Choices and ending (spoilers)

#1 Posted by pyrodactyl (2418 posts) -

Just finished the banner saga and loved the hell out of it. So, what notable choices did you make? Which party members did you lose and what did you think of the ending?

I rescued the twins and Mogun became one of my best fighters

I rescued the frozing girl but fucked up the dredge ambush she was warning agains by sending scouts to check it out

I brought the baby dredge in the caravan

I blew up the bridge (that varl king is an asshole)

I lost the green bodyguard varl when he fell down a cliff with the gold wagon

I lost the siege archer lady when she set the woods on fire as a diversion for the dredge

I lost the shield guy (probably my best, most upgraded fighter with one of the best items in the game) when that asshole traitor tried to kill everyone (fuck that guy)

I gave Alette the arrow and she got killed by Belltower (what happens if you use the arrow yourself?)

I made it to the last town with around 300 people

#2 Edited by Puppies4Life (28 posts) -

I just finished this game and really enjoyed it. I had heard of the game before but never did much looking into it; I bought it on a whim because I loved the gorgeous art.

My results:

  • Rescued the twins but never used them all that much
  • Rescued the frozen girl but don't recall much coming from that, no playable character at least
  • I left the baby dredge with his/her/it's mother
  • I blew up the bridge after exhausting all other options and holding off the Dredge though several battles
  • I lost the green bodyguard when he fell down the cliff; I was pretty pissed at this moment, he was a mainstay in my lineup
  • I lost Yrsa which also bothered me, I wanted to explore her storyline more
  • I randomly lost Egil sometime during one of the interactive choices, don't remember when
  • Onef turned on me and he stabbed Oddleif; I thought I lost her at that point which would have really sucked because I devoted a ton of reknown towards her
  • I released Ekkkill and had him join us
  • I lost a handful of other characters as well though I don't exactly remember how like Sigbjorn and Eirik, never used them all that much.
  • I trained the women to fight and had the girl who was a natural join me (can't recall her name)
  • Towards the end my main lineup usually at least Rook, Alette, Iver, female archer (see previous), the mender, and Oddleif
  • Don't quite remember the size of my caravan but I was hurting pretty bad towards the end

Overall I really loved the game, although I wasn't a huge fan of losing characters you've poured a decent amount of development into on a bad multiple choice selection. Also I loved the story which made the ending a bummer for me, so much was left unexplored. Does anyone know if there is a sequel at least planned?

#3 Posted by StarvingGamer (8608 posts) -

I wonder if some of this stuff is random/procedural. I didn't rescue the freezing girl until something like 2 days out from the final city, by which point the endgame started so nothing ever came of it.

#4 Edited by BisonHero (7306 posts) -

@pyrodactyl: His name is Bellower. As in "He's an awful monster who yells/bellows at you". If this game randomly called an enemy Belltower but that enemy is in fact just a big golem and not some kind of clock tower, I would think the writers were idiots. I'm always amazed when people read through the entirety of something and never question the dumb sounding name they've misread.

@puppies4life: As far as I understand the Kickstarter for The Banner Saga, what we played is "Chapter 1". I think they intend to roll out a whole "season" or whatever, but don't hold your breath on it coming out anywhere near as fast as TellTale episodic games do. Stoic is a much smaller company. I'm kind of curious whether the episodes will all be kind of self-contained, or if you'll actually need to import your decisuons into Chapter 2.

Anyway, my playthrough was pretty similar to the playthroughs you've shared.

I assume green bodyguard varl dying always happens, because he has almost no dialogue (making him a "redshirt), and I'm pretty sure his character portrait is just the stock...Warcry warrior, or whatever that class is called. Sigbjorn has literally the same portrait, except he is red instead of green. I think no matter what you choose, he always goes down with the supply cart. Which sucks, because I think I had just gotten him to rank 4 when that happened. His offense is so good!

Early in the game, did anyone try to send Prince Ludin home? I chose the options not to, but there seemed to be multiple opportunities where you could send him off on his merry way, but I wonder if they were all false choices. He doesn't have as many dialogue lines later in the story, but he's there in a few key scenes, and I wonder whether you can really send him home.

