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Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Onmi posted:

That's a pretty good analysis, I always disliked the Fang, mostly because the majority of them bore me to tears, partially because everyone fellates them endlessly, which now that I think about it, they do it to Ephidel too...

Hm. They definitely have their flaws as a group of enemies, but I still greatly prefer them to fighting yet another generic evil army of Gradaeinolhr.

As a group I don't find them that interesting- just better than the generic alternative or the terrible Grimleal- but I found the actual Black Fang bosses and others to be by far the most interesting and developed collection of enemy characters in any FE I can think of.

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Fatcat214
Feb 19, 2015

Party Poogie

It's weird learning so much about a game i thought i knew a lot about.

Arbitrary Coin
Feb 17, 2012

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:
2nd Battalion


I'm guessing the Fang's reputation probably has to do with them killing off people who were worse in the past.

And chiming in on the rescue chain love; I should've spotted it coming, but didn't and it was glorious. Reminded me of that one chicken/peasant rail gun in DnD. But out of curiosity, why didn't you use the Chest Keys bought earlier?

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Arbitrary Coin posted:

I'm guessing the Fang's reputation probably has to do with them killing off people who were worse in the past.

And chiming in on the rescue chain love; I should've spotted it coming, but didn't and it was glorious. Reminded me of that one chicken/peasant rail gun in DnD. But out of curiosity, why didn't you use the Chest Keys bought earlier?

Kinda hard to imagine they killed anyone worse than a nobleman who invited the entire population of his town into his castle and then slaughtered them all for fun. Or the crazy guy babbling endlessly about how his sword is hungry and pondering whether Lyn's skin would still be silky smooth after he cuts it off her. My guess is that it's not publicly known that such people were among the Four Fangs and that the group covers up its own atrocities while emphasizing those of the people they killed.


You know, it's almost exactly like the peasant railgun- especially in that the thing being transported stops dead and drops at the end rather than actually being launched.


The thing is, those weren't chest keys I bought: those were door keys. As far as I can recall, chest keys are never purchasable except later on from some Secret Shops (and they're not a very good buy all in all, costing about 4x the price of a lockpick use per chest, in contrast to door keys which are actually a better buy). I did use the door key I purchased (Florina had it), which allowed me to complete things 1 turn faster.

Going into that chapter, I'd completely forgotten that on HHM there isn't an enemy who drops a chest key (There is on every other difficulty). So I had to come up with that whole rescue chain thing more or less on the spot because my usual plan of sending Erk or Florina to loot the whole southern treasure room while Matthew handles only the top wouldn't work.

Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Melth posted:

Kinda hard to imagine they killed anyone worse than a nobleman who invited the entire population of his town into his castle and then slaughtered them all for fun. Or the crazy guy babbling endlessly about how his sword is hungry and pondering whether Lyn's skin would still be silky smooth after he cuts it off her. My guess is that it's not publicly known that such people were among the Four Fangs and that the group covers up its own atrocities while emphasizing those of the people they killed.


You know, it's almost exactly like the peasant railgun- especially in that the thing being transported stops dead and drops at the end rather than actually being launched.


The thing is, those weren't chest keys I bought: those were door keys. As far as I can recall, chest keys are never purchasable except later on from some Secret Shops (and they're not a very good buy all in all, costing about 4x the price of a lockpick use per chest, in contrast to door keys which are actually a better buy). I did use the door key I purchased (Florina had it), which allowed me to complete things 1 turn faster.

Going into that chapter, I'd completely forgotten that on HHM there isn't an enemy who drops a chest key (There is on every other difficulty). So I had to come up with that whole rescue chain thing more or less on the spot because my usual plan of sending Erk or Florina to loot the whole southern treasure room while Matthew handles only the top wouldn't work.

On the other hand, Door keys, 50gp, 50gp everywhere, always use Door Keys if you can over a lockpick.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Onmi posted:

On the other hand, Door keys, 50gp, 50gp everywhere, always use Door Keys if you can over a lockpick.

Theoretically that's a good idea, yeah. The savings is only 30 gold though. So even if you use 10 door keys, it only adds up to the price of a single vulnerary. Considering the low amount saved, the best reason to use Door Keys is so that your thief isn't slowed down by locked doors and can get to the treasure faster- or to let you outright access areas you can't otherwise get into without bringing your thief to that section of the map.

Despite being a bad buy compared to Lockpicks, chest keys are useful for similar reasons at times. It's better to spend an extra 400 gold and finish 5 or 6 turns early than to wait for a thief to walk back and loot a second set of chests.

Sorites
Sep 10, 2012



quote:

Peasant railgun

I always hated that one. Not because it's exploitative, but because it isn't exploitative enough.

Passing an item was a free action, taking zero time. So if you passed an item even from one person to another, the item was moving at infinite speed: A distance, divided by zero time.

You could do the railgun with two people; there was no need for a lineup.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Sorites posted:

I always hated that one. Not because it's exploitative, but because it isn't exploitative enough.

Passing an item was a free action, taking zero time. So if you passed an item even from one person to another, the item was moving at infinite speed: A distance, divided by zero time.

You could do the railgun with two people; there was no need for a lineup.

It wouldn't be zero time, it would be one round (6 seconds) because passing an item is a move action. Just dropping it is free. You need the lineup to move it as far as possible in six seconds, or that was the rationale. In older games a round was a minute and even an action that didn't take your turn could take a second or two.

Edit: I guess dropping it into an adjacent square is a free action but then they have to pick it up.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Prism posted:

It wouldn't be zero time, it would be one round (6 seconds) because passing an item is a move action. Just dropping it is free. You need the lineup to move it as far as possible in six seconds, or that was the rationale. In older games a round was a minute and even an action that didn't take your turn could take a second or two.

Edit: I guess dropping it into an adjacent square is a free action but then they have to pick it up.

Free action or move action to pass, a dropped item is stated to fall flat in your square or an adjacent one. So it doesn't matter whether you accelerate the object to superluminal speeds, it instantly stops and lands flat rather than being launched.

A more useful RAW joke exploit might be to 'drop' an item straight up to the top of an adjacent wall.

If you want to joke about things moving at absurd speeds, consider that free action falling or dropping means you or the object hits the ground at infinite velocity and then immediately accelerates to 0. I don't really find such things terribly funny to be honest though.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!




And here we have perhaps the least important chapter of the game, one which seems to be treated as non-canon even by the immediately ensuing chapter and which is regarded as absurd by the characters as they fight through it! Whether you do this sidequest or not, Eliwood and company will end up in exactly the same place in the exact same circumstances next chapter. And the fact that theyíll have killed from 6 to 20 or so of the crew of the ship now ferrying them to Valor more or less at the invitation of its captain will be completely ignored by all concerned.

Granted, most sidequests have a fairly minimal impact on the plot- thatís why theyíre sidequests- but in most cases that actually makes sense. This chapter doesnít. Itís also completely unclear why having saved Caelin soldiers in the last chapter unlocks this sidequest, in contrast to many sidequests with much more logical requirements.

That said, itís pretty fun so I donít really complain about it like I do the filler arc in Awakening for example.

Chapter Summary:
To get to the Dread Isle (Valor) and the Dragonís Gate, Hector and company will need a ship, so they head for the nearby port city of Badon. You know, exactly the same as they do if you skip this chapter. In Badon they find the commoners are terrified of the infamous island and no one but the fearless ďpirateĒ Fargus and his crew are actually willing to sail there at any price. Captain Fargus proposes a challenge to see if he should give them passage: if they can best or circumvent his fearsome crew, heíll take them to Valor for free.




Lyn harbors a completely justified hatred of pirates, seeing them as no different from the bandits who slaughtered her tribe. Eliwood and Hector see no alternative though since the villagers are adamant that they will not travel to a place like Valor.




Hector and Eliwood meet the grizzled and rough-spoken captain Fargus, who initially agrees to take them to Valor for a gigantic sum of money: 100,000 gold. Or at least, we must assume itís gigantic. Itís really not clear how much ď1 goldĒ is actually worth in terms of, say, cattle or farmland. All we know is that this is about the price of 217 low quality swords. That suggests itís a huge sum of money from a commonerís perspective but not necessarily that of noblemen who have the resources to equip and field armies. Perhaps itís like asking for several million dollars.




