Rickie was a young boy…. Character Creation in Tales From the Loop

Tale From the Loop is a tabletop roleplaying game that’s been on my list of things I desperately want to try for some time now. A friend got the book and has threatened to run a campaign, which we finally started this week. My interest in the system was fueled by listening to a campaign run by the fine folks at the Very Random Encounters podcast and it hits on my sensibilities as a child of the 80s.

Why?

Your character in the game world is a child living in a version of the 1980s. A twist is the government has created the world’s largest particle accelerator underground, known as The Loop, in your town. The children in the game deal with typical issues that were commonplace in the era such as bullies, absent or nagging parents and homework though they also get to explore mysteries related to The Loop. Weird events start to happen in town and it’s up to the children to figure it all out because adults prove to be inaccessible and otherwise ineffective. Tales From the Loop exists with six main principles:

  1. Your Hometown is Full of Strange and Fantastic Things
  2. Everyday Life is Dull and Unforgiving
  3. Adults are Out of Reach and Out of Touch
  4. The Land of the Loop is Dangerous but The Kids Will Not Die
  5. The Game is Played Scene by Scene
  6. The World is Described Collaboratively

I was born in 1976 so the late-80s and early-90s are my wheelhouse in terms of pop culture touchstones. I have created plenty of characters in fantasy settings for games like Dungeons & Dragons though creating a kid living in the 80s brings another level of enthusiasm and connection to character creation. I started to think about the different character Types in the game:

  • Bookworm
  • Computer Geek
  • Hick
  • Jock
  • Popular Kid
  • Rocker
  • Troublemaker
  • Weirdo

I quickly honed in on Rocker and Troublemaker. I grew up with kids that fell into those categories and thought it would be fun to inhabit that role in the game. Plus, I’ve been gushing about Billy from Stranger Things for years. I also took inspiration from John Bender (The Breakfast Club), Duncan (Some Kind of Wonderful) and Griffin (Prayer of the Rollerboys). My other initial thought was, “This kid listens to Skid Row.” However, our GM running the game said the adventure was set in 1988, which was a year before their first album was released. I had plenty of other heavy metal and hard rock options to choose from as our GM wanted each character’s playlist. I dove HEAD FIRST into this activity and came up with the following 10 songs:

  • Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
  • Peace Sell… but Who’s Buying? – Megadeth
  • Battery – Metallica
  • I Don’t Believe in Love – Queensrÿche
  • 2 Minutes to Midnight – Iron Maiden
  • Ace of Spades – Motörhead
  • Too Late for Love – Def Leppard
  • Live Wire – Mötley Crüe
  • Over the Mountain – Ozzy Osbourne
  • Some Heads Are Gonna Roll – Judas Priest

For the record, I created this playlist on Spotify and it’s fabulous!

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