This article contains assorted Lore information that does not fit in any of the other articles of the wiki. As the world of The Banner Saga is unveiled, this article will be further expanded and restructured.
Most of the lore recorded here is conveyed by the main POV characters of the game and may, in many cases, be subjective or unjustified, representing their personal judgement.
This section contains information about the known deities of the game's world. The names of several gods have been given along with their 'disciplines'. By the era when the game takes place, it is common knowledge that 'The Gods are Dead'.
- Loom-mother — Primary female goddess, who originally created the human race.
- Dundr — Primary male god, a disciple of the Loom-mother. Responsible for beards, smithing, games and songs of mirth.
- Hridvaldyr — God of hunters, wild beasts and forests. Depicted with a spear.
- Denglr — God of fortune and wealth.
- Radormyr — God of the Sun and the Harvest; also very secretive, usually depicted as a giant serpent.
- Marek — God of waters and sea. Depicted as a giant ocean beast.
- Hadrborg — Creator of the Varl race.
- Ingrid — Goddess of recorded history, possibly also knowledge, lore and future.
- Bjorulf — God of mead and brewing
- Stravhs — God of secrets and trade. Supposedly connected with the weapons by which the gods were slain.
More gods are revealed in the second part of The Banner Saga
- Aselei — Goddess of steaming waters and rivers.
- Irynx — Unknown aspects, possibly the God of Winter; depicted as a giant bird.
- Baldringr — God of war; shunned by the Varl.
- Vez'nan — Ancient and mostly forgotten god. Presumed aspects: control, power and letting go.
- Geirraðr — God of wise counsel and direction.
- Bygglaerer — The Builder, god responsible for laying the cavernous foundations of the world and raising it's mountains.
- Lauga — Goddess of Love.
Giant memorials called Godstones are devoted to each of those gods and can be met playing the game.
This section contains information about specific characters, divided according to the race they belong in. There are currently four races.
Refer to the dedicated articles for specific details.
Horned and bearded giants, hand made by the god Hadrborg. They are all male, and unable to reproduce. Generally warlike, especially against the Dredge race.
After the end of the first great war, the Varl chose to separate themselves from humans and form their own kingdom in the lands of the North. Einar was chosen to be their ruler, and so became the first King of the Varl. After leading the Varl on a harsh journey through the snowy, dredge-infested fields of the Wandering Road, he founded his kingdom in the crook of the Brattabreck and Wyrmscale mountain ranges. However, northward expansion was blocked by the Brattabrecks, long thought to mark the edge of the world. When a pass through the mountains was discovered across the gorge from Einartoft, Einar built a monumental bridge to cross the gap, thus allowing the Varl to push their borders further to the north.
He was the first to discover the series of low-lying hills in the Wyrmscale foothills that look eerily similar to barrows.
The fifth Varl King, ruling in Grofheim during the events of The Banner Saga.
- Refer to the main article for more details.
Notable Varl warrior, connected with Strand and the nearby regions. He turned against his own kind on the behest of the menders in the First Great War, and would be instrumental in ending it. Later a governor of Strand, he currently rests at the bottom of Karlsvat.
Not much is known about him, other than that he is a mentor and friend of Sigbjorn, and that he died before the events of the first game. For some reason, any mention of his name greatly agitates Sigbjorn.
Known as the last one, Kvig is the youngest Varl, the last one made by Hadrborg. As narrated in the second part of The Banner Saga, Kvig survives the sacking of Einartoft and, together with Fasolt, meets up with the Ravens caravan.
Skrymir, the third Varl King, was known for his obsession with wiping out the dredge. He expanded past Grofheim, founding Skrymirstead, a city in his own name, that soon became abandoned when the frozen land that it was built upon began to crack and splinter.
- Gunnulf claims that his two-handed greatsword was given to him by Skrymir himself, and he entrusted him to guard the King and his belongings.
He is one of the oldest Varl during the events of The Banner Saga, alongside Ubin and Krumr. He was residing in Grofheim before that city was destroyed by the Dredge during the ongoing Third Great War; it is unknown if he survived.
