Part 24: Chapter 14 - Mission
Praise the lord, we've got Steel Forges at last! One of the things that Hard Mode does is delays the availability of new and better Forges; on Normal mode, Steel would be available from Chapter 11. Oh well!
Because the cost of improving a weapon is proportional to its original stats and its original price, Steel weapons often work out pretty well in terms of the price/performance of Forges. Here we've got fully pimped Atk and somewhat boosted Hit, and all for just ~550% of the cost!
That's another thing, actually; since the jump in price from Iron to Steel isn't particularly massive, Steel Weapons are pretty much the sweet spot for forges. So that's nice! We might want to do something about our cashflow, though, we can't keep this up forever...
This is as orange as swords get, sadly. But between that blade and the blue wrapping on the grip, it'll actually co-ordinate pretty nicely with Mia's outfit. And, as we all know, that's the most important function of a Forge.
Also, there aren't a whole lot of reasons for not buying Mist a Torch staff.
In Support related news...
We progress Ike/Oscar to B-Rank, for that delicious +20 Avoid goodness.
We've basically got to split into two here; one group is going west to deal with the houses and a small smattering of foes, while the other is charging north to crash headlong into the boss. There aren't that many enemies here, although there is one asshole hidden to the east of the starting position that I'll get very annoyed by in just a bit.
Now, if the AI is going to cheat at Fog of War, we will too! As I mentioned in the last Fog of War map, if you try to move a unit through a square with an enemy in it, that unit will lose its turn and be left standing in front of the enemy. However...
We can still cancel the move after it's completed, when this menu is open.
In so doing, we can "sweep" for enemies.
All clear! Well, I guess there's the two squares to Oscar's west, but as long as there isn't a group there it's fine. After all, we're sending Mist to the house, and she's got enough Speed to survive a turn of combat now.
And where's Largo?! He leaves me in this backwater burg and wanders off to goddess only knows where...
Oh, you there! Today's your lucky day. You've arrived at just the right time. I have something nice to give you. I just got back from a shopping spree, and I got this as a free bonus of sorts. Oh, please, no need to thank me. When you're a sophisticate like me, you never want for trinkets. Or men, for that matter. Well, toodle-doo, then! Be sure to treasure that for the rest of your days! Now... which way to the nearest city?
This... lady... gives us some Spirit Dust, good for +2 Magic on someone. I believe we've now got at least one of every stat-up! Well, there's one more, but it's kinda special... and we'll get it next chapter anyway.
Ahh... remember when Rolf had to be fed kills? Now he's opening for us!
The student has become the master!
Mounted units have this one particular quirk in Fog of War; after fighting, the area around them is revealed as though they had Waited there. However, Astrid can still move. We can see that there's an enemy there...
But when she moves away, we lose sight of him. Oh well.
Volke scouts ahead for us instead. Thieves have good vision in Fog of War; they can see five squares around them instead of three.
Soren is deliberately holding himself back now.
Oh, Gatrie. I have missed you. He rolls the dice...
It turns out favourably.
He and Oscar are going to hold the bridge for us. Oscar is, of course, moving into Ike's support range.
68 Avoid, gentlemen. That's potentially 78 with another Ike support, 88-93 with two support ranks with any other character on top of that, and potentially 98 if that other character happens to be a certain character... as I mentioned earlier, there are only two Earth/Earth supports in the game, and Oscar is in both of them. There is a good reason for this rarity.
Oscar also goes west, if only in spirit.
And thus, the groups; Kieran, Nephenee, Mia, Marcia and Mist are going west, the rest are charging north.
It's the enemy phase, and something is going down over there...
I'd dearly love to pay you, but unfortunately... I'm broke.
Not again! You're employed as a bodyguard! Why don't you have enough gold to pay me back?! Grr! When we get back to the base, I'll get what's mine. Try to run, and you'll pay in pain!
... Threaten all you like! I can't give you what I don't have! Ooo, I hope that sounded brave...
Oh, she's going to be so mad... But in the end, I'm sure she'll help! After all, it's for the life of her brother! Right! Tonight, I pay a little visit to the barracks of the sacred pegasus knights!
Oh dear... this must be...
It's cool, though. Astrid actually has some speed now.
