gregory
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Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Sun 10 Jul 2022, 22:07

Alright, canon-talk time! This sort of thing is inherently silly to get worked up about, but I think worth discussing when codifying a world like Free League is looking to do here.

I'm likely a couple weeks too late for this to affect anything within the core rulebook, and I know that the whole project was written simultaneously with the comics and so there was no pre-established canon to base the timeline off of when this would have been written, but I did run into a lore concern while putting together a timeline guide for homebrew makers. There's a huge inconsistency (or open question?) in the core rulebook that feels significant enough to bring up here. On page 008 it states:

Blade Runner
...
Rep-Detect Unit police officer in active duty during 2013–2027...

and on page 152:

Rep-Detect Unit
...
Created in 2013 by the United Nations...

This is particularly confusing because:

A) The comics state that Cal Moreaux became the first Blade Runner in 2009
B) No reference is made to the dissolution of the Rep-Detect Unit outside of this passage
C) In 2027, plenty of Nexus-8s would still be active, prohibited, and in need of retirement
D) We know that Ash is an active Blade Runner in 2029 and see an extensive story set during this time

Now, all of that being said, on the Road to 2049 website, which I guess is as close to official as anything else, it does state:

Early 2040s
The LAPD activates internal resources to re-establish its Blade Runner unit, tasked with locating rogue Replicants

Which does imply that the unit was dissolved at some point. That being said, this isn't the only inconsistency we see with the comics (the Calantha/Kalanthia mismatch and the state of the Tyrell building in the comics vs. in 2049 are the most glaring—though both easily explained away), but it's a pretty big one because of how central it is to the lore of this world. It's possible I'm missing something from some source or another that explains this, but it all seems very unusual because as far as I can tell, there's no particular reason for Rep-Detect to be dissolved in 2027 to create this contradiction. Ideally the core rulebook could be updated to have the unit created in 2009 and dissolved sometime after 2029.

That being said, if I were to make an attempt at a No-Prize which would allow everything to stay the same, I would say that the term "Blade Runner" was established in 2009 when Cal Moreaux became the first sanctioned replicant bounty hunter in the LAPD. By 2013 the LAPD recognized that the issue had ballooned to the degree there was a need for an official unit within the LAPD and worked with the UN to establish the Rep-Detect Unit. By 2027, with Tyrell Corporation bankrupt and the Replicant Prohibition Act making all production of new replicants illegal, the LAPD decided to kill the Rep-Detect unit and fold Blade Runners back into their other divisions. By the early 2040s, anti-replicant tensions stoked by Nexus-9s replacing most menial workers, combined with the fact that rogue Nexus-8 units were still being found and the issue clearly had not dissipated, lead to the re-instatement of the Rep-Detect Unit.

Did I miss something key, here, or is that explanation about as good as we can get?
Last edited by gregory on Mon 11 Jul 2022, 18:02, edited 2 times in total.
 
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Grimmshade
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 03:31

I don't have an answer, but I do have another question.
In the first film, Bryant explains replicants and specifically Nexus 6 to Deckard like he has no idea what they are. This is obviously to inform the viewer, but it makes for oddities. In the comic and/or novel adaptation of the film, there is extra information saying Deckard only hunted previous Nexus versions and then retired.
However, that explanation doesn't really work with the RPG timeline, as Nexus 6 have been around since early 2000's, and Blade Runners have only been around since 2013. Deckard would have known about Nexus 6 the whole time he was active.
Or am I missing something?
 
gregory
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 05:00

Nope, you're totally correct. If we're taking the comics as Canon, the Nexus-6 would have been introduced in 2009 or 2010, not the early 2000s. The Nexus-1 was announced in 1999 and introduced in 2000, and according to the comics the Nexus-5 was developed in 2009. So the Nexus-2-4 would have been released between 2000 and 2009, and the Nexus-6 would have been developed between 2009 and January 8, 2016, Roy Batty's incept date. I think late 2009 ot 2010 makes sense, since the Nexus-5 was so advanced.

