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Chapter 18 Continued

We're going to win. After all, I can't lose my very first battle as a snooty noble, now can I?”

Yeah, Ike is the best.

I like this more somber but still hopeful version of Elincia's theme.

But now who should show up just as we deploy... but Tibarn and friends!

...I just realized something that should have occurred to me a while ago... Leanne can apparently understand beorc speech perfectly well... she just can't speak it. Even though when she starts trying to speak it in the next game she speaks in stilted broken english, as if she doesn't understand how beorc sentences work. Can she just read people's souls or something, and doesn't actually understand what they're saying?

But anyway, this game gives you one of the worst decisions in the game, deciding between getting a dancer that can transform into a flying Genealogy dancer and two hawk laguz to accompany him... or a renewal scroll. I can't believe they even make this a fucking choice. Especially since they don't even say what you get if you say no, or even give you a reason why you should.

Ike says some sappy stuff about beorc and laguz coming together, and then we get started.

...And I officially lack room for everyone I want to use.

I think I'm gonna have to ditch Stefan as a unit and just read his supports with Soren now. No way I'm bringing him along when I'm so starved for unit slots. Alright, lessee...

...Yeah, I'm glad I didn't waste too much effort trying to get that. That was pretty underwhelming, just having Stefan try to tell Soren that he needs to ditch his friends because they'll abandon him in the end when he can't hide his branded status anymore. Which seems like an amazingly foolish assumption to make, given how this army has a ton of beorc and laguz working together already without issue, so it seems weird to just assume that branded would be immediately exiled. But then... Soren does think that, given his fears about it that Nasir's able to take advantage of.

Holy shit, and that's Stefan's only other support. This dude is just walking branded exposition. Superfluous branded exposition, mind you, since Soren already does that job, and an Ike/Soren support is way more likely to happen than anyone finding Stefan blind.

...Fuck it, I think I'm gonna have to drop Boyd and Titania on a possibly permanent basis to get all the units I wanna train and/or have fun using on my team. I want my massive air force and my units I'm training for next game, and Boyd and Titania meet neither criteria.

Ugh, and Shinon's here too, which means I have to bring Rolf, for no other reason than to satisfy my completionist obsession. Shinon is utterly useless. He has nine strength as a promoted fucking unit. His growths are awesome, but his ending stats merely bring him up to mediocre, and yet again, he's a sniper.

Fine, I'll drop Mordecai for this map. But he's coming back immediately after this.

Also, I'll use some of my stockpiled chest keys so that I don't have to ditch yet another unit to bring a thief.

Also, awesome of the game to have everyone new join in the battle prep menu so that I can give them some other equipment.

Let's go.

And now we get a much more badass, but also significantly longer, “player phase start” theme. And also some more player-phase map music!

And also some more player-phase battle music.

And also some more enemy-phase battle music.

...And I guess also another “enemy phase start” theme.

Yep, this is the only game in the series I know of, besides Echoes, that actually changes up the standard battle themes that play without using the dynamic map theme system. It's a pleasant and refreshing change of pace!

...But I'm starting to be concerned that the game will never be challenging again. The enemy stats here are pathetic. The enemy levels are keeping up with mine, and a lot of them are promoted already, and yet I could probably just throw Ike at this entire map and he'd kill them all eventually. Their damage output is garbage. Like, promoted enemies with identical strength stats to the unpromoted ones right next to them, struggling to do 4 damage to Ike.

Man, at first I thought Janaff really, really sucked, but then I compared his attack to my other fliers and no, he's doing as much damage as Jill with an axe, so it's just that these wyverns are really tough.

Weak, but at least tough.

Anyway, I got Oscar promoted to Paladin, and... his stats are finally okay! Those promotion bonuses finally brought him over the top! And of course I give him axes.

My air force was completely overkill to take out those wyverns, but I'm keeping them stationed outside in case more reinforcements arrive. This is a rout map, after all.

...Yeah, I don't get whether or not “crow” is supposed to be a slur. It keeps getting used interchangeably, and unless I find an example of Ravens using the term “crow” to describe themselves, I don't think I'll be able to confirm. But yeah, it really does seem that way.

But anyway, time to recruit Shinon. It's no big deal, I've just had to make sure Rolf stayed out of range of the siege tomes as Ike and Oscar took them out at speed. And now Shinon's gonna attack one of them, and then the rest of my army will be ready to pounce on him and the knights, Rolf will talk to Shinon, Ike will “kill” Shinon, and a freshly-transformed Reyson will help everyone take out the rest of the trash.

OH SHIT.

There was a blizzard tome user I didn't see, because it's such a pain in the ass to highlight everyone every turn. Miraculously I managed to end Rolf's turn just one space shy of his range. Wow.

But yeah, that guy complicates things. Obviously I'm gonna have to rescue Rolf after he's done talking to Shinon. Thank goodness I have a transformed Reyson, or this wouldn't be remotely safe.

Incidentally, however, Reyson's resistance is so insanely high that not even advanced wind magic users consider him a better target than Lethe.

This conversation between Shinon and Rolf is... actually pretty cute. Though I wonder why Shinon gave a shit if anyone knew he was teaching Rolf archery, and why he's still hoping he didn't tell anyone now, when he's already burned his bridges with them. I get not wanting your coworkers to know you've taught their little brother to fight while you're hoping to work with them, but why does he still seem nervous that they'd find out after he thinks he's washed his hands of them for good?

Oh wow, and they even add in a second-long pause between Shinon saying that yes, he is in fact with the enemy, and Rolf starting to cry.

...Weirdly though, despite having scenes where “defeated but not dead” units like Muarim don't vanish from the battlefield... Shinon still vanishes in a flash of light.

Also, weirdly, despite cat laguz having the movement range of promoted cavalry, bird laguz have the movement range of unpromoted fliers. That's... a little frustrating, since you only get them when your army is likely promoted.

This boss is actually pretty intimidating, if only because he has parity, and can thus negate Ike's support bonuses and have a really good hit rate on him.

...No, actually... he has nihil. So that means that... he's just that damned accurate. Wow.

Oh right, so, with him dead, we get to the annoying part of the map where we have to take out these raven reinforcements, rushing out to intercept them because this is a rout map. I can't quite beat it in 10 turns, but I should manage in 11, since Ike's just barely fast enough to double these guys and enemy-phase all but the one who won't transform by the end of this turn.

Yep, success. And now we get an after-battle scene with Shinon. They have another fight (that Shinon's inexplicably confident he'll still win while wounded), with the terms that if Ike wins, Shinon falls in line (and if Shinon wins, he's commander). Obviously Ike wins offscreen, and we move on. Honestly though, I was hoping there'd be something about Ike saying he expects Shinon to not say anything about their laguz allies, since... y'know... things are pretty tenuous, and he's just barely gained the bird tribes' trust.

Hm... I just realized... what's that mark on Nasir's forehead supposed to be? It looks like a branded mark, but he's a full laguz with full transforming powers and everything, and I don't remember any other dragons having them...

...No, I was wrong. A sudden memory of Kurthnaga having one made me check, and yes, I had somehow temporarily forgotten that pretty much all dragon laguz have those marks.

...Which makes me wonder how the fuck Nasir didn't get mistaken for a branded. How do beorc not notice that he obviously isn't one of them?

Apparnetly “Senior officials in Gallia are moving to action” because “this neverending stalemate has exhausted their patience”.

...I wonder what that could be referring to...

And apparently news of Ike's first victory “will spread like wildfire over the entire continent and give countries confidence to speak out against Daein”.

...What countries?

What countries have previously lacked the courage or confidence to speak out against Daein? There's Crimea, which is in ruins, Daein, which is Daein, Begnion, which is huge and isn't afraid to speak out against anyone and has already formally declared war on Daein, and then the laguz countries, which with the exception of Kilvas and their tenuous alliance, all hate Daein for being a racist hellhole for laguz.

What other countries are there?

...It appears they were talking about Gallia. Huh.

I love how Naesala tells his troops to make sure a Daein messenger is the one who sends the message of their failure to Petrine, because she has a tendency to kill the bearers of bad news.

And then Soren reveals that Nasir is that spy for Gallia, but also reveals he suspects he's a spy for Daein too, after which Nasir subtly threatens to reveal he's a branded if he says a word about his unproven suspicions.

And with that, the map is over.

...Yeah, that was... my army's stats are getting to the point that this is getting kinda mindless. Only navigating Rolf around those siege tomes proved to be any difficulty at all. And... that... worries me.

But we'll have to see.

Stay safe, everyone.

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1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Yeah, I don't get whether or not “crow” is supposed to be a slur. It keeps getting used interchangeably, and unless I find an example of Ravens using the term “crow” to describe themselves, I don't think I'll be able to confirm. But yeah, it really does seem that way.

Nealuchi refers to himself as an "old crow" at one point. It's in his conversation with Reyson before Feral Frontier.

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Just now, lenticular said:

Nealuchi refers to himself as an "old crow" at one point. It's in his conversation with Reyson before Feral Frontier.

Huh. Well, problem solved then! It's apparently... just a synonym in this universe?