The First Warhawk
Though his name was not directly stated, he was an infamous warlord and veteran of both Great Wars. A mentor to a great number of varl, including Sigbjorn and possibly Gunnulf, he dreamt of eradicating all of mankind in a continuation of the First Great War. On his king's behest, he relented, electing to head north and eradicate the dredge instead.
The fourth Varl King whose reign began during the time of the Second Great War. The dredge had been launching devastating attacks on the realm of the varls, killing them in huge numbers. Thorstr however succeeded in rallying his troops to drive them back, using a shield-like amulet called the "Gift of Hadrborg", which was said to be able to revive dead varls and had been bequeathed to the race by their creator Hadrborg.
Throstr is known for building the city of Blotsbalkr in the province of Setterlund, making it the seat of his rule, an act that left the established clans in Grofheim none too pleased. He died under mysterious circumstances, that have been unanswered to this day.
- See also: Throstr's Tooth.
A notable varl warrior who fought in the Second Great War, he was known for valuing honor above all else, even when fighting the invading dredge. As such, it was he to whom the relic called the "Gift of Hadrborg", which was reputed to revive dead varls, was passed on to after Throstr's death.
Torstein later made Kjallak, Olaf and Ulfvalgr his kendr and took them under his care. He taught them to survive, read and fight, becoming like a father to them. Kjallak was exiled by him for his dishonorable way, but he forgave Ulfvalgr for raiding on humans, since he did it for the legacy of the varls.
Before his death, Torstein bequeathed the Gift of Hadrborg to Olaf and Ulfvalgr. Ulfvalgr however wanted to venture out and earn fame, due to which he suggested splitting the amulet in half. Torstein forbade him, but Ulfvalgr fooled Olaf about it and hid his own half with him.
Vilmundr is a varl warlord who served Jorundr, but whose true loyalties lie with himself. He fought against the dredge during the Second Great War and often preferred to rely on surprising tactics to deceive them.
Kjallak tried to earn his loyalty in order to become the King of Varls and prepare them for the dredge, whom he believed would invade again. As such, he had the Vak'auga smuggle him to Strand, and with the help of the mender Melkorka and his men who made varl skeletons move while hiding inside them, fooled him into believing that the Gift of Hadrborg he had stolen was able to resurrect the dead varls.
Kjallak's ruse was however soon exposed to Vilmundr, and the latter was arrested by the City Watch after the downfall of Kjallak and his allies. Knowing that keeping him imprisoned could lead to trouble for Strand, the new Steward Eirik was forced to release him, but warned him to never return to the city again.
A legendary varl hero of the Second Great War, renowned for slaying Raze and then mysteriously disappearing while he was about to be named kendr to the Varl King. During the events of The Banner Saga it is revealed that Yngvar is in fact Iver, the solitary Varl residing in Skogr. Iver withdrew to that small town out of shame for the way in which he slew Raze, during a snowstorm while she was nursing her baby.
First race created by the Loom-mother arch-deity. No special features. In generally good terms with Varl, and hostile to the Dredge.
Aukfrosta is the name given to a small girl found frozen during a random event in the first part of The Banner Saga. She has a mysterious understanding of Dredge ways, like a 'sixth sense' or a connection to them.
The Barði Fetill are a powerful gang of Strand and are involved in organizing illegal boxing matches at their underground boxing clubs.
City Watch of Strand
The City Watch of Strand is responsible for guarding the city and fighting crime. The guards are however often distrusted and seen as inefficient by other people, especially due to the corruption in their ranks and the secrecy practiced by some of the larger gangs. It is led by an officer with the rank of "Captain", and is often strained when it comes to resources, especially due the generosity of the Governor of Strand towards the poor and the peasants.
Dagny is the adoptive daughter of Strand's spymaster Vott and worked at his tailor shop called Vott's Consignments. She however disliked working there due to finding it mundane, as well as due to her inquisitive nature. As such, she was always more excited about carrying messages for him or doing more dangerous work like spying.
