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Integrity

Ike's FE Megathread {15.5}

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halvan can fight and kill men

marty can only abduct

And even then, Finn and Dagdar are generally better at it. Marty is literally one of the worst characters in the game.

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there's a huge gap between "having a single human moment" and "being decent" man, langobalt definitely wasn't decent, just relatively decent by the standards of a game that has zero depth to more than half its villains.

there's basically nothing to talk about for brian. "ugh, was i wrong...?" as he's dying, having done nothing but be utterly convinced in his rightness until that second, isn't particularly interesting storytelling.

Edited by Integrity

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That was a really great write-up about Genealogy! Keep it up! It mentions most of my issues with the game's story and sometimes gameplay. It's such a shame Genealogy turned out how it was because there was a lot of potential that was just squandered with the lack of subtlety and interesting characters. I do cringe every time somebody points out that Genealogy has the best story in the series because its flaws are so awful and if it weren't for the Chapter 5 story gimmick I have doubts it would have been taken that seriously. Child hunts are also severely overrated. They always came off as wanting to make the story come off as more edgy and cool than anything interesting. Maybe if we actually saw children - children that we grew a connection to being abducted and killed then I may have called it smart but otherwise it just exists so people pretend that Genealogy was cooler than it actually was. The game is so slow a player probably forgot more than what have the text was saying and just assumes everything makes sense somehow as long as Sigurd and Seliph are killing the bad guys. Really, I found most of the appeal in raising an army and killing annoying and generic villains.

I can't wait to see you tackle Thracia 776. I believe the story in that game is even worse because with only the Manster arc being any good. I don't think anything of interest occurred in the other chapters either, stuff was just seemingly happening. The characters, especially Leif, are so dull and uninteresting I can hardly understand why anyone would like them other than for their utility and potential. Leif is probably the most overrated lord in the series too and I just can't seem to understand how anyone would place such a bland protagonist on top. The gameplay is also pretty overrated.

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That was a really great write-up about Genealogy! Keep it up! It mentions most of my issues with the game's story and sometimes gameplay. It's such a shame Genealogy turned out how it was because there was a lot of potential that was just squandered with the lack of subtlety and interesting characters. I do cringe every time somebody points out that Genealogy has the best story in the series because its flaws are so awful and if it weren't for the Chapter 5 story gimmick I have doubts it would have been taken that seriously. Child hunts are also severely overrated. They always came off as wanting to make the story come off as more edgy and cool than anything interesting. Maybe if we actually saw children - children that we grew a connection to being abducted and killed then I may have called it smart but otherwise it just exists so people pretend that Genealogy was cooler than it actually was. The game is so slow a player probably forgot more than what have the text was saying and just assumes everything makes sense somehow as long as Sigurd and Seliph are killing the bad guys. Really, I found most of the appeal in raising an army and killing annoying and generic villains.

I can't wait to see you tackle Thracia 776. I believe the story in that game is even worse because with only the Manster arc being any good. I don't think anything of interest occurred in the other chapters either, stuff was just seemingly happening. The characters, especially Leif, are so dull and uninteresting I can hardly understand why anyone would like them other than for their utility and potential. Leif is probably the most overrated lord in the series too and I just can't seem to understand how anyone would place such a bland protagonist on top. The gameplay is also pretty overrated.

I think that you might be underrating Leaf too.

Out of all the characters in the series, Leaf is the only one to make massive mistakes and pretty much being punished hard for it. Leaf basically screws up at Manster. He screws up his escape because Hannibal could have killed him or given him to the Thracia army. In addition, he's powerless to save Eyvel, his mentor from Veld. He is the reason why Tahra is attacked too iirc. He screws up the Alster offensive, causing massive amounts of deaths on his side, and if Celice's army didn't come, he was literally toast at the end of chapter 20.

And even then, all you do is to take out one big bad out of all the big bads.

Leaf's quest is mostly a gaiden, but Leaf on his own is pretty much interesting for being a character that grows from his mistakes, unlike the mister perfects we recently had (Corrin, Robin and Kris come to mind).

Leaf is additionally one of the only lords with Roy to be weak at combat, which amplifies further his role.

What's interesting with Leaf is also the characters that surround him. Two tacticians who have different visions on battling, with one dying at chapter 19. They both counsel him throughout the whole game, and he matures through it.

And yes, Thracia is "meaningless". It's basically the little things that happen in the big big war that Genealogy is. Which is why there are massive differences in map design.

Edited by Nintales

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I think that you might be underrating Leaf too.

Out of all the characters in the series, Leaf is the only one to make massive mistakes and pretty much being punished hard for it. Leaf basically screws up at Manster. He screws up his escape because Hannibal could have killed him or given him to the Thracia army. In addition, he's powerless to save Eyvel, his mentor from Veld. He is the reason why Tahra is attacked too iirc. He screws up the Alster offensive, causing massive amounts of deaths on his side, and if Celice's army didn't come, he was literally toast at the end of chapter 20.

And even then, all you do is to take out one big bad out of all the big bads.

Leaf's quest is mostly a gaiden, but Leaf on his own is pretty much interesting for being a character that grows from his mistakes, unlike the mister perfects we recently had (Corrin, Robin and Kris come to mind).

