The Sad Ballad of Captain Keeves

There once was a captain who had skin like the sea
And his beard was as white as his spirit was free
He came to meet creatures who hailed from the land
And convinced them to join him as a sea-fairing band.

He bartered a pearl for a ship with no name
A fine home for his crew they could sail into fame
They set sail for glory
Spirits high as the water
When some dumb monster cult
Got their poor captain slaughtered

Keeves was his name and the sea was his lady
He now spends his days in the locker with Davey
Missed he will be and remembered so dearly
As the crew sets their sails to the horizon clearly. Hey ho and up he rise-ed
Hey ho and up he rise-ed
Hey ho and up he rise-ed
Saving all his crewmen

The characters I play in role playing games are not me. I create them to be fictional people I can fill with fun attributes and desires distinctive from myself. However, they always end up as the embodiment of important milestones from my real life. Captain Keeves was no different even though I only got to play him twice.

I created him to embody the traits of the sea: A boisterously indefatigable Triton who’s strength came from refusing to ever stop. That was, until he was stopped, at the end of our very first session, to stop the reaching tentacles of a mad god. The captain had to die and leave his crew just as, in real life, I had to leave my friends and our game for a cross country move to Michigan.

Even though I wasn’t there to play, the DM got clever and had me make recordings of “Captain’s advice” from beyond the grave that he would play for my friends in key moments. I tried to make them extra silly and really lean into the fact that I had no idea what was happening. Like internet messages, it was a fun way to hold my presence with far away friends.

This past weekend, I finally managed to arrange an in-person visit with these friends and, as a treat, our DM held a special session. Captain Keeves returned from his watery purgatory for one final visit with his crew. It was more silliness, more fun, and a meaningful ending to a character too quickly cut off.


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