The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Binding Blade

by Melth

Part 4: Chapter 4 and The War Room Part 38 (Changes to Weapon Stats)

An important moment in this game, this chapter marks the first occurrence of BS reinforcements. A sizable force of them pops out of nowhere with no warning or explanation on turn 11 and will slaughter anyone you happened to have, say, visiting houses now that the map is over or just unusually far north fighting the pirate reinforcements. It’s not nearly as brutal and is much more avoidable than many later occurrences, but it’s still nonsense.

Other than that it’s a really boring prototype version of False Friends basically. Nearly the same map, the same general plot and subplots, but the enemy force is smaller and less coordinated and the villages are in no real danger.

Chapter Summary:
Roy passes through Laus toward Ostia, not knowing Erik has betrayed the alliance and sided with Bern. Meanwhile, Erik has abducted an Etrurian girl to present as a gift to the lecherous General Narshen. However, after Narshen inexplicably left and Roy attacked, one of Erik’s mercenaries betrayed him. After unceremoniously killing Erik, the group just continues on their way and acts like this incident never happened- even falling into the obvious trap of another traitor momentarily.

Is that the face of a man who would be anything but trustworthy?

This chapter has some of my favorite weird lines of narration and dialogue in this translation.

Narshen’s theme, the curiously entitled “Suspicious”, , is one of the more memorable pieces in the game.

So yeah, Erik is a traitor in the arcprequel same as in 7. And Narshen is here to congratulate him on betraying Lycia.

And also take the girl Erik had captured for him.

When you’re getting tricked by Erik you know you’re an idiot.

And in comes Clarine now that Erik has called for her. He told her he’d help her find her brother, Klein, who she left home to look for. They’re both Pent’s children.

Even he’s unaware that he’s a wyvern general, not a dragon lord!

Is she supposed to look 12 years old or is that just this game’s weird art style? Either way, the game really goes out of its way to make Narshen completely despicable. Unlike, say, Sonia though, it’s unclear why his terribleness and treachery was ever tolerated. I mean, we know he out politicked Gale to get the job by pointing out that Gale wasn’t from Bern and taking credit for other people’s accomplishments, but seriously. He openly talks about defying orders to go rape Etrurian noblewomen in front of the men, never succeeds at even the most minor tasks, and isn’t anywhere near the personal combat skill level of the other generals. The man is never anything but a millstone around the neck of his army and he doesn’t even really pretend otherwise.

That’s unexpected.

Not only is he a murderer, a coward, a lousy general, an idiot, a rapist, and a pedophile, but he lacks finesse!

This is the only scene in the whole game where Clarine is anything but annoying because Narshen is the only person in the game more odious than this loudmouthed, arrogant, incompetent brat.

Apparently he’s all about having finesse and is deeply insulted.

And then a soldier runs in to report that Castle Araphen was lost 5 minutes after Narshen left. Which should come as no surprise to Narshen, because he’d heard there was fighting in the hallway right outside the throne room as he left. I mean we were right there.

The scouts did their job this time. Now he knows the leader is someone important and a serious potential threat.

At last! Narshen is finally going to do his job. He realized he made a mistake, but he can salvage things since we’re heading right for him!

I bet he did the air quotes and everything. Truly he is the vilest of villains.

Lucky Narshen! Sure he threw away his last army like an idiot to run off to see Erik and Clarine, but now he has an even bigger one- plus Erik- all ready to go and Roy is blundering right towards him. Now he’s got us! Now he’ll just-


Yeah. Yeah, he just leaves. He doesn’t give ANY explanation or reason. He’s not going to get reinforcements or to report or anything, he just walks away from his chance to crush Roy- and then return to Clarine. This chapter is really stupid.

And then the level begins?! What? Roy doesn’t know Erik betrayed us or anything. Why is his group ready for battle? Why do NONE OF THEM question it when they start fighting Laus soldiers without explanation or preamble? Nothing makes sense! This chapter is an epic fail on the part of the writers.

The War Room, Part 38

So I’ve made a few remarks in passing about differences in weapon stats between FE7 and FE6, but not talked about it in detail. First, those who don’t know much about weapons in the GBA games at all should look at The War Room, Part 3:

In FE6 all the fundamentals are exactly the same, but some weapons have slightly different stats. As a general rule, all swords and bows have -5 Hit. Lances have -10, as do Axes. Steel Lances and Steel Axes have -15, making the steel weapons even more amazingly horrible than they already were. A few weapons have bigger or smaller accuracy penalties, but those are roughly average.

Several of the special unit counter items are much better or worse, even besides their Might now being tripled instead of doubled when super effective. FE7’s terrible Horseslayer is excellent here and the Halberd is relatively better compared to normal axes. There’s no Heavy Spear, but the Hammer is WAY worse, packing -2 Might as well as -10 accuracy. The armorslayer now has the same Might and way more accuracy. Of course, the weapon triangle means the hammer will do more damage, but it can’t hit. And of course Bows are significantly more valuable with their damage tripled against flyers instead of doubled. Still bad, but at least their anti-air niche is something they’re good at now.

Magic in general is much lighter- and anima is more accurate in a game where most weapons are less accurate. Not bad. On the other hand, the Light tomes have become horrible with massive accuracy penalties and several of the high end light tomes just not existing. And of course, no one but bishops can wield them. Nosferatu, already a fantastic spell except for its huge weight, is amazing since it only weighs 6 in this game. And Luna doesn’t exist, so Nosferatu is THE broken spell. Eclipse, with -20 accuracy, is even more of a joke than ever despite now doing all of your HP -1 as damage instead of just ½.

So things are pretty much the same but there’s a significant accuracy drop in the early game in the arcprequel. Especially since the weapon triangle is weaker, only granting +/- 10 hit and avoid. The upshot is that axe users really suffer in the early phases and sword users are at a slight relative advantage. And magic users, already amazing in 7, are even more so here.

Battle Preparations & the Map:

Secondary ObjectIve: Visit the bottom village for an Angelic Robe
Secondary ObjectIve: Visit the top village for a Steel Blade
Secondary ObjectIve: Recruit Clarine by letting her talk to Roy
Secondary ObjectIve: Have Clarine recruit Rutger
Secondary ObjectIve: Do some shopping
Reinforcements: Clarine shows up as a green unit pretty early. There are numerous waves of pirates with mixed iron and handaxes from the bottom right islands area. On turn 6, Rutger and a few men spawn-move from northeast of the castle. And on turn 11, a gang of cavaliers appears from the top right with no explanation.
Turn Limit: 15. Not that generous in that it’s hard to have all the enemies dead by then. But easily completable.

This map is boring. There are very few enemies- we have rough numbers parity to begin with- and they are completely uncoordinated, same as the last chapter. Meanwhile, the path to the southern village is almost completely clear and it’s not threatened till like turn 10 if you do nothing and the northern village is never in danger at all.

Nomads and cavaliers are tough unit types to beat at this point and that’s the only thing making this remotely challenging.

Clarine needs no rescuing, the enemy will never target her until she rides up and joins you (which always happens right before your turn). And Rutger is easy to recruit since, unlike Guy, his recruiter has vastly superior movement range and he’s unlikely to be surrounded by enemies.

The only sources of difficulty are not knowing exactly what squares Rutger and company spawn into and the stupid wave of top top right cavaliers that appears without warning on turn 11. Oh and a bad, though not catastrophically so, starting formation.

The Characters:

A prissy, whiny, rude, arrogant, stupid, snobby, narcissistic twerp who thinks real life works like some kind of really lame heroic ballad. That’s pretty much all there is to her. She’s a flat, one-joke character and I loathe her even more than I hate most joke characters.

But she’s a darned useful support unit. Ellen is horrible and I desperately need a second or third healer for an army this huge anyway. In some ways, Clarine is even worse than Ellen. That 2 Mag isn’t going up, for one thing. But she’s mobile and tougher because of her superior speed and luck. And she can support with Rutger and Dieck, two good units, in a fairly self-sufficient triangle. Plus she's great at carrying people around.

A survivor of a massacre- or maybe the beginning of an outright genocide- against Sacaeans by the Béarnaise army, Rutger has an understandable hatred of the country that slaughtered his family and everyone else in his Sacaean city that didn’t happen to look mostly Béarnaise like he does. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the only character trait he has. It’s not clear why he’s working for Erik at all and he doesn’t have a lot of personality or background beyond wanting to kill the soldiers of Bern.

