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Tanto
06-08-2008, 09:00 AM
Welcome to my first Let's Play.

I guess some introductions are in order, as I’m fairly new here… I am a longtime Toastyfrog/Gamespite reader (as in, “since 2001”), but haven’t ventured onto the forums until recently. I’ve spent much of the past year and a half contributing and editing over at TV Tropes (you can find my contributor page in my profile if you care), specializing mostly in video games, but I’ve become somewhat burned out on that place as of late and was looking for a new project in which I could write stupid shit about video games. I batted around the idea of writing a walkthrough for a game that I knew very well, but that seemed like a lot of work to put in for something that would probably end up functionally identical to any number of other walkthroughs. That was when I wandered into Talking Time and spotted Brickroad’s FF1 LP. The light bulb went on.

As a gamer, I was raised on 2-D platformers and still enjoy them, but most of my money and time these days goes into longer games like RPGs, strategy games, and fusions of those two genres. Fittingly, then, the subject of this LP is in that last genre. It is one of my favorite games of the last ten years or so, a game that I’ve logged as many hours on as any other, the seventh entry in the Fire Emblem series and the first released in America…

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Fire Emblem! Also known as Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken or Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword, depending on how anal you are. We've got over 30 chapters of strategy-RPG goodness to get to, so let's get started.

My only restriction here is that I’m going to recruit everyone, and I’m not going to let any characters die. (As you may or may not know, Fire Emblem’s signature gameplay mechanic is permanent death, no revivals.) I won’t use savestates, and I won’t replay missions attempting to abuse the RNG, but I will restart a chapter if a character cacks it. We’re not leaving anyone behind here.

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Our first order of business is to name our tactician.

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Again, FE7 was the first Fire Emblem game to be localized for western release, so it has a lot of quirks to introduce western gamers to the series. (These were generally not well-received -- none of the later games retained them.) One of these is the tactician, the only player avatar in the history of the series. The tactician is an NPC with no lines (although the other characters are quick to offer "Brilliant strategy, [Tactician Name]!" at various points) and no real effect on gameplay. There was a rumor early on that units who shared an elemental alignment with the tactician received a five-percent bonus on all their statistic growths, which would be quite broken if true, but this is a myth. (There are even some FAQs at GameFAQs that operate under this assumption.) The tactician offers a small -- very small, as to be almost unnoticeable -- increase in accuracy and dodge percentage to units that share an affinity with him, and that's it.

Oh, and the tactician's performance is rated throughout the game by the CPU, but the ratings are so bizarre as to be nearly worthless unless you're intentionally going for a ranking run. (It penalizes you for promoting your units, for example, as well as a bunch of other things that don't really matter except that some designer decided they were bad.) It basically forces you to play in a really weird, non-intuitive style that has no benefits except that it improves your tactician ranking. But the tactician is basically worthless; name him (or her, again, it doesn't matter) whatever you want and give him whichever element lights your fire. Prepare to have the characters constantly praise him for his brilliance, though, so look forward to that if you've got low self-esteem.

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For this run, I named the tactician after my screen name, because my real name is an actual character in the game, if you can believe that (Have fun guessing which one!), and I don't really care for the scatological joke names. (Note: This was played and written before it was decreed that the official Talking Time name was PANTS. Rest assured that I’ll do better next time.) As for affinity, it was May when I started this LP, so May (and hence Wind) it shall be.

Prologue: A Girl From The Plains

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The other "Hey, first Fire Emblem game in the west, let's dumb it down" quirk in this game is the presence of Lyn's Tale. "Lyn's Tale" consists of the first ten chapters in the game, plus the prologue and a side chapter, and is painfully easy, existing only to familiarize newcomers to the game's mechanics. This would be bad enough, except that the computer also forces you to make certain moves on the default difficulty, and it manipulates the random number generator of the game in order to make tutorial-related points. Once you beat it once, you unlock Hard Mode for Lyn's Tale, which removes these restrictions and (unlike for the rest of the game) makes almost no other changes to the missions. Most players, when replaying the game, play Lyn's Tale on Hard Mode so they don't have to put up with the characters' patronizing instruction and the computer's blatant interventions, but as this is a fresh file, we have no such option. (You can play Lyn's Tale on Hard Mode and the rest on Normal, if you're so inclined.)

Onward. Exposition time!

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Tanto
06-08-2008, 09:02 AM
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Yeah, don't hold your breath, Lyn. It's never really explained who the tactician is or what the hell he thinks he's doing. I guess you're supposed to project yourself onto him.

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Whoo! A reprieve.

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Typical RPG hero, playing random do-gooder...

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Are you kidding? I'm a conscientious objector. You know, a coward.

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No, I don't fight; I merely get off on the godlike feeling of power I receive from callously manipulating the fates, the very lives, of other people. Dance on the end of my strings, puppets! Dance!

Tanto
06-08-2008, 09:04 AM
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...Aaand now it's our turn. First, let's take a look at our new friend.

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The statistics in FE are pretty standard for RPGs... you can probably figure out the function behind every stat in the left column. Strength (or magic on magicians) is damage dealt, skill is accuracy, speed affects how many attacks per round you get, luck controls dodging and criticals, and defense and resistance control physical and magical damage, respectively. The only stat particular to FE that's notable is Constitution. Constitution affects attack speed: Deduct your weapon's weight from your Con, and if the resulting number is negative, deduct it from your speed. If your speed, after applying all penalties, is 4 greater than your opponent's speed, you get to attack twice. Of course, the same applies to your opponents, so you don't want to give your characters weapons that are too heavy for them to use effectively. As for elemental affinity, in addition to the aforementioned tactician bonus, it also affects what statistics are increased in support relationships with other characters.

Strength and speed are the most important statistics in the game by a fair margin; any character with aspirations of greatness needs both, and a lack of one or the other is what dooms most characters in the end. Skill is the least important; most characters get at least decent scores in that department, and there aren't any characters who would be wonderful but for that damn accuracy score.

Lyn herself is a pretty solid character, game-wise, which is good because we have to use her, and if she dies, it's game over. She has extremely high speed, skill, and luck, which means she can dodge most attacks pretty easily. Her offense is a little more iffy, but she'll almost always attacks twice, and her strength growth is high enough that she'll usually have enough of a damage output to kill most enemies. She also gets a couple of powerful unique weapons over the course of the game, which ups her usefulness a bit. As for weaknesses, she pretty much has to dodge, as her defenses are crap, even at high levels. And she promotes relatively late in the game.

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Oh, and you can get a little biographical information on any character by hitting "R" and highlighting their name. Incidentally, Lord is basically a non-class in this game: there are three, and they're all different, promoting in different ways and into different classes. Basically, it's shorthand: This character is important to the plot, so don't let them die. The other classes are much more consistent.

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Ah, trusty Iron Sword. We'll probably work our way through a few dozen of these before the curtain closes on this little adventure, going through the very end of the game. Light, cheap, and with a whopping 46 uses per, they're among the most efficient weapons in the game for our many sword-wielders. Vulneraries are basic healing items, restoring 10 HP per use. They're handy in the early game, but 10 HP is not a lot, and later in the game, when you have dedicated healers on your team, the space it takes up in your inventory is a more valuable resource than the sense of security it gives you. Weirdly, there's no middle item in between Vulneraries and the rare "completely heal" items, Elixirs...

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This seems as good a time as any to mention the Weapon Triangle... weapons in FE operate in a rock-paper-scissors fashion: swords beat axes, axes beat lances, and lances beat swords. Bows are neutral and have an entirely different set of properties.

In theory, all the weapons are equally powerful, but in practice, axes are much more useful, due to both the dearth of quality axe-users, the commonness of enemies using lances, and the fact that the actual axes are generally stronger than their sword and lance counterparts. The triangle isn't the be-all-end-all: A sufficiently strong character will be able to take virtually any enemy, regardless of their weapon type. Nonetheless, you want to take advantage of it whenever you can, as if you’re on the right side of a weapon matchup, you receive damage, accuracy, and dodge bonuses.

Oh, and rankings... there are six weapon ranks: E, D, C, B, A, and S. You build up your rank slowly as you use weapons. (Some weapons increase the rate at which they build your ranking.) A high ranking has no inherent advantage except in widening the field of weapons available to a character, except for S, which grants an attack, accuracy, and critical boost for that weapon type. A character can only S rank in one type of weapon... not that this is a problem, since there's not enough time in the game to S-rank more than one type. Lyn's at D for swords right now, but she'll almost certainly be up to S by the end of the game, in addition to adding bows to her arsenal.

This screen is also where our supports will be charted once that option becomes available. Sadly, this won't be until after Lyn's mode is in our rear-view mirrors, so it won't be relevant for a while. File it away and let's move on.

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Now it's time to actually play. As you can see, there are only two enemies on this map, and one doesn't move. It would be basically impossible to lose even if you didn't have the game rigging all the attacks in your favor.

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Here's the menu that indicates how our attack is likely to play out. We can't miss, we're going to attack twice for seven damage each, and we've got a 3% chance of a critical. Our opponent, meanwhile, has only a 39% chance of hitting, and it's actually lower than that: FE's hit percentages are actually higher if the displayed number is over around 50%, and lower if it's under. (You can find a chart that gives you real hit percentages here (http://serenesforest.net/general/truehit.html), if you’re curious.) In the unlikely event he connected, however, it would be a hammer blow for ten damage. Normally any enemy hit percentage under 40% is safe. Note the little arrows indicating our advantage in the weapon triangle. This menu is the latest you can go without committing yourself; if you don't like what you see at this point you can back off and send your character in a different direction, but press A here and we're committed to combat.

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Round 1: Fight!

Tanto
06-08-2008, 09:06 AM
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We attack...

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Then our opponent gets his turn, whiffing, as we'd predicted. Then we attack again, although I wasn't able to get a good shot of it. (I got the white "flash" that occurs every time a character performs a successful strike.) Remember that every fight in this level is rigged, so there's no chance of losing.

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Since we didn't kill anybody, we only get a pittance in terms of experience, just ten points. We go up a level every 100 points. Our foe counterattacked on the enemies' turn and we finished him off for a further 30 EXP, but not before he took a big ten-point chunk out of Lyn's HP. We'll need to heal before we take on the boss.

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...As Lyn informs us.

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Thank you for this random bit of information, Fire Emblem! You're not just a game, you're an education.

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We heal up and move west.

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This is quite a risky proposition... Were I not sure that the rigged RNG would ensure my safety, I wouldn't even attack here. Instead I'd wait, deal damage on the counterattack, then heal on my turn if necessary. Fighting defensively against bosses is safer much of the time if the boss can kill you in two hits. In a game with permadeath, you have to assume the worst.

Tanto
06-08-2008, 09:07 AM
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I love this guy. Random level 3 boss in the prologue, and he's given himself an epithet.

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We attack for ten points total, but the boss hits us for ten in return. Were this a real fight, I'd be gnawing my nails right about now. It's in the hands of God now.

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Your concern is touching, Lyn, but surely you realize that this is just the prologue. There's no way you're dying to some random bandit at this point.

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Whew!

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And we get the obviously rigged critical on the counterattack for the win. "One percent chance", eh?

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Level up, baby. This is one of only two reasons to play Lyn's Tale on Normal Mode: This brokenly good initial level up. It's much easier to murdalize the numerous axe-wielding Bandits that populate the early stages of the game when you're not waiting for that fifth strength point to show up.

I should probably discuss Fire Emblem's level up system here a little bit... stat gains in Fire Emblem are basically random. Not totally random, like, say, Shining Force, but random enough that you can't expect to get the same team every time you play the game. Basically, every character has a percentage for each stat, and every time they gain a level, they have a chance equal to that percentage of gaining a point in that stat. But, if you have, say, a 40% strength growth, you are not guaranteed to get four strength points for every ten levels you gain; you might get seven or eight, or you might get one or two. Therefore, unless a character has a really absurd growth rate in a stat, like 50% or 60%, you constantly have to monitor that character to make sure they're not falling behind, and if they do, you have to be willing to dump them for someone better.

(Unless you restart and abuse the system. But who does that?)

So, all the enemies are defeated. We're not done yet, though. In this mission, as in many others, the chapter isn't officially over until we "Seize" the space the boss was standing on. Only the main character can seize.

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Now time for some more mouth waggling. Hang tight, as this will continue for a while.

Tanto
06-08-2008, 09:08 AM
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Tanto
06-08-2008, 09:10 AM
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And... end scene.

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Next Time: Kent and Sain and pray for a seventh strength point

(Note: I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow for every chapter as I did for this one. Seeing as how later chapters consist of literally dozens of characters all going at it, that would quickly become both tedious to write and interminably long to read. I just did it for this one so people unfamiliar with the series could get an idea of the flow of gameplay and some other things I'll be talking about in more depth later on.)

spineshark
06-08-2008, 09:32 AM
This may be interesting. I never got into this particular FE because the prologue section really killed it for me. Way too long and easy.

PapillonReel
06-08-2008, 09:36 AM
Man, that prologue sounds like the worst thing ever. Still, you're off to a strong start, and so far you've done an admirable job of explaining everything. Looking forward to the next installment!

By the way, are Marth or Roy in this? :3c

Pombar
06-08-2008, 09:41 AM
I really liked this FE, for some reason. The tutorial, far from being annoying, kinda eased me back into the series after my Advance Wars excursions, and ended quick enough for me. Besides, Lyn is way more interesting as a character than the next guy.
By the way, are Marth or Roy in this? :3c
No. Just a lookalike or two.

Loki
06-08-2008, 09:41 AM
I liked how this entry in the series treated the player as a general on the playfield, but who didn't activly take part in battles. It was something I missed in Sacred Stones.

Tanto
06-08-2008, 09:57 AM
Marth is not. (He's the hero of FE1, FE3, and the forthcoming FE11, which take place in an entirely different universe than this game.) Roy is, but it's only a cameo in the ending. He's the hero of FE6, which is a chronological sequel to this game and was never localized, although a fan translation exists.

Pombar
06-08-2008, 09:58 AM
Roy is, but it's only a cameo in the ending
I either missed this entirely or forgot. Poo.

Red Hedgehog
06-08-2008, 10:55 AM
I really didn't think the prologue was that bad, but then I'd never played a Fire Emblem game before. If I had, I would have already understood everything and been annoyed by it.

nunix
06-08-2008, 11:06 AM
I take it this is a GBA game or something? I've noticed that Fire Emblem fans seem to have an inflated sense of their chosen series, and that it's not nearly as well-known as they think it is. ;p

Alex
06-08-2008, 11:15 AM
You should have given your character a funny name so that all the compliments become incredibly backhanded. "Excellent strategy, jerk!"

VorpalEdge
06-08-2008, 11:50 AM
I take it this is a GBA game or something?

Yes, this is a GBA game. I'm restating the intro here somewhat, but it's actually the seventh Fire Emblem game, and it was the first to be released outside of Japan. We've gotten all of the subsequent ones (8: The Sacred Stones, 9: Path of Radiance, 10: Radiant Dawn), and I'm pretty sure 11 is announced.

Also, I demand that you use Rath and Nino.

McDohl
06-08-2008, 11:54 AM
For this run, I named the tactician after my screen name, because my real name is an actual character in the game, if you can believe that (Have fun guessing which one!)

Good luck with this LP, Priscilla!

Rai
06-08-2008, 01:51 PM
I never actually finished this game, I think I ran out of steam like... five missions before the end? I dunno. I have a feeling that Advance Wars is to blame as well.

Anyway, also looking forward to this, and if you don't use the Myrmidon/Swordsmen, I will cry.

Dynastic Bird
06-08-2008, 02:08 PM
This wasn't my first SRPG- that would be Advance Wars- but it's one of the only one I liked and can still like. FFTA and FE8 are fine, but it's too easy to overlevel. Advance Wars was a pain, and I got bored of FE9. That said...I really need to try another SRPG...

Actually, I finished this with both Ro-Eliwood and Hector. It's quite a fun game, even if the prologue was a pain to go through a second time. Go go Nino!...

What? I used her, and Tanto knows she's good.

Pombar
06-08-2008, 02:33 PM
Advance Wars is more just Turn Based Strategy than Strategy RPG, isn't it? They're so similar, but I for some reason wouldn't class AW as an RPG. Maybe I just didn't think it through.

Octopus Prime
06-08-2008, 02:36 PM
The game had its difficulty dramatically reduced to better suit the West? Jeez, I must really freakin' suck bad at it then.

And if you don't use Jaffar, we are going to mince some words, you and I.

dosboot
06-08-2008, 04:31 PM
I was hoping you would do a "no restarts" game where if someone dies you have to keep playing.

Ample Vigour
06-08-2008, 04:50 PM
I totally lost steam in this game near the end. Turns out I sunk all my experience into characters with shitty returns on XP investment. Even so, I've always wanted to see if dragon girl really did spoiler. Thanks, Tanto!

I'll protect you, so stay close to me.
:3
Would you allow me to travel with you?
:3
You will? That's wonderful! Thank you! Oh, thank you!
:3

Has anyone else noted a bit of moe wish fulfillment in the character of Lyn?

Octopus Prime
06-08-2008, 05:11 PM
It's really hard not to notice any UST with Florina.

Or maybe its just the internet playing tricks with my mind.

Also:
I was hoping you would do a "no restarts" game where if someone dies you have to keep playing.

I'm inclined to agree.

Ample Vigour
06-08-2008, 05:27 PM
I'm inclined to agree.

I do not. This is a one life run in Contra; everyone goes home.

Stiv
06-08-2008, 08:31 PM
I was too much of a pussy to ever finish this game or even get very far in it, so I'm glad to actually learn something about its mechanics so I can PLAY the damn thing.

dosboot
06-08-2008, 08:41 PM
I do not. This is a one life run in Contra; everyone goes home.

Don't discourage the boy. We can always let him get by with a few do overs here and there if things get bad.

Ample Vigour
06-08-2008, 09:08 PM
I was too much of a pussy to ever finish this game or even get very far in it, so I'm glad to actually learn something about its mechanics so I can PLAY the damn thing.

The first time one of my characters died in FE, I just sat there dumbfounded until I turned off the GBA. I think naked terror is as good a response as any to how quickly your characters get mowed down by the enemy.

Zithuan
06-08-2008, 09:24 PM
I'm embarrassed to admit that I let Florina die in the first battle she shows up in. She still had dialogue at the end of the battle, so I didn't think much of it. I didn't have an instruction manual with the game and knew very little about the series, since it had only just debuted in the US.

It wasn't until Kent died several battles later that I realized how the game worked and decided I needed to start over from the beginning. :/

Sanagi
06-08-2008, 09:28 PM
I got all the way to the last stage only to find out that I had a zero percent chance of finishing the game due to my experience levels, which had seemed adequate up to that point.

Tanto
06-08-2008, 10:29 PM
The game had its difficulty dramatically reduced to better suit the West?

No, just Lyn's Tale. The rest of the game is pretty standard difficulty for an FE game; it's just got a glorified tutorial for the first twelve missions.

My reasoning for the "no deaths" policy is to display the maximum amount of support and story as possible. Plus, I don't like it when people die. It hasn't come up yet, so I'm willing to be swayed on this. I might put it to a vote. Who knows, I might be so awesome that nobody dies anyway.

As for the final chapter? Three words: Fatal gang stabbing.

Next update will be tomorrow... er, later today.

Kirin
06-09-2008, 07:04 AM
I am in favor of "nobody dies" because I like story. Also, if you're letting TT demand which characters to use, it gives us more choices.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:33 AM
We’re back here at Let’s Play Fire Emblem. We took care of most of the introductory stuff and the prologue last time, so we’ll dive right in to Chapter 1, with Lyn and the tactician stopping at the city of Bulgar to stock up on supplies…

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Chapter 1: Footsteps of Fate

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This chapter introduces us to the first of Fire Emblem’s character archetypes. As most of the characters in this series are fairly forgettable in terms of plot, being included essentially just to give you more dudes for your army, the series reuses a lot of different character molds, with new incarnations appearing in almost every game. Two of these are “Kain and Abel”, a pair of knights who join early, wear red and green, and have some sort of relationship with each other. (Usually the one who wears red is aggressive and short-sighted and focuses mostly on strength and HP, while the one who wears green is more proper and straight-laced and focuses mostly on speed and skill, but in this game those roles are reversed.) Meet Kent and Sain, the Kain and Abel of Fire Emblem 7…

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Here’s Sain. In addition to being the Kain of Fire Emblem 7, Sain also fits into another Fire Emblem tradition, this one borrowed from anime: that of the woman-crazy pervert. With the exception of his buddy Kent, every single one of Sain’s seven support options is a woman.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:34 AM
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Lyn doesn’t take too kindly to being hit on.

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And here’s Kent. Kent is serious and driven – a textbook Abel – and also not nearly as amusing as his companion. He’s pretty boring, actually.

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Kent and Sain have been sent to Sacae on a mission, and after getting a look at Lyn’s face Kent becomes convinced that their search is over…

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:35 AM
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…But not without a Humorous Misunderstanding™.

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Kent and Sain head off in pursuit, and just in time, it seems, as Lyn is in trouble.

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I bet Lyn is wishing she’d stuck with the other inconsiderate pervert right about now…

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:37 AM
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It’s just lucky she’s got these stalkers watching her back.

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Lyn doesn’t want any help. Fortunately, these experienced knights don’t mind taking orders from a rank amateur, so they compromise by submitting themselves to the will of the tactician.

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Time to fight! First, let’s examine our two newest recruits.

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Sain is a very nice unit to have. His strength growth is an absolutely ridiculous 60%, so he’ll almost certainly cap that statistic both before and after promotion. He also has enough speed and constitution to avoid being slowed by heavy weapons, meaning he’ll double most of the time as well once he gets a few levels under his belt. He also has a very nice selection of support options. Keep him away from the magicians, though, as his resistance is a joke.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:39 AM
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It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a Cavalier, the only type of unpromoted unit capable of using more than one weapon type; in this case, swords and lances. They also have quite a wide move, balanced out by the fact that horses are slowed by more types of terrain than infantry. Their promotion, Paladins, can use all three primary weapon types and are probably the strongest class overall, with relatively low statistic caps being their only weakness. Sain will definitely find a place on our team.

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Kent, on the other hand, is not quite as lucky. His big strong point is skill, which I’ve noted is probably the least valuable statistic, and he’s prone to getting strength-screwed. He’s good and solid all-around, and he might be useful just on virtue of being a Cavalier, but his strength bears watching – if he doesn’t have at least eight by the end of Lyn’s mode we may have to drop him. He does have a lot of solid support options, though. Also note that he’s much better equipped than Sain… this will come into play in a moment.

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What does that even mean, anyway?

The computer’s tutorial-related interventionism is at its most apparent in this chapter... it controls your every move in the prologue, but at least there the map is straightforward and it doesn't make you do anything you wouldn't do anyway. Here, in order to teach us about this weapon triangle, we’re forced to send in Sain first, even though he doesn’t have a sword.

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This will not end well, but it isn’t as bad as it looks. Without the tutorial’s intercession, Sain connects here a fair amount of the time, and the enemy is weak enough to justify the risk. Look at the damage – even with the weapon disadvantage, Sain is still killing this guy in two hits. No big deal. In a normal mission, you maybe attack with your sword-users first to soften him up, but don’t be afraid to send Sain in against this guy.

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This miss is programmed in. There’s no avoiding it.

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And so’s this hit.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:40 AM
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At least we get a mildly amusing conversation about it.

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As documented, Sain actually is “that good,” but never mind that. The gist of this is that Kent generates an Iron Sword out of nowhere and gives it to Sain.

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This is the only other reason to play Lyn’s Tale on Normal – the free Iron Sword for Sain. It may not sound like much (and it isn’t, really), but on Hard Mode Sain has to go without until near the end of Chapter 3, when you can buy one for him, and it comes out of your own pocket, which means less money to spend on other things. So, not a huge deal, but a little one.

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Kent’s up next, and he connects with his sword, dealing nine damage to the Bandit and dodging the counterattack. Lyn moves up on her turn and finishes off the enemy.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:41 AM
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Excelsior!

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Sain wants another go. Now that he’s got a sword, he’s a sure thing, right?

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Bzzt. This is especially infuriating because Sain would almost certainly have hit had the normal RNG been in effect. Terrain has some effect, but not that much. It’s blatant cheating, is what it is. There’s something intensely irritating about being forced to learn through failure rather than being allowed to learn through success. At least we also managed to dodge the counter.

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You said it, Sain.

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Yeah, it’s almost as if some almighty force was conspiring against us. But that would be silly, right?

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Oh. It’s the branches. Sure. That makes sense.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:43 AM
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Heh.

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We’ll send in Kent to help out Sain against this Bandit. He hits for an easy eight, and with all these branches in the way, the Bandit misses with his counter.

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While the knights handle the guy in the south, Lyn opts to head north in order to set up the next tutori—er, engage the other bandit. You’re forced to park her on those woods.

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Meanwhile, the enemies get their turn, and that Bandit Kent and Sain have been discussing actually manages to land a blow on Kent, knocking him down four points. Kent deals eight more damage in retaliation, knocking him down to four HP and sealing his fate for when our turn comes up again.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:45 AM
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But before we can paint Kent’s sword with a river of bandit blood, we’ve got to master the “Trade” mechanic. Trade is pretty much what it says, although its uses are quite a bit more versatile than that…

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You have to be adjacent, of course. But trading items is just the beginning.

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You can also alter the order of the inventory of the character you’re trading with. This is useful because characters always counterattack with whatever weapon is in the top slot, so you can attack with a powerful weapon, then have another character move it down in the order so that its uses aren’t wasted if you happen to be attacked on the enemy’s turn. If no items change hands, you can even do this then cancel out of the trade menu with B to return your unit to its original position.

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You can also alter the order of weapons in your own inventory, of course.

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Anyway, we transfer a Vulnerary to Sain’s inventory and use it, bringing him back up to full health. Mounted units can also use any remaining move they happen to have after they do this, as well, so we move Sain one space east.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:46 AM
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Yay for violence! Also, the rigged RNG is out of our hair for the rest of the fight. Everything else during this chapter is all me, baby.

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The bandit in the north moves south and attacks Sain for four. Sain retaliates with his first successful strike of the game…

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…Then finishes him off on our turn for his first kill, picking up 30 EXP.

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We proceed east, ready to end this.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:47 AM
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A quick check of the enemy range reveals that we don’t want Lyn moving any further east for the moment. We want to bait the bottom Bandit across the lower bridge, kill him with the knights, then converge on the boss and attack him with all our units at once. We move Kent and Sain into the forests and wait for the bottom Bandit to come to us.