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3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

I... wonder if Sephiran had anything to do with Ashnard getting his hands on a blood pact.

Maybe.

That’s right… he tricked his father into signing a blood pact with a traveling wise man.”

Tauroneo:
“Who was he!? That wise man…?”

Almedha:
“I do not know the details… To cure my illness, that man gathered at Daein the most bizarre people on the continent… Izuka was one of those people.

This is from the Japan-only Extended Script.

The identity of this "traveling wise man" is never said, but...

  • A Blood Pact has to be very powerful magic, no ordinary sage should be able to whip one up.
  • Sephiran did benefit from having Ashnard enthroned too, or tried to benefit until Ike killed Ashy.
  • Sephiran if fought with Pelleas adds Izuka was working for him.
  • And Sephiran donned a similar disguise when you find him imprisoned in PoR.

It's circumstantial, but I'd say it was Sephiran who made Ashnard's Blood Pact.

 

3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Wait, but two years before was... the Serenes Massacre. Okay, so either:

1: The Begnion government officially denies the Serenes Massacre and blames it on a nonexistent heron plague (basically impossible given how much guilt the people are said to have about it, and also the fact that Tanith knows full well about the Serenes Massacre)...

2: The herons had already nearly been wiped out by a completely unrelated plague before the Serenes Massacre happened almost immediately afterwards...

3: The Herons were included as victims of the Kilvas blood pact Naesala is currently at the mercy of, and that story about what happened when a raven king defied Begnion was just 20 years ago, and not further back in time like I assumed...

or 4: Serenes is a region of Begnion entirely separate from Serenes Forest, and the beorc population there was nearly wiped out by an unrelated plague mistaken for being the same thing that took out Daein.

...I am both fascinated and extremely confused. This is just too bizarre a thing to bring up and not explain, game.

I'd pick option 2. But I'd add that while it is one poor line of writing, you can consider it exaggeration. The Black Death didn't obliterate Europe, but it did kill off 30-60% of the population, drastic enough to warrant exaggeration. Of course, stating such a statistic would've been better then.

 

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Yeah, that was... my army's stats are getting to the point that this is getting kinda mindless. Only navigating Rolf around those siege tomes proved to be any difficulty at all. And... that... worries me.

In Japan-only Maniac, all enemies from this very chapter on are promoted, which is perfect timing. It's delayed by several chapters on the lower difficulties unfortunately.

 

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

This conversation between Shinon and Rolf is... actually pretty cute. Though I wonder why Shinon gave a shit if anyone knew he was teaching Rolf archery, and why he's still hoping he didn't tell anyone now, when he's already burned his bridges with them. I get not wanting your coworkers to know you've taught their little brother to fight while you're hoping to work with them, but why does he still seem nervous that they'd find out after he thinks he's washed his hands of them for good?

Here are Shinon's conversations with others as an enemy:

Spoiler

Chapter 18

Shinon vs Boyd

Boyd: Shinon! I couldn’t care less who you decide to work for… Heck, I’d hoped you were dead! But even so, Daein? You couldn’t find anything better than this? What were you thinking?

Shinon: Haven’t changed a bit, have you? You’re still a mouthy piece of work. Listen up! Daein’s a great place to work right now. The pay’s great, and strength at arms is the only thing that determines class standing. You want to join me?

Boyd: Don’t be ridiculous!

Shinon: Well then, only one thing to do. Out of the goodness of my heart, I’ll teach you how adults fight. And a far as payment goes… I’ll take your life. How’s that sound?

Boyd: Keep talking, Shinon! I’m gonna beat the obnoxious clean out of you.

Shinon vs Gatrie

Gatrie: Shi-Shinon? SHINON?! Oh, this can’t be happening! I mean, fighting you… That’s going to be tough.

Shinon: Come on, Gatrie. You can’t be worried about me forever. You’re a mercenary. All you need to do is worry about your own skin. You got it?

Gatrie: Well, yeah… Heh heh heh… Ahh… Still…this will be a sad day…

Shinon vs Ike

Shinon: Heh. I always knew it would come to this, Ike.

Ike: Shinon…

Shinon: Watch yourself!

Shinon vs Rhys

Rhys: Cut it out, Shinon! Commander Greil would have never wanted this!

Shinon: Shut your mouth, Rhys! I don’t have the patience for one of your little sermons. Besides, you should be worried about your own life instead of mine.

Rhys: Shinon…

Shinon vs Mist

Mist: That’s enough, Shinon! Why must friends fight? It’s all too terrible…

Shinon: This is war. It’s all terrible. Tears mean nothing in the heat of battle. Remember that.

Shinon vs Oscar

Oscar: Shinon?! Why are you with Daein? Someone with your skills could have found work with Begnion’s army. So, why this?

Shinon: Ha! Why would I want to go to work for a bunch of stiff-necked bluestockings? I’m a commoner. No matter how good I am, I would never rise above a middling commission. It’s different in Daein. If you’re a skilled fighter, you can rise all the way to the top.

Oscar: Is getting promoted really that important? [Explains Shinon's bad stats- he promoted at 10.😛]

Shinon: It’s everything. All right, enough with the pleasantries. You ready to go?

Oscar: Oh, Shinon…

Shinon vs Soren

Shinon: Well, well, lookee here. The little boy plays soldier… How sweet. Your job’s always been just to use that big brain of yours. That’s why you spend your time hiding behind Ike’s apron. Isn’t it, Soren?

Soren: Shinon. You always were dumb as a gnat, but… A first-class archer. I’ll give you that. But with the power I now possess, it’s probably in your best interest not to presume to know my strength.

Shinon: Hah! You’re still a snotty little whelp, aren’t you? Get ready to die, little man.

Shinon vs Titania

Titania: Shinon! You… You’re with Daein of all things?

Shinon: Long time, no see, Captain. You know, we didn’t always see eye to eye, but… I never once minded taking orders from you.

Titania: To tell the truth, I really didn’t mind having to listen to your endless complaints and insults, either. Hold nothing back. Let’s pay each other…the proper respect.

Shinon: Yes, I think that’s best. So in the end, we finally agree on something, eh?

Shinon vs Rolf

Rolf: Shinon…

Shinon: Wipe that pathetic look off your face. Come on, ready your bow. On the battlefield, emotion ain’t worth spit. I taught you that, didn’t I?

Rolf: Uh…huh… Uncle Shinon…

 

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Holy shit, and that's Stefan's only other support. This dude is just walking branded exposition. Superfluous branded exposition, mind you, since Soren already does that job, and an Ike/Soren support is way more likely to happen than anyone finding Stefan blind.

Beta-Stefan seems to have been rather different. (Taken from this Making of Fire Emblem book page on PoR):

Stefan
Habit/Motto “The sword is not a tool for war”
Hobby Fishing
Specialty Cutting anyone down
Important His beloved blade
Loves Good weather
Hates Bad weather
Relationship(s) Sanaki (liege)
Bio

Descended from a hero who sealed away the dark god Yune in the distant past. Burdened by his ancestor’s fame, he left the Begnion army to perfect his swordplay alone. He lives in the deep mountains far from civilisation. However he is fiercely loyal to Begnion and comes rushing to its aid when it’s in danger.

 

Sorry for the double post, couldn't edit the above.

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6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

It really gives off the extremely unfortunate implication that the laguz don't actually have any more complicated ways of fighting than just relying on raw instinct. There's no individuality. If you're a tiger laguz, you're a tiger. You're not a tiger skirmisher, you're not a tiger guardian, you're not a tiger vanguard... you're just a tiger. Really, if this game were remade, and given reclassing, I feel it would be a great idea to divide up each race of laguz into multiple classes that they can reclass to, just so that it feels less like...

 

That would actually be really cool, if only for gameplay reasons. It's not even like there's a single way these animals could fight. You could have bite specialist laguz versus claw specualist laguz. Or even shifting specilaist laguz, make Volug's half shift a class instead of a skill. Hell make the roaring based counter skills that suck their own class and associated weapon type to fix the whole laguz are 1 range locked complaint. And of course give me my knife wielding laguz!

6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

...I just realized something that should have occurred to me a while ago... Leanne can apparently understand beorc speech perfectly well... she just can't speak it. Even though when she starts trying to speak it in the next game she speaks in stilted broken english, as if she doesn't understand how beorc sentences work. Can she just read people's souls or something, and doesn't actually understand what they're saying?

 

Not as uncommon as you might think.  A lot of people can understand a second language without being confident enough to speak it (Miyamoto is actually a pretty nice example). Although rather than slow stilted speak Leanne should by more rights have very accented speech for this to case. Though maybe she's speaking slowly and carefully to ensure she is saying things properly.

Edited by Jotari

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12 minutes ago, Jotari said:

That would actually be really cool, if only for gameplay reasons. It's not even like there's a single way these animals could fight. You could have bite specialist laguz versus claw specualist laguz. Or even shifting specilaist laguz, make Volug's half shift a class instead of a skill. Hell make the roaring based counter skills that suck their own class and associated weapon type to fix the whole laguz are 1 range locked complaint. And of course give me my knife wielding laguz!

