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Screenshot LP: The OLD Thracia translation

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I've been worried for a while that my attitude toward Fire Emblem has been negative especially about how good it is relative to other SRPGs, and so on. Beyond this, I've noticed that Thracia seems to have a divisive  reputation, especially in two new threads, "The most underrated Fire Emblem" and "The best and Worst Fire Emblem gameplaywise" . I'm in an odd position in this kind of debate. I think that the first four games are the worst in the series, with Genealogy the absolute worst.  However, when I played Thracia 776 three years ago (in the same marathon as the other games) I was impressed with it to the point of placing it as the 4th best game in the series. 

 

A lot of people argue about how hard it is (as they also do with Genealogy). While I think that Genealogy is on the easy side relative to  Conquest, the DS remakes, Radiant Dawn, and even the GBA games,  I believe that Thracia is legitimately a hard game. A lot of people claim that it is only hard due to fake difficulty. Some of the chapters in this game unquestionably do have fake difficulty. However, less is said about how other parts of Thracia 776 are hard in the "conventional" way. There are a lot of nasty promoted units, even in early chapters, GBA-style throne bonuses, and because of Thracia's weapon distribution, you encounter enemy brave weapons before the half way point (4 bosses at various points before chapter 16). Because of stuff like this, the general difficulty of the game can readily be compared to Radiant Dawn or FE6 HM, even if the fog of war  and status stave chapters did not exist. 

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I'm playing on the infamous "bad" fan-translation. Given that this is 2017, this may be one of the last times anyone ever uses this translation. Be prepared. In keeping with my intention in starting the LP, I plan on playing the game without the paragon mode cheat or any glitches. I hope to highlight that Thracia, despite it's reputation, CAN be an accessible game, and in order to do that, I will be putting a special focus on how you can manage your growth rates, get ahead of the expected resource curve, and use skill scrolls to your advantage. I might even intentionally leave some units behind on the first escape chapter to demonstrate how you can mitigate the setback that the mechanic causes. 

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EDIT: Never mind Dollie, it's much less creepy now.

Edited by KnightOfNohr

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Alright let's get started with chapter 1 and part of the prologue.

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The prologue establishes the Chaos in Thracia, but does not actually name-drop Grandbell as one of the nations that benefits from the coup d'etat, perhaps expecting players to have checked the manual or be familiar with FE4.  The highlights include the death of King lenster (the main charather's grandfather), and his two sons (father and an uncle). 

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The game is fairly dramatic about this, as the 2 year old Leaf gets to watch his home consumed in flames while the loyal knight Fin spirits him away.  

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You'll have to forgive me for only posting chunks of story, it's a bit too much work, and I am more interested in critiquing game play than the translation problems - which get a lot worse beyond this point. I do like this game's set up a lot more than other Fire Emblem game's that have the lord exiled at a young age. Unlike, Alm, Leaf does not manage to improbably hide as a commoner for years, and we are told that Finn has to move from city to city, until ending up at the tiny village of Finia on the coast. The semi-official leader of this village is the swordswoman Eyvln, who acts as a secondary advisor to the lord along with Fin for the first few chapters. 

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Of course the plot has to make concessions in order to justify having each battle.  The bad guys have occupied the village, taken Finn and Eyvln's daughters hostage, and we get to mop them up. Both Jugddral games feature disproportionate numbers of bandits, which have led some to speculate that certain countries in the Jugdral setting are badly governed or in decline. I think the opening chapters of Thracia can be justified by being set near the coast, which is the literal edge of both Judgral and the continent, and away from the major cities. 

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There is actually a cute pseudo- cutscene where one of your units takes a look ahead: it respects the line of sight that this wall represents, and he even slows down when he is sidling around the edge, and then speeds up when running back. Leaf (not shown) claims that he doesn't want to run away anymore, and Evlyn and Fin show a different amount of respect for his opinion. Eyvln will go on to claim that most of the enlisted soldiers are just commoners and request you to try to spare them with the capture command. I proceed to do so, more for the sake Fin's brave lance durability than any humanitarian impulses. 

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At first glance, Chapter 1 might seem a little open-ended, much like say, Chapter 1 of Shadow Dragon, but it is very much a tutorial - All of the enemies have terrible stats and hit rates. Most of them are carrying Javelins, and both Leaf and our archer can absorb 3 hits without dying, with most of the other units being able to take more, and your 2 pre-promotes are basically immortal. The houses yield unusually good loot for chapter 1.5C9Nl5Z.png

A lot of people are fans of the Jugdral games for being dark, but like later titles, they don't have any problem mixing light comedy in with serious moments. Only a few minutes ago the infant Leaf watched his home burn to the ground, and now we are in the middle of the "Volke forgot his Axe" sketch from Fire Emblem:Awakening. 