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Which he does, lucking into five damage on Kent despite his 26% hit percentage. We don’t want to waste a Vulnerary at this late stage, so it looks like Sain will be killing the boss…

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Kent strikes back on our turn, knocking the bandit down to three.

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And Sain finishes it. He’s perfectly positioned to swoop in and attack the boss next turn.

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I position Lyn next to the boss, but don’t attack. Even though the enemy’s hit percentage is low, his damage is high enough that I don’t want to risk Lyn taking two hits and having to start over.

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:48 AM
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The boss confirms my fears, defying the odds to hit Lyn. If we had attacked and taken a hit then as well, Lyn would be dead right now. We do manage to deal 14 points of counterattack damage, which should be enough for Sain to finish him off this turn.

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Just in case, though, we move Lyn out of danger. She’s done her job.

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And our victory is assured. Sain kills off the boss and levels up.

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This is kind of a mediocre level up for Sain. Nothing in strength or speed. It’s not bad enough to get excited about, however… God knows we’ll probably see far too many “+1 to Resistance… what, you wanted more?” level ups over the course of this LP. And it does help Sain’s accuracy, which is a little problematic in the early going.

Note that Constitution never rises on level ups. It only goes up on promotion.

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Story time!

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:49 AM
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Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:50 AM
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So he sent two level one knights out to fetch her? Makes sense.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_352.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_353.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_354.png

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:52 AM
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Of course, things aren’t going to be that easy.

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Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:53 AM
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So, we’ll be dodging assassins the whole trip? Is it too late to back out?

Tanto
06-09-2008, 07:54 AM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_384.png

Damn.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_386.png

Double damn.

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You’re killing me, Nintendo.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_391.png

Next time: Like a Zelda game without all the dungeons and MacGuffins and stuff

Brickroad
06-09-2008, 08:10 AM
Suggestion: instead of showing screenshots of all the dialogue, just show maybe one shot and transcribe the rest. This way your posts aren't full of identical-looking dialogue screenshots (skirting you under the ten-image limit and letting you pack more info into individual posts), and it becomes possible for us troglodytes behind draconian office firewalls to follow the thread.

If you feel actually typing out all the dialogue is going to be too tedious, well, you're probably right. Just hit the highlights and summarize it for us. =)

Ample Vigour
06-09-2008, 08:49 AM
Hey I like the screenshots! But definitely, Tanto, you should do what's easiest for you. I'd hate for you to get burned out before we hit the part of the game I haven't seen. :)

Elfir
06-09-2008, 01:47 PM
Fire Emblem terrified me with the perma-death factor and lack of ways to overlevel. I never got past the first level with an arena because I was determined to overlevel (I don't tend to be very good at games.)

nadia
06-10-2008, 04:41 AM
Did Lyn just break the 4th wall? D:

I hope to see some support conversations. Some of them are pretty funny / wretchedly adorable (particularly between characters in love).

Octopus Prime
06-10-2008, 04:44 AM
You know, of all the times I've played this, I don't think I've ever seen a single Support Conversation. Didn't in Sacred Stones either.

I feel like I'm a less of a person for it.

nadia
06-10-2008, 05:13 AM
You know, of all the times I've played this, I don't think I've ever seen a single Support Conversation. Didn't in Sacred Stones either.

I feel like I'm a less of a person for it.

I can't remember if this Fire Emblem is the game with the married couple Lord Pent and Lady Louise, but I vividly recall one support conversation wherein Lady Louise chooses to tell Pent that she's pregnant just as they're staring down the last boss.

Opportune!

Elfir
06-10-2008, 05:42 AM
I got the one with the long lost siblings flirting with each other? It's been a while. I don't remember too well.

Balrog
06-10-2008, 05:42 AM
http://www.freewebs.com/pandaga/fire_emblem.png
Those guys always reminded me of Jehovah's Witnesses, I think it's the hair.

TheSL
06-10-2008, 06:33 AM
http://www.freewebs.com/pandaga/fire_emblem.png
Those guys always reminded me of Jehovah's Witnesses, I think it's the hair.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_384.png

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:46 AM
I hope to see some support conversations. Some of them are pretty funny / wretchedly adorable (particularly between characters in love).

Not only will I be doing support conversations, I will be letting the audience vote on the pairings, within reason. (In other words, the characters have to be people I'm actually going to use.)

You know, of all the times I've played this, I don't think I've ever seen a single Support Conversation.

That's not surprising -- they're hard to get unless you're shooting for them. FE7 has a couple support conversations that trigger after only a few turns (Eliwood/Hector and Lyn/Florina), probably to get people to notice the feature, but it's a longshot that you'll get any of the others by accident.

I can't remember if this Fire Emblem is the game with the married couple Lord Pent and Lady Louise, but I vividly recall one support conversation wherein...

That's this one.

I got the one with the long lost siblings flirting with each other? It's been a while. I don't remember too well.

While that's every one. The whole brother-sister incest angle is a running theme in the FE series. You might be thinking of FE8, where the main characters are twins with startlingly blatant subtext. Nintendo of America tried to whitewash it, but there's no getting around that one.

Anyway...

Welcome to another installment of Let’s Play Fire Emblem. When we last left off, Lyn had learned of her hidden noble heritage from the two knights of Lycia and had set out to meet her long-lost grandfather.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_392.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_395.png

Today, we chronicle this short detour, otherwise known as…

Chapter 2: Sword of Spirits

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Lyn and Co. stop by the shrine in order to pray for their success…

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For the curious, the Church of St. Elimine is a massive Catholic-esque (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CrystalDragonJesus) organization with nuns, churches, monasteries, a pope, etc. It's the dominant religion on the continent and most of the nations follow its teachings. The Sacae are more in the nature of American Indians and don’t buy into that, hence Sain’s comment.

Sadly, it seems all is not tranquil in this shrine…

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:47 AM
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Yeah, that’ll ward ‘em off.

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I wonder if something was lost in translation here… somebody named “Glass” wouldn’t cause my grandmother to tremble. And his swordplay is far from peerless. Note also that he’s the first enemy in the game who’s not of the class “Bandit”.

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You see, Glass, the true Mani Katti is the one only a carpenter would use…

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:49 AM
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Lyn and the knights are tipped off of Glass’s ingenious break-in by the fleeing citizenry. They show up… and despite the obviousness of the threat, decide that they need to go interrogate random villagers instead. Well played, Lyn. These guys don’t exactly require precise reconnaissance.

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This is mandatory, despite the fact that the vast majority of NPCs over the course of the game don’t have anything too terribly interesting to say. Most of them tell you shit you already know or could easily figure out (“Stand on defensible terrain!” “That wall is cracked – maybe you can break it?”), even at this early point. Grr.

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It would be easier to move north and occupy the fortresses, which raise our defense and dodge and heal any unit that stands on them, but no. We’ve got to interrogate these duncebags.

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Yeah, thanks for that.

Now that the tutorial is done, this map passes by quickly. There are few enemies and the terrain’s in our favor.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_467.png

We move all three characters onto favorable terrain and wait for the enemies to come to us.

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:50 AM
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Which they do. The Bandit misses Kent and eats a counterattack. I bring in Sain to finish him off, then position Kent and Lyn to cut off the Bandits to the south at the choke point.

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Kent dodges the advancing Bandit’s attack and summons a critical to kill him in a single hit. The victory gives Kent enough EXP to rise to level 2.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_507.png

It’s a pretty sweet level up, too. Seven strength is a pretty key number for Kent, as it allows him to kill a Bandit in two hits rather than three. This will be important in future levels – like, say, Chapter 4. I’ve been known to replay the first chapter over and over until he’s gotten it. It’s helpful that he lucked into it right away.

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On my turn, I use my newly-leveled-up Kent to soften up the other Bandit, then have Lyn finish him.

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:52 AM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_549.png

Meanwhile, Sain goes to work on the breakable wall that leads directly into Glass’s chamber. This is necessary, because the mounted knights can’t cross those… mountains? (In a building?)… to the south. I have Sain do it because, with his high strength and Iron Lance, he’s the only character than can break the wall in two turns.

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…Which he does. I move Lyn into the gap – she’ll defeat that incoming Bandit and level up.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_576.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_583.png

Not much of a level up – I was hoping for another strength – but okay.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_584.png

I move Kent south and have him block the doorway. The Bandit will have to go through him to reach the inner sanctum.

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With everything clear, I move Sain into the sanctum and have him attack Glass with the Iron Lance. I didn’t get a good shot of the actual fight, but suffice it to say I was attacking for 11 and the best he could do is 3. Who do you think won?

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:54 AM
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The battle continues on the enemies’ turn, with predictable results. Sain levels up again.

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Pretty solid one, too. I hope to get another point or two of speed within the next few levels, but it’s nothing to worry about yet. Sain also picks up a Vulnerary as spoils from the fight – had I remembered to examine Glass’s inventory before I killed him, this would have been evident.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_605.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_610.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_612.png

Oh, and the other bandit attacks Kent, but he’s easily dispatched once our turn rolls around again.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_622.png

Nothing left but to seize.

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:55 AM
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Thank god for that.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_630.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_631.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_632.png

Um… yay?

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_634.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_636.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_637.png

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:57 AM
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Hmm. How about that.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_642.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_643.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_644.png
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Well, we got the awesome special sword. And we didn’t even have to raid a bunch of deathtrap-filled temples or collect worthless trinkets to do it!

Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:58 AM
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The Mani Katti is a pretty ridiculous weapon. It’s the best weapon for Lyn by far – more damage than an Iron Sword, higher critical rate, and it’s especially effective against Cavaliers and Knights, classes Lyn otherwise has trouble with. All that while still being light enough for Lyn to consistently double with. You only get the one, though, so don’t go too crazy with it.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_658.png

Kent seems to agree.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_659.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_660.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_661.png
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Tanto
06-10-2008, 10:59 AM
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The Mani Katti is the first character-exclusive weapon in the game. Only Lyn can use it – in any other character’s inventory, it’s a dead weight.

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And… fade out.

…Hmm?

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Hey, it’s Lundgren. Looks like we won’t be remaining anonymous for much longer.

Tanto
06-10-2008, 11:01 AM
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It doesn’t look like we have much of a shot at a nuanced, sympathetic villain, does it?

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And that just about confirms it.

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Next time: Archers and lesbians

Ample Vigour
06-10-2008, 11:42 AM
I think I went most of the game using the Mani Katti twice in total. This may be why Lyn is critically underleveled in my save.

Alixsar
06-10-2008, 09:56 PM
I was really upset when that guy said "Sacrilege?! I am Glass!" and he didn't follow it up with "You are Glue! Whatever you say slides off of me, and sticks to you!"

dosboot
06-11-2008, 12:24 AM
FE is a pretty text heavy game. My 2 cents: I'd prefer not to read more than a couple sentences about the story before and after each chapter. And I'd prefer not to read conversation images at all. Only make an exception for really major plot points or if you make a joke referring to the words they use. Your Let's Play doesn't have to be a substitute for all the story details and conversations that the player would normally absorb.

Also you don't need to put 3 images to show individual events in battle. 3 images fit nicely on one line, but 1 is better. The more images there are the fewer I actually look at.

I think I went most of the game using the Mani Katti twice in total. This may be why Lyn is critically underleveled in my save.

After playing FE an untold number of times I found planning your usage of special weapons to be the biggest part of playing with maximum efficiency. The second biggest would planning which and how many characters to raise for your run.

The Mani Katti isn't really worth saving. Like many special weapons you get early it is useless in the last quarter of the game because its base power is low. It is also hard to find a good use for... sword users are too weak to ignore the triangle as often as everyone else can, so using it against infantry is situational. Using it to fish for critical hits is the best use, but again you can't go risking Lyn against otherwise tough enemies, so you mostly save it for the occasional safe battle where a crit would buy you something. I can't remember if there are any specific places where the sword is always handy, but I remember being happier when I use it up early instead of hanging on to it, even if it means wasting half of the uses.

Now lancereavers, on the other hand, are the special swords to value. Partly since sword users suck so bad when ignoring the triangle, and partly because lancereavers are the real wyrmkillers. 'Unfullfilled Heart' (if I remember the name correctly) is a great map for them since wyvern riders come flooding in from the north east and only your lords+Pent+Louise can get to them easily. There is one shop that sells lancereavers, and someday I want to do a run buying as many as possible and then go to town on cavaliers and wyverns for the rest of the game.

The heavy spear is another one of those special weapons that'll trick you into saving it only to become useless. However there are plenty of places to put it to wonderful use before then - various bosses and the pyramid level.

spineshark
06-11-2008, 01:27 AM
I agree with most of what dosboot said about structure, although of course it is your project to work on.

As for Fire Emblem, looking back on the games more, I'm pretty sure it says something about me that the ones I beat were the ones where 95% of the action fell to one godlike character and an assistant. I have my deepest thanks for the FE4 dev who decided to put massive dodge on the already overpowered Holsety book.

Elfir
06-11-2008, 01:31 AM
I'd like to see a summary of dialog/plot but screenshots for every line isn't necessary. I never got very far in the game so I want to be able to follow the story once you get past where I stopped. Screenshots for particularly good lines would be better.

I like the screenshots and commentary on levelups though. That pleases the number geek in me.

I'm really loving this LP so far!

Tanto
06-11-2008, 07:12 AM
I guess that's fairly unanimous, then... I'll transcribe most of the story in text from now on. That'll probably be easier for me anyway after I'll gone back and fixed the posts that I've already done.

No update today because I won't be at my own computer for most of the day. (I will be at a computer, though, so I'll be able to respond to questions and comments.) Should start back up again tomorrow sometime...

Balrog
06-11-2008, 08:14 AM
No more images, no more this:
http://www.freewebs.com/pandaga/fe2.png

Er, maybe that's a good thing.

MCBanjoMike
06-11-2008, 08:58 AM
I feel kind of bad, because I was enjoying reading this LP when I realized that I'd actually like to play this game. So now I have to stop reading the LP, otherwise I'll spoil the whole game for myself. Hoist to your own petard, Tanto!

Elfir
06-11-2008, 09:26 AM
I feel kind of bad, because I was enjoying reading this LP when I realized that I'd actually like to play this game. So now I have to stop reading the LP, otherwise I'll spoil the whole game for myself. Hoist to your own petard, Tanto!

I got the same feeling except I realized I'll have to play slowly so I don't spoil the LP!

Ample Vigour
06-11-2008, 11:21 AM
No more images? Too bad; I love the art in this game. :(

EDIT: Wait, "fairly unanimous?" I count two anti-image guys. That said, you should do whatever will prevent burnout.

PapillonReel
06-11-2008, 11:24 AM
I say keep with the image posting - it sums up the scene more easily than paraphrasing (and has less chance of burn-out), and you'll get more chances to poke fun at / make comments on the story because of the extra text.

nonstop
06-11-2008, 12:58 PM
No more images? Too bad; I love the art in this game. :(

EDIT: Wait, "fairly unanimous?" I count two anti-image guys. That said, you should do whatever will prevent burnout.

I agree with this vigorous person.

Balrog
06-11-2008, 01:00 PM
Yeah, those images give me something to make fun of, keep 'em coming.

SlimJimm
06-11-2008, 08:48 PM
Just dont post as many images.

I cant wait til you get to the extra mission with the pirates and Canas. That one was always so hard for me to get through without someone dying.

Kirin
06-12-2008, 07:24 AM
I liked the way conversations were handled in the FFL2 thread, where coinspinner would post the first image of a given static sequence and then transcribe the rest. Exceptions for particularly funny bits. I thought that worked out well.

But in the end, whatever lets you get the updates out is just fine.

Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:40 AM
I liked the way conversations were handled in the FFL2 thread, where coinspinner would post the first image of a given static sequence and then transcribe the rest. Exceptions for particularly funny bits. I thought that worked out well.

This was what I was more or less what I was thinking of doing from now on. Let's see how this looks, huh?

Time for another chapter here at Let’s Play Fire Emblem. When we last left our heroes, they had picked up the Mani Katti and were making leisurely progress towards Caelin under threat of bandits and Lundgren’s assassins.

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We’re going to need more than three people to get Lyn home. Good thing there’s a veritable recruiting drive of capable warriors to be found in the next several chapters, starting with…

Chapter 3: Band of Mercenaries

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First, though, angst!

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Lyn: My village was near here, on the other side of the mountain. My people were... The Taliver bandits came at night. It took only one night. The survivors numbered less than ten, including me. They are soulless beasts. I will never forgive them. Never.

Sain: Lyndis...

Kent: ...

Lyn hates bandits. Just loathes them. Bear this in mind for later on.

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Sain: When the time comes, bring me with you.

Lyn: Sain.

Kent: Don't forget me, either.

Lyn: Kent... Oh! You, too, Tanto? I... You're... thank you.

Well, now that we’ve got that out of the way…

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It looks like we've got a bit of a kerfuffle here.

Florina: Uh... I... That is, I...

Brigand: Hey, she's quite a catch, eh, buddy? I bet the boss'd give us a pretty penny for her.

Migal: Yeah. She roughed me up a bit, so I figure fair's fair. It's no more'n she deserves.

Florina: I... I...

Brigand: What are we gonna do with her flying mule?

Florina: Don't you dare touch her!

Brigand: What? You just watch your mouth, girlie!

Florina: Do what you will with me, just... Let her go. Please, I beg of you.

Migal: Ha ha ha! Silly twit! Pegasi can only be found in Ilia. They're rare beasts, worth more than you by far! We can sell it for a mountain of gold. Let it go? HA!

Florina: No, you can't...

Migal: C'mon! Let's move!

Luckily for said flying mule and its rider, the cavalry has arrived…

Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:42 AM
Kent: What's this? Be on your guard, Lyndis. There seems to be some sort of commotion over there.

Lyn: That's... That's a pegasus. Could it be? Florina? Is that you, Florina?

Florina: Ah! Lyn?

Lyn: Florina! What are you doing in a place such as this?

Florina: Lyn! Is it really you? I... I...

Lyn: Come now, no crying!

Florina: I'm sorry.

Kent: You are acquaintances?

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This is a pretty neat trick by Lyn here – she’s summed up Florina’s entire character in three sentences. This is literally all there is – she’s a Pegasus knight in training, she’s Lyn’s “friend” (and not in the platonic sense), and she doesn’t like men. It’s only natural, though – since Pegasi can only be approached by virgin females in the FE-verse, an outbreak of lesbianism in the ranks of their riders is probably to be expected.

Lyn: Tell me, Florina. What happened here?

Florina: Well... um... When I heard that you had left... I decided to follow you. Then I saw this village... I flew down to ask if they had news of you. I didn't see these two, and... well...

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This becomes a running gag over the course of the game, incidentally. You’d think an inability to land a Pegasus without using a person as a landing pad would be a bit of an obstacle to becoming a Pegasus knight, but evidently not.

Brigand: Aha! You heard her! She admits her fault! She stepped on my friend, and now she's got to pay!

Lyn: Did you apologize, Florina?

Florina: Yes! I told them I was sorry many times over. They just wouldn't listen...

Lyn: Don't cry. It's all right.

Florina: Lyn...

Lyn: Listen, she's obviously sorry. Can't we just let this pass? You don't appear to be injured or anything.

Migal: No chance. The girls goes with us-- by force if need be! Hey! C'mon out now, boys! The men are fair game, but don't put a scratch on the girls!

Lyn: Tanto! We've got to fight back!

This seems like kind of a stupid reason to get into a fight to the death, but there you go, I guess.

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Geez, it’s like she doesn’t even need a tactician. What am I even here for?

Let’s take a look at the map for this chapter.

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There’s a lot of new-ness to take in on this chapter. First of all, you’ll note that we’ve got three different weapon types represented among our enemies this time around, so we have to be a little more careful about who we send where. Florina, in particular, won’t last long if she’s left in the range of axe- or bow-wielders.

Also, we’ve got a couple of new structures to check out here. That brown brick structure in the southeast is an armory, where we can purchase weapons once we’ve got some money. More on that later.

The houses with red roofs are villages. Villages are filled with friendly NPCs that are just aching to give us stuff for free, and some of them contain units that we can recruit. Enemy Bandits, Thieves, and (much later) Pirates can burn down villages if they get there first, so we have to be quick when we see one. A village can block movement, but once it’s been razed, it’s little more than flat plains (like the territory near where the boss is standing), so you also have to watch for that if you let one get burned.

There’s a village conveniently within our immediate reach. Before we go check it out, however, let’s take a look at Florina and see what she adds to our team.

Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:44 AM
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Florina’s a pretty good character, despite her annoyingly clingy personality. She’s got nice growths in strength, speed, skill, luck, and resistance, plus she’s a Pegasus knight, which means she can fly, thus ignoring a lot of terrain restrictions. Weaknesses… she’s got low defense, and as a flying unit she’s especially vulnerable to archers, which means you have to be careful where you send her. Her constitution is also total shit, which means she’s slowed down by even normal weapons.

Note also that Slim Lance in her inventory, the weapon of choice for Pegasus knights. Slim Lances have among the lowest attack power of any weapon in the game, but they make up for it with near-perfect accuracy, an increased critical rate, and low enough weight that even Florina can use it without penalty.

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The ability to fly comes in handy in all sorts of different situations, and Florina’s the only unit with that ability you get for something like sixteen chapters. There are two things to remember when using flying units, however: they’re extremely weak to bows, and they don’t receive any benefits from terrain. She’s also the anti-Sain of sorts, with only one male on her support list…

Now, the tutorial requires us to send Lyn to that nearby village, so let’s humor it…

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And with that, the recruiting theme, “Together We Ride!”, starts up for the first time. That tune will be familiar to anyone who’s played Super Smash Bros Melee, and it’s a pretty sweet one.

So who’s the recruit? Meet Wil.

Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:47 AM
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Lyn: My name is Lyn. My colleagues and I are just traveling through here. We saw some bandits about. We're going to deal with them, but... We need you to go and warn the villagers.

Wil: Hey! Wait! The name's Wil. I'm a traveler of sorts, too. Listen, these villagers have been kind to me. Mind if I fight with you?

Lyn: Not at all. We need all the help we can get! Welcome aboard, Wil!

What’s with people eagerly jumping into a life-or-death brawl today?

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Wil’s our first Archer. All the units we’ve picked up thus far can only attack when directly adjacent to their target, but Wil (like all archers) can only attack from two spaces away. Bows are neutral on the weapon triangle, as I’ve mentioned, and generally have better damage than comparable melee weapons, but using them means a character can’t counterattack if a melee unit manages to slip through our defenses. You have to be careful about where you position your archers – you generally want walls, either as part of the environment or in the form of a phalanx of tough melee units, separating your archers from the baddies.

As for Wil himself, he’s a thoroughly average character. He’s got a good strength growth, but his speed, while not terrible, bears watching. He’s probably the worst of the three unpromoted bow-users you pick up, but not by a whole lot. He’s usable if you like him, and if he happens to get RNG-blessed on speed he can become a killing machine. He’s just not optimal, is all.

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Wil’s supports are pretty funny, and they’re generally with good characters, so if you use him, you at least don’t have to worry about that…

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The game forces us to use our two newest recruits to attack that Mercenary just north of our position, but after that, we’re free to move however we wish. Note that archers can shoot through walls in the GBA installments of Fire Emblem… don’t ask me; I don’t know.

Kishi
06-12-2008, 08:48 AM
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The scale in this game is maddening. Why is a throne the size of two houses?

Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:48 AM
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Wil attacks for 9…

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…And then Florina moves in and finishes him off.

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Meanwhile, I have the Cavaliers move east to meet the enemies over there, picking off a stray enemy Archer in the process.

Note that I had Kent switch over to his Iron Lance so that he could kill this guy on one round and not have to move Sain over into the other archer’s range. It’s also a good idea to build up Kent’s lance ranking whenever you can in these early levels; with the prevalence of axe-wielding Bandits, it’s easy to focus too much on the sword. But…

Kent. Iron Lance. Remember that.

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Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:51 AM
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Nice spot there, Wil. Did the winged horse happen to tip you off?

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I guess that conversation was meant to indirectly warn you about the danger archers pose to aerial units?

Anyway, back to gameplay. We’ll start by sending Florina over to the other village, as she’s the only unit we’ve got who can reach it in a timely fashion.

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The unbelievably generous residents give us 2000 gold just for driving off these bandits, which we were gonna do anyway. Suckers!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_214-1.png

After visiting the village, we use the rest of Florina’s move to position her in precisely this space. This will bait in the sword-wielding Mercenary (who Florina can defeat easily), but not the axe-wielding Bandit (from whom she would have to flee in terror). If you park her anywhere else in this vicinity, you’d draw in either both or neither.

As for the rest of the turn, I opt to simply move Lyn and Wil forward to join Kent and Sain and wait for the rest of the enemies to come to me. If you rush them, you often get jammed up in the narrow confines here and can’t effectively maneuver.

…But, in so doing, I make my first error of the game that isn’t mandated by the tutorial. I forget to switch Kent’s active weapon back to his Iron Sword, and he’s forced to face the incoming Bandit wielding a lance. Oops.

Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:53 AM
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We take a hit, and even though we connect with the counter, the Iron Lance’s additional weight probably prevents Kent from doubling. He does get enough experience to level up, however.

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Pretty standard level up for Kent… skill, speed… I’ll be on pins and needles until he gets that eighth strength, though.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_227-1.png

Elsewhere, that Mercenary I mentioned previously takes our bait and attacks Florina, taking 14 big points worth of counterattack damage in the process. He’s as good as finished next turn.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_229-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_233-1.png

Like so.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_235-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_236-1.png

As for the Bandit who was accosting Kent, I have Wil soften him up from a distance (somehow forgetting to grab a shot of it in the process), then finish him off with Lyn. Sain moves to block off the choke point.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_239-1.png

As for Kent himself, I decide to go ahead and use a Vulnerary (God knows I have enough) to replenish his HP.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_241-1.png

Ah, crap! I did it again. I’m going to go ahead and blame distraction thanks to the Braves’ hideous play here…

Thankfully, Sain dodges here, and even manages to get off a successful counterattack, for the same damage as he would have managed with a sword. So even though the move was another mistake, the outcome was actually exactly as if I’d made the correct move. That’s a hell of a good piece of game design right there.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_242-1.png

The enemy archer also attacks Lyn. This is pretty much unavoidable, though, as he’s usually able to get off at least one shot before you can kill him.

Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:55 AM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_243-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_244-1.png

On my turn, I switch over to a sword and kill the Bandit, then push through the choke point.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_247-1.png

But not before Sain levels up. And it’s a good one: HP, strength, and speed. That’s all you need.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_248-1.png

Here Kent takes out the enemy Archer. Things are beginning to shift in my favor now.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_251-1.png

Florina is able to easily fly over the walls and rejoin the main group. We’re going to have her kill the last remaining sword-user on the map once it’s safe to do so.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_253-1.png

On the enemies’ turn, they have no option but to attack Kent head-on. Kent takes the hit and counters. The other enemy does not move, as he has no open targets.

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This is working out perfectly for me. I’m able to attack the Bandit down to nearly nothing with Kent, then move Wil in to get the kill. (As Wil has yet to get a kill of his own, he needs the EXP more than any of the others.)

Tanto
06-12-2008, 08:57 AM
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With the Bandit gone and our path clear, we can now send in the lance-users to stab the final mobile unit on the map to death with their pointy sticks. Florina gets the kill and just enough EXP to make it to level 2.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_271-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_272-1.png

Mmm… sweet, juicy strength.

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Since the boss doesn’t move, we’re free to visit the armory at our leisure. I send Florina to take care of it.

As you can see, this guy doesn’t have a whole lot in stock, but that’s fine with us, because there’s not a whole lot we need at this point. At this stage in the game, a character can only buy enough items to fill their personal inventory (maximum of five objects), and no more.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_281-1.png

I purchase an Iron Lance and an Iron Sword. Lyn’s sword is getting a little worn down and may break before we have a chance to shop again, so I go ahead and purchase her another while we have a chance. The lance is for Florina, in the instances that her standard Slim Lance isn’t strong enough to get a kill. In the next level, in particular, having one will allow her to get kills in two rounds rather than three. If this was Hard Mode, we’d also have to buy an Iron Sword for Sain, since the tutorial wouldn’t be there to provide him with a free one.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_277-1.png

Now time to deal with the boss. He can only attack adjacent units and doesn’t move, so you can kill him with just Wil if you like with no danger to your other troops. As I’ve mentioned, though, I don’t particularly like Wil, so I’ll simply use him to knock down to boss to a low enough level that one of my other units can safely kill him.

Tanto
06-12-2008, 09:02 AM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_279-1.png

Down to 18…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_285-1.png

Then 11…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_289-1.png

Then 4.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_291-1.png

At which point we can send in Lyn…
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_293-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_294-1.png

Migal: Taliver? Those greedy monsters? We're nothing like them!! Those fiends will even kill women and children! We're from Ganelon, and we know a little something of honor. We don't harm women, for one thing. Heh heh heh. After all, why kill what you can sell?

Lyn: If you're not Taliver, then there's no reason for you to die here today. If you would like to tuck your tails and flee, do so now.

Migal: You... You... No more courtesies! You're going to learn to watch your tongue!!!

…who has a nice little chat with the boss…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_308-1.png http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_311-1.png

…and then kills him.

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She also levels up, but as she still hasn’t picked up any strength, I’m none too thrilled. We may have to take steps. More on this later.

And with that, we’ve won. Time for the cinematics!

Tanto
06-12-2008, 09:10 AM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_318-1.png

Florina: Do you remember the knighting ceremony of the Pegasus Knight of Ilia?

Lyn: Yes, you join a band of freelance soldiers to further your training. Is that what brought you here, Florina?

Florina: Uh-huh. I wanted to talk to you before I set out. But when I went to Sacae, I heard that you had left with some strangers, and...

Lyn: You were worried for me? Thank you, but I'm more worried about you.

Florina: Me?

Lyn: Listen, most mercenaries are men, right? Bands of men? I can't imagine you being at all comfortable around them.

Florina: I know, I know. It's just... I've always dreamt of being a pegasus knight. I imagined I would just... work it out. Somehow. After today, I'm not so sure. Maybe I should just... give up.

Lyn: Florina... Don't cry...

Sain: Yes! There's no reason to give up your dream!

Lyn: Hm?

Sain: Lovely Florina! I have the most brilliant idea!

Oh, this should be good.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_342-1.png

What a shock.

Sain: With the addition of Wil here, we're a fine group of soldiers, and freelance to boot!

Wil: Wait, did you just include me?

Sain: Of course! We were destined to meet here! It's fate! Come now, Lyndis's band of mercenaries is as good a training group as you will find anywhere!

Kent: Sain... This is no joking matter!

Florina: Lyndis? Um, Lyn? Mercenaries?

Lyn: I can give you details later. This is all a bit rushed. However, Sain is right. Will you come with us, Florina?

Florina: Travel with you, Lyn? Truly? I would be so... so happy!

Heh. Try to contain yourself, Florina.

Sain: Fantastic! Beauteous Florina! I am a knight of Caelin. My name is Sain...

Florina: Eeek! Stay back! Don't get so close.

Sain: Ah... Beautiful, and yet so modest!

Kent: I beg your forgiveness. Calling us mercenaries...

Lyn: No, I approve. We can't leave Florina on her own. She requires special attention, though. Can I count on you?

Kent: Yes! You have but to ask.

Wil: So... Is it really all right if I travel with you?

Lyn: Oh, yes. Of course! If you're willing, Wil.

Wil: Actually, I'm very grateful. Truth be told, all of my money was stolen, and I'm... at a bit of a crossroads. I would be honored to count myself one of Lyndis's Legion!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_371-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_372-1.png

Kent sure looks pissed in this picture. But I guess I would be too if I was asked to babysit someone like Florina. And on that happy note…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_373-1.png

Next time: Siege mentality

Elfir
06-12-2008, 09:10 AM
It's amazing how nearly every character in this game is likable. I love Will and Florina is fairly cute. So fragile though.

I started up a game to follow along, except I'm using savestates to cheat and get awesomer levels. :3

Tanto
06-13-2008, 09:51 AM
The next chapter of Let’s Play Fire Emblem is pretty short – I think I ended up taking more pictures of the pre- and post-chapter chatter than I did of actual gameplay.

Anyway, time to revisit our heroes as they continue west.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_01-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_03-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_05-3.png

Something tells me we’ll have to deal with them as we continue on…

Chapter 4: In Occupation’s Shadow

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Lyndis’s Legions stop for the night in an abandoned fortress.

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Wil: The bandits keep everything in turmoil around here. No one has time to worry about travelers. And there are rather a lot of us.

Lyn: This will be fine. Who wants to be stuck inside, anyway? I prefer a place where I can feel the wind blow.

Florina: As long as I'm at Lyn's side, I'll be fine.

Sain: And for your protection, your man-at-arms Sain will be right here by your side, ladies.

Kent: Sain, both you and I are to remain awake. We will alternate the watch.

Sain: Ah, alas...

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_24-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_26-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_27-3.png

Lyn: Are you all right? Hm? Your leg...

Natalie: It's fine. Don't worry. It's from a childhood sickness... I can't travel far on it, but it doesn't trouble me much.

Lyn: What are you doing here all by yourself?

Natalie: I'm looking for my husband... I heard he was in this area. He said he was going to raise money to have my leg mended. He left the village and hasn't returned. He's a kindhearted man, but I think he might be involved in something dangerous. I got so worried... Here's a sketch of him. It's a poor likeness at best, but... His name is Dorcas. Do you know of him?

No, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he happened to show up.

Lyn: I'm sorry. I don't believe I've seen or heard of him.

Natalie: I see... If you do meet him, please give him a message. Tell him that Natalie is looking for him.

Lyn: I will tell him. I promise.

Meanwhile…

Tanto
06-13-2008, 09:53 AM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_45-3.png

Bandit: So they've decided to hole up in this ruined fortress. Perfect. We'll wait til it gets dark, and then...

Carjiga: You're and idiot! There are only a few of them, and some are women! If we attacked them at night, I'd be a laughingstock! Besides, we might hurt the women by mistake! I will not be so wasteful!

Bandit: You're right, Carjiga! You're so smart!

Carjiga: We'll avenge Migal and get some pretty souvenirs to boot. Who knows, maybe I'll be a leader after all. Ha ha ha! Let's go! Spread out and encircle the place, you rogues! Let's finish this before it gets too dark to see!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_61-3.png

What a coincidence!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_63-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_64-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_65-3.png

Dorcas: ...

Carjiga: I want you to attack from the back entrance to the east. There's supposed to be a woman inside. I want you to capture her. Do that, and I'll increase your share of the take. If you want gold, you'll get the job done.

Dorcas: A bunch of women, huh? It would break Natalie's sweet heart to see me sink so low.

He seems amenable to conversion.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_74-3.png

Lyn: What did you say?

Sain: Persistent bunch, aren't they? What do you think? Shall we go out and face them?

Lyn: No... Natalie cannot move well, and that would put her in danger. Let them come to us. We'll fight here, within these walls. Tanto, take over. The command is yours. All we have to do is hold out until they tire and leave.

Natalie: Oh...

Lyn: Rest easy, Natalie. No one will harm you! Listen, everyone! Fight with caution!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_89-3.png

All righty then. There’s a bunch of firsts in this chapter. To whit:

--First NPC on the map, who must be defended.
--First PC that has to be actively recruited rather than simply joining over the course of the story, as well as the first one recruited from the enemy ranks.
--First map with enemy reinforcements.
--First map with a time limit. You only have to survive and protect Natalie for seven turns.
--More generally, the first map that needs to be played defensively, blocking the choke points and letting the enemies come to you. You can easily wipe out every enemy on this map, but not until after you’ve worn down their numbers with defensive tactics first.

Our general strategy in this map is to block off the bottom entrance with the Cavaliers, recruit Dorcas with Lyn, send Florina to the northeast to kill the Mercenary that spawns there at the end of every turn, and have Wil defeat the enemies to the west before they’re able to break the cracked wall in the northwest. Then, once our position has stabilized, push south with sword-users and wipe out the remaining enemies.

This is a fair bit more aggressive than the game “wants” you to play it (you’re supposed to hole up in the fortress and wait the enemy out), but also more effective. If you play it right, you can prevent the enemies from ever stepping foot in the fortress.

Onward.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_91-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_92-3.png

The tutorial forces you to move Lyn east to meet Dorcas, so we do so. We have Florina follow her, so she can move into her designated territory as quickly as possible. We don’t have any time to spare on this map if we want to squeeze every bit of EXP out of it that we can, so we have to be efficient with our movements.

We also move Kent and Sain to block off the doorway, being careful to place them out of the range of the enemy archer. We want him to go for Wil, so we position Wil as far north as he can go while still being in the archer’s range. If we’re lucky, that hit will be the only one Wil takes this map.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_94-3.png

Dorcas attacks Lyn on the enemies’ turn, but receives a tutorial-mandated dodge.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 09:55 AM
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Elsewhere, the rest of our party defends themselves from incoming attacks. Nothing notable or unexpected happens here, so let’s skip ahead…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_104-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_105-3.png

Indeed. Why don’t you get over there and see about getting him on the right side?

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_106-3.png

Lyn: You! Tell me, are you Dorcas?

Dorcas: ... How do you know my name?

Lyn: Natalie told me. What are you doing with these rogues?

Dorcas: I need money.

Lyn: That may be, but... joining up with mercenaries?

Dorcas: It's the only way to earn gold in these parts. I'll do anything... even this.

Lyn: For gold? Anything? Would you hurt your wife? Natalie is here! We're protecting her within this fortress!!

Dorcas: What!? Natalie's... She's here?

Lyn: She was so worried that she came looking for you. Think, Dorcas! Would your actions please your wife?

Dorcas: ... ... You're right.

Lyn: Well?

Dorcas: I understand. I can't do this. I'm done with these bandits. Here and now.

Lyn: Really?

Dorcas: Yes... And I would repay you for your kindness toward Natalie. Allow me to fight for you.

Welcome to the team, big guy.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_133-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_131-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_132-3.png

Dorcas is the first axe-user we can recruit, and also the first genuinely mediocre character we’ve picked up thus far. His growths are mostly okay, except for one: His abysmal 20% speed growth. It’s pretty hard to work around that (although his starting speed is all right), so don’t expect to see Dorcas get used much. Axes are great and axe-users are rare, especially pre-promotion, but we don’t need them that much.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_134-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_135-3.png

…Which is a shame, because Dorcas is a pretty nice guy and his supports are interesting. Too bad. They’re with pretty poor characters overall, though, so we’re not missing out on too much gameplay-wise.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 09:56 AM
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We’re forced to attack with Dorcas on the first turn we’ve got him, so we move him inside the fortress and have him attack that Bandit at range with his Hand Axe. Hand Axes can attack either up close or at range, so they’re highly useful, especially on defense, although their number of uses (20) is fairly low. We get a tutorial-rigged critical, clearing out the Bandit in one move and allowing Dorcas to pick up an Iron Axe as spoils. I hope he doesn’t get too attached to it, as we’ll probably pawn it off next chapter…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_141-3.png

With the axe-users gone from the east side, it’s safe to move Florina outside to meet the sword-users that will be showing up momentarily.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_142-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_148-2.png

On the other side, Wil shoots through the wall to kill the archer that attacked him last turn and levels up.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_150-2.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_151-2.png

This is about what you expect out of a Wil level up… a point of strength, but no speed.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_154-2.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_158-2.png

Finally, in the south, our Cavaliers do that Bandit-killing thing they do so well, taking no damage in the process.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 09:58 AM
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On the enemies’ turn, the Bandit that Sain attacked last turn goes after Kent, dying as a result and giving Kent enough EXP to generate this absolutely awful level up.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_168-3.png

The sword-wielding Mercenary also goes for Kent… all other things being equal, the CPU goes for the unit with the weakest counterattack damage, which in this case is Kent. Things shake out about as you’d expect, with neither doing enough damage to kill the other.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_169-3.png

Those enemies in the west begin to go to work on the cracked wall. Barring any misses by Wil, we’ll be able to kill them off before they break in, but it’ll be dicey.

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Finally, Sain kills another Bandit and severely wounds another. The assault on the front is beginning to peter out. Your move, Carjiga.

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Carjiga opts to send for reinforcements. They’re pretty pansy-ass reinforcements, granted, consisting entirely of one Bandit in the southwest and one Mercenary in the northeast every turn for the rest of the chapter, but it displays a level of tactical thinking unheard-of from the enemies we’ve faced thus far.

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Our turn. Wil attacks the Bandit near the crack in the wall. We want to take out the Bandit first because he can break through the crack quicker, and beating him first gives us more time to shoot at the pair. Ideally, we’ll kill the Bandit, then take out the Mercenary just as the wall collapses.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 09:59 AM
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Meanwhile, we have Florina attack the Mercenary that has just spawned in the northeast. We use the Iron Lance we bought last chapter – barring a miss, our attack combined with the counterattack on the enemies’ turn will kill the Mercenary. This will repeat for the rest of the chapter.

Note also that I parked Florina on the forest… she doesn’t get any benefits from doing so since she’s a flying unit, but by standing there she prevents the enemy from receiving any either. A single miss can screw up our whole plan on this stage, so it’s important to minimize the chances of such.

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Kent’s HP is getting a little low, so I exercise some caution and use a Vulnerary rather than attacking.

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Sain kills another Bandit. Ho-hum, nothing to see here…

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…Or here, with the usual procession of futile enemy activity. The wall gets weaker and weaker, but again, barring a total disaster we should be all right.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 10:00 AM
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I guess it’s true what they say about boredom being good in war, because our plan is proceeding without any surprises. Florina, Wil, and Kent all attack on our turn… the latter two get kills, while the first sets up a kill on the enemy turn.

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Oh, and Lyn rejoins the fight after her mission of peace.

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Sain is able to double this Bandit right out of the fight in one move. He’s still yet to take a point of damage this chapter, despite being in the fray the whole time… it’s almost scary how good he is.

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This level up gives Sain exactly what I was hoping to see from him. No worries here.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 10:02 AM
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Dorcas and Natalie have a nice little discussion. Aw…

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Fun fact: Penguins have a gland that converts seawater into freshwater. That’s a hell of a thing, isn’t it?

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I park Sain on these woods… he’ll pick off the Bandit reinforcement for the rest of the fight.

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Wil starts to wear down the Mercenary who’s been attacking the wall.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 10:03 AM
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While Florina does her usual thing.

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On the enemies’ turn, she continues to do her usual thing and levels up; another good one. She’s looking quite nice on this playthrough.

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Blah blah blah, Sain kills Bandit…

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The wall is nearly down. Good thing the Mercenary is nearly dead.

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I also move Lyn and Kent east to bait in those two enemies near the boss. I’m overly cautious here, as I’ll explain later…

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Lyn’s Iron Sword isn’t quite strong enough to kill that Archer in one round, so I break the wrap on the Mani Katti and use that instead.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_277-2.png

Nor is Kent strong enough to finish off this Bandit, irritatingly enough. I probably made an error here – I should have killed off the Bandit with Lyn then attacked the Archer with Kent, as they’re usually easier to double. Ah well.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 10:05 AM
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Wil’s just about finished off the forces to the west…

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Florina is able to critical the newest Mercenary right out of the fight in one shot.

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I also opt to go ahead and kill this Bandit with Sain rather than wait him out on the forest. Sain’s sword rank goes up, which is nice…

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The gate is down!

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Kent kills off that Bandit and gets a level up that’s as good as that earlier one was bad. Things are looking up…

Tanto
06-13-2008, 10:06 AM
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Meanwhile, that Mercenary, after attacking the cracked wall all chapter, has finally broken through only to be instantly met with an arrow through the forehead. That’s a kick in the nuts, isn’t it? Although, I think he’d prefer a kick in the nuts at this point.

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Wil also levels up. Still no speed; he’s not making much of a case for his retention once better characters join up…

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Let me tell you, there is no sweeter sound than the metallic clinking noise that occurs whenever an opponent attacks you for zero damage. Florina’s last level up has taken her out of the range where these Mercenaries can hurt her.

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Fun fact: The femur, the longest and strongest bone in the skeleton, is almost perfectly cylindrical in the greater part of its extent.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play/fe7_310-2.png

Welcome to Overlycautiousville, population Kent, Lyn, and Tanto…

Tanto
06-13-2008, 10:07 AM
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Okay, so I wasn’t able to kill the boss before time ran out. But I have an excuse!

Usually, there’s a small window on the screen that informs you of the victory conditions for the map – in the case of timed missions, this displays how much time you have left. I turned it off for this LP because the victory conditions are obvious most of the time and so that I could show more of the screen (the shots are small enough as it is), and forgot how many turns were left on this map. Had I been paying attention, I would have rushed Carjiga over the last several turns rather than the cautious, damage-fearful advance I actually made. I actually considered restarting and trying again (for the experience if nothing else), but decided that I liked the level ups I had gotten this chapter and didn’t want to risk getting worse ones. So Carjiga lives to run away. Phooey.

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Florina manages to kill her last opponent, though.

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And so it ends. Note that someone says these exact same lines even if you kill every enemy on this map… I have no idea who it is.

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Yay!

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Dorcas: Well, I... I spoke with Tanto. I... I've been invited to join your group.

Lyn: But we're going to Lycia...

Dorcas: I have to go somewhere to earn money. If you think I'll be of use, I'd like to fight for you. You helped my wife... I owe you.

Lyn: Dorcas...

Natalie: Please, Lyn. We are both in agreement on this. Watch over my husband.

And with that, we get a new plaything.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 10:08 AM
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Look, Lyn, we’ve been killing Bandits basically nonstop for the last four chapters. Don’t you think you’re being a little overdramatic here?

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Well, that was easy.

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Next time: In the game of chess, you can never let your adversary see your pieces

Ample Vigour
06-13-2008, 01:06 PM
Wait, Dorcas is bad? He was my workhorse through most of my playthrough. Holy crap, it's almost as if I went out of my way to do it wrong.

Tanto
06-13-2008, 01:16 PM
Wait, Dorcas is bad? He was my workhorse through most of my playthrough. Holy crap, it's almost as if I went out of my way to do it wrong.

For a given value of "bad", yes. Keep in mind that very few Fire Emblem characters are completely, unsalvagably bad -- you can use pretty much anyone you like and still beat the game. (Given the level up system, a "bad" character can still end up dominating; they just have a smaller chance of becoming so than other characters.)

If you know you're not going to use someone long-term it's better not to waste experience leveling them up. The amount of experience you can earn in this game is basically limited (arena abuse aside, you can't really grind), so you have to be careful about how you allocate it. That's why I won't be using Dorcas much.

SlimJimm
06-13-2008, 01:45 PM
I think it takes multiple play-throughs to get to know who you feel is "bad". Personally I feel Dorcas falls into the Average category. One time he was a beast and was one of my strongest players, another he was outclassed by the other Axe user (Barte?). Its just part of the randomness of the level ups. Most characters have just a random chance of being very good or very bad.

Also I think personal preference has a lot to do with some characters. I would never use Florina because I didnt like her low def and just the character itself. Kind of "To each his own."

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:26 AM
When we last left off here at Let’s Play Fire Emblem, our heroes had just about crossed over into the Lycian League, a federation of territories ruled by a group of marquess, to which Lyn’s grandfather belongs. Before we can get there, though, we’ve got one final skirmish with the bandits, who have set up an ill-conceived bum rush at the border.

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Watch as we try to continue…

Chapter 5: Beyond the Borders

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We’ll start off today’s excursion with a bit of wacky dialogue courtesy of the troops…

Kent: We've almost reached the Lycian border.

Lyn: Once we cross, we'll be safe from the bandits, right?

Wil: We should be. I doubt they'll be willing to pursue us accross the border.

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Sain: Ah, yes... Food and love. No better way to restore a man's soul! This is going to be a fine evening, eh, Kent?

Kent: If your behavior is as deplorable as ever, we'd best stay elsewhere. We're not here for sightseeing.

Sain: Oh, come now! That's not fair!

Lyn: Kent, the inn will be fine.

Kent: As you say, milady.

Sain: Lyndis! You are truly an angel from on high!

Lyn: It's nothing. Forget it.

Florina: Ah! We'll finally be able to get a good night's sleep.

Lyn: Oh, no... Those bandits are persistent, I'll give them that much.

Don’t worry, though. This is the last time we’ll have to deal with them.

Bug: Ah! Here they are! I've found 'em!!

Wil: What? Not again! They're still after us?

Bug: He he heh heh heh! Don't think you're getting away so easily!

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As for this next part… well, it contains such mind-blowing quantities of awesome that I feel compelled to reproduce it for you in its entirety, uncut and unedited. That’s just the sort of guy I am!

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:28 AM
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Erk: ... I swear, you are NOT the woman I agreed to escort...

Serra: What? What's that supposed to mean?

Erk: I heard someone was needed to escort a frail Lycian priestess to Ostia...

Serra: Yes, and I'm that priestess.

Erk: Frail? You? Serra, you have no need of any escort to protect you. Even the most hardened criminal would flee in terror after five minutes in your company. I'll return your money. Gladly. Now, will you please go on to Ostia alone?

(For the curious, Ostia is the largest and most powerful of the Lycian territories. It will come into play several chapters from now.)

Serra: NO! Youre MY escort, Erk! MINE! You're so clean and tidy. A noblewoman like myself can't be seen without a proper escort. Your personality's nothing special, but you're not bad to look at.

Erk: I believe that's my line. And I have to take you all the way to Ostia? I only hope my nerves can endure the journey.

Serra: What are you mumbling about? You're so gloomy! Hm? Something's happening over there. Let's take a look!

Erk: Ah. Of course. The first opportunity to get involved in trouble, and she jumps right in. No amount of money is worth this. Hoo...

Serra: Wow! A fight! A fight! Erk! Take a look! Fighting those bandits... It's a young girl!

Erk: Fool! Keep your voice down!

Brigand: Eh? What's this? You in league with that she-devil?

Serra: Hm?

Erk: Ah... This is so wrong...

Brigand: Gyaaa! I'll take care of you with one swift stroke!

Serra: Eeeeeek! Eeeeeek! Eeeeeeeeeeeeek! Erk! Help me!!!

Erk: So... loud... Serra! Behind me! You there! See if you can match me!

And with that, Erk and Serra join the fight.

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Erk uses magic, which, like Dorcas’s Hand Axe, can attack either up close or at range. The tutorial causes him to double here, even though he isn’t actually fast enough to do so based on his stats… note also that he doesn’t get any experience from this skirmish, because he’s still neutral at this point.

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She’s a sharp one, isn’t she?

Let’s take a look at the map.

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This is a short mission – this shot reveals literally all there is for this one. I’m not sure why the bandits thought they could take us with seven guys when wave after wave of their own men couldn’t do it last chapter, but their stupidity is our gain. The strategy for this mission is "Move east and slaughter" without a lot of subtlety. There’s a lot of forests around the starting point, which will slow our progress somewhat – you can also see an armory in the northeast, which we’ll be visiting when we have a free moment.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:30 AM
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The tutorial requires us to move Lyn over and talk to Serra, so we do so.

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Serra: Those ruffians thought that we were with you!!! You got us into a terrible situation! Now, how are you going to get us out?

Erk: Serra, if you'd not been so meddlesome, this all could have been avoided. My apologies. Please trouble yourself with us no more.

Lyn: But... if you're going to have to fight anyway, shouldn't we team up? It will end things faster, right?

Serra: That's true. Yes! That's a good idea. Erk! Go and help these ladies.

Erk: But I... Fine!

Lyn: Very good. My name's Lyn. So, tell me, will you join arms with us?

Serra: Yes, we'd be glad to. My name is Serra, This is my escort, Erk. Be a good boy, and go fight now, Erk.

Erk: ...Sigh...

Awesome.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:31 AM
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Hee!

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:32 AM
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Serra is probably my favorite character in the whole game. She’s just so unapologetically and obliviously bitchy, to everyone she encounters. It’s a riot to watch. She’s got a unique sprite, too, which is nice – the generic Cleric/female Bishop sprite (used by Ellen in FE6 and Natasha in FE8) is pretty dumb looking.

She’s a nice game character, too, even though her inability to attack until after promotion hinders her usefulness somewhat. She’s got good growths in all the relevant stats and is a dodge machine. I always use her if I can.

Serra and Erk are also our introduction to magic. Magic, which replaces the strength stat on their chart (no character in the GBA games can use both physical attacks and magic), has its own elements and its own triangle – Anima (physical elements; i.e., fire, lightning, and wind) beats Light, Light beats Dark, and Dark beats Anima.

However, the magic triangle is basically worthless because most mages have high resistance, and there are more efficient ways of killing them than trying to rock-paper-scissors them to death with your own magicians. You generally want to use mages against enemies with high physical defense, and those don’t care about elements one way or the other.

Dark is probably the strongest element in FE7 just because of the spell Luna, which is game-breaking towards the end… but again, this isn’t nearly as important as the weapon triangle.

