Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was

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Offline ORtrail

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If you are looking for an RPG to recreate the recent Netflix show, Stranger Things, or some of the classic '80s movies like, E.T. or The Goonies you may be looking for Tales From the Loop



Players take on the role of a 10-15 yr old kid, who will ride around with friends solving mysteries.  Many of which might be related to the building of a large particle collider ("The Loop") in various locations around the Earth (the default setting being the Malaren Islands in Sweden and Boulder City, Nevada in the USA).  There are some anti-grav freighters and large walking robots, but most technology is just as we remember it.

Of course, the kids cannot die, only be incapacitated at worst.  The GM doesn't even roll dice, just explains what kind of Trouble the kids are facing ("The bully, Billy Kapowski is headed your way and he seems angry.") and has them roll some appropriate skill to see if they can get a 'Success' (that being a roll of '6' on a 1D6).  It is a Dice Pool game at heart, so often you are rolling 3-6 dice and any extra success can grant some type of bonus (extra information if you were hacking a computer for example). 

For damage, the kids take 'Conditions' that subtract 1D from any roll they make, until they simply can't succeed and shut down. 

There are 8 archetypes, such as the Book Worm, the Jock, the Rocker, the Popular Kid, the Computer Geek, and so on.  Only one type per group, so everyone has a role to play at one point or another. 

In play, I've found it interesting how the kids must work around school, teachers, parents, and other adults who never believe there is anything odd going on and are usually less than helpful.   There is a charm to this RPG and it certainly plays out much different than most RPG experiences (the kids probably won't be taking out a security guard by force for example).  Actually, a Doctor Who campaign would probably be one of the closer campaign styles to Tales From the Loop. 

I don't see this as the kind of RPG you'd run a 3-5 year campaign on, but rather as a one-shot or mini-campaign of 3-5 adventures in between other more standard RPG gaming. 

« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 12:24:22 PM by ORtrail »

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Offline Kedamono

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2018, 11:23:45 AM »
If you do run a TftL game, check out the Tales from the Loop RPG G+ group. I moderate it and it's full of information and inspirations for a game.

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Offline ORtrail

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2018, 01:11:43 PM »
We are one session from wrapping up the second adventure (both adventures have been ones I've written myself).  I've watched several groups play the game on YouTube and I'm not opposed to stealing an idea or scene here and there.  Thanks for the link, I'll look it over as you can never have enough inspiration.

I'm actually running a game of TFtL for Free RPG Day down in Portland, OR at Guardian Games.  I think I mentioned this on the old forum, but I'm wrapping up character creation and decided on which of the adventures I've written to run.  A big part of the charm of TFtL is in the character creation process, which will be missing as Guardian Games only gives you two hour time slots for games (an hour and fifty minutes if you wrap things up early as encouraged so people can get to their next game). 


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Offline Kedamono

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2018, 01:30:48 PM »
We did an episode about playing Fringeborn kids, and I mentioned using TftL for the rule system. You'd have to make some modifications for the archetypes, but it would work.

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Offline ORtrail

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2018, 08:37:23 PM »
What episode number was that? 

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Offline Kedamono

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2018, 08:45:22 PM »
The episode that hasn't been released yet. Looking at our schedule, it'll be out sometime in September I think. :)

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Offline ORtrail

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2018, 03:36:27 PM »
Okay, looking forward to it. 

I found the Keith Garrett blog through the G+ link you posted.  He added a ton of little extras and some nice adventure seeds.  I'm torn on the idea of adding new archetypes though.  I get why, but I wrote up an RPG Gamer character as a variation of Bookworm.  A Punk is just a variation on Rocker, Valley Girl a variation on the Popular Kid. 




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Offline ORtrail

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 12:52:02 PM »
I found the download section on your G+ group and got a bunch of character sheets, GM sheets, and the other archetypes.  :)

As I mentioned, most of the new archetypes can just fall under the existing ones, as a variation.  The Drama Kid mostly fits under Popular Kid with maybe some hints of Weirdo.  The Scout is again a variation on Hick (Country Kid) with an emphasis on outdoor activities.  Grease Monkey is another Hick variation with emphasis on mechanics. 

