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Waynes_Books
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Detective Noir: We Played Case File “Electric Dreams” for Blade Runner RPG

Mon 17 Jul 2023, 00:27

Very cool, just discovered there is a forum dedicated to the Blade Runner RPG.

I GM'd the beginning scenario ("Electric Dreams") for the new Blade Runner RPG for my son and my brother. Very different play style than our usual games. Lots of detective work and theater of the mind roleplay in a fallen Los Angeles. We had a blast. Full story and lots of pics at my gameblog. Enjoy! -Wayne

Detective Noir: We Played Case File “Electric Dreams” for Blade Runner RPG



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Waynes_Books
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Re: Detective Noir: We Played Case File “Electric Dreams” for Blade Runner RPG

Mon 24 Jul 2023, 05:40

A couple of rules observations I made in my first Blade Runner adventure (not in the blog post):

One of my players was questioning an NPC, who suddenly bolted. Foot Chase! This NPC was a well-statted replicant who physically outclassed the veteran cop PC in every way. They each chose their maneuver (via the cards... love em!). My player picked Pursue, and I'd had the NPC select Block (rulebook, pg 83). And I proceeded to forget to implement the last part of the Block (having the PC roll Force), which may have cancelled the PC's maneuver. Long story short, NPC should have gotten away, but was instead tripped and apprehended. It all turned out well, so no big deal.

My players quickly started using the Called Shots on replicants (rulebook, pg 70) to "pin them down" and since replicants have low Resolve the PCs were frequently able to leave them stress Broken inside of a turn or two. That leaves opposing replicants frequently out-of-combat, paralyzed or discussing profound insights with those around them. That lasts until until they recover at least one Resolve point. I had one NPC talk his colleague back into the fight, but with only one Resolve point, so he got "pinned down" and Broken again by the PCs. I'm going to nerf "Pin Down" Called Shots going forward; it feels cheesy to give replicants a nervous breakdown just by shooting in their direction.
 
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BrianG
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Re: Detective Noir: We Played Case File “Electric Dreams” for Blade Runner RPG

Mon 24 Jul 2023, 17:06

Were your replicants rolling their Insight rolls to retain their resolve and also pushing those rolls if needed? They should succeed 52% even with D Insight and D empathy.
 
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Re: Detective Noir: We Played Case File “Electric Dreams” for Blade Runner RPG

Tue 25 Jul 2023, 05:01

No, that was something I forgot!

Yeah their Insight/Emp was default.

Nevertheless, with opponents numbering party +1, the odd successful Insight wouldn't have moved the needle much. The NPCs would still have been crushed with a little more bloodletting in the party I reckon. The NPC replicants had 2 Resolve and were getting stress-lock one-shotted by the PCs with crit rolls most every turn. The NPCs would have made the Insight roll one turn, just to go down in the next.

The immediate fix would be to increase the NPCs Resolve a couple, three points. It still leaves the question why replicants collapse so quickly under suppressive fire.
 
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BrianG
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Re: Detective Noir: We Played Case File “Electric Dreams” for Blade Runner RPG

Tue 25 Jul 2023, 11:24

Honestly, I too have had some problems with how the resolve/stress mechanic works in the game when taken literally from the game rules. Replicants seem to have been given limited resolve as a way of balancing human PC's vs Replicants in terms of power.

This is fine, but with their resolve pool being so small, it seems that as soon as one of them fires automatic fire and then gets returning fire, they are prone to a break down that makes them completely ineffective in most cases based on the Replicant Critical Stress Effects Table.

The other problem I have with using this table is that it mandates too many overly specific actions if the character is a PC with seemingly no choice. It seems as if the writer wrote a table for all replicants based on just Roy Batty's reactions as an example. We see a lot of his erratic and contradictory reactions in this table but the actions of almost all other replicants in both movies tend to make more tactical sense, unless they never broke from stress.

I intend to nerf the table itself down and leave it more up to the PC's to describe their own stress reactions. Perhaps forgoing the table completely if the player prefers to describe or roleplay their own stress breakdown. I may even reward the best/most appropriate reactions with Humanity points.

For my replicant NPC's, that are broken by stress, I may use the table, unless I have a better idea of a reaction that fits the scene. Especially for major characters. For nameless NPC's I will probably use this version of the table that uses only short descriptions. These reactions in essence match the table in the rules, they just leave it for me to fill in the details I want that fit their motivations and character makeup (if I use it at all). It also prevents giving a nameless NPC meant for cannon fodder, screen time and a scene that matches the death of Roy Batty. After all, we don't need one NPC giving a "I have seen things you people wouldn't believe..." speech and then in the next combat round, his buddy does the same just because they both rolled 5's on the table when broken.

I will also look at what the main stress causes are. For example; if covering fire is the cause, then they may be pinned down where they are at and cannot react or return fire other than to try to get more and better cover. They are not having a nervous breakdown or and existential crisis, but they may simply be unable to move or take action while under such fire... hmm... kinda like what covering fire actually does. (this may also, depending on their combat experience per their back story, determine whether they freak out or not). If some conditions of the stress stop, then perhaps they get an advantage on their Insight roll or the point goes away automatically. GM call.

In all cases though, the stress reaction will be without regard to what makes good tactical sense by the character, and in that sense it can reward the players who chose to use covering fire in combat.

Simplified Replicant Table:
1: Anger/Attack
2: Deep Despair
3: Despair
4: Self Destructive Reaction
5: Emotional Reach out
6: Massive effort followed by Deep Despair

The downside of this improvisational method of interpreting stress failures and making them based on the situation and the makeup of the character that is broken by stress is that the players are not guarantied consistent combat results in the success of causing opponents stress.... I guess taking out Health points is more reliable. As it should be! :)
 
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Re: Detective Noir: We Played Case File “Electric Dreams” for Blade Runner RPG

Tue 25 Jul 2023, 14:43

For example; if covering fire is the cause, then they may be pinned down where they are at and cannot react or return fire other than to try to get more and better cover. They are not having a nervous breakdown or and existential crisis, but they may simply be unable to move or take action while under such fire... hmm... kinda like what covering fire actually does. (this may also, depending on their combat experience per their back story, determine whether they freak out or not). If some conditions of the stress stop, then perhaps they get an advantage on their Insight roll or the point goes away automatically. GM call.

In all cases though, the stress reaction will be without regard to what makes good tactical sense by the character, and in that sense it can reward the players who chose to use covering fire in combat.

Simplified Replicant Table:
1: Anger/Attack
2: Deep Despair
3: Despair
4: Self Destructive Reaction
5: Emotional Reach out
6: Massive effort followed by Deep Despair

The downside of this improvisational method of interpreting stress failures and making them based on the situation and the makeup of the character that is broken by stress is that the players are not guarantied consistent combat results in the success of causing opponents stress.... I guess taking out Health points is more reliable. As it should be! :)


Great solutions, solving the issue and maintaining the BR atmosphere. I was thinking along the same lines, having "Pinned Down" perform as advertised, rather than the replicants having total meltdowns.

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