Leaf is additionally one of the only lords with Roy to be weak at combat, which amplifies further his role.

What's interesting with Leaf is also the characters that surround him. Two tacticians who have different visions on battling, with one dying at chapter 19. They both counsel him throughout the whole game, and he matures through it.

And yes, Thracia is "meaningless". It's basically the little things that happen in the big big war that Genealogy is. Which is why there are massive differences in map design.

I agree with you. I hate the concept of the perfect protagonist who is always right and just and never slips. I think its way more ballsy to make your main character so flawed that much of what they do doesn't work out. There are also times when I wish FE would have Game of Thrones size balls to kill off major characters

Also iirc one of the major draws to Thracia is that its far and away the hardest game in the series. And didn't it serve as a blueprint for what the GBA FEs would become?

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You know, I'm actually playing Thracia right now (I'm about to go on vacation to a place with no internet, so I needed a game that I wasn't LPing to play while on vacation), and I noticed the first few chapters are deceptively easy. Chapter 1 is your standard easy first chapter, with a slight twist in that your enemies are lance users rather than axe users (probably because at this point literally half your army wields axes), Chapter 2 is slightly tougher in that you have 3 villages to save if you want the Gaiden, but the turn limit is very generous so as long as your aren't uber turtling, you should make it(I even found Ronan rather useful thanks to his whopping 3 movement stars, which often activated and allowed him to get another turn in), 2x has the infamous Thracia fog but otherwise isn't too bad, if you have Leif talk to Eyvel she also strongly hints that you should capture Lithis, which is easy since he's unarmed(In fact, I forgot you could capture unarmed enemies without needing to win a round of combat, so I was actually panicking a bit because the throne he was on brought his defense up to 12 and he had high enough speed that only Brave weapons could double him when capturing, and Finn was behind the rest of the army because I'd had him fetch one of the torches, so I'd had Tanya and Ronan chip him from range which brought his HP low enough that Halvan could capture him using the Brave Axe, only to realize I'd wasted my time because capturing unarmed opponents takes no effort, but at least I got some archer EXP), chapter 3 is a bit tougher with the whole needing to rescue the kids thing but visiting the villages tells you who goes to which one so it can be figured out with some trial and error and you're given plenty of time to ferry them over before the reinforcements(which can be killed easily to buy yourself more time) reach the villages, so it's hardly tough for any veteran, and of course during all this you have Eyvel who the RN will bend over backwards to ensure lives, but after that is the Manster escape and, well, the Manster section is considered the hardest for a reason, and while it lets up a bit afterwards it still remains pretty consistently difficult. I'm currently on chapter 4.

I agree with you. I hate the concept of the perfect protagonist who is always right and just and never slips. I think its way more ballsy to make your main character so flawed that much of what they do doesn't work out. There are also times when I wish FE would have Game of Thrones size balls to kill off major characters

Also iirc one of the major draws to Thracia is that its far and away the hardest game in the series. And didn't it serve as a blueprint for what the GBA FEs would become?

It's the hardest if you disregard some of the higher difficulties of later games, such as FE12 Lunatic Reverse, yes. And I wouldn't say a blueprint per se, but there were a lot of new mechanics it brought that were kept for the GBA titles, but many others, like movement stars or capturing, were dropped.
Edited by Matthewtheman

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I think that you might be underrating Leaf too.

Out of all the characters in the series, Leaf is the only one to make massive mistakes and pretty much being punished hard for it. Leaf basically screws up at Manster. He screws up his escape because Hannibal could have killed him or given him to the Thracia army. In addition, he's powerless to save Eyvel, his mentor from Veld. He is the reason why Tahra is attacked too iirc. He screws up the Alster offensive, causing massive amounts of deaths on his side, and if Celice's army didn't come, he was literally toast at the end of chapter 20.

And even then, all you do is to take out one big bad out of all the big bads.

Leaf's quest is mostly a gaiden, but Leaf on his own is pretty much interesting for being a character that grows from his mistakes, unlike the mister perfects we recently had (Corrin, Robin and Kris come to mind).

Leaf is additionally one of the only lords with Roy to be weak at combat, which amplifies further his role.

What's interesting with Leaf is also the characters that surround him. Two tacticians who have different visions on battling, with one dying at chapter 19. They both counsel him throughout the whole game, and he matures through it.

And yes, Thracia is "meaningless". It's basically the little things that happen in the big big war that Genealogy is. Which is why there are massive differences in map design.

I don't think Leif is the only character in the series to make massive mistakes or is incapable to do certain things and be punished for it. This is a prime example of why I find Leif to be overrated - when talked about he is presented as a more flawed character than he actually is and other, actually good and interesting characters are thrown under the bus and ignored like as if they have no merit. I'd find Leif more tolerable if his fan base wasn't so keen in over glorifying him, which is amusing since the same fan base complains about Kris, Robin and Corrin being over glorified when honestly to me it sounds like Leif is glorified more than any of them and what infuriates me more is that he does not deserve it at all. He has less personality than Robin and Corrin, and I guess it works because it makes it easier to project to him and relate to him but it just does not cut it for me.

