The most recent tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) I acquired is Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game (Free League Publishing, 2022). Generating a character for the first time is very easy as the core book offers tables for most rolls. As a forever Classic Traveller RPG player, I am quite used to “rolling up a character” and trying to play with the results rather than “buy my own.” So I decided to let the Dice Gods guide my way for this first venture. Allow me introduce you to Castro, a Human two-year Rookie Blade Runner on the LAPD:
Rolling up my character Castro in Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game took maybe 15 minutes tops. The core book is well laid out and makes the process easy. That said, though the process of character generation is quick and easy the results are…inspiring.
Castro’s Archetype is Cityspeaker. Think of your classic vice cop; so deep in the gutter it’s hard to tell if they are good or bad. As a Rookie, Castro is young so he gets a boost in Attributes (+4) but doesn’t have lots of Skills (+8) nor is he seasoned enough to have any Specialties. [The core mechanic of the Year Zero Engine used in the Blade Runner RPG is rolling your Attribute + Skill dice and trying to get a 6 or better for a success. For Castro, firing his sidearm means rolling Agility (d10) and Firearms Skill (d10) and hoping to get at least one or more 6 or better result.]
Like a rookie should, Castro lacks Promotion Points and Chinyen (money). He also has, like every character in Blade Runner RPG, a Key Memory and a Key Relationship. I let the die rolls determine these and the results are fascinating.
- Key Memory – “A child…standing in the rain…with a Blade Runner…a terrible accident…terrified….”
- Key Relationship – “A suspect…loving…who’s life is in danger…”
That Key Relationship was made all the more interesting when I rolled up Home: “Living with Key Relationship…in a cluttered warehouse off Animoid Row…” In an other interesting (inspiring?) twist, his love-at-home is somewhat at odds with Castro’s Signature Item, “Open stool at favorite bar.”
There’s plenty of adventure hooks in those pieces of character. What was that terrible accident? How was the Blade Runner involved and how has that affected now Blade Runner Castro? Who is the suspect? A lover or family? They live together…is Castro protecting them? Does Castro hanging out at that open stool indicate—or portend—tension?
Then came appearance; “Street Trash.” Yup, this is the classic vice cop. So much so I thought of the vice cop TV show I grew up with—Miami Vice. Then I thought of Lt. Castillo, played by Edward James Almos who is certainly NOT street trash but is tough and not the poster pretty-boy so many of the Miami Vice star characters were.
Or was I thinking of Gaff from the original Blade Runner movie? Gaff…played by Edward James Almos.
Now, I don’t consider myself Edward James Almos for even a moment…
…but could I? At least, in Blade Runner RPG terms?
Where does a rookie Gaff start? Like say…my character Castro?
Now…I know Miami Vice and Blade Runner are worlds apart…but do they have to be?
RPG inspiration can come from the strangest of places…
Feature image actor John Leguizamo who long ago played ‘Orlando Calderone’ in Miami Vice, courtesy backstageol.com
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