The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Binding Blade

by Melth

Part 9: Chapter 8x and the War Room, Part 42 (Maximizing XP Gain)

Durandal, "The Blazing Sword" really feels misnamed in a game where you get a different sword which actually is on fire when used.

Well this is the first of the 6 sidequests. In each of these you get one of the 8 legendary weapons (Additionally you receive one for free at the beginning of Chapter 21 and the 8th is Zephiel’s unobtainable transformer sword-staff-scepter toy). Collecting each legendary weapon and making sure none of them breaks unlocks the chapters after 22 and the true ending. Failing to find even one or letting one of the legendary weapons breaks means the game ends prematurely at chapter 22.

This one is a nice fun breather level and a good chance to train some weak people. It’s also unlocked really easily; just don’t let Lilina die on the previous chapter.

Chapter Summary:
With Narshen and his band approaching, Lilina and Roy make the dubious strategic decision to go running off to some volcano cave elsewhere to retrieve Durandal, the blazing sword of legend.It was hidden in a cave full of lava where the air is painful even to breath. Inexplicably, there are bandits there. These are dispatched and the sword is retrieved and then Roy walks back to find Narshen has arrived in Ostia while he was gone. Oops.

True. Fortunately they’re not coming full force at us. It’s just Narshen and a few guys in a small group. I have no idea what he did with his army, but it isn’t coming. And it hasn’t been doing anything since chapter 3.

Wheeeee, let’s go adventuring instead of preparing a defense and waiting for the Etrurians!

It’s as random a random battle as can be imagined.

This makes no sense in character. There are specific floor tiles where lava spurts up? Why hasn’t it hardened into rock and filled this place up or at least covered those tiles?

Anyway, pretty much each of these sidequest levels has some kind of trap gimmick. This is one of the least annoying ones.

You know, why isn’t this place still full of guardian ghosts? It was pretty clear in Valorous Roland and The Berserker that we weren’t fighting all of the guardians, and in fact that was part of the point of bringing so few people.

Lilina says she’s mostly alright, but more importantly she has a duty to continue with. Considering that, I have no idea why she’s gallivanting about up here in this cave when Ostia really needs defending right now.

Just in case you didn’t know they’re the game’s quasi-official couple.

Once again, someone is explaining really basic history to Roy. And once again, it makes no sense whatsoever that Roy in particular would know absolutely nothing about this sword since his father came here in person and retrieved it and used it and fought dragons with it.

But Roy knows nothing about Roland –who his father met- or Durandal. Again, this makes way more sense if you assume FE6 and FE7 aren’t both in the same continuity.

Regardless, Roy should know this. But he seems to know absolutely nothing about the basic history or religion of his world so that people can explain it to the player. There’s absolutely no need for this really, the player already knows most of this stuff or could be informed of it in the pre-chapter narration.

Is no one going to ask why there are bandits just hanging out inside a volcano? We’ve got lava spraying everywhere all the time, Eliwood said it hurts even to breathe because their air is so hot, the place is haunted, it should probably have been being watched by Hector, and there should be poison gas everywhere.

The War Room, Part 42:

This chapter is basically nothing but a chance to farm XP, so it’s about time to discuss the XP ranking. See the War Room Part 25 ( for details on how XP is gained. It’s exactly the same in this game as in FE7 basically.

Besides battle XP of course, there are 2 other sources: healing and dancing.

Every time you use Lalum or Elphin, they gain 10 XP. One should take full advantage of that and make sure whichever one you have gets to level 20 before the end of the game. That’s 190 turns of dancing, quite a lot but well worth it.

