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Shuffled-Skill-Tree Double-Blind Revelation Run (Latest Episode: 11B Part 1)

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Next week I hope to start something I've been looking forward to doing for a while.
I recently finished creating a web page that can be used to generate a random "skill tree" (set of skills each class learns) for Fire Emblem Fates (see details here) and am planning to to use it for a run through the Revelation path on Lunatic-Classic difficulty.  The way this works is that each time one of my units earns a skill by reaching a level milestone in their class, I consult the table generated using that webpage to find the shuffler-chosen skill corresponding to that milestone.  Then at the end of the chapter, I use a save editor to overwrite the skill that the game awarded, replacing it with the one chosen by the shuffler.  The shuffler will never give a class a completely useless skill, so e.g. Swordfaire will always go to a Sword-using class.
The reason I call this a "double-blind" run is that, first of all, it's my first time through Revelation, and second of all, I'll be using the "Surprise Mode" on the shuffler, so each skill is hidden until one of my units reaches the class/level milestone to earn it.  Since it is a blind run, I'll be commenting on the story as well as the gameplay, and there will be spoilers for all 3 routes (as I have played the other ones already).  Please do not give story spoilers for Revelation chapters I haven't played!
The run will start at Chapter 7 using a +Mag -Str female Avatar. 
The run will not use DLC or Path Bonuses.  However, it will use Challenges/Scouting to train underleveled characters (as Revelation is infamous for units joining at a way-too-low level, that much I know).
Anyway, one feature of the shuffler is that it allows the user to optionally include some or all of the enemy skills in the shuffle, in case the player wanted to see what it's like being able to earn them by leveling up and turn some of the game's nastiest tricks against itself.  I can see why doing that would be appealing to some and unappealing to others, so...


Option 1 *LOSER (1 vote)*
I will use only the standard skills from the classes in the base game.  They'll be shuffled around, so who knows which'll get what, but they'll all be there.

Option 2 *WINNER (5 votes)*
I will set the shuffler to exclude some of the less exciting standard skills, and replace them with the lowest-power tier of enemy skills.  These enemy skills will have to be earned by reaching the class/level milestones chosen by the shuffler, just like any other skill.  The following changes would occur if option 2 is chosen:

  • Excluded: Golembane, Future Sight, Shove, Swap, Skill +2, Luck +4
  • Included: Point Blank, Winged Shield, Bold Stance, Hit/Avo +10, Resist Status, and the one...the only...the dreaded...Inevitable End.

I'll leave it up to you, the eventual readers, to decide.  I won't start the run until sometime on or after Monday, September 19, so you have until then to vote in the topic poll. The topic poll is now closed. Until we meet again, have a nice weekend everyone!

Edited by ajmiam

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With a score of 5 to 1, curiosity wins over conformity and Option 2 is elected!  This is war against a devious foe we know little about, and so our heroes decide that no technique that may end up being crucial to victory is too difficult or dangerous to attempt to use.
So, let's go to the shuffler and set it up like so:
Press Shuffle, and we get the following skill tree key:



(Go ahead and use this key to follow along or even peek ahead at the skills I've yet to unlock, but please don't spoil what they are!)
To help compensate for the improved skill quality, I will be adding a self-imposed restriction:  The royal brothers will not be allowed to use their divine weapons.  That means no Raijinto, no Fujin Yumi, no Brynhildr, and no Siegfried.
And now...let us begin!

Episode 0:  "I didn't...accomplish anything..."
(This was done before I decided to post my playthrough and start taking screenshots, so it'll be just a text-only summary of Chapter 6..)
Chapter 6: "The Path is Yours" -> "Into the Ground"
Hoshido and Nohr meet in battle, and Andrea, our avatar, alongside Azura, is right in the literal middle of it!  Her older "brothers" Prince Ryoma of Hoshido and Prince Xander of Nohr each implore her to take their respective sides, but she will not turn on either of the families she's grown up with and loved.  This...does not go over well with them; In fact, it goes over so badly you'd think she'd declared war on both at once!  Both princes call her a traitor and move to fight each other again.  Azura suggests we can try to stop them by putting a dent into both their armies, by beating a couple of generic units that have been arbitrarily marked as "bosses".  Under a strict 5-turn limit.  Well, there are only two of us, but quite a few of them, so that seems somewhat difficult.  Jakob, one of the Northern Fortress's butlers and a caretaker of Andrea, shows up, quite eager to help.  Unfortunately, this is a bizarre universe that just came into existence 3 minutes ago (i.e., I started from the Branch of Fate option), so he has 0 EXP when it comes to fighting.  How will we overcome these odds?
This chapter turns out to be incredibly easy, once you know what to do.  I...didn't.  We start in the center of the northern part of the map, and there's a river that branches out into a fork whose prongs flow to either side of us.  To our west, where the Nohrian army waits, is a broken bridge.  An intact bridge to the east leads to the Hoshidan troops as well as another complete bridge in the south (before the river splits).  So, the plan:  Go east, take out the Hoshidan boss, then go south, cross the bridge, and take out the Nohrian boss.  Hopefully we can just barely get this done in 5 turns.
Things start off smoothly, as Andrea, with her mighty Dragonstone, can one-shot any generic unit who dares to attack her.  Jakob provides her some defense and Azura uses her song to speed our movement along.  We take out the Hoshidan boss and Ryoma immediately orders his troops to hold their ground.  That means we can walk by them and as long as we don't attack them they won't attack us, right?  WRONG!  Andrea moves into Ryoma's movement range and gets a fatal dose of shock therapy for her troubles.  Dead on Turn 3 of the 1st map...never has the avatar's death quote (partly referenced in the episode title) sounded so appropriate.   :>_<:

Next attempt I do something dumb I can't remember exactly and Azura dies.
Third time's the charm.  Turns out that you can cross the river, but you have to be literally next to it when your turn starts to do so.  Anyway, this time we go for the west first and Andrea takes out the Nohrian Wyvern Rider boss with no trouble.  Conveniently the Hoshidan boss has also started charging at us so Andrea dragon-slaps him as well.  Win!  And we didn't even get within 10 tiles of Ryoma's sword.
Ryoma and Xander are still angry at us (more understandably so, now), so Andrea, Azura, and Jakob skedaddle to My Castle.
Army Size: 3
Retries: 2 (2 this episode)
Skills Found: 0/110 (5 more next episode)
Enemy Skills Found: 0/6
Coming Up Next:
(After each chapter battle, I won't reveal the skills we uncovered until the next episode, but I will leave some clues for you to guess if you'd like!  You can use the skill tree key to check if you're right, anyway.)

Nohr Princess Lv 1:  "You're a _______, dream meeker, love teeker don't you mess around with me!"
Troubadour Lv 1:  Extra-Dark Text Standing in a Way Such That it is Ready to Fight
Troubadour Lv 10:  A good skill for an underleveled character like Jakob
Maid/Butler Lv 5:  A two-point improvement to a stat Felicia tends to really lack
Songstress Lv 1:  "End of All" is an example of this, in my opinion

Episode 1 (a couple of challenge battles, support conversations, and preparation for Chapter 7, with actual screenshots this time) should be out within the next 1-2 days if all goes well.  After that I'll try to put out an episode at least every 5-7 days.

Edited by ajmiam

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(Ignore this, accidental double post due to laggy internet. In fact, if a mod could come along and delete this post, so much the better.)

Edited by ajmiam

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Episode 1: "<strong> Stance </strong>"


We arrive at the castle Lilith so graciously provided for us, where we'll be safe from Hoshido and Nohr for the time being.  Taking a look around, we see that it's got a bit of flavor of both countries, with a Ruby Mine and Wheat Field from Nohr and a Fishing Hole and Amber Spring from Hoshido.  We also have both Hoshidan and Nohrian shops available to build.  I build the Dawn Armory, but there's not much worth buying from it yet.
Anyway, now that we can freely switch the order of characters in our roster, it's time for the randomized portion of the run to begin!  (To switch characters, I go to My Castle's blue orb and choose StreetPass team and then Check Defenses.  This takes us to preparations for a battle against my castle's current defenders.  The battle does not require the Avatar, so I go to Select Units and remove all units except the one I want to change, then save the game.  This ensures they're first in the roster.  After that I Powersave the proper skill onto the character and repeat the process for any other characters that need to be edited, then back out of the Check Defenses battle.)
Let's see what the randomizer gave us to work with:
Andrea starts with Heartseeker!  Not bad.  Given that Andrea is a +Mag -Str Avatar, she's going to need to user her Dragonstone a lot, and it can be kind of inaccurate.  This fixes that up nicely!
BOLD STANCE?!  Wow...Jakob gets an amazing skill right off the bat.  (At least, it seems to be pretty amazing given the experience I have with it so far, as you'll see below.)  And given that Jakob starts out at Level 1, Underdog would help too, except that Jakob is technically in a promoted class, so I'm guessing it doesn't actually work for him, even though he's treated like an unpromoted unit in terms of EXP gain and max level. (Need to test to verify.)

Azura gets Inspiring Song a few levels early. It's always nice to have.
Thus, our team is as follows:
Yes, Jakob has a nice skill, but he's still Level 1, and to use his own words, "This won't do!"  Therefore, I decide to do a couple of challenge maps.

We'll be fighting a few ruffians in the Bottomless Canyon.  We start in the central-west region of the map, a few enemies are to our north, and the boss is across a stone bridge to the east (that was created through the Dragon Vein used back in Chapter 3).  Now that I think about it, I only remember ever activating one of those Veins, and yet both bridges are extended....
The map said Level 7, but the non-boss enemies actually turn out to be mostly Level 2.  Even at Level 1, Jakob, paired up with and supported by Andrea, can double-attack and one-round any of the Level 2 enemies, thanks to his Bold Stance skill and the Speed boost from Azura's Inspiring Song.
What exactly does Bold Stance do, you might be wondering?  Let's look at the in-game description...


That explains...very little, actually.  If you take a look at a round of combat, you can see that it provides most of the benefits of Attack Stance and Guard Stance at the same time!  


Jakob gets the stat boosts from being paired up, but Andrea gets to make Dual Strikes as if she were adjacent to him, but there's still a Guard Gauge for Dual Guards.  The real icing on the cake?  Andrea's Dual Strikes contribute to the Guard Gauge!  The downside is that Andrea can't block enemy Dual Strikes.  I'm not sure how big a downside that will be in practice, but I'm guessing not huge, since you get more Guard Meter increases to compensate (and I'm assuming that getting hit by an enemy Dual Strike also fills the Guard Gauge).  Weirdly, the enemies on these challenge maps never once used Attack Stance, despite the fact that enemies on Lunatic usually have an obsession with using it at every opportunity no matter how smart or dumb it is!
Bold Stance is one of the skills for which there's an item in the game's data that allows a playable character to learn it, and I wouldn't be surprised if when that item is released through DLC (if it ever happens  :/:) the skill sees a lot of use in PVP.
As we clear the map, we happen across an oddly specific amount of gold on a shiny space to the north:
Another shiny spot to the east yields merely an ore for the castle.
Clearing out the rest of the map, including the boss, isn't so hard, though Jakob does have to grab a Vulnerary from Azura since, well, he's the healer and there's no one around to heal him.  (I make sure after the map is over to build the Rod Shop so I can buy him more.)  By the end of the first challenge map, he's Level 3, but I decide to scout another enemy group to the Bottomless Canyon to train him up to Level 5.  This way, he earns another skill:
Not this, sadly.  It'll be replaced by a random skill, leaving him no way to heal himself.  (I made sure he got to Level 5 since I didn't want him hitting it in the middle of Chapter 7, which I know will be long, and having the "wrong" skill for most of the chapter.)  Anyway, no Live to Serve is why I made sure to stock up on Vulneraries for him.  What he got instead was the following:
Nice for the early game, at least.  It'd be even more useful if we had Felicia, as she needs every point of Defense she can get.
A couple of notable things I saw during the second challenge map:
No comment.
Also, each of the shiny spots gave me the same type of reward it did last time, just a different amount of gold for the north spot and a different ore for the east spot.  Is this normal?
Anyway, in the future I probably won't go into much detail (if at all) about challenge maps, but since these were our first fights with screenshots and my first experience with Bold Stance, I thought it was worth covering them.
With all this fighting, we've already built up quite a bit of support between our three heroes!
Andrea and Azura's C conversation is quite interesting.
It brings up the point that Hoshido is a prosperous nation, but is unaware of the needs of others (and we know from Birthright that Nohr is short on food).  I like that the support attempts to paint a little black into Hoshido's morality, but I still don't think the situation as described would justify Nohr invading Hoshido.  If they'd really wanted to play up the moral ambiguity, they should have said something about the Nohrians asking Hoshido for help, or offering to trade some of the goods they produce for food, or something like that, before going to war.  Though I guess Possessed Garon isn't likely to consider peaceful alternatives to violence.  In any case, the issue the support brings up (people too absorbed in their own prosperity to be aware of others' needs) definitely applies to the real world today, as well.  Quite a lot to take in, for a C support.
Meanwhile, Andrea and Jakob get all the way up to B.  Andrea wants to lighten Jakob's chores by learning to make tea herself, but it's not going so well...
I mean...wow.  There are only 3 of us in the castle (5 if you count the generic villagers running the shops) and a mountain of dishes is piling up?  Hmm....Waaaait a minute, I think I know the culprit here.  It's the castle resident who can, singlehandedly in one sitting, eat a unit of food that could have fed the entire army.  LILITH!
A sad and slightly awkward moment between Jakob and Azura.  I assume we'll learn more about Jakob's past if we continue down this support line.  I already know we'll learn more about Azura's past soon...very soon...as in next chapter soon.
Speaking of which, with all the support conversations covered, that's a wrap for this episode.  We shall begin the next episode by diving directly into Chapter 7!  Literally.  See you next time!

