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Crimson Mors

Iruthia Chronicles -- My First Hack

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Iruthia Chronicles (Subject to Change)
Current Length: Chapter 1

EDIT: I have included here for you all a newly recorded video. The purpose is to have a comprehensive single video that outlines where I am right now in terms of development, but also a summary of the desired story direction I intend to take my game in. I decided it would be better to have a singular video rather than an entire playlist (with terrible audio) for members of the community to view and comment on with critiques and suggestions.

Current Version Video: [Version 0.2.1]

About the hacker:
Hello Serenes Forest~ This if my first time genuinely attempting to create a romhack. I started back in January when I created the first iteration of this post. I really enjoy story driven games with many of the story heavy Fire Emblem titles being my favorite. I'm still getting used to FEBuilderGBA and all it can do so my awkward cutscenes will continue to get better with time. Thank you for any feedback you provide.

About the Hack: I will try to keep this brief to avoid the TL;DR that probably put a lot of people off last time
Iruthia is a continent with a past stretching back to the age of the gods. When gods mingled amongst humans, many demigods were born into the world. A demigod with great power over dark magic was born in Iruthia. It would use its power to sew the seeds of doubt in the minds of humans and pit them against each other, sparking a devastatingly bloody war. When the people of Iruthia were bloodied beyond the ability to resist its power, the demigod forced the construction of a great tower to be its throne over men. There was a long period of piece, but wars have begun to occur more regularly. The most recent of these wars was three decades ago and the continent seems on the brink of another. Could these wars be a hint at something deeper beginning to stur?

Okay that was very abridged, but it gives some information. I responded to a comment in my previous iteration, it should still be down below and gives more depth to this premise. There are character profiles below as well, I'll probably bring them up to this post as soon as I figure out how to do collapsible tabs... ..I never learned how okay..

The Goal of this Hack:
Besides learning how to romhack, I want to create fun and engaging games. I'm currently in school for a degree in game development so this is great practice for me to understand the development process, even if I'm using tools for a GBA game. I want to create a game for this community because Fire Emblem has always been a huge part of my life. 

Edited by Crimson Mors
New Version/Outdated Information

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I watched the playlist and I think this hack has some potential. Having controllable faceless units is an interesting mechanic that few hacks use (in fact, this is making me want to revisit my own long abandoned hack that used this concept). I can tell you put a good amount of work into these chapters, and for a first hack it's definitely not bad. Much better than my first hack lol. Here are some constructive criticisms: I think the prologue's map could use some improvement, as it's a little clunky especially at the river. Of course, rivers are hard to do right, due to how their tilesets are put together. I would suggest looking at how other hacks that are known for good maps make their rivers and try to learn from that. The writing is good for a first hack, and the only problem that sticks out is a few minor grammar errors (which isn't super important, it's just better to fix those early on rather than wait and have to go back through your entire hack once development is finished). Those are just off the top of my head, I could probably give more feedback if I went through and played it myself, but unfortunately I don't have the time right now. Anyways, keep up the good work

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4 hours ago, CM9 said:

I watched the playlist and I think this hack has some potential. Having controllable faceless units is an interesting mechanic that few hacks use (in fact, this is making me want to revisit my own long abandoned hack that used this concept). I can tell you put a good amount of work into these chapters, and for a first hack it's definitely not bad. Much better than my first hack lol. Here are some constructive criticisms: I think the prologue's map could use some improvement, as it's a little clunky especially at the river. Of course, rivers are hard to do right, due to how their tilesets are put together. I would suggest looking at how other hacks that are known for good maps make their rivers and try to learn from that. The writing is good for a first hack, and the only problem that sticks out is a few minor grammar errors (which isn't super important, it's just better to fix those early on rather than wait and have to go back through your entire hack once development is finished). Those are just off the top of my head, I could probably give more feedback if I went through and played it myself, but unfortunately I don't have the time right now. Anyways, keep up the good work

Thank you so much! I've been waiting for pretty much any feedback.

