Pentiment ending explained: Who is the String-puller?


Have you made it to the end of Pentiment and are still confused by the ending? Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of Pentiment – be warned heavy spoilers below.

Pentiment is a medieval murder mystery set in sixteenth-century Bavaria where a visiting artist called Andreas is embroiled in a conspiracy that spans decades. During his first visit to the town of Tassing, Andreas is forced to investigate the murder of a nobleman after the local authorities seem content to condemn an innocent man – who happens to be Andreas’ friend and mentor.

The hard part is, nearly everyone in town has a motive to kill the nobleman, and it’s a race against time for Andreas to find the real killer. Interestingly, the game never reveals who the canonical killer is, so it’s up to the player to gather enough evidence and decide who they think it is. However, there is a ‘String-puller’ who may not necessarily be the killer, but who’s encouraged and enabled them to commit the crime – and therefore has just as much blood on their hands as the person who did the deed.

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Pentiment murderObsidian
A killer strikes in the abbey.

Two murders in Tassing

No matter who is accused and sentenced to death for the crime, the town suffers, so the player needs to choose wisely, and it may simply make sense to pick the lesser of several evils. Andreas returns to the town seven years later to pay his respects to his mentor who has now died of old age.

Due to the events of his last visit, the town will be in a state of disarray and the local farmers are locked in a bitter dispute with the nearby monks in the monastery. No matter who you sent to the block for the nobleman’s murder, this will have created ripples and sown distrust between different factions.

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Another murder occurs, this time of a leading member of Tassing’s council, and the town starts to riot in an attempt to find the killer. After setting their sights on another innocent person, Andreas is forced to solve a second murder. Once again, there is no canonical killer, but whoever did the deed has been motivated and helped by the String-puller.

Depending on who Andreas picks, the evidence gathered, and how the events play out, the accused and several townspeople can be killed in a fire, or by the local authorities when they start to riot. The monastery is also burned to the ground and Andreas is seemingly killed trying to rescue some precious books from the flames. The story then moves forward by twenty years.

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pentiment monkObsidian
Will you condemn an innocent person to keep the peace?

Twenty years after the muders

For the game’s final act, players get to control Magdalene (or Magda), a young girl to who Andreas gave a book as a gift during his second visit. Now all grown up and caring for her ailing father, Magda is tasked with painting a mural for the town. She needs to decide what the mural will contain and will be given the option to either include the riot and burning of the monastery or gloss over Tassing’s troubled past.

She also begins to learn secrets about the town’s Patron Saints, and how they were actually retellings of pagan myths that were simply adapted by the town’s early Christians, then repackaged to fit in with the narrative of the new religion. Magda must decide to either paint the truth or continue the Church’s propaganda for the good of the community.

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The String-puller resurfaces, this time with Magda in their sights. They want Magda to lie about the origins of Tassing’s Saints as well as the riot and burning of the Monastery. Regardless of what Magda chooses to paint, she comes face-to-face with the String-puller and exposes their decades-long conspiracy.

Andreas is then revealed to still be alive and he and Magda learn that the String-puller’s threatening notes, which have been cropping up in Tassing for years, were all written by a character called Sister Amalie. This nun lives in solitary confinement in the church and is met by Andreas several times throughout the course of his adventure and relys on the local priest for everything.

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Father Thomas PentimentObsidian
The friendly Father Thomas turns out to be the String-puller – and the true killer.

Unmasking the String-puller

It’s revealed that the priest, Father Thomas is the String-puller and has been using Sister Amalie to write his notes and controlling events from the shadows. He’s also responsible for both murders indirectly, by manipulating whoever you accused into committing the act.

Father Thomas wanted the nobleman killed as he was in possession of a book that revealed that stories from Tassing’s pagan past have served as inspiration for its Christian present. Therefore, he felt like the Christian faith was under threat, and acted to preserve the secret. As Father Thomas hears the town’s confessions, he knew all their secrets and used this against them.

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His motivation for the second murder was also to preserve the faith, as the townspeople had started flirting with Protestant ideals and were rejecting the authority of the Catholic church. Killing the councilman essentially ended this little revolt by ridding Tassing of the ringleader.

Magda’s mural threatened to undo all of his “good work” which is why Father Thomas targeted her next. After being exposed, Father Thomas attempts to kill everyone in the monastery’s catacombs by caving in the roof. However, Magda, Andreas, and Sister Amalie manage to escape, leaving Thomas to be crushed to death.

Magda then finishes her mural in whichever way the player decides. Andreas reveals himself to the people of Tassing and is reunited with his old friends.

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So that’s it, the ending of Pentiment and the person behind all the killings is finally revealed. Looking for more ending explainers? Check out some more below:

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