In writing about the player character Ren Treesinger (here and here) I came across a mention of a fallen character named Aspitis Preves. I have no memory of this character so I dived back into my old collection of D&D papers from the 1990s and uncovered more information about him, which I shared in a recent post entitled “The Mystery of Aspitis Preves.” It provided some answers, but I still did not remember the character. I remember a lot of details about other player characters so it is odd I cannot remember this guy. Tonight, I went back into the files and uncovered the reason why I cannot remember: He was met by the players in Adventure #11. As previously stated, he died in Adventure #12, which means he was only around for one adventure; but, it is very likely he was a NPC in #11, which means he was a player character that did not survive his first outing.
The image above is part of a hand-drawn map. It is labelled Adventure #11. You can clearly see “Pansis” on the island. Aspitis’ character sheet biography states he was from Pansis. I then found a passage in a story written by me entitled “Beginning Story #12”, which means it was the introduction I read to the players before we began Adventure #12. The story is written in ink, is shockingly tidily printed, and contains very few scribbled out words. The passage is as follows:
Ren and Illistyl spend time becoming more acquainted with Aspitis Preves, the newest member of the Assembly [of the Dragon]. The Assembly invited Preves to join soon after seeing the dwarves off to safety, but [he] refused. He knew he could not stay in Balta so he accompanied the Assembly to Almor where he would then decide what to do. In a new land, Aspitis felt the ties of an odd friendship he had made with the Assembly and he could not get himself to leave. Now he enjoys hunting with Ren and Illistyl. Oddly enough, Cyric has become very open toward Aspitis, showing him around the land of Almor and training him in swordplay. Maybe it is the fact that Aspitis, like Cyric, lived in darkness, but saw the light. Whatever the reason, the two have become trusted companions.
I had been surprised to learn I had used slave-trading in an adventure, but this passage strongly suggests the slaving was the main plot for Adventure #11. The mention of “seeing the dwarves to safety” makes me think Aspitis and the aforementioned villainous Morgan Eskalderne were antagonists in the quest, with Aspitis eventually turning his back on this “darkness” and perhaps even betraying Eskelderne. Redemption was a reoccurring theme in my old school D&D. I returned to D&D via 5th edition a couple years ago and in the limited number of campaigns– I don’t call them “adventures” anymore– I’ve run there has been no whiff of redemption. Often those that do wrong feel the bite of justice / vengeance even when they try to right the wrongs. If I really think about that I find that odd because I consider myself a forgiving person who believes people can change and redeem themselves. And if I think about THAT then I think it just boils down to crafting campaigns with emotional punch and not campaigns built around my personality. “I’m tired of happy endings” might be another way to explain it.
Across this span of years, the ending for Aspitis Preves might be the most unhappy of all those who perished in service to the Assembly of the Dragon. He changed his life and set out on a grand quest with his new companions only to have the details of his death forgotten. His character sheet is incomplete. His entry is the list of the fallen is incomplete. He never even had a chance to name his horse.