I agree that the map design in the first chapter is a bit awkward. I was trying to make it a "defend the throne" chapter akin to how FE7's Ostia chapter functioned but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to program the fortress gate tile and to make the enemy target it. It would make it so you couldn't just hide in a corner or move as a blob. The whole flank on the western part of the river was therefore going to be more threatening since it's so close to the fortress. If you've got any tips on how to make that functional I would very much appreciate the information. I do think looking at how other people do river chapters would be beneficial.

I've actually hit the snag of not knowing how to work around the world map events. I probably should've done more research before I started, but I enabled the skip world map fix but have no idea how to actually disable the world map with it. *shrug* I might import what I have into an FE7 hack to just not deal with it but I still wanted to do branching promotion and skills so it's a bit of a loss. 

Again, thank you for the feedback! 

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I will test it after my holliday. I like the control of no name character, and it's something I want to add to my hack too.

I don't really know myself how to make a defend the throne chapter. But it'seems you can specify to the AI to target a specific class. For exemple, you can do a "protect the king chapter". The king would be a npc you can't rescue drop (because too much con) and the AI want to target this class. I don't really check, but there a FE8 chapter like that, and a FE7 chapter like that (where you need to protect an uncounscious Nils). So you can check if it work like that, or if there anything else. There also a defend the throne chapter in fe7 hector mode only

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So, I'm more interested at the moment of the world building and character development. How far along are you on that front, and can you share any details?

That said, I like this. Your approach to maps, while not the most polished thing, is creative and, from the looks of it, fun.

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1 hour ago, Xylaugheon Daily said:

So, I'm more interested at the moment of the world building and character development. How far along are you on that front, and can you share any details?

I have a bit of world building in progress. I shared my latest version to the bulk Concepts page; (I should probably update this page to reflect that). I've got a series of excel sheets for character bios, location bios, hero lineage, ancient lore, etc. It is very... free form at the moment -- it's difficult to determine where all the pieces will connect and what will need to be ret-conned. You can find my current version 0.2 stuff at this link to the v0.2 playlist. You'll find that I overhauled the prologue map and cut down on the turn count by the premise remains the same -- I've also done some personalized character art via the frankenstein's monster method of cutting and pasting existing character pieces.

The playlist includes my custom dialog for the lore cutscenes which I'm trying to figure out if can be extended since there was more lore I wanted to include. It also includes my custom world map and my very poorly constructed world map event for the prologue. 

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1 hour ago, Crimson Mors said:

I have a bit of world building in progress. I shared my latest version to the bulk Concepts page; (I should probably update this page to reflect that). I've got a series of excel sheets for character bios, location bios, hero lineage, ancient lore, etc. It is very... free form at the moment -- it's difficult to determine where all the pieces will connect and what will need to be ret-conned. You can find my current version 0.2 stuff at this link to the v0.2 playlist. You'll find that I overhauled the prologue map and cut down on the turn count by the premise remains the same -- I've also done some personalized character art via the frankenstein's monster method of cutting and pasting existing character pieces.

The playlist includes my custom dialog for the lore cutscenes which I'm trying to figure out if can be extended since there was more lore I wanted to include. It also includes my custom world map and my very poorly constructed world map event for the prologue. 

Ah, I see the changes. It definitely has a more cinematic feel this time around. What about your characters? Have you fleshed any of them out as individuals? 

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1 hour ago, Xylaugheon Daily said:

What about your characters? Have you fleshed any of them out as individuals? 

I'm still working on the roster I want for the player side, and of course I want those characters to feel unique. For some of the characters I do have a strong idea for their motivations and personalities. A lot of the FE7 and FE8 portraits that I've left as-is are placeholders until I get around to creating personalized art for those characters -- but they represent a character I have ideas for. For example:

Tethys -- Queen of Ludinia -- She has been on the throne for half a decade so her rule is stable, but she has never had to handle a war and thus she is afraid she wont live up to her role. However she is a queen first and foremost so she keeps calm in the presence of her court and subjects to ease their fears. In private she confides in her betrothed (represented as Forde). Their relationship is a political marriage between the countries of Ludinia and Norba and while at first they did not expect to find romance their relationship ended up blossoming into what it is now. (This relationship is expressed in v0.1 chapter 1's opening dialogue) She is a distant descendant of Ludia ------ Class: Queen -- this class will have access to lances and will promote into a wyvern class with a legendary sword which was Ludia's weapon. In terms of bases/growths I'm not that far yet, but she will likely have higher speed and res than the average wyvern, she may suffer in the hp department.

Forde -- Prince of Norba -- The youngest of six brothers. Without a chance of claiming the throne over one of his many brothers Forde elected to aid his country via political marriage to establish a stronger bond with neighboring Ludinia. His loyalty to his homeland is second only to his desire to help the Queen of Ludinia by any means necessary. As he did not have the opportunity to prove himself to his people as a likely heir, he is eager to assert his worth and often behaves recklessly to that end. (As seen in chapter 1 of v0.1 where he heads into Tenpa valley with his two retainers to prove his worth to Tethys by promising to defend the lands) He is a descendant of Nora. --- Class: Prince -- this class will have access to axes and promote into more of a general type class. I probably wont neuter his movement though.

Pent -- Duke of Orlanis -- His role in court is as an economic adviser to the crown. The town of Orlanis lies along a major river that flows to the ocean and so it facilitates trade between the coast and the interior. He is also inquisitive by nature and so fosters a burgeoning intelligence ring. He is suspicious that someone within the court is feeding information to Kalisia and recruits Lute to act on his behalf to gather information. He descends from a junior branch of the Orlan family. -- Class: Hero

Lute -- Mage General -- She is the leader of Ludinia's mage corps as well as the headmaster of the mage academy within the capital. She is not fond of tackling problems head on and instead prefers to use underhanded tactics to gain an advantage. This was of handling problems lead to her creation of offensive staves, a new invention to the world with precious few in circulation. Class: Sage

Dozla -- Ludinian General -- Commander of the wyvern division of Ludinia and chief general of the army. He is overconfident and believes he is the cornerstone that keeps Ludinia from collapsing. Unwilling to take others' opinions into account he will often start arguments with the other advisers, leading to strained relations all around. As someone who would rather dive headlong into a fight he has a particular dislike for Pent who takes time to construct a plan. Class: Wyvern Lord

Gilliam -- Duke of Tenpa -- He lives his life honestly and cares for the subjects of his domain. While unimpressive in most regards, none can say he does not stand his ground in a fight. Unyielding, perhaps to a fault, he has won many army awards for simply exhausting his opponents' will. He is the head of the Tenpa family, the namesake of his province and city. Class: Great Knight

Gustav -- Wyvern Rider of Ludinia -- He's a bit of an idiot. that's really all you need to know. He's loyal to his country and doesn't really think things through very carefully. Class: Wyvern Rider

Christina -- Mage of Norba -- one of Forde's retainers. She likes to collect things, usually to Justin's expense. She is quite young, although her talent for magic had her enter the service of the youngest prince of Norba not long after entering the mage academy in Norba's capital city. She then traveled with him to Ludinia to, as she would say "see all the cute things in the market." While she is immature and distractable, she remains a loyal servant to Forde and a powerful ally. Class: Mage

Justin -- Fighter of Norba -- Forde's other retainer. When Forde was born, Justin was assigned to be his aide. Having spent most of his time alive serving by Forde's side he has gotten used to the reckless nature of his master. While maintaining that his is the voice of reason, he is easily manipulated by Christina into buying whatever trinket she fixates on from week to week. Perhaps he has a week spot for children, having not settled down and being in his forties. Class:Fighter

