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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Vikings...and Giants?

  1. #1

    Vikings...and Giants?

    Rewatched the KS video lately, and noticed something funny.

    We're pretty used to vikings having horned helmets (despite it being historically inaccurate) so I didn't notice this at first, but there are quite clearly two playable races in the Saga.



    The first are regular sized vikings. The second appear to be Giants, who are not only considerably larger, but clearly have horns growing out of their heads, not horned helmets.



    They also have different proportions - while they stand about twice as tall as a regular person, their lower legs are very stumpy. I can't see any other differences for the time being.

    You can see the giants better starting at the 2 minute mark when we see the animations without backgrounds.



    Evidently, the giants are enemies, as well as allies, since the enemies we see the human warrior, wizard, and giant warrior fight are proportioned the same way as the giant warrior.



    So. Clearly the giants are very important to the story - the narrator is one, and they appear on both sides of the conflict. They aren't the main characters though, since the player's character is quite distinctly human, and Alette seems to be as well (or perhaps an Elf?).

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Interesting, I do remember references to the horned species in some of the developer comments as something they'd be fleshing out more in lore updates to the site.

    Well spotted though, I hadn't connected the figure in the trailer to the ones in the caravan picture and the enemies in that screenshot.

    (I think what interests me most about this setting is that they're only using Norse mythology as a stylistic base, and don't at all need to rely on Ragnarok tropes to fill out the lore and characters.)

  3. #3
    Backer Aaron's Avatar
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    I think there's going to be a few different races judging by this piece of concept art Stoic posted in one of their Kickstarter updates:


    I doubt we're going to see elves though, at least in the traditional Tolkien/D&D/fantasy-video-game sense.

  4. #4
    Backer balnoisi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    I doubt we're going to see elves though, at least in the traditional Tolkien/D&D/fantasy-video-game sense.
    i might be wrong so don't mind me, but if i remember well the actual original elves from nordic sagas were creatures of evil and darkness, the kind that stole babies from a human cradle replacing them with evil baby elves.

    so the tolkien luminous elves may be a more recent invention. even if that idea is widespread now in fantasy literature / gaming.

    edit to add: also i never understood why the emphasis on historically accurate viking helmets if you are recreating a made up mythologic world filled with female centaurs, giants etc.
    i would understand it if this was going to be something like the game version of valhalla rising (nice little film by the way).
    Last edited by balnoisi; 05-05-2012 at 11:01 AM.

  5. #5
    Backer Blistig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    piece of concept art Stoic posted in one of their Kickstarter updates:
    Wait, there are going to be centaurs in TBS?! This game just got infinitely better
    I hope that dwarves will be a part of the lore as well (according to wikipedia they have a whole world reserved for them in norse mythology).

    I'm generally excited to know more about the game world and its lore. Hopefully there will be interesting new information released soon!

  6. #6
    Superbacker Troll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    I think there's going to be a few different races judging by this piece of concept art Stoic posted in one of their Kickstarter updates:


    I doubt we're going to see elves though, at least in the traditional Tolkien/D&D/fantasy-video-game sense.
    Actually Tolkien has built almost all his mythos based on the Norse mythology. The elves and dwarves of the current fantasy staple are based on the alves / alfär if my memory is correct. Though he largely modified the original bases.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blistig View Post
    Wait, there are going to be centaurs in TBS?! This game just got infinitely better
    I hope that dwarves will be a part of the lore as well (according to wikipedia they have a whole world reserved for them in norse mythology).

    I'm generally excited to know more about the game world and its lore. Hopefully there will be interesting new information released soon!
    Yup, the guys at Stoic even "complained" that there weren't enough centaur crests during the crest frenzy around the end of the KS campaign.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by balnoisi View Post
    i might be wrong so don't mind me, but if i remember well the actual original elves from nordic sagas were creatures of evil and darkness, the kind that stole babies from a human cradle replacing them with evil baby elves.
    Close. That was Celtic legend. Nordic legend does mention elves a couple times, but doesn't really give a lot of detail regarding their disposition, appearance, or anything except their location. Tolkien took some liberties with old mythologies, and a good portion of modern fantasy can be traced back to his artistic license.

