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Video Game / Expeditions: Viking

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Expeditions: Viking is a tactical Role-Playing Game developed by Danish Video Game developer Logic Artists and released on April 28th 2017. It is the sequel to the studio's maiden game, Expeditions: Conquistador, though they have no direct connection apart from similar gameplay, story and general style. Viking largely follows the formula of its predecessor, just set in a different historical setting.

As implied by the title, the story takes place in The Viking Age (though no Horny Vikings are present), specifically in the year 789, right at the dawn of the heyday of the Vikings. The player takes the role of a young son or daughter as a recently deceased Viking chieftain of a small village named Skjern in western Denmark. The player must solidify control of their clan, and eventually prove their worth as a leader all the while leading an expedition against the Christian lands beyond the seas, specifically in Britain and Scotland.


Tropes found in Expeditions: Viking:

  • Action Girl: As usual, half the cast is women, and Gender Is No Object. Slightly better than Conquistador, seeing that women sometimes could hold prominent roles in early Mediaeval Scandinavian society, at least compared to Britain and Frankia at the time. Most significant characters in Britain are men, so the game doesn't stray far from history.
    • Most of the capable women warriors in the game, such as Ragnhildr the White or Eydis are old, hefty women with a wealth of battlefield experience behind them as opposed to pretty, young waifs. Eydis in particular has the highest endurance stat of any of your companions, which makes sense because the women is built like a stack of pancakes. Her strength stat is 3, which is on par with the effeminate archer Kettil, which emphasises the SHIELD part of Shield Maiden.
  • Alternate History: The game specifically explores the possibility of a Viking expedition conquering Britain a 100 years before that was a historical reality in real life. Which can potentially culminate in your character leading the Danes and Northmen to conquer all of Pictland and Northumbria as part of a Northern Scandinavian Empire. Essentially establishing the Danelaw at least a century too early, and the North Sea Empire 3 centuries too early.
    • Similarly, the game also portrays the Viking raid on Lindisfarne as taking place at least in 789 as opposed to 793 when it actually happened.
  • An Axe to Grind: Is it really a Viking game at all if there aren't a couple of axes to grind on the skulls of unsuspecting Christians?
    • One-handed axes get skills to hook away their weapons or shields or perform an attack that will avoid damage waste when getting blocked by a nearly broken shield. Daneaxes are by far the most powerful weapons in the game in terms of raw damage output; and they come in CRUCIBLE STEEL VERSIONS.
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  • Apron Matron: Every time the player combats a pack of wolves, they are lead by a strong wolf mother. Since they can heal and revive the other wolves, handle them soon.
  • Armor As Hitpoints: Well, Shields As Hitpoints. Shields have a chance of protecting your normal health bar while they hold, but after their bar depletes, they'll provide you no more protection for the duration of the fight. The Brace and Defend skills allow for extra mileage out of shields by respectively replenishing the shield bar and making the shield immune to damage for a turn. Armor itself just reliably reduces damage taken (for more or less depending on the damage sources) always.
  • Artistic License – History: Similar to in Conquistador, especially on the gender issue and a few different other points.
    • Also, the game portrays the Norse and Anglo-Saxons as having access to crucible steel weaponry at the dawn of the Viking age; when in actuality the earliest archaeological evidence for crucible weapons in Europe dates to the 9th century. Well after the Norsemen had made it to Central Asia and the Volga where such weapons were common and learned the techniques for making it from Islamic civilisations.
    • Similarly, Leofric of Eoferwic is wielding his Ulfberht blade a century before the first sword was even made.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The dane-axe is an iconic weapon of the viking age and dwarfs all other weapons in terms of raw damage potential. It also leaves a warrior unable to attack and defend with a shield in the same turn, has diminished armour-piercing capabilities compared to spears or swords, its damage potential is wasted on unarmoured enemies who tend to have low HP anyway, and its abilities are situational at best, though it has the advantage of an extra hex of range much like a spear.
  • Badass Beard/Beard of Barbarism: It's vikings, what does one expect?
    • But points particularly to Gunnar the Peaceful, whose beard received perhaps the most epic description ever put to words and I quote; "It's a beard you would expect to see on a Jotunn. It's like a bear crawled up on his chin and died."
      • And then, in Ribe:
        Norseman: (with respect to Gunnar) Does that big guy have a dead goat strapped to his face?