Seth -- Silver Knight of Kalisia -- He is one of the trusted general of the Kalisian army. He is essentially the Camus of this game. He constantly seeks worthy opponents when he is deployed. He fights honorably and often times will spare his opponents in the hope they become stronger to fight again. He is a descendant of Kali and wields her fabled lance without realizing what it is exactly he holds in his hands. In a land where weapons choose their wielder, it is hard to discern mythical relic from magic lance, after all. He is exhausted by the constant bickering and upheavals of his nation's government and so handles his post as general a bit half-hearted. Class: Paladin

Mokoto -- Swordmaiden of Ludinia -- She is a combat instructor in Ludinia for many of the new squires. She is a woman of few words as she does not value idle time. She once resided in the forests of Feln (a province in Norba founded by the hero Feln) where her family was in service to the druids there as scribes. Not being partial to that lifestyle she left and cut a name for herself in Ludinia. Class: Swordmaster

Cassidy -- Squire of Ludinia -- A squire training underneath Mokoto prior to Kalisia's invasion. Very keen on appearances, she strives to be elegant even in battle. She was seeking to be knighted to bring attention to her downtrodden noble house -- a distant branch of the main Tenpa lineage. Believing wholly that her deeds will provide her family with reinvigorated livelihood, she answers the call to arms against Kalisia. Class: Cavalier

Richard -- Squire of Ludinia -- He's very much a showman. Desiring to outshine everyone else on the field of battle he has a knack of getting into troublesome situations. Always quick to inflate himself, others are quick to deflate his ego or risk a headache in the morning.

Artur -- Elected Representitive of Kalisia -- No Info at this time

Raymond -- Noble Usurper of Kalisia -- Kind of a dick

Anna -- Ana's Namesake -- I couldn't name a mythical hero Ana, and not use actual Anna in the game now could I. There is no other reason I'm using her as a character. Hm, i wonder who she is descended from... or how that someone's appearance looked. It's like Nurse Joy, there's just a lot of them and they all look the same. She'll get Ana's mythical tome. Class: Sage

V0.1 Characters -- unsure if using in V0.2

Colm -- Self Proclaimed Ass-Man -- The thief the game will use is represented by Colm right now. I don't have a personality for him, he just likes ass. Class: Thief

Gerik -- Thirsty Merc -- The dude hasn't been laid in years and is just really thirsty. He's good natured at heart, but his price is just some time with boobs in his face. Class: Mercenary

Vanessa -- Mother and Knight -- She's a knight in a backwater village taking care of her child as a single mother. Class: Cavalier

Tana -- Medic -- A travelling medic. She arrives in Ludinia to assist the war effort by healing the wounded. She stumbled upon a merchant selling one of Lute's offensive staves and decides to buy it. She's descended from Nora through a distant line. Class: Troubadour

A bit more of the lore since I've already typed an essay.
The most recent war to happen on the continent of Iruthia was between Ludinia and Kalisia 30 years prior to the events of this game. It wasn't the same war as the mythical war but I could only fit so much lore into the opening cutscenes. 

This war was fought between Tethys' uncle and one of the many previous elected officials of Kalisia. The war was instigated by Ludinia over the border in the Tenpa mountains which they had claimed as belonging to them and Kalisia had established mines in the mountains for decades without permission. Ludinia used this as a premise for war and eventually won. They took the province of Vedan(where the prologue starts) as compensation -- essentially seizing Kalisia's mining industry and crippling their economy. It's only been 30 years since this war and it is the reason for the political unrest within the country. Raymond uses the unrest of the people to seize power by promising them prosperity. He uses the justification that Ludinia is harboring fugitives to start the war -- which is really a publicity stunt to keep the people under control and if he wins then great. He's got other agendas to attend to. 

At the end of the prologue when Mokoto gets cut down by Seth, she recognizes the mythical lance of Kali. This is because she spent her childhood as a scribe in the forest of Feln. The druids were responsible for archiving the history of the continent as mandated by the hero Feln upon its founding. Having been a scribe for a few years she knew enough to recognize the lance eventually but not immediately and so made the mistake of confronting Seth head on. She has plot relevant information that will be used when I need plot to happen. Be prepared.

