The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword

by Melth

Part 22: Chapter 17x and The War Room Part 17 (Estimating Enemy Damage)

And here we have perhaps the least important chapter of the game, one which seems to be treated as non-canon even by the immediately ensuing chapter and which is regarded as absurd by the characters as they fight through it! Whether you do this sidequest or not, Eliwood and company will end up in exactly the same place in the exact same circumstances next chapter. And the fact that they’ll have killed from 6 to 20 or so of the crew of the ship now ferrying them to Valor more or less at the invitation of its captain will be completely ignored by all concerned.

Granted, most sidequests have a fairly minimal impact on the plot- that’s why they’re sidequests- but in most cases that actually makes sense. This chapter doesn’t. It’s also completely unclear why having saved Caelin soldiers in the last chapter unlocks this sidequest, in contrast to many sidequests with much more logical requirements.

That said, it’s pretty fun so I don’t really complain about it like I do the filler arc in Awakening for example.

Chapter Summary:
To get to the Dread Isle (Valor) and the Dragon’s Gate, Hector and company will need a ship, so they head for the nearby port city of Badon. You know, exactly the same as they do if you skip this chapter. In Badon they find the commoners are terrified of the infamous island and no one but the fearless “pirate” Fargus and his crew are actually willing to sail there at any price. Captain Fargus proposes a challenge to see if he should give them passage: if they can best or circumvent his fearsome crew, he’ll take them to Valor for free.

Lyn harbors a completely justified hatred of pirates, seeing them as no different from the bandits who slaughtered her tribe. Eliwood and Hector see no alternative though since the villagers are adamant that they will not travel to a place like Valor.

Hector and Eliwood meet the grizzled and rough-spoken captain Fargus, who initially agrees to take them to Valor for a gigantic sum of money: 100,000 gold. Or at least, we must assume it’s gigantic. It’s really not clear how much “1 gold” is actually worth in terms of, say, cattle or farmland. All we know is that this is about the price of 217 low quality swords. That suggests it’s a huge sum of money from a commoner’s perspective but not necessarily that of noblemen who have the resources to equip and field armies. Perhaps it’s like asking for several million dollars.

Neither Eliwood nor Hector carries that much in their pockets, but evidently Uther has that kind of money to throw around if he knows the reason- Hector just doesn’t want to ask his brother for help.

Ceremonial garb, armor, etc. would all be extremely valuable sorts of belongings. Apparently what Hector has to spare would sum up to a significant enough fraction of 100,000 that they could make the rest with a few won bets. This is about all we really learn about the value of “1 gold” and consequently the economy and the wealth of characters in FE other than that a small country village might be able to scrape together as much as 5000 by pooling their resources to pay for an immediate bandit threat to be destroyed.

Fargus’s crewman, Dart, suddenly interrupts them to say that Fargus actually would rather challenge them to some sort of contest which involves the pointless death of most of his crew than rake in massive amounts of cash for providing a boat ride. Why Dart and the other men don’t object to this plan is beyond me. Again, I kind of feel like the events of this level are basically not treated as canon.

The War Room, Part 17

So this is the first level in a while where the enemies really have potentially tremendous damage-dealing potential. That makes it a good time for a quick talk about how to estimate how much damage you’ll take and thus whether leaving a character in a certain position will result in death or not.

The simplest approach is probably to assume that every enemy possible attacks and hits your most vulnerable character. Just check the movement ranges of all enemies and figure out how many can attack your character before they block each other. You can tell which enemies will attack in order by right clicking an enemy and then holding the down button to scroll through the list in the order they’ll attack (The boss is at the ‘top’ of the list usually). Remember to consider that if your character kills the attacking enemy, a new enemy can potentially take that one’s place.

Then just look at the listed damage of the relevant enemies, include any weapon triangle or super-effective bonuses and terrain penalties (Consult The War Room, Part 4 for a full explanation) and subtract your character’s resistance or defense as appropriate. If the sum of all these damages is > your character’s HP, you can assume your character will die. That method is very simple and very conservative- it completely ignores your chance of dodging and also the possibility of the AI targeting other characters. You should never lose a character if you just abide by that method, but on the other hand you won’t take enough risks to play efficiently. I generally find it appropriate for quickly calculating whether a character you want to train can be thrown at a given group of enemies when you have plenty of alternatives.