Army Size: 3
Retries: 2 (0 this episode)
Supports Viewed This Episode:  Andrea + Jakob C-B; Andrea + Azura C; Azura + Jakob C
Skills Found: 5/110
Enemy Skills Found: 1/6
Current Skill Tree Key:





Edited by ajmiam

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Episode 2:  "Who's That Vallite?"



Chapter 7: "Unspeakable World"

This chapter is all about our tiny band of three heroes finding a place to hide from the big bad Hoshidan and Nohrian kingdoms who hate our guts now.  Of course, we were just hiding out at My Castle on the astral plane while we were shopping and supporting, so it seems kind of unnecessary unless we're afraid other people will learn the art of dimension hopping in their crusade against us...
We travel back to the Bottomless Canyon N (is there a Bottomless Canyon S?) and Azura tells us to jump in, as it will take us to a new place.  The kingdoms will never find us here!  And she even promises to tell us more about what's going on when we do!  Andrea trusts Azura, even though Jakob has a fair objection:
Portal to another world or not, the process of reaching the bottom involves falling juuuuuust right between approximately 5700 very solid looking rock formations jutting out from the canyon walls at all angles.  Which we get to experience in glorious first-person 3D animated video.  If I were Andrea, this is one experience I would not care to repeat.  Just look!
BjWb39p.jpg     KhhvAOb.jpg
Anyway, we reach the bottom safely and end up on a lush and fairly beautiful floating continent covered in plains of green grass, punctuated by the crumbled gray stone walls of numerous ruined structures.  
Yes, Andrea, there was clearly a great kingdom here before, but for a place that's fallen into disrepair, it's surprisingly not overgrown as much as I'd expect.  I guess the lawnmowing crew survived the apocalypse.
vxHAm2q.jpg   b2mA2Rb.jpg
We head into a nearby cave and Azura fills us in on a lot, and I mean a lot, of plot.  Like, this is mostly stuff I already got spoiled on, but I didn't expect so much to be explained this early!  We learn that Valla is ruled by a mad king called Anankos, who is manipulating Garon behind the scenes to try to destroy both Nohr and Hoshido.  Not only that, but Anankos killed the former king of Valla, whoever he was.
However, we can't just tell anyone about this since there's a curse on Valla.  If anyone mentions the kingdom outside while they're outside its borders, that person's body will dissolve and disappear.  (HMMMMMMM.  Does this remind anyone of Birthright's ending?)  We already knew this from Conquest, but still...this bit always leaves me wondering just how strictly defined the curse is.  In Chapter 15 of Conquest, Azura clearly got away with referring to Valla without saying its name (by calling it "that other world we just returned from"), so if the context is clear, you can use loopholes to talk about it without directly mentioning it.  Hey, what if we just told everyone about this hidden kingdom called Mordor or Foo or even Halla and told them how to get there, then we were like, "Surprise!  Actually this place is called Valla but we couldn't tell you till you got here."  Also, I wonder if writing the name Valla down is forbidden.  ("Here, Iago, read this piece of paper.  Out loud, if you please.")
Oh, and we learn Azura's mother, who is Queen Arete, a former wife of King Garon, fell victim to the curse.  REMEMBER THIS, IT'S GOING TO BE IMPORTANT SOON!
Our exposition is interrupted by the arrival of some so-called "invisible" (read: purple) soldiers, like we encountered in Chapter 5, and the preparation screen appears.

The preparation music is completely different, unlike the ones for Birthright and Conquest which have different "verses" than each other but the same "chorus".  It sounds kind of like dripping water in a cave.  I wonder if it'll be the same when we fight battles outside of Valla....
For some reason, we're given four deployment slots despite having only three characters.  (Note that Mozu's paralogue isn't available yet.)  I guess it's so if you bought a unit from the unit logbook this early, you can deploy them....
Also, our objective is to Seize Some Fort occupied by Some Berserker in Some Cave We Happened To Try To Hide In.  Alright...I think Escape would have made more sense....
Speaking of dripping water in a cave, the map theme is Past Below, which I recognize from Conquest Chapter 15 and suspect we'll be hearing a lot more in the future. 
Azura gives us some dire warnings about the nature of this cave, which is so dark that we can only see the start and the exit.  I've heard people call this a "fog of war" map, but it's not really as bad as that term or Azura's warnings make it sound.  To me, "fog of war" implies 3 things (based on games like Age of Empires, Empire Earth, and the Civilization series):
1) If you haven't explored an area, you can't see the terrain, enemies, or structures there.
2) If you have explored an area, you can see enemies there only if you have some of your own units close enough.  Otherwise, you can see the terrain, but enemies may have moved in while none of your units are watching, and you wouldn't know unless you sent someone back there.
3) Enemies can move around even if you can't see them, and they can pop out of the fog of war to attack you.
In this map only Thing 1 is true.  Each time we reach the border of the darkness, either we'll reveal a room full of enemies or we'll hit a dead end and be warped back a few spaces.  (The latter is the thing you see happening in the second image, and the thing Azura warns us about.  Some paths are best not taken, because you might waste 20 seconds getting sent back 6 spaces!  The horror!!)  However, this map is not so bad because the enemies will not move until we reveal them, so while we don't know who will be prepared to attack us when we venture into the darkness, they at least won't come at us when we don't expect it.
After hitting a dead end warp north of the start, we head west and Andrea reveals a room of three enemies.  Now we know that they're Vallites, so the game calls them such on their stats screen.
Andrea is OP.  She one-shots an archer on Player Phase and the other two enemies on Enemy Phase, taking minimal damage from them.
We explore to the north and find some more rooms and enemies.  Jakob is also OP, as it turns out.  Sure, Bold Stance helps a lot, but look at those damage numbers and note that even without it he's greatly outdamaging enemies 1 to 5 levels higher than him.  The "Supportive" skill is helping him a lot here; improving both offense and defense by 2 makes a big difference in the early game.
(Also, my guess that the shield gauge increases in Bold Stance when you're hit by the supporting attack of a Dual Strike is correct.  It can also be spent to block those supporting attacks, however.)
Oh.  He also manages to get 6% crits on two consecutive attacks.
We explore to the east and find a larger room with 5 enemies.  One of them is an archer who attacks Jakob over the wall and promptly dies in the counterattack, but at least he's nice enough to chuck his Chest Key over the wall to us before he kicks the bucket, as there is a chest nearby.
Normally I just throw these keys in the convoy and forget about them, but here we actually need it as we don't have any Locktouchers yet.  We open the chest and get...
...a quite advanced weapon for this early in the game.  Being a C rank, it'll be a little while before anyone on our team can use it.
Realizing there's treasure in the cave, I decide to head back and explore to the southwest.  Reveal some more enemies, beat them up, yada yada yada.  Andrea hits Level 10 off a Dual Strike and learns a new skill:
The randomizer doesn't shuffle "Dragon"-related skills or "Hoshidan/Nohrian" related skills for flavor reasons, so she gets to keep this one.
I also notice the clue to the map's layout:  the dead end paths have cracks in front of them, and the good paths don't.
Reaching the southwest corner of the map, we find a very tall room with three treasure chests.  We also find a level up and weapon rank up for Jakob along with Crit Number Four.
"I must develop my skills faster."  Actually Jakob, your Skill stat is fine, all four of your level ups this chapter have been Skill + Luck + 1 other stat.  Developing your Magic faster would be nice, though.
Anyhow, the treasures we find include, from bottom to top: a Rescue, a Mend, and an Armorslayer.  Nice haul.
We head north, fight a weak knight (13 with a dagger, really?) and a pair of very weak Cavaliers, and pick up a Steel Sword from the chest.  Eh.  Jakob also gets a fifth level up and it's Str+Skill+Luck, keeping the streak alive.  Further north, we run into...
nGpeXFL.jpg      qbJhaiP.jpg
Gunter!!  He survived his fall into the Bottomless Canyon; he lost consciousness and woke up in Valla.  He's here to help us take care of the "challenging" enemies.
He starts with Shelter and Elbow Room which are equipped in the wrong order for some reason.  No matter.  He won't have those skills for long.
On second thought, maybe he'd better stay back, as I discover that he would get two-shot by the nearby Oni Savage.  Plus, it's not like the enemies have been a problem for Jakob or Andrea this whole chapter.
South of Gunter we find another room with 5000G, which connects back to the room where we found the Killing Edge.  That's the whole cavern explored; time to take on the boss!
0quH2jt.jpg 3JRxBQe.jpg6MkwA9s.jpgoO3iuMY.jpg
The boss has no movement and no 2-range weaponry, so victory here is trivial.  I planned to have Azura Dual Strike with Jakob for some EXP, but she's too weak to deal even 1 point of damage, so it'll be up to Jakob and Andrea instead.  Jakob hits Level 11 on the first attack and keeps the "gain Skill and Luck" streak alive, but this time gets a total of five stats.  Excellent!  Still no Magic, though.  Then, as it turns out, Andrea finishes the boss off on the very next attack using her Dragonstone.  Well...that was easy!  Andrea also gains a whopping 83 XP from the victory and hits Level 11 just like Jakob.  Can't have the Avatar fall behind in levels, you know!  I let Gunter do the honors of Seizing since he got no action the rest of the chapter.
We catch up a bit with Gunter, who actually calls out Jakob on his attitude problem.  Gunter doesn't quite recognize Azura, but believes her when she reveals she was kidnapped from Nohr as a child.  We tell "gramps" about all that we went through, including this dire warning from Jakob about the curse.  Thankfully Gunter pledges his loyalty to us rather than hating us like the rest of Nohr.
We also get a bit more backstory about Gunter:
He would have had to leave his family behind to become Garon's most trusted retainer, which was more than he was willing to do, and Garon resented Gunter for his refusal.  


Some more uninvited guests appear, and one of them I think is quite significant: 


Get ready trainers, it's time for Who's That Vallite?  

IT's ANANKOS!!  OK, get serious.  We have long blue hair, smooth pale skin...she looks an awful lot like Azura.  I'm going to go with a wild guess here:  Azura's mother, QUEEN ARETE??
She just calls herself a "mage of Valla", though, before threatening to sic her buddies on us, so Azura says, "Let's go back to the other world" and we do.  Not sure how, but we do.
Being tight-lipped is not going to quell my suspicions that that's Queen Arete, Azura!  Anyway, she then spouts off some sort of prophecy:
I initially thought this meant "when dawn turns to dusk" and vice-versa as Hoshido and Nohr turning to each other...as in, FOR HELP, like when we unite them eventually and take down Anankos together.  But she goes on to explain that her mother (hint hint?) said it a long time ago, and it refers to when the Bottomless Canyon can be used to access Valla.  Right now it can, but an event in a few months is about to change that.  That event...is the exchange of the darkness over Nohr and the bright skies over Hoshido.  It's an event that occurs frequently enough that Gunter is old enough to remember it, which is why I'm quite shocked it was never alluded to in Birthright or Conquest to my knowledge.
Since the portal is about to close, we have a limited time to get the other kingdoms to help us.  We don't really have a plan, but decide to appeal to Hoshido first.

Final Thoughts:
On the story:  I wonder with the skies swapping, will Hoshido experience a period of poor harvests and Nohr prosperity?  "God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in Nohr's shoes.  Then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues" and all that, Hoshido, building off of the supports from last episode.  I wonder if the sky swap will happen in the ending of this route....
Also:  I'm like 97% confident that the Vallite who showed up at the end of the chapter was Arete, even though it hasn't been explicitly confirmed.  If that's so, then...the Valla curse is more chilling than I thought...it doesn't just kill you, it whisks your spirit off to Valla to become one of THEM--evil, under Anankos's control, or just really xenophobic.  I suppose we'll have to stay tuned for further details about this.

On the chapter:  I thought this would be an Andrea EXP fest but it turned out to be a Jakob EXP Fest instead.  The enemies were much weaker than I feared.  Jakob did go through an entire Vulnerary over the course of the chapter, but the enemies dropped like 4 or 5 of them!  And Bold Stance certainly sped things along, but the raw stat advantage we had over the enemies would have been decisive regardless.
Army Size: 4 (gained Gunter)
Retries: 2 (0 this episode)
Skills Found: 6/110 (+Dragon Fang, 2 more revealed next episode)
Enemy Skills Found: 1/6
Current Skill Tree Key:



Skills Coming Up Next:


Cavalier Lv1:  The good half of Izana's personal skill
Cavaliler Lv10:  What cars do on a 2-lane highway



Edited by ajmiam

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You know, if you want better pictures, you can always use miiverse and then take the images off of the miiverse website.

Thanks! That is good advice...but I have two reservations:

1) It'll add a lot of time to taking each screenshot (go to Home menu, wait for Miiverse to boot up, post the image, run over to the computer, find the image on Miiverse, save it, exit Miiverse, back to the game) which disrupts the flow of play. Still, the increase in image quality might be worth it, except...

2) ...due to the nature of this playthrough, some of the screenshots might depict situations blatantly impossible in normal play *coughcoughboldstancejakob*. Is it possible to get banned from Miiverse for that?

At the very least I've realized that trying to capture both the top and bottom screens in a single camera shot usually results in either the top screen being too dark or the bottom screen being too bright, so I'll stop doing that.

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I don't know about the second, but what i do to deal with the first is that I just put the images on miiverse, and then worry about downloading and uploading them all at once later, so that play is interrupted as little as possible. I suppose I didn't notice because my LP was ironman, so I needed to think a lot for each action anyway.

