From me to you: Tears in Rain - a Blade Runner hack for Trollbabe

edited December 2007 in Directed Promotion
It's this time of year where some of us enjoy giving each other presents, for whatever reasons. This is my present for you: Tears in Rain, a Blade Runner hack for Trollbabe. (linko to PDF file).

Trollbabe needs more love generally, and this is my part in pushing that great game. Now there's no excuse for not playing it because you don't like big women with horns or whatever. Download it, play it, and tell us about it. And develop your own hack if you like.

Thanks, guys, you're great. Happy Christmas.




  • Thanks, this may get me to finally pick up Troll Babe (just hadn't gotten around to it yet). Merry Christmas.
  • Very, very cool. And it reminds me that I have a copy of Trollbabe lurking on my hard-drive somewhere, too.
  • I can't remember if I bought Trollbabe or not, but I think this a terrific motivation to gives the mechanics a try.

    And as I said to Per earlier, when I'm asked what to use to play 'Blade Runner', this will be the only game I'll have in mind.
  • Oh! That is great -- I really want to try it!
  • This is very cool... and inspires me to actually set to paper the Hellboy hack for Trollbabe (Hellbabe?) that has been bouncing around in my head for some time.
  • Sweeeeet.

  • Wonderful. Thank you!
  • Thanks Per!
  • Blade Runner: The Final Cut is near the top of my Christmas wish list and I finally got Trollbabe a couple weeks ago and am impressed with it. Thank you so much for this. :)
  • This has inspired me to work on my own Bladerunner variant. Since I am also working on a Trollbabe variant collection this is wonderful!
  • I tried Trollbabe once (over Skype with Pixels & Polyhedrons) and loved it

    but I love Blade Runner, so I'm definitely going to read this

    thanks Per!
  • I'm fiddling with a rewrite with more details about how to setup a game etc. if anyone is interested. But I wanted to get more playtesting in there first before throwing anything out there.

    Thanks for the feedback :)
  • OK I read the TIR document

    I think you should explicitly make the blade runners replicants, but recognized as human by the authorities because of their service (and perhaps granted an increased life-span or something)

    I know this goes against BR cannon

    but otherwise I feel the characters are either/or, not both/neither like in TB

    what do you think?
  • I'm interested in why you think that Blade Runners should be explicitly replicants.

    The reason why they are "in-between" is because that's exactly what TB explores, and why I thought Blade Runner was a neat fit. If you make runners replicants, it's like making trollbabes trolls.

    Whether it's BR canon or not that's less important to me. Deckard is obviously a replicant anyway or at least has had some enhancements done on his body. Maybe he IS recognised as "special" by the authorities (we need your magic) - he just doesn't know. The point is it's not set in stone, it's up for debate, interpretation, hence interesting, if you follow?

    If you are interested in playtesting TiR, you can always try it out of course :)
  • the way I see it, in TB, babes are both/neither: both human and troll, and neither human nor troll at the same time

    in TIR, if no one knows if blade runners are humans or replicants, then they are either human or replicants, not both/neither at the same time (in fact, they're probably human until proven replicant)

    maybe the character will feel they're both/neither

    but the NPCs will treat them as either/or

    and it seems to me the way NPCs see the character is crucial here

    now, if you make characters "replicants but accepted by humans", they're both/neither:
    - they're replicants because, well, that's what they are
    - they're part of human society because they are recognized as human by the authorities
    - they're not really like the other replicants since they're not enslaved/hunted/killed
    - they're not like other humans because they were engineered, not born

    for me, that puts them squarely in the middle, like babes in TB

    and both communities can treat them like one of their own or reject them, based on tangible facts

    nota: if you make characters "replicants accepted as humans", I think it's important for the blade runners to be free of control by the human authorities (like babes are free in TB)

    as in: they can do whatever they want, and cannot be deactivated or killed by the human authorities

    maybe they should be replicants who have gained their master's trust and have been granted freedom and "human" status
  • edited May 2008
    Interesting essay on the subject:

    I think the worst problem with using bladerunner is that the authors have already come to a conclusion regarding the "differences" between the replicants and ourselves. I wouldn't want to muck with that particular bit of existential art. Perhaps I am too reverent of the subject matter (I have the same problem with Tolkien), but there you have it.

