The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Binding Blade

by Melth

Part 23

A return to normality after the last two unusual chapters, this is a fairly straightforward brawl with some decently interesting terrain.

It’s sort of a weird limbo level that doesn’t really advance the war-related plot at all and basically relates to nothing except Fa, the dragon girl introduced last chapter. It would have been a much better chapter (and a WAY better storyline overall, as I’ll get into next chapter) if this border castle was actually said to be important for winning the war, rather than so irrelevant that the enemy commander has no idea why you’re attacking.

Chapter Summary:
Fa inexplicably gets ahead of Roy while following him and is immediately captured by the enemy. Who don’t realize what she is. Roy kills them all and takes her back and then let’s her join him. Which tidily makes the whole running away story kind of pointless.

We’re turning toward Etruria to fight the actual enemy!

Oh good, a distraction. It would be terrible if we made some progress on the whole Etruria thing.

See, they have no idea she’s a dragon. Unlike Sophia, Fa is smart enough at age 4 not to blab all about that.

This chapter actually does have this really great dramatic irony thing going on.

The soldier shows her the dragon stone Fa carried as a reason not to release her immediately. And they both recognize it as a dragon stone and discuss how the war dragons carried them and used them to turn into dragon form.

But he still doesn’t put it together and doesn’t seem to even wonder why she came to have a stone like that.

The jerk brigade arrives on the scene on turn 1.

If Douglas can actually get to King Mordred’s side, all problems should be solved. Douglas and Douglas alone knows that Mildain is still alive. All he has to do is tell the king and the king will cheer up and start remembering what his job is. And if he can get to the king, he and his men could probably protect him from the coup forces (who are relying on the king cooperating with them to maintain their legitimacy and support). The only reason the coup has gotten this far is that Douglas has more or less willingly and knowingly cooperated with them in every way, doing everything possible to ensure the king remains at their mercy.

What? That must be a translation screwup. Percival IS the knight general! Douglas just said “This job can only be done by you. But they sent you to do it anyway! How evil of them!”

With good reason! If either of these guys turned against them at any point in the proceedings, the coup would have been stopped. These guys didn’t just not resist; they actively participated on the side of the coup- with Douglas going beyond even what was asked of him by working from the beginning to ensure the king was easy to control.

This man, worrying about hypocrites? Ha!

And then he goes, “Yeah I’m well aware that Etruria and the king are doomed. I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing.”

Stay by his side and fight tooth and nail to ensure his downfall.

But he tells Percival to leave (and go where? Bern is going to rule the whole world).

And then Percival ignores him and just gets on with trying to murder Etruria’s only hope for no reason. There were absolutely no consequences when he disobeyed Roartz and just walked away from a critical battle before; and yet here is going above and beyond the call of duty to work with them again.

Offscreen Roy learned this from some peasants who saw her being taken apparently.

Igrene pops up and talks about dragon stones for a while. Her original point was that as long as the people who captured Fa don’t find her dragon stone, she’s probably fine. They found it and she’s still fine.

Wow. That conclusion took an Olympic long jump to reach. We never do find out the real reason for the soldiers deploying, but probably they just spotted us.

Battle Preparations & the Map:

First off, I checked in with the Prince of Jerkness to see how I’m doing on rankings:

Aw yeah! That means my combat ranking finally went back to the 5 star level after I massacred the enemy last chapter. Plus of course I got my tactics back into the 5 star zone too and the rest were already there. Things are looking good, though it’s waaaay too early to relax. A single bad chapter for combat will drop me back to 4 stars there.

Secondary Objective: Recruit Percival with Lalum
Secondary Objective: Recruit Garret with Lilina
Secondary Objective: Make sure Percival’s 4 cavaliers escape alive to get a Knight Crest
Secondary Objective: Get the Divine tome from the nearby village
Secondary Objective: Get the Hammerne staff from the mid right village
Secondary Objective: Do some shopping
Secondary Objective: Build some supports
Reinforcements: Kind of annoying. On turn 3 there’s Garret and 2 brigands from the top right area. They’ll destroy the mid-right village on turn 5 or something. Then on turns 12-16 there are 2 cavaliers from some spots near the castle and also 2 from the top middle forts, all with mixed steel lances and javelins.
Turn Limit: 20. Trivial.

