And that day dawned when Arrakis lay at the hub of the universe with the wheel poised to spin.—From “Arrakis Awakening” By the Princess Irulan
Session 0.6 – Character Creation In Play
In this sixth part for our session 0, I’ll be creating the second of my two characters using the character Creation In Play process for our first Collaborative Game of Dune: Adventures in the Imperium. This should of course be a pretty quick process, as that’s what the method is inteded for, therefore this post should be quite considerably shorter than the Planned Character Creation post preceding this one.
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
Character Creation In Play is detailed in Chapter 4: Creation In Play beginning on page 132 of the core rule book.
The other method of creating a main character is somewhat simpler, but does require that you have a greater understanding of who you want your character to be and what you want them to do before you begin playing Dune: Adventures in the Imperium.
This method allows you to partially create your character, leaving a number of details undefined, so that you can choose them when they come up during play, revealing the character through their actions in the same way that a character’s capabilities might be revealed to a reader or viewer in a story.
Creating the partial character should be a relatively quick process, but one that requires you to make a few decisions early. This method uses the following steps:
Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Creation In Play – Page 132
- Create your character’s concept
(and faction template if appropriate).
- Choose an archetype and record primary (7) and
secondary (6) skill ratings.
- Choose a focus.
- Choose one talent.
- Choose one drive and create a drive statement.
- Choose one asset.
- Fill in character details.
- Begin play!
Step One: Concept
As noted in Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.5 – Planned Character Creation, our Benne Gesserit Alessandra Maestoso has a Mentat Confidant that joins her on her quests. So, we’ll be creating him in this post.
Create concept and pick faction if appropriate.
Just as in planned character creation, the first step in creating a player character is to decide what general sort of character to create. Again, it’s helpful to keep this concept relatively vague at this stage, as it gives you room to change and adapt.
If you decide you want to play a faction character, choose one of the templates and note the additional trait.
Once you have a concept that you’re happy with, move on to the next step.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Creation In Play – Step One; Concept – Page 133
Well, he’ll definitely be a Mentat so looking at the Mentat faction character template on page 111 of the core rulebook, we note down that his Additional Trait is Mentat of course.
He has learned much about House Maestoso since joining several years earlier.
Step Two: Archetype
Move on, the core rulebook has this for step two of the Creation In Play process for creating your character.
From archetype, record one trait, primary skill (7), and secondary skill (6).
Next, select a general archetype for the character and record the career trait that comes with it. Put a rating of 7 for the primary skill listed and a rating of 6 for the secondary skill listed. Ignore the other three skills for now. It is perfectly reasonable to pick an archetype based only on the primary and secondary skills it offers and amend it to suit your concept.
These archetypes are the same as those listed under planned character creation, starting on p.114.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Creation In Play – Step Two: Archetype – Page 133
I decide that he is going to be an Analyst, which seems fitting. The Analyst archetype is listed on page 116 of the core rulebook. I note down his trait Analyst on his character sheet. His Primary Skill is Discipline, so I jot down 7 for his score in that, and his Secondary Skill is Understand, so I jot down 6 for that.
Highly trusted by House Maestoso.
Step Three: Focuses
Pick two focuses.
Your chosen archetype will provide two focuses, one of which will usually be associated with the archetype’s primary skill, and the other of which will be associated with the archetype’s secondary skill. Record these as your first two focuses. However, if there is a focus you feel would suit your character better you may substitute it for either of these.
Your character has two other focuses, but these are left blank for the moment: you’ll decide what they are during play.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Creation In Play – Step Three: Focuses- Page 133
Since his Focuses list Attention to Detail and Composure, I write those down for Understand and Discipline respectively.
I write down on his character sheet that I “need to more in play” to remind me that they will eventually need to be defined during play.
Step Four: Talents
Moving on to Talents, here is what the core rulebook states for these when creating a character via Creation In Play.
Pick one talent.
Pick one of the talents listed in your archetype as your first talent. If you have opted for a faction template, you must pick one of your mandatory talents for this option. If your faction demands multiple mandatory talents, record them all now (and you will have fewer to choose during play).
Your character will have two other talents, but these are left blank for the moment: you’ll decide what they are during play.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Creation In Play – Step Four: Talents – Page 133
For the Analyst archetype, there is one Talent listed: Intense Study. I mark this down on his character sheet and note “Need two more in play” underneath that to remind me that I will need to define them in play.
Step Five: Drives and Drive Statements
Pick one drive (8) and its statement.
Every character has five drives—Duty, Faith, Justice, Power, and Truth—which are described on p.105.
From these five, select one drive. This is the character’s most important drive and receives a rating of 8. This is the thing most important to the character, so you need to know it in advance.
Next, define a drive statement for this drive. Drive statements are described in detail on p.106, and additional guidance on creating them appears in the Planned Creation section on p.120-121.
