The Let's Play Archive

The Banner Saga

by ProfessorProf

Part 7: Day 5: Distraction

The chieftain thinks for a long moment.

I didn't ask for advice just to ignore it. Promise you're not throwing away your lives on this.
That wasn't part of my plan... Iver?
Then I'm coming with you.

That catches you by surprise. The chieftain rubs his chin, but doesn't argue. From the training she's given Alette, you've no doubt she can handle a bow.

Fine. I'll get the townspeople ready. Make your move, Iver. We'll leave when you're clear.

"Don't leave me alone," she says, tears in her eyes. It's difficult, but you drag yourself to the door of the great hall, resolute that you're making the best decision for her.

You step into the town courtyard, where you can already see dredge in every direction. Iver starts banging his shield and swearing at them. "We kill a few," he shouts, "And the rest will follow!" You steel yourself for a tough fight.

Tryggvi is still injured from the last fight, so I'm putting him late in the turn order, but still next to Iver in the rotation - we saw how well that worked last time.

Unlike previous battles, we have two separate areas we can deploy in. Four enemies, five of us, so they'll have a turn advantage.

I'll go with this formation, just to try something out. Egil as a lure, everyone else together.

By a lucky break, the first enemy acting is within range of Iver, and has another enemy behind it. This means I can use Battering ram to damage its Armor while pushing it out of counterattack range.

Egil, meanwhile, will use Stonewall to try and draw out the Grunts and waste their turns.

So far, so good!

Rook gets to knocking down the Armor on the closer of the two Scourges - fortunately, much less thick than the Stoneguard from the previous fight.

The universal dredge passive, Splinter comes into play here, too - If you do 3 or more Armor damage with one hit to a dredge, then any other dredge adjacent to them take a point of Armor damage. So, 4 to the one in front, 1 to the one in back.

Oddlief, like most archers, has kinda low stats, but remains immensely useful. She shares her passive with Alette.

Her active ability, Rain of Arrows, marks an unoccupied tile, then strikes the first enemy to walk through it before her next turn for Strength damage.

That Scourge is acting next, and the only tactically sound decision he can make is to approach Iver, so let's lay a trap.

The damage isn't much, but here's the thing - the target's turn is cancelled. So far, our team still hasn't taken a single point of damage.

Tryggvi appears to be down 2 Strength from his injury. He'll play it safe for now, advancing on the southern front while remaining one tile too far for the Grunt to reach.

There goes my perfect no-damage record! However, because it's Iver, the Scourge loses a point of Armor in retaliation.

Now that the enemy's armor is getting low, I can start dishing out the real damage.

Miraculously, the turn disadvantage actually worked to my advantage here! Stonewall lasts until Egil's next turn, meaning that he successfully deflects two hits from the same Grunt with a single activation of it.

In fact, this is working out so well that I'm gonna go ahead and keep doing it!

The second Grunt doesn't take the bait, though, instead heading into attack distance of the rest of the party.

This Scourge is up next, so my first instinct is to dish out some Strength damage... but it has 14 Strength, and can only reach Iver, who has 14 Armor, so it isn't any sort of threat right now. Instead, I do another Armor attack, and in defiance of all logic, the Scourge falls back on its turn instead of pressing the assault, hiding behind its companion. Sometimes the AI just does weird things.

Furthermore, because this Scourge took Armor damage from Splinter, Puncture activates, letting Oddleif do impressive damage despite her low Strength. The frontmost Scourge is a non-threat at this point.

Instead of trying to press the advantage, though, it goes to use Tremble. I have until Rook's next turn to kill it, or it will summon another Grunt.

I think I'll leave it alone for now.

Tryggvi goes to say hi to the second front! I would have used Impale, but this is the only tile from which the far Grunt can't reach him, and Impale can't be used from 2 tiles away.

The far Grunt moves around Egil, but doesn't bother trying to attack him. I think Stonewall Time is about over.

Now both of the Scourges are cripplingly weak, making the Grunts the only actual threat here.

