House Creation.   Posted by The Game Master.Group: 0
The Game Master
 GM, 3 posts
Sat 17 Jul 2021
at 02:06
House Creation
In this game, the Player Characters all serve the a single noble House on Caladan. So, before we create those characters, it is vital to determine a few details about the style, agenda, and attributes of the House they serve. The House is obviously of great importance to the players, as it determines what type of characters they can each create and what they might aspire to.

The House Creation process will walk the Players through making the following decisions with a majority-vote to settle disagreements (or GM vote in case of ties):

1. House Type
2. Domains and Areas of Expertise
3. Name, Banners, and Arms
4. House Traits
5. House History
6. Enemies
7. Player Character Roles

1. House Type

For the purpose of this game, the Player House will start as a House Minor, which is defined as: an established house that while it has not established itself beyond its home planet, is one of the most important vassals Houses that serve the same House Major. The House has a strong tradition or dedication of service to their patron. Their holdings will cover large portions of lands, a major industry, or a moon controlled by the House Major. However, they must constantly jockey for power among the other Minor Houses that also serve their House Major, which are rivals for its favor.

2. Domains and Areas of Expertise

Domains

As most Houses rely on mercantile power and CHOAM shares for their fortune, each House has developed a specialty in an area of business or produce that is important to the Imperium. These areas of acumen are called Domains. Your House may have several of these classified as either primary or secondary.

A primary domain is the area your House is most famous for because it is something they are one of the best in the universe at. This could be a unique product like spice or a common product your House is an unrivaled expert on. A primary domain need not be especially glamorous, but its power is unmistakable. While many of the Imperium’s elite sneer at the pundi rice of the Atreides, it is a staple food on hundreds of planets.

A secondary domain is an area that the House is known for, but it is not their main source of income. However, it is still lucrative, and the House is considered a serious contender in this arena of business but is far from holding a controlling monopoly. They vie with several other Houses in their attempts to make it a primary domain and the competition may be exceptionally fierce.

It is important to note that a House’s domains are not the only areas of business they are part of, but they can only excel at a few things given the powerful competition among the Houses. So, for most Houses, it makes business sense to play to your strengths and corner a particular area of the universal free market.

The Player House will start with one primary domain and one secondary domain.

Areas of Expertise

The various domains are grouped into areas of expertise for the sake of simplicity. They are further subdivided to help offer ideas for what precise domains might be found within each area of expertise. In some cases, you may choose domains from the same subsection. For example, a farming House might take three different types of crops produce for their primary and two secondary domains. This is also not a comprehensive list and there is nothing wrong with creating a new area of expertise if what you want to excel at is not listed below.

Each area of expertise is divided into the following sections:

- Machinery: any large-scale machinery or devices that might be created, either by the area of expertise or to help craft or maintain the area of expertise.
- Produce: something the area of expertise actually produces. Many areas of expertise offer several different types of produce.
- Expertise: your House excels at training or managing the people who lead the area of expertise.
- Workers: your House either trains or produces dedicated staff who are responsible for doing the actual work that makes the area of expertise flourish and are usually required in large numbers.
- Understanding: this is the theoretical part of the area of expertise and allows a House to develop secret new techniques or strategies they might share with others, for a price.

Domains and Areas of Expertise

Artistic Domain

Artistic domains may not be very powerful, but they grant the House both fame and respect across the universe. Those famed for their performers might also use the opportunity to put spies within a traveling company. The famous Face Dancer spies of the Bene Tleilax were originally designed as performers (officially at least).

Machinery: stage effects, scenery pieces, scenic art, lighting and sound systems
Produce: plays, poems, novels, comedy sketches, musical pieces
Expertise: playwrights, poets, composers, directors
Workers: actors, stage crews, musicians, speakers, traveling companies
Understanding: philosophy, literary criticism, theatrical performance style

Espionage Domain

Intelligence operations and secrets are the meat and drink of most Houses. As such, there are several who are renowned for supplying the mechanisms of the spy trade. A few even infiltrate other organizations to learn their secrets for themselves or to sell to others.