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To Alastor15243:  I actually found a good way to use Miiverse to save screenshots that doesn't involve writing a public post.  I just save them in my "screenshot album" which is private to my account but accessible from my computer.  However, there are some cutscenes, like falling into the Bottomless Canyon, where the Home menu can't be opened, so I'll have to snap a picture with a camera if I want a screenshot of them.  But your suggestion paid off big time; these pictures turned out way better than the ones from the past episodes!  Thanks!  :):


Episode 3: "No Pain No Gain"



Skills Found

y97jGKa.jpg      AqEZmpn.jpg


Even in his old age, Gunter singing voice is still smooth as silk, able to calm the fierce hearts of even the strongest enemies.  Also, we learn how awesome Nohrians are at breeding and training horses.  Seriously!  Even carrying heavily armored knights, these beasts are able to leap tall enemies in a single bound!  This should make it easier to clear bulky foes who try to choke up narrow passages, as we can ride past them and attack from the back as well as the front.




kUkT0Vp.jpg P1iD69j.jpg


Jakob has gained supports with both Andrea and Azura thanks to last chapter.  Note that Gunter can't support anyone in this path, even though he did get supports in Conquest.  There's a reason for that.  (Unfortunately, I have already been spoiled as to what that is.)

Yet, for some reason, he still shows up as a valid choice to gain support points with Andrea in the Private Quarters.  A minor bug?



hHBW8xK.jpg t2bEsMA.jpg HpMM2x7.jpg


In Andrea and Jakob's B support, Jakob had pretended that Andrea had made good tea on her own when in fact he had to secretly fix it.  In the A support, we learn that Andrea noticed but she's just happy that Jakob was trying to help.  Whoa, calm yourself there Jakob, I think you may be a bit too devoted to Andrea if just being compared with her is enough to make you faint....



wGbT5wo.jpg ImNWOAn.jpg            YMLygtg.jpg


In Jakob and Azura's B support, Jakob tells Azura more about his past.  We learn his parents weren't taken from him by illness or misfortune; they were alive and healthy--but loved money more than him and each other.  Yet another tragedy that happens in our world today...Anyway, they left him at Castle Krakenburg to be raised to be a servant.  (Let's hope Garon didn't do the raising.)  After talking about all that, though, Jakob seems to be happy when he mentions it's tea time for Andrea.  You know, this might explain his overwhelming devotion to Andrea--he feels loved and wanted around her, a feeling he didn't get with his family.



Inviting Azura to my room also unlocks a support between her and Andrea.  It's kind of like their C support was, but with more questionable writing choices:




It's supposed to be about how not all Nohrians are as cold and hostile as the stereotypes suggest.  Did the game designers not realize that many players would unlock this conversation when they have only two Nohrian allies (Gunter and the Avatar's servant)?  Maybe if this was later in the game and we had people like Silas and Arthur and Benny, that line would make more sense.  At least the support does bring up a plot point from Birthright, namely that the poor soil quality in Nohr makes it hard for them to grow enough food.




I decide to switch the castle to the Nestrian style, which consists of several islands separated by narrow waterways and connected by wooden bridges.  It's pretty, and the islands kind of help me organize the buildings, but the layout does have its...drawbacks.




*Insert Shura/Dwyer crit quote here*



I build the Mess Hall and Lottery Shop, the latter of which produces a silver prize already (just a Vulnerary).  I decide to cook Wheat which feeds "half of our 4-unit army" (Andrea and Jakob), boosting their Defense.  Since Jakob also got a Luck/Defense surge, this brings his defense up to 21.  Yes, TWENTY-FREAKING-ONE DEFENSE after Chapter 7.  OP indeed; even Effie in Conquest would probably need a surge to match that number by the same point.




A supremely loyal butler who's also a hypercompetent bodyguard...replace his shurikens with massive guns (in both meanings of the word), and he'd be right at home in the Artemis Fowl series.



Paralogue 1:  "Tragic Start"

(Note:  This part isn't blind, since I've played it in Birthright and Conquest before.  But it is the first time I'm playing it with only four units available.)




Based on last Chapter, Gunter just isn't going to cut it in our army for much longer, and we could really use more allies.  We learn that there's a village under attack by Faceless, and the only survivor is a poor farming girl named Mozu.  Maybe we can save her (and conscript her into our army while we're at it, heh).  We buy some tonics to feed to her so she'll have an easier time fighting the Faceless to get stronger, and Andrea and Jakob equip a couple of joke weapons (a Daikon Radish and a Chopstick respectively) to try and weaken the Faceless without killing them.




(Jakob is far too prim and proper to borrow Felicia's catchphrase while describing the situation....)





Fact:  All the non-boss Faceless on the map have 21 ATK.  Fact:  Jakob has 21 DEF.



We start by carving a path through the Faceless to our south, reaching the southeast corner, and then head west to talk to and recruit Mozu.  Jakob can double-attack and one-round any non-boss Faceless on the map (even without Bold Stance dual strikes), taking no damage, so this part is easy.  Once we talk to Mozu, the real challenge begins--leveling her up as much as possible against enemies much stronger than her.  Andrea gives her a Strength, HP, and Defense tonic, and believe me, Mozu needed them.




Supported by Gunter, she holds a bridge in the southeast and engages a Faceless to her north, poking it for 3 damage at a time until it goes down.  Meanwhile, Jakob alternates between healing her with a Bloom Festal and killing the Faceless that encroach from the west, with Azura's songs allowing him to do some of both each turn.  As we move west and then north, Mozu takes down more Faceless and shortly begins leveling up.  But her training is brutal and painful; she drops to 1HP on one occasion and 3HP on another (carefully calculated so she was never required to dodge a lethal hit).  Gunter and Azura also both come within a single point of death during this map.







Mozu gets a very good level up along the way!  After we clear out the northern-most Faceless, Jakob softens up the boss and Mozu finishes it off in two attacks.  


ezBFdaD.jpg   XrtGvIx.jpg


Sadly her final level up does not do her hard work justice....






Training complete!  Here's a little Before and After comparison of Mozu's stats:


xfIzszI.jpg     qlK0VPz.jpg


It's a bit less than I'd hoped for, especially in the HP and Defense departments.  I'll probably have to Tonic her up for the next couple of battles as well.

Note that Mozu gets to keep Aptitude, as the shuffler always assigns it to the Villager class at Level 1 (without it, the class just sucks).



Also worthy of note is that Azura hit Level 10:




Normally Azura would have learned Inspiring Song at Level 10, but it had already been Powersaved on.  So what happened?  The game handled it quite well, in fact.  No notification popped up saying Azura had learned a new skill, but Inspiring Song was silently added to her "earned" skill pool, so it can now be de-equipped without vanishing, as shown here:




Of course, according to the shuffler, she actually learned something different at Level 10.  What, exactly?  You'll have to wait until next time to find out...or just solve the blatantly obvious clue below. ;):




Army Size: 5 (+Mozu)

Retries: 2 (0 this episode)

Supports Viewed: Andrea & Azura B, Andrea & Jakob A, Azura & Jakob B

Skills Found: 9/110 (+1 more next episode)

Enemy Skills Found: 1/6

Current Skill Tree Key:





Skills Coming up Next:


Songstress Lv10: One, two, three of these, and you're Poison Out!




Edited by ajmiam

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To Alastor15243: I actually found a good way to use Miiverse to save screenshots that doesn't involve writing a public post. I just save them in my "screenshot album" which is private to my account but accessible from my computer.

That's actually what I meant, sorry for being unclear :)

Edited by Alastor15243

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You've already been spoiled on the reason, but the support block is like how it is locked if you hack characters in on other routes.

Like Sakura on Nohr. You'll still be able to pet then and support points are valid in the character block... you just won't be able to gain a support level.

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Minor notes before we begin:
1) Do NOT trust this forum's autosave feature to save your work.  I had the pre-battle portion of this all typed up and autosaved, and when I came back a few days later, it was nowhere to be found.
2) This episode took a REALLY long time to make.  I think from now on I will split each episode into two parts.  The first will cover the revealed skills, supports, castle activities, and start-of-chapter storyline up to the Preparations screen.  The second part will cover the chapter gameplay and the end-of-chapter storyline.
Episode 4:  "Hoshido gets an F in History"


Skills Found
Just one skill this time.
Dang, don't let that calm demeanor fool you, Azura has a cruel streak to her!  Sadly, it's not a great skill for her.  Usually when attacking an enemy who will survive (the only way Poison Strike matters), the enemy tends to hit back, which is Bad News for someone with tissue paper defenses like her.  But if she makes it to D-rank lance proficiency, I suppose she could throw around toxin-tipped javelins in a crude imitation of a Ninja.
Jakob and Mozu reach C support thanks to all the healing he did for her in her Paralogue, and inviting Mozu to Andrea's quarters also opens up a C support between those two.
xCPJsrS.jpg     SU10RoR.jpg
Andrea and Mozu's C support provides a plausible explanation for Mozu's Aptitude skill.  See, Mozu is very strong--stronger than Andrea, even--due to all her work on the farm.  Her only flaws are lack of experience handling weapons and protecting herself, so once she learns the proper techniques she's good to go.  Hence, she becomes a better fighter very quickly.
t0X1K5d.jpg   mnhCGMG.jpg

It also brings up her old life a bit.  Mozu claims she's happy now and doesn't miss it, but Andrea and I both think she's just putting on a brave face....
uxKLx6Z.jpg     7KFscgD.jpg
Meanwhile, Mozu tells Jakob about nightmares she's having (only natural, poor thing), and he replies with some blunt but sage advice on the importance of grieving.

I decide to get Jakob a Fruit Knife to make up for his lack of Live to Serve, as well as a Sun Festal because with his low Magic stat the Bloom model just isn't powerful enough.  The Fruit Knife apparently slices up fruit so the holder can eat it and restore 10HP.  It can be used any number of times.  Don't ask me where the fruit comes from.
MLezT06.jpg   4SI0MJ8.jpg
This also becomes the second episode in a row where someone gets a Defense surge, which is EXTREMELY welcome.
Chapter 8:  "Traitor's Brand"
We need to convince Hoshido that neither us nor Nohr is the true enemy, and to do that we need to go to a place that has Hoshidans, so how about we go to Fort Jinya?
ZcFmYYA.jpg     MZLNK66.jpg
Andrea is optimistic that the Hoshidan army doesn't really want to be at war and will be willing to listen to her and help her.  Unfoundedly so?  Probably.  After all, we saw how badly Ryoma reacted to our decision at the Branch of Fate, so it's not likely that the Hoshidan people think highly of us.  There's probably also some lingering resentment about the fact that Andrea brought the cursed sword that exploded in that crowded town square way back in Chapter 5 (even if she didn't trigger the explosion herself).  Anyway, even though Gunter's the one with the Voice of Peace, Andrea decides to do the talking as they meet Yukimura.  This works just as well as the chapter name suggests.

lhQsDNe.jpg   IN6ASUt.jpg   VS9TqnP.jpg
Making matters worse, we receive a bombshell of bad news:  Takumi has been captured by Nohrians (supposedly) and Ryoma has gone missing, and naturally we are the prime suspects in that.  Yukimura, offended that Andrea dares refer to Takumi as "brother", sics some guards on us.  Guess we'll just have to beat some sense into them. (Ain't it always the case in this game?)
VZObsJO.jpg     wU2jVnA.jpg

As a sort of reversal of Birthright Chapter 7, we're invading Fort Jinya from the south. But it's nothing like Conquest Chapter 22, since Fort Jinya looks completely different there for some reason.  Our goal is to make our way up north and, ahem, persuade Yukimura that we are not the true enemy.  By beating him up, of course!  It's not going to be easy, as we only get to bring four of our five units (so Gunter will sit out), and the enemies are boasting some pretty solid stats.  Most of them have at least 20 ATK.  Thank goodness Mozu got that Defense surge, right?
Note that there are two chests.  Once again, we have no Locktouch units, but the enemies are carrying exactly enough keys to open them.
KzeD9jd.jpg     eBncM4D.jpg
Our nearest foe is an Oni Savage.  With Defense and Resistance like that, I'm thinking the Dragonstone is the way to go.  There are also some Sky Knights to our east, and it's worth noting that they have 5 more ATK than the Sky Knights in Conquest's infamous Chapter 10.  (But at least there are only two of them here as opposed to the approximately-a-dozen you have to fight in that chapter.)   Other enemies include 17-SPD Samurai, some Ninjas, and some Archers.
While the generic enemies may have decently high stats, none have any skills whatsoever.  No Seal Defense on the Spear Fighters, THANK HEAVENS.
Anxjv7G.jpg     JU4BAbz.jpg     n0YbUJv.jpg
Yukimura looks pretty tough.  Forty HP, and double-digits in all stats.  Let's just be thankful he's not standing on a Gate tile.
His named companions (Saizo and Orochi), for some strange reason, are the weakest enemies on the map!
Also, Yukimura has a whole bevy of worthless skills.  His potions and salves would be quick and potent, except that he doesn't have any in his inventory!  And...well, I sure am glad I didn't just happen to buy a Mechanist out of the Unit Logbook, or the Golembane might actually matter!
I give Mozu an HP, Strength, Defense, and Speed tonic, then take a quick detour back to the castle to buy her an Iron Naginata as I just noticed she has D lance proficiency.  Now...let the battle begin.
Battle Start
What's the map theme this time?  Ah, Justice RIP.  Reminds me of Conquest Chapter 20, another place where we had to convince people we were peaceful by beating them up.
At the chapter's start, there is a whopping ONE SQUARE not under attack--it's the one where the cursor's pointing.  I guess we know where Azura's standing this turn.  (The two squares to the left of Azura look safe but that's because she's in the way of the Oni Savage; it can reach them if she moves.)  We could start by charging into the fort, but I'd rather take out the outside enemies to reduce the risk of getting sandwiched between them and the inside enemies later, in case the outside enemies rush us down.
p2PhnNf.jpg          0hYZekf.jpg
          CR6XdJt.jpg                                 egVj27B.jpg
We position Azura in the safe spot, Mozu supported by Jakob to her east, and Andrea to her west.  Enemy phase, we get rushed by the nearby Oni Savage from the north (who gets mauled to near-death by Andrea's dragon form) and a Sky Knight from the east.  With the +3 Speed pair up bonus from Jakob and an Inspiring Song boost from Azura, Mozu doubles the Sky Knight, but I'm a derp and forgot to equip her Iron Naginata, so she does little damage.  It's enough for Jakob to clean up that Sky Knight on the next turn, though.  The other Sky Knight from the east and the Spear Fighters from the west also advance on our position.  Those Spear Fighters attack Andrea in a Dual Strike on the next turn and do quite a number on her HP, but she retaliates with a timely Dragon Fang to take one out right away:

