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Alastor15243

Alastor plays and ranks the whole series! Now Playing: Radiant Dawn!

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8 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

but in terms of story power level, being just about the only thing that can hurt anyone blessed by a goddess is a hell of a lot more impressive than merely having a slayer effect against something anyone can kill, which is... technically most of the legendary weapons, honestly, both in story and in gameplay.

But then comes RD and blessed weapons become anything. Once Yune blesses everyone, Ragnell isn't special anymore. And lore-wise, you're supposed to use legendaries in a bunch of games as if they the only thing that can harm big bads, Formortiis isn't supposed to be killable with an Iron Axe!Berserker!Ross.

Things could be different to me, if there existed a game where you got to imbue final boss effectiveness into the weapons of your choosing. But we never have had that.

 

Just now, Icelerate said:

Wouldn't that mean that Ike is also using derogatory language? 

Maybe, maybe not. I'd need to check the script to see if there is any instance of "crow" where it used when the tone is meant to praise the Kilvas's kind. My memory says "crow- can be derogatory, neutral at best, never positive; raven- can be anything, and is the proper term for the species".

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8 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

But then comes RD and blessed weapons become anything. Once Yune blesses everyone, Ragnell isn't special anymore. And lore-wise, you're supposed to use legendaries in a bunch of games as if they the only thing that can harm big bads, Formortiis isn't supposed to be killable with an Iron Axe!Berserker!Ross.

Ragnell is still special in Radiant Dawn, though - it's the only weapon that can deal a "killing" blow on Ashera. Presumably, because it's been blessed by both Yune and Ashera at this point. In theory, the same can be true of Alondite, but you're not guaranteed to have Alondite be blessed by Yune, or even be in anyone's inventory.

Re: "Iron Axe Ross", one solution would be to give the final boss an effect like that of the Loptyr tome (halving enemy Attack before calculating damage), but that is bypassed by any legendary weapons (as the Book-of-Naga did). Of course, with breakable legendary weapons, this can create an unwinnable scenario, wherein all legendary weapons are either exhausted or unequippable.

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Path of Radiance Day 11: Chapter 14

An so begins the Begnion arc. Christ, has it only been two days since playing this game? It's felt like so much longer. Not because I've been chomping at the bit to play it again (if that had been the case I probably would have just played it over the weekend), but... for some other weird reason.

...Yeah, about that: I don't know why, but I've been feeling particularly mentally exhausted since I started playing this game. I think maybe since the abundance of narrative has made me spend more time writing about the game than actually playing it? I'm not sure, but despite enjoying myself so far... part of me is dreading playing this game again.

Which makes me wonder if there's some fault to this daily writeup format, that it might make these games more mentally exhausting than they should be, which could tamper with my gut feelings of which games are the most fun?

...Fuck it, let's just get moving.

One thing I'm gonna have to be on the lookout for is how the hell these seven senators get their positions. I know Sanaki has something against a good deal of them, so they clearly aren't appointed by her directly. But they aren't elected, are they? Oliver doesn't seem like the sort of person who... campaigns well.

But moving on...

...Curious. The Guiding Tower? I could've sworn Radiant Dawn called it the Tower of Guidance. No, in fact, I know RD called it that.

Also, it says that Ashera is in that tower, which is... correct, I just realized. God has literally been sleeping in that tower for centuries, and nobody's seen her, which means that there must be a ready supply of some pretty damned zealous guards, to guard the place at all hours without any of them being tempted to look in themselves. Or is the tower just cursed and impossible to enter or something? No, that can't be it, because the Double Bow got in a chest in there somehow after it was, I assume, claimed as spoils of the Crimea-Daein war.

The aesthetics of an entire city made of buildings that look like temples and cathedrals is a nice touch. And this narration helping paint the picture beyond the CG they show is an awesome touch too. I think this is the first game in the entire series to do something like this narrative-wise. And honestly, it makes me wish that Radiant Dawn had some maps where you fought in the streets and outer areas of these buildings.

Now, about this scene: I saw someone point out on TVTropes, in the headscratchers page, that Kieran, being a royal knight of Crimea, should be mentioned here. He's not much in the way of proof that this is indeed the princess of Crimea we're escorting, but it really feels like he'd try, and the Greil Mercenaries would at least think to mention him.

Of course, the entire thing is pointless, because Sanaki's just being a trolling little bitch, pretending to not believe Elincia, And also shitting on Ike for being poor and thus an non-credible witness because he could be paid to say anything.

Yeah, and this is where Sanaki sarcastically says “Perhaps you're a royal knight of Crimea?”. Now, in fairness, at this point, Sanaki's pissed Ike off, so I can understand why he wouldn't say “we have one of those, would you like to talk to him?”, but yeah... given this game's willingness to conditionally bring up killable characters, his absence here seems... conspicuous.

...Duke Belsys? Sephiran is Duke Belsys? Wasn't it Duke Persis?

...Apparently he was also called Duke Perseus at one point too. Sephiran's title apparently keeps changing. It's apparently a known translation issue.

...Wow, that... I don't think I've ever seen a name translated multiple different ways within one game. This feels... shockingly amateur.

Curious that there are seven senators, but only the three named villain ones are seen here. Oliver, Hetzel, and Lekain. Sephiran is mentioned, which leaves three other senators, nearly half the senate, that I don't believe are ever mentioned either in this game or the next. What are they doing during the second game's power struggle? I don't remember if it's ever mentioned, so I'll have to keep an eye out. Wait, was that guy whose supplies we had to burn a senator? Oh, and there was Numida too... almost forgot about him... oh yeah, and I guess we also see Valtome... do we see all seven by the end of Radiant Dawn?

But back on topic, holy shit, I don't blame Ike for exploding at Sanaki here, that was an amazingly shitty thing to do. But fuck it, I'm not going to say why. I'll have Ike explain, in full, because he does an awesome job of it:

Ike: Wait a minute! What is the meaning of this? You knew Elincia was Princess Crimea? And you continued to humiliate her for your own entertainment? For some stupid game of wits and words? This is no joke! Elincia's homeland is lost to her! Her family has been hunted down and killed by the monsters of Daein! And with nowhere else to turn, she endures mortal danger and terrible heartbreak to reach your door. And then you... you laugh at her!? Where is the humor in that? Where is your decency? You're horrible! You are all horrid people! You disgust me beyond words! And you owe Elincia a proper apology.

Yeah, I, uh... is it ever explained why she's acting like this? She doesn't have some ulterior motive for being a bitch to Elincia, right? Because like, it's revealed later that she's actually desperate to reform her country and root out all the secret slave-owners in the upper class, and to make amends for the Serenes Massacre. She gets on her knees and cries about it when she sees Reyson and Leanne.

And yet she still does this... because she's bored? I get that she's a spoiled ten-year-old girl and that it's a miracle that she still wants to be a decent human being after an upbringing like hers, but... the girl we see here and the girl in 17-4 feel like completely different characters, and not in the sense of character development. Everything she does in 17-4 was planned before now, so...

And then Titania and Nasir speak in Sanaki's favor saying she “saved” him, which she did... from something he didn't deserve to die for and that was her fault. I don't get why they're arguing this was noble of her. And Ike feels all guilty for insulting an important figure, which I don't think is in character for him, at least not until he's told it would reflect badly on Elincia.

Thankfully, he's clearly still pissed off at the senate and not that guilty, because he goes on to call them all insane for being willing to sacrifice a whole country to satisfy their egos.

Soren: Letting madness rule the day is the prerogative of nobility.

Wow, Soren. Never change.

But then he says that classism is a uniquely beorc phenomenon, when... okay, it's kind of completely unacceptable that we just spent several chapters steeped in laguz culture and we've seen absolutely no evidence of the laguz being any different. The writers can't just say that and expect me to believe it! If they really wanted me to accept this, they would have given us the slightest indication that life in Gallia was any different. They still clearly had hierarchies of authority and “elder statesmen”, with absolutely no mention at all yet of how any of that system of government works or how anyone is elected. And then what little we saw of Goldoa had royalty as well.

Oh, but this is a pretty interesting moment. It's actually the strongest piece of evidence you could present if you were to argue that despite all the ship-teasing between Ike and Elincia, it was never meant to be anything more than one-sided on Elincia's part, and not giving them a paired ending in Radiant Dawn was entirely intentional.

Elincia makes a speech about how happy she was that Ike defended her, and that since losing her home, she has still had people she can count on: him and his mercenary company. All the while, Elincia's theme swells in the background beautifully. And then:

Ike: Princess Elincia...

Elincia: My lord Ike... please call me Elincia.

Ike: Huh? That would be improper, wouldn't it? I mean, you're our employer, and...

Elincia: You called me so earlier.

Ike: I did? Really?

Elincia: You didn't notice?

(Music stops abruptly, to be replaced with howling wind)

Ike: No, I... oh. My apologies. I'll be more careful. Well, I suppose we should go. They've prepared rooms for us.

(Ike leaves)

Elincia: Ah, my lord Ike... …

(End scene)

Interesting moment, though I do find it curious that Elincia wants him to be on an informal basis with her, while she's still going around calling him “My lord Ike”.

...Weirdly, it doesn't count Gatrie as a “new ally” on the “last battle summary” screen. But I checked, and yes, I didn't fail some hidden condition to keep him, he's still with us. Does this game just accidentally forget to mention when you get back units you previously had? I'll have to see if it mentions Shinon when and if we get him back.

Speaking of, on the support screen, it acts like I still have Shinon, because his name isn't invisible when you go to the support lists of people who can support with him. Interesting.

Anyway, I have Ike and Oscar get their A support. It's nothing much, but it is at least a nice conversation, and now Ike and Oscar have +30 evasion together.

So Ike runs into a castle maid, who, thinking he's a new servant, starts gossiping with him about “tiger sub-humans” by the river (which will be relevant for this map, hence the 2 star convo), and how he's stuck in beast form and can't change back. And yes, it's mentioned by the maid that “The only way for us humans to fight them savages is to wait for 'em to change out of beast form”, so that being a limited thing is canon. They have transformation cycles in the story and in gameplay.

That... frustrates me to no end, because it implies the level of stubborn, stupid pride pervading every single laguz race on the continent is is truly mind-bending. Not one of them, not even among the cunning, pragmatic, treacherous pirates Naesala commands, is willing to so much as brandish a sword in their human form. Why!?

...Ugh... that rant about the laguz is coming someday... but that day is not today.

Also, apparently this maid is dating someone in the army. Damn, her boyfriend's a soldier and she still has to work as a maid? The fuck kind of pittance do these people pay their military?

Also, the way they write some of her lines, like 'owzabout and wot, makes me picture her in a cockney accent, which is... hilarious. While the worldbuilding implications about the laguz are not appreciated, I always loved this scene, and how Ike can add to a scene without saying a word.

...Strange, this courtyard feels familiar...

...Yeah, it's literally the same courtyard backdrop used in Gallia. You'd think they could modify it even slightly.

Anyway, Ike indirectly reveals he likes flowers in the process of misunderstanding Gatrie's euphemism for women. But once he realizes what Gatrie's talking about, he... completely bails, which is hilarious.

Yeah, I think I remembered Gatrie's infatuation with women a little bit more charitably than he deserved. He's a lot closer to Inigo on the Sain-Inigo scale of genuineness than I remembered him being, but he's still quite entertaining.