A good middle-ground approach is to do the same as above, but multiply each unit’s calculated damage to your character by their listed chance to hit- this gives you a good approximation of their expected damage. If this number is near or above your character’s HP, your character has a high chance of death. This does not factor True Hit in of course.

The most complex and accurate method is the same as the middle ground approach, but you get out the true hit tables and replace the displayed hit chance with the true hit chance.

On rare occasions your enemies will actually have a chance to crit your units- usually because they’re wielding Killer weapons or the like. Remember that the critical chance is checked after determining if a hit occurs. So if your unit has a true hit chance of 50% and a crit chance of 50%, then there is a 25% chance of scoring a normal hit and a 25% chance of scoring a critical hit, and a 50% chance of missing. On the rare occasions when you need to deal with enemies with killer weapons, I’d advise just trying to make sure they can’t kill any of your troops even on a crit- or finding a way to eliminate them without them getting to attack at all. But again, you could just conservatively assume every enemy that can crit crits (in which case you multiply their final calculated damage by 3) or you could take the middle ground approach and consider each enemy’s expected damage done to be = calculated damage x displayed hit chance x (1 – crit chance) + calculated damage x displayed hit chance x (crit chance) x3. For the ultra-accurate version, just substitute in the true hit chance for the displayed one as usual.

Battle Preparations & the Map:

Units Allowed: 6
Units Benched: Kent (Way too weak and speed is no longer so important), Florina (too many axe users and other enemies she can’t handle), Oswin (Far too slow and ineffective vs axe users), Erk (Too fragile), Matthew (Nothing to steal),
Units Added: Raven. This is Raven’s level; it’s jam-packed full of juicy targets for him to kill for training.
Objective: TALK to Fargus. This can be done with any unit. If you attack him, you lose so don’t misclick.
Secondary Objective: Recruit Canas from the top nearby village.
Secondary Objective: Visit the bottom nearby village for the Devil Axe.
Secondary Objective: Visit the top middle village for the Short Bow.
Secondary Objective: Visit the top left village for the Lancereaver
Secondary Objective: Visit the village just above the main pirate formation for the Sleep staff
Secondary Objective: Kill the high level pirates and Damian and his reinforcements.
Reinforcements: Once you enter the range of one of Fargus’s high level soldiers, Damian and a contingent of cavalry (1 cavalier, 1 nomad, and 1 troubadour) will spawn-move from the bottom leftish area one turn later.
Turns Allowed: 10

It’s a bonus round! There’s almost half a dozen villages full of goodies, even if most aren’t actually that valuable, plus a bunch of totally optional very high level pirates you can kill for XP or challenge. For those of you out there who aren’t doing a challenge run, there’s also an arena in which you can grind your characters into invincible death machines that makes the rest of the game boring.

The nearby strange looking building is basically a house or tan-roofed village. You don’t get anything for going there, but the semi-recurring character Anna makes a pointless cameo and will be mentioned again next chapter if you visit it. Over by Fargus is the character Dart who will join you later and won’t fight you on this level. Don’t attack him! If he dies now, he’s lost forever!

One critical thing to understand on this level is that the non-circled pirates will charge your position but are really weak- free experience for your low level units really. The circled pirates are extremely high level, armed with weapons the likes of which have never before been seen, and are initially docile. If you don’t move into their attack range, they’ll never go after you and Damian and his black fang troops will not appear. Provoke one of them though and they’ll all charge, so make sure you’re ready. If you’re some kind of pansy, you can skip fighting them altogether by just sending a unit around the top fringe of the map and behind the shops to talk to Fargus without entering their range.

But the best way to win quickly is no doubt to aggro them immediately from a position of strength, thin the herd down to a few leftovers before turn 2, mop up the rest and Damian on turns 2 and 3, and do mass village visiting + talking to Fargus on turn 4.

Your biggest problem will be the tiny number of allowed units. Make sure you pick at the very least your best 2 (and a good sword user, probably Raven, for the top pirates) as well as a healer and any troops you want to try to funnel some XP to.