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Chapter 1's gameplay isn't too interesting, but the playable units it gives us are worth mention. The lord and the cavalier are bog standard. But Thracia also gives us 4 axe units. Axes aren't particularly accurate in Thracia (once we get past the low stat enemies of ch1), but they are saved from the fate of the GBA axe units because of the combination of  Thracia's version of support bonuses and also getting really nice skills for free. In Thracia, any units with supports will have them active by default, no grinding for  turns needed! Even at this early stage, this means we can give Dagda and Othin a +20 to hit, and Marty and Havan a +10  consistently.

Our axe squad has other notable features: Othin has a personal weapon and a skill that lets him auto-crit on enemy phase, Havan has solid growths only a little behind Othin, and Dagda will be the most important pre-promote for the first half of the game. However, Thracia doesn't entirely make up for the reputation of Axe users in Fire Emblem and Marty is, well, probbably the one used as a template for the scrubs in the GBA games. He has a speed stat of 0, while the others pull a respectable 7, 7, and 9. 

The two girls won't see much use. A sword master is a weird pre-promote for Fire Emblem, but can reliably get rid of the promoted enemies (not just bosses) that we are going to start running into starting with the next chapter. Tanya will make apperances in quite a few chapters since we won't have access to the deployment menu for a while, but the game is not kind to her. Thracia is definitely one of the FE games that emphasizes enemy phase combat more than player phase combat. The other weird thing about these units is that they do not all carry standard iron equipment, despite being chapter 1 units. Fin has a brave lance, Dagda has a hammer, and both Leaf and Eyveln have magic swords as backups in addition to their iron swords. 

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Anyway it's an easy chapter, and before  long, the boss gets his doctor proscribed dose of hammer, and we can continue our journey. 

Edited by Reality

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Actually, in Awakening, Vaike lost his axe; Volke is the assassin in the Tellius series aka-Ike's games.

Also(Related)

Those idiots have fallen right into my trap! In America!

 

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Chapter 2 and 2x

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So after breaking the FE tradition with those imperial soldiers in chapter 1, chapter 2 restores the status quo and makes us fight bandits.

Anyway the guy on the right is our first hint of loputo sect. He is shocked by how these bandits have access to better information than him, and runs off before the map starts to go warn his faction. I was half asleep during this chapter. I recruit a second archer, Ronan, who despite critting someone from full health, isn't going to be a long term member of this LP. It isn't a mindless chapter if you try to get kills too Havan/Othin/Leaf and minimize usage of the prepromotes, because the bandits can already 2 shot Leaf and 3 shot the other base units. 

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There are things in this translation I'll be sad to see disappear in all the hype over the good translation. Like this rude villager.

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Chapter 2 isn't all fun and game's that Bandit from the chapter intro is actually a decent boss. 10 defense means that only magic (via leaf and eyvln), Dagda, or crits can hurt him. If you want to use Leaf you have to rescue drop him while chipping him down, since if he switches to bows, Leaf only has 5 spd at base.

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After we kill our first bandit, it's time for Thracia to get real.

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So the first run in with the thracia fog of war. It's pretty important to have vulneries for both the people going left and right- the ordinary iron axe bandits can sometimesf 2 shoting Havin and Othin depending on their random stat generation. Like in FE6-7, you can and should use  your pre-promotes quite a bit through here and the rest of the early game- don't worry about the exp distribution too much. There's one other thing about this chapter: Do not equip Leaf with his Light sword, it weighs him down and getting doubled on this map is bad for a lot of reasons. Stick with iron unless you can rescue drop away or use other units to surround him. 

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They WILL hit twice in a row.

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This map has two of these generic promoted enemies wandering around, one on the bridge in the middle, and the other on the second bridge towards the boss island. They are what makes the fog so dangerous. 

The real reward for this chapter is probbably lore

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The pirate leader Lifis is holding the cleric Spahy hostage- She tries to get him to join her crusade to free Tahra, and mentions that she is fighting the Lopto sect, and that failure will cause darkness to cover the world. Lifis bluffs his support. I'm pretty sure he's supposed to have dirty intentions for Saphy in the Japanese original, but this translation stops at "get my hands on her". 

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If you talk with Eyvln she will explicitly tell you to capture Lifis, despite the whole "complicit in child killing" thing.

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At the end of the chapter, Saphy tells Leaf about how Tahra has suffered a civil war, child hunts, and direct intervention via the Grandbell Empire, and that the resistance has largely been crushed. It's not really clear if Leaf knows Lopto is involved yet since she doesn't mention it to him in this conversation, and the CH 3 intro doesn't change regardless of whether you visited this gaiden.

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Leaf reminisces about how he owes a debt to Tahra, and then impulsively pledges his support. This is a familiar kind of scene in Fire emblem, Marth and Ike have the most notable parallels- but It's a sensible place to go for Leaf.  And happily- or rather perhaps unhappily- Leaf gets to see  the consequences for this kind of underprepared chivalry which other lords don't. 

Coming up next time- entering Manster and the dreaded Escape mechanic. 

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Chapter 3 and Chapter 4

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At the start of this map, these guys gloat over a bunch of children they kidnapped. More interesting is that they reveal the OTHER resistance group besides the player character, the Magi.

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We show up to save the children, and then our shady guy leaves the map. We finally get to see an enemy unit with the same map sprite as him (by the boss), So we get a double dose of foreshadowing. 

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The enemy units on this map depend on Thracia's random variation for their stats, so they are still basically cannon fodder. The same level 12 soldiers can have anywhere from 0 to 6 speed. 

 

This map also features one of Thracia's less talked about problems, one that actually makes Thracia easier.

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Thracia, like many fire emblem games, features reinforcements, but for some reason, most maps will repeat enemy spawns for 6-8 turns. Because of this, Thracia's early game is insanely Experience Rich . I just leave Leaf in this tree here, and these  bandits don't have the hit rate to damage him (and he can heal himself with items anyway). He gains 3 levels without moving from this spot. On 2 and 2x you can avoid this kind of mini-grinding, but on this map you have to rescue drop NPCs onto  villages in the lower right, so you inevitably will end up feeding someone. 

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The map also feautures the first enemy siege tome and is the first time you get access to staves. The siege tome just means never to send anyone with 14 or less max HP into the fort (most notably the staff user herself). As for Sapphy. She actually managed to miss twice in the first map I deployed her. A bad impression. Thankfully she only needs a few level ups before she reaches 10 skill (which gives the maximum 99 accuracy).  Saphy stops being a problem, but one of the later staff users will have even worse base skill AND exclusive access to certain prf staffs.... 

 

At the end of the level Leaf is captured by Redrick. The only items you have access to are those in Leaf and Lifis's inventory. For the most part this is inconsequential- you get enough new items to equip everyone, and the items that dagda/halvin/etc were carrying are returned to us after a few chapters. You can make your life easier by making sure that one of the two are carrying the fire sword though.

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In this escape map you start with 3 new units, a myrm idon, an axe cavalier (dismounted) and a second thief. In prison you have a sword knight and peagus knight (also dismounted) as well as two old units, Leaf and Lifis (if you recruited him that is).  Getting your own units out is trivial, since the soldiers still have awful stats. When You release Fergus you have this misinformative dialog. Although "you go first, I'll probbably be captured" might be intended to help you draw the right conclusion, it's located at the begining of the speech, and then Leaf says this, which rhetorically suggests that this will be the mechanic as it supersedes the first thing. 

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You also get the secondary goal of rescuing 6 civillians. This isn't super hard, but since enemies randomly (and it's actually random) spawn from  the escape points, and since Thracia also uses same turn reinforcments AND the enemy phase happens before the Other phase, this means that you'll probbably want to dedicate 2 if not 3 units while escorting the civillians. 1 to knock out an enemy carrying a civilian, 1 to attack any new enemies, and 1 to sit on the enemy spawn point (this isn't strictly necessary but it helps).  The 3 bandit NPCs don't need to survive.

 

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At the end of the escape you have no choice except to open a locked door at the top. It's annoying to get through, but since the armor knights block off the mages until the end and use javelins/hand axes, you can quite easily wall them by tanky people in front and attractive targets one space behind. With this formation you can take all the time you want since the front row enemies won't get counter killed. The mages are also inaccurate (due to thunder), but can crit people with low skill (leaf and the myrmidon should be immune), so it's a little annoying that they are the last enemies you fight. Make sure that you don't use Bryton as one of the front row blocking units since his wrath skill will make him kill too quickly.

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Next up is 4x, the first Thracia map that I consider to be cheap. It still qualifies as an easy map other than the first two turns.

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At the start of the map, all of your units are backed into a corner. You CAN use the one torch that the armor knight starts with, but you don't do much moving around in this chapter, so there's no real need. The Fog is part of the problem, but the main one is that the enemy is way too close.  Anyone you move above this line on turn 1 WILL die. It's an absurd setup, especially given that you are starting in this corner and have nothing else to do but move out. Even without the fog it kind of funnels you into an ugly fight.

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Here's an example of what turn 2 looks like. There are 4 soldiers (most are 1 rounded on counter attacks) 4 armor knights, and most important, 4 mages. If you aren't familiar, in Thraccia 775, the Magic and Resistance stats are compined into a single magic stat (think gen 1 special in pokemon). As a result, pretty much all foot and mounted units have terrible resistance. In this case, 7 units (including the lord of course) have 0-3 resistance, with the only karin (the dismounted pegaus knight) being able to laugh off a hit. After finding a position where nobody dies when you end turn 1, you must find a way to find enough offense on turn 2 so that they don't attack again. . Lifis (but not lara) can also disarm a mage with the stal command due to his high-enough con stat. This challenge is particularly cheap after the first escape map- you could probably survive losing 4 or even 5 units to the escape mechanic if the map after 4 was the bandit map we're going to see shortly. But 4x is a map that actually requires you to have high number of units and combining power.

yes I know Leaf could solo could lure them 1 by 1 one tile lower with Fire sword/light sword , but that's like 10 uses of your prf weapon and dumb way of playing the game

My preferred way through this is to have 2 weak units trade away their stuff and then intentionally let them get captured, which causes 2 enemies not to use their attacks. In tthis playthrough I didn't make sure to end c3 with the fire sword, which can also help. It's pretty easy to rescue captured units, and it even halves some enemy stas (hint I use it a lot later on). This enemy setup is slightly easier than it appears, as all 4 mages carry vulnerabilities- therefore you only need to wound them all on turn 2, if you can't kill them all. 

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When you open the door into the next area, 1 of the green npc units will self-recruit.  This is the first mage. Asvel is a well rounded mage unit, but if you didn't visit this gaiden. You wouldn't have any magic units until either 11x or if you early promoted Safy. The other npc is Sety. Sety is roughly akin to units like Athos- if you make it to Chapter 23, no matter how screwed your team is, Sety will absolutely gurantee that you can beat the last 3 maps. Obviously, at the end of this map he leaves (we've had 2 pre-promotes already, but they weren't anywhere near this level of power).

There is a long conversaition between Sety and Farin which is worth looking at.  Farin stayed in her country longer than Sety, so she knows about Sety's mother dying. Sety himself has come to Thracia to find his father in hopes of bringing them together (Sety's father also knew how to cure her illness). He stayed in Lenster longer than planned because he figured it would only take him half a year to overthrow the government because seeing the oppression led him to join the resistance  He gives Farin an scroll which he claims to be the "engagement" ring of his royal family, as a promise that both will survive Thracia and return to their country. Princess Ruto joke here . This scroll is actually the best one you get, so it's weird it comes so early. Crusader scrolls work like the knight band, mage band, archer band, etc items in Path of Radiance fixed mode- they are equip items (although they don't take up the weapon slot like in FE2/SoV )that give characters holding them increased growths  The Holsety scroll gives +30% speed growth, and you can trade them around mid chapter as much as you want. 

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The end of the map has this group of enemy units. I used a torch for the purpose of taking this picture, but normally they would catch you by surprise. Anyone who ends the turn while standing by the second wall gets sniped at. This might not seem dangerous, but the promoted Bishop in there isn't treated as a boss- he moves too. This Bishop has an Elfire Tome and about 8-10 magic stat on average. This means that if he hits anyone, because of the 0-3 resistance mentioned earlierr, they take a massive  20 damage hit. It's best to have a plan to either rescue drop the thief that opens the second door away, or to lure him to the edge early with a 30 HP unit and let him the Green unit pick him off.  He is weighted down by his tome (and only has 3 speed anyway), so you can double him freely, but doing so the turn you open the door requires two units due to the soldier in front of him, and he does have high enough HP due to being a promoted unit to possibly tank 1 turn of abuse from 2 of your 4 best combat units.

The rest of the chapter (chests, civilians in lower right) pretty much completes itself. The escape tile functions like in Chapter 4- everyone else must go before Leaf.

 

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