I cared about the events in Manster and about Eyvel but after the Manster arc I really started losing interest. Maybe if Leif actually had more characterization, and the people he interacted with had more characterization as well as had some form of interesting relationship with them, then I'd definitely care more and have it sink more in me. Even the mistakes he did too wouldn't fall so flat on me because I'd actually be given a reason to care. All of his screw ups feel meaningless to me because I don't care about anything bad that happens because of his mistakes.

The fact the game rewards you with very little is not a positive aspect about it. It just makes it more of a slog overall and even more meaningless than it already is. It's fine to have smaller scale war and conflicts but that doesn't mean it excuses them from actually being interesting. Just because there's less doesn't necessarily mean it's better. I found Leif to be a good enough combat unit with good investment and he does have good utility so saying he's weak falls flat on me. The two tacticians characters are also incredibly boring characters and I had finished Binding Blade just a few months before starting Thracia 776 which already had the awfully boring Merlinus for Roy. The death of one of them fell flat on me but I vaguely remember one of them having some bite to them in criticizing somebody once. They were like Lewyn in Genealogy, but there were two of them for a while. Leif's maturity literally flew over me because he lacked so much characterization it didn't fell like it happened. Anyway, Leif screwing up as much as he did was mostly because him being in a Gaiden means that since nothing matters that much, him doing things that don't end up mattering is fine. The other characters don't have that privilege but what the writing team for Thracia 776 forgot about is actually giving weight to the shit that was happening. I CARED about what was happening in Manster because Eyvel got captured and was lost to Leif. Eyvel was a mentor figure to Leif and they had an interesting relationship that didn't seem like it was work related only, so there was actually weight to what was happening. This could have served as some really good plot for Thracia 776, to save and make up for your mistake in a war, to see Leif's drive in wanting to save Eyvel and how it makes him change and develop as a result. Instead, Eyvel's existence and being saved is ignored or not treated as something important until you are able to save her in a gaiden chapter. Suuure, maybe I put too much faith in Thracia 776's plot, but I wouldn't be complaining about Eyvel motivating Leif a lot being a good plot if the current plot was good.

The map design started getting more annoying than enjoyable and weirdly enough the fan base considers the Manster chapters hard when I found them to actually be okay. While I understand that it needs an understanding of its mechanics to beat, there's a lot of vagueness and the fact that Kaga even admitted that he designed the game in a way to sell strategy books just goes to show how awful it is. I understand wanting to try to get as much money you can considering how late the game came out in the SNES's life but it's still awful.

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Thracia time. Thracia 776. I hardly remember this game, despite doing another more different LP of it when I was a teenage Ike. I remember liking the game design well enough, with a few great steps in right directions, a few things that would work great with some rework, and some really bad shit to balance it all out; but I have almost no recollection of the story. Like, seriously, none whatsoever. I remember Leif goes up at some people, I remember Pahn, unfortunately, now that I’ve looked back at my older LP, I remember the evil empire being about as one-dimensional as it was in Genealogy. Honestly, I think this entire game is summed up as “Leif,” and I’ll be treating it as such – secondary characters hardly get more lines than their recruitment and occasionally they’ll have a conversation with a newly recruited unit. Othin, one of your starting units, gets a few lines in opening dialogue, can visit his dad in chapter 1, a line when everything falls to shit, a line when you get him back, recruits Marty in chapter 8 and has an optional talk with Tanya in chapter 8x. He’s got a pretty relatively whopping twenty lines written for him in the whole game, over half are in chapter 1, and he never speaks again after 8x (there’s 35 chapters in the game) until he has one throwaway line in 24x when Evayle talks to the old militia. Ronan, a hella fly good lookin’ honey, has two (2) lines when you recruit him, and one line each when you lose him and get him back. That is, by the way, four (4) lines for a really obvious recruit, so it’s not like you’re not expected to have him. Ronan is never engaged in dialogue by anybody but his mother, in a huge four-line conversation (two each, he’s fair). Hell, I’m not sure there is a supporting cast for Leif besides, like, August.

All those words said, let’s get it on.

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Thracia 776 has an opening narration/demo thing, and it recounts the old legend of the 12 crusaders (due reminder that this was more recent for them than the American Civil War was for us) and Quan and Ethlyn’s death. This sick ass art just solidifies to me that this particular event was the coolest thing that happened in the whole Jugdral saga.

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We’re still using the garbage translation patch that our community put together like ten years ago and literally nobody has been fucked to improve on. The Fire Emblem community is a lot of things and I wouldn’t say any of them are “diligent” or “professional.”

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The map text and actual map are a little out of sync – Fiana is way in the south. As with Genealogy, I’m going to assume that the translation is basically correct unless something sticks out as glaringly bad or it’s one of the honest-to-God proto-memes that the translator/s put into this patch.

I won’t be showing any of those off.

The opening narration does include a bit of watch your grammar, though. Take this line:

“After escaping with his life from the collapsing Lenster Castle, Leaf, together with his loyal knight Finn and his daughter Nanna,”

In speech, you’d naturally emphasize the second “his” to make it clear that Nanna is Finn’s daughter and not Leif’s, but in text you can’t really do that so easily.

