[generic] Tales from the Loop at Nottingham’s Dice Cup


Level 7 Blingmaster
So I ran my Tales from the Loop game ‘Bigtrax and Magic Tricks’ at The Dice Cup, Nottingham on Tuesday night.

I had three players sign up, either via the café or through the East Midlands Meet Up group.

I went through the *Principles of the Loop* with them and introduced the setting of alternate Derby in the spring of 1984.

We got straight into char-gen and we got three great characters.
We had a young Troublemaker called Dennis (the Menace) with his fags and lighter who was very protective of his friends as they are the only things he has. His mother is alone and drinks a lot so he needs to get out of the house. He loves ‘One Step Beyond’ by Madness.

The Computer Geek is Neil, a mere slip of a lad with his trusty customised computer. He is constantly listening to ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie whilst he is on his computer ignoring his nagging mum. The tough guys pick on him but woe betide for when the shit hits the fan...

Our Hick, or Young Farmer, is Jono. His is independently minded and wants to see the world rather than be stuck on the farm. He idolises his older brother who is away at Agricultural College and he always carries his hand-sized tire-iron multi-tool with him wherever he goes.
Their Hideout was an old camper van, was luxurious but is worn and battered, in Neil’s back garden on some waste ground. Jono has hooked up the mains power and plumbing to it, as well as providing farm produce to eat. The camper van was overgrown with plant life on the outside and littered with computer and robotic parts on the inside from Neil’s experiments. Dennis provides the protection and the magazines that passes for entertainment.

After a few quick scenes of home life for each of the Kids they started looking at the flyer for the Elvaston Castle Transport and Steam Rally that was going to be held over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. Of course they were excited about the fact that the BigTrak tank (British, Independent, Gravitron-powered, Titanium-armoured, Radium-Laser equipped, All-terrain Krawler) was going to be on display.

Their plans were interrupted by the sound of a loud car horn, sounding like the Dixie car horn from the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ TV show. They rush outside a see a large American style truck stuck on the road. Of course they help out (except Neil who is hiding) with getting the truck to Elvaston Castle and help with the set up of the stage and auditorium for the Magic Show.
What follows is a hacking of large construction robot, scientists in wire lab coats, weird echo spheres, tunnels under Derby, dodgy MoD guards, bad magic tricks, school bullies, and a failed promise of ice cream.

And the Kids escaped in the Bigtrak and haven’t returned it!
A marvellous end to the one-shot though all the players are keen to play again on a fortnightly basis.

The Dice Cup staff were excellent, helpful and informative.

I will hopefully be running more Tales from the Loop games soon, watch this space.


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Level 7 Blingmaster
I ran my follow up scenario for my Tales from the Loop game at Nottingham’s Dice Cup Café on Tuesday night, Atomic Butterflies and Feral Buddleia. My intention was to run it for the same group of players from my previous game ran at the Dice Cup just over a month ago but two of the players couldn’t make it. Fortunately we had two new female players wanting to play as they were intrigued. They both were new to roleplaying, a little unsure how to go about it but I reassured them that they would have a good introduction to the hobby playing Tales...

I took them through the Principles of the Loop, which is a great start for new players anyway, and described how the session would go. They generated two great characters. Victor a gender-swapping Weirdo who is a troubled artist with his drawing pad and a love of strange things (loves Souxsie and the Banshees ‘Happy House’ too). Maxine, or Max to her friends, is a shy Bookworm who is driven to find the answers to the big questions with her dog Colin. Nana’s ‘99 Red Balloons’ is her favourite song.
They joined the established character of Jono, the Young Farmer with his multi tool and his desire to see the world.

Having the character generation at the start also helped for the new players as they were very creative and inventive with their choices and there are plenty of plot hooks for me to use at a later date too. Then there was the working out of the relationships between the Player Characters, the two new ones with the other player’s character too.

We also learnt that all the Kids had run afoul of the family of bullies, the Winfields. Poor Max has had a football repeatedly kick at her by them, she now hides in the school library where the Winfields never set foot in. Victor is constantly bullied by the Winfields, especially by the girls, and they call him some horrible names.

We used the same Hideout but the new Kids added their own touches to it. Maxine added a bookcase with a comfy chair and reading lamp. Victor added posters of 80’s goth bands, Halloween decorations and left the spider webs up!
We started with brief scenes from their home life and Jono went first. He had managed to do all his chores earlier in the week so he was ducking out for the day to avoid the Government Inspectors who were auditing the farm. He had made sandwiches and had a bottle of pop to take out with him.

Max has to help get her younger brother, Nat, up whilst her mum is working two jobs to make ends meet. She makes herself some snacks and a flask of sweet tea and selects several books to bring along too.

Victor is ignored at home by his parents making him almost invisible. He doesn’t take anything out with him as he will no doubt pick something up along the way.

The Kids meet up at the Hideout before heading out for the day.

They meet Leslie, the Corona Pop delivery man with his duel fuel delivery van full of bottles of pop, on their travels. He offers them a bottle of American Cream Soda and asks them to keep an eye out for his pet Toucan called Guinness who is missing. Of course Victor steals some sweets of the van whilst Leslie was distracted my Max and Jono.

