The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

by Blastinus

Part 1: Prologue: The Fall of Renais

Prologue: The Fall of Renais

Our story begins like most great tales: with multiple screens of text.

Creatures awash in the dark ride ran wild, pushing mankind to the brink of annihilation.

In its despair, mankind appealed to the heavens, and from a blinding light came hope.

These five glorious treasures held the power to dispel evil.

The hero Grado and his warriors used the Sacred Stones to combat evil's darkness. They defeated the Demon King and sealed his soul away within the stones.

With the darkness imprisoned, peace returned to Magvel.

For some 800 Years, a quiet peace reigned in the absence of the terrible darkness.

The Sacred Stones have been passed from generation to generation. Nations have been built around their power and their legacy.

And finally...

These five countries house the power of the Sacred Stones.

(Lord Klimt isn't important enough to be mentioned by name, apparently)

In times of peace, tales of the past conflict have drifted into legend, and memories of the ancient dark arts have all but evaporated.

In an instant, the whole of Magvel is threatened by an unexpected atrocity.

The Grado Empire, the largest of the Sacred Stones nations, has invaded the kingdom of Renais under orders from Emperor Vigarde.

Grado's forces move quickly, seizing one territory after another

Grado's momentum carries its armies to the gates of Castle Renais itself.

Every chapter will have an opening narration before the title card. Rest assured that none of them will be nearly as long in the future.

Inside Renais Castle, a soldier comes to speak to the king.

: The castle gate has been breached. Emperor Vigarde's forces are within the castle walls.

: I understand.

: The garrison has fallen. We've lost contact with Prince Ephraim and can expect no aid from his men. Your majesty, what are we to do?

: ...What else can we do? Order your men to lay down their arms.

: Eirika. Are you wearing the bracelet I gave you?

: Yes, I have it right here.

: Good.

: Seth.

: Take Eirika and head for Frelia. King Hayden is an honorable man. I trust he will keep you safe.

: Understood. And what of Your Majesty?

: Me? I shall remain here. We have long held Grado among our dearest allies, yet now, they attack? I must know why. Am I somehow responsible for this? Have I erred in my leadership? Renais is mine to guide...How could I have failed her so?

: Father, you can't stay! You mustn't! If you remain behind, then so shall I!

: Go now, Seth! Ride! Take her to safety!

: Father!

: Forgive me, your highness.

: Ephraim, Eirika... You must survive.

Of course, Seth and a fellow knight don't take two steps from the castle gates before they start talking.

: Franz, ride ahead and bring word of our coming to Frelia. A single rider has better odds of passing unseen by Grado's men. Convey to the throne all that has happened here and petition for reinforcements.

: U-understood! *leaves*

: Princess Eirika, we must--

: Quickly! Behind me!

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to meet the second-most obnoxious character in the game.

: Well, this must be my lucky day. You're a dead man. The wench goes with me.

: Never!

And...fight scene.

: And you’re just a corpse who does not know he is dead.

: Ahhh... No!

For reasons I'll explain later, this fight scene is just stupid, and it won't be the last time this happens either. The game really wants to make Valter seem better than he is.

Regardless, at least Seth knows when to run.

: Such terrible wounds, and still he holds to his duty? How entertaining. Fly away, little man. Fly away. Try to outrun death. More time to savor the hunt... and the kill.

An indeterminate period of time later...

: Princess Eirika! This way! I can see no more of Grado's men. If we've made it this far, we've surely earned a moment's rest. Please forgive my grabbing you so... brusquely earlier.

: Don't be foolish, Seth. If it weren’t for you, I would never have made it out of the castle. You are the reason I'm still alive. You have my gratitude. And who ever that man was, he was clearly after me... It's my fault that you received such a grave wound. Allow me to treat it, I--

: Your highness, I can't allow an injury like this to be an obstacle. We have more important matters to attend to. We must press on to Frelia. We must fulfill His Majesty's wishes.

:... I wonder how my father fares alone in the castle. Do you think he's safe? And what of my brother on the Grado front? We've heard nothing from him for days.

: King Fado and Prince Ephraim are both valiant and brave men. I doubt even the might of the Grado Empire can hold them in check. More important to me, Your Highness, is that you look to your own safety. How sad the two of them would be if something were to happen to you. We must reach Frelia to ensure the day of your happy reunion.

: Yes, of course. You're right. Until I'm reunited with my father and brother, I must not despair. Come, Seth. Let us go.

: Your highness, I won't lie to you. This will not be an easy ride. Please, take this rapier. If something should happen to me, you must continue to Frelia, alone if need be.