The other four drives remain blank at this stage: you’ll fill them in later, during play.
Flipping to page 105 in the core rulebook, I believe Truth is the most important drive for him, so I jot down 8 for that drive on his character sheet, and also note “Need 4 more in play, 6 or higher needs a statement“Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Creation In Play – Step Five: Drives and Drive Statements – Page 133
For his Drive Statement for Truth I decide to just use the example given: “Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality” and I jot that down on his character sheet. Note: My handwriting is sloppy, I’ve typed most of my life. These boxes are way too small to see anything legible from me 🙂
Step Six: Assets
For Assets, we only need to worry about 1 asset for now.
Pick one asset.
A starting character should have three assets, one of which must be tangible, but during character creation you only need to choose one of them right away. This will presumably be the asset the character possesses which is most important or obvious.
The other two assets will be decided later, during play.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Creation In Play – Step Six: Assets – Page 133
I turn to page 193 in the core rulebook to look at the assets listing defined in Chapter 7: Assets.
Since he is a mentat, I’m going to just go ahead and choose Sapho, and that is what he uses to amplify his mentat abilities. But I’m going to list this as well as one of his goals, to become less addicted to it.
A juice created from the roots of plants on the planet Ecaz. The juice is refined into a high-energy drink that amplifies mental powers.
As an Asset: Sapho is addictive if used repeatedly and leaves tell-tale signs by staining one’s mouth and lips a ruby color. It is favored by Mentats.
Keywords: Addictive, Mentat, StimulantDune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 7- Assets – Personal Assets: Tools and Personal Equipment – Page 199
Step Seven: Character Details
At this stage, your character is almost ready for play, but you need to make a few decisions to turn the character from a collection of numbers and rules into a distinct person.
Elements like the character’s name—so that other characters know what to call them—and a basic sense of their appearance, personality, and so forth are crucial for bringing the character to life, even in this partially-assembled sense.
Guidance on character details of this sort can be found on p.123.Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Chapter 3 – Creation In Play – Step Seven: Character Details – Page 133
I decide that I’m going to let ChatGPT come up with the complete name for him this time.
I come up with the following aspects of his personality.
- He is loyal to Alessandra Maestoso and House Maestoso.
- He has a quick wit, and some would say an almost comedic perspective on life. While always helpful and truthful, he often reveals this information with a bit of comedic flair. Of course, only when appropriate. He is serious when it’s time to be serious, and funny if life allows it.
Here’s what I came up with for his appearance.
- His hair is jet black and he has a well-groomed goatee.
- Do to an accident in his younger years, he lost his eyes and had them replaced with Tleilaxu eyes. The accident and specifics will come out in gameplay.
- He is in his early thirties.
- He cares deeply for Alessandra. So much so, that he believes he has always loved her, but has feared sharing this with her.
- He has never had any relationship with another that had lasted more than a simple quick fling, or had any real connection until he met Alessandra.
- He is loyal to House Maestoso, and often requested by Lord Octavius to tell one of his many “funny stories” to help cheer him up when he is stressed with the requirements of being the ruler of House Maestoso.
- He was born on Aurelia where his parents remain. He joined House Maestoso when he first met Alessandra on one of her many missions for House Maestoso and aided her at the time. They bonded immediately and he joined her and House Maestoso as a trusted advisor and Mentat assistant.
Step Seven B: AI Details
This isn’t an official step. But just like in Dune RPG Collab Game 1 – Session 0.5 – Planned Character Creation, this is my custom step where I’m going to take everything we’ve come up with and feed it into ChatGPT and see what the results are, and possibly tweak it if I see something I don’t like, or it makes sense.
Also, I’m going to come up with Visuals for him using Midjourney.
I use the following information and feed it into ChatGPT in my Dune RPG chat session I’ve established that contains everything we’ve done in this post series:
I’ve designed my secondary character for House Maestoso.
He is a Mentat who assists Alessandra Maestoso on her missions. He is her trusted Mentat Confidant.
His personality traits are Mentat and Analyst
His Discipline Skill has a score of 7 with a focus of “Attention to detial”
His Understand Skill has a score of with a focus of Composure.
As a mentat he has a sharp attention to detail and desire to understand all things.
His Drive score is 8 with a drive statement of “Respect for the truth coes close to being the basis for all morality”
His Archetype is Analyst.
He has learned much about House Maestoso since joining several years earlier.
Highly trusted by House Maestoso
When not on a quest with Alessandra, he remains in his room continuing his passion for instense study of the history of the Landsraad.
He is addicted to Sapho that amplifies his mental powers, but desires to become less addicted to it.
For his Personality,
He is loyal to Alessandra Maestoso and House Maestoso.
He has a quick wit, and some would say an almost comedic perspective on life. While always helpful and truthful, he often reveals this information with a bit of comedic flair. Of course, only when appropriate. He is serious when it’s time to be serious, and funny if life allows it.
