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.
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Once allied with Atreides, the Fremen have since withdrawn after years of raging war.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.
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
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.
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.
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.