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.
First up we look at Chani (see Dune Core Rulebook p.261) who becomes Paul Atreides’ partner, but is so much more than ‘Muad’Dib’s Wife’. While very much a Fremen by birth and tradition, Chani is also a person of two worlds. She is the daughter of Liet Kynes, the Imperial planetologist. While she has never known a life outside Arrakis this does connect her to the Imperium as a whole. However, even though she is aware of this heritage, it means very little to her. Arrakis is her home, the Fremen are her people, and anything else just isn’t important.
We first meet Chani through Paul’s eyes, and so her physical description is overwhelmed by the fact Paul is finally meeting the young woman he has dreamed about for so long. Meeting Chani solidifies Paul’s prescient abilities in many ways as she is his first and most powerful vision. Finally realising that vision proves he has real ability, and isn’t just a teenage boy imagining his perfect girlfriend. Chani is not impressed by Paul, who comes across as a bumbling fool. After all, he has dreamed of her for so long he has somewhat ironically forgotten that his vision ends with meeting Chani, and tells him nothing of what to say! Chani herself is already much more mature and experienced than Paul. She is a fully trained Fremen warrior and has been tested in several combats. She is also being trained as a Sayaddina priestess. So it is not surprising that she initially thinks very little of this moon eyed boy, soft from a life of luxury, and unproven in combat.
Meeting Chani: Chani might cross paths with your player characters in the same way any other Fremen might. She tends to do little outside her tribe but she also does what the tribe requires of her. The player characters will discover she is not easily impressed, so they will have to work hard to gain her trust. But she is a dedicated friend if the cause is right.
Versions of Chani
Chani is a many layered character, and with a gentle nudge of fate might have turned out very differently. What version might we see in the movie? What aspects of her character will be emphasised? This is also a choice you can make in your own games, here are some suggestions:
Chani the Warrior: Chani is most usually presented as a fighter, but what if she were to become one of the Fedaykin? Once she becomes pregnant she focuses on her family and children. But if she and Paul decided to wait until everything was settled to have children, she might become one of the Fremen battle leaders herself. If Paul had no visions of her dying in battle, and shared that with her, might she become reckless? Would she lead charges thinking she was blessed never to die for Muad’Dib had not foreseen it?
Chani the Priestess: Helped by Lady Jessica’s influence, Chani also pursues a career as a Sayaddina priestess in the Fremen tribe. She might put down her knife to focus on this aspect of her goals, becoming the leading priestess in the new faith of Muad’Dib. But perhaps Jessica is actually secretly indoctrinating her into the ways of the Bene Gesserit. Chani would make a powerful Sister, but would even the Bene Gesserit be able to claim her loyalty from the Fremen?
Chani the Planetologist: In a distraction to her usual path, Liet Kynes might train Chani as their replacement. While she shows less aptitude for science and ecology than martial training, she is clearly no fool. Would she be the one to lead the dream of a green Arrakis, and how might she clash when that dream and the faith of Muad’Dib collided?
Chani the Spy: As the child of two worlds, Chani might have been introduced to the Imperium instead of lived all her life in the Fremen sietch. Liet might have taken her to Kaitain and given her a more formal education once she was old enough. It would have been a steep learning curve for her given how different the Imperial Court is to a Fremen Sietch. But if she could master both worlds, her cunning and skill would have made her an excellent spy and a skilled assassin.So, who is Chani in your game of Dune: Adventures in the Imperium?