By Andrew Peregrine
As we near the release of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Part II, we’re taking a look at some of the characters, places and scenes in the book, how we might see them in the movie, and how you can portray them in your own games.
While Arrakis might be the most important planet in the novels, Caladan, the home of House Atreides, is just as interesting. It is one of the most pleasant planets in the Imperium, naturally unspoiled, covered in forests and fields. Unlike Arrakis, water is abundant here and many villages live by fishing, while the nobles enjoy pleasure cruises and sailing. Caladan is a counterpoint to Arrakis, and both are a part of Paul Atreides’ upbringing. Almost opposite, they illustrate the changes in Paul as he comes into his power, moving from being a noble used to the tranquillity of Caladan to a hardened battle commander on the brutal world of Arrakis.
Visiting Caladan: The Atreides are a reasonably welcoming House, but they are still wary of outsiders and rivals. Like any merchant, they are open to trade, and they often welcome agents of other Houses to make deals and bargains and honoured guests. While Atreides hospitality is not legendary, it is renowned as respectful. Guests can expect to be fed well and given accommodation that might be considered luxurious on less developed planets. To visit the Atreides on Caladan is to be welcomed into the garden, and they are usually proud to show off the charm and natural beauty of this verdant world. Unfortunately, it does rain a lot. Great downpours are commonplace and left to do as they will without the use of weather control technology. Caladan is a farming world, and the plants need the rain, so the human inhabitants just need to learn to live with it.
Versions of Caladan
Every planet might be many things, and few have only one aspect. What is the truth of Caladan in your game? What secrets do House Atreides keep here, and is the place as pleasant as it really appears?
Farming Planet: House Atreides is best known for its cheap and plentiful Pundi Rice. So Caladan must have many fields dedicated to growing the crops. But in the books, we don’t see these fields, so what might they be like? Are they simply a gentle rural landscape with many farmers working with the land to grow a crop they can be proud of, or is there a darker secret? Given the demand, and Caladan being only one planet, might the Atreides use vast factory farming methods? They are unlikely to use outright slaves, but even the Atreides might treat their indentured workers in a similar way, with long hours and forced labour.
Idyllic Prison: Following on from that, how satisfied with their lot are the people of Caladan? The Atreides are among the better rulers, that is for sure, but they are still nobles in a very unfair galaxy. Do the villagers of Caladan enjoy a peaceful and pastoral existence, or is there an enforced lack of technology? Do the Atreides keep them away from machines that might help them in their work? This might be to keep them working and too tired to rebel. But it might also be simply to preserve the natural landscape, regardless of how much harder it makes the lives of their subjects?
Military Barracks: As well as their crops, the Atreides are known for their soldiers and military training. Those soldiers will need to be trained somewhere, and ideally in a variety of different environments. Perhaps the natural landscape is only maintained as far as the military needs it for training. Are there vast areas, pitted with weapons fire, where countless wargames are played out?So, what is Caladan like in your games of Dune: Adventures in the Imperium?