Yeah, I think the issue here is that the Tellius saga kind of precluded this being remotely realistic by having like 10 different species of laguz that would each then need multiple classes, and even just two types of each species would make the laguz class list actually dwarf the beorc one. And also it would need reclassing to be a thing unless they want to add in like a dozen new characters.

12 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Not as uncommon as you might think.  A lot of people can understand a second language without being confident enough to speak it (Miyamoto is actually a pretty nice example). Although rather than slow stilted speak Leanne should by more rights have very accented speech for this to case. Though maybe she's speaking slowly and carefully to ensure she is saying things properly.

Meanwhile Heroes decided she doesn't have any accent at all.

Edited by Alastor15243

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19 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Yeah, I think the issue here is that the Tellius saga kind of precluded this being remotely realistic by having like 10 different species of laguz that would each then need multiple classes, and even just two types of each species would make the laguz class list actually dwarf the beorc one. And also it would need reclassing to be a thing unless they want to add in like a dozen new characters.

Not necessarily. It would just need to reformat how the laguz classes work. Instead of having Cat, Tiger and Lion all as different classes, it could instead just be Laguz Biter and Laguz Clawer as generic classes shared between all of them.  Though you would still need different classes for the super species since flight is something that is tied to class. I think a handy list could be something like-

Laguz Biter (heavy attacks used by beast laguz)

Laguz Clawer (lighter attacks used by beasts)

Laguz Roarer (long range attacks used by beasts)

Laguz WeaponMaster (beasts who can use weapons untransformed)

Laguz Taloner (lighter physical attackers used by birds)

Laguz Divebomber (heavier physical attacks use by birds)

Laguz Windmaster (birds that can also use magic attacks, maybe something like Tempest transformed and tomes while not transformed)

Laguz Bard (basically Herons)

Laguz Dragon (dragons who use physical attacks)

Laguz Mage Dragon (dragons who use magical attacks)

Laguz Flying Dragon (dragons who can also fly)

 

There could be more separate ones and stuff that makes things more interesting, and Rafiel would probably need a unique class but if the classes are shared by laguz of the same species then there wouldn't be much class bloat at all. That's just ten examples of classes I've come up with, there easily could be more (and they could be made more distinct, movement differences between the classes would certainly be a thing). A more interesting question might be if something like this were implemented, what existing laguz characters would be fit into what new class ideas?

7 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

This conversation between Shinon and Rolf is... actually pretty cute. Though I wonder why Shinon gave a shit if anyone knew he was teaching Rolf archery, and why he's still hoping he didn't tell anyone now, when he's already burned his bridges with them. I get not wanting your coworkers to know you've taught their little brother to fight while you're hoping to work with them, but why does he still seem nervous that they'd find out after he thinks he's washed his hands of them for good?

Classic tsundere Shinon. He doesn't want anyone to know he cares. It's not like he like Rolf or anything! Baka.

Edited by Jotari

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Path of Radiance Day 17: Chapter 19

I've apparently been playing this game for 60 hours and I'm not even 2/3 through. At this rate I'll have a longer total playtime beating this than when I beat the Black Eagles route of Three Houses for the first time. But this is to be tempered with the fact that I've been stopping constantly to write these damned essays without the benefit of freezing emulation in the background of my computer, so I have absolutely no idea how long this would take a normal person.

Oh yeah, they talk about messages and news traveling to countries in this game, and usually I fry my brain trying to work out exactly what kind of timespace fuckery is going on here.

NOT TODAY!

Because Path of Radiance had the brilliant idea... to just give characters magical instant messaging! Nasir's sending news, almost certainly to Gallia and probably also to Daein given that Almedha's known to have one... via sending stone. Boom. Problem solved. News travels instantly, so no worrying about how the fuck people get from place to place to deliver messages.

So, Naesala and Petrine have a chat, and by the end of it, Petrine says:

Even by half-breed standards, those crows are complete scum! Give that one the smallest opening, and he'll steal the eyes from your skull. What an untrustworthy wretch.”

Curious how I can all but guarantee this is the most civil conversation she's ever (knowingly) had with a laguz, and yet she still feels the ravens are the worst.

So, I got Volke to level 20 easily with the remaining bonus experience, and god damn do I wish he could use something better than a knife. His stats are still pretty damned great even before his promotion.

Also, I just learned that hand axes have the same growth bonuses and penalties that steel weapons have: minus speed and defense. Which frustrates the shit out of me. I should just barely be able to use both of my current dracoshields to cap her defense when she hits level 20 even so, but that makes me really hope I can cap Ike's defense naturally with that soldier band of his. Current statistics say he should no matter what, but... you never know with these weird growth mods...

...Oh, hey! Tanith and Marcia got a support right away! Nice!

Oh wow, that was funny. Tanith is not happy that Marcia deserted. Apparently either her “letter of resignation” really was just a hastily-scribbled note that wasn't remotely proper procedure, or the Begnion holy knights... don't take resignations?

Either way, Shinon has some supports with Gatrie and Rolf, so I'll check them out for the hell of it.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh I totally forgot about this! Gatrie apparently keeps spending his money on shit from con artists!

Aw, Rolf calls Shinon “Uncle Shinon”. Aww, look at you, you sweet boy, you've got two brothers, a surrogate mom, and a surrogate racist uncle!

Awwwww... that was cute. He made Shinon a bow that was basically just a bent tree branch, and when Shinon made him cry, he gave Rolf a lesson on how to actually make one.

Alright, on to info conversations, and... Oh! We see Haar!

Also, before then, Jill's hanging out with Mist, who's playing in the snow. Apparently Jill and Mist can have a friendship too, and lemme check out this support real quick...

...Okay, so, first... apparently Jill is “close to [Mist's] age”. That... is incorrect, according to Radiant Dawn, which says that Jill is two years older, and Ike's age. If Mist wanted to befriend a girl close to her age, she already had Mia, the same age as Jill, and Ilyana, one year closer, to choose from.

It was a pretty nice conversation, but... the dialogue in the third one was... a little bit cringey. Namely the point about Serenes Forest, because the supports yet again make Jill's character arc... really weird. Like, Jill is best written when you don't do her supports at all, just her info conversations. Because in supports, her opinions of laguz are always implied to lag slightly behind where her info conversations show them to be. Cuz the talk with Mist implies it wasn't until seeing Serenes Forest restored that Jill realized the laguz aren't bad, which is... demonstrably untrue.

...But yeah, basically this info conversation is a warning not to let Jill fight her own father, because... it won't end well. For those of you who don't know, her father will actually recruit her back to the enemy side if you let her get near him. I understand that if you have a sufficient support with either Mist or Lethe, one of them will make her not betray you at all, and the other will at least let you recruit her back to your side again. Can't remember which is which though.

So, this conversation with Janaff reveals that bird laguz don't hatch from eggs... “for many generations now”. The fuck does that even mean? How did evolution happen so fast and as far as I can tell only affect that? Did some weird genetic switch go off that made them stop giving birth in animal form and start giving birth in human form again?

...Jeez, that actually makes me wonder how the hell you'd find the words to describe their separate forms in-universe without being offensive. “Human form” is obviously a slur in that universe, since “human” is apparently a beorc-supremacist word that laguz have “reverse-reclaimed” as an anti-beorc slur, but I'm certain the laguz would take offense to “beorc form” too, what with the whole “you don't own the concept of looking like that” thing. "Man form"? But then there'll naturally be complaints eventually about how gendered that is. “People form”? Yeah, try and sell that without being accused of not thinking laguz are people.

...Do we really have to call it their “biped form”?

Goddamn it, why do the people responsible for making polite words for things always seem to suck at making them catchy?

...Anyway, now for Ulki.

Ulki: Our king... does nothing special. Everyone just does what's needed. There is no chaos.

Ike: He's really trusted, isn't he?

Ulki: That's... natural. In laguz society, the strongest become king. Unlike the beorc, kingship is not tied to blood, so we have no weak kings. I'm sorry... perhaps that was improper.

Ike: No, I agree with you. Choosing a ruler by strength instead of birth makes much more sense.

(Inhale)

I have said my piece about this.

But I would like to point out that this implies that apparently... literally no one in laguz society questions their leader? There is no defiance that needs to be overcome, or any need for significant charisma? They're just obeyed? That... honestly I'd be way more interested in hearing what the hell it must be like taking orders from Ike instead of their king, then.

...Hold on, lemme see if he does that.

...He does not. He just talks about how beorc military leaders are also picked by bloodline and thus are inconsistent, and a major strategy is to single them out and force their soldiers to scatter.

Honestly, unless this is describing some kind of literal primal hive mind mentality... that kind of efficient government is... comically unrealistically utopian, if their king can do “nothing special” and still have everyone cooperating naturally. And if it is describing such a hive mind... is that why different races of laguz can't function living together, and why they've all split up into separate societies?

...But an important thing to keep in mind is that we see almost no evidence of this being how laguz actually behave, like, at all, so it's either untrue or bad writing.

Anyway, bought some hand axes, so let's move on.