Yes. She. Does.
There's some shuffling around, but all we actually see is this guy coming down the east path.
When you want to scout, but don't want to send a fragile Thief into an area potentially crawling with enemies, there's an obvious answer:
Torches! A Torch has five uses and provides a temporary +5 to vision for one unit, which wears off at 1 per turn. Very handy!
As you can see, Astrid's made quite a bit of progress.
Here's another dick move to watch out for; a Poleax guy. He could do serious harm to Oscar or Astrid, but anyone else can take him with ease, since the Poleax is presently slowing his AS down to zero.
Hmm... Marcia feels brave today.
Meanwhile, Rhys! makes his glorious battlefield debut.
It turns out he had a buddy with him, so Kieran and Nephenee deal with him.
Jill comes over to help Marcia out a bit.
Uh oh! Archer!
No, wait; dumb Archer. He goes for Jill, who's got far more defence than Marcia, just because Marcia could counter him. I don't think he could kill either of them, in any case.
It's cool. We got this.
This, however, could be trouble.
Fortunately, Gatrie's got the HP to handle it, and just barely enough Speed to not get doubled.
The rest of them all advance on us (and into our vision range; just because the AI cheats at Fog of War doesn't mean it cheats well), and it's our turn again.
I think this is the most use I've ever gotten out of the Longbow in any of my playthroughs.
Hell, it's worth a shot!
Bless you, Gatrie.
Basically, we engage in a lot of weakening of enemies.
We then feed Poleax man to Oscar...
Venin Axe man to Astrid...
(with sad results)
And the Mage to Volke.
Marcia teaches the silly Archer what happens to people who don't ORKO flyers.
Or, at least, she tries.
For the love of - OK, this is only one attack in a double, and the next one connects, but come on. These were 80% and 87% chances, respectively, and may I remind you, Path of Radiance employs True Hit.
Meanwhile, Mist uses her Torch staff (which functions identically to an actual torch, except it has more uses, gives EXP, and is a staff) to get a look ahead.
Kieran and Mia dispose of one of the revealed Cavaliers, while Nephenee blocks off the second. We're still just barely at the stage where we don't want Nephenee initiating fights against potentially multiple Cavaliers - her Defence is decent, but not great, yet.
Anyway. Enemy turn.
Not many enemies left, it seems. An archer approaches from the north, and a Myrmidon challenges Oscar to a fight.
Shockingly, he can't hit Oscar. Oscar's getting another 10 Avoid from the Weapon Triangle in addition to that Ike support and his natural Avoid.
Ooh! A Laguz Lance! You've got one guess what that's good for.
OK, so there are still some guys up there.
Har har! But no matter how tough they are, there's no way they can stand up to a real monster! Hey! You there! Release the feral! Har har har! Now, all we have to do is sit back and watch 'em chew their heads clean off!
Uh oh. I don't like where this is going...
Neph finishes her fight.
That was a mistake, buddy.
OK, so it was redundant, but damn it's awesome. Naturally, we get his Laguz Lance, although Neph can't use it yet (it's C-Rank). Then, Mist heals her and it's like none of this ever happened.
Meanwhile, there's another Anti-Laguz weapon over here, this one a bow. Rolf decides to school the user in the art of not-bringing-anti-laguz-weapons-to-a-beorc-fight.
Class fucking dismissed.
After that, it's business as usual.
That's a bit better, Astrid. I like that she's getting defence. It's a USEFUL TRAIT THAT SHE SHOULD HANG ON TO.
So, yeah, moving forward.
The enemy's battleplans are as terrible as ever.
I don't like having to do this, but... I must pay off my debts, or my sister will have my head.
Neph doesn't kill him. Well, not much, anyway.
Anyway, it's no big mystery as to what we need to do about this guy...
Makalov is, of course, Marcia's famous brother.
I was just thinking about paying you a visit, Sis.
Long time? Long time?! You dungheel! Where in the name of heaven have you been? You racked up all that debt and then ran away? You're such an irresponsible skunk! Thanks to your worthless hide, I had to leave the sacred pegasus knights!
Huh? But why?
Because there were a bunch of debt collectors hanging around the barracks! That's why!