  • Thanks, Mike, interesting stuff. While I would agree when it comes to Tolkien, I still think there's lots of existential fuel in Dick's dystopia, and in the human-replicant schism. For one, Scott's interpretation of the novel is only one of many (Scott adds the Roy as Jesus imagery, and I believe also the notion that replicants are factually more human than humans and that humans have become almost mindless flesh robots - and I'm sure I read an interview somewhere where he reveals that Deckard is supposed to be a replicant himself, which is left unanswered in the source material).

    Like in Trollbabe, the human/troll differences are relatively clear. Same thing in TiR with human/replicant. But the player characters are this thing in the middle with a bit of both but not really either. That's the real story motor.
  • Actually if I understand it correctly, the source material makes Deckard uneqivocally human. In fact the bladerunners are said to worry about whether or not they are replicants, and so test each other.

    Of course, this could be only another implanted memory for Deckard... but the point is that it works either way. The message of the book and movie are the same, which is that the more human person isn't the one that's born human, or the one to be engineered to be more human, but the one that actually acts in a more human way. The message is that you have a choice, and should choose to be human, no matter what you are labeled, or what your origin.

    Now, you can play any "on the edge" character in this world, and come to any conclusion you like in play. But if it's a superior one to the one of the movie, I'd be thoroughly startled. Informed by the movie, as I am, I fear that I'd simply be channeled into replicating its message. Because I honestly don't think that I can do better then Dick and Scott.

    At least if I'm playing a Trollbabe, I've got an open playing field that's not informing me of what the most intersting theme likely is. Or even a half-elf.*

    But, then again, I've said these sorts of things before, and people have disagreed with me honestly. That is, it may just be a personal problem of mine working through source material.

    If you'll permit me a short annecdote, I played MERP for a while, a long time ago. I created a ranger character, and, looking for some motivation for him, I decided upon a relatively simple one, that he wanted to find some land, set up a colony there with some good folks, build a fortification, and rule some lands beneficiently. Now, perhaps Rolemaster isn't the system to go trying this with, but the setting also posed a problem, as it kept informing me that my choice was flawwed. I didn't want to play Aragorn, I really didn't. But the setting kept pushing for him to become Aragorn.

    I really didn't like that. If I were playing a bladerunner, the impetus for him to be confronted with the things that Deckard is confronted with, would likely drive me, at least, to the same conclusions. I fear.

    Put another way... why not start with as clean a slate as possible? Where the situation of play is created only such that it has no conclusion written, but only asks questions.

    It's a phenomenon that, at least for players like myself, listening to actual play reports that are recapitulations of plot, are worse than dull. They actually irritate the hell out of me. There's a simple reason. Each time I hear what you did in a game, that means that's one more thing in my head that I have to worry about seeping in and informing the choices I make the next time I play a character that ends up in a similar situation. I'm not deluding myself that I'm being 100% creative when I play RPGs, I know that I'm mostly just recapitulating source material going back to the bible (if you want to trace it all the way). But I'd like to at least have the illusion that what I'm creating is somewhat original. And that doesn't happen when I'm traipsing all over Middle Earth.

    I understand the impetus to explore the worlds that authors make. I, too, feel a sense of loss at the end of a movie, that there is no more, and yet I want more. But what I've found is that playing in that world in no way actually rectifies that sense of loss.


