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Blade Runner RPG Core Rulebook

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This is the BLADE RUNNER Roleplaying Game. A neon noir wonderland that will take your breath away, one way or another. An evocative world of conflicts and contrasts that dares to ask the hard questions and investigate the power of empathy, the poison of fear, and the burden of being human during inhumane times. An iconic and unforgiving playground of endless possibilities that picks you up, slaps you in the face, and tells you to wake up.

Time to live. Or time to die.

The official BLADE RUNNER RPG will propel players into the streets of Los Angeles as Blade Runners with unique specialties, personalities – and memories. The core game and its line of expansions will push the boundaries of investigative gameplay in tabletop RPGs, giving players a range of tools to solve an array of cases far beyond retiring Replicants.

Beyond the core casework, the RPG will both in setting and mechanics showcase key themes of Blade Runner – action, corporate intrigue, existential character drama, and moral conflict – that challenge player characters to question their friends, empathize with their enemies, and explore the perseverance of hope and humanity.

CONTENT WARNING: The Blade Runner franchise deals with dark and existential themes, and this roleplaying game is no different. The stories told in this game can be violent, distressing, and raise issues relating to personal morals. This is not a game for children.

©2022 Alcon Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.


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Discussions (8)
Customer avatar
Martin A December 25, 2022 11:42 am UTC
So how does this avoid being a one trick pony, like with Alien?

Is the NPC a replicant? I roll my Voigt Kampff skill and succeed. Now the GM has to tell me.

How would you roleplay a test designed to provoke emotions without falling into farce?
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David K December 27, 2022 4:18 am UTC
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This is not a game about finding the truth. This is a game about what you do once you know the truth.

The core book describe the five themes of the Blade Runner RPG as sci-fi action, character drama, corporate intrigue, moral conflict, and soul searching.

One of the ways the game accomplishes this is by outright telling game masters ("game runners") to introduce complications into a case as the investigation goes on, so that players don't have an obvious "correct" answer. In other words, finding a Replicant is not where the story ends. Finding a Replicant is where the story begins.

Alongside this, the game uses two broad forms of experience points -- Promotion and Humanity. You earn the first by solving cases and doing your job, such as finding evidence, arresting suspects, and averting crimes. You earn the second through acts of compassion and empathy, and some of those things are in direct opposition to doing your job. Did you withhold evidence to help...See more
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Robert R January 01, 2023 3:48 am UTC
I don't like doing soul searching, unless I'm playing a necromancer.

(Yes, it's a terrible joke, but much like a superconductor, I couldn't resist.) ;P
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Harold C December 25, 2022 5:02 am UTC
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That this takes place in L.A., is there an overall map for LA contained within the book?
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Nathan T January 04, 2023 12:57 pm UTC
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The LA map, complete with markings for locations of interest and centred on LAPD Headquarters, is in the Blade Runner Starter Set, at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/399964/Blade-Runner-RPG-Starter-Set. The set is a must-buy, as it has a LOT of additional content: everything that's included as a physical handout in the boxed set, in fact. That includes room-scale maps of several crime scenes; the playing card set for special events, obstacles, and mugshots; pregen characters; the starting adventure, and much more. I got the physical set from the Kickstarter in the mail today (it's amazing), and the digital set has everything too.
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Jason L January 14, 2023 4:05 am UTC
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The same map, only smaller, can be found in both the end papers of the print version and at the end of the PDF. You don't have to get the Starter Set for it, unless you really want the huge version, but the you're better off getting it for the example case it provides.
Customer avatar
Milton F December 22, 2022 1:20 am UTC
This is probably the best presentation of an RPG I have ever seen. The components are the highest quality as well as the design and layout. I speak for the hard copy and man, do you owe it to yourself and pick that up. I am going to get the digital copy as well. Don’t hesitate. It is worth it.
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Karlsson L December 19, 2022 7:07 am UTC
I would like very much to play as the replicants. I can imagine playing a character who understand the human condition far more than the actual humans around him/her.
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Jason L December 19, 2022 10:45 am UTC
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You're in luck, as you can play a replicant in the game.
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Karlsson L December 23, 2022 11:28 am UTC
Cool! Thanks for telling me.
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Nicholas B December 15, 2022 4:12 pm UTC
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I purchased this on Kickstarter and the physical Core, starter set and GM Screen arrived this week. Superb quality. I've not had the chance to play the game yet but recently played Aliens which is by the same company and has similar(ish) rules. Overall, I'm super impressed with both games. The design work of Bladerunner is top quality and the game is innovative and fresh. If your interested, it's a "must buy". It's not the same as Cyberpunk (which I used to run for several years), Bladerunner is more Sherlock Holmes in the future and this game does a great job of capturing the feel of the films. My only concern is longevity, once you've run a campaign what is there left to do? There needs to be future modules that expand the universe, but that's for another time.
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Michael C December 15, 2022 3:01 am UTC
Why not just play Cyberpunk 2020? Everything you need to play a blade runner esq game already exist in the rules.
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Malcolm M December 15, 2022 1:45 pm UTC
Different tone to the storytelling; a different "flavor" to the two franchises, even though they exist in the same broad category.
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John K December 16, 2022 9:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Something I've noticed a LOT in discussions of Cyberpunk and its relation to Blade Runner is that quite often Cyberpunk media apes the LOOK of Blade Runner but not it's Themes. Blade Runner really centers the "what measure is a human" parts of Cyberpunk. The Replicants are walking metaphors for human existential crisis. Personally, I find the idea of an artificial human struggling to understand the world and their place in it to be extremely compelling.

