More Tales... at Nottingham’s Ludorati Cafe.

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Tales from the Loop Actual Play


Nottingham is proving to be getting better and better as far as getting players for my games is concerned, far better than my attempts in Derby.
I had another success running my Tales from the Loop game, ‘Bigtrax and Magic Tricks’ at Ludorati Café Bar on Saturday afternoon. I had four players signed up for my game, all keen and ready to go.
We were allocated the Cube, a beautiful glass panelled room with a great table set up, air-conditioning, Bluetooth speakers, TV, flipchart, and a host of other goodies too. It is such a great place to run, and no doubt play, role playing games in. To top it all we had table service from the bar as well.
I went through the ‘Principles of the Loop’ with them and began to make our characters.
We had a young Troublemaker called Jojo (Josephine) Jones with her iconic hover-board. She suffers from Dyslexia, has dreams of becoming an Olympic Hover-boarder, and loves ‘Ant Music’ by Adam and the Ants.
Her older brother, Chad Jones, is a Jock and plays Ice Hockey with his ever-present hockey stick. His teacher hates him but he will always do the right thing as “It’s the right thing to do.” His song is the seminal ’99 Red Balloons’ by Nena. Their dad, Eric Jones, is one of the MoD guards at the Facility.
Billy-Bob is our Hick with his trusty canine companion, ‘Dog’. He is anxious as someone has been poisoning his animals on the farm but wishes to better than the clueless ‘townies’ by taking pride in building machines. He just appreciates the vocal simplicity of ‘Born in the USA’ by Bruce Springsteen.
Last, but by no means least, is Analise, our Weirdo who is a curious girl who thinks that nobody loves her (it might have to do with the razorblade she carries?) She has a dazzling charm that disarms all that go against her and she adores Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ song.

Their Hideout was a hayloft on Stocker Flats Farm decorated with posters and magazines about hover-boarding, tools and toolkits are littered about the place, there is a selection of protective hockey gear like masks, gloves, and other armour. The copious amount of Vodka bottles provides that homely touch that finishes the aesthetic. The Kids know that they are safe when in their hideout.

As usual I took them through my own setting for the Loop, Derby in the spring of 1984. That April had been one of the coldest and wettest on record. Miserable weather that kept everyone indoors. To top it all the main concern at school was the revision for mock exams and the time that the pupils would choose their main subjects in ‘Options’. Lots of pressure.

Yet now the sun was shining and it was the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. The Kids have seen a flyer about the BigTrak (British, Independent, Gravitron-powered, Titanium-armoured, Radium-Laser equipped, All-terrain Krawler) being on display at the Elvaston Castle Transport and Steam Rally this weekend. They loved the BigTrak toy when they were younger so they were keen to see the full sized tank version.
We had a few quick scenes of home life for each Kid before they all made their way to their Hideout. Their plans were knocked awry when they heard the Dixie horn from an American style truck stuck trying to get down the narrow Elvaston Lane. The driver, Milo using the worst Cockney accent, asked them for help to get to Elvaston Castle as they had to set up for a televised Magic Show at the County Fair. The Kids were reluctant at first, but the promise of a ride in the truck, free beer, and a tenner for helping them set up clinched it. They all piled inside the cab. Of course the Kids struggled to actually direct them the correct way as none of them knew the route (quite a few failed dice rolls there) so the truck pulled up later than planned.

The Kids got to see the construction robot, A-FIL-08, in action setting up the auditorium and stage truss and then were drawn into the Mystery by the scientist in the white lab coat taking control of the robot to move and position an Echo Sphere by the stage. They then proceeded to investigate and were hooked into a world of secret tunnels, strange Echo Spheres, duplication of hover-boards, Gravitron Loop, running afoul of school bullies, the discovery of the Kid’s father as one of the MoD guards, flame-throwers and fireworks, and escaping the tank-stealing spies.
The Kids (and the players) were very excited about driving the BigTrak tank and were ecstatic when they did. Again the Kids take the BigTrak tank home with them rather than return it back to the stage, it must be a Nottingham thing as all the other groups that have played this scenario have always driven it on stage to the audiences’ applause.
The spies were also caught and stopped from causing any more harm. A triumphant end to the exciting Mystery and a few scenes from the Kids home life toned the mood down somewhat.

A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon and the staff at Ludorati Café Bar were very helpful. A big thank you to Damon the Games Coordinator at Ludorati for allowing me to run the Tales from the Loop RPG at the café and no doubt I’ll be running more there soon.

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