|The Banner Saga created by Stoic.|
Images used for educational purposes only.
Now that you've had some fun with Rook and his buddies in Frostvellr, it's back to the varl in the west. They're a little better off in general, what with their swelling ranks and powerful members, but the dredge continue to press relentlessly through the countryside. Is this truly the end of days...?
- There are a few things to mull over, though everything you say will take you in the same direction. Eirik's back in your party, so, yay? Yay! (Mind that he'll only show up if you treated him well as Ubin in Chapter One. If not... yeah. He'll give you grief from afar instead.) You'll get 100 varl, 100 fighters, and 300 Supplies for your caravan.
- You can speak to Mogr and learn more about the situation. If you press him enough he'll discuss Vognir's death in greater detail. You can also speak to Ubin, discovering that he is an old, old man.
- DECISION. Head out. A short ways into the trip you'll notice some dredge headed towards Strand. You can ignore 'em, send some warriors to kill them, or wipe them out yourself. Doing it yourself is recommended for purposes of nabbing Renown.
KILL THEM YOURSELF
- Dredge Grunts
- Vicious Grunts
- Enraged Grunts
This battle looks tougher than it is. The team is somewhat penned in, and they can't move all that far. Start by sending Gunnulf in to get ganged up on so he can use his Tempest to beat on a ton of dredge at once. Eirik can stay on the fringes and deal damage or restore Willpower as needed. Then send your remaining varl up to surround the dredge, beating through the stronger contingent of dredge that are trying to get at Gunnulf. So long as you don't lose too many characters early you should power through easily enough.
- After the battle, Ludin will come up and basically demand to be treated as a soldier rather than a prince, and despite what you say he'll stick around. You can thereafter add him, the archer Yrsa, and the varl Bersi to your combat party. Yrsa is an archer, which is sorely needed in this party; Bersi is kind of a palette-swapped Gunnulf. Meh. Speaking of Yrsa and Bersi, you can chat with them in camp. Yrsa is... interesting.
- DECISION. Back on the road. Hakon will get badmouthed by one of his men; you can fight the varl, if you wish, or see him embarrassed for his conduct. Fighting will earn you 5 Renown.
- A little beyond that, you'll run into some merchants who stopped at a nearby godstone and left their wares. If pressed a little they'll give you their remaining goods for free, on the condition you send one of their number who stayed at the godstone onward to Strand. Fair enough. You'll receive 35 Supplies from the merchants.
- A ways down the road you'll run into some dredge. This is your first chance to get into a War.
During Wars you can send your men out to fight dredge and give yourself an easier time or wade into the thick of things, accept a harder battle, and (possibly) come out on the other side with fewer casualties. I recommend taking on the more difficult fights, as they give you more Renown and will suck up less of your fighters and varl, but you can judge for yourself.
When setting up a War you have a few options. Which option you choose will change the formation of your party in the subsequent battle, as well as the formations of the dredge, most of the time. I find the 'Formations' option to be the most advantageous under most circumstances, allowing you to choose more strategic placements for your troops around and among the dredge.
Regardless of the battle you take on, you'll be facing a group of dredge. As, you know, usual. In the more difficult battle, you'll find they're all wedged up together, save for one guy off on his own. This is a perfect chance to get deflection shots off on the dredge. Once they're lined up, use attacks on the largest amongst 'em, attacking the Armor. Properly done, the damage will meander down the line and and knock them all for a single point loss apiece. This is a great way to whittle them down at low risk to yourself. Gunnulf's Tempest attack is great under these conditions, so try not to get him knocked out too early. (Or at all. That's cool too.)
These War battles are something of a template for later struggles. The dredge will get more powerful, but their tactics won't change a whole lot. Get used to them now, and learn to balance the power of your team with the number of warriors you're willing to commit to the rest of the War.
WARNING! After winning a personal battle in a War you'll be given the opportunity to continue fighting. This will spawn more dredge on the fringes of the battlefield. This gives you the chance to get yet more Renown and reduce your losses even further, but it also forces your already-damaged team to keep fighting for essentially another full battle. There's no healing and no team-changing. Don't do this unless you're in good condition. Otherwise you're likely to get beaten around rather badly by the dredge.
- DECISION. After the War you'll get notice from Mogr that the supplies seem to be going bad. There's a possibility of wrongdoing. You can either ignore it, outright accuse people, or set up trusted varl to watch the supplies in secret. Note that this will only happen if you accepted supplies from the merchants headed to Strand.