Yeah, so, Marcia's embarrassed about the thought of running into her former fellow pegasus knights here, and calls Makalov a “chum bucket”. This was indeed six years after Spongebob aired, so who knows? Maybe that was a reference. Or she could've just been referring to him as a literal chum bucket.

...Actually, in the process of checking, I looked up what a literal chum bucket is just to be sure, and something about that show clicked with me all these years alter... chum is... shark bait, made of fish parts, like bones and blood.

...And Plankton's trying to sell chum...

...to other fish.

...It's like Sweeney Todd, except nobody's buying.

Moving on.

I like how Marcia comments “Ike's a brother, too...” when wondering how she got so unlucky to have such a terrible one.

Anyway, I give my first occult scroll to Titania, because she can use it now. The great thing about Sol is that it doesn't increase her damage, so there's no risk of her kill-stealing, or accidentally doing too much damage to a recruitable enemy she needs to tank, or the like.

Amazingly, Marcia's actually the highest-level unpromoted unit in my army right now, ahead of even Ike! She's also pretty handily on track to cap strength, skill and speed, which is nice. I really want to help Jill catch up though. She's about 5 levels behind and still struggling to double. But Marcia's pretty good at feeding her kills, so I think we'll be good.

Jill needs way more help to cap stuff, but it'll be totally worth it to do so. She'll be getting most of the stat boosters I don't need for Ike.

Also, weirdly, I just discovered that knives are kept in the sword section of the convoy and don't have their own section, even though light magic does.

Well, we're running a bit low on money, but we still have plenty of supplies and there's not much to buy, so we'll stick with what we have and just get moving.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

So Mist is just whining about being bored out of her skull, but then when Sigrun arrives and asks if there's anything about their stay they find wanting, Ike just flat-out tells her that “there's nothing to do and Mist is bored”. And Mist gets so pissed that he said that, it's hilarious.

Weirdly, the description of the mission they're then given sounds almost... criminal. “Stop the band of merchants traveling on the old highway, and seize their cargo.” That doesn't sound like a noble thing to do without knowing what kinds of merchants they are. I'm surprised Ike doesn't have more objections to this. I get he's trying to help Elincia gain favor with Begnion, but you'd think there'd be some unease and hoping that this is actually justified.

Thankfully, the game swiftly reassures us that we're doing the right thing by playing menacing music and showing the “merchant”'s ugly mug. And revealing he's a slave merchant, trafficking in laguz slaves.

Also, he seems to imply that herons aren't quite as rare as I initially remembered. It seems that while the are extremely rare, it's not just one single family that's left alive, as there have been some other herons sold as slaves on the black market if Gashilama is to be believed.

The coin items feel weird to me. Why would you make an item deliberately nigh-useless? And if it was always the plan to make them useful in Radiant Dawn... why not just add that forge mechanic to Path of Radiance too!?

Thieves' vision range in fog of war is pretty abysmal. Without torches they can only see... I think five spaces ahead. That makes me very, very nervous. I'll have to make sure that the group I send the fliers with has the torch.

Well, not much else I can do to prepare since I can't see the enemy.

Let's move out.

...The map music is absurdly quiet this time.

...And it occurs to me that they might have had torches for sale at the shop today and I didn't check since I so rarely need to buy the staples it usually sells.

Fuck.

Well, let's get moving. The priority is to send Titania and my fliers over to get all the houses to the west. The boss is to the east, an uncomfortably short distance away from my starting location. I know the boss has a killer axe and I panicked like hell last time trying to work out how to safely attack him, but I'm sure getting to him won't be easy either. Hopefully Lethe and Mordecai can help with taking him out.

...I also know there's some tiger laguz hiding in the fog, which terrifies me. Thankfully I still have my laguzslayer.

I'm having Ike and Oscar take the front. I also gave Oscar the knight ward to help his speed growth, and as a result he's got some pretty nice defense too. Ike's got an absurd evasion rate against these axe users, but then that didn't save him from getting hit by a 7% chance. Good thing his defense is also good too.

And we get a spirit dust from Calill with Mordecai, and that ends the turn, reminding me that Makalov is here. Glad I brought Marcia, but really, it would've been nice if that talk with Marcia had been two stars, just to clue us in to the fact that you need to bring Marcia to this chapter, since you can't actually even see him in the fog to guess he's Marcia's brother.

...And there were some bandits hiding in the fog to the side of our starting position. Of course there were.

Thankfully, nothing bad happens as a result. But man, fog of war in ironman runs is always... incredibly anxiety-inducing. And the idea of a cavalry unit, that you can recruit, lurking in the fog, waiting to suicide onto your forces, is also terrifying.

Thankfully, he's tough enough to take a single round from Titania, and is juuuuust lucky enough to be immune to her crits. Of course, I couldn't confirm that when I saw him after moving Titania and while I was deciding where to end her turn, because you can't check the stats of the unit you're moving while they're cantoing. So it was a matter of debating whether to risk Makalov, or give up the bridge and retreat, putting Marcia in range of three cavalry units who might kill her. I obviously chose the former, and luckily it looks like that's gonna pay off.

Know what's great about iron blades? More power than a steel sword, but they're still iron, so no nasty nerfs to your speed and defense growths. Also, they just look cool in this game.

Alright, I've got Makalov. And the fact that he's here... really raises some fucking questions about the route he's taken on his cross-continental deadbeat quest.

And Marcia also reveals that part of the reason she had to leave wasn't just because she wanted to search for Makalov, but because his debt collectors were hounding the barracks.

Now, I love Marcia's line when Makalov starts trying to puss out of joining Ike's army:

STUFF IT, SPONGE-BRAIN!!! NO MORE LAME EXCUSES!!! FOLLOW ME!!! NOW!!”

...but I am a little annoyed that they use her tired/sad portrait for it and not something a bit more energetic, given... the line.

Looks like you can talk and attack in this game, which is great.

I had Makalov shield the one spot from which an archer could attack Marcia, and I think I'm glad I did that, because an archer did come out of the fog and attack Makalov.

But we made it to the other houses with plenty of time, and the first of the two upper ones gave us a vantage scroll.

Anyway, his game just feels like fucking with me by putting a fighter with a halberd in the fog and having him refuse to move. And at any rate, given how dangerous the enemies in here are, I'm tempted to have Mordecai rush in just to be safe.

Hahahahahaha. Okay, so there's a cute kid who says she found a book in the river, while her mom told her to throw it away because it was “dirty”.

Now... given that it was in the river, you can easily assume that means it was literally dirty... but...

Given that it's a “secret” book, and given that... you know the old joke about books you “use” rather than “read”...

...I think I've heard some people argue this is supposed to be a “getting crap past the radar” moment where this little girl found a medieval porn magazine or something.

But of course, here's the terrifying part where I have to fight two tigers in the fog and just trust the fucking developers that that killer axe boss won't start moving on his own.

...But the feral ones didn't move.

...That's it, I'm finishing this this turn. I'm not giving the enemy AI a chance to change its mind and fuck me over.

Also, I like how Gashilama starts basically comparing laguz to animals and saying the Greil Mercenaries are no different than him buying and selling laguz because they eat meat and ride horses.

...No different than him...

...for eating meat.

...Do...

...Is this guy implying that there are Begnion senators out there eating laguz?

Jesus Christ that is a dark implication there.

...Also, by fighting him with Mordecai, Gashilama starts trying to save himself by talking about tricking him into drinking “the medicine”, which implies that making him feral would... make him less dangerous to Gashilama? I assumed that laguz made feral had to be trained by whoever made them feral in order to make them obey. Is he implying there's some kind of mind control in the drug tied directly to obedience to him specifically?

Anyway, he starts trying to beg for his life by threatening the retribution that would come from his noble customers, and Ike's briefly surprised to hear nobles buy from him.

But with that, it's done.

...But... wait, is the game really trying to imply that Ike doesn't know what's in the crates? How is that even possible? Especially when he wound up face-to-face with some of the slaves Gashilama was trading! And does that mean he had no idea what these merchants were selling and what he took from them? No idea if his actions were even justified, or if those were things merchants had every right to be selling? He just attacked some merchants, stole their cargo, and handed it over with very few questions?

...Well, we don't get more confirmation on the subject, because now it's time for the big cutscene with the laguz leaders meeting together. I'm not sure where this is supposed to be though, given it's a place that all three tribe types are able to access. It seems to be in a really arid area, like a desert or something.

...I also notice they only have the important named characters transform in this cutscene, and all of the faceless attendants (and I think Ranulf) remain in beast form. Nice way to save on models, I guess.

But apparently Deghinsea was the one who arranged the meeting place, so is this in Goldoa? If so, how did Caineghis get here? I hear he needs to stay near Gallia at all times due to how hard it is to get back, which is why Skrimir and Giffca went to war instead of him, right?

Apparently the Crimean royalty's effort to “engage the laguz with honor and dignity” has been “since the time of her founding”. Interesting. That... really makes you wonder about how the fuck slow progress has been. And why laguz hunts were really only outlawed during the rule of the latest king...

...which has apparently been thirty years, even further calling into question what was going on with that vigilante group if laguz hunts had “all but” stopped...

But anyway, during Caineghis's speech about Daein's actions, apparently Tibarn starts blaming Caineghis for incurring Daein's wrath by harboring Elincia, which is... almost exactly the same line of reasoning the Toha villagers used to blame the Crimean royalty for Daein's invasion, just with the races reversed. Hmmmmmmm...

But anyway, he only passive-aggressively blames Caineghis before moving on to give intel about Elincia's arrival in Begnion, while Naesala laughs at him and fills in the rest of the story, namely Caineghis's refusal to help Elincia and the fact that Daein already knows Elincia arrived in Begnion. But he comes very close to revealing he knows this because he helped Daein.

Oooh! And it looks like Kurthnaga made good on his promise to mention Naesala's actions against Ike's group to Deghinsea, and Deghinsea is talking about it now.

...I just realized that that scene with the merchant talking about how rare herons are was the first proper mention of the Serenes Massacre in the game. They brought it up there so that it could have more weight in this talk. Interesting.

Wow, I forgot how pissed off Reyson was at the beginning of Path of Radiance.

And then Tibarn says he'll lend Gallia his aid in destroying Daein because that would be “the first step towards eradicating all human scum”.

...Yeah, I'm not going to mention every single interaction here, but this is a pretty damned great scene, with all of the royalty getting a chance to demonstrate their personalities and dynamics with each other.

It ends rather abruptly though. And then like that, we're done.

I wasn't a huge fan of this map. It was pretty damned easy, but did a lot of stuff to freak me out with fog of war and make me panic over nothing. There are few more frustrating feelings than desperately maneuvering around something that's actually harmless because it's been neutered by the AI, like a child flipping out at every shadow he sees, simply because I can't trust the game to not change the enemy's behavior. This is why I love the 3DS era's addition of marking immobile units as actually having 0 mov, so you know that they aren't going to just arbitrarily decide to move on you. And that's also why it pissed me off so much when Three Houses kept that addition... and still made some of those enemies start arbitrarily moving anyway.

But that's a tale for another time. For now, we're done for the day.

Stay safe, everyone!

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21 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Actually, in the process of checking, I looked up what a literal chum bucket is just to be sure, and something about that show clicked with me all these years alter... chum is... shark bait, made of fish parts, like bones and blood.

...And Plankton's trying to sell chum...

...to other fish.

...It's like Sweeney Todd, except nobody's buying.