    *What's up with the "Half-elves" are distrusted by both races? I mean... it's certainly realistic. But looking at the source for half-elves, Elrond... Elrond is one of the five most important personages of Middle Earth. Revered, near deified. Allowed to be half-elven by the gods, who have allowed it only a small handfull of times. How did that get translated into the half-elves of D&D? I'm tempted to even call it creative.
  • Mike, that's a great response, I appreciate you taking the time, really. Excellent stuff, and if TiR has done nothing else, at least it spawned the input in this thread.

    While I agree with you a long way regarding creativity compared to reproducing stuff that's already been done, but I think also you are maybe talking about much wider issues here, roleplaying-wise. I am talking about AP reports that merely communicate plot - agree with you there, except that I don't feel they inhibit my own creativity when playin, but it's another flavour of discussion.

    Firstly, I have to admit that I haven't read Do Androids... for over two decades, so I'm a bit rusty on the original - I couldn't remember f.ex. that the blade runners tested each other to see if they were replicants...jeez.

    Personally I never roleplay to repeat source material or repeat its message if I can avoid it, and Tears in Rain is not suppposed to do that either, that's why I thought TB was such an excellent match. To me that's the difference between sim and nar, to be honest, whether your theme is pre-loaded or appears via play. You call them "conclusions", I would call them answers, answers to the thematic question in the premise.

    Your MERP example scares the shit out of me - I feel your pain there, tangibly. No idea why anyone would enjoy that. Anyway.

    I don't think, but I can't prove it based on only a single playtest, that by playing a blade runner in TiR you necessarily end up answering "What does it mean to be human?" with either replicating Dick's message or with something inferior. The question is as universal as what is true love or what is the meaning of life, and I think we will continue to ask ourselves these questions, also in nar games. It's a very, eh, human thing to do :)

    In fact you don't even have to be forced to base your play on that premise.

    Am I making sense?

    P.S. TiR is first and foremost a honeytrap to lure people into playing Trollbabe, even if they don't click with the original flavouring (like myself), because TB has some of the coolest mechanics I've seen.
  • But Mike, isn't this the same problem with all games based on a popular work of fiction such as Star Wars, Dragonlance, and even Call of Cthulhu?

    Following your argument to the extreme, wouldn't you need to invent your own alphabet, your own language, your own physical world to be original creative? This is clearly absurd. Creativety is based on combining familiar concepts in new ways, perhaps adding in one or two new ingredients to the recipe.

    The Blade Runner computer game from 1997 interestingly sets up each game with different characters being either humans and replicants in a particular play. I found myself playing a blade runner that was a replicant and escaped off planet with the fugitive replicants in the end.

    It will make for very different games how the issue of blade runners as either known humans, known replicant, or unknown is set up. Is it determined secretly up front? Does the player decide? Or the GM? During the game or at the end?
  • Frederik, I've admitted that one is never perfectly creative (see above). It's only absurd if you take the argument to it's absurd extent, making your point "argumentum ad absurdum." In point of fact, I don't like playing in the Start Wars universe, or any such licensed universe. I bought LUG's Dune hoping that it would change my mind... it did not. I really dislike in CoC that when I see a blobby thing that I know that it's called a shoggoth - I'd rather that I didn't know what it was called making it a "nameless horror." Dragonlance is, in fact, the worst of the bunch since it's clear to me that it's an already played out RPG setting. At least with Tolkien I'd be getting some really cool background, not somebody's left-overs from their RPG play (if it's not clear, I really loathe Dragonlance, even as novels).

    I'm not talking about a theoretical objection that I have to playing in these universes, but, as the MERP example shows, I have had bad experiences in practice.

    A world like the world of "Trollbabe" is "new enough" for me. You'll have to accept my word for that.

    I'm not saying that anyone else will have the problem that I would with Per's game. If you like the idea, try it out, have fun. I just probably won't be doing it. No matter how much I adore the subject matter.

  • Mike, I follow you. Blade Runner with a twist is "new enough" for me.
  • Service announcement: link to PDF in the initial post has been updated to latest version.

    Just in case, it's here as well:
    Tears In Rain

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