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The Banner Saga

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For the free online multiplayer (PvP) game, Factions, refer to this article.
      

The Banner Saga is a single player video game series that takes place in a fictional world inspired by the medieval and Viking culture. The story-arc will be completed in a trilogy and is broken down in Chapters:

  • The first part of the trilogy ("Saga 1"), Chapters 1-7, was first released in January 2014.
  • The second part of the trilogy ("Saga 2"), Chapters 8-15, was first released in April 2016.
  • The third part of the trilogy ("Saga 3"), Chapters 16-22, was first released in July 2018.

The story in each Chapter unfolds through the point-of-view (POV) of a specific character of the story; the POV character occasionally shifts between chapters. Some important events have consequences that often trigger in latter parts of the story.

The above map details the paths and routes taken by different caravans/groups across The Banner Saga 1 and 2, as well as an estimated scale based on historical travel times. Click here for enlarged version.

Part 1[edit | edit source]

Background rook.png

The first part of the trilogy details the opening act of what starts like the Third Great War, fought between the invading Dredge and the unsteady alliance of Humans and Varl.

The main protagonist/POV character of the first part of The Banner Saga is Rook, a human hunter from Skogr. However, some of the first Chapters of the game are played from the POV of two Varl characters, Ubin and Hakon.

Chapter Title POV Main Locations
1 Only the Sun Has Stopped Ubin StrandVedrfell
2 Cut With Keen-Edged Sword Rook SkogrFrostvellr
3 Little Did They Sleep Hakon Vedrfell → RidgehornGrofheim
4 Lest They Not Come Home Rook Frostvellr → WyrmtoeEinartoft
5 Weary the Weight of the Sun Juno → Rook Einartoft
6 Of Our Bones the Hills Rook Einartoft → SigrholmBoersgard
7 The Slayer and the Slain Rook Boersgard

Chapter 1[edit | edit source]

"Only the Sun Has Stopped"

It has been several weeks since the start of an ominous cosmological phenomenon: The sun has stopped in the sky... Ubin, a tax collector for the Varl King, Jorundr, arrives in the human city of Strand just in time to stop an attack on the Governor by a renegade clan called the Skalfings. The Governor's steward, Eirik, requests Ubin's assistance in handling further problems with the Skaflings. Shortly afterwards, a large fleet flying the Varl and the Arberrang banners land on Strand's docks. Ubin meets up with the kendr of the Varl king, Vognir, along with his entourage, Hakon and Mogr. The Varl are escorting Prince Ludin, the heir of King Meinolf, to the Varl capital of Grofheim in order to seal an alliance between the two races. Ubin is also headed for Grofheim so he attaches himself to Vognir's caravan. Not long after their departure from Strand, Vognir is slain by stray Dredge in Vedrfell under unclear circumstances, with Prince Ludin being the only eye witness.

  • Important story-branching events: None. Choices only affect supporting characters.

Chapter 2[edit | edit source]

"Cut With Keen-Edge Sword"

Rook and his young daughter, Alette, encounter a lone Dredge whilst hunting in the woods near Skogr. Fleeing with all haste, they return to Skogr and alert the Chieftain and his wife, Oddleif, to the impending attack. Iver, a solitary Varl and old friend of Rook, and Egil, a boy around the same age as Alette, assist in defending the village until it is decided that they have no choice but to evacuate. The Skogr Banner is salvaged from the Great Hall and, under it, the small caravan flees for Frostvellr, the closest walled city, swelling along the march as many people decide to join with them under the shadow of the Dredge menace. The Banner along with the leadership of the caravan are soon passed on to the unwilling Rook by the Chieftain's wife, as he is unable to perform his duties. Arriving in Frostvellr, they are faced with another problem: The city is overcrowded by refugees and the governor has shut its gates to anyone trying to enter. Rook has to decided whether to force their way into the city or camp outside, even as the Dredge are closing in.

  • Important story-branching events: None. Choices only affect supporting characters.

