Blade Runner rpg - having trouble getting sucked in

Emirikol

Adventurer
Got my set and book. Good system, but thematically I'm having trouble getting sucked in. In fact, I have this odd feeling that something is turning me off. Something isn't sitting right. I keep stopping reading the adventure.

Partly, it is the 6 point body text font which is a huge mistake for GMs reference and prep in an adventure, but thats my only presentation complaint.

Something else is bugging me though. Rep-detect officers are about retiring homocidal and defective/problematic models (e.g. n-8). All models have the potential to be problems (Wallace's big secret no matter the model anyways..as they can have their own emotional response in addition to reps being innately narcissistic.
There are groups of people who are organized to hate or always-give-a-pass to reps. This rpg really plays up for rep sympathy and youre a crap person if you think otherwise.
It smacks too much of today's popular extremism news trends. Every criminal/shoplifter/murderer is misunderstood, drow/orcs arent really evil, and every policeman is a bigot, etc.

Am I not seeing this correctly? Help me understand how I'm supposed to enjoy a game that feels like a mirror of the worst un-fun current news tripe and just more cop-trauma rather than cop-drama.

We played it at a recent convention and the themes were presented accurate to the rpg. Now Im prepping to run for my group. I get that youre supposed to be conflicted, but this seems a bit cliche, depressing, and I worry about redundancy during multiple adventures on the 'fun' factor. Inflicting real-world ptsd on my players seems like a pretty miserable way to spend my gaming time.

How is it that Cyberpunk and Judge Dredd can be fun themes and this seem so icky?
 

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HaroldTheHobbit

Adventurer
Well, imho the tone of Bladerunner is at its core about moral and existential dilemmas, embedded in a cool milieu, some action and tears in rain. For me personally it's an example of a setting and tropes that are amazing to watch on screen or read, but that - at least for my table - doesn't necessarily convert to a fun roleplaying experience.
 

Dreamscape

Crafter of fine role-playing games
It's pretty much what I expected from Blade Runner. Are cyberpunk and Judge Dredd fun, really, unless you squint hard? All three are classic dystopias - individuals might try to do good and even succeed on a small scale (or not, depending on player preferences), but they're unlikely to ever change the system.
 

Weiley31

Legend
I don't understand why anyone thought that playing a death squad for an evil establishment to murder for their corporate interests could be a viable RPG product.

"The guard captain from Kergan Trading company will give you 200 gold if you take care of the goblin tribe in Wusswood that have been attacking their caravans."
"Hollup, let em cook."

rolls for Persuasion check to increase the amount of gold.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
It smacks too much of today's popular extremism news trends. Every criminal/shoplifter/murderer is misunderstood, drow/orcs arent really evil, and every policeman is a bigot, etc.

Am I not seeing this correctly? Help me understand how I'm supposed to enjoy a game that feels like a mirror of the worst un-fun current news tripe and just more cop-trauma rather than cop-drama.

We played it at a recent convention and the themes were presented accurate to the rpg. Now Im prepping to run for my group. I get that youre supposed to be conflicted, but this seems a bit cliche, depressing, and I worry about redundancy during multiple adventures on the 'fun' factor. Inflicting real-world ptsd on my players seems like a pretty miserable way to spend my gaming time.

How is it that Cyberpunk and Judge Dredd can be fun themes and this seem so icky?
Maybe those news trends you're seeing aren't quite so new for everybody, but have been part of a segment of society's everyday world since they were born. And, maybe, you're experiencing some of the feelings that these people have dealt with in RPGs before companies started taking a harder look at being inclusive.

So you've got an RPG that incorporates elements of the subtext of the original Blade Runner and made more prominent in Blade Runner 2049 and it's, maybe, hitting a little to close to home and real-world problems. What do you do? Talk to your players about it. See what they want to do about it, how much of those themes they want to address or if they want to address them at all.
 

MGibster

Legend
It smacks too much of today's popular extremism news trends. Every criminal/shoplifter/murderer is misunderstood, drow/orcs arent really evil, and every policeman is a bigot, etc.
Blade Runner was a neo noir production which is characterized by blurring the lines between good and bad. The main characters are often conflicted, the difference between right & wrong aren't always apparent, charactesr are stuck between a rock and a hard spot, and of course from a production standpoint there's interesting uses of light and shadow to set up the scene. If you look at the source material, I sure wouldn't characterize all the replicants as good.

Let's take the replicant Luv from Blade Runner 2049. Luv doesn't hesitate or show any remorse for murdering Coco, Lt. Joshi, or for killing all those people via missile strike in San Diego in order to advance Mr. Wallace's goals. Clearly Luv is not what we'd call a good guy. But we can empathize with her. She loves Wallace (platonically I think) and desperately yearns for some acknowledgement that he has some affection for her, but it doens't happen. She's visibly pained by how callously Wallace has the new Rachel replicant killed. Luv will never get the approval and affection from Wallace she so desperately desires because he sees her as a tool not a person. I kind of feel sorry for her, but she's not a good person even if we understand why she does what she does.

If you prefer a game where the lines between good and evil are clearly drawn, then Blade Runner is not the game for you. And that's perfectly okay. Not every game will be liked by every person.

How is it that Cyberpunk and Judge Dredd can be fun themes and this seem so icky?
Because Judge Dredd is so over-the-top that you don't typically have the same sense of ickyness. It happens in some stories, but it's often played for laughs and the ridiculousness is over emphasized. As for the Cyberpunk RPG, I don't know how most groups played it, but we didn't really emphasize how awful everything was or on the morality of killing anyone while running. The Edgerunners Netflix series was really the first time I can recall anyone really questioning their morality in Cyberpunk when David ends up murdering a hapless worker at Arasaka.
 

Voadam

Legend
Something else is bugging me though. Rep-detect officers are about retiring homocidal and defective/problematic models (e.g. n-8). All models have the potential to be problems (Wallace's big secret no matter the model anyways..as they can have their own emotional response in addition to reps being innately narcissistic.
There are groups of people who are organized to hate or always-give-a-pass to reps. This rpg really plays up for rep sympathy and youre a crap person if you think otherwise.
Something that did not register the first time I watched the original that I did decades later watching with my son is that the replicants are only biologically distinguishable from people by like tiny IDs in their cells that most, including cops, do not have the tech to pick up on so they do these tests to check for false implanted memories. Biologically they are people.

They are not robots, they are genetically engineered people with implanted memories used as product slaves and just called robots and treated as robots. It is literally declaring some people not people and treating them as such.

Being a cop cracking down on people not accepting their slave status, including hunting them down and killing them, is not the type of roleplay that would interest me as a player or as a DM to put my players into that role. Even if the replicant is a really bad person, the role of runaway slave cop enforcer/bounty hunter is just not something I want to roleplay or see players get into roleplaying.

I would be fine playing or DMing a Mandalorian type bounty hunter in a Star Wars type game. Being a bounty hunter for the Empire cracking down on runaway slaves would be icky. Same thing for a Spartacus game set in Rome or any other slave type society. I wouldn't want to play Conan to hunt down runaway slaves. I might want to play a Conan scenario to break out of slavery. Even so, maybe not too. It could get potentially icky a number of ways.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I have not read the adventure material yet. I was hoping the game would focus more on the existential piece "am I a replicate or not?". Though, I have long been worried too many folks would lump BR into the cyberpunk general bucket. To me this seems like an ideal bespoke one shot or short campaign type game. Not a long term play loop of retiring renegade replicants. YMMV.
 

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