 IQLWxYx.jpg   6ouFmXS.jpg  qewbrYu.jpg

         uFncyY9.jpg                                                                                                                                             xLFIEMv.jpg
Also, Azura sings to Mozu and Jakob after they take out the second Sky Knight so that Jakob can heal Andrea.  For her efforts, Azura is rewarded with a 6-stat level up!  She's actually gained a lot more HP than usual, but to counterbalance that her Resistance gains have been horrible.  Her Defense is as nonexistent as usual.  Jakob is rewarded for healing Andrea by snapping his 6-level streak of no Magic growth.
The outside threat taken care of, we advance into the fort.  I'd have Andrea do some baiting, but her Speed is only 11 and the Samurai have 17 Speed, so she'll need to hang back and get an Inspiring Song boost or pair up with Jakob to not get doubled.  It's fine, the two Samurai both rush in for a useless Dual Strike on the Mozu/Jakob pair (as Mozu is in the front) making them easy pickings to get wiped on our next turn.  Gotta love that Lunatic AI.
We advance towards the first chest and Turn 7 rolls around, bringing in reinforcements...in the form of a lone Ninja.  He has Locktouch, so I wonder if he'll try to plunder the chests, even though his name label is "Hoshidan" and not "Ruffian".  Ignoring him for now as he advances, we plow through the enemies with ease, Andrea getting an 8% crit on a poor sap she would have one-shotted anyway:
M2sCxmm.jpg     lFBG9M2.jpg
Andrea then opens the chest and is rewarded with a Killer Lance:
k2qIGxk.jpg     XlcAKUv.jpg
At this, the lone Ninja reinforcement promptly turns tail and runs right off the map, same way he came in!  Definitely wasn't expecting that.  It happened too quickly for me to snap a shot of it, so have this instead:
We head west, and the map goes pretty simply from here on out.  The enemies aren't rushing us anymore, so it's just bait-and-wait like a Birthright map.  Jakob continues to be incredibly OP, even without a Defense surge this time, handing out double attacks and debuffs all over the place while dodging a lot of attacks and taking minimal damage from the rest.  Bold Stance and Defense +2 are both helping a lot in this regard.  I do try to use Mozu to finish enemies whenever possible to keep her growing, and Jakob's damage and debuffs tend to be just enough to set up kills for her.
Andrea hits the B rank in Dragonstone proficiency, which is the max until she promotes...and she's only Level 11!  Does the Dragonstone gain levels faster than other weapons, or is this just a product of how much I've had to rely on her in these chapters?  I mean, getting a new weapon out of E rank takes way too long, and the higher ranks are supposed to require even more experience than the lower ones.  
Mozu also hits C rank in lances, which is the cap for Villagers, and she's just Level 9 at the moment.
h023JaB.jpg     0WFrj3c.jpg
From the chest on the right, we get the Wyrmslayer.  Hmm...in Conquest, Garon referred to Anankos as a Divine DRAGON...the Wyrmslayer is super-effective against DRAGONS...I wonder how it will fare against the final boss?
WkYmx4b.jpg   Irgopgf.jpg
ZU7QM8I.jpg   I5nZ055.jpg
Time to make our final approach to Yukimura.  I did say Orochi and Saizo were the weakest units on the map, and they do indeed both go down without a fight.  Saizo even said (not pictured) "Do you honestly think you can stand against me?"  Yes, because I read the combat forecast :P:
3CQHMuc.jpg    6dcfWuz.jpg
Yukimura is trickier because he can two-shot Jakob, but with careful use of the guard gauge we can wear him down.  Unlike most bosses, Yukimura can't heal at all
qOxIrro.jpg   cvuJB5O.jpg
Nice #doublecringe on Jakob's second attack even though the Guard Gauge is at 6 and will save him from the counterattack (thanks Bold Stance) and Azura can sing him out of the way afterwards.  Or...Azura could let Mozu get a shot in, with a 71% chance to wipe out the last 5 HP and Andrea ready to come to the rescue if Mozu misses.
ZpRioWt.jpg   DXkPaAR.jpg   a94nk2V.jpg
Miss she did not, and a great level up was her reward!  Level 10 means a new skill, which we will find out next time.  Stage complete!
vCCzXu1.jpg    gXr4IkC.jpg
Yukimura, Orochi, and Saizo expected us to kill the three of them, which shows they were CLEARLY not listening to Andrea, even in the slightest, at the start of the chapter.  And yes, Orochi shows lingering resentment from the events of Chapter 5 as well as 6.  It only makes sense, as she was Mikoto's retainer, that the tragedy must have been extra-hard on her.
Yukimura and Orochi are merely still distrustful, whereas Saizo:
7CP4ibF.jpg     Nnr3CQK.jpg
...prepares to blow himself up in order to kill us...only for someone to tell him to stop...
y0jYaoX.jpg     HYrXBky.jpg
Hi there, Kaze!  Where the heck did you come from?  And Sakura, too?!  Not complaining...given how generally nice you two are, I wouldn't be surprised if you're going to be joining us now.

Qu9o0eZ.jpg     Y2STY7q.jpg
Hooray for Chapter 2's good karma paying off!  And for K.O.nquest story-writing making its return.  (Just try to imagine the awkwardness if someone had randomed Lethality in the skill shuffler and proc'd it.  Yes, that guy's totally alive even though most of his blood is currently painting the camera lens red.)
Kaze and Sakura mange to calm down Saizo.  With everyone listening, Andrea can now talk about the "powerful and ambitious force manipulating us all" which is way too vague to be taken seriously, until she mentions the skies switching.  Is Yukimura old enough to know about that event?
Sadly, no!!  Knowledge of an event of this significance, whose occurrence can be predicted according to Gunter, is never taught in history class, nor simply passed down from parents to children??  Really?  *sigh*
PcSGUGM.jpg     idRcc9j.jpg     6HDOItK.jpg
Sakura, at least, believes we're trying to help and joins us, and Yukimura reluctantly allows her, warning her to be careful.  Aww, he's even smiling!  Kaze joins us too, and Saizo's reply is a curt "Do as you wish."
PHqqykm.jpg       yZnILVJ.jpg
Andrea and Sakura walk to the lake where Andrea and Azura first met.  Sakura reaffirms her happiness to see us and her desire to help us...in a little 3D animated scene of cute awkwardness and nervous laughter!  SO ADORABLE!!
UNIpjHE.jpg   5EnViwY.jpg
And it gets better than I expected...Hana and Subaki also show up to help us!  I guess with Andrea being in Nohr most of her life, she'd never met them before.
Sadly, their join stats leave a lot to be desired.  Just look at the unit summary below, and note that my main team I used for Chapter 8 is now Levels 10, 11, 12, and 13.
Final thoughts:
This map was easier than I thought it'd be because only four of the enemies are aggressive; the rest can be baited one at a time.  It might have given me some difficulty if I'd rushed into the fort without taking care of the outside enemies first.  Also, Jakob continues to overperform in every respect except healing, where he's doing just well enough for this point in the game.
As for the story...I hope it doesn't become a trend that no one knows about the sky switching even though it's frequent enough that every 1-2 generations of Hoshidans and Nohrians should experience it and certainly should be major enough for each generation to tell the next about it....

Army Size: 9 (+Sakura, Hana, Subaki, Kaze)
Retries: 2 (0 this episode)
Supports Viewed:  Mozu & Jakob C, Mozu & Andrea C
Skills Found:  11/110 (+Poison Strike, +Locktouch [constant skill of Lv1 Ninjas], +4 more next episode)
Enemy Skills Found: 1/6
Unit Summary:
Azura Lv13 Songstress [inspiring Song] [Poison Strike]
Jakob Lv12 Butler [bold Stance] [underdog] [Defense +2]
Andrea Lv11 Nohr Princess [Heartseeker] [Dragon Fang]
Mozu Lv10 Villager [Aptitude] [???]
Sakura Lv5 Shrine Maiden [???]
Subaki Lv5 Sky Knight [???]
Kaze Lv5 Ninja [Locktouch]
Hana Lv4 Samurai [???]
Gunter Lv4 Great Knight [Voice of Peace] [Pass]

Current Skill Tree Key:



Skills Coming Up Next:


Villager Lv10:  What a Samurai does to his or her birthday candles
Sky Knight Lv1:  A skill that frequently procs for 0 additional damage and directly conflicts with Subaki's personal skill
Samurai Lv1:  Looks like tessellated shields
Monk/Shrine Maiden Lv1:  Hopefully Sakura doesn't do this to her own weapon if I promote her into a Priestess



Edited by ajmiam

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Episode 5A: "O.P. Confirmed Still Noob at FE"



Skills Found
A few decent skill pickups here, including one that's kind of strange when juxtaposed with the personal skill of its only user so far:
3TSZ55U.jpg GDaAfzu.jpg 5FRHPLG.jpg cPVUCGf.jpg
Subaki takes his "Mr. Perfect" reputation very seriously, be warned.  Also, I like to imagine Sakura's Bowbreaker skill consists of her taking her staff and going all Jedi on the incoming arrows:
                                       1FEk7Sy.jpg                                                 isP1pb4.jpg
qbVihzm.jpg     crxgtvZ.jpg     xexvboH.jpg     RVrLr2E.jpg
There are the starting stats of our new units.  They ARE underleveled, but they're not awful stats for those levels.  Especially Kaze.  His base Res is actually the best in the entire army, and his Speed is second only to Azura's!
XEzfz4b.jpg     sMVPCZ8.jpg
Azura has found us a potentially useful weapon, a bow that can cause stat drops!  Maybe it's called Setsuna's Yumi because it transfers some of her klutziness to the foe?  Especially taking into consideration that Skill drop.
Curious, I poke around in the Records Hall and discover that the preparations theme is called "Those Who Visit".  Since Andrea has been cast out of both kingdoms, she doesn't really have a home, so anywhere she's going she's visiting.  Thus, I guess the name does a good job of describing our army.  Or maybe it was meant to refer to the Vallilte soldiers.  IMO, the theme isn't quite as memorable as the Birthright and Conquest (especially Conquest) preparation themes, but it's starting to grow on me.  It's much more subdued than those themes, which makes it good thinking music, but also contains its share of inspiring swells and seems less repetitive than either "Resolve" theme.
PFimBnh.jpg     07iJ2Q8.jpg
Further, I build a Smithy, which doesn't get any use yet because we're low on both ore and funds.  Speaking of funds, I pick up a Javelin for Subaki (because flying + range = good).  I wish I shared his optimism about our financial status, but we're nearly bankrupt since Chapter 8 didn't reward us with any money.
To level up our new recruits a bit, I do a challenge, which takes place on the snowy map from Chapter 4.  Here are the results:
XNyM47v.jpg     HVl4wPe.jpg     9iQiJhn.jpg     9KYqWXS.jpg
Nothing of note happened during the map.  Nope.  Surely, having played through two paths by now, and nearly finished Conquest on Lunatic, I'd be too experienced to make a careless mistake like forgetting about an effective weapon and leaving one of my units in range of a one-hit kill, right?
Bless her little heart, she avoided the attack and spared me the indignity of adding a challenge battle to the "Retries" stat.  But...yeah, this is what happens when I concentrate too much on "Who should receive the EXP?" and not enough on "Are all my units safe?"  And to add insult to injury the enemy gave her ONE EXP once she retaliated and killed it, so I didn't even get the first question right.
At the start of the episode we had three supports available to us, including two whose support points carried over from before the Branch of Fate.


5NyAP6J.jpg     uR78LtG.jpg     p5htHAf.jpg

Andrea & Kaze C:  A bit of self-awareness on the game's part about the fact commonly held opinion that Kaze is attractive.  Kaze doesn't realize this, even though Andrea is able to point out several reasons why women might like him:  he's kind, he's good-looking, and he's a ninja (and if I were her I would have brought up that ninja outfit, as well).  Kaze, however, replies that he doesn't deserve such high praise since he is "not a good man".  I would say "stay tuned to find out what that means" but probably like 99.9% of you have seen this whole support chain already.....


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Jakob & Azura A:  Here Jakob learns a bit more of his past.  He doesn't hate so much that his parents abandoned him, as it led to him meeting Andrea, who in turn inspired him to become a competent butler.  He also pledges loyalty to Azura, which is...quite meaningful considering how important he treats his devotion to Andrea.  (Also, obvious setup for S support, complete with blushing!)


vf6dx4v.jpg     6FMbrCU.jpg     TTDDvOK.jpg

Sakura & Azura C:  One of the things Sakura missed about Azura's absence was staying up with Azura and listening to her ghost stories.  Sakura found the stories very frightening yet could not bear to leave one unfinished.  Curiosity's a funny thing, innit?  Also, I wonder if any of those ghost stories were based on the actual ghosts of Valla (without mentioning the name, of course)....
Playing the Challenge battle unlocked two more.

20DUXwV.jpg     97T4Ksg.jpg

Jakob & Mozu B:  So far two of Jakob's three support lines have been him trying to beat the other person in a "Whose past was worse?" duel.  Not sure how I feel about that, but at least here he does remind Mozu to look back on the good memories she does have.


dw2AnME.jpg     osJsT3j.jpg

Subaki & Hana C:  Hana gets so fed up with Subaki's ill-deserved "perfect" reputation that she issues him a "fite me" challenge.


Chapter 9:  "Wanderer"

(Shouldn't it be "Wanderers"?  That word describes our whole army at this stage.)


rXXqdRt.jpg     kYVoQGc.jpg


Our goal is to head to Izumo, a neutral land where we in theory we'd safe from both kingdoms' armies, but given the location shown on the map for this chapter, that obviously doesn't happen yet.


