Part 33: Chapter 24 (part 1) and The War Room Part 26 (Shopping)
One of the best chapters in the game coming up! Its a giant, fun battle and has no annoying gimmicks or restart-inducing sudden twists or anything. And its a major plot turning point and develops like every character in the game. Plus Distant Travels is playing. Yeah, this level has it all.
Of course, if you got Lloyds version of the level, then you get an annoying fog level with a moving boss waiting to ambush you and a green unit stealing all your kills and the lame fog music too. And less treasure and a smaller time limit
After resting a day in Pherae, the party gears up to sneak into the militaristic and tyrannically run kingdom of Bern. Pent and Louise meet with Louises relative, the queen of Bern, to find out the location of the secret Shrine of Seals from her. Meanwhile, the rest of the group is spotted by a large group of Black Fang led by the Reed Brothers- two of the four fangs. The impetuous, brutal, and stupid Linus attacks Eliwoods group in the middle of town while his brother Lloyd is away.
The company defeats him but spares his life and manages to convince him that theyre not, in fact, the evil group Sonia claims they are. They let him go and travel to meet up with Pent and Louise again. Meanwhile, Linus is ambushed and murdered by Limstella- Nergals best morph- and his quintessence harvested now that hes of no further use. Lloyd finds the body and assumes Eliwood killed him.
The royal family of Bern is dysfunctional and riven by jealousy and bitterness. King Desmond hates his legitimate son Zephiel for being better at everything than him and because he doesnt like his mother, Queen Hellene. For her part, Hellene hates him too and mostly wants her son to become the heir apparent because King Desmond will hate that. And she really hates the Kings mistress and the kings young illegitimate daughter Guinevere. Zephiel and Guinevere like each other and are much less jerkish in general and are in fact largely oblivious to their parents intrigues. Speaking of which, the king has arranged to have Berns greatest national treasure- the Fire Emblem- stolen from his own palace just to sabotage the ceremony at which Zephiel would be named his heir.
Queen Hellene asks Louise to get the Fire Emblem back so that the ceremony can continue, agreeing to reveal the secret location of the Shrine of Seals in exchange. Eliwood agrees, and the group sets out to find the Fire Emblem.
As has been mentioned before, King Desmond has begun threatening to invade Lycia- his former ally- for somewhat unclear reasons. The situation is touchy and Eliwood and Hector and Lyn- a group of Lycian nobles- sneaking into the country might make a good pretext for Bern to attack, so they go in disguise.
Yeah. Cloaks over fancy riding armor. No one will suspect these 40 heavily armed men and women- many with wyverns or pegasi- are anything but a normal group of travelers. Its like the writers dont know there are more than 3 people in the party.
The country is in a festive mood as the ascension ceremony approaches and no one is aware that human civilization is teetering on the brink of destruction.
They need to find the Shrine of Seals, but its location is a well-kept state secret, so theyll probably need to find out from one of the royal family.
Of course, Pent knows something. And Athos definitely knows the exact location, as hell reveal later, but he just decided not to tell us.
Pent reminds them that if theyre caught, Bern might invade Lycia. But he himself is Etrurian, so its less of a problem if hes caught.
He and Louise actually have legitimate business here- remember they were in Nabata looking for a gift to give to Queen Hellene now. So he hopes to just ask her about the Shrine of Seals then.
As hes leaving, Hawkeye runs after him and reveals a gift Athos gave to Hawkeye to give to the party. Its a heaven seal! Which would let me promote a lord! Wow, how awesome!
darn it, Hawkeye. He gives it to Pent rather than letting us use it. Pent might be about to be killed or captured and he definitely wont be back for at least one chapter. Stupid Hawkeye.
Meanwhile another enemy cutscene ensues as Linus and Lloyd run into their young stepsister Nino.
So we learn that shes Sonias daughter and is rather loyal to her.
The others reflect that shes a lot better than her sinister mother Sonia.
Meanwhile, Legault pops up and suggests that we investigate the Black Fang while waiting for Pent to return. He claims that he never knew the location of the Black Fangs HQ. But he was one of the founding members and was working personally with Brendan and the Reed brothers and the other founding members and had a job revolving around killing traitors to the organization and well theres no way he wouldnt know where the HQ is. My suspicion is that this is just a lie. As is revealed later, hes still rather fond of many other Black Fang members and we already know that he knows that Hector wants to kill all the Black Fang. So my interpretation is that hes afraid Hector would just order an attack on the Black Fangs lair and try to kill them all and wants to avoid that while still figuring out what the Fang is currently up to. Remember, the party doesnt yet know that the Fang is still after them and that the Four Fangs are now going to be leading the attack.
