By Andrew Peregrine
The Great Game: Houses of the Landsraad is not just about leaving Arrakis and expanding the Dune setting. It is also the essential guide to building and improving your own House. The House is a central part of the game. Even if your characters die horribly in service to it, the House might still grow and prosper. It’s a vital part of the setting too as many of the events in the novels are driven by great lords and ladies trying to grow the power and influence of their House.
House management is something we wanted to include in the Core Rulebook, but it turned out to be too big a subject to really do it justice with the space we had. The Core Rulebook was already pretty packed after all! So we’ve been amending and honing it with the help of some of our playtesters from Agents of Dune - Steve Zaccardi, William Hostman, Robert Arcangeli, Garrett Crowe, Roger Ellingham (Count Thalim) and the Wrecking Crew. The team put my notes into action with their own games and offered valuable feedback that has shaped the system into what you find in the book.
But what is House management, why do you need it and what can it do? Essentially it is a system to improve your Houses’ resources, reputation and even buildings and facilities, detailing what your House actually controls and allowing you to expand and grow. The system works on several different levels. As with everything in Dune: Adventures in the Imperium we made sure the rules can easily adapt to your style of game play. So, you can use House management as the centre of your campaign or as a short talking point between adventures. In this way you can do a deep dive into managing the resources and plans of your House, or just use this system as a guide for some interesting downtime events.
House management follows six steps, which you can run through as often as you like:
1 – News from the Imperium, where the GM and the players can create rumour and gossip that might lead to more adventures.
2 – Income, where the players calculate the wealth their House has earned from (mainly) their Domains.
3 – Event, something good or bad but certainly unforeseen might befall the House.
4 – Upkeep, armies and a wealthy standard of living cost solarii and they need to be paid for.
5 – Ventures, the heart of House management. These are projects you can pursue, sometimes over multiple sessions, to grow your House. They might involve building new facilities or alliances and the book offers over 40 options, from initiating a new festival to keep your populace happy, to making an alliance with the Guild or spying on an enemy House.
6 – End of year downtime, where the players can take stock of their losses and gains and even develop their characters with personal ventures.
So, House management offers a wide array of options and possibilities, from which you can take whatever you like to suit your campaign. You might just use it as a framework to develop a more narrative idea of your House. But you might also make it the centre of everything, with the results of each session sparking new adventures.
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