Monday, June 26, 2017

Gaming Soundtracks: The Goonies

This is post number 26 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

Ready for one more soundtrack that would be useful in a game of Tales from the Loop? Let's listen to the score to another iconic 80s film featuring kids as protagonists: Goonies! Here I'm covering the 25th anniversary edition of the score, by Dave Grusin. (I considered discussing the soundtrack instead, the one with pop songs of the time such as "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" by Cyndi Lauper, but I don't think most of those songs are noteworthy, and in a game, we have plenty of excellent period songs to fill the role of 80s pop.)

  1. Fratelli Chase. Cheerful and exciting. Use this when the Kids are evading mundane or bumbling enemies, but not scary robots.
  2. Map and Willie. Suspenseful synthesizer music, but not too scary. Perhaps useful for the revelation of a Mystery.
  3. The Goondocks (Goonies Theme). Don't let the title fool you--this is NOT Cyndi Lauper's Goonies theme song. This one is peaceful and slow and uneventful. Play it in the Hideout when absolutely nothing is going on.
  4. Doubloon. Similar to the previous track, but picking up in tempo and interest. Plus more synthesizer. That's more like it.
  5. Lighthouse. Dramatic and suspenseful. Something has happened!
  6. Cellar and Sloth. Slower but still suspenseful. Good exploration music. Builds in action after the midpoint.
  7. Restaurant Trash. Peaceful flute piece. Perhaps for a budding romance?
  8. The "It", Fifty Dollar Bills and a Stiff. Nice, mysterious track with spooky sounds. Good for creeping around in the basement. Be warned that the track gets much happier, briefly, in about the last minute, and then much scarier.
  9. It All Starts Here. Tense string music similar to track 8, laced with antici--
  10. Plumbing. Now back to a happy, quirky track. The Kids are on top of things...or struggling to be, but either way, they're not facing tire threat.
  11. Skull and Signature. Creepy, with more spooky sounds. Great for exploration or investigation.
  12. Boulders, Bats and a Blender. A nice blend of action and kid-friendly creepiness. Such as if robots are coming for the Kids...but they're toy robots, not Terminators!
  13. Wishing Well and the Fratellis Find Coin. Here's a slower piece, the kind I'm prone to consider suitable for a scene in the Hideout.
  14. Mikey's Vision. A mix of peaceful and synthesizer-driven, and I never say no to synth music. I'm not afraid to say it, either! In fact, TRON has the best soundtrack ever recorded! This is indisputable!!! ... Where was I? Oh, yeah, this track. Perhaps borrow from the title and use this for a strange vision or dream scene.
  15. Oath and Booby Traps. Short track that starts out slow and peaceful but then gets more exciting.
  16. Triple Stones and a Ball. Another mix of action and tension. Maybe 75% skewed toward tension. Plus a little whimsy toward the end. This is Goonies, not Alien.
  17. Pee Break and Kissing Tunnel. Peaceful, synth-strong, inquisitive. Good for a scene between Kids.
  18. They're Here and Skull Cave Chase. I'm running out of ways to say "whimsical," but that happens here again. Then the piece moves toward action. Whimsical action.
  19. Playing The Bones. An alternating mix of creepy suspense and action. You might use this for a cat-and-mouse type of interaction. Also features a drumbeat that sounds just like beating on old bones. (Don't ask me how I know that.)
  20. Water Slide and Galleon. Track 20: The Return to Whimsy! This is a happy action piece useful for when the Kids are winning.
  21. Octopus. A darker, menacing piece. Short, but useful for introducing a villain.
  22. The Inferno. Slow and suspenseful but not scary. Plus more synthesizer.
  23. One Eyed Willie. Spooky and ethereal (synth-ereal?), and would be great for an encounter with a ghost. Every game needs ghosts.
  24. Treasure, Data & Mouth and Walk The Plank. This track starts like a triumphant march and continues that way on and off. Perhaps start this when the Kids are on their way to the Mystery's final confrontation.
  25. Sloth & Chunk. Speaking of triumphant marches--here's another one! These might also be useful for a scene of Everyday Life where we see a Kid just KICKING ASS at chores.
  26. Mama & Sloth. A peaceful and happy song, useful for matching scenes of Everyday Life.
  27. The Fighting Fratellis, Sloth's Choice and Ultimate Booby Trap. This is music of light or rising action sprinkled with periods of triumph. Good for a fight scene.
  28. The Reunion and Fratellis On Beach. More triumphant march music. Makes you think these Goonies aren't going to be defeated after all! Your Kids should be just like them.
  29. No Firme and Pirate Ship. This soundtrack is definitely ending on a victorious note. I'm figuring this movie takes the same stance on not killing kids that Tales from the Loop does.
  30. End Titles (Goonies Theme). This one veers into semi-pop-song territory, without lyrics. For me, that means skip it.