Staves have no offensive capabilities whatsoever – they are purely for defense and utility. What they lack in the ability to kill things, however, they make up for with versatility: staves can do everything from heal and buff allies to open locked doors, restore a weapon’s usages, and warp allies all over the map. An S-rank in staves is completely useless, however, as there are no S-rank staves and the combat bonus is obviously irrelevant.

Serra’s default staff, the Heal staff, restores HP equal to 10 + the user’s magic score.

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As for supports… well, let’s just say that it’s a shame Serra can’t support with everybody, because Hers. Are. Hilarious. It doesn’t even matter who she’s talking to, either; she steals every scene.

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Will do.

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Serra gets 11 EXP for using a Heal staff no matter how much (or how little) she heals. Other staves give more or less, but the Heal staff is the baseline, especially in Lyn’s Tale.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:35 AM
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Erk starts at level 1, so I’ll be using him a fair bit in this chapter to get him up to speed. (So does Serra, of course, but there’s no help for that.)

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Despite the fact that he’s got a definite Kif Kroker vibe going on, Erk is pretty average. He lives pretty much completely at the mercy of the RNG: if he gets a good magic score, he’s good, but if he doesn’t, he’s pretty solidly outclassed by other mages. I tend to use Erk early on when there’s no one better, and reevaluate his progress once more characters join – if he’s still looking good then, he can stay, but otherwise he can be quickly and painlessly dumped.

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Another problem Erk has is that his supports just blow. He’s only got two good ones, and they both do more or less the same thing as him and are thus not optimal support partners.

I’m not sure what being a “master of justice” has to do with anything… God knows there are enough Mages among the enemy ranks.

Back to the mission!

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The computer’s cheating laid bare… how exactly was Erk able to double this archer in the tutorial? Note also that Erk attacks the archer at point-blank range and is hence able to avoid a counterattack.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:36 AM
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Florina moves east across the water, ready to bait in the Mercenary who stands near the boss.

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You’d think Bandits would have a flee-on-sight order from men on horseback by this point.

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In Hard Mode, I’ve actually had this guy luck into a critical against Erk before. That was not fun.

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Florina inches closer... we want to keep her safely out of that archer’s range.

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Well, I did say I’d be using Erk a lot in this level.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:37 AM
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Elsewhere, my other guys do the standard “bait in and counterattack” strategy. With only seven enemies, this is too easy.

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I have Erk finish off the enemy that Florina weakened, garnering him enough EXP for his first level up.

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This would seem to be a perfectly fine level up… except that it gives Erk everything except what he really needs. With Erk’s tendency to get magic-screwed, we want magic points and lots of ‘em if we want Erk to stick around.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:38 AM
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Even though Florina only got dinged for one in her fight with that Mercenary, I send in Serra to heal her anyway. Staff-users level up extremely slowly thanks to the nature of the way in which they gain experience, so you have to take every opportunity you can to get them experience. Even if I don’t show you every single shot of Serra fixing someone else’s boo-boo, assume I’m doing it anyway.

I actually end up praying for people to get hit so that my staff-users have more opportunities to gain EXP…

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That Bandit Sain attacked last turn has an Iron Sword that the green color indicates he’ll drop once defeated. I don’t know why this guy is carrying a weapon he can’t possibly use under any circumstances, but I’ll be happy to take it off his corpse, since Kent and Sain’s swords are getting low on usages.

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Sain’s up to 11 strength… for context, the pre-promotion cap on strength is 20, and Sain’s only at level 6. I daresay he’ll get there.

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The final mobile enemy on the map attacks Erk and takes 18 points of damage in return. Luckily, Erk is hurt as well, so Serra has another heal chance.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:42 AM
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Erk finishes him off…

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And Serra does her thing. Nothing left to do now but shop and beat the boss.

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Here’s what the armory has in stock… since we’re not using Dorcas and Wil’s weapon is still fine, the only thing of interest here is the Javelin. Like the Hand Axe, the Javelin is capable of attacking either up close or at range, so I have all my lance-users pick up one, selling Dorcas’s Iron Axe in order to raise enough money for the third.

In Hard Mode, the necessity of having to purchase an Iron Sword for Sain means that one of your characters has to go without here…

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Time to confront the boss, the unfortunately-named Bug.

I usually have Erk kill this boss, but I notice Lyn is still only at level 4, so I use Erk only to knock the boss’s HP down into a safe range for Lyn to attack him.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:43 AM
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Which she does.

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We’re watching a strength-screwing in progress, folks. Lyn hasn’t gained a point in this stat since her rigged initial level up in the prologue. Instead, she gains more speed and skill, stats she already has in abundance. This is becoming worrisome.

The mission is over, though. Yay!

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I haven’t cut any lines here… this is exactly how their conversation goes.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 10:44 AM
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Serra: Oh my! Are you one of Lyn's companions?

Sain: Please, call me Sain.

Serra: I'm Serra. I serve House Ostia.

Sain: Serra... What a lyrical name. I am in service to Castle Caelin.

Serra: Oh! So is Lyn a member of the marquess's family?

Sain: She is the granddaughter of our lord, the marquess.

Serra: Hmmm... Such an important person.

Erk: Serra... what deviousness are you contemplating now?

Serra: Tee hee! Having a person of power in your debt is never a bad thing!

Erk: You can't be serious...

Serra: Oh, Sain! Do you think we could join the lady Lyndis's company? She seems like such a nice person, and I would ever so much like to help her.

Sain: Of course! We couldn't be happier!! Why, we were only just saying how we need some more fighting power!

Serra: Are you being hunted or something?

Sain: Yes, it's an inheritance dispute. Assassins everywhere.

Serra: Oh my! In that case, my healing staff and Erk's magic should come in handy.

Erk: Well, I, er... It sounds... dangerous...

Come on, Erk. We’re the PCs here – you didn’t seriously think you’d be able to get away without helping us in our noble endeavors, did you?

Sain: Your staff and magic would be extremely helpful! Please wait here! I will go and speak with Lady Lyndis on your behalf.

Erk: Unbelievable...

Serra: This is fantastic, Erk! Our good deeds will earn us gratitude beyond imagining!

Erk: I... I... I think I'm going to be ill.

Awesome.

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Soldier: Yes, Lord Lundgren. She's en route to Araphen...

Lundgren: Fool! Send out soldiers to meet her! Hold nothing back! Do anything to finish this now! First the old man, and now the girl... They cling to life like a drowning man to a rock! Double the poison's strength! If he struggles, hold him down and pour it down his throat! Once the girl is gone, Caelin is mine. I will let no one stand in my way!

Just because the bandits are gone doesn’t mean we’re home free…

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Next time: Guess who’s coming to battle?

Octopus Prime
06-15-2008, 11:04 AM
I'd like Mage's more in general if they didn't have such silly looking hats. But they do have silly hats, so I am left longing.

At least they look pretty awesome when they get criticals.

Pombar
06-15-2008, 11:11 AM
They're hoods, man. Link made them cool.

Elfir
06-15-2008, 11:50 AM
Best chapter for recruitment in Lyn's story. Serra and Erk, both of whom have awesome awesome hair.

And their personalities are fun, I guess.

What do supports do again? I'm assuming that's something you don't get to do yet but you keep talking about them. I know they're fun scenes but not clear on the tactical advantages.

Tanto
06-15-2008, 11:56 AM
What do supports do again? I'm assuming that's something you don't get to do yet but you keep talking about them. I know they're fun scenes but not clear on the tactical advantages.

If two characters are supporting each other, they get statistic bonuses in battle whenever they stand within three spaces of each other. The exact bonuses they get depend on the elemental affinities of the supporting characters -- someone with a Fire affinity, for example, gives a strength bonus to anyone they're supporting with.

Supporting doesn't become available until after Lyn's Tale (Chapter 11), and I'll go into more detail when it comes up.

PapillonReel
06-15-2008, 06:30 PM
Is it just me, or is the number of people in this game with normal hair colors in the minority?

Aquadeo
06-15-2008, 10:40 PM
Is it just me, or is the number of people in this game with normal hair colors in the minority?

Nope -- this game (actually, the entire series) plays around liberally with the Kool-Aid hair dye. Purple, teal, silver, blue, pink... even by anime standards, it's an impressive display.

By the way, I second the undeniable charm of Serra. Her dialogue with Erk is wonderful here, and she continues to steal the stage throughout the game. Here's hoping that the RNG is kind to Erk in this game -- I've always liked the guy's style (even when it became obvious that he just wasn't pulling his weight in my games).

Elfir
06-16-2008, 04:00 AM
Is it just me, or is the number of people in this game with normal hair colors in the minority?

If you count BRIGHT RED, it might be over 50% normal. I'm not sure I would though.

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:40 AM
Last time here at Let’s Play Fire Emblem, Lyndis’s Legion crossed the border into Lycia and picked up probably the funniest character in the game. We’re halfway home, boys and girls!

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The stakes are raised here in…

Chapter 6: Blood of Pride

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We rejoin our heroes in the city of Araphen, the second-biggest city in Lycia.

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Um, yeah.

It turns out in between chapters we evidently decided to stop here and petition the resident marquess for aid. Surely a powerful authority figure would be willing to help our ragtag bunch of misfits in their hour of need, making the rest of the game a snap!

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Sain: Ah, here he comes now.

Kent: Milady Lyndis! Let us proceed to the castle. They've prepared supplies for us. The marquess has agreed to aid us on our journey to Caelin.

Lyn: He's going to help us?

Kent: Yes. Araphen and Caelin have enjoyed a sturdy friendship for many years. Once I informed the marquess of our plight, he agreed to lend us his strength.

Sain: Looks like we've got a smooth road ahead!

Kent: If we could pick up some soldiers, the road to Caelin would be that much safer. I'm truly sorry for hardships you've suffered so far.

Lyn: Don't be silly. You are so capable, Kent.

Sain: Kent!?

Lyn: Hm? Oh, and so are you, Sain.

Sain: Of course I am!

Kent: The castle awaits...

But not before we have another skirmish to take care of…

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:41 AM
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Quite a coincidence that the castle comes under attack just as soon as we arrived, eh?

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Not quite!

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Well, look who arrived just in the nick of time! It’s Rath!

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:43 AM
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This is Rath’s catchphrase, incidentally. He’s not exactly the chatty type. He talks more in this chapter than he does in the whole rest of the game. But that’s true for most of the minor PCs, I guess...

Rath: I thought a Sacaean plainswoman was being attacked. I was mistaken.

Lyn: No, you were right! I am from Sacae. I'm Lyn, the daughter of the Lorca chieftain.

Rath: The Lorca? There were survivors?

Lyn: Yes.

Rath: You should leave at once. A blaze has started in the castle, and it's spreading. Don't be foolish and waste the life I just saved.

Lyn: You're from the castle? What's happening? How severe is the fire? Is the marquess safe?

Rath: The castle is under attack, and the marquess has been accosted. The man who attacked you was probably one of the marauders. As captain of the castle guard, it's my duty to rescue the marquess.

Lyn: I see... All right then, we'll help you.

Kent: Milady?

Rath: Why?

Lyn: These brigands are after me. If they're attacking the castle, it's because of me. So I must help if I can...

Rath: It sounds like you're involved somehow... Let's go.

Lyn: You'll accept our aid?

Kent: ...

Rath: I am Rath of the Kutolah.

The Kutolah, incidentally, is the largest and most powerful tribe in Sacae. Its leader, Dayan the Silver Wolf, joins the party in FE6 (which is a sequel to this one chronologically) and gets beaten with the Overrated and Underleveled (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OverratedAndUnderleveled) stick. If you want to know why Rath is dicking around here in Lycia, you have to read his support conversations.

Rath: Our tribes may be different, but I will not abandon a woman of the Sacae.

Lyn: Thank you, Rath! A thousand blessings upon you!

Rath: And a thousand curses upon our enemy!

Lyn: Come!

Before we can continue on with the (quite short) mission, we’ve got another watcher to attend to.

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This is Matthew. He’s a Thief.

Matthew: Your home offers a good view of the battle outside. Look, I'll pay you for the privilege. Please.

NPC: Like a vulture waiting for the spoils, eh? Terrible! Pay up! I'll be hiding below, so don't bother me.

Matthew: I wouldn't dream of it. Now then, which side has the most to offer?

Yes, which indeed?

Rath: Once the marquess is safe, my men can move in. Perhaps the secret passageway....

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Lyn: Head through the passage to the throne room... and rescue the marquess. Once that's done, can you drive the enemy from the castle?

Rath: Mmm... If we can release those triggers, my men and I can handle the rest. There are three triggers, though. All three need to be released, or the entrance won't open.

Lyn: But the doors to the barracks are locked.

Rath: The enemy's within. If we don't get inside and finish them, we're stuck.

Lyn: So opening those doors is our first objective.

Lyn and Rath go over the battle plan. We’ve got a new win condition on this map (one that is inexplicably used in only one other chapter in the entire game): we have to find three switches and flip them. The order doesn’t matter, and neither do the characters we send to take care of it.

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Yes, if only we had some sort of sneaky specialist, capable of manipulating locking mechanisms in a particular way so as to gain us access without having to resort to key-shaped unlocky things. But that’s crazy talk.

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:46 AM
First, here’s Rath.

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Rath is an total badass with fantastic stats and growths, but he has a big problem: he joins at level 7. Since characters in Fire Emblem gain only a fraction of normal experience from defeating enemies substantially weaker than themselves, Rath gains only meager amounts of experience from defeating the weak normal enemies that inhabit Lyn’s Tale. (You might notice that Kent, Sain, and Florina, our workhorses to this point, will be leveling up much less frequently from this point forward, as they’re not gaining as much experience from the enemies.) To level him up with any speed, he has to beat the bosses. He also rejoins the party the latest of any of the Lyn’s Tale characters, so if you don’t level him up here, he rejoins significantly underleveled. It’s a conundrum.

That Short Bow is basically the bow version of the Slim Lance, incidentally.

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Rath, antisocial that he is, has only three support options, and they’re pretty mediocre, all using the same weapon types as he does and none having as much movement.

Also, Nomad horses are slightly better than regular horses like the ones used by Cavaliers – they aren’t slowed as much by terrain. That’s a nice bit of extra flavor. The Nomad class was taken out of all subsequent Fire Emblem games, however, probably because the settings of those games don’t support them...

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Tutorial time. We have to send Lyn here (which is the house Matthew is holed up in) first.

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She’s pretty blunt, isn’t she?

Matthew: Really? And how do you plan on opening the barrack doors?

Lyn: What? How did you know about—

Matthew: Bullseye!

Lyn: ...

Matthew: Don't be mad. Hire me. For you, I'll even lower my normal rate.

Lyn: I do need those doors opened… OK. You're hired.

The hiring in question evidently doesn’t involve any money changing hands, because you don’t have to pay him.

Lyn: Why did you choose to ally yourself with me?

Matthew: Hm? I was watching the battle from up above. Your group looked like a lot more fun than the dead guy. Pretty simple, really.

Lyn: You're so odd.

Matthew: It's time to get to work!

I guess that does make sense…

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:51 AM
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Okay. Matthew is a Thief, which means he’s got a couple extra skills that are important to our mission. First off, he can pick the locks of doors and chests as long as he has a working Lockpick in his inventory. Lockpicks only have 15 uses per, down from the 30 of FE6, and they can’t be bought in normal stores, so you have to be pretty careful of when you use them. You can unlock doors and chests with their respective keys using any unit, and there’s a staff that will do the job on doors, but Thieves are by far the most flexible way of getting these things open.

Secondly, Thieves can steal (obviously). In the GBA games, Thieves can only steal non-weapon, non-staff objects, and only if their speed is greater than that of their intended target. A couple of enemies carry promotion items, and if enemy thieves beat you to a chest’s contents you can use your Thieves to steal them right back, but the item I most often steal from enemies is more Lockpicks, which tells you all you need to know about the relative value of the two skills.

Third and least importantly, Thieves have the highest vision of any class in Fog of War, which we’ll get to in Chapter 9. Helpful, but not something you can’t live without.

Matthew himself has the highest overall growths of any of the three Thieves you can pick up in this game, but the fact that he starts off at level 2 makes him a riskier proposition than the other two, as there’re more opportunities for things to go wrong and you have to be in the RNG’s favor for longer. (The others have less upside, but are more stable.) Every player who’s spent much time on FE7 has a horror story about how they raised Matthew up to level 20 and found he was still stuck on 6 strength, but Matthew actually has the highest strength growth of the three Thieves. The next Thief doesn’t come along for 16 more chapters, so we have plenty of time to raise Matthew normally and see what we have with him. If he’s coming along nicely when the other Thieves join, we’ll keep using him, but if not, we’ll switch to another. You don’t need more than one Thief at a time; it’s a specialty class. Thieves can usually hold their own, but until they promote (which isn’t until near the end of the game), they’re not good enough to justify bringing them onto maps where there’s no business of questionable legality to take care of.

Also, Thieves use swords… it looks like a knife in battle animations, and Thieves do use knives in some of the other FEs, but it’s actually a sword…

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Matthew’s big advantage on the other two Thieves is his selection of supports. The other two Thieves have absolute garbage for supports, but Matthew’s are quite nice, including three characters we’ll almost certainly be using and another that we might if the RNG happens to smile upon him.

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The tutorial continues, teaching us about the Thief-related things I just mentioned…

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With the door open, we can send in Rath to activate the first switch. You don’t have to do anything special here; just park a unit on the switch and it’ll activate. In this case, the switch also opens up a path further into the level.

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:53 AM
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Meanwhile, in the south, we have to use the old guard to clear out the remainder of those enemies who were accosting Lyn. The indirect brigade of Wil and Erk takes out one Mercenary without issue.

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While we send the Cavaliers to blockade the other.

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There’s another village here in town, so we send Florina to see what they have to offer. (There are other houses as well, but their beige roofs indicate that they have nothing but information to provide.) It turns out that they’ve got a Door Key on hand, which we can use to open the door to the south without having to send Matthew all the way down there.

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On the enemy turn, the lone Mercenary goes after Florina and eats lance for his trouble. The other two visible enemies, the two Soldiers guarding locked doors, are programmed not to move from their posts.

I’ve never really paid attention to this until just now, but there are only eight enemies on this stage… I guess the real challenge is supposed to be negotiating the doors and switches…

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Matthew: Say, Tanto! Since we came all this way, what say we help ourselves? Huh? What do you mean, "No"? Don't be such a bore. If you want to win, you've got to use every means at your disposal. That's an ironclad rule! Yeah, I know stealing's bad. I'm well aware of that. We're saving the marquess, right? Let's just call this an advance on our reward, OK?

It’s somewhat disturbing to see that a guy who’s been in the party all of five minutes can completely destroy our moral compass like that, but the tutorial insists we agree with him. Weak self-esteem?

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:55 AM
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An Angelic Robe is a one-use item that can permanently raise a character’s maximum HP by a few points. There are items just like it for every stat in the game, including the ones that can’t be raised by normal methods, like constitution and movement.

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Nice try, Matthew, but we don’t know if we’re even going to use you long-term yet.

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He’s got a good point here, though. I try to save this type of item for characters who have been RNG-screwed, but they’re wasted if you wait until a chapter or two before the end to use them. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and use them – if it’s wasted, it’s wasted. There’s a strength boosting item in our future with Lyn’s name on it, for example.

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Erk kills that Mercenary Florina softened up. I didn’t get a good shot of the fight, but suffice it to say that Erk leveled up.

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:56 AM
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Although looking at this one, I kind of wish he hadn’t.

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Kent heads east and takes out the final enemy in the south, the one guarding the door. Soldiers are pathetically weak (until FE9, they were an enemy-only “mook” class) and he has little trouble. Florina follows along, ready to unlock the door, and everyone else heads north or east to converge on the main hallway.

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Florina uses the key and unlocks the door, and Kent immediately rushes in and kills its only guard.

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:57 AM
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Elsewhere, Sain follows suit and clears the way for Matthew to unlock the final locked door.

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Kent steps on the second trigger, revealing the final concealed area on this map. Each character has their own little line of dialogue for stepping on the switches, which is kind of cute.

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Matthew opens this chest to reveal an Armorslayer. An Armorslayer is a special type of sword that is especially effective against classes in heavy armor, like Knights. This is good because sword-users tend to a) have relatively low strength and b) be on the wrong side of the weapon triangle versus Knights. Armorslayers are extremely heavy, though, so someone like Lyn or Matthew, with their low constitutions, would likely be unable to use it effectively. This one is probably better suited for one of the Cavaliers.

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Lyn goes after the Archer revealed when Kent steps on the switch, and Erk finishes him. Nothing to do but the boss now…

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And since this is the only way Rath is going to get appreciable experience, I send him in to do it. Since the boss has high defense, this might take a while – you’re supposed to use magic or the Armorslayer to finish him.

Tanto
06-16-2008, 09:59 AM
One more thing…

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Serra and Matthew have a preexisting relationship, but Matthew doesn’t want anyone else to know about it. That’s interesting…

Tanto
06-16-2008, 10:01 AM
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The actual best beneficiary of the Angelic Robe goes ahead and uses it. Lyn spends most of her time on the frontlines but is fairly fragile, so she makes better use of it than a utility character like Matthew or a back-row character like an Archer or Mage. The Robe makes her a little sturdier and gives her (read: me) more room for error.

Plus we know we’ll be using her, so we’re sure it’s not going to go to waste.

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While all that’s been going on, Rath’s been working on slowly wearing down the boss. His dying words are… interesting… Something tells me these were no mere bandits, gang.

Also, how did Lundgren get his soldiers over here so quickly? The Big L just heard we were here, like, yesterday.

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With the boss dead, the switch he was standing on is exposed, meaning there’s only one step left.

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Mission complete. Now time to have a little pow-wow with our buddy the marquess.

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Marquess: Oh... It's you. You're Marquess Caelin's--- Leave us, Rath. I would speak with this girl.

Rath: ...

Marquess: Now... Lady Lyndis. Do you know the identity of those responsible for this uproar?

Lyn: I believe it to be the work of my granduncle, Lundgren.

Marquess: That's exactly right. Which means my castle has been damaged in your family's petty inheritance dispute.

Lyn: My-My apologies...

Marquess: When I heard that Lady Madelyn's daughter was in trouble, I thought to lend my assistance... I find I've changed my mind. I withdraw my offer.

Kent: Marquess Araphen! You gave me your word, my lord!

Marquess: Your name is Kent, is it not? You failed to inform me of one most vital detail!

Kent: What... What do you mean?

Marquess: This girl does resemble Lady Madelyn, but... I didn't expect to see her so tainted with the blood of Sacae.

Oh, no he didn’t.

Tanto
06-16-2008, 10:03 AM
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Kent: Sain! Hold! My apologies, my lord Marquess.

Marquess: Hm... Your man is poorly disciplined.

Kent: Marquess Araphen! Please... If you would grace us with your aid...

Marquess: ... I hear Marquess Caelin is ill and abed. I question whether he will survive to meet this girl. In which case, his brother, Lundgren, will claim his title. And I certainly wish to avoid trouble with the coming marquess.

What a prick!

Sain: You scheming...

Lyn: Sain! I understand. Kent, Sain, we take our leave at once.

Kent: Milady Lyndis! We—

Lyn: I am proud of the Sacae blood that runs through my veins. I will NOT accept aid from one who disparages my heritage.

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Lyn: Why are you apologizing, Kent?

Kent: I've been so concerned with seeing you to Caelin. I failed to take your feelings into account.

Lyn: Is that it? Trouble yourself no more. You have put my safety above all else. I have seen that... Hold your head up and be proud.

Kent: Milady Lyndis...

But what about Rath?

Tanto
06-16-2008, 10:06 AM
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You know, if you’re going to spout virulently racist anti-Sacae rhetoric, it would probably be better if you waited until your brutally powerful Sacae captain of the guard is no longer in earshot…

Marquess: What? Oh, Rath! I didn't see you there. My comments do not reflect on you. You are my captain. I'm proud of your service.

Rath: Of course. As long as we bend our knee to you, you care not where we're from. But when an equal comes from my lands? What conceit.

Marquess: Rath! How can you speak to me like that? I have treated you well, have I not? I have paid you well. I have treated you better than your kind deserves.

Rath: You will never understand. My service ends here.

You tell ‘em.

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Lyn: We must hurry to Caelin...

Kent: As we approach Caelin, Lundgren's obstacles will be more difficult to overcome. However, I've vowed to see you through to the end, milady!

Lyn: I'm counting on you, Kent.

Sain: I'm with you, too!

Lyn: Thank you, Sain. Tanto... Thank you for always standing at my side. It's because of all of you that I... I will persevere! They will never break my spirit!

And, of course, since Rath has no place else to go…

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Rath: I overheard the marquess talking to himself. Lyn of the Lorca... Proud daughter of the Sacae... I would join you. I would add my strength to yours.

Lyn: Really?

Rath: And this... I want you to take it.

Lyn: This is... Gold!? It's too much. I can't accept it.

Rath: I have no need for it. And if it will help you...

Lyn: But...

Rath: I cannot take back something once offered.

Lyn: Rath... I thank you.

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We don’t have a whole lot of use for 5000 gold, but it’ll help replace some of our old weapons down the line. It’s nice to know that the old Party Compulsion Field is still in full bore.

And with that…

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Next time: Foreshadowing in the shape of a sidequest. Also, bishonen

Octopus Prime
06-16-2008, 11:30 AM
Man, I forgot how many awesome characters this game has.

Rock on Matthew! You thieving sonofagun!

Red Hedgehog
06-16-2008, 11:39 AM
Reading this thread has made me want to play Fire Emblem again. I beat this one and then continued on in Hard Mode, I think, planning to do Hector's quest this time. I think I only got about two missions into that.

I have the next GBA game and have yet to play that, so maybe I should do that then.

PapillonReel
06-16-2008, 06:10 PM
If he hates Nomads so much, then How did the marquess ever come to employ Rath in the first place? Something's up, that there is.

shivam
06-16-2008, 07:24 PM
he had to hit his affirmative action quota.

Malefor
06-17-2008, 01:48 AM
Reading this thread has made me want to play Fire Emblem again. I beat this one and then continued on in Hard Mode, I think, planning to do Hector's quest this time. I think I only got about two missions into that.

I have the next GBA game and have yet to play that, so maybe I should do that then.

I was almost done with Hector's quest (on Hard Mode? I think?) when someone broke into our rental car and stole the backpack that had my GBA in it.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is fun, but it's way easier than FE 7 because grinding is an actual option. There's probably a theoretical experience cap, but if there is, it's much, much higher than in FE 7, because it's based on how much gold and how many weapons you have rather than a hard cap on the number of opponents the game provides for you to kill.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:18 AM
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is fun, but it's way easier than FE 7 because grinding is an actual option. There's probably a theoretical experience cap, but if there is, it's much, much higher than in FE 7, because it's based on how much gold and how many weapons you have rather than a hard cap on the number of opponents the game provides for you to kill.