Considering that Stephen Hillenburg was a marine biologist, I wouldn't put it past him for that to be the joke. Same thing with the Krusty Krab being shaped like a crab trap.

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1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Also, by fighting him with Mordecai, Gashilama starts trying to save himself by talking about tricking him into drinking “the medicine”, which implies that making him feral would... make him less dangerous to Gashilama? I assumed that laguz made feral had to be trained by whoever made them feral in order to make them obey. Is he implying there's some kind of mind control in the drug tied directly to obedience to him specifically?

...Wait a minute. Isn't the drug in question one made by Daein? How would a Begnion slave trader have gotten a hold of some of it? Because I'm not sure this computes.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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1 minute ago, Shadow Mir said:

...Wait a minute. Isn't the drug in question one made by a Daein? How would a Begnion slave trader have gotten it?

Well, we know that Izuka was in league with the Senate at least by Radiant Dawn. Maybe stuff was happening behind the scenes before then?

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5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

Which makes me wonder if there's some fault to this daily writeup format, that it might make these games more mentally exhausting than they should be, which could tamper with my gut feelings of which games are the most fun?

You were going with a two chapter per day pace for a while, which might have burned you out a little, plus the stress of the lockdown is having its toll on everyone. If you need a little break to recuperate you should take it.

4 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

One thing I'm gonna have to be on the lookout for is how the hell these seven senators get their positions. I know Sanaki has something against a good deal of them, so they clearly aren't appointed by her directly. But they aren't elected, are they? Oliver doesn't seem like the sort of person who... campaigns well.

My guess is that they are elected by the nobility, as Oliver probably would campaign well among them...

 

4 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

...Duke Belsys? Sephiran is Duke Belsys? Wasn't it Duke Persis?

...Apparently he was also called Duke Perseus at one point too. Sephiran's title apparently keeps changing. It's apparently a known translation issue.

It was fairly common for people in history to hold more than one title, so him being Duke Persis and Duke Belsys wouldn't be unreasonable.

 

4 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

do we see all seven by the end of Radiant Dawn?

I don't think we ever see the last one.

 

4 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

Oh, but this is a pretty interesting moment. It's actually the strongest piece of evidence you could present if you were to argue that despite all the ship-teasing between Ike and Elincia, it was never meant to be anything more than one-sided on Elincia's part, and not giving them a paired ending in Radiant Dawn was entirely intentional.

From what I hear, the ship-teasing we see was mostly added in the English translation, so it might just be the translators being more faithful in Radiant Dawn (or just not wanting, or being able, to add another ending).

 

4 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...which has apparently been thirty years, even further calling into question what was going on with that vigilante group if laguz hunts had “all but” stopped...

Forgot to mention this earlier, but the thought did cross my mind that the "vigilantes" might be doing a bit of piracy along the Gallian coast in their spare time. We do run into them in a major port, he is looking to recruit sailors, and clearly piracy is an issue in Gallia...

 

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9 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

Forgot to mention this earlier, but the thought did cross my mind that the "vigilantes" might be doing a bit of piracy along the Gallian coast in their spare time. We do run into them in a major port, he is looking to recruit sailors, and clearly piracy is an issue in Gallia...

 

Nah, unless you're referring to a conversation I didn't get to see, I don't think he ever once mentioned recruiting sailors. He pitched it to Ike as "keeping our fair town safe", and only mentioned sailing when he guessed where Ike was going and gave him the laguzslayer in case he got attacked by ravens.

I'll keep your advice about burnout in mind, too. I appreciated that.

Edited by Alastor15243

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10 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Curious that there are seven senators, but only the three named villain ones are seen here. Oliver, Hetzel, and Lekain. Sephiran is mentioned, which leaves three other senators, nearly half the senate, that I don't believe are ever mentioned either in this game or the next. What are they doing during the second game's power struggle? I don't remember if it's ever mentioned, so I'll have to keep an eye out. Wait, was that guy whose supplies we had to burn a senator? Oh, and there was Numida too... almost forgot about him... oh yeah, and I guess we also see Valtome... do we see all seven by the end of Radiant Dawn?

According to the wiki, one Senator in Radiant dawn is referred to as "Duke Seliora". Assuming this character is distinct from any of the six named Senators, and from the two unnamed Senators in III-3 of Radiant Dawn, then there are at least nine Senators total. There may very well be more, who never get named and stay frozen in Part IV.

As for how they get their positions, it's possible they're hereditary. Considering that "Duke Gaddos" is a likely-hereditary noble title (held by Lekain), it might be that all high-ranking nobles are granted "Senator" status. But I can't say for sure.

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11 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

No, that can't be it, because the Double Bow got in a chest in there somehow after it was, I assume, claimed as spoils of the Crimea-Daein war.

 

Pretty sure the Double Bow is an enemy drop in Radiant Dawn.

Also I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that if you want to take a break from this entire project then feel free. No point in doing it if you're not enjoying it.

53 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

According to the wiki, one Senator in Radiant dawn is referred to as "Duke Seliora". Assuming this character is distinct from any of the six named Senators, and from the two unnamed Senators in III-3 of Radiant Dawn, then there are at least nine Senators total. There may very well be more, who never get named and stay frozen in Part IV.

As for how they get their positions, it's possible they're hereditary. Considering that "Duke Gaddos" is a likely-hereditary noble title (held by Lekain), it might be that all high-ranking nobles are granted "Senator" status. But I can't say for sure.

Sephiran managed to become a senator by just turning up out of nowhere though. Maybe the senate elects themself. Lekain also could be elected, I mean he's not really that more ridiculous than some of the real life politicians we've got elected right about now.

11 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

The aesthetics of an entire city made of buildings that look like temples and cathedrals is a nice touch. And this narration helping paint the picture beyond the CG they show is an awesome touch too. I think this is the first game in the entire series to do something like this narrative-wise. And honestly, it makes me wish that Radiant Dawn had some maps where you fought in the streets and outer areas of these buildings.

 

Absolutely agree here. Retaking the capitla absolutely should have been a chapter rather than something done off screen.

Edited by Jotari

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10 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

One thing I'm gonna have to be on the lookout for is how the hell these seven senators get their positions. I know Sanaki has something against a good deal of them, so they clearly aren't appointed by her directly. But they aren't elected, are they? Oliver doesn't seem like the sort of person who... campaigns well.

Classical Roman Senators were not elected, more a matter of appointment for being an outstanding aged adult male after a life of public service. Of course, birth played a major role, although new blood could circulate into the system, the patrician class was predominant and generations within families coddled their progeny to follow in their steps. Working your way through the Roman administrative offices- praetor, quaestor, and tribune to name a few, would eventually lead to acquisition of Senatorial rank.

So basically, it wasn't strictly hereditary as true nobility is, it was technically open to anyone, but it did become an established elite of between 100-500 members at varying times in Roman history. Its purpose was to advise with effective legal authority the Roman assemblies and administrators (and later, if they gave a care, the emperors) on matters of government.

The presence of the title "Duke" should indicate that IS merely using the trappings of Rome. There were dux- military commanders in Roman Antiquity, but duke- the ruler of duchy/dukedom who passes the title to a relative according to the laws of succession- is a Medieval invention. No surprise, why would IS do their homework when 98% of fans wouldn't notice?

 

10 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Also, it says that Ashera is in that tower, which is... correct, I just realized. God has literally been sleeping in that tower for centuries, and nobody's seen her, which means that there must be a ready supply of some pretty damned zealous guards, to guard the place at all hours without any of them being tempted to look in themselves. Or is the tower just cursed and impossible to enter or something? No, that can't be it, because the Double Bow got in a chest in there somehow after it was, I assume, claimed as spoils of the Crimea-Daein war.

If I were to guess, the front doors are open and the lowest floors are accessible, but nobody has ventured any higher. Remember that Ashera's room is sealed by Sephiran's life force, nobody could see the goddess without him present. What about the doors to the Deghinsea battle? I don't know, but Yune did say the tower's sheer size and height can be mentally wearisome. 

 

10 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Duke Belsys? Sephiran is Duke Belsys? Wasn't it Duke Persis?

...Apparently he was also called Duke Perseus at one point too. Sephiran's title apparently keeps changing. It's apparently a known translation issue.

...Wow, that... I don't think I've ever seen a name translated multiple different ways within one game. This feels... shockingly amateur.

Persis is correct because, besides RD using it alone, because it's a real world location. Persis, also called: Parsa, Pars, Fars, or Persia, is the southwestern region of modern Iran- the modern country the ancient Greeks and Europeans up to the early 1900s called Persia/the Persian Empire. The name of the Iranian language is Farsi (or Persian works too- but thats dated).

 

10 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

And yet she still does this... because she's bored? I get that she's a spoiled ten-year-old girl and that it's a miracle that she still wants to be a decent human being after an upbringing like hers, but... the girl we see here and the girl in 17-4 feel like completely different characters, and not in the sense of character development. Everything she does in 17-4 was planned before now, so...

It may just be me, but the Apostolic Empress-child duality has both sides being bad and good. 17-4 is the good in both on display: 

  • The innocence of a child ignoring their station and trying to apologize for a terrible mistake that one questions if a simple "we're sorry" could solve.
  • Sanaki, unlike any other child in Begnion, can apologize on behalf of the entire nation, because she is its sovereign. She recognizes this I would think and is trying to do her national duty.

C14 is the opposite, the worst in both halves: the brattiness of a child, and the haughty arrogance and sense of self-privilege from being the divinely-sanctioned monarch of the most powerful country on the continent.

 

10 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

do we see all seven by the end of Radiant Dawn?

No, Duke Seliora is never seen, not once. Considering Numida is already as rich in flavor as a sheet of white printing paper, maybe thats for the best. Having another in the limited time of RD would be too many.

 

11 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

And yes, it's mentioned by the maid that “The only way for us humans to fight them savages is to wait for 'em to change out of beast form”, so that being a limited thing is canon. They have transformation cycles in the story and in gameplay.

Well, not exactly in story as in gameplay, but yes, eventually exhaustion forces one to shift out. If you're so exhausted, a weapon wouldn't be very effective for more than self-defense. But it'd still be a better defense than a kick I concede, and you could use the weapon before you felt you had to get serious enough to bust out the animal power.

Why no complaints about Fae never lifting up a spear? Grow up b/c your 30 use Dragonstone would be lucky to last you two scuffles. I do admit to childhood ideas of Hawks with lances and Ravens with swords. Laguz were made to be a new take on shapeshifters in gameplay, nothing else. They weren't made like Corrin, who fundamentally isn't a shifter, but rather a standard unit with a dragon side gimmick (a poor one, even I a frequent Dstone Corrin user admits). I'd like to see a truer, better hybrid unit.

 

11 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...But the feral ones didn't move.

They might on Japan-only Maniac. I know the boss can move if he's clinging by a thread to life. 

Lethe and Mordecai have dialogue with the Feral Ones, the grunts of the Ferals features this portrait if you aren't aware.:

Portrait_feral_tiger_fe09.png

 

11 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...but I am a little annoyed that they use her tired/sad portrait for it and not something a bit more energetic, given... the line.

Marcia's Japanese rage is expressed differently.

Japanese Literal Translation Official Localization
ゴチャゴチャ言わずにさっさと来る!! No excuses, hurry up and come with me!! STUFF IT, SPONGE-BRAIN!!! NO MORE LAME EXCUSES!!! FOLLOW ME!!! NOW!!

