The Let's Play Archive

The Banner Saga Trilogy

by FairGame

Part 14: 7-2: The Slayer and the Slain


I was fully expecting this to be a 24 hour vote, but the chances of the "not Hakon" votes coalescing behind a single character seemed pretty slim given the early lead. And, well...let's face it. Traffic to both SA and this thread aren't exactly overwhelming to the point that it seemed like there were a lot of votes left uncast.

Plus I really wanted to get to TBS2 where I haven't seen a lot of the content for reasons that will be clear shortly.

Let's meet the team that will try and save human and varlkind from the immortal Sundr, Bellower.

BGM: Long Past the Last Sigh

For an orphan from a small town in the woods, Egil has really made a name for himself. Incredibly high armor, though he's pretty much a one-trick pony. Poor exertion means he can't move all that far, and low strength means he won't do much damage.

That said, if I can get Bellower to focus on him while he's casting a Rank 3 stonewall, the Sundr general will do ABSOLUTELY 0 DAMAGE.

To that end, instead of further armoring Egil, I give him the Sporddreki Bur for its +2 aggro. I really don't know what +2 aggro is relative to +1 (other than "it's twice as much!") and I've never had this item before. When I gave characters the Godscale (+3 armor, +1 aggro) in previous games, it didn't really make a difference.

But Egil really doesn't need the extra armor. 16 + 7 from his stonewall = strong enough to shrug off anything. So long as someone is dumb enough to attack him.

Iver's not as heavily-armored as Egil, but he can move a crazy amount with his 3 exertion and nearly limitless willpower reserves. Plus, that Namejs' Ring isn't seen by the enemy AI so if Bellower thinks he can maim Iver through the 16 armor, he'll immediately have whatever strength damage he can do reduced by 2. And since I'm planning to stand Iver next to Egil, he'll be even further armored.

The varl king gets the godscale so that he's not quite so brittle. Hits like a goddamn truck, and is good at both armor and strength damage. And, like Iver, he's huge. Planning to put him on the other side of Egil so that our archers have a nice wall between them and a OHKO.

Crossing my fingers that the +1 aggro on the Godscale works as I've seen before--meaning they ignore him in favor of Egil.

Alette hasn't changed stats-wise since last update. With her exertion and the farthingjord, she can break a whopping 8 armor in a turn.

The girl we were afraid to put into fights at the start of this game has completely come into her own. Rook should be proud.

Yrsa still has rubbish strength, but she doesn't need it. She's here for one reason and one reason alone: her "slag and burn" special ability. Anything caught in the center of slag and burn takes skill rank as break damage + normal break damage + 2 str, meaning that's at least 6 break damage (and actually 8 since I'll be casting at rank 3 in a fight this short).

And, further: if I can manage to do it in such a way that Egil and Iver are on the edge coals, they'll take 0 damage. Iver because his Namejs Ring shrugs off 2 strength damage. Egil because with stonewall up he shrugs off up to 7 damage.

Rook has to be kept alive at all costs. If he can't deliver the silver arrow, it's a game over. Crazy high movement, plus the ability to dart in and out of allied units, will allow him to get to Bellower when the time comes.

Dundr's hand means that he'll start with 15 strength--should be enough to keep him alive for a while in time to deliver the arrow.

"It's time," Juno says. "Gather your allies. Today one thing will end, another will begin, and our actions will decide on which we stand."

No turning back now.

BGM: Of Our Bones, The Hills

As promised, Juno manages to deliver us safely to Bellower, who is relatively unprotected. Still, he's behind 3 beefy dredge which means that Hakon and Iver won't be able to get to him until we kill one.

And those slingers might be a pain in the ass too, to be honest.

Oh, and Bellower? 20 armor. 20 strength. REGENERATES 6 ARMOR AND 6 STRENGTH EVERY TIME HE GETS A TURN.