Lets split up and look for clues! Thats not a great way to all get murdered when theres a giant gang of assassins and a teleporting dark wizard after us
To be fair I suppose it would let the group at least go unnoticed more easily.
Hector and Lyn run off and leave Eliwood and Ninian, with Eliwood grumbling about how Lyn and Hector still dont seem to get along.
Im getting whiplash from how often the scene is changing.
Eliwood the chaperone and Lyn the matchmaker.
Lyn ships Eliwood and Ninian too!
And back to the Reed brothers spotting Eliwood and somehow seeing through his clever disguise of wearing a brown cloak over fancy clothes and armor.
Linus doesnt care how Eliwood could have traveled like 1000 miles in a day to get here from Nabata and proposes just charging in.
Again, only Lloyd actually shows any of the Black Fangs supposed good treatment of the commoners. Linus is just fine with a giant battle in the middle of the town.
Now theyre splitting up too.
The instant Lloyd is gone, Linus orders an attack, much to Igors annoyance.
But he does as Linus commands: he runs up and tells Eliwood that Linus is about to attack. Man, Linus is an idiot. Eliwood could just grab this guy and flee if he wanted and then interrogate him.
The War Room, Part 26
At long last I have 1) Money 2) the Silver Card 3) Stores on the chapter and 4) Plenty of time. Its time for a much less rushed shopping trip than my botched one on New Resolve.
There is nothing more disastrous and crippling than running out of equipment. In severe cases, that can make the game outright unwinnable. In less severe ones it can greatly slow you down, force you to end maps without killing many of the enemies, or otherwise severely penalize your run.
And theres no excuse for it after the Dragons Gate because once you have the Silver Card, equipment is extremely cheap and you profit massively from spending your money. That means your money is effectively infinite since theres no longer any net loss from selling. So gear up whenever you get to a level with stores.
But how do you choose what to buy? Thats important since levels with stores are rare enough that you could run out otherwise. Well there are many possible systems, but I find a simple and good one to be as follows:
1. Find out what the stores on a chapter actually sell. With a few exceptions, I dont think you should buy weapons that arent either iron (or the lightest magic tomes) or javelins or handaxes. But if you have your own strategy or know in advance that youll need something like a silver weapon, then go for it I suppose. Ill assume you just want iron weapons etc. from here on.
2. Figure out how many iron swords you need. To do so, go through your whole list of characters on the Battle Preparations screen and count 2 for every person who is a primary or exclusive sword user and 1 for every person who uses swords even occasionally. Youll also want to think ahead about people who are about to promote into sword users and the like. You can exclude people who you absolutely, positively will not use ever again (Like Isadora or Hawkeye for me), but should otherwise include everyone.
3. Then figure out how many iron swords you have. On Battle Preparations, look through the List of all equipment. Count only iron swords that have about 35 or more charges remaining.
4. The difference between what you need and what you have is how many you have to buy, so write that down.
5. Repeat the process for iron lances, fire tomes, etc.
6. For javelins and handaxes and heal staves, count 3 for every single character you ever use at all whos capable of using them when figuring out how many you need. You need tons of these. And in terms of figuring out how many you already have, generally ignore anything with less than 80% of its uses remaining
7. Vulneraries can be worth buying too; sometimes you need them. Ideally, you want to have about 12 of them- enough that everyone COULD have one on nearly every chapter. Dont count vulneraries with only 1 charge remaining as vulneraries you have
8. Try to have about 6-8 door keys. Theyre cheap, cost-effective, and can save you many turns. You want chest keys too of course but those are only available from secret shops.
9. So total up the price of all those items, give someone the silver card, and sell enough gems and stuff (starting with the cheapest ones to free up maximum transfer space) that you can afford it.
10. Figure out how many total items youre buying and make sure theres enough space in Merlinus. Load up any characters youre not bringing with 5 items youll never use and are just keeping around because theyre valuable (stat boosters, promotion items, gems, spare lockpicks, high level tomes, etc.). If that doesnt clear enough space, then load up the characters youre bringing with more stuff too.