Anyway, for the varl in general:

I decided to destroy the bridge, because the mender's plan sounded alright, and it did seem like a dick move to just leave them to their obvious doom. But once I'd done it, and heard the king's explanation, I totally wish I hadn't destroyed it. I guess the king yelling at you might be the moment where the game reveals that the varl do not procreate, and that all of the varl were handcrafted by a long-dead god, so their entire race is dying out bit by bit because there are no more varl being born. So just to start with, that entire situation is deeply sad. In light of that, the king wanted something to be left of the varl once they're all dead, and that bridge was one of their greatest accomplishments. I get why it meant so much to him to not destroy it just for some fleeting tactical advantage that ultimately didn't even save that stronghold.

Also, man, Iver's past is a real bummer. The varl wanted to laud him as a hero, for what he felt was the most disgraceful thing he had ever done as a warrior. I think Iver was handled quite well.

I really, really liked Iver's character. Ubin was also a really interesting character. It would've been so easy to make all the varl characters the same kind of tough guy giants, but there is a fair amount of breadth in their personalities.

Overall, I think the game is a lot like The Walking Dead, in that it hits you with a bunch of tough choices that personalize your playthrough, and in retrospect you think that maybe the other choice would've worked out better, but in reality I think you're fucked either way on most of the choices. I think there are a couple items and side characters you only get if you do certain things, but I don't think you can really change many of the character deaths and major plot events. That's not a negative; they do a fantastic job of making you really feel like a part of this soul-crushing march where almost every day has some new problem to deal with, and there isn't a lot of hope for the future. I think the writing is phenomenal, and the fates of many of the characters were often something I didn't see coming. The art is super cool, and I like the battle system. Managing your caravan is stressful, though I'm curious whether the game really ever lets you reach a "game over" for the whole caravan starving.

The only thing I didn't totally get on board with is when there's a proper "war battle" with a bunch of dredge, and it gives you enemy troop numbers. I don't think the game explained well enough what the different options indicated ("Charge", "keep formation", "fight defensively", "retreat", "oversee"). I think it just affects how many dredge you have to personally fight with your units ("charge" being the most dredge you personally fight), and the more dredge you take on, the less your "clansmen/fighters/varl" resource depletes, because you're drawing more attention to your main general guy. If you choose "oversee", is there literally no tactical fight, and it's purely "you lose a bunch of your fighters and varl because you didn't take part in the battle at all"? I feel like those battle orders needed to break the 4th wall a little more and actually tell me, gameplay mechanics-wise, what the fuck they did. Also, it's bullshit that if a guy leaves your group (green bodyguard varl, Onef, Sigbjorn), you seem to permanently lose whatever item they may have been wearing. Renown doesn't grow on trees, and items are hard to come by!

Other than the above minor nitpicks, I'm enthralled by this universe and story they've set up, and think the writing in The Banner Saga is superb. Cannot wait for more of it to come out.

#5 Posted by pyrodactyl (2418 posts) -

@bisonhero: I'm really terrible with names if that wasn't already obvious from ''the green bodyguard'' and ''the siege archer lady''. Also I'm pretty sure you can send the prince home. There's multiple times you can knock him out.

So, is there an alternate ending where Rook dies or something?

#6 Edited by Tennmuerti (8175 posts) -

@bisonhero: @starvinggamer:

The green bodyguard can survive, you just have to command him to let go of the wagon the second time. He is a super kick ass fighter and you join up with him again for the later part of the game too. Which also nets you some more of his background story.

A very good portion of all the characters can die/leave or never join depending on your actions: green bodyguard, siege archer, sniper archer, twins can not join at all, twins can die at the first city, one of the twins can die to betrayal another because you were stubborn in taking the hard path, egil the little shield dude can die in like 3 instances, shield pushback varl at the bridge, prince and his bodyguard can leave, Onef and his bro have multiple outcomes, the varl at the very end. That's just the ones i know. Basically apart from Iver/Rook/mender/preorder spear guy everyone is up in the air if they make it till the last city pretty sure Allete/Oddlief/old varl can all also not make it depending on choices made and how well you did.