So if Deckard is having the Nexus-6 explained to him for the first time in 2019, and he's a retired Blade Runner by that point, it makes way more sense to have him be retired for 10 years before the Nexus-6 was introduced than have him be active while they were around. Unless he was just really bad at his job at the time, which it doesn't sound like he was by Bryant's wording.

The other alternative is that since replicants were declared illegal on Earth in the early 2000s after the dirty bomb, and Nexus-6 were manufactured for Off-World use only, so there were never any in Los Angeles until after the Nexus-6 mutiny in 2018 (on Dominguez) which had them come to Earth for the first time. That would mean that Deckard didn't know about them because he didn't have to—it wasn't part of his job before they came to Los Angeles in 2019.

Still, Nexus-6 in 2009/2010 is clearly the bestter option.
 
CitizenZero
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 14:52

At the meta level, I think the problem is that what one might consider "official sources" (i.e. canon), is simply riddled with too many inconsistencies for even the makers of this game to be able to perform the chronological and logistic gymnastics required to bind everything together coherently. As a result, their options are:
  • Put in a ton of time and effort to create new canon to explain all the wholes
  • Leave it alone because: A) Plenty of people just won't care, B) Those that do care will fill in the blanks themselves
I fall into that latter category. As such, I think there are two options:
  • Ignore the notion that the RDU was ever disbanded
  • Create your own scenario in which a UN official overrides local authorities and disbands RDUs. Or if you want to keep it just to LA, perhaps a corrupt mayor (in the pocket of Wallace Corp) defunds the LAPD's RDU
My plan is to state that the RDU has always been in effect. I'm then going to take all the known RDU chiefs (Bryant, Holden, Joshi, etc.) and put them on a timeline. I'll then add in my own chiefs to fill in the blanks on the timeline.
 
gregory
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 15:20

Yeah, I mean with so many authors involved, and the dubious nature of some sources, it's certainly up to FL's discretion to decide what makes for the best game at the end of the day. That being said, I do think that a quick-fix from "2013-2027" to "2009-2030" would resolve the most significant issue without fuss. Any nitpicks beyond that makes sense for the player to fill in.
 
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Grimmshade
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 15:25

Nope, you're totally correct. If we're taking the comics as Canon, the Nexus-6 would have been introduced in 2009 or 2010, not the early 2000s. The Nexus-1 was announced in 1999 and introduced in 2000, and according to the comics the Nexus-5 was developed in 2009. So the Nexus-2-4 would have been released between 2000 and 2009, and the Nexus-6 would have been developed between 2009 and January 8, 2016, Roy Batty's incept date. I think late 2009 ot 2010 makes sense, since the Nexus-5 was so advanced.

So if Deckard is having the Nexus-6 explained to him for the first time in 2019, and he's a retired Blade Runner by that point, it makes way more sense to have him be retired for 10 years before the Nexus-6 was introduced than have him be active while they were around. Unless he was just really bad at his job at the time, which it doesn't sound like he was by Bryant's wording.

The other alternative is that since replicants were declared illegal on Earth in the early 2000s after the dirty bomb, and Nexus-6 were manufactured for Off-World use only, so there were never any in Los Angeles until after the Nexus-6 mutiny in 2018 (on Dominguez) which had them come to Earth for the first time. That would mean that Deckard didn't know about them because he didn't have to—it wasn't part of his job before they came to Los Angeles in 2019.

Still, Nexus-6 in 2009/2010 is clearly the bestter option.
Great point about replicants being illegal and Nexus 6 being off world. It's easy to say Deckard never encountered one.
My canon has also always been that Deckard is a replicant, which makes Bryant explaining things to him make more sense, as well as some of the strange facial expressions Bryant makes when explaining things.
 
