Dune PbtA?

Is there a Dune PbtA hack somewhere?

I was looking for something with the kind of “troupe play” seen in Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, where you play both a faction high-up plotting & scheming and some lowly pawn executing those plots. But 1) I’ never played Legacy so I don’t know how well it does that premise and 2) don’t know if there are other “chassis” in PbtAspace that could do Dune better.

Also, what would you think would be important for a Dune PbtA hack to have?

P.S: I came upon Planeta Deserto, a portuguese World of Dungeons hack for Dune that’s pretty cool, even if too minimalist for what I want here. It’s very neat regardless and I recommend a look if you’re a Dune fan and can read Portuguese.


It’s something I’ve been working on-- more using Free from the Yoke as a basis. I’m still in sketching stage. I have to figure out how much of the higher level complexity from Legacy I want and decide how to handle the space travel as a feature.

I think it’s a good basis to start from Legacy gives you good tools for handling the house/character play. legacy has a premise that the world’s coming out from under the shadow of a catastrophe and FftY assumes a land where some overlord has been overthrown, so that’s something you’d have to retool for an adaptation.


Dune is a setting or universe, so the first thing to do I think is identify what kind of play you want to target. So that would be what era, locations and game-able situations you rules will be tailored for. It’s the same problem as games set in Middle Earth. In the books the characters discover rings of power, parlay with the great and good of Middle Earth, play tag with Balrogs, etc. However the actual games are aimed at low level hex crawling in Mirkwood and dungeoneering.

Personally I’m of the opinion that alternate timeline games are the way to go if you actually want to do the same stuff as the novels. So for example your players are smugglers, renegades and Fremen on Arakis under the Harkonen occupation of the planet, shortly before the start of the book, when you hear that House Atreides has been wiped out by a pre-emptive attack on Caladan, but the Harkonens suffered serious losses and are weakened. So now we know the setting, we know the main players but the future is an open book. There’s no canon or meta-plot to interfere with.

i’ve done a similar thing with Lord of the Rings, I ran a game set in the early years of the Third Age assuming that Isildur survived the Gladden Fields. Forget tiptoeing round the sacred plot. I say throw it in the fire and warm yourself with the flames.

Now we can really play to find out.


I think you can have lots of starting setups really, as long as the main factions are there in some recognizable form. So I would probably put it anytime before the God Emperor time-skip. Even the videogames/ boardgame setup would be good: it’s apparently before the first book when various houses are exploring the planet concurrently, trying to gain the rights from the emperor to be the sole manager of it. This setup would allow for various houses controlling cities and regions and assets on the planet at the same time, which would be cool for an intrigue game. Dont know how much of it is canon though.

By the way, how about these for stats:



(Water is your brain, and Soul is to open your mind when consuming melange)

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It’s only in french, but it’s clearly a Dune-PBTA : https://khelren.itch.io/dominion
You play high-ranked member of a noble family in a medieval-inspired SF world, with a large empire. Cut-throats politics, spies, large scale battles, oddities and threats from beyond, strange science and magic from ancestors …


Someone asked the same question on a PbtA Reddit… @Silva are you the same person? :smiley:

Anyway, I’ll relay here the answer I offered there…

I personally would not use any “vanilla” PbtA to play Dune, as they all seem to focus too much on group-play while to me Dune is really about individuals with their own personal story, that maybe sometime eventually influence each other … at least unless/until you escalate to imperium-spanning events that touch on everybody’s lives.

I have seen MANY people in my circles use Legacy , though, and declare themselves very happy with the results :slight_smile:
I haven’t had the pleasure to try that game yet :frowning:

I have the feeling that something like Flotsam (a Belonging game) might fit better. It’s much more decentralised than your average PbtA, it focuses on social and environmental areas/problems, and how the independent cast of Protagonists each deal with them.
It’s main inspiration is Babylon5 … which to me has always felt akin to Dune in certain ways, exploring themes of politics, religion, culture, ecology, the human condition, morality, etc.

Or, if what I mentioned about PbtA being too group-centric doesn’t bother you, one might consider Fantasy World and especially its SILIKA setting.
It’s not meant to BE Dune.
But it’s heavily inspired to it, among other things.
And some Fellowship archetypes map nicely on to some story structures that would fit well a Dune-themed campaign.