Dredge

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A lone Dredge hunting in a forest near Skogr

The Dredge are a race of humanoid beings supposedly made of stone. They are usually clad in darkly colored suits of armor, made either of stone or metal, and have bright yellow eyes.

In The Banner Saga, the Dredge are introduced as the main antagonist race (e.g. similar to Tolkien's Orcs), invading the peaceful Human and Varl lands, and as such they initially appear as enemy units in battles.

Lore[edit | edit source]

Unlike the Humans and the Varls, the Dredge are a completely different race. The Dredge are the colossal, armor clad ancestral enemies of the Varls since the beginning. They are hostile on sight to all other intelligent life. They were formed when one of the gods, jealous of his peers, took their creations and twisted them into something bizarre and unnatural and then set them free to wreak havoc on the land. After some long and bloody wars the Dredge were thought to be extinct, but they started to slowly reappear and no one knows why.

The Story of the Dredge[edit | edit source]

Deep in the shadows of the Age of Myth, the Loom-Mother discovered how to weave life into her tapestry, the fabric of the universe. She created the beasts of land and sea, and wove the elements of reason into her creations of humans. All of these threads - some short, some long - had a beginning and an end.

Other gods attempted to mimic her, but lacked the skill or patience necessary to master the art. Some gods twisted beasts into new shapes and monsters. Others wove her creations together, making cross-breeds of human and animal, and so were created the varl and the horseborn. One spiteful god took the humans and twisted them wretchedly, hid them away in the depths of the earth, and they became the dredge.

With unending threads of life, the dredge numbers grew along with their need for more space and more food. Their god prodded the dredge into waging war against the other creations. The dredge became hated and feared among the mortals. Some believed them to be the dead returned to the world to punish the living. The dredge, it turned out, could be killed, but only through bloody battle.

Disgusted, the Loom-Mother punished the errant god, but in her anger accidentally killed him. Panic spread among the gods, and thus began the war among the gods which left every god unmade.

The mighty varl pushed away the legions of dredge, driving them farther and farther into the northern territories. As the tide turned, the varl began venturing into the deep north and slaughtering dredge settlements for sport. Eventually, the dredge retaliated with vengeance and hatred, ravaging human and varl lands in a bloody struggle that lasted nearly a decade. This conflict became known as the Second Great War. Ultimately, the Valka took up their enchanted spears and drove the dredge away to a mysterious fate.

As penance for their hubris, the varl established massive forts in the frozen north to remain vigilant against any future return of the dredge. Any re-emergence of the dredge was quickly stamped out, and over time they all but disappeared.

But, soon after the Sun mysteriously stopped in the sky, the dredge have suddenly reappeared, and are swarming the land from the mountains to the sea, threatening all in their path.

-- As told by Skald Gansi.

Genders & Physiology[edit | edit source]

There exist both male and female Dredge, although it is said that only the males take to the battlefield. As later revealed, this is either wrong or has changed due to necessity (given the invasion of Dredge lands by the Darkness): Dredge Slingers are female!

Dredge vary in size and shape, being anywhere from man-sized to taller than Varl. However some varieties, the Sundr (see below), are even larger.

Technology[edit | edit source]

The Dredge have mastered the use of a volatile and explosive stone, which they fashion into weapons, and even into heavy armor which they permanently fuse onto their bodies.

Rivalries[edit | edit source]

The Dredge were a threat to the Varl and Humans during the Second Great War fought in ages past. There is great animosity between the Varl and the Dredge, such that the Varl often refer to them as 'slag', a demeaning term.

Stonesingers[edit | edit source]

Dredge apparently have have their own variety of Menders, called Stonesingers, whose gender is not defined, but the existence of both males & females is implied.

In the second part of The Banner Saga, a friendly Stonesinger is met and can even join the caravan and help in one story battle.

Sundr[edit | edit source]

The Sundr are Dredge demi-god champions that serve as commanders of their armies. They are respected and feared possessing overwhelmingly powerful abilities. Among scholarly Menders, it is believed that Sundr are in a sense immortal, i.e. they are not subject to death, like humans are. However, no new Sundr can be made, thus their number is very limited. The only named Sundr are Bellower, Raze, and Eyeless; there have been mentions of other Sundr that go by the names of Walker and Braggart.

