Kickstarter Quick Picks: ‘Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game’

Gaming Kickstarter Tabletop Games

Just launched on Kickstarter, Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game brings the scifi universe developed in the seminal 1982 film Blade Runner and its sequel, Blade Runner 2049, to life on your gaming tabletop. Voted the #1 Most Anticipated RPG of 2022 at EN World, the Blade Runner campaign was fully funded in just 3 minutes, and passed $1 million in the first 24 hours of the campaign.

What Are Kickstarter Quick Picks?

Kickstarter Quick Picks are short looks at projects currently on Kickstarter that are of interest to me, and by extension, many of our GeekDad readers. A Quick Pick is not an endorsement of the Kickstarter campaign, nor have I (as yet) received any product copies to review. If you like what you see here, go check out the campaign and decide for yourself if you’d like to back it, or wait until GeekDad has had a chance to go hands-on. As always, caveat emptor: let the buyer beware.

New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.

The standard edition of the Core Rulebook. Image by Free League Publishing.

What Is Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game?

Hot off their eight wins at the 2021 ENNIE Awards including Fan Favorite Publisher two years in a row, Free League Publishing is known for its range of best-selling, multiple award-winning RPGs such as ALIEN, Tales From the Loop, and Forbidden Lands. Tomas Härenstam, Free League co-founder and lead game designer of the ALIEN RPG, is filling the same role for Blade Runner, with setting writing by Joe LeFavi and original artwork by the lead ALIEN RPG artist Martin Grip.

Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game brings players into the neon noir streets of Los Angeles as Blade Runners with different specialties, personalities – and memories. Set in the year 2037, the game gives players the choice to play as either human or Replicant Blade Runners.

The Core Rulebook and its line of future expansions will push the boundaries of investigative gameplay in tabletop RPGs. Apart from the core casework, the RPG will showcase key themes of Blade Runner – sci-fi action, corporate intrigue, existential character drama, and moral conflict – that encourage roleplay and challenge players to question your orders, empathize with your enemies, and make hard calls with high stakes and long-lasting implications.

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The rules are based off the Year Zero Engine, used in other Free League Publishing games like the ALIEN RPG and Tales From the Loop. A core mechanic of the game has you rolling one die for your base attribute, and one die for your skill. The more competent your character is, the better dice you get. So a fairly incompetent character is rolling D6s, while an extraordinary character is rolling D12s. Any rolls of 6+ are a success, and multiple successes will trigger powerful bonus effects.

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Pledge Levels

There are several different pledge levels in the campaign, starting with the all-digital DIJI BUNDLE. This provides PDF copies of the Blade Runner Core Rulebook and Starter Set, as well as any digital-only stretch goals. The Starter Set includes a condensed rulebook, pre-generated characters, and Electric Dreams, the first full-length Case File (adventure). It also includes a host of player handouts, and other items to be added via stretch goals. This pledge is available for SEK 298, which in US dollars is approximately $31.

The next level is the ESPER BUNDLE. This is the same as the DIJI, but additionally comes with a physical copy of the Core Rulebook. This pledge level is SEK 498, or approximately $51 USD.

The REP DETECT pledge level has physical copies of both the Core Rulebook and Starter Set, in addition to the PDF copies. It goes for SEK 898 (approximately $93 USD).

Finally, the OFF-WORLD BUNDLE pledge is the same as the REP DETECT, but with a copy of the Deluxe Limited Edition of the Blade Runner RPG Core Rulebook. The Deluxe Limited Edition comes with a special cover of black faux leather and an embossed holographic foil stamp of the iconic Japanese kanji character from the movie Blade Runner. The Deluxe Limited Edition Core Rulebook is Kickstarter Exclusive. This bundle is SEK 1,298 or approximately $134 USD.

Estimated shipping for all pledges is November 2022.

The Deluxe Limited Edition Core Rulebook. Image by Free League Publishing.

Why Check Out Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game

First things first. If you’ve been wanting to roleplay in the world of Blade Runner, well, this is your chance. But if you’re concerned about the potential quality of the game, let me put your mind at ease.

Free League Publishing has a pretty sterling reputation for producing high-quality tabletop roleplaying games. Remember those eight wins at last year’s ENNIE awards I mentioned earlier? I have yet to personally play any of their games, but I do have friends who have. Their feedback on Free League Publishing’s games is nothing less than stellar. While awaiting the arrival of Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game, I will be looking at some of the titles in their catalogue like ALIENS and The One Ring for GeekDad. Free League Publishing also very recently starting sending backers their Kickstarter copies of Ruins of Symbaroum 5e, which looks absolutely gorgeous and is based off of their critically-acclaimed Symbaroum.

Joe LeFavi from Genuine Entertainment is the lead setting writer and producer for Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game. He’s also a lifelong fan of Blade Runner, and producer on Nightdive Studios’ upcoming video game Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition. The Blade Runner RPG also marks a long-term licensing partnership with Alcon Entertainment which will explore the full scope of the Blade Runner universe, spanning four decades of world building between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049. So expect the setting to be well-supported, with future expansion and adventures.

In addition to Kickstarter exclusives like the Deluxe Limited Edition Core Rulebook, backers will receive early access to PDF versions of both the Core Rulebook and the Starter Set months before release. So if you’ve been looking forward to taking your Voight-Kampff test, backing the Kickstarter will get you into the action first.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game and pledging for the game, head over to their Kickstarter campaign page. The campaign runs through Thursday, May 26th.

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