Neither Eliwood nor Hector carries that much in their pockets, but evidently Uther has that kind of money to throw around if he knows the reason- Hector just doesnít want to ask his brother for help.




Ceremonial garb, armor, etc. would all be extremely valuable sorts of belongings. Apparently what Hector has to spare would sum up to a significant enough fraction of 100,000 that they could make the rest with a few won bets. This is about all we really learn about the value of ď1 goldĒ and consequently the economy and the wealth of characters in FE other than that a small country village might be able to scrape together as much as 5000 by pooling their resources to pay for an immediate bandit threat to be destroyed.




Fargusís crewman, Dart, suddenly interrupts them to say that Fargus actually would rather challenge them to some sort of contest which involves the pointless death of most of his crew than rake in massive amounts of cash for providing a boat ride. Why Dart and the other men donít object to this plan is beyond me. Again, I kind of feel like the events of this level are basically not treated as canon.


The War Room, Part 17

So this is the first level in a while where the enemies really have potentially tremendous damage-dealing potential. That makes it a good time for a quick talk about how to estimate how much damage youíll take and thus whether leaving a character in a certain position will result in death or not.

The simplest approach is probably to assume that every enemy possible attacks and hits your most vulnerable character. Just check the movement ranges of all enemies and figure out how many can attack your character before they block each other. You can tell which enemies will attack in order by right clicking an enemy and then holding the down button to scroll through the list in the order theyíll attack (The boss is at the Ďtopí of the list usually). Remember to consider that if your character kills the attacking enemy, a new enemy can potentially take that oneís place.

Then just look at the listed damage of the relevant enemies, include any weapon triangle or super-effective bonuses and terrain penalties (Consult The War Room, Part 4 for a full explanation) and subtract your characterís resistance or defense as appropriate. If the sum of all these damages is > your characterís HP, you can assume your character will die. That method is very simple and very conservative- it completely ignores your chance of dodging and also the possibility of the AI targeting other characters. You should never lose a character if you just abide by that method, but on the other hand you wonít take enough risks to play efficiently. I generally find it appropriate for quickly calculating whether a character you want to train can be thrown at a given group of enemies when you have plenty of alternatives.

A good middle-ground approach is to do the same as above, but multiply each unitís calculated damage to your character by their listed chance to hit- this gives you a good approximation of their expected damage. If this number is near or above your characterís HP, your character has a high chance of death. This does not factor True Hit in of course.

The most complex and accurate method is the same as the middle ground approach, but you get out the true hit tables and replace the displayed hit chance with the true hit chance.

On rare occasions your enemies will actually have a chance to crit your units- usually because theyíre wielding Killer weapons or the like. Remember that the critical chance is checked after determining if a hit occurs. So if your unit has a true hit chance of 50% and a crit chance of 50%, then there is a 25% chance of scoring a normal hit and a 25% chance of scoring a critical hit, and a 50% chance of missing. On the rare occasions when you need to deal with enemies with killer weapons, Iíd advise just trying to make sure they canít kill any of your troops even on a crit- or finding a way to eliminate them without them getting to attack at all. But again, you could just conservatively assume every enemy that can crit crits (in which case you multiply their final calculated damage by 3) or you could take the middle ground approach and consider each enemyís expected damage done to be = calculated damage x displayed hit chance x (1 Ė crit chance) + calculated damage x displayed hit chance x (crit chance) x3. For the ultra-accurate version, just substitute in the true hit chance for the displayed one as usual.


Battle Preparations & the Map:



Units Allowed: 6
Units Benched: Kent (Way too weak and speed is no longer so important), Florina (too many axe users and other enemies she canít handle), Oswin (Far too slow and ineffective vs axe users), Erk (Too fragile), Matthew (Nothing to steal),
Units Added: Raven. This is Ravenís level; itís jam-packed full of juicy targets for him to kill for training.
Objective: TALK to Fargus. This can be done with any unit. If you attack him, you lose so donít misclick.
Secondary Objective: Recruit Canas from the top nearby village.
Secondary Objective: Visit the bottom nearby village for the Devil Axe.
Secondary Objective: Visit the top middle village for the Short Bow.
Secondary Objective: Visit the top left village for the Lancereaver
Secondary Objective: Visit the village just above the main pirate formation for the Sleep staff
Secondary Objective: Kill the high level pirates and Damian and his reinforcements.
Reinforcements: Once you enter the range of one of Fargusís high level soldiers, Damian and a contingent of cavalry (1 cavalier, 1 nomad, and 1 troubadour) will spawn-move from the bottom leftish area one turn later.
Turns Allowed: 10

Itís a bonus round! Thereís almost half a dozen villages full of goodies, even if most arenít actually that valuable, plus a bunch of totally optional very high level pirates you can kill for XP or challenge. For those of you out there who arenít doing a challenge run, thereís also an arena in which you can grind your characters into invincible death machines that makes the rest of the game boring.

The nearby strange looking building is basically a house or tan-roofed village. You donít get anything for going there, but the semi-recurring character Anna makes a pointless cameo and will be mentioned again next chapter if you visit it. Over by Fargus is the character Dart who will join you later and wonít fight you on this level. Donít attack him! If he dies now, heís lost forever!

One critical thing to understand on this level is that the non-circled pirates will charge your position but are really weak- free experience for your low level units really. The circled pirates are extremely high level, armed with weapons the likes of which have never before been seen, and are initially docile. If you donít move into their attack range, theyíll never go after you and Damian and his black fang troops will not appear. Provoke one of them though and theyíll all charge, so make sure youíre ready. If youíre some kind of pansy, you can skip fighting them altogether by just sending a unit around the top fringe of the map and behind the shops to talk to Fargus without entering their range.

But the best way to win quickly is no doubt to aggro them immediately from a position of strength, thin the herd down to a few leftovers before turn 2, mop up the rest and Damian on turns 2 and 3, and do mass village visiting + talking to Fargus on turn 4.

Your biggest problem will be the tiny number of allowed units. Make sure you pick at the very least your best 2 (and a good sword user, probably Raven, for the top pirates) as well as a healer and any troops you want to try to funnel some XP to.




See that forest near the mass of high level pirates? Thatís the ideal point from which to trigger their attack. But thereís absolutely no way to move there on your own on turn 1; itís too far and woods slow down paladins too much. Instead youíll need to use rescue-dropping to get your best unit into position. For me thatís undoubtedly Sain. You also need 2 units with 7+ movement to drop him into position. Iíll go with Marcus and Lowen. Itís best if they can take a hit or two.

As I explained before, you typically want the rescuee to start behind the rescuers and to run past them and then wait. That way the rescuers donít have to waste any movement running backward before grabbing the rescued party. In this case, putting Sain in the bottom left area rather than Raven or Priscillaís starting positions allows him to reach Canasís village and still have enough movement to get past Canas after Canas steps out. Meanwhile Raven can move into the attack range of the closest northern pirate and Priscilla can visit the nearby inn or whatever else you want her to do while Hector moves along the lower path toward the pirates.

Sain is packing a handaxe so that he can counterattack and kill the enemy archer, mage, and shaman without letting the axe-wielders have a weapon triangle edge. He also has a Horseslayer for Damian. Marcus and Lowen have iron weapons and javelins, Raven gets both an iron and a steel sword (and a vulnerary in case of bad luck), and everyone elseís gear is unchanged.

Time to start!




Just before the map starts, Lyn reappears from trying and failing to find a non-pirate captain willing to ferry them and decides to just be reasonable and put up with pirates since itís the only option. Sheís fierce and sheís stubborn, but sheís not stupid or senseless.




Lyn was not present for any of the conversations leading up to the battle so they try to explain whatís going on to her. Lyn doesnít understand because the situation is absurd, but joins in (if you chose to put her on the map).




Raven introduces himself as well, making no mention of his secret plans to kill that guy you need to keep alive every chapter.