When Eirik was trying to take down the triumvirate of gangs who wanted to take over Strand, Vott had her carry messages for Eirik and the Governor's Steward Olvir, in addition to stationing a cart for Eirik's allies after capturing a lieutenant of the gangs at a tournament. Upon the downfall of the triumvirate, Eirik became the new Steward of Strand, and Vott sent her to him in order to help finish his exhausting paperwork, to which Dagny gladly agreed.
The Dreyri Runes are a powerful gang of Strand involved in contract killing.
Founder of Etiltorp, a renowned weapon smith.
Fiske was a member of the Vak'auga and died about two months before the Third Great War, being killed by the escaped Runa in revenge for him being responsible for the death of Leiknir at the hands of his bosses, the Magnus twins.
Frode is a shrewd lumber merchant from Boersgard. During a visit to Strand about two months before the Third Great War, he encountered the group of Eirik, Olaf, Ulfvalgr and Stefnir, who were carrying an injured Valgard and trying to escape the Mársmidr. He agreed to grant them protection and take them to the Great Hall, in return for the duties on his goods being waived.
When Olaf and Stefnir came to the mead hall, Ulfvalgr started a bar brawl while pretending to attack the former in order to escape the Mársmidr. Stefnir tried to steal the establishment's provisions during the fight, and barely escaped being hit by Geir's club before knocking him out with his shield. The building was burnt down by the Mársmidr soon afterwards.
The "Gothi" are a group of preachers and priests who claim that the gods are still alive, but are not taken seriously by most people. Among the services they carry out is providing lodgings and food to people, in addition to helping the poor. They had a presence in the city of Strand.
The "Governor's Guard" is the most elite guard unit protecting the city of Strand. They are often tasked with carrying out espionage activities against criminals and infiltrating the gangs in the city unlike the City Watch, which is more reliant on methods of force and intimidation. They are directly overseen by the Governor's Steward and their agents reside at the Great Hall.
Helvir was the brother of the current Governor of Strand and died at the young age of twenty. He fathered a son named Nikolas with the mender Melkorka, though everyone believed that he never had any children until Nikolas revealed his true parentage to Eirik.
Hero of Skogr
This unofficial title refers to either Rook or Alette, i.e. the character who carried the Silver Arrow in the fight where Bellower was defeated and the Dredge siege of Boersgard was broken, at the end of the first part of The Banner Saga.
- Title sometimes confused with Sundr Slayer, a title used in the second part of The Banner Saga for the hero that neutralized Bellower: if Rook carried the Silver Arrow then Alette is the Sundr Slayer, and vice-versa.
Johan was the brother of Hallvard and a member of the Mársmidr gang in Strand. He was selected by Ottar to lead the raiding party into the heart of the kingdom of varls, in order to grab one half of the heirloom called the "Gift of Hadrborg", which was coveted by their gang's leader Kjallak.
Although his men were slain or captured by Olaf, Johan successfully made off with his half of the Gift of Hadrborg and went to Halsar, trying to blackmail his gang into letting his brother back in. Ottar however sent the gang's assassin Skoegir to slay him and he was killed.
King of Arberrang
Ruler of (most) human clans. He resides in Arberrang, one of the largest human settlements and capital to his kingdom. During the events of The Banner Saga, King Meinolf reigns, with Prince Ludin being his heir.
Kollsvein was a criminal who led the gang called "Kollsvein's Kin". Their territory was located in the poor Strand neighborhoods near the city walls. After his gang was decimated by the Governor's Guard shortly before the Third Great War, they were forced to turn to robbery.
When Olaf, Ulfvalgr and Stefnir tried crossing through their territory, the gang confronted them and tried to force them to pay up. The three however refused and Kollsvein ordered his men to attack. Things soon went sideways for the gang as Eirik, Valgard and Hallvard as joined in. After Valgard killed Kollsvein upon Hallvard's suggestion, the rest of the gangsters scattered.
