If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to read Matt’s article first. (Things might make a little more sense that way, but I don’t guarantee that they will.)
Yes, while at Con on the Cob I spent a bit of time getting to know the Silvervine game system, its creators, and many of the players. I was amazed by the diversity of players – all ages, genders, personalities, and gaming experience were well represented. I was intrigued by the concept – the openness of the system, the fantasy-steampunk setting, and the clear presentation of the core principles of the system. The enthusiasm of the creators is infectious – they truly love gaming, and I am continually amazed by the amount of work that has gone into their products. In short, Silvervine was my torrid affair of Con on the Cob.
So when Matt told me that one of the creators – John Arcadian himself – was willing to run a session for us at Through Gamer Goggles, I jumped up and down and giggled like a school girl! When we actually set a date and time I almost fainted in disbelief. So I helped Matt and Mike with character creation.
Matt’s character was a real challenge for me, because there are so many ways to create what he wanted to do. Will Powers is really just a tiny fragment of Matt’s own insanity. A bald elf (or Belf, as I called him), trained in Drunken Monkey Kung Fu . . . well, I think you get the picture.
For my character, I pulled out some old concepts I had once done for Rifts. Thinking this might be a one-shot game, I went for a slightly crazier character – Bonsai, the ADHD Radioactive Mutant Flying Squirrel (on Crack!). Okay, he really doesn’t do drugs (and neither should you kids), but that is the best way of describing the character. He’s a three-foot tall, hyperactive, smart-mouthed, anthropomorphic flying squirrel, trained in infiltration and demolitions.
I thought we had the crazy-funny-awesome all wrapped up. Then Mike showed up.
He wanted to play a worm.
He wanted to play hundreds of worms linked by a hive mind.
There’s no such race in the core rulebook, but that’s not a problem, because there’s a simple template for creating your own races. So we did. The mass of worms could take a vaguely humanoid shape, making all the attributes applicable. Going through the list of Skills and Focuses, Mike picked things that made him quite the tank. Mr. Wormy was slow, but strong, and very tough and durable. Then we got to the equipment. I LOVE how simple Silvervine makes initial gear selection for new players. Mike wanted a vehicle to overcome his abysmal speed. No problem. We thought of a tank, a dirtbike, a walking mech suit. Then Mike said, “No. It should be a can, a tin can. A ‘Can of Worms!'”
We spent the Asset Points to build a flying, submersible, rolling Can of Worms.
Mike wanted to see if one really could create ANYTHING as a character in the Silvervine system. We proved that you can.
Then the big night arrived. We gathered for the game. Mr. John Arcadian asked us to describe our characters. Matt went first. John nodded, and I could see the wheels turning in his brain. I followed. John’s left eyebrow raised, and I took it to be a sign that he was impressed. Then it was Mike’s turn. John Arcadian, one of the creators of this game, one who saw a person play a sandwich as a character, that John Arcadian, his jaw hit the floor.
The game hadn’t even started yet, and we had already rendered our game master (and co-creator of the system) speechless.
We selected our minis. Dumped out dozens of d10’s. And John led us on an adventure that let each of our characters shine. Will’s wine healed his allies, and befuddled his enemies just as well as his fists and feet. Bonsai jumped off of rooftops to rescue civilians and had a shootout with the big bad guy. And Mr. Wormy lost his can, found it, got electrocuted, reformed, and turned into a series of arcade games to distract several bad guys. Have you ever seen Pac-Man made out of worms? Neither have I, but I still can’t get the
image out of my head.
At the end of the night, John Arcadian confessed that Mr. Wormy might be the most original character yet created – at least he’s in contention with the sentient sandwich with toaster armor. I can’t wait until John sees the rest of the anthropomorphic animal team I’ve got up my sleeve.
If you want a game that is fun, flexible and fulfilling, look no further than Silvervine.