GLLkcQi.jpg     xKHUJom.jpg


We get our first peek into Castle Krakenburg since the Branch of Fate, where Garon laughs evilly to himself about the fact that Andrea...isn't dead?  OK.  He also notes that we know something we shouldn't.  I guess since he's an agent of Anankos he knows about the goings-on in Valla, including our brief visit.


L6NV2pE.jpg     zIDQf2m.jpg


Elise overhears his monologue and realizes something's not right, and is especially distressed when Garon mentions that he'll destroy Andrea.  Camilla agrees that something strange is going on, but decides they shouldn't take action until they know more about it.  (Hey, you two!  It would have really been nice to see this kind of intuition from you on the Conquest route!)


SOvkBJZ.jpg     nVgDHxi.jpg


Meanwhile our group climbs the Eternal Stairway and suddenly a group of Faceless appear.  Kaze crits one of them in a cutscene and the rest of our army fights some more, only to discover...


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...it was an illusion, and they actually fought members of the Wind Tribe!  The illusion was created by Iago, whom our team fails to notice as he lets out an evil chuckle twenty feet to their right before teleporting away.

(Does this plot seem familiar??  It should, it's the same dang thing as Chapter 8 of Birthright.)




Anyhow, we decide to visit the Wind Tribe to explain ourselves and make amends, and a few generic units yell accusingly at us for hurting their friends.  (They consipcuously dance around the word "kill" here.)  We fire off some quick apologies at them, then proceed to ignore them and head into the village to find Chief Fuga.


HQIH2zT.jpg     Vtw3c4g.jpg


Our reputation precedes us, and he believes our intentions are the exact opposite of what they really are.  (To be fair, we did attack both Nohrian and Hoshidan soldiers in Chapter 6, so it's an understandable misunderstanding.)  Andrea nearly commits suicide-by-Valla-curse and has to cut herself short, once again only able to talk in terms of an "unknown enemy" which Fuga believes is a trick.


sRZJlEp.jpg     S1rEDcW.jpg     VHZKz1V.jpg     ZtwZM49.jpg


Luckily, our good karma from Chapter 2 continues to pay off as Rinkah shows up!  Thanks to us sparing her life when she was a prisoner in Nohr, she vouches for us on behalf of the Flame Tribe as the chief's daughter.  Fuga therefore gives us a chance to prove our worth to him in "the only way that matters":  a fair and clean fight.  That's right, our crime is accidentally beating up citizens of the Wind Tribe and have to prove we didn't mean to...by beating up more citizens of the Wind Tribe.  Logic!  Rinkah promises to fight by our side.








Army Size: 9 (3 Birthright characters, 1 Conquest character, 5 Neutral characters)
Retries: 2 (0 this episode, but was very nearly 1)
Supports Viewed:  Azura & Jakob A, Jakob & Mozu B, Andrea & Kaze C, Azura & Sakura C, Hana & Subaki C
Skills Found:  15/110
Enemy Skills Found: 1/6


Unit Summary:

Azura Lv13 Songstress [inspiring Song] [Poison Strike]
Jakob Lv12 Butler [bold Stance] [underdog] [Defense +2]
Andrea Lv11 Nohr Princess [Heartseeker] [Dragon Fang]
Mozu Lv10 Villager [Aptitude] [Duelist's Blow]
Kaze Lv7 Ninja [Locktouch]
Sakura Lv6 Shrine Maiden [bowbreaker]
Subaki Lv6 Sky Knight [Vengeance]
Hana Lv5 Samurai [Camaraderie]
Gunter Lv4 Great Knight [Voice of Peace] [Pass]


Current Skill Tree Key:





Edited by ajmiam

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It's interesting to see this run, but I'm really getting into it from all the memey image edits you're doing haha.

And yes they do say "kill" in the JP version of the game.

Edited by shadowofchaos

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I'm happy you're enjoying my image edits, shadowofchaos!  As long as the game and the shuffler continue to provide me with silly situations, I'll keep making them.  Sadly, as you're about to see, my actual drawing skills leave a lot to be desired.
Episode 5B:  "The Wind is a Lie"


Chapter 9: "Wanderer"
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Looking around the map, we can see it's a carbon copy of Chapter 20 from Conquest, winds and all.  The enemies in this map are pretty much the same as last map.  In fact, the Samurai have actually lost a point of Speed compared to Chapter 8.  That doesn't mean it's going to be easy, as we have to contend with both narrow and wide terrain as well as those infamous winds.
56X8iUK.jpg     R388tUk.jpg     BANTvTZ.jpg
As we expected, the boss of this stage is Fuga, the Wind Tribe chieftain.  Hayato is also on the map as a Level 9 Diviner.  Like Saizo and Orochi before him, Hayato's stats make him one of the weakest units on the map for some reason.  As for Fuga, in some ways his stats are better than Yukimura's and in other ways they're worse.  He is, unlike Yukimura, standing on a throne so I will need to prepare for lots of missing and him healing over time.  However, one thing should work in our favor:  he has no 2-range weapons!!  Seriously, game?  Even on Birthright Normal Fuga at least had an Iron Mace to attack at range.  And unlike Conquest, it's not even like there are any enemy Freeze users that could immobilize a unit and let it be helplessly blown into Fuga's range.  
So, victory against him is guaranteed if we can get there in one piece; we could just stay 2 spaces away and chuck ranged weapons at him forever.  
9u4oenN.jpg     h9rL3zy.jpg
As she said, Rinkah is willing to fight by our side.  Take a look at that starting level and stats, though...she can't even dent the Oni Chieftains on the map, even if she gains Strength twice!  I guess her "fighting" will consist of tagging along with Kaze, shouting out motivational phrases, and occasionally leaping in front of an attack.  She does provide a good +4Str/+2Def pair up bonus.  I brought Gunter in for the same reason:  he provides +2Str/+4Def, and I decided to have him tag along with Subaki.  I decided to leave out Jakob because he's powerful enough and won't be gaining much experience from these Level 7-8 enemies.  Hopefully I don't regret this decision....
Yes, I said I'm pairing up Gunter (whom you'll recall is a Great Knight) and Subaki, which still allows Subaki to fly over the abyss and actually increases his Movement.  Think about that for ten seconds and you'll realize how silly that is.  I've prepared a simplistic visualization of how it must work (please pardon my very meager artistic skills):
xMs2ObO.jpg     Vb2H0SG.jpg
Our objective once again is to seize the square under Fuga, and once again the game warns us about the wind.  I have to admit, I only understand the wind about 75% correctly.  I figured out quickly that if a ground unit would end up in the abyss after 5 spaces, they usually continue moving to the next solid ground, or if there isn't any, remain on the previous solid ground.  This can cause them to move much, much farther than 5 spaces, which led to much frustration during my Conquest Normal run when suddenly Azura or Elise would end up a dozen spaces from the rest of the army surrounded by three enemies.  Now I think I can usually predict the wind's effects, except when I have two adjacent units in line with the wind.  Sometimes they stick together, sometimes they get separated, and I'm pretty sure that there was one time where I had two vertically-adjacent units on the double-wide-vertically walkway south of Fuga's platform and they got blown all the way to the north end of Fuga's platform (much farther than 5 spaces) in one turn.  I could be misremembering things, though.  Anyway, enough about Conquest, back to the present.
Battle Start
Turn 1, we have a choice of ways to go.  The north-blowing wind to our east would displace us, while the south-blowing wind to our west would have no effect, so west it is.  Kaze and Subaki attack and greatly wound a Ninja, and the rest of our team awkwardly files onto the bridge, as shown below:
Enemy phase, the injured Ninja runs away, and the Oni Chieftain and remaining Ninja attack Subaki and bring him down to 8HP.
kAy0qYB.jpg     AbpPIXH.jpg     UKtRFct.jpg
Turn 2, Andrea greatly wounds the Oni Chieftain, getting a Dual Strike from Kaze to drop his Defense, allowing Kaze himself to double and finish off that Chieftain.  I decide to pretty much stand pat with the rest of my units, since Subaki and Kaze are injured and need healing.  Sakura, helped by a song from Azura, heals both.  Kaze hits Shuriken Proficiency Level C, allowing him to wield the Steel Shuriken he's borrowing from Jakob.
U2CwvGF.jpg      KIwCUMN.jpg 
Turn 3 rolls around and now the wind, as seen above, threatens to scatter our army, so we all need to get off the bridge.  Andrea has a guaranteed kill on the Ninja (thank you, Heartseeker!) which opens the door for the rest of our team to rush onto the platform.
RJBgWGb.jpg      UuKS6uT.jpg
The combination of Kaze, Subaki, and Mozu manages to just barely take out the Spear Fighter, with Mozu getting in three hits due to making a normal attack and getting an Inspiring Song from Azura.  Thus, Azura and Sakura are able to fit on the platform, and everyone is out of harm's way.
It should be noted that a few of the enemies from far corners of the map have begun to advance on our position, including Hayato himself.
fZKHFiJ.jpg     w1k1Ja6.jpg
On Turn 4, the enemies to our north seem to be quite thick, so I decide to double back and head east.  In any case, I recall that my strategy from both Conquest runs was to hug the east border and let the winds take us to Fuga, as it seemed to be the path of least resistance.  From then I would head west and south to pick up the treasure.  Here I have Andrea offer herself as bait to the aggressive Oni while Subaki takes a cheap shot at the Spear Fighter up north.

Turn 5, Andrea takes out the Oni and the rest of the team continues to head east, with Subaki taking another cheap shot.  His first attack seems to have angered a Samurai who begins futilely running in Subaki's direction.  The south-blowing winds aren't bothering us this turn, but if I remember Turn 6 is the one where the winds are blowing north on every single column, so I try to position the army so that next turn they won't get blown any further north than the walkway above the square platform Hana and Mozu are standing on.
Yup, my memory is correct.  I position everyone such that Andrea could get blown up to two walkways north (as exactly 5 spaces would put her into the abyss) whereas everyone else will get blown one walkway north, as you can see marked on the image.  However, what actually happens is strange:


Kaze got moved up 6 spaces and Hana 7, even though 5 spaces would have been solid ground for both of them!  Also, Andrea stays on the closer walkway (only 4 spaces) instead of being blown to the farther one.  For now, this isn't a problem, as Kaze (sing'd) and Mozu can take out the Spear Fighter.
Turn 8 the wind blows south which will cost us some progress but should not really put us in danger.  I take this opportunity to begin clearing out the enemies that started on the southeastmost platform (two ninjas and an oni).  Pictured above is the situation at end of Player Phase.

     Sju5n5Y.jpg     l1HXYY3.jpg     aSrQckQ.jpg

Turn 9 sees Kaze take out the Oni Chieftain and Andrea take out the second Ninja.  If all goes well, Andrea will be blown into the proper position to take out the Archer on the platform to the north.  It bears noting that Hayato and two Samurai are getting close to us from our west, and I actually leave Mozu behind so she can take a chunk of health out of the Samurai on enemy phase before she gets blown to the south.
HSMGvJY.jpg     dir3E0z.jpg     yTSGl9J.jpg
The wind moves us according to plan, so Andrea and then Kaze take out the Archer.  Subaki baits the lower Samurai, and thankfully, Hayato and the upper Samurai focus on the northern group.  Good thing because the southern group is basically all my weakest units (Azura, Sakura, the Mozu & Hana pair, and the Subaki & Gunter pair).  On enemy phase, Subaki triggers a +1-damage Vengeance against the Samurai and...whiffs.  Nice going, Mr. Perfect.
5y6EIxR.jpg     QWDNuPB.jpg     9BUtwLI.jpg
Turn 11, Subaki puts a big dent into Hayato and gets healed by Sakura while Andrea and Kaze come back from being blown to the north.  Yet another pre-battle quote from a miniboss who didn't read the combat forecast.  Meanwhile to the south, Mozu and Hana try to hold off the Samurai approaching them.  Hayato conveniently obliterates himself on the point of Subaki's naginata on Enemy Phase.
Turn 12 is the "all winds blowing up" turn again...Subaki finally gets his first useful Vengeance of the game and Hana gets her first kill of the chapter on the southernmost Samurai.
ykQa0nJ.jpg     z9wJvMY.jpg
Turn 13, I could hop into the wind and ride it to Fuga...but there are lots of enemies on that platform, so I opt to sit tight instead and have Kaze bait some of the archers into attacking him, with Sakura around to heal him up.  For some reason, the "someone's about to die" scare chords played on the pictured attack even though (1) Kaze has a full Guard Gauge and (2) the displayed damage isn't even enough to kill him!  Was the game taking into account the Dual Strike damage without realizing it would be negated by Guard Stance?  Anyhow, Rinkah manages to level up through Dual Guarding and, in typical Rinkah fashion, gets +Def but no +Str.
Turn 15, we've cleared both archers on Fuga's platform and most enemies to the south, and some of us are going to be unavoidably blown onto Fuga's platform (which is a lot less threatening than before).  Here we go....
S0PpoKt.jpg     zxtHx4q.jpg
Nice!  We all ended up on Fuga's platform, including Andrea whom I was afraid would be left behind, and excluding Subaki which doesn't matter since he can fly.  The Ninja reinforcement who spawned under the chest is looking pretty silly now.  From here it's pretty easy to clean up the enemies here and the reinforcements that slowly make their way to us.  The only caveat is to make sure that we don't get blown off the platform.  Kaze begins tossing shurikens at Fuga from a safe 2-space distance to begin whittling him down.
Kaze hits Level 10 which means a new skill is incoming for him.  From now until the end of the chapter, though, it's Poison Strike, which is a huge boon against these durable enemies and Fuga himself.  As a Level 10 Ninja, there's a 1/6 chance that the new skill will be Shurikenfaire and a 1/6 chance that it will be a very special specific one of the five remaining enemy skills....
I start to attack Fuga with Andrea who has shaky accuracy even with Heartseeker (and imagine how bad it would be without!)  For some reason, though, he doesn't retaliate on Enemy Phase even though she's standing in his range.  (For what it's worth, the attack would have done 8 damage.)  An Oni Chieftain reinforcement pops up the stairs, so Andrea has to take a brief break from attacking Fuga to play whack-a-mole with it.
lfEDyzF.jpg    QXef9I9.jpg
We get blown off the platform, so Kaze nabs a Physic staff from the eastern chest.  When we get blown back north, Andrea finally manages to take Fuga down thanks to some Poison Strikes from Kaze.  After that point, I send Andrea, Mozu, and Subaki west to clear out some of the remaining enemies.  
AtwsHYq.jpg     OZXZ18Z.jpg     AVPCvP3.jpg     PXkBSRS.jpg
Once the path is mostly clear, Kaze comes through and nabs the northwest chest (10000G) and the west chest (Dual Katana).  Not much of note happens except Subaki hitting Level 10 (new skill for him!) and getting a nice crit on a Diviner.  All the while, Azura and Sakura stay back in safety on the seize point, ready to end the level if things go badly or (as is the case) we get all the treasure.  Stage complete!
mU7V7rW.jpg    JvtQ4cI.jpg    UHpu0N8.jpg
We've passed Fuga's test and he promises to tell the rest of the tribe to forgive us.  He also reveals some interesting information.  First of all, he was friends with King Sumeragi.  (This is spoiled by the description if you tap on his name on his stats screen.)  He elaborates that he'd been friends with Sumeragi since childhood and fought side by side with him for many years.  Furthermore...