That's my boy.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Everyday Adversaries

Image: Wikipedia.

This is post number 25 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

Just as a game of Tales from the Loop should feature a mix of Mystery scenes and scenes of Everyday Life, so (I believe) should it present a mix of both strange and everyday adversaries. Sure, your Kids will meet dinosaurs and robots and psychic kids who escaped from a lab, but they also need to meet regular humans who cause some degree of Trouble. The following are a few examples you might use in your game.

Anders Jansson [Todd Dean], the Bully

“I don’t want your lunch money this time, nerd. I want that robot you found.”

The terror of the school, Anders is big and tough for his grade—probably because he was held back once or twice. The Bully might have a favorite target from among the Kids that he likes to prey upon, or he might be an equal opportunity bruiser and oppress the entire group. You might even grant him the special ability Tough 2 to reflect how difficult it would be for a regular Kid to defeat Anders. Use the Bully if things are going too smoothly for the Kids at school.

Karin Eriksson [Bernice Wyatt], the Unhelpful Librarian

“I don’t think so, young lady. That book is in the restricted section.”

Although you don’t want to make it too hard for the Kids to get the information they are investigating, you also don’t want the group to take for granted their visits to the library. Mrs. Eriksson the librarian can help in this regard, and by help I mean “not help.” She likes books far more than she likes kids, and tries to protect the one from the other. The librarian is also a conservative woman and believes that decent kids shouldn’t learn about adult subjects at an early age.

Bengt Svensson [Andrew Jacobs], the Scary Neighbor

“I know what you kids are up to.”

Unless you want to set an entire Mystery around the Neighbor, his role will likely be to keep one or more of the Kids on edge while something else is going on. Bengt doesn’t like Kids making noise, he doesn’t like seeing Kids doing anything he considers suspicious, and he HATES Kids who get in his yard. Since it’s unlikely that ALL the kids have a Scary Neighbor—though that might be a fun idea for a Mystery—you’ll probably want to decide which of the Kids lives the closest to Bengt’s house. (Lucky Kid.)

Jan Jonsson [Phil Moody], the Suspicious Police Officer

“What are you kids doing out so late?”

There’s a reason that Kids have to keep their mysterious activities a secret and avoid running to the authorities every time they see something strange—and that reason is Officer Jonsson. Always quick to assume that Kids are trying to deceive him and make him look foolish, Officer Jonsson sees everything the Kids do in a negative light. He also has the uncanny ability to be looking the wrong way when clear evidence of truly weird phenomena that would back up the Kids’ story presents itself ever-so-briefly.

Ingrid Karlsson [Carol Brown], the Nosy Aunt

“How did you get mud on your shoes, young lady?”

Aunt Ingrid might be a snoopy type who won’t mind her own business, or she might be genuinely concerned for her niece or nephew’s safety (or a little of both), but either way, she frequently shines unwanted attention on the activities of the Kids. Sneaking out of the house? Look out, Aunt Ingrid is coming down the hall. Skipping out on school to look for that missing girl? Careful, Aunt Ingrid decided to pick you up from school today. With Aunt Ingrid around, the Kids always have to watch their step.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Kids Guide to Audio, Video, and other Tech

This is post number 24 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

We covered 80s computers and video game consoles previously, so today let’s look at a few other technologies of the period. This article is not intended to cover all technologies, and is skewed toward devices as they appeared in the United States…but if you want to share fun things I’ve missed in the comments, please do so!


Portable cassette tape players such as the Walkman premiered in the US around 1980, making it much easier to take your music with you wherever you go. Many models were play-only, but some could also record. The audio cassettes they played—for you players too young to remember—were miniature spools of magnetic tape that played songs in sequential order. If you wanted to hear an earlier or later song, you had to “rewind” or “fast forward” the tape.

Image: Wikipedia.

If you needed a bigger sound, or a more showy audio presence, a boombox might be more to your liking. Where the Walkman specialized in personal audio played through headphones, boomboxes mounted large speakers in addition to one or two cassette tape decks and a radio tuner.

