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I'm currently writing an FE story, with an interesting twist on a large quantity of units. Basically, the villain has summoned Magvel and Elibe to join Tellius, and as a result, units from Magvel and Elibe join the party to help defeat the villain. Shortly before the final battle, however, the villain destroys all of his summons, including the playable roster.

Of course, in an actual game, this would be a massive slap in the face (the first unit like this joins in Chapter 5, and the loss happens in Chapter 24), so I've developed a compromise that fits all right into the plot:

The units add a flat bonus to characters that don't disappear, plus whatever stats they've gained since recruitment.

Would this be considered a fair compromise, in terms of gameplay? Most characters give bonuses to characters of the same or similar class (Lyn gives her bonus to the Lord, Hector gives his to Ike, and so on in such a fashion), and I believe that the army you'd get out of this would be serviceable, even if you had used nothing but these units as soon as possible (and even then, you'd get a lot of experience out of the early levels), and there are a handful of good units near the end...

I'm just fishing for thought, really. Would this kind of final chapter be all right in gameplay form?

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It would make me feel like I was leveling up their equipment only and just stripped them all and re-allocated everything after the plot event.

I think it would make sense design-wise though, but I'm not sure how I would go about making it emotionally fulfilling.

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I think it would be quite shocking for first player. Perhaps they invested on all Elibe and Magvel units and didn't care about Tellius units and then the units he/she invested are gone and now the ones he keeps are not-trained chumps that can't stand the difficulty level of endgame. The only way I would like such event is making the characters that live so appealing that one would like them since early game.

Design wise and plot wise it might be ok if it has a strong reason and is a thoughtful event, but emotionally it might be shocking because characters grow on the player. Although I would live with it.

Edited by Quintessence

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It really depends on how needed the event is for the plot.

If it's like, say, FE4 gen 1 where it contributes significantly to the themes and plot (In FE4's case, a new generation brings new hope) I'd be okay with it. If it was just because and plot wise didn't contribute to anything... I'd, personally be upset because, say, Wolt died for nothing.

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It really depends on how needed the event is for the plot.

If it's like, say, FE4 gen 1 where it contributes significantly to the themes and plot (In FE4's case, a new generation brings new hope) I'd be okay with it. If it was just because and plot wise didn't contribute to anything... I'd, personally be upset because, say, Wolt died for nothing.

Thanks for this comment, it really got me thinking.

The main problem is that the villain had created all of the non-Tellius units, and by defeating him, the creations lose their power and cease to exist in Tellius. The real question for destroying them was never 'if', but 'when'. And when you're a villain, before the heroes attack you makes more sense than after.

In terms of thematic reasoning, I think, when it comes to gameplay, that this scene does a really good job of actually hammering home how extreme the villain's actions get. Most games will only go so far as to sock the player in the gut emotionally. It is very rare (and this might just be my taste in game, but I can't name an actual example) where the villains atrocities include directly impacting the player's ability to play the game. Precisely because so many sympathetic characters had been completely destroyed for little more than a tactical advantage...

Or I could just be talking nonsense and the gimmick should remain as a story plot point and should never be translated to gameplay.

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I don't like it, because it's a bit too predictable. And if you really want to make this a plot point, you're basically telling the player who to level. . .and IMO that's bad design, especially if it affects a lot of units.

For a compromise, would any of these work?

- Have a bunch of small decisions as the game goes on. When the anti-summoning occurs, the units that disappear will be dependent on your earlier choices.

- Or, give the player a choice of who to recruit, with the others being kept as slaves for the bad guy. On anti-summon, all the guys you didn't recruit turn to dust, while yours are safe due to plot shenanigans or something.

- Instead of having those units vanish for good, make it so that a chunk of them aren't playable for a chapter, and then in the next chapter, another group isn't playable, and so on.

EDIT: I'm gonna use an example from Fates to illustrate this.

[spoiler=Birthright Chapter 16 and onwards]Kaze will vanish from the party if he hasn't reached A support with avatar by Chapter 15. I don't mind his disappearance, because the player can choose whether or not he lives (albeit in a very roundabout manner).

Edited by eclipse

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I don't like it, because it's a bit too predictable. And if you really want to make this a plot point, you're basically telling the player who to level. . .and IMO that's bad design, especially if it affects a lot of units.

For a compromise, would any of these work?

- Have a bunch of small decisions as the game goes on. When the anti-summoning occurs, the units that disappear will be dependent on your earlier choices.

- Or, give the player a choice of who to recruit, with the others being kept as slaves for the bad guy. On anti-summon, all the guys you didn't recruit turn to dust, while yours are safe due to plot shenanigans or something.

- Instead of having those units vanish for good, make it so that a chunk of them aren't playable for a chapter, and then in the next chapter, another group isn't playable, and so on.

Option one would make sense from a game design perspective- maybe making a flat X units survive, where X is chosen from the units who have received the most levels/been in the most battles/whatever is appropriate. After all, the prior explanation that the Tellius units get buffs depending on how levelled each unit was (a trained Ayra* could easily double the stats of an untrained Lucia) uses essentially the same principle.

Option two is a bit overkill, since playable units being arc antagonists has been a running trend, with Lute, Ewan, Raigh, Nino and the Merric character for this story all being bosses. (That Merric character pulling an Orson would easily be a more jerkish gameplay move, actually...)

And option three is meaningless, since this is the final chapter to begin with, and you can't rotate out through it. It's a map similar to FE3Medeus, Idoun and Ashera, anyway.

*Not actually from Magvel or Elibe, but recruitable regardless.

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