Machinery: surveillance devices, sensors, jamming technology
Produce: information and secrets from other Houses, likely from a particular specialty such as military secrets or blackmail
Expertise: spymasters and agent handlers
Workers: agents, spies, infiltrators
Understanding: particular forms of espionage and counterintelligence techniques

Farming Domain

Houses that rely on farming then to be pastoral and peaceful places. However, their power lies in creating something basic the other Houses may not realize how much they rely upon.

Machinery: tractors, harvesters, large-scale farming equipment
Produce: crops and animal products
Expertise: stewards, land managers
Workers: farm laborers, shepherds, herders
Understanding: new farming techniques to increase productivity

Industrial Domain

Industrial Houses tend to control planets full of factories and production facilities, but most do not let productivity destroy their home. Industrial items can range from filmbook readers to Guild Heighliners, although ay technical House must take care to follow Butlerian prescriptions on what they can develop.

Machinery: factory machines, spacecraft, large vehicles
Produce: mass-produced goods, refined alloys, toys
Expertise: supervisors, business managers
Workers: factory workers, craftsmen, mechanics
Understanding: new techniques for business management and factory operations

Kanly Domain

The next step forward from espionage is assassination. To avoid chaos, the Great Houses agreed on a set of rules for assassination to prevent a slaughter. These “forms of kanly” are designed to limit both assassinations and the inevitable responses and are ruthlessly enforced by all the Houses. As such, they are also a lucrative area of business.

Machinery: assassination weapons and traps such as hunter-seekers, mines, bombs, etc.
Produce: poisons
Expertise: assassin masters, operation planners, trainers
Workers: assassins, thugs, infiltration specialists
Understanding: means of assassination, infiltration techniques, deadly combat strikes

Military Domain

While war is rarer than assassination, no House wants another to see they have a weak military, as that may be considered an invitation to attack. Military actions are costly and logistically difficult, often requiring expensive Guild payments to move troops to another planet. But if you want to take land or facilities from another House, you may need soldiers to claim and occupy it.

Machinery: battlefield weapons, artillery, large-scale shields, tanks
Produce: ammunition, personal weapons, small arms
Expertise: tacticians, officers, strategists
Workers: soldiers, engineers, pilots, logistics personnel
Understanding: military strategies and new tactics

Political Domain

To some Houses, politics is their meat and drink. These social gadflies do not just play the complex games of the Landsraad for extra power they make these games their business. Such Houses are the ultimate courtiers and leaders in popular styles and etiquette. They know who is doing what to whom and how to get the ear of the most powerful figures. They also make good mediators, understanding the complexities of House politics.

Machinery: couture fashion, expensive trinkets, message services
Produce: information, secrets, favors
Expertise: political analysts, mediators, diplomats, fashionistas, social planners
Workers: courtiers, spies, administrators, servants, entourage
Understanding: diplomacy techniques, forms of etiquette

Religion Domain

Faith still plays a large part in the society of the Imperium and remains a force powerful enough to create leverage in business ventures and is even a service that can be sold. The trapping of religion are popular, and some Houses have found ways to monetize religion and package it for sale.

Machinery: churches, statues, prayer beads, religious symbols, religious books
Produce: prayers, hymns, religious and inspirational writings
Expertise: clergy, philosophers
Workers: choristers, altar servants, community managers
Understanding: new religious philosophies, new forms of faith

Science Domain

While the tenets of the Butlerian Jihad remain in force, it does not mean that humanity cannot research and develop new scientific ideas. Many Houses have a research and development department to advance their domains and keep ahead of the competition. This domain often couples with Industrial domains where a House might take full advantage of what they discover, rather than pass it along to others to exploit.