Yes. FE8 is kind of an odd duck because it has both random encounters and two completely optional areas where you can fight enemies as often as you like. If you play things straight and ignore those areas and those fights, the game's too short (only about 20 chapters -- this game has about 35), and if you do them, the game's too easy (because your characters will be overleveled and will trample anyone they encounter in the story missions). There are also far fewer characters to recruit.

It has a few good ideas -- I liked the branching promotions, and the ability to shop whenever you like is helpful -- but it's too unbalanced to make for a satisfactory experience. Play FE7 or FE9 (the Gamecube one) instead.

If you were expecting further progress on the Lyn/Lundgren quest here on this edition of Let’s Play Fire Emblem, that’s rough. We’ve got foreshadowing to take care of!

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But she’s not impatient enough to refuse a request for help from…

Chapter 7: Siblings Abroad

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At a remote inn a few days’ ride from Caelin…

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Nils: But, sir... Why? You were so kind yesterday...

Innkeeper: I thought your were just two kids, a couple of traveling performers... If those men are chasing you, you must be up to no good! Now get up and get out! You're a plague on decent folk!

Nils: But.......

Innkeeper: Whew... What a mess.

Not too friendly to strangers here in Lycia…

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Kent: This is Kathelet. If we head due south, we'll pass into Caelin.

Sain: From here, I'd say we're about ten days' ride to Castle Caelin. Assuming we don't run into any delays, of course.

You’d think after he jinxed us last chapter, Sain would stop saying things like this.

Lyn: Ten days…

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Lyn: Yes? Can I help you?

Nils: You and your friends... Are you mercenaries?

Lyn: And if we are?

Nils: I need your help!

Kent: Milady Lyndis, you mustn't let your guard down. Not even for a child.

Lyn: I know. Forgive me, but we're in a hurry. Is there someone else you can ask?

Nils: There's not time! Ninian's been... It's my sister! Some men have taken her away!

Sain: Your sister? Did you say your sister's been accosted?

Kent: Sain...

Nils: That's right! By some cruel, awful men. I don't know what I'll do without Ninian.

Sain: Milady Lyndis! We must help him!

Kent: Nonsense! We haven't the time! If the marquess is as ill as we've heard, we must proceed!

Three guesses what Lyn decides to do…

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Kent: Milady?

Lyn: I'm worried about my grandfather, of course. But this! I cannot stand by and let a child be taken from her home!

Kent: I see...

Lyn: I'm sorry, Kent.

Kent: I'm your loyal retainer. You owe me no apologies. You must do as your heart dictates, milady. I will follow you, no matter where that may lead.

Lyn: Thank you.

Sain: Hah! Such a noble speech! Ever the true knight, that one!

Heh.

Sain: Ah, well. You're in luck, laddie! Let's go get your sister!

Lyn: Will you lead us to the men who've done this?

Nils: Uh huh. They're really tough, so be careful.

Lyn: Leave them to us. We're pretty tough ourselves. Right, Tanto?

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:21 AM
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The men who abducted Nils’s sister aren’t your garden-variety bandits. They’re members of the Black Fang, a brotherhood of assassins who fashion themselves as Robin Hood-style defenders of the people. (This is why the innkeeper kicked Nils out; he assumed that if the Black Fang was after him, he must have done something to deserve it.) They’ll become extremely important in about five chapters, so hold your curiosity for now… this is more of a preview of what’s to come. They aren’t actually any tougher than the normal enemies we’ve encountered so far, for what that’s worth.

Also, the Fire Emblem series isn’t really big on the whole “allusive names” phenomenon… A lot of characters have names with roots in mythology and real-world history, but very few of them actually mean anything. (If you tried to find some sort of link between characters in the Arthurian legends and FE characters who were named after them, you’d drive yourself crazy.) However, when you’ve got a guy in a black mask working for another guy named after the Babylonian god of war and pestilence, you might want to sit up and take notice.

Nils: No! Let Ninian go!

Assassin: We ain't supposed to kill you, but we sure can rough you up! Get 'em!

Assassin: Huh? Who do you think you are?

Nils: Lyn!

Lyn: Let the boy's sister go.

Assassin: Ah... So you want to help the kid, huh? What a shame. You're gonna die for something that don't concern you.

Lyn: You think so, do you? Do we look so meek to you? I think you're in for a terrible shock!

Assassin: Stupid girl... You'll regret those words. Take 'em down, boys!

Unlike in previous chapters, though, we don’t head straight into combat from the pre-battle taunting…

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This is the first chapter in which we get to access the preparations screen. We’ve accumulated enough characters that we can no longer bring them all along in every fight, so we have this series of menus by which we can switch them in and out and trade items between them before we actually begin the mission.

Note also the blacked-out “Fortune” option… we won’t be able to check that out until we’ve picked up a fortuneteller, which won’t happen until Chapter 14.

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Since I haven’t really been using either one, I drop Dorcas and Wil from the active roster and add in the two characters we picked up last chapter, Matthew and Rath.

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I also use the Trade menu to swap some items around between the characters. Matthew sends that Armorslayer we picked up to Kent, and Rath borrows Wil’s Iron Bow. To make room in his inventory, Kent sends his busted-up Iron Sword to Sain. Between Kent’s old sword and Sain’s own, he should have enough usages to last us until the next armory in Chapter 8.

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The preparations screen also lets us alter our characters’ initial formation.

Let me tell you… before embarking on this LP, I had been playing around with FE6 a little. It’s extremely refreshing to get back to FE7’s superior menus… you’d need to be a minotaur to successfully navigate FE6’s preparations screen.

Anyway…

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:25 AM
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Lyn starts off by giving us some extremely generic advice…

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But then we meet a new friend!

Lyn: Your robes... They look like religious vestiary. Are you an Elimine bishop?

Lucius: Yes... Well, no. I'm only an acolyte, an Elimine monk, to be specific. My name's Lucius.

Lyn: Do you have business with us?

Lucius: I was at the inn when this child came seeking help. The innkeeper was afraid to get involved. He was... unpleasant.

Nils: I wan't afraid of him! I'm used to being treated that way.

Lyn: That's awful.

Lucius: May I please lend you my services? I truly wish to help the boy. If only a little.

Lyn: Of course.

Lucius: Thank you very much. The blessings of St. Elimine be upon you.

Yes, Lucius is a guy… Why not just name him “Bridget” and get it over with, Nintendo?

Anyway, the gist of this is that we’ve got another suicidal do-gooder with no sense of self-preservation jumping into the fray. I guess that’s good for us…

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All right. As you can clearly see, Nils cannot attack. He has no weapons and wouldn’t be able to use them if he did. His ability to dodge is very good, but he’s clearly not intended to get involved in combat.

Nils is a Bard, which means he has a special skill: He can allow an adjacent unit who has used his or her turn to move again. The value of this ability is debatable – some people love it and think it makes him one of the most valuable characters in the game, while others find it limited and hard to use. I tend to fall into the latter category.

My feeling on it is this: In FE, there are basically two types of missions. There are the missions where you’re trying to get one or more units to a particular location as quickly as you can, and the missions where you want to hunker down and either take a defensive position or move forward slowly, making sure you maintain your formations. In both those situations, Nils seems suboptimal. It would seem like he’d help you with the first type, but as he has only five move himself, he tends to fall behind the group quickly, especially later in the game when people have promoted and movement ranges are larger. (Nils himself does not promote – this is all there is.) So in this type, you’re either leaving Nils behind, or deliberately handicapping yourself so as to use his ability. In the other type of mission, you don’t really need extra moves – you mainly wait for the enemy to come to you and attack in self-defense. In both cases, simply carrying an extra attack unit is both more flexible and less risky, especially given Nils’s fragility... Anyway, that’s just my opinion.

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Nils has no support options whatsoever… but this comes with a pretty significant caveat, which I’ll address when it comes up.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:26 AM
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Lucius is a Monk – in other words, “A Mage, only for Light magic”. Lucius’s stats and growths are quite good, although as mages go he is quite squishy, so you have to defend him. He’s a solid character, fast and strong, although he always seems to get magic-screwed for me – but looking at his growths, I can’t see how. Just goes to show you that good characters are not always good, I guess.

In the random trivia department, Monks and Clerics (and Priests, which don’t appear in this game, but do in FE6 and FE8) both promote into the same class, Bishops… they’re the only classes in the game that share a promotion.

So, uh, he’s good and stuff. We’ll probably use him. Can you tell I don’t have a whole lot to say about Lucius?

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Lucius has one great support, three okay ones, and one terrible one. Yup. Nothing to see here.

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The tutorial continues to get less intrusive… after it demonstrates Lucius and Nils’s abilities, it won’t bother us the rest of this map or the next two… Lucius attacks this Dark magic-wielding Shaman.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:27 AM
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I sometimes wonder why Lyn went with “saltarello” there. As a non-musically-inclined person, that word doesn’t exactly leap to mind.

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Nils dances a disturbing little jig…

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…and Lucius is able to move again.

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I’m not really paying attention and have Lucius finish off the enemy, even though Matthew could probably use the EXP more. Eh.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:29 AM
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This isn’t much of a map. It’s the first map with enemy magicians, but the only real obstacle is the pair of choke points you have to send your troops through. This isn’t really dangerous; it’s just tedious and limits your options a bit.

Florina is nearing a level-up, so I send her over to attack the Archer in the east. Only mounted units and Matthew have enough move to reach this guy on the first turn. She doesn’t have enough attack power to do it in a single round, so I have to send in Kent to finish the job.

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Kent’s sword rank goes up to C as a result of this encounter. We spend the rest of the turn moving our guys closer in anticipation of forcing our way through the first choke point.

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Erk softens up this Bandit, then Kent moves onto the fortress and kills him.

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Thus gaining enough EXP for a thoroughly mediocre level up.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:31 AM
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I also wasn’t paying much attention and overlooked that this Bandit had an Iron Lance to drop. Kent’s inventory is full, so I have to drop a nearly used-up Vulnerary to make room for it.

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Florina isn’t constrained by terrain like the others, so I have her move further east and attack this Mercenary at range with a Javelin. She only attacks once due to the weapon’s weight and is thus unable to finish it, but she does get enough experience for a level up.

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Florina hasn’t had a bad level up yet. She’s getting pretty ridiculous, with her only weakness at this point being her low constitution. I usually look for reasons not to use Florina because I don’t really like her as a character, but at this rate she’ll be too good to ignore this time around.

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The rest of the turn consists of more slowly moving people through the choke point… I also have Serra visit this general store, which has only Fire tomes and Heal staves to offer. I stock up on as many Heal staves as Serra can carry – I tend to burn through them quickly in my efforts to level up my healers, so she needs lots of spares. Erk’s current Fire tome will likely not break before the end of Lyn’s Tale, so no need to waste money buying him a safety net.

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Music to my ears!

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Literally nothing of interest happens on this turn – I simply finish moving my guys through the mountains. I’m feeling aggressive, so I move Florina south a bit to bait in that enemy Mage.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:33 AM
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The enemies cross the bridge and attack on their turn. Matthew, in his first fight, takes a big hit but fights back for 14. The Mage takes our bait and attacks Florina, receiving damage on a counter.

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It’s safe to have Matthew finish off this guy, so we do so. Serra heals him when she gets an opportunity.

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With nothing better to do, Rath heads over to this map’s only village and chats with the occupants. The man there gives us Pure Water, a useable item that temporarily raises a character’s resistance. Its effect is most powerful when first used and slowly degrades over time from there… it’s not really worth the slot, all told, but I’ve never been one to turn down free loot.

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Florina goes ahead and finishes off the enemy Mage with no problems.

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Since horsies can’t cross mountains, the mounted units have to take the long way around in order to bypass the one on the other side of the bridge. The other characters make for the second choke point. I place Lyn in the van, just north of the bridge. If you send her as far south as you can go, the enemies will be able to attack with the mountain’s significant terrain advantage on their side, making it difficult to cross safely. With this formation, however, they’re easily defeated.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:35 AM
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Lyn and the enemy Mercenary dance. Each of them is sufficiently speedy enough so as to prevent the other from doubling, so they glare menacingly at each other on the bridge. Lyn’s sword rank rises to C, and she’s approaching another level up.

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Meanwhile, I use Sain to bait the Bandit over to the far left side of the map so that he won’t interfere with the other characters’ crossing. This Bandit is fast enough that Sain can’t double him, but this shouldn’t be a problem…

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Rath is close to a level up after defeating the last chapter’s boss, so I decide to have him kill the Bandit on our turn to get him over the hump. Rath whips out an unnecessary critical and destroys the Bandit with plenty to spare.

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However, the level up itself is for shit.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:38 AM
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Thankfully, though, Lyn manages to produce a better one when she finishes off that Mercenary.

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In the course of healing Lyn’s injuries from her battle with the Mercenary, Serra manages to get to level 2. It’s the land of a thousand level ups! Unfortunately, this one, like so many others in this chapter, is pretty poor.

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Nils makes himself useful and revitalizes Lyn, allowing her to cross the mountains and hastening our advance.

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I opt to hurry things along by pushing Rath into the range of one of the three shamans that inhabit the bottom half of this map, the only three enemies left. Since the old man at the village was generous enough to provide us with free anti-magic spray that we’ll probably never use again, we go ahead and use it.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:40 AM
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Our precaution ends up being moot, because Rath is able to dodge the blast from the Shaman’s Flux tome once he comes our way on the enemies’ turn. Rath attacks once, softening up the Shaman for another character to finish.

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Also in the name of speeding things up, Florina soars over the mountains and goes after the last mobile enemy on the map, another Shaman. Pegasus Knights are great anti-magic units because they generally have extremely high resistance for physical attackers. Later in the game, they become useful for rushing enemy mages before they can shoot at you with long-range magic or status-effect-causing staves.

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Also on our turn, we have Kent move in and take out the Shaman Rath weakened last turn. Rath himself moves on the boss.

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Florina does the same to her enemy. The boss is all alone now.

After the tag team of Serra and Nils scurries around and heals everybody’s injuries, Lucius and Rath begin to wear down the boss.

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Heintz is pretty speedy and dodge-happy for a practitioner of the dark arts. (Most enemy Shamans are slow and easy to hit, thanks to their generally low luck and the weight of Dark tomes.) He can also dish out a fair bit of damage, making him easily the toughest boss we’ve encountered yet.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:41 AM
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Lucius attacks first. He’s got the advantage on the magic triangle as well as a healthy dose of resistance, making him an ideal opponent for this boss.

After a few rounds of back-and-forth (in which Serra picks up some experience, healing each of Lucius’s minor injuries in turn), Rath closes in and seals the deal.

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Even though Heintz was standing on a mansion-type space, which usually have to be seized, this is a rout mission, so we’ve won now that he’s down for the count.

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Sain: The boy's dear sister... They must have her!

Lyn: Come! We must give chase!

Nils: But... But... We won't make it! What if they've already...

No worries, though…

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:42 AM
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Get used to looking at this guy’s face… he doesn’t join right now, but he’ll be very important before too much longer…

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I’m not entirely sure what Eliwood is supposed to be doing at this point. He’s just wandering around, hoping to save random damsels, I guess…

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:44 AM
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Lyn: Thank you. My name is Lyn. I'm from Sacae. I'm Marquess Caelin's granddaughter.

Eliwood: Marquess Caelin?

Cut away, while Lyn explains it all…

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Lyn: What?

Eliwood: At first glance, all I saw was a daughter of the plainsfolk. Now I can see it, though. You have your grandfather's eyes.

Lyn: Do you know my grandfather?

Eliwood: The marquess, Lord Hausen, is my father's good friend. I also know that the proud people of Sacae tell no lies. It's true, isn't it?

It is, in fact. No Sacaean in the game – and we’ll meet a few – ever tells a direct lie, although they are sometimes evasive. Nice little bit of continuity there.

Lyn: Yes... Thank you. I would not have expected any Lycian noble to be so courteous to a Sacaean nomad.

Eliwood: You seemed to be in trouble. May I be of assistance?

Lyn: Thank you for your kind offer. This is my problem, though, and I'll deal with it.

But she doesn’t mind other random people joining her in her life-and-death struggle, including people with much less to offer. I’m not sure what the deal is here. I guess they didn’t want Eliwood getting too important too quickly…

Eliwood: I see. I'll be in the area for a few days longer. If you need anything, please let me know. Lyndis, I'm on your side.

Lyn: Eliwood... Thank you.

Meanwhile, the touching reunion…

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Nils: Uh-huh. These people helped me.

Ninian: Who are they?

Nils: Uh...

Lyn: I'm Lyn. I'm glad you're feeling better.

Ninian: Milady Lyn... Thank you. I'm called Ninian. My brother, Nils, and I are traveling performers.

Nils: Both of you? Your brother's a musician. How about you, Ninian?

Ninian: I... I dance.

Sain: What? Oh my... you're a dancer!

Lyn: Sain... Later, please.

Sain: Um, yeah. Of course.

Sain’s never been one to give up that easily. I suspect mind control.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 09:46 AM
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It means that an adjacent character can move again. If that doesn’t sound familiar, it should. I don’t quite think this is what Nils is talking about, though.

Ninian: I... The dance I perform when we travel is just a normal dance. My other dance, though... When they caught me, I twisted my ankle. I cannot dance to aid you... I'm sorry.

Lyn: Please don't worry. We're just happy to see that you're out of harm's way.

Ninian: Thank you.

Lyn: But I am concerned about your leg. You can't travel on it...

Nils: I've an idea. Would it be too much to ask that we travel with you?

Lyn: I can't allow that! It's far too dangerous. We're being hunted. We never know when we're going to be attacked.

Nils: We wouldn't be a hindrance. We could even help you. Right, Ninian?

Ninian: Yes. We might be able to repay our debt using our... special talents.

Lyn: Special abilities?

Ninian: When something poses a threat to us, we can sense its approach.

Lyn: Truly? That's amazing!

Nils: We can feel it coming, but we can't do anything to stop it. You're warriors, though, so you don't have that worry.

Lyn: What do you think, Kent?

Kent: I think leaving them here would cause Lady Lyndis more worry than having them travel with us.

Lyn: Sain? Oh, never mind. I know what your answer is. Do you really want to travel with us?

Nils: Of course!

Ninian: You have our gratitude, milady.

Did you pick up on the foreshadowing? I certainly hope so, because if you didn’t, you probably need to be declared legally dead.

Black Fang. Nergal. Nils and Ninian. Special, supernatural abilities. File it away.

We’re not done here yet, though.

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Ninian: I've lost my ring.

Lyn: Your ring?

Nils: Not Ninis's Grace?

Ninian: The very one.

“Ninis”, for the record, is one of the four elemental spirits who either appear or are name-dropped in most FE games. There’s a ring for each of the spirits, but other than this one they have no plot significance whatsoever, so don’t get your hopes up.

Nils: They stole it? Those curs!!!

Lyn: Was it valuable?

Ninian: It was a keepsake from our departed mother.

Nils: It was blessed by the spirit of Ninis... There's no other like it in the world. And now we have lost it to those villains. There's nothing we can do.

Ninian: You're right.

Lyn: ...

Superheroes, away!

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At this point we can choose to embark on a side mission. These missions are basically additional chapters that play out in the same way as normal ones, except that they’re wholly optional. You can’t back out once you choose to do one, however, unless you’ve got a backup save file. Some of them have additional rewards for completing them, while others only have the experience and swag you pick up on the map itself as incentives. While writing this, I paused for a full five minutes trying to think of any reason not to do side missions, and came up empty. (The game claims they’re more difficult than normal missions, but as near as I can tell this is not the case.) I mean, experience and swag, what more do we need?

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Didn’t you hear me? Experience and swag!

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Um, yeah. “Help them”. Yes. This, and only this, is my motive.

Lyn: I was hoping you'd say that, Tanto. Kent! Sain! Those men were headed south. We must give pursuit!

Sain: On your word, milady!

Lyn: There's no turning back now. Let's ride!

Onward!

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Next time: Experience and – er, I mean, a tax-deductible mission of charity

Octopus Prime
06-17-2008, 12:43 PM
This thread is definitely making me want to bust out some Fire Emblem of my own. Most likely 8, since I don't want to end up getting ahead of you, and I don't own 9 or 10.

Plus, since 8's either short or easy, it works well with my current backlog and/or general skill at Fire Emblem.

Though the skill thing may be because I never bother looking at the stats when choosing characters, nor was I previously aware of Support Conversations.

shivam
06-17-2008, 01:00 PM
i feel compelled to tell you that you're doing a great job with this, and it's both fun AND educational. thanks!

wumpwoast
06-17-2008, 01:22 PM
I'm really enjoying it as well -- makes me want to pick up the game. Might satisfy my long-latent passion for Shining Force... which is really just a FE ripoff anyway IIRC :)

Dhroo
06-17-2008, 01:26 PM
Yeah, I've wanted to get into this series for a while, and thanks to this thread, now I really want to get into it. I've been looking for either 7 or 9, but haven't had much luck...might have to hit up ebay soon.

Tanto
06-17-2008, 02:04 PM
Yeah, I've wanted to get into this series for a while, and thanks to this thread, now I really want to get into it. I've been looking for either 7 or 9, but haven't had much luck...might have to hit up ebay soon.

Yeah, 7's hard to find. I played the FE series in reverse order starting with 9 (as I don't own a Wii, I haven't been able to play FE10 yet), and I had to buy FE7 used.

Aquadeo
06-17-2008, 05:08 PM
In my opinion, FE10 starts out strong -- really strong, but by the end, you've got pages and pages of new weapons, new magic, new characters, old characters, and enough laguz to fill a menagerie. Honestly, it eventually becomes something of a mess. On the other hand, the story's exceptionally well told, the game's still fun, and Ike is in it. So I can't say I didn't enjoy it -- I just hope FE11 won't try to make it a trilogy.

Another thing is that the FE10 support system is *much* easier to use, and you can clearly see the effect supports will have before you choose them. Tragically, though, support conversations virtually disappear. It's a strange compromise. It's especially strange, considering that the game includes a conversation viewer for your FE9 savefile!

All right, back on topic -- I'm one of those people that respects the power of the bard. The ability to give a cavalier an extra move after they pick someone up (or the ability to let someone move right after a cavalier drops them off) can open up choke points in a heartbeat, and some artful manipulation will dominate bosses. It's also a good way to give a character twice as much experience.

That being said, you can do all of that without the bard -- it just takes you some extra turns. And you're right, their slow speed is agonising (unless you're trying to get a knight to the front lines in a hurry), so you've got a good point. Hmm. Maybe I'll go without Nils on my next playthrough, and see what happens.

Elfir
06-18-2008, 01:19 AM
A walkthrough I looked at indicated there's a later sidequest dependent on Nils having leveled. I like getting all the sidequests but playing without Nils could be interesting... One defenseless character (Serra) is quite plenty.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:11 AM
In my opinion, FE10 starts out strong -- really strong, but by the end, you've got pages and pages of new weapons, new magic, new characters, old characters, and enough laguz to fill a menagerie. Honestly, it eventually becomes something of a mess. On the other hand, the story's exceptionally well told, the game's still fun, and Ike is in it. So I can't say I didn't enjoy it -- I just hope FE11 won't try to make it a trilogy.

Well, you don't have to worry about that -- FE11 has been announced as being a remake of FE1, for the DS.

As for FE10, what I've heard matches up with what you've said. I have to admit that I'm none too enthused with the whole "multiple parties" angle, since to me a big part of FE is gradually raising and refining your party, but I've also heard that the story is excellent.

A walkthrough I looked at indicated there's a later sidequest dependent on Nils having leveled.

This is true, but only in Hector's Story, which unlocks after beating the game once. So we don't need to worry about it this time around.

Welcome back to Let’s Play Fire Emblem. When we last left off, we had set off in search of experience and riches under the guise of helping Ninian find her lost necklace or something.

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Here, Lyn and Co. fall under the sway of…

Chapter 7x: The Black Shadow

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Beyard, the leader of the group that attacked us earlier, finds himself being interrogated by Ursula, one of the Four Fangs, the most powerful fighters in the Black Fang. Ursula is much too powerful to beat right now, so it’s just lucky that we don’t have to actually fight her until much later.

She’s also the member of the Four Fangs with the least amount of characterization and screen time, hence her irrelevant throwaway appearance here, I guess…

Beyard: Yes... They ambushed us, and...

Ursula: Hold your excuses. The end is all that matters.

Beyard: Yes, ma'am.

Ursula: And your plan for recovering the siblings is?

Beyard: We've word that the entire group is headed this way, with the brats in tow.

Ursula: They're coming here? Why would they do that?

Beyard: They may well be after this ring. It's a rare piece. We took it from the girl. It was a stroke of luck that we did, especially if it brings them to us now. I'll grab the whole lot of 'em with this to bait the trap.

Ursula: I see... Very well, I'll give you another chance. I've business elsewhere, but I shall return once it's finished. You have until sunrise tomorrow. Do you understand?

Beyard: Yes.

Ursula: If you do not have the children when I return... my hand will deal you the fang's punishment. Remember that. Bear it closely in your mind.

Beyard: ...

“The Fang’s punishment” is, unsurprisingly, a quick and painful execution. That’s a pretty good motivator, I figure. I don’t think there’s a named Black Fang member who doesn’t threaten you with it at some point or other.

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Nils: Milady, are you really going in there to get the ring back?

Lyn: Yes, we are.

Nils: But this is their stronghold! They're bound to be well defended, not to mention well armed!

Ninian: Please forget about the ring. It's OK...

Lyn: Tanto's agreed to attempt this... recovery.

I like your use of euphemism there, Lyn. It sounds ever so much nicer than “mass slaughter with the intent of stealing back”, doesn’t it?

Lyn: I wouldn't be here if not for that. Tanto believes we can do this. I'm sure that decision was not made lightly. With Tanto at my side, I'm confident we can win. Let's get your ring back, Ninian.

Nils: Milady...

Ninian: ...

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Lyn: This is their stronghold. It's imperative we move carefully.

Kent: Exactly, milady. This narrow corridor can be used to our advantage. If we draw the enemy through here, we can engage them in small numbers and remain relatively safe. If time is a concern, we can always rush them... If we do that, we'd better be sure we can win.

Lyn: So, Tanto. What do you think? How we move forward is completely up to you.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:14 AM
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We can bring ten characters along on this map, so I add Nils and Lucius to the team, and rearrange our formation.

