One of the things I did at the Fire & Ice gaming convention last month was run a GURPS game based on the old G.I. Joe cartoon but reto-fitted into the Steampunk Era. In some ways the game was challenging; nearly all the names are based on jargon which did not come into existence until a century after the period; but the villains fit into the Steampunk millieu so easily that I had to give it a try.
In the final days of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln brooded long and hard over the problem of reuniting the country once Confederacy had been defeated. One of his ideas, which he gave the name “Josephus Project” for reasons not terribly clear, was to create a special corps of the military composed of soldiers from all the services and from every region of country representing many different nationalities. The corps would symbolize both the diversity of the Nation and also it’s unity.
Lincoln’s plans for Reconstruction were cut short by an assassin’s bullet, and his successor never took up the project; but the next President, Ulysses S. Grant, saw value in the experiment, and had the military clout to push it through. Some wags in the Army took to calling the soldiers selected for this group as “Grant’s Irregulars”, or “G.I.’s”
And so was born the fighting force that became known as the “G.I. Joes”.
(Yes, that was a convoluted explanation to justify the name).
For the convention game, I had the Joes sent to investigate some irregualrities at a remote fort near a utopian community being built by a Prussian industrialist named Von Destro. Yep, you can tell where this is going.
The actual Fiendish Plot I lifted from a lesser-known Jules Verne novel titled The Begum’s Fortune and involved a humungous cannod designed to fire shells filled with poison gas.
As I usually do for my convention games, I made up some character portraits on index cards to give to my players as souvenirs of the game. Here then, are my Steampunk G.I. Joes:
And of course, a couple villains: