Part 3: Chapter 3 and The War Room Part 37 (Supports in FE6)
When I think of FE6, more often than not I think of this chapter. Partly because its perhaps the second-most plot critical point in the game and partly because its a really annoying chapter and the memory of it stuck with me for that reason.
Roy and Guinevere are nonchalantly making their way to Araphen to meet up with Hector and the rest of the army when word suddenly reaches them that Araphen has fallen and Hectors army has been obliterated by the sudden onslaught of Berns armies. They hurry to find survivors and fight some lingering Bern forces, but cant save Hector. Meanwhile, Zephiel assigns the cruel general Narshen to finish the conquest of Lycia and Zephiels generals express their misgivings about his mysterious ally Idoun and his even more mysterious goals.
Now this a major translation fail. This translation does not distinguish consistently between wyvern and dragon, which makes some dialogue in this chapter very confusing since both wyverns and dragons are being talked about.
So Brenya pulled her forces out of Sacae to join Narshen and the king himself in smashing the Lycian army. How in the world this maneuver came as a complete surprise is a mystery.
Well now what? Is the war over? Actually, this massive defeat doesnt really seem to affect anything at all; Lycia fights on without difficuty and Bern makes no effort to actually conquer it.
So they hurry right toward the enemy army that should surely have heard of their approach since they trashed a Béarnaise castle on the way here. The same one the princess went missing at.
Meanwhile, General Brenya presents Hector to King Zephiel.
Diplomatic as ever.
And he asks why Zephiel betrayed their longstanding alliance (and the man who saved his life as a boy).
Or world liberation actually maybe? Zephiels choice of terminology doesnt make that much sense even when you know what his goals are. But those are the only mystery in the game, so Zephiel is certainly not going to talk about them in any of his cabinet meetings or to anyone who asks until the end.
This soldier is never seen again. Just saying.
Now at first glance, this makes the plot nonsense because surely the Sacaeans could have put together a rebellion while the army that had been occupying them was gone. But as well see, Zephiel is actually controlling most places with collaborator factions, which makes it make much more sense.
Before going, she voices her misgivings about the mysterious woman, Idoun, whos always following Zephiel around now.
In the other translation, he actually tells her that her job is to follow orders, not to think. Its the most moronic possible thing to say to a general.
Pointing out that your dialogue is cliché or stupid does not, in fact, make it less so.
Weve arrived. In the open. En masse. No alarm is sounded. Security around the king and his cabinet and the captured head of the army he just defeated is apparently terrible.
This boy, Chad, has been helping and explaining what happened.
Hed thought they were just doing reconnaissance and the like, nothing so direct and dangerous and amazingly stupid. As he points out, attacking right now while the king is there is suicide. It is. The game should end right here.
Chad joins up anyway because he really hates Bern (they just torched his orphanage and murdered probably-Lucius, the man whod been running the place, in front of him).
Get used to her saying this and Roy saying it isnt her fault.
And that and for Lilinas makes something generic into a rather good line of dialogue. As her friend and quasi-canon love interest, he doesnt want her to lose her father. Its nice to have some personal motivation for the characters in this game.
The War Room, Part 37:
Many people have been asking about my focus on building up Supports for my characters quickly, so Ill talk about that now. First of all, youll want to consult my talk in The War Room Part 15 about supports in FE7 in particular: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3701153&pagenumber=6#post441913764
Thats because theyre basically the same. The only differences are that the threshold numbers of points to reach a new level of support are now 60, 120, 200 instead of 80, 160, 240 and that a maximum of 120 support points can be gained by all characters total on any given map. So if Lance and Alan stand next to each other for 40 turns (and thus gain 80 points), Roy and Alan gain only gain a total of 40 points of support with each other no matter how long they stand next to each other. An annoying but generally minor limitation.
Here are the details for this game in particular: http://serenesforest.net/binding-blade/characters/supports/
So if supports were almost totally non-viable in HHM max ranking and give the same bonuses now, why am I sacrificing so many turns on them in this run? Well there are several reasons. One is that the lower support threshholds (and a slight pattern of faster building supports) makes it marginally easier to build them at all, despite the 120 points per chapter cap.
