Ah, chapter 8. Despite the ominous title, its actually fairly straightforward. But this is a key turning point in the plot. And though its a little too simple in terms of gameplay, I think its one of my favorites in terms of story and character development.
Lyn and company have at last reached the borders of Caelin. However, Caelin forces loyal to Lundgren are waiting for them on the border. At the end of this fratricidal battle, Matthew returns from sniffing around for information and reveals that Lord Lundgren has been poisoning the Marquess and has killed or jailed or silenced all his political opponents. Whats more, hes spread a believable official story that Lyn is merely a pretender to the throne, a lookalike dug up by Sain and Kent as a pretext for seizing power. This is why many soldiers loyal to Caelin are fighting against Lyn. Lundgren is asking his neighbors for their support in putting down this attempted usurpation and theres no way Lyns small band can take on the forces of so many cities at once alone. So they hurry back to Khathelet to find Eliwood and ask him for his diplomatic help afterall.
We really have come a long way. Lyn is not the person who set out with Market to hone her swordfighting skills months ago. Shes become a much more formidable warrior for starters, but theres more than that. Back then she was driven by having lost her family, now what matters is that shes found a new one. And shes not going to lose this one. Back then she could barely take care of herself. Now shes leading a sizable band of soldiers on a rather dangerous campaign to topple the ruler of a small country and shes taken all sorts of people in need of help under her wing.
In 10 chapters theres been quite a lot of story and quite a lot of development. And things are building up to a pretty awesome ending.
I thought about giving a little War Room section to ballistae, but they dont deserve that. As you can see, ballistae are wholly ineffective even in cutscenes.
For those totally unfamiliar with them, FE7 ballistae are basically giant cars that archers get in and drive around. While driving one (which prevents you from moving into woods or anything) they can be used like a bow with 5 shots and huge (3-10) range. However, their Might is only 8 (so 2 better than a measly iron bow) and their Hit is a low 70 and the things have a mind-blowing Weight of 20 which means if youre using one, everyone and everything double attacks you and you cant dodge for your life.
This is not to mention that, just as normal magic is pretty much always better than normal bows, the super-long range magic well see later is pretty much always better than ballistae.
In short, even if archers were good, ballistae would still be unimpressive. But archers are terrible. On top of that, theyre really rare and appear on only a few maps. At worst theyre kind of a nuisance to your flyers since that 8 Might gets doubled to a fairly significant 16. But still, no big deal.
Sain and Kent quickly explain how you deal with ballistae to Lyn, who has apparently never heard of them. Once again, Sain shows himself to be a good deal cleverer than one might expect.
Battle Preparations & the Map
Matthew will not be joining us this level (just as well, theres nothing to steal). Instead hell be running off to town to
So heres the map. The only 2 complications are the ballista and that loads of these enemies are using XReaver weapons. For those of you who didnt read The War Room Part 3, these are weapons which reverse the normal rock-paper-scissors rules of the game and double the bonuses conferred. Plus they have pretty solid stats. The boss, for example, has an Axereaver which means that unlike most Knights who are vulnerable to axes but strong vs swords- Lyn has a huge advantage against him. You get your very own Lancereaver from that top right village, but its far too expensive to use.
No new characters or anything, so theres just the boss.
Whats going on here!? Somebody get that girl! Yogi, Chapter 8
Apparently incapable of recognizing defeat when he sees it, Yogi is the first enemy you fight who is actually a soldier of Caelin. Remember, all of Lundgrens men up till now have been hired thugs and assassins and mercenaries. If it had been Caelin soldiers attacking you in Araphen, that would have caused a pretty serious diplomatic incident or perhaps a war.
Anyway, until after hes been slain and Matthew returns we dont know why the soldiers of Caelin are siding with Lundgren. Its quite possible that this man honestly believes the story that Lyn is a pretender to the throne and thinks hes fighting to save his country. It IS a fairly plausible lie afterall. Unfortunately for him, hes a pretty cruddy fighter so he dies a confused- but arguably heroic- death.
Theres an armory here where I pick up a spare iron lance to trade to Florina later since hers is getting pretty worn out.
Sain moves down to the chokepoint. Hell advance south and kill most of the enemies on this level while Florina and Lyn take out the top ones. The ballista is too far away for Florina to reach on her own, but with an extra move from Nils she can do it. The trouble is that will give the cavaliers and archers in the area a shot at her. They wont kill her but she wont kill them either despite double-attacking the cavaliers, which wastes a bit of money. Oh well, I want that ballista to stop shooting.
People on ballistae are sitting ducks. Florina nets a decent level. I really need some more strength or defense on her though.
She failed to dodge anything, so she was injured terribly and I have to pull her out. The trouble is the second archer could step up and shoot her with the ballista. But with a little help from Nils, I can evac her out of even its considerable range. Then when the cavaliers are gone she can come back with his help and kill this last archer.
Thats like a strategy.
This guys damage output is insain.
Cavaliers done, Florina double moves back with Nils help to kill the second ballistician.
Lyn continues her grand tradition of never dodging anything. Shes kinda lower level than I planned on because she keeps getting badly injured early in levels and I cant heal her, so I always have to pull her back and let Sain do the work. The true chance of getting hit this time was 8.2% (http://old.serenesforest.net/general/truehit.html or look at the War Room, part 4 to learn why)
This guy down here is one of the original cavaliers. After getting injured by Florina he ran down here and cowered for the rest of the level. I THINK hes trying to get onto a fort to heal, but hes not using one of the open ones for some reason.
Did you see how far away Lyn was in the last screen-cap? Courtesy of Nils and Florina, now shes about to be dumped right near the boss (and she could have been even closer). Rescue dropping is very handy. In this case I wont actually drop her since shes too badly injured, but I wanted to point out that she can be dumped into the river. As mentioned in War Room, part 2, only Lords can go through rivers and they do so at terrible speed (it uses up their whole movement). But as you can see, you can drop a unit into any terrain type that unit can go into at all with equal ease. So rescue-dropping (even with non-air units) can help you get across rough terrain in a hurry. That will be useful later as youll see.
This is the first 0% hit chance weve seen all game. Sain is very fast, on a fortress, and facing a guy with a swordreaver. As mentioned, Swordreavers have doubled weapon triangle disadvantage vs axes so the guy is taking a whopping -30 penalty to hit on top of the fortress -20, Sains high dodge, the swordreavers low base hit, and his own cruddy skill.
So Sains speed is now equal to his strength. This is CRAZY.
Level over. It was Ninian and Nils prescience with regard to danger that supposedly helped Lyn dodge that initial ballista bolt. Of course, we all know it would have either missed her anyway or hit for tiny damage.
Talking about the battle, Kent reacts with his usual stoic calm, but is appropriately torn up about having had to kill men he knew in that last battle.
Sain deals with the same sort of guilt by trying to rationalize away the fallen as totally deserving it. I really like this scene, it does a pretty good job of capturing some of the different ways people deal with having to kill in war.
And then Matthew returns, congratulates you, and explains that the marquess is dying because of poison, not real illness.
Another great scene, Lyn is infuriated that Lundgren is being allowed to get away with killing his brother for the throne when so many people are sure hes to blame.
And thats so often the truth of it. Terrible wrongs dont happen because there are a lot of Lundgrens around; they happen because of the ignorance or cowardice or laziness of otherwise decent people.
The plot thickens as Matthew reveals the official story Lundgren is spreading and Lyn realizes its actually really hard to dispute.
Next time: Eliwood saves the day! Again!