Using the above method (and buying an extra Flux tome), my shopping list for this level was:
5 Door Keys
9 Iron Swords
4 Iron Lances
4 Iron Axes
Unfortunately, door keys werent available, but Restore staves were and so were super-effective weapons in the secret shop so I bought some of those.
That list should keep me well equipped for the forseeable future.
Battle Preparations & the Map
One awesome battle coming up! There are no surprises here really, just a huge enemy force on some interesting terrain. There will be considerable numbers of reinforcements too and wyvern riders and mercenaries, the main unit types, remain formidable foes. Still theyre quite manageable. So much so if you play well that this chapter is actually one of the best for training your low level guys.
A few notes on the terrain: first, thats not actually ocean. Thats lake. And theyre not the same. I believe Lake only shows up on this chapter and it is notable for being even harder to move through. Pirates (Technically those enemies are corsairs but theyre 100% the same) can only move 1 space per turn through it instead of 2 for oceans. And that one pirate dangerously close to the top left shore? He doesnt actually move. So you actually have a LONG time before any villages are threatened. And the pirate reinforcements that spawn in the middle right will pretty much never reach land on their own.
Note also that the town is not actually as wide open as it looks like. That middle armory and vendor? You cant walk between them. Ditto for the bottom left vendor and no-item village. Whats more, the path to the right of the vendor along the beach runs into a 1 wide chokepoint, so you can really hold the line there easily.
If you actually have a good archer, theyll be great this chapter, but not because of the ballistae everywhere. No, ballistae are useless as ever. But there are floods of wyverns flying around in conditions where you can shoot them easily. Rath can just run in and start leveling.
Note also that besides Linus, there are sort of two minibosses on this chapter. Well 3 if you count Geitz and feel like killing him. In the top middle there is a VERY high level sage with a bolting and an elfire. He will move to attack (with his massive-ranged bolting) but not if you stay out of range. Dealing with him is the trickiest part of the level. If you accidentally aggro him, hell run in and blast someone. Even if you survive that, now your whole party is probably in his attack range for next turn and you probably cant close in and kill him at all. Thats bad. Dont provoke him till youre good and ready with a plan to instant kill him.
The other miniboss is a massively high level hero in the middle left armed with a silver sword. (The two heroes near Linus are merely level 1). This guy could double Linus- and most of your party- and deals massive damage and is really tough, so take him seriously.
Other than that, its your fairly typical massive air battle The enemy wont really swarm you if you play your cards right and wyvern riders are easily dispatched with some units- like Rath- who are otherwise hard to train, so make the most of this chance to train your weaker characters massively.
Speaking of weaker units, you should use Afas drops now. The game basically tells you nothing about what that item really does and Athoss advice about it: Give it to someone you like is likely the opposite of what you should do.
For those not in the know, Afas drops has 2 effects. Firstly, whichever character you give it to will be displayed on your records screen and comment on how good (or bad) a job the tactician did. Its pretty cool that every character has 3 or 4 unique comments they make based on your ranking. Just another way this game was way more polished than it needed to be.
Secondly, the characters growth rates for every stat are increased by 5%. Thats really not very much, but it does help a little. If you give it to a level 20/20 unit, obviously it doesnt help at all, but a level 1 unpromoted unit who you then take to 20/20 would end up with roughly +2 to every stat. So you could consider the Afas drops to be roughly equal in value to an Enegy Ring + a Secret Book + a Speedwings + a Goddess Icon + a Dragon Shield + a Talisman. But it has 0 cost, so you lose nothing for using it!.
So who should you give the drops to? Well the ideal character is 1) very low level 2) someone youll use a ton 3) someone who isnt about to slam into any caps really fast anyway and 4) someone available right now so that you can actually benefit from them having higher stats for more chapters.
Most people seem not to understand the importance of 3 and 4 and give the drops to Nino. The thing is, the potential speed bonus is basically wasted on her since shes definitely going to cap really soon anyway- and so is the resistance to some extent. Furthermore, by the time youve actually had time to give the drops to Nino and then train her up enough for the bonuses shes received to potentially matter at all, the game is almost over. Its like saving all your speedwings to give to Athos! Sure he can put them to darned good use, but you still benefit less overall than if you used them on someone who needed them earlier (of course, you dont give anyone any speedwings in a max ranking run, but you take my point Im sure).