Another is that characters are weaker in this game, and weapons are less accurate and often less strong, but the support bonuses are the same. That means that though the bonuses are the same size, they can be a bigger relative increase to the units fighting abilities.
The last of the minor reasons is that there are several more easily accessible and natural support triangles in this game. Ive already got Alan, Lance, and Roy and Ill have Rutger, Clarine, and Dieck next chapter. It took 7 chapters of HHM to even have Eliwood, Lyn, and Hector. 8 really since they started so far apart on Noble Lady of Caelin.
But most importantly, there was no time to spare in HHM and now theres all the time in the world. Im done with most chapters with 6-10 extra turns before the limit and its not like thats just early game easiness; the chapter turn allotments are high all game long. I might as well put that extra time to use, either harvesting lots of reinforcements or grinding up supports or both.
Of course, Im choosing to go overtime too, but by only a small amount in the scheme of things. I can make up for that time later, but grinding up the bonuses now will help me forever- and particularly with a couple of very difficult early chapters. Plus, support grinding mid-battle by always ending Alan and Lance next to each other is problematic tactically. I want to have that mostly over with by the time Clarine and Rutger and Dieck are here too.
Battle Preparations & the Map:
Secondary Objective: Visit the bottom right village for a Mend staff
Secondary Objective: Visit the top left village to recruit Lugh
Secondary Objective: Loot the left chest for a Halberd
Secondary Objective: Visit the right chest for 3000 gold (told you they throw the stuff at you)
Reinforcements: The first enemy ones are a nuisance. Besides a couple of fighters in the hidden room, theres also cavaliers on turns 3, 5, 10, 12, and 15 with a mix of weapons.
Turn Limit: 15. Not quite as huge as it sounds because theres a lot of ground to cover with a lot of really slow guys who need to be carried.
Its almost like Whereabouts Unknown or one of those other chapters I like, but with less to do and no time urgency whatsoever. And you have to take like 8 units who are totally unqualified for the job. And use the absolutely horrible starting formation they give you. I have to do major stunts just to get units in position to fight with the gear they need and I also have to wage a constant and annoying battle of rescue drops with Marcus, Thany, Lance, and Alan to keep the slow people like Dieck and Roy and Lot on the front line where theyre needed.
The true enemy isnt Bern, no its whatever moron decided to put Merlinus, Wolt, and Chad in the front with Dieck and Bors and Lance in the back and everyone else positioned randomly.
Also, this party is pretty darned unqualified to fight knights. No mages till the end of this chapter hurts because the Rapier barely scratches them, no one but Dieck can do real damage with the armorslayer, and no one at all can use the hammer effectively.
Heck, this party isnt even good against soldiers. And when soldiers are beating you, you know youre a loser.
Oh and theres only 1 healer for 13-14 people too and shes horrible at the job.
So yeah, just a lot of nuisances that make the actual battle a bore.
A boy from probably-Luciuss orphanage and one of the older and more mature of the orphans, Chad wants vengeance on Bern for destroying the orphanage and killing probably-Lucius. Besides revenge, he also wants to be able to build a safer world for the younger orphans, who he considers his family. Hes kind of abrasive and distrusting and very serious.
I think hes an unusually realistic take for Fire Emblem on the hardships of life for someone who isnt a noble. And the kind of hard exterior one would develop from needing to put on a show of strength for the younger children and deal with an adults problems as a child. A pretty good character all in all.
If Chad could promote, hed be a top tier character, but there are no assassins in this game. His bases arent impressive, but his growths are just amazing. Its hard to get him going and there isnt really anywhere for him to go, but he does enjoy a brief golden age in the high levels where he does solid damage for a support unit while also serving an invaluable role opening doors and chests and stealing from the enemy. The tricky part is getting him tough enough to survive 1 lance hit.
It doesnt make a ton of difference, but Lockpicks last twice as long in this game. So 1 would cover nearly the whole game. If you can steal a lockpick from an enemy thief, that means it nets out to be worth just as much in capital as an FE7 one is in assets, so grab all of them that you can.
