Barlowe the Pirate
Posted by Bob Harvey on April 22, 2015
During my time in the military there were long stretches of field duty where there was little to do or long weekends where my friends and I didn't have the energy (or the money) to go out. Most of us were gamers of one type or another. So, we decided to begin a campaign with one of our more experienced D&D players as DM.
Everyone started by building characters. As I had a modest amount of experience I decided to wait and see what others made so I could fill in any gaps. When all was said and done we had Fighters, Rangers, Mages and Clerics, but what we didn't have was a Rogue. So Barlowe, a Chaotic Neutral Rake, was born.
I decided to play up the Chaotic Neutral alignment by bringing a silver dollar with me to game sessions and tossing it, not for every last decision, but when Barlowe needed to make more important choices such as going left or right at a critical junction or deciding whether or not to like someone we encounter, be it friendly helpful NPC or double dealing scoundrel.
This led to quite a few humorous encounters as well as some very fortunate occurrences during our campaign’s early days.
However, in our mid level adventures (9-12) this method of decision making came back to haunt me. During a planar adventure Barlowe flipped his coin and decided to look through a portal that led to the planes of hell. After failing multiple constitution saves he was so frightened that his hair went shock white and the mere mention of devils and demons would unbalance him.
At the end of one dungeon crawl we found a locked chest. Being dutiful I flipped the coin and decided to not check for traps before opening the chest. As Barlowe blithely picked the lock and reached into the chest to grab a handful of gold and jewels, a blade of sharpness flicked out and critically hit and amputated Barlowe's hand at the wrist.
After healing (and the fitting of an iron hook) an adventure was undertaken to replace the hand with a pseudo-mechanical one that could be crafted with various lockpicking tools.
After a coin toss caused Barlowe to seduce the Queen of the local kingdom successfully, he was taken prisoner. While being held, the torturers, under direction of the King, removed one of his eyes as a reminder to not look upon other men's wives.
Barlowe began wearing a very fancy eyepatch from that point on.
Finally, during a higher level encounter with a Black Dragon, Barlowe's coin toss caused him to charge the Dragon along with the Fighter and consequently lose his leg. It was swallowed in one bite. After the defeat of the Dragon, Barlowe decided that adventuring was too dangerous and took his share of the Dragon's hoard to purchase himself a ship. He hired a crew and retired as an adventurer to become a pirate.
I still have his character sheet in one of my old D&D books. When I get together with new groups I think of Barlowe and remember how much fun a seasoned character can be.