The map is only moderately too big, and almost every part of it actually does have some purpose. The terrain in general is quite well thought out here, and that’s pretty cool. I mean, you’ve got this annoying choice of a tight chokepoint north of the village or a move-wasting detour south around it as you try to get out of your starting area for one thing. And then there’s that block of forests which you’ll be dealing with during one of the biggest fights. Meanwhile the whole spiral map shape practically begs for an air-drop or warp to speed things along.

Anyway, there’s a decent amount going on for a non-dungeon map. 2 characters to recruit in different areas, some villages (one of which you really must hurry to), a bunch of enemies including some rare Valkyries, and potentially some green units to protect. Nonetheless, it’s a fairly straightforward battle. Like most FE6 maps you fight a small number of enemies per turn since they’re really scattered. In this case, that actually somewhat interesting since it makes it harder to break through and save the village.

These pests are particularly troublesome. I don’t have anything at all that can double 18 speed, and in fact that’s enough to double most of my party. With solid luck and magic too, these people are very hard to hit and can dish out serious damage. Luckily, kind of like the bolting sage from last chapter, they have staves and will therefore use those instead of fighting a lot of the time.

Units Allowed: 11 + Roy + Igrene. Plenty. It’s nice to be able to bring a bunch of people again.
Units Brought:
1) Roy. Required and pretty terrible, he can easily be instant-killed by many enemies at this point. It’s about time to start training him up a bit again. I don’t want to be trying to get him to 20 on chapter 21.
2) Igrene. Required. You know, Igrene surprised me by being fairly useful here. She’s got the right balance of good enough damage to kill at least some targets and bad enough damage to often let you feed kills to weaker people. And having a promoted unit’s 6 movement helps.
3) Lalum. Even more useful than ever now that she’s got the boots, and necessary to recruit Percival.
4) Lilina. One of my best and most versatile units, she’s also needed to recruit Garret. And I want to get back to support building.
5) Oujay. Speaking of which, Oujay is going to be her other support partner. The two of them work very well together and they’ve both grown into god-tier units after some major stat blesses. Oujay is here to make sure I have the firepower to take out Valkyries. When things get tough, he is ready to pull out Durandal on them.
6) Miledy. This map’s layout calls for air units. Miledy is one of my best characters, as usual, and perfect for leading a charge in there. I also want to promote her before next chapter and she’s really close.
7) Tate. Like Miledy but not as good. She’s also not quite as close to promotion.
8) Gonzalez. With all these peaks, it’s actually kind of tempting to have him try to get into the central area on foot, but instead I’ll have him stick with Lilina and try to build support. He’s level 16 or so now and I’m determined to get him to 20 and promote him so I have someone who can use Armads next chapter.
9) Lugh. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have another really strong attacker with the main group. Plus I want to build support with…
10) Ray. There hasn’t been room for him on the team recently, but there is again now. The more promoted magic users I have on the team, the better for my precious combat score. And he’s currently lowish enough level that he’s not bad for my XP score.
11) Sophia. Speaking of which, the much-derided Sophia is joining the team. Yes she’s bad, but if she’s leveled with careful attention she can grow to be mediocre. And she’s really good for my XP ranking, helping make up for how many promoted people I’m using. The other thing is that, unlike last chapter, this one is a really controlled environment. I have a lot of units, the enemy is really spread out, etc. In this situation I can engineer opportunities to safely give kills to her easily.
12) Ellen. I anticipate a party split, so 2 healers is the minimum. Ellen will be a comfortable third. And it’s safe enough to bring her instead of Saul.
13) Merlinus. Bet you never expected to see this loser on the field again! I certainly didn’t. But I have a fair amount of free party space this time, and I have a distinct lack of free inventory space. Nearly every chararacter is holding 5 items, yet storage was getting too full to put stuff in. And this despite not having had a chance to buy much basic gear in a while here. The only way to do something about that is to sell a ton of stuff all at once. And that’s impossible without Merlinus. It took something like half an hour of careful trading to finally get everything I wanted sold into storage, but I managed it and now Merlinus can dump all that junk.
Notable Units Rejected:
1) Alan. It’s a good map for cavalry and I’d like to bring him to help train Roy. However, I can’t really find space for him in the current roster and he’s already promoted.
2) Lance. Really, it’s looking like it was a mistake to promote Alan when I wasn’t ready to promote Lance. I’ve kind of been stuck, unable to use either of them since then.
3) Geese. The large number of cavaliers made this sound like an appealing chapter to use him, and he probably would have made the cut if Merlinus and Sophia didn’t bump him out. An average Sophia is probably more useful overall simply by dint of having magic- when she catches up. And Lot and Gonzalez are now being joined by Alan, Oujay, and probably eventually Dieck in the axe department. That leaves little room for Geese.
4) Lot. I’d have probably brought the lower level Geese instead this time anyway, but he HAS been quite useful in dispatching cavaliers before.
5) Thany. I don’t really need 3 air units to stage an assault on the central area and I’d much rather promote the other two than give her any more levels right now.
6) Saul. Three healers should be plenty.
7) Clarine. Three healers should be plenty.
8) Rutger. It’s really not a good map for sword-specialists. Very few axe users, lots of lances, and it’s also just a map where more movement is good to have too.
9) Dieck. Rutger but not as good, as usual.