A somewhat cheerier and more optimistic boy from Chads village, Lugh is unfortunately also a significantly less developed character. Many people talking to him actually just talk about his twin brother Ray instead and Ray doesnt get as much of that treatment happening to him. Oh well, he still has more personality than some of these people.
Hes basically a lousy version of Erk. But thats still pretty darned good and there are no monks around to push him out of the speedy but fragile magic user job. Indeed, he faces no competition at all for a while here and not much until very late in the game. Until his awesome promotion gains hit, he cant really do a whole lot of damage though. Thats his biggest weakness.
His biggest strength is that Anima is better in this game. More accurate (if marginally less powerful) in a game where most weapons are less accurate for one thing, plus there are some really great tomes like Aircalibur around. But best of all, it weighs a LOT less. Even Elfire is less than 5 weight, so no magic Lugh should ever wield will slow him down despite his terrible 4 con.
Slater is Narshens equally scummy underling and is also simpering and cowardly. He has no important role in the story or the army of Bern and is almost a joke character.
Hes really tough, but thats mainly because hes on the most formidable type of terrain in the game: a Throne. Gates are nothing before the awesome power of thrones.
Oh and he has better gear than the last knight.
Have you seen this formation yet? I mean really looked at it? Well I need to get all those javelins and other odds and ends distributed, so Merlinus gets to work on that. Remember, in this game he has his own inventory and can trade.
Dieck gives Lance his iron sword since I have no other way to give Lance one at the moment.
And then Lance and Bors drop Dieck nearer to the front.
Marcus and Ward then drop Lance another space over so that Alan can build support while he fights.
And everyone else just kind of swarms in chaotically. Nothing else I can really do.
In the village up north, this bishop promises Lugh that hell take care of the surviving younger orphans.
Lugh farewells them, promising to catch up later.
But then reveals hes actually leaving them to go fight Bern.
The bishop leaves with the kids.
Turn 2. Now if youll look back up at the map for a moment, it probably looked pretty complicated with stuff to do and enemies everywhere. But actually, this chapter pretty much has only one front; except for 2 soldiers and 1 archer in the top left, you just fight one long, straightforward battle through the castle. (If you move very fast to the top left area, some of the reinforcement cavalry in the top right MIGHT aggro that way, but that should only happen if you want it to.
Anyway, as Ive said before, most FE battles are all about matching units to jobs. In this case, the job of getting to the top left village requires taking out 2 soldiers (who will charge on their own) and one archer (who will stay put). And then probably doing nothing of value for the rest of the map. Thats a job for one man and the math says Bors can do it easily. He takes a javelin now and will wait in that forest for the two soldiers.
Wolt weakens a soldier for a decent level. Notice that he doesnt double soldiers. Even most of my terrible people double soldiers. Notice also that he doesnt do much damage. Wolt is bad.
Even Bors can double SOME soldiers, but this guy cant!
Thany finishes that enemy off for a level up in which she gains everything but the two stats she actually needs.
Turn 3 (Youll notice Im skimming over most of my turns. Theres just nothing to say. I kill 2-3 enemies per turn easily and spend the rest of the turn trading items around or rescue-dropping people so they dont fall behind. Its a really boring and annoying chapter.
Bors prepares to fight the two soldiers.
Having looked at his stats again, Ive decided to try to use Lot. At the very least, to try to get some XP with him now. But hes too slow and started in a terrible spot, so I have to spend all map carrying him around and dropping him so he can take an occasional attack.
Dieck is actually bigger than him and can carry and drop him.
Merlinuss job is done, so he just starts going to the totally undefended bottom right village.
The cavaliers are moving up, and Alan needs healing first. Because no one can dodge and no one can take hits and you have 1 terrible healer for tons of people, your troops all spend this chapter annoyingly half dead and waiting their turn to be healed up so they can take 1 more hit and then retreat to the back of the heal line again.
This pest with the javelin can be a real nuisance. In this case, it was impossible for me to block him off entirely, so a lot of people need to hang back. Both cavaliers have javelins, so if anyone else goes in range, hell definitely attack that person instead and hell still be alive next turn.
Everyone has piled into the castle by the end of turn 3.
