Dec 062011

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.

Mission Accomplished.

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.

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