DUNE: The Landsraad

About the Game
DUNE: The Landsraad will be a free, online, browser-based game that focuses on the political intrigue and vying for power that defined the Imperial Court from Frank Herbert’s DUNE.

Taking command of a noble household, players will develop their fiefdoms, accumulate assets, and carry influence within the confines of the strict code of conduct and laws of the Imperium. Players will enter a game that combines roleplay, empire-building strategy, and a strong element of politics as they try to achieve their desires. Whether one’s goal is to amass wealth that would make The Spacing Guild jealous, to seize the Golden Lion Throne for their own dynasty, or to control the spice through the governorship of Arrakis.

DUNE: The Landsraad is a game where players wield their own Houses, set their own goals, hide their true intentions from the other players, and discover the threats to their own agenda as they climb the political ladder or try to keep hold of their position.

The Setting
Set in an alternate timeline from that of the books, the year is 10.205. There never was a Paul Mau’dib, nor has the Kwisatz Haderach risen. The once Great House of Atreides was destroyed on Arrakis by the Harkonnens in a treacherous assault in 10.191 which killed Duke Leto Atreides and his heir, Paul Atreides. 

Significantly concerned with the events that befell House Atreides and the obtuse justifications given by the Harkonnens for their attack, The Landsraad warily watched House Harkonnen returned to Arrakis with the Siridar Governorship. The Harkonnen’s good fortune was not to last long, however.

With rising distrust of the Harkonnens throughout the Imperium, by 10.192 suspicion began to mount that Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV had provided support to the Harkonnen attack on the Atreides. Word had spread of sightings of Sardaukar fighting alongside Harkonnen troops on the assault of the Arrakeen Palace. These rumors painted an alarming picture to The Landsraad; the Imperial House Corrino could lure any of them into a trap with the promises of riches and favor, then extinguish their dynasty with impunity. If true, this would signal an imminent threat to all Great Houses by ending the balance of power that had existed for generations: The delicate tripod of The Spacing Guild, The Landsraad, and The Imperial House.

In 10.194 the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen died of an undisclosed ailment, and the Harkonnen household remained tight-lipped as to the precise cause. As the named successor, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen’s legitimacy as head of House Harkonnen was immediately challenged within the CFI Judiciary by Feyd’s older brother, Glossu Rabban Harkonnen. Never moving fast, the judiciary of the Imperium proved too slow for the brothers and the struggle for control of the vast wealth of House Harkonnen was quick to turn violent. The pair of Harkonnens began to sink the tremendous wealth their late uncle had built, into their squabble over leadership. Glossu continued to control the Siridar Governorship of Arrakis, and Feyd controlled the Harkonnen homeworld of Geidi Prime as the Na-Baron.

During the battle between the Harkonnen brothers for who would rule the Great House of Harkonnen, production of mélange was disrupted and began to fall off due to distraction and sabotage. With production of spice falling rapidly, political pressure mounted for the removal of the self-destructive Harkonnens as governor of such a vital planet. Although Feyd managed to kill his older brother and claim his place as Baron of House Harkonnen in late 10.194, the victory came too late. The Board of Directors of CHOAM had already voted to remove House Harkonnen as steward of Arrakis; a vote the Emperor was quick to agree to and see the removal of such a troublesome family from the spotlight of the Imperium.

Distrust of the Imperial House grew within the Landsraad as Shaddam IV became bolder with his pettiness after the destruction of the Atreides and fall of the Harkonnens. Quick to anger and exact overwhelming retribution through force of arms, or economic sanctions, the Emperor became an irrational force within the Imperium and Houses rapidly fell into, and out of favor with the throne. Culminating in the near destruction of House Moritani by Sardaukar forces in 10.199, the Landsraad’s patience had been stretched by a chaotic and despotic reign by a seemingly incompetent Emperor. Shaddam IV, spurred on by a dispute between House Moritani and House Guilfoyle, took umbrage at a heated exchange between himself and a Moritani Envoy during a hearing before the High Council. In response to the exchange, Shaddam IV dispatched two legions of Sardaukar to the Moritani homeworld of Grumman where they laid waste to much of the planet’s defences and infrastructure.

In an emergency session of The Landsraad, a rare moment of unity was witnessed as Great Houses rallied to the call of House Ix, demanding the withdrawal of the Emperor’s troops from Grumman and sanctions to be placed on the Imperial Household for such an abuse of Imperial power. Enraged by the Landsraad’s defiance, Shaddam IV began preparations to engage in open warfare with the vast majority of the Great Houses of the Imperium. Drawing together his Supreme Bashars and his close adviser Count Fenring to the Imperial capital of Kaitan, Shaddam Corrino IV was found dead in his personal study. The Emperor’s personal physician was not able to identify a cause of death, but poison was strongly suspected.

Dead at the young age of 79, Shaddam’s plan for an all-out offensive on The Landsraad came to a crashing halt as the Imperial House Corrino was thrown into disarray. As Shaddam IV had no legitimate sons, only daughters, the question of who would now ascend the Golden Lion Throne became a hotly contested matter. The recent unity of the Great Houses against the threat of the Imperial House vanished in an instant as the houses pivoted from defiance of the throne, to trying to claim it.  Claim and counter-claim for the throne were made before The High Council, often spilling into the realms of the judiciary. For three years the Imperium struggled and was left in chaos as the Golden Lion Throne remained empty. Taking advantage of the chaos, Houses began to engage in open warfare, laws were mockingly broken, and the Imperium’s economy lay in tatters.

By 10.201, a legitimate heir had not been declared for the Golden Lion Throne, and House Corrino remained under the unconventional stewardship of Count Hasimir Fenring. Knowing that something must be done to draw the turmoil of the Imperium to a close, Count Fenring threw his support behind a cousin of Shaddam IV who still retained the family name of Corrino through the male line. This man was Calter Corrino, who shared the common ancestor with Shaddam IV of Padishah Emperor Vutier II; Shaddam IV’s great-grandfather.

Arranging the marriage of Vutier to Shaddam IV’s eldest daughter, Irulan, it is rumored that Count Fenring, ever the pragmatist, ensured through bribery and threats that the Imperial High Council and CFI Judiciary would recognize Calter as Padishah Emperor Vutier Corrino III. With the coronation occurring in mid 10.201, a semblance of stability was returned to the Imperium as a significantly weakened House Corrino solidified itself on the Golden Lion Throne.

Recuperating from the last decade of turbulence throughout the Imperium, Houses both Great and Minor, re-assess their goals and begin to carve out whatever influence, power, and wealth they can as they navigate this new but fragile stability across the universe.