Oh, that's... That's a shame. Listen, I was trying to increase the money I borrowed and pay off the original, but it, um... vanished. And I swear that just kept happening! I'd almost get enough and then... poof! Gone! Ha ha! Ha? Hmm...
You rat. You cheese-eating rat! You haven't changed at all... Let's go. You're coming with me.
With you... Where are we going? What am I going to do?
You're joining my company. I'm going to let Ike beat some sense into you. We'll see how that works.
No, wait... I'm working for these guys at the moment, and... Well, if I just up and joined with the other side, it might cause problems--
And with that, Makalov is dragged, kicking and screaming, into our team.
Makalov is a bit behind on the level front, but it's not outside his means to catch up. He's also our designated Sword Cavalier. Despite his supposed money problems, he brings us a free Red Gem.
Also, for some heinous reason, Makalov does not have the Gamble skill on him. Instead, he has Tempest, so his Hit and Avoid will be fluctuating more than we're used to seeing.
Anyway, there's some general movement, and...
Mist has been stealing her brother's levels again.
Mist is now the fastest unit on our team, and has 50 base Avoid. Yep.
Oscar takes a look ahead...
Oh boy. There's the boss, and he's got a Tiger with him (two, actually, but you didn't hear that from me ). The boss is not someone to be idly fucked with (we'll see why in a mo), but fortunately, he and the tigers are rooted to their spots and don't have ranged weapons, so we're not in danger from them.
More blood for Astrid.
And for Soren.
End of turn 5. This is the cutoff for max BEXP. We could rush the boss, or we could take the time to get the most out of him and his tiger buddies (Laguz units drop more EXP, you see). We also still need to visit the two houses in the northwest.
This fool saves us the trouble of looking for him.
Here's one house...
Oh, maybe this will help, dearie. It's just lying here collecting dust... Just like me... Never a visitor... Anyway, I don't know what it does, but... it's pretty. If I gave it to my grandkids, they might write once in a while... HERE! TAKE IT! NOW DO ME A FAVOR AND PROTECT MY HOUSE, ALL RIGHT?... NO, MY HOUSE! ... A MOUSE?! WHERE?!
...I don't even know. I think I feel a bit sorry for her, though. But very grateful! You see, she gives us a Vantage scroll, which will allow any unit (with the capacity) to learn the Vantage skill and thus always strike first in battle. I have a feeling I may give this to Nephenee before too long, but for now, I'm sitting on this.
In the other house...
Do you... Do you want it? Really? All right, you can have it. Take care of it, please.
"It" is another Secret Book. Our third one, I believe!
Alright, let's make our move. Volke clear the way...
And gets a thoroughly underwhelming level.
Now, the boss...
Holy Fuck, it's a Berserker. I don't know if Berserkers in this game are a promotion of Pirates or their own special class (you don't get any recruitable Pirates in this game, although there's a theory that Nedata was at one point recruitable), but that's all academic now. What's not academic, however, is the fact that he's got fifty fucking Crit; thirty from his Killer Axe, five from his Skill stat, and fifteen because he's a Berserker. He's also quite strong, quite fast, and has quite a bit of HP. Fuuuuuck.
Then, there are these two. Feral Laguz are just like the regular kind, but with one big difference - they are always transformed.
Remember the silly Maid from the Base? If you do, you'll know that Soren's shiny new GreatBallsOf(Fire) tome can effortlessly rip these guys apart. So we do just that.
It is good.
Oh, and we found a Mage hiding nearby, too. Astrid pulls one of the World's Best Timed Crits on his ass.
Christ. This might've been an empty level if not for the Knight Ward. Anyway, I think Astrid's done with it for now; 14 Speed at Lv 9 is pretty great! We'll give her a Knight band or something.
Anyway, the big saving grace of Gashilama is that he can't attack at range (and won't move), so as long as we keep our distance, everything will be fine.
We're not hurting any humans here! What's wrong with buying and selling a few half-breeds?
Oscar begins our work.
Thank you Oscar.
-hey, what the fuck? This guy's been hiding there the whole time and not done anything!
Nephenee gets poisoned dealing with him, but she'll be fine.
Well, one more turn.