Characters:




ďIíve some skill with a form of elder magicÖ Some call it dark magic, a rather biased term, if I must be blunt.Ē ĖCanas, Chapter 17x

Only (functionally) surviving child of one of Elibeís most famous and respected dark mages, Canas is a traveling wizard and scholar of no small ability. As heís introduced, he too is trying to get to the Dread Isle (in his case because it was once a center of study of dark magic) and he too has been rebuffed by everyone but Fargus.
Unlike most other people in your party, Canas is already quite well established in life. He already has something of a reputation for his knowledge of dark magic, a home he could return to at any time, and appears to be happily married with a young son. Unlike Marcus, however, heís not yet satisfied and is driven by his tremendous scholarly curiosity to try to learn all he can Ė not only of dark magic, but of other scholarly fields as well.
Much like Lucius, Canas is a kind and gentle man and is humble and patient at all times. Like Lucius, heís suffered a great deal- a harsh upbringing and the loss of all his brothers to the dark magic they studied among others things- but is a resilient person who such tribulations have only made stronger and more compassionate. And much like Lucius, thereís no way to earn a happy ending for him.
What can I say? I have a thing for everyday kindness and decency , so I like Canas as much as Lucius and Eliwood- maybe even more since he seems a little bit more human that either of them. For one thing, his love of learning is a flaw as well as a strength and often takes him away from his family or leads him to put himself in perils better avoided. For another, he seems to better understand people and be genuinely interested in them and capable of personal rather than just genuine sympathy for anyone- even Nergal. Many of his supports are some of the gameís most interesting, like uncovering the secrets of Renaultís past or exploring the nature of the magic of Elibe with Pent, as well as some of the sweetest Ė like teaching Nino to read.


Canas is the one true god. Heís the only character who will be on my team from the moment he joins all throughout the game on every difficulty and in every mode. At first glance his stats are only pretty good, rather than amazing, but itís his across-the-board pretty goodness coupled with his exclusive access to the matchless power of dark magic that makes him the best character in the game for my style of play.

His magic power exceeds that of almost everyone else in the game at most levels. Lucius has far greater growth but slams into his low cap early so that Canas catches up to him around 20/20. Furthermore, Dark Tomes have significantly greater Might than Anima or Light tomes, which means his damage is better than every other mageís- almost always enough to 2-hit kill any non-boss enemy. Meanwhile he has more HP than every single other magic user and more Defense than everyone except Renault (and much more in most cases), making him the toughest magic user around against accurate enemies. His dodge is also very good, though not quite as good as a few other magesí. For what itís worth, his resistance too is very respectable, though not the very best.

All told he has the best damage and the best all-around defenses of any magic user, enough skill to hit anything, and enough speed that- while slower than most other magic users- heís still faster than most of your non-magic units and easily quick enough to double all or nearly all enemies once heís leveled.

Speaking of which, Canasís starting stats are quite excellent and allow him to immediately begin ripping up enemies and acquiring large amounts of XP with very little effort.

So Canas shapes up well against every other usable magic user in a ranking run, takes next to no work to train to a good level, has the damage to beat down nearly anything, and enjoys the tremendous usefulness that comes with using magic with its 1-2 range all the time. But thereís much, much more. You see, Dark Magic doesnít just have the best overall stats of any magic type, it also has all the spells with special effects. Two of these (Nosferatu and Luna) are exceedingly powerful. Nosferatu is extremely heavy with massive Might and a huge price tag, but it causes the wielder to heal by the amount of damage he inflicts with every single attack. Since itís so expensive, I never use that, but if you donít care about price, itís perhaps the best overall weapon in the game since it can keep you alive against nearly any foe- or any number of foes. In FE8 it truly comes into its own as the ultimate weapon on the final floor of Lagdou ruins, but in this game itís overshadowed byÖ

Luna. For a ranking run, nothing beats Luna. It is a C level (and therefore easily accessible) dark magic spell that weighs in at a hefty 12, slowing Canas significantly. The spell has a mind-blowing accuracy of 95, tying or greatly exceeding every other weapon in the game with the sole exception of the useless Slim Sword which beats it by 5. It has a huge crit of 20- and considering that virtually no other tomes grant a decent crit chance, thatís quite remarkable. And most importantly, Luna has no Might but negates the enemy Resistance. Essentially this means that Luna will hit ANY target Ė even lategame bosses on gates with 20 or 30 Res- for the wielderís Magic in damage with 100% accuracy and a 30% or so chance to instead do 3x the wielderís Magic, which is pretty much an instant kill on anything no matter what. Luna is the ultimate boss killer. Accept no substitutes. On a max ranking HHM run where your characters are chronically underleveled, the bosses are much stronger, and you donít have time to waste with misses, Luna is beyond value.

In conclusion, as a magic user Canas does damage most people with weapons canít hope to match and can counterattack everything in the game. As a shaman, he has weapon triangle advantage or parity against nearly all enemy magic users. He can also become a highly effective healer upon promotion. Heís far more durable than many other magic users- exceeding them all in overall toughness, though he lags behind some in dodge chance. This often makes him the only magic user you can trust to be a front line fighter in HHM. And because he has exclusive access to Luna, he is the ultimate boss assassin and therefore the one responsible for maintaining your tactics score on many of the toughest chapters of the game.
In my experience, Canas is simply the best overall character in the game. At the very least, heís nearly indispensable for max ranking HHM.




ďListen to me, laddie. Men are strange beasts. We canít resist a challenge. Something appears in the horizon, and we immediately set sail. Some dreams we conquer, others we abandon. ÖIíve grown old. I havenít had a good challenge in many a year. Then you mooncalves appear seeking passage to the Dread Isle. I was impressed with your courage. I think you may be the ones to survive the Dread Isle.Ē Ė Fargus, Chapter 17 of Eliwoodís Story

The not-boss of the chapter is a strange old coot with the most dangerous pirate crew on the ocean. I say ďpirateĒ in only the loosest sense of the word however. At no point are any of them implied- let alone shown- to actually engage in any piracy whatsoever. They donít even seem to be outlaws in Badon- in fact theyíre so well regarded by the citizenry that when the city comes under attack, they wish that Fargus was there to save them. Fargus himself seems like the kind of character whoís totally going to join your party as an excellent- but slow- prepromote in the final chapters, but never quite does. Even so, heís one of your greatest allies throughout the story- far more useful than, say, Uther.

Weíre supposed to think Fargus is heroic and brave and noble- if endearingly uncouth. And he is, except on this chapter. In this chapter heís insane and cares nothing for the lives of his crew, throwing them away for his amusement. His crew donít seem to mind. Or to be at all thinned out by you killing 20 of them. In fact, itís almost like this chapterís events donít actually happen at allÖ

He has all sorts of battle dialogue which you should never see, because if you do see it then you just lost the chapter. Even if your character doesnít get instant-killed by his overwhelming stats, heíll refuse to give you passage if you attack him instead of talking. The development team really thought of everything.




Fargusís elite pirates have enormous level and consequently mighty stats as well as excellent weapons. Spells youíve never seen before. Weapons you havenít even received as treasure. And vulneraries for many of them. Theyíre armed with the best so they hurt badly if youíre hit by these guys. His other pirates are a joke, like brigands from Lynís story.




ďYouíre about to die. Scream if you must.Ē ĖDamian, Chapter 17x

The first of 3 Black Fang paladin minibosses who come more or less out of nowhere and are either hilarious or awesome. Although thereís no canonical connection between them, I like to assume they were all friends or relatives. Pretty much everything Damian says is great and heís tough as nails- though not very good on offense for a paladin.




In Hectorís story, heís much less of a threat than he was on Eliwoodís story because he no longer has his fearsome killing edge to crit your units for instant kills with. His inferior weapons more than make up for his better stats and leave him much less of a threat. Still, if you donít know heís coming, he can easily kill someone left exposed to his sudden onslaught.

Playing Through:




Before rescue-dropping Sain into position to begin the real battle, he runs to this village to recruit Canas.




The worldís greatest bemonocled scholar of ancient magics joins the party.




From this position, Raven will cut his way through all the weak northern pirates. Remember, most of the enemies on this chapter are weak- itís only the two groups circled on the map + Damian who are a threat.




Lowen makes sure Sain has his handaxe ready and picks him up. Having him do the first rescue instead of Marcus will let Lowen stop short and thereby avoid more of the powerful enemies who I want to go for Sain or Marcus.




Fargus uses perhaps the greatest insult ever to describe Lowen, Sain, and anyone else who enters his elite piratesí attack range and thereby triggers their charge.




Since there are many ranged enemies to deal with, Marcus makes sure he and Sain both have versatile weapons equipped before dropping him in the forest.




And Priscilla visits the inn where that wimp Anna advises us to miss out on all the XP and our tactics score just to avoid fighting the high level pirates.




