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I have been cooking up the special abilities for these variant factions. Some are either inspired or literally copied from other threads, others are entirely new. My goal is to keep the quality of these variant factions equal to the standard six. What I hope to have achieved is bringing new factions that are centered around a certain theme that is also translated well into alliances, can be played with multiple playstyles and offer a balanced but interesting addition to the classic Dune game (like having strengths and weaknesses). I haven't read the books and I'm unfamiliar with the story but I tried to keep the theme of the factions comparable to those in other threads (I didn't want to research since I want to remain unspoiled while reading the books). If there's something completely out of place, please let me know. The wording may also be poor or too lengthy due to English not being my first language.

Abilities with a - are always usable, those with an * are only usable if the main leader is alive (this is optional of course).

The Iduali:

The Iduali are supposed to be these rogue poachers. Their strategy is centered around (slowly) draining resources from competitors. Their alliance power is geared towards weaker players who need to catch up by providing income at the cost of increasing the amount of victory points required. They can play risky and spread their units for maximum profit at the risk of fighting unfavourable battles. Good allies are Fremen, Guild, maybe Artreides. Strong against Guild, Ix and Ordos. Weak against Harkonnen, Bene Tleilaxu and maybe Bene Gesserit.

- 3 shipments every turn. These may be to different territories. Every shipment brings 1 free token. Shipment costs are increased to 4 per token (2 if shipped to strongholds). Shipment costs are paid to the Spice Banks. May only ship to the edges of the map.
- The Iduali gain 2 spice from every unclaimed spice pile in the Collection Round.
* After the Collection Round but before stealing spices, The Iduali may merge their tokens from adjacent territories. There are no limits to this.
- The Iduali may steal spice after spices have been collected in the Collection Round. Every territory under their control may steal from one adjacent territory under control of another player. The Iduali steals 1 spice if there are equal or more tokens in the Iduali territory than the other faction has in their own, otherwise they steal 2 spice. The other faction loses one token after the spices are stolen if they were in a desert territory (to the Tanks). Spices can’t be stolen in or out of the Polar Sink.
- If the Iduali form an alliance with the Fremen, they too may capture Sietch Tabr and Habbanya Sietch for the Fremen Victory by Subterfuge to qualify (at the end of the game, if only Fremen and/or Iduali have captured ST and HS and neither Artreides, Emperor, Harkonnen, Landsraad or Ix control Tuek’s Sietch, the alliance of the Fremen wins by subterfuge)

* Karama: Each territory controlled by the Iduali may steal spices from all adjacent territories controlled by other players (even allies). The Iduali may refuse to steal from particular factions.

Allies may steal one spice from adjacent territories controlled by other players (each controlled territory may steal). Players can’t steal from allies. An alliance with the Iduali requires an additional control point (The Iduali need to capture 3 strongholds on their own, 5 with two, 6 with three, etc.)

Dune: Spice Harvest Ability:
The Iduali may take 2 spice when voting 'No' from the Manager.

The Ixian Confederacy:

The Ix benefit the most from going after spice blows. This is achieved by being able to use their leader tokens to move multiple groups of tokens. They also have special Cymek units who are stronger in battle and should be escorted to spice blows from nearby strongholds. Despite their mobility, the Ix are also predictable due to them always having to move first and knowing beforehand which leader(s) will be committed to battle. Good allies are Artreides, Ordos/Guild, Emperor, Fremen and maybe Bene Gesserit. Strong against Artreides and Bene Tleilaxu. Weak against Iduali, Harkonnen, Fremen and Iduali. It is recommended that you split the Spice deck in two and draw two spice cards every turn if the Ix is in the game or if there are too many factions.

- The Ix are always first in the Movement Round unless the Guild wants go first. The order of play is determined by the storm for the other players (except for the Guild).
- If the Ix have army tokens adjacent to a territory with spice at the end of the Movement Round they may move all those leader/army tokens to the territory with spice.
- When purchasing a Treachery card from the auction in the Bidding Round the Ix may pay 2 spice to the Spice bank to discard the card and draw a new one from the Treachery deck
* The Ix have five special Cymek units. Cymeks can only be shipped to strongholds that were already under Ixian control. They count as two tokens in combat. Upon collecting spice, receive 2 additional spice extra per Cymek unit.
* The Ix are always the aggressor so they win ties in combat.
* In the Shipment Phase, the Ix may freely place/remove their leader tokens in territories under their control. During the Movement phase the Ix may either move like regular or move any amount of leader tokens of their choice. When a leader token moves to another territory they may bring along army tokens from their original territory for up to twice their leader value. Only the leaders in a territory that’s about to engage in combat may be chosen (only leaders in the Reserve may be chosen if there’s no leader in the combat territory). Losing without getting your leader killed brings all leaders in the losing territory back to the Reserves. All leader tokens are removed from the map when the main leader dies. Leader tokens can’t collect spice.

* Karama: The Ix may fully swap their own army and leader tokens between two territories at any time.