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Okay. The idea here is to send Matthew and a few other units to the west to take the treasure and meet the enemies who appear there. We use ranged units, namely Erk and Lucius, to attack the enemies in that circular chamber in the center without breaking the walls, and everyone else moves up the narrow passages, taking down the enemies one by one. When we’ve reached the northernmost part of the map, we can send one or more ranged units – probably Rath – over to deal with the boss, who is stationary and can only attack adjacent units.

As this is a side chapter, there are no new game mechanics to discuss here. Nor is there any tutorial interference. There are also no potential recruits, although other side chapters do have them.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_67-1.png

I start things off by sending Sain west to attack the Soldier standing in front of the cracked wall at range with the Javelin. Sain somehow contrives to miss the second strike, making things more difficult. Florina is the only character with both the range and power to finish off the Soldier this turn, but we can’t send her to do it because there’s an archer lying in wait. There’s nothing to be done for it except to finish the job next turn.

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Erk, meanwhile, kills the other Soldier in the walled-in room with little difficulty. I position Lucius next to him so that the Mage in the room will have no choice but to attack a unit that can counterattack him in return. Kent moves into the far east corridor to meet an enemy Cavalier, while Matthew and Lyn take the center to cut off the enemy Bandit.

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The enemy Soldier runs like a bitch and uses a Vulnerary. Yeah, that’ll save him.

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Matthew isn’t very good at this whole “dodging” thing, is he?

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:15 AM
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The enemy Archer moves in and attacks Sain, eating Javelin… through the wall… in return.

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The enemy Mage attacks Lucius with Thunder, an Anima tome that is more powerful than Erk’s Fire tome. Despite being on the wrong side of the triangle, however, Lucius is able to easily dispatch him.

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On our turn, Florina moves west and takes out this troublesome Soldier in one round. She no longer has to fear the Archer (since we’re going to kill him in a minute) and can move freely.

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She also levels up again, growing ever more awesome.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:17 AM
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Since Matthew can’t go for the chest until we’ve broken through the wall, he occupies himself by finishing off the Bandit who attacked him last turn.

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He levels up as well, but this one is significantly more mediocre.

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Sain begins to break the cracked wall…

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…while Lucius moves to take out the enemy archer waiting inside.

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He, too, levels up, and quite a nice one.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:18 AM
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On the right side, Kent jousts with his fellow lance-wielding Cavalier. Erk slips in behind him and finishes the job. The right side is now clear.

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In the course of reviving Serra so that she can continue to heal, Nils levels up. Nils has extremely high growths in the defensive stats but nil (Horrible pun – I should be shot!) on the purely offensive ones, as this level up demonstrates.

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Man, what’s with all the level ups today? You know the drill.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:19 AM
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Elsewhere, Rath breaks through the cracked wall to the south, prompting Beyard to send for reinforcements.

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One of these reinforcements, a Soldier who appears in the sealed room, eats hot magical death as soon as he climbs the stairs.

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Erk finally gets another magic point…

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Here I’m checking the respective ranges of the Mercenaries who hang out in the upper part of this map. We want Lyn to move forward just enough so as to bait in the axe-wielding Bandit… we don’t want two or three units moving on her position at once.

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Sain has better luck taking out the Soldier guarding the second locked door.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:21 AM
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On their turn, the enemies have nothing to do but attack Lyn, which does not end well for them… the Bandit takes 18 damage and doesn’t have anything to show for it.

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Here we attack an enemy Thief who’s attempting to go for the treasure chest. Thieves have different AI than normal enemies… their priority is opening chests and stealing items. They rarely attack, and if there are no chests left to open, they often attempt to flee the field. (This is why Matthew hasn’t opened the chest yet – if he had, this Thief would have bailed before we could attack him.) Thieves give more experience than is normal given their levels, so you should always kill them whenever you can.

Florina’s lance rank goes up, incidentally.

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Here we use the “Trade” option to move Florina’s Javelin back into the active spot. A Mage and a Shaman spawned near the boss last turn, so we need to make sure all the units we have in their range can attack at range.

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Matthew opens the chest to reveal a Hammer, an extremely heavy axe with the same armor-smashing properties as the Armorslayer. It’s also less valuable, because we don’t have any quality axe-users at this point and axes are the most powerful weapon type against armor anyway.

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Lucius kills the Bandit Lyn fought last turn, and Lyn and Kent move just into the range of the Mercenaries. Each of them should fight one Mercenary.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:22 AM
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Which they do. Kent comes out a little better on his end of the exchange, however.

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Both of the newly-spawned magic users attack Rath… he must have had the lowest resistance. He gets barely any EXP from these exchanges, but as he was nearing a level up anyway…

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Strength is the thing Rath needs most right now, so this level up is satisfactory.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:23 AM
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Lyn and Kent continue to skirmish with the Mercenaries and come out ahead. Now all we have left is Serra’s usual late-battle rush for EXP, and the boss.

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Serra runs around healing all the minor dings and scratches everyone’s picked up. This takes a little while, even with Nils giving her extra moves, but it’s worth it, because…

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Okay, so it wasn’t worth it.

Tanto
06-18-2008, 08:25 AM
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I wonder why so many FE bosses remain stationary. I can understand the ones that are standing on a seizable space, but this guy doesn’t have anything to gain by standing there and letting himself be shot full of arrows, and he’s not the only one.

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Anyway, there’s no risk here. Rath does his thing and we beat Beyard, taking him alive for once.

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Lyn: You must promise to leave these two alone. If I have your vow, I'll spare your life...

Beyard: Failure... means death...

Lyn: What?! Poison? He took his own life...

Kent: These are no common brigands we're dealing with. This man was trained by a well-organized group.

All Black Fang members come ready-equipped with cyanide capsules… Beyard decides to kill himself rather than face Ursula’s wrath…

Lyn: What do they want with Nils and Ninian?

Nils: ...

I guess the titular “Black Shadow” is the ominous foreshadowing that hangs over the scene. Nils’s suspicious ellipses aren’t helping.

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Lyn: As long as you're with us, you'll be safe.

Nils: But...

Lyn: You witnessed our victory, right? With Tanto's planning and my sword, you've no worries. If we all work together, there's nothing we can't overcome. I don't care who comes after you; I'll not let you be taken.

Nils: Really?

Lyn: Yes, on my honor. Right, Tanto?

Ninian: Milady...

Lyn: Oh, yes... This is yours.

Ninian: Ah... It's...

Lyn: You called it Ninis's Grace, did you not? That lout had it.

Nils: Milady Lyndis! Thank you so much!

Ninian: I have no other words, save thank you.

And with that uplifting scene…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_270.png

Next time: Strategery

Elfir
06-18-2008, 04:09 PM
Lotsa nice levels that round and extra yays for pony girl and girly man! That tends to be the first level to stress me any, since it's tight quarters and stuff going on in multiple directions.

DeeMer
06-19-2008, 12:59 PM
You don't have to go into the Trade screen to set an active weapon. You can open the Item menu, select your weapon, and "Equip" it.


P.S. I love Hector

Swordian
06-19-2008, 01:21 PM
You don't have to go into the Trade screen to set an active weapon. You can open the Item menu, select your weapon, and "Equip" it.


Unless of course the character has already completed their turn

Tanto
06-19-2008, 01:28 PM
Unless of course the character has already completed their turn

Indeed. Florina had already attacked with the Iron Lance, but I wanted her to be able to counterattack at range during the enemy's turn, so I had Sain rearrange her items so that the Javelin was on top. This is a pretty basic defensive strategy.

No update today, but Chapter 8 is written and ready to post, so it should go up tomorrow morning...

DeeMer
06-19-2008, 01:56 PM
Of course! I should pay more attention. I was wondering how someone could miss such a simple thing, but alas it was I who was mistaken.

Swordian
06-19-2008, 04:12 PM
Of course! I should pay more attention. I was wondering how someone could miss such a simple thing, but alas it was I who was mistaken.

I never even considered the possibility until I saw him do it earlier in the thread. I'll have to keep it in mind the next time I play an FE game.

Tanto
06-20-2008, 08:33 AM
Our last two updates here at Let’s Play Fire Emblem have involved helping the poor strays Nils and Ninian. This time, though, we’re going to get back on track, resuming Lyn’s quest to reclaim her birthright.

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Watch as Lyn and Co. are caught up in a…

Chapter 8: Vortex of Strategy

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Kent: By my reckoning, we can reach Castle Caelin in two days if we hurry.

Lyn: Two more days... Hold on, Grandfather. Please...

Florina: Cheer up, Lyn. If they see you looking so sad, the entire company will lose heart.

Lyn: Florina... You're right. There's nothing to be gained by worrying. We just have to press onward.

Florina: That's the spirit!

But, of course, things aren’t going to be so easy.

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Lyn: What did you say?

Sain: I don't see anything. Are you sure?

Ninian: I feel it, too. I'm sure of it. Ah! Milady, don't move!

Lyn: Hm?

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Lyn: What in— Where did this bolt come from?

Kent: They have a ballista!

Sain: Lord Lundgren is getting serious. Deploying siege engines is no mean feat.

Lyn: What is a ballista?

Kent: It's a weapon designed for long-distance attacks. Only archers can use them, but they can be devastating.

Sain: Florina! You must stay aground! Do not take to the air! The ballista would target you in an instant.

Lyn: Is there a way to combat it?

Kent: The safest course is to use someone with good defense as bait, so the enemy wastes arrows.

Sain: Then you can walk up and knock the fool on the head.

Lyn: Wil, can you use a ballista?

Wil: I've never tried, but... It's just a really big bow, right? I should be able to figure it out.

Lyn: All we can ask is that you try... Let's see what we can do!

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All right. This mission revolves, figuratively and literally, around the ballista that sits in the center of the map. (Hence the name of the chapter.) Since it’s guarded on three sides by impassible mountains (well, impassible for everyone except Florina, but we can’t send her since she’d be shot down in an instant) we’ll be in its massive range of fire for the majority of our advance south.

This isn’t nearly as big a deal as the characters made it sound, because the AI’s too stupid to make good use of the advantage the ballista gives it. If it were smart, the AI would fire at the characters on the front lines, softening them up for a frontal assault by the other units. Instead, though, it’s programmed to merely shoot at the character with the lowest defense, in this case Serra or Nils. But Serra and Nils are great dodgers, and this particular ballista isn’t strong enough to one-hit-kill anybody even if it lucks into a hit, so it spends most of its time striking at air, to steal a phrase. The only character who needs fear it is Florina, since she takes double damage from arrows. We’ll have her skirt the outside range of the ballista to avoid its fire.

Ballistae can only be used by Archers (and their promotion, Snipers), not any other bow-wielders. Wil can technically use this one, but it will almost certainly be out of arrows by the time we reach it. This is the big weakness of ballistae: they have only five shots. They are also completely blocked by most types of terrain (although they can move). They’re mostly obstacles… they tend to be positioned where enemies have easy access to them, their shots are usually used up by the time we can get to them, and they’re awkward to use at any rate (you have to use a turn climbing in and out of the ballista, and you can’t move and shoot on the same turn).

Tanto
06-20-2008, 08:35 AM
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Look at that range of fire, though.

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The other minor wrinkle on this map is that Matthew runs off before the battle starts and can’t be used during the chapter. This isn’t a huge deal, since there’s no Thiefy business to take care of and the enemy here is a little too tough for him to deal with, but it’s worth noticing.

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The tutorial doesn’t mention it, but the most important innovation on this map is the new type of weapon being carried by the four enemies clustered near the boss. “Reaver” weapons reverse the normal weapon triangle. For example, a normal sword is strong versus axes and weak versus lances, but the Lancereaver sword is strong versus lances and weak versus axes. (If both combatants are using a Reaver – say, Lancereaver versus Axereaver – the normal triangle is used.) In addition to this effect, Reaver weapons double the normal effects of the weapon triangle, going both ways. A character wielding an Axereaver will find themselves virtually unable to hit, much less damage, an enemy using a sword, so you have to be attentive and not just position your characters based on class when Reavers are in play.

Reavers are handy as utility weapons, especially on characters who can only use one type of weapon normally, like Swordmasters. Their high cost and relatively low number of usages (15), combined with their aforementioned complete uselessness against weapons of the wrong type, make them a little too specialized to use as a full time weapon, but they do have their uses. The fact that they’re relatively light helps – they can be used effectively by just about anyone.

There’s a map where almost all the enemies use Reavers… I call it “Bizarro World”.

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I start things off here by sending Lucius into the forests to the east. He’ll take out the Mage and Shaman who lurk near there, the only two enemies north of the ballista, then move to the village and collect the item there.

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Back with the main force, I start moving my units south to advance on the enemy position. There’s a lot of forests in the way here, so I don’t get too far initially, but it’s better than nothing. On the way, Rath stops at the armory near the starting point. This guy has all four types of Iron weapons and nothing else, but that’s fine with us, because we need to replace some of our old weapons. We buy an Iron Bow and an Iron Sword, selling the Pure Water we picked up in Chapter 7 to make room.

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Florina moves just outside the ballista’s range. Next turn, she’ll be out of the ballista’s reach, moving south towards the fortresses in the southwest corner. Soldiers will spawn there a few turns from now, and Florina needs to be there to cut them off.

Tanto
06-20-2008, 08:37 AM
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The enemy begins its assault by sending a lone Mercenary to attack our position. Genius strategy, that.

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The ballista takes a shot at Nils and misses.

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As predicted, the magic-users move west to take potshots at Lucius. The terrain advantage, however, combined with Lucius’s high resistance, means he’s able to shrug off their attacks and kill them both without breaking a sweat.

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On our turn, I send Erk to finish off the Mercenary. It looks like a safe bet, but Erk misses entirely, meaning Lyn has to swoop in and clean up his mess.

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I send in Rath against this Cavalier with the intent of softening him up so that one of our own Cavaliers might finish him off, but Rath lucks into a critical instead. The RNG is wrecking my finely-wrought strategies today…

Tanto
06-20-2008, 08:39 AM
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With an Archer as part of the advancing enemies, I try to get too cute and kill the other Cavalier with Javelins. This backfires on me, however, as the Cavalier survives with 1 HP.

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Lucius makes for the village…

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As is becoming increasingly common, the boss calls for reinforcements as we begin to approach his position. These reinforcements consist of two Soldiers appearing out of the fortresses in the southwest corner every turn for a few turns. With Florina there to take them out, this isn’t much of a problem.

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The enemy sends two Soldiers after Kent, who wipes them out easily.

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The ballista takes another shot at Nils, with no more success than it had the first time.

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Finally, this Archer takes a shot at Rath. The enemy’s assault has pretty much petered out at this point. The Cavalier that Kent and Sain failed to kill on our turn turns tail and runs rather than make a suicide run at another character. He won’t get far, though.

Tanto
06-20-2008, 08:40 AM
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Oh, and Rath produces a very nice level up. His Short Bow breaks, however.

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Kent hurries after the fleeing Cavalier and finishes him off, leveling up as a result. This one is so-so, not great. I’ll take any stray strength points I can get with Kent, though…

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Finally, Lucius visits the village and receives a lecture on Reavers and a Lancereaver. This one is probably destined for Lyn’s hands, after Lucius works his way back around the mountains.

Tanto
06-20-2008, 08:42 AM
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These Soldiers don’t stand much of a chance against Florina, especially when she can fly across the river for healing then have Nils revive her so she can return to her post.

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That ballista is starting to annoy me. Let’s see if we can’t do something about it, eh?

Units piloting ballistae can be attacked just the same as normal units, and they can’t even counterattack. That’s a pretty sweet deal for us.

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We also send Kent to kill this Bandit, removing all enemy presence north of the river.

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More asswhomping courtesy of Florina on the enemy’s turn… this is the first bad level up she’s gotten yet. I figure she’s still got a little ways to fall, though.

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Lyn moves south, towards the bridge, to bait in the Soldier standing on the northwest fortress. Remember, this Soldier is wielding an Axereaver, so Lyn has the upper hand triangle-wise. She would not be if he was carrying a normal weapon.

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See what I mean about Reavers’ total futility when they’re on the wrong end of a triangle matchup? This guy’s hit percentage is practically nonexistent.

Tanto
06-20-2008, 08:43 AM
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Lyn punishes him for his mistake by criticaling him right out of the game.

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The Lancereaver-wielding Mercenary follows his buddy, and has no better luck in trying to hit Lyn. This weapon matchup is neutral, however, and moreover the enemy is fairly fast, so he at least manages to survive the counterattack.

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Erk puts him out of his misery.

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With only the Swordreaver-wielding Bandit remaining among the boss’s minions, we decide to move Florina over to take care of him. In the course of reviving her so that she might more quickly move to the east side of the map, Nils levels up again.

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Pretty much a foregone conclusion…

Tanto
06-20-2008, 08:47 AM
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Before moving on the boss, Lyn grabs the Lancereaver. She probably won’t make too much use of it (we’ll lose it in two chapters), but it’s handy to have around just in case.

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Erk and Rath tag-team to take on the boss. The boss wields an Axereaver but doesn’t move or attack at range, so they make short work of him.

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Kent: However, something is bothering me.

Lyn: What is it?

Kent: I noticed it during the fighting. Our opponents... They were soldiers of Caelin. I even recognized some of those we fought. I trained with many of them... And yet they attacked us without hesitation.

You have to wonder what Lundgren’s got going for him to inspire such devotion…

Sain: They're black-hearted traitors who've joined Lord Lundgren. Good riddance, I say. It also means less resistance at the castle.

Kent: I hope you're right...

Lyn: I'm just glad Nils and Ninian were with us. If that first shot had hit me, I might not have survived.

Ninian: We are honored to have served you well.

Nils: We won't let you down!

Lyn: I know. I'm relying on you.

So what business did Matthew have that was so critical as to justify abandoning us in the thick of battle?

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Matthew: I went to the village to sniff about for information. I got some interesting news for my trouble, too.

Lyn: Let's hear it!

Matthew: First, about Marquess Caelin's illness. He really is unwell. He's been abed for nigh on three months.

Lyn: Oh, no... Grandfather...

Matthew: I heard an interesting rumor about his condition, though. The people believe that someone's been poisoning the marquess...

Lyn: He's being poisoned!?

Matthew: And this someone... Well, everyone's too afraid to mention a name. However, they say that, as soon as the marquess took ill, a certain noble took control of the castle as though it were his own. I fed a hungry innkeeper some coin, and he fed me a name. The marquess of Caelin's own brother, Lord Lundgren.

Lyn: How can this be? How can they allow him to get away with this? The villagers know he's the one poisoning my grandfather, and yet no one raises a hand against him? Why?

Kent: They are afraid, and they lack proof. The whisperings of the common people means nothing.

Matthew: That's the truth of it. And of the marquess's loyal retainers who might have lent credence to these rumors, there is no sign.

Lyn: Are you saying they've been silenced?

Matthew: It's a fair assumption.

Kent: This is beyond believing.

Matthew: The worst news is yet to come.

Sain: What? There's more?

Matthew: An imposter's appeared, claiming to be the marquess's granddaughter. At least, that's the story Lundgren's telling to all who'll listen.

Sneaky!

Lyn: What does that mean?

Matthew: It means that people are waiting for two traitorous knights and a baseborn child to appear and lay claim to Castle Caelin.

Sain: But... But that... It can't be!

Kent: Traitors? Us? Ridiculous!!!

Lyn: He says... I'm an imposter?

Matthew: Don't you have anything that proves your lineage?

Lyn: When my mother joined the Lorca, she brought nothing of Lycia with her.

Sain: Milady, Marquess Araphen himself remarked at your resemblance to Lady Madelyn! Your face is your proof!

Kent: They'll say we found a look-alike somewhere... We're seen as betrayers of our knightly vows. Our word means nothing. No, our only hope is to see Marquess Caelin himself.

Lyn: We must hurry. If not, my grandfather... I must see him! With my last breath if need be.

Matthew: But we must formulate some manner of plan! Even if we set out for the castle, the troops patrolling the area will cause no end of problems. You have been branded as oathbreakers, after all.

Lyn: I've got it! Eliwood... He seemed sympathetic to our plight. He should be still in Kathelet. If we can talk to him, he might help us!

Kent: Of course! A sound idea!

Sain: Let's hurry!

Lyn: Yes! Back to Kathelet!!

Time to go begging for help, I suppose…

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Next time: You try walking in a straight line without bumping into wave functions of neighboring realities

(A note about future updates: I've worked through the buffer I built up while waiting for this LP to start, so updates will be a little less frequent from this point forward. I still plan to update several times a week, but the near-daily schedule I've established so far is probably a thing of the past. From here on out, I'll be posting them as I write them.)

Dhroo
06-20-2008, 07:38 PM
(A note about future updates: I've worked through the buffer I built up while waiting for this LP to start, so updates will be a little less frequent from this point forward. I still plan to update several times a week, but the near-daily schedule I've established so far is probably a thing of the past. From here on out, I'll be posting them as I write them.)

Hey, take all the time you need! This is probably my favorite Let's Play so far.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:27 PM
When we last left off here at Let’s Play Fire Emblem, Lundgren had declared Lyn an imposter and her friends traitors and was appealing to the other Lycian territories to have them hunted down. Lyn, in turn, was begging her new friend Eliwood for help.

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Today, we’ll pick up our last Lyn’s Tale recruit, wave goodbye to the tutorial, and generate some truly mediocre level ups, as Lyn finds herself facing…

Chapter 9: A Grim Reunion

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Eliwood: They will not interfere in Caelin's affairs. This they have promised.

Lyn: Eliwood, I don't know how to thank you...

Eliwood: All I've done is convince them to remain neutral in this dispute. However, this means I cannot aid you in any way either. Will you be all right?

Lyn: I will win. I have to. It's the only way that I can help my grandfather.

Eliwood: I understand. Although I cannot help you directly, as a friend, I pray for your success.

Lyn: Thank you. I won't waste the opportunity you've given me.

And with that, time to make one final rush for the castle.

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Kent: This is no good. If the fog thickens, we'll be blind in battle. It will be difficult to fight what we cannot see.

Lyn: We can't let it delay us, though. Let us press on. We must get closer to the castle. What's the best route?

Kent: Let me think... Our best path is to the south... However, that runs through General Eagler's estate. It looks like we still have one final obstacle to pass.

The map starts covered in Fog of War in Hard Mode, but here it doesn’t show up until two turns into the battle, allowing us to scope the terrain.

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Doesn’t look like much, does it? However, reinforcements start pouring out of every fortress on this map starting on the first turn and continuing for several turns thereafter. That, combined with Fog of War, which restricts our vision to a few-space radius around every character, makes this probably the hardest map of Lyn’s Tale. While that doesn’t say much, it still says something.

Our strategy on this map is to split our forces into three groups. One, consisting of the Cavaliers and a ranged unit, heads north to occupy the enemies that spawn there. One sword-user, likely Lyn, stays behind to deal with the Bandits that spawn near the starting point. Everyone else presses east through the forests to the boss.

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Our formation illustrates our strategy.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:29 PM
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I mentioned this back when Matthew joined, but Thieves have the highest vision in Fog of War, making them good scouts.

Before we can actually start the mission, though, we’ve got one last thing to take care of.

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Sain: Aah!

Kent: You! You're... Lord Wallace!

Lyn: Kent, who is this?

Kent: He used to be the commander of the knights of Caelin.

Sain: Aren't you supposed to be retired? I heard you were sowing fields now.

Wallace: I am, and I was. Then I received orders from Lord Lundgren. I was told to capture an imposter and a pair of rogue knights.

Kent: Lord Wallace! Surely, you don't believe us to be oathbreakers, do you?

Wallace: Bring me the girl that claims to be Lady Madelyn's child.

Sain: What are your intentions?

Wallace: If I don't like what I see, I will take her.

Kent: We will prevent you.

Wallace: You? Prevent me? You must be—

Lyn: Enough! I'm right here! I am Lyndis.

Wallace: Ah...

Lyn: I'll understand if you don't believe me. But I've had enough of you and your foolish posturing!

Wallace: Hmm... Such beautiful eyes...

Lyn: Pardon?

Wallace: I've been a knight for 30 years, and there is one thing I learned. A person with eyes as bright and true as yours is no deceiver. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ah, yes! I like you, girl! Why, I believe I'll even join your little band of mercenaries!

Sain: Are you... Are you serious?

Wallace: This old bull's pledged his loyalty to Caelin. I would never allow an usurper on the throne. Let's march!

Kent: Lord Wallace! He... He hasn't changed at all.

Lyn: I like him. He's... honest.

Kent: That he is. He deserves our respect.

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Wallace: It looks as though it's time to take up arms once more. Tanto! You're the tactician of this group, correct? What are my orders?

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As you can see, Wallace starts at level 12, far beyond any of our current people, which means he’s getting almost no experience to speak of from defeating enemies at this point. He’s a Knight, a class which typically features high defense and good attack power, but little in the way of speed or move. His growth rates are fairly forgettable. He almost certainly will be the only character from Lyn’s Tale who does not rejoin afterwards, because you can only get him back if your Lords are significantly underleveled.

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If he does end up rejoining, Wallace does have some good supports, namely Lyn and Kent, but also some truly awful ones. Of course, this requires actually using him, and why would you?

It doesn’t come up much in Lyn’s Tale, but Wallace has absolutely no sense of direction… makes Ryoga and Black Belt look like expert navigators…

But wait! What was that thing in Wallace’s inventory?

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Why, it’s a Knight’s Crest – a promotion item. By using this after their level is 10 or greater, a Knight or Cavalier’s class rises to the next level. However, promoting this early would be a tremendous error, so the best course of action is to—

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:31 PM
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Damn you, tutorial. Wouldn’t let us get away without a parting shot, would you?

Promoting, in Fire Emblem, does several different things.

1) It raises all your stats, including move and constitution.
2) It raises your statistic caps.
3) It (sometimes, depending on the class), gives you access to an extra weapon type.
4) It resets the character’s level back to 1, giving them an additional 19 levels in which to level up.
5) It vastly decreases the amount of experience a character gets from defeating enemies.

Those last two are the big ones to think about when promoting. The temptation is always to promote as soon as you’re able, but Fire Emblem is a game of stats, not classes. By promoting early, you’re causing that character to miss out on all the stats that character would gain in between their current level and the level cap, and this is generally not a worthy trade-off. In addition, promoting too early results in a character being forced to fight against enemies much weaker than themselves, resulting in lower overall experience, and, thus, fewer overall levels. Promoting early makes the game easier for the 5-8 chapters you have the promotion where you wouldn’t if you had waited, but makes the game more difficult in the long run. Characters who promote too early end up functionally underleveled.