Rutger is by far the best swordmaster in the game in which swordmasters are at their best. And he gets sweet hard mode bonuses that really pump him up from a pretty good unit to excellent. His lower luck (and speed actually for a while) means he can’t dodge tank as well as Guy, but he has better defense and strength. And Swordmasters get +30 crit in this game, not +15. That’s still not that great because your criticals are only as good as your base damage and you can’t count on them, but it’s something. What really makes him good is that there’s so little competition. I mean, he’s as strong and as tough as Dieck and way faster. That immediately makes him my best infantry unit and he will hold that post until Gonzalez takes it much later on. And his support triangle is already present and ready to start building up.

Now none of this changes the fact that swordmaster is, and always will be, a bad class despite the many fanboys every myrmidon gets raving about their dodge and crit rate. Being locked to swords is not good. Relying on criticals based on mediocre Str and bad weapon might is not good. But swordmasters are at their best in this game and there are very few other strong characters to compete with this guy for now. So he’s great for the early and midgame and still respectable later.

The Killing Edge is actually slightly better and (unlike Guy) Rutger isn’t slowed down by it. But I need to get him something cheaper after recruiting him.

Erik is the same as he is in FE7, but with a mustache.

His gate and decent speed and high HP make him hard to kill, but he’s not really a threat. And he’s become stationary in his old age.

That’s pretty good gear all around because we don’t have any horseslayers and the rapier is bad. With that steel sword, the halberd is not a good way to kill this guy.

Playing Through:

Not much to the first turn, everyone just crowds forward with a supported Alan out to draw fire.

This is far from the only FE to be kind of slipshod with its R text. 7 had several silly mistakes like refering to people nowhere near Caelin as Caelin bandits for example. But this is particularly egregious, wrong three times over. First, it’s the exact same description used for Bern’s regular troops- who are not mercenaries. Second, the whole point and premise of this chapter is that we’re fighting soldiers of Laus, not Bern. Third, these nomads are soldiers of neither Bern nor Laus. A whole house conversation on this level is dedicated to telling us they’re from Sacae and everyone is hiring them these days.

It’s clear why; these are the most dangerous enemies on the level. They’re so fast that absolutely nothing I have now can double them (Rutger can barely do it) and in fact they double many of my troops while hitting much harder than archers.

They have really impressive avoid and no weapon triangle disadvantage to exploit, so they dodge tank really well. And they’re tough enough that it takes 2-4 hits to kill them. Of course, it would be easy to take them out with a rapier or halberd… except they don’t count as mounted units.

As you can see.

Still, that fight was really easy. It was something like 4 against 10 in my favor. And pretty much the whole chapter is like that. As I said, the enemy troops are really uncoordinated.

Wow! This is the best Thany I’ve ever seen. Still going to be terrible when the real flyers join, but I’m glad to have her for now.

Merlinus again has nothing to do but visit houses and villages. This village is worthless. After a brief lecture about how thieves open chests and doors with lockpicks but anyone can use a door key to open a door, this random kid gives Merlinus a door key. That’s worth 25 in capital. Yay.

The next wave advances, another 4 or so guys. This time not everyone is at good range to engage them though.

And cutscene, Clarine is sitting in the dungeon grumbling.

Rutger shows up, introducing himself.

I don’t think Clarine grasps that being a prisoner means she doesn’t get a say in who she meets with.

Rutger drags her out of the cell. The game actually does a pretty good job of setting him up to look like a villain in this scene. He even looks the part.

So partway through turn 3 here, the situation is already largely in control. I just have a ton of guys and they have almost none. The real trick is finding ways for Alan, Lance, and Roy to all be useful without standing separately from each other.

Alan gets a great level from finishing off the nomad.

This turn I had to break Alan and Lance up. Chad can juuuuuust survive the damage he’ll take if attacked but that will draw that cavalier where I want him.

Back to the palace, Rutger is still dragging Clarine along.

And he reveals that he’s actually breaking her out. He just said he was taking her to the Marquess because there were probably soldiers around at the time.

Rather nice of him to risk his neck for her like this.

In a rare moment of clarity, she realizes that not everyone wants to do what she wants all the time. She doesn’t remember to thank him for his help or anything though.

That doesn’t explain it at all.

So she appears on the map.

And she whines about how he didn’t… escort her to her mansion? All the way back in Etruria? Undoubtedly getting killed when Erik sees what he’s doing?

