Part 14: Mechanics Interlude 2: SupportsMechanics Chat the Second: Supports
AKA "Hey, instead of seizing the throne, let's stand around for 20 turns."
Alright, now that we're out of Lyn's story, the kiddie gloves have officially come off. This is the final tool the game gives us, and it's by far the most abusable one. The Support system allows you to take two compatible characters and give them insane bonuses for being within three spaces of each other. What bonuses you get are dependent on the two units' affinities.
The full list is as follows:
Fire: Attack + 0.5, Accuracy + 2.5, Avoid + 2.5, Critical + 2.5
Thunder: Defense +0.5, Avoid + 2.5, Critical + 2.5, Critical Evade + 2.5
Wind: Attack + 0.5, Accuracy + 2.5, Critical + 2.5, Critical Evade + 2.5
Ice: Defense + 0.5, Accuracy + 2.5, Avoid + 2.5, Critical Evade + 2.5
Dark: Accuracy + 2.5, Avoid + 2.5, Critical + 2.5, Critical Evade +2.5
Light: Attack + 0.5, Defense + 0.5, Accuracy + 2.5, Critical + 2.5
Anima: Attack + 0.5, Defense + 0.5, Avoid + 2.5, Critical Evade + 2.5
Lyn here is a Wind affinity, so for any given support she's involved in, she contributes Attack + 0.5, Accuracy + 2.5, Critical + 2.5, and Critical Evade + 2.5.
Kent, on the other hand, is an Anima, so he contributes Attack + 0.5, Defense + 0.5, Avoid + 2.5, and Critical Evade + 2.5.
To figure out the final bonus for supports, you simply add up all the numbers involved. In Lyn and Kent's case, it comes out to Attack + 1, Defense + 0.5 Accuracy + 2.5, Avoid + 2.5, Critical + 2.5, and Critical Evade + 5. The game doesn't count decimals, so it rounds everything down, leaving us with a final bonus of Attack + 1, Accuracy + 2, Avoid + 2, Critical + 2, Critical Evade + 5; both units will get this full bonus as long as they are within three spaces of each other.
It's important to note though, that the game does not forget about those decimals. If we were to raise Kent and Lyn up to a B support level, we would end up with double the bonus, which would be Attack + 2, Defense + 1, Accuracy + 5, Avoid + 5, Critical + 5, and Critical Evade + 10. Rinse and repeat for every other unit that a unit is supported with.
There are two "limitations", if you will, on the support system. First, a unit can only support 5 times. That could be an A and B rank, it could be an A and two C's, two B's and a C, a B and three C's, or five C's. The only way to get a support "back" is to kill off the unit that it was supported with. So if you accidentally supported Kent and Sain before you got Lyn and Kent up to an A rank, and you already had a B rank support with Kent and Wallace, then you're going to have to kill Sain to get his support chance back.
As a side note to this, there are two units we'll be getting fairly late in the game that already have an A support. It is impossible to separate them, as if one dies, the other will disappear with them. In addition, there are two sets of enemy bosses that are supported with each other.
Second, the act of actually getting a support is pretty tedious. You might have read the "AKA" note and been confused as to why anyone would do that. Well, this is why. Supports are triggered by having the two units stand near each other for a given amount of turns. The exact number is different for each set of characters, but the end result is the same; there's going to be a lot of standing around if you really want to take advantage of the system. Support grinding is when you sit two units together where you're in no danger and just repeatedly end turn until you hit the support point. It's exactly as fun as it sounds, but the alternative could be waiting 5, maybe 10 chapters just to go from a C rank to a B, or to even establish a support in the first place.
Now, IntSys is not completely retarded; they did put in a few checks to stop you from doing it. First, if you're the kind of person that cares about your ranks (more on that in another mechanics update), doing this is going to send your tactics rating right down the shitter, as that rating is based on using as few turns as possible. The more immediate problem is that you can only support with two characters once a map. You can let them sit around long enough to reach it again, but you can't advance to the next rank until the next chapter. You can, however, support the same character several times in one map (Lyn could support Kent, Wil, Wallace, Rath, and Florina all in the same map, for example).
Fortunately, the bonuses you get from going through with it are more than worth the time sink you have to put in. Aside from the obvious stat bonuses, Supports also are the source of 90% of the characterization of your army. Lyn, Eliwood, and Hector will all get their fair share of screen time, but this is where everyone else gets to shine. In addition, some characters will have their ending change if they're paired with the right people. As long as they have an A rank, love interests will end up married, families will be reunited, and so on and so forth. Not everyone has an ending, but most male-female pairings do, and a few same-sex ones will as well.