...Shit, this is the map where we get 50,000 gold, isn't it? Yeah, because that's when Volke reveals the truth and then promotes, and I heard that's at the end of this chapter.

I never put two and two together that we were stealing Naesala's payment.

Also, yeah, the hawks' behavior around, and dialogue about, “crows”... yeah, really paints this as racist. Are they actually racist, or can they actually paint all raven laguz with a broad brush because of that “the strongest are the unquestioned rulers” thing, and thus the ravens all unquestioningly follow the vile example of a vile leader?

Because I mean if not...

...Okay. This is another thing that's been eating at me about the Laguz.

I don't exactly have the energy for a rant right now, but... there are numerous, painfully apparent shortcomings of laguz culture that are... pretty much never called out, or criticized, by anyone. I'm gonna hold back on this until we see the worst example in Radiant Dawn and see if I remember it properly, but right now...

...It's particularly jarring with Ike, who seems to just have this innate affinity for the laguz cultures and people, considering everything the laguz do differently to be something the laguz do better, and never even pushing back at them when he's insulted repeatedly to his face, often agreeing with their racist or patronizing criticisms of him and his friends. Hell, he won't even call out laguz racism against other laguz, as shown here, when he hears Janaff, Ulki and Reyson talking about the “crows” and making categorical statements about their hatred of the entire species, with Reyson saying outright that due to the crimes of their leader, he will never speak to another crow again. Honestly, I think I would have liked it better if Ike took no shit from anyone, beorc and laguz alike. If he pushed back even a little on those numerous occasions where laguz talk shit about him.

...But of course, I also get the feeling that his refusal to do so, and his willingness to just take all the verbal beatings laguz throw at him without comment, has gone a long way towards endearing himself to the laguz, for better or worse. Several of the laguz friends he's made only became his friends because he didn't make them want to go away by not letting them shit on him for stuff that isn't his fault. Like, even after Ike proved himself, Janaff still makes racist remarks to Ike in his presence and Ike just kind of awkwardly sidesteps it and/or apologizes for not getting the jokes Janaff insulted him for not getting. It's... bizarre, and I'm not sure how exactly I would have written Ike differently while still doing all of that bridge-building between beorc and laguz. But the fact that multiple laguz just seem to have free range to insult his race around him feels... wrong. I'd like it a lot more if this were depicted more like his eventual attitude around Begnion, where he awkwardly holds his tongue for diplomacy's sake despite not liking what he's hearing. But he gained this attitude around laguz way before that character development, so...

...But back to my point, yeah, it just doesn't sit well with me when a group is depicted, intentionally or otherwise, as deeply flawed, and yet the story never once acknowledges that that is the case.

Hell, hilariously enough, laguz culture isn't even really criticized by beorc racists. All the beorc racists do is go “filthy subhuman degenerates” and all that, generic shit that doesn't really feel like it came from an organic culture of hatred. The only racism that feels real is the racism against the ravens, because you can easily see how the beorc who interact with Naesala get their impressions about the entire raven laguz race if they're inclined to make those generalizations.

...But badly-written, shallow racism is... kinda par for the course in a lot of media, and I am not remotely in the mood to delve too deeply into that shit.

Moving on...

We've got ballistae here, and no means to figure out how the hell much damage it does, which... is going to be a problem.

I'll get a knight ring if I can get Naesala to retreat without killing any of his raven allies, and I know I managed that last ironman, but I'm wondering how when I look at where he's positioned compared to all of the ballistae.

Oh shit, right, also, I remember I posted a thread about that a while back, and I got the advice that Tanith's reinforcements are useful for baiting him out. I'll keep that in mind. But I think Naesala might actually move to another space after I press start, because I remember him being somewhere else on turn one.

I just went back to base to forge a sword for Zihark, only to discover that steel swords are actually slightly cheaper than iron swords to forge.

But anyway, I changed my mind and forged Jill a max might and hit iron axe called the Jillhammer. Alright, back to work.

Curious that Nasir too is unaware of the massive hatred between hawks and ravens, and seems to assume they have some kindship because they're both bird tribe members.

Ike: There's an antagonism between the tribes that we don't understand. I'd rather not force the issue.

...They really seem to be pushing the idea that forcing them to talk to Naesala is the wrong thing to do, which... well, that claim is objectively wrong gameplaywise, given how much easier it makes the map, so this is a really weird thing to constantly be talking about. Like, they really hammer in the point that “you could do this, but it would be really, really rude to do to your new friends”. If it were just about the idea of making the bird tribe parley with Naesala, I'd get why that would feel like a dick-move moral quandary, but to add in that line I quoted from Ike above and the racist lines from Janaff, Ulki and Reyson, and thereby imply that the moral thing to do is to put yourself at a massive strategic disadvantage to... “respect” the long history of racism between your friends and your enemies... seems like a really weird thing to do in a game like this.

...Okay, however much damage the ballistae do, it's not enough to do even one point of damage to Oscar. Noted. Which means I can assume that ballistae do at most 18 damage, which means that at most, assuming it's just flat-out pure weapon might that will be doubled to 36, Jill will take 18 damage from one of them.

...Yep, that's exactly what happened, and not even that was enough to put her in danger as she baited in the wyverns.

...Okay, so... problem.

You're not allowed to “direct” yellow units onto spaces that non-fliers can't reach... even when all of your yellow units are fliers.

...But on the bright side, after I suspended and resumed later, I discovered that the game actually saves which enemies you've highlighted between suspends. Which is bizarre, since it doesn't even save which enemies you've highlighted between turns, but, uh... credit given, I suppose.

Anyway, I worked out a solution to bait in Naesala. Give Tanith the full guard, and let her tank two vortex attacks (16 total damage) with no risk of getting critted due to her good luck. Both nearby ballistae have been taken out, so... we should be good! And Reyson is nearby to talk to him!

Oh shit! I completely forgot how powerful Reyson's start-of-turn healing is! I didn't need to physic Jill at all! Oh well. Lesson learned, and that's very useful for my air force!

...Shit. Okay, so, you can't talk with Reyson directly, which I think the game was trying to imply with that “Reyson will never talk to Naesala but the two hawks might begrudingly do it if ordered” dialogue scene there. Apparently you're supposed to talk to him with Janaff or Ulki on player phase and then... just let Naesala talk to Reyson on enemy phase, and... well, not really much I can do to avoid that happening anyway, given he's already been baited in and he's nigh unkillable, so... might as well. Only other hiccup is I'm not sure what order in the enemy phase Naesala will move in, so I have to keep my army out of the way of his constantly-wandering ravens anyway for one more turn, to make sure they don't die.

...Done. Thankfully Naesala was the first move, so, okay, no harm done, though as usual I hate when the game makes you have faith in the enemy not attacking people.

Reyson: Oh, yes! Friends! In fact, we're such good friends that you sold me to that wretched sack of lard!

...Reyson gets me. “Lard” is just such a fun word to use as an insult when appropriate. It's just got this delightful cadence to it.

Anyway, Naesala tells Reyson he planned on rescuing him later. Either he's lying, or the game was lying by having Naesala act excessively evil to keep up the ruse, kind of like the opposite of that thing in Frozen where that one spoiler character is shown looking all nice and charming even when nobody's looking and he couldn't possibly be acting for anyone.

Anyway, so, Naesala's backing out, netting us a bunch of bonus exp and a knight ring, but there was also boss dialogue with Ike that I always saw as a kid before figuring out that this was a thing, and I really like it. It's stuck with me all these years. Basically, Naesala offers to side with Ike if he doubles Daein's payment, and Ike's response is “I've no need of an ally who would betray me for a handful of coin.”

So, the ravens start fleeing, and thankfully it looks like Naesala went after everyone in the army except the ravens and ballisticians. Meaning that none of the remaining enemies except the ballista-manning archer managed to attack the ravens before they could flee, and all but one of the ravens escaped. One of them got shot, and then instead of running, took an ally's elixir and stayed put to heal, almost guaranteeing his death next turn when everyone else actually moves before him. Ah well. I could try to do a crazy gambit to rush everyone in and kill the boss this turn, but... the odds of that working are...

...Actually really high.

...Fuck it, I can get everyone in position without irrevocably putting anyone in harm's way, so sure, let's check it out.

...Yeah, this is pretty much a slaughter. A lot of 90% hit rates, Tanith can double at 72% with a killer lance and nearly kill him there... yeah. We're doing it.

Aaaand victory! Also, I really liked the conversation between Homasa and Ike.

Homasa: Your fighting style is... unique. It is rough and awkward, yet terribly strong. Who was your teacher?

Ike: My father.

Homasa: Really? Then we are the same. My father taught me to wield a sword as well. Neither of us can afford to lose.

I like how so many of the minor bosses in this game have this sort of character to them, like you get the sense of them having history, or being able to carry a side-story of their own if they were given just a bit more of a spotlight. Really helps make the world feel more whole.

So we get what Naesala was gonna be paid, and Ike “borrows” fifty thousand gold from what is implied to be a much larger sum. Is this more of that “the gold we're allowed to buy weapons with isn't all the gold we have” thing?

...Yes, that seems to be the case, given Titania's comment about giving the rest to Soren for “company maintenance”.

