Part 2: Pirates!Time to clear out these bad guys and go rescue the king!
Player's Turn Map Music - What I'll be hearing for most of this game.
Let's take a look at the full map again:
We've got a dozen masked hooligans with axes and a guy that looks like a cooler version of Gordon. There's a bunch of houses everywhere - the ones with the walls are villages - and a castle on the far side that's our eventual destination. A pretty straightforward map to start off with really.
Okay, so the escaped prisoners are actually Pirates, because every stereotype movie I've seen has pirates running around their ships with masks and giant axes and striped jumpsuits . Also, they can literally walk on water with their boat feet. Because they're Pirates.
The Iron Axe is weaker and heavier than the Iron Lance with no redeeming qualities in this game, but Pirates don't have a choice - Axes are their only weapon option. They can do a little damage but with only 1 Skill and 0 Luck, they can't sneak in a critical hit, and their defense isn't high enough to keep them alive long enough to really worry us. Basically, they're cannon fodder that's only dangerous in numbers. Like they have now.
This guy is a Hunter, basically an Archer that has better stats but can't promote. He can't take a hit real well though so we should be able to take him out before he gets a shot off on us. Fortunately he can't critical either.
Wait - what's this guy doing over on our side?
Thieves aren't much use in combat but can open treasure chests, and with a Thief Key open locked doors and lower drawbridges. This particular Thief has just finished burning the village to the ground, something enemy Thieves like to do. You can protect the village by getting there first with Marth to warn them of the impending danger - they'll only listen to princes apparently.
Anyway, we use our chosen Social Knight
Or not. The Thief is a lot faster than Abel so he gets two attacks to Abel's one. The Thief can't do much damage, but it stays alive another round, while Abel walks away with as much Exp as damage he did - just 9.
Kain and Jeigan aren't allowed to finish off the Thief, and Marth has better things to do, so we send Sheeda down there. But first, let's mess around with the options a bit and turn the battles "off". You can also turn the music off (why?) and speed up or slow down the text scroll speed.
Sheeda stares cross-eyed at the Thief and he drops down dead, giving Sheeda a nice chunk of Exp in the process. I'll show off a few more of the animations as we go along since it's one of the things that has been in the series from the very beginning, but otherwise will just stick to describing the combat results.
Kain drops off his Iron Lance with Abel since he won't be using it. Jeigan likewise gives Sheeda the Silver Lance.
Marth goes to visit the nearby village:
Buy weapons with this and save this country!
Hey, money! We started off with only 2000 G so this is a big boost. We can use it on that other building nearby - it's an Armory:
We don't buy anything just yet, but we do send Doga and Gordon over to visit the left and right houses, respectively.
Sounds like we'll need to get Marth there, but there's no hurry with the only enemy Thief already toast.
Visit them before the bandits do.
How a regular player would find out about the villages.
We end our turn, and the enemies move up.
Enemy's Turn Map Music
Notice the Pirates on the upper-left crossing over the sea to get to us more quickly. They're no real threat yet, but can easily swarm us if we don't keep up.
Since the two closest Pirates can now reach Doga, we move him back a space to visit the middle house:
Watch out for arrows.
Ooookay then. That last part is really supposed to say something about keeping Sheeda away from the Hunter, since bows have triple attack power against flying units. The first part describes one of the differences in this game - there is only one Weapon Level stat, and a high Weapon Level for, say, Abel, would equally allow him to wield high-level swords or high-level lances. For reference, that Silver Lance that Sheeda now has is the strongest regular lance in the game, requiring a Weapon Level of just 7 to wield - Sheeda has a Weapon Level of 7 right now, and Abel only needs to gain 1 point to be able to wield a Silver Lance himself. With a few exceptions (characters with a very low base and very low growths, like Doga), Weapon Level won't be a very important stat.
We move Gordon back out of range, and then move Marth and Sheeda up to form a line with Doga. Abel moves towards the front line, Jeigan gives Marth his Iron Sword, and Kain moves towards the Armory in case I need to stock up on anything.