Besides that, the opening narration doesn’t really have any sense of progression or flow, which I hope doesn’t bode for the rest of the game. Leif fled from “the collapsing Leinster Castle” at an arbitrary point in the past, and then “proceeded to defeat the Thracian forces and take control of Northern Thracia.” I have no idea what this means. He flees south, “to various cities such as Alster and Tahra” which are given footnotes despite the fact that he ambiguously hid in Tahra for five years (that’s a third of his life), before arriving at Fiana. Fiana is “an independent village” (independent from what, exactly?) led by Evayle, who is a swordfighter and a policewoman. At this point, Leif “gradually grew up among other youths who resided in Fiana” for a time. Note how none of these are given dates or anything, everything is just really floaty.

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One thing I can’t fault Genealogy for is that it had a pretty concrete sense of time, even if that sense was hilariously midguided a lot of the time. Thracia just out of absolutely nowhere throws the “Gran year 776” at us with zero buildup as to where all the rest of these events in Leif’s life fall. Even knowledge from Genealogy doesn’t paint a picture at all of what Leif’s flight was like – did he rapidly move from place to place before ending up in Fiana when he was a tiny baby? Did he stay in these places for long periods? It’s possible it makes sense to somebody who didn’t play Genealogy, but since we did – why is Leif given the credit for the flight when it started when he was about two years old? Finn’s quite literally the only player in the entire opening narrative and he’s hardly mentioned.

It’s weird, bad storytelling, so I’m glad we’re starting with it…? One thing I’m going to spend a significant amount of time checking out as I go through Thracia is both how it stands alone as a narrative and how it relies on Genealogy and how it works as a good sequel. I recognize that these two things are very often mutually exclusive – if you skip out on explaining a really big plot point from the previous game, that’s just fine as a good sequel but bad on a standalone basis, and that isn’t good or bad necessarily, it’s based on how the work was intended. Problems only crop up when you have things like this opening narration that don’t work either as a standalone or as a sequel, or when a work flip-flops between the two as it moves on, dumping the plot from the previous game on us in one scene and then referencing another point obliquely in the next with no context. I don’t know if Thracia is guilty of these yet, my notes don’t go so far, but I want to make sure it’s something you’re considering as we go on.

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That’s Evayle, by the way, not Leif.

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Leidrick, left, is midboss as hell. He menaces us through a few chapters starting now, but we don’t actually confront/murder him until chapter 24. Wiseman, right, has a funny name and that’s all there is to him. I suspect he was supposed to be Weissman, but Japanese is Japanese and I’m not going to spend time on him at all. Leidrick is here rounding villagers up and trying to find Leif, because they’ve tracked him to here or something.

Reidric: “Fiana Militia? What is that?”

Wiseman: “This village was originally the headquarters of a large group of brigands. A little over a decade ago, a traveling mercenary named Eyvel cleared out the bandits and took over the village. She then established a militia to protect the nearby villages from bandit attacks. Apparently she’s quite skilled with her sword…”

Reidric: “Hmm… She could be a problem.”

I didn’t paste the opening narration to you, just summed it up, because Weissman recounts everything about Evayle in more detail, six lines after the opening narration vaguely hinted at it.

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Weissman drags the two chicks out to see Leidrick. Mareeta’s first, we’ll get her eventually; Nanna’s second, we’ll get her …actually at the same time, I think. Nanna, for anyone who hasn’t played, is what Jeanne was supposed to be, except Jeanne is cuter. She’s even got an unused portrait in the data for this game, which in my opinion is the biggest shame Fire Emblem has ever committed. Leidrick has some pleasant vaguely-molesty lines for both girls which I don’t dignify with transcription, and then he leaves Weissman behind.

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Evayle. The game tries to hint that she’s !!Briggid!! way, way later in the game, which is really dumb and we’ll delve into that when it becomes relevant. I’d say it was intended, but Jugdral’s sense of time just makes it kind of silly. She’ll be highly relevant for a few chapters and then, well, if you know, you know, and if you don’t, you’ll learn.

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These two are Othin (coined Orsin by the Awakening stuff) and Halvan. They play up the bad cop/good cop routine to a stereotype, it’d be almost hilarious if it hadn’t been intended to be serious.

Eyvel: “What’s happening? Something’s wrong…”

Halvan: “I’ll go take a look, Lady Eyvel. Pleast wait here.”

Halvan: “Lady Eyvel, the village is filled with Imperial troops. It looks like they attacked while we were gone…”

Othin: “What? Damn, those bastards! Lady Eyvel, let’s go!”

Halvan: “Calm down, Othin. If we just run in without thinking, we’ll just get beaten down.”

Othin: “Why’re you so calm, Halvan!? Our village is being attacked!”

Eyvel: “No, Halvan is right. Calm yourself, Othin.”

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Finn’s back, and he’s got a sexy eyes emoji new portrait. He’s the same Finn we just saw the last entire game. Evayle wants him to run away with Leif while she handles this; Leif wants to stay and kill the imperial soldiers because he has the hots for Nanna.

By the way, I have four screenshots of this line for absolutely no fucking reason.

