By Andrew Peregrine
While we have covered Arrakis and detailed the power politics between the noble Houses, we have still only brushed the surface of the vast Dune setting. In Power and Pawns: The Emperor’s Court we move into the highest political arena. But we also take a step outside to detail the strange and manipulative worlds of those who have managed to carve a niche outside the Imperium social hierarchy. In this book we reveal the deepest and darkest secrets of the Imperium, the sometimes horrific truths few wish to talk about that keep the wheels of power grinding away.
The first of these groups is one that we know people have been waiting for, the Ginaz Swordmasters. While anyone might call themselves a Swordmaster, only the Ginaz are truly worthy of the name. They are the elite of the Imperium in terms of combat, so even when starting characters are elite agents the Ginaz were just a little too powerful to allow as player characters. But now your characters have gained some experience, they may want to train with this prestigious group. But be warned. While the abilities to be claimed here are lethal, the training is intense and merciless. You will return as one of the best of the best, or you won’t come back at all.
If elite warriors are your thing, we also take a look at the Emperor’s deadly Sardaukar. We offer a selection of deadly abilities for them as a new form of player character. But their loyalty remains absolute to the Emperor. So while they might serve another noble House for a time, it is hard to know how to trust them. Are they a gift for loyal service from the Emperor, or are they there to make sure your House stays loyal to the throne?
We also take a look at the Suk school, expanding on the abilities of the greatest doctors in the Imperium. We offer a host of new options, including some detail on cybernetic enhancements, a step that for some is far too close to thinking machines. Many of these advancements are the brainchild of the planet Ix, run by House Vernius. On Ix the influence of the Houses and the Tleilaxu have merged into something new. We take a look at how the gamemaster can add this strange and advanced technology into a setting where innovation can be seen as heresy if you are not careful.
No detail on the outsiders would be complete without a look at the Bene Tleilaxu. While they were introduced only in the second Dune novel, Dune Messiah, their influence has seeped across the Imperium. The ‘dirty Tleilaxu’ have made a name as biological pioneers, and while their methods are abhorrent, their products remain in high demand. We take a look at their methods, goals and secrets, as well as offering their most famous ‘product’ as player characters, the mysterious shape-shifting Face Dancers. There is also a look at the Twisted Mentats with new abilities drawn from their corrupt training. But your House would never be interested in that…
Finally, we take a look at the higher levels of two organisations we detail in The Great Game: Houses of the Landsraad. The first is the Spacing Guild, where we look at their deepest secrets, especially the melange saturated power of the Guild Navigators. There are new powers and abilities, ones that even a failed Navigator might find awakening inside them. The second is CHOAM where we introduce the option for a whole new style of play among the Board of Directors. In this campaign each player is one of the Directors of CHOAM, with the power of their own noble House at their disposal. They can use this power to crush their rivals and make new alliances, where their main rivals will be the other player characters.
But Power and Pawns: The Emperor’s Court is not just about the outsiders. We offer a whole host of detail on managing political campaigns, along with new talents and new information on taking on the various House Roles. We look at reputation, new Drive options, Kaitain and the Imperial court and include an adventure to bring everything together. The centre of the Imperium is waiting for you, if you think you are up to the challenge.
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