By Andrew Peregrine
“My planet, Arrakis, is so beautiful when the sun is low. Rolling over the sands… you can see spice in the air.” – Chani, Dune Part One
With the release of Desert Planet: Adventure Compendium Vol 1, our Dune RPG comes full circle. We started on the desert planet, and after stepping out into the wider universe to encounter the Great Houses, the Imperial Court, and factions like the Tleilaxu, we are back on Arrakis once more.
But why come back? Isn’t Arrakis just a barren desert rock with a single dusty export, albeit one central to the Known Universe? Well, yes and no. It is certainly how the Imperium at large sees the planet. But the Fremen know better, as do the Great Houses if they are honest (not that they ever would be). While it might not look like much on the surface, Arrakis is a great setting for adventure, challenge, exploration, and political shenanigans, and it offers danger and riches in equal measure.
We’ve wanted to give our PDF adventures a proper hardcover release for some time. It’s always helpful to have a book in your hand when you are running a game, and all these adventures deserve a place on the shelf with the other books. But we didn’t want to just offer a reprint, so we’ve taken the opportunity to add a little more detail. Given they are set on Arrakis, it was easy to string them together as part of a cohesive campaign. So, we’ve added a thread the gamemaster can use to link them all together into a long campaign. But if the gamemaster just wants to slot them into their own game as they are, they can still do that.
As we were returning to Arrakis, it also seemed a good idea to offer a little more detail on Arrakeen. While Sand and Dust: The Arrakis Sourcebook is pretty comprehensive, we could never have hoped to contain a whole planet in a single book. With most of the adventures set in and around the city, we took the opportunity to add a few more places, locations, and characters to expand on the city of Arrakeen. There are also three new short adventures designed to get a beginner started in a Dune campaign. With the new Villeneuve movie Dune Part Two coming out soon, we hope more people will be drawn to adventure on the desert planet. So, along with Wormsign and Agents of Dune, these new adventures offer a helping hand for a new gamemaster. But as we try to do with every Dune adventure, they will easily adapt to any campaign, be it one of our published ones or adventures of your own design. Of particular interest to Dune fans is our inclusion of a famously missing scene from the recent Dune movie, the Atreides dinner party. If you ever wondered who the guests were and what strange dishes they were eating, we have some answers for you here.
So, the compendium offers our answer for ‘what can you do on Arrakis’, and while we’ll continue to take the game across every aspect of the Imperium and its eras, Arrakis still offers plenty of adventure. You can dine with the Atreides before you raid a prison with the Fremen or strike out into the desert in search of water bandits. You might save a village and keep a Fremen secret, or hide from a storm where an even more deadly peril might be waiting. You might find a potential prophet and save priceless works of art that hide a deeper secret.
Arrakis is all this and more. It is a place of beauty, if you know how to see it, but a place of cruelty, greed, and danger to those who just see the spice. Which will your player characters be?