[Let’s Study: Tales From The Loop, Part 3] The Kids, Character Creation

Posted: June 16, 2017 by pointyman2000 in Let's Study, Reviews, Roleplaying Games, Tales From the Loop
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Capture

To play Tales From of The Loop, the player characters must take on the role of the kids. Character creation in Tales From The Loop is pretty straightforward, as it was in Mutant Year Zero, and Coriolis, and follows several very quick steps. These are:

Choose your Type

This isn’t a romantic decision, but rather a choice of what Archetype your Kid falls under. For the sake of this article, I’ll try to reconstruct myself from the 80’s.

For my Type, I choose Computer Geek. In doing so, I get the following:

Key Skills: Calculate, Program, Comprehend

In addition, I also make picks for a whole bunch of character-shaping decisions. I’ll just streamline it to the selected items below:

Iconic Item: Computer (Commodore 64)
Problem: The Tough Guys hit me.
Drive: Peer pressure makes me do it.
Pride: When the shit hits the fan, I don’t back down.
Anchor: Science Teacher

In addition to these, there are also choices made to define relationships to the other Kids and to NPCs. Since I’m making this character in a vacuum, I’ll skip those for now.

Choose Age

Choose an age between 10 to 15. Age affects attribute scores and the amount of Luck Points you have. Higher age means you get more attribute scores, but lower Luck, and lower age means you’re more Lucky.

I’ll go with a 12 year old me.

Define Attributes

Kids are defined with four attributes: Body, Tech, Heart and Mind. You get to distribute a number of attribute points equal to your Age to these stats. Starting scores cannot be higher than 5 in any attribute, and each attribute has to have at least a score of 1.

I’ll go for Body 2, Tech 3, Heart 3, Mind 4

Luck Points

Kids start with 15 Luck Points minus their age. This brings my Luck down to just 3 points. Luck Points are spent to re-roll dice.

Skills

Each Attribute has three skills associated with it. The level of a skill ranges from 0 to 5, and corresponds to how many dice you roll when you try to overcome Trouble in addition to the dice from your attribute. We get to spend 10 points among skills. For character creation, you may take up to 3 levels in the three key skills of your Type. For everything else, the maximum is 1.

Given my Type as Computer Geek, that means that my skills look something like:

Sneak 1 (BODY)
Move 1 (BODY)
Program 2 (TECH)
Calculate 2 (TECH)
Charm 1 (HEART)
Investigate 1 (MIND)
Comprehend 2 (MIND)

Problem

Problems are essentially built-in plot hooks to signal the GM that there are stories around that particular concern that the player would like to play through.

Drive

Drives are the reasons why these Kids go out to solve Mysteries.

Pride

Prides are means to further help the player get into the shoes of the Kid they’re playing. In-game they can be used as a carrot or a stick to get the player into a mystery or into doing something that feels reckless!

Relationships

These define how the Kid gets along with other people in his life.

Anchor

Anchors are special people that help the Kid get over any Conditions that they may have suffered from their misadventures.

Conditions range from Upset to Scared, Exhausted, Injured to Broken. Failure, frustration, fear and other emotional or physical trauma can result in Conditions, resulting in penalties to your rolls or your Kids inability to participate further in the Mysteries.

By spending time with their Anchors, the Kid can bounce back from their conditions.

Favorite Song

This is more for flavor than anything else, but we also get to pick a favorite song from the 80’s. For this Kid, let’s go with “The Reflex” by Duran Duran.

Hideout

In a neat bit, the group is encouraged to put together their Hideout. This is a sacred space where only the Kids are aware of it. This is where they can decompress, recover from their Conditions and build bonds. Trouble doesn’t normally find them there.

I really should have been more prepared to be this impressed with character creation, given that Mutant Year: Zero blew me away when I first reviewed it too, but here we are!

Tales From The Loop’s character creation is incredibly easy from a mechanics standpoint, but serves as an excellent gateway to learning to get into character. By focusing your efforts on choosing aspects of a character’s personality, motivation and weaknesses, you take the decision making away from questions of “What will make an optimal point spreads?” to “Who do I want to play?” And that deserves a round of applause.

If you’d like to follow along or get your own copy of Tales From the Loop, you can grab the PDF over at DriveThruRPG for only $24.99

If you’d like to support me in making more Let’s Study Review series, then please consider contributing to my Patreon

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