    The portrayal of the giants here isn't quite true-to-legend, as to my knowledge the average Viking tended not to interact with giants and they were normally more important than just being a slightly bigger person, but the general "the bad guys are giants, but not all the giants are bad guys" can be found in the original legends. I don't remember anything about horns being a distinguishing characteristic of them, though, so it's entirely possible that our large allies are being misidentified.

    Centaurs are Greek, and I have no idea what they're doing here.
    Writing is 5% talent and 95% not being distracted by the internet.

  8. #8
    Backer Aaron's Avatar
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    I think in terms of classic folklore in general (I'm going off of A Field Guide to the Little People) elves aren't so much evil as they are forces of nature. Like hurricanes and avalanches are forces of nature.

    Then again, a lot of those stories seem to be of the "scare the children straight" style. Eat your vegetables or Dobby will eat you.

  9. #9
    Backer Blistig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torgamous View Post
    Centaurs are Greek, and I have no idea what they're doing here.
    Being awesome. Obviously.

  10. #10
    I might've remembered wrong but I think there was something at some point that said that the armored giants from the video took up 4 tiles. So if that's true, I'll be expecting some serious HP/defenses on those guys.

  11. #11
    The problem with a lot of Norse myths is that they can be contradictory and can change depending on the circumstances. Alfar if I remember right were fertility spirits a lot of the time, and alfar and those with alfar blood were able to cast spells and such. Sometimes people connect them to the Vanir, sometimes not.

  12. #12
    Superbacker LoliSauce's Avatar
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    There are definitely elves and giants in the Norse mythos, at the very least. They each have their own realm they live on: the elves inhabiting Alfheim, the realm just above Midgard, and the giants inhabiting Jotunheim, the realm just below Midgard (Midgard being the realm of humans). If I remember right, the elves are actually similar to demigods or half-gods, and protect the gateway further up Yggdrasil to reach the realms of the gods.

    Since they're essentially bordering realms, it wouldn't be too unusual to see either elves or giants in the human world, especially after a major disaster such as ragnarok throwing everyone into chaos. I imagine they must all be in a similar state of confusion.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by LoliSauce View Post
    There are definitely elves and giants in the Norse mythos, at the very least. They each have their own realm they live on: the elves inhabiting Alfheim, the realm just above Midgard, and the giants inhabiting Jotunheim, the realm just below Midgard (Midgard being the realm of humans). If I remember right, the elves are actually similar to demigods or half-gods, and protect the gateway further up Yggdrasil to reach the realms of the gods.

    Since they're essentially bordering realms, it wouldn't be too unusual to see either elves or giants in the human world, especially after a major disaster such as ragnarok throwing everyone into chaos. I imagine they must all be in a similar state of confusion.
    There were actually two types of elves and giants. Dark elves (Svartalheim) and light elves (Alfheim), and fire giants (Muspelheim) and frost giants (Joutenheim). They take up 4 different realms, and the fire giant Surt/Surtur will destroy Asgard during Ragnarok. =3

  14. #14
    Superbacker Troll's Avatar
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    And from what I try to remember, the Dark alfar are what became known as dwarves in Tolkien lore while the Light alfar became the elves.

  15. #15
    Superbacker LoliSauce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mau View Post
    There were actually two types of elves and giants. Dark elves (Svartalheim) and light elves (Alfheim), and fire giants (Muspelheim) and frost giants (Joutenheim). They take up 4 different realms, and the fire giant Surt/Surtur will destroy Asgard during Ragnarok. =3
    Right-o. Thanks for the assist. If we're talking about races that could mingle in peacfully with humans though, I don't think we'll be seeing many inhabitants of the lower realms. They tend to get more exaggeratedly inhuman the further down you go.

  16.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #16
    Creative Director Alex's Avatar
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    Hey everybody! Good catch with the giants, we're surprised how many people didn't realize there are at least two races in the announcement trailer.

