DUNE #11 - Facing Arrakis

By Andrew Peregrine

If you are new to both Dune and the 2d20 system, you might be a little bewildered. But like most settings and rules systems, it's not as complex as it looks once you get into it. We've already had a look at Drives, and mastering their use is one of the keys to the game. But it never hurts to offer a few more tips and tricks for players to get the most out of the rules.

Focus on your place on Arrakis

Even with us placing the action on Arrakis, there is still a lot going on. The best thing for a new player to do is focus on what their character is good at, and how they can use that to serve their House. You'll get some help with this as the rest of the group serve the same House so (for the most part) can usually be trusted and can offer advice. But in general, focus on a key attribute of your character until you get used to the rest of the setting. If you are a pilot, consider how using an ornithopter would be useful, and make sure you always have one close by for a quick escape. If you are a Mentat, think about how you can help solve a problem with your mental abilities.

Use Your Talents

Your talents might look a little complicated, but they are you most powerful abilities. They effectively let you break the rules or create helpful exceptions. The gamemaster can't remember what everyone has all the time, so that is up to the players. Her familiar with what they do and look out for an opportunity to use them. Each is worded very carefully to help you see how to use them to their best advantage. So, if you add Threat, check if you have a talent that activates when you do that, or maybe add some threat just to bring that talent into play. But if you can't see how they apply, the gamemaster can help you out.

Spend Momentum

With a limit of six Momentum, it can seem like you should conserve them for the most important dice rolls. But in most cases the opposite is true. You can only gain more by doing better than you need to in a test. A low Difficulty test is often a good way to earn momentum by spending it. Traits will help you here as well, dropping the Difficulty and offering potentially more Momentum. While you do need to be careful not to run out, Momentum is there to be spent and you'll find the stockpile goes up and down a lot during just a single session.

Don't Forget Determination

With Momentum a more common resource it is easy to forget you also have a Determination point or two. Given you need to have your drive statement in play to use one they are trickier to use as you like. But this is part of the design, encouraging you to push a situation into a place where your drive statements can apply and give you the maximum advantage. Determination can tip the scales significantly in your favor. So they are best saved until you bring the real enemy out of the shadows. Then you can maneuver them into the right position and strike with every weapon at the critical time. In Dune, the battle is often already won before the weapons are even drawn.