Dune RPG: To The Deep Desert

Last night, I ran Modiphius’ Dune RPG for the first time, as a one-shot, using the Wormsign quickstart scenario as an adventure template.

Maybe the weather phenomenon they encountered looks like this

Dune: To The Deep Desert Title Card

To The Deep Desert

Location: City of Arrakeen, Planet Arrakis.
Time: 2 weeks before the official Atreides arrival, year 10,191 AG.

“Given the right lever, you can move a planet.”

A retinue of Atreides House Agents with Servant Hassan Diago (Razzman), Junior Mentat Sharah Fell (Ivan), Swordmaster Apprentice Marcus Syn (Doug) and Former Spice Smuggler Corbin Bralik (Ivan) are sent by Swordmaster Duncan Idaho to check on a reported smuggler encampment 150 km south of the city of Arrakeen.

The party, packed uncomfortably into a thopter, flies towards a freak weather event that conjures sudden, violent dust devils. With Sharah’s encyclopaedic knowledge of Arrakis’ weather, Marcus is able to evade one of the lethal sand tornados. After 30 seconds, the dust devil disappears. Marcus looks out for more, but it seems they have left the dust devil region behind them.

Some time later, they arrive at the coordinates that Idaho provided, with three rocky hills in an ocean of dunes from horizon to horizon. The northernmost hill is the largest. The southernmost is the next largest. The smallest rocky island sits between the two huge rocks

Marcus pilots in a safe arc to scout the rocks. As they survey, Hassan spots encampments and hidden cave openings in the northern hill. There are people with brown robes, barely visible running between the canvas enclosures and the caves.

Suddenly a missile launches at them [due to a Complication from Sharah’s roll], though with the aid of Corbin’s knowledge with smuggler weaponry, Marcus evades it easily. The missile goes wild.

“What do you despise? By this are you truly known.”

The GM is excited to run Dune for the first time

“Polish comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert.”

Marcus drops low, approaches the hills from the south and lands between of the second & third hill where they disembark in the cover of thopter-thrown cloud of sand.

Hassan, the acting House representative, believes they should negotiate with the smugglers. Everyone defers to his suggestion.

They hear sounds of hooting and chirping wildlife coming from the northeast face of the big hill. The Corbin recognises the smuggling group from the dialect of this battle language. Apparently this group was cruelly battered and razed by the Harkonnens during their reign. Hassan is now certain that opening a dialogue with them might be bilaterally beneficial. Perhaps they would be open to House Atreides governing Arrakis.

As the smugglers approach them from the northeast, the Atreides team head northwest to avoid them so they could view them before making contact. Suddenly, a person in a black stillsuit and jubba cloak appears on the sand between the first and second hill. After a moment of distress, he identifies himself as Qurag Bhar. Corbin spots another – up on the rock wall to the west – keeping still under a camouflage cloak. He signs this to the others. 

Seeing this to be an opportunity to open negotiations, Hassan leads the way following Qurag. As he passes the unmoving smuggler, he taps him on the shoulder. The camouflaged smuggler perceptibly nods, letting everyone pass unharmed. 

The rocky footpath up the west face leads to a hidden cave. The party finds it strange they are led away from the main smuggler group.

“You never talk of likelihoods on Arrakis. You speak only of possibilities.”

Qurag invites them to enter. Marcus volunteers to enter first. Although the transition for desert bright sunlight into a deep, dark cave nearly blinded him for a second, his eyes adapt quickly. The swordmaster spots two more poised with maula pistols behind supply crates and weapons. Both wear black stillsuits. Who are these men again?!

Marcus lunges into his charge Hassan. They both hit the cave floor, maula projectiles missing them. The lead ambusher [upon rolling a 20] gets his maula pistol jammed. Sharah activates her personal shield, her shimmer enveloping her body. Qurag yells, “Death to Atreides!” and tries to stab Corbin with a blade who quickly sidesteps.

Corbin then spots more people coming their way. Two groups of smugglers are approaching. A group of brown robed figures from the southeast over the hill, and from the northwest along the rock face a group wearing black clad stillsuits. They all look angry. All are armed.

The Atreides group is trapped and surrounded and cut off from their thopter to escape…



  • I suggested the Star Trek Adventures: Emergency Deep group play Dune as Captain Ellison’s player was unable to join us.
  • This might not end up like how the scenario Wormsign is suggested to end.
Posted in GOKL Actual Play, Role Playing Games, RPG Actual Play, RPG One Shots and tagged , , , , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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