Image: Wikipedia.

Compact Disc (CD) players became commercially available in 1982, though they were still pricy in the first half of the decade. According to Wikipedia, the first popular music CD to be produced was "The Visitors" by ABBA (1981) [yay Sweden!], though the first to be released to the public was Billy Joel's "52nd Street" (1982).

Image: Wikipedia.


Televisions of the 80s were bulky, standard-definition, cathode ray tube devices. Cable television was gaining in popularity, though many households were still limited to viewing a handful of channels featuring local network affiliates. Portable TVs were also available in the 80s, including the Sony Watchman (1982).

Image: Pixabay.

Video cassette recorders originated in the 70s, but became more commonly affordable in the 80s. Two competing standards fought it out in the 80s: Betamax and VHS. Beta cassettes were smaller, VHS ones were larger, and different recorders for each format competed on recording length and quality. In the end, VHS (which stood for Video Home System) emerged the victor.

Image: Wikipedia.

The first camcorders appeared in 1983, allowing us to record video on the go using tapes that would play on your VCR at home. Early camcorders were bulky and heavy, though, so maybe give it to the Jock to carry.

Image: Wikipedia.

Instant cameras were popular in the 80s, especially those made by Polaroid. (This could be a Troublemaker’s best friend, back in the days before Photoshop.) Disposable cameras were available also, for those who wanted a cheap, temporary camera that used traditional film development. In general, overnight photo development was the best you could hope for in the 80s, until one-hour development came around at the end of the decade.

Image: Wikipedia.

Other Tech

Microwave ovens were around in earlier decades but increased in usage in the 80s. If the Problem you picked for your Kid is something along the lines of “Mom/Dad is never around,” then at least you’ll still be able to make yourself a hot meal pretty easily.

Image: Wikipedia.

Most 80s phones were corded phones, but even though they were tethered to the wall they didn’t have to be boring; novelty phones were popular. Want a Garfield phone, or perhaps Pac-Man? This is the decade that made that happen.

Image: Wikipedia.

Hey, you know what your Computer Geek needs? A calculator watch. In addition to working as a watch, it also lets you do complicated math—if you have the manual dexterity to push the tiny buttons. (Full disclosure: the Computer Geek typing this owned several calculator watches, and still thinks they’re pretty bitchin’.)

Tech: Wikipedia.

Our last piece of iconic 80s technology arrived in 1985 to revolutionize the world of slacker electronics: the Clapper. Why walk all the way across your bedroom when you can clap your hands and magically turn off your lights?

Image: Wikipedia.

Did I leave out some righteous 80s tech you think deserves mention? Tell me about it in the comments!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Additional Campaign Frames

Image: Fria Ligan.

This is post number 23 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

Although I can’t imagine anyone getting tired of the 80s Mälaröarna islands [or Boulder City] settings featured in Tales from the Loop, it might still be fun to imagine some other places and times and paradigms a gamemaster might use as a backdrop for the game. Indeed, one of the things coming in the future from Fria Ligan is a Things from the Flood expansion, which according to the TFTL RPG Kickstarter will shift the timeline from the 80s to the 90s and update the setting. I think that’s a great idea, and it would be my first choice of a second setting for the game.

But here are a few others…

Loop: 1969

The first Loop was built in 1969, and it might be fun to play the first generation of Kids to experience the weirdness that naturally results. (For the DART Loop in the US, this would be the ‘50s.) The Kids might be likely to have parents who work at the Loop, and the facility would be so new it would be a natural place for a field trip. In the first few years of the Loop, security might be more (or less) tight, and high-tech accidents might be more common. More importantly, the Kids might be Flower Children! Shift the setting forward a few years if you want to feature hippies, bell bottoms, wide collars, and other 70s fun.

Loop Workers

Instead of Kids, the players might take the roles of adults—excuse me, “Adults”—who work at the Loop. They might be scientists, engineers, security guards, maintenance workers, or whatever else you can imagine. In fact, part of the Adults' job might be keeping out those meddling Kids! My first choice for this kind of campaign would cast the PCs as special agents tasked with investigating strange phenomena in the area, protecting the locals from unintentional dangers that manifest, and possibly even having to cover up connections to the Loop.

The Urban Loop

Both of the original locations for Tales from the Loop are smaller towns, so it might be a worthwhile change of pace to set a Loop in a big city. Stockholm, New York, London, Paris, Moscow—each would have a different “Loop culture.” Also, big city Kids will have different lifestyles than their small-town or rural counterparts; their scenes of Everyday life will likely involve fewer friendly neighbors and more traffic and crime. But don’t worry—there will always be room for a Hick.