For these reasons, the best course of action is to wait until you’ve taken your base class as far as it can go before you promote. Unpromoted characters aren’t as sexy as their promoted counterparts, but you’ll end up with stronger characters overall if you’re patient. There are exceptions, of course – if you’ve maxed out a character’s important stats, and don’t have anything to gain by waiting except a few random points of luck or resistance, it might be okay to go ahead and promote early. (This happens to Sain occasionally.) In addition, promoting your staff-users early is defensible because they gain a weapon after they promote, which is more useful than five or so extra levels of stats. (I usually still wait, though.)

So. The point of this little charade with Wallace is to demonstrate how promotion works, but in so doing the tutorial encourages a suboptimal long-term strategy. Nice work. In Hard Mode, you’re not forced to promote Wallace, or anyone, here, meaning that if you can get one of the Cavaliers up to level 20 you can promote them before the end of Lyn’s Tale. (This requires some excessive twinkery, however.) Or you can leave it untouched – you get a small recompense later on for not using it. There’s no help for it here, though.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_93-3.png

All right, let’s get this farce over with.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_99-3.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_104-2.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_110-2.png

Presto-changeo!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_116-2.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_119-2.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_120-2.png

Wallace is now a General, and has gained the ability to use axes. Note that every promotion level up is fixed – the same classes get the same stat bonuses every time.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:34 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_123-2.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_124-2.png

Heh, I forgot about this conversation. (Prior to this LP, I hadn’t replayed Lyn’s Tale in Normal Mode in over a year.) Wallace is mad with power!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_125-2.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_126-2.png

Generalissimo Wallace… if you run back up the page and compare this shot to Wallace’s original stat page, you’ll notice the huge difference in stat caps promotion grants.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_127-2.png

Onward. Here we see our troops proceeding to the bridge. Note that only Florina is in the enemy Mercenary’s range. The Cavaliers and Lucius head as far north as they’re able, while Lyn moves into the forest space that Matthew previously occupied.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_131-2.png

The Mercenary advances on Florina, the only unit in his range…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_137-2.png

Elsewhere, Lucius attacks the Soldier that spawned in the northwest. He’ll remain here until reinforcements stop spawning, attacking enemies as soon as they appear.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_142-2.png

Since actually attacking enemies with Wallace is an egregious waste of experience, he has only two jobs in our playthrough. Here’s one: Wallace heads to the village near the start point and grabs a Torch from the sympathetic inhabitants. A Torch is a useable item that creates a spot of visibility where the user is standing, which gradually decreases in size each turn. (There’s a staff that can also do this.) It’s not really needed for this map, but they’re handy on some other maps with Fog of War, like Chapter 18.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_153-2.png

Erk moves onto the bridge and finishes off the Mercenary that attacked Florina last turn.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_157-2.png

Florina herself inches forward with the intent of baiting in the enemy Cavalier that spawned at the fortress in the massive forest at the center of this map.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:36 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_158-2.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_161-2.png

In the north part of the map, the enemy Myrmidon (a class we haven’t encountered yet, incidentally – basically a light sword wielder, fast and skillful but with low strength) moves on Kent, who has equipped his Iron Lance for just such an occasion.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_164-1.png

Te enemy Bandit that spawned near the start point goes after Lyn. Lyn is ridiculously overleveled at this point – most of our characters are, really – so this is basically a suicide run.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_171-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_173-1.png

Behold the motion blur as Matthew tangles with a Bandit!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_184-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_186-1.png

The Bandit that spawned in the fortress nestled in those mountains attacks Sain. The results are fairly predictable.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_189-1.png

Finally, the Cavalier attacks Florina, just as we’d intended.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_191-1.png

Before our turn starts, the Fog of War appears in earnest. This swathes about half the map in gray fog, preventing us from seeing the exact location of enemies. Fortunately, though, the enemy positions in this map are fairly predictable, so we shouldn’t have too much trouble.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:37 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_225-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_230-1.png

Lucius does his job and picks off the nearby Soldier…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_232-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_233-1.png

…producing this thoroughly mediocre level up.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_259-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_260-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_261-1.png

Sain kills the Bandit who attacked him last turn, leveling up as well. (This is a theme.)

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_239-1.png

Working our way around the horn, Kent moves into a forest and kills the enemy Myrmidon with his Iron Sword. He’s in the range of enemy axe-wielders, so he needs to have his sword as the active weapon. (Also note that standing in a forest does not hide your units during Fog of War. Fire Emblem’s engine is similar to Advance Wars’s in a lot of ways, but that’s not one of them.)

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_240-1.png

In the south, I base my movements around the attack range of this Cavalier. Most of the units we’ve got down here can’t take more than one hit, so we’ve got to be careful and make sure none of them are in the range of more than one enemy.

After thinking for a moment, I think I see a safe formation to try, so I proceed…

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:39 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_241-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_242-1.png

I move Matthew one space west and one space south and have him finish off the Bandit he fought last turn. This decreases our overall vision slightly, but there’s no help for it.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_250-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_252-1.png

Erk moves into the space Matthew vacated and attacks the nearest Cavalier, killing it. This also moves him into the range of the second Bandit.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_254-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_255-1.png

Erk also receives a (terrible) level up as a result of the encounter.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_256-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_257-1.png

Serra makes up for it with this significantly better one, however.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:40 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_264-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_268-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_269-1.png

Finally, Lyn finishes off the Bandit in the southwest. She, too, gets a… well, not “bad” per se, but she desperately needs strength at this point, so any level up that doesn’t give it to her is pretty much bad by default.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_274-1.png

Matthew is attacked by the newly-spawned Bandit in the south…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_276-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_278-1.png

…while Erk takes the one in the north.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_280-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_282-1.png

Kent is attacked by the lance-wielding Cavalier, but he’s so ridiculously overpowering at this point that he defies the weapon triangle and wins anyway.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_284-1.png

An enemy Archer (spawned in the northeast) attacks Kent as well, but misses.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:41 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_287-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_289-1.png

On our turn, Kent and Sain work in tandem to kill both of Kent’s assailants.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_290-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_292-1.png

While Lucius does his usual thing.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_299-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_301-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_302-1.png

In the south, Matthew finishes off the Bandit, and (shocker of shockers) receives some terrible statistic gains as a result of his rising levels.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_307-1.png

Nils revives Matthew, who defeats the Bandit who attacked Erk as well.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_309-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_313-1.png

Elsewhere, Lyn continues to shred the Bandits that spawn near the start point. Here she gets a critical.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:43 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_315-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_317-1.png

No enemies spawned this turn, which means that once we’ve beaten the current wave, we’ll be free and clear to advance on the boss.

Kent is attacked by, and nearly defeats, another Cavalier.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_320-1.png

…as well as another Archer.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_323-1.png

On our turn, Lucius kills this final Soldier.

Meanwhile, I notice that the final Bandit reinforcement has moved in Lucius’s direction. One of the Cavaliers will have to backtrack and defeat him. But which one?

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_325-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_326-1.png

Kent can kill the Bandit in one turn, where Sain is too slow to do so. It’s Kent’s fight, then.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_327-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_329-1.png

Like so.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_331-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_332-1.png

Either Cavalier could easily double this Archer, so Sain does so.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:44 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_333-1.png

Meanwhile, the main force begins moving east on the castle where General Eagler sits in wait.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_338-1.png

Oh, and Lyn continues to dance with Bandits.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_341-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_342-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_343-1.png

Just as Wallace is our first promoted unit, Eagler is the first promoted enemy. Eagler is a Paladin, the class Kent and Sain dream of one day being. He can use all three weapon types, and, unlike most of the bosses we’ve faced up until now, carries not only two different types of weapons, but also two different types of ranged weapons. Standing back and pinging at him with magic or arrows is a non-starter. This is a job for the Mani Katti!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_340-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_344-1.png

Florina and Erk position themselves in just the right position so as to bait in Eagler’s two guards.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_346-1.png

More Bandit-beating courtesy of Lyn…

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:46 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_349-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_353-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_354-1.png

On the enemy turn, Eagler’s guards take our bait. Erk’s weapon level goes up a notch.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_360-1.png

Florina, meanwhile, has little trouble with her own enemy.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_361-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_364-1.png

Conveniently, Lyn whips out a critical to kill this last Bandit, which means we don’t have to waste a turn finishing him off and can begin moving her towards the boss immediately.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_367-1.png

To quickly move Lyn across the map, I have Rath “Rescue” her. By rescuing, one unit can carry another, allowing the latter unit to travel quickly without fear of damage. There’s a couple of caveats here, though – you can only rescue if the rescuing unit’s “Aid” stat is higher than the rescuee’s Constitution; and the rescuing unit’s speed and skill are halved for as long as they’re carrying a unit. Rath’s superior move, however, allows Lyn to traverse this map in one turn instead of the three or four it would take her on foot.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_366-1.png

Along with some assistance from Nils, of course.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_368-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_369-1.png

We’ve got one final thing to do before we send in Lyn to attack: we want Eagler to switch over to his Hand Axe so that she’ll have the weapon advantage. To do this, Wallace does his other job: Moving into Eagler’s attack range so that the boss will be tricked into switching to the weapon with the higher attack power. We also get a prebattle conversation:

Eagler: So you’ve sided with the girl, too, have you?

Wallace: I fight for Caelin’s honor, not for Lundgren’s lies!

Eagler: Ah… Is that so? You are— Enough! There’s nothing more to be said! I name you traitors all! Come! Do your worst!

Wallace: Fool… At the very least, let mine be the blow that finishes you!

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:49 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_377-1.png

* Tink *

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_379-1.png

With Eagler thus exposed, Lyn moves in with the Mani Katti. Remember that the Mani Katti does double damage to enemies on horseback.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_380-1.png

Eagler: She shall not pass beyond this place!

Lyn: I am Lyndis. I’m no pretender. I’d ask you to believe me, but your heart and mind seem set.

Eagler: Enough talk… Draw your sword!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_395-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_392-1.png

Lyn gets a critical and strikes down Eagler in a single blow. Also note that whenever an unpromoted unit defeats a promoted one, that unit always gets 100 experience. For those who have been following along, that means an automatic level up and a head start on the next one.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_393-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_402-1.png

Gah! Give me a fucking strength point already!

Eagler: Nnng... Go... Go quickly. The marquess... he knows nothing of this... His life is... There's no illness. Only... poison... Please... for the marquess... for all of Caelin...

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_405-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_406-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_407-1.png

At least Serra comes out of this chapter ahead… she also raises her staff level.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 12:50 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_409-1.png

Kent: When Sain and I first became knights, he was our captain. Our teacher...

Lyn: I think he must have known we were telling the truth. Why did he force the fight?

Sain: Something must have... Lord Lundgren was exerting some hold on him... Eagler was trying to protect someone. A friend perhaps, or family.

This is never elaborated on. I guess it’s to add some emotional gravity to the situation… (or so the player doesn’t damn Eagler as a traitorous prick, piss on his grave, and stroll off laughing…)

Kent: ...

Lyn: May Lundgren never know the peaceful embrace of Mother Earth! I care not what others do. I WILL stop that man! Tanto! The final battle is approaching!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_421-1.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_422-1.png

Yikes! It’s the marquess!

Hausen: Lundgren... You... You fiend...

Lundgren: Your granddaughter is dead by now. And soon, you will join her.

Hausen: Lyndis... Why did this happen? I... I only wanted to see her once.

Lundgren: Have you lost all hope? Has your life lost all meaning? Then hurry up and die, you miserable old dotard! You and your precious granddaughter are in my way!!! I curse your name! I despise you! My worthless wretch of a brother!

I’m growing a little weary of this guy…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_436-1.png

Next time: The “final” battle

Elfir
06-22-2008, 12:58 PM
Do more enemies start spawning some amount of time after the first wave? I'm curious about the experience farming potential. :)

Your levelups for Erk especially make me sad. I like him but he's gonna suck way too much to be usable pretty soon. And Lyn! Shesh, if it's possible to triple someone she might but it'll be for like 2/2/2.

I did the chapter 7 maps most recently on my followalong. Found Hector hanging out in one of the houses in chapter 7. @_@ More lovely unnatural hair...

Tanto
06-22-2008, 01:03 PM
Do more enemies start spawning some amount of time after the first wave? I'm curious about the experience farming potential. :)

Not to my knowledge. In some stages, reinforcements will appear endlessly until you defeat the boss, but this stage is not one of them.

dosboot
06-22-2008, 01:18 PM
In some stages, reinforcements will appear endlessly until you defeat the boss.

Are you sure? I don't remember any, except maybe the very last battle.

Tanto
06-22-2008, 01:23 PM
Are you sure? I don't remember any, except maybe the very last battle.

The stage with Denning is timed to end after several turns anyway, but killing Denning cuts off the reinforcements. The second-to-last stage... well, "endless" is an exaggeration, but there are well over a hundred reinforcements on that stage, and they stop spawning after you've killed the boss. I'm pretty sure enemies spawn for an extremely long time on the desert stage if you don't kill the bosses.

Octopus Prime
06-22-2008, 02:23 PM
The fates are not being kind to Lyn.

Elfir
06-22-2008, 02:44 PM
Are you able to avoid fielding her later on or will you just have to protect her like a delicate flower? :p

So tempting to follow that up with something sexist but dammit I'm a girl! It's not allowed. :p

Tanto
06-22-2008, 03:04 PM
Are you able to avoid fielding her later on or will you just have to protect her like a delicate flower? :p

You can bench her in most chapters, but you're required to use all your Lords in certain others, so not using her isn't really a worthwhile strategy.

Patience, though. She's still got good growths, so she'll probably catch up eventually. (And her other statistics are just fine -- she just needs a few strength points and she'll be a killing machine.) And if she doesn't, well, there are measures we can take. More on this next time.

DeeMer
06-23-2008, 12:21 PM
You're confusing the Torch item and the Torch Staff. The staff creates a static field of vision, like you said, but the item will increase the character's vision range, and it will stay with them. You can really see the effect if you have a Thief use one; his vision range will become obscene.

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:45 PM
Today here at Let’s Play Fire Emblem we bring Lyn’s Tale to a close. Since this is a fairly short chapter, I’ll also take an overview of our progress so far and explain what the future holds.

First, though, we rejoin Lyndis’s Legion…

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On the eve of her most important battle to date, Lyn recalls her past on…

Chapter 10: The Distant Plains

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Lyn: Grandfather… I’ll be with you soon.

Kent: Everything rests on this next battle.

Sain: Lundgren will not be receiving the reinforcements he expected. He’ll move against us with everything he has soon.

Lyn: Let him come! Let them all come! I will not be turned away! I will see my grandfather… I’ve come too far to let anyone stand in my way. This is it, Tanto. This is our final test. My friends, for one last time, lend me your strength!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_20-3.png

As this is the final battle of Lyn’s Tale, we can bring all 13 characters we’ve recruited thus far with us. Not that we’ll need them, but still.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/ch10_n.gif

This map is pretty simple… move as far east as you can, then head south and west towards Lundgren. The addition of weather – namely, rain, which decreases your move (and, in Fog of War, vision) – slows you down but doesn’t really affect the basic strategy. After several turns, Cavaliers begin spawning at the fortresses near Lundgren, but this is hardly an overwhelming force. The only really challenging aspect of this map is Lundgren himself, but that won’t come up until the end.

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Not much to see here in the early going… We mass our forces and send them across the bridge and through the forests. The large clump of forests on the other side of the bridge makes it tough to maneuver, so we’re forced to take things slow.

About the only tricky thing we do here is send Florina south, across the mountains and river, to play with the Mercenaries there. She’ll have to pull out and rejoin the main force once the Archer and Bandit begin to close in on her position, however.

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:46 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_24-3.png

A-yup.

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Rain flickers on and off on this map every couple of turns. Lyn always warns you when it’s about to shift, though. If you take too long, it begins to rain permanently.

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Lucius draws first blood with an unnecessary critical to take out this Soldier.

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Matthew attacks the other nearby enemy, an Archer. Erk moves in and finishes him off.

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I make an error here, though. For some reason I was under the impression that Matthew was out of this Mage’s range, but he’s not. Everyone else here has ranged weapons equipped, so the Mage will almost certainly attack Matthew on his turn. I recognize this only after I’ve already made my moves. Hrmm.

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Florina takes out the first Mercenary.

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:47 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_50-3.png

As predicted, the Mage goes after Matthew, the only unit in his range that can’t counterattack him. (Against anyone else, he’d be lunchmeat.)

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The only other enemy north of the first bridge, this Archer, attacks Kent and whiffs. Kent does not, however, knocking his enemy down to seven with a Javelin throw.

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As Lyn warned, rain begins to fall this turn. Combined with the forests we’re currently moving through, this will slow our advance to a crawl, but there’s no help for it except to press on. It also means that the units on the front lines will have to deal with the enemies themselves, because the others can’t move forward enough to join the fight.

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Erk defeats the Archer without incident, attacking up close to avoid counterattacks.

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Whereas Lucius McResistancepants ends the Mage with another wasted critical.

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Yada yada yada…

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:49 PM
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Lyn informs us that the rain will break at the end of the enemies’ next turn, allowing us to press forward with some speed again.

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On our turn, Florina picks off the last Mercenary at range with a Javelin. This is the second godawful level up she’s gotten in a row. I guess things always even out…

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Florina’s is the only fight of this turn… the rest consists of moving our troops through the forests in preparation for the second bridge crossing. Here’s how our progress looks so far.

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Both the enemy Bandit and Archer have Florina in their sights, so she’s forced to retreat to safer locales.

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We begin to push across the bridge…

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We bait in the enemy’s Shaman with Lucius. Light versus Dark; the outcome is fairly predictable.

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:50 PM
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Lucius also gets… the exact same terrible level up he got at level 5. Oh, RNG. Is there any character you won’t ruin for me?

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I decide to take out my frustrations on this “snag”, a dead tree that, when destroyed, will form a makeshift bridge for me. There’s another one near the castle.

Oh, and Lucius’s weapon rank goes up…

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Rath finishes knocking over the snag, forming a bridge that’s just as stable as any of the preexisting ones. Who needs an engineering degree?

With forests in our way, we can only move our main force forward a little bit and brace ourselves for an incoming attack.

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Attacks such as the one provided by this Archer. Kent misses with both his counters.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_93-4.png

Erk pushes his way through the branches and kills the Archer, allowing Kent to move forward and block the choke point.

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:51 PM
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However, the Bandit is too fast to double.

Looking forward a bit, on the enemy’s turn Kent would probably kill this Bandit on the counterattack, then be forced to take on the lance-wielding Cavalier just beyond him. This sounds a little risky to me, so I play it safe…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_97-4.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_99-4.png

…by having Rath move over to shoot down the Cavalier from across the bridge. It’s a waste of experience, but what isn’t at this point, really? Our units are getting about 8 EXP per kill here.

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I also have Serra heal Kent up. But…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_102-3.png

…I overlook that Bandits can ford rivers, and that the AI loves attacking undefended units. Serra dodges pretty easily, but it was still a dumb move.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_106-3.png

On our turn, Lucius moves west and attacks the newly-spawned Cavalier who’s advancing on the bridge.

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Erk takes the whole “bodyguard” thing to heart and finishes off the Bandit that was accosting Serra.

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Look at the weird shot I got of this level up screen… anyway, this level up is okay, but it still doesn’t give Erk any magic.

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:52 PM
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I send Lyn to scope the only village on this map. It’s got something she needs desperately…

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An Energy Ring! This item increases strength by 2 when used, and as I’ve been bitching about Lyn’s poor strength for the past five chapters or so, no points for guessing who we’re going to use it on.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_119-3.png

Elsewhere, in the south, Matthew is visiting the armory. The armory and its attendant general store are a “Lundgren-Killing Specialty Shop” of sorts, with a selection of weapons designed for defeating armored foes like Lundgren. The Heavy Spear, like the Armorslayer and Hammer we’ve picked up elsewhere, deals double damage to armored enemies, and the Steel Bow is an upgrade on the Iron in every department except weight (which is an issue, but not against Lundgren). The general store has more powerful tomes.

However, we’re not going to buy anything here. Lundgren is strong enough to defeat ranged units in a single hit, so we can’t try that, and the armor-smashing weapons are too heavy to allow us to mount an effective offense with them at this point. (Lundgren can actually double some characters who wield them, which should never happen.) We’re just going to have to use the Mani Katti and Lancereaver and hope to outlast him.

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We’re on the home stretch here… our vanguard has pushed across the last bridge, and the enemy’s forces are nearly wiped out.

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This Cavalier goes for the open unit with the lowest defense… however, this unit is still capable of kicking ass.

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On our turn, Kent finishes off the Cavalier, freeing up Florina and Sain to attack the last one.

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:53 PM
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He also levels up. Uncharacteristically for recent days, this one doesn’t suck.

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Killing in the rain…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_135-3.png

Matthew goes to work on the last snag. It’s not like he’s got anything better to do.

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Elsewhere, Lyn uses the Energy Ring, bringing her strength to a level that doesn’t make me want to weep regarding the injustice in the world.

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Onward…

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:55 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_144-3.png

The final Cavalier attacks Florina. I was hoping she’d merely wear him down so another character could get the kill, but she criticals him to death in one hit. Ah well.

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Nils levels up while reviving Serra so that she can more quickly reach the front lines…

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And Serra herself levels up soon afterwards. As is becoming a running gag here at Let’s Play Fire Emblem, this one is bad.

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Sain baits in the final mobile enemy, this Knight, and kills him with the Armorslayer. All that’s left is Lundgren, now…

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All right. I mentioned last chapter how characters can be munchkined up to level 20 before the end of Lyn’s Tale without too much trouble, so I guess I owe it to the audience to demonstrate the method even though I won’t be using it myself.

The principle goes like this: Lundgren is a powerful, promoted unit. Our unpromoted units get a lot of experience from attacking him. Moreover, Lundgren is standing on a seizable space, which means that he regains some of his HP (3 HP, in this case) at the beginning of every turn. However, Lundgren is also powerful, so sending our own units to attack him willy-nilly means risking their lives. So what you do is this…

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:57 PM
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First, you send in Wallace, with no weapons, to take a hit from Lundgren. Even if you’re playing Hard Mode and didn’t promote Wallace, he’s still tough enough to withstand any blow Lundgren can produce.

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Then, you send in Serra to heal his wounds. Lundgren’s got a Javelin and can dispose of Serra pretty easily, so you then have to use Nils to revive Serra so that she can move outside Lundgren’s attack range again.

The point to this little exercise is that Lundgren’s weapons are just as breakable as yours. Repeat this enough times, and Lundgren will be out of usages, allowing you to wail upon him until your own weapons run out or your characters are as strong as you’d like them, whichever comes first. If Lundgren’s HP starts getting low, you just back off for several turns and let the castle gradually heal him, then start moving again.

As you can probably figure out, this is incredibly cheesy. The other big disadvantage is the sheer length of time it takes to pull it off – simply wearing down Lundgren’s weapons usually takes over 100 turns (since, in Lyn’s Tale, misses don’t count as a use, and Lundgren misses fairly often), and worming any sort of appreciable experience out of him usually takes 300-500. (It also destroys your tactician ranking, if you care about that.) If you do it, though, you can have Lyn’s crew, including Serra and Nils, rejoin the party incredibly overpowered.

Elfir mentioned the side chapter in Hector’s Story that requires that Nils be at level 7 before the end of Lyn’s Tale… I’ve been using Nils basically every turn since I recruited him and he’s only at level 5, so if you want to unlock that chapter you basically have to do something like this for a little while at least.

Anyway, since I won’t be engaging in any Lundgren-abuse this time around, time to get straight to the battle…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_162-3.png

Lundgren is the first boss in the game to use my absolute favorite piece of music in the Fire Emblem series, “Rise to the Challenge”. It was rearranged for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but they mashed it together with the main battle theme and the result was less-than-satisfactory, in my opinion. (It’s the second half of the song labeled “Attack”.) There’s a really good remix to be made of this song, but no one’s done it yet to my knowledge.

Lundgren can dish out some heavy damage, especially to Lyn, so the best tactic here is the “Wait, counterattack, heal” strategy. The Mani Katti deals the most damage, but the Lancereaver allows a better chance of dodging Lundgren’s attacks. It’s a toss-up, really.

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Lyn: You’ll play this farce to the end, won’t you, Lundgren?

Lundgren: The royal house of Caelin has no need of a Sacaen mongrel! I’ll put an end to this foolishness here and now!

Lyn: To further your own black ambitions, you’ve harmed my grandfather and the very land you ought to serve. I have neither pity nor mercy for you. Lundgren! Prepare yourself!

Lundgren: Whelp!

(Lundgren also has unique conversations versus Kent and Sain. He insults Kent and tries to bribe Sain. They are not amused.)

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This isn’t looking good…

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Serra has to move in and heal Lyn before the next round.

Tanto
06-24-2008, 02:58 PM
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On the next turn, Lundgren misses, and Lyn gets a critical on the next turn.

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Finally, we switch over to the Lancereaver for defense, a precaution that ends up being moot when Lyn gets another critical and ends Lundgren’s ambitions on her land.

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Victory!

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You know, it’s really becoming comical at this point…

Tanto
06-24-2008, 03:00 PM
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Only one thing left…

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Reissman: You are Lady Lyndis, are you not?

Lyn: Who are you?

Reissman: I am Reissman, a chancellor of the Caelin royal family. I had received word from Kent and Sain when you first met, but then Lundgren discovered the message and imprisoned me. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to your true home.

Lyn: Thank you. May I see my grandfather now?

Reissman: Yes, of course. Do not be shocked by what you see. Lundgren has been poisoning the marquess’s meals for some time. His body has been ravaged, and he’s been bedridden for months.

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Hausen: What are you doing? Leave me… to die…

Lyn: Um… Pardon me… My name is… I’m Lyndis.

Hausen: Eh? Did you say Lyndis? Is that…

Lyn: My father’s name was Hassar, chieftain of the Lorca. My mother was… Madelyn. I was raised on the plains.

Hausen: …Could it be? Come, come here. Let me see your face. Oh… Yes… There is no doubt… You are Madelyn’s trueborn child… Uhhh… Ahhhh…

Lyn: Grandfather!

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Hausen: Lundgren told me that my granddaughter had died. My heir… and you, too. He told me you were dead. Thank you… Thank you for living… Ahhhh… I am blessed…

Lyn: Mother and Father were slain last year by brigands. I… I was the only survivor. I lived on, but…

Hausen: Lyndis, please forgive a prideful old man. If I had but accepted your parents love… There would have been no bandits. We would have lived here together in perfect peace.

