Tales From the Loop - Free League Publishing

Welcome to roleplaying in the 80’s that never was. The game is one that I’ve watched actual plays of in the past, and thought it was interesting, though it wasn’t high on the purchase list. Enter birthday season, and a gift card for Amazon. So I decided to pick it up, and here we are.
Chapter one is your typical first chapter, introducing to roleplaying, and a few basics on the world. It’s the 1980’s, but there are robots and ships vaguely reminiscent of the Matrix in the air.
Chapter 2 is our first real look into the world. It gives information on setting your game in Sweden on the Malaren Islands. Makes sense, as Free League is based out of Sweden. You get a taste of the politics of the time, Sweden in the 80’s for game purposes, including things to do. There’s even a map included of the islands spread over 2 pages, which can be downloaded from Drive Thru (in color) and printed on one page. There’s also a map for Boulder City, Nevada (which is covered in chapter 3, and is set up the same as chapter 2).
Chapter 4 is the first look into the characters. In the game, you play as a kid between 10 and 15. You choose one of eight types, including: bookworm, popular kid, rocker, and weirdo. Then you pick your age and distribute a number of points equal to your age to your attributes, giving a value of 1 - 5. You receive luck points in the amount of 15 minus your age. Luck points allow a reroll on a failure without having to “push” the roll (more on that shortly). You can take up to 3 levels in the key skills of your type, and one in any other skill. Then polish off by picking an iconic item, a problem, a drive, and a pride. Define relationships with other PCs, select an anchor (someone or something that comforts you), add a name and description.
Chapter 5 is the mechanics chapter. To succeed at rolls, one rolls Xd6 (equal to the total of attribute and applicable skills), with a 6 (on any die) being needed to succeed. A single 6 is generally all that’s needed to succeed, though there are scenarios where you may need 2 or 3 to succeed. If you roll zero or too few 6s, it’s considered a fail. You can push and reroll. You would keep any 6s already rolled and only reroll non-successes. The rest of the chapter deals with skills and how they integrate into the game.
Chapter 6 is the GM section, touching on how to pace and set up your session. Chapter 7 discusses the “mystery landscape” (the adventures are referred to as mysteries). This gives you some general locations for your city, like the school library, the dream shop, and the cooling towers, as well as NPCs.
Chapter 8 is a short introduction to a 4 part campaign called The 4 Seasons of Mad Science. Each can be used as a stand-alone mystery if desired. The chapters are set up the same, with background information, seasonal things to do, any locations, and wrapping up the session.
Chapter 9 is titled Summer Break and Killer birds. It’s an introductory mystery designed for newly created characters. The general gist is scientist Lena Thelin (Diane Peterson if playing in Boulder City) has decided to take revenge on her former colleagues. She’s captured wild birds and enhanced them with cybernetics to attack people on her command. Experiments didn’t go as planned, and some birds gained a form of human intellect, and others became aggressive. The mystery is about the PCs finding out what happened to the birds and stopping Lena and Gunnar (her partner) from creating more birds.
Chapter 10 is Grown Up Attraction. It again involves Lena. She’s created a machine that draws people to it and makes them want to stay near it, and arousing their primitive instincts. The kids are tasked with stopping the machine and saving the adults. This takes place in the fall.
Chapter 11 is titled Creatures From the Cretaceous and takes place in the winter. Our favorite mad scientist is back at it. She’s created a portal to dinosaur times, and has retrieved some eggs to incubate, but then something went wrong. She’s not returned to close the portal and dinosaurs are coming through the portal on their own. The PCs need to travel through the portal, rescue Lena, and close it permanently.
Chapter 12 is I, Wagner. Our mad scientist is at it one last time, trying to create an army of robots loyal to her to get revenge on those she sees as an enemy. She’s killed by one of the robots, Wagner. The PCs have to figure out how to stop the robots before someone is hurt, or worse.
An actual play: https://www.youtube.com/live/FwVat6XjkgA?si=fFOvYWOZBMyQE2MT