And Eirika has a weapon now. Fortunate too, because at that moment...

Company arrives.

: Grado's men. Stand back, Princess Eirika.

: It's all right, Seth. My brother has taught me something of swordplay. I will stand with you.

And five minutes into the game, we finally get to do our very first fight. About freakin' time.

Turn 1

Since this map is fairly short, let's take a moment now to go over the basics of this game's combat system. First, the stats.

Our protagonist Eirika, in typical Fire Emblem fashion, is both fairly weak and made out of tissue paper. This presents a minor problem, because if she dies, the game's over instantly, what with the whole permanent death thing.

Did I mention that characters are dead permanently if they die in this game? That's an important thing to remember.

From the top: Strength determines attack damage, Skill increases chances to hit and score critical hits, Speed increases a character's chances of dodging attacks, Luck increases hit chance, dodge chance, and lowers the critical rate of an attacking enemy, and finally, Defense and Resistance lower damage from physical and magical attacks, respectively.

On the side, Move determines how many spaces a character can travel, and Constitution measures how heavy a weapon a character can carry before he or she takes a Speed penalty. Every point of weight an equipped weapon has above a character's Constitution lowers Speed by one. Eirika's Constitution is quite puny, barely enough to lift her Rapier without any penalty, and it's one of the lightest swords in the game.

Now, her wingman, on the other hand...

Despite appearing to be level 1 as well, Seth's stats are much better across the board. That's because he's actually a promoted class, a paladin, capable of equipping both swords and lances. Characters of Seth's ilk are known by fans either as a Jeigan or an Oifay, after two high-level support characters from Fire Emblems 1 and 4, respectively. Jeigan types are powerful in the first few chapters in which they appear, but drop in usefulness quickly when enemies become too strong for them to fight. Jeigans are nuisances at best, sucking up experience which lower-level characters could be using instead, or at worst, they're liabilities.

The Oifay type, the category in which Seth belongs, is different. Due to high initial stats, strong stat growths, or a combination of both, these sorts of characters start out useful and remain just as useful, more-or-less, if used regularly. If Seth remains a permanent fixture of the team, we will have a lot of leeway in the battles ahead.

And speaking of leeway:

Even compared to Eirika, the two Fighters accompanying the boss of this level are complete chumps. All they really have going for them is strength and defense.

As for the big man himself, O'Neill has a lot more speed, at the expense of defense. He's still too weak to do anything to Seth, and shouldn't be too big a threat to Eirika either, so long as we approach him cautiously.

The first thing I do in this fight is hand over Seth's weapons to Eirika, thereby disarming him. A peculiar thing to do, I suppose, but I have my reasons.

Then I move Eirika over so that only one enemy can face her in this narrow pass, and I end turn.

Obligingly, the fighter in front engages Eirika, and we have our first real combat of the day.

In Fire Emblem's combat system, the person who started the battle attacks first, and then the other combatant, if able, gets a free counterattack. Damage is a sum of the attacker's Strength stat and their weapon's damage, minus the defender's Defense stat. In this man's case, his Strength was 5, an iron axe does 8, and Eirika's defense was 3, which comes out to...10?

Oh yes, there's also the Weapon Triangle. Swords beat Axes, which beat Lances, which beat Swords. When a character has a Weapon Triangle advantage, they gain 1 damage, while the combatant with the disadvantage loses 1. In addition, they also gain or lose 15% on their chance to hit, which, combined with the generally low accuracy of axes, meant that the Fighter was only attacking with a 39% chance to hit (well, not exactly, but that's a discussion for another time).

You might have also noticed that Eirika hit twice on that exchange. That's because, if a character's speed exceeds his or her opponent's speed by four or more, they get another attack in a fight.

Following the fight, Eirika gained some experience. It takes 100 experience points to gain a level, and the experience scales depending on the level of the attacker compared to the target. This is why it's a bad idea to send Seth against these guys, since the game adds 20 levels to his number for being a promoted class, meaning that he'd get almost nothing for fighting them.

Turn 2

Observe the number to the side of Eirika's Rapier. That's the weapon's durability. Every time you hit an enemy, it goes down by one until the weapon runs out of uses and breaks. The Rapier starts with 40 durability, so we won't have to worry about that just yet, but it is something to consider for the future.

When we select an enemy, the game will show us exactly what will happen in a confrontation. Notice the number at the bottom of the blue side. That 14% represents Eirika's chance to land a critical hit. This is mostly due to her Rapier, which grants a 10% critical rate, and the remaining 4% is because of her Skill, divided by two.

