The Let's Play Archive

The Banner Saga

by ProfessorProf

Part 14: Day 13: War

By popular demand, Bersi will be benched moving forwards.

BGM: Little Did they Sleep

Spirits remain high as day 14 starts.

Look, if I'm going to be leading this band all the way to Grofheim then I do not have the patience for this kind of talk.

What's his name?" You ask his companions. "Griss." "Take care of Griss," you reply. You hear them laughing at his misfortune as you wander off.

+5 Renown

Most of a day later...

Worth a shot.

We have enough supplies to last us a good ways, so keep it.

"As you like. If you're passing Denglr's stone, I have a request, though. My wife's brother stayed behind. You'll know him by the necklace with many gold rings. If you see him, say we are safely in Strand." You agree, and the merchants continue onward."

(Also, spoiler alert - the food was poisoned, which seems like kind of a dick move design-wise)

Day 15! Due to our pace, morale has dropped to Good. Good is good enough for me, so we continue moving.

Dredge watch you, waiting to see what you do. "When's the last time you commanded a few hundred, Hakon?" asks Mogr. "Don't overthink it. The warriors can take care of themselves."

A new game mechanic! This is our first War.

The enemy is strong, but we outnumber them. The Varl alone almost match their number, and we also have Ludin's fighters.

Wars are largely a game of risk versus reward. Our options:

We're going all in on this one. We will usually be going all in.

You gather your allies and tell them to get ready to lead the attack.

No Bersi, so here's our team. Let's kill some Dredge!

BGM: No Life Goes Forever Unbroken

Well, this won't do.

Learning from last time, I'm keeping my team together. That middle area is suicide.

Battle start.

The enemy force is one Stoneguard, two Scourges, and three Grunts. Numbers are even.

The first two enemies to act are Grunts in the far back, so I can start to form a defensive line without worrying about taking damage.

This Scourge is the first enemy who will be able to damage us, so let's mitigate that a bit.

Because of Hakon's passive, Heavy Impact, the adjacent Grunt takes a point of Strength damage as well.

After the enemy wastes another turn, Gunnulf gets a fantastic Tempest in. His weak Armor means that he needs to be aggressive to avoid having too many run-ins with high-Strength enemies.

The Scourge, finally in a position to attack, is down to 4 Strength. Instead of going for the hit, he falls back to begin summoning a Grunt.

The problem with this formation is that second Scourge, which is acting after Yrsa. Time to see what she's capable of.

Slag & Burn Throws down an area burst of flames, dealing 2 Strength damage to the target tile and all adjacent tiles. In addition, two tiles of hot coals are placed randomly within the target area, dealing 1 Strength damage for every tile spent walking over them.

After stepping over two tiles of hot coals, for a total of 4 Strength lost, the Scourge stops short of Yrsa.

Ludin is too far back to do anything interesting this round, so I'll just put him somewhere where he might be able to do some good next time.

The first hit I've taken in this fight! Gunnulf is down to 5 Armor, which could get dangerous fast. I'll have to be careful with him.

Eirik presents himself as a more appealing target than Yrsa. Hopefully.

When he promotes, I'm really going to need Gunnulf to pick up some Armor.

Now, this is getting a bit complicated.

Look at the turn order here. The important bit is right after Gunnulf: First the summoning Scourge, then Yrsa, then the other Scourge. Hakon can't reach any enemies other than the summoner. If I kill the Summoner, though, then the northern Scourge will act before Yrsa. He can reach her, and has 11 Strength and enough Will to push that up to 12 damage.

Yrsa has 6 Strength and 6 Armor, so that would be an instant kill.

I don't want Yrsa to die, and I don't want that summoner to summon anything, and I don't want Hakon to have to waste a turn, so I'm forced to pull Mogr off to deal with it.

There's pretty much no way Gunnulf isn't going down this fight.

There's some trouble here due to the fact that I misread the turn order. Now I have a Grunt with 10 Strength in the middle of this formation, and Hakon's the only one in position to do it any real damage.

Unless I want it to take down Gunnulf for sure on its next turn, I'm going to need to just let the Scourge finish summoning.