Because most of my other characters I intend to use seriously are already rather high level and Im not going to fall into the Nino trap, I narrowed my choices down to Lucius and Erk. Lucius was lower level, but he has the big problem of hitting his magic and speed caps too early- especially since my Lucius is both fast and strong in magic. Resistance too for that matter. Erk on the other hand has basically no chance of capping things normally- especially since my Erk is behind on speed. So hes likely to get more benefit from it in some stats that actually matter despite starting off lower. So I gave them to him.
I check the range of the Bolting sage while planning my strategy. Perfect, it stops JUST short of the vendor chokepoint.
Objective: Kill Linus (the boss)
Secondary Objective: Get the Earth Seal from the bottom right village
Secondary Objective: Get the Silence Staff from the top left village
Secondary Objective: Get the Orions Bolt from the middle-ish village
Secondary Objective: Somehow get the Bolting sage to equip his Elfire instead of Bolting so that hell drop the more valuable Bolting
Secondary Objective: Recruit Geitz with Dart
Secondary Objective: Do some shopping
Secondary Objective: Do some secret shopping
Reinforcements: There will be about 8 mercenaries from the top middle fairly early and 6 middle right early pirates and about 6 right early wyverns. Then theres pretty much 2 wyverns a turn for about 15 turns.
Turn Limit: 22. Thats VERY generous. Which is one big reason to do this chapter instead of Lloyds.
Units Allowed: 11 + Hector. Wow, thats so many! AWESOME!
1) Hector. Required, but max level. Hes pretty good here due to the abundance of wyvern riders, so you could have him weaken some of those for other units. Hes also good at weakening mercenaries without killing them. Ill mostly have mine go shopping instead.
2) Canas. Hes my primary healer and his massive accuracy is good against the dodge-y hero boss and miniboss. I dont intend to use him much, but I do want him on hand if things go south.
3) Priscilla. I kind of wanted to go without her, but decided I just couldnt quite keep 12 people at full health with just Canas.
4) Sain. Im going to be bringing a lot of weak people, so Im a bit concerned about needing to suddenly kill or block a dangerous enemy. Sain will be good for that. Hell also be good for tanking Geitz long enough to recruit him.
5) Florina. Air units are great on this map. Shes highly effective vs mercenaries and decent against wyverns at this point. I wont be using her much because shes nearly max level, but I do want to get her enough XP to promote this time.
6) Fiora. Florina but not as good! Ill use her more often since shes lower level.
7) Heath. AWESOME. Heath is just perfect here. Hes tough enough to not be killed by 3 wyverns with steel lances and he inflicts very high damage in return, but not enough to actually kill them. This is perfect for training weaker units. He can take on anything and everything on this map.
8) Ninian. Ninian is as wonderful as ever. Maybe more so since I finally have some weak units to train up and Filas Might is great for letting them get kills.
9) Rath. Not as good as he could be, but his damage is good enough to finish off myrmidons and fight fairly effectively against wyverns. This is one of the best chances to train him.
10) Lucius. Even better than Rath at damaging wyverns due to his great damage and speed and their terrible res. However, hes so fragile that a wyvern can instant kill him so use with care.
11) Erk. Even easier to use than Lucius since he can actually take a hit if he needs to.
12) Dart. Ive been wanting to use this great unit for a long time, and nows finally my chance! Hes necessary for recruiting Geitz and hes pretty fantastic against wyverns- and mercenaries given a swordreaver. And the easy access to forests near the enemy will be great for that purpose.
Notable Units Rejected:
1) Raven. Not very good against wyverns and already massively leveled courtesy of last chapter so hed be really hard to give much XP to. Bringing him instead of Sain or Priscilla could have worked, but I wasnt sure if I could actually manage it without either of them.
2) Bartre. I considered training him up against these wyverns, but unlike the mages and Rath I dont actually want to use him later and hes no good against the many mercenaries. And heck, hes not even good against wyverns.
3) Dorcas. I mean, the reason Im using all these weak people is mainly to pump my XP score. Dorcas isnt much better than Bartre but hes much higher level, so hed give less XP than Bartre. So if I didnt use Bartre on this level I wouldnt use Dorcas.
4) Serra. I wasnt even sure I needed Priscilla, let alone Priscilla with worse stats and no horse.
5) Guy. No.
6) Eliwood. Kind of like Raven, but hes also like 30 XP from max level and cant promote for a while, so no need to bring him.