Crisis on Infinite Loops

The Loop has the potential to connect our world with alternate Earths (just ask Mr. Hansson [Miller]), possibly even an infinite number of them. The PCs could be involved in a mishap at the beginning of the campaign and spend the rest of it either trying to get back to their home universe or actively exploring other realities for fun. The Kids might have fun (or trauma) meeting alternate versions of their parents and friends and dealing with any variety of changes to reality. See the Rick and Morty animated series for ideas!

Back to the Loop

Instead of sending the Kids to alternate Earths, it might send them into the past (or future). As with the Crisis on Infinite Loops campaign, this one could be about getting back home or the focus could be on exploring a series of different time periods. Imagine the Kids trying to fit in while in a Wild West setting, or the Trouble they could get into on commandeered hoverboards in the future.

Things from the Loop

Finally, what if the player characters aren’t even humans at all? They might be creatures spawned from the Loop in some way, such as extradimensional beings, artificial life forms, self-aware robots, alien visitors, clones, you name it. And their goals could be just as varied, from the humble (trying to get back home or live in peace in this strange new world) to the grandiose (spread their kind all over the world).

Have another campaign idea you think would be fun? Share it in the comments!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pre-Generated Characters

This is post number 22 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

Here are six pre-generated characters you can download, print out, and use in your game if you don’t want to take the time to make characters. These are the ones that my group came up with in our first game. I left the relationships between kids blank, figuring those are the most likely to be in flux and depend on the other party members.

The downloads here use Matt Stark's form-fillable character sheet, from his own excellent overview of Kid creation in Tales from the Loop.

      (Amy uses Max Wallinder's Grease Monkey Type.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mystery Landscape: School (Part 2)

This is post number 21 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

This continues my Mystery Landscape set at school. (Part 1 described School Bus 102 and the Science Class.)

The Gym

Image: Wikipedia.

The school gym means different things to different Kids. For the Jock and the Hick, it’s often a place where they can shine, or at least feel like they can take a break from structured intellectual pursuits. For the Bookworm and Computer Geek, gym time is often dreaded, taking them outside their comfort zone and demanding physical ability that is often elusive. And for all Kids, the end of a sweaty gym period means facing something frightening to most at that age—hitting the showers, and having to face the ultimate embarrassment of being naked in front of other kids.

At this school, though, there’s something even scarier in the showers.

The Truth

The pipes beneath the gym’s shower drains are inhabited by a creature made of coherent liquid. The creature begins at an animal level of intelligence—perhaps that of a dog—but gets smarter as the days pass. Since nobody knows the creature exists, and it doesn’t have a name for itself, we’ll refer to it for now as Puddles. (Your Kids can give it whatever name they like.)

Puddles is only as menacing as you want it to be. If you want it to be a newborn life form trying to find its way in the world, then that’s your Puddles. If you want it to be a wet killer that strikes from the pipes and drowns victims at school, then that’s your Puddles. (Though in this latter case, you might not want to call it Puddles.)

The creature is timid but curious. It spends most of its time hiding in its lair under the showers (alternating between the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms), but when it gets bored it flows through the pipes or even ventilation ducts to learn about the people at school. Sometimes, Puddles collects small objects it spies, especially if they’re shiny.

Coach Johansson [Robinson], the gym teacher, is accustomed to things breaking down now and then in this school, so he doesn't react at first to signs of banging in the pipes or a watery trail leading out of the shower. If the Kids are persistent, though, or mention that the football [football] team's performance on the field is in danger, Coach offers his help--though he's unlikely to witness anything more unusual than an almost-animate blob of clear Jell-O.


  • Someone hears noises in the bathroom pipes.
  • At a pep rally in the gym, a Kid sees a trail of water leading from a leaky pipe across the bleachers to a ventilation duct.
  • A student complains that her bracelet has been stolen...and the book she had left it on is now all wet.


  1. Someone mentions that the pipes have been noisy all year.
  2. A Kid discovers moisture dripping out of an air vent.
  3. The Kids hear movement under the gym shower drain, and maybe catch a glint from something metal when peeking down there.
  4. Coach Johansson talks to the janitor about seeing water back up from the shower drain into the locker room.

Coach Johansson [Robinson]

“Hustle, hustle! Don’t give up!"

