There was a crash of thunder, a flicker of power, the smell of ozone, and the room went dark. When power flickered back on, the four separate split-screen views of the Hey, Look, Giants!!! video game blanked, then settled back into a single view of the world. The game screamed “Distress Call,” a solitary confused voice of someone desperately needing help. Here, in the game room, were several people looking around, quite confused, also muttering about their own “Distress Calls.”
The almost or barely teenage video game players are in the game. The video game characters are in the real world. This is a mess.
Welcome to Level Up!, where a strange group of totally customized and munchkin characters have to adapt to a brand new world, figure out its rules, and use their abilities to help the trapped kids and themselves find a solution to this problem. All the while, the Responsible Adult upstairs is turning into one of the Mystic Giant Bosses of the game, and that’s never good.
Players take on the roles of the ½ Unicorn Bard Fisher, the Supercute ½ Djinni Ninja Race Car Driver, the Vampire Werecow Blacksmith Plumber, and others, each with Power Moves and Special Abilities that just don’t seem to work very well, if at all, in this world. This game has a large and silly front end about choices and freedoms, concealing a small, but serious, core about kids coping with difficult circumstances.
Content warnings include divorce, abandonment, bullying in the real world and cyberspace, and video game violence.
Level Up! is a LARP for five to twelve players, running for two hours, less with a smaller set of players. All characters are gender neutral; the player can choose the gender for the role.
Level Up! was written by the Not Set In Stone team, as part of the Intercon S Iron GM competition. Level Up! was designed and written in 24 hours, with the ingredients of magical realism, distress calls, and coming of age, with a 10" diameter circular mirror as the prop.
Not Set In Stone is Jeff Diewald, Julie Diewald, Tim Lasko, Theresa Sullivan, and Gaylord Tang.