Machinery: laboratory equipment, quarantine areas, entire scientific facilities
Produce: chemical compounds, drugs, genetically-adapted humans and animals
Expertise: scientists and researchers
Workers: lab assistants and managers
Understanding: new scientific research

3. Name, Banners, and Arms

In addition to choosing a name for the House, the Players will create the coat of arms that they proudly emblazon on all their holdings to remind everyone of what is theirs. Most Houses have a banner made up of one or two colors and a crest, which might be an animal, object, or something relevant to the location or industry of the Houses' domains. Examples from the books are the green and black hawk crest of the Atreides, the gold and scarlet lion of the Corrino, etc.

4. House Traits

Traits are aspects that can be used by Player Characters that are recognized as members of the House and imply the reputation the House has within the Imperium. The Player House will begin with a trait for its primary domain that is the same as the areas of expertise for that domain, as well as a descriptive trait based on its reputation such as 'Honorable' for the Atreides or 'Brutal' for the Harkonnen. This Trait details the way the rest of the Imperium sees your House and expects its agents to behave. Other Traits may be gained or lost by the House during play, usually after an important event that changes their reputation in the Imperium.

5. House History

The history of the House can be as elaborate or simple as the Players decide and can be fleshed out through the course of Play, but there are some basic aspects that should be determined as they will be supporting materials for much of the other decisions that are made such as its origins of ennoblement, how it came to control the lands or industries that comprise its domains, what its relationship with its patron and enemies were/are, how did it earn its traits and reputation, and what are some key events and developments that the current generation have experienced (note: this will likely influence and be influenced by player character concepts and backstories.

6. Enemies

Even the most pleasant and honorable House will have someone that hates them. Luckily, such enemies need not be engaged in a multi-generational deadly kanly vendetta such as between that of the Atreides and Harkonnen. In fact, enemies and allies can change as the politics of the Imperium are fluid. A situation that makes two Houses enemies one year might see them making an alliance for mutual benefit when the situation changes the next year.

The Player House will start with at least 1 Minor House as an enemy and roll and define the nature and reason for their enemy's hatred.

7. Player Character Roles

Below is a list of high-level examples of roles that is not intended to be comprehensive that are available to the Player Characters that will be fleshed out as part of creation (note: the starting Ruler of the House will be an NPC):

- The Spouse of the Ruler
- The Consort of the Ruler
- The Heir to the Ruler
- Advisors
- Councilors
- Treasurer
- Physicians
- Envoys
- Marshal
- Scholar
- Spymaster
- Swordmaster
- Warmaster
- Etc.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:48, Sat 17 July.

The Game Master
 GM, 9 posts
Sat 17 Jul 2021
at 18:29
House Creation
We have a couple of more potential players in the queue, which will get us to a starting Cast of seven. In addition to the creation of the Player House, we will also need their main competition, allies, adversaries, and nascent houses or organizations that serve them. This is a large undertaking that we can work in parallel, and all contribute to.

I am asking that each added or potential player send me via Private Message 1-3 high-level concepts for a House. This should include their geographic location, primary and secondary domains with areas of expertise, and a couple of sentences for context around the concept. I will consolidate all the proposals and we will do a ranked choice vote of the options, with the winner being the Player House and the others serving as the basis for the other major factions on Caladan.

As a resource, I recommend looking at the Caladan thread (particularly the environment and points of interest section) and then the Domain and Areas of Expertise section of the House Creation thread.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:22, Sun 18 July.

The Game Master
 GM, 15 posts
Tue 20 Jul 2021
at 01:35
House Creation
There were several duplicates of concepts that were combined, and so far we have 9 concepts with half of the cast submitting ideas. I have included them below so if there are any more submissions in the next day or so, there should be no duplicates before voting. Once that window to submit closes, each Player will rank-order vote for their three leading concepts, with the first selection receiving 3 votes, the second 2 votes, and the third 1.

Concept 1 - Native House on Southern Continent

Primary Domain: Farming
Secondary Domain: Politics

While the Southern Continent as a whole is known for its wine-growing and making, this House has the undisputed reputation as the finest on Caladan and thus one of the finest in the Imperium. As a result, they also have a reputation for fine taste and high culture, and their agents and trained sommeliers are welcome in many courts, where they have an opportunity to directly observe the complexities of the political landscape across broad swathes of the Imperium as they share back their observations, intelligence, and insights with the House who can use this where and when it will prove advantageous to do so.