lcHfh2t.jpg     ahebubm.jpg     AIkNDLk.jpg

Sumeragi told him about the Yato, that it is the key to the Seal of Flames (something the Rainbow Sage tells us about on the other two routes).  Apparently the Yato was made by gods and has the power to topple a god...which, as Andrea realizes, means it could probably dispatch the "divine dragon" Anankos!  Fuga advises us to seek out Izama from Izumo for more information, which is where we were heading anyway, so great!

kGutxd3.jpg     AeVK4kG.jpg     7iDlM3H.jpg     diqHu6M.jpg

Fuga also offers us a new member for our army, which is of course Hayato--the only playable Wind Tribe unit besides Fuga himself.  At least he joins at Level 9 instead of being like his Birthright self and joining at Level 1.  That line in the third picture is voiced in its entirety.  Ah, never change, Hayato.
Final thoughts:  This is definitely the most challenging map so far.  Although Andrea can nearly one-shot the enemies, she will go down if attacked by too many at once, and the rest of my units are much weaker than her.  The winds can really put you in an awkward situation if you don't plan ahead.  Vaguely remembering the wind pattern from Conquest definitely helped here.  This is certainly a map that could cause problems for someone who jumps right into Revelation without playing the other paths first.
Before the run, I'd noticed people complain about weak player units and over-statted enemy units in Revelation's higher difficulties.  What really makes it a problem is the fact that the enemies' levels aren't raised to reflect their higher stats.  Thus, they become harder to kill on higher difficulties but actually award less EXP, since Hard and Lunatic reduce the amount you get for each kill at a given level compared to Normal.  This wasn't as big a problem on the other two paths because their higher difficulties also added more enemies (and, especially in Conquest's case, more skills instead of more stats) so from chapter to chapter you about broke even on experience compared to Normal.
Also, I never did find out who the "wanderer" is...it could be our army, it could be Rinkah who happened to be wandering around and found us at a very convenient time, or it could be Hayato, who leaves the tribe to wander the lands with us....
Finally, has anyone ever managed to fully discern the weird workings of this wacky wind?? The guide message is incomplete and sometimes dead wrong, which could certainly lead to unit deaths in really bad situations.

Army Size: 11 (+Hayato, +Rinkah) (5 Birthright, 1 Conquest, 5 Neutral)
Retries: 2 (0 this episode)
Skills Found: 15/110 (+4 more next episode)
Enemy Skills Found: 1/6
Unit Summary:
Azura Lv14 Songstress [inspiring Song] [Poison Strike]
Andrea Lv13 Nohr Princess [Heartseeker] [Dragon Fang]
Jakob Lv12 Butler [bold Stance] [underdog] [Defense +2]
Mozu Lv10 Villager [Aptitude] [Duelist's Blow]
Kaze Lv10 Ninja [Locktouch] [???]
Subaki Lv10 Sky Knight [Vengeance] [???]
Hayato Lv9 Diviner [???]
Sakura Lv8 Shrine Maiden [bowbreaker]
Hana Lv7 Samurai [Camaraderie]
Rinkah Lv5 Oni Savage [???]
Gunter Lv4 Great Knight [Voice of Peace] [Pass]
...No joke, while typing up the summary I kept forgetting that Rinkah joined this chapter.  I initially forgot to include her in the Army Size and the "skills revealed next episode" count.

Current Skill Tree Key:




Skills Coming Up Next:


Lv10 Ninja:  Sort of a synonym for "Guaranteed Booty"
Lv10 Sky Knight:  A flying piece of metal used to block attacks
Lv1 Diviner:  Two words, six letters each, and both have the same first three letters.
Lv1 Oni Savage:  Armor that only works during the player phase, for some unfathomable reason



Edited by ajmiam

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Sorry about the longer-than-average delay.  Hopefully Part B will be up faster.
Episode 6A: "You say 'incredible', I say..."



Skills Found
wX0qfAx.jpg    5MQl3p2.jpg
It turns out Diviners are actually pretty good at brewing medicines.  But they only enhance the salves and tonics that they use on themselves, never for other people.  How selfish!  (In Hayato's case, it may not be that he is an expert potion brewer, but that his small body weight means the potions are extra-effective on him.)
Rinkah's battle MO is really weird.  It seems that she puts on really thick armor whenever she's attacking, and then afterwards throws if off and screams "COME AT ME, BRO!!"  At least it distracts the enemies from attacking other people, but it sure would be nice if she could actually deal damage when she attacks....On anyone else, this skill would be amazing for the early game.
MzG563o.jpg    ctNl03T.jpg
Subaki reasons that if his pegasus can carry an entire armored horse on its back, as it did during the last battle, then carrying a set of armor without the horse should be no sweat!  This would help guard it against those troublesome arrows that threaten to knock it out of the sky in one shot.

As for Kaze, well, it's a long story...feel free to skip down to the next set of pictures if you're not in the mood for reading a long rambling headcanon that tries to justify certain game mechanics.
Kaze and his brother have carried major regrets for a long time.  People they couldn't save, who died right before their eyes.  "Maybe if I'd just been a bit stronger, I could have saved them," each of them thought.  As young ninja-in-training, this thought spurred them on during their ninjutsu lessons, compelling them to try their absolute hardest.  After lessons were over, they'd spar with each other for at least an hour each day, usually more.  They reached the top of their class, and so their sensei, Master Yamato (1) invited them to a few master-level classes.  They eagerly accepted.  Any of the advanced techniques taught there could be the difference between life and death--for them or someone else--so they figured they' better start learning them as soon as possible.
One day Master Yamato led off with a pair of dire warnings.  First, that the technique he was about to show them was one of the most challenging in all of Hoshidan martial arts.  Even among Master-ranked Ninjas, only about 1 in 10 managed to master the skill, and only after many, many years of diligent practice (2).  Secondly, the knowledge of how to execute it was top secret.  Any Hoshidan who told an enemy about the technique would forfeit his or her life (3).  The skill could be devastating, they feared, if it fell into the wrong hands (4).
What is the technique?  It consists of an attack on four precise pressure points--nerve clusters--in a descending zigzag pattern (5).  If all four are precisely hit, the victim suffers severe pain or numbness, greatly hindering his or her fighting ability.  The attack can be repeated again and again to lengthen and amplify the effect, without bound (6).

"Master Yamato wasn't kidding how hard it was!  Saizo and I must have tried it a thousand times during our sparring matches," Kaze explained.  "Don't worry, we were using dulled practice weapons, of course", he said at the shocked look on Andrea's face.  He continued, "But one day, by some miracle (7), I managed to pull it off.  I must have hit it just right, too, cause Saizo crumpled to the ground and laid there in a heap for a good ten minutes.  I was terrified!  I thought I'd killed my brother!  But he was fine.  Don't worry, he got me back a few times later," Kaze gave a tiny smile.  "Anyway, now that I've had a chance to try the technique in a real fight, I think I can use it to our advantage.  Just let me know if you need it, Lady Andrea, and I'll do what I can."
"Wow, that's amazing!" Andrea replied.  "I'm curious now...does this super-secret ninja move have a name?"
"It depends who you ask," Kaze said.  "lt's an old technique, and those descended from the more eastern ninjutsu schools swear by the name Negative Chain.  But Master Yamato and I both agree that the name from the western ninjutsu schools sounds cooler..."
(1) Name chosen arbitrarily based on a ninja I captured in Conquest
(2) In ordinary (non-randomized) timelines, maybe some of the people who fought on the Avatar's side would go on to learn this technique, but it would happen after the Hoshido-Nohr war is over and the army has disbanded.  It would be incredibly difficult to find enough time to practice it while keeping up with the duties of being in a traveling army.  In the alternate timeline known as Conquest, Saizo and Kagero, plus a group of about 30 elite ninja, managed to perfect it just in time to make a last stand against the Nohrian army (see Chapter 25).  Since they were staying back to guard Castle Shirasagi instead of traveling, they had much more time to practice the technique.
(3) Hence, captured units refuse to use this technique to aid their captors.
(4) As happened when a few Vallite soldiers stealthily observed the Hoshidan royal guards' use of that technique.  They soon realized that they could aim the cursed energy of their enfeebling staves at the same nerve clusters to maximize its effects.  With this tactic, when they and the possessed corpse of Takumi invaded the terrestrial world, they nearly obliterated the Nohrian army, and with it, the world.  (see Conquest Endgame)
(5) Hence, the skill's symbol
(6) Hence, the skill's effects
(7) A.K.A, the randomizer


GRyDDPr.jpg     SV7VN4R.jpg
With that, Kaze jumps up with Poison Strike Azura and Vengeance Subaki into the ranks of the "looks-gentle-but-becomes-unexpectedly-cruel-when-trifled-with" club.


Hoo boy!  If you're one of the 5 people who voted for Option 2, you're definitely getting your wish!  If you're the 1 person who voted for Option 1, I offer you my deepest condolences.
Andrea & Azura A:
Whoops!  Yet another convo unlocked earlier than the developers expected, it would seem.  Also, Occasion Number Two when Andrea nearly poofs herself out of existence by forgetting about the Valla curse.  (Will this be a running gag?)

sxVkOUo.jpg     wc4UG8G.jpg
H4JkUYW.jpg     ooWSAfp.jpg
Yeah, Andrea, what were you thinking??  You should've remembered the lake portal from...Conquest Chapter 15...oh, right, we didn't actually use the lake as a portal in this timeline yet.  Oops! 
Anyway, a scene transition occurs and now we're in Valla, apparently, even though the background is the same ol' castle background as before.  I guess we're in one of the less-crumbly ruined castles of Valla.
El0eFkS.jpg     0PxGJl1.jpg     pVrW96v.jpg
Azura gives us a little Valla History 101 lesson.  A few aspects of the story sound strikingly similar to certain events in the beliefs of some real-world religions....
Apparently for homework we should check out the Ancient Texts in our Castle's Record Hall, so I'll cover those during the A-part of the next episode.  Interesting how Azura says the kingdom of Valla itself isn't the problem.  Right now all we know about that place is that it's inhabited purple translucent spirits that, so far, are very unfriendly.  Are there normal humans living there too?  Or were the spirits nicer when Anankos wasn't in charge?

w0hZNXy.jpg     9hqQeRs.jpg
Also, a moral that Takumi could have used on the Conquest route.  And finally, a setup for the S support that won't happen because my Avatar is female and I'm not using the "extra supports" hack.

Andrea & Sakura C:

Li80zeh.jpg     9clXUxX.jpg     LwbhPdV.jpg     

Andrea notices Sakura's social anxiety and offers to practice conversing to help her get over it.  Aww!

Kaze & Sakura C:

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Sakura seems to have lost something embarrassing...but it's not anything bad...just a doll.  She must be afraid it makes her look immature.  Of course Kaze doesn't object; he sweetly offers to find it for her.  Double aww!
Kaze & Andrea B:

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Andrea is concerned about what Kaze said in their last conversation, but Kaze keeps trying to dodge the issue and brush her off, even pulling a ninja disappearing trick.
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She calls out for him and he reluctantly returns, but she regrets bothering him and leaves, much to his chagrin.

Kaze & Rinkah C:

A funny one.
oDI3jTl.jpg     MpLsQzD.jpg     YLjwUXI.jpg
M0o5jSw.jpg     AfNp0cq.jpg     1tZb6kH.jpg

"You like Krabby Patties candy, don't you, Rinkah?"
I build the Arena, which I want to use to start doubling some of my one-of ores...except...
What?  11 characters isn't enough?  Why did you let me build this building, game, if I can't use it yet??  If I'd known, I would've just built the Nohrian Staff Store and bought some Freeze staves, since they're really good to have in case of emergency.

