The Let's Play Archive

The Banner Saga Trilogy

by FairGame

Part 42: 22-1: The End


No grand story anymore. We push on to the white tower, or everyone dies.

We'll inspect briefly for clues. Don't want to get ambushed by anything.
The dredge's weapons are stowed, but they each suffer the same piercing wound. They have no signs of food or supplies, and something feels wrong about the way they sit, loosely propped up in a circle looking at each other. It suddenly dawns on you.

...hurry the hell up, Ravens.

4 days left. The White Tower is dead ahead.
: The white tower that looked like a toothpick when I first saw it now soars above our heads, dwarfing any structure made by kings or varl.

We've made it. Whatever it is that we do here, it has meaning because life still goes on in Arberrang. We didn't fail. Yet.

...I suppose at this point I should tell you all something:

I edited the save game to halve our caravan before Arberrang broke. If I hadn't, we'd have gotten like 49 days and not only would have there been zero tension as we pushed on to the white tower, but we also would have missed a ton of content. You only return to Arberrang for the funeral pyre event if you never run out of time. Whoever said, "do good, but not perfect" was spot-on. It's a design decision I really disagree with. You miss some of the game's best conversations if you did too well; you're blocked from a lot of really good content and I didn't want that to happen.

All told, you can make 5 returns to Arberrang before hope is lost. On the 4th return you can't even go outside anymore--everyone is crammed into the Great Hall as Gunnulf holds up a crumbling beam to let the last survivors further inside. It's an event that will always get someone killed (as opposed to my being stupid and accidentally getting Derdriu killed.) I'll show it off eventually, I guess.

The 5th return is even worse. There's no conversations with anyone or story or really anything. You just fight at the highest point of the great hall and Yrsa suggests blowing up the roof and trying to climb a bit higher to gain an hour or two. At that point your heroes might survive, but pretty much none of the civilians are.

With 3 returns, which is what we had, there's pretty much no loss of civilians beyond the already catastrophic loss caused by the end of the world and the siege or Arberrang. So I cut it there.

I'd say I'm sorry for deceiving you, but I'm really not. It's a better experience this way.

Anyway, because "everyone dies because you ran out of time" isn't a possibility anymore, we've at least crossed off one way to get a terrible ending.

: Almost started to worry you wouldn't make it.

: I was expecting the Serpent, myself.
: The Serpent carved a path for me straight to this place.
You remember the quakes near the cliffs and put the pieces together.
: It must be getting pretty desperate if it brought you here to deal with us.
: On the contrary, seems like a great idea to me. Go ahead and try some mind tricks. See what rage really looks like.

: They're not mine anymore, witch. You know, I saw this place in my dreams. So this is where the Valka did all their dirty deeds? Stole your powers? Never thought i'd end up taking the dredge's side.

: I didn't come all this way to fail here.
: Then you're about to feel like a real ass. But let's cut to the chase. I didn't come here to kill Ravens. Or Yngvar, the child killer.
He points his axe at a paling Eyvind.
: I'm here to kill the sniveling little bastard who caused all this.

We could have rushed Bolverk and started combat in close range. That's...not the best idea. Far better to power up before we face him, then humiliate him by one-shotting him just like Iver did when he killed Bolverk at the end of Banner Saga 2.


Standing between us and a chance at salvation is Bolverk, the last berserker who's also sort of undead.

Apostate, the stonesinger, was spared by Bolverk not all that long ago. Now the stonesinger uses its formidable powers against the Serpent, Bolverk, and warped.

Mighty Krumr probably has a story or two about facing down similar odds and living to tell about it. He's about to add one more story to his legend.

Eyvind, the former leader of the Valka, unleashed the end of the world and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Not sure if we should trust him, but if we're even going to get a chance to undo his damage, he needs to make up for it here.

Iver. Yngvar, the child killer. Could have been varl king. Instead he fled from his past, but while he's remorseful he may also be responsible for the dredge's flight from the darkness being far more violent than it needed to be. Either way, he's lost an eye and an arm so far and it hasn't stopped him. He'll set things right or die trying.

If only more dredge had listened to Kivi, maybe some of this could have been avoided. But he's here now and the dredge will unquestionably have a hand in shaping the world of the future--if there is a world.

Bersi's been in this for coin all along, but there's a conscience beneath that cynical exterior. He spared Iver when he had the chance. And with 85% dodge chance he's untouchable and will add an extra degree of offense to this battle.

The battlefield is covered in all these strange 1 HP crystals. Fallen shards of the black sun.

If we attack them, they explode in the direction they're facing, so they can be used to do chip damage to things standing directly behind them.

Bolverk hasn't joined the battle yet, instead waiting back for his minions to do some work. He does, however, count as a unit on the field and so he keeps getting stronger while the enemy stonesinger uses umbrage.

We clear out the first wave with little difficulty.

Time for the second wave, which will come from 2 corners.

This...also is not difficult.

Bersi walks to the far corner of the map and explodes a couple warped.

And Iver finishes the wave.

Wave 3. Same direction. But with one important difference.

Bolverk takes the field.

...and immediately attacks both warped dredge standing in front of him, killing one and sending the other flying.
Bolverk is pretty silly in this battle. He has ENORMOUS strength, but also does knockback on hit. Which means unless he's standing in front of 2 opponents, he'll knock back his target on his first swing and then whiff on the second. Giving Bolverk knockback is an enormous handicap rather than something that makes him scarier.