See that forest near the mass of high level pirates? That’s the ideal point from which to trigger their attack. But there’s absolutely no way to move there on your own on turn 1; it’s too far and woods slow down paladins too much. Instead you’ll need to use rescue-dropping to get your best unit into position. For me that’s undoubtedly Sain. You also need 2 units with 7+ movement to drop him into position. I’ll go with Marcus and Lowen. It’s best if they can take a hit or two.

As I explained before, you typically want the rescuee to start behind the rescuers and to run past them and then wait. That way the rescuers don’t have to waste any movement running backward before grabbing the rescued party. In this case, putting Sain in the bottom left area rather than Raven or Priscilla’s starting positions allows him to reach Canas’s village and still have enough movement to get past Canas after Canas steps out. Meanwhile Raven can move into the attack range of the closest northern pirate and Priscilla can visit the nearby inn or whatever else you want her to do while Hector moves along the lower path toward the pirates.

Sain is packing a handaxe so that he can counterattack and kill the enemy archer, mage, and shaman without letting the axe-wielders have a weapon triangle edge. He also has a Horseslayer for Damian. Marcus and Lowen have iron weapons and javelins, Raven gets both an iron and a steel sword (and a vulnerary in case of bad luck), and everyone else’s gear is unchanged.

Time to start!

Just before the map starts, Lyn reappears from trying and failing to find a non-pirate captain willing to ferry them and decides to just be reasonable and put up with pirates since it’s the only option. She’s fierce and she’s stubborn, but she’s not stupid or senseless.

Lyn was not present for any of the conversations leading up to the battle so they try to explain what’s going on to her. Lyn doesn’t understand because the situation is absurd, but joins in (if you chose to put her on the map).

Raven introduces himself as well, making no mention of his secret plans to kill that guy you need to keep alive every chapter.


“I’ve some skill with a form of elder magic… Some call it dark magic, a rather biased term, if I must be blunt.” –Canas, Chapter 17x

Only (functionally) surviving child of one of Elibe’s most famous and respected dark mages, Canas is a traveling wizard and scholar of no small ability. As he’s introduced, he too is trying to get to the Dread Isle (in his case because it was once a center of study of dark magic) and he too has been rebuffed by everyone but Fargus.
Unlike most other people in your party, Canas is already quite well established in life. He already has something of a reputation for his knowledge of dark magic, a home he could return to at any time, and appears to be happily married with a young son. Unlike Marcus, however, he’s not yet satisfied and is driven by his tremendous scholarly curiosity to try to learn all he can – not only of dark magic, but of other scholarly fields as well.
Much like Lucius, Canas is a kind and gentle man and is humble and patient at all times. Like Lucius, he’s suffered a great deal- a harsh upbringing and the loss of all his brothers to the dark magic they studied among others things- but is a resilient person who such tribulations have only made stronger and more compassionate. And much like Lucius, there’s no way to earn a happy ending for him.
What can I say? I have a thing for everyday kindness and decency , so I like Canas as much as Lucius and Eliwood- maybe even more since he seems a little bit more human that either of them. For one thing, his love of learning is a flaw as well as a strength and often takes him away from his family or leads him to put himself in perils better avoided. For another, he seems to better understand people and be genuinely interested in them and capable of personal rather than just general sympathy for anyone- even Nergal. Many of his supports are some of the game’s most interesting, like uncovering the secrets of Renault’s past or exploring the nature of the magic of Elibe with Pent, as well as some of the sweetest – like teaching Nino to read.

Canas is the one true god. He’s the only character who will be on my team from the moment he joins all throughout the game on every difficulty and in every mode. At first glance his stats are only pretty good, rather than amazing, but it’s his across-the-board pretty goodness coupled with his exclusive access to the matchless power of dark magic that makes him the best character in the game for my style of play.