I buy Hayato a Fire tome in case he needs better accuracy than the Ox Spirit provides.  I also decide I might as well take advantage of Hayato's Potent Potion skill and feed him a few tonics, just in case he needs the extra power.
Chapter 10:  "Voice of a God"

j1syA7c.jpg     crJpL9t.jpg
Just as Fuga advised us last chapter, we're off to see the archduke of Izumo.
As we knew from the other two routes, Izumo is a neutral kingdom.  It's also called the land of the gods.  Anyway, we head towards the palace and quickly run into with the archduke, Izana.
"I am Izana.  Yes, THE Izana!"  Nice voice clip.
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aoN7En5.jpg     8htNg40.jpg
Izana greets us in an oddly casual and excitable way for an archduke,.  Even Hayato knows that Izana is not acting like a normal and dignified ruler of a kingdom.  Sakura replies that, actually, Izana is known for being bubbly like this.  (Strange that Sakura knows this, but her older sister Hinoka didn't know about Izana's silly mannerisms in Birthright Chapter 9.)  However, even for Izana, he seems a bit suspicious...
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Andrea asks him about the Seal of Flames, and he deflects the question.  Odd...
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This can't be right!  Fuga told us that Izana knew all about the Seal of Flames!  It turns out Zola was impersonating Izana all along.
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Gunter's the one to figure that out, as he and Zola go way back (just like war, which he reminds us in the voiceover for the second image above).  So, Zola has now impersonated Izana in all three routes.
...You know, Zola acts pretty goofy too, here.  I guess it helps him play the role.
Z9P2qZl.jpg     k51iL0u.jpg     ZCJeSPe.jpg
Zola's imprisoned the real Izana, but before we can take action, he and a few Dark Mages fire an "ice bomb" (which looks more like a magic spell than an actual bomb) and Zola runs away while the entire town becomes covered in snow.
Army Size: 11 (5 Birthright, 1 Conquest, 5 Neutral)
Retries: 2
Supports Viewed This Episode:  Andrea & Azura A, Andrea & Sakura C, Kaze & Andrea B, Kaze & Rinkah C, Kaze & Sakura C
Skills Found: 19/110
Enemy Skills Found: 3/6

Number Of Times Andrea Nearly Forgot the Valla Curse:  2 (1 this episode)
Unit Summary:
Azura Lv14 Songstress [inspiring Song] [Poison Strike]
Andrea Lv13 Nohr Princess [Heartseeker] [Dragon Fang]
Jakob Lv12 Butler [bold Stance] [underdog] [Defense +2]
Mozu Lv10 Villager [Aptitude] [Duelist's Blow]
Kaze Lv10 Ninja [Locktouch] [inevitable End]
Subaki Lv10 Sky Knight [Vengeance] [Winged Shield]
Hayato Lv9 Diviner [Potent Potion]
Sakura Lv8 Shrine Maiden [bowbreaker]
Hana Lv7 Samurai [Camaraderie]
Rinkah Lv5 Oni Savage [Armored Blow]
Gunter Lv4 Great Knight [Voice of Peace] [Pass]


Current Skill Tree Key:






Edited by ajmiam

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I think for the wind, maybe some wonky crap with overlapping units?

Yooooo winged shield. Brooookeeen.

*edits post*


With that, Kaze jumps up with Poison Strike Azura and Vengeance Subaki into the ranks of the "looks-gentle-but-becomes-unexpectedly-cruel-when-trifled-with" club.



Suzukaze? (Refreshing Wind) More like KAMI-KAZE (Divine Wind) because you have a GOD.

Anything that survives initial debuffing... dance with Aqua, debuff more. Kill.

Edited by shadowofchaos

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Suzukaze? (Refreshing Wind) More like KAMI-KAZE (Divine Wind) because you have a GOD.

Anything that survives initial debuffing... dance with Aqua, debuff more. Kill.


You're sounding about as excited as I did when I uncovered that skill!  Definitely didn't expect to see it this early, as the odds were against that.  You wouldn't happen to be one of the people who voted for Option 2, by any chance, would you?


Though, in the scenario you're describing, I think Poison Strike would work better (2 instances of poison damage (~4-5 damage each at this stage of the game, and it'll only go up) + 1 debuff (~4 Def drop) vs 0 instances of poison damage + 2 debuffs).  But that's not to say IE is weak; there are plenty of ways to use it.





Also, there is apparently an image limit, and I went over it with this episode, so it'll be split into two.

Episode 6B:  "Snow Patrol"



Chapter 10:  "Voice of a God"




This is a pretty large map all covered in ice, with the exception of a few very small patches scattered throughout; as well as the northwest, where the boss Zola and the seize point wait; and the southeast, where we begin.  There's so little space in the southeast that we can only fit 6 units, compared to the 8 of last chapter!  There's an opening in the southeast which makes me wonder if some new allies will be joining us from there.


DJOTOmV.jpg     CoYtH8K.jpg     YlLDaJs.jpg


Zola's hanging out with a couple of Dark Mages and a Mercenary.  Zola has a Nosferatu tome and an incredible Magic stat for this stage of the game, so we'll have to be careful about who we send in against him.  Also, it's interesting to note that Zola's help description specifically says that he impersonated Izana, so if you only played one of the routes you'd pretty much know to expect him to do the same on the other routes to keep the description true.


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I decide to go back to the castle and use a Heart Seal to change Mozu into an Archer since otherwise none of my characters can use green weapons.  I had originally planned to make Takumi my main Archer, since I didn't use him much in Birthright, but there's no telling how long until he joins in this path.  Plus, being an Archer might help Mozu's growths and should let her deal damage more often without getting hit, as she's not very bulky yet.  I end up not being able to decide between buying a Bronze Bow (6 Might, 90 Hit) and a Brass Yumi (7 Might, 80 Hit, Res+2) so I get her one of each, haha.  I end up only using the Bronze Bow, though.


ZsimMsV.jpg     RsftklM.jpg

Back on the battlefield, I choose to field the team of Andrea, Jakob, Kaze, Hayato, Subaki, and Mozu.  The first three are among my best characters; the next three are all decent and can use some growth.  Kaze got a Resistance surge which should be incredibly helpful against Zola and any Dark Mages we find in the ice (I'm expecting a few).


BTVvwFY.jpg     82PxQ6f.jpg

Just as in Chapter 7, Azura plays the role of the Guide box and explains the map's gimmick.  This time, we have breakable patches of ice.  When you attack a patch, it and the spaces around it on all sides (including diagonals) will break and reveal the ground or structures beneath them.  Sometimes you'll find enemies under the ice, but they won't attack until you reveal them, similarly to Chapter 7.



Our objective for this map is "Seize within 25 turns".  It's definitely not "Seize and take however-the-heck-long you want to do so", because then the optimal strategy would be to play it safe and only break one patch of ice per turn, ensuring you're ready to deal with any enemies that pop up.  Booo-ring!  Also, we kind of need to mop up Zola and his goons quickly so we can dig the poor townsfolk out of their homes before they suffocate.  (I was originally going to set a 20-turn limit for myself, but I remembered from the pre-chapter cutscene that the town looked kind of like a maze, so I figured I should allow for hitting some dead ends.)  


Let's see how this goes!


Battle Start


Three maps with Justice RIP in a row.  Will we beat the streak of 4 from Conquest Ch 17-20?




Anyway, we start by attacking some ice to the north.  Using a ranged and attacking 2 deep seems to clear more then just attacking the nearest square.  We reveal...





Hi there!  Why are you holding a Mend staff?  Also, your poor horse must have been freezing!  Anyway, I was going to have Jakob and Kaze weaken this dude and then let Mozu or Hayato pick up the kill, but...






aIUFSoH.jpg     2e7KpQC.jpg     sfD7QrZ.jpg


A bit to the west is another Fighter, holding a droppable Iron Axe.  Kaze + Hayato weaken him severely, with Kaze critting on the second hit.  


Vjee8Kh.jpg     YLPs8QE.jpg     RBetkwx.jpg


Note that even though Kaze hit this guy with a x2 attack, the enemy only suffered 1 instance of the debuffs.  Inevitable End doesn't cause x2 attacks to inflict double the debuffs.  (However, it does allow the front and rear units of a Dual Strike to inflict debuffs that stack with each other, provided the rear unit has IE; the front unit doesn't matter.)  Mozu then finishes the Fighter off.  She gets a nice level, including a boost to her lagging Resistance stat, and the Level 1 Archer skill, whatever it is (Skill +2 until end of chapter).


pTSi3N4.jpg     phttKeG.jpg     rkN1vPo.jpg     KINOXpF.jpg


Too bad the Fire tome isn't super-effective against the ice or anything.  Right now, Andrea's Sword rank is pretty close to C, and I want her to rank up soon to use the Levin Sword, so I have her use the Yato against the next enemy, leaving him weak enough for Subaki to finish the job.  Afterwards, I just bring everyone together and Jakob heals Andrea.




Turn 3.  Going north looks like it would let us proceed west soon, so I have Mozu break some ice up above us and reveal...nothing.  Break to the west and we have...hi, guys:


w8LuLGb.jpg     HCRI65g.jpg     kZXbkh5.jpg


Well, we can at least take out the Knight.  Hayato makes a good Attack Stance partner for Jakob as the Knight has only 6 Res.  Next is Kaze, and--hey, look, he gets to trigger Inevitable End!  But given the Knight has only 3 HP left afterwards, it's kind of a moot point.  Andrea (off the screen to the southeast) pairs up with Subaki, flies over, and Yato's the Knight to death.




Sadly, Mozu does helplessly eat a painful attack from the Cavalier, knocking her to 3.


xFgtwzH.jpg     xOI5BYO.jpg


Turn 4, I'm incredibly bold and decide to melt the ice to the north before I've taken care of the current situation.  Yikes!  First Mozu and Andrea help Jakob and Kaze, respectively, Dual Strike against the Cavalier, killing it.  Then, Andrea and Subaki split up to block the northern enemies while Mozu runs and pairs up with Subaki for protection (both his and hers).  One wee little problem:  I forgot to equip the Dragonstone!!  





I was worried Andrea would kill one enemy with a Dragon Fang and get killed by the other.  No problem, though, they attacked Subaki on Enemy Phase anyway--one with a sword and one with a Hand Axe.  Subaki dodged both!


mUWNlBK.jpg     8mYkTvY.jpg



This time I'll take care of the current trouble before looking for more.  It should be noted that every single enemy I've seen so far has dropped an item--the Mend from Turn 1, two Vulneraries, and a few iron weapons.  Including an Iron Shuriken from this Fighter, for some strange reason.  A Fighter that Hayato manages to one-round!  And would have even if the enemy weren't wielding a Hand Axe!  The Pride skill must have helped, as the Fighter was Level 9, same as Hayato.  But still, I'm impressed!  Jakob patches up Mozu, and...


MEilwzi.jpg      L1TLa0V.jpg


Turn 6.  The narrow alley is a bit dangerous, as we might find an enemy under the ice that we don't have enough space to kill.  But it turns out to be just a Mercenary.  Andrea plugs the hole with Hayato supporting (and this time I did actually mean to keep her Yato equipped).


2AsmcNK.jpg     L4wHgxW.jpg


Turn 7.  Hayato's inventory is getting rapidly filled with weapons he can't use, haha.  Also, Andrea goes down to 4 to weaken this Fighter, setting up a kill for Mozu that nets us a Hand Axe.  Jakob heals her up, no problemo.


RifwpDa.jpg     1L9RnBR.jpg     OY7Ua8r.jpg


Turn 8.  Finally we encounter a Dark Mage under the ice!  One Dragon Fang with the full animation lets Subaki finish the job immediately.


rSq8pmQ.jpg     bhaF8d0.jpg

Curiosity compels me.  But there's nothing there.


(continued into next post)

Edited by ajmiam

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Episode 6B:  "Snow Patrol" (continued)


A Tense Situation
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Turn 9.  We need to be careful about how we open up the ice near Zola.  It'd be easy enough to have Kaze break the ice from here (as shown in the first picture above) and act as bait while everyone else retreats.  He'd get attacked by 1 Dark Mage and the Mercenary, which is OK.  Potential problem:  What if another enemy appears when he breaks the ice, though?  Solution:  Break the ice with someone else, then have Kaze and Andrea pair up and move to the spot where the cursor is pointing in the second pic.  With the Supportive boost from Andrea, Kaze can hold off all three enemies visible near Zola.  Have Subaki toss a Javelin at the ice, and...
tfm7YIN.jpg     LHCmGMf.jpg     GaMjS0t.jpg