Sain gets a nice level as the enemy onslaught begins.




Oh. Darn it. The enemy critted Lowen after the previous axe user got a lucky hit, killing him.

Now I have to restart. But I pledged I would not be abusing the mine glitch, the arena, or the RNG as I began this LP (except for using the RNG to hit Kishuna). This means I canít just play through again with the same strategy but change one thing around so Lowen doesnít get critted; that would be just the same as manipulating the RNG. The only fair thing to do is what Iíve been doing whenever I was forced to restart up till now: come up with a new, second-best strategy and implement that one instead.
Back to the drawing board.

Battle Preparations 2: Electric Boogaloo




Units Benched: Marcus (I didnít want to use him except to rescue-drop anyway, and Iím no longer doing the rescue drop), Lowen (Mostly useful for the rescue drop and he canít take the heat on this chapter other than that).
Units Added: Lyn (she needs to be leveled up a lot and the enemies on this level are vulnerable to her. The Mani Kattiís effectiveness vs Damian doesnít hurt. Eliwood is basically the same except he canít double most enemies and the Rapier is weaker.




Ravenís new position lets him get into battle faster so he can charge right through and fight the handaxe pirate next turn instead of needing to spend another turn fighting the first one, a nice plus of the new formation.




Lyn moves into position to fight next turn and gets the worst weapon in the whole game. If you ever feel like losing, just equip this thing.




After once again recruiting Canas, Sain moves close enough to aggro the enemy. He wonít get the woods bonuses but I can still start fighting immediately and can do so without losing Lowen or Priscilla or the like.




Fargus orders the attack once Sain enters range.




Well thatís disappointing compared to the Def bonus last time, but whatever, heís still fantastic.




The enemy still gets his crit of course. Uber Sain just doesnít care. He wipes most of the initial wave without trouble.




Next turn, Raven forges ahead to let the weak initial pirate follow him while he takes out the handaxe user. Notice that Raven is so awesome that he can one-round kill many enemies with an iron sword without even leveling up.




Things are a bit tense now. Canas can easily take one hit from any axe pirate, but not two without a forest. The enemy mage has a very powerful tome and one of the remaining elite pirates has a Swordslayer, which is like a swordreaver but better and will consequently tear Eliwood and Lyn apart. For now I need to take out this elite pirate using Eliwood and Canas.




Canasís starting skill is high enough to have a 67% chance to hit a massively overleveled enemy on a forest even with the lowish accuracy of dark magic. And just check out that damage per hit for an un-leveled guy fighting a massively leveled one.




Priscilla can take 1 hit from any pirate which isnít one of the high level ones, so she can heal Sain as long as I can destroy the mage and make sure only one person can reach her.




Lyn crits down one of the few remaining elite pirates, freeing up Hector to smack one of the weaker ones instead of finishing this one.




And she gets a sweet level out of it. Strength on Lyn is always awesome.




Oh. I did not know that he spawn-moves. Not until I got to this point. Itís like something out of FE6 but with a more colorful enemy character. Fortunately, only Hector is in range since I prudently moved him to protect Lyn instead of actually going for one of the other enemies.




On the northern front, Raven kills more pirates and gets some bonus Strength. Heíll definitely cap, so I would rather be getting Def or Luck or something, but on the other hand more Strength now means itíll be easier to train him in the short term.




Damianís awesome battle quote as he attacks Hector.




So you can see I had things under control but now Iím in trouble because of Damianís forces and the fact that the swordslayer pirate is still on the loose (and badly injured Eliwood). Plus I need to hurry.




Thereís nothing for it but to have Sain kill Damian- with his iron sword so the axe pirates donít all gang up on him during their turn.




Is ANYONE surprised by my Sain getting a level like this?




Hector helps save the day. He got a very lucky crit here which meant I didnít need to have Canas finish this guy, which helps a little bit. As long as Hector didnít miss it would have been just fine though.




Sweet! I have had quite nice level up luck on this chapter all in all.




Priscilla restores Eliwood. Notice sheís still full health so she can now take 1 hit from any enemy, which is good since I need to stop using Eliwood to tank for her in that alley.




Canas is owning, and he gets some much appreciated speed. The sooner he can double enemies, the sooner heíll get into his growth singularity and hit level 20.




Next turn, everyone is running as fast as they can to try to reach all the villages and talk to Fargus. Not being able to use my normal strategy slowed me down, but I can still make a decent time.




As the last few villages are about to be visited (needing to reach the very distant one with Sain who didnít start close enough slowed me by a turn), itís turn 6.




Too valuable to use despite its greatness.





Too valuable to use on top of its terribleness. Even for bows these things are awful.




Costs 500 per shot and is totally useless till the end game because no early game staff user has the Mag for it. And isnít very good even then. Cool, but useless.




Hector checks out the vendor, but thereís nothing I need and I should save all I can anyway.




And Canas talks to Fargus, so I win! Turn 6 is 2 behind my usual time but still 4 ahead of the time limit, so nice! Especially for my second-best plan instead of my best one.
The pointless, not-even-really-canonical-it-seems filler episode bonus level is over!




And hereís what Fargus would say if you attack him. Right before he instant kills Hector.




And hereís what happens if you try to talk to him after attacking him. And then you get a game over.


Total Restarts: 8 (1 more restart. Thatís always a risk when enemies have killer weapons)
Turn Surplus: +5 (I gained 4 more, not bad, though not the 6 my original plan would have resulted in.)
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attacked Marcus on chapter 12, 2 more brigands who ignored everyone else to attack Marcus on chapter 13x, and 2 archers who ignored Hector and Dorcas (DORCAS!) to attack Marcus on chapter 14

Melth fucked around with this message at 19:11 on Feb 25, 2015

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

My save file was permanently stuck on this stage. Not because I tried to brute force the pirates, oh no, because I won that battle.

That damned Arena. And a whole slew of levels I wasn't willing to accept. So many +1 and only one stat, and nobody even near their caps? Hell no, that's a loving restart.

Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Damian is an example of a bad spawn-mover (honestly we just call them 'rear end in a top hat Reinforcements' because... well lets face it.) He appears from out of nowhere, it powerful, and moves, and there's no warning. I mean... to me, rear end in a top hat Reinforcements that are well foreshadowed are fine, because they give the player the knowledge "This is coming, be prepared for this." (Regardless I'm still removing it from my remake of FE6) but Damian just doesn't let the player know he'll be there. I would have foreshadowed it by having a cutscene one or two turns before with a Black Fang spy rocking up and going "That's the targets, I must inform Commander Damian at one."

Sorites
Sep 10, 2012



Yeah, this chapter is intensely goofy and I don't like it. It puts this big dent in Fargus's otherwise impeccable-character status, and I always feel like the dev team is judging me for killing everyone rather than sneaking around.

---

One thing: You mention circled pirates on the map, distinguishing the tough ones from the grappling dummies. But I don't see that any of the pirates are circled.

Am I just totally missing it, or is something off?

Rosalie_A
Oct 30, 2011


Melth posted:

the worst weapon in the whole game.

Sounds like someone needs a dose of Trial by Devil Axe.


I was always under the impression that we're knocking Fargus's crew around a bit, but not actually trying to kill them. It's the only thing that really makes sense.

FoolyCharged
Oct 11, 2012

Somebody call for an ant?



I think it's supposed to be like Lyn's mode where "dead" characters aren't. Except for the player, because gently caress you we're pirates.

Rabbi Raccoon
Mar 31, 2009

I stabbed you dude!

I always saw it as more of a game, where you're just knocking out the pirates instead of killing them.

fade5
May 31, 2012

by exmarx


Melth posted:

And here we have perhaps the least important chapter of the game, one which seems to be treated as non-canon even by the immediately ensuing chapter and which is regarded as absurd by the characters as they fight through it!
Now how can you call it the least important chapter of the game when you recruit Canas? That make it one of the most important chapters in the game.:colbert:

quote:



Canas is the one true god. Heís the only character who will be on my team from the moment he joins all throughout the game on every difficulty and in every mode. At first glance his stats are only pretty good, rather than amazing, but itís his across-the-board pretty goodness coupled with his exclusive access to the matchless power of dark magic that makes him the best character in the game for my style of play.



