Ryan McRae

Ryan McRae

Creator of Burn the Tavern Down.
Bringing Creativity Back to Gaming.

BTTD #36: Tales from the Loop, The Magicians and the US Post Office

Probably one of the games I’ve never played, but OH DO I PLAN TO, is Tales from the LoopIt’s set in a world where you play kids (think Stranger Things age, Season 1) and there is some really advanced technology pouring out of the factory/business/strange construct in your town. Your town has robots. It has weird portals. It’s fine. It’s also the 1980s. You’re used to it.

What’s nice about this is that when you play Tales From the Loop, you can’t die. You can be knocked unconscious, but you can’t die (unlike Barb in Stranger Things. Sorry Barb.)

So I thought I’d come up with some ideas for Tales from the Loop. They have some initial ones so I thought I’d use be inspiriational!

Credit: Simon Stalenhag
  • A child disappears: The Vice Prinicipal of the school’s kid has disappeared. He was working on his science projects about algae, getting samples in the local swamplands. He was out last night, when a storm came up off the lake, and no one has heard from him. He also borrowed on of the character’s notes for the test on The Scarlet Letter so there is a big motive to find this kid. The test is Monday. The kids have the weekend to find them.
  • Rumors spread about a runaway robot that wanders the land. A small robot, a robot from the mailroom has gotten out. There is a reward for retrieving the robot and that money could go along way towards buying whatever the kids are into these days. On Halloween night, the kids spot the robot and track it down (but they have to give up trick or treating.) The robot leads them to an iron door set against a small rock enclosure. The robot is constantly banging on it and making a lot of noise, grabbing people’s attention (it’s too weak to make a dent.) Do they capture the robot or find out what’s behind the door? Who else is after the robot? Who sent it?
  • A strange house appears in the middle of town, and the adults behave as if it has always been there. The empty field where the kids had a community garden now houses a very large house. It’s a bright neon blue with a ton of LED lights everywhere built in. “It’s always been there!” the adults answer. When asked other questions, they dodge and change the topic and some will get a massive headache and go and lie down. At night, there are robed figures seen walking around and a large “whirring” sound. They are building something in the backyard. Good luck with that.
  • One of the Kids find a gap in the ground, leading down to a huge network of paths. After some small tremors, one of the kids find a a lose iron cover built into the ground. A ladder leads down to a series of tunnels. Clearly someone is yelling for help down there, but it’s too hard to hear from where exactly.
  • A strange girl starts in school. Andrea just started school and she says she’s from Florida, but she’s super pale. She has zero issues adapting to the school and she even answers a question in Swedish instead of English (most people speak both in this setting or not, up to you.) No one has heard of her before, and when someone asks her to go get ice cream with them, she flat out refuses and accidentally reveals a strange metallic band around her upper arm with a timer counting down.

Alright. That should get you a bit started on a game (and you can probably change it to whatever setting you all are in right now.)


Ideas I Have For This Weird Time​

If you have a bunch of gamers you haven’t seen in awhile, you know, because, you might want to try some things:

Friends of mine and I are playing Exploding Kittens on our devices tonight while we Facetime. So that’s nice. And I’m pretty ruthless at the game. You send each other kittens that explode. I mean, it’s not a deep game.

Maybe you send your players something in the ACTUAL mail, but don’t like, go to the post office if you don’t have to. They might enjoy a letter or some random package of dice or tid bits of hot goss from your setting.

Just get on some kind of video app and just say hello. If you don’t feel like running a game, that’s fine. Just hang out.


What I’m Enjoying​

I’m still enjoying The Magicians. You can tell in a series when they are wrapping up though. In this most recent episode, they sang the song, Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. It’s one of my favorite songs and well, it just struck a deep, deep chord.

Journaling. I have gotten back to journaling, just for journaling’s sake. I struggle with doing stuff that appears idle. I’ve journaled off and on, but now I’m like, well, here we are. So that’s helping.

I made a habit tracker in a Field Notes notebook so I can make sure I’m doing the stuff I need to do: working out, writing, reading, and all of that. Keeping me sane.

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