  • Bald of Awesome: If a chracter doesn't have Barbarian Longhair, it'll be this instead. Gunnar is the main example, with there also being options for the Player to be an awesome baldy as well.
  • The Berserker: A playable class, no less. Though the game's storyline makes a distinction between the various totemic warriors of Odinn as they existed during the Viking Age. So while your character might be a 'Berserkr', a 'Bear-shirt' warrior of Odinn, your companion Gunnar the Peaceful is an 'Ulfheddin', a 'Wolf-Jerkin' warrior of the same war-god. Of course, there is no real gameplay differences as the Ulfheddin NPC class is no different from the playable Berserker.
  • Big Bad: Unlike Conquistador that had no single villain, in Viking the main conflict is the players clan feud with Skule Skullcleaver, a rival thegn with his designs set on seizing Skjern from the player. The expedition to Britain is mainly motivated by increasing the clans prosperity and power in order to be powerful enough to be confirmed as the leader of Skjern ahead of Skule by the king, Sigurd Hringr at the next Althing- This plot thickens even more when you realize Skule and his troops are actively working against you in Britain, with Skakki aiding your enemies in Pictavia, and Hrodgerda aiding king Osred against king Aethelred in Britain.
  • Blood Knight: Your character's father was actually a deconstruction of this trope. A great and mighty warrior greatly respected and feared by the thegnar of neighbouring Danish clans, and perhaps the finest warrior Jelling had ever seen (except for you, of course); but his constant raiding and adventuring led him to neglect the ruling of his clan. Eventually, his death in an ill-advised raid on England results in his already weak clan becoming increasingly vulnerable to the machinations of his surviving enemies, leaving his family and kinsmen on a knife's edge. A quest in Ribe also has a former friend and fellow warrior of your father who attempts to kill you because he's outraged that he wasn't accepted into your father's final raid.
    • And of course, there is everybody else you meet in this game who fits the trope without being a deconstruction. There are literally only three characters you could recruit in this game who do NOT fit this trope in one way or another.
  • Boring, but Practical: The simplest and most reliable way to kill most enemies in the game is to hit them with a sword. It provides consistent damage comparable to a bow and second only to the dane-axe, it has an ability that lets it completely ignore armour and damage-mitigating skills, it can be used in conjunction with the standard melee abilities like charge and stun, its ultimate ability allows you to combo with another character for a guaranteed instant kill on any enemy, and it allows you to defend against enemy attacks with a shield while doing all of this. Oh, and the best weapon in the game is a sword, plus you are given a sword at the beginning of the game for absolutely free that is likely going to better than any other weapon you'll find for quite a while.
  • Brave Scot: The Picts, especially Caunstantin and Aife, though she is a woman.
  • Breakable Weapons: All worn equipment has some durability. You can fix them with salvage while camping, or hire blacksmiths to fix them for you. Shields themselves have a small additional health bar in combat which takes damage instead of their user's health when they block with them as long as it's got something, which as per the trope breaks after being inflicted two or three hits usually, five at the most, though the Defend skill will make the user's shield invincible while in use and the Brace skill will allow replenish the user's shield's health seemingly by pushing the wood back in from the handheld side which makes just as much sense as a shield usually breaking in two hits.
  • Character Customization: Eventually downright party customization - in addition to choosing the appearance, stats and skills of your thegn, you'll later be able to hire mercenaries from Ribe for an expedition that are pretty much all creatable exactly like your Player Character thegn was.
  • Crossover Cosmology: The Legion of Romolus in Britain worships a cult combining Christianity with the Roman foundation myth of Romolus and Remus.
  • Dark Age Europe: The setting. Better than quite a few examples of this, as the various cultures aren't portrayed as being horribly backward and quite similar to each other in many ways. Particularly the Norse and Anglo-Saxons, who basically use the same armour and weapons for the most part (though the Norse are the only faction to have access to Daneaxes and Aventailed helmets).
  • Easter Egg: Try naming your ship Boaty McBoatface. You'll find it renamed as "Sir David Attenborough", or vice versa.
  • Gender Is No Object: Women and men are equally deadly as soldiers, and equally useful as crew members. Though the pre-written female characters aren't quite as capable of bringing the hurt as their bulky male counterparts, that's due more to how their stats and skills are set up. You can create female characters with the Strength and passive skills required to be as vicious in combat as Gunnar the Peaceful.