Canas is owning, and he gets some much appreciated speed. The sooner he can double enemies, the sooner heíll get into his growth singularity and hit level 20.
Ooh, speed, that's a nice start already.:getin:

Oh, and as a fellow fan of Canas, voted 5, went hog wild. I never realized just how drat slowly I played the game before this LP, it's been a really interesting contrast.

Sorites
Sep 10, 2012



Trasson posted:

I was always under the impression that we're knocking Fargus's crew around a bit, but not actually trying to kill them. It's the only thing that really makes sense.

Is there even a way to do that with, say, a Thunder tome?

Also there's the issue that your defeated characters totally die. And the Dart problem.

ChaosArgate
Oct 10, 2012

Why does everyone think I'm going to get in trouble?



Sorites posted:

Is there even a way to do that with, say, a Thunder tome?

Also there's the issue that your defeated characters totally die. And the Dart problem.

If Awakening is any consideration, characters can tone down how much power they use. :v:

Who knows, maybe it's like FE5 where you can capture a KO'd unit?

AstraSage
May 13, 2013



As much of a unjustified detour it is, I must admit I love playing through that sidequest...

Also, I actually use its Arena in the Normal modes to train the units I'm gonna bench for the next three-four chapters.

MarquiseMindfang
Jan 6, 2013


ChaosArgate posted:

If Awakening is any consideration, characters can tone down how much power they use. :v:

Who knows, maybe it's like FE5 where you can capture a KO'd unit?

As an aside, I really wish a new FE game would bring back capturing. It's just offensive rescuing, really. It might run thieves out of their stealing niche a little bit, I guess.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Melth posted:

Free action or move action to pass, a dropped item is stated to fall flat in your square or an adjacent one. So it doesn't matter whether you accelerate the object to superluminal speeds, it instantly stops and lands flat rather than being launched.

A more useful RAW joke exploit might be to 'drop' an item straight up to the top of an adjacent wall.

If you want to joke about things moving at absurd speeds, consider that free action falling or dropping means you or the object hits the ground at infinite velocity and then immediately accelerates to 0. I don't really find such things terribly funny to be honest though.

I don't either. It's dumb as hell.



I appreciate your dedication to actually trying a new strategy after a random crit rather than just doing the same thing again and hoping there's no crit this time.

Prism fucked around with this message at 17:54 on Feb 25, 2015

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



Prism posted:

I don't either. It's dumb as hell.


I appreciate your dedication to actually trying a new strategy after a random crit rather than just doing the same thing again and hoping there's no crit this time.

There are ingame ways of manipulating the RNG. It involves 90 degree turns in unit moves.
So Malth could've just done the same thing with a bit more RNG randomizing moves and not got a crit.

FoolyCharged
Oct 11, 2012

Somebody call for an ant?



Prism posted:

I don't either. It's dumb as hell.


I appreciate your dedication to actually trying a new strategy after a random crit rather than just doing the same thing again and hoping there's no crit this time.

It's because the game boy advance FEs seed the random number generator with a fixed value for each map, so making the exact same moves yields the exact same result. Melth said he was going to do this without abusing his knowledge of the random number system, so making changes to how he set up that first turn to burn a randomly generated number or two would be against his rules.

Midnight Raider
Apr 26, 2010



This stage really does make more sense if one just assumes you're knocking the pirates out, despite Fire Emblem not really normally having that as an element of it's gameplay or story very often. So basically saying that is about as useful as just saying it's not canon anyway.

I also remember spending some extra time on this stage trying to see if I could actually kill Fargus before getting a game over, and I recall eventually pulling it off. It's been so long I can't remember how I did it.

FoolyCharged
Oct 11, 2012

Somebody call for an ant?



He never moves if I recall so it's rather easy to just beat him to death with ranged attacks.

Cake Attack
Mar 26, 2010



you need to one-round him, you fail instantly after you attack him

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Sorites posted:


One thing: You mention circled pirates on the map, distinguishing the tough ones from the grappling dummies. But I don't see that any of the pirates are circled.

Am I just totally missing it, or is something off?

Oops, yeah I uploaded my un-marked version of the map instead of the marked one. That should be fixed now.



Cake Attack posted:

you need to one-round him, you fail instantly after you attack him

That's how I always remembered it, but it doesn't seem to be true. When I was getting those screencaps of his dialog when you attack him and whatnot, I didn't actually lose till I talked to him after attacking him.

Smiling Knight
May 31, 2011



MarquiseMindfang posted:

As an aside, I really wish a new FE game would bring back capturing. It's just offensive rescuing, really. It might run thieves out of their stealing niche a little bit, I guess.

Just make stealing like Thracia as well! Then thieves will still have unique utility.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


By the way, does anyone know if it's possible to upload batches of screenshots to lpix.org at once?

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



Melth posted:

By the way, does anyone know if it's possible to upload batches of screenshots to lpix.org at once?

Tech support thread it's in the OP, in short get Rightload with the Lpix plugin.

Sorites
Sep 10, 2012



One thing I noticed just now: Why is Dart in a different place on HHM?

I don't see the difference between putting him next to Fargus and putting him near the Arena's north wall like in Eliwood's story. Does the altered position make a tactical difference, or is it just...like that?

RBA Starblade
Apr 27, 2008

Going Home.

Games Idiot Court Jester


Onmi posted:

That's a pretty good analysis, I always disliked the Fang, mostly because the majority of them bore me to tears, partially because everyone fellates them endlessly, which now that I think about it, they do it to Ephidel too...

Maybe they're assassins in the same way Assassins in Assassin's Creed are.

e: Oh god a whole new page

e: I assume they just KO the pirates too.

RBA Starblade fucked around with this message at 23:41 on Feb 25, 2015

SystemLogoff
Feb 19, 2011

End Session?




You were uploading them one by one? :gonk:

I'm so sorry. Let the thread know if you have any problems setting up rightload.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


SystemLogoff posted:

You were uploading them one by one? :gonk:

I'm so sorry. Let the thread know if you have any problems setting up rightload.

It wasn't really that bad for a while, but now that I'm getting into longer chapters that I have like 60-100 screen shots for it would be a solid time saver to be able to batch upload them. I think I might have rightload figured out, but I won't really be testing it till tomorrow since I did Pirate Ship and uploaded my pictures to work with last night.


Since I'm completely new at making LPs, I'm probably doing all sorts of other things wrong or inefficiently. So if anyone who's done an LP before has any advice about good ways to save time or whatnot, I'm open to any advice.

Cake Attack
Mar 26, 2010



how are you getting your screens/writing up your updates?

you can probably shave some time off depending on how you do that

do u believe in marigolds
Sep 13, 2007


You playing this game has gotten me to grab a copy of Sacred Stones and play it since I have nostalgia of it being my first Fire Emblem and tactical game. There's something charming about the sprites and the smears that the later games lose.

And every time a character levels up I'm like, "Give me strength! Give me defense! Woah, a knight got some speed!" even though I don't remember which characters are better than others.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Oraculum Animi posted:

You playing this game has gotten me to grab a copy of Sacred Stones and play it since I have nostalgia of it being my first Fire Emblem and tactical game. There's something charming about the sprites and the smears that the later games lose.

And every time a character levels up I'm like, "Give me strength! Give me defense! Woah, a knight got some speed!" even though I don't remember which characters are better than others.

Ah, the Sacred Stones. So underappreciated. Even by me before a few years ago actually.

When it first came out, I focused too much on all the ways it didn't live up to 7 because I thought of 7 as normal for the series instead of appreciating all the ways it was better than most other FEs. And then when I'd played more Fire Emblem games I thought of it as too easy.

But about 2 years ago I went back and played it on hard mode with no use of the Tower of Valni or other grinding of any kind and realized that, while still pretty easy, it does have enough challenge to it to be fun under those circumstances. The story was also more sophisticated than I noticed at first glance, though not on 7's level in my opinion.

Now I probably regard it as my 2nd favorite Fire Emblem, though to be honest I still dislike its color scheme a great deal.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!




Back to the story with one of the most important chapters of them all! And itís a ship level. Quite a few FEs have exactly one of these. They typically emphasize chokepoint defense and the power of flying units; this one is no exception.