You can get permission to blow up the bridge by defending it 3 times in a row, but you loose the Varl character who is in command of defending it.

Most minor encounters occur in a random order (at roughly set areas of the map), but some of them have prerequisites like say rescuing the little frozen girl nets you an extra fight with the dredge after another 2 "encounters" with her dialogue. There is a limited pool of said encounters that the game draws from. So the encounters you are not getting, you are more likely to get later. In fact by the end of the game you generally exhaust almost all of them (meaning almost everyone has like 90% of the same starting random encounters, which can spawn slily different encounters depending on choices). There are also a few preset encounters (like the cart falling and the green varl trying to save it).

Unfortunately I could not be arsed to reload and try giving the arrow to Rook for the last fight after finishing the game, and have already deleted it so can't test it.

#7 Posted by BisonHero (7306 posts) -

@tennmuerti: Who's the predorder spear guy? I'm curious what they plan to do for Chapter 2, since there is such variability in who dies/leaves the party and falls off the face of the earth. I wonder if it would be more straightforward to just take a few key characters (Iver, Eyvind, Rook/Alette, Hakon, Ludin, Juno, etc.) down to Arberrang, and just start fresh with a bunch of new companions.

@pyrodactyl said:

@bisonhero: I'm really terrible with names if that wasn't already obvious from ''the green bodyguard'' and ''the siege archer lady''. Also I'm pretty sure you can send the prince home. There's multiple times you can knock him out.

So, is there an alternate ending where Rook dies or something?

Yeah, there is an ending where Rook dies. It's the ending I went with. He shoots the arrow, Bellower crushes him, Rook gets a cool viking funeral where his little boat goes out to sea and transitions into a cool viking afterlife. I assume Alette meets a similar fate if you give her the arrow?

#8 Edited by Tennmuerti (8175 posts) -


I don't recall the name now, he basically has the exact same class and stat progression as the prince, except you get him at the start of Rooks storyline, there is also no events or story with him except one conversation in camp at the starts so he doesn't affect anything.

From what i understand the developers said that the new game will focus on an entirely new set of characters.

Yep Alette dies and has the viking funeral instead.

#9 Edited by BisonHero (7306 posts) -

@tennmuerti: Ah, Tryggvi, I think he was? Yeah, I ended up using him a lot since I kinda liked the Spearman class for totally wrecking enemy slingers with Impale. One level 2 or 3 impale basically ruins their Strength so they're useless for the rest of the fight. But yeah, he gets no story development whatsoever (which actually made me somewhat confident about using him, since by not killing him off somewhat early like green bodyguard varl, he seemed so unimportant that they wouldn't bother killing him off, unless he betrayed you randomly or something).

#10 Posted by Tennmuerti (8175 posts) -

@bisonhero: Yea Tryggvi, impale on singers is pretty nasty indeed :P

#11 Edited by Iodine (551 posts) -

I rescued the twins but never really used them

I kept the green bounty hunter guy (Gunnulf?) and he was super useful to me when i got him a second time

I destroyed the bridge and then felt terrible (also is this how you lose Fasolt? I missed that dude)

Lost Sigbjorn, but also didn't care because he was redundant to my lineup and got me a ton of supplies.

Rook died, and knowing now that Alette would have died makes me feel a lot better about his death in terms of the way I was playing (Rook was in way more of my battles, but pretty much all of my choices were done for her best interest as Rook)

Ekkill was cool, my friend ruined the Onef betrayal though, although he didn't kill anyone thankfully

Lost Yrsa the witch archer lady which sucks

Really enjoyed Ivars progression

Mogr was prolly my go to guy when I had him

Saved the Dredge baby

Egil died the first shot he got because of course

My main thoughts is that I wish I could have used the first group a bit more, because I liked a lot of their stories and the tactics of their battles (Mogr/Griss just tanking all of the damage) but I also really did like the Rook group stuff as well. I never really used the mender because his chain lightning did me bad when I didnt pay attention. Iver is awesome, and I hope chapter two comes out in under a year because maaaaan, this was dope. Also interested to see how choices/stats get integrated into it, or don't, who knows.

