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RainbowMoon

A Complete Verdant Wind Rewrite (and why Silver Snow should never have happened)

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Welcome everyone to my complete chapter-by-chapter rewrite of the Golden Deer route! As I've discussed many times in the past with fellow members of the Serenes Forest community, most notably in this thread...

...Verdant Wind is a hot mess of a route that's in dire need of a good cleanup. And while there's undoubtedly many reasons as to why this route suffers from such widespread story and characterization problems, there remains one cause that stands out above the rest, and that's Silver Snow.

Verdant Wind was half-assed, no way around it. Instead of investing the proper amount of time and attention needed to give Claude and the Golden Deer a unique, compelling story on par with what Crimson Flower and Azure Moon gave Edelgard and Dimitri, the devs simply cloned the plot of what's by far their all-around weakest route, resulting in the narrative disaster that is Verdant Wind. And the reason why I believe this route was half-assed so badly is Silver Snow. Silver Snow was the very first draft they wrote of the game's story, and it shows. But instead of letting it stay that way and focusing their efforts solely on the three lords' stories, they tried to develop their rough draft into an entire fourth route, and unfortunately it failed. And the story that paid the price for this unnecessary drain on the devs' time and resources was Claude's.

So, moving forward into this rewrite we're gonna completely disregard Silver Snow and treat the game as though there are only three routes, with the effort they put into Silver Snow instead going towards fixing Verdant Wind. In other words: Three Houses, three lords, three routes.

Now before we get started, I'd like to go over a few notes about this write-up as well as some non-chapter specific changes made to Verdant Wind.

Spoiler

• First off, this write-up only covers active changes made to the route. Any scene or story event that isn't changed or mentioned here plays out exactly the same as before.

• I've made sure to carefully review the script for each chapter to avoid any plot holes. However, if you spot anything I might've missed, please let me know and I'll do my best to fix it.

• I'll only be referring to Byleth using feminine pronouns for simplicity's sake. However, nothing in the story plays out any differently for a male Byleth.

• Byleth's dialogue choices, particularly in chapters 13 and 19, won't mention saving Rhea nearly as much as on the original route. It makes sense that maybe once or twice over the course of the route she'd bring up how important it is that they find Rhea, but having multiple instances (often in the same scene) where both dialogue options talk about Rhea just seems uncharacteristically obssessive for someone as level-headed as Byleth. Not to mention it makes her sound so callously indifferent to the safety of her students when she says stuff like "saving Rhea is all I care about," especially when she says it right to Claude's face.

• Since Rhea dies on this route no matter what, her S-Support and paired ending with Byleth is completely removed. Sorry, no Incest Emblem in this rewrite. Their support convos still exist for lore/character-building purposes, but that's it.

• You may notice that the chapter mission Protecting Garreg Mach has been completely written out. That's because, unlike on the other routes, this mission serves no purpose other than filler on Verdant Wind. On Crimson Flower, it marks a major shift in the war: the Empire has sustained its first heavy loss, Randolph and Ladislava have both been killed and the focus has turned from the Alliance to the Kingdom as the route proceeds into its final act. It also kickstarts Fleche's character development. On Azure Moon, it sets up for Rodrigue's death later on by having Dimitri kill Randolph, driving Fleche to seek revenge. On Verdant Wind, it's... just kinda there, wasting the opportunity for a more story-relevant chapter. Due to this chapter's removal, it can be assumed that Randolph survives on this route, though he's never seen or mentioned post-skip.

• Fog of war is revamped in three new ways. First off, base visibility is increased to four spaces for sake of convenience on maps with longer-range enemies like Archers. Also, low visibility now affects enemies as well, making encounters more unpredictable. Lastly, player and enemy units outside visibility range can now be targeted in combat. However, enemies hidden in the fog are identified simply as ??? when targeted and their stats (including class, level and weapon) aren't displayed, making engaging them a risky move.


Right, that's all for notes. Now let's dive into the good stuff!

Chapter 13 - Reunion at Dawn

Spoiler

• Just one word: Flayn. She's just as much a member of Byleth's class as the others who show up in Hunting by Daybreak. And yet no matter the route, this chapter always chooses to leave her out of the big reunion. That said, this is more of a proposed change for both Verdant Wind and Azure Moon, but Ch.13 needs to include Flayn alongside the rest of Byleth's in-house students. There's no reason for her not to be there.

