Be prepared to appreciate what you meet.-Fremen proverb
Welcome back! As with our usual practice, we’re moving on to the next Chapter of Dune Adventures in the Imperium RPG from Modiphius: House Creation!
Chapter 3: Creating Your house
The first step that the entire playgroup should do is sit down together and create their House. This is technically something that you can do within or right after a Session Zero where you’ve already established expectations and boundaries within the group.
Creating a House is an act of shared creation by the group as they decide on key elements of a House:
To begin with, the group decides the Type of House they’re part of. The types determine the scope of adventures and scale of their opposition. The choices range from a Nascent Minor House of a small noble family with retainers under the Patronage of a Major House, to the Great Houses with multiple planets and Minor Houses under their banner. As you go higher in size and power, so do your enemies.
Domains are what your House is famed for producing. The play group decides their Primary (and if applicable Secondary) Domains which are chosen from a list of Areas of Expertise. Each Area is further subcategorized into:
So for example, a House might choose Military as an Area of Expertise, with a specialization on Machinery, which covers large-scale machines like tanks and battlefield weaponry.
The play group now then determines the nature of their House’s Homeworld. Climate, culture and details on what the holdings look like are all fair game. At this point it’s a great creative exercise to work with to help establish everyone’s stakes in the game.
Banners and Arms
Much like in the Homeworld step, the play group also has to come up with the Banners and Arms of the House they made.
Even the smallest of Houses have a reputation. In this case, all characters that belong to the House have a Trait for each of their Houses’ Primary Domains. They also have a Trait that matches the Houses’ reputation.
It’s a neat way of quickly creating a “stereotype” of sorts of the House, where anyone in the known universe can quickly point to a player character and say “Oh, they’re from House so-and-so, that means they’re experts in warfare, but honorable to a fault.”
After the Traits come the Roles. While some of the Roles are very high up in terms of authority, players are encourage to pick a Role from the list provided that shows who their characters report to (and hope to eventually replace). Unless, of course, they’re playing a Nascent House and are essentially already the leaders of their House.
At last it’s time to determine the enemies of your House. Depending on the Type of the house you might find yourself facing more than one enemy. There’s a bit of random table rolling in this section, but it’s purely for determining the enemy’s level of hatred, and their reasons for hating your House.
Old readers of my blog will be very familiar with my preference of placing all player characters in the same Clan in Legend of the Five Rings, and the fact that the Dune RPG establishes this step above all else gives me a little glow of validation.
The Houses in Dune are core to the identity of your character, and the setting enforces this. Everyone in the play group comes out of this step knowing where they came from, what they’re good at and what they should be proud of. They also know what they should be doing for the betterment of the House, and who they should be careful about.
It’s a boatload of juicy character information and group bonding that happens even before a single Character is made, and I’m all for it.
Join us In our next entry in this series, where we’ll be taking on Character Creation!