Chapter Summary:
An alleged pirate named Fargus agrees to take Hector and company to Valor for free and theyíve nearly arrived when they come across a young woman unconscious in a tiny boat. It turns out to be Ninian, bewildered, without Nils, and uncertain who she is or why she was in that little skiff out on the ocean. Moments later, they come under attack by a small fleet of Black Fang ships who manage to hole them below the water line, forcing Fargus and his crew to leave the fighting to Hectorís group.




Besides new and changed chapters, Hectorís story has a great deal of new and different dialogue, showing conversations that happened while Eliwood was elsewhere. At this moment Eliwood was talking to Fargus at the stern of the hip, and it turns out Hector and Lyn had an important discussion at the back.




Lyn is still angry about having to work with pirates and tells Hector that it wasnít just her parents who were murdered by bandits; it was her whole tribe. Their water was poisoned before they were set upon by surprise and she barely survived herself.




Lyn never really shared her memories of what happened with anyone before this. Not even Market. Maybe she just feels comfortable talking to Hector despite her evident dislike of him at this point.




Or perhaps sheís just been holding in the horror of it too long and had to tell someone.




Hector promptly turns away, angering her.




He relates the story of how he recently lost both his parents to illness




One of the themes running through this game is that everyone deals with loss and grief in different ways and that some are better than others. Even the stoic Hector understands that being unable to confront oneís loss emotionally is weakness, not strength.




And then someone sees a boat adrift in the water, interrupting their great character-developing conversations.




It turns out to be Ninian, currently unconscious. Just like when Eliwood last ran into her actually. I told you she and Nils spend most of the story unconscious, dying, kidnapped, or missingÖ




And thatís when they see a fleet of ships flying strange colors closing in to attack. I THINK the Davros is the name of Fargusís ship. Originally I thought it was what he called his crew or something.




And again the Fang prove to be much more skilled at non-combat operations than at actually fighting. As they should be. Somehow they hole the Davros below the water line so badly that the entire crew and, reluctantly, their unstoppable berserker captain have to take care of it. If Fargus and his crew didnít happen to have Hector and his warriors aboard to defend them while they work on that, there would have been nothing they could do to stop the Black Fang here.




Hector talks sense into Fargus, pointing out that they can both fight but only the pirates can actually prevent the ship from sinking.


The War Room, Part 18

Since we have, bar none, the most ferocious fight in the game so far here and since I talked about how to figure out how much damage your units will take last time, this is a good time to give some tactical tips on how to reduce the amount of damage theyíre exposed to. Some of these tips Iíve touched upon before or assumed everyone knew, but itís about time I actually explained them properly.
There are a few basic tactics everyone knows of course: use beneficial terrain, use the weapon triangle, avoid equipping weapons which are too heavy and consequently slow you down, and just keep people who are too fragile out of enemy range, but here are some slightly more advanced ways to keep everyone alive:

1) Letting the boss hit first




Never mind the archer for now and never mind finishing fast, what are Hectorís rough odds of victory if he attacks Wire? Well Wire has about a 70% chance to counterattack and kill him. Then on the enemy turn, Wire has a 70% chance to kill Hector again. If he fails, Hector can then finish him. So his odds of actually winning are roughly 9% (ignoring his own very small miss chance). On the other hand, what if Hector instead waits? In that case, Wire has a 70% chance to kill him, and then if Hector survives he counters Wire for 15 damage. Then itís your turn, and you can kill Wire. Odds of success? About 30%. Still bad but much better.

Imagine a slightly different case: Hector has 10 HP and each has 100% odds to hit the other (and thereís no archer). If Hector attacks first, then you are guaranteed to lose! On the other hand if Wire attacks first, you are guaranteed to win.

Modify the above case so that Hector deals 14 damage but double attacks Wire. You get the same result: the first attacker loses.

Obviously there are circumstances where the opposite is true- like where you and the enemy can each kill each other with one attack- but those are generally more obvious. Just remember that if you and, say, a boss can kill each other in two rounds (remember that enemies on thrones and gates and forts heal!) and you donít have any allies who could assist or enemies who will throw things off, you should let the boss attack first.

2) Avoiding killing enemies



Suppose that instead of sword users these were 4 cavaliers with iron lances and that 4 attacks from them would kill Hector. How could he be protected? Canas canít double a cavalier and Florina wouldnít be able to kill one, so he canít be saved by reducing their numbers.
But notice that only 2 of them can attack him- unless Hector kills them with his counterattacks and thus makes space for more. So if you have Canas trade with Hector to switch him to a less effective or heavier weapon- or outright take all his weapons- then you can ensure Hectorís survival. This kind of thing can come up fairly often with destructive but fragile characters facing hordes of enemies at a chokepoint. If their weapons are taken away or switched to something weak, only a single enemy can attack them, but if theyíre allowed to fight at full power they might kill a bunch of enemies, taking a hit every time, and then die.

3) Use your vulneraries well




Yes they cost 100 gold per shot, but if that lets you put a character in a dangerous situation and survive and thereby win the map faster, that can be worth it. The key is generally to make sure that the people who are most likely to need vulneraries (people who will be assigned to fight alone, people who will be fighting with a group that will not have a healer, healers themselves, etc.) have one before you start the map. Get those things switched around as you choose your starting equipment each level. Unless you steal some, youíre not going to get many of them- not enough to have one for everyone who might need one. One way you can help mitigate that problem is to try to make sure the vulneraries most likely to be used are those with 2 or 3 charges. This allows you to ensure more characters have at least 1 charge available in the future.
On this chapter I actually forgot to give anyone vulneraries at all after stripping people of their gear, and it really hurt me tactically later on.

4) Kill Ďem All!




Perhaps both the most basic, the trickiest, and the best damage reducing tactic is just to try to wipe out every enemy in the area- or at least enough that the survivors canít kill any of your units. In this example, thereís 7 enemies to deal with.




In the process of wiping out 4 of the other 6 enemies I got everyone but Dorcas and Oswin out of range of the Pegasus knight, eliminating it as a threat. 7 enemies could have killed 1 or more characters easily, but just 2 arenít much of a threat to anyone.

Doing this is really more an art than a science and will almost always depend at least slightly on luck. There are a few basic tricks to it though. The most important thing is to look before you leap: figure out which characters can kill which enemies (and thereby figure out whether wiping out enough of them is even possible) before you order any attacks.
Another trick is to not waste your firepower. Never have a strong character attack a heavily damaged enemy and donít waste magic attacks on people with high resistance or physical attacks on people with high defense. You should also make sure to prioritize killing off highly damaging but fragile enemies over less destructive but tougher ones. It will also often be wise to kill enemies with high movement or ranged weapons as high priority targets. That way if something goes wrong and you canít kill every enemy afterall, you can still get your vulnerable characters out of the way more easily.

5) Reduce surface area




This turn Iím in a bad situation because there are far too many enemies to kill them all, too many have good movement to escape, etc.
The solution is to kill the problem targets (like those Pegasus knights and mercenaries) while having people get into a formation such that few enemies can attack any individual one of them. The ideal is often to simply form a straight line of tough characters between two points of impenetrable terrain. The simplest form of that is having a single guy protect weaker allies at a chokepoint.




Like Lowen guarding Priscilla here. Once those Pegasus knights are disposed of, at most 2 enemies can attack Lowen and none can attack Priscilla.




But of course, one canít always bring the ideal situation about. Here at least I got a formation such that at most 2 enemies may attack any of my characters. And none can attack my most vulnerable characters.

Besides the basic Ďwallí a few other formations that can be useful include a square of 4 people (each may then only be attacked by 2 enemies, fewer if the square is far enough away that only some sides of it may be wrapped around) or just surrounding or partly surrounding a vulnerable character with tougher ones.

The following chapter is pretty rough, so youíll see me try almost all of these tactics at least once.

