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Tales from the loop - I want this but...

briansommers

Registered User
Validated User
I watched a review on YT and they talk about these laws over the game.

The third one they list as: Adults are out of reach and out of touch.

so, I see that as a nice little game mechanic. But it really messes with a good story.
In the game are the kids just imagining all of this? (Is this just a sci-fi grown-up version of Calvin & Hobbes?)
What would happen if you would eventually have one of the parents see one of these robots etc?

The game strikes me as more of a sci-fi than 80's
The setting seems out of place in the 80's
tell me how I'm wrong about this.

Is this one through and that's it?
Can you easily keep going and make more mysterious?
 

Jay

Pow!
Validated User
The very short version: No, the kids aren't imagining it. It's an alternate history where an early particle accelerator experiment opened up possibilities in technology that changed the world as we know it, allowing for things like anti-grav ships and advanced robotics. (And portals through time and alternate realities, but they're more unintentional.) It takes place in a recognizable 80s that never were. There are two default settings: one in Sweden and one in Nevada. (Around the sites of the particle accelerators.) The game itself is kids getting involved in local weird science and Fortean mysteries, ala Stranger Things and The Goonies.

Edits: Numerous.
 
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Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
That strikes me as more a statement of a genre convention than anything else--and genre conventions don't usually have a real in-world rationale. Its just how things work with a given genre (in this case the kids-with-bikes one).
 

Kestral

Registered User
Validated User
"Out of reach and out of touch" means that the kids are the only ones who really know what's going on with the mystery-of-the-week. It's a trope we get from the 80s Kid Investigator genre, where the adults are all too busy dealing with their own issues, or have too little respect for kids, to be useful allies for our plucky young protagonists. People know weird things happen around the Loop, but if they were to see something deeply strange, they might try to rationalize it away and get on with their lives. Only the kids are actually going to do something about it, because that's how the genre works. Unless of course the thing in question is a misunderstood friendly critter / inexplicably sapient friendly robot, in which case genre demands the authorities hunt it down while our heroes try to find it first and rescue it before a tearful but happy goodbye.

The degree of Weird Science in the setting is a deliberately a bit ambiguous, and varies between the published scenarios. It is very 80s though: remember in Flight of the Navigator how David escapes the military base by riding inside of a serving robot with an interior compartment juuuust big enough for a 12-year-old? That kind of robotics isn't even in use today, but it felt perfectly natural in the context of the film, and it's a good example of how you can have the Loop science be more grounded, if you're not looking to take it into truly weird areas.
 

Skywalker

Back Off the Buddha!
Validated User
Parents are well aware of the technology level as it’s part of the world. It’s more that they generally dismiss and will not come to help dealing with the conspiracies and mysteries that the kids encounter. It’s much like ET or Goonies. You may even get exceptions, like Hopper and Joyce in Stranger Things, but those adults tend to be isolated from other adults as well and often try and keep the kids away.
 

Lukas Sjöström

Society of Unity scholar
Validated User
The sci-fi tech is still there. The adults don't say "there's no robot", they say "he's a tin can, robots don't have feelings", despite all your protestations to the contrary.
 

Daistallia

Bork, bork, bork!
Validated User
I think the SF elements have been covered well enough.

The bit with the adults being unavailable and out of touch in setting is basicallly adults being busy adulting. Mom and dad are busy with their jobs, doing taxes, other adults busy working and doing other adulty stuff. And if the kids try and tell them about stuff, it's usually wild stuff. Note that not all adults are disbelieving, but those who are aware of the trouble are generally the bad guys, so telling them causes more trouble.

In part, it's a mechanism to keep the players from getting adult NPCs to do stuff for them. The kids are supposed to solve the mystery and take care of it, not get the adults to do that.

We had a really good example of it in the 2nd to last session of the season we did last summer and fall.

A few mechanical explanations...

Rather than damage, kids get "conditions". They gety upset, scared, hurt, or tired.

Each kid has an NPC who's an "anchor" - an comforting and supporting adult. You're supposed to go to your anchor when you get a condition, and they take care of you and make it all better. Even more than other adults, you really, really aren't supposed to involve your anchor in the "trouble".

One of the characters, Red, had as his anchor the owner of the local junk yard. At one point, we needed something and Red decided to ask the junkyard guy for help. Long story short, Red failed a couple of rolls and ended up pissing off the one adult who he could trust. The junkyard guy got annoyed that Red brought his friends over univited, was asking pesky questions, and YELLED Red really loudly, telling him to stop being a whiney crybaby, stop interrupting him, and stop bothering him when he was trying to work. "Take your nerdy freinds, go away, and DON'T COME BACK!!!!". And Red ended up taking both scared and upset conditions and a reminder that we were supposed to come up with a solution, not pawn off our problems on the adults. :)

It's possible to do it as a one shot, I guess, but IMO, it's better suited to longer form. And yes, it's easy to keep going. We had 4-5 hooks going and got 1 1/2 solved in 13 sessions. And that solution opend up a really big one. The group is really looking forward to the 2nd season. :D
 

vitus979

Registered User
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The bit with the adults being unavailable and out of touch in setting is basicallly adults being busy adulting. Mom and dad are busy with their jobs, doing taxes, other adults busy working and doing other adulty stuff. And if the kids try and tell them about stuff, it's usually wild stuff. Note that not all adults are disbelieving, but those who are aware of the trouble are generally the bad guys, so telling them causes more trouble.
Note that the movies this convention is based on are themselves based on the very real issue of 'latchkey kids' that was prevalent (at least in the USA) through the 1970s and 1980s. The stereotypical situation was that the Boomer parents were more interested in whatever they were doing and let the kids run around doing whatever. So there are a lot of movies in the early 80s where kids who are out on their own go on an adventure.

Also note it's a better narrative construct IMO than a lot of YA fiction where the parents get killed, kidnapped, disappear, or otherwise removed in the first act and the kids have to fend for themselves (see Frozen as a prominent recent example).
 
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