I really spent a lot of time tweaking the formation here. Fundamentally, there isn’t really a good option. That mercenary is juuuuust out of reach for any units I’d want to train much, is too fast for anyone to one-round kill, is certain death for anyone fragile I want to get way out in the lead, etc. Plus I need to think about Percival closing in from behind and my plan to get the air units into the center area. With the mercenary ahead, the village in the way, and Percival behind I don’t really have any good options. This formation lets me make the best of the bad situation by rescue-dropping and making good use of the limited space, but it doesn’t really satisfactorily accomplish any of my goals.

Lilina and Oujay are positioned to present a powerful front line, get to work on the merc, and start building support. Miledy and Oujay can get Sophia close enough to the front to maybe get a kill next turn while shielding her. Ray and Lugh will go around the bottom area because someone has to really. And since only one person can carry Gonzalez, Lalum and Tate will have to work together to transport him.

Most people have fairly standard gear (notably including a swordreaver for Gonzalez). Lalum is carrying a pile of weapons for Percival and also an iron bow for Igrene.

The Characters:

Hawkeye’s daughter and successor is apparently the sole warrior tasked with guarding Arcadia from its many foes. Statistically Hawkeye was garbage of course, but he was at least cool and imposing enough in story that you could buy him being tasked with defending Arcadia. Igrene really can’t fill his gigantic shoes. And she’s just not much of a character in her own right. She’s pretty much just there to be X’s former wife, Y’s surrogate mother, etc.

She’s an archer, so she sucks. What, you want more detail? Well alright, she’s more or less the same as Klein statistically. A bit better to start. Both of them are inferior to Dorothy, but not by a ton. And none of them play the same game as Shin and Sue. Don’t use any of them; use Shin and Sue instead. Actually don’t even use those two that much, their good stats are severely undermined by the fact that bows are lousy and the game is full of good magic users. On this particular chapter where you have to bring her and thus might as well use her, she does alright. She’s good enough to weaken targets for low level people and doubles a few things. But that’s absolutely disgraceful for a promoted unit fighting level 15-17 enemies.

Etruria’s second-most important general, Percival is young but respected- unlike Cecilia. Also unlike Cecilia he’s callous and irresponsible. He implied that he was not in favor of helping Lycia- and he only did so because Cecilia convinced the king to order it. And he sides with the coup d’etat forces and watches Cecilia get cut down without any concern at all. He only leaves that battle because Bern’s subsequent behavior was “insulting”. And then in this chapter he ignores even Douglas’s order to leave for the good of the country to go try to kill Roy again for no reason.