Chapter 14 - Valley of Torment

Spoiler

• Judith is automatically recruited at the end of the chapter. Now let's take a moment to talk about what the Hero of Daphnel brings to the table.

Judith's Stats
• Personal Ability: General
• Starting Class: Hero (gender lock removed)
• Starting Level: 30
• Previously Unlocked Classes: Noble, Myrmidon, Mercenary
• Starting Skill Ranks: Sword A (Boon), Lance E, Axe C (Boon), Bow E (Budding Talent), Brawling E, Reason E (Bane), Faith E, Authority B (Boon), Heavy Armor E (Bane), Riding E, Flying C (Boon)
• Learned Abilities*: Battalion Wrath (Authority C), Model Leader (Authority C+), Battalion Desperation (Authority A), Rally Movement (Authority S)
• Learned Combat Arts*: Sunder (Sword C+), Windsweep (Sword A), Monster Breaker (Axe C+), Diamond Axe (Axe A), Deadeye (Bow Budding Talent)
• Learned Spells: Wind (Reason D), Heal (Faith D), Cutting Gale (Reason C), Nosferatu (Faith D+), Recover (Faith C)
• Growth Rates: HP 30%, Str 45%, Mag 10%, Dex 55%, Spd 50%, Lck 30%, Def 40%, Res 25%, Cha 60%
• Starting Inventory: Rapier+, Silver Shield, Concoction ×3
• Starting Battalion: Daphnel Duelists

*Not including universal abilities or CAs

Judith's Supports
• Byleth (C, B, A, S) - typical Byleth stuff
• Claude (C, B, A, A+) - starts out with their usual banter, and then begins to explore their relationship a bit
• Hilda (C, B) - Hilda constantly trying (and failing) to trick Judith into doing chores for her
• Lorenz (C, B, A) - the two bonding over always having to be the responsible one with Claude
• Ingrid (C, B, A) - Ingrid finally meeting her distant relative and getting to know her
• Felix (C, B) - Judith calling Felix out for being such an ass, and him just refusing to listen
• Caspar (C, B, A) - Caspar geeking out over getting to meet the Hero of Daphnel
• Catherine (C, B, A) - explores some of their shared past that was hinted at on Silver Snow
• Balthus (C, B, A) - I honestly have no idea what exactly they'd talk about, but given Balthus's massive gambling debts and his close relationship with Holst something oughtta spark an interesting conversation between them.

Paired Endings: Byleth of either gender (platonic), Claude (platonic), Lorenz, Ingrid (platonic), Caspar, Catherine (platonic), Balthus

Chapter 15 - The Rose-Colored River

Spoiler

• Acheron and his men no longer appear in the chapter battle, instead arriving late to the scene after the chapter's been completed. He barges in shouting about the declining Alliance and bringing glory to the Empire before noticing that the battle's already been lost and surrendering immediately. He's then taken into custody by Claude and the Almyrans.

Chapter 16 - Blood of the Eagle and Lion

Spoiler

• Acheron can be found in the hallways of the second floor when exploring the monastery this month. If Byleth talks to him, he complains about how "that meddling outsider and his hairy brutes" forced him to dedicate all his resources and military strength to supporting the Alliance's war effort. Other Alliance characters like Lorenz, Leonie and Judith will mention how they don't trust Acheron and hope that Claude's keeping a good eye on him in case he's planning something.

• This needed to be a fog of war map, dammit! The fog is the whole reason this battle ends up being such a chaotic bloodbath in-story, and it would accomplish just that gameplay-wise if they actually included it. The way it is, it's incredibly easy to end the battle with zero casualties using Warp and Stride shenanigans. And that's because you can see exactly where everybody is from the start, which lets you plan ahead to avoid killing them. Fog of war would make it nearly impossible to tell where (or who) anyone is until it's likely too late to avoid them. Didn't recruit Ingrid but really don't wanna kill her? Good luck knowing where she is until she ambushes your Wyvern Lord Hilda from behind and gets an axe to the face for her troubles. Decide to do something about that invisible jerk on the ballista who keeps taking pot shots at your units? Surprise! You just killed Bernadetta! It's a merciless gut punch, which is exactly what this chapter's supposed to be. Being able to so easily sidestep everyone on the map not named Edelgard or Dimitri just takes away all the emotional weight of the battle. Granted, it would still technically be possible to complete the map without killing anyone, but the battle itself would be so unpredictable that it'd just be too much of a hassle for anyone to even bother trying.