During the enemy phase, everyone bum-rushes again.
One Pirate attacks Marth, who likes to hold his Rapier pointed up at the sky for some reason. The other goes after Sheeda. Marth and Sheeda both get to attack twice since they're faster and are using a lighter weapon.
The third Pirate moves right behind the other one, since it just barely can't reach anyone.
Did I say that everyone advanced? Not quite:
The boss camping out the castle is a regular Pirate like the rest, but he's Level 5 with a bunch of stat boosts. He's also got a Steel Axe, which hits a bit harder than the Iron Axe at the cost of accuracy and weight. His friends will charge us if we get in range, but like most Fire Emblem bosses he is scripted to not move himself.
The Hunter is getting close now, so we have to make sure to keep Sheeda out of the way - bows have triple attack power against flying units. We send her to take out Marth's attacker from the north, switching to the Silver Lance to try and do enough damage to kill it in one shot.
Sheeda can take it out in one shot, showing off how much more powerful the Silver Lance is than the Iron Sword.
Abel attacks the full-health Pirate nearby, switching to an Iron Sword to get in two attacks, but it's still barely alive afterwards with 4 HP left. Marth moves down to take out Sheeda's attacker, and Gordon moves in to clean up after Abel:
Finally, Doga moves down into the trees to lure the Hunter - the trees give an avoid bonus at the cost of requiring additional movement, but the Hunter can't damage him anyway.
The Hunter moves up near Doga but doesn't even bother taking a shot that would just plink off of Doga's armor. The other four Pirates continue to advance, nearly in range of our front line now.
The first priority is getting rid of the Hunter. Sheeda attacks first, since the Hunter can't counterattack, but misses on her second attack. Doga moves in to finish him off:
Ok actually at this point I lost the rest of the video so no more animations. But I pulled the screenshots live so we still have all those!
Gordon moves down into the trees for protection while everyone else waits for the Pirates to approach. For waves of weaker enemies, it's often better to let them attack while you're ready than possibly exposing weaker characters by overextending yourself.
The southern Pirate attacks Sheeda, who gains a level by counter-killing it.
Great level for Sheeda, right in line with her growths. Hopefully she gains some Power in the next few levels though.
Only three Pirates remain from the advancing wave. Marth has lost more than half his HP, and Sheeda is down to 10/17. So far, the only way to recover HP is to park units on the walled white building north of the middle Pirate - it's a fort, and heals a small amount of HP at the start of each turn for a unit resting there. Like the trees, the fort will also give an avoid bonus and cost additional movement to enter.
Doga moves up to soften up the middle Pirate, and Gordon finishes it off. Marth does the same with the right Pirate, dodging the counter-attack, with Abel finishing it off from the left side. Sheeda moves up a bit to protect Gordon.
The Pirate moves onto the fort and does 5 damage to Abel, but takes 14 damage in return. Sheeda finishes off the Pirate with her Iron Sword, and Abel moves onto the fort to heal up a bit next turn. The rest of our army moves up.
Abel healed 3 HP and stays on the fort another turn, while everyone else continues to advance.
Abel heals another 7 HP and is almost full so moves up to join the others. Doga parks himself on the fort to lure out the Pirate guarding the village, while the others line up behind him.
Doga calmly wipes out the Pirate with a critical attack on a whopping 2% chance, then heals up the whole 1 point of damage at the start of the turn. Won't be so fun when it's the enemy unit getting the lucky roll.
Sheeda visits the left house, while Abel vists the right one.
Already covered it, thanks.
Remember, we're in Talis now, and the invading Pirates are from Garda. Obviously what we needed was a giant fence in the ocean to keep those Pirates from walking over here.
So at this point for some reason the map music changed. As far as I can tell it seems to indicate me kicking butt and being about to win. Player's Turn Map Music, Version 2
Doga moves up to try and draw out the boss's lackeys, Marth hops onto the fort to heal up a bit, and Gordon sits in the middle trying to appear useful.