#12 Posted by ectoplasma (988 posts) -

Ha, I wanted to make thread just like this. I'm very interested to hear more about the following events:

(a) Once I was joined by a jaunty old guy with a leather headband. He wanted to raise the mood of my group if I don't ask any questions. But I didn't trust him so I intercepted and he left off. Anyone know what happens if you let him do his thing?

(b) In the city where you have the encounter with Ekkil and Onef, I trusted Onef and later took Ekkil as prisoner. We saw how that pans out. What other options are there with this whole affair? Anyone took the way into the city through the water canal? I took the supply cart route. Is there a way that Onef doesn't betray you? And what happens if you fight for Ekkil in the city (I chose to fight for myself).

(c) What happens with the frozen girl? I just got it like a couple days before the end and I never got another dialogue option about her.

(d) Anything about the baby Dredge? I left it where it was, I didn't want to upset my caravan.

I played on hard and I have to admit I had to reload a couple of times (or so I thought) when I had my mainstay chars die/leave - like first time I tried to rescue that damn cart (although I didn't really want to, I just thought "the game surely won't kill this guy without giving me more of a notice).

Really loved how consequential your choices felt and how you never had enough resources for everything you needed. Halfway through the game I basically completely stopped to upgrade my guys because I was always lacking money for food. Also I didn't feel the battles became bothersome as some reviewers mentioned. On Hard they pretty much stayed nailbiters until the end.

#13 Posted by Tennmuerti (8175 posts) -


a. he entertains your caravan with a small feast and some jokes/stories, you get a morale boost and a tiny bit of supplies, he then disappears (one assumes he is something magical/mythical)

b. you can have both in your team; you can take neither of them; if you refuse Onef immediately you miss out on him, on supplies in the warehouse, the renown from one battle and the item; Onef always betrays you if you take him with you; what way you get into the city doesn't really matter aside from which combat encounter you do (and potential for the twin brothers dying if you tarry too long and don't support them eventually) the next chapter Rook always starts with the fight with Ekkil; the only permutation i have not tested is if you simply sit outside the gates refusing every opportunity to get in; who dies and who lives when the betrayal happens has a lot of permutations depending on who is in your party and some other choices you made regarding them

c. she reveals some dredge following your caravan in parallel, which you can choose to fight and get some extra renown

d. no, I took the baby and nothing happens except you loose some morale, it's a purely moral (no pun intended) choice and you get screwed for picking the "good guy" option

#14 Edited by L33T_HAXOR (386 posts) -

Saved the twins. One of them got really good.

Was gonna execute Ekkill until Alette talked me out of it. Then when his brother-in-law betrayed me much later, I found out things weren't as black and white as they seemed.

Saved the frozen girl and she helped me ambush some Dredge later.

I let the red lady set fire to that forest and lost her. I kept expecting her to pop back up after a while, but it never happened.

I don't think I lost the Varl with the wagon? At least I remember telling him to let go. I don't know, I don't think he had any dialogue really.

Put the baby dredge up to a vote. They voted to leave it behind.

At the bridge, I fought on the bridge for three days, then on the third day Iver says "FUCK THIS", walks right up to the king and says "Fuck you, we are destroying this fucking bridge and getting the fuck out of here, just try to stop us". For some reason, I felt a lot better about letting Iver make that call than doing it myself.

Let the old lady train the other women in archery.

I let Alette shoot the silver arrow and get killed. Felt pretty bad about it.

I wonder if we should hold onto our save-games for the sequel? Any word about that?

#15 Edited by pyrodactyl (2418 posts) -

That weird moment when you see an interesting, new thread title pop up and realize you're the one who made it...

I wonder if we should hold onto our save-games for the sequel? Any word about that?

I bet they'll carry over at least a few choices

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