Tales From The Loop ...
Tales from the Loop is an American science fiction drama television series developed and written by Nathaniel Halpern based on the art book of the same name by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag. The eight-episode first season was released in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video on April 3, 2020.
Tales from the Loop ...
Tales from the Loop follows the interconnected lives of the residents in the fictional town of Mercer, Ohio. Mercer is home to the Mercer Center for Experimental Physics, an underground facility known as the Loop. It is here that researchers attempt to "make the impossible possible".
Tales from the Loop is based on the 2014 narrative art book of the same name by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag; also drawing inspiration from the fact Stålenhag never fully explains what the science fiction objects he depicts do or where they come from.
Writer and showrunner Nathaniel Halpern drew inspiration from the short story cycle Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson; its themes of loneliness and isolation, and its focus on small town characters. Executive producer and director Mark Romanek drew inspiration from the Dekalog, the 10-part series of television films by Krzysztof Kieślowski. Other directors cited to influence the production include Ingmar Bergman, Yasujirō Ozu, and Andrei Tarkovsky.
On Rotten Tomatoes, season 1 has a "certified fresh" approval rating of 86% based on 69 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Though the show around them burns a bit too slowly, Tales from the Loop beautifully transposes Simon Stålenhag's paintings into moving art and provides a welcome dose of warmth and humanity with its sci-fi." On Metacritic, season 1 has a score of 68/100 based on reviews from 15 critics.
David Baird from The B.C. Catholic characterizes the series as "a set of loosely interrelated meditations upon ephemerality, the impact of technology, and human vulnerability infused with a mild science fiction savour" and considers it "a beguiling fusion of forward-looking nostalgia". Joshua Thomas from The Michigan Daily simply considers it "superb sci-fi"; "exactly what good sci-fi should look like." Writing for Firstpost, Prahlad Srihari thinks its "wide shots, the symmetrical frames, and the play of light and space all do justice to Stålenhag's retrofuturistic vision". According to The Verge's Joshua Rivera, "Tales from the Loop is so pretty it breaks your heart." Writing for /Film, Hoai-Tran Bui thinks the show explores "universal elements of grief, aging, parenthood, loneliness, and love" but also that it "often toes the line between beguiling and boring". Polygon's Charlie Hall, meanwhile, was left "feeling uneasy and confused."
During his years as a game writer, Nils Hintze has written a great number of scenarios, articles and reviews, as well as being the main author of critically praised and award winning Tales from the Loop roleplaying game. Previously he has written plays for theatre groups. Nils is educated in creative writing, but he normally works as a psychologist.
The Tales from the Loop Compendium - The complete ruleset, complete with illustrations, integrated into Roll20, and searchable from the VTT.The Mystery Landscape - An open world setting describing the Swedish Loop, and some of the mysteries to be found there.The Four Seasons of Mad Science - A short campaign taking players through a year in the lives of their Kids, containing 4 separate mysteries:
Quinns: So, the way the book sets it up is that each player has one of eight Breakfast Club-like archetypes to choose from- the Troublemaker, the Computer Geek, the Popular Kid, and so on.
My favourite 1980s song is Thriller. Someone out there needs to make a Halloween-themed adventure for Tales from the Loop and use that song during the reveal of the monsters. Or do a wolf-themed adventure with Hungry Like the Wolf. Oh shit. How did I not think of this earlier.
What you get: Your EUR 23,70 or equivalent will buy you the Tales from The Loop Starter Set in both pdf and physical form. As its name suggests, this is a starter set for the Tales from the Loop game line which took the world by storm and sweeped the ENnies in 2017 with five different gold awards for Best Game, Best Interior Art, Best Setting, Best Writing, and Product of the Year. Since then, Tales from the Loop has also become an Amazon Prime series with the first cycle premiering in April 2020.
The 32-page Rules softcover is very explicit: 'Read this first', it proclaims. It is divided in four different chapters, all of which take a cue from the game's main rulebook without however being word for word copies.