His magic power exceeds that of almost everyone else in the game at most levels. Lucius has far greater growth but slams into his low cap early so that Canas catches up to him around 20/20. Furthermore, Dark Tomes have significantly greater Might than Anima or Light tomes, which means his damage is better than every other mage’s- almost always enough to 2-hit kill any non-boss enemy. Meanwhile he has more HP than every single other magic user and more Defense than everyone except Renault (and much more in most cases), making him the toughest magic user around against accurate enemies. His dodge is also very good, though not quite as good as a few other mages’. For what it’s worth, his resistance too is very respectable, though not the very best.

All told he has the best damage and the best all-around defenses of any magic user, enough skill to hit anything, and enough speed that- while slower than most other magic users- he’s still faster than most of your non-magic units and easily quick enough to double all or nearly all enemies once he’s leveled.

Speaking of which, Canas’s starting stats are quite excellent and allow him to immediately begin ripping up enemies and acquiring large amounts of XP with very little effort.

So Canas shapes up well against every other usable magic user in a ranking run, takes next to no work to train to a good level, has the damage to beat down nearly anything, and enjoys the tremendous usefulness that comes with using magic with its 1-2 range all the time. But there’s much, much more. You see, Dark Magic doesn’t just have the best overall stats of any magic type, it also has all the spells with special effects. Two of these (Nosferatu and Luna) are exceedingly powerful. Nosferatu is extremely heavy with massive Might and a huge price tag, but it causes the wielder to heal by the amount of damage he inflicts with every single attack. Since it’s so expensive, I never use that, but if you don’t care about price, it’s perhaps the best overall weapon in the game since it can keep you alive against nearly any foe- or any number of foes. In FE8 it truly comes into its own as the ultimate weapon on the final floor of Lagdou ruins, but in this game it’s overshadowed by…

Luna. For a ranking run, nothing beats Luna. It is a C level (and therefore easily accessible) dark magic spell that weighs in at a hefty 12, slowing Canas significantly. The spell has a mind-blowing accuracy of 95, tying or greatly exceeding every other weapon in the game with the sole exception of the useless Slim Sword which beats it by 5. It has a huge crit of 20- and considering that virtually no other tomes grant a decent crit chance, that’s quite remarkable. And most importantly, Luna has no Might but negates the enemy Resistance. Essentially this means that Luna will hit ANY target – even lategame bosses on gates with 20 or 30 Res- for the wielder’s Magic in damage with 100% accuracy and a 30% or so chance to instead do 3x the wielder’s Magic, which is pretty much an instant kill on anything no matter what. Luna is the ultimate boss killer. Accept no substitutes. On a max ranking HHM run where your characters are chronically underleveled, the bosses are much stronger, and you don’t have time to waste with misses, Luna is beyond value.

In conclusion, as a magic user Canas does damage most people with weapons can’t hope to match and can counterattack everything in the game. As a shaman, he has weapon triangle advantage or parity against nearly all enemy magic users. He can also become a highly effective healer upon promotion. He’s far more durable than many other magic users- exceeding them all in overall toughness, though he lags behind some in dodge chance. This often makes him the only magic user you can trust to be a front line fighter in HHM. And because he has exclusive access to Luna, he is the ultimate boss assassin and therefore the one responsible for maintaining your tactics score on many of the toughest chapters of the game.
In my experience, Canas is simply the best overall character in the game. At the very least, he’s nearly indispensable for max ranking HHM.

“Listen to me, laddie. Men are strange beasts. We can’t resist a challenge. Something appears in the horizon, and we immediately set sail. Some dreams we conquer, others we abandon. …I’ve grown old. I haven’t had a good challenge in many a year. Then you mooncalves appear seeking passage to the Dread Isle. I was impressed with your courage. I think you may be the ones to survive the Dread Isle.” – Fargus, Chapter 17 of Eliwood’s Story

The not-boss of the chapter is a strange old coot with the most dangerous pirate crew on the ocean. I say “pirate” in only the loosest sense of the word however. At no point are any of them implied- let alone shown- to actually engage in any piracy whatsoever. They don’t even seem to be outlaws in Badon- in fact they’re so well regarded by the citizenry that when the city comes under attack, they wish that Fargus was there to save them. Fargus himself seems like the kind of character who’s totally going to join your party as an excellent- but slow- prepromote in the final chapters, but never quite does. Even so, he’s one of your greatest allies throughout the story- far more useful than, say, Uther.