Not helping matters is that the Fighter has absolutely 0 Luck, so he has no way to decrease Eirika's chance of a critical hit.

How unfortunate.

Critical hits multiply the damage shown by three, which means that the Fighter just took 21 damage, more than enough to take him out.

What I'm doing next is completely pointless.

You see, while we don't want Seth to actually kill these Fighters, his Defense makes him an effective roadblock. My original plan was, if Eirika got hit while killing the first Fighter, Seth would move in front and block the other Fighter from trying to finish her off. Since he traded away his weapons to Eirika, Seth wouldn't counter the Fighter, and Eirika could heal up and engage the Fighter next turn.

That said, I don't even know what I was thinking at this point. Vulneraries heal 10 HP a pop, but only have three uses. I suppose I figured that, since Seth still had his injury from the story battle with Valter, I'd be better safe than sorry. A good thought, except...

Two damage. That's all the Fighter did to Seth. He could have been guzzling Drano and he'd still have survived this fight easily.

Turn 3

For a little extra protection, Eirika slips past Seth to engage the Fighter from a forest space. While standing in a forest area, characters gain 1 Defense and 20 Avoid, making those spaces ideal for characters to hide in. In this circumstance, the Fighter would have only had a 21% chance to hit.

Although, given that Eirika critted again, that's purely academic.

: What was that? Do you think you can take me, wretched lording? Come! It's time you high-and-mighty knights learned to respect a true warrior!

On the enemy phase, O'Neill moves forward to attack Eirika. Not a wise move, but the Fire Emblem AI will almost always attack someone if they can.

Now, O'Neill is fast enough so that Eirika can't double him, but since she's still in the forest space, she should be able to dodge his attacks and whittle him down in 2 or 3 turns.

Or she can just crit him. That works too.

Just not your day, man.

Killing O'Neill gave Eirika enough experience to have her first level up of the game. In Fire Emblem, stat gains are not static upon leveling. Instead, characters have a certain percentage chance of raising their stats one point, known as growth rates. What that means is that a character's development is entirely up to the whims of a random, and oftentimes quite cruel, random number generator.

As you'll see at the end of this update, Eirika's weakest growths are in Defense and Resistance, Which makes that point of Resistance somewhat of a surprise. Resistance blocks magic damage, which we won't have to worry about for a while, but it's always good to have it, just in case.

: What? Oh, no... I'm fine, Seth.

: But you look so pale...

: I'm fine... Fine. ...This is war, isn't it? It's not at all like the games I used to play with my brother or Lyon. I never thought-- I didn’t know it would be this...savage. Are words useless? Is strength all that matters? It's so sad... Why would the Grado Empire do this? To what end would they start a war?

: Princess...

: ...Don't worry, Seth. I won't give in to sorrow . Let's get moving. I'm not broken, and I won't stop until I see Renais restored. I won't stop until I'm reunited with my father and brother.

Next Time: We meet the game's most annoying character in Chapter 1: Escape


Class: Lord
Weapon Ranks: E in Swords
Affinity: Light

HP: 16 (70%) Lck: 5 (60%)
Str: 4 (40%) Def: 3 (30%)
Skl: 8 (60%) Res: 1 (30%)
Spd: 9 (60%) Con: 5

As the game's protagonist, Eirika needs, more than anyone, to do well in her stat growths. Fortunately, she'll have a lot of levels to grow into, since she starts at level 1, and her unique weapon, the Rapier, is light, decently strong for this part of the game, has a sizable crit rate, and has one last aspect to it that has yet to be revealed. Until she gains a few levels, however, it's best to avoid having her get into any fight where she can't score the kill in the first hit, since she can't afford to take any damage herself.

Class: Paladin
Weapon Ranks: A in Swords, A in Lances
Affinity: Anima

HP: 30 (90%) Lck: 13 (25%)
Str: 14 (50%) Def: 11 (40%)
Skl: 13 (45%) Res: 8 (30%)
Spd: 12 (45%) Con: 11

As mentioned before, Seth is an Oifay type of "crutch" character. If he were a Jeigan, most of those growths would be somewhere around 10%. No joke. Instead, he's got a coin flip's chance of gaining strength, skill, and speed every level, and perhaps some defense and resistance too if he's lucky. Just be sure to save him for fighting people around his own level, otherwise he'll be wasting valuable experience due to his promoted nature. Think of him as the nuclear option, which you call in whenever you need something steamrolled in a hurry. I've heard of people soloing this game with Seth, and that honestly doesn't sound too far-fetched. He's just that good.