Every staff has a pre-set amount of XP it generates per user, ranging from 11 for heal to 85 for Warp. To take full advantage of this, heal every single wound every battle. If you can spare the funds, use up the expensive staves that give tons of XP in the final battles. You can also work to create additional wounds to heal or otherwise increase your heal XP in several ways:

1) Use weapons with weapon triangle disadvantage, don’t use terrain, or otherwise increase the odds of the enemy hitting you. Obviously, this can be dangerous so don't get carried away.
2) Stand on trapped squares. Several of the sidequest chapters have squares that damage those who stand in them, sometimes repeatedly. You could grind any amount of heal XP off of those if you wanted to.
3) Heal people who are about to be injured again (or about to level up). The amount of HP restored doesn’t matter, every use of a healing staff grants exactly the same amount of XP. So, say, letting a unit missing 10 HP get a level up and THEN healing it only gives you 11 XP for healing. But healing that unit first puts it at full, then if it levels up and gains HP it can be healed again, for a total of 22 healing XP. Any time an injured person is injured again such that they can still be restored to full HP in one cast, you have lost 11 XP. Any time a person levels up and gains HP when they were injured, you have lost 11 XP.
4) Spend extra turns at the end of each battle healing all injuries.
5) Don’t heal with promoted units. Promoted units gain only half staff XP (plus most of them have more Mag, which means the number of injuries that take 2 uses to heal goes down).
6) Bring many healers. The more healers you bring, the faster you can heal injuries as they arise.

Besides that, the only other thing you can do to increase XP gained is basically just to keep using low level units against the enemy at all times. A total of 50100 XP (or about 501 levels) must be gained in total over the course of the game’s 31 chapters. That’s more than 16 levels per chapter. Quite a few. It can’t even be done on many early chapters. Most people recommend arena grinding to get the needed XP, but I’m going to try to do without that. At the very least, it’s prudent to harvest all available reinforcements on every chapter though. Reinforcements not fought are XP wasted.

Battle Preparations & the Map:

Secondary Objective:Build some supports
Reinforcements: None. It’s as simple as it looks.
Turn Limit: 20. More than enough time even at a leisurely pace.

Sorry about the ugly picture, it’s pretty close to impossible to get the shifting fiery glows to match up while also avoiding the cursor appearing and other such things.

There’s very little to say here. All the bottom left enemies move so there’s no reason to send anyone down there. A random assortment of the rest do. Most mages standing near clusters of the red squares do not.

Unlike Valorous Rolan, only some of the red tiles erupt every turn in this map. I’m not entirely sure what the pattern is, but I’m pretty sure it’s a 2-3 turn cycle. Doesn’t really matter, just don’t end your turns on the things. If you do and they erupt, you take 10 damage.

Units Allowed: 9 + Roy. Moderately restrictive since you need to bring some healers, some good units, and some weak units too.
Units Brought:
1) Roy. He’s handy because he’s bad. He can’t quite one-round kill most things even with support bonuses; perfect for weakening targets. I also really want him to get his final supports with Lance and Alan.
2) Alan. When things get rough, Alan can kill any target I need dead. Cavaliers can smash anything on this map and with supports (which I want to build further) he’ll be solid vs the boss too.
3) Lance. Like Alan but worse, as usual.
4) Dieck. I want to build his support with Rutger and Clarine. Plus sword users are great on this map. He can weaken targets or smash problematic ones.
5) Rutger. Same as Dieck.
6) Oujay. My first weak(ish) unit is Oujay. This is a sword map, so he’ll have an easy time training here. Plus he’s just a solid unit, so it’s not hard to start using him to begin with.
7) Lugh. Mainly here to effectively deal with mages and provide some much needed ranged support.
8) Treck. My second unit to train. As a cavalier, Treck can beat anything on this map. As a low level cavalier, he can score major XP in so doing.
9) Clarine. The usual suspect as far as healing goes, plus she needs to build more support with Dieck and Rutger.
10) Saul. A second healer is necessary.
Notable Units Rejected:
1) Chad & Astol. They get enougb XP on chapters where they’re needed and are decently high level anyway. And there’s not much to steal.
2) Ellen. A third healer for a group this small would be completely superfluous.
3) Lilina. Might have been a good choice, but a lot of the enemies on this chapter are a bit too dodge-y for her. Plus, as usual, magic-users are much easier to start training late in the game than physical units are, so I might actually save her for later.
4) Thany. Too many fighters and archers around.
5) Sue. If I don’t bring Thany, I don’t bring Sue. I need to avoid Sue getting ahead in XP gained.
6) Most other people. Too high level already.
7) The knights. Horrible and too slow.