We’re supposed to think Fargus is heroic and brave and noble- if endearingly uncouth. And he is, except on this chapter. In this chapter he’s insane and cares nothing for the lives of his crew, throwing them away for his amusement. His crew don’t seem to mind. Or to be at all thinned out by you killing 20 of them. In fact, it’s almost like this chapter’s events don’t actually happen at all…

He has all sorts of battle dialogue which you should never see, because if you do see it then you just lost the chapter. Even if your character doesn’t get instant-killed by his overwhelming stats, he’ll refuse to give you passage if you attack him instead of talking. The development team really thought of everything.

Fargus’s elite pirates have enormous level and consequently mighty stats as well as excellent weapons. Spells you’ve never seen before. Weapons you haven’t even received as treasure. And vulneraries for many of them. They’re armed with the best so they hurt badly if you’re hit by these guys. His other pirates are a joke, like brigands from Lyn’s story.

“You’re about to die. Scream if you must.” –Damian, Chapter 17x

The first of 3 Black Fang paladin minibosses who come more or less out of nowhere and are either hilarious or awesome. Although there’s no canonical connection between them, I like to assume they were all friends or relatives. Pretty much everything Damian says is great and he’s tough as nails- though not very good on offense for a paladin.

In Hector’s story, he’s much less of a threat than he was on Eliwood’s story because he no longer has his fearsome killing edge to crit your units for instant kills with. His inferior weapons more than make up for his better stats and leave him much less of a threat. Still, if you don’t know he’s coming, he can easily kill someone left exposed to his sudden onslaught.

Playing Through:

Before rescue-dropping Sain into position to begin the real battle, he runs to this village to recruit Canas.

The world’s greatest bemonocled scholar of ancient magics joins the party.

From this position, Raven will cut his way through all the weak northern pirates. Remember, most of the enemies on this chapter are weak- it’s only the two groups circled on the map + Damian who are a threat.

Lowen makes sure Sain has his handaxe ready and picks him up. Having him do the first rescue instead of Marcus will let Lowen stop short and thereby avoid more of the powerful enemies who I want to go for Sain or Marcus.

Fargus uses perhaps the greatest insult ever to describe Lowen, Sain, and anyone else who enters his elite pirates’ attack range and thereby triggers their charge.

Since there are many ranged enemies to deal with, Marcus makes sure he and Sain both have versatile weapons equipped before dropping him in the forest.

And Priscilla visits the inn where that wimp Anna advises us to miss out on all the XP and our tactics score just to avoid fighting the high level pirates.

Sain gets a nice level as the enemy onslaught begins.

Oh. Darn it. The enemy critted Lowen after the previous axe user got a lucky hit, killing him.

Now I have to restart. But I pledged I would not be abusing the mine glitch, the arena, or the RNG as I began this LP (except for using the RNG to hit Kishuna). This means I can’t just play through again with the same strategy but change one thing around so Lowen doesn’t get critted; that would be just the same as manipulating the RNG. The only fair thing to do is what I’ve been doing whenever I was forced to restart up till now: come up with a new, second-best strategy and implement that one instead.
Back to the drawing board.

Battle Preparations 2: Electric Boogaloo

Units Benched: Marcus (I didn’t want to use him except to rescue-drop anyway, and I’m no longer doing the rescue drop), Lowen (Mostly useful for the rescue drop and he can’t take the heat on this chapter other than that).
Units Added: Lyn (she needs to be leveled up a lot and the enemies on this level are vulnerable to her. The Mani Katti’s effectiveness vs Damian doesn’t hurt. Eliwood is basically the same except he can’t double most enemies and the Rapier is weaker.

Raven’s new position lets him get into battle faster so he can charge right through and fight the handaxe pirate next turn instead of needing to spend another turn fighting the first one, a nice plus of the new formation.

Lyn moves into position to fight next turn and gets the worst weapon in the whole game. If you ever feel like losing, just equip this thing.

After once again recruiting Canas, Sain moves close enough to aggro the enemy. He won’t get the woods bonuses but I can still start fighting immediately and can do so without losing Lowen or Priscilla or the like.