Chapter 3[edit | edit source]

"Little Did They Sleep"

Hakon, kendr to the late Vognir, assumes command of the Varl caravan and proceeds on the march towards Grofheim, encountering many Dredge en route. His relations with Ludin are tested due to the Prince's arrogant behavior. Nevertheless, the help offered by him and his bodyguards, Yrsa and Bersi, is welcomed. South of the Hanged Man, a small Varl party dispatched from Schlid and led by Fasolt informs Hakon's caravan that great number of Dredge are pouring out of Ridgehorn, a fortress on the west coast, north of Strand. In an impulse, Hakon changes the course of the caravan and strikes for Ridgehorn, where they find the fortress destroyed and littered with Dredge bodies. On the top of the tower, they discover the bodies of two humans, one of them alive. Turning to leave, they find out that large numbers of Dredge have trapped them in Ridgehorn. Amassing their courage, the Varl cut through the Dredge once more, an the caravan hastily retakes its course towards Grofheim. Further down the road, the human survivor awakens, reveals that he is a Mender called Eyvind and implores Hakon to go back for his companion, Juno. Hakon refuses as they are only a short way from Grofheim. To their great woe, once they scale the Two Spears and gaze north, they behold the Varl city aflame and completely overrun by Dredge...

  • Important story-branching events: Hakon allows Prince Ludin to die in Ridgehorn or not.

Chapter 4[edit | edit source]

"Lest They Not Come Home"

Rook and Iver decide that Frostvellr is unsafe for the Skogr caravan whether inside or out, and head for Wyrmtoe, pushing through long stretches of frozen waste. They arrive to a cold welcome, but are treated courteously by an old Varl warrior named Krumr, who instantly recognizes the legendary Varl hero Yngvar in Iver. The Varl of Wyrmtoe join up, eager to fight the Dredge, and the combined Human and Varl caravan decide to make for Grofheim. Along the way, a small Varl party led again by Fasolt informs them of the fate of Grofheim, when a tremendous earthquake shakes the foundations of the mountains. Pursued by Dredge and earthquakes, the caravan makes a desperate run for the Godstone of Hadrborg being fortified by Varl. With nowhere else to go, the Skogr caravan is directed to the Varl fortress-city of Einartoft, where they are admitted only when Iver vouches for the human refugees. Once safely inside, Rook and Iver join a War council attended by the Varl king Jorundr, Hakon, Krumr, Eyvind and (optionally) Yrsa and Prince Ludin. The situation is soon revealed to be desperate: Under siege by Dredge forces led by Stonesingers, the Varl try to hold on to the ancient bridge connecting the city-fortress to the Varl lands in the north. With Jorundr outright refusing to destroy the bridge so as to stop the Dredge, the heroes are forced to fight. In this attempt, Iver sacrifices himself fighting the Dredge commander, Bellower, and is mortally wounded. Eyvind distracts Bellower just as he is prepared to deliver the killing blow, when the giant Serpent (possibly responsible for the earthquakes) emerges and scatters both Varl and Dredge.

  • Important story-branching events: Rook accepts Onef's offer to join-up, as they are leaving Frostvellr, or not.

Chapter 5[edit | edit source]

"Weary the Weight of the Sun"

Juno, the Mender abandoned in Ridgehorn, reawakens suspended in a dream-world location alike to the ruined fortress where her body was left lying. There, she finds herself facing the massive Serpent that attacks her. Its efforts prove fruitless and Juno manages to extract some enigmatic information from it, concerning a 'darkness' spreading from the north. She infers that the Dredge invasion is not the biggest problem, but it is surely the most pressing. Shortly after this encounter, she reaches out with her mind to contact Eyvind, and urges him to delay Bellower and the Dredge host as much as possible and meet her further south. Eyvind awakens after the exhausting slumber he fell in, after saving Iver's life despite Iver losing his arm. Eyvind implores Rook to take him to Sigrholm where Juno is supposed to meet them. The Skogr caravan, obviously unwanted by the majority of the Varl, soon leaves Einartoft to its grim fate.

  • Important story-branching events: Rook promptly departs from Einartoft, thus leaving the Varl bridge standing, or meddles in its fate, eventually bringing it down.