Skater Boy is admittedly a tough one.  I can see part of it being under Jock (athleticism to pull of those tricks) but a strong element of Troublemaker too (skateboarding being a crime and all).  This might be best as its own archetype. 

New Kid does not stand alone to me, it could apply to any of the other archetypes as a Problem.  Having said that, an Army brat type or a kid who moves every year due to parental work could argue in favor of New Kid as their identity with the other kids. 

The Experiment archetype stands alone.  Best as the subject of an adventure, but probably not as a player character. 

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Offline ORtrail

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2018, 12:57:39 PM »
My local gaming/comic store owner gave me a deal on the official dice set for TFtL.  The set of 10 D6 dice sells for $20, but that was just too much to pay.  I was telling him how I found a set online for $15 and was ordering them when I found it would be another $3 for shipping, so it was back to being too expensive to justify buying. 

He offered to sell me the dice set for $15 and that was right at the limit of what I wanted to pay, so I bought them. 

I have noticed that having a custom set of dice seems to be a current trend for many RPGs.  Some have VERY custom dice like the new Star Wars or Genesys RPGs, and many that use D6 dice use a special icon or symbol in place of the number '6'. 


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Offline ORtrail

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2018, 04:11:16 PM »
It went well on Free RPG Day 2018.  I was running Tales From the Loop at 2PM, and as I arrived at my assigned table, there was one adult and three kids waiting (10-12 yrs old).  There was about a 20% mix of kids in the Guardian Games store most of the day, so I take that as a good thing for the future of table top RPGs.  I set out the pregen character binder for them and went off to hit the restroom and then grab an ice tea.  When I got back five minutes later, there were two more adults that had joined. 

I had created one female and one male of each archetype, and the players had selected both Weirdos and Book Worms, along with a Jock and a Troublemaker.  I mentioned having just ONE of each archetype, for the best mix of skills, but I was fine with them doubling up.  One player decided to switch his Bookworm (Gamer) to a Computer Geek. 

I set the adventure in the Columbia River Gorge just east of The Dalles, in the fictional town of Columbia Hills.  The town was built to help support the Columbia Loop of course, and the kids were growing up used to living next to a 'weirdness magnet'. 



I wish I had had a three hour window, instead of the two hours I actually had to play this adventure out, but the kids ended up on a large island in the middle of the Columbia River where they found a strange portal to the past/alternate dimension that was letting Permian bugs into their world.  They blew it up with some dynamite they stole from a construction site and saved Columbia Hills from an infestation. 



The players seemed to enjoy the adventure, and in fact one of the adults went over to the RPG section right after the game ended and bought the TFtL main rulebook and the adventure supplement.  I chatted with him a few minutes later and he said he had been looking at buying it before, but wanted to try it out first.  It was a neat moment to know I helped sell him on TFtL. 
« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 12:26:28 PM by ORtrail »

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Offline Kedamono

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2018, 04:49:33 PM »
As the moderator for the TftL G+ group, feel free to post your report there as well, along with those pictures!

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Offline wasahbe

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2018, 04:55:41 PM »
I
[Okay, links to images are not allowed yet I guess]

Weird, I can link images, and I thought I gave everyone rights.
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced. 
--Gehm's corollary to Clark's Third Law

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Offline Kedamono

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2018, 05:34:53 PM »
I tried to embed an image using the image tags and all that I got was a dot on screen.

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Offline ORtrail

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Re: Tales From The Loop: Roleplaying In The '80s That Never Was
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2018, 12:34:16 PM »
As the moderator for the TftL G+ group, feel free to post your report there as well, along with those pictures!

Thanks, I'll probably just copy and paste most of what I've posted here, which is a pretty brief overview of the adventure and how things went.