Fargus orders the attack once Sain enters range.

Well that’s disappointing compared to the Def bonus last time, but whatever, he’s still fantastic.

The enemy still gets his crit of course. Uber Sain just doesn’t care. He wipes most of the initial wave without trouble.

Next turn, Raven forges ahead to let the weak initial pirate follow him while he takes out the handaxe user. Notice that Raven is so awesome that he can one-round kill many enemies with an iron sword without even leveling up.

Things are a bit tense now. Canas can easily take one hit from any axe pirate, but not two without a forest. The enemy mage has a very powerful tome and one of the remaining elite pirates has a Swordslayer, which is like a swordreaver but better and will consequently tear Eliwood and Lyn apart. For now I need to take out this elite pirate using Eliwood and Canas.

Canas’s starting skill is high enough to have a 67% chance to hit a massively overleveled enemy on a forest even with the lowish accuracy of dark magic. And just check out that damage per hit for an un-leveled guy fighting a massively leveled one.

Priscilla can take 1 hit from any pirate which isn’t one of the high level ones, so she can heal Sain as long as I can destroy the mage and make sure only one person can reach her.

Lyn crits down one of the few remaining elite pirates, freeing up Hector to smack one of the weaker ones instead of finishing this one.

And she gets a sweet level out of it. Strength on Lyn is always awesome.

Oh. I did not know that he spawn-moves. Not until I got to this point. It’s like something out of FE6 but with a more colorful enemy character. Fortunately, only Hector is in range since I prudently moved him to protect Lyn instead of actually going for one of the other enemies.

On the northern front, Raven kills more pirates and gets some bonus Strength. He’ll definitely cap, so I would rather be getting Def or Luck or something, but on the other hand more Strength now means it’ll be easier to train him in the short term.

Damian’s awesome battle quote as he attacks Hector.

So you can see I had things under control but now I’m in trouble because of Damian’s forces and the fact that the swordslayer pirate is still on the loose (and badly injured Eliwood). Plus I need to hurry.

There’s nothing for it but to have Sain kill Damian- with his iron sword so the axe pirates don’t all gang up on him during their turn.

Is ANYONE surprised by my Sain getting a level like this?

Hector helps save the day. He got a very lucky crit here which meant I didn’t need to have Canas finish this guy, which helps a little bit. As long as Hector didn’t miss it would have been just fine though.

Sweet! I have had quite nice level up luck on this chapter all in all.

Priscilla restores Eliwood. Notice she’s still full health so she can now take 1 hit from any enemy, which is good since I need to stop using Eliwood to tank for her in that alley.

Canas is owning, and he gets some much appreciated speed. The sooner he can double enemies, the sooner he’ll get into his growth singularity and hit level 20.

Next turn, everyone is running as fast as they can to try to reach all the villages and talk to Fargus. Not being able to use my normal strategy slowed me down, but I can still make a decent time.

As the last few villages are about to be visited (needing to reach the very distant one with Sain who didn’t start close enough slowed me by a turn), it’s turn 6.

Too valuable to use despite its greatness.

Too valuable to use on top of its terribleness. Even for bows these things are awful.

Costs 500 per shot and is totally useless till the end game because no early game staff user has the Mag for it. And isn’t very good even then. Cool, but useless.

Hector checks out the vendor, but there’s nothing I need and I should save all I can anyway.

And Canas talks to Fargus, so I win! Turn 6 is 2 behind my usual time but still 4 ahead of the time limit, so nice! Especially for my second-best plan instead of my best one.
The pointless, not-even-really-canonical-it-seems filler episode bonus level is over!

And here’s what Fargus would say if you attack him. Right before he instant kills Hector.

And here’s what happens if you try to talk to him after attacking him. And then you get a game over.

Total Restarts: 8 (1 more restart. That’s always a risk when enemies have killer weapons)
Turn Surplus: +5 (I gained 4 more, not bad, though not the 6 my original plan would have resulted in.)
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attacked Marcus on chapter 12, 2 more brigands who ignored everyone else to attack Marcus on chapter 13x, and 2 archers who ignored Hector and Dorcas (DORCAS!) to attack Marcus on chapter 14