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Finally, Evalye introduces the Thracia Thing. In short, you can make any attack into a Capture Attack, which lowers your stats harshly, but if you kill the target you “”rescue”” them and can steal all their shit before letting them go, which disappears them without killing them explicitly. I’ll be level with you, thread, I like the capture mechanic in theory, and I think with refinement it could have been a great addition to the Fire Emblem Formula, but holy shit does its implementation in Thracia 776 fucking suck. That might be a bit harsh, but I’m willing to commit to it. We’ll talk more about it as the game goes on, of course.

By the way, Orsin reacts aggressively to this. Surprised?

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With that, we’re given control. The sprites for Thracia are actually pretty good, and I think this is the Fire Emblem that has the single best and most consistent aesthetic between faces, units, and terrain. The palettes are a little bit too muted for my taste, but it works out great for the atmosphere it’s trying to paint. I can fault Thracia a lot of things; aesthetic is none of them. Know what is?

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These are identically-generated units. Thracia, peculiarly, has a pretty wide variance in generated stats. That’s not a bad thing, just a weird thing – what is a bad thing is that one of those stats is Movement. Yes, if you’re playing from home, Movement has its own growth (typically very low) and generic enemies do have varying amounts of movement when you generate a map depending on totally random factors. It’s one of the two worst things Thracia does regarding movement, the other being Movement Stars. In short, every unit has between 0 and 5 movement stars, a fixed number. For each star, they have a 5% chance of being able to act again after acting in a given turn. For really obvious reasons, this is unique to Thracia, largely because it’s a horrible idea.

On the other hand, it’s the only thing going for Ronan, a Hotman, we’re getting later today – he has five of them.

You may also notice that there’s a stat missing from the unit’s stat sheet. Magic equals resistance in Thracia for some reason. Build, the last stat, is essentially Constitution, with all that implies. It has its own growth too, by the way. To capture, you must have a higher build than the target; or be on a mount, which bypasses the check. This also means that you can’t capture mounted units without cleverly dismounting them first. By the way, dismounting is a mechanic, too, one of the Good Ones in Thracia (but not one it invented).

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While eating through them, here’s a screenshot of dismounted fighting. All (?) mounted units are locked to swords when they dismount, nonregardless of their mounted fighting type. If they used bows or staves, I think, they can still use those too. When dismounted, mounted units also suffer stat penalties beyond the movement speed you’d expect, which leads to them being generally inferior fighters on foot – and, in indoor maps, they’re forced to dismount, which leads to your foot units getting some actual hella good use in this game.

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Compare the boss’s stats to the more powerful generated dave from earlier. This dude is hardly more than a dave himself.

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As we wall out and kill men, reinforcements arrive! I really like the default Thracia crew; it’s your lord, three axe fighters, a promoted axe fighter, an archer, a lance cavalier, and a swordmaster. They’re fun to use and highly reliant on an uncommon weapon type without just being an Axe Brigade so you feel like the game’s arbitrarily limiting you or something.

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Tanya, left, is your archer. She’s cool. Dagda, right, is a promoted axeman. He’s great and amazing. He’s an actual Honorable Bandit King like the Orgahil Pirates were supposed to be, but he’s not just whitewashed into being an unambiguously good guy, he’s still a bandit king. I like him.

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Marty shows up too. He’s a bandit! He’s totally worthless but he has huge build, meaning he can capture anybody, anytime.

By the way, I can hear you going “wow, Ike, you skipped a lot of that conversation!” No I didn’t, those two screenshots capture everything the reinforcements say to introduce themselves.

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Orsin is also relentlessly aggressive to his dad, who to be fair is kind of a dick. He gets a special axe only he can use for some reason. Maybe it’s like Minsk in Baldur’s Gate and he just won’t let anyone else touch it. In the, uh, probably weirdest touch in this whole game, one of the branching paths lets you get a second copy of it??? I have no idea.

Intelligent Systems would go on to repeat this joke with Vaike and Miriel, fifteen years later.

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An archer hides in the village. Good job, man. Good job.

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Marty …good?

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This chick is begging us to save the place we live in after we’ve already killed like a half-dozen dudes in pursuit of that goal. What the hell, woman?

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Really this whole chapter is a tutorial mission at best, if a little harder than you’d expect from that verbage. We spread all over the village and get a special conversation with Orsin’s dad (pictured) and Halvan’s sister (she’s cute) and kill a bunch of dudes. It’s worth noting that both those houses give you nothing if you visit them with the wrong person but, unlike most houses, they don’t close and you can just cart Orsin/Halvan over and get the thing from them.

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Pictured: the translation patch in full swing. Almost all of our money in this game comes from selling shit we looted from deadmen, which means even these vulneraries are pretty costly.

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Anyway, portraited units have different dialogue for when you kill them compared to when you capture them and let them go. I don’t think there’s ever anything gained by capturing and releasing, but there are a few times (starting this update) where capturing and holding onto an enemy gets you something. The clear implication when you capture and release is that you don’t kill them, you just take their weapons and laugh as they run away. Weissman will not, by the way, be back, missing a great potential addition to the final encounter with Leidrick. Imagine it: you’re in the penultimate chapter, about to fuck Leidrick up, and Weissman shows up with a huge contingent of knights and a promotion because you let him go instead of killing him. Thracia’s tagline should be “Thracia 776: Wasted Potential.”