• Dimitri is given a fully-animated death scene, where he chases Edelgard through the fog and smoke of the battlefield. She turns to face Dimitri as Imperial bowmen shoot him down, leaving him severely wounded and kneeling on the ground, pierced by arrows. Edelgard then walks up to him, grasping the Sword of Seiros tightly in her hand, but she can't bring herself to kill him. Dimitri slowly turns his gaze up to meet Edelgard's, and utters one final "To the fires of eternity with you... El..." before dying from his wounds. Edelgard struggles to hold back tears as she turns and walks away. Dimitri's body is then discovered by Dedue, who embraces his fallen king before laying him to rest, arms crossed with Areadbhar by his side. The scene pans out to show Claude watching from the distance as the screen fades to black.

Chapter 17 - The Impregnable Fortress

Spoiler

• Acheron will be in the dining hall this month, whining about the quality of the food.

• Acheron appears as a green ally (Warlock) in the chapter battle, fighting alongside Byleth's group.

• The Death Knight no longer tries to escape when approached. Defeating him is the only way to complete the chapter.

• The Death Knight is mortally wounded in battle with the Alliance army, returning to his Jeritza personality once more before death. He warns Byleth about the incoming javelins of light and is killed in the resulting blast.

• In the javelins of light cutscene, Byleth and the Golden Deer now escape the blast by catching rides on the Almyrans' wyverns.

• After the battle, following Claude's speech about his goals for Fódlan, the Golden Deer are met by an Alliance general (namely, that Alliance general who replaces Hilda on Azure Moon Ch.19) who informs Byleth and Claude that Acheron's vanished, and that nobody's seen him since they left Fort Merceus. She warns them that he may have slipped away in the chaos following the fort's destruction. Claude points out that if Acheron's escaped, he could be giving away dangerous information about the Alliance to anyone he pleases. Concerned that Acheron may be selling them out to the Empire, Claude begins a search to track him down before he can do any serious damage.

Chapter 18 - The Aquatic Capital

Spoiler

• The chapter opens with a council meeting between Byleth, Claude and Judith where they discuss their progress in the search for Acheron. As Claude begins to worry that they've run out of leads, Lorenz suddenly rushes in with urgent news from his father. He reports that violence has broken out in the streets of Derdriu over some sort of power dispute. He says that from what Count Glouceser was able to tell him, the whole thing started over someone infiltrating Castle Riegan in Claude's absence, falsely claiming to be the new rightful leader of the Alliance. Upon hearing this news, Claude dryly comments that they may have finally located Acheron. Lorenz continues, explaining that the citizens of Derdriu took up arms in protest against Acheron and his men, and that in an effort to diffuse the situation, Houses Gloucester, Ordelia, Goneril and Edmund have all come together to protect the cityfolk and remove Acheron from the castle. But Lorenz warns Claude that it may take the Alliance leader's intervention to quell the fighting completely. With that, Claude and Byleth set off to prepare the Alliance army.

• The chapter battle takes place at Derdriu. Upon reaching the city, the Golden Deer find the place in complete and utter chaos, with mixed groups of Alliance soldiers and civilians fighting amongst themselves in the streets. At the center of it all is Acheron, standing atop the steps of Castle Riegan shouting at the masses about how Claude, with his dying breaths in the ruin of Fort Merceus, entrusted leadership of the Alliance to him. Voices from the crowd shout back, calling him a liar and claiming that Claude would never appoint such a vile successor. The Golden Deer are quickly met by Count Gloucester, who hails them for arriving just in time, explaining that Count Ordelia and Holst Goneril have already suffered wounds and can't continue fighting, and that Margrave Edmund's forces are currently cornered in the western part of the city. Concerned about her father's safety, Marianne urges the group to move quickly. Claude agrees, leading the Golden Deer into the fray.

• The Golden Deer start at the southernmost part of the map, accompanied by green ally Count Gloucester (Dark Knight with Thoron, as well as Thyrsus if Lorenz's paralogue was never completed) and two Alliance soldiers (Fortress Knight). In the central square, Alliance soldiers are protecting civilian militia from continuous waves of Acheron's followers advancing from the east. In the northwestern corner of the map, surrounded by Acheron's men, are Margrave Edmund (Holy Knight with Aura) and two Alliance Bishops. Acheron himself is holed up in the northeastern part of the map (where Claude hangs out on the other routes), and will attempt to flee to an escape point when approached.  The only objective is to kill Acheron before he escapes, but letting Margrave Edmund die will also fail the map. Two turns in, Almyran ships will arrive in the eastern part of the map, carrying green ally reinforcements: Nader and six Almyran Wyvern Riders. Upon their arrival, Claude will thank Nader for his assistance while Count Gloucester expresses surprise at the fact that Almyra's coming to their aid, joking that if only Holst were there to see it.