But anyway, yeah, this is when Volke reveals that there is no 50k “report” to give, it was a test to see if he was mature enough to handle the secret Greil asked Volke to tell him when he was ready.

Strange how they put this weird grainy filter over a still from the CG cutscene of Mist holding the medallion, maybe to make it look more like artwork? Doesn't really work. Reminds me more of that cutscene at the opening of Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories for the Gameboy Advance, this massively compressed 3d video.

Wait, Lehran is an “ancestor” of Prince Reyson?

The fuck does that work? Did Lehran re-marry after Altina, and losing his powers didn't stop him from having full heron children with another heron? Or is this game using the term “ancestor” in the same way that Anri is an “ancestor” of Marth despite the Falchion bloodline being inherited through Anri's brother instead of him? The same interpretation of “ancestor” that Ike-Soren shippers argue Awakening meant when it said Ike is Priam's “ancestor”?

Beorc and laguz are made up of two forces: balance and chaos.”

Ah yes... shit, I think they mentioned something about this in Radiant Dawn, right? But didn't they say that laguz were way more chaos-oriented than the beorc, with the exception of the herons, who were way more balance-oriented than the beorc? If so, Volke's follow-up line of “in this, there is no difference between [beorc and laguz]” seems... wrong, doesn't it?

Yeah, and... now we get the story of how Greil accidentally touched the medallion, killed all 20 of the soldiers who came to take it... and then started killing all of his friends who had helped him hide from his pursuers over the years... before finally killing his wife as she dove to rip the medallion from him and forgave him for what he did in his madness with her last breaths.

And that's when he hired Volke, and in order to make sure Volke could kill him if it ever happened again, he crippled his own hand so he could never wield a sword properly again.

What I don't get is why the hell this vitally crucial message needed to be held from him for so long. What was he going to do wrong with this knowledge if he wasn't mature enough yet? Surely having this knowledge would stop him from doing something stupid, not cause it, right?

So yeah, afterwards, Volke “reveals” (as if the previous conversation hadn't made it clear) that he's really an assassin, and promotes for an unspecified fee, with the story context of Ike hiring Volke to kill him if he should ever go berserk. He's... clearly not tailing Ike anymore in Radiant Dawn though, given what else he's been up to the whole game, so... what's going on here?

But anyway... I just realized... if I remember correctly, the medallion gets stolen almost immediately after this, which I find kind of hilarious. But I won't know until tomorrow, because I'm seeing the bonus experience screen right now, and I got what I think is the full value: 510. Awesome.

...Shit, no, fuck. Apparently ending the map early meant that the three ravens who were still on the map (only one of which was in danger of being killed) didn't get a chance to “escape” and thus never gave me the bonus experience, which is buuuuuullllllshit.

So, that was... I mean, it was kind of interesting, but ridiculously short, and I didn't really skip much to do that dance gambit other than empty space. This map had very few enemies on it other than the ravens, which is kind of disappointing. Also, pacifist objectives are... not my favorite, because the engine really isn't optimized for making those sorts of things non-frustrating. You basically have to treat units you can't kill as instant-death enemies in any situation where you can counter-attack, and... yeah.

...But then again, I guess I still considered the knight ring to be worth it, so...

...Fuck, that reminds me, maybe I should've given the boots to Reyson.

...Whatever.

We'll do Chapter 20 tomorrow.

Stay safe, everyone.

Edited by Alastor15243

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I would state that one info conversation here unlocks the Triangle Attack for the three brothers, but... problem is, it's impractical to a degree that only the armor triangle in Binding Blade surpasses. For one, it requires actively using Rolf, which is a tall order in and of itself. Second, it requires giving Oscar bows after he promotes... when axes are just better. Third, it requires all of them to equip bows. I mean, really? They take away one aspect of what generally makes the triangle attack impractical (needing three of the same unit) only to end up making it more impractical anyway in spite of this (thanks to requiring all of them to use bows)? Seriously?

Edited by Shadow Mir

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5 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

I would state that one info conversation here unlocks the Triangle Attack for the three brothers, but... problem is, it's impractical to a degree that only the armor triangle in Binding Blade surpasses. For one, it requires actively using Rolf, which is a tall order in and of itself. Second, it requires giving Oscar bows after he promotes... when axes are just better. Third, it requires all of them to equip bows. I mean, really? They take away one aspect of what generally makes the triangle attack impractical (needing three of the same unit) only to end up making it more impractical anyway in spite of this (thanks to requiring all of them to use bows)? Seriously?

This is where reclassing would make things much better. Give Rolf a berserker reclass or something. Though reclassing would probably be incompatible with the whole choose your sub weapon thing Path of Radiance gives you (which while cool, kind of just buffs mounted units more).

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1 minute ago, Jotari said:

This is where reclassing would make things much better. Give Rolf a berserker reclass or something. Though reclassing would probably be incompatible with the whole choose your sub weapon thing Path of Radiance gives you (which while cool, kind of just buffs mounted units more).

Honestly, I wish a game would just let you make your own classes already. That's what I thought Three Houses was gonna do, and part of why I was looking forward to it so much. I just want a game where you assemble a class out of movement types and weapon ranks that alter your other stats in various positive and negative ways, so you can make shit like armored healers, or sword-wielding fliers. I don't know if I'd want every game to be like that, but it would be so much fun to do for at least one game where we get to go crazy, see how and if it works.

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1 minute ago, Alastor15243 said:

Honestly, I wish a game would just let you make your own classes already. That's what I thought Three Houses was gonna do, and part of why I was looking forward to it so much. I just want a game where you assemble a class out of movement types and weapon ranks that alter your other stats in various positive and negative ways, so you can make shit like armored healers, or sword-wielding fliers. I don't know if I'd want every game to be like that, but it would be so much fun to do for at least one game where we get to go crazy, see how and if it works.

Well aside from limiting magic (particularly flying magic) to a few classes Three Houses does come pretty damn close to that. Weapon rank requirements are still a thing limiting freedom, but you still absolutely can have that bow wyvern  lord. Especially if you abuse New Game+ and buy weapon ranks from your previous palythroughs (which, call me a basic bitch if you will, I do, because it's a tonne of fun and Maniac actually provides a playground that still makes things challenging doing that).

 

6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

...But of course, I also get the feeling that his refusal to do so, and his willingness to just take all the verbal beatings laguz throw at him without comment, has gone a long way towards endearing himself to the laguz, for better or worse. Several of the laguz friends he's made only became his friends because he didn't make them want to go away by not letting them shit on him for stuff that isn't his fault. Like, even after Ike proved himself, Janaff still makes racist remarks to Ike in his presence and Ike just kind of awkwardly sidesteps it and/or apologizes for not getting the jokes Janaff insulted him for not getting. It's... bizarre, and I'm not sure how exactly I would have written Ike differently while still doing all of that bridge-building between beorc and laguz. But the fact that multiple laguz just seem to have free range to insult his race around him feels... wrong. I'd like it a lot more if this were depicted more like his eventual attitude around Begnion, where he awkwardly holds his tongue for diplomacy's sake despite not liking what he's hearing. But he gained this attitude around laguz way before that character development, so...

 

Ike's too dang liberal! Though one could possibly argue that Ike is more tactful then he lets on. Consider for a second if the reverse would be true if Ike were born a laguz and beorc hurled insults at him. Which would basically be Mordecai (who is Ike's sister! Coincidence, I think not!)

Though to be serious with this, I think the best way to fix this would be to if Ike gives them shit back from a non racist stand point and the laguz response isn't more racism, but to respect Ike for standing up to them and biting back in a display of strength (while not being an asshat about it). That would be pretty consistent with both their established characterizations.

 

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34 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Well aside from limiting magic (particularly flying magic) to a few classes Three Houses does come pretty damn close to that. Weapon rank requirements are still a thing limiting freedom, but you still absolutely can have that bow wyvern  lord. Especially if you abuse New Game+ and buy weapon ranks from your previous palythroughs (which, call me a basic bitch if you will, I do, because it's a tonne of fun and Maniac actually provides a playground that still makes things challenging doing that).

 

Limiting magic is the main issue here, but another way that Three Houses ruined it was by changing the answer to the question of "Can I use axes as a falco knight?" from "No", to "Sure, I guess, if you're an idiot."

Yes, you can technically use axes as a pegasus knight, but unless you've got a really cool fancy personal axe, there's pretty much no point to doing so, because that lancefaire skill means that lances will outstrip any comparable axe in literally every stat, being stronger, lighter and more accurate. Add in the fact that there's no weapon triangle, and the reasons to use axes as a falco knight basically don't exist anymore, just when we've finally been given the power to do it. Those inherent faire skills they put on literally every single class after a certain promotion tier really ruined this system, subtly punishing something that in no way, shape or form needed to be punished. It gives you the freedom, yes, but it sucks nearly all of the fun out of doing so by making boring tradition the objectively best option most of the time.

34 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Though to be serious with this, I think the best way to fix this would be to if Ike gives them shit back from a non racist stand point and the laguz response isn't more racism, but to respect Ike for standing up to them and biting back in a display of strength (while not being an asshat about it). That would be pretty consistent with both their established characterizations.