"So where did all these colorful words come from? Put simply, Marcia’s tone in Japanese. It’s very clear to Japanese readers she is talking in a very heated/lecturing/exasperated tone (all at once). The way one would carry this over in text in English is through word choice, and perhaps exaggerating elements to let you know “yes, this person is upset.”" -Analysis found here.

 

11 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Well, we don't get more confirmation on the subject, because now it's time for the big cutscene with the laguz leaders meeting together. I'm not sure where this is supposed to be though, given it's a place that all three tribe types are able to access. It seems to be in a really arid area, like a desert or something.

Artbook says Goldoa is almost entirely desert. Since Goldoa wants to be removed from world affairs and the Dragon Laguz seem to number no more than a hardy few thousand, it's an ideal choice. Even a desert can sustain their small population, and what power hungry fool would want worthless sands in a distant corner of the world? This would explain the dark complexion of Goldoans too- tanning from the blazing sun.

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52 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

 

 

No, Duke Seliora is never seen, not once. Considering Numida is already as rich in flavor as a sheet of white printing paper, maybe thats for the best. Having another in the limited time of RD would be too many.

 

Portrait_feral_tiger_fe09.png

 

 

Is it really crazy to believe Duke Seliora could be one of the two senators from the river crossing chapter? They are on the front lines (or rather rear lines) for some reason rather than chilling out in a castle somewhere. The better question is what the seven senators business is when there's clearly eight. Lekain, Hetzel, Oliver, Valtome, Numidia, two river crossing senators and Sephiran. Maybe Sephiran doesn't count as a senator because his title is Prime Minister?

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11 hours ago, Jotari said:

The better question is what the seven senators business is when there's clearly eight. Lekain, Hetzel, Oliver, Valtome, Numidia, two river crossing senators and Sephiran. Maybe Sephiran doesn't count as a senator because his title is Prime Minister?

I never thought there were only seven. I always assumed there were more than that, and that the seven referred to are the most prominent ones, the leaders of the mass of prejudiced pecuniary pedigreed and powerful princes of Begnion politics. (And by "princes" I mean aristocrats, not sons of monarchs- I wanted a little alliteration.)

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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Path of Radiance Day 12: Chapter 15

...So, hey, this is me, having already written most of what you're about to read, giving an update on that whole “burnout” thing. Yeah, uh... I'll see how I feel at the end of the week, but I think I might actually be taking the next week off.

I've spent the last twelve business days writing and proofreading about 10 pages daily. I've written more in the first 12 days of playing Path of Radiance than I wrote in the first twenty-five days of playing Sacred Stones. Hell, I've apparently already written two-thirds of what I had to say about Dark Dragon, Gaiden, and Mystery of the Emblem combined.

Meanwhile, despite my best efforts to keep this little corner of the internet a place where everyone can forget about how much fire the world is on right now, what, pray tell, should the prominent subject matter of these daily 10-page essays happen to be... but racism?

And y'know, just a hunch... maaaaaybe all of that is starting to color my perception of how fun this game is.

So maybe I could do with a week-long break from this game. I might just decide to stop playing for the day whenever I get to 5 pages of commentary, whether I finish a chapter or not, but if I decide to just take a break, I'm gonna try and spend it working on my SRPG Studio project. You see... playing all the games back to back like this has really given me a lot of ideas about what does and doesn't work in Fire Emblem, and has made me increasingly eager to try my hand at making my own. I haven't had nearly the work ethic for that project that I've had for this one, which disappoints me greatly, but I'm not giving up hope that I can make this happen someday.

But enough about that. On with this game!

So, Castle Kilvas is in the midst of a massive, barren mountain range.

Oh! What's this? A barren wasteland of a nation known for its fliers, that resorts to mercenary work to keep itself afloat? Looks like this game has one of those, too!

But if Phoenicis is any better, I've gotta wonder what the fuck kind of racial tensions caused the ravens to be exiled or to leave on their own.

It's interesting that we never see Lorazieh, Reyson's father. He sounds almost catatonic, so it's not like giving him a portrait would do much good, but... still, it's interesting to have a named member of a very scarce race we see every other known member of, and not see him.

Right, so... before we talk about Naesala and my... questions... about his PoR behavior in context of RD plot points...

...IntOb pointed out two things about the laguz that I'd like to respond to, because they're very interesting points. The first one was that I've been singling out laguz in particular for their refusal to fight outside of their beast forms, as opposed to manaketes. That's true, and it's something I hadn't even noticed. But upon thinking about it, I think I know why I've only brought it up when discussing the laguz.

First off, when we look at the manaketes who can't fight in human form, said characters so far have been:

Bantu, an old man,

Tiki, a little girl,

Fae, a little girl,

Nils and Ninian, who already make themselves useful in other ways and can't actually be used as dragons so it doesn't count,

and Myrrh... a little girl.

Meanwhile the laguz, almost to a man, are physically fit adults (and like one on-the-younger-side teenager) who by all rights should be perfectly capable of doing some damage with a weapon. The only real exceptions are the herons, really, who are described as quite frail.

Second, we do hear of manaketes learning to use weapons, namely Gotoh becoming a master of magic. And also once we get to the 3DS games, every shifter is perfectly willing and able to learn to use weapons to good effect with reclassing.

Third, the finite shiftability of manaketes is entirely frontloaded. It's all being able to use it until you can't use it anymore. So far in the marathon, if a manakete can't shift anymore, it's because they can't do it ever again, and they're pretty well fucked anyway. Laguz, on the other hand, are constantly in a situation of shifting back and forth and needing to stay alive long enough to become strong again, which is always just around the corner. So being able to use weapons in the meantime is way more useful and important.

But IntOb also brought up the fact that it could be that beast laguz just exhaust themselves by fighting too long in animal form, which... I simultaneously find fishy and extremely fascinating as a concept.

First, let's talk about why I find it questionable. If it is in fact true that laguz exhaust themselves by being in animal form too long, and it isn't some kind of magical cycling biorhythm thing, well, first off, why does Mordecai start every fight completely exhausted while Lethe is raring to go? And second... the laguz pride themselves on their superior physical abilities and stamina compared to beorc. Lethe, in Chapter 9, mocked the Greil Mercenaries for their human frailty and not being able to cross long distances with as much ease as laguz. If laguz are actually too exhausted to fight after a few minutes of being in animal form, well, while it would be impressive that they can recover their stamina just as rapidly, that's kind of getting to my point: Mordecai trying to be socially conscious about the physical limitations of beorc includes him checking to see if they've gotten tired before he has, and Lethe then uses this as a segue to mock them (not specifically bringing up beorc's poor stamina, but bringing up how long it's taking them to travel). If laguz are so used to being tired due to the physically taxing nature of their transformations, then Lethe would have no sooner mocked them for Mordecai needing to check on their stamina than she would have mocked them for needing to breathe air. She would have mocked them for needing long rests, not for needing frequent ones.

But while I don't think that's remotely the story they're trying to tell here... it would be a very interesting thing to explore in another story, for reasons I'll explain in a second. But first, a quick aside for context:

While I am fully aware that having the "intelligence stat" vary between fantasy races can be really tricky and dangerous to do tastefully and has a whole lot of baggage of its own... my issue is that intelligence is the only advantage the beorc are even implied to have over the laguz that isn't due to a self-inflicted handicap on the laguz's part. Aside from the “children of wisdom” thing suggesting that one single edge (and I still need to wait to see who calls them that and whether that was something the goddess said or just Begnion propaganda), there's no indication anywhere to my knowledge that there's a single thing the beorc can do that the laguz can't, and no shortage of things the laguz can do that beorc can't. And the reason I take issue with that is...

...I don't like the idea of a story that's supposed to be about two races learning to co-exist and get along... having one race that's objectively inferior to the other, only able to get an edge over the superior ubermensch they oppress thanks to their increased capacity for cruelty allowing them to lie, cheat and pollute their way to superior firepower and tactics. And... there are times when it feels like this story is getting closer to saying that than I'd really like.

But moving on, hearing the idea that fighting in beast form physically exhausts laguz way faster than fighting in human form would...

...While this doesn't remotely fit the kind of story they're trying to tell here... it would be very amusing to see another story about something like that. About a people who actually are objectively superior the other races... in a way that's really kind of impractical and pointless, but it's the only thing that makes them special, so they obsess over it, ignoring all the “boring” shit they can do that “mere mortals” can do as well, to the point that they cripple their entire society out of arrogance and pride while everyone else works on the more mundane and boring and practical shit they're all capable of doing to way better effect, and they can't ever admit that the thing that makes them special isn't actually giving them an edge at all, because they've staked so much of their identity on their ability to do that. Like, think the jokes people make about Potterverse wizards versus anyone with a gun, except on purpose, and a central theme.

...Anyway... back to Naesala, and my questions.

...Naesala is about to trick his best friend and sell him into slavery (albeit claiming that he'd break him out later after getting the money from the sale). This... I always found this to be a fascinating part of Naesala's character as a kid, but now that I think about it in context of the blood pact in the next game that we know he's currently at the mercy of...

...Why the fuck is the Begnion senate doing business with him? Why do they have to pay him for anything? He literally has to do anything and everything Lekain tells him, or his entire country, his entire race, actually, will die.

...Fuck it, I've learned my lesson, lemme just read the rest of this conversation before jumping to conclusions. Okay, so his business with Oliver is that he stole a lot of expensive pieces of art from Duke Gaddos to sell to Oliver. Okay, that's better. So it seems the senators aren't one big happy family who all share in the power of bossing Naesala around, so it makes sense that people other than Lekain would actually pay him for his efforts. But just out of curiosity... lemme just look up who exactly “Duke Gaddos” is...

You're shitting me.

Duke Gaddos... is LEKAIN?

THE GUY THAT NAESALA ABSOLUTELY CANNOT DEFY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LEST HIS ENTIRE SPECIES BE SLOWLY AND PAINFULLY PUT TO DEATH?

THERE'S NO WAY THIS WAS WRITTEN WITH THE BLOOD PACT PLOT POINT ALREADY IN MIND.

ARE YOU EXPECTING ME TO BELIEVE THAT NAESALA DARED TO SEND HIS SKY PIRATES AFTER LEKAIN'S SHIPS, AND LEKAIN NEVER FOUND OUT IT WAS DONE BY RAVENS!?

THAT IS...

Yeah. No. Fuck that.

I actually didn't get the hate for the blood pact concept before, but... yeah, this revelation kind of makes the twist that Naesala was forced to do what Lekain said all this time... an abomination against canon. There is just no way I can believe that Naesala was under Lekain's thumb while he did this. At all. No fucking way. Fuck you, Radiant Dawn.

...Not to mention, now that I think of it, the blood pact twist took what I'm pretty sure was the only truly morally-dubious laguz in all of FE9 and turned him into a helpless victim of Begnion's manipulations.

But that's not relevant to this game, so... let's just keep playing.

Also, Oliver just said the heron clan was “supposed to be extinct”, which begs the question of what Gashilama was talking about last chapter...

...And apparently Naesala is willing to sell out his best friend for merely double his normal fee?

Scene change. Thank goodness.

Yet again Titania talks about the “beorc class system”. Gee, if only we got to see literally anything of Gallian society while we were there, so we could compare and contrast.

Anyway, we're at base, and oh look! Jill and Lethe have their support conversation unlocked! Awesome! I could've sworn that happened after Jill had her second base conversation with Ike though, but I guess not.

Ooh!

OOOOH!

