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Tabletop Game / Tales from the Loop

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Roleplaying in the '80s That Never Was

From the Publisher:

''In 1954, the Swedish government ordered the construction of the world’s largest particle accelerator. The facility was complete in 1969, located deep below the pastoral countryside of Mälaröarna. The local population called this marvel of technology, "the Loop".

Acclaimed sci-fi artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts, have spread like wildfire on the Internet. Stålenhag’s portrayal of a childhood against a backdrop of old Volvo cars and coveralls, combined with strange and mystical machines, creates a unique atmosphere that is both instantly recognizable and utterly alien.

Now, for the first time, you will get the chance to step into the amazing world of the Loop.


In this game, you play teenagers in the late Eighties, solving Mysteries connected to the Loop. Choose between character Types such as the Bookworm, the Troublemaker, the Popular Kid, and the Weirdo. Everyday Life is full of nagging parents, never-ending homework and classmates bullying and being bullied.

The Mysteries let the characters encounter the strange machines and weird creatures that have come to haunt the countryside after the Loop was built. The kids get to escape their everyday problems and be part of something meaningful and magical – but also dangerous.''

Inspired by Eighties films such as The Goonies and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, as well as Stranger Things and Eerie, Indiana, and based on the art book of the same name by Simon Stålenhag. It had a pretty notable Kickstarter campaign, which got full funding and was able to print it simultaneously in English and Swedish.


It gained a sequel set in The '90s called Things from the Flood where you play as teenagers after a flood of mysterious dark water.

On April 3, 2020 Amazon released a "Tales from the Loop" TV series, though it is said to be based more on Stålenhag’s's book/artwork than anything having to do with RPG. A trailer was released in March 2020. The page for that can be found here.

A Kickstarter campaign to fund Tales From the Loop – The Board Game, cooperative board game set in the same universe began in 2020.

This Tabletop RPG provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: A trope enforced by the rules. Connections are a subversion — they may be useless to fight the Monster of the Week, but they are an important part of the recovering of a player character's health and will to carry on the fight.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The sample City of Adventure locations on the core rulebook are suburban Sweden and Boulder City, Nevada.
  • Children Are Innocent: The reason why the rules enforce being child characters and not adults: the innocence of a child is supposed to see all of the weirdness with a sense of wonder (rather than going murderhobo or dissect everything to see how it works, which is what adults would do). As well, children are also Vulnerable — having fewer methods to run away or fight.
  • Competence Zone: Characters are kids aged between ten to fifteen years old. If they age to 16, they are to be turned into Non-Player Characters. The expansion Things From The Flood provides rules for playing characters in their late teens.
  • Darker and Edgier: What the expansion/second rulebook Things From The Flood promises, with the option of using now-older characters and the risk of them being Killed Off for Real and an overall "things within The Loop are going From Bad to Worse" feeling.
  • Fearless Fool: The Equivalent Exchange for younger heroes is having less stats and skills but having more Luck Points to carry them through an adventure.
  • Growing Up Sucks: One of the possible interpretations of the aging mechanics (trading off Luck Points for additional Skill Points, plus characters older than 15 cannot be played), plus the Sequel Difficulty Spike of the Things From The Flood RPG (which can be used as an expansion of Tales From The Loop), which allows players to take their characters past that cut-off point of 15 at the trade-off of maybe getting them killed.
  • Infant Immortality: Not infants, but the child protagonists are literally unkillable. They can be hurt, scared, and get too messed up to keep going until someone helps them, but permanent harm just isn't part of the equation.
  • Kid Hero: The PlayerCharacters.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Player Characters start their game (and each adventure) with a set amount of Luck Points that provides them with the ability to re-roll dice, among other effects. Interestingly, the older the characters become, the lower their Luck Point cap is — but they get higher stats in exchange.
  • Magical Particle Accelerator: All this weirdness because of the Loop, the world’s largest particle accelerator.
  • Minovsky Particle: The Magnetrine Effect.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Overall, the roleplaying focus is in how wonderful being a kid is... set against the backdrop of a countryside that has become increasingly (and even life-threateningly) weird.
  • Mundanger: Enforced by the rules. A Player Character can just as easily reach the Despair Event Horizon from (a) being attacked by the robo-saurus from the ninth circle of Hell, or (b) being bullied one time too many at school.
  • Never Say "Die": Enforced by the rules. Characters cannot be killed — they just hit the Despair Event Horizon once they reach the end of their "health" track and need time to put themselves back together. Then averted as part of the Sequel Difficulty Spike of Things From The Flood, wherein Player Characters can be Killed Off for Real.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The player group, by design, will end up looking like a combat-ready pre-teen or early-teens version of The Breakfast Club—composed of possible character templates like the Jock with a (possibly hidden) heart of gold, the Alpha Bitch with a (possibly hidden) heart of gold, the geek, the class "weirdo", The Quincy Punk rocker, the Country Mouse, and others.
  • Sanity Meter: Used in lieu of hit points and even then Lighter and Softer: anything that can be considered "damage" reduces it and once it's gone the character hits the Despair Event Horizon and won't be part of the adventure until they recover it through interaction with their Connection. Things From The Flood uses a more regular insanity and injury tracking method, supporting its Darker and Edgier promise.
  • Scenery Porn: All of the book art by Simon Stålenhag. All of it.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Things From The Flood advertises itself as such, with the capacity to kill off player characters (which can be Older and Wiser versions of those characters designed in Tales From The Loop).
  • The Place: The titular "loop" is a particle accelerator, and the cities surrounding it have become full-blown Weirdness Magnet material.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: Set in The '80s. A Kickstarter goal that was reached is a book based on Stålenhag's "Things From The Flood" (which can be used both as an expansion book or a stand-alone RPG), which will expand the timeline into The '90s.
  • World of Weirdness: Robots roaming around, the government has access to technology such as anti-gravity vehicles, there are dinosaurs in them thar woods... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

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