I mean, if a 25 strength dude could attack you with high crit chance TWICE per turn that'd be pretty scary. But he can't. And we have units with > 42 strength right now thanks to Umbrage. Bolverk is going down. Hard.

I realize I haven't been using the Valka spear so I zap Bolverk a bit just to soften him up.

He takes exception to it and hits Krumr for 9 damage. Which would have been 18 and a problem if not for the knockback.

Instead, mighty Krumr just smirks, walks up, and crits Bolverk for all his health, straight through the armor. In a single blow, the Serpent's champion is felled.

That doesn't end the fight, but cleanup isn't exactly difficult.

Here we go. Up the white tower.

This is the final chapter. It's very short.

The entire party of Ravens scales the tower, the unstable fallen sun being nearly close enough to touch.

: This is crazy. I still can't believe that's an actual sun. And you're really going to put it back in the sky somehow?
: Eyvind will.

: You can! We've come this far!
: Wait, Juno. Wait. If this is really happening now, give me a moment.
Juno and Eyvind embrace, one final time. Eyvind whispers something meant only for her. And then you are forced to move on.

: The world lives, or dies, here. This is it.

The top of the white tower. Complete with a tuning fork that looks a lot like Eyvind's Valka spear.

Now what?

Oh, come on, Serpent. You're full of holes and dying. Just go away!

: Begone, creature! You don't even have the strength to crush this tower anymore.
The Serpent continues its low, undulating speech, like smoke rolling over sea water. Eyvind stops. He's listening.
: Gor thu sva vel...

: It is giving up. It wants to make a deal.

: Half the world? In exchange for what?
: Juno's energy. If I release it to the Serpent, Juno will be...gone. But she won't suffer.

: Eyvind. This isn't what we came to do.
: Things change, Iver. This is out of your hands, now.
: Tell me why! Have I not earned that, at least?
Eyvind returns his attention to you with frustration on his face. Behind him, the Serpent rattles in resentment at being ignored.

: Don't you understand what is happening here?

: What choice did we have? Try to imagine if I told you the truth when we met. It was hard enough convincing anyone to listen to me in the first place.

: Would you have been so quick to abandon Rook, or Alette? After all I did in Einartoft to save the varl from extinction! If you knew the truth you'd have drowned me in that lake, yourself.

Rook posted:

: We waited, because we trusted you.
: True enough, but only until you had to consider your own discomfort. What's the point of this, Iver? So brothers and clansmen can keep killing each other over petty disputes? So varl and dredge can go on destroying each other over ancient history? Even after we realized the dredge were only fleeing the darkness, same as the rest of us. Even after discovering a dredge child dying in the infant!

Rook posted:

: And yet, the dredge child lives on, even now.
: So maybe one in thousands is spared.
: Is this really what you want to argue right now?
: Look, you've made good points, but try to put yourself in my position. Asked to weigh the fate of the world against their loved ones, would anyone choose the world?
The Serpent slithers anxiously. It is not accustomed to being ignored, but Eyvind seems determined to get this off his chest.
: And we both know how this world really is. Remember Denglr's godstone?

Iver posted:

: And even with the truth laid so bare before us, there was a debate. How can we hope to overcome that kind of spite and ignorance? That hatred?

: You've had plenty of time to ask that stonehurler how she feels about it.
: Fair enough. I do understand your meaning, but...

: There was a woman near Ormsa River. After we somehow survived crossing the chasm. Some of her own clansmen had tied her to a stake. "Witch!" they screamed. She was meant to starve to death. I can still see her face, the torture and the pain.

Alette posted:

: Three days?
: So they told us. Maybe those men lied. Or with the sun stopped, maybe they miscounted. She had been there at least seven days already. I could feel her agony in the tapestry. According to their own absurd rules it proved she wasn't a witch. She should have been freed.

: That's what this is about, isn't it? This is about Juno.

: When we found Juno's body smashed and broken on the frozen sea, I saw that same fate for her as that poor woman starving to death. Suffering alone. Forgotten. Everyone else was so quick to give up on her.

: I must sound pathetic. I realize it has to be hard to sympathize. But maybe of all people, you can, Iver.

: He followed us both to Boersgard, to finish the job. What would you give to have Rook back? Don't make Juno suffer an even worse fate. Please, Iver.

Eyvind turns back to the Serpent, his body radiating immense power as he speaks to it again.

This is it, friends. Do we:
A. Trust Eyvind. At his heart, he's a kind man. He loves Juno, and we've seen flits of the madness and anger, but he's still capable of rational thought. And Iver did a good job convincing him that life is worth saving. On the other hand, why the hell is Eyvind even speaking with the Serpent if he doesn't have something else planned?
B. Trust Alfrun. Eyvind is too dangerous to leave alive. He might want what's best right now, but what's keeping him from changing his mind an hour from now, a day from now, a year from now? Alfrun is aligned with the diplomatic dredge and seems trustworthy. On the other hand, are we really willing to trust an amateur mender with a ritual that determines the fate of the world? What if she is honest, but also can't pull it off?
C. Remind Eyvind that if he really loves Juno, he should honor her plan. Talking about Juno tends to get Eyvind really damn wound up and this could anger him. On the other hand, maybe this reminder is what's needed to get him to follow the original plan.

Choose wisely. And for god's sake, if you've already played, stay the hell out of the vote.