...Yeah, I think something like this just might work.

Edited by Alastor15243

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7 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

The fuck does that work? Did Lehran re-marry after Altina, and losing his powers didn't stop him from having full heron children with another heron? Or is this game using the term “ancestor” in the same way that Anri is an “ancestor” of Marth despite the Falchion bloodline being inherited through Anri's brother instead of him? The same interpretation of “ancestor” that Ike-Soren shippers argue Awakening meant when it said Ike is Priam's “ancestor”?

It's the Anri definition. We know what became of Lehran, and none of it speaks of another wife. Although it's worse than Anri, in that if Lehran had any siblings, we should know of them, we don't so they mustn't exist. Therefore, it's more "of the same species", Lehran as a spiritual/cultural/historical ancestor and not a genetic one.

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Just now, Interdimensional Observer said:

It's the Anri definition. We know what became of Lehran, and none of it speaks of another wife. Although it's worse than Anri, in that if Lehran had any siblings, we should know of them, we don't so they mustn't exist. Therefore, it's more "of the same species", Lehran as a spiritual/cultural/historical ancestor and not a genetic one.

Yeah, also, isn't Lehran a black-winged heron, and not a white-winged one like the serenes royalty is supposed to be?

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Just now, Alastor15243 said:

Yeah, also, isn't Lehran a black-winged heron, and not a white-winged one like the serenes royalty is supposed to be?

Correct.

Shifted picture of what the darker Herons looked like (Japan apparently calls the royals "Egrets" as distinct from the rest).:

162-163.jpg

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2 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Correct.

Shifted picture of what the darker Herons looked like (Japan apparently calls the royals "Egrets" as distinct from the rest).:

162-163.jpg

...That's not really the "actual size" of dragon laguz, is it? That seems... significantly smaller than I remember the games implying...

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2 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

...That's not really the "actual size" of dragon laguz, is it? That seems... significantly smaller than I remember the games implying...

I guess, it says specifically "used for creating the 3D models" here. Downsizing the dragons for that sounds possible. Ena might be smaller, but I don't remember her being barely taller than Ike.

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3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Limiting magic is the main issue here, but another way that Three Houses ruined it was by changing the answer to the question of "Can I use axes as a falco knight?" from "No", to "Sure, I guess, if you're an idiot."

Yes, you can technically use axes as a pegasus knight, but unless you've got a really cool fancy personal axe, there's pretty much no point to doing so, because that lancefaire skill means that lances will outstrip any comparable axe in literally every stat, being stronger, lighter and more accurate. Add in the fact that there's no weapon triangle, and the reasons to use axes as a falco knight basically don't exist anymore, just when we've finally been given the power to do it. Those inherent faire skills they put on literally every single class after a certain promotion tier really ruined this system, subtly punishing something that in no way, shape or form needed to be punished. It gives you the freedom, yes, but it sucks nearly all of the fun out of doing so by making boring tradition the objectively best option most of the time.

...Yeah, I think something like this just might work.

You can import fair skills from other clasess, can't you? Though I guess the point still stands as your shooting yourself in the foot by taking up a skill space you could dedicate to something else (and without new game+ faire assignable skills are obtained quite late). I get why they want to maintain some class identity though, but innate faire skills probably wasn't the way to go and a lack of weapon triangle really doesn't help. I'd probably reduce it to all classes having an extra 5% hit and 1 damage on their associated weapons as well as bump up the rate of wexp accumulation a bit more (of course my personal preference would be to have a class tree with damn near every weapon idea available somewhere).

Edited by Jotari

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5 hours ago, Jotari said:

You can import fair skills from other clasess, can't you? Though I guess the point still stands as your shooting yourself in the foot by taking up a skill space you could dedicate to something else (and without new game+ faire assignable skills are obtained quite late). I get why they want to maintain some class identity though, but innate faire skills probably wasn't the way to go and a lack of weapon triangle really doesn't help. I'd probably reduce it to all classes having an extra 5% hit and 1 damage on their associated weapons as well as bump up the rate of wexp accumulation a bit more (of course my personal preference would be to have a class tree with damn near every weapon idea available somewhere).

Yeah. I don't know what the devs were thinking, making you equip three separate skills out of five (faire, prowess and breaker) just to get the maximum benefit out of a single weapon. That just clogs up skill slots with boring skills. Not that Three Houses has many fun skills to begin with, mind you, but still.

Edited by Alastor15243

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Path of Radiance Day 18: Chapter 20

Man, it goes without saying, but yet again, I love this game's narrator. Not even voiced yet, and yet their descriptions of the world do so much to paint a picture of what they aren't literally painting a picture of.

Apparently Begnion initially wasn't very confident that Ike would lead the loaned Begnion soldiers to victory. So... wait... did the Begnion soldiers initially think they were being sent on a suicide mission? That they were just political pawns being sent to die by the apostle they devoted their lives to, all as a part of some backroom favor-trading with some princess they'd never heard of?

Damn, that would have been an interesting bit of the story to see. A group of Begnion soldiers, named and playable, who join the party in Chapter 18, and are seen in the base conversations and opening dialogue to be resentful of Ike out of justifiable fear for their lives, only to gain respect for him by the end of the chapter (or have a somber downer ending if you let any of them die).

...Yep, it's just as I remembered. Lehran's medallion gets stolen literally the next cutscene after Ike learns how important it is. Wow. That's... frustrating.

Anyway, we have to fight Shiharam Fizzart today. Jill's father.

Shiharam: Yet, that's... General Petrine! If we do this thing, Daein will suffer.

Oh wow. I'm sorry, I know it's probably an actual term from, like, older times... but hearing people saying “do this thing” in serious contexts, describing people about to do things that must not be done... it just makes me crack up. I remember Elincia says “You must not do this thing!” to her retainer trio later too, either in this game or the next, but I think this game. I just couldn't take that moment seriously. I think because I first heard that exact line in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.

So yeah, apparently Jill and her father (along with Haar) are immigrants from Begnion, and... I mean, it's interesting to think that we have to be told that, by Petrine, as she's using it to insult them. Like, if we were in a world with more than one person who isn't “anime white”, or a world with more than one accent (or a world with more voice acting, even though I think that's generally overrated), we'd have known this just from interacting with Jill. But now we have to be told, because there's absolutely no consistency as to which physical features are native to each region. Not even hair color! Name a hair color, and you can probably find someone in two other countries who has it. Green? Elincia, Sothe, Muarim. Purple? Mia and Sanaki.

...Granted, that all makes sense, as they all used to be part of the same empire and not nearly enough time has passed for any actual biological divergence to happen, but still, it kind of sheds a light on a consistent weirdness a lot of this franchise has when it comes to telling people of various nationalities apart. Also, Petrine's xenophobic rant just feels kind of... like she's just shallowly being used to make us feel sorrier for Jill and Shiharam and Haar in this situation.

And then Shiharam reveals that the horrible thing they're being ordered to do in order to halt the Criman advance... is to flood their own hometown.

Honestly, it baffles me that Petrine is acting like this. Not that she isn't that awful, but it feels like the wrong kind of awful. The sheer levels of pride she has in her patriotism and in her strength as a warrior suggests to me that she'd consider destroying a civilian town full of her own people merely to slow the Crimean army down... to be beyond pathetic and cowardly. This is a woman who kills people for retreating and daring to show their face around her afterwards. I feel like she'd never be willing to admit that she's that desperate to stop the Crimean army after losing just two battles.

They changed the dialogue for this after-battle report to call back to Ike's lack of sleep making him tune out of the first one. Nice. Also, apparently I got significantly more than 50,000 gold, even after taking out whatever promoting Volke cost me.

...Alright, so, I'm letting Jill sit this map out, just in case. To make up for it, I'm giving her bonus experience, so she can get some levels holding a def-boosting weapon (killer lance) instead of a def-nerfing one. Minor change, but every bit counts to make sure that two stat boosters will actually cap it for her.

Anyway, Mist and Mordecai get their A support. It's... I mean it started out nice, but it ended really abruptly, and wasn't really a satisfying payoff. Come to think of it... have I read a single support in this game that I've had mostly-positive stuff to say about that wasn't just “it was okay, I guess”? I... can't think of one at the moment.

Alright, let's move on to info. Hey, a three-star one!

Oh no. It's Calill.

I have literally no use for this woman. She's never going to be used, she costs they-don't-even-say-how-much gold to recruit, and yet I have to recruit her anyway because the completionist within me says so and I want to see all the info conversations I can.

First-class mage” who chose to use knives instead of staves. Mangs brought up a fun point that knives sucking so much as a weapon option for mages basically makes that this game's “prepromote penalty”.

Promote them yourselves, or we'll make them use knives!”

...Oh, so she's apparently free. With her saying her fee will be decided later after she shows what she can do. I hope that doesn't come from my stores, because I don't remember this ever coming up again.

Fine, might as well hire her. She comes with weapons. I think meteor, actually.

And then Ike gets a hilarious “I am the manager” moment... talking... to... a... blonde... woman.