Anyway, he’s loyal above all to his beloved Prince Mildain who he thinks died. Douglas knows that and still doesn’t tell him that Mildain is alive. It cannot be repeated often enough that Douglas is an idiot, a jerk, and responsible for nearly everything bad that happened to his country. But Percival is nearly as bad.

People rave about how AMAZINGLY powerful he is and how much better he is than the other cavaliers, but it’s really not true. His bases are indeed quite excellent, but his growths are bad. He’ll finish roughly on par with Alan and Lance- maybe a bit worse overall. But critically his support pool is awful and his support affinity is the very worst in the game. Meanwhile Alan and Lance have great affinities and amazing partners available. So they’re much better units unless you’re doing some kind of no support run or something.

Another ugly bandit guy who for some reason only Lilina can recruit. He makes an argument like Cath’s that its ok for him to make a living stealing because nobles are bad. But… unlike Cath he’s not stealing from nobles. He goes around destroying peasant villages and taking their stuff, forbidding only “unnecessary” killing in the process. In other words he’s a murderous savage who presents an absolutely absurd excuse that we’re apparently supposed to think is reasonable.

He’s terrible. Like amazingly terrible. Never use him. I really don’t get the way hard mode bonuses work in this game. Up until now they’ve gradually been getting bigger chapter by chapter. But Percival and Garret’s bonuses are really small in comparison.

Another palette-swap idiot in the employ of Bern. He never understands until his dying breath that Fa is a dragon and that’s why she has a dragon stone and we’re fighting our way here. And he has terrible hair. It’s like a combover for a guy who isn’t even balding. Anyway, I kind of like that he and Roy are both wrong about what the other knows and thus fight a battle neither of them really wanted without either really understanding what was being fought over.

Statistically, he’s so bad that even Garret could beat him. Let THAT sink in. This is the worst boss in forever.

Playing Through:

The southern group is away. Not much for them to do.

Sophia is carried and dropped.

A minor rescue drop of Ellen by unimportant people.

Tate carries Gonzalez and then drops him.

After equipping his swordreaver of course.

So her support group is established and Lilina attacks. The mercenary will almost certainly die on its own turn since there’s no one here who can’t kill it.

The pursuers advance.

Now here’s a problem enemy. Very few people can fight it safely. And I can’t get anyone there safely.

Well the air units have other places to go. In this position, Miledy can aggro the enemy wyvern rider and then finish it next turn safely.

Igrene moves to take the bow before firing away, as planned.

And with her help, Sophia actually manages to kill this guy! I planned to have Lalum give her another chance in the probable event she missed.

She gained a whole 80 XP but a fairly bad level. Still, the skill is hard to turn down when her accuracy is so awful.

Oujay, Lilina, and Gonzalez wall up with ranged weapons at the ready

Wow my Ray is fast.

So with that archer down we’re safe at last.

The villagers want to help Fa so they give Merlinus the Divine tome.

This is never really elaborated on.

Somehow “Send an item to Merlinus” doesn’t seem like the appropriate phrase here.

Miledy scores an awful level from the other wyvern’s attack.

The Valkyries sure do dodge well.

This mediocre map theme from the beginning is still playing now, way too late in the game. FE6’s music is pretty bad compared to pretty much every subsequent- and some of the previous- FEs as I mentioned, and that they don’t even give us better map themes to ratchet up the drama later like FE7 and 8 do doesn’t help.

The flyers finish the wyvern and then prepare for battle.

There’s no time to stop; Lilina charges full speed ahead into the enemy lines.

Which gave Gonzalez the one point support damage bonus he needed to finish that cavalier off too.

Oujay moves in to draw fire with his handaxe.

And it’s ultimately Ray who finishes the Valkyrie.

Not a bad level for Ellen.

Lalum mostly works with the healer as usual. This is a good spot for her since she can talk to Percival after he moves. Or dance for anyone if that seems more important.

… keep telling yourself that.

Miledy doesn’t care about arrows.

I had bad luck overall this turn, Oujay double-missed here.

Alright, things are a little tense now. I absolutely cannot slow down or Garret will get that village, but those mercenaries are dangerous and Percival is coming up behind us quickly.