Chapter 6[edit | edit source]

"Of Our Bones the Hills"

Shortly after their flight, the Skogr caravan is joined by Ubin and his retinue, who inform them of the fall of Einartoft: Bellower feinted a retreat after the Serpent struck and circled around to storm the fortress-city from its other entrance. The Varl King, Jorundr, along with Hakon, Fasolt and all the other defenders are assumed dead. Unable to cross the Summer Path, due to it being held by the Dredge, the caravan takes a long and hard detour but eventually make it to Sigrholm, exhausted and famished. The small town is ravaged by the earthquakes and the inhabitants are openly hostile to the refugees. Juno fails to appear as Morale drops and problems never seem to stop. After some debate and with no better option, Rook decides their only hope now lies in the fortified city of Boersgard. On the road again, they find out that the hardships of the march do not relent even though the caravan enters into more temperate climates as it presses southwards. At Godstone Ingrid the caravan is shaken by the revelation that the Dredge are not entirely warlike, but also have families and children; only Iver is not surprised by this discovery and later relates the story of the Yngvar and Raze to Rook. A small glimmer of hope fills the Skogr caravan as it finally reaches the large city of Boersgard.

  • Important story-branching events: Rook decides if the caravan should take-in a Dredge baby found in the hands of a dead Dredge female, in the Godstone Ingrid, or not.

Chapter 7[edit | edit source]

"The Slayer and the Slain"

Once Rook and the Skogr caravan enter Boersgard their hearts sink once more. The city is in the brink of chaos and the mercenary company called Ravens, under the command of Bolverk Bloodaxe, is the only thing holding the city together. More Dredge arrive to besiege to city with every passing day, while supplies are running out and widespread riots are tearing the city apart from the inside. Rook, Eyvind and Iver decide that their only hope is to construct boats and sail down the Ormsa River to Arberrang. Before they can complete their plan, the city defenses begin to falter under the overwhelming Dredge pressure. The gates are barely held as a familiar Horn is sounded from outside the city. The unlikely Varl King, Hakon, accompanied by Juno and a considerable Varl force that left Einartoft before its fall, break through the siege and reinforce the city's garrison. Early excitement fails as Bellower arrives and presses the siege. The heroes are forced to face him, relying on a desperate plan devised by Juno: A special arrow crafted by the mystical metal taken from the Godstone of Stravhs can neutralize Bellower's Immortality so that he can be taken down by conventional attacks. Rook indulges in Juno's plan and leads the Party that faces Bellower.

  • Important story-branching events: Rook decides whether to allow Alette to loose the Silver Arrow at Bellower, or to take that task unto himself.

Part 2[edit | edit source]

The second (middle) part of the trilogy picks up soon after the ending of the first part, with the caravan, hard pressed by the Dredge population that moves south-west en masse, fleeing westward to seek the protection of the Walls of Arberrang.

The main protagonist/POV character of the second part of The Banner Saga is either Rook or his daughter, Alette, depending on who loosed the Silver Arrow in the final battle of Chapter 7. Bolverk also becomes a POV character.

Chapter Title POV Main Locations
8 From Their Homes Must All Flee Rook/Alette Aleo's village → Ormsdalr
9 Cast The Hone Into The Air Bolverk Ormsdalr → Bindal
10 To Speak In All Tongues Rook/Alette Ormsdalr → GrundarLundar
11 Where A Foe May Lurk Bolverk Bindal → Deep Maw → West Cave Exit
12 The Destined Day Shall Come R/A → Juno → R/A Lundar → Old WoodFiskivik
13 The Fetters Will Burst Bolverk West Cave Exit → Old Ford
14 Brothers Fight And Kinship Stain Rook/Alette TolirArberrang
15 In Fear Quake All Iver Manaharr

Chapter 8[edit | edit source]

"From Their Homes Must All Flee"

  • Important story-branching events: Rook/Alette has option to impress or disappoint Rugga.

Chapter 9[edit | edit source]

"Cast The Hone Into The Air"

  • Important story-branching events: None. Bolverk's decisions only affect support characters & secondary events.