The only Cyberpunk setting I know of to feature human-like robots is Android (great setting, not so great system). Blade Runner looks like a much better system.
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Chris S December 14, 2022 2:57 am UTC
This and the starter set are pretty similarly priced. While the contents of the starter set are detailed, this book is not. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each purchase?
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Customer avatar
Andrés F December 14, 2022 4:11 am UTC
+1 to this question. What is the "starter set" and why would one buy it instead of the core set? Is the starter included with the core set?
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Andrew R December 14, 2022 9:29 am UTC
PURCHASER
The Core book is 280 pages compared to the starter rules 84 pages - so you can see there's a lot more information and additional rules in the core book. The starter set contains a complete adventure and the rules necessary to play through it - it's a complete self contained game, and a good introduction. You can start with the starter set, and then buy the Core Book later if you like the game - it's not necessary to get it straight away.

Personally I would highly recommend you get a physical copy of the starter set, as it contains many large format handouts and maps as well as two sets of dice (which would separately cost almost as much as the starter set!). Free League sell a VTT bundle too, if that's how you play. I don't think a PDF version of the starter set is really going to be that useful!
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Customer avatar
Chris S December 14, 2022 10:29 am UTC
This is very informative. Thank you.
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Customer avatar
Jason K December 14, 2022 4:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Seconding Andrew's recommendation of the physical starter set. It's beefy. Contains all the rules, almost all the lore, the first casefile (with handouts), and bunch of cards and other goodies. You get a lot for your money.
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Customer avatar
Nathan T January 04, 2023 1:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The PDF of the starter set is surprisingly comprehensive, containing everything short of the dice in the physical set. It would take a laser printer or a LOT of ink (especially black ink!) with high-quality gloss paper to print it & do it justice, but kudos to Free League for not skimping on the digital set.
My only annoyance, should I want to reprint any of the digital components to add to my physical set, is that DtRPG has slapped my name & order number on every single page. Immersion-breaking doesn't begin to cover it!
Customer avatar
Brian P December 14, 2022 12:04 am UTC
Interesting to see there’s no mention of the game system or mechanics, just this is a Blade Runner investigation game… and it’s dark… and not for children.
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Nicholas D December 14, 2022 12:33 am UTC
PURCHASER
It's based on their Year Zero engine, but instead of d6 only, this uses d6, d8, d10, d12.
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Customer avatar
Andrew R December 14, 2022 9:43 am UTC
PURCHASER
It's a variant of the Year Zero Engine, similar to T2K - Stats and Skills are rated A-D, which translates to d12 to d6. Roll stat dice + skill dice, anything 6+ is a success, 10+ is 2 successes. You can re-roll, but 1s on a re-roll damage you. Advantage grants you an additional dice, disadvantage removes one. You have promotion points and humanity points, which kind of play off against each other, and are used for self improvement.
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on December 13, 2022.