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Peace, bitch. By the way, castles (seize places, usually have bosses) have a plus ten defense modifier. It’s one of Thracia’s stupidest design decisions, in a game quite honestly made on the backs of stupid design decisions. Magic ignores it, but you’ll notice we don’t have any magicians.

Dagda hit him on a 28%, by the way.

There are two optional conversations in this chapter. One of them involves Orsin trying to send Tanya away for some reason (“we’re not so desperate as to ask for help from a kid” he says following a fifteen year old as his commander), and the other is Evayle and Dagda.

Eyvel: “Dagda!? You came.”

Dagda: “Ah, Eyvel. I’m glad you’re safe. Still… What business does the Empire have all the way out here? That kid…?”

Eyvel: “Yes… That boy is actually the heir to now demised Kingdom of Lenster. I was hiding him from his pursuers. I’m sorry I kept it from you…”

Dagda: “I thought it was something like that. But no matter, I don’t mind as long as I can fight against the Empire.”

Dagda doesn’t give a fuck, he just wants to fight men. It’s worth noting that basically everybody in the whole game except Dagda knows that Leif is Prince Leif of Leinster and has always known that fact. Poor guy. Now that Thracia has set up a largely good and cool initial cast, with multiple inter-character relationships both hinted at and forming, prepare for it to totally ignore all of them. Not just, like, it teases you and then kills them all off or anything, nah, it just totally ignores them.

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Leif yells a lot. Evayle tries to reassure him, but Leif is done being a child and is going to go attack Manster to get Nanna and Mareeta back.

Leaf: “Eyvel, they were captured in my place. I’m not a child any more. I don’t want to sacrfice anyone any more for my own safety!”

If you lost Evayle somehow, a Man shows up to tell Leif what’s going on and get him started.

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“Escaped” the dude just walked away totally unopposed, I’d hardly call that escaping. Leif walks along the coast to Ith, which is a rune in Diablo 2. The rune in Diablo 2 has more personality than the village in this chapter, because at least that Ith is used to create Enigma instead of being a totally inconsequential chapter in this video game.

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Florida Man, left, is a generic, but the guy on the right is August. He’s going to be our tactician for a whole lot of the game. He’s pretty cool. He’s getting angry at Florida Man for killing people instead of just taking their shit, and Florida Man is getting uppity with him, but Florida Man found out that Prince Leif of Leinster is here!

August: “Prince Leaf!? Are you sure?”

Bucks: “Yep, he took one of the villagers and made him talk. He died, of course.”

August: “Torture…”

Bucks: “Right. Our boss said you’re the one who taught him how to torture people. No wonder you were cast out of the order.”

By the way, bucktoothed Florida Man is actually named Bucks. Just let that sink in.

August: “That Lifis, he’s going overboard… Of course…I’ll have no more use for him once I find the prince. Well…what to do now… I suppose I should first let my master know of this matter.”

August is apparently helping these Evilment to try to find Leif, which he’s succeeded in doing. Now he has to report to His Master, which is a really vague plot point that’s dealt with way later according to my recollection.

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This Lifis is attacking the village and of course we have to help. Why not, honestly? Amusingly, Evayle tells you that Lifis is attacking unless she’s gone, in which case Finn tells you. If Finn is also gone, Leif just happens to know it’s Lifis attacking.

I’m not joking when I’m saying this is all of the text for this entire map, besides houses, until you beat it.

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The map’s just your typical Fire Emblem “pirates are burning shit down stop them” tripe. There’s very little to talk about. I will tell the story in a series of images without text.

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H-Halvan’s sister??

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You’ll notice that half of the lines Ronan gets in this entire game are in that screenshot dump. That’s it for the chapter, just go up against crimedaves and kill them and save the villages and get shit.

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Once the level is over, we meet August formally.

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I won’t blame you for not remembering, but Blaggi is Claude’s blood. Apparently Blaggi has his own non-Blaggi-blooded priests, which raises the question of whether the other bloodlines do too? Claude was the ruler of Edda, nominally, so it’s not like he eschewed rulership for priesthood. Jugdral is weird and doesn’t make sense. August joins us because he’s on the road to Manster, and he offers to give “tips” on our travels.

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Today, however, is the exciting series debut of Paralogues, a way cooler term than “gaiden chapters” you nerds. All we need to do for this one is to not let any villages get burned down in the last chapter – you saw one gone but that was plot, not gameplay. If you save the whole village, Leif resolves to go murder Lifis. If you don’t, he moves on. Peculiarly, you’d figure it would be the other way around, but what the hell do I know about law enforcement?

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Right is Lifis. He’s an unrepentant douchebag. He rules. Left is Shiva. I didn’t even remember Shiva was in this game until I read this chapter.

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Safy is a cleric, and she’ll be your first healer if you get this paralogue. It seems really bizarre to hide your first healer behind an optional chapter, but whatever. Thracia. Lady Linoan, referenced here, is somebody we’ll meet later.

Saphy: “Or will you fight with us for the people of Tahra, Lifis?”