The top right roof is blown off or something and the doors open to reveal Zephiel, Idoun, Narshen, Slater, and a pair of random fighters.
As I mentioned, he has no watchmen or scouts or anyone else to sound the alarm. And now he hears us killing his men literally two rooms away. A whole battle going on. Its clearly a rescue mission to get to Hector.
Hes going to ignore it and just walk away. This story is terrible. I hate it already.
Why is the crazy, soulless dragon death machine the smartest person in the room? She suggests the obvious, 100% success chance, no problems whatsoever solution. And then they dont do it.
This is totally true. Totally true. You and Zephiel and Brenya could kill every single one of us in 30 seconds. No chance of any of us escaping and no risk to you.
Why? What good will they do there?
And hes just walking out and heading home too. Hell do this at least one more time. Be present, see us coming, and decide to just not do anything to stop us. Its so stupid. And so cliché.
Like these guys attacking the castle youre in at this very moment?
That ellipses might make you think that pause is him hesitating and not liking the idea. No. This is him excitedly asking if he gets to kill the women and children. Hes a completely flat, card-carrying, puppy-kicking villain.
Zephiel pretty much is too.
He even giggles. Of course he does.
Away Zephiel goes with Idoun.
This is so stupid. About 8 times in the story the enemy totally has us and then decides to just not kill us for no good reason. The entire plot hinges on that. Chad was right, attacking this place WAS suicide. But then the writers turned off gravity after Roy jumped off the bridge.
So, KNOWING that this castle is under attack and KNOWING that it would be absolutely disastrous if the enemy got to Hector while hes alive and can report about the dragons (or outright be saved) and KNOWING that he was explicitly tasked with wiping out this group and that the men in the room just heard that order by given, he instead tells this weak underling to take care of things.
The reason is that he wants to get to Laus 30 seconds earlier than if he stayed so that he can get a gift from a traitorous Marquess. You may now begin placing your bets about which territory betrayed the alliance.
Yeah. So Narshen wants to get to Laus and rape this girl whos to be given to him as a gift a few minutes early, so he throws away the war and disobeys a direct order right in front of a whole bunch of witnessing soldiers.
Slater gets in on commenting that the girl in question is probably really beautiful and hed be looking forward to going to Laus if he was Narshen. Can we kill these guys already?
This is so stupid.
If you die, Ill kill you!
This scene was not any better in the other translation.
There goes a guy who makes Ephidel look like a genius.
And here come a pair of cavaliers, the first enemy reinforcements of the game!
Lance scores a solid level. More Str is good, though he could use speed too.
Bors fails, getting hit and then missing against this soldier.
Aaaaaaand the next one too. Wow.
This is just sad.
The group presses on, Marcus tanking for an injured Lance.
And Merlinus reaches the village, where were given a Mend staff. Thats actually pretty great because Im about to break Ellens heal staff.
Next turn. So I need this knight dead and I need Alan healed so he can move ahead and tank for Lance (along with Marcus again). In order to manage that, Im going to do a trade chain. Ellen takes the armorslayer I had Merlinus give Alan earlier (since I knew hed be on the front lines, so I could give it to a better wielder if need be) and then heals him.
Well thats a bad level.
Marcus moves away, Dieck trades for the armorslayer, and he owns this knight with it.
The rest just keep moving as best they can. You can see that though the two top left soldiers charged down immediately, the archer who also started near the village just stays put.
Id been hoping for some more speed or str, but def is quite helpful too.
Turn 6. Another wave of cavaliers came in. This is probably the most intense turn of fighting in the chapter. Unfortunately, my group is annoyingly strung out and many cant reach the front.
First things first. In 3 turns of fighting, Bors has accomplished NOTHING. He missed every single attack and counterattack and kept getting hit himself. Even when I gave up and switched to the iron lance. The chances are now looking decent that those two soldiers will actually kill him despite him being on a wood with a whole vulnerary to go through. And them being soldiers.
I just pretty much swarmed the enemy. There was no graceful way to go about this.
Amazing! This guy is going places. Welcome to the team.
He finally hit! And got a very bad level up!
My cavaliers are turning out kind of weird. Not bad, but weird.
Dieck grabs his armorslayer and gets ready to go to work.
