clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dune RPG will go forward without controversial designer

Designer Adam Koebel has resigned from the project

Dunes of sand. The sky matches the sand itself, blurring the horizon in the distance. It is dusk. Image: Modiphius Entertainment
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Game designer Adam Koebel and Modiphius Entertainment are parting ways. Koebel, the game designer who broadcast an in-game scenario involving sexual assault during a livestream earlier this year, has resigned from ongoing projects with the company. His work will no longer appear in Dune: Adventures In The Imperium, a tabletop role-playing game based on the work of author Frank Herbert. The announcement was made Monday in joint statements by Koebel and the team at Modiphius.

“All parties involved have decided that it is best he resign his ongoing projects with Modiphius Entertainment,” Modiphius wrote in a statement. “We have been following the events of Far Verona and Adam’s conduct on the show, and we feel his journey toward rectifying the situation isn’t yet complete.”

In April, Koebel designed a scenario involving sexual assault and then sprang it on the unsuspecting members of the the long-running actual-play series Far Verona — and a large live audience watching the livestream. He later apologized for the incident, then announced that he was stepping back from the RPG industry for a time. The show has since been wound down, and the network it appeared on has elected to stop creating new actual play series.

“In 2019, I was invited to join the team of writers at Modiphius Entertainment working on Dune: Adventures in the Imperium,” Koebel wrote on his personal blog. “It was a dream project I’d been overjoyed to be a part of and I submitted work that I felt captured the spirit of the setting and provided game masters advice and tools for running games set in it.

“After reflecting on the past few months, and in conversation with the team at Modiphius. I’ve decided to resign that contract. Modiphius will no longer be including any of my work in the final version. [...] This is a decision made after considerable thought and, I think, reflects the best possible choice given the situation at hand.”

Modiphius has made a name for itself in recent years by converting multiple high-profile pop culture licenses into successful tabletop games and RPGs. Its body of work includes Conan the Barbarian, Star Trek, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, Homeworld, and the Dishonored universes. The developer and publisher is also now in charge of the 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade.

In September 2018, Modiphius announced it had also brokered a deal with the Herbert Estate to create a tabletop RPG set in the Dune universe and timed to release it alongside the upcoming motion picture from director Denis Villeneuve. In March, the company announced the large and diverse collection of authors working on the project. The game is currently in closed beta, and applications are currently open.