Chapter 10[edit | edit source]

"To Speak In All Tongues"

  • Important story-branching events: Rook/Alette has option to impress or disappoint Rugga.

Chapter 11[edit | edit source]

"Where A Foe May Lurk"

  • Important story-branching events: Bolverk accepts the wounded Dredge Stonesinger in the Ravens caravan or not.

Chapter 12[edit | edit source]

"The Destined Day Shall Come"

  • Important story-branching events: Rook/Alette has option to impress or disappoint Rugga.

Chapter 13[edit | edit source]

"The Fetters Will Burst"

  • Important story-branching events: At the conclusion of the Chapter, in the Old Ford, Bolverk can lead the Ravens in slaying Eyeless or he can leave her wounded.

Chapter 14[edit | edit source]

"Brothers Fight And Kinship Stain"

  • Important story-branching events: Rook/Alette sides with the King (against Rugga) or not. The stance of the King against the Varl led by Hakon depends on whether Ludin survived Chapter 3 or not.

Chapter 15[edit | edit source]

"In Fear Quake All"

  • Important story-branching events: Iver defeats the Bellower-possessed Bolverk or not.

Part 3[edit | edit source]

The last part of the trilogy is split in two intertwined storylines: The Skogr caravan, led by Rook or Alette, is now stationed inside Arberrang and struggles with political conflicts, the Dredge siege and, eventually, the coming of the Darkness. The Ravens caravan, from the POV of Iver, escorts Juno and Eyvind through the warped Darkness in their attempt to reach its core. The story plays out with the Arberrang defenders struggling to hold out while Iver speeds to stop the Darkness.

Chapter Title POV Main Locations
16 The True Hero Comes Reluctantly Rook/Alette (R/A) Arberrang
17 Raising High Their Shining Light Iver Warped Strand
18 Alas, The Sea Is Still Deep and Wide Rook/Alette Arberrang
19 The Hounds Are A-Hungered Iver → Warped Ridgehorn
20 We Live As We Will Live Rook/Alette Arberrang
21 With A Mighty Grief That Was Ours and Theirs Iver ←→ R/A or Oddleif Inner Earth ←→ Arberrang
22 We Few Remember It Now Iver → R/A or Oddleif White Tower → Arberrang

Chapter 16[edit | edit source]

"The True Hero Comes Reluctantly"

Our hero tries to secure a place for the Skogr caravan inside the walls of Arberrang, as the Dredge armies approach. In doing so, the hero gets enmeshed in the politics of the city: The two main factions are the supporters of King Meinolf and Rugga's loyalists, who are attempting to usurp the former, while numerous other clans and refugees struggle to survive, picking one side or the other. The presence of humans, horseborn and varl in a city besieged by Dredge and overshadowed by the engulfing Darkness brings relations to an edge. As the leader of one of the biggest caravans, our hero is invited to meet the King in the Great Hall, together with Rugga who has been captured by the city guards, led by Petrus, the Guard Captain of Arberrang. Traversing the city towards the Great Hall, refugees from Tolir turn upon Canary's horseborn herd, who travels with the Skogr caravan. Moreover, an unexpected party of Varl, survivors from Einartoft led by Fasolt, join up with the last of their kin, under King Hakon. Shorty before reaching the stairs to the Great Hall, Rugga's followers make an unsuccessful attempt to rescue their captured leader. The hero eventually meets the King where he makes his plea: Try to get an antidote for the poison Rugga used on him during the parley in Chapter 14 in exchange for support graciously offered to the caravan. Moreover, Petrus is to serve as our hero's guide, at the King's request. A brief moment of respite is to be had, as Rugga is imprisoned and the caravan is protected.

  • Important story-branching events: Choosing your stance towards Canary when confronted by Tolir refugees determines if she will stay allied with you throughout the game.