- DECISION. Ludin's scouts will spot a group of dredge raiding a village in the distance a ways along the path. You can ignore them if you wish, or go to War against the lot. Split them up and you'll be facing less than 500 of the fiends; go for a straight battle and their numbers will be considerably higher.
- DECISION. Shortly after the War ends you'll be approached by the varl who was badmouthing you earlier. His name is Griss, and he wants to amend his idiocy by joining Hakon's personal guard. If you accept his offer he'll be available as a hero for the remainder of the game. If you turn him down once you'll get another chance to recruit him after the next war.
- DECISION. There are buildings ahead, and dredge waiting inside. You can fight and beat them up or avoid the village they're hiding in completely. If you avoid the fight you'll use up half a day of time. Otherwise, it's a War you're facing.
- DECISION. If you face the war you can check out the village. In it you'll find a trapdoor; open it up to find terrified villagers. You can send them to Strand, with or with escorts, or let them remain in the village. You'll lose 30 Supplies if you send them back. (Sending them back with escorts doesn't really help at all, so, meh. Keep your varl where they are.) If Eirik's in your group when you find these people he'll offer to head back with them; you can keep him by saying this is just an excuse for him to head home.
- IMPORTANT DECISION. Beyond the village you'll meet up with a varl caravan headed in the opposite direction, headed by a dude named Fasolt. He's not the problem here, though - it's Ludin. You have a choice: you can keep Ludin on, as well as Yrsa and Bersi, or whack Ludin in the face and send him off. Yikes. You'll lose 45 fighters if you knock out Ludin, as well as the prince and his bodyguards, but you'll gain 330 varl, as well as the help of Fasolt in your party. (You'll gain the varl either way, so why not keep Ludin? He's pretty awesome in battle.)
- DECISION. Remember the food that was poisoning people? Yeah, it just went bad. If you were just watching it before, you'll now have a chance to get rid of the known spoiled food, get rid of all the food, or keep everything. If you get rid of the food your sickened fighters can rest, tough out their sickness (and not do so well in coming Wars), or make the trip back to Strand.
- DECISION. On the way to another godstone you'll run into another War, this against over 700 dredge. Handle it as you wish - though you'll run into something new in the ensuing battle.
The personal fight your heroes take on is a little different this time around, thanks to a new enemy type: Dredge Slag Slingers. These guys are the dredge equivalent of archers, though they work a little differently. In exchange for a shorter range, Slag Slingers will move away from your troops when hit. Automatically. This can really screw with your battle plans, as they'll move three or four squares away when struck. They're good initial targets for ranged attackers, and once their Armor is sufficiently depleted (they're not terribly tough) you can send in varl to bring their Strength down to zero. Depending on your placement it's also possible to drive Slag Slingers into your ranks, though don't necessarily count on this happening.
- IMPORTANT DECISION. At the end of the War, regardless of how it went, Gunnulf will get into a precarious situation when a cart slips and he grabs it. You can either sacrifice Gunnulf and try keep the cart or let the cart fall to its doom, which seems to happen either way. Trying to stop the cart results in a bad situation for everyone. In the wake of this happening you can leave varl behind to clean up the mess, try to cover up the spilled cart, or leave everything behind and keep going.
- DECISION. You'll arrive at the Denglr godstone shortly. At the base of it you'll find the personal belongings of dead merchants. You can opt to take the belongings for yourself - 30 Supplies - or leave them be. If you agreed to look for a particular merchant at this godstone, you'll find what remains of him - and you can agree to take what he left behind back to Strand or keep it for yourself. If you keep it you'll receive the Five Ring Necklace. If you take it with the intent of returning it you'll gain 10 Renown instead. The Necklace is so much better than the Renown, if you're sitting on the fence about it.
- DECISION. A short ways down the road you'll notice some fires. If you wish you can ignore the fire, or you can send yourself - or some varl - to check it out. The varl won't return if sent, but when you check it out personally you'll find there are 215 varl waiting for you, and they'll join the caravan. If you go personally from the start you'll face a battle against dredge.
- Scourge Warrior
- Dredge Scourge
- Dredge Grunt
- Vicious Grunt
- Enraged Grunt
Not that bad a battle, really. Leave the Grunts at the bottom of the map to struggle their way north as you wipe out their hardier counterparts. This fight leaves you with few options for grouping up your troops, but doing so from the first turn onward will prove advantageous.