"Kollsvein's Kin" was a criminal gang in Strand's poorer residential areas near the city walls and led by Kollsvein. It was decimated by the Governor's Guard, which had infiltrated its ranks shortly before the Third Great War, and forced to turn to robbery. The gang tried to rob Olaf, Ulfvalgr and Stefnir when they came through their territory, leading to an armed fight braking out. Eirik, Valgard and Hallvard soon joined the three in fighting them, killing some of their members and Kollsvein himself, while forcing the rest to flee.
Resides in Manaharr and controls the Menders. In the past, most members of the Council were Valka. During the time of the story of The Banner Saga, Juno, Zefr and Dusi are the only known current members of this conclave.
Ragnar is the sole legitimate son of the current Governor of Strand and the Governor-Prince of Strand, being next in line to inherit the throne. He is also the half-brother of Eirik and cousin to Nikolas. Unlike his father, Ragnar is lazy and prone to leisure, however he is also quite enthusiastic about the ideals of justice.
About a year before the Third Great War, his father had sent him to Karlshus for inspection of the town's defenses, but his retinue led by Eirik, was ambushed by the Aetla Hilmir. Ragnar was gravely injured, but was saved due to Eirik's efforts. After the assassination attempt on his life, the governor had him learn sword-fighting, but he repeatedly made excuses to avoid them.
Leader of a large faction that founded a kingdom to the east, during the human civil wars. While the kingdom is no more, the region called Stromlund still bears his name. He also founded Ormsdalr, close to Boersgard. Strom's hopes of rich lands in the South-East were drowned in the swamps of Swartbog.
Unnarr is a quirky old man encountered in a random event in the first part of The Banner Saga. If he joins the caravan, he mysteriously disappears after some days, but not before having a beneficial impact on the Caravan.
That is the name by which the strongest of the Menders were collectively referred to, during the Second Great War against the Dredge. During the time of the story of The Banner Saga, it is unclear if there is any Mender powerful enough to match the Valka of old.
The original Valka were the favoured of the Loom-mother and were taught weaving by her. Eyvind is the leader and most powerful of the Valka during the events of The Banner Saga series. The male Valka are often prone to unstable behaviour unlike the women.
Vott is the official spymaster of Strand who collects tips from informants and field agents, without them needing to go directly to the Great Hall. He also runs a tailor shop called Vott's Consignments as a cover for his activities.
A few years before the Third Great War, Vott adopted a girl named Dagny and raised her as his own. He eventually got her to work at his shop or carry messages for him to others, though she hated doing the former as she found it mundane.
While trying to bring down the triumvirate of gangs consisting of the Aetla Hilmir, the Mársmidr and the Vak'auga, who were trying to take over Strand, Eirik often went to Vott to tell him about the information he learnt about them, so he could relay it further to Steward Olvir, and also had him arrange supplies for him and his allies.
Wade was the personal assistant of Olvir, the Steward to the Governor of Strand, and died about two months before the Third Great War. He had a habit of addressing all of the Governor's Guardsmen as "lord". While he was bringing provisions for Olaf, Stefnir and Ulfvalgr, whom Eirik and Valgard had saved from the Mársmidr, he was murdered by the Aetla Hilmir, who had infiltrated the Great Hall to capture Eirik's guests.
Dredge are humanoid beings of varied size. Usually clad in darkly-colored stone (or metal) armor. Generally hostile against all other races. They are both male and female, and are able to reproduce. This was kept secret by the few Varl that knew the truth, to make the Dredge more alien and loathsome. They reside beneath the earth and their own name for themselves is akin to "sculptors".
During the events of The Banner Saga a baby Dredge is found in the arms of its dead mother (a Dredge Slinger) beside the Ingrid Godstone. This leads Rook to the startling realization that the Dredge aren't just monsters, but also have women and children, just like the humans. Iver is the only one not shocked and he urges Rook to conceal the discovery from the caravan. The baby can be abandoned to die unless Rook insists they bring it along; in this case, it is adopted by a nursemaid amongst the clanswomen and the caravan is rewarded an item.
See main article.
See main article.