Chapter 17[edit | edit source]

"Raising High Their Shining Light"

Iver, Juno and Eyvind are venturing into the Darkness, protected by the Ravens who are seemingly led by Folka. Juno has devised a globe of magical golden light which protects the small band from the corrupting effects of the Darkness. Arriving in the warped remains of Strand, they rescue a rogue magic wielder by the name of Alfrun banded with a few survivors from the town guard. Alfrun, claiming to have had Mender training, hints that Folka is mind-controlled by Juno, who grudgingly admits it and releases the spell. Despite their initial frustration, the Ravens immediately realize their cruel fate: they need Juno's magic light to survive, so they are left with no option but to follow her into the Darkness. Leaving warped Strand behind, they soon spot a disturbing sight in the distance: Bolverk, the former leader of the Ravens, is pursuing them; this can't be good...

  • Important story-branching events: None.

Chapter 18[edit | edit source]

"Alas, The Sea Is Still Deep and Wide"

Tension in the besieged city escalates: the Kingsmen and Rugga's loyalists are in open conflict, with the Skogr caravan drawn in the middle while, at the same time, trying to help in the defenses of the city against the Dredge siege. Rugga, despite being imprisoned, still exerts control over his followers harassing everyone who gets in their way. Trying to bargain with Rugga is interrupted by the arrival of the Sundr general Ruin, sister to the deceased Raze, who tears down the fortifications of the city allowing Dredge to pour inside. Oddleif devises a cunning plan to defeat her, but it requires time to prepare and the combined effort of all the races: humans, varl and horseborn, to succeed. While the preparation are underway, the bells of Arberrang mournfully toll for the passing of King Meinolf. Will Rugga make his move now? In an attempt to avoid chaos during the succession, the hero confronts the imprisoned Rugga who refuses to cooperate reveling in having outlived Meinolf; moreover, he reveals that the poison he employed on the King had no cure, and it was untraceable by Menders as it directly attacked the mind. The hero leaves Rugga in prison, as more pressing matters are at hand: Ruin is preparing another assault on the walls and Oddleif's plan is ready for deployment. The combined efforts are eventually successful, more so with the unexpected aid of a horseborn herd led by Ubin, who attacks the flanks of the Dredge just as Rook/Alette leads the planned sortie. With Ruin defeated, Arberrang is given another small respite, with Dredge armies once again headless, despite their numbers and the ongoing siege. Nevertheless, the Darkness moves south unperturbed...

  • Important story-branching events: Offending the Varl while asking for their help in the plan to stop Ruin will lead in a breaking of their uneasy alliance with the Skogr caravan. Before the battle against Ruin, the hero has the option to slay Rugga after he refuses to cooperate and promising to undermine all your efforts.

Chapter 19[edit | edit source]

"The Hounds Are A-Hungered"

Bolverk chases down Iver, Juno and Eyvind, commanding warped legions and throwing them at the Ravens, who realize that their former captain is now bent on destroying them all. Folka is forced to cooperate with Iver and Juno, using all her combat experience and knowledge of Bolverk's tactics, in order to fight him back and keep ahead of him. Alfrun privately expresses her doubts to Iver: are Juno and Eyvind really trying to stop the Darkness, or to further exploit/harness its power to their own benefit? Juno's plan is to reach the Ridgehorn tower, where a portal to the "Inner Earth" can be found. It is now evident that their destination is inside the "core" of the Darkness. The Ravens travel through many perils, facing off waves of warped abominations while chancing upon clusters of undistorted civilization near Godstones; humans, varl and dredge all huddle close to the monuments that seem to keep the effects of the Darkness at bay. As they close in on the warped remains of Ridgehorn, Bolverk is almost upon them, so Juno tries to stall him while the Ravens protect Eyvind from the warped, in his attempt to activate the portal to the Inner Earth. The Ravens barely escape Bolverk, plunging into the portal.

  • Important story-branching events: None. Iver's decisions only affect supporting characters & secondary events, with respect to heroes in the Ravens caravan.

