Feb. 4th, 2019

sharplittleteeth: (Default)
 *blows dust off DreamWidth*

Does this thing still even work? I haven't updated here since 2014.

Anyway.... I ran my first session of Tales from the Loop RPG on Sunday. I want to post my write up. And thought I might as well post it here.

I'm running a three-session game set in Yorkshire. I've tweaked the setting slightly from the standard game rules.

I made a Google slideshow to introduce players to the setting and character creation.
Clare Pankhurst - a young goth never without her walkman. Her parents divorced last year, and she moved to Crawdon when her mother got a job as science teacher at Crawdon Comprehensive. Clare is in detention for skipping class.
Emma Craven - a bolshie who loves her Converse sneakers. Her father is Detective Inspector of the local constabulary. Her mother died of cancer a few years back. She's in detention for violating the school dress code.
Gemma Bushnell - another bolshie who uses her camera to help save the world. Her father is a miner on strike, her mother works with Women Against Pit Closures. She is in detention for writing 'Thatcher Out' on her school blazer.
Spike - a headbanger with a beat-up bass guitar. His parents both work in the Advanced Nuclear Research Facility. He's in detention for fighting with another pupil about pop music.
Tuesday, 10 July 1984: Tomorrow, the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is coming to Crawdon to officially open the new Advanced Nuclear Research Facility. 
But this afternoon, four students have detention in the school hall.
A long table in the hall holds items for tomorrow's opening ceremony: a "Welcome to Crawdon" banner, display cases holding clay pipes and flint axes found in the area, and boxes of Union Jack flags that need assembling. Emma takes the opportunity to vandalise the banner, turning the A in Crawdon into an anarchy symbol.
The headmistress, Mrs Shrike, arrives. She sets them the menial task of glueing the paper Union Jack flags together. Then she leaves, telling them she has more important work to do. Gemma spots her taking a nip from a hip flask as she exits.
While the students are busy making the flags, the lights flicker, and they hear a deep, electrical hum. Clare's Walkman starts playing by itself, and a voice comes out of her headphones. The calm, female voice says "Warning. Warning. NODWARC is coming. Overlap is near."
The students hear a metallic noise in the corridor. When they investigate, they see a small robotic cat coming towards them. The students slam the door of the hall shut. The humming dies down. The lights settle. The robot cat vanishes.
Suspecting Mrs Shrike is up to something, Gemma and Emma go and spy on her in her office. They see she's working on some sort of electronic device. Gemma takes photos to analyse later.
They scurry back to the hall when Shrike leaves her office. She orders the students to go home. They decide to all go back to Gemma's house.
Back at Gemma's cramped workers tenement house, the throbbing electrical hum starts up again. The lights flicker. Gemma's stereo turns itself on, and the same voice comes out: "Warning. Overlap is near. Shielding is required."
The robot cat appears in Gemma's bathroom/photography darkroom. Spike lunges and grabs it and the cat... starts purring electronically.
"Shielding is required," the voice says, and the cat's eyes flash in time. "Please acquire neolithic artefacts."
The throbbing hum dies. The lights settle. The cat literally vanishes, blinking out like a television station that's been turned off.

Clare makes the connection that NODWARC is Crawdon spelt backwards. But what does that mean?
The students remember the flint axe display case laid out ready for tomorrow's ceremony. Clare, Emma and Spike cycle back to the school, while Gemma remains behind to print up her photos.

At the school, Emma comes up with a plan to break into the caretaker's shed to see if he has keys to school. Spike aces picking the shed's padlock, and they decide the shed would make a good hideout. 
The light is still on in Shrike's office. Clare peers in, and see the headmistress testing a mysterious metal box with a radio antenna and two slits in one edge. Clare thinks it might be a remote control device of some sort.
The students use their keys to break into the school hall and take the neolithic flint axes.
As they do, the throbbing noise comes back. They notice parts of the hall oscillate between reality and some futuristic version. Then they hear a heavy stomping in the corridor. It's another robot. Not a cute little cat robot, though. This is a seven-foot tall security robot with claws and a giant searchlight.
They run out the hall's back door. The robot bursts out a side door to block their path. Clare decides to climb the robot to try and disable it, while Emma and Spike distract it. The plan doesn't go well. Clare and Spike are caught by the robot's claws. Everyone is terrified.
And then Gemma appears to save the day. She yanks out a power cable, and the robot falls over, dead. Emma notices some writing on it: the word NODWARC and a long serial number.

Gemma shows them her photos: the mysterious box Shrike was making contains a radio receive, a battery, a circuit board, and two lasers that shine out the slits. The students have no idea what it does.
The throbbing noise dies down. The robot blinks out of existence the same way the cat did.
The students agree to call it a night. Emma slips a flint arrowhead into her father's wallet, to keep him safe too from whatever is about to happen.
The next day: students are herded onto buses to go to the ceremony at the Facility. Mrs Shrike is nowhere to be found. The bus drives through the rundown center of Crawdon, past the dark woods, and up the hill to the Facility.
Protestors have gathered outside. The buses go through the fences. The students gather in the Facility's control room, where there's a ribbon waiting for the PM to cut, and a big red button for her to press to activate the cyclotron.
The Salvation Army band plays. The children wave their flags. Margaret Thatcher enters the control room. She makes a short speech about how the Facility represents the future of Crawdon, and the UK.
The throbbing noise starts up again. The control room starts to shake. The scientists are worried, but the PM's handlers urge them to finish the ceremony so the PM can get back to London.
Thatcher cuts the ribbon. She presses the button.
There's a blinding flash.
The students shield their eyes. When they can see again, they realise the control room is empty, and the control panels have been replaced by row after row of sleek computer mainframes.
And stamped on each mainframe is the same name: NODWARC.

Continued in Session Two: NODWARC


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