Of course I screw it up because the right-most Pirate is able to reach Gordon there - fortunately he only does 6 damage. Doga easily withstands the other two Pirates' attacks, dishing out 16 damage to each in return.
Gordon takes out the left Pirate, opening up a path for Marth to visit the village.
Allow me to join you.
Well it's not like you left us much choice. Riff is a Cleric, able to wield Wands which can heal or do other fun things. He comes with a Live Wand, which heals a flat 10 HP. Like all Clerics, his stats are pretty terrible, and his growths are worse. And that's not even the worst part.
First, we have Sheeda knock off the north Pirate and Abel softens up the remaining southern one. Doga moves west to block off the Pirate's access to Marth. With this setup, the Pirate will go after our new healer Riff. Except he goes after Gordon instead for some reason, so I reload from the last turn and move Riff down next to the Pirate instead to leave him no other choice.
Clerics can't gain experience when they use their wands. The only way they can gain Exp is from getting attacked and surviving (whether they dodge or get hit) - they then gain as much Exp as if they'd killed their attacker. In this case Riff takes an axe to the face and gets 24 Exp out of it (not exactly leveling up though, oh well). There's another class we can get later that can wield Wands *and* gain Exp by doing damage with another weapon type, so Clerics are pretty worthless in the long run, yet at the same time invaluable right now.
Abel finishes off the southern Pirate, and Gordon moves up to take a shot at the boss, taking off half his HP (12 damage).
Boss fight music
The boss will regenerate most of its lost HP next turn by sitting on the castle - one strategy for grinding Exp is to have units attack from range against a boss that can't retaliate and keeps regenerating the damage done to it. I'd rather not use up weapon durability at this point though, so the rest of the army just moves in to prepare for next turn, and Riff heals up Sheeda.
Next turn the boss has healed up all but 2 HP of the damage he took last turn. Marth and Doga soften up the boss, with Doga gaining a level in the process:
Solid level for Doga, a bit above his growths.
Gordon switches to the Steel Bow and finishes off the boss, receiving a prize and a level:
The Vulnerary is a series staple, an item that any unit can use to restore some HP. The level is a typical crappy Archer level.
Next turn, Marth moves onto the castle and seizes it, ending the chapter with a conversation with the rescued King of Talis:
You're welcome. Now we get to go to Garda and teach Gomes and those Pirates a lesson about retaliatory strikes--
to assist you.
Wait, what? Where's Orleans and why are we going there?
Let me tell you that you will encounter people who are bitter to Durhua.
Some are imprisoned or fighting against their own will. Search for them and fight with them as allies.
This is the game telling us there's special enemies that we can recruit in most upcoming chapters.
It's time prince Marth. I wish you good luck on your journey.
So, we're going to Orleans. In the interest of making this story not confusing as hell, let me shed some light on the back story - Marth's homeland, Aritia, was invaded by Durhua and Marth ran away with his tail between his legs to Talis, along with some of his closest friends/soldiers/bodyguards/whatever. Years later, Garda's pirate invasion inspires Marth to go on a quest to wipe out Durhua and reclaim his homeland. Apparently starting with Orleans.
Riff's growth rates:
- HP: 20%
- Power: 0% (useless stat for Clerics anyway)
- Skill: 0% (useless stat for Clerics anyway)
- Weapon Level: 20%
- Speed: 10%
- Luck: 10%
- Defense: 0%
- Resist: 0%
- Total: 60%
Riff's growth rates are better only than Jeigan's, at least so far. He'll gain nothing almost half the time, and without more Speed and Defense will have trouble taking the hits he needs to take to gain any levels in the first place.
Next chapter we automatically bring along everyone, and get a few additions as well. So this time we get to choose between using Abel or Kain again - Abel is still Level 1 but has 99 Exp. Among the newcomers are three axe-wielding Fighters, so pick either Barts (primary), or one of his buddies Saji or Maji.
I'll prep a Mechanics interlude while the voting takes place.