I really have to be careful with Tryggvi on this map, though. He's already down to 6 Strength.

One more hit like that would take it down. One high-Strength enemy left!

And now BOTH of them are using Tremble. This has the potential to get ugly.

Currently, there are 3 weak enemies and 1 strong enemy, meaning that 25% of enemy turns are legitimately dangerous. If I kill the Trembling Scourge, then there will be 2 weak enemies and 1 strong enemy, for 33% dangerous enemy turns. If I let it summon a Grunt, then it'll be 3-2, so 40% dangerous enemy turns.

On the other hand... new Grunts come in on the edges of the battlefield, so there's good odds it'd take a turn or two to reach us. Also, if I kill the Scourge, then the enemy turns will accelerate enough to guarantee Tryggvi gets hit again.

Against my better judgment, I'll let it finish the Tremble.

Unfortunately, some kind of weird UI glitch hit here, and Rook didn't do anything. Don't know what that was about.

So here's the new guy. It'll take it at least one turn to reach us, so that works for me.

As a bonus, it's at the top of the initiative, so that delays all the other enemies immediately.

This is why I wanted Oddlief to get her turn in before that Grunt - this way, she can protect Tryggvi with Rain of Arrows.

Not able to safely move off of this tile, Tryg reduces the Grunt in front of him to uselessness.

As planned, Rain of Arrows stops the Grunt in its tracks, keeping Tryg from taking any more damage.

I'm risking one, but two new Grunts is a bit much, thank you.

Man, they really like ganging up on people like that. Tryg's in trouble again.

Missed a screenshot here, but Rook falls away from the southern Grunt, so that the only hero it can reach is Iver. It doesn't fall for the bait, instead heading around to follow the archers.

Oddlief is running out of enemies whose movements can be easily predicted here, so it's down to plain ol' attacks. I think we're about ready to start dishing out kills.

A note on how Deflecting interacts with Willpower: Using will on an attack doesn't increase your effective Strength, it increases your final damage. So if I have critically low Strength and attack someone with enough Armor to make it a 90% deflect chance, pumping 2 will into the attack won't reduce the deflect chance, it'll just make that last 10% case do 3 damage.

In another baffling move by the AI, the Grunt following Tryggvi doesn't do anything. Is this because I'm not on Hard, or is it just kind of quirky?

I've gotten into a good enough spot that I can kill most of these guys in one good attack, so let's do that.

This guy is still a threat, but I'm gonna ignore that fact for now!

2 left. This could be a bit scary if the other one goes after Tryg...

Nope! Victory is about to be ours.

With the enemy turn advantage crushed, all that remains is mopping up.

Zero casualties. Promotion for Iver.

An hour later, Oddleif is the first to spot them. "There!" she points to the road. As you rejoin them, you can tell there was trouble, some people wounded.

Alette rushes to you, throwing her arms around your waist. You smile and hug her tightly. "Dad... please don't do that again," she says.

"Brave girl, this one," adds one of the women from Skogr. "Chieftain would've died without her." She points to the back of the caravan.

You find Oddleif beside her husband, who is laid out in a cart. "Old fool," she says. "Got himself a prize for trying to fight back." She shows you his deep gut wound. "But he's alive. Nothing for it but to get to Frostvellr." You continue on in silence, Alette's hand in your own.

+30 Renown

Well done, voters! This is arguably the best possible outcome for the evacuation of Skogr. Not only did the Chieftain survive due to Alette's protection, but we got the maximum Renown reward for the event.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to seize the warehouse, so supplies are limited. Our caravan of 315 refugees takes to the road to Frostvellr, and it's time for a more tactical decision: How hard should we push them?

Our options shall be:
Relaxed Pace: Stop and rest whenever morale drops below Normal.
Steady Pace: Stop and rest whenever moral drops below Weak.
Forced March: Never stop unless absolutely necessary.

Lower morale means that all our heroes will have to fight with reduced Willpower. It shouldn't be more than a few days to Frostvellr, but there's no guarantee that reaching the city will be the end of our problems. What do you say, thread?

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