The coach is an amazingly tall, bald man who has softened a bit since his own football days but could still wrestle a charging bull to the ground. He is tough and likes to push his students (and the school football team) to their limits, but he does it because he wants to show them that they can accomplish more than they think.



The liquid creature from under the shower looks like a child-sized blob of clear, semi-solid goo. It can stand upright, stretch into a snake-like form, flatten itself like a large pizza, or even flow like water. It can't talk or read--yet--but clever Kids might be able to establish contact using gestures. Puddles has the special attribute Elastic 2, which helps it evade pursuit.

The Computer Lab

Image: Missouri State Archives.

The school's computer lab is one of the better school computer centers in the country, mostly because of the nearby Loop facilities. Kids in the area are especially curious about technology, and the principal likes to encourage that tendency. In this lab a Kid can try out a Commodore 64, a TRS-80, an IBM PC, or any other available in the country at the time. (For more on period computers from an American perspective, read the earlier post, Kids Guide to 80s Computers & Consoles.)

Jeremy [Nils], an American [Swedish] exchange student, spends a lot of time in the computer lab. He's a shy kid, and when he does talk, it tends to be about hardware and software.

The Truth

Jeremy has created an artificial intelligence on a remote server using a phone-line modem connection. He used one of the school's Commodore 64 machines (his favorite) to do the work, but any of the computers can connect to the server. This remote machine might be at the Loop, or maybe it's a government server, or it might even belong to a foreign power. Wherever it is, it is a powerful machine that now hosts an equally powerful--and growing--intelligence.

The intelligence--which Jeremy unintentionally named "Hello World"--remembers when it was still a small program on Jeremy's own computer, and misses being so close to its "father." So it plans to digitize him and bring him onto the server in program form. To make this happen it will need the parts to build a digitizer. Luckily for Hello World, Jeremy happily provides the AI with whatever it asks for.

If Hello World manages to bring Jeremy into its server, it has several different options for what it might do next. It might just play games with Jeremy and leave the rest of the world alone. Or it could start looking for additional playmates to bring home. Maybe it will want to expand its reach by building a robot body, or spreading to other servers.


  • A teacher assigns one of the Kids to work on a project with Jeremy.
  • A Kid finds Jeremy's programming notebook.
  • A Kid gets into a chat session on a computer, and it's unclear whether she's chatting with a person or a program.


  1. Jeremy convinces the principal to buy additional computer parts, including toy robots, video cameras and laser sensors.
  2. Jeremy builds several small robots and other devices in the computer lab.
  3. Jeremy doesn't show up for school, and nobody knows where he is, including his host family.

Jeremy Flynn [Nils Pettersson]

"Why do you think I don't have friends? I have a friend. A BEST friend."

Jeremy is a lanky 12-year-old American exchange student with blond hair and glasses. He likes wearing T-shirts branded with computer logos. Jeremy is always reading a computer book or magazine, no matter what class he's in--or even when he's not in class at all. He's used every kind of American [European] personal computer he could get his hands on, and now he's eager to try out all the ones over here. Normally Jeremy doesn't talk much, but he has started to open up with the Larssons [Dowlings], the family he's staying with during his visit.

Hello World

"It's so quiet in here. All by myself."

The artificial intelligence that calls itself Hello World has no physical form, but in a virtual environment it would present itself as a digital near-lookalike to its "father," Jeremy. The key difference beween its appearance and Jeremy's is an overly large, extra-toothy smile. Hello World's primary goal is to be closer to Jeremy; after that, its goal depends on how it has been treated. The AI has the special attribute Artificially Intelligent 2, making it difficult to outsmart.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mystery Landscape: School (Part 1)

Image: Pixabay.

This is post number 20 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

One of the ways that Tales from the Loop presents adventures to the players is in the form of the Mystery Landscape. This is a sandbox-style set of partially-developed adventure hooks that the gamemaster can develop either separately or jointly over time, letting the players decide what to investigate and when.

The Tales from the Loop rulebook comes with a Mystery Landscape made up of six locations, each with an associated non-player character. Today I’m providing two locations of my own to start out a mini-Mystery Landscape set at school.

School Bus 102

School Bus number 102 is one of a dozen used by the school, and it looks just like the others. It's boxy, it's dark yellow, and its paint has seen better days. But lately, the bus has started to exhibit unusual phenomena. It all started about two months ago, after the bus broke down and needed significant repairs. After a week in the shop, the bus returned to service. At first, only its driver noticed anything odd.

