The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

by LordHippoman

Part 8: Lea: An open area of grassy or arable land. (Prep)

Chapter 4: Lea: An open area of grassy or arable land. (Prep)

We’ve got some more Shadow Dragon today. We’re going to be introduced to a key gameplay element today, the prep screen a ton of Horse People.

Oh, and since I haven’t shown it yet, here’s the Marth sprite that jogs across the World Map between chapters. It’s kinda great.

Fuck talys, imo

: However, joining his might to that of the Aurelians would have to wait. As Marth descended into the vast green lea separating his troops from theirs, he heard a terrible sound: the galloping of enemy destriers, far away…then closer…Then far too close.

The map will start with us nowhere near the cavaliers.

: The enemy will have sent their forces to meet us. Grust, Dolhr, Gra..We’re up against their standing armies, and we must brace ourselves for it.

“Malledus, please wake up, we’re bracing.”

What’s this? A gameplay shift! Sorta!

: We should select the warriors best suited for the situation and outfit them with the right weapons and items accordingly.

: All right, that’s sound advice. I believe I’ll take it.

Welcome to the Prep Screen!

From now on, before each battle, this screen allows you to make adjustments to your units, scout the map, fiddle with options, and so forth. I’ll be explaining each of those menu options in this update. I’ll be adding more into subsequent prep screens, namely some of the Base Conversations from FE12, which add a little more personality to our units, who right now are...dull. Really, really dull. But this one’s got enough in it already.

Also from now on, I’m splitting the updates into “Prep” and “Battle”. If you read FE12 it’s the same as that. If you didn’t, basically the Prep updates are me making preparations, talking strategy stuff, reclassing, etc. The Battle updates are actual gameplay, so if all I just talked about bores the hell out of you, feel free to skip it. This just helps me divide things up easier, as well as cut down on individual update size.

The first option, “Pick Units”, lets you choose which units will participate in battle. There’s a cap from now on, it varies, but 14 is about what you should expect. There’s limited XP in this game (mostly), so you’ll typically want to stick with a core team. I’m dropping Bord because I like Barst more, Gordin because his one good moment was when they called him “gaggles”, and Jagen because...I’m sorry, buddy, I really am

“Inventory” lets you mess with character inventories. You can trade items between units, merge two inventories together, access your Convoy, etc.

For example, I used the “List” command to get a list of Staves, then grabbed the Mend from Barst to give to Lena. It’s pretty easy to use.

“Armory” lets you buy and sell weapons. The Forge is something interesting I’ll explain later.

Unfortunately, you can only buy the most basic type of each weapon here. It will never upgrade.

“View Map” is one of the big ones. You can swap the starting positions of any units you deploy, except Marth.

This is also how I’m going to scout the map so I don’t have to awkwardly try to segue into it mid-battle anymore.

For example, I can show you that right to the north of the start is this squadron of dickheads who are just going to rush us from the side of the lake! Great!

There’s also a thief right to the west.

Probably just to destroy this village slightly west of him. That’s something I’ll need to find an answer for. (Cavaliers.)

North of that is our goal, unfortunately it’s across a narrow bridge guarded by two Archers and a Knight. There’s also another village, and…a ton of empty space. A lot of Shadow Dragon’s maps feel weirdly empty.

Most notably up there is this squad of mounted units. These guys do not wait around, and they will rush us from the start. There’s a nasty surprise hidden here, this one has an Armorslayer, which is triple damage to Knights. Be careful, Draug!

We also get our first Promoted foes, and they’re Horsemen. Horsemen are promoted Hunters, and they’re pretty dangerous right now. That’s a lot of movement. They can also use swords, but these guys didn’t have them, I guess.

...there’s also...matthis…

Ahem. Anyway, the boss, Bentheon, is a bit different from the others we’ve fought. Namely he’s not as hard, but he’s got another rude surprise for people who aren’t looking at the top screen. He’s got a Ridersbane. Triple damage to cavalry. That’ll one shot Cain and Abel easily.

There’s also an Arena.

I’ll get to that next time.

Oh boy here’s the big one.

RECLASSING is a new feature added into Shadow Dragon. It allows you to change a character’s class, up to a cap of units in a single class. You might see on the right there that we can only have so many of each unit type. That will rise as the game goes on and we get more natural units of that class. I think it’s N+1.

Not only does changing classes change the weapons you can use, it changes your stats. Each class sorta has a baseline, and it’ll adjust accordingly.

It also affects Growth Rates. Not only does each character have their own growth rates, the class they are adds its Growths to the equation when Level Ups get calculated. They’re kinda what you’d expect, Knights get more Defense, Myrmidons get more Speed, but I’ll link to the SerenesForest chart if you want to get really into the details: Class Growth Rates

This enables a lot of fun fucking around. Want to take advantage of Navarre’s natural speed to make an Archer who gets lots of doubles? Go nuts. Want a bald Swordmaster? Wrys. Keep in mind that you’ll start at an E rank for any weapons you don’t have proficiency in yet, though, so that can be a drawback.

Not only that, units are limited to reclassing within their class sets. They are as follows:

Female units get Pegasus Knight, Archer, Mage, Cleric, and Myrmidon, with access to Paladin on promotion.

Male units that start in Cavalier, Archer, Myrmidon, Mage, or Curate can swap between those, or into Dracoknight on promotion.

Male units that start in Fighter, Pirate, Hunter, Dark Mage, Knight, or Mercenary can swap between those.

Some special units, like Marth or Julian, cannot reclass at all.

Again, I plan on messing with this more than I did in the last game, so if you have any ideas, feel free to pitch them!

Speaking of Dark Mages, there are no natural recruitable Dark Mages in the game! They’re basically Mages that don’t hit as hard, but get more Resistance and Speed. I like them, but who to choose?

Ta da. For some unknowable reason, perhaps for reclass rewarding, Cord has a personal Magic Growth of 10%, which is tied with most natural mages. He can never use it in his natural class. Now he can. But we’ll need to outfit him properly.

Let’s go to the Forge! The Forge lets you adjust the stats of most weapons, excluding some special ones with unique effects (Like the Devil Axe). You can increase (or decrease) Might, Hit Chance, Critical Chance, and Weight, but each change makes the Forge more costly, and you can only Forge once per map.

To help him get off the ground, I bought Cord a basic Fire tome and jacked it up here.

You can also rename the weapon if you want. Cord is still using axes, see! (This is why I welcome any name suggestions.)

I think that’s the last great Infodump in the game. Hopefully you’ll join me next time as we investigate the Lea and its Destriers and wonder why they whipped out the thesaurus for this one.