Jill is asking Lethe why she doesn't use weapons! Excellent question, Jill! Thank you for asking! And Lethe's response is...

We laguz are born ready to fight. Weapons are something that you powerless beorc created to counter our claws. We have no use for them.”

Wow. First of all, I'm going to be delighted to see what Jill's response is going to be to that. The first conversation she tries to strike up with a laguz in good faith, and she happened to talk to a laguz supremacist.

Second of all, this... either what IntOb said is in fact true about laguz just being too completely exhausted to fight after a little while in animal form, compared to the much-superior stamina of even the most physically frail of beorc classes using weapons... or Lethe is just completely in denial about how useful weapons would be to her in her downtime, to a frankly embarrassing degree.

Jill's response is... a mix between amusing and frustrating for me. She just awkwardly says “I, I see...” like this isn't exactly the sort of thing that would cause her to relapse into hatred of laguz. I'm actually not sure why she's so patient and meek here. Did she not even realize that laguz were even sapient, and is just that floored at laguz being able to say anything at all that it's shattering her worldview?

Either way, honestly, the rest of their conversation is just soooooooo fucking boring! Jill asks why the laguz hate beorc so much, Lethe just annoyedly asks the opposite question, and Jill just awkwardly says “because... the laguz are our enemy”, which isn't an answer so much as a rephrasing of the premise being questioned. Am I really supposed to believe that she's gotten this emotional about the eradication of laguzkind simply because she was told they were generically “the enemy”?

...Jill's character development isn't nearly as good as I remember. She went from 250 to 0 pretty fucking fast, almost completely offscreen. We just had a support conversation between two of the biggest racists in the army. I expected more sparks to be flying here. I expected both of these characters to make complete asses of themselves for our entertainment before getting into heavier and realer territory in the B and A supports. I was hoping for a fascinating glimpse into the details of what, specifically, beorc supremacists are actually told about laguz beyond the generic “they're inferior and gross and just like animals” shit we've seen so far. What is the “Jews have horns” of anti-laguz bigotry? Honestly, thanks to Lethe, we know a hell of a lot more about what laguz racists think about beorc than we know of what beorc racists think about laguz.

Moving on to the info conversations.

Ooh, so, a conversation with a servant mentions the “Zunanma”, who... apparently Begnion history still remembers were a thing, even if they don't know the details?

Also, he mentions treasure, but also... was that “occasional reports of strange figures wandering the dunes in the northeast” supposed to be a clue about how to get Stephan? Because if so... holy shit was that vague.

Anyway, then there's a conversation with Sigrun about desert map movement penalties, and Ike actually asks why magic users aren't affected, and Sigrun gives an explanation that she doubts is even real, but which Sephiran told her.

Also, Ike finally noticed that the holy Begnion pegasus knights say “laguz” instead of “sub-human”, and she cites a religious reason for treating them equally, and that she finds it deplorable that there are people who don't treat them equally “in the realm of the goddess”...

...Honestly, I would've had her say “in the name of the goddess”, and have her express shame at the behavior of the senate in the past and (less overtly) in the present. I dunno, the idea of her saying that it's un-Asherian-like of people to persecute the laguz while, judging by that timeline again, most of the persecution against laguz was and has been done in the name of Ashera... doesn't sit right with me.

Also, that brings up an interesting point: why was the balance of power in Begnion's high government implied to have always been almost entirely beorc? Was it out of laguz shame for having been the aggressors in the previous racial conflict, unaware of how how easily the tide can turn, and falsely assuming that the beorc had been made wiser than the laguz in the ways of racial justice by their experiences with cruelty, and surely the beorc could never be as awful to them as they had been to the beorc?

If so... that's a fascinating concept that I wish was explored more.

Finally, the talk with Makalov, which is... I mean, it's watching Makalov squirm, of course it's entertaining.

Ike: You were talking out loud. Loudly.

Hahahahahaha!

Also, Ike says the Greil Mercenaries paid off the rest of Makalov's debt, putting him in their debt now, and while initially the fact that I'm pretty sure Makalov's recruitment doesn't cost anything from your post-mission payment did bother me a bit... I guess you could argue that this is just another example everyone's salaries being paid offscreen or something, and the money we have for weapons and such not being counted into that. So instead of gradually paying non-weapon-allocated money over the course of the game offscreen, it's paid all at once and he has to work it off for free. I guess that isn't specifically worse than any other case, since this is all happening with offscreen logistics money we never have to deal with.

...Oh god. Right. This map.

This map... I fucking hate this map. It's not too bad if you try to do it normally, except that it's pretty tedious and boring given that I'm pretty sure none of these enemies move unless approached. The problem is that the map gives you two sets of bonus objectives you can technically do both of at once, but it's incredibly tedious and frustrating to do so. Basically, these are rebel laguz, escaped slaves from Begnion nobles, so the fewer of them you kill, the more bonus exp you get as a reward, getting well over 1000 if you manage it, even if you take too long and exhaust all of the quick-clear bonus exp.

However, this map is also full of treasure that you can only get by sending your units all over the map to various squares, standing in range of these enemies. So if you want the perfect clear and all of the treasure, you have to carefully go in and out of enemies' ranges as they cycle between dangerous and harmless, almost like that damned stealth mission earlier, and that just sounds... so... fucking... not... fun. And actually, honestly, fighting the laguz normally is likely to get me more exp than sparing them all would net me bonus exp, but... I dunno, I just don't like doing morally-dubious things in video games, and killing a bunch of escaped slaves, even if Ike doesn't know that's what they are yet, feels... ugh, it makes me feel like a dick. But working out how to sneak through a horde of transformed and untransformed laguz doesn't sound like fun at all, especially if I have to do it to work out how to get every treasure.

Basically, this chapter seems almost tailor-made to encourage self-inflicted frustration from me. But I'm not going to fall for the trap. I'm going to treat this like a normal battle, get only the treasure I actually want, and just get the fuck out of here.

I'm gonna use this as an opportunity to train Jill and Zihark, who are both a bit behind and need to get to 20/20. Jill will be taking out the birds, while Zihark will be taking out as many of the rest as he can manage. While it's going to be incredibly frustrating having to guess at beast laguz movement ranges through the sand, I at least have Lethe transformed to make a ballpark guess. And it seems like the only reason beast laguz fare better in the desert than beorc footsoldiers... is because they just have more movement range in general. They still take 2 movement points to cross a desert tile, same as Ike and Boyd.

Also, checking every single nearby unit for whether or not they're about to transform almost completely invalidates the convenience of range highlighting. Which pisses me off. Calling it now, this is probably going to be my least favorite map in the game.

Also, holy shit, this map is just so devoid of terrain features for like the 60% of the map closest to the southwest that I find myself having to count squares from the corners in order to find where treasure actually is, rather than counting from the nearest landmark like usual.

But I like that thieves have full movement in the desert. That's nice.

Really though, holy shit is this map boring and easy. The only real challenge comes from the agonizing terror that comes with ending your turn and second-guessing if you understand everything about laguz shifting cycles and movement ranges.

I'm just going to summarize what generally happens here so that I'm not proofreading a bunch of redundant nonsense and tiring myself out more: I wait until laguz transform, bait them in, and then kill them with either Zihark or Jill. Rinse, repeat, start treasure hunting once I've made an area sufficiently safe, end map.

Oh look! And some of the laguz are aggressive once they transform! That makes the idea of doing this with all the treasure pacifist-style outrageously frustrating. Glad I didn't try it!

...It just occurred to me how fucked up it is that I'm ordering a laguz rights activist and a recovering beorc supremacist to fight a bunch of liberated laguz slaves framed as bandits.

Oh well. Fuck this map. I don't care.

So, Mordecai shows absolutely no signs of being made uncomfortable by Stefan's presence, though he does seem at least a little confused and off-put by his sudden appearance and casual nature, by the pauses between words sometimes. And I just checked the script, Lethe doesn't appear to be any more hostile to him than usual. In fact, she's slightly more polite with him than she is with regular beorc.

One thing I will say is that I have a weird fondness for the map music for this part of the game. It's got this sort of weird, vaguely-creepy quality to it that fits most of the rest of this stage of the game, but also a vaguely-goofy quality to it that really suits the maps after this, with the absurdity and madness that Oliver personifies with his every living breath.

Aaaaand done. Jill got the final blow, and is one promotion item or level away from promoting, same as Marcia. Strangely, the flag that keeps Muarim alive means that the map doesn't end until Jill ends her turn. But anyway...

...Now we properly meet Tormod, the beorc raised by escaped laguz slaves. And the following exchange prompts this classic line from Ike:

Hey! I don't care who the real leader is. A laguz who calls himself a sub-human is protecting a kidnapped beorc who claims to lead a laguz emancipation army? Do I have that right? Because if I do, I have absolutely no idea what any of you are talking about.”

But before we get into the details of this conversation, I have one... heh... burning question about Tormod.

So. Tormod decided to become a mage. He's been raised by laguz most of his life, mostly beast laguz, with some birds. And when he started to learn magic... he focused on learning fire magic? The one most capable of hurting his best friend and father figure? He's not at war with other bands of laguz, so why would he pick the style of magic that makes him the most likely to accidentally hurt someone he loves?

But anyway, then we hear that while laguz slavery is officially illegal... it's a law still secretly broken by the nobility, keeping laguz slaves in their homes. And now that laguz slavery has officially become a topic... um...

...I'm kind of... confused by something.

No, make that everything. Everything about the concept of the nobles enslaving laguz confuses me.

First off... how exactly do you... enslave... a laguz?

Laguz aren't like beorc. You can't take away their weapons. I mean, sure, technically you can maybe declaw them and yank out their teeth (though clearly that didn't happen to Muarim unless they can grow those things back), but that's still a five-hundred-pound animal that they can transform into, basically at will, bare minimum half the time. So... it's like trying to enslave a Marvel universe mutant, except without those fancy power-negating collars that the anti-mutant government always seems to eventually get their hands on. There's no anti-transforming drug (just a forced-transforming one), and no stated lore ever given for any means to strip laguz of their ability to transform... other than... one.

...Okay, I'll just say it.

As far as I know, the only stated means given in the Tellius lore to forcibly keep a laguz from transforming... would be to have a beorc of the opposite sex rape them until the the female member of that “pair”, whether it's the beorc or the laguz, gets pregnant. But that outrageously morbid concept is neither here nor there, because that's clearly not what's happened to a single laguz slave, current or former, that we ever get to see. Meaning that, surely, any task that laguz slave labor is used for would have to be overseen by so many armed guards that it almost defeats the purpose of using slave labor at all?

Sure, you could argue that there's just such a massive atmosphere of fear of being hopelessly outnumbered in unfriendly territory, completely breaking their spirit and allowing even completely unarmed and untrained squishy nobles to boss them around without armed guards with them at all times, but... like... they can't all not know that slavery is illegal, right? Surely some of them would know that if they made enough commotion, the nobles wouldn't actually be able to call law enforcement to help without exposing themselves as criminals, right?

...Okay, after reading on, in fairness, it seems that the senate has a lot of power to cover things up and brand slave liberators as bandits merely robbing noble homes. So being able to cover up slave rebellions isn't entirely out of the picture... when it comes to beast laguz.

...But it's not just beast laguz who are enslaved, is it? No, as this chapter handily demonstrates, it's bird laguz too. And therefore, I simply have to ask...