Lyn: Grandfather… My parents… My tribe… Our life was one of love and peace. The end was tragic, but… up until the attack, we were truly happy.

Hausen: Truly? Madelyn had a life of happiness? Knowing that gives me so much joy. Thank you, Lyndis. I can die in peace now...

Lyn: No! Grandfather! You musn't say that!

Hausen: There's no avoiding it, Lyndis. I've taken too much poison for far too long. It's too late...

Lyn: Be brave, Grandfather! You will recover! Believe me! On the plains, we say that illness fails in the face of a strong heart! I am with you now! You mustn't give up!

Hausen: You're... with me...

Lyn: Yes. We have so much to talk about. Walks to take, music to listen to. There's so much I want to do with you, so much lost time we can recover!

Hausen: That does sound... nice.

Lyn: Doesn't it? And once you're well, I'll take you to the plains. I'll show you the endless sky, the oceans of grass... I want you to know the lands my mother loved so much!

Hausen: The lands Madelyn loved... You're right. I still have... quite a bit of living to do.

Lyn: You can do it, Grandfather!

Hausen: Lyndis...

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Lyn: Yes, until my grandfather is well. I can't leave him now. I won't.

Kent: The physician says that Lord Hausen looks like a new man. It's like he was never ill. And it's all thanks to you, milady.

Lyn: He's the only family I have left. I want him to have a long life.

Florina: Lady Lyndis!

Lyn: What is it, Florina?

Florina: I've been taken into service by House Caelin! From here on, Lyn... I mean, Lady Lyndis... We'll be together always!

Lyn: Really? Oh, that pleases me so... but... Please don't call me Lady Lyndis. For you, I'm still just Lyn.

Florina: My pegasus and I fly for your house now. I am your servant. There are rules to follow.

Lyn: Florina!

Florina: I'm happiest when I'm with you. That's more important than how I address you... Please...

Lyn: I suppose I'll just have to get used to it, right? Very well, I understand.

Florina: Oh, thank you! I do love you, Lyn! Oops! I mean... Lady Lyndis!

Lyn: Ha ha ha... Oh, Florina!

Wil: Lady Lyndis! I've decided to stay, too!

Lyn: Wil? Weren't you planning on returning home?

Wil: Well, I was, but... I've grown quite fond of Lyndis's Legions, you know... I couldn't possibly leave everyone behind. I'll send word to my family regarding my decision.

Lyn: I'm pleased to have you, Wil. Thank you.

Wil: Thank you, milady.

And, of course, there’s one final farewell…

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Lyn: No, I'm not asking you to stay. It's just... I'll miss you. When I found you unconscious on the plains... I had no idea we would be together for so long. You've helped us so much, and I'm sure you've learned all you can from us. You'll do just fine on your own. I have the utmost faith that you'll be a master tactician, Tanto. That's from someone who's seen you at work!

Tanto
06-24-2008, 03:04 PM
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Lyn: Well then, take care... I... I hope I see you again. I'm sure that I will someday...

Now time for the “where are they now” ending, consisting of a brief scroll explaining what the characters did after the battle and their battle record. “B” is the number of battles the unit took part in, regardless of outcome, “W” is the number of wins (kills), and “L” is the number of times the unit was killed. (The game continues to count these even if you reset and get the character back.)

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Kent, Knight of Lycia
B: 55
W: 25
L: 0
For his bravery in fulfilling his command, Kent is named Knight Commander of Caelin. It is a high honor for one so young, but no one denies his worth.

Sain, Knight of Lycia
B: 37
W: 21
L: 0
Sain has earned the honor of being named subcommander of the Caelin knights. Despite his promotion, he still scoffs at authority and woos the village girls. He is much loved by the citizenry.

Florina, Pegasus Knight of Ilia
B: 41
W: 23
L: 0
Florina has arranged to stay in Caelin. She spends her every waking hour in rigorous training, hoping to become invaluable to Lyn. Her fear of men has lessened, but... only slightly.

Wil, Archer of Pherae
B: 15
W: 4
L: 0
With his cheery outlook and his happy-go-lucky demeanor, Wil has become quite dear to Marquess Caelin's household. Kent is teaching him manners befitting a sworn man of Castle Caelin.

Dorcas, Fighter of Bern
B: 1
W: 1
L: 0
Once Lyn's true heritage is recognized in Caelin, Dorcas returns to his home in Bern. There, he cares for his wife and makes a good living as a mercenary, fighting the local bandits.

Serra, Cleric of Ostia
B: 1
W: 0
L: 0
Ultimately, Erk succeeds in seeing Serra safely to Ostia. While her behavior is irritating at best, she is sorely missed. Her ascerbic tongue has become legendary.

Erk, the Wandering Mage
B: 26
W: 16
L: 0
His contract with Serra complete, Erk sets off for Eturia. His time as a mercenary is just part of his training, and he is glad to see it end. He has since returned to his mentor.

Rath, the Sacaen Nomad
B: 19
W: 11
L: 0
In the celebration following Lyn's return to Caelin, Rath slips out unseen. Whether he has returned to Sacae or has continued to work as a mercenary, no one knows.

Matthew, the Enigmatic Thief
B: 11
W: 5
L: 0
Matthew vanishes after the final battle, and his whereabouts remain a mystery.

Nils, the Mysterious Musician
B: 3
W: 0
L: 0
Nils and his sister, Ninian, take their leave of Castle Caelin after a few days. He may well be traveling the land, mastering his musical skills somewhere.

Lucius, the Traveling Monk
B: 17
W: 14
L: 0
Lucius studies in Caelin for a time, but he departs after receiving summons to another land. He has since been seen traveling with a hard-eyed mercenary.

Wallace, the Caelin General
B: 4
W: 0
L: 0
For Wallace, Lyn's struggle only whets his appetite for battle. He sets off in search of a cause worthy of his blade. He lacks any sense of direction, so it may be years before he returns.

Tanto, the Tactician
Tanto leaves Lyn to continue his training. He plans on traveling throughout Lycia. Lyn refuses to say good-bye, believing in her heart that she will see him again.

Lyn, the Swordfighter from Sacae
B: 39
W: 20
L: 0
Lyn now lives with her grandfather as Lady Lyndis of Castle Caelin. Under her loving care, Lord Hausen recovers, and now the two of them go for many walks in the Caelin gardens.

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The end…(?)

…Actually, no, it’s not.

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At this point, the real game starts. Eliwood becomes the main character, and Lyn’s party is scattered to the four winds, needing to be re-recruited at later points. Perma-death starts up in earnest at this point. (If a character “dies” in Lyn’s Tale, Lyn urges them to retreat, and they become unavailable for the remainder of Lyn’s Tale, but they’ll be healthy again in time for their regularly-scheduled Eliwood’s Story appearance.) Supports also become available – I’ll explain them next time. Moreover, missions become more interesting and less straightforward, so things should begin to pick up.

As for Lyn’s Tale, the characters we recruited will return exactly as they were when we left them, level, stats, and all. (The only thing they don’t retain is equipment – all money and items are lost in the changeover to Eliwood’s Story.) Judging by their Lyn’s Tale progress, here’s how they’ll likely shake out:

Big contributors: Kent, Sain, Florina, Rath

Bears watching: Serra, Matthew, Lucius, Nils

Probably done: Wil, Dorcas, Erk, Wallace

Should have had the decency to get a decent strength score because we have to use her: Lyn

With that, then…

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Next time: The new challengers

Octopus Prime
06-24-2008, 03:51 PM
Oh Lyn, your terrible performance so far is making it hard for me to justify sayings your my favorite Fire Emblem character in general.

At least your criticals still look cool.

dosboot
06-24-2008, 04:03 PM
Do you have any plans on which of the other characters you will groom for the main quest? I prefer to decide my characters in advance and use them exclusively. It also means I have an excuse to not care about bad level ups - I've already made my suicide pact, no turning back. At least having no experience point wasted on a bench warmer will even things out.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 11:58 AM
Do you have any plans on which of the other characters you will groom for the main quest? I prefer to decide my characters in advance and use them exclusively. It also means I have an excuse to not care about bad level ups - I've already made my suicide pact, no turning back. At least having no experience point wasted on a bench warmer will even things out.

It's usually easy to tell after around three or four levels whether or not a character is worth pursuing, and if they aren't, there's no shortage of other people to try. There are enough characters who are almost always good that we shouldn't have any trouble piecing together a serviceable army, and if we do, we can always bring in some of the better prepromotes.

Welcome back to Let’s Play Fire Emblem. Today, we start with Eliwood’s Story, with new characters and a new plot. Let’s get right to it, then, shall we?

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This chapter starts up with some general overview exposition-type stuff. You’d think they’d talk about this back at the beginning, but hey, that’s Lyn’s Tale for you.

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These generals are more important in FE6, but nevermind…

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Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:00 PM
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Zoom in…

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…as have a number of his sworn men, loyal knights that serve at his side. A month has passed without word from the marquess. Rumors of his death abound. However, the marquess’s son Eliwood believes his father lives, and has vowed to find him. Marquess Pherae’s son Eliwood: A red-haired youth who will one day become the finest knight in Lycia. His long journey begins here.

Here, as he finds himself…

Chapter 11: Taking Leave

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Eliwood: I see. Thank you, Marcus.

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Eleanora: Eliwood… Promise me that you will return to me safely. I’m worried about your father, but… If anything were to happen to you… My heart could not bear that sorrow.

Eliwood: I know, Mother. Please do not worry. Father is alive, I know it. I vow that I will find him and return him to your side.

Eleanora: I have your word then.

Eliwood: Yes, of course. Isadora, I entrust my mother to you in my absence.

Isadora: Yes, milord. I will guard over her well.

Eliwood: Mother, I will return. Rest easy.

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Marcus: Not so, milord. My man Lowen will be traveling with us.

Eliwood: Lowen? That’s reassuring.

Marcus: I’ve sent him ahead to the village. He hopes to seek out a few able men who are skilled at arms. Normally, I wouldn’t venture forth without a larger company, but… I bow to your will on this matter, milord.

Eliwood: I’m sorry, Marcus, but I would rather not deprive my mother of even a single guard. The best knights in the realm all disappeared with my father. If anything were to happen to my mother while I am gone, I…

Marcus: I understand, milord. Hmph! What’s keeping Lowen?

What indeed?

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:06 PM
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Groznyi: Well, your misfortune is my good luck! I have an announcement to make! As of now, this village is mine! Groznyi is your new liege! Now, bring every last piece of gold, down to the smallest fleck!

Yeah, I’m sure this’ll go over real well…

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Marcus: Lowen! Calm yourself! A knight must be in control at all times.

Lowen: The village is under attack! It’s bandits!

Marcus: What? Bandits? Here?

Eliwood: Are you sure, Lowen?

Lowen: This girl has more details.

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Rebecca: I’m the daughter of the village magistrate. My name’s Rebecca. The bandits came without warning. They’re stealing everything! I beg you! Please help us!

Eliwood: I see. Marcus! Lowen! We must aid the village!

Lowen: Yes, milord!

Eliwood: Rebecca, stay here and keep out of sight.

Rebecca: If it please you, milord, I would rather fight. I hunt almost every day, and I have some skill with the bow.

Eliwood: Is that so? Very well then, but be careful!

Lowen: Lord Eliwood, one more thing. There is another in the village who has offered to help. A traveling tactician who was staying at the inn.

Eliwood: A tactician?

Lowen: Yes, milord. This is Tanto.

How convenient.

Eliwood: Tanto!

Lowen: Do you know this person, milord?

Eliwood: Yes. I met Tanto during the trouble in Caelin last year. A fantastic military advisor, if memory serves. If not for Tanto, the marquess of Caelin and his granddaughter, Lyn, might not have survived Lundgren’s uprising. What brings you to Pherae, my friend? Ha! Still traveling about, honing your skills? Of course… A worthy pursuit. Let’s give thanks to providence for our chance reunion. We have need of your aid. Please lend us your skill.

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Not much to this one… Work your way around the ridge and confront the boss. The real challenge here is that we’re back to a bunch of level one characters again, so we’ll have to go without all the luxuries we’d gotten used to in the latter part of Lyn’s Tale for a few chapters.

We’ve also got an all-new cast of units, so let’s take a look, shall we?

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Eliwood is one of the weaker Lords to come along in a while… He’s got above average growths in everything, but no really outstanding growths except for luck, which does not an exceptional character make. He almost always gets either strength-screwed or speed-screwed for me… god forbid he get both. I probably wouldn’t use him if I didn’t have to, but we do have to, so it’s best to just suck it up. Unlike Lyn, who started out lightning-fast even if she didn’t have a lot of punch, Eliwood starts out not even being able to double the Bandits that occupy this stage.

He also promotes very late; not until a few chapters before the end. He gets arguably the biggest boost from promotion of any of the three Lords, however.

That Rapier is basically the Mani Katti with fewer usages… only Eliwood can use it. It deals double damage to Cavaliers and Knights, just like the Mani Katti.

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Eliwood has almost no personality to speak of… he’s “random do-gooder” at its most pure. His supports are pretty average-ish, all told… some good ones and some bad ones.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:07 PM
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Marcus looks ridiculously powerful, and he is… for a while. Marcus is what’s called a “Jeigan (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JeiganCharacter)”, which means that he starts out strong, as a way of giving the player a safety net, but his usefulness sharply declines after a few chapters. There are two reasons for this.

One is that, as a promoted unit, he receives much less experience from defeating enemies and thus levels up extremely slowly. Eliwood gets around 30 EXP from killing the enemies in this chapter; Marcus gets around 3. Killing enemies with Marcus results in your other characters becoming weak. This is the same principle I harped on back when we recruited Rath and Wallace.

The other is that Marcus’s own growths are profoundly mediocre, so he never gets much better than he is right now. The typical course of events is that a novice player will look at Marcus, say “Wow, he’s powerful!” and use him to win all the tough fights. Then, after several chapters, that player will find that Marcus isn’t dealing quite enough damage to defeat the enemies, and then after a few more he’ll find that Marcus isn’t dealing nearly enough damage to defeat the enemies, and then he’ll wonder why he’s even using Marcus at all… Boom. Revelation.

This is not to say that Marcus is useless. As the unit with the highest move and best defenses in the early game, Marcus can serve plenty of useful functions without hurting the development of your other characters… it’s just that those functions tend to be more along the lines of “meat shield”, “errand boy”, and “guard duty”. (You’ll notice that “rush ahead and kill all the enemies without breaking a sweat” isn’t on the list.) If we’re still using Marcus five or six chapters from now, it’s a sure sign that Something Has Gone Horribly Wrong™.

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Marcus shows up in FE6 as well… he’s even worse then…

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Lowen is an okay unit, I guess… I never use him, because look at that hair! I mean, Jesus.

Um, anyway… Lowen specializes in defense. He has the highest defense and resistance growths of all the Cavaliers and can become a tank at high levels, but his damage output is basically crap. Sain is much better, and Kent is usually better, so after those two rejoin in Chapter 15, Lowen will likely be confined to the bench.

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Lowen’s supports are a mixed bag. There isn’t a single slam-dunk good one in there… but then, he’d be the weak link in a support anyway.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:15 PM
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It’s entirely possible that Rebecca will be the only character we recruit this chapter aside from Eliwood who we’ll still be using 6-8 chapters from now. Rebecca is probably the best Archer in the game; she’s got extremely high speed and skill and pretty good strength. She’s a lot like Wil except without the annoying weaknesses, and although you have to monitor her strength she usually turns out pretty strong.

She’s also got a unique sprite, which is a plus in my book. I dread promoting her because her Sniper sprite is generic and looks much dumber than her cool custom Archer sprite. At least it’s better than the generic female Archer sprite (Dorothy in FE6, Neimi in FE8)…

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/FE7%20Lets%20Play%202/fe7_111-4.png

Rebecca shares a lot of her supports with Wil… she’s got more than he does, but most of the extras are pretty bad, so they’re basically the same. She can support with three of the very best characters in the game, so chances are we’ll find her a good partner should she turn out to be worth using.

Rebecca also has the unique ability to completely destroy the space-time continuum. As I’ve mentioned, FE7 is a prequel to FE6, so many of the characters from the latter game either directly appear in a younger form in this game, or their parents do. Most characters who fall in to either category “retreat” from battle rather than die if they are killed, allowing the game to maintain continuity while still using perma-death as a game mechanic.

However, Rebecca does not. Due to an error, if she dies in battle, she dies, even though her future son, Wolt, is one of Roy’s oldest and closest friends in FE6. Therefore, it logically follows that if Rebecca dies, FE6 winks out of existence. I bet you didn’t know that such a minor PC had such a big role in the fate of the world, did you?

Onward…

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The first thing we need to do in this chapter is give Eliwood Marcus’s Steel Sword. That Rapier is far too precious to waste killing Bandits, so Eliwood needs generic weapons to hold him over until we can shop next chapter. That means Marcus has to go without, but we weren’t going to use him anyway. We’ll be shuffling weapons around a little more when we have some free space, but until then…

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Now time for the actual Bandit-slaying. Lowen moves up and attacks the first Bandit.

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Rebecca does the same and continues to weaken him.

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And, finally, Eliwood gets the kill.

We could probably continue like this for the rest of the map, but it’d be pretty tedious. Where are those men-at-arms Lowen was supposed to get?

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:18 PM
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Hey, it’s Dorcas! …And his new friend, Bartre.

Bartre: It’s just like that knight said! That’s Lord Eliwood!

Dorcas: So it seems.

Bartre: What’s he doing? Hey, he’s taking on those bandits. Protecting innocents? That’s a right lordly thing to do, isn’t it? Right, Dorcas?

Dorcas: You talk too much. The lordling needs our help.

Bartre: Leave those mountain weaklings to me! I’m Bartre the Brave!

Bartre and Dorcas join right away… we don’t have to talk to them or anything…

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Bartre and Dorcas are basically the same character, really. Bartre’s growths are a little better, but he starts out worse. (Three speed!) We won’t be using either, but Dorcas is our warm body of choice until we can recruit someone better.

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Bartre reappears in FE6, as does his daughter. In Hector’s Story, you can recruit his future wife Karla, but you have to actually use him to do that, so it’s kind of a toss-up. Bartre has a couple of good supports, but he’s the weak side of all of them.

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Dorcas, of course, is just as we left him in Lyn’s Tale. He also starts out with the only Energy Ring in Eliwood’s Story in his inventory. We’ll see how our growths are shaking out before we use it, so stash it away.

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We trade Bartre’s weapons to Dorcas, then send him back to the village. The villagers there offer us a Dragonshield, which permanently raises defense.

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Back on the attack, Dorcas heads west and attacks this Archer. I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the fight, but suffice it to say we hit.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:19 PM
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Lowen goes to work on the nearby Bandit.

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Eliwood continues to skirmish with him, getting nailed by the counterattack.

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…And Rebecca finishes it.

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On the enemies’ turn, the surviving Archer attacks Lowen, knocking him down to 12.

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On our turn, Rebecca picks him off, but the damage is done. We need to heal.

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Eliwood uses a Vulnerary to restore his HP to full, while Lowen moves onto a fortress to heal his wounds.

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Eliwood dodges this incoming Bandit’s attack and counterattacks with one of his own. Note that I’ve also traded his Steel Sword for Lowen’s Iron one – with its low weight, it’s a better weapon for Eliwood at this point than the steel.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:21 PM
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Lowen finishes off the Bandit. Wasted experience, likely, but it’s the best move.

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Dorcas moves forward to weaken the next Bandit in line, and Eliwood finishes him off. These guys would be much more effective if they rushed us as a group instead of attacking piecemeal…

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Eliwood gets another dodge, another counterattack, and his first level up.

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Not great, but as I’ve mentioned, Eliwood needs all the strength he can get in the early going.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:22 PM
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When our turn rolls around again, Rebecca finishes off the Bandit.

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She, too, levels up. You’ll notice I’m trying to allocate all the kills to Eliwood and Rebecca because they’re the only two allied units on this map with much of a prospect for long-term use. This level up is pretty mediocre in and of itself, but we’ll probably be grateful for the strength point somewhere down the line.

All right. We need someone to move forward and offer their precious organs as bait for the other bandits. I nominate Marcus because he’s loaded with meats.

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It’s true!

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Eliwood uses his Rapier to critical this Archer to death in one shot.

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As for the other Bandit, Dorcas softens him up for Rebecca to kill.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:24 PM
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Bartre visits the general store. This one only sells Vulneraries, but as we have no healers at this point it couldn’t hurt to pick up a few.

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Our meat shield bravely ventures forward and takes one for the team.

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Rebecca and Lowen work together to bring down this Bandit, and Eliwood moves on the boss.

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Groznyi can kill Eliwood in two hits, so we can’t risk attacking him. Time for our tried and true “wait, counterattack, heal” strategy, with some arrowy support courtesy of Rebecca.

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Heh.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:26 PM
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Groznyi misses here, but you can’t count on it…

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Rebecca takes a potshot from a safe distance.

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On the enemies’ turn, Groznyi gets to heal because he’s standing on a seizable space. Shouldn’t be much of a problem, though…

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Because, after taking a hit, Eliwood counterattacks with a critical hit, defeating the boss and leveling up. And quite a nice one, too.

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Just one thing left…

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Eliwood enters the town to rap with the magistrate, receiving some valuable exposition and wild speculation for his efforts.

Magistrate: Our deepest thanks for coming to the aid of our fair village.

Eliwood: Think nothing of it. It's a lord's duty to protect the citizenry.

Magistrate: Would that were true, milord. The good folk of Laus know no such protection. Their marquess, Lord Darin, is too busy preparing for war. He ignores all complaints of bandits and thieves.

Eliwood: Preparing for war? Are you sure?

Magistrate: I would not lie, milord. My brother lived in Laus until a few days ago. His home was torched, and he had no choice but to flee here. According to him, Laus could go to war any day now. It's all the people of Laus are talking about.

Marcus: Lord Eliwood, if this is true, the situation is a grave one. If Marquess Laus is readying for war... His target is most likely another Lycian territory. Perhaps this is connected to Lord Elbert's disappearance.

Eliwood: My father and Marquess Laus? It seems a tenuous connection, but it's as good a start as any.

Wait a second; I’m already lost here. You’re telling me that you’ve organized this gigantic expedition to search for your dad and you don’t even know where to start? So, in lieu of an actual strategy, you’re just going to poke your nose into other territories' affairs, hoping to fall ass-backwards into a clue?

Eliwood: Let us travel to Laus. We must learn more.

All right, then.

Eliwood: Thank you for your guidance, Tanto. Where are you bound for next? If you have no destination in mind, perhaps you could travel with us. Ours is a small group, with a single purpose — to find my father. I do not know where our road will lead, but... We would be stronger with you in our company.

I should think so, given that you evidently can’t find your ass with both hands and an atlas.

Eliwood: You will travel with us? Splendid! Thank you! I pray we give you no cause to regret your decision.

Yeah, you and me both.

Tanto
06-26-2008, 12:27 PM
Activate the Party Compulsion Field!

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Magistrate: Don't be ridiculous, girl! Lord Eliwood is not going on a picnic. He's riding into danger.

Rebecca: I know that, Father. That's why I want to go. We owe him our lives, and I want to repay him. My bow may not be all that much, but I know I can be of service!

Magistrate: But...

Rebecca: And, Father... I may meet up with my brother somewhere. You're the magistrate — you have responsibilities. I... This is all I can offer. I need to do this! Please, Father! Let me go!

Magistrate: Dear me... You're just as stubborn as your mother was.

Rebecca: I'm sorry, Father...

Magistrate: You must bow to Lord Eliwood's wishes on this matter. If he consents, you may go.

Rebecca: Thank you, Father!

Magistrate: Lord Elbert has always been kind of us. Follow his son with a true heart, Rebecca. Serve Lord Eliwood well, as I have served his father.

Rebecca: I will, Father!

And with that…

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Next time: Actual good characters

dosboot
06-26-2008, 12:56 PM
Eh, screw Rebecca. She's an archer. I don't see their value, and stopped using the class all together. At best they can avoid 1 enemy counter attack on your turn (and not always that), but they routinely lose several counter attacks of their own on the enemy's turn. A mage is a better ranged fighter all around, plus they can use staves after promotion. There isn't a great need for ranged attackers, but you do basically need a minimum number of staff users to survive the final chapters.

Elfir
06-26-2008, 02:12 PM
I've found myself using Erk and Lucius way more than Wil so far, too. Only reason I would probably use Rebecca would be the green pigtails. They're cute.

It's weird seeing a post with so few levels going around all of a sudden. Lyn's last few were so packed with them.

Tanto
06-29-2008, 06:33 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Fire Emblem. Last time, we’d gotten things moving in Eliwood’s Story. We’ve decided to follow the preposterously slim lead pointing to Laus, and are continuing our travels across the Lycian territories.

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The plot thickens as we meet up with…

Chapter 12: Birds of a Feather

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First, in Santaruz…

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For some reason, I doubt that this black-cloaked guy (whose name, as we’ll learn shortly, is Ephidel) has our best interests in mind. Note also that he’s got gold eyes – in this case, this is emphatically not simply standard bizarre anime coloration.

Ephidel: He seeks permission to enter Santaruz. He seeks an audience with you.

Helman: Could it be... Do you think Eliwood's come to ask of his father? If that's the case... I... I know not what to tell him.

Ephidel: Tell him you know nothing, and let him be on his way.

Helman: Yet... I know young Eliwood well. His father, Elbert, and I are old friends. I've no children of my own, and I've always treasured Eliwood. I do not believe I could look him in the eye and... I could not lie to him. I could not.

Ephidel: We've no choice then. Let us chase the boy away. If you do not speak with him, you need tell no lies.

Helman: Wait! Do you mean to harm Eliwood?

Ephidel: Not harm. Frighten. A scratch or two will leave no scars. He will run home to Pherae and be done with his adventure. He is, after all, all that Pherae has left...

Helman: ...

So they’re going to be gentle? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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Marcus: I see the sense in that. It's a good plan, Tanto.

Eliwood: Truly so. I tell you again, I'm pleased to have you with us. Lord Helman... He's not only my father's friend. I've known him since I was a child. I'm sure that he will help us.

Bet you a dollar?

Marcus: What? Lord Eliwood! Beware!

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Marcus: Poor villager? You look nothing like an honest man. Clear the road. Step quickly or...

Zagan: Step quickly? Heh heh... Good advice. Maybe it's you who should follow it!

Marcus: What?

Zagan: Someone wants the boy in an early grave. A shame if you ask me, but he'll die here today. C'mon, boys! Earn your keep!