Battle Preparations & The Map



Units Allowed: 8
Units Benched: Eliwood (Too many Pegasus knights and shamans and he doesnít have the speed or damage to fight mercenaries properly) & Lyn (Ditto).
Units Added: Matthew (There are loads of valuables to steal on this chapter), Lucius (Heís good against both mercenaries and shamans), Canas (Get used to him, heís going to be around on every level from now on almost certainly), Florina (Highly effective against mercenaries, shamans, and Pegasus knights and the only one capable of maneuvering well on this map).
Useful Units Rejected: Marcus (Sain is already an XP hog, but at least heís effective), Oswin (Canít actually handle shamans and way too many enemies have armorslayers, plus heís an XP hog), Lowen (I really, really wanted to bring him and heíd be pretty great here, but ultimately I seemed to need everyone else more and he doesnít have either the strength or the speed to be as effective as Iíd like), Erk (Would be comparable to Lucius except heís at weapon triangle disadvantage instead of advantage all over), Serra (I would have loved a second healer but I only have 6 fighting units as it is and one is Sain who I donít want fighting and one is Hector whoís not much good here)
Objective: Either survive 11 turns or kill Zoldam
Secondary Objective: Kill as many enemies as possible
Secondary Objective: Steal Elysian Whip from top left Pegasus knight
Secondary Objective: Steal 4 Pure Waters from different shamans
Secondary Objective: Steal Guiding Ring from Zoldam
Secondary Objective: Do some shopping
Reinforcements: So many. Way more than I could record. Hereís a partial list of those that show up by turn 10 that I noticed appearing. Turn 3, 5: 1 shaman from left of Zoldam, 1 myrmidon with an Armorslayer from top right of the right ship, 1 mercenary with a steel sword from the mid right of the right ship. Turn 4, 6, 8: 5 pegasus knights with various weapons along the bottom and lower right edges of the map and a shaman from the left of Zoldam. Turn 7, 8: 2 mercenaries, a myrmidon, and a shaman from the ship that appears on the bottom of the screen. The first wave of these spawn-move with their ship. Turn 10: 2 shamans from stairs on left ship, another myrmidon and mercenary in the usual spots on the right ship.
Turns Allowed: 11

Thereís just too many of them! Without a good strategy, you wonít survive till turn 3 of this map. Without a great one, you wonít survive till turn 4. And unlike most maps, things do not stabilize after the initial wave dies down because the number of reinforcements is absolutely unbelievable. Itís probably higher than the total number of reinforcements on every single map up till now combined. And theyíre dangerous units like mercenaries and shamans, plus pegasus knights which arenít a threat to your good fighters but do constantly menace weak people.

I tried so hard to exterminate every one of them, but I couldnít do it and had to end the map a turn early. Still, I managed to avoid bringing XP hogs like Marcus and Oswin and I stole every single pure water and the elysian whip and the guiding ring. Every. Single. Pure Water. That was awesome.

The big problem with this chapter is that itís an air map. But you only have a single air unit and sheís not even that good. You also donít get enough characters to really defend yourself properly at all. Furthermore, the huge number of enemy shamans and Pegasus knights means you canít really rely on formations to protect you: loads of enemies will be able to wrap right around your walls or hit right over them.
And you canít just turtle up and actually just try to survive, because if you do that then you will fail your funds ranking. Seriously, thereís so much valuable stuff on this level. You have to go out and steal it all. And bringing Matthew means one less guy who can fight as well as one more guy to protect.

Itís a very hard chapter on HHM- totally different from how it was on Eliwoodís story- and you shouldnít be ashamed to restart it. I lucked out and had a good strategy and good characters, so I beat it on my first try, but it was really, really rough.

As usual, you must make your first strike count. You need to kill off the enemies which are going to be troublesome for Florina, clear the deck of your own ship, and prevent more enemies from pouring onto it en masse. So position your characters carefully.




This is what I went with. The right shaman doesnít have a pure water, so he can be killed straight off. And by killing him from the right (which he can just barely do from this spot) Sain can block access to the ship from the bottom right boarding ramp and aggro and kill one enemy archer with his javelin.
In this position, Florina can rush down and kill the other enemy archer. Sheíll be exposed to heavy fire from shamans and mercenaries, but both of those are fairly ineffective against her, so if she dodges a time or two sheíll live. And Florina is one of the best dodgers in the game.

Matthew can rush out and steal the pure water off the left shaman. With Sain blocking the right entrance, Florina blocking the left, and every other enemy eliminated, heíll actually be safe. More importantly, heíll be in position to run back and steal the Elysian Whip off the incoming Pegasus knights next turn.

That leaves Canas, Lucius, Raven, and Hector with the task of killing the two mercenaries. If theyíre lucky, they can do it. Hector is really the big Ďifí. Whatís essential is that the left one dies so that Matthew can do his thievery. If that one canít be killed, you should just give up on 1 pure water and have Matthew finish it off instead.

I re-equipped everyone but no one got anything really notable. Critically, I forgot to give ANYONE vulneraries. That really came back to bite me. Donít make noob mistakes like that.




Another hidden conversation youíll only see if you happen to bring a certain character to a certain level. Unlike many of them, I donít really see the point of Priscilla informing me that sheís not seasick.




Remember how I mentioned that if you visit the inn on the previous level, Anna will make a pointless cameo and then will be mentioned again on this chapter? Well thatís this guyís job. His name is Jake and heís her boyfriend. He tells you to visit the shops on the ship. If you didnít go to the inn, thenÖ Dart tells you the same thing. But with no mention of Anna.

The Characters:




ďAll we want is the girl. Kill the rest.Ē ĖZoldam, Chapter 18

Zoldam doesnít have a lot to say, but since heís the commander on possibly the hardest chapter of the game so far and undoubtedly one of the most dangerous bosses in the whole game, I have to respect him. Heís immune to magic and darned fast for a shamanÖ




And heís wielding one of the Legendary Weapons of Elibe. He does not miss, he does not care about your resistance, and he has a 26-Luck % chance to instant kill ANY character you can possibly field at this stage of the game. Plus he has a guiding ring that you desperately need and which can only be stolen from him and you must kill him to end the map without losing turns. Get ready for an entirely luck based fight with high odds of having to restart on what should have been the last turn.


Playing Through:




First things first, Florina must eliminate this archer. Once both main ship archers are down, sheíll be able to fly freely on future turns. This also blocks enemies from charging onto the ship and presenting more of a problem next turn. Even if you have the strength for it, donít kill this archer with a javelin. If you do, then sheíll kill the attacking shamans. Which means you lose access to their stealable pure waters.





Do have Sain use a javelin here. You need that archer south of him to die.




If Hector misses, Iím going to need to use Matthew for fighting, not for stealing or I will lose. So I want to find out first thing whether he hits his target.




Ditto with Canas really. Raven and Lucius are more accurate at this level so Iím not as worried about them.




If my Lucius was higher level, I might have been able to have him attack first and weaken this mercenary enough that Raven could kill it without it getting a counterattack. But he isnít.




This is the first chapter on which Iím using Lucius. Like Erk, heís totally viable even from level 1 and can quickly train himself up.




And Priscilla heals Raven. Raven has a lot of HP but not much Def and no one can dodge tank at this stage in the game, so heíll need a lot of healing.




Lastly, Matthew steals the pure water. +900 gold! This is pretty much the ideal first turn situation: the main section of the deck is almost completely clear, both main entrances are blocked, and Matthew is in position to steal the Elyisian Whip next turn.




Sure enough. +10,000 gold. The only trouble is that this position will make it hard to actually kill both of those Pegasus knights. Meanwhile the southern Pegasus knights have arrived which means nowhere on deck is really safe anymore. At this stage I can either pull back for 1 turn and let Sain solo everything -at which point the rest of the map is much easier- or I can fight all out with everyone to try to maximize their XP gain and to weaken the enemy enough that I can survive the ferocious onslaught on the enemy turn.




I decided to have everyone fight. Itís difficult but probably worth it. Florina starts things off by eliminating one problem Pegasus knight.




And Hector kills the other. You can see how far heís come from Chapter 12. Back then he couldnít instant kill these guys even with the Wolf Beil, couldnít double them regardless, and took serious damage in return (if he even hit, which wasnít a sure thing).




Raven shows us how itís done. The luck is unusual and nice. Raven is the master of the left side of the screen: his HP, Str, Skill, and Speed all cap or come close to it. His Luck, Def, and Res are comparatively poor.




I checked pretty carefully and there was absolutely no way to actually eliminate enough enemies to be safe or to form a wall. But this almost-square will do. Only Raven and Sain- who can both take it- can be attacked by more than 2 enemies. Priscilla and Canas and Lucius can only be hit by 1. Does it look dumb? Yes. But this blobby formation is highly effective in this position. One important thing to note is that Iím certain the only person strong enough to kill his attackers is Sain- who can take many hits. Otherwise, formation or no, one of my strong but fragile characters could kill his attackers and thereby make space for more one by one until he dies.