 

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I suppose I should talk about the actual ancient war since the abridged version I was forced to use as the opening cutscene is disappointing at best. 

In ancient times gods and humans mingled. Some of them even fell in love and demi-gods were born into the world.

In Iruthia, a demigod was born with an affinity for dark magic. This demigod would bend humans to its will and pit them against each other for its amusement. They would plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of humans and orchestrating a great war that enveloped the continent. Once the people of Iruthia were beaten, bloodied and helpless, the demigod commanded the construction of a great tower, situated upon the highest peak of the continent. There the demigod sat upon its throne of darkness, allow its miasma to perpetuate the continent and spread to further lands. 'Ere the demigod sat devoid of light until even the old gods were ancient history.

But it would not last forever. Ana, a talented magus, delved deep into the ancient magics of the gods of old. This magic she would use to infuse ore with great power. Gilis, an extraordinary craftsman, would light his forge; the last of its kind in the land, and together with Ana he would create weapons with power enough to fell a god. Weapons too great in power for an average human to wield, and so they traveled Iruthia to assemble their heroes.

They did not have to look long. The miasma that spread had brought strong willed persons to the shores of Iruthia from all corners of the world. These youths took on the mantle of hero and grasped their weapon of power. Together they would ascend the steep cliffs to the demigod's tower of shadow. They were...

The lovers, Ludia and Kali; Wyvern Lord and Falcon Knight respectively,
Nora the Valkyrie,
Tenpa, the Great Knight,
The brothers, Orwin and Orlan; Warrior and Ranger respectively,
Salha, the Bishop,
Feln, the Druid,
Taury, the Berserker,
Ana, the Sage
and Gilis, the blacksmith of legend, although incapable of wielding his own weapons he would also take the fight on the mountain.

Through the tower the heroes fought, felling human and horror alike. Atop his throne they found the King of Contempt, the Demigod of Shadows. For thirteen days the heroes fought the menace; however on the fourteenth day the sun shone through the clouds that plagued Iruthia for the first time in a millenia.

Victory was not without great loss, however. The demigod, ever the master of manipulation, warped the minds of Ludia and Kali against one another; never again would they stand together as lovers much less allies, a curse over their namesakes that lingers. Orwin lost his arm to dark corruption that gradually perpetuated his body, destroying his ability to fight ever again and eventually killing him prematurely. And Ana sustained a fatal injury protecting her husband Gilis. She would live to see victory achieved but pass shortly thereafter.

The heroes went their separate ways, establishing communities throughout the land of Iruthia to help its people recover. These settlements would become dominant cities and eventually countries in their own right. Some would merge together through conquest or through diplomacy. 

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This is the exact kind of thing I was hoping for. I appreciate the write up, this gives me a better understanding of where things may go. I'm hopeful if Vanessa doesn't make it, that she at least inspires another, as I'm a fan of the single parent angle. That could host so really good supports, as she has to consider who would be a good influence on her child. Colm becoming daddy material, ha.

I'm pretty into the lore of that battle. It's giving me Thomas Covenant vibes. Is there more to the story, maybe so untold truths or hidden motives? Is demigod just a pure evil or is there something to his madness? I'm excited to see where you take this. I've enjoyed what you've presented thus far.

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8 hours ago, Xylaugheon Daily said:

This is the exact kind of thing I was hoping for. I appreciate the write up, this gives me a better understanding of where things may go. I'm hopeful if Vanessa doesn't make it, that she at least inspires another, as I'm a fan of the single parent angle. That could host so really good supports, as she has to consider who would be a good influence on her child. Colm becoming daddy material, ha.

I'm pretty into the lore of that battle. It's giving me Thomas Covenant vibes. Is there more to the story, maybe so untold truths or hidden motives? Is demigod just a pure evil or is there something to his madness? I'm excited to see where you take this. I've enjoyed what you've presented thus far.