And then she segues into telling us what she’s doing all the way out here.

And then rides right into danger. Fortunately, the enemy never targets her for some reason. Not until she joins up.

Marcus gets a pretty good level for him as he continues softening up enemies.

Lot does too.

The little cavalier that could over here has dodged almost everyone and everything. I’m ultimately compelled to bring in Bors to help take it down.

And Chad finishes it for a Chad level.

Some pirates pop up, apparently not even sure what country is invading them or possibly which one they live in. Talk about an uninformed public…

Who is he talking to anyway? The other bandit on the other island?

Clarine can’t be talked to, but she’ll talk to Roy herself.

And just tries to commandeer the army to be her bodyguards.

She’s rather disrespectful and Merlinus isn’t going to let some random crazy girl talk to Roy that way.

She dismisses him immediately.

Roy figures out what’s going on. Because she’s not the type who would just explain something like this.

And he manages to imply that if she wants them to help her, she should maybe do something to help them in exchange.


… ugh. I'm glad she'll pretty much never talk again after this chapter.

Wolt is even less useful than Merlinus and is taking the top village. While he waits for that to be safe, he chats up the random people in houses.

Lance gets a very good level.

Now at this point I had a choice to make. Rutger is coming soon and I could either pull back and wait for him or move in and try to take the enemy down first. I picked the riskier option. Meanwhile, Dieck and Chad head for the shore to intercept the pirates.

Apparently neither Eric nor anyone else noticed Rutger slipping the prisoner out.

He orders Rutger to deploy.

Rutger is somewhere between matter of fact and brusque.

He’s charming compared to Clarine.

I wonder if Erik is trying to tell us something?

Alright, beginning of turn 6. Rutger will appear this turn and this square marks his maximum attack range. I can either ignore these enemies and pull back or go all in and kill these guys and form a wall. Now that I have a second healer, the second sounds like a better idea to me. If I pull back, it’ll be way harder to safely recruit Rutger when I’m dealing with 10 enemies, not 3 or 4.

Dieck weakens a target for Chad.

Had to break support formation to do it, but I cleared out nearly every enemy.

Nice! This just became a slightly above average Roy.

And Lugh’s first level up is also decent. Mag is what he most needs right now.

Rutger appears but what he finds is a formation with no real weaknesses. Even Thany can’t be killed without some improbable failures to dodge.

He goes for her as expected.

Realizing they can no longer kill her, the others go for Ward and the like.

So at turn 7 the final real wave is here and about to be obliterated Once again, I’ve got the massive numbers advantage I’ve had all level.

Clarine recruits Rutger.

By being a twerp.

As much as I hate the character, this crazy little spiel is one of my favorite parts of this translation.

This is the appropriate response to nearly everything that comes out of her mouth.

She happens to let slip the one important fact in the case by accident: Roy is fighting Bern.

Not that she’d pay attention to what army she joined.

Rutger is quick to make common cause.

She continues to think the world revolves around her.

Things are going well, so Wolt visits the village.

I like to think the people of Laus are always taking your side because they’re betraying their Marquess, not because they’re loyal to Lycia.

And he gives Wolt a steel blade.

Wait what? What king? This area never had a king. That’s kind of Lycia’s whole deal. This must be a translation flub.

Bors continues to amaze. Galahad and Percival are going to laugh you off the team, man.

Ward, injured and useless at the best of times, heads down to the stores and village.

A slow fight against the pirates continues with Dieck getting a very nice level.

Chad finishes that pirate off and gets another pretty standard Cad level.

And the pirates continue to trickle in.

The map is pretty much cleaned up by turn 8, though there are still some reinforcements coming.

I have a feeling you’re about to tell me.

No there aren’t.

Ok, so you mean Reaver weapons. What the heck does that have to do with the main point of combat?

So the party splits, one group staying to kill Erik and the other heading east to deal with the reinforcements that will appear soon.

Ellen gets her first remotely decent level.

A few waves of pirates spawn in close succession.

And Ward reaches the shop. I’ll need plenty of heal staves and a couple of extra fire tomes wouldn’t be bad with Lilina coming up in a few chapters.

And on the next turn, he buys some more gear to accommodate the growing party and the rapid use of javelins. I spent all my cash, but funds isn’t looking hard in this game and I’m tired of having to compromise my formations and maneuvers to trade weapons around.