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Grimmshade
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 15:27

At the meta level, I think the problem is that what one might consider "official sources" (i.e. canon), is simply riddled with too many inconsistencies for even the makers of this game to be able to perform the chronological and logistic gymnastics required to bind everything together coherently. As a result, their options are:
  • Put in a ton of time and effort to create new canon to explain all the wholes
  • Leave it alone because: A) Plenty of people just won't care, B) Those that do care will fill in the blanks themselves
I fall into that latter category. As such, I think there are two options:
  • Ignore the notion that the RDU was ever disbanded
  • Create your own scenario in which a UN official overrides local authorities and disbands RDUs. Or if you want to keep it just to LA, perhaps a corrupt mayor (in the pocket of Wallace Corp) defunds the LAPD's RDU
My plan is to state that the RDU has always been in effect. I'm then going to take all the known RDU chiefs (Bryant, Holden, Joshi, etc.) and put them on a timeline. I'll then add in my own chiefs to fill in the blanks on the timeline.
I agree! I have no problem filling in gaps for personal canon. I really dislike Alien 3, so it exists differently in my Alien campaigns. Easy enough.
 
CitizenZero
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 17:14



I agree! I have no problem filling in gaps for personal canon. I really dislike Alien 3, so it exists differently in my Alien campaigns. Easy enough.
You could always use the William Gibson version. But we digress.

When it comes to IP lore it's a spectrum. On one end you have Star Wars when there is almost nothing left to discover, everything has been canonized. At the other end is Cthulhu where multiple authors/creators over decades have built upon the original foundation. Somewhere in the middle is Blade Runner. The middle is always a problem because it is both not enough, and too much.
 
gregory
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 17:50

Totally agreed. In the BR Universe. Thoughts... thread about the nature of all things Off-World I spoke to the idea of not wanting to remove the intriguing mystery at the heart of a lot of these open questions. I'd much rather have ambiguity than a small-universe Star Wars situation on our hands. I think there's two ideas at play here, though—the first is codifying the base reality of this universe as a foundation to build from, which is at the heart of this thread, and the second is creating new material in an effort to expand outward rather than inward. I'd much rather the FL folks spend their time on expanding out the universe and telling new stories with new characters in new cracks and crevices of this universe than focusing on canonicity and filling in the gaps like we're seeing Disney do with Star Wars. The worst thing that could happen is us getting a complete timeline of every event that ever happened to Rick Deckard like we're seeing happen with some other franchises. Thankfully it seems like FL has no interest in doing that sort of thing.

That being said, I think that it's a good idea to have a firm footing before expanding outward, and I think discussions like this are at least somewhat necessary to consider. I think that everything added to that base level reality should be added with purpose, especially if it's at risk of contradicting something pre-existing. Figuring out what is already established, then having purposeful reasons for keeping or discarding those things feels like an ideal way to approach this exercise to me—asking "What must be true, and what can be left ambiguous?".

The 2013 and 2027 read as arbitrary to me in this particular case, since neither seem to have any reason for being chosen over any other. I'd rather no dates are listed at all to allow the player to fill in the gaps with their imagination than arbitrarily contradictory dates which by their very nature invalidate what to some may be part of their personal canon.
 
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Grimmshade
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Re: Lore Concern: Rep-Detect Unit/Blade Runner Position Timeline

Mon 11 Jul 2022, 18:20



I agree! I have no problem filling in gaps for personal canon. I really dislike Alien 3, so it exists differently in my Alien campaigns. Easy enough.
You could always use the William Gibson version. But we digress.

When it comes to IP lore it's a spectrum. On one end you have Star Wars when there is almost nothing left to discover, everything has been canonized. At the other end is Cthulhu where multiple authors/creators over decades have built upon the original foundation. Somewhere in the middle is Blade Runner. The middle is always a problem because it is both not enough, and too much.
Using William Gibson version is exactly what I'm doing, while still having "something" have happened at Fiorina 161.

But back to BR! Like Cthulhu, I think it's fine to have different interpretations, and thinking more about it I'm ok with a fluid timeline. When making my own case files or will make it much easier to fill in gaps as needed rather than adhere to a strict set of canon dates and events.
I think it is fun to brainstorm the gaps though, getting inspiration from everyone's ideas.

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