That is not what I planned for
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Well, I at least come up with the beginning of a plan.  Kaze and Andrea take out the Mjolnir mage (Kaze taking 7 damage in the process) and Andrea reaches C rank in swords!  We'll celebrate later.
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The rest of the plan...after a 7-minute think...is, pair Andrea with Kaze, have Jakob heal Kaze with a Sun Festal, then have Mozu pair with Subaki (granting +2 Speed and a few Dual Guard points).  Let's hope Kaze is up to dodging some attacks....
78W3DD9.jpg     frzxeWB.jpg     Kr6be8V.jpg
One of the Dark Mages attacks Subaki, surprisingly enough.  Then the second one attacks Kaze, misses, and dies, giving Kaze six free Dual Guard shields.  ^_^
Following that, the Mercenary attacks Subaki, filling his Dual Guard gauge...
DdEL5AG.jpg     MUVdsSR.jpg
...and the Cavalier attacks Kaze.   Yeesh, look at that combat forecast.  I think if the Mercenary had attacked Kaze instead of Subaki, and the Dark Mage hadn't attacked Kaze, I could have lost him this turn.  But instead we survive to Turn 10 Player Phase.  Hooray for dumb AI!
7YOlgtC.jpg     j3Jwaxt.jpg     MSs8RTP.jpg
I do think it's quite cool how when Diviners use tomes, the book floats in front of them with its pages flipping, and after the attack the Diviner snatches the book back out of the air dramatically.  Anyhow, after Hayato wipes the Mercenary, I have Mozu double and finish the Cavalier, Kaze finish the Dark Mage, and Jakob heal him.  End the turn, move on to Turn 11, and now it's time to get Zola.
Vs Zola
This fight is nothing CLOSE to fair, Res surge or no Res surge, Inevitable End or no Inevitable End.  Kaze attacks, and Zola misses with the Nosferatu.
NBJq87H.jpg     zOhbYTM.jpg
And now...CALCULATION TIME!  Both Mozu and Jakob can attack Zola, as seen above.  If Mozu attacks first, she will take no damage due to the Guard Gauge, and Jakob will finish Zola off.  But I'd prefer Mozu to get the kill, so here's what I do instead:  Have Jakob attack first.  Zola will go down to 1 and Nosferatu back up to 10, but Kaze's Dual Strike will drop Zola's defenses by an additional 4 thanks to Inevitable End, allowing Mozu to finish Zola off!
SJlPm08.jpg      QfeBwpu.jpg
Exactly as planned.
bomjvdT.jpg     zVq8Anl.jpg     PAMn2YY.jpg
Mozu levels up to 12 and learns another mystery Archer skill.
We could seize next turn, but we have 13 turns left according to my self-appointed deadline, so why not dig through the snow and find more enemies?  They seem to be carrying lots of treasure, after all.  I park Subaki on the seize point so that if the rest of my army bites off more than it can chew, he can seize and bail us out.
SVbXbHH.jpg     MSs8RTP.jpg     EJFUcTS.jpg
We carve south for a few turns without finding anything and I almost believe that all the enemies under the snow up and left when we defeated Zola, but that's not the case.  We grab a Heal and Elixir from these Cavaliers.  Some more carving, and Hayato hits Level 10 for a new skill.  Too bad the level itself is really lacking.
1ua7OVr.jpg     Z1SWW5v.jpg
         buizNI3.jpg                       1AgVCt6.jpg
Jackpot!  In addition, we pick up a Spirit Dust and a Heart Seal near the south border of the map.  Also, Hayato gets a much better level up.  We work our way up the middle, but there's not much to find.
l0y7klG.jpg     yx2iHif.jpg
Anyway, time's up, so let's seize and finish this thing.  As you can see on the map, we uncovered maybe a little under half the snow.  Yeah, I could explore the whole map and find everything, but that would be incredibly tedious.
Stage Complete
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We've beaten Zola, and he retreats to Izana's palace, with us in pursuit.  Once we corner him, rather than surrender, he reaches out and grabs Sakura, taking her as a hostage.  But suddenly...
trees shoot out of the ground and execute Zola!  It's Leo!  Just as in the other two routes, he's killed Zola for being dishonorable.  
HqFbi3e.jpg     65f4MpQ.jpg
Andrea tries to talk to him, but once again can't say much, and he leaves saying we are no longer his sister.  He does, however, bust down the banquet door, revealing the real Archduke Izana and a fair number of prisoners...
Hey, Leo!  Be nice.  You're going to be very good friends probably in about 10 chapters or so.  If I were playing the extra supports hack, I'd probably be shipping you two!
mnGbn7S.jpg     bTgVXeN.jpg     iM67RDk.jpg
Inside, we find Izana (the real Izana) his usual self.  He tells Takumi we've arrived.  Takumi, of course, is suspicious of us and considers us traitors, even when Sakura tries to explain that we mean Hoshido no harm.
(Sakura stutters a bit, but she's all in all fairly sure of herself in this awkward situation.  Also, Takumi is a lot less angry than I'd expect.  Maybe it has to do with us saving him from being tied up.)
ynSOwrz.jpg     AC5BlNV.jpg
But this doesn't fail spectacularly like it did with Leo, as Izana is advocating for us!  Takumi is reluctant to believe him, so Izana tries to deliver some prophecies to persuade him.
 OuAh7SU.jpg     bIe6xgi.jpg
Also, it turns out that he knows nothing about the Seal of Flames; Fuga was wrong.  So we sniffed out the fake Izana by PURE LUCK!
XpxKQ9t.jpg     RiyNvbS.jpg     TrvVCan.jpg
Izana does some more prophesying.  The first phrase seems to be talking pretty obviously about Andrea, but the second is so cryptic.  What dragon?  Anankos we probably won't meet for 17 more chapters, and Lilith...well, it's probably not her.  This last message has a terrible price....
ir0Q7m4.jpg     hM3gcyf.jpg     
That's a jerk move, ancient gods!  Why did someone as nice and fun as Izana have to DIE for that?!?!  ;(
11RsvkT.jpg     owMMO0Q.jpg
At least in his own Izana way, he finally convinces Takumi to join us as his last act.

Sakura begins sobbing as Izana breathes his last.  Gunter calls Izana noble, and Andrea blames herself.  (Though I'm not sure how she could have possibly seen this coming....)  If anyone, we should #BLAMETAKUMI for being so reluctant to join us and making Izana go to such lengths!  But, his reluctance was understandable too.
EKci2dn.jpg     5FnZ2an.jpg
Takumi can't say no to Izana's dying wish.  Excellent!   He's also brought along his retainers, Hinata and Oboro, to join our army.  Sorry, Oboro...you're going to have to drop that attitude in the not-too-distant future....
Final thoughts:
The map wasn't nearly as tedious as I thought it would be.  And the most dangerous part--the final approach to Zola--would have been dangerous even if I'd been playing very cautiously.  
Izana's death was...really senseless.  Like, it serves little function other than to convince Takumi to join us (which probably could have been done some other way) and prevent him from being a playable character.
It's just my luck that I reclass Mozu to Archer at the start of the chapter and get Takumi at the end of the chapter...
And, I'm kind of disappointed in how so far this path is Birthright 2.0 in terms of playable characters.  Just look at "Army Size" in the summary below...I hoped we'd get more Conquest characters by now....
And, an announcement:  I've decided to apply the restriction of "no divine weapons" to the younger brothers as well as the older ones.  So, no Fujin Yumi for Takumi, and no Brynhildr for Leo.
Army Size:  14 (8 Birthright, 1 Conquest, 5 Neutral)
Retries: 2 (0 this episode, but there were 2 close calls, only one of which was my fault)
Skills Found:  19/110 (+6 more next episode)
Enemy Skills Found: 3/6
Unit Summary:
Azura Lv14 Songstress [inspiring Song] [Poison Strike]
Andrea Lv13 Nohr Princess [Heartseeker] [Dragon Fang]
Jakob Lv13 Butler [bold Stance] [underdog] [Defense +2]
Mozu Lv12 Archer [Aptitude] [Duelist's Blow] [???] [???]
Subaki Lv11 Sky Knight [Vengeance] [Winged Shield]
Kaze Lv11 Ninja [Locktouch] [inevitable End]
Hayato Lv11 Diviner [Potent Potion] [???]
Takumi Lv11 Archer [???] [???]
Hinata Lv10 Samurai [Camaraderie] [???]
Oboro Lv10 Spear Fighter [???] [???]
Sakura Lv8 Shrine Maiden [bowbreaker]
Hana Lv7 Samurai [Camaraderie]
Rinkah Lv5 Oni Savage [Armored Blow]
Gunter Lv4 Great Knight [Voice of Peace] [Pass]
Current Skill Tree Key:





Samurai Lv10:  Xerox
Spear Fighter Lv1:  An injury caused by a certain type of bear
Spear Fighter Lv10:  It's odd that this skill can appear on male characters...even in a vanilla, non-randomized playthrough!  Only up to 3, though, without skill buying.
Diviner Lv10:  "This isn't funny!  It's a matter of ___ ___ ___!"
Archer Lv1:  A type of carnival where archers show off their weapons
Archer Lv10:  What the leader of a rebellion does



Edited by ajmiam

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Guilty as charged. Didn't expect that skill to appear that early though.

Yeah Izana was... yeah. That death was... I don't even have words.

This map had all the drops in the world.

Perfect map to get weak units to catch up of you didn't have the 25 turn restriction.

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Guilty as charged. Didn't expect that skill to appear that early though.

Because of the rule that every skill must appear in a class that can use it, there weren't many different places where it could appear. Still, it was only 29% likely to appear this early. Maybe to make things more challenging in the future, I can add an option to remove that restriction from the shuffler, so some skills could require a reclass to get any benefit. (Too late to apply to this run, though.)

Yeah Izana was... yeah. That death was... I don't even have words.

At least he got to go out in true Izana style, funny 'til the end. Boo.

Perfect map to get weak units to catch up of you didn't have the 25 turn restriction.

Another big issue was the deployment limit of only 6, which left little room to bring a trainee along. And one more thing that hinders training is the fact that the enemy units have all been around Level 7-9 for the past four chapters while my best units are now Level 11-13, and because this is Lunatic, EXP gain drops off drastically as I level past the enemies. If you compare the unit summaries from Episodes 6A and 6B, you can see that Andrea didn't level up at all during Chapter 10, even though she got several kills. The screenshots don't really show it, but she's been getting single-digit EXP gains per kill.

Speaking of deployment, I think I will have to grind for the next chapter (and would have had to even if I'd trained longer on this chapter). Why? In this chapter we got to deploy 6 out of our 11 (at the time) units; next chapter, which I saw while "recording" Episode 7A, we have 12 deployment slots to fill with our 14 units.

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(This was a bit delayed due to me taking a few days to finally finish off the final 3 chapters of Lunatic Conquest last week.  Episode 7B should take less time, if all goes smoothly. A big if; Chapter 11 looks fairly dicey)
Episode 7A:  "The power...THE ABSOLUTE POWER!"


Skills Found
Today's new skills are all standard class skills, but still plenty of crazy pickups!  First of all, we have Hinata who's so excited to join our group that he's beside himself, literally!  And when I forced Takumi to use a plain ol' Iron Bow instead of his Fujin Yumi, he just decided he'd make up the difference in damage anyway.  Hayato, though...
HOLY...In an effort to prove himself and appear more manly, it would seem he has taken to channeling unheard-of amounts of magical energy through himself.  Even a Nohrian sorcerer would be like, "Dude...that's too much."  This lets Hayato dish out devastating elemental attacks and summon very powerful spirits, but at a steep cost...if he is disrupted by an enemy attack while channeling the energy, it will backfire on him and cause severe bodily harm.
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I actually do build the Nohrian Staff Store this time and get Sakura a Freeze staff, just in case.  I initially thought that quote of hers was special due to being in a Nohrian shop, but no, she says that in Hoshidan shops as well.
I also outfit Hinata with a Dual Katana we picked up in Chapter 9, and give Mozu an Iron Bow in anticipation of her weapon rank increasing soon.
Our deployment limit for the upcoming chapter is, as it turns out, DOUBLE what it was last chapter.  Yes, after going down from 8 to 6 it shoots up to 12.  Seriously, if you graphed the deployment limits of these chapters it'd look like a freaking roller coaster:
Since we only really have 11 combat-capable units, I do a challenge map in Fort Jinya to train Rinkah up a few levels.  The map consists mainly of Knights, so my plan is to have Jakob and Kaze team up to injure and weaken them, but Jakob's 7% crit rate turns out to be too much of a problem, so instead I just have Rinkah chokepoint just northwest of the fort entrance and take on the knights herself.  With Fiery Blood active, she can actually chip away at them, picking up plenty of EXP for non-lethal battles in addition to the kills themselves.  I guess she's better than I initially thought.
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Her level ups from training are better than they could have been, that's for sure.  Two Strength increases out of three levels is above par for her.
Mozu and Hayato C:
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Mozu still feels worried about fighting, even though she's been reclassed and her legs don't shake in battle anymore.  She goes to Hayato for advice (because I suppose one who casts life-threateningly-huge magic spells with no regard for his personal safety could hardly be thought of as timid).  He offers to make her a lucky charm to help her out.  (I bet he and Benny would get along....)  Or maybe he's offered to cast a charm on her, the support's kind of unclear.
Subaki and Mozu C:
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Apparently Subaki thinks that being perfect means he has to be a doctor in addition to a fighter.  But Mozu, growing up in a farming village surrounded by nature, is much more experienced in herbal remedies, a fact which bruises Subaki's ego noticeably (as in, Mozu noticed it).
(The challenge map unlocked this next one)
Rinkah and Hinata C:
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Rinkah interrupts Hinata's practice to deliver a scathing burn.  Hinata, being extraordinarily naive or optimistic, takes as a compliment.  He implores her to spar with him, and she eventually agrees in order to shut him up.  
Careful with Hinata, there, Rinkah, we're playing classic mode here!
Chapter 11: "Mutual Enemies"
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We're going to Mokushu, home of Kotaro, who we already know from Birthright and Conquest was the guy who killed Kaze's dad.  And since Saizo is Kaze's brother...gee, I wonder who we'll be rescuing?
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Sure enough, Kaze recognizes his brother's smoke signal coming from the forest, and Andrea immediately offers to help.
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Kaze warns us to stay away out of concern for our safety, but is secretly glad when Andrea insists on helping his brother.  We head towards the smoke signal but find...
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no one is there, however there is a trail leading into the trees.  Sounds dangerous, since this is ninja territory, but we do investigate.
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A little cute brother-sister moment, though admittedly the game doesn't do a good job of making the forest look "dark and gloomy"; it's lit about as well as it was in the previous scene.
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Suddenly, Kaze shoves Takumi aside and blocks a projectile with his...arm spike, I guess.
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It was a Mokushujin shuriken, which means now they know where we are and now a bunch of them are converging on our location....
Army Size:  14 (8 Birthright, 1 Conquest, 5 Neutral)
Retries: 2 (0 this episode)
Skills Found:  25/110
Enemy Skills Found: 3/6
Unit Summary:
Azura Lv14 Songstress [inspiring Song] [Poison Strike]
Andrea Lv13 Nohr Princess [Heartseeker] [Dragon Fang]
Jakob Lv13 Butler [bold Stance] [underdog] [Defense +2]
Mozu Lv12 Archer [Aptitude] [Duelist's Blow] [bowfaire] [Rally Resistance]
Subaki Lv11 Sky Knight [Vengeance] [Winged Shield]
Kaze Lv11 Ninja [Locktouch] [inevitable End]
Hayato Lv11 Diviner [Potent Potion] [Life and Death]
Takumi Lv11 Archer [bowfaire] [Rally Resistance]
Hinata Lv10 Samurai [Camaraderie] [Replicate]
Oboro Lv10 Spear Fighter [Grisly Wound] [Foreign Princess]
Sakura Lv9 Shrine Maiden [bowbreaker]
Rinkah Lv8 Oni Savage [Armored Blow]

Hana Lv7 Samurai [Camaraderie] 
Gunter Lv4 Great Knight [Voice of Peace] [Pass]
Current Skill Tree Key:





Edited by ajmiam

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