The new gear of course goes into storage, so Merlinus can draw it out and then trade it to Rutger so he can use something other than a killing edge.

Lot here is coming with a halberd. I didn’t want to kill Erik until the last reinforcement wave spawned so I just support ground and had Ellen heal. Now Alan can support Roy at last.

I would hope so…

So I guess canonically it’s Roy who’s coming up with these strategies, not just the team working them out together?

What? No they don’t. And we’re outpacing the enemy so far.

Ok, canonically Roy is not coming up with these strategies, he’s been looking at entirely different battlefields where the enemy has lines rather than coming at us in small, disorganized groups for no reason.

We have been. That is literally what I’ve been doing in pretty much every turn of every battle. But Roy now rejects that idea as too dangerous. And that’s the support.

Ok, now Im getting ahead in Str.

The cavaliers spawn and charge.

This is Erik’s favorite phrase; he used it earlier when talking to Narshen too.

The same guy lives in both villages. And both are betraying Erik just as fast as Erik betrayed the alliance. They did the same thing 20 years ago. That’s just Laus’s thing apparently.

Shopping done, Ward gets the angelic robe. That’s actually temping to use. Afterall, there will be plenty of less helpful stat boosters and the earlier one is used, the more helpful it is.

Dieck, Rutger, and Clarine reinforce the top without breaking their support formation.

Lugh is doing great!

So I did that whole handaxe vs Erik thing to make him switch to this javelin, but even with that I don’t have a good chance of halberding him. Fortunately, with rescue dropping and a healer on hand I can just try this again and again till it works.

Oh, it worked this time!

How powerful are supports? Well here’s Alan attacking without his B and C support.

And here he is with it. +3 damage and +10 hit and Erik takes massive penalties. Specifically, I believe his bonuses are +3 Attack, +1 Def/Res, +15 avoid, +10 hit, +7.5 critical, and + 5 critical evade. And he’s only 3/5 done powering up.

It’s enough to drop Erik.

He’s about average overall, but this Allen is FAST and that’s a darned good stat to be blessed in.

Chad finally gets a level that isn’t just awesome. You may be wondering how he’s been gaining XP so fast. Remember that thieves gain it something like 50% (but not quite) faster.

Lugh comes to help with this last wave now that the cavaliers were easily dealt with.

Clarine can survive the hit.

And next turn she gets a very good level from healing Lugh.

Turn 15, all is cleared. And I think I’m actually pretty close to the 120 max support points gained cap, so I’m ending it here.

No, they’re dead. Again.

Evidently he’s looking upset about having to kill his fellow Lycians. Not that we can tell because characters don’t have multiple expression portraits in this game. They also don’t blink. This makes it a heck of a lot easier to get screenshots at times, but it all makes them look a lot less lifelike.

And this whole line makes absolutely no sense if FE7 happened.

Open mouth, insert foot.

It’s like déjà vu all over again!

See, the reason she came along originally was in hopes that if they talked with Hector, they could reach a peaceful end to the war. But Hector is dead and Lycia is being overrun, so it looks like fighting is Roy's only option now.

Would YOU want to go back to a castle Narshen might visit?

Or Zephiel for that matter.

There’s that phrase again and Roy picks up on it.

He didn’t hear Zephiel talking to Hector, not that it made sense then either.

That’s the million gold question.

So he’s been talking about it forever in front of everyone, but no one has any idea what in the world he means. He must be just amazingly bad at communicating his ideas.

Actually, he’s got the worst reason ever and he’s even more of a jerk than it seems.

No, but the whole point is killing people. I guess this might be kind of a hint or foreshadowing of that, but I don’t think the script is really that clever in this case.

And the chapter pretty abruptly ends. And the group goes on their merry way. This plot basically gets recycled but in a less stupid fashion two chapters from now. First there’s a pointless filler chapter! Which this one kind of ended up being too actually because the characters basically pay no attention to it and it reads like half the script is missing.

Total Restarts: 0, this chapter is trivial if you know about (or are lucky enough to have no problems with) the one wave of cavaliers from behind.
Turn Surplus: -12 (Unchanged and will probably trend slowly upward from here, possibly with one more dip as I do my last bit of grinding to get Lance and Alan to an A in time for 7)
Things I Regret Missing: A couple of uses of Marcus’s silver lance on Rude