• The post-battle cutscene has Byleth, Claude, Lorenz and Marianne meeting with Count Gloucester and Margrave Edmund after the fighting has settled down. The two Alliance lords thank their children once more for their aid, and Count Gloucester gifts Lorenz with Thyrsus if it wasn't already obtained from his paralogue. Lorenz and Marianne accept their thanks, while Claude comments that Acheron really made a mess of things in Derdriu, but that he's glad their Almyran neighbors were able to help them intervene before it got any worse. Count Gloucester admits that he never thought he'd see the day when the Alliance fought side by side with Almyra, but that he's grateful for their assistance nonetheless and hopes that they'll both remain allies in the future. Hilda jokes that he'd sure have some luck convincing her brother on that, as she returns from the medic with Lysithea and Flayn. Lysithea tells everyone that her father and Holst will both be okay in no small part thanks to Flayn and her healing magic. Flayn says that she's just happy she could help, and Hilda tells her she should give herself more credit, saying that Holst couldn't have been more grateful. But Lysithea says that she doesn't blame Flayn for not knowing that from Holst's constipated scowl. If Hanneman is recruited, she then remarks that there's no doubt Hanneman will want to examine that Crest of hers when they get back, and Flayn laughs, saying that there's no way her brother would allow that. Claude jokes that they'd better get going while the lords still have a full day left. Lorenz and Marianne then bid their fathers farewell before following Claude and the others on their way back to the monastery.

Chapter 19 - The Chaos of War

Spoiler

• This is basically the Azure Moon version of the chapter now, with Hubert being the only enemy commander. The only difference is the absence of Dorothea and Petra, as they appear in the next chapter.

• Dedue appears as a green ally in this chapter rather than the next. Upon completing the mission, he warns Byleth and Claude that Imperial reinforcements are on their way, urging them to press on and take the palace while he stays behind to hold off the enemy. He isn't seen again for the rest of the route, and he's implied to be killed fending off the oncoming Imperial soldiers.

Chapter 20 - Conclusion of the Crossing Roads

Spoiler

• Byleth gets the Sword of Seiros from Edelgard at the end of the chapter.

• The cutscene still of Rhea leaning into Byleth with her head placed... rather suggestively... is removed. Poor Byleth still has nightmares about the lap pillow scene, let's not put her through any more trauma shall we?

Chapter 21 - The City Without Light

Spoiler

• Rhea's lore-dump speech happens in this chapter rather than the next, courtesy of some persuasion from Seteth. On the day before the chapter mission, Seteth asks Byleth and Claude to meet him up on the Star Terrace, explaining that Rhea has finally agreed to tell them the whole truth regarding the children of the goddess. When they arrive, they find Rhea and Seteth waiting for them. Seteth instructs Rhea to begin, telling her that the time for secrecy and distrust has long been over and that it's time now for humanity to know the truth so they may walk their own path, free from the burdens of Fódlan's bloodstained past. Reluctantly, Rhea begins to tell her story, revealing her true identity as Saint Seiros and the last child of the goddess, what really happened at the Red Canyon and the truth behind the origin of Crests and Heroes' Relics. Claude speaks to Byleth in private afterwards, expressing his feelings about everything Rhea just shared with them. While sympathetic to her past suffering, Claude admits that he feels betrayed knowing how many lies Rhea told the people of Fódlan to keep her secrets hidden. He laments all the innocent lives that were impacted by her actions, including Edelgard's as he comes to further understand what drove her to take such drastic action against the Church. Claude takes this revelation as all the more reason they must see everything through to the end and finish what was set in motion, for the sake of all the lives lost in the war and for all of Fódlan.

• Odesse appears in the chapter battle instead of Myson.