Further he still retains his "Tremble and Quake" ability where he shouts and makes everyone on the team take 1ARM + 1STR damage, stunning a random unit. Given how much of my strategy revolves around Egil being able to draw aggro, if he stuns Egil before I can get stonewall up, I'm in trouble. Or if Hakon or Iver get stunned and end up in the way of the archers.

Or if Rook gets stunned and left hanging before he can deliver the arrow.

The best way to keep Bellower from, well...bellowing? Give him a target. If he thinks he can maim or kill someone, he'll usually opt to do that instead of shouting, even though shouting is really the far more dangerous ability.

There's a gimmick to this fight that Juno will shout at you from the sidelines: you only need to deliver the silver arrow. In order to do that, there must be a 0% chance of deflection (and sadly it can't be boosted by items like the Eyeless Rift). Meaning Rook needs to have AS MUCH or GREATER strength than Bellower's armor on the turn where I deliver the arrow.

With 15 strength, that shouldn't be too difficult. After all, he's up after Alette and Yrsa who can both do 8 break damage.

I decide to go up the right side. Egil puts up a stonewall and Iver stands next to him, breaking the armor of the 23 strength destroyer in front of Egil. Hakon will be able to get into position to maim it before it's too much of a threat.

In response to Hakon maiming it, the destroyer fucks off to try and summon something. A fatal error, since:
1.) Now he's left us a clear path to Bellower, and
2.) Even if he succeeds in summoning, it's just 1 more thing on the map that isn't Bellower taking a turn.

Alette steps up and delivers an 8 break damage arrow. Rook, the way is clear.

But for good measure, Yrsa does a little more damage. This is going incredibly well. I can't believe it.

On Rook's first turn he runs up with the silver arrow. 15 strength is greater than 12 armor, so it'll be an easy hit. And hell, if Bellower runs forward he's just gonna get torn up by those hot coals.

But Bellower doesn't react to "losing his mortality" by running forward. Instead, he bellows. Everyone takes damage, and...Rook is stunned. Which makes the next part all too predictable.

He runs forward, coals be damned, and...

Hah, nice arrow, chump. After we finish you, Rook's gonna have quite the tale to tell.

Oh. Oh no.

BGM: Of Our Bones, The Hills (2)

With Bellower standing over Rook's crumpled body, phase 2 of the fight begins. The gimmick in this one (which Juno will again shout from the sidelines): any time Bellower takes damage, he gets a turn. Thankfully his regen is now cut to 1/1 instead of 6/6. But still--play this wrong and he will just run roughshod over your whole team.

Going up the right side worked before, and now that there's not a giant destroyer between us and him, Egil can actually charge forward and immediately put himself in harm's way. Hope that +2 aggro is enough!

If Bellower attacks, the kid from Skogr will completely shrug it off.

Ha! It works! Bellower fails to shout and ruin my day. Completely wastes his turn. Of course, he still has 20/20 stats so he's an enormous threat, but Iver can get to him now. And at 20 strength it'd take Bellower several turns to chop Iver down--turns he doesn't have while my archers run up behind and lay waste to his armor.

Unbelieveably, the most bullshit fight in the game has been rendered trivial by that shitty little +2 aggro item on Egil. I no longer regret keeping him alive the whole time, risking starvation and keeping everyone underleveled. It's well worth it.

This fight is over and Bellower is dead. He doesn't know it yet, is all. Let's convince him of it, shall we?

Iver dashes forward and maxes out his exertion to do 6 break damage. If Bellower retaliats, he'll take...1 strength damage. I can live with that.

But...he doesn't even bother with Iver. Not when there's a +2 aggro Egil right there. Wastes another turn.

Hakon can't reach Bellower, but he can reach the adjacent enemy--and put up a further wall. Archers can stand between Hakon and Iver and be completely protected. More importantly, his sundering impact special does physical damage to adjacents. So even though he's not next to Bellower, it does break and strength damage to the Sundr.

Which, of course, triggers another free turn for Bellower. I'm sure his buddies--including the very dangerous stonesinger--are pissed off that Bellower keeps hogging initiative. They will literally never get to move this fight.