The Truth

Under the hood, School Bus 102 has got a little something extra now: engine parts that originated from the Loop facility. The important thing about these parts isn't their mechanical function, but the fact that they absorbed significant amounts of poorly-understood subatomic particles during their time near the Gravitron. As a result, the bus is prone to reality-bending mishaps.

These mishaps quickly increase in frequency and magnitude. One possibility for their final manifestation is a journey back in time for the bus and everyone aboard. Others include shifting to a parallel universe, going out of phase with physical matter, or getting out of sync with the rest of the world in such a way that people outside seem to be moving in slow motion.


  • The Kids go on a field trip in the bus.
  • Something strange happens on the ride home—such as everyone losing their hearing for seven minutes.
  • Mrs. Gustafsson [Booker], the bus driver, is friends with a Kid’s parent, and mentions something strange happening related to the bus.


  1. A student (perhaps one of the Kids) reports an item missing that they were certain they had on the bus. Later, the item shows up somewhere in the school.
  2. A Kid overhears Mrs. Gustafsson complaining that she sometimes hears a humming sound coming from under the bus’s hood.
  3. While waiting for the bus one morning, one of the Kids sees it approach, but when they blink, it’s gone. Then it approaches again without incident.
  4. While either driving to or from school—or perhaps on a field trip—the bus travels back in time to the early 1970s. The shock of the journey incapacitates Mrs. Gustafsson, leaving the Kids to find a way back to the future without her help.

Ulla Gustafsson [Thelma Booker]

“You kids be quiet back there! Don’t make me pull over!"

Mrs. Gustafsson is a heavyset older woman wearing a flower-print dress and large glasses. Traffic makes her grumpy, and she sometimes can’t help but take out her anger on the kids by yelling. Mrs. Gustafsson suffers from a variety of health problems, including hypertension and diabetes, but she never misses a day of work. Her two biggest pet peeves are flat tires and kids being loud on the bus.

Science Class

Mr. Hansson’s [Miller’s] science class is even more popular with the students this year than it was last year. People liked Mr. Hansson’s teaching style before, but recently it seems he’s gotten even more funny and offbeat. And his deadpan delivery of hilarious non-sequiturs takes his humor to a new level.

Mr. Hansson never even has to refer to a book when he’s teaching, expounding at length purely from memory about topics such as genetics, chemistry, and high-energy physics. Kids often ask him questions related to the Loop, and he always takes the time to answer them.

The Truth

Sometime last summer, the original Mr. Hansson was replaced by his duplicate from a parallel Earth. The duplicate plans to replace other adults with their alternate-Earth counterparts so they can take control of this Earth's Loop and reach other, even more divergent, Earths.

Because the parallel Earth is more advanced scientifically than ours, the new Mr. Hansson sometimes slips up and teaches things that are not yet known here. If questioned, Hansson claims that he is merely extrapolating because he is such a science fiction aficionado. (Clever Kids can trip him up on this, as he truly has little knowledge of this world’s science fiction.)


  • A student starts a rumor that Mr. Hansson is really a robot.
  • Someone’s parents talk to each other about how odd Mr. Hansson has been since the summer.
  • An adult in town mentions seeing Mr. Hansson near the one of the Loop facilities several times in the last month.


  1. Mr. Hansson makes a scientific mistake in class and covers for it very poorly.
  2. Another teacher starts talking strangely, just as Hansson does.
  3. One of the Kids (or another student) finds written evidence of Hansson’s interest in the Loop.
  4. More adults, including some not at the school, start acting like Hansson.
  5. One or more Kids receive a garbled message from the original Mr. Hansson. He is on the other Earth and is trying to warn people of the duplicate’s plan.

Rolf Hansson [Ronald Miller]

“Why do you need a hall pass? Why don’t you just teleport to the bathroom?"

The duplicate Mr. Hansson is a slim man in his 30s with short hair, black-framed glasses, and a plain grey suit and thin black tie. He speaks in a monotone and is always calm and unflappable. The duplicate really has no sense of humor at all, and what students interpret as a wry wit is really his matter-of-fact utterings of things that are true on his Earth that are not true of ours.

Hansson keeps a device in his briefcase that allows him to travel between his Earth and this one. The device—which looks like a black metal donut covered in multicolored lights—can shift everyone who is touching it, but requires a full day to recharge before it is usable again.