For his appearance,
His hair is jet black and he has a well-groomed goatee.
Do to an accident in his younger years, he lost his eyes and had them replaced with Tleilaxu eyes. The accident and specifics will come out in gameplay.
He is in his early thirties.
And for his Relationships,
He cares deeply for Alessandra. So much so, that he believes he has always loved her, but has feared sharing this with her.
He has never had any relationship with another that had lasted more than a simple quick fling, or had any real connection until he met Alessandra.
He is loyal to House Maestoso, and often requested by Lord Octavius to tell one of his many “funny stories” to help cheer him up when he is stressed with the requirements of being the ruler of House Maestoso.
He was born on Aurelia where his parents remain. He joined House Maestoso when he first met Alessandra on one of her many missions for House Maestoso and aided her at the time. They bonded immediately and he joined her and House Maestoso as a trusted advisor and Mentat assistant.
Come up with the full name and a character description and background from all the above facts.
And the result we get is as follows:
Name: Quintin Rookwood
Character Description: Quintin Rookwood, the trusted Mentat confidant of Alessandra Maestoso, possesses an intellectual prowess matched only by his unwavering loyalty to House Maestoso. With his jet black hair and a well-groomed goatee, his appearance exudes a sense of sophistication and intellectual acumen. However, it is his eyes that tell a unique tale. Due to a tragic accident in his youth, Quintin lost his original eyes, which were replaced with Tleilaxu eyes, marking a profound and mysterious transformation.
In his early thirties, Quintin has dedicated his life to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. As a Mentat, he possesses a sharp attention to detail and an insatiable curiosity that fuels his desire to comprehend the intricacies of all things. His disciplined mind, reflected in his impressive Discipline skill, is laser-focused on maintaining composure and unraveling complex puzzles. His acute Understanding skill, paired with a focus on composure, allows him to maintain a composed and analytical perspective in even the most chaotic situations.
Driven by his deep-rooted respect for the truth, Quintin’s highest drive score reflects his belief that the truth serves as the foundation for morality. This drive statement, “Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality,” guides him in his quest for understanding and shapes his unwavering loyalty to the principles of House Maestoso.
As an Analyst archetype, Quintin has spent years delving into the history of the Landsraad, amassing a wealth of knowledge about House Maestoso and the intricate web of political dynamics. He is highly trusted by the House, and his analytical insights have proven invaluable in shaping House Maestoso’s strategies and decision-making processes.
When not on missions alongside Alessandra, Quintin retreats to his private quarters, immersing himself in intense study and further expanding his knowledge. It is there that he indulges his passion for unraveling the secrets of the past, seeking the wisdom that can inform the House’s future.
Despite his serious and scholarly nature, Quintin possesses a quick wit and a unique perspective on life. Often described as having an almost comedic flair, he has a knack for injecting humor into appropriate moments, offering a respite from the weight of their missions. However, when the situation demands it, he is capable of utmost seriousness, understanding the gravity of their undertakings and the stakes they face.
Quintin’s deep bond with Alessandra transcends mere camaraderie. He has long harbored a profound love for her, a sentiment he has concealed, fearing that it may compromise their working relationship. Prior to meeting Alessandra, Quintin had never experienced a meaningful connection or enduring relationship. His loyalty to House Maestoso extends to Lord Octavius, who frequently requests one of Quintin’s “funny stories” to alleviate the stresses of leadership.
Originally hailing from Aurelia, Quintin’s journey intertwined with Alessandra’s during one of her missions for House Maestoso. Their immediate connection and shared sense of purpose led Quintin to forsake his previous life and join House Maestoso as a trusted advisor and Mentat assistant. Bound by their mutual loyalty and unwavering dedication to House Maestoso’s cause, Quintin’s role alongside Alessandra is essential to their intertwined destinies in the challenging times that lie ahead.
I’ll run with that.
And now that we have a description for Quintin Rookwood, let’s generate what he may look like.
Here is the prompt I used for Midjourney
<https://s.mj.run/S64dhiXxKcw> a male Mentat character in the Dune Universe. Tleilaxu artificial eyes. Sapho stains on his lips. Jet black hair with a goatee. sophistication and intellectual acumen. Ultra Realistic.
The results are fine for now. I would have preferred the eyes to be different, but I can always go back and play with the prompt to bring that detail out more.
Here are the results:
Initial Character Description & Sheet
And below is his initial character sheet:
Step Eight: Begin Play
Well, first we have to wait on the Space Cowboy to create his characters… So stay tuned for that!
I need to take all this information, and the information I’ve jotted down on a scratch character sheet and put it into official form. I’ll do that over the next couple of days and update these posts. Once that is complete, I’ll also officialize the House Sheets and update their posts with those.
I’m now handing off the reigns to the Space Cowboy to create his characters for House Obsidian.
Till next time!