What the fuck kinds of jobs are you using bird laguz for... that they aren't a perpetual literal flight risk? Those bastards can fly high, fly fast, and fly far without rest, and the the Begnion pegasus knights, the only airborne regiment we know to exist in Begnion, are clearly loyal to the apostle and would not keep quiet about escaped slaves they found trying to flee a noble's villa. Are you making them do indoor work? Are you just making bird laguz wash dishes? Are you just saving money on menial labor literally anyone could be paid to do? Saving money... by using a black market of illegally smuggled sentient beings that must never be seen by anyone you can't pay to keep quiet? And even if I buy all of that, why the fuck, if you're already evil enough to keep sapient beings as slaves, would you enslave a bird laguz, use them for a purpose for which their wings amount to nothing but a liability to you, and not cut those wings off?

Yeah, this... like with almost everything involving worldbuilding when it comes to the laguz, we're given precious little details here. I'll be checking out some of Muarim's supports later to see if they explain anything further about what life as a laguz slave is like, but like... the only instance of laguz slavery that really makes sense to me at the moment is the example that's about to happen. Reyson.

He's kept for his looks, looks that only herons have, and he's kept for his rarity, something that is yet again specific to his race. His wings aren't cut off because that would detract from his beauty, and he's kept indoors because he's basically just being used as furniture. There. Having accepted that Oliver is a batshit insane, delusional arrogant bastard, I totally get why Oliver would pay money to have Reyson as a slave.

But the other ones aren't for show. Gashilama clearly describes the cats, tigers and ravens he's captured as “laborers”. What kind of labor? The only thing I know about Muarim's life as a slave was that he was constantly expected to be ready to take care of his master's sword at any given moment. So I'm gonna have to be on the lookout for any evidence that laguz slaves are actually used for tasks their laguz abilities would be useful for, because right now the entire thing seems like a hilariously expensive, dangerous and impractical enterprise that serves no purpose other than the let the Begnion nobility go “look how rich and evil we are!”.

...But I'm almost done with this chapter.

...I don't want to... comment too much on the rest of this chapter. I'm getting close to the “you can't edit this because it's too big” cutoff point. But I have to wonder how Reyson could know about the Serenes Massacre but not know that the forest had been burned to the ground. Where was he when the massacre happened?

Okay, so by the sounds of it, Naesala's claim he was going to rescue Reyson eventually was a lie. Specifically this line: “This, too, I do to raise up Kilvas. Reyson, please don't judge me too harshly. That being said, I'm sure you will. Ah, well. Such is life. Enjoy your new one... Old friend...”.

Yep, that sounds like something someone would say when they're condemning someone to their fate.

...Well, with that, I'm done.

Stay safe, everyone.

Stay safer than Reyson.

Edited by Alastor15243

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26 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Oh! What's this? A barren wasteland of a nation known for its fliers, that resorts to mercenary work to keep itself afloat? Looks like this game has one of those, too!

But if Phoenicis is any better, I've gotta wonder what the fuck kind of racial tensions caused the ravens to be exiled or to leave on their own.

Artbook says the isles, ignoring these cool cliffside castles, are warm and fertile actually.

 

36 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

I actually didn't get the hate for the blood pact concept before, but... yeah, this revelation kind of makes the twist that Naesala was forced to do what Lekain said all this time... an abomination against canon. There is just no way I can believe that Naesala was under Lekain's thumb while he did this. At all. No fucking way. Fuck you, Radiant Dawn.

...Not to mention, now that I think of it, the blood pact twist took what I'm pretty sure was the only truly morally-dubious laguz in all of FE9 and turned him into a helpless victim of Begnion's manipulations.

Agreed on the retconned loss of rich moral ambiguity. :(:

If there was a way to retcon the Blood Pact and this instance, it'd be that the rest of the Senate would riot if he acted unilaterally against Kilvas. As in "Hey! The rules of our vanity contest says losers must suck it up. Just because Kilvas screwed you this time doesn't mean you get to ruin the crows, spend the cash and hire 'em yourself ya sore anus!" This would presume Lekain doesn't exert absolute control over his fellow Senators.

 

45 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Jill's character development isn't nearly as good as I remember. She went from 250 to 0 pretty fucking fast, almost completely offscreen. We just had a support conversation between two of the biggest racists in the army. I expected more sparks to be flying here. I expected both of these characters to make complete asses of themselves for our entertainment before getting into heavier and realer territory in the B and A supports. I was hoping for a fascinating glimpse into the details of what, specifically, beorc supremacists are actually told about laguz beyond the generic “they're inferior and gross and just like animals” shit we've seen so far. What is the “Jews have horns” of anti-laguz bigotry?

Try reading JanaffxShinon. It isn't perfect either- it has the tremendous flaw of ending so promising, yet RD didn't continue where it left off.

 

51 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Basically, this chapter seems almost tailor-made to encourage self-inflicted frustration from me. But I'm not going to fall for the trap. I'm going to treat this like a normal battle, get only the treasure I actually want, and just get the fuck out of here.

Or, you can try for some of the BEXP, but not all. Kill anything that moves and is en route to Stefan, but not the rest while still nabbing the treasure. You can spare a bunch near Muarim this way.

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44 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

I actually didn't get the hate for the blood pact concept before, but... yeah, this revelation kind of makes the twist that Naesala was forced to do what Lekain said all this time... an abomination against canon. There is just no way I can believe that Naesala was under Lekain's thumb while he did this. At all. No fucking way. Fuck you, Radiant Dawn.

...Not to mention, now that I think of it, the blood pact twist took what I'm pretty sure was the only truly morally-dubious laguz in all of FE9 and turned him into a helpless victim of Begnion's manipulations.

The Blood Pact is some incredibly lazy, and poorly implemented writing. The only good thing about it is the way it sets up the Pelleas death, and they payed for that setup with a lot of otherwise interesting situations, and entirely undermined it for second playthrough bonuses. Then again these are all Radiant Dawn issues, not Path of Radiance writing issues...

 

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

First off... how exactly do you... enslave... a laguz?

Laguz aren't like humans. You can't take away their weapons. I mean, sure, technically you can maybe declaw them and yank out their teeth (though clearly that didn't happen to Muarim unless they can grow those things back), but that's still a five-hundred-pound animal that they can transform into, basically at will, bare minimum half the time. So... it's like trying to enslave a Marvel universe mutant, except without those fancy power-negating collars that the anti-mutant government always seems to eventually get their hands on. There's no anti-transforming drug (just a forced-transforming one), and no stated lore ever given for any means to strip laguz of their ability to transform... other than... one.

...Okay, I'll just say it.

My guess is lots of chains. Fetter them to the point where they can't get a full stride, and thus have to shuffle to move, then add an overseer or two with a whip to keep them in line...

 

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7 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

My guess is lots of chains. Fetter them to the point where they can't get a full stride, and thus have to shuffle to move, then add an overseer or two with a whip to keep them in line...

Which form would they be chaining? Laguz seem to have total control over what things they're wearing get tucked into hammerspace and which ones don't. I see no reason why any shackles you put on their human form wouldn't just disappear while they're in beast form, and shackles you put on them in beast form might just be slipped out of when they transform back.

3 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Try reading JanaffxShinon. It isn't perfect either- it has the tremendous flaw of ending so promising, yet RD didn't continue where it left off.

Shinon supports with a laguz!? Shit, well, guess I gotta read that at some point.

3 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Artbook says the isles, ignoring these cool cliffside castles, are warm and fertile actually.

I stand corrected, then.

3 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

If there was a way to retcon the Blood Pact and this instance, it'd be that the rest of the Senate would riot if he acted unilaterally against Kilvas. As in "Hey! The rules of our vanity contest says losers must suck it up. Just because Kilvas screwed you this time doesn't mean you get to ruin the crows, spend the cash and hire 'em yourself ya sore anus!" This would presume Lekain doesn't exert absolute control over his fellow Senators.

That would be a fascinating justification to see actually discussed.

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5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Second, we do hear of manaketes learning to use weapons, namely Gotoh becoming a master of magic.

To be fair we do have an example of a laguz using magic in the form of Lehran. Who is actually quite similar to Gotoh being a depowered version of a shifter who serves as the last recruit of the game. That aside, I'm actually going to challenge for a second the fact that laguz in cannon can't spend their time in beast form indefinitely.  I know it's directly mentioned in the text, but I could chalk stuff like a village telling you to attack them when they're untransformed as a bit of gameplay story segregation. That villager isn't conveying story information to us, it's for the purpose of gameplay they're talking, just like in some games when characters mention the HUD or something (can't think of any specific Fire Emblem examples right now). Furthermore we have the skill formshift that Laguz royals have which let those specific units stay in beast form indefinitely. So what's going on there? Are we meant to believe they have infinite stamina? Or that their royal status grants them authority over their very own biology? And it's not something that they learned to do over time as I believe Kurthnaga gains the formshift ability after Deghensea dies to symbolize him inheriting the crown. There's also Laguz gems which can make any laguz stay transformed indefinitely for the length of a map. Once again that's questioning the infinite stamina or infinite well spring of magical transformation energy issue, and why one map? The chapters in the tower in Radiant Dawn don't take place weeks after each other, it's all a matter of hours or perhaps days at most, yet you need to use a laguz gem every chapter, even the second last and last one which we know is pretty much back to back as the last chapter is beyond the doors of the second last chapter. There's just so many issues that come with assuming losing the transformation is a canon thing that it's better off left to just being a gameplay thing, much like how I can accept the beorc units can carry half a dozen weapons at once.

(let's wait and see how Volug is treated in the text, I do know they address him staying by Micaiah's side while looking like a dog, but I can't remember if his half shift ability is directly referred to by the text. I suspect it is, but if so that just raises all the same sorts of questions that laguz gems and formshift raise, namely how doing something infinitely at half strength doesn't equal doing something periodically at full strength).

22 hours ago, Jotari said:

Is it really crazy to believe Duke Seliora could be one of the two senators from the river crossing chapter? They are on the front lines (or rather rear lines) for some reason rather than chilling out in a castle somewhere. The better question is what the seven senators business is when there's clearly eight. Lekain, Hetzel, Oliver, Valtome, Numidia, two river crossing senators and Sephiran. Maybe Sephiran doesn't count as a senator because his title is Prime Minister?

Now that I think of it, there's no error in the number of senators if we assume Seilora is one of the river crossing senators. Namely in how Oliver is presumed dead during Radiant Dawn, so one of the river crossing senators (or perhaps someone who isn't seen in Path of Radiance like Valtome) must have been promoted to replace him. Maybe one of the river crossing senators is Oliver's nephew or something if we take it these things stay in the family.

Edited by Jotari

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7 minutes ago, Jotari said:

There's just so many issues that come with assuming losing the transformation is a canon thing that it's better off left to just being a gameplay thing, much like how I can accept the beorc units can carry half a dozen weapons at once.

Ranulf unshifts at the end of his Zelgius duel in 3-3 RD. Ranulf is above average and no better in combat I'd say on a Tellius strength spectrum, Zelgius is far stronger, enough to consider Cain' and Tibarn real annoyances, mortal dangers, and or equals. I have no idea of the time spent in that duel- but given 3-3 is on a turn limit a half-hour maybe??? Surviving that long against Zelgius must've required every ounce of strength Ranulf could muster, no wonder he wound up unshifting at the end. It's an extreme case, a sea of lesser foes with companions by his side would likely be a different scenario altogether for Ranulf.