Henning, the boss, looks like a handful so most people have at least one really solid weapon on them. Other than that it’s standard gear.

The Characters:

You know, I actually forgot to get a picture of Henning it seems and I don’t have an earlier save file to get it from. This site has his stats:

Mine ended up with +1 speed, making him very fast indeed. There’s nothing at all to say about him as a character. He comes from nowhere, shouldn’t be here, has no reason to fight, and is never again acknowledged. He doesn’t even know about the sword he’s standing next to or anything. A particularly absurd filler villain. It’s oddly appropriate for him not to even get his picture here.

Playing Through:

A bit of rescue-dropping of Rutger establishes a solid defensive line immediately.

Treck moves to where both mercenaries can juuuust hit him and the rest move in. As usual Dieck and Rutger are next to each other and Lance and Alan are next to Roy.

Oujay gets things off to a nice start with a lucky critical.

Treck also handles himself well.

The random lava spurts happen, affecting nothing as usual.

Roy weakens a target for Oujay.

And Lance can support him! Yes!

Don’t listen to him! He just wants all the XP for himself!

No, no, no, that’s a common misconception. It’s only when you lose your THRONE that you lose the battle. You can be dead atop it and still win.

Roy makes a counterpoint that if he just stays back, no one will listen to him.

Treck continues to move just far enough to continue tanking as the bottom left enemies keep running after us. And Saul keeps healing him from just out of range. Together they can’t be defeated.

This mage passed up an opportunity to attack, revealing that it's stationary.

I continue to give most kills to Oujay.

Awesome! He’s off to a very good start.

He’s pulled off the lava spot by some rescuing.

Saul keeps Treck fighting and the rest move in as usual, maintaining support formations. There’s little else to say really.

Next turn it’s time to kill that mage.

This square is the one Treck wants to end up in (for purposes of continuing to fight the pursuers), and right now he can attack from there as he moves in, so it’s perfect.

Killing this mercenary actually proves complicated and the result is that I’m forced to leave people besides Treck in range of the pursuers. Oh well.

At least Lugh got a great level out of it.

Oujay just crams himself in here, mostly out of the way.

The pursuing mage is wrecked by Lugh’s brand new +1 Mag.

Finally someone is hurt by one of the fire spouts.

Roy weakens an archer and gets a pretty mediocre level. He’s lousy and can barely kill weak things with maximum offensive supports. This despite being 2 ahead on Str.

Treck prepares for the next pursuer.

More healing.

Nice! Treck is doing great, though falling behind on Def.

Saul is back to his old trick.

These guys don’t move.

Another one for Oujay.


So that’s turn 8, and I’m rounding the corner to begin the next stretch of level.

Phew! I did not notice that guy had a halberd. Total newb mistake.

Of this group, only the myrmidon moves for whatever reason.

Oujay gets another great level. He’s on a roll. There’s really not much more to say about this chapter. It’s just me moving units, keeping people in support formation, and giving kills to Oujay.

Clarine continues to suck.

These guys have handaxes so it’s a slow fight.

Ok it WAS a slow fight. Now he can double them. This is a really fast Treck. And he even got the Def he was missing.

Saul, at least, continues to be below average.

At last Rutger and Dieck support!

Apparently Rutger makes a habit of sneaking up and attacking him mid-battle.

Rutger is a griefer. Cry more, noob.

The bubbles are now messed up for some reason.

This support has nothing to do with their other two really. Those are better.

Treck traps this enemy, so it will die a turn early.

Support formations are maintained as I move into the boss room.

Treck comes running to get some heals now that the enemy are gone.

Oujay kills the last weak enemy.

Welcome to the team! We’ve never had an audition go that well before.

You’re one to talk…

He’s really dodge-y so I’ve got to keep the heat on him with as many attackers as I safely can.

Alan and Roy get their last support at a perfect time.

Wait, squad? Major evidence for the "each unit is actually a bunch of guys led by the face character" theory. Of course, things like Rutger personally sneaking up to attack Dieck in other supports undermine that.