Lifis: “Against the Empire!? No way, I’m better off committing suicide.”

Saphy: “I know this is asking a lot… But handing out innocent children as sacrifices simply cannot be forgiven. We’ll probably all be killed, but we have still chosen to resist. The citizens of Tahra are not just fighting for themselves… Our world will eventually be blanketed in darkness. If we don’t stand up now, the world will fall to the dark god Lopto. Please, Lifis, we need your help! I want you to fight for Tahra, and for the future of our world!”

Tahra was sort of namedropped in the opening text as one of the places Leif fled through, but the short of it is Safy is desperate enough to try to recruit bandits and pirates to try to fight Loptyr. This would be a really good plot point if it were ever explored at all, but it really isn’t.

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Lifis’ primary character trait right now is that he desperately wants to fuck Safy. I’m not even kidding. He promises to get his boys together to fight for her.

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Cut to Leif. Fog of War is really fucking stupid in this game, in that it hides the terrain as well as what’s in the fog. Enemies, of course, ignore Fog of War.

Leaf: “All right, let’s go. We can’t be wasting time here!”

Also, Leif drops this line and isn’t us just being here wasting time????

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Awesome.

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Some Starcraft campaign shit right here.

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On turn two, Lifis reveals his sick plan: that he lied!!! Thracia doesn’t want us to be deceived long, much like Genealogy. He tells his crimedaves that we are to be KILLED. That’s it for text this chapter except for a single optional conversation between Leif and Evayle.

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I’ll credit Thracia’s fog of war mechanic with making the islands feel really unknown, but it does it in a really frustrating way instead of a foreboding way. The chief reason for this is….

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Terrain you’ve been through just vanished back into black ether rather than staying visible and shrouded. Hope you have a good memory and know what the terrain’s like between your groups! By the way, if you haven’t picked up on it by now from this thread, I really don’t. It’s really fucking stupid and I’m irrationally angry about it.

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The strength of fog of war in a good game like, say, Starcraft, is that you can reveal terrain features that you might need to keep an eye on later while marking them on the map. Fog of war’s intent is to hide any combination of terrain and daves; if the intent is to hide terrain, then scouting terrain for the first time should leave it revealed. If the intent is to hide daves, then the terrain should be revealed but shrouded. If the intent is to hide both, then scouting terrain for the first time should leave it revealed but shrouded after you leave. There is, quite literally, no reason for fog of war to work this way from a design perspective.

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Popping a torch reveals hella terrain, though, as August explained offscreen early in the chapter. I didn’t include it because he had to explain to Leif how fire works. I’m only kind of kidding.

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Something I haven’t really touched on is that a lot of the terrain on this map is Sand, as in Desert Sand, as in most of the party moves really slow on it for no real reason. You ever run on the beach? Shit, I grew up in Hawaii, I could move faster than these dudes on the sand barefoot while not stepping on sharp shit like shells. They’ve got boots. Added to the fog of war, this makes the chapter really tedious.

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<3

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Eventually we claw our way to the top of the map. Shiva’s off to the right there, Lifis is front and center.

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Stealing Shiva’s kit is a great idea, since he’s got a Killing Edge, but here’s the funny thing: if you let go of Shiva, even though he “runs off,” the game thinks he’s dead so you won’t recruit him later when he’s recruitable. He’ll just never show up. Same goes for Lifis – if you capture him now and hold onto him until you seize, you get him for the next chapter. If you capture him and let him go, no dice. It makes sense for Lifis’ case from a plot perspective, but it makes no sense at all for Shiva.

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Whatever. Yoink.

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As mentioned, the Single optional conversation this chapter. It’s …four lines.

Leaf: “Do you know Lifis, Eyvel?”

Eyvel: “Yes… He’s just another rogue, not even worth killing. Lord Leaf, when you capture Lifis, don’t let him escape. We shall bring him back to Ith and make him apologize to the villagers.”

It’s hardly worth transcribing except it hints to what you’re supposed to do with Lifis. As I said, it makes total sense in his narrative – if you let Lifis go, you can’t drag him back to Ith and force him to apologize for the villagers for murdering at least one of them and burning somebody’s house down.

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Irregardless, Orsin eats Lifis and holds onto him.

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August brings her hot ass before us.

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Besides the silly response (I’ve never heard somebody say “is there something on my face” in real life before at all), Safy actually knows Leif.

Saphy: “Lord Leaf! Have you forgotten me? I’m Saphy, from Tahra!”

Leaf: “Saphy…? The girl at the monastery in Tahra…her name was Saphy.”

Saphy: “I have only met you a few times, so I don’t blame you for not remembering me. But I remember you, Lord Leaf. I was the one who comforted Lady Linoan when you left Tahra…”

Leaf: “Oh, right… You were Linoan’s friend. You were the bishop’s daughter, weren’t you?”

Saphy: “I couldn’t be her friend… Lady Linoan is the daughter of the duke of Tahra. I am but her servant.”

Leaf: “What are you doing here? Is Linoan doing well?”

Saphy: “Don’t you know what happened to Tahra, Lord Leaf? Tahra was under the Empire’s control after the duke passed away, but it has been horribly corrupt.”