Hahahahahaha! Wow! Funny how shit can seem funnier with future context.

Okay, so yeah, the game confirms that herons are basically psychic, and the only reason Reyson can't read Ike's mind now is because there's too much war shit going on around him making it hard. So yeah... that seems to be how Leanne can understand beorc language perfectly but struggles so much speaking it.

...Jeez, and Reyson still trusted Naesala so much, even with their arguments, that he refused to read Naesala's mind when he was being led into a trap? Did he read it to see if Naesala was genuine about wanting to apologize to Reyson last chapter? Does that mean that Naesala was somehow telling the truth about planning on rescuing Reyson?

But moving on with the conversation, it seems that Reyson has what I like to call “noncombatant angst”, which is when an insanely useful support unit has a complex about what they do because it's not as flashy and conventionally badass as just smashing things with a sword.

Which reminds me of a character idea I had when thinking about a Fates rewrite: Wulf the troubadour. A guy who developed a massive complex about being the only male healer in his entire class back at the academy, who grew to compensate for how soft and un-manly his profession apparently was by developing this comically edgy masked persona that re-contextualizes his healing as a never-ending bloody war with the Grim Reaper himself.

He'd have more strength, defense and skill than is natural for his class, but less speed, luck and resistance, and his personal skill would be that he can crit when healing, complete with cut-in quotes:

NOT TODAY!”

I DEFY YOU, REAPER!”

And of course, he'd have actual combat cut-in quotes for after he promotes:

YOU ARE BEYOND SAVING!”

“YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO DIE!”

But anyway, Ike sets Reyson straight the same way every single character who thinks like Reyson is set straight, blah blah blah, we move on.

As I was thinking of a catchy name for Zihark's new forged steel sword (he's never gonna cap defense and nothing will stop him from capping speed), I am suddenly struck by an incredibly disturbing thought when I thought about his past relationship with a cat laguz:

...What form do laguz... have sex in? Human form, or animal form? Or both?

...How many awkward conversations did Zihark have to have with his girlfriend about what kind of shit he was comfortable doing with her? And how exactly do you gently break it to your sexual partner that you don't find one of her two bodies attractive?

...Moving on, I eventually come up with the name “Sabretooth”, and apparently Fates has trained my subconscious or something when it comes to thinking up forge names, because for the third time in a row, the name isn't too long.

Apparently you can remove Reyson's personal skills, which... terrifies me. At any rate, they take up all of his skill slots, so I can't put shade on him. Guess I'll put it on Mist.

...And with that, let's move out!

So, it looks like Ulki and Janaff's senses are getting more story mileage than I was expecting, even though they can obviously easily be replaced in this conversation if they were killed or never recruited. Let's see what happens if Ulki isn't here...

...Nothing, they just move on to being immediately told afterwards by a Begnion soldier that there's a flood.

I could've sworn that this explanation to Ike of Janaff and Ulki's abilities was done before this. Bit of an awkward time to crack a joke.

So, we've got an arrive mission with a 20 turn time limit. Enemies are still hilariously weak, so this should be no problem. After turn one, once we've taken out the enemies near our starting location, I doubt this will be any trouble at all.

Honestly, I kind of don't mind that Ike doesn't have 1-2 range at the moment. It means there are scraps left behind for my slower units to get the experience of while Ike and Oscar run ahead to accomplish the goal.

Anyway, we get a scene with the enemy troops, and a nameless soldier who's prepared to die rather than obey Daein's horrible orders... until Haar points out his family will suffer too.

Then we show Shiharam using the word “laguz”, revealing how disgusted he is at what he had to teach his daughter in order to live in Daein.

...It's curious to think that Daein is a country that's racist enough to horrify even natives of Begnion, which kept laguz slaves until 20 years ago.

...But... why the fuck did Shiharam and Haar even leave Begnion, if Daein goes against their principles so horrifically? Didn't they have a cushy job in Begnion? What on earth happened that made them consider going to Daein to be worth it?

Haar: It's Ashnard's fault this country has become what it is today. Ah, what a terrible miscalculation we made... Even so, I... I hated the idea of furthering the corruption of the imperial senate.

...Okay, they need to give more explanation here. They've given way more information for why they'd hate Daein than why they'd hate Begnion. And shit, even if there's good reason why Daein would be the lesser of two evils... why the fuck wouldn't you go to Crimea instead?

But anyway, Haar leaves, to be recruited another day by Jill.

Wyverns start flying in, but my army's been able to handle them pretty well so far. And thanks to some shoving by Ulki to get Reyson in range, Soren was able to take out two of the group of northern units who suddenly decided to charge. Zihark got a lucky kill thanks to crits, but even if he hadn't, we probably would have been fine. Still, it's nice to have that extra assurance now and then. Strangely, while enemy attack power is pretty damned pathetic, the enemies are pretty durable, meaning that Zihark's adept and crit rate have proven useful to sometimes grant one-rounds when nobody else could manage it, similar to Binding Blade.

So, as can be expected, the villagers hate us. But they still give us stuff to make us go away. It feels kinda comical for the tone of the map. It would've been nice if they just had these treasures be droppable items and had the villagers all just tell us to go fuck off, treating us entirely like the invading scum they think we are.

...Which brings up the question of why we'd even visit villages in this situation. What are we trying to accomplish, aside from the gameplay objective of getting free shit? Usually we're trying to warn them about bandits or something, aren't we? What's our motivation for visiting civilians of an enemy country?

...Anyway, yeah, right now I've basically got everyone in two groups. One up to the northeast fighting all those reinforcements... and then Ike and Oscar fighting their way up to the top of the hill on their own.

I love how light and easy-to-shove Reyson is. Makes it so easy to help set up massive dancing gambits.

So, it's curious how the game gives us such a lenient turn limit. The game expects you to beat it in 10 turns if you want all the bonus experience, but gives you as long as 20 to beat it before you actually lose. And 10 turns is barely feeling like much of an ask to begin with, honestly.

...Strangely, when Reyson's transformed, he's a bit heavier than an untransformed Janaff, which is a shame, because I was hoping Janaff could do some shoving. But it didn't matter.

At any rate, when wyvern reinforcements showed up from behind, I decided to see if I could (safely) do a rushing one-turn gambit. In the process, Tanith and Shiharam got a conversation, which was fun. Apparently Shiharam had been driven out by the corrupt senate after the death of the previous apostle? And, like... Tanith described it as such, so apparently the apostle knows full well the senate has been corrupt for more than 20 years.

And then Ike takes him out with an aether immediately after Shiharam tells him that neither of them wants a drawn out battle and that he should “hold nothing back”. No words, just... aether. Awesome. Almost feels in-character, sort of.

So, Ike orders the soldiers to provide aid to the citizens, and Elincia goes to help too, saying maybe she can help the injured... hinting that she already knows healing magic.

And then Ike has a talk with Jill, the girl whose father he just killed. She's not much in the mood to talk, which... I like, honestly. Makes it sadder.

I wonder who this “old friend” is that Haar has in the pegasus knights. When exactly did they leave? It can't have been 20 whole years ago, right? Haar doesn't seem that old.

...He's apparently 37 in Radiant Dawn, three years after Path of Radiance, so... he'd have been 14 if he left right after the Serenes Massacre, 20 years ago. Meanwhile Sigrun would've been five, and Tanith would've been four. So... not them, unless they left way more recently than that. Is it just some unnamed generic then?

Yeah, they clarify it was eighteen years. So right around the time Ashnard took power. What a time to jump ship, huh?

Anyway, that means Tanith would have been six, and Sigrun would have been seven. So still obviously not them. Honestly, even before doing the math and checking character ages, I had serious doubts there was a single woman in the holy pegasus corps that was a day over thirty. Hell, ignoring the laguz, there isn't a single named female character in this game who's a day over thirty.

...Shit, I accidentally pressed B along with A as I was picking up the controller, and skipped the rest of that cutscene.

...Looks like it was pretty much over at any rate, so okay. On to the next one with Petrine and Ena, revealing that Ena will be the one commanding the army next chapter. And also, finally revealing that Nasir is in fact the spy, and Ena has a connection to him.

Anyway, they... really weirdly (and in hindsight, creepily) phrase this scene to make it sound like Ena is in love with Ashnard and would do anything to be at his side despite Ashnard thinking nothing of him. In reality, she wants to be at her fiance's side, Rajaion, who was force-fed the feral elixir and turned into Ashnard's mount. That's the “his” she wants to be at the side of despite the fact that “he thinks nothing of [her]”.

...Also, in looking up the details of this to be sure, I was reminded that Ena is apparently pregnant with Rajaion's child in Radiant Dawn, and... wait...

...when, precisely, was Rajaion captured and enslaved?

How the fuck long does dragon gestation take!?

Even if she got herself pregnant with a sperm sample from Rajaion that she collected as he lay dying at the end of Path of Radiance, that still implies that a dragon laguz woman can be pregnant for three fucking years and have no visible baby bump whatsoever! Damn! That is a long-ass pregnancy!