I'll pray that it doesn't drop it somewhere inconvenient.

The last Grunt goes for a feeble Armor hit on Hakon...

Gunnulf gets some Armor damage in...

Some day I'll learn to stop praying to dead gods.

Right behind my defensive wall. Yrsa can't fall back to any meaningful position, now, for fear of ending up within its attack range. She can't move towards Gunnulf because it'll put her in insta-gib range of the Stoneguard. If I leave the new Grunt alone, it'll damage Ludin just enough that he won't be able to damage it back meaningfully. This is getting ugly fast.

This is the best move I can think of here - blow another Slag & Burn to drop the new Grunt's Strength down to 8.

This puts Yrsa into the Grunt's move range, but only if he spends one Will - and he only has one Will, so that'll leave him at doing 8 damage, which will only slightly impair Yrsa and won't hurt Ludin at all.

And then instead of either of those things, he takes out Gunnulf. My humans are now fully exposed to the enemy. Shit. Okay.

There are now two serious threats left on the battlefield. The Stoneguard has 11 Strength, and the westmost Grunt has 10. Hakon can deal with the Grunt on his turn, so that just leaves the Stoneguard.

Oh for fuck's sake. No. I can't deal with another Grunt right now.

Eirik can't kill it in one shot, but thanks to the number advantage swinging towards the enemy, he can hit it twice before it finishes summoning.

A Grunt rests instead of trying to attack. Small favor, since I have to waste a turn with Mogr coming back towards the main front.

Here's Kindle, the Stoneguard active. Knocks all adjacent units up to 4 tiles back, doing 1 point of Armor damage for each tile they move.

And that's one remaining enemy with meaningful Strength! Hakon eats a 1-Armor hit from a Grunt in retaliation.

Slag & Burn is an incredible ability. Second only to Oddleif's trick in terms of area denial, and it can do Strength damage to multiple enemies regardless of their Armor. Yrsa should almost never be attacking if it can be avoided.

9 Strength is manageable, so long as he doesn't get close to Yrsa. From here, I can take my time whittling down his Armor.

That's the third straight turn the enemy has wasted doing 1 damage to Hakon's Armor. This is why we leave weakened enemies around.

First kill of the battle! Another single point of Armor damage to Hakon.

2 Strength, and I wish I had gotten a screenshot of what happened next, but I was laughing too hard to catch it: The Grunt walks onto a tile of coals, takes 1 Strength damage, and dies on the spot.

Hakon's active, Sundering Impact, does a Strength attack that does an additional point each of Strength and Armor damage. In addition, Heavy Impact is enhanced on the attack to do a point of Armor damage, in addition to the usual point of Strength damage.

Despite the enemy's weakened condition, Yrsa is still better off throwing coals.

Time to start getting kills.

Eirik is too far out to do anything useful, so instead he goes for his active, Rally, which grants 2 Will to an ally at any range.

In another display of the AI not understanding Yrsa, the Stoneguard uses Kindle, knocking one of his own allies into a bed of hot coals. It dies.

Hakon is down to zero Armor! Not that it matters at this point.

Pillage start!

And Ludin gets the last kill.

You take a moment to survey the battlefield. The enemy is being pushed back all the way down the line.

We're in pretty bad shape right now. Gunnulf has fallen, and with his Armor stripped away, Hakon is soon to follow.

I'm going to play it safe this time.

The dredge give you a wide berth and scatter into the distance.

-3 Fighters
-8 Varl
+11 Renown

Ludin and Yrsa can both promote.

And so the journey continues, with a slightly smaller caravan.

Day 16 sees us still in good spirits. Schlid is still a ways off - we haven't even passed the Hanged man.

This could get dangerous. We're facing a much more dangerous force, far larger then the army that we just routed. The village is about half a day's march ahead.

We can try to split their forces, fighting half of their army now and the other half when we reach the village.
We can take the fight to them, fighting their entire army at the village.
We can skirt the village, not risking further losses but also not getting access to the village.

Voting will end in 24 hours.