This is just sad, really.

Alette rushes forward to strip even more armor.

With predictable results.

Yrsa delivers another blow, with the coals not even bothering Egil or Iver because of their ability and item respectively. But now Bellower is completely unprotected. least Bellower moved this time, moving up and right one so that he wouldn't be in Iver's melee range. Still goes for Egil, though. Still wastes his turn.

I don't need Egil to stone wall anymore. He can maim Bellower this turn to the point that his natural armor will be enough to shrug off the retaliatory blow.

Bellower has a shitload of armor break. It's also the only damage I take this fight.

Because Iver rushes forward and delivers the deathblow to Bellower. Imagine what he'd have done with both arms behind the swing.

I...I can't believe how easy that was. Goddamn.

: Dad...get up. Get up. Help me...where are the menders?!
: Hush child, look at me. It's been too long. Put up your hood. You are alive and we must go.
You're only barely aware of the surrounding chaos, as dredge flee from varl warriors who push their advantage.

: I will carry your father back to the city. He will be honored properly, I promise you that. Come now.

We've won. It's a Pyrrhic victory. Alette is orphaned and Skogr is without a chieftain. Again. But we are alive.

There's nothing left to do but talk to Eyvind. As you might imagine, our POV for the rest of the game now switches to Alette.

: I think you're right. The dredge don't seem interested in us anymore. Since Bellower fell they've been going their own way.
: The Ravens have been keeping the docks clear. Juno's talking to them about something now. When those longships are ready we'll be able to sail all the way to Arberrang. With luck...before the darkness shows up here.
: How far south has it spread?
: I couldn't say. Hopefully not far. We'll get the prince back to his home, and Hakon has already decided to come with us.

The two look up as you approach.

: Soon we'll be ready to leave Boersgard. Find somewhere safe. One ship is done already. At the docks. I had it prepared for Rook.

: Come, Alette. It's time to honor your father.

BGM: We Are All Guests Upon the Land

Rook was Iver's best friend. Human/varl friendships are rare, but then again, Iver is a pretty rare varl.

Leadership isn't hereditary, but nobody is going to challenge Alette right now. Not after she slew the Sundr that her father bravely died trying to stop.

Rook's funeral boat is piled high with treasure. Including Dundr's Hand, those giant gauntlets that gave +3 strength. In gameplay terms, they're gone from the campaign, buried with Rook. In story purposes, you couldn't make gloves big enough or strong enough to fit Rook's heroics.

If you hadn't figured it out already, this is a binary choice. If Alette takes the shot, Bellower crushes her to death. If Rook takes the shot,'re looking at it.

The surviving character is POV in The Banner Saga 2. Rook is...mad with grief if Alette dies. Absolutely broke my heart. In my Rook game, Egil died. Alette died. The chieftain died. All that was left of his dreams of Skogr was his maimed best friend, his widowed friend Oddleif, the crazy spear collecting guy (we'll see him soon), and nobody from the next generation.

This is...the happy ending. Rook promised he'd protect Alette. And he did. And now his story is over. Alette and Egil can live to see another day. Hopefully a happier one.

Flames light up the boat as it travels down the Ormsa river. And with that, Rook passes from this world a hero.

But then...something happens. There's no nighttime in this world. Not anymore. And yet...

Rook passes beyond the veil to somewhere where night still exists.

The flame starts to flicker, an the boat takes on a glow.

As the boat's fire dies, it travels even further into the unknown.

The gods are dead. That doesn't mean death is the end, apparently.

Wherever Rook is, it seems nice. And goodness knows he's earned it.

And that's a wrap. We'll continue this later this week with The Banner Saga 2, which is a lot less clunky than the original, longer, and...apparently riddled with new bugs. But I'll worry about that later. Given the POV where most of the bugs occur, I don't think it'll matter. Because I fully intend to trivialize battle whenever possible and I'm excited to have the opportunity to do so for once.