  • Global Currency: Instead of actual money, the resource which represents currency you can use to trade with which has no other purpose like any of the other resources is known as the rather nondescript "valuables".
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Skule Skullcleaver is always in the background, but is the man behind many of your problems. An even better example would be Charlemagne, the legendary king of the Franks and ruler of most of Europe. His threats of invading Denmark are frequently alluded to, and the reason you will lose Skjern, and by extension the game, if you fail to capture Britain and increase your prosperity, is because Sigurd Hringr wants the west coast to be secure from a Frankish invasion.
  • A Homestead-owner Is You: Because hey, you're a thegn after all. Unlike other games, rather than optional houses, you will upgrade your clan's buildings to improve your clan's power or prosperity, which are needed for the game's Multiple Endings. These upgrades will generally also give you other resources at weekly intervals.
  • Historical Domain Character: Quite a few noticeable figures from Scandinavian and British history are present in the game. Skallagrimr Kveldulfarson, father of the infamous Egil Skallagrimsson; Sigurdr Hringr, legendary king of Denmark and Gotaland; Aethelred Aethelwoldssunu, deposed king of the Northumbrians; and of course Ragnarr Sigurdarson, the legendary Norse sea-king, scourge of Britain and Frankia, and father of countless Norse heroes, whom you come across a child.
    • He's dead when the game begins, but many characters mention Haraldr Wartooth; the previous king of Denmark and Gotaland slain in battle by Sigurdr Hringr at the Battle of Bravellir.
    • Myrddin Ap Emrys is also encountered during the Pictish quest line, portrayed as a refugee Druid from the south.
  • Horny Vikings: The characters are Norse people go on Viking expeditions at the dawn of the Viking Age. Though it's entirely possible to play the game as a peaceful merchant, you'll still have to kill quite a few people (they probably started it, though!) in order to get anywhere.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Named after famous Norsemen with a life of varying spans and tumultuousness - from easiest to hardest is Leifr Eiriksson, Ivarr Beinlausi, Ragnarr Lodbrok and Eirikr Blodøx.
  • Ironic Nickname: Gunarr inn Kyrri, or Gunnar "the Peaceful" if you're playing without the Old Norse. For context, he's a giant bloodthirsty berserker who loves killing, fighting and plundering like Franks love wine.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Only when the cursor for looting a container goes red will you know you're stealing if you take stuff from it (and then you still can try to take it, you'll just have to succeed a Finesse check), otherwise you're just taking from everything you can. One Last Drink leads you to a house which is full of containers that would count as stealing - until you inevitably fight/are attacked by your father's former friend, then you can just take from all those containers fine! There's also a church in Pictland which you can take plenty of stuff not labeled as stealing aside from some chests, weapons or books in plain view of the church's Picts, which will then incite the Picts to attack you.
  • Large Ham: Everybody. Because everyone's a Proud Warrior Race Guy who sees fighting as the highest, most intrinsically satisfying pursuit of all. But special mention for Asleifr Grimvardarson.
  • Martial Pacifist: You, potentially. Players can toggle their party to fight non-lethally, which gives up the opportunity for critical hits. This can lead to different options and choices after combat, though it's not consistent - some (probably unimportant) enemies will be killed regardless of the toggle and plenty of enemies being incapacitated doesn't make a difference to you from being just killed.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Like in Conquistador, supernatural events are implied and alluded to, but never made explicit. In Vikings, it is especially in the form of fighting a crew of skeletons in an old tomb in Denmark, which are implied to be caused by fumes, and the main character getting disturbed in their sleep by Grimnir, an old wanderer with a long beard that is strongly implied to be Odin while in Helheim along with plenty of other people that have ended up dead by this point, but it's possibly just a dream.
    • This comes up in some conversations, with the divide being between superstitious or sceptical for party members' character traits - such as Asleifr asking Røskva if Hulda's a valraven like he suspects. Røskva will mention having woken up to the sound of a bird fluttering and finding Hulda completely gone from her bed in the middle of a night, but Hulda was back like normal when Røskva got up in the morning. Superstitious characters will prefer the thegn favor supernatural explanations to weird things happening while sceptical ones would rather you make rational responses to them.