If Ike is within a few spaces of Gashilama when the Enemy Phase starts, they talk a bit.
You can posture as much as you want, but there's no way you can beat us!
Shut it! I don't know why you're here, but if we lose our cargo, we lose everything! It ain't happening!
In that case, we've no choice. You'll receive no mercy from us!
"Mercy"? Don't you mean- ah, whatever.
Neph and Venin-guy continue their dance.
Alright, Makalov. Let's see how "lucky" you are.
Acceptably, it seems!
Back to the boss.
It takes some doing...
But we bring him down to 4 HP. Before we kill him, let's see if we can deal with the last Tiger...
I don't like feeding EXP to Ike, but it looks like it's either this or letting it go to waste.
It's funny because I phrased the last bit of that last sentence as an exclusive disjunction. That was technically incorrect of me. Oh well.
Volke does the honours.
Wait. This mysterious cargo was a bunch of really heavy crates... Would you tell me what they contained?
Princess Elincia has returned to her quarters. You would do well to inform her of your safe return.
It appears that the apostle will handle your payment on the morrow. Perhaps you can speak with her then.I beg your leave. I must be going.
Watch the Cutscene! (recommended for maximum awesome)
(I'm sure you can all tell me what's highly out of place in this picture.)
Well then. This must be important.
This must be really important.
It's not immediately apparant, but that's Ranulf in the very back there. What's going on here, anyway?
It's been decades since all of us were gathered in one place. I would extend my gratitude to King Deghinsea of Goldoa, who arranged this meeting place at short notice.
Fellow kings and countrymen, attend to my words! As you no doubt have heard, Daein has invaded Crimea and overrun her. Of course, Crimea is a beorc nation... However, since the time of her founding, she has made every effort to engage the laguz with honor and dignity. Never has this been more true than during the thirty-year reign of good King Ramon. During this era, Gallia and Crimea initiated many ambitious cultural projects in an attempt to bring our divided people closer.
Ashnard's actions are monstrous. His army has put much of Crimea to the sword. Her people live in terror. Her king lies dead. And now, the Daein forces continue their ruinous march and cross the border into laguz territory... Into Gallia.
Yes, that is the justification they would present.
But the princess of Crimea is no longer in Gallia, is she?
Your spies are as efficient as ever, King Tibarn of Phoenicis. As you say, the princess has already departed for Begnion.
I know this only because she came to the aid of a ship carrying Begnion's apostle.
Ah! So Princess Elincia is safe and in contact with the Begnion Empire? That news gladdens my heavy heart.
I do not believe that Daein yet has this information. If word got out that the princess of Crimea has been granted sanctuary in Begnion, Daein might halt its invasion of Gallia.
You have something you wish to say?
Would you be so kind as to explain yourself, King Kilvas?
Princess Elincia barely escaped Crimea with her life and then fled to Gallia. And yet a certain king of beasts there, one on whom she had pinned all hope, chose not to support her.
With nowhere else to turn, the princess and her retinue spent two long months at sea, arriving in Begnion mere days ago.
And that, dear kings, is the latest news... At least, to the best of my poor knowledge.
Daein knows the princess is in Begnion?! King Kilvas, how did you come to possess this information?
Why, there's no trick to it. I just perk up my ears and... point them in the right direction.
You expect us to believe that a stray wind carried it to your ears? This is an odd tale, Naesala.
Hmm? Do you think so? Well, there is one trick to information gathering that I know. Shall I share it with you?
If it involves dealing with human scum, I'll pass. Forgoing my laguz pride is not something I'm willing to do.
Ha! Is that not always the way of Phoenicis, to cling to those last tattered remnants of pride? Instead of proclaiming that you will attack none but Begnion ships, just admit that you don't have the power to do more!
What did you say?
King Naesala of Kilvas, your actions of late can indeed be judged as too extreme.
Black Dragon King of Goldoa, what do you pretend to know of my actions? Please, enlighten me.
I would remind you of the beorc ship you attacked in Phoenicisian waters... and left stranded in Goldoan territory.
I heard from my own son, Kurthnaga, that a beorc resembling Princess Crimea was on board that ship.