    You're also right that the giants are very important to the story. As we've mentioned in a couple interviews, though we love viking culture and the Jotun, Alfheim, and the Nibelungen version of dwarves, we're not using actual Norse mythology, instead using them for inspiration because it's a veritable treasure trove of great ideas.

    What we haven't done yet is to start talk about lore and races, but we hope to remedy this very soon. In the meantime I'd be happy to address some of the things that have come up so far. In TBS the giants are called Varl, and unlike the giants in traditional Norse mythology, they have a casual alliance with the humans.

    Our centaurs are based on viking ponies - small, sturdy and hardy. We realize they're a greek idea but we've actually taken them in the direction of celtic culture. They're a bit aloof and try to stay out of the politics of humans and varl, choosing to live nomadically on the open plains.

    One way to think about the races is that humans are our real-world vikings, the Varl are akin to the classic, powerful Frazetta-esque fantasy vikings with horns instead of horned helmets, and the centaur are celtic nomads.

    As for the monsters in black plate, they're a mystery (but you'll find out soon enough). What I can say is that they're definitely not Varl. We don't have any plans to bring in the traditional tropes like elves, dwarves and orcs, and we probably won't be doing much with the mischevious little faerie or gnome races, preferring to focus on the human aspect of the story. Despite some fantasy races, we're going for a pretty low-fantasy setting overall. Feels nice to do something different!

    By the way, we're all huge fans of Valhalla Rising around here. Can't recommend it enough.
    Last edited by Alex; 05-07-2012 at 02:31 PM.

  17. #17
    Ooh, juicy developer commentary.

    I wonder if it would be practical to build an all-Varl army and crush everything in your way with mighty giants?

  18. #18
    I watched Valhalla Rising yesterday under Balnoisi's recommendation and thought it was excellent. That said, I do hope that at least some of the Banner Saga's characters can be at least a little likeable- the film had me tense from start to finish, not something I'd relish over a multi hour gaming adventure!

  19. #19
    Superbacker LoliSauce's Avatar
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    Hype! I know you've said it before, but I'm glad you're going full original with the world and culture in the game.

  20. #20
    Backer lamaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    Hey everybody! Good catch with the giants, we're surprised how many people didn't realize there are at least two races in the announcement trailer.

    You're also right that the giants are very important to the story. As we've mentioned in a couple interviews, though we love viking culture and the Jotun, Alfheim, and the Nibelungen version of dwarves, we're not using actual Norse mythology, instead using them for inspiration because it's a veritable treasure trove of great ideas.

    What we haven't done yet is to start talk about lore and races, but we hope to remedy this very soon. In the meantime I'd be happy to address some of the things that have come up so far. In TBS the giants are called Varl, and unlike the giants in traditional Norse mythology, they have a casual alliance with the humans.

    Our centaurs are based on viking ponies - small, sturdy and hardy. We realize they're a greek idea but we've actually taken them in the direction of celtic culture. They're a bit aloof and try to stay out of the politics of humans and varl, choosing to live nomadically on the open plains.

    One way to think about the races is that humans are our real-world vikings, the Varl are akin to the classic, powerful Frazetta-esque fantasy vikings with horns instead of horned helmets, and the centaur are celtic nomads.

    As for the monsters in black plate, they're a mystery (but you'll find out soon enough). What I can say is that they're definitely not Varl. We don't have any plans to bring in the traditional tropes like elves, dwarves and orcs, and we probably won't be doing much with the mischevious little faerie or gnome races, preferring to focus on the human aspect of the story. Despite some fantasy races, we're going for a pretty low-fantasy setting overall. Feels nice to do something different!

    By the way, we're all huge fans of Valhalla Rising around here. Can't recommend it enough.
    Thanks Alex for clearing your standing with the giants. Personally I noticed that there were humans and Varl, as you call them, in the caravan, but I was wondering if there were something like ice giants as enemies. Unfortunately I need to rewrite a part of my short story now. Can't wait to hear more about the lore.

    Oh, and going to check Valhalla Rising later!
    Last edited by lamaz; 05-07-2012 at 07:11 PM.

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