7) Lyn. Like Guy except that training Guy helps me get Jermes level in the future, but training Lyn has no further special benefit.
8) Wil and Rebecca. Both instant-killable by wyverns unlike Rath. Less mobile. Less damage. They could use the ballistae but those suck and make them more vulnerable. So no.
9) Legault & Matthew. Nothing to steal. And theyd only be ok against the pirates.
Im running low on vulneraries, but fortunately I dont need any right now. A bigger problem is that Canas has been running on (extremely expensive) fumes for 2 chapters now. Thats got to end immediately. Florina is in the back with the Silver card (Hector is carrying the member one for safe keeping at the moment) and a free space in her inventory. This positioning of her and Canas allows her to shop immediately buy some fluxes and fly back close enough that he can exactly move up to her and take one.
Dart has a swordreaver (and an iron axe and handaxee and vulnerary) and is positioned to start killing those mercenaries on the forest. Theyll be good XP for him and then he can move in for Geitz and then harvest the many wyverns that will appear in the bottom right area.
Heath and Fiora are positioned so they can form a wall (with Sain, moving with Ninians help) that lets the squishy units move close to the front and allows Heath to aggro and heavily damage the nearby wyverns. This will create an XP bonanza for Lucius, Erk, Rath (Rath is armed to the teeth with one of pretty much every kind of bow), and maybe Dart.
Priscilla will probably heal Dart before he begins his journey east but will stick with the main group from there. Her current position allows her to move to within maximum heal range of Darts soon to be position or to heal anyone from the main group if they need it more. She doesnt actually have a Heal staff- only 1 remains and Canas needs it, so shes using the more expensive Mend (with Physic just in case).
Its really one of my better formations and it works out perfectly, as youll see.
Geitz pops up and decides to just join in on a battle whose sides he knows nothing about and hope the side he picks randomly is that of justice!
But one day, I ventured into the hold of [my fathers] ship. I saw those broken men rowing, like lost souls in hell. I saw...children...who were my age... Geitz, Support
A relative of Geese, a somewhat similar character from Fire Emblem 6, Geitz is a man who cut his ties with his wealthy family and took off on his own after discovering that his fathers shipping business relied on slave labor in his galleys. It sounds like he pretty much walked into the set of Ben Hur from what he describes.
He somehow knows Dart. Other than that he has pretty much no roots or ties anywhere and is wandering aimlessly. Hes pretty reckless and seems to be something of an adrenaline junkie, but at the same time it does sound like he wants to actually be fighting for the better side in any conflicts hes involved in.
Mine didnt get very good HHM bonuses unfortunately, which hurts, but hes actually pretty good for a pre-promote axe user. Significantly better than Hawkeye at actually fighting. His speed is actually fairly respectable due to its base- better than Bartres even with no HHM bonuses. Hes got all the Str and HP he needs and mediocre but not terrible def. His Res is terrible though. All in all, hes not awful for a pre-promote and is probably better than Bartre with his HHM bonuses on average- and definitely better than Dorcas and Hawkeye- but thats not saying much. Hector and Dart are way better in the axe department. So yeah, Im not using him at all beyond this level.
Question? What's to question? Neither my father nor my brother makes mistakes! Linus, Chapter 24
Lloyds much less interesting brother, Linus is one of the most fearsome Black Fang warriors. Hes basically dumb, loud, headstrong, arrogant, and a violent jerk. For some reason the game likes to compare him to Hector a lot, but Hector is reasonably clever and is actually fairly civil with most people.
Hes very fond of the Black Fang and his family- especially his older brother Lloyd, who he seems to feel driven to impress. But he doesnt really think for himself very well so even though he doesnt like Sonia, he doesnt seem to have grasped that shes clearly manipulating his father and just takes her pronouncement that Eliwood is evil at face value.
WAY more powerful than Paul or Jasmine
With very effective gear.
But unlike Paul and Jasmine, you can see him coming and he doesnt crit you to death and he doesnt move. So in the end hes not much challenge at all. Hes probably less dangerous than his hero miniboss due to inferior speed and definitely has nothing on his bolting sage.
One of the few Black Fang not to have a bird title.
Heres his minion Igor. So the game seems to be completely unsure what his actual title is: Mad Dog or Rabid Hound. Of course thats the same thing, but they keep switching back and forth.