Welcome to the Loop sets the tone. It starts from the absolute basics like what roleplaying is abd how dice are used, it also exposes however the game's six unbreakable premises: your home town is full of strange and fantastic things, everyday life is dull and unforgiving, adults are out of reach and out of touch, the land of the Loop is dangerous but kids will not die, the game is played scene by scene, and the world is described collaboratively. As I wrote in the review of the main rulebook, there will be tales of thinking robots, time portals, identity theft, bizarre experiments, all perceived with the excitement of a kid for whom sneaking out at night to ride a bike to the local graveyard is the coolest thing ever. The Gamemaster can set some scenes, ask his players to set others, and give them absolute liberty towards describing locales and NPCs. He only needs to ask questions; it is the players that collaboratively get to answer. The Age of the Loop describes the 1980s that never were, as well as the Swedish and the American Loop. In that sense, it is a heavily abridged version of two chapters from the main rulebook, namely The Age of the Loop and The US Loop. Each entry discusses a few introductory things about the Loop, as well as Sweden and the US in the 1980s respectively. Advances in technology that never came to be in our world have allowed for achievements that even in our age would be unheard of, like hovering ships and fully autonomous robots. As the book itself states however, 'Tales From The Loop is science fiction, but it is not about technology. At its heart, this game is about growing up in the shadows of strange things and solving mysteries. It is about the kids.' Sweden itself is not that changed from what it was in our 1980s, nor is the US. The Loop itself, the largest particle accelerator in the world, is operated by the state-held Riksenergi. Nobody knows the kind of experiments that are performed there...
The Kids is also a heavily abridged version of the rulebook's chapter with the same name, tackling the game's protagonists. Seeing how it is only 4 pages long, as opposed to the original 17, it simply touches on age (only ages between 10 and 15 are allowed!), attributes (body, tech, heart, and mind, all ranging from 1 to 5), luck points (for narrative control), skills (three per attribute, ranging from 0 to 5), items (a walkman, dude!), drives, problems, pride, relationships and conditions (upset, scared, exhausted, injured, broken). Obviously enough, it does not include character creation rules.
The Starter Set is a great introductory step for those who haven't dipped their toes yet. As expected, it focuses more on the plot of the single adventure it holds; the otherwise immersive setting stays on the background. Yet, the seed is planted and the setting's sheer brilliance still shines through, through both the narratives and the ways in which rules and theme interact. As expected from most TftL adventures, the present one is a non-violent one, unless the players turn it upside down and decide to go all Lord of the Flies on the misunderstood and confused adversary. There is humanity in the plot, from its very foundation (what do you do if you can't have a baby?) up to its conclusion (do you accept to change, even though nothing is your fault?). Make sure that you intersperse the necessary number of mundane scenes around it, so that the resolution has an impact. That's what makes TftL's adventures memorable: the hazy, almost unbearable backdrop against which they are placed. Don't be surprised if adult players become emotional at any point of the adventure. This is all too common in TftL.
Unless I missed something, the present Starter Set does not change any of the rules like the starter sets of other RPGs often do. If you like how the game rolls, you will simply have to add a few more things when you pick up the rulebook, as opposed to relearning already existing things. This is the approach I enjoy, as opposed to modifying things which one has to consequently relearn, when he jumps from the starter set to the main game.
This Starter Set proudly wears an Amazon Prime sticker, thus a word of warning to those who found out about the RPG after watching the TV series: the feeling one gets from watching the TV series has nothing to do with the feeling one gets from playing the RPG.
I liked the series and I will watch the second cycle, whenever it comes out. It is all about the cinematography, the imagery, the subtlety, the nuance. Where I live, Amazon rates it for ages of 18+. Each episode is obviously monothematic, irrespective of whether it treats past or future loss, change, unhappiness, unsuccessful love, or the need to provide and protect. Dialogues are minimal. Even when they exist, they have a forlorn quality to them, a Cohen brothers' inefficiency but without any babbling or humorous parts. The plots are outright transparent, yet they progress slowly, as if they don't want the moment to end. In fact, a whole episode is devoted to exactly that concept. The game however does not work at all like that. This is a collaborative experience with a lot of shared narratives (GMs in TftL can afford to sit on the back seat at times), tons of investigation and kid conflict, revelations relating to both the kids' mundane social lives as well as their adventures, and a lot of action. This isn't about visually exploring concepts and feelings, or an alternate way of looking at otherwise difficult themes that trouble adults. This is about solving mysteries! My initial reaction to the RPG was that it is better than Stranger Things (no protagonist steals the show through superpowers), and indeed, this is a much more pertinent series to compare it to. So, don't be surprised by how Tales from the Loop the RPG feels more like Stranger Things and less like the TV series that bears its own name. 041b061a72