By Andrew Peregrine
With a whole Imperium out there, you might wonder why we have limited the initial setting of Dune: Adventures in the Imperium to the planet Arrakis. The reason for this twofold. Firstly, we wanted to offer a place your group could get to know intimately, rather than offer a less detailed overview of everything. We want you to get to know the streets of Arrakeen and see the way the moons rise over the deep desert at sunset. Secondly, when you get to know the place, you'll wonder how you'll get through all the potential plots your player characters will get involved in. Arrakis is rife with adventure seeds and it'll take a while to exhaust the opportunities there, no matter what your group enjoys.
You are, of course, free to explore the rest of the Imperium as well. We offer an overview of the Imperium and its most important planets, but Arrakis is where the action is. To illustrate this, here are a few of the plots that will keep your game on Arrakis for a little while. These are themes we'll be expanding on in the Gamemaster's Toolkit. Wilderness Survival
Arrakis is dangerous not just for its politics, lethal inhabitants and giant worms, it is dangerous just to walk around. It is a pitiless desert and those who underestimate it are in severe danger. If your player characters don't get into trouble in the desert, they might find themselves sent to rescue someone else who has.
While the desert is deadly, the towns aren't too friendly either. Arrakis has its own rules, and they are led by the need for water. Things that most people take for granted on other worlds are worth killing for on Arrakis. There are assassins everywhere and a mixture of desperation and brutal pragmatism makes murder an everyday necessity for some of the inhabitants.
Arrakis is the source of the spice, and that makes it valuable beyond compare. There is never enough spice to satiate the needs of the Imperium and so everyone is always looking to get more than their fair share of it. This is before you even consider the usual political maneuverings of any powerful noble House looking to advance their holdings and powerbase.
Assassination and vendetta are so ingrained in Imperium society they have codified a series of rules. While this system keeps the peace for the most part, it leads to a state of perpetual cold war between most noble Houses. On an out of the way place like Arrakis, where the stakes are high, this war can easily boil over into bloodshed.
Faith still matters in the Imperium, and on Arrakis. This is in no small way due to the manipulations of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood. While people in all levels of society can have a strong faith, it is always hard to know if their beliefs have been manipulated in some way. Even when they have, it is hard to know in which direction these beliefs will lead their actions.
Dune is a place of mysteries. The desert holds secrets, from the culture of the Fremen to the real origin of spice. The rest of the Imperium often ignore these mysteries in their rush to claim as much spice as possible. Will your player characters be quite as foolish?