Robin and I left our (for all intents and purposes) hometown of San Antonio eleven years ago so Robin could go to graduate school. We only moved an hour up the highway to a small college town called San Marcos -- a town so small I had to get a job in Austin (another hour north) -- but it made a huge impact on our lives. We're both pretty shy, and neither of us has ever been good at making friends, so we were very much on our own. We got lonely very quickly.
I had given up RPGs a few years earlier because I had poorly-realized ambitions of being a writer and I knew full well that the creativity and hard work that I should put into writing stories went instead into world-building as a GM. Unfortunately, becoming a professional writer means getting things finished and I never, ever had the dedication needed to seclude myself for hours every day to write, write, write. Especially not when my soul-mate needed me.
Reluctantly, I agreed to run an RPG just for her. It seemed weird and awkward to be running a game for just one person -- what if she fails a critical roll? how do I balance combat with a single PC? -- but we persevered...
And it became our way of life.
There were, probably, more constructive, more healthy, more normal ways to fight our isolation, but this is what worked for us -- and you can only be yourself so you have to find the things that work for you. We average more hours every week gaming than we do watching TV, which means we spend more time actively involved in each other's lives than most couples. We're a couple who share hobbies, who talk with each other, who are still together after thirteen years of economic woes and sundry troubles. No small part of that is due to sitting on the couch together, night after night, making up shared stories about make-believe worlds and reliving the romance of courtship and dating again and again.
We've fallen in love again as star-crossed hsien and hengeyokai, as Celts, as schoolgirls and vampires, as spirit warrior grunge rockers, as Victorian-era monster killers, as Regency-era ladies and rakes, and (frequently) as pirates. Robin's PCs have renewed the Roman Republic and taught Elaith Craulnober that he could love again. We've loved and lost in our intimate stories so that we could stay together in real life.
It's hard to articulate our version of solo or one-on-one gaming, but that's part of the reason for starting this blog so I'll try to muddle through as best I can.