Kerosene, night, Lamu, a photo by oledoe on Flickr.
I rolled up my first character in about 20 years soon after my twin sons were born. My brother was in town, but for a weird combination of reasons, we couldn't go out and yet didn't anything much that we had to do at home. We found my old D&;D stuff and after a TPK that took out his very first character ever, I suggested he might like to like to have a go as DM.
Playing one-on-one games doesn't get talked about much. Because of the "triumph of the geek" it's pretty easy to pretend that even during our years of exile, we were like Duke Senior in the Forest of Arden, reveling in the company of our fellow outcasts. But for me, it often wasn't like that. It was for me and one other friend.
This post however, is not about the gaming closet, it's about playing D&D with my brother and really about my character Mouse. My brother explained his plan to base his campaign on the Swahili Coast and the lands surrounding the Indian Ocean. I rolled my character 3d6 in order and made him thief not because of his above average dexterity but because of his mediocrity in everything else. His truly outstanding characteristic was his determination to survive. He combined a complete lack of valor with the courage to recognize his last slim chance and grab it.
Why the past tense. Because Mouse is now 7th level! In his first adventure, he was signed on to a small ship carrying a cargo of mangrove poles from his own backwater town to a sizable city. They were waylaid by pirates. There was a battle of course and Mouse (then known as Little Mouse) did something smart-stupid like dive off his own ship to board the pirate's ship and, taking advantage of the fog of war, pick up with the captain with arrows. Or something. Among their loot, Little Mouse found a string of magic beads.
As a younger player, I had been very conservative in my use of one-shot magic items, always saving them for when I "really needed them." Little Mouse spent his beads of force very freely. He general policy was to identify groups of evil and wealthy men, sneak into lair, find an elevated hiding place and then when they assembled, throw down the holy terror. Often he could accomplish this alone, although he had a number of friends whom he could call on for back-up. He shared his wealth freely, sought the guidance of holy men, and comforted young widows.
Eventually of course, the bad guys caught up with him. They burnt his ship to the waterline, looted his apartment, and trashed his friend's blacksmith shop. He fled to the wilderness and adopted a hermit's lifestyle, living in a cave on a bluff above a small lake full of hippos. He's trying to fix the place up t make it suitable for feminine company, but his funds are low.