Concept 2 - Native House on Western Continent

Primary Domain: Military
Secondary Domain: Espionage

This House was located close to the holdings of the Atreides and earned its wealth and influence by training and providing the Caladanian military forces with specialist soldiers, engineers, pilots, and supply and logistics personnel. As the respect for the competency of the Atreides forces grew, so too did the demand for the services of this House and they have an extensive network across the Imperium. Those of promise were also trained in the arts of spying and infiltration and could be embedded in the forces of a House seeking their services.

Concept 3 - Off-World House with Interest in Eastern Continent

Primary Domain: Industrial
Secondary Domain: Science

This House hails from a world that was all but destroyed during the Butlerian Jihad and which has spent generations suffering from civil war and environmental collapse in the aftermath. Much of the rebuilding of significant government and cultural sites and critical infrastructure was underground. They made their fortune mining for precious minerals in the lands they controlled and selling their trademark boring machines, pressurized work suits, tools, and general subterranean expertise.

Concept 4 - Off-World House with Interest in Western Continent

Primary Domain: Religion
Secondary Domain: Artistic

This House originated on a wet and warm world with lush temperate rainforests with toxic fungal blooms and voracious insect populations that were tamed over generations. The diversity of the natural ecosystem were a draw for religious organizations seeking peace and enlightenment and there are numerous temple complexes, monasteries, sacred groves, and education centers on their planet. Their most famed exports are their trained singers and musical accompaniment, which were first in vogue at the Corrino Court and now the Imperium at large.

Concept 5 - Off-World House with Interest in the Island Chains

Primary Domain: Military
Secondary Domain: Farming or Industry

This House was formed on a remote moon that became infamous as a haven for pirates, terrorists, and other belligerents to the older and larger Houses. Those that settled the moon organized into small, isolated communities that valued rugged self-sufficiency and fought constant low intensity conflicts between them until centuries ago this House unified the moon's factions through a remarkably brutal campaign. These days, their forces or "Free Companies" are the most sought after mercenaries in the Imperium. The settlements on the moon also grow nutrient dense foodstuffs and medications that are perfectly suited for packaging and use on the battlefield or by anyone who plans to spend time away from a settlement.

Concept 6 - Native House on Serena’s Necklace

Primary Domain: Farming
Secondary Domain: Kanly

This House started as a humble collection of fisherfolk that were ennobled by the Atreides in the distant past. They are now experts at harvesting resources from the sea, whether they be fish, seaweed, or the other gifts that the oceans can provide. This includes things like potent neurotoxins that can be extracted from rare breeds of fish.

Concept 7 – Native House on Western Continent

Primary Domain: Industrial
Secondary Domain: Kanly

This House was once an up-and-coming industrial one that converted its factories to the production of arms, and has become a powerhouse, albeit one with a shady reputation for their willingness to sell anything to anyone for the right price, to include the instruments of kanly, assassination, and traps. Recently, the manufacture of weapons has also turned into an opportunity to teach and export the men and women willing to use them.

Concept 8 – Off-World House

Primary Domain: Industrial
Secondary Domain: Science

This House is a Minor House on Ix that has gained considerable patronage through its capabilities in development of new technologies, many of which have never been made available on the open market, as they are immediately sold to the Guild. This exclusive partnerships with the Guild has given them tremendous influence in the Imperium despite their relatively small and non-threatening size.

Concept 9 – Native House on Western Continent

Primary Domain: Military
Secondary Domain: Farming

This House rose to power through the effectiveness of its military and has leverage this reputation to be the leading provider of mercenaries in the Imperium. Once ennobled and settled on Caladan, they have also made a profitable business out of large-scale whale hunting and the sale of the byproducts to the industries that welcome them, but do not want to get their hands dirty. Something this House has no problem doing.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:07, Tue 20 July.