 

17 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Furthermore we have the skill formshift that Laguz royals have which let those specific units stay in beast form indefinitely. So what's going on there? Are we meant to believe they have infinite stamina? Or that their royal status grants them authority over their very own biology? And it's not something that they learned to do over time as I believe Kurthnaga gains the formshift ability after Deghensea dies to symbolize him inheriting the crown.

Kurthnaga's gain seems purely symbolic and nothing more to me. If I had to invent in a rationale for Formshift, its that the very strongest of the Laguz, who do end up becoming the rulers of their kind we are told time and again, are so strong they for any realistic battle maintain animal form for its full duration, practical infinity and not truely endless vigor. Doesn't explain Giffca and Skrimir not having Formshift however.

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@JotariI'm pretty damned sure that Izuka mentions that the reason he gave Muarim the feral one drug was to force him into his beast form all the time to improve his combat ability. That's a bit more major of a plot point than a maid giving you indirect gameplay advice.

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5 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Kurthnaga's gain seems purely symbolic and nothing more to me. If I had to invent in a rationale for Formshift, its that the very strongest of the Laguz, who do end up becoming the rulers of their kind we are told time and again, are so strong they for any realistic battle maintain animal form for its full duration, practical infinity and not truely endless vigor. Doesn't explain Giffca and Skrimir not having Formshift however.

You pointed it out yourself, Griffca doesn't have formshift even though he is in universe considered very strong. Formshift is always sybolic based around royalty rather than strength.

31 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

@JotariI'm pretty damned sure that Izuka mentions that the reason he gave Muarim the feral one drug was to force him into his beast form all the time to improve his combat ability. That's a bit more major of a plot point than a maid giving you indirect gameplay advice.

You're right, that is a more major plot point. And taking a quick glance at the script Izuka's justification is "Maintaining constant battle strength in beast form" which might actually explain some stuff. The wording of it suggests that Laguz can stay permanently in beast form, but that they just can't fight permanently in beast form. Or at least fight effectively, which does seem to be backed up with Volug's half shift where he is always transformed but faces nerfed stats. Why that would be the case I have no idea, and why royalty members or people who snort gems would be immune follows no logic that adheres to physics. But maybe formshift and the gem itself aren't canon and only exist for gameplay (you know thinking about it taking away formshift would do some significant wonders for balancing the laguz royals).

To take the question back to them using weapons, we also have to question the hammerspace aspect of their ability. We can either assume there's no hammer space and that their clothes shifting with them is something of a modesty filter for the story to not have a bunch of naked people in it, or that there is some kind of hammerspace thing going on (maybe they're encased in an outer layer that looks like a beast when they transform). If we assume there's no hammer space at all then it runs into the question of what weapons could they effectively carry around while transformed and then use while untransformed? And if there is a hammerspace, we could assume without directly being told that it is limited in capacity (we after all never see a laguz grab someone and then shift with that person and make them effectively disappear, then again the rescue mechanic exists but Beorc can stuff people into hammerspace that way too), that it would not work for the likes of armour or large weapons. In either case the physical ability to actually carry something is going to be a major challenge for them. In fact we could easily say it's limited to what we actually see, that being a knife strapped to one's leg...which would actually be great for Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn's gameplay since knives exist as a seperate weapon type in these games and yet they're almost useless on anyone who's not Volke. If all laguz could use knives then it would give a much better justification as to why knives exist. And it would be particualrly great from giving them 2 range to snipe at enemies and increase their transformation guage (though if we're maintaining logic here maybe fighting while untransformed would slow their transformation somewhat too).

Tomes could be another option, though they would require a lot more study for a laguz to dedicate their untransformed skills on rather than a basic shiv. And wouldn't really be all that effective with seperate strength and magic stats (though a unit specifically dedicated to it could work). 

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6 hours ago, Jotari said:

 

(let's wait and see how Volug is treated in the text, I do know they address him staying by Micaiah's side while looking like a dog, but I can't remember if his half shift ability is directly referred to by the text. I suspect it is, but if so that just raises all the same sorts of questions that laguz gems and formshift raise, namely how doing something infinitely at half strength doesn't equal doing something periodically at full strength).

Half Shift is discussed with the base conversation mentioning him looking like a dog, and was the first example that came to my mind of the game explicitly talking about Laguz losing their transformation as being in universe as well as in gameplay. The implication is the half shifting lets him extend the duration of transformation until he has to sleep, not that it is infinite (or at least that is my take on it). I didn't bring it up before as it was from a different game, and by the time I got around to commenting people had found evidence from this game as well that it isn't merely gameplay. (Note the bit in the spoiler tag is the rest of the conversation, but I wanted to emphasize the more relevant later portion without cutting off the rest).

Quote

 

Spoiler
 

Nailah: So, you’re returning to the desert?
Micaiah: Yes, we must go back.
Rafiel: My dear…
Nailah: Yes, Rafiel, I know. Micaiah, I have a question. How can we help you in this fight?
Micaiah: What? But…
Nailah: I know you probably don’t want to be seen with laguz. But we cannot just sit on our paws, so to speak, while our allies are in danger.
Micaiah: I appreciate that, but…
Nailah: No? Fine. Sorry to bother you.
Micaiah: No, no. It’s not what you think. Please don’t apologize. It’s just that…
Nailah: What is it, Volug?
Volug: …
Nailah: I see. That is a good idea.
Rafiel: Oh, yes. I agree. That’s a wonderful idea.
Micaiah: Yes? Volug? What’s going on?
Nailah: Micaiah, it will not seem so strange if you travel into the desert with this dog at your side, will it?
Micaiah: What?!


Nailah: As you know, we laguz fight only in our shifted forms. However, we can’t remain in that state for very long. It is too exhausting. Volug, however, has halfshifted. When he does this, he can remain in beast form all day long.
Micaiah: Queen Nailah, I appreciate you help–
Nailah: He is not as strong in this transitional form. Even so, he is still more than a match for any beorc.
Micaiah: How could you call Volug a dog?!
Nailah: I know. He’s not as friendly as a dog. And I don’t know if he’s housebroken. But he can fight!
Micaiah: That is not what I meant.
Nailah: Micaiah. We wish you good luck. Volug, guard her well.
Rafiel: Do be careful.
Micaiah: I will. Thank you. Volug, is she always so…blunt?

 

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2 hours ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

Half Shift is discussed with the base conversation mentioning him looking like a dog, and was the first example that came to my mind of the game explicitly talking about Laguz losing their transformation as being in universe as well as in gameplay. The implication is the half shifting lets him extend the duration of transformation until he has to sleep, not that it is infinite (or at least that is my take on it). I didn't bring it up before as it was from a different game, and by the time I got around to commenting people had found evidence from this game as well that it isn't merely gameplay. (Note the bit in the spoiler tag is the rest of the conversation, but I wanted to emphasize the more relevant later portion without cutting off the rest).

 

That pretty solidly confirms that it's an energy issue. Though I still question the apparent infinite energy the laguz royals seem to possess. As well as Alasators comments regarding Laguz travel times and their relation to beorc.

Edited by Jotari

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Path of Radiance Day 13: Chapter 16

Oh fuck yes, boys and girls! What should I be greeted by when I boot up my save file than Power Hungry Fool.

I don't know how the fuck this song got into Brawl, but I'm not even mad.

Man, this is such an interesting scene. Oliver is such an entertaining character, and his own bizarre sense of “morality” is kind of fascinating to see in action here. Like... he seems like a child who doesn't understand that he's trying to keep something as a pet that shouldn't be one... but like... he's simultaneously way more responsible with said “pet” than any child would be? I mean, granted, we're given absolutely no indication that he has any idea what a heron's proper diet is, but... he's clearly given a lot of thought to all of the various things that could happen to Reyson to mar his beauty, so I would not remotely be surprised if this guy did very thorough research on how much food herons need, and what their diet is. Like, his sheer dedication and commitment to the cause of beauty is... bizarrely admirable, even if its applications are horrifying. I think that's part of what makes him such an entertaining character, on top of his sheer delusions of being beautiful in spite of his comically hideous appearance: his sense of right and wrong is just so entertainingly, fascinatingly alien and bizarre.

I do think, however, that in some sense this was kind of a cop-out, to have this be the only story of laguz slavery we get to see firsthand. It would have answered a hell of a lot more of my questions about the practice of laguz slavery, and probably be more of a gut-punch, if we saw the kind of treatment the “cheaper” slaves got. I get the sense that they wanted to show slavery in one of its “cleaner”, but still horrifying just on principle, forms? If that makes sense? Like, I get the feeling that they wanted to keep most of laguz slavery as more of an abstract concept they could throw in without really thinking about it, just because most people on earth recognize that slavery is horrible? Maybe I'm wrong though.

Anyway, on to the scene with Sanaki. And I would have bet good money that Tormod would have responded to Sanaki's comment that he's just a child with something to the effect of “you're younger than I am!”. But he did not. Also, apparently Sanaki's grandma was the apostle just 20 years ago, going by Titania's “20 years ago” comment about the end of laguz slavery and Sanaki's comment that the laguz slaves were freed by her grandmother.

Okay, so Tormod also says that “Countless noble houses even now keep laguz as servants or entertainment... or worse!”.

I think it's something of a cop-out that, unless I'm correct that Gashilama was very subtly insinuating that some people eat laguz, what exactly Tormod means by “or worse” is never even hinted at.

But then Ike calls Sanaki out on obviously pretending to not know about slavery when both of Ike's missions so far have clearly been intended to bring his attention to the practice.

...But apparently the reason she's using Ike's mercenaries... is because she wants to stop the illegal slave trade in the noble class without the general public learning that it ever happened?

...I'm amazed she doesn't get called out for being that selfish with her government's image (not by Ike, obviously, given he's decided he can't jeopardize Elincia's chances anymore, but definitely the by laguz later), but at least that comes back to bite her horribly in the ass come the sequel. Imagine how much easier life would be in he sequel if you had been more willing to expose the senate as a bunch of corrupt slavers!

So, now I'm getting Ike's B support with Soren. Soren apparently has memories from when he was four years old. Is that even possible? But yeah, he was apparently dumped on some woman who didn't want him but who felt she couldn't just leave him to die, until a sage came by thinking that the brand on his forehead made him a spirit charmer and bought him off of her.

...He was apparently rigorously trained in magic at four years old, until the sage died when he was six. After the sage died, he set out to find help... only for it to finally occur to him that he doesn't know how to talk. He could read, write, and understand the beorc tongue... but he never once had to talk during any of his training, so he just never learned how to make the sounds.

That... that is such a horrible thing to go through, but the improbable age it happened to him at... almost makes it feel... comical. I'm not sure if I still like it.

But now we get Mist and Mordecai.

…“Complainey Janey”. Wow. Yeah, Mist just starts rambling until her lungs run out of air and Mordecai tells her she needs to breathe. It's actually kind of adorable. I can just picture that entire rant happening quickly, with a bunch of nervous giggling until she's completely out of air.

And it looks like Tormod did have some comments about how Sanaki is “even shorter than I am”, but kept them to himself until he talked with Muarim again. Interesting. Guess he has more tact than I thought, or maybe the whole “slavery” thing was more on his mind.

...Yep, sounds like it was the latter, because he didn't even realize that talking shit about the Apostle is a capital offense.

And then Muarim talks a little about how he used to be a slave, and how his family had been too, for generations. And that apparently “the most grueling physical labor was as natural as breathing”.

