On Sunday morning at Intercon O, I played in two LARPs. The first was G.I. Joe: Orbit, the second was Interplanetary Federation: The Cadet Years.
G.I. Joe: Orbit was part of an ongoing series of LARPs based on the 80s G.I. Joe cartoon, “in all its poorly animated and ridiculously plotted glory”, as per the blurb. I played in G.I. Joe: Metamorphosis as Snake Eyes the ninja, and then NPCed for G.I. Joe: Noir. They were both hilarious and fun, full of creative and amusing little challenges. And the players always have a good time riffing off one another and the common tropes and memes of the cartoon.
To go with the sci-fi/space theme of the convention, in G.I. Joe: Orbit, the Joes went into space to recover a satellite stolen by Cobra. We started with space training, learning to react to G-force (everyone moving in the direction of a big arrow held up by the GM) and using tools in space (trying to screw nuts onto bolts while wearing thick mittens or oven mitts.) The actual satellite was represented with a giant inflatable ball — sort of like a hamster ball for kids. We “climbed” the outside of the space station (pulled ourselves along a rope in the hallway) and fought a giant robot (a GM in an adorable robot costume). Mainframe (the computer-specialist Joe) reprogrammed the satellite by playing Tetris Bop-It inside of it.
He only fit about halfway in.
I think my favorite part was destroying the rocket that chased us back to earth. The mechanic for that was taking a few swings at a rocket-shaped piñata.
Did I mention our space helmets were crafted out of garbage can lids?
Interplanetary Federation: The Cadet Years was exactly what I was hoping it would be — playing through a mission on the Artemis simulator, a program that simulates being on the bridge of a spaceship, with the players taking on different roles: command, piloting, engineering, communications, and weapons. We had two teams, each set up in a different hotel suite, with the furniture arranged to look like the bridge of a ship, a large screen for the captain to look at, and tablets set up for each station on science fiction-ish light-up displays.
The premise was two teams of cadets running a simulation to complete their training, and we players were each given a basic character — a race (human one of a few alien species), a short history, and a personality quirk. I played the engineer of the blue team, a dwari (read: space dwarf) who was inclined to yell to her team (part of the simulation controlled by the engineer) whenever the ship needed to be fixed.
I think I was most excited about getting to wear a beard as part of my costume. I picked up a set of stick-on mustaches to wear at the dollar store. A giant mustache got repurposed as a beard. They earned me a few stares in the hallway on the way to and from the LARP, which I admittedly found rather amusing.
I was so tired from lack of sleep during Cadet Years that I didn’t do the best job at engineering, but I still had fun. I think my favorite part was when we accidentally hit the other ship with a homing missile. (Word was, some of the yellow team strongly considered firing back.) The two communications officers, by the way, were exes who still had feelings for one another, and the pilot on the yellow team was inclined to stop the ship to admire space whales whenever they appeared on screen.
This is the first year Intercon has produced patches bearing the convention’s name and theme artwork, which worked well when incorporated into our costumes.
And that’s it for my LARPs at Intercon O!