Frank Herbert's Dune universe is quite epic in terms of scope, lore and storytelling and, in all honesty, I would never have expected a publisher of roleplaying games to fashion a suitably well-made adaptation that would do justice to it's fanbase.
Modiphius certainly proved me to be in error.
The book is filled with lore pertinent to original saga with a wealth of information on the Dune universe's factions, locales, and primary characters. The artwork is absolutely exceptional too; I had previously regarded the art of FFG's Star Wars games to be the best, but this sets a new standard. Although the art seems to be drawn from the recent movie adaptation, I find it fits the setting perfectly. The layout too is exceptional, as it presents a wealth of information and art without overwhelming the reader in blocks of text.
Although most of the drama is centred on Arrakis, the expansion of detail into other planets and factions within the Imperium allows for the creation of adventures in a greatly expanded setting. In fact, I spent the last two evenings designing a planet, a House Major, and several Minor Houses within its demesne as an introductory prequel campaign prior to shifting the attention to Dune somewhere down the line. The book itself even covers plot concepts regarding local, world, and an expanded interstellar level of play with adventure designs and story hook tables for further assistance for a GM. There isn't even any feeling of restriction to uphold the narrative of the original fiction, or to adhere to a campaign of the given era; if you're more interested in running a game under Dmitri Harkonnen's rule, or Leto Atreides, or House Richese, or a custom designed House or political environ of your own creation then it's yours to do so.
As a D&D and Starfinder player I found the rule system to be somewhat daunting, however, I’ve been reading a few of the blog pages from the Modiphius website about how each arena of conflict, drive, momentum, threat, etc function, and have started to appreciate their effectiveness in a narrative-driven campaign.
The book does well to provide sample characters in terms of common NPC archetypes to the more iconic and notable characters and faction agents from the Dune universe - which is especially handy when looking at comparisons of the Bene Gesserit, Fremen, Sardaukar and others to more common figures and professions found in the Imperium. There's even a trove of information and guidance on how to further flesh out your NPCs with their own motivations and personalities, and really creating a more vibrant menagerie to populate your worlds.
The book concludes with a sample adventure to allow the reader an introduction to both the setting and rule system, and is a good way to learn the basics of the game. I'm sure that with continued support from Modiphius, this game will move from strength to strength with possible campaign adventures and further expansions.
Personally, I love the ability to create my own House within one of my most adored fictional settings and I would love to see an expansion down the line that focuses more on one's house, it's expansion (or decline), and rules to run the House perhaps similar to the Kingmaker adventure from Paizo, or Green Ronin's Chronicle system.
Although I’m already a fan of Modiphius' work and its products, this has been the first time I’ve wrote a review. I heartily recommend it to all fans of Frank Herbert's Dune, and any role-player that wants to create a genuinely dynamic and narrative driven story in one of Sci Fi's greatest epics. Great work, guys.
[5 of 5 Stars!]