So the laguz slaves are used for their strength for “grueling physical labor”. For what purpose? How much land do these nobles own, and where? What jobs of “grueling physical labor” do these people have on their property?

...Weird... I don't know if this is just part of Tormod's normal portrait that I'm mis-reading, but it almost looks like Tormod started tearing up below his right (our left) eye when he told Muarim to stop telling Ike about his life as a slave.

Ike: It's so hard... I... No matter how I try, I'll never fully understand your pain.

...Man... real talk for a second... as someone with several friends online with serious issues in their lives, and as someone who's felt like shit for hearing about their problems and not even knowing enough about what they were going through to say much of anything useful to them... that line hit me harder than I expected it to. It's a weird kind of pain, being too fortunate to have any idea how to help your friends... but it still hurts.

...But anyway... on to Stefan.

...PFFFFHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Man, Stefan just has a way of making everyone feel awkward, doesn't he?

Ike: What the...? Um... who are you? How long have you been a member of my troop?

So Stefan talks about watching Ike fight last chapter, which didn't happen, and I only now notice that the grip of Stefan's blade is... like, almost zig-zagging. Weird. Are there any real-life grips like that?

It's weird that this conversation is in context of training Ike, but he's the only member of Ike's army that absolutely cannot use the occult scroll you get from this when you get it.

Also, occult scrolls apparently can't be sold. Guess I'm just gonna give them to all of my paladins then!

There aren't any hand axes or javelins, but I do get to buy iron blades this chapter, so I get some. A lot of some.

Anyway, the dialogue is pretty okay... until they get inside, and then there's this weird bit where the dialogue seems to imply that Oliver showed Ike every room in the mansion (well, what he claims was every room) before being told why they were here, which seems... yeah, weird.

HAHAHAHA! They don't have the fluid movements of the GBA games, but they still managed to use Oliver shifting from furthest left to second furthest left position to show Oliver violating Ike's personal space, which is hilarious.

Anyway, Mist and Titania reveal they saw Reyson, prompting the battle. And then we see Devdan briefly and...

...Devdan... I don't know much about him in Path of Radiance. Apparently he was... less funny and more just weird in Path of Radiance? I loved his appearances in Radiant Dawn, minimal though they were, but I may have to check out his supports here to see what he was like.

Also, Oliver seems to keep his own private military at his villa at all times, strong enough to fight off an invading battalion, with mages and knights and archers and swordfighters. I... I mean I guess assassins are a thing, and the senators are constantly trying to fuck each other over, so sure, I guess I buy this.

Anyway, I'm forced to drop one of my major mainstays for this chapter in order to make room for Volke (who might incidentally be getting my bonus exp from now on so I can make him an assassin and see how fun he is), and I pick Titania. I've got two laguz with complementary shifting cycles for when I need promoted muscle, so I think I can manage one chapter without her. This is going to be a chapter for promoting as many of my units as I can, but I need to be careful about whether or not any thief reinforcements arrive. I'll have to move briskly, but I'm not going to feed the entire chapter to my cavalry if I can help it.

Also, I wish I could use Tormod, given that whole “celerity” thing he's got going for him, but he's an investment unit, and the investment doesn't pay off in Radiant Dawn given how shit his availability is there.

Apparently you can't “use” items during battle prep, only at your base. And obviously since canonically we're trapped here, the game doesn't let you go back to base before this battle. Nice touch. But it looks like that means I have to wait a turn to have Ike use the boots. I've decided he's getting them because his main support partner is a cavalry unit, and if I'm going to milk that to do really daring stuff in the second half of the game, I'm gonna have to make Ike able to keep up with him.

But anyway, I get started. Marcia, Jill, Zihark and Mist all have pretty good chances of promoting this chapter, but my other units are getting a little bit behind, so I think I'll be trying to focus on giving them experience too, especially given the gauntlet coming up next chapter.

First 5 turns pass without comment, but the thief shows up surprisingly early. I'm gonna have to hurry if I wanna get the stuff he's about to steal, and I need to get Mist over there immediately in order to recruit Devdan.

I wish the game made it clear that you had to talk to Devdan with a child. I didn't get him on my first playthrough because I just didn't know how. Yeah, it's a shame that FE9 isn't as good about providing clues for enemy recruitment as, say, FE7 is.

Looks like I was juuuust barely too slow to get a bolting (that I can't steal back due to it being slightly too heavy). At least it's not something Soren was likely to be able to use well anyway, but still...

...Nope, I'm in luck! Looks like it's the first item stolen that becomes a droppable item, not the latest one. It's still bolting that I get when I kill him. So I can steal that physic, kill him, and then get the bolting. I just need to keep him locked in that room with an untransformed Mordecai until I can get Volke over here.

...FUCK. Volke's also too slow to steal from him! I have to get him a speed level up on this map or I don't get that physic staff!

Here's hoping he levels up speed from killing the sniper guarding the throne room.

But in happier news, in the process of softening up said sniper, Jill promoted! Yay!

YES! YES! HE LEVELED UP SPEED! THANK YOU!

Ooh, and the other treasure is a silver lance, a full guard, an Ashera icon, and dracoshield! Awesome! That's four points of defense I can give now for capping stats!

Also, Marcia just promoted too, which is also awesome. I love how the promotion theme is a reprise of “His Father's Son”. What I don't like is that it doesn't seem to tell you if you unlock new weapon types unless those weapon types are something you choose (more on that later).

Curious that Oliver commands such loyalty from Kimaarsi. I was under the impression that most of his soldiers thought he was... exceedingly weird, and they only followed him reluctantly due to his money and authority.

...Wow... okay, so apparently Kimaarsi knows what he's doing is wrong? His death quote seems to imply that, but... then what's his story? Why's he so loyal?

Anyway, we cleared the chapter. Soren got the kill, and Mist got enough staff exp to get to level 20. Can't decide whether to promote her in the base next chapter or save 5k by having her get that last level in Chapter 17-1. But anyway...

...Ah yes! More Oliver! GOODIE!

...Oh wow, I forgot about this part. Oliver actually subdues Reyson with light magic and tries to... I mean, you can almost read this as Oliver thinking he'll literally fly away with Reyson, as if Reyson could possibly carry Oliver's fat ass. Anyway, apparently what Oliver did left a mark, which demonstrates that Oliver's “devotion to beauty” clearly has its limits. But the scene ends abruptly when Ike arrives and Reyson tells him to not approach him after Ike tries to get someone to tend to his wound. But it's soon revealed that Reyson told him... thinks. Things that pissed Ike off.

Things about the Serenes Massacre.

...Huh.

Okay, so... “twenty years ago”, the Serenes Massacre happened? But... wasn't Sanaki's mother the one who was assassinated? The one who was planning to reveal herself to the world as a branded, hence the need for her assassination by the senate, to be blamed on the herons? Did Sanaki's grandmother die in the exact same year that Sanaki's mother took the position and then died?

Yeah, Nasir clarifies that it was 20 years ago... one year after the “declaration of emancipation” was made. So... was that a ballpark when they said 20 years ago before? Either way, that means that Sanaki's mother was only in power for like a year, at most, and that's if Sanaki's grandmother immediately kicked the bucket after freeing the slaves.

Misaha, who was more adored by the public than any apostle before... or since.”

...There's only been one apostle after Misaha. Was that a deliberate dig at Sanaki?

Also, that's pretty fucking quick for Misaha to have become so beloved, after just a year, again, at most.

But anyway, yeah... this is pretty horrific, however Radiant Dawn's revelations may complicate the tale. But speaking of which... I can't remember exactly what, but there was something that was eventually revealed about the Serenes Massacre that somehow made the laguz hate Begnion more? I can't remember the exact details, but I think it was proof that the senate started the “herons killed Misaha” rumors on purpose? Hence why all of the laguz tribes went to war with Begnion. I'll have to be on the lookout for specifics when that happens, because something about the details of that war feels... weird to me right now.

Anyway, Nasir gives Sanaki a lot of praise about her efforts to right the wrongs of the Begnion government and people, but... a lot of it feels unwarranted and unearned to me. Especially with that uncomfortable detail that she's trying to do all of this without anyone having to know the senate did anything wrong. Unless she's worried about them staging a coup, and this is her being necessarily pragmatic, it's still pretty scummy behavior, trying to avoid public accountability for the actions of her government. Trying to quietly fix the problem without anyone having to know the problem ever existed.

In any case, we let that monster Oliver slip through our grasp.”

...DETAILS PLEASE, IKE!?

HE WAS CORNERED IN A ROOM IN A TALL TOWER, WAS HE NOT!?

DID HE USE A REWARP STAFF!?

DID HE CALL IN FOR REINFORCEMENTS TO FORCE YOU OUT OF THE CASTLE, HENCE WHY HE STILL HAS AN ARMY TO HUNT FOR REYSON NEXT CHAPTER?

HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU LET HIM SLIP THROUGH YOUR GRASP?

HOW THE FUCK CAN OLIVER SLIP THROUGH ANYONE'S GRASP!?

Ugh. And that's the ending note of the fucking chapter, which means I have to end today mad.

Stay safe, everyone.

Stay safer than the herons.

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2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

So, now I'm getting Ike's B support with Soren. Soren apparently has memories from when he was four years old. Is that even possible?

I distinctly remember my fourth birthday as being about the time I acquired my stream of consciousness that continues to this day. Memories aren't strong of it, but that is certainly when "I" the thinking being began. Because trauma endures, if my life had been less blissful, maybe they would be stronger.

I think I read once the reason why people don't remember infancy, is because the brains of babies are constantly learning, developing, making connections. This state of intense cerebral growth winds up accidentally overwriting the earliest memories.

 

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Okay, so... “twenty years ago”, the Serenes Massacre happened? But... wasn't Sanaki's mother the one who was assassinated? The one who was planning to reveal herself to the world as a branded, hence the need for her assassination by the senate, to be blamed on the herons? Did Sanaki's grandmother die in the exact same year that Sanaki's mother took the position and then died?

Yeah, Nasir clarifies that it was 20 years ago... one year after the “declaration of emancipation” was made. So... was that a ballpark when they said 20 years ago before? Either way, that means that Sanaki's mother was only in power for like a year, at most, and that's if Sanaki's grandmother immediately kicked the bucket after freeing the slaves.

Sanaki's mother was never the Apostle and she can't have died 20 years ago, Sanaki is explicitly 13 in RD. We know surprisingly nothing about Sanaki's parents.

But if her mother didn't become Apostle-Empress, then I hazard Misaha had only a son, who for whatever unexplained laws of succession would have been forbidden from taking the throne. And, that any cadet branches of the Apostolic line or noble families with imperial blood with females who claimed to hear the goddess were excluded from becoming the new theocratic monarch. On grounds that as long as the son of Misaha was alive and potentially capable of siring another healthy daughter (which took almost 15 years with no surviving sons- were there miscarriages at least? How was he not deemed sterile at a point?), the need to resort to an alternative heir to was unnecessary and maybe could've made things messy if a daughter of Misaha's son was later born with their cousin enthroned. Did the Senate support this scenario for freedom to be unchecked and corrupt due to the absence of their lone legal superior? Were they incapable of finding a good puppet Apostle from the ranks of the royal cousins?

It's somewhat ridiculous.

Again, I stress that developers need to read more good history books, or just look at the faults in their setups. Even FE at its best world-building can be as porous as Swiss cheese at times- but I'm still fond of Tellius in spite of every bit of it.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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