It was their first bit of Trouble they had encountered so far so I took them through the dice mechanics of the game. Victor was great at Sneaking, he had a Body of 4 and a Sneak of 3 giving 7 dice for the dice pool. He got +2 dice for the distractions that Max and Jono were doing against Leslie. The player rolled 2 sixes getting two successes. The player had a choice whether to carry one of the successes over to another but of Trouble along the line or gain a better success. She thought that Victor would take extra sweets and drink to share with his friends so that is what happened.

I also showed the players the different ways of getting out of Trouble if they failed to roll any sixes in their dice pools.
  • They could Push the roll, re-rolling their dice pool but gaining a Condition. Gaining a Condition means they will get one less dice in their dice pool next time they roll.
  • They could spend a Luck Point to re-roll their dice pool. They have a limited number of Luck Points.
  • They could use their Pride an get an automatic success. They can only do this once a session.
Then they go to the Meadow, a piece of wasteland left to go fallow after some developers started to build some planned homes there. All that’s there is an abandoned works shed, dug trenches for the utilities, and weeds growing in the spoil piles.

There the Mystery starts with appearance of the Winfields acting suspiciously and the complete absence of insects or birds. With a pushy mother trying to collect butterflies, Lola her daughter leading the Kids to sneak into the Facility, animal bones scattered in the grass, weird tracks in the grass, and elusive green and blue butterflies along the way the mystery deepens to an investigation of the abandoned farm in the Facility grounds.

They managed to shutdown the Atomic Butterflies and avoid the deadly Feral Buddleia in an alternate 1984 in Derby.
Or did they?
They left it to a robot to finish the mission but what could happen in the second part in the next session?

The players had great fun and are keen to play again. I have included their messages straight after the game as well as a picture of the RPG gaming table at the Dice Cup.
The next game will continue on Tuesday 16th October at the Dice Cup in Nottingham.




Level 7 Blingmaster
I managed to run the second part of my Tales from the Loop scenario Atomic Butterflies and Feral Buddleia’ at Nottingham’s The Dice Cup board game cafe. We had to have a long break due to me, well, breaking my leg.

NOTE: Spoilers for the Scenario continue.

I have only one of the players from before as the others couldn’t make it at the last minute but I had four new players join. Three of those players hadn’t played roleplaying games before so I had some pressure there then. Two of the new players were arriving late too so that halted to game to some extent.

We had some great player characters created though.
We had a Troublemaker called Ricky Wilde, carries his Zippo lighter with pride and has a side deal selling cigarettes to the children at school. He was anxious due to the school kids finding out his mum was a Erotic Dancer!
Our Hick was Jeremy Reynolds, who carries his multitool and drives his tractor. He was the eldest of seven siblings and he had to do a lot of work on the farm.
Matilda is our Bookworm with her magnifying glass.
We were joined by a Popular Kid, Louise with her ever-present can of hairspray.
Last but not least was the return of Victor, the Weirdo with his pad of paper and pencils.

I had to run the scenario from a different starting point as the players last time hadn’t gone to all of the locations nor had they concluded any of the plot threads.
I started with the original character, Victor, having phoned all the Kids to join him in the Mystery. We had scenes from their home life to begin, learning about the Kids situations as they were called to assemble at the Hideout.

I started with the Kids encountering the dodgy Lepidopterist in the street, on their way to their Hideout. He offered them money for them to catch the ‘blue and green’ butterflies if they encountered them. At once the players picked up that he was no good and decided to give themselves fake names from the offset. Also Ricky decided to sneak up on him and steal his wallet from his back pocket. The player rolled on Ricky’s SNEAK and got three successes by rolling three 6’s on a roll of 8 dice. Ricky discovered not only wads of British Stirling in the wallet but other currencies too, especially the Russian Ruble. He also had a CCCP membership card, could he be a Russian spy?!
Ricky dropped the wallet at the Lepidopterist’s feet and took his ‘job offer’.

They also noticed poor Tracy Edwards was putting up ‘Missing’ posters on the lampposts. Her Golden Labrador, lady, has gone missing for a couple of days and she was clearly upset. The Kids tried to console her and offered to keep a look out and took a handful of posters too.

They headed back to their Hideout to get briefed by Victor on the Mystery and to see the captured Atomic Butterfly. Jeremy checked over the mechanical butterfly with his TICKER skill using his Multitool to assist him. He rolled two successes and was able to open up the butterfly and discover not only about how the butterfly works but also the fact that it is powered by an Atomic Battery. The Atomic Battery is very unstable a would explode if hit by metal or by electrical power. The explosion would be small but very intense, vaporising anything within a half metre diameter.
He also learnt that the Atomic Butterflies were laying the seeds of the Feral Buddleia that Victor informed them about.

After that the Kids decided to investigate and search the Lepidopterist’s Hut and what followed for the rest of the Mystery was multiple counts of arson, breaking and entering, theft of firearms, damage to property, and revelation of Government Top Secrets.

This was the only group that actually took apart the Atomic Butterflies to render them useless.

A great game and the new players, both experienced and new, enjoyed themselves and were very involved in the game. The mad fools are also happy to play again soon so expect another few games and reports to follow!

The worst bit is I forgot again to take a photo to the group, next time I will take more photos.

Thanks again go to the staff at The Dice Cup Who we’re very friendly and helpful.



One of my players made an Atomic Butterfly!
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