  • Raze, a female, was responsible for repeatedly destroying Varl fortifications during the Second Great War, hence her nickname. She was eventually slain by the young Varl hero Yngvar, while nursing her infant baby during a snowstorm.
  • Bellower, a giant male wearing a crimson armor and issuing violent roars that damage enemies, was defeated in Boersgard in the events culminating the first part of The Banner Saga. Bellower and Raze are inferred to being a couple.
  • Eyeless is the mysterious Sundr antagonist in the second part of The Banner Saga, inferred to being a female. In the form of a giant Stonesinger, she has the ability to possess the bodies of the fallen, allies and enemies alike. Eyeless was defeated by Bolverk's Ravens twice, in the Deep Maw and at the bridge of Old Ford.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The Dredge appear to show reverence to the god Stravhs, though it is not clear why.

Combat[edit | edit source]

Dredge units come in different varieties and their stats and attributes resemble those of the human and Varl units in many respects. For more information, refer to the categories below.

Part 1[edit | edit source]

This section contains the Dredge units that appear in the first part of the The Banner Saga.

Melee[edit | edit source]

The first enemy types encountered in The Banner Saga. Grunt, Stoneguard and Scourge have a melee attack-range and can be thought of as the Dredge analogues of human Raider, Varl Shieldbanger and Varl Warrior classes, respectively. However, unlike the human and Varl classes, these melee Dredge all share a common passive ability of negative nature, Splinter.

Grunt Stoneguard Scourge
Grunt
Stoneguard
Scourge

Ranged[edit | edit source]

Dredge Slingers are first encountered midway through the first part of The Banner Saga and resemble human Archers in having the same movement and attack range. They come in three different sub-classes: Slag, Spark and Fire Slingers, and share a common passive ability of random nature, Back Off.

Slag Slinger Spark Slinger Fire Slinger
Slag Slinger
Spark Slinger
Fire Slinger

Special[edit | edit source]

In the first part of The Banner Saga you will come across special Dredge units that serve as bosses and have multiple abilities of special nature: Stonesingers and Bellower.

Stonesinger Bellower
Stonesinger
Bellower

Non standard[edit | edit source]

During the first and second chapter of the first part of The Banner Saga, two non-standard Dredge units are encountered:

  • The Dredge Brute and has the appearance of a Scourge Destroyer but with different stats. It is the one that knocks out Ludin in the fight after Vognir's death.
  • The Starving Dredge (snapshot in the top of this page) is found carrying a dead deer in a forest near Skogr by Rook and Alette. It resembles a Scourge Warrior but with different stats.

Part 2[edit | edit source]

This section contains the Dredge units appearing in the second part of the The Banner Saga. All the units from the first part also appear.

Skulkers[edit | edit source]

In the second part of The Banner Saga, Dredge are often in the company of Skulkers, regular and vile (large) ones. These dog-shaped creatures have the ability to walk through Dredge units and to become invisible.

Skulker Vile Skulker
Skulker
Vile Skulker

Hurlers[edit | edit source]

Dredge Hurlers are a new type of ranged-attack units encountered in the second part of The Banner Saga. They are very similar to the Slingers but their passive ability, Distraught, is have an improved version of Back Off.

Slab Hurler Barb Hurler
Slab Hurler
Barb Hurler

Special[edit | edit source]

Several new classes of special Dredge units were encountered in the second part of The Banner Saga:

  • Gloomwardens and Direguards — Serving as bodyguards to Stonesingers.
  • Warped varieties of Stoneguards and Scourges, twisted by the Darkness!
  • Eyeless, a new boss.
Gloomwarden Direguard Warped Stoneguard Warped Scourge Eyeless
Gloomwarden
Direguard
Warped Stoneguard
Warped Scourge
Eyeless

Trivia[edit | edit source]

The story of the dredge is inspired by the Norse concept of draugr or haugbui: undead vikings that return to smite the living. This is what many mortals believe them to be. The more enlightened mortals, however, realize that there is much more to be learned.

Media[edit | edit source]