  • One-Hit Kill: The ultimate sword skill, Execute, which will be guaranteed to kill a target if the next sword attack by the user lands against them. Combine with an axe-wielding ally hooking away a target's shield or the dual wielding skill tree's Hook-and-Slash ability for easy kills!
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: As one would expect from a Vikings game, you have the option to do this to cities and towns on some occasions.
  • Religious Bruiser: Found often on both sides of the Nordic pagan/Christian divide, with options to play your own character like this. Bonus points if you're playing a Berserker, as you are essentially a warrior-priest of Óðinn.
    • Specifically invoked with regards to Gunnar the Peaceful, who is an Ulfheddin; a specific type of Berserker who takes a wolf as his totem rather than the bear.
    Gunnar the Peaceful: Guided by the wrath of the All-Father, neither steel nor fire can tell upon me in battle! (Players will find this is not strictly true)
  • Resources Management Gameplay: A lot. In addition to the various resources used to trade for or use, you have to do some management of your time (do try to avoid Take Your Time, all right?) before some deadlines occur, causing a Non Standard Game Over if the main quest isn't completed...and even if you don't incur that, fully upgrading your homestead takes more time than you have without using up thralls to speed things up. You'll also have to manage your party's time while you camp to ensure they all sleep enough, get fed, and are able to produce other items and resources (like non-perishable rations from meat or medicine from herbs).
  • Rightful King Returns: The main plotline in Northumbria is about Aethelred, a king whose throne was usurped while he was a boy, and has returned three years later to take it back. The player can choose to help. True to history, as there was a King Osred Ahlredssunu who was deposed by a returned Aethelred Aethelwaldssunu; but Osred wasn't actually involved in the latter's exile, as the game seems to imply.
  • Sadistic Choice: The first choice you have (and only an option if you have a high enough Diplomacy) upon landing in Britain is - either kill a group of "bandits" who are actually shipwrecked merchants to help the village whose members (who aren't in town) caused the shipwreck by dousing the lightouse, or kill everyone in town. And those actually to blame aren't encountered.
  • Savage Wolves: Several times in the game, the player has to fight packs of wolves.
  • Shoot the Medic First: As is usual, a player will want to handle healing-capable enemies first chance they get. Additionally, stabbing the medic first works even better since healing skills provoke attacks of opportunity against all enemies in weapon range.
  • Shown Their Work: Might as well be called "Shown Their Work: The Game".
    • Yes, they did get the Norse, Anglo-Saxon and even Pictish patronymics right.
    • Taken even further by the fact that the game ships with an OLD NORSE LANGUAGE SETTING. That's right, all the Old Norse words such as 'þegn' or 'Valhöll' shall be rendered as such in the dialogue.
    • The titles and bynames of the characters will also be translated into Old Norse, so Ragnhildr the White becomes 'Ragnhildr inn Hvita'; and Skule Skullcleaver becomes 'Skuli Hausakljúfr'.
      • Though somewhat undermined by the characters speaking in modern Danish accents as opposed to reconstructed Old Norse pronunciations, so the characters don't trill the rs at their ends of their names, such as 'Asleifr' being pronounced as plain 'Asleif'. Similarly, modern pronunciations are used for words like Óðinn, etc.
    • Those stories of the Norse Gods that you can get the Gydja of Ribe to tell you? Ripped straight from the Poetic Edda. Down to accurate translations of the kennings and circumlocutions used in the texts.
    • The three-shield Holmgang duel taking place on a remote isle between your character and Asleifr at the beginning of the game. As far as we can tell from the sagas, this is exactly how such a duel would have been conducted in real life.
    • Skjern is a real town in west Denmark.
  • Suffer the Slings: An available ranged weapon. While it does less damage than a bow, it can get handy supportive skills that can't miss.
  • Take Your Time: ...Don't, you'll get a Non Standard Game Over if you waste too much time.
  • Tribal Facepaint: Most prominently on the Picts, though some Norsemen also wear warpaint.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: According to the game's log, subtracting a negative number is the same thing as subtracting a positive number.
  • Young Future Famous People: You get to meet a young Ragnarr Lothbrok at the Althing. Yes, that Ragnarr Lothbrok; brutally hacking away at a training dummy with a steel sword. Thus going to show that even as a kid, Ragnarr the Dragonslayer was a BAMF.


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