Chime was a non-violent female Sundr, described by Alfrun as a disciple of peace among the dredge. This was received negatively by the other Sundr, as they were more inclined to war. She wanted to ally with other races to fend off the Darkness.
The mightiest of the Dredge champions are called Sundr and enjoy a demi-god status in their culture. They are given nicknames by their opponents:
- Bellower — Male. His mighty roars spread fear and despair to his enemies.
- Seethe (unconfirmed)
- Eyeless — A Stonesinger (possibly female) wearing a stone-plaque as a mask that covers her eyes.
- Raze — Female. Destroyer of fortifications and the mate of Bellower.
- Ruin — Female. Unknown powers; equipped with a whip-like chain.
- Chime — Female. She wanted to pursue a diplomatic path with other races in order to fend off the Darkness.
- Walker (unconfirmed)
- Seethe (unconfirmed)
The home of the Dredge is in Valkajokull and the Underworld, where they reside in caverns built by them. Like the surface, it also has a Sun, but it is dark and much more powerful than the Sun that gives light to the surface. After Juno was sentenced to death, Eyvind used its power to revive her, resulting in it falling to the ground and occurrence of quakes. This also resulted in the releasing of the Darkness and the half-born Serpent gestating within it. The Dredge habitat also contains large unknown creatures which are reported to often come to the surface. The menders use the fortresses with the suffix "horn" as a portal to travel to the home of the Dredge.
This secretive race is a cross-breed between humans and horses (or ponies). They reside in the far south and come into the story during the second part of The Banner Saga.
- See main article for more details.
Named Horseborn characters appearing in the story include:
A Horseborn that supposedly located the source of the Ormsa River.
This section contains information about specific events, with approximate chronological order of appearance.
First Great War
A war between humans and varl, ended when the Dredge emerged.
Second Great War
A war between the allied forces of man and varl against the Dredge menace. Ended when the Valka pushed the Dredge deep into the north. Though they were thought to have defeated them, in actual they convinced the dredge to stop the hostilities in return for teaching them things like writing, mending, utilising the power of the Dark Sun beneath the earth and breeding to create more of their kind.
Death of the Gods
It is not clear when this critical event took place. When the Loom-mother created the mankind and the world, other gods copied her and created other races like Varl and Horseborn. One of the gods created the Dredge to torment the other races and hid them beneath the surface of the world. After the Loom-mother discovered this, she killed the errant god. The other gods who never knew they could die, became fearful and started fighting each other. It is believed that the god Stravhs supplied the weapons the gods used to kill each other. However, some gods seem to have survived the war, going in hiding.
Third Great War
Currently unfolding series of events. For a fuller account refer to the main article.
The Third Great War is considered to have started with an ominous astronomical happenstance: The Sun Stopped in the Sky and hasn't moved since. Soon after, overwhelming numbers of Dredge started moving massively from the north to the south. The war was caused by them believing the Valka had betrayed their pact after their leader Eyvind utilised the energy of the Dark Sun to ressurect Juno, causing it to crash to the ground while creating chasms and unleashing the Serpent along with the Darkness.
Extended fighting between them and Varl & human erupted in almost all the northern parts of the world due to the enmity between the races. The descent of the Dredge led to the destruction of several settlements, including two major Varl cities, Grofheim and Einartoft. The King of the Varl, Jorundr, escaped the destruction the capital city of Grofheim but fell in the sacking of the fortress-city of Einartoft. The Varl kingship was passed on to Hakon, who was issued from the fortress-city with a Varl warband before its fall, ordered to seek the aid of King Meinolf.
The appearance of the Dredge was followed by tremendous earthquakes that destroyed vast territories and changed the shape of the landscape by moving mountains, opening chasms and sinking lakes. A strange being in the form of a giant Serpent appeared along with the mysterious earthquakes, for which it is possibly partially responsible. Juno, a member of the Mender council supposedly 'conversed' with the Serpent in a dream-like sequence, and reported that an unnamed Darkness is spreading from the north. It is presumed that this Darkness is what forced the Dredge to move south, in fear and great distress.