- If you opted to leave the cart of gold behind when it dropped off a cliff earlier in your journey, Mogr will note that some of your warriors have recently gone missing. If you ask Ludin about this he'll reveal that he's been sending men back to retrieve the gold. Act as you see fit, though even pummelling his face in won't change much.
- Your warriors will soon demand a rest. Mogr will suggest following a flock of birds. It turns out to be a disconcerting illusion. Hrm.
- DECISION. After resting a short while, Mogr will point out the next day that you're being followed by dredge. You can either stop to fight them or try to lose them. If you get into a fight you'll be facing a War against over 800 dredge. They're typical fare, regardless of the difficulty level. It's advisable to take them on now.
- DECISION. A bit further on, the dredge will muster themselves and surround you. If you didn't fight the previous War you'll be facing substantially more dredge this time around. Ultimately you can fight your way out, wait and see if the dredge disperse, or lure the lot into the woods. Luring the dredge into the woods won't help you a whole lot, so prepare for another clear-cut War. If you took substantial damage in previous attacks you'll probably want to order your troops to take the brunt of the subsequent attack.
- IMPORTANT DECISION. If you have Yrsa in the party you also have the option of using fire as a distraction or an outright weapon. Using it as a distraction will land you in a War as you leave the forest, but the numbers of Dredge likely won't compare to your varl; using it as a weapon outright will sow confusion amongst your ranks instead. Yrsa will also leave your party, probably because she knows she screwed up, so, uh, yeah. (Though you will skip the next War. That's something.)
- Shortly after the attack you'll wind up at Ridgehorn, an abandoned fort. Once everyone's made camp you can upgrade your heroes at the Heroes Tent or ascend the nearby Tower. Be ready for a fight.
- Dredge Grunts
- Dredge Slag Slingers
- Dredge Stoneguards
- Stoneguard Defenders
If you've been keeping up with your levels then this shouldn't be a difficult fight. The dredge are at a bit of a disadvantage thanks to a big gap in the floor, and you can easily use it to split their ranks. Clump your soldiers up on the right side of the crevice, then quickly take out the nearest dredge with your strongest soldiers, probably Hakon. Have either a ranged fighter (Yrsa) or a swift fighter (one of your other humans) sweep up on the left and take out any Slag Slingers that might be using the gap in the middle of the battlefield as cover from your units. Beyond that it's a standard fight.
- In the wake of the battle - and possibly during - you'll notice two human bodies nearby. You can ask about them or search them; searching them reveals the man to be alive.
- DECISION. A War comes swiftly thereafter, and you're facing a little over 600 dredge. You have the usual choice ahead of you; choose based on how the previous battle went. If it went ill, you'll want to give your personal team an easier time against all those dredge and sacrifice some of your men. Note that if you lose this war you will get a Game Over, so... don't.
- IMPORTANT DECISION. In the wake of the War you have the option of leaving immediately or stopping to rest. If you leave immediately you'll have to fight off the immediate dredge incursion and face a slightly easier battle; if you wait you can get a better bead on the dredge, as well as set up constant watches... or commit your men to resting. If you decide to rest Ludin and his bodyguards will take off, and if you decide not to help them thereafter they will all die. In
- IMPORTANT DECISION. Either way, you now need a plan. You can bait the dredge into attacking; crash straight through the enemy lines; fight defensively; go all out; or send a diversion to draw them off. If you send a diversion, Mogr will offer to go, and if he doesn't go the diversion won't really work, causing a hit to your Morale. Unless Mogr leads the diversion you'll get into a battle. If he goes... well, hope you enjoyed your time with the old varl. Mogr leading a diversion is the only way to avoid a battle.
- DECISION. If Ludin is on your team you can ask his opinion of the coming battle. Mess with his head and he'll take off and leave you. Be a bit judicious if you want the little prince to not freak out.
- One thing to note in the coming battle: though the action is largely the same as usual, you'll find yourself against Dredge Destroyers. Though these look the same as the usual beefy dredge, Destroyers are wickedly strong and can demolish weaker units with a single hit. They also have a lot of Strength. Give Destroyers precedence (or try to lure them harmlessly away from the main party) or you'll be in big trouble.
- After the battle and your departure from Ridgehorn the mender you rescued will wake up. His name is Eyvind, and he's not doing so great. Speaking to him will bring the chapter more or less to a close.