Backstory! I think this conversation is more words than Safy has in the sum total of the rest of the game, but we’ll see if I’m right. I can’t be assed to go through all 35 chapters again.

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I bet you missed the child hunting, huh? There’s a justification coming for it next chapter. Spoiler: it sucks.

Saphy: “The citizens couldn’t take it, so they started a rebellion with Lady Linoan as the new duchess. They hired mercenaries and bribed the higher-uppers of the Empire in an effort to win their freedom, but King Blume wouldn’t allow it, and Tahra was surrounded by Imperial troops. The mercenaries feared Empire’s power and fled, leaving only a small number of citizen warriors putting up a hopeless struggle. I have been sent by Lady Linoan to look around Thracia for people that would fight for Tahra.”

Leaf: “Tahra has been in such a bad situation…? The duke of Tahra hid me for five years before he was executed by the Empire…I will never forget my gratitude for him. I’ll go to Tahra, I’ll save it! Let’s go, Saphy.”

Ignoring the whoooooo baby wall of text from Safy, this is part of why the opening text for the game is really bad. Remember how Tahra was just a throwaway “Leif fled to such cities as” thing? He was there for five years. He’s fifteen years old. If you can’t do math, that’s a third of his life. Unless shit went really weird after Genealogy chapter 5, he spent more time in Tahra than he did in Leinster, which he’s the prince of.

That said, note Leif’s sudden change of motive. We won’t go to Manster to save Nanna, we’ll go to Tahra! Swear it, Safy! …but this paralogue doesn’t change the flow of the game at all, we’re still going to Manster now. It’s bizarrely placed in that it seems to affect things and utterly doesn’t, besides whether we get Safy now and in chapter 7 or if we don’t, and whether we get Lifis and Shiva variously. The text implies so much; the game takes from it so little.

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Lifis is still Lifis, though, and I think that’s a great place to end for the day. At three chapters per update, it’ll be 12 updates before we’re done with Thracia, and Genealogy was 13 updates, so that sounds about right. Later, buckaroos.

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that Kaga even admitted that he designed the game in a way to sell strategy books

holy shit what? this would explain a lot of grievances i have with this stupid game

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Lifis acts less like a bandit and more like a gangster. He's gonna learn a gangster lesson soon. If it weren't for the fact he's a thief in Thracia 776, I would kill him out of principle for being a bastard. He even attempted fraud rape by backstabbing Saphy. Low, even by Jugdral standards.

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Actually, you can easily take care of Weissman by using Leif's Light Brand or Eyvel's Fire Sword from range, since if you use a magic weapon at range it will do magical damage. You can also use Dagdar's Hammer to take him out, of course. Also, Nanna joins you way earlier than Mareeta, joining you in chapter 5, as opposed to chapter 12 for Mareeta.

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holy shit what? this would explain a lot of grievances i have with this stupid game

What's the source on that?

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joining you in chapter 5, as opposed to chapter 12 for Mareeta.

i thought they both joined you after the arena chapter. goes to show how much of this game i remember.

http://serenesforest.net/general/designers-notes/holy-war/shouzou-kagas-comments/

Here. Check the section about Thracia towards the middle.

what an absolute fucker

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i thought they both joined you after the arena chapter. goes to show how much of this game i remember.

what an absolute fucker

Nope, I'm on the arena chapter right now. Mareeta shows up as an enemy though.

To be fair, Kaga did have plans to release an easier version of Thracia to the Nintendo 64, but this version never came about due to Kaga leaving and other such factors. And at least with the advent of gamefaqs and such, no one can try and pull that shit nowadays.

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Now that Thracia has set up a largely good and cool initial cast, with multiple inter-character relationships both hinted at and forming, prepare for it to totally ignore all of them. Not just, like, it teases you and then kills them all off or anything, nah, it just totally ignores them.

Tahra was sort of namedropped in the opening text as one of the places Leif fled through, but the short of it is Safy is desperate enough to try to recruit bandits and pirates to try to fight Loptyr. This would be a really good plot point if it were ever explored at all, but it really isn’t.

That said, note Leif’s sudden change of motive. We won’t go to Manster to save Nanna, we’ll go to Tahra! Swear it, Safy! …but this paralogue doesn’t change the flow of the game at all, we’re still going to Manster now.

Thracia 776 is not good at exploring anything. Its plot and characters are simple for personal perception and apparently that was the point. "Leif, the game" pretty much sums up Thracia 776 and I think if somebody doesn't like Leif I doubt they'll like the game's story.

Great read as always. Yeah, with the Internet, the strategy books are almost meaningless, but imagine buying the game and not knowing how it works and having to bother to dish out a few extra bucks to enjoy it.

Edited by HumanDawn

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Yeah, with the Internet, the strategy books are almost meaningless, but imagine buying the game and not knowing how it works and having to bother to dish out a few extra bucks to enjoy it.

trust me dude, the next intermission essay is about what constitutes good difficulty and why a lot of things in thracia 776 are not it

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What kind of awful things do I have to do to convince you to take Marty and Ronin to the final chapter

Taking them to the final chapter isn't that big of a deal. Any unit can be made good in Thracia with scrolls and/or statboosters.

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