• After transforming into The Immaculate One and destroying the incoming javelins of light, Rhea comes crashing down into the remains of Shambhala, severely burned, wings tattered and seemingly dead. But when Byleth and Claude come to check on her, she suddenly awakens with a fearsome cry, her wounds now burning red. She narrowly misses them both as she takes to the sky once more. With another shriek from The Immaculate One, the Cardinals of the Church, transformed into White Beasts by Rhea's Nabatean blood, flock to her as she rains fire down on Byleth and Claude. Claude desperately fights back with a volley of arrows while Byleth fends off the circling White Beasts until The Immaculate One, struck by one of Claude's arrows, turns away and flies into the distance. The scene lingers on the smoke rising up from the remains of Shambhala before fading to black.

Chapter 22 - Fódlan's New Dawn

Spoiler

• Byleth, Claude, Judith and the rest of the Golden Deer meet back up at Garreg Mach to discuss the current situation. As they all wonder what could've driven Rhea to such senseless violence, Seteth cuts in, explaining that he knows what happened. He tells the group that exceptionally old and powerful dragons like Rhea suffer from a horrible curse as they age, which causes them to lose control of their power and slowly descend into madness. When Claude asks if there's any way they could subdue her peacefully, Seteth sorrowfully explains that she's too far gone for any such attempt to succeed, and that trying to reach out to her now would almost certainly spell death. Claude then acknowledges that there's only one way to protect Fódlan from her wrath: Rhea must be killed. Byleth and the Golden Deer students remark on how strong Rhea is and wonder if even the might of the entire Alliance is enough to defeat her. At which point, Claude reveals his plan, which he refers to as "perhaps his most ambitious scheme yet". He resolves to rally the strength of not only the Alliance lords, but also the remaining factions of the Empire and the Kingdom, as well as his homeland of Almyra, to come together and fight side by side to deliver Fódlan from ruin. He declares that this will mark the dawn of a new age for Fódlan, where the entire continent, united under one banner, will go on to extend its hand in the name of peace to all the nations of the world.

• The month has one free day, where the only option is Explore. The monastery is bustling with Alliance, Imperial, Kingdom and Almyran soldiers, including Nader from Almyra and Randolph and Fleche from the Empire. If the DLC is purchased, the Ashen Wolves are all outside as well (Constance stays in the shade though so she can be her usual animated self), preparing to join the fight against Rhea.

• No lecture occurs this month.

• The final battle takes place at the Caledonian Plateau, where Nemesis is fought on the original route. Judith reports to Byleth and Claude that their scouts have spotted The Immaculate One, and that she's hastily approaching the monastery with a large number of White Beasts in tow. She also comments on a strange group of men who appeared to be closely observing Rhea's movements, and warns Claude that they may present another danger separate from Rhea. Byleth and Claude then gather the rest of the Golden Deer, and after they each give their big climactic "power of friendship" speech (Flayn gets to give one too!!), they prepare to meet The Immaculate One on the battlefield.

• The final map has two enemy factions: The Immaculate One and her allies, which include seven White Beasts, four Golems and some loyalist Church soldiers; and a small TWSITD remnant led by Myson. Only The Immaculate One needs to be defeated in order to complete the map. However, she and her White Beasts will attack anyone in range indiscriminately, so its very likely Myson will end up dying even if you choose not to engage him. Myson and his group will prioritize the White Beasts, and even fruitlessly try to attack Rhea if she's in range. His attention will turn to your units, however, if you engage any of his. Myson's death will cause any remaining TWSITD units to retreat. Much like on Silver Snow's final map, killing all the White Beasts makes The Immaculate One slightly easier to defeat, but isn't strictly necessary. The map features Nader (Wyvern Lord), Randolph (Warrior) and Fleche (Sniper) as green allies, each leading a small group of Almyran Wyvern Riders and Imperial Fortress Knights, respectively.

• As much as I personally love A Funeral of Flowers as a final boss track, unfortunately it doesn't make sense to give only one of the three routes a unique theme for its final map. So Verdant Wind will follow the lead of Crimson Flower and Azure Moon and use Apex of the World instead. Of course, an alternative to this would be to use A Funeral of Flowers and give Azure Moon its own unique theme (Apex of the World just fits Crimson Flower too perfectly), so each route uses a different track.

Ending

Spoiler

• The dying Immaculate One tries to take flight once again, desperately blasting a stream of fire at Byleth, which she blocks with the Sword of the Creator as Claude shoots his last volley of arrows. Claude's final arrow strikes The Immaculate One square in the head, stunning her long enough for Byleth to deal the killing blow. Rhea collapses to the ground as she slowly returns to her human form and dies from her wounds. Seteth mournfully holds her in his arms with Flayn beside him, quietly closing his eyes before bidding farewell to his fallen friend and looking up towards the setting sun. As the golden light embraces Byleth and Claude in its warmth, Claude states that this day will be remembered by future historians as the new dawn of Fódlan. Byleth smiles as she holds out her hand to Claude. He takes Byleth's hand and thanks her for everything, saying that he hopes her heart will forever be with the Golden Deer in this newfound era of peace. The scene then fades out on the two of them watching the sunset together.

• Claude chooses to remain in Fódlan, officially giving up his status as heir to Almyra. Together with Byleth, the newly appointed archbishop of the reformed Church of Seiros (renamed the Church of the Beginning after Sothis), Claude accepts the remaining noble families of Adrestia and Faerghus into the governing body of the Leicester Alliance (Edelgard-banned houses like Aegir and Varley end up circling the drain), creating the first Unified Alliance of Fódlan. As sovereign duke of this newfound alliance, Claude works towards his dream of developing peaceful relations with Almyra, as well as Dagda, Brigid and other nations of the world, by bringing an end to Fódlan's rigid isolationism and establishing trade routes worldwide.

• As the new archbishop, Byleth works to reform the Church and put an end to Rhea's falsely propagated version of history and lies surrounding the true nature of Crests and Heroes' Relics. Renaming the Church of Seiros to the Church of the Beginning after the progenitor god herself, Byleth ushers in a new era of religion in Fódlan where Crests no longer determine a person's worth. It's said that Crest Stones and Relics were thereafter reviled as cursed artifacts, and that each noble house of Fódlan was gifted a piece of Sacred regalia from the archbishop herself to be passed down in their stead.

Changes to other routes

Spoiler

Crimson Flower
• Fleche is now recruitable from Ch.13 onward.

• There are now fully-animated cutscenes for Rhea's transformation and Byleth's fall into the valley in Ch.12, the destruction of Arianrhod in Ch.16 and both of Dimitri's death scenes in Ch.17.

Fleche's Stats
• Personal Ability: Maiden (On player phase, grants Str +6 and Crit +5 if unit isn't being targeted)
• Starting Class: Soldier
• Starting Level: 25
• Unlocked Classes: Noble, Archer, Pegasus Knight
• Starting Skill Ranks: Sword E (Budding Talent), Lance B (Boon), Axe D, Bow B (Boon), Brawling E (Bane), Reason E, Faith D+ (Boon), Authority C+, Heavy Armor E (Bane), Riding D+, Flying C (Boon)
• Learned Abilities: Rally Speed (Authority D), Model Leader (Authority C), Rally Strength (Authority C+), Rally Dexterity (Authority A), Rally Movement (Authority S), Sword Avoid +20 (Sword Budding Talent)
• Learned Combat Arts: Vengeance (Lance C+), Frozen Lance (Lance A), Encloser (Bow C+), Point-Blank Volley (Bow A)
• Learned Spells: Blizzard (Reason D), Heal (Faith D), Nosferatu (Faith D+), Thoron (Reason C), Seraphim (Faith C), Fimbulvetr (Reason B), Rescue (Faith B), Excalibur (Reason A), Aura (Faith A)
• Base Stats and Growth Rates: HP 32 + 70%, Str 19 + 60%, Mag 19 + 60%, Dex 20 + 50%, Spd 18 + 70%, Lck 14 + 40%, Def 17 + 50%, Res 16 + 60%, Cha 14 + 40%
• Starting Inventory: Spear, Concoction, Large Bullion
• Starting Battalion: Empire Snipers

Fleche's Supports
• Byleth (C, B, A, S)
• Hubert (C, B, A)
• Petra (C, B)
• Caspar (C, B, B+, A)
• Ashe (C, B, A)
• Lysithea (C, B)
• Jeritza (C, B, A)
• Yuri (C, B, A)

Paired Endings: Byleth of either gender (platonic), Hubert, Caspar (platonic), Ashe, Jeritza, Yuri

Azure Moon
• Just like on Verdant Wind, Flayn is now included with the rest of the Blue Lions on Ch.13.

• Likewise, Blood of the Eagle and Lion is now a fog of war map.

• The route gets fully-animated cutscenes for Rodrigue's death and Dimitri's redemption in Ch.17, the celebration of Dimitri's return in Ch.18 and Jeritza's death in Ch.20 (should Mercedes's paralogue be completed).

Phew, that was a lot to cover! To everyone who made it this far, thank you so much for taking the time to read my rewrite and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback! 🙂

Edited by RainbowMoon
Changed the ending slightly so Byleth keeps the Crest Stone in her heart.

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You've obviously thought about this a lot; good job! It was an enjoyable read. The changes aren't incredibly ambitious, but do improve the route overall, I think.

Some scattered thoughts:

I'm honestly not a big fan of Reunion at Dawn in any route but Azure Moon. Something seriously rubs me the wrong way about Byleth just waking up and Claude/Seteth saying "hey, let's go kill some looters". In Azure Moon the game highlights that these "rats" are people too but Dimitri insists on hunting them down; it's good character work for him. On all other routes it's filler at best and somewhat tone-deaf at worst. I don't really like it on the other routes and I'd rather Claude's opening chapter be something else entirely. Maybe a map where some imperial spies have gotten wind of Claude's presence at Garreg Mach and you have to keep them from escaping.

Yay Judith. Not a big deal but change her Faith list to Nosferatu D+ and Recover C, if you're going to go for a filler non-mage list you might as well make it the generic one instead of a worse version of it.

Fog of war for chapter 17 certainly makes more sense plotwise. I kinda like that it isn't there gameplaywise because Three Houses fog is terribly implemented (your default fog vision is 2, but generic archers can shoot from 3 squares away, ridiculous). In my dream version of the game chapter 17 would be fog but base fog vision would be upped to 4 (most games use 3, but most games feature lower ranges than Three Houses), with thieves/assassins getting a further boost.

I don't think I'd put the scene where Byleth's heart begins beating in this route. There's a thematic reason it occurs in CF but not SS, and while this new VW does belong in the middle, it's still closer to the SS case in my opinion.

I notice your version of the game doesn't include the bit where Rhea tells Byleth about Sitri and how Byleth's heart is a crest stone (from SS). That detail does need to be somewhere in the game IMO, though I'm not sure what route you think it now fits in best.

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Doesn't really sound like you changed all that much at all. Just stuck the Silver Snow final boss in Verdant Wind. I still don't see this as fixing many of the problems with Verdant Wind, namely that it's not about Claude at all. Most of your changes are nice, but basically superficial.

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I'm not going to address any of your proposed story changes because some of what I would have to say would get dangerously close to Edelgard vs Rhea debate and I have zero desire to relitigate any of that nonsense. As such, I'll limit my feedback to this:

10 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

• Starting Skill Ranks: Sword A (Boon), Lance E, Axe C, Bow E, Brawling E, Reason E, Faith E (Bane), Authority B (Boon), Heavy Armor E (Bane), Riding E, Flying C (Boon)
• Learned Abilities*: Battalion Wrath (Authority C), Model Leader (Authority C+), Battalion Desperation (Authority A), Rally Movement (Authority S)
• Learned Combat Arts*: Sunder (Sword C+), Windsweep (Sword A), Monster Breaker (Axe C+), Diamond Axe (Axe A)
• Learned Spells: Wind (Reason D), Heal (Faith D), Cutting Gale (Reason C), Nosferatu (Faith C)

 This breaks several existing conventions, and while it is possible to break convention, it's generally best to only do so when there's a good reason. Specifically, for everyone else, having a strength in a weapon skill is tied to learning combat arts in that skill. Nobody else learns combat arts for weapons they aren't strong in (and conversely, nobody is strong in a weapon they don't learn combat arts for). As such, Judith should either have a strength in axes or lose those axe combat arts. Next, for Faith spells, literally every other character in the game learns Heal at D and Nosferatu at D+ and then has at least one more Faith spell past that (commonly recover at C). I don't see any reason why Judith should not follow this pattern.

This one is slightly less of a hard and fast rule, but I also don't think she should come with a bane in Faith. Almost universally, a bane in Faith is for characters with a good storyline reaspm to have it. It's for characters who aren't from Fódlan or who have a strong antipathy to the Church. There is one exception to this rule (Hilda), so I can't say it's something you absolutely need to follow, but Judith never struck me as particularly impious, so I don't think it's appropriate for her.

Also, unrelatedly, I cannot get behind any change that would get rid of God Shattering Star entirely. I just can't