The Three Playable Houses

House Atreides:

House Atreides This noble house hailing from Caladan employs unlikely methods in its struggle to secure Arrakis: noble spirit, just ways and unfailing virtue. Ruling its homeworld Caladan for ten generations with justice and generosity, House Atreides has perfected a form of government that results in a well-organized society and a spiritually satisfied people. Little wonder that Caladan is the lush, prosperous paradise that it is.
Such conditions have inspired a fierce loyalty in the people, making the Atreides' army one of the most devoted -- and deadly -- in the universe. These qualities have inspired ire in Atreides' foes, such as the Harkonnen, but admiration in the would-be allies such as the natives of Arrakis, the Fremen. The devotion of Atreides' troops are matched by the House's formidable military, which boasts an exceptional air force of Ornithopters and respectable array of ground vehicles. But the Atreides' fighting spirit and unflinching belief in its claim to Arrakis are its best weapons.

House Harkonnen:

House Harkonnen The House Harkonnen is built on a simple foundation of fear and terror, two tactics that make the Baron Harkonnen's troops that much more dangerous: risk death on the battlefield, or suffer a slow, excruciating death in the Baron's chambers as he watches with relish. With an order based on treachery, soldiers rise through the ranks through deceit, trickery and, if necessary, assassination. The ruthlessness of the Harkonnen army is legendary; but the rumors of its illegal atomic weaponry are more frightening still.
Hailing from an industrial wasteland of a planet called Giedi Prime, The House Harkonnen is much like its Baron: cold, ruthless, egomaniacal, but brilliant and lethally efficient. Most of all, it's driven by a kanly ,or vendetta, against House Atreides, which the Harkonnen feel has taken a piece of what's rightly theirs: the whole planet of Arrakis.

House Ordos:

House Ordos These aristocrats of the universe are shrouded in mystery and speculation -- which is just how the statesmen of Ordos want to keep it. Run by a secretive cartel of the rich and powerful who specialize in trade and smuggling, House Ordos has no identifiable leader. Even the citizens on this ice-coated, remote planet have little grasp on who controls their fate.
What is known, however, is that the reclusive elite of Ordos has at its disposal radical new technologies that it hopes will put all of Arrakis in its hands. Buying illegal armaments from the House of Ix, the Ordos equips it troops with high-tech weaponry that puts the Harkonnen and Atreides technology to shame. However, money can't buy loyalty: Ordos troops desert with alarming frequency, and, despite its wealth, the Ordos' military strength is shaky at best.

The Five Sub-Houses:

House Ix:

House Ix These fascist arms dealers have access to terrifying technologies -- and they're happy to pass them along if the price is right. And with Arrakis at the center of an intergalactic struggle, the ambitious Ix only stand to profit. But the wealth isn't exactly shared among the people: a virtual slave culture, the Ix are ruled by an echelon of scientists and technocrats, while the masses toil in the factories and labs and that are the lifeblood of House Ix. Never wishing to soil themselves with actual battle, the Ix feel they are well above the clash over Dune -- but not above profiting from it.
Loathed by many houses such as the Fremen and the Sardaukar for seeming effeminate and overly delicate, the Ix look down on most of their clients as little more than brutes and primitives.

House Tleilaxu:

House Tleilaxu Calling themselves the Bene Tleilax, the leaders of this house are religious zealots who preach ceaselessly about the evils of machines. Thus the technology of House Tleilaxu exalts the primacy of organic life through cloning and re-animating the dead. The House's technologies are as twisted as its religious belief in an imminent holy war that will cleanse the universe of machines.
They are despised by their rivals for different reasons: the Ix hate them as business rivals, the Sardaukar loathe them for defiling their tombs, the Fremen are disgusted with their gruesome technology. But the Tleilaxu, having allied with The Guild, know that the coming Jihad will prove them right.

The Guild:

The Guild The Guild have a monopoly on the technology that allows instantaneous travel across vast reaches of space; using Navigators -- humans mutated by saturation in "spice gas," created from Melange -- they travel in massive ships called Heighliners, and, for a price, will ferry the cargo of other Houses.
Working secretly with the Tleilaxu, The Guild has been venturing into the field of weaponry, and are biding their time until a strike on Arrakis is opportune. Dismissed as mere intergalactic ferrymen by the other houses, The Guild hopes to get a stranglehold not just on interstellar transport, but the planet Arrakis as well.

The Fremen:

The Fremen The natives of Dune are a tightly knit tribe of skilled warriors whose years of enduring life on the desert planet have made them tough, resourceful and highly adaptable. They worship -- and fear -- the giant sandworms that tunnel beneath the planet's surface. And like the sandworms, the Fremen prefer to stay underground, living in secret oases until their dream of turning Dune into an oasis can be realized.
Once allied with Atreides, the Fremen have since withdrawn after years of raging war. Respected and loathed by their rivals who covet the planet, the Fremen are the wild card in this drawn-out game of planetary conquest.

The Sardaukar:

The Sardaukar Hardened by relentless training on their desolate planet, The Sardaukar are warriors to the core: bravery and martial skill are the sole measure of a person's worth. Formerly the Emperor's Shocktroops, the Sardaukar now fight for an empty imperial ideal, but no less fiercely -- the nearly religious zeal of the troops makes them a terror on the battlefield.
Thus, with their military values, they respect their foes such as the Fremen, and loathe the Ix, whom they see as effete. But foes are foes, and there's little chance that the Sardaukar will ever see beyond their bellicose world-view to forge any truces with fellow warriors like The Fremen. Or can they?

Site created January 15, 1998.
© Jesse Reid, All Rights Reserved, 2017.