Roy continues to not grasp how FE combat works.

Roy began waxing philosophical and then Alan asked this almost-question.

Even with maximum supports and weapon triangle advantage this guy is hard to kill. So I break out the heavy weapons and do some rescue-dropping to let multiple people attack from up close.

Next turn, Lugh moves in to finish him. And misses.

But kills him with his counter on the enemy turn. A darned good Lugh all in all. The Mag is awesome.

After some final healing, I win on turn 19.

It’s a lot smaller than in FE7.

That’s… what? Ok yes, that’s true, and I’ve always thought his title “The Little Knight” was kind of cool, but what does that have to do with anything? Eliwood was a small man and he wielded Durandal, and that hurt his speed badly but was still doable.

At least she doesn’t come right out and say you need an S rank in swords.

Amusingly, he pretty much can’t. To get an S rank, you need to promote. And he can’t promote till near the end of the game, at which point he immediately has the Sword of Seals. Which only he can use and which is much better for him than the hugely heavy Durandal.

One of the best legendary weapons.

On with the plot! Maybe we shouldn’t have left the castle undefended when we knew they were coming!

Roy walks right into the middle of them like an idiot instead of securing the castle or anything. We could totally beat this group in the castle from last level actually. Just need to chokepoint them and then run Narshen’s runesword out of charges.

You’re one to talk. Narshen is the only guy stupider than Leygance.

Plot twist, Roy was on Narshen’s side all along!

Ok, fine, maybe not. Apparently he really hates Narshen. Though actually, I’m not sure why since he hasn’t seen any of the cutscenes we did. At all. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t heard of Narshen by name except maybe as one of the guys who attacked Castle Araphen.

Well now he knows that at least. Narshen here is claiming credit for someone else’s win. Which is basically his modus operandi as we learn.

Who could it be?! And why does them speaking prevent Narshen from just taking a swing and killing the stupidly undefended Roy?

You suck, Narshen! No scouts to warn you about this giant army approaching? Your entire group is air units for goodness sake.

I’ve always thought his portrait looked really stupid.

That letter got there fast! And then Etruria mobilized its whole army and two of its generals and ran across Etruria and into Lycia ready for battle in less than a day apparently. Yeah that doesn’t make any sense. Particularly since we’re about to learn this wasn’t part of any plan and Cecilia had to persuade the king to try this after getting the letter.

What a ridiculous deus ex machine.

Clearly not. Maybe if Narshen had brought the actual darned army he could win this.

And then she introduces herself. She’s Pent’s successor I guess.

Your fault for not scouting and checking for expansion bases, man. You let them get the resources to tech up and build a giant army while you were just massing one thing they could counter.

Dun dun dun! This will pay off never!

And there they go. Not being attacked. It’s ok, they’ll continue to do nothing at all.

Roy introduces himself.

That probably should have arrived a long time ago.

If you had defended the darned castle, things might have gone differently.

This makes Percival seem like kind of a twerp since he implies he didn’t really want to help- unlike Cecilia. Which makes him really dumb too since, as she points out, it’s clearly in Etruria’s interest to help.

Which just makes it more absurd that a giant army under two of their generals was ready to be in Ostia in less than a day.

They know each other; she taught him to fight in Ostia. That’s what the tutorial consists of actually. Why this Etrurian mage is teaching him to fight rather than his father or Hector I’m not sure.

Me too. Otherwise something unexpected might have happened. Or Roy might have been defeated temporarily for once.

She explains the politics.

Pretty sure it will be already. Bern with the resources of Ilia and Sacae can definitely smash Etruria anyway.

It’s like 6 people! So many he can’t even count them on one hand!

Uh, no he hasn’t. He was just being completely shy and deferential with Percival seconds ago and belittling his skills in some of his supports among other things. The game can’t even keep people’s shallow characterizations straight.

Total Restarts: 3
Turn Surplus: -9 (More progress)
Things I Regret Missing: A couple of uses of Marcus’s silver lance on Rude, a Chapter 5 nomad Marcus had to kill