Phew, I survived, now I need to clear the deck again. At times like this, even Matthew has to fight. That longsword is an anti-cavalry weapon. Itís just no good.




And he gets another mediocre-bad level. It would be nice if I could get him to cap his speed before chapter 19xx but thatís not going to happen.




Wonderful! I hadnít noticed at first that this guy drops his Flux tome. Iíd been worried about needing to buy a new one for Canas before chapter 24 when I have barely any money left but with this one + his starting one heíll be alright.




Canas has enough magic power to even take out Pegasus knights. And note how slow that Pegasus knight must be to be doubled by him already. Everyone thinks of them as speedy units, but the enemy ones arenít at all.




Like Raven, Lucius is a master of offense whose Magic, Skill, and Speed growths are great. Unlike Raven, he has bad HP but fantastic Resistance. What Iím saying is, this is classic Lucius.




Whew! I tore down most of the big threats and the ship is now largely safe. If both shamans go for Matthew and hit heís in trouble, but thatís really unlikely and everyone else is fine.




Uh oh. Thereíd been minor reinforcements up till now, but no giant waves of Pegasus knights. This is going to be tough.




Another Pure Water is mine. That shaman south of Lucius also has one, so Iím going to keep him alive this turn.




You know, the point of this screenshot was to point out that even with just 2 levels, Raven can completely slaughter his own kind of unit. ButÖ now itís about his sword. Look at it bending and curving as he does his silly jumping attack! I never noticed that till I took a screen shot of it.




Oh and just to make sure you get why Pegasus knights arenít a threat to good units: 13 Wt. Steel Weapons are generally horrible and Pegasus knights in particular are awful with them, but the game loves to give them steel lances.




5 Con. 13 Wt. 8 Speed. This meansÖ 0 functional speed. These guys are so slow that Bartre can double them! Actually no, Bartre is so worthless that he canít even do that. But everyone else in the whole game can! Even a starting level Oswin.




Remember, you canít steal if your inventory is full. I had to make arrangements to offload these 4 treasures to Canas so Matthew can keep on making me rich.




Things were just looking good again when more Pegasus knights spawn. This time at least I have Hector more or less ready to deal with them if everyone else can stay out of range.




Another classic Raven level + a nice point of Luck.




Just like Raven, Canas comes so good with no or nearly no leveling that he can one-round kill people of his own class a lot of the time. Unlike Raven, heís doing so without HHM bonuses of his own.




Matthew is pretty effective in fights vs mages. He has enough damage to kill them and enough dodge chance that he doesnít need to worry about them that much even if his resistance is bad. But you can see that heís really declined in effectiveness from his glory days on chapter 13 and 13x when he was one of my best units. Soon heíll barely be able to fight at all.




Priscilla just keeps up the healing. She got hit in the blob formation turn as expected and I stupidly forgot to give ANYONE vulneraries on this chapter. So sheís been stuck at 3 HP this whole time, causing me some problems.




Another ship is about to appear out of nowhere and a bunch of enemies are about to spawn-move off it. Fortunately I already know this so Iím in position to deal with it. Meanwhile, a big force goes for Zoldamís ship. Thereís one more guy to steal a Pure Water from, plus I need to steal the Guiding Ring and then be ready to kill him. At the moment my plan is to steal the ring, rescue-drop Matthew out, keep fighting for another turn or two, and then kill Zoldam on turn 11.
That plan requires a fair number of people- especially since there will be more reinforcements here- but the bigger reason for the giant crowd is just that I want fragile people out of the way of the bottom ship thatís about to appear and the pegasus knights




This is the kind of thing Zoldam should say the turn BEFORE the ship arrives and enemies spawn-move off of it.




Bam! Suddenly the map changes as a ship is added and enemies pour in.




Both of Florinaís levels this chapter have been disappointing. Sheís turning out waaaay too fragile and not that damaging. Oh well, the others are doing well.




Thatís the last pure water shaman, I got all 4 of the things.




If my Hector had average Def, he would actually be invincible against this crowd of sword users. Unfortunately, mine has rather bad Def so they can actually do enough damage to him to add up. This shaman would kill him in 2 shots either way though, so Florina will need to take it out.




Canas gets another good level. I was hoping for unnatural good luck and a second point of speed, but this is very nice anyway.




Lucius kills one of the swordsmen fighting Hector. More just for free XP than to actually thin the herd.




Another very Lucius level.




Florina may have got bad levels lately, but sheís still improved enough (especially with that angelic robe, thanks again guys) that she can fight her fellow Pegasus knights effectively.




Darn it, man! The three stats I can use least.




It shall be an heirloom of my kingdom!




Yeah, this is a bad turn 10 situation. Hector is mangled, thereís like 5 swordsmen and more importantly thereís a shaman I canít do anything about who can kill him, the presence of 2 pegasus knights means Florina isnít safe either, and Raven is actually too hurt on the other ship to keep fighting. I wanted to continue one more turn, but I just didnít have the luck for it this time. Iíll have to get what kills I can and then have Sain finish Zoldam a turn early.




Alright! After 10 grueling turns of intense strategizing and several close calls, all my work could be undone by a single critical hit. There are 12.7% odds right now that I have to restart and it was all for nothing. This boss fight sucks.




Having been killed, Zoldam gets some kind of warning to his base. Presumably with magic. It seems to have worked since theyíre aware of our presence next chapter. Itís quite unclear in not only Elibe but really the whole series just what magic can do. All the player can ever do with a mage is fight. Thatís better than weapons usually, but not by much and itís really not fundamentally different in any way. But we see enemy mages- and sometimes our own too- teleport around and send magic messages and create giant flashes of light and permanent sandstorms and countless other things. And evidently they do so without tomes, even though those seem to be necessary for battle magic.




Iím not going to complain about a level this beast gets after the blessing I got in Lynís story




Even though weíre totally about to die, Fargus runs up onto he deck and is impressed that we won because we killed the boss. If you just survive till the last turn, Fargus instead runs up and routs the enemy himself offscreen. He IS a level 18 berserker afterall. Zoldam canít beat him even with a critical.




Ninian wakes up (and is heavily implied to throw up at the sight of the corpse-strewn deck) but she not only has no idea where she is or what she was doing on that boat, sheís forgotten who she is too. It looks like weíre not going to get any answers for a while.




Thereís a debate about whether itís safer to leave her on the ship or take her to the Dread Isle where everyone can keep an eye on her. As the only one who really knows her, Lynís vote carries the day.




And weíve landed. Thatís a very pretty background. Really desolate and forbidding looking too.

Total Restarts: 8 (Phew, didnít need to restart this time, but it was close)
Turn Surplus: +6 (I lost a lot of XP ending it a turn early, but I did at least net +1 here)
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attacked Marcus on chapter 12, 2 more brigands who ignored everyone else to attack Marcus on chapter 13x, and 2 archers who ignored Hector and Dorcas (DORCAS!) to attack Marcus on chapter 14, and like 10 more enemies I could have killed if Hector could have survived one more turn on chapter18

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Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Right I forgot how loving INSANE Pirate Ship got on HHM. I really is a chapter that should be later in the game, and... honestly I recommend it to be.

This whole first trip to Valor really hurts this game badly, I mean... if it ended in the next few chapters + maybe moving the final chapter up? It would be a short (Counting Lyn Mode as well of course) game that would have a pretty well rounded story, I mean you lose a lot but it works...

But frankly what's going to happen is you'll get to the logical end point, the game will have its grand climax then the game just sort of goes "Uh... poo poo... we uh.... weren't ready to actually have the final battle... could you like... go dick around Nabata and Bern and run back and forth across the continent so we can prepare for the exact same climax at the end of the game? Thanks."

And that's FE7's main flaw to me, The story, on the whole, is really quite good, it's just arranged in a way that leads to it blowing its load and then blowing the same load later. Mind you, I understand why they did it, it's the same reason that Aine is the boss of Chapter 12 in FE6, you need to establish the main 'threat' of the game to the player visually, and just being told Here be dragons, go do something about it or we're all going to loving die Doesn't have the same effect as what FE7 actually does.

Still, I personally, as do many of the people I've talked to when discussing FE7 and hacking and blah blah, believe this part of the game serves great merged with the finale, but when it comes to map travel logistics it's a nightmare and just serves to blow the exact same climax as the end of the game.

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