It makes me happy to have someone praising my world building, Thank you! ^.^ 

I do plan on having a character inspired by Vanessa's place holder. I agree, the support opportunities are pretty numerous. I didn't quite like how I handled it in v0.1 since her child was one of the NPC's in the house, and he escapes but Vanessa didn't really come off as concerned where her child went. That was a writing oversight on my part. And Colm's character is for excessive comedic effect mostly but he knows what he wants XD I'll probably be keeping both of those concepts. I'm a little less sure of gerik, he feels too generic especially with self proclaimed assman over there. If I include a merc, it will likely be a more traditional in-it-for-money type of person. 

I've never read Thomas Covenant, perhaps I'll check it out for some inspiration~ 

Untold truths, Who knows~ The written history of Iruthia only goes back to the ancient battle, when Feln mandated its creation. But we know there is a history more ancient than that. >.>

Hidden Motives? Always. Everyone has motives, some darker than others; but who~

I do plan to have some sort of back story for the dark demigod but I don't know if it'll be satisfying to anyone. If I make it a sob story everyone will groan in irritation because of course the bad guy has a sob story. But if he's evil for evil's sake everyone will groan because he's just FE8's demon king again. I need to think longer about that, but yes, he will be more fleshed out at some point. 

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1 hour ago, Crimson Mors said:

It makes me happy to have someone praising my world building, Thank you! ^.^ 

I do plan on having a character inspired by Vanessa's place holder. I agree, the support opportunities are pretty numerous. I didn't quite like how I handled it in v0.1 since her child was one of the NPC's in the house, and he escapes but Vanessa didn't really come off as concerned where her child went. That was a writing oversight on my part. And Colm's character is for excessive comedic effect mostly but he knows what he wants XD I'll probably be keeping both of those concepts. I'm a little less sure of gerik, he feels too generic especially with self proclaimed assman over there. If I include a merc, it will likely be a more traditional in-it-for-money type of person. 

I've never read Thomas Covenant, perhaps I'll check it out for some inspiration~ 

Untold truths, Who knows~ The written history of Iruthia only goes back to the ancient battle, when Feln mandated its creation. But we know there is a history more ancient than that. >.>

Hidden Motives? Always. Everyone has motives, some darker than others; but who~

I do plan to have some sort of back story for the dark demigod but I don't know if it'll be satisfying to anyone. If I make it a sob story everyone will groan in irritation because of course the bad guy has a sob story. But if he's evil for evil's sake everyone will groan because he's just FE8's demon king again. I need to think longer about that, but yes, he will be more fleshed out at some point. 

I'm excited to see your progress on the hack. This is definitely a promising start. Yeah, Colm was certainly over the top. As a feminist but also a man, I feel his struggle. Mercenaries can be one of the more difficult character types, just because they are so defined that you have less wiggle room. That's where good writing chops shine. No pressure!

As for the demigod, I'm sure you'll find a way to satisfy not only the player, but yourself. Maybe it's not so much evil but views itself as a true diety, with everyone else meant to serve it. Not exactly Shakespeare, but we dont need much.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever is... it can be a tough read. Thomas is toeing the line between anti hero and villain. There is a particular scene early on that can just really turn you off from the book. That said, if you can move past it, the first two chronicles (three books each) are wonderful. I never did read the Final Chronicles. Two reasons, the second ended perfectly, and there's a, idk, twenty year gap between when they were published. Donaldson just popped up and was like "Hey, wants some MORE Thomas Covenant?!" and then shoves it in our face before anyone can answer. That aside, it is some of my favorite books to read. Thomas Covenants journey and redemption is so fulfilling. 

Edited by Xylaugheon Daily

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Just a small bump since I've done a small edit. Been a bit distracted with school but I'm starting development up again and posted a comprehensive summary of fanhack thus far. It's an hour long but feel free to click through if it pleases you. Comments on my video are acceptable or responses to this thread would help greatly.

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