This punk has a killing edge. And since he’s in the backish area of the formation, it’s not really feasible to kill him.

If Lilina isn’t in position to talk to him on my next turn, this guy may attack the village.

Miledy and Tate take down the sniper.

And I’ve come up with a strategy here. First the people in the rear attack the targets they can reach. Unfortunately, my troops are so spread out that many rear people can’t attack at all.

Well that’s a lousy level.

Gonzalez gets a decent one though. I’m shredding these enemies as fast as I can.

Now to establish a line- and then blast another one. Gonzalez needs his swordreaver.

Sophia is really not gaining the stats I need.

We’re safe, barring a killing edge critical on Lugh.

Both of them are lucky enough to hit Lilina, but I knew they couldn’t kill her without an improbable crit.

Meanwhile, Tate gets a bad level from her own dangerous situation. The sniper is down but if absolutely every remaining enemy in the area hits, she’ll die.

They didn’t quite, but she was pretty unlucky. Now she’s at 6 HP and many enemies were missed. Worse, that Valkyrie and her minions came this way. I didn’t expect that really.

Well Merlinus does some house visits on his way.

This man talks about the rumors of bandits in the nearby mountains. He’s darned right.

Lalum goes to recruit Percival.

Because he’s a jerk, he was totally willing to ride down an unarmed girl. But at least he’s decent enough to listen to her.

He sorta vaguely recalls Douglas’s adopted daughter. A little.

Dun dun dun!

Yeah, that’s what Douglas told you.

A letter in his handwriting! Well that definitely proves that he was alive at some point in the past! Yeah this recruitment makes more sense if it’s actually Mildain here.

Because she’s crazy.

Lilina recruits another ugly dude with an axe.

You could. But it would be utterly absurd.

… Maybe you could try to make an honest living, like the people you’re killing. They’re doing just fine. Also? What options does destroying their village leave THEM with?

Unfortunately her next sentence isn’t “So die like the other murderous hypocrites we kill every day.” So I have to put up with this loser on the team.

He’s not convinced so she resorts to just standing there and letting him kill her if she wants. Very luckily he doesn’t.

And he inexplicably joins.

Lalum had to run pretty far back to recruit Percival, so he takes the stuff she has for him and then carries her.

I can’t win here with the Valkyrie coming and I can’t even kill this longbowman.

So Miledy carries Tate out and Oujay drops her for healing.

Sophia gets another kill.

I form a new wall, do some healing, and wait.

And apparently those guys stop moving and wait to be slaughtered by their former boss when Garret changes sides.

The Valkyrie has changed course, but its clear I need more firepower to take the middle. First, Lilina heals Tate.

Tate pulls out Gonzalez.

Miledy carries Lilina. And next turn they can drop them.

Another kill carefully prepared for Sophia.

An even worse level up for my trouble.

There is a long explanation of what the staff does. There is no explanation whatsoever of why this lady gives it to us.

... Rumors? They split apart and then fought a whole civil war against each other! And the winning faction of the civil war is encamped in the castle right here! How stupid are you?

Lilina and Gonzalez are dropped in.

Well the Valkyrie is coming, so a wall is quickly deployed and Sophia is carried back to safety by Igrene and Roy after lunging out to get that kill.

The Valkyrie winds up with someone to heal instead.

Percival’s people all escape.

So it’s the beginning of turn 8 and you can see I’ve almost totally routed the enemy. There’s so little to do after the first few turns on this map that I’m skipping whole turns outright here.

Merlinus, having failed as a merchant and epic failed as an adviser, is trying his hand at being a sellsword.

Gonzalez and the crew wipe out the remaining middle enemies easily.

Tate flies back to bring more reinforcements.

Hm, now what? There’s that Valkyrie to worry about out of reach and a big fight here too.

… … …

The three baddest dudes wall off the Valkyrie as everyone else just barely has the firepower to take down the nearby enemies.

Terrible. It wasn’t easy arranging for Roy to get a kill either.

Well at least she gained Luck. She’s getting really close to that speed cap.


Turn 9 there’s basically nothing left.

Merlinus keeps pulling junk out of the convoy and selling it.