Don't act surprised! I have no intention of ruling some tiny island nation forever. I will make Kilvas a name to remember! To that end, no amount of gold is enough. Laguz or beorc, I care not. If the pay is right, there's nothing I won't do.
I care not about the reach of your ambition, but you should choose your methods with more care. What good will it do you to expand your domain only to find enemies at your every border?
I will take your words to heart for the time being.
And you, too, King Phoenicis. What good will your piracy do you if it earns the wrath of Begnion? Continue at this pace, and there's no telling when the hostilities will end.
Until the people of Begnion apologize for the slaughter of our brother herons, I will do no such thing.
Prince Reyson of Serenes? Are you of the same mind?
For my siblings, for my countrymen, I demand justice. I cannot even return my bedridden father to our forest home! I am no soldier. I know nothing of war, so King Phoenicis acts in my stead. I am most grateful to him, and I would not see him stop until Begnion has paid.
Blood leads only to blood, and violence begets violence. Nothing more. Revenge is simply another name for murder.
And you, king of lions? What will you do about your home of Gallia? Now that you know Daein's feint toward Gallia is merely another move in his game of war, how will you act?
If it's the first step towards eradicating all human scum, Phoenicis will help you destroy Daein.
No. Unless this becomes a true war among all nations, I want you to stay your hand. As long as Gallia is protected by the sea of trees, we can stave off Daein's attacks.
Ah, the luxury of a large nation! You would waste a chance to expand your territory just to maintain the status quo? Sad.
I agree with King Gallia. If we were to form a laguz alliance against Daein, we would drive Begnion to Daein's side and lose a valuable ally.
The what now?
But it still exists. We know this. And as long as it does, we cannot allow any war that could stand to engulf all our nations! Do you understand, laguz kings? I beg of you, do not forget it.
Lv 10 Sword Knight
HP: 30 (60%) Spd: 10 (50%)
Str: 9 (55%) Lck: 8 (25%)
Mag: 2 (5%) Def: 10 (45%)
Skl: 7 (45%) Res: 2 (20%)
Move: 8 Con: 10 Wt: 33
Equip: Swords (C)
Makalov is another, less extreme, variation on the same theme embodied by Sothe and Astrid; he's (kinda) low level, but his growths are, on the whole, pretty good. With 55% Strength and 50% Speed growths, he'll quickly make a great swordsman; not quite as excessively speedy as the Myrmidons but a bit tankier. And, unlike Ike, he'll have some room to grow into.
It is silly that he doesn't have the Gamble skill, since the accuracy and marginal-crittiness of swords would make the skill a bit more interesting, but hey. Instead, he has Tempest, which means that his stats will be a bit more variable over time, but it shouldn't be anything to worry about - although doubtless he can do some nice things with that +10 Avoid, when he's got it.
Before we go, here's a very quick Mechanecdote on the subject of True Hit, something I've mentioned a couple of times and have been assuming you all know about, which was kinda inconsiderate of me.
As you know, Fire Emblem shows you, before you initiate combat, your chance to hit, expressed as a percentage. The stated technical explanation for what happens next is; a random number between 0 and 99 is chosen, and if it's less than the Hit percentage, the attack connects.
However, this isn't entirely accurate.
What actually happens is, two random numbers are chosen, and averaged, and the average is the number that determines the success of the attack.
What this means is that, unless the stated hit percentage is exactly 50, the game is lying to you. If Hit% is higher than 50, the actual odds of success are higher than the stated odds, and if Hit% is below 50, the odds are lower. The difference increases with the distance between Hit% and 50; 49% stated still equates to roughly 49% actual, but 1% stated actually only has 0.03% chance of success - that's quite a big difference (proportionally, anyway). This is most significant for values in the mid-ranges; 75% sounds good-but-not-great, but it actually comes to 87.75%, which sounds a whole lot safer.
Working out the actual hit odds is kind of a pain, but, fortunately, Serenes Forest (that is, the IRL website, not the ancestral home of the Heron tribe), ever the saviour of the Fire Emblem Fan, has provided a handy reference (along with a somewhat messier explanation) for your convenience.
True Hit was introduced in FE6, and remains in place as of FE12, although it seems to have skipped Radiant Dawn.
Next Time: It's the return of the Fire Emblem Desert Level!