Alliance: Allies may pay 2 spice to discard Treachery cards after purchase from the auction in the Bidding Round and draw a new one from the Treachery deck

Dune: Spice Harvest Ability:
If the Ix are manager, the value of the Harvest Report is increased by 50%. They also receive 5 spice as Manager instead of 3.

House Ordos:

The Ordos are a mercantile faction. They can limit the power of the Emperor and the Guild who are notoriously strong in 7+ player games. Their deal is focussed around trading and preserving Treachery cards and providing better offers than their competitors by being able to tax transactions between two other players. They have the ability to steer the balance of power and wealth to themselves but the Ordos are incredibly dependent on other players to do well, whether they are allies or enemies. Their alliance should try to cover as much ground as possible so they can always immediately react to the spice blows. Good allies are Emperor, Fremen, Artreides and Harkonnen. Strong against Guild, Emperor and Bene Tleilaxu. Weak against Ix, Fremen, Iduali and Bene Tleilaxu.

- Any time the Ordos trade spice or information with another player they gain their Alliance bonus until the start of the next Collection Round.
* In the Collection Round the Ordos may buy Treachery cards from other players. The Ordos may not sell or trade Treachery cards. Cards don’t have to be revealed to the Ordos prior to purchase.
- Losing a battle while using more than one Treachery card gives the Ordos the opportunity to discard only one card instead of all of them.
- The Ordos may choose to tax public deals, bribes, the show of cards and the exchange of spice outside of faction powers between other players. Both players need to pay the Ordos 1 spice.
* At the start of the Bidding Round, the Ordos may hijack this Bidding Round if they have a full hand of Treachery cards. The top cards of the auction are replaced by those of the Ordos. The Ordos receives the spice instead of the Empire when these cards are bought. They may not bid on their own cards. Standard rules of the Bidding Round apply for the remainder of this Bidding Round. If allied with the Empire they may add their cards on top of the auction cards instead of replacing them.
- Your shipment costs are reversed (2 spice per token to ship to strongholds, 1 spice per token to ship to other territories) when shipping to territories adjacent to allied tokens. This can’t be combined with the Guild alliance power; the player must choose which one to use. If they choose the Ordos power, they pay the Spice Bank instead.
* At the start of the Bidding Round the Ordos may sell army tokens on the board to other players. All army tokens are removed (to the Reserves) and replaced by tokens from the other player. The other player may not place more tokens than are removed from the Ordos.
* Karama: The Ordos receive all alliance powers until the next Collection Round. Can be played at any time. Every player has to pay the Ordos 2 spice.

-Allies may sell Treachery cards to the Ordos at any time. These cards may immediately be used. The ally receives the spice from the transaction in the Collection Round. The Ordos may use their Treachery cards for their allies if they allow it. Cards that aren’t immediately discarded will return to the Ordos after use.

-Allies may ship to non-stronghold territories next to army tokens from anyone in their alliance for 1 spice per army. This can’t be combined with the Guild alliance power; the player must choose which one to use. If they choose the Ordos power, they pay the Ordos instead.

Dune: Spice Harvest Ability:
Players may only trade with the Ordos. At least half of the Ordos Access cards are revealed (rounded up). While other players must return leftover spice to the Spice Bank, the Ordos may exchange 3 spice per token to the Polar Sink.

The Landsraad:

The Landsraad are a governing body, meaning they are centered around diplomacy. In this version they are more like a corrupt government who acts like they own the place and provide an underlying danger to those who play carelessly. They can grow to become an immense presence but they need the funds to do so. It may be necessary for players to protect weaker players since the Landsraad thrives on extorting weaker players, otherwise they may fall in their hands themselves. Alliance with the Landsraad is more often to save yourself than it is because it's truly beneficial for you. Their income is counterable by other players if they work together properly but once the Landsraad starts demanding certain alliances or actions they can only grow more powerful. Good allies are Artreides, Emperor, Ordos, Guild, Bene Tleilaxu and Bene Gesserit. Strong against Bene Tleilaxu, Ordos, Ix, Harkonnen, Iduali and Bene Gesserit, maybe Emperor and Guild. Weak against Artreides, Bene Tleilaxu and Bene Gesserit, maybe Emperor and Fremen.