Ray was lucky enough to snag the kill on the Valkyrie.

Classic useless Ellen gains. Look at that 0 def. Most enemies now can instant kill her. And that 9 speed. Most of them double her too. She’s so bad.

Tate has Roy now.

Ok, that’s pretty good actually. Nothing left alive in the middle.

Just several turns of slowly walking around and heals.

The map gives us a nice 2-turn warning here. Which is still not nearly as reasonable as a 1-turn warning and them not spawn moving. Especially since they do something almost unprecedented and spawn right out of the castle as well as from the forts here.

The spawnpoints are carefully arranged so that there really is no good way to control them. They cover each other just a little too well. Like Lilina isn’t safe here. There’s nowhere she’s safe. Unless I completely vacate the middle, I can’t feed all the kills to Gonzalez as I wanted. And I definitely can’t drop in Roy.

Even if you’re playing a run where you’re willing to use stat boosters, sell secret books and talismans and goddess icons. Use the cash and the silver card to buy real stat boosters instead. This pretty much applies in every game where you can do that.

So here’s my top left setup. The goal is to give most XP to Ray here and Gonzalez in the middle.

Gonzalez didn’t finish this guy, so Miledy does.

Good. She’s going to cap speed no matter what, but the def is very nice.

Ray is reasonably successful.

He’s apparently so absolutely unimportant that it couldn’t even just be that we want to secure this border and then move forward.

Ok, plan A isn’t working. I’m going to move Lilina here and surround her.

Miledy gets sweet promotion gains.

More speed for my remarkably speed Ray.

Gonzalez gets to work chipping down the boss.

I’m tired of people not attacking him, so Miledy and Tate pull most of the rest out.

Using Sophia here is tricky since she’ll need to be pulled back. And so will Garret.

Percival is exposed, but it worked other than that.

Just not going to gain skill, huh?

Well the reins have stopped, so Roy is dropped in.

Ooh, Skill!

This guy sure is slow. Maybe that hair is actually some kind of parasite that’s been eating away at his brain.

Got to finish on a sucky note. I guess he has capped speed (and he always caps Str). But still that’s, what, 6 1-stat level ups for me this chapter? More? And a bunch of other bad ones too. My levels were absolutely horrible overall this chapter, Sophia in particular. I mean, I was doing everything possible to feed her tons of kills and then she just got some of the worst levels I ever saw.

Merlinus is done selling things, so he buys some keys.

Ray and Lugh support again.

Ray is enough of a jerk to ditch even Lugh and just run off without warning.

Lugh always assumes the best.

And it’s never true. At all. Ray is a very bad guy. He’s rude but ultimately not that terrible to Lugh, but pretty much never even decent to anyone else.

You do that.

Turn 19 win. Not so good. 17 is the hypothetical best time. But the realities of how bad Roy is, plus wanting to feed the reinforcement XP to specific people, basically make that impossible.

We found Fa!

As she said last chapter.

Forget the confusion; people have died!

Wow, that’s abusive and wholly unnecessary. There’s nothing wrong with letting her walk around in town when it’s secret and guarded and surrounded by a sandstorm.

… we’re not even going to ask permission. Roy makes an entirely sensible case that it’s better to bring her with us than leave her behind. This was entirely sensible last chapter too though.

No. You didn’t. You guys ran off to the east for some reason. You never went anywhere near the castle. We did all the work.

Why can only these guys find it anyway? And only if all 4 of them live? Anyway, that’s the chapter. I just barely did better than the XP requirement- and only because I brought the level 2 Sophia and focused hard on training her.

Total Restarts: 8 (I lost once to the killing edge mercenary)
Turn Surplus: +5 (I wanted +7, but at least it’s the right direction)
Things I Regret Missing: A couple of uses of Marcus’s silver lance on Rude, a Chapter 5 nomad Marcus had to kill, two Chapter 12 fighters I couldn’t kill since I needed supports built elsewhere, a pirate and a wyvern rider on 14x who I didn’t have time to go after.
Legendary Weapon Scoreboard: Durandal slew Ohtz using Oujay on chapter 14x, turn 2.