The onslaught of the Dredge continued to rage across the world and forced the other races to flee before them. Unlike the Varl, who preferred to stand their ground against their ancient rivals, Humans formed caravans and fled to the south and south-west. The largest of the caravans originated from the village of Skogr and grew with every village and city it crossed. Human settlements attacked and destroyed by the Dredge include: Skogr, Frostvellr and Sigrholm. Bellower, the Sundr commander of the main Dredge host, was defeated during the siege of Boersgard by the Sundr Slayer, aided by Juno, Hakon's warband and the self-sacrifice of the Hero of Skogr. Nevertheless, Boersgard was evacuated and its refugees, headed by Governor Rugga, joined with the Skogr caravan heading to Arberrang by means of the Ormsa River to seek the protection of its legendary walls.
Bolverk's Ravens, the mercenary company hired to protect Boersgard, also departed with the Skogr caravan but soon switched direction at Ormsdalr, heading west towards Bindal. The Ravens mysteriously re-appeared in the Old Ford where they vanquished Eyeless, the Sundr commander of a large Dredge host fleeing before the descending Darkness.
Population from the southern regions of the world, including Horseborn and Kragsmen, were also stirred by the turmoil of the world. Large Horseborn herds, both hostile and friendly, were sighted in northern parts of the world after many decades. The largest of the Herds, led by Canary, joined with the Skogr caravan en route to Arberrang.
The last recorded events of the Third Great War are:
- The arrival of the Skogr caravan to Arberrang and its attempt to enter the city walls, held shut by King Meinolf in fear of the overpopulation.
- The massacre of hundreds of human clansmen camped outside Arberrang by a Horseborn herd.
- The collapse of the Mender Tower in Manaharr under mysterious circumstances, followed by the release of huge amounts of Energy.
- The Darkness sweeps over the remains of Manaharr and looms in the north-western sky from Arberrang...
Chronology of Major Events
> 500 y.a.
- Loom mother creates the first men.
- First Varl created, including most of the varl characters in the games
- First Great War Begins
- Baldringr gifts fire to man
- Varl pushed back to the Red River
- Karl switches to the human side
- Horseborn push into Downs Crossing
- Birth of the Dredge
- Kvig, the last varl, is made
- First Great War Ends:
- Death of the Gods
- Varl-Human Alliance forged
- Kingdom of Men founded in Arberrang
- Mender Council formed in Manaharr
- Kingdom of Varl founded by Einar in Einartoft
- Karl made Governor of Strand
- Horseborn dominance established over Dalalond
- Varl capital moved to Fastisetr
- Einartoft Bridge constructed
- Einar steps down. Arnfinnr becomes varl king
- Varl capital moved to Grofheim
- Strom’s Rebellion. Kingdom of Rundwall and Kingdom of Stromlund founded.
- Arnfinnr steps down, Skrymir becomes varl king.
- Setterlund starts being settled, Sten founds Skogr
- Tin discovers the southern source of the Ormsa river
- Skrymirstead founded
- Strom dies
- Gunnulf is gifted his current broadsword
- Kingdom of Men re-founded. Stromlund and Setterlund begin reunification with Rundwall.
- Theft and Slaughter of Horses
- Horseborn withdraw from other races
- Sundr emerge, Second Great War Begins
- Skymir dies. Throstr becomes varl king and obtains the Gift of Hadrborg.
- Yngvar slays Raze and child
- Mender's defeat the Sundr
- Second Great War Ends:
- Dredge massacred/banished into the caves of Valkajokull
- Yngvar refuses Throstr's kendrship, disappears
- Varl capital moved to Blotsbalkr
- Throstr dies mysteriously, Jorundr becomes varl king.
- Meinolf becomes King of Men
- Rook is born
- Varl capital moved to Grofheim
- Iver appears in Skogr
- Alette is born
- Aldis dies.
- Events of The Gift of Hadrborg
- Ludin sent to Grofheim. Varl-Human alliance reforged
- The Sun stops
Notable Human- and Varl-made structures include: