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Corrobin

Why do a lot of FE games start with bandit attacks?

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Not all of them, of course, but even the big mythological ones involving massive divine wars between dragons tend to start with a tiny bandit attack.

Why? I understand from a gameplay standpoint-bandits are weak and use axes so that the sword lord can get some training early on-but not from a story standpoint.

Edited by Corrobin

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probably because the main character would be fucked up if s/he was forced to face much more powerful enemies since the very beginning

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From a story standpoint, it lets the player be eased into the narrative. They get some time to learn the basics about the main character and the world before having to understand what the Evil Empire is currently doing, how it operates, and what the good guys are doing to stop it.

This doesn't stop the Evil Empire from doing evil starting with Chapter 1, Binding Blade and Sacred Stones have the Evil Empire invade in the opening. But delaying encountering them in gameplay lets the player digest things easier. FE doesn't like doing In Media Res starts, or so I understand that artistic term. For FE to do that, a war would have had to been underway for months, if not years, with the starting playable heroes directly involved in it.

 

In the particular case of Path of Radiance, the bandits of Chapters 1-3 also serve to establish an "ordinary day in the life of the Greil Mercenaries". It creates a sense of normalcy in peacetime, before Chapter 4 and the Daein invasion turns things into abnormal times with the Greil Mercs being abnormal mercenaries tasked with protecting Princess Elincia.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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"Bandits? Isn't that a tad cliche?" - Claude

There are no questions of morality to be had regarding bandits. Storytellers can focus on the world and characters rather than fitting in any particular brand of conflict so early in the game. They're criminals preying on the weak, nothing more needs to be explained. Certainly not the question we ought to ask in the real world, like what drives people to break the law.

Plus it may break the consistency of the game universe if you're 20 chapters in fighting a band of dumb, uncoordinated brigands that for some reason are double the level and army size of some formidable foes you defeated ten chapters ago. Bandits shouldn't be represented on the same level as full scale armies, so their stories get frontloaded.

Edited by Glennstavos

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59 minutes ago, Yexin said:

probably because the main character would be fucked up if s/he was forced to face much more powerful enemies since the very beginning

Yeah but generic bottom of the barrel soldiers are (both statistically and plot related) just as bad as the bandits most of the time. FE5 and FE10 have you fight Freege and Begnion occupation forces. I haven't played FE14 so I am not sure if that one has a bandit first chapter or not.

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15 minutes ago, Camus The Dark Knight said:

I haven't played FE14 so I am not sure if that one has a bandit first chapter or not.

It doesn't. The first chapter is a premonition.

Anyways, I'd agree that there are no questions of morality regarding bandits.

42 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

This doesn't stop the Evil Empire from doing evil starting with Chapter 1, Binding Blade and Sacred Stones have the Evil Empire invade in the opening. But delaying encountering them in gameplay lets the player digest things easier. FE doesn't like doing In Media Res starts, or so I understand that artistic term. For FE to do that, a war would have had to been underway for months, if not years, with the starting playable heroes directly involved in it.

Isn't Binding Blade another one with a bandit attack for its first chapter?

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Just now, Shadow Mir said:

It doesn't. The first chapter is a premonition.

Anyways, I'd agree that there are no questions of morality regarding bandits.

Isn't Binding Blade another one with a bandit attack for its first chapter?

Yep in FE6 bandits are the first foe.

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55 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

In the particular case of Path of Radiance, the bandits of Chapters 1-3 also serve to establish an "ordinary day in the life of the Greil Mercenaries". It creates a sense of normalcy in peacetime, before Chapter 4 and the Daein invasion turns things into abnormal times with the Greil Mercs being abnormal mercenaries tasked with protecting Princess Elincia.

Seconded.

30 minutes ago, Camus The Dark Knight said:

Yeah but generic bottom of the barrel soldiers are (both statistically and plot related) just as bad as the bandits most of the time. FE5 and FE10 have you fight Freege and Begnion occupation forces. I haven't played FE14 so I am not sure if that one has a bandit first chapter or not.

RD actually has the Dawn Brigade against bandits for just one (the first) chapter, so it kinda counts.

Edited by Dragoncat

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Just now, Dragoncat said:

Seconded.

RD actually has the Dawn Brigade against bandits for just one chapter, so it kinda counts.

I thought the first chapter was Begnion with the bandits appearing in like 2 or 3. Or am I recalling wrong? Been a bit since I last played it.

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2 minutes ago, Camus The Dark Knight said:

I thought the first chapter was Begnion with the bandits appearing in like 2 or 3. Or am I recalling wrong? Been a bit since I last played it.

Nope. You see Begnion soldiers after the prologue.

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1 minute ago, Dragoncat said:

Seems my memory was awful after all. So what does that leave? FE5? I remember FE8 had axe fighters but I don't remember if they were Grado or bandits.

 

EDIT: Also for the initial question before being derailed, most main lords use swords, so it's to have them not be at a disadvantage I suppose.

Edited by Camus The Dark Knight

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1 minute ago, Camus The Dark Knight said:

Seems my memory was awful after all. So what does that leave? FE5? I remember FE8 had axe fighters but I don't remember if they were Grado or bandits.

FE8 had Grado. The bandits come afterward. So maybe you were thinking it instead?

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FE5 has the best bandit intro of all time. You are the bandits.

Brigands are easy to kill and, most of the time, have WTD against your lord. It lets the group be established in a low-stakes environment, with a one-dimensional enemy that's easy to pigeonhole.

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The way I see it, it also helps the player get into the mindset of the lords- usually righteous, chivalrous nobles who won't sit idly by and watch helpless innocents be looted and pillaged. It helps establish what kind of people you're playing with, allows you to empathise with the lords, and, like others have said, leaves a bit of time for the player to get to know the characters and the world before being plunged right into the middle of whatever ongoing conflict the story revolves around.

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4 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

There are no questions of morality to be had regarding bandits. Storytellers can focus on the world and characters rather than fitting in any particular brand of conflict so early in the game. They're criminals preying on the weak, nothing more needs to be explained. Certainly not the question we ought to ask in the real world, like what drives people to break the law.

''Thracia 776'' would like a word.

4 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

Plus it may break the consistency of the game universe if you're 20 chapters in fighting a band of dumb, uncoordinated brigands that for some reason are double the level and army size of some formidable foes you defeated ten chapters ago. Bandits shouldn't be represented on the same level as full scale armies, so their stories get frontloaded.

Whilst rare, this occasionally happens such as the Grieth pirates or the side quests in Awakening.

4 hours ago, Camus The Dark Knight said:

Seems my memory was awful after all. So what does that leave? FE5? I remember FE8 had axe fighters but I don't remember if they were Grado or bandits.

O'Neill. He's the leader of a small squad in Grado's military. Though he is thuggish and lowborn, he's not a criminal.

I almost put him on the Gazzak archetype on the wiki, but ultimately decided not to.

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4 hours ago, Emperor Hardin said:

Whilst rare, this occasionally happens such as the Grieth pirates or the side quests in Awakening.

The strength of the Grieth pirates kind of make sense in that lawless setting, and are never portrayed as being bigger or more dangerous than Rigel's army or the Duma Faithful. I was going to bring up the Fates/Awakening paralogues as direct examples of how immersion breaking bandits can be when they're at late game levels of strong, but it felt like I would have been going out of my way to trash on those games just to make a point. Only in a post apocalyptic setting should bandits ever match or surpass the military force of a country, but in that setting you'd have no armies in the world to compare to anyway.

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44 minutes ago, Glennstavos said:

The strength of the Grieth pirates kind of make sense in that lawless setting, and are never portrayed as being bigger or more dangerous than Rigel's army or the Duma Faithful. I was going to bring up the Fates/Awakening paralogues as direct examples of how immersion breaking bandits can be when they're at late game levels of strong, but it felt like I would have been going out of my way to trash on those games just to make a point. Only in a post apocalyptic setting should bandits ever match or surpass the military force of a country, but in that setting you'd have no armies in the world to compare to anyway.

Some Fire Emblem settings do leave room for a powerful bandit force threatening countries. 

As mentioned Zophia being a complete mess allows bandits to get powerful. Or Ylisse which pretty much dismantled its army after the war. But there's also Talys, a teensy tiny island nation that probably isn't any more populated than your local bandit clan. Taken individually the Lycian domains probably aren't very strong either. 

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10 hours ago, Parrhesia said:

FE5 has the best bandit intro of all time. You are the bandits.

Brigands are easy to kill and, most of the time, have WTD against your lord. It lets the group be established in a low-stakes environment, with a one-dimensional enemy that's easy to pigeonhole.

Haha. I never viewed it that way but it's true.

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Because at the start you usually have a young man with no commanding experience, and old veteran that should have retired 10 yeard ago, two green cavaliers(one literally green) and if you are lucky a fighter or armored guy with some combat experience. It's not exactly a force that you can send againist and empire with any hope of winning. Bandits are the training ground storywise too, because the lords need to test their skill and get more allies before they can hope to match a military force.

The first langrisser had a very cool prologue: an escape character where most enemies and "green units" are suitably stronger than you. But then it goes back to Banditland for a couple of chapters.

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5 hours ago, Etrurian emperor said:

Some Fire Emblem settings do leave room for a powerful bandit force threatening countries. 

As mentioned Zophia being a complete mess allows bandits to get powerful. Or Ylisse which pretty much dismantled its army after the war. But there's also Talys, a teensy tiny island nation that probably isn't any more populated than your local bandit clan. Taken individually the Lycian domains probably aren't very strong either. 

Take FE4 for example, the bandits ended up threatening northern Augustria due to how bad the situation got. 

13 hours ago, Parrhesia said:

FE5 has the best bandit intro of all time. You are the bandits.

 

I guess Laura was right about the Dawn Brigade. The Dawn Brigade are bandits. 

Edited by Icelerate

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