And a bit of fighting and a bit of rescue dropping ensues, but nothing really worth talking about.
Next turn, Dieck takes down one of the knights and opens the treasury.
Hahahahahaha! 6 turns and 2 vulnerary uses later, a mangled Bors finally took down the second soldier! I moved him off the woods when the first one died because time was beginning to look like an issue.
Remember, Slater has a javelin. I need to push past him to get to the cavalier spawn area, but it can be tricky.
Bors moves to begin fighting the archer. It doubles him, but hits for significantly less damage.
Now THATS going to be handy.
I couldnt heal Alan and I need him ready to fight, so I had to use a vulnerary as I prepare for the cavaliers.
Its become clear that I just cannot beat Slater without Dieck using the armorslayer. Nothing else can do it. So Marcus will carry him back.
Luck for the luck god! Skill for the skill throne!
So Bors vs Archer Round 1 Fight went as terribly as it possibly could have and now he has to drink his last vulnerary. Ugh.
In the immortal words of one of my chemistry teachers, Porcupines?
But yeah, even more gold. They just pour it onto your lap.
The party is crowding in and squeezing by.
And the next wave appears and attacks as expected.
My turn, things are looking tense actually. Even on this forest, Borss chances of victory are very slim at this point. The extent of his failure has really been remarkable. But from here he can get to that village and get Lugh in on this.
Marcus helps fight the cavaliers too. You can see hes much less effective against things that arent Fighters or Brigands. Still very helpful.
The cavaliers are finished off.
Yeah, he needs help. This 10 year old kid will bail him out.
Now Lugh cant handle it either- if he attacks. That is a VERY important, if simple, thing to understand in FE sometimes. If Lugh attacks, he might get hit for 10 damage. Then it will be the archers turn and he might get hit for another 10 and killed. But if I DONT attack, then I get hit for 10 but then counter and then its MY turn. And that means the archer doesnt get a second shot. So I'm not going to take this attack.
More heal grinding.
And support grinding.
Well thats unexpected. The site I looked at said cavaliers on 3, 5, 10, and 15. This is 12. As you can see, my formation was kind of ready for nonsense like that though. This is instinct after playing this game.
Yes! Lugh finishes the archer off.
I tried having Lot fight Slater after healing him up. Didnt work. He double missed and got hit in both rounds.
Another bad Ellen level.
Screw it, Dieck does all the work.
Its now turn 15 and the last wave is coming.
Slater dies just after they spawn.
And I wait another 2 turns to unlock Lance and Alans B support. Now were getting to something more interesting than generic cavalier rivalry.
A little slow on the uptake.
Lance says someone has to do it, and it should be him since hes not from Pherae.
Alan rejects this plan and pledges to stay by Lance.
Thats nearly the pinnacle of FE6 supports really. Some others are at that level, maaaaaybe some are just a little bit beyond it arguably, but not many.
So on turn 18 I win.
Nonsense. No one could hur-
Thats the blood of Berns 4th Wyvern General there. Hector hit him so hard that he was killed before he ever existed.
He would crush you into paste, Roy. Youre 10 and 4 feet tall. He weighs 600 lbs in that armor.
. Maybe I shouldnt have stalled and support ground so much. Hindsight is 20/20.
And this time they actually do mean dragons. Thats what let Bern overcome Hector. That plus
Now they talk about the Scouring, in case you missed all the times it was explained. Roy knows woefully little. Hector isnt much better.
They get back on topic.
This should be a big mystery, but it isnt. For no good reason, the player has already been permitted to know that its all thanks to Idoun.
Eliwood is still bedridden with typhoid fever. Or maybe it was typhus. Probably both.
If Roy had paid any attention to the story of the only important event in world history, hed already know that Hector is clearly referring to Durandal.
And now we get to something good. The dull exposition is over and Hector asks Roy to take care of his daughter, whos not as old and wise as she likes to think and will be unsure what to do without her only family. Evidently Hector really trusts Roy.
And his last words are of her.
Total Restarts: Still 0
Turn Surplus: -12
Things I Regret Missing: A couple of uses of Marcuss silver lance on Rude