- The Landsraad receives half of the total spice paid by Emperor in Bidding Rounds, Guild during Shipment Phase or the Bene Tleilaxu in the Revival Round (rounded down) in their respective rounds if they are allied to the Landsraad. The rest goes to the Spice Bank.
- The Landsraad gains spices in the Collection Round based on the amount of Landsraad tokens on the board that weren’t involved in a battle this turn: 30: 5, 24+: 4, 18+: 3, 12+: 2, 6+: 1
* The Landsraad can enter strongholds where two other factions are already present unless one of them is their ally.
* Allied players pay the Landsraad 2 spice when they collect spices.
- Other players may buy Diplomatic Immunity in the Storm Round where the cost is equal to all their living leaders combined (paid to the Spice Bank). Diplomatic Immunity protects players from extortion by the Landsraad. All players have to discard their Diplomatic Immunity at the start of the Bidding Round.
* After the Nexus comes a Special Nexus where only the Landsraad may act. The Landsraad may dispose of allies from their alliance. They may also buy out other players for the cost of the value of all their living leaders combined, Extorting the player. Buying out players forces them to join the alliance of the Landsraad (and leave their original alliance) but they may immediately be thrown out. Extorted players have to pay the Landsraad every time they pay or receive spice. To relieve their Extortion, players have to be in an alliance with a non-Extorted player while not being allied to the Landsraad, at the start of a Bidding Round.
* The Landsraad may restrict one territory at the start of the Movement Phase. Another player moving or shipping in or out of a Restricted territory has to pay 1 spice for every 2 tokens. They may only move or ship as much tokens as they can pay toll for. The Polar Sink may not be Restricted. The Fremen can freely ship and move through Restricted territories. BG and BT don’t have to pay when shipping alongside others.
- Victory by Subterfuge: If every player is either an ally of the Landsraad or are Extorted, the Landsraad wins by subterfuge. This isn’t shared with teammates.
* Karama: Play this card during the Spice Blow after the Spice card has been revealed. If a worm card was drawn there’ll be no Nexus. If no worm card was drawn there’ll be a Special Nexus.

Alliance: Allies receive their Diplomatic Immunity for free during the Storm round.

Dune: Spice Harvest Ability:
The vote of the Landsraad counts as two. The Landsraad always wins in ties (when playing with an even amount of players). They may also place troops with leftover troop Access cards to vacant strongholds.

The Bene Tleilax:

The Bene Tleilax are more sneaky and indirect than other factions, comparable to the Bene Gesserit. They are focussed on Revivals and on infiltrating other armies. The Bene Tleilax are great allies for aggressive players due to the extra revivals and the extra power spies (in-universe known as Face Dancers if I'm correct) can provide. Use the powers of the Bene Tleilax too much and you might risk losing to the Bene Tleilax' special victory condition. The Bene Tleilax have a rather weak early game but are great allies for strong, rich players and their influence grows the longer the game goes on. Good allies are Harkonnen, Emperor and Bene Gesserit, maybe Artreides. Strong against Iduali and Landsraad. Weak against Landsraad, Ix and Bene Gesserit.

- The Bene Tleilaxu and their allies may revive two additional army tokens for the price of 2 spice for 2 (half for BT).
- BT gains all spices from revivals. They only have to pay half for their own (to the Spice Bank). If BT doesn’t revive this turn they receive 2 spice.
- In the Revival Round the BT may choose another player to revive one of their leaders (half cost, rounded up). This doesn’t count as one of their own revivals.
- The Bene Tleilaxu has 4 spies. Any time someone ships tokens the Bene Tleilaxu may replace one of the shipped tokens with a spy (the replaced token goes back to the Reserves). These spies are regarded as normal tokens except when fighting against Bene Tleilaxu where they switch sides to BT. A group of army tokens containing a spy may not split up (except Ix by using their leaders). Spies are the last to die in combat. If they are last to live, their victory still counts for the other (original) faction for purposes of bounty and treachery cards but they return to BT control after the battle.
- Everytime someone kills a leader while having a spy on either side of the battle, that leader is immediately revived and permanently captured by the BT. These leaders may be sold back to their original faction. They may also be sold to other factions but other players may only use the leader once, after which it returns to the original owner. Captured leaders can’t be used against their original faction.
- If the BT captures a leader while they already own the corresponding Traitor card they may reveal (but keep) their Traitor card and draw another card.
- Victory by Subterfuge: Capturing a leader from every faction in the game gives the BT a victory by subterfuge. This isn’t shared with teammates.
- Karama: After combat has been solved this card may be used. Both players have to fight again with the same amount of units as the last fight. If a leader survives this battle they are captured by the BT. A Cheap Hero(ine) will prevent capture.

Alliance: The Bene Tleilaxu may freely place spies on allied tokens on the board without having to replace them, even if they don’t allow this. Allies may also revive up to 5 armies (2 spice for 2)

Dune: Spice Harvest Ability:
If the Bene Tleilax have committed the most troops to a certain stronghold, they won’t lose any army tokens

The Karama cards gain additional powers to play against the new factions. The unique Karama powers every faction has are listed under their respective faction under their normal abilities.

Iduali: The Iduali may not steal spices this turn
Iduali: The Iduali may not merge tokens this turn
Ix: The Ix may not hijack the Bidding Round this turn
Ix: The Ix may not buy Treachery cards this Collection Round
Landsraad: The ‘Restricted’ territory loses their restriction
Landsraad: After the Landsraad buys out another player, immediately play this card to save their target. The Landsraad gets their spice refunded but they may not buy out this player again this round.
Ordos: The Ordos may not tax any transactions for the rest of the round.
Ordos: The Ordos may not hijack the Bidding Round
Ordos: The Ordos may not buy or sell treachery cards from other players for the rest of the round.
Tleilaxu: The Tleilaxu don’t capture a leader this time.
Tleilaxu: The Tleilaxu may not send spies this round
Tleilaxu: The Tleilaxu may not pick someone to revive a fallen leader this round.

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Dave Sexton
United States
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I like the alliance benefit for the Iduali.
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