...And yet Almedha gave birth to Soren right on normal beorc schedule! Fascinating tidbit about the subtleties of laguz biology right there, if this isn't a completely asinine plothole.

...And with that... the chapter is over. Working out how to deal with the reinforcements was kind of engaging, but really, the fact that I never had to check enemy stats once when sending Ike and Oscar up speaks volumes about how un-threatening the enemies have become to my units. I'm pretty sure I sometimes had to check enemy stats even in Sacred Stones.

Buuuut... that's beside the point. I'm done for the day. I may be doing some work on the weekend in order to line up the end of the game with a Friday, as I usually like to do that. Depends on how things turn out. But we're in the final third now. Soon, we'll be moving on to the much-more-difficult... and much-less ironmannable... Radiant Dawn.

And then we'll finally start to find the answer to the question that has been haunting me for a while now:

“How hard is too hard for this marathon?”.

Stay safe, everyone.

Edited by Alastor15243

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41 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Honestly, it baffles me that Petrine is acting like this. Not that she isn't that awful, but it feels like the wrong kind of awful. The sheer levels of pride she has in her patriotism and in her strength as a warrior suggests to me that she'd consider destroying a civilian town full of her own people merely to slow the Crimean army down... to be beyond pathetic and cowardly. This is a woman who kills people for retreating and daring to show their face around her afterwards. I feel like she'd never be willing to admit that she's that desperate to stop the Crimean army after losing just two battles.

She probably doesn't want to do this, but if she realizes more standard tactics would fail her and her life is growing increasingly in jeopardy, its life over pride and avoiding hypocrisy.

I mean, I consider Petrine (Prague is her Japanese name FYI) to be two things:

  1. Titania's evil twin- a female Lance & Axe Paladin loyal to a man who can use Swords and Axes.
  2. Narcian's sister by a raven mister (or whatever her Branded status comes from).

They're not identical, Narcian is more exaggerated with his lust and jealousy, but she follows him closely in being a "bravado villain". Both are encountered early in the story, both grow increasingly anxious to appease their monarch as their failures mount, and both are the first of their fellow titular elite generals to die. They are pride and bark masking insecurity and a toothless bite.

Has FE ever done this trope after Petrine? Berkut maybe? It looks like it would be easy to copy and repeat.

 

53 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Alright, so, I'm letting Jill sit this map out, just in case.

The lines you missed:

Spoiler

Deployed Jill and read the  base conversation  JIll in the previous chapter.

Jill
...

Ike
Are you all right? You look rather pale.

Jill
Um, General Ike... To be honest, I...

Ike
I know. The enemy general is your father, isn't he?

Jill
How did you know?

Ike
I overheard you talking to that man with the eye patch.

Jill
I see.

Ike
If you're having second thoughts, it's not too late. Do you want me to switch you out with someone else?

Jill
No... I'll be fine. At least, I think I will.

Ike
You don't have to be in the vanguard. Just keep that in mind.

Jill
Thank you...

Deployed Jill and reached an A support with Mist


Jill
...

Ike
Are you all right? You look rather pale.

Jill
Oh, General Ike...

Ike
What is it? Mist is worried that you're not feeling well.

Jill
To be honest... The man leading the enemy forces, General Shiharam...He's my father.

Ike
What? Hmm... That's not good. Do you really want to face your father in combat?

Jill
I joined this army based on my own convictions. I think I can meet my father with my head held high.

Ike
Well, if you're sure... Just remember, if you change your mind, let me know. There's no need for you to be in the vanguard if you don't want to be.

Jill
Thank you...

 

Jill talks to Shiharam. (No A support with Mist or B with Lethe)

Jill
Father!

Shiharam
Jill...is that you?

Jill
Why...Why are you doing this terrible thing? You must close the floodgates now! The fields will be lost, but there may be time to save the homes.

Shiharam
I cannot...

Jill
Father?

Shiharam
If you wish to stop the water, you must defeat your father. That is...the...only way...

Jill
What is it? There has to be a reason! I know that an act like this cannot be what you desire.

Shiharam
...Jill, you must leave. Please! If you can't do that, then slay me! There's no more time!

Jill
...Very well! In that case, I will fight with you.

Shiharam
What did you say?

Jill
Not as a soldier of Daein, but as one of your soldiers. I will fight.

Shiharam
Jill, calm yourself. You mustn't get caught up in the emotions of the moment and lose your way.

Jill
Joining the Crimean army opened my eyes. For the first time, I was able to think about what I fight for. Until that moment, I only did as I was ordered...It was all for fame and glory. Now I finally understand. I fight for those I wish to protect. Father, I want to fight for you.

Shiharam
Even if you come to regret it?

Jill
Yes. I'm prepared for that. I...Jill Fizzart, hereby return myself to the command of General Shiharam. What are your orders, sir?

 

Shiharam vs Jill (with B Lethe and or A Mist)

Jill: Father…

Shiharam: We meet as enemies. There are no pleasantries to exchange. Ready your weapon, soldier of Crimea!

Jill: Father… I…

Shiharam: You won’t charge? Then I will bring the fight to you!

 

Jill attacks an enemy (Randomly generated?)

Daein Soldier
Lady Jill, is that you? What are you doing with the Crimeans?

Jill
I'm sorry... I've chosen the path that's right for me.

Daein Soldier
Pah! You would betray your own father?

Jill
...

Daein Soldier
You...traitor!

Jill
...

Daein Soldier
My lady Jill... No...Why does this have to be...

53 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Even if she got herself pregnant with a sperm sample from Rajaion that she collected as he lay dying at the end of Path of Radiance, that still implies that a dragon laguz woman can be pregnant for three fucking years and have no visible baby bump whatsoever! Damn! That is a long-ass pregnancy!

There are two statements concerning if she knew she was pregnant. Her RD "death"/retreat quote suggests she did not, the artbooks say she was secretly hiding Rajaion's baby inside her, but it doesn't say if that was a secret to herself or not. (Which begs a very weird question best left unanswered- the menstrual cycle of Dragon Laguz.)

 

1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

Still, it's nice to have that extra assurance now and then. Strangely, while enemy attack power is pretty damned pathetic, the enemies are pretty durable, meaning that Zihark's adept and crit rate have proven useful to sometimes grant one-rounds when nobody else could manage it, similar to Binding Blade.

Thats the criticism I've heard of PoR Maniac- too many enemies and too durable at that. Which is different from how post-RD super difficulties have usually been, the emphasis there is placed more on inflated offense than defense.

 

1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

Apparently you can remove Reyson's personal skills, which... terrifies me. At any rate, they take up all of his skill slots, so I can't put shade on him. Guess I'll put it on Mist.

But you could give Reyson Counter that way, which would let him kill enemies. A gimmick of the most extreme order.

 

1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

Anyway, Mist and Mordecai get their A support. It's... I mean it started out nice, but it ended really abruptly, and wasn't really a satisfying payoff. Come to think of it... have I read a single support in this game that I've had mostly-positive stuff to say about that wasn't just “it was okay, I guess”? I... can't think of one at the moment.

Hmm... try RolfxMist? Or BoydxBrom? Maybe RolfxTauroneo- but it's more one-sided.

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19 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

She probably doesn't want to do this, but if she realizes more standard tactics would fail her and her life is growing increasingly in jeopardy, its life over pride and avoiding hypocrisy.

I mean, I consider Petrine (Prague is her Japanese name FYI) to be two things:

  1. Titania's evil twin- a female Lance & Axe Paladin loyal to a man who can use Swords and Axes.
  2. Narcian's sister by a raven mister (or whatever her Branded status comes from).

They're not identical, Narcian is more exaggerated with his lust and jealousy, but she follows him closely in being a "bravado villain". Both are encountered early in the story, both grow increasingly anxious to appease their monarch as their failures mount, and both are the first of their fellow titular elite generals to die. They are pride and bark masking insecurity and a toothless bite.

Has FE ever done this trope after Petrine? Berkut maybe? It looks like it would be easy to copy and repeat.

Fair enough. I guess I wish they could have shown her desperation and breakdown more though, if she's caving in on her bravado under pressure. I'll have to keep seeing where this goes.

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On 7/7/2020 at 12:50 AM, Interdimensional Observer said:

Shinon vs Soren

Shinon: Well, well, lookee here. The little boy plays soldier… How sweet. Your job’s always been just to use that big brain of yours. That’s why you spend your time hiding behind Ike’s apron. Isn’t it, Soren?

Soren: Shinon. You always were dumb as a gnat, but… A first-class archer. I’ll give you that. But with the power I now possess, it’s probably in your best interest not to presume to know my strength.

Shinon: Hah! You’re still a snotty little whelp, aren’t you? Get ready to die, little man.

I've always rather liked this one. It goes to show just how much bad blood there is between these two. In other battle conversation Shinon doesn't exactly care about fighting his old friends but he's usually not hostile towards them. Condescending, cold and rude sure but not this level of hateful. With Soren and shinon it seems like they really hate each other's guts. As Ike's biggest fan and biggest critic I guess that makes sense. The amount of bad blood is actually quite refreshing. 

It also implies Soren came quite a long way as far as fighting abilities go. 

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