92 of the core rule book, and here are some snippets that help understand why you need to define the roles of the house at this point.
While the player characters are important agents of their House, many of them may intend to distinguish themselves and eventually take a more leading role. Within each House of the Landsraad are several positions that require exceptional talent and loyalty, but offer incredible power and responsibility within the House. While the ruler is the most renowned, they do not survive long without the assistance of such as a
spymaster or advisor.
While it is not quite time for your player characters to ascend this high, one day they will. So, each player should take a moment to decide who they serve directly in their House. While they may report directly to the ruler of the House, a spy would mainly serve the Spymaster, a bodyguard the Swordmaster, and a courtier one of the many Advisors. Each player should decide who they report to, and to a certain degree, perhaps even who they intend to one day replace…Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Roles – Page 92.
It also has this to say:
If the player characters prefer to take on one of these roles themselves, there is little reason not to. It would be a little odd to have such a vital officer of the House working in the field as the player characters do, but it is not unheard of. In a small House Minor there may be little option when they need a good agent.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Roles – Page 92
We don’t HAVE to utilize every position listed in the Roles as noted in the core rulebook:
Not every House utilizes every position, and some might have multiple agentsDune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Roles – Page 92
serving in the same position (such as Advisor or even Consort). However, the players and gamemaster should take some time to decide which positions are filled in their House and who it is that does so.
I’ve decided I’m going to go ahead and at least come up with names for all the roles.
The Roles described are broken down as follows:
- Chief Physician
I decide to use ChatGPT to come up with names and 1-2 traits for each role and listed below is the output it gave me. It perhaps got a little too eponymous for the names, but I’ll roll with it.
Ruler: Lord Octavius Maestoso
Traits: Charismatic and authoritative, Lord Octavius possesses natural leadership skills. He exudes an air of command and has a commanding presence that earns him respect and obedience from his subjects. With his strategic mind and strong moral compass, he leads House Maestoso with wisdom and fairness.
Consort: Lady Isabella Crescendo
Traits: Graceful and diplomatic, Lady Isabella is a master of social graces and a skilled mediator. Her ability to build bridges and foster alliances strengthens House Maestoso’s connections and influence. She offers unwavering support to Lord Octavius and complements his leadership with her insight and wisdom.
Advisor: Archibald Highwind
Traits: Wise and sagacious, Archibald Highwind is a fountain of knowledge and experience. His strategic thinking, shrewd counsel, and profound insight into the workings of power provide invaluable guidance to House Maestoso.
Chief Physician: Dr. Seraphina Nightshade
Traits: Brilliant and compassionate, Dr. Seraphina Nightshade possesses unparalleled medical expertise. She is renowned for her ability to heal both the body and the spirit, tending to the physical and emotional well-being of House Maestoso.
Councilor: Lord Maximillian Sternheart
Traits: Persuasive and influential, Lord Maximillian Sternheart is a skilled negotiator and adept at maneuvering through political landscapes. His eloquence and strategic thinking ensure that House Maestoso’s interests are well-represented and advanced within the Imperium.
Envoy: Lady Valentina Firebrand
Traits: Bold and charismatic, Lady Valentina Firebrand represents House Maestoso with grace and determination. Her eloquence and persuasive diplomacy make her a formidable envoy, capable of securing alliances and fostering positive relations.
Heir: Lady Juliana Maestoso
Traits: Intelligent and visionary, Lady Juliana Maestoso is being groomed to inherit the leadership of House Maestoso. She possesses a natural talent for strategy and has a deep connection with the artistic pursuits that define the house.
Marshal: General Lucius Ironclaw
Traits: Disciplined and resolute, General Lucius Ironclaw is a master tactician and military leader. He ensures House Maestoso’s defense and security with unwavering loyalty and an unwavering commitment to protect their interests.
Scholar: Professor Evander Starfall
Traits: Curious and erudite, Professor Evander Starfall is a renowned scholar in various fields of knowledge. His thirst for learning and profound understanding of history, science, and culture enrich House Maestoso’s intellectual pursuits.
Spymaster: Lady Ariadne Shadowdancer
Traits: Elusive and cunning, Lady Ariadne Shadowdancer is a master of espionage and subterfuge. Her network of informants and ability to manipulate information serves House Maestoso’s political interests, ensuring they stay steps ahead of their rivals.
Swordmaster: Master Adrian Dawnblade
Traits: Honorable and skilled, Master Adrian Dawnblade is a paragon of martial prowess. His mastery of various combat styles and dedication to the art of the sword make him a formidable protector of House Maestoso.
Treasurer: Lord Cedric Goldheart
Traits: Meticulous and resourceful, Lord Cedric Goldheart manages House Maestoso’s finances with unparalleled precision. His shrewd financial acumen ensures the stability and prosperity of the house’s economic endeavors.
Warmaster: Lady Seraphine Stormrider
Traits: Fearless and strategic, Lady Seraphine Stormrider is a formidable military leader and the Warmaster of House Maestoso. She possesses a deep understanding of tactics and warfare, inspiring loyalty and respect from the troops under her command. Lady Seraphine is known for her unwavering courage on the battlefield and her ability to lead House Maestoso’s forces to victory, safeguarding their interests and defending their honor.
And lastly, we need to define Enemies of the house. Enemies are defined on page 96 of the core rule book. For a House Minor, we start with one Minor House as an enemy.
We need to roll on two tables to define our enemy. Hatred, and Reason. These tables are listed on pages 96 and 97.
Roll 1D20 for each enemy your player characters’ House has, determining how much that enemy hates them and how far out of its way it will go to bring them down.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Enemies – Page 96
Since we only have one enemy this will be a simple process. I roll 1d20 for a result of 13. My house’s hatred towards us is Loathing.
The House always has some plan to destroy the player characters’ House. However, they won’t risk their own resources unless they can do serious damage.
There is a reason for this rivalry, although the details may be lost to history in some cases. Either roll 1D20 on the list below or choose a reason that makes sense to the group.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Enemies – Page 97
Note that the player characters’ House is not necessarily the injured party! They may just as easily be the aggressor or the House whose bad behavior caused the rift.
I roll 1d20 for a result of 7. Their reason for their hatred is an Ancient Feud.
The Houses have been enemies for thousands of years. Something one or more of their ancestors did caused a rift that has only widened as the centuries have passed. It is possible no one remembers what the cause was, although both Houses have their own version of the truth.
The chapter ends with the following:
Once your group has determined the nature of any enemy House or Houses, the gamemaster can then use this information to determine more detail, using the same methods as for generating player character Houses. However, with the gamemaster’s permission, your group could continue to work together to define everything about their enemies, to the same degree they have done about their own House.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Enemies – Page 97
So, we need to create another house for our enemy! Sounds like fun, so we’ll be doing yet another post about creating our enemy house in the next post. It will be a lot less detailed however, as this post serves to detail the creation process. We’ll make the next post short just with some necessary details about the enemy. But we’re going to at least name that enemy house now. We’ll call it House Obsidian.
After some discussions with my friend the Space Cowboy, we’ve decided we’re going to let him control House Obsidian.
Taking this information we’ve generated here, we’ll jot this down on a House Sheet, and print off a couple of pages with the house/home world description and a page detailing the NPCs for the roles we have defined.
In the next post, we’ll flesh out House Obsidian in more detail.
Till next time!