Tonight we played Companions’ Tale by Laura Simpson for the third time. The game seems designed to produce a rich world with a built-in legend, history, and culture more than a story or characters. If so, it does a great job of it. Our world was centered around a volcano, a volcanic island surrounded by a forest haunted by the Adeeba, which we appease through annual rites and ward off through songs of mockery. People who brave the Adeeba and the forests to reach the mouth of the fire mountain are blessed with magic, and children are sometimes lost and returned as changelings.
Our history includes the stories of the seeker who learned the names of all the stars and the gift of foresight, which had lead to a golden era of prosperity. And the young daughter of a chief who didn’t spend the traditional night alone in the forest before marrying and remained childish all her life with tragic consequences. And in the fable of Monkey and Snake who frolicked together in the forests, they eventually stray too close to the mountain, so Monkey must sacrifice himself to save his friend. But the events that dominate our story and the life of the Hero, is the arrival of the Big-hatted interlopers in their tall ships who carry and covet the metal that resists the mountain’s fire, and the war between our people and theirs for control of the island and the metallic ore.
We six companions knew the Hero from childhood, when they promised to protect their friend, and when they barely escaped before a village was destroyed in an eruption. We confronted the Hero on the edges of the forest and between the villages. We were saved and rescued by the Hero when we had lost everything, restored to ourselves and solicited for guidance. We fought with the Hero in the war with the big-hats and witnessed the final moments before they walked away when the Hero ended the war by bringing forth a special changeling child from the wood.