Chapter 20[edit | edit source]

"We Live As We Will Live"

As the world is enveloped in Darkness, Rugga's supporters make their move seizing control of the city. Aleo informs the hero that they have cornered Oddleif near the gates; with Meinolf dead, it seems that the power struggle is now being you and them. The whole of the Skogr caravan is raised and crosses the city marching towards to gates to confront Rugga's loyalists. There, Oddleif argues that the Dredge can by turned to allies, and should be allowed inside the walls to help defend the city against the Darkness; Rugga's loyalists are openly against this, and soon words come to swords. The skirmishes are ended with the arrival of a high-ranking member of the Valka council, Zefr, in the city. She urges the factions to settle their arguments and cooperate while she speeds off to gather all remaining Menders in the city; their combined power can help temporarily shield Arberrang from the Darkness. Our hero considers negotiating a treaty with the Dredge, allowing them inside the city, and risking open conflict with Rugga's loyalists. Whatever his choice, the Doom of Arberrang, of Life and of civilization as we know it, draws near: Can the forces of all four races hold out long enough for Iver, Eyvind and Juno to complete their mission?

  • Important story-branching events: The hero has the option to allow the Dredge inside the Arberrang walls, in a desperate alliance against the upcoming tides of warping Darkness. This is an important turning point in the story which can even lead to the protagonists's death (shifting the POV to Oddleif) and also depends on choices made in the previous games.

Chapter 21[edit | edit source]

"With A Mighty Grief That Was Ours and Theirs"

Juno and the Ravens enter the Inner Earth and struggle to reach the White Tower, the "core" of the spreading Darkness, while they sense that it is closing its grip on Arberrang. Meanwhile, Zefr's Menders and our band of heroes try to stall the Darkness, as wave after wave of warped horrors crash into the crumbling city, breaching its walls one by one. Juno finally reveals the sin that she and Eyvind committed, to the world and especially to the Dredge; she acknowledges that the unleashing of the Darkness and the Serpent is their fault, and assures Iver that they can stop it, but not revert it. The Ravens hurry towards the White Tower, witnessing the warped devastation of what used to be the world of the Dredge, as the Serpent assaults them and attempts unsuccessfully, once again, to destroy Juno. Alfrun confides in Iver that she is capable of performing the spell that will stop the Darkness, and urges him not to trust Eyvind's resolve in this matter of life and death. At the same time, the Arberrang defenders are stranded inside the Black Wall and then inside the Great Hall, with the sea of Darkness slowly drowning them; humans, varl and horseborn fight back-to-back against overwhelming numbers of warped; in a desperate cling to survival, they retreat to the cellars and bring down the ceiling of the building, hoping to shield themselves from the Darkness, for just a few more moments... As the Ravens finally reach the White Tower, Iver glimpses Bolverk waiting for them at the stairs... Hope flickers.

  • Important story-branching events: In this chapter, the POV will shift back and forth between the march of the Ravens and the last stand in Arberrang. Each time the Ravens run out of time, the story returns to Arberrang where the Darkness has crept closer and the defenders struggle to buy some more time. In this desperate stretch, many heroes will fall in both caravans.

Chapter 22[edit | edit source]

"We Few Remember It Now"

Juno, Eyvind, Iver and any Ravens surviving the fight against Bolverk and his warped minions ascend to the summit of the White Tower, and approach the pedestal where the channeling of the Dark Sun's power is strongest. Juno takes her place near the pedestal, seemingly accepting her fate, and waits for Eyvind to cast the spell that will stop the Darkness and save the world. At this ultimate moment, Eyvind falters. He knows that the price he must pay is the life of his beloved Juno: he must seal her immortal body inside the Dark Sun to stabilize it, condemning her in this eternal prison. Adding to his agonizing dilemma, the defeated Serpent emerges and offers a bargain: it promises to consume only "half the world", sparing Arberrang and allowing all of them to depart unmolested, including Juno... The fate of the world is hanging on a thread as Iver considers Eyvind's wavering resolve and the warnings of Alfrun. The remaining Arberrang survivors are sealed inside the cellars, buried under the collapsed structure, and drawing their precious last breaths in the encroaching Darkness. What will Iver do? After the decision is made, the epilogue of the Banner Saga takes place in Arberrang...

  • Important story-branching events: Iver is eventually given three options, which decide the ending of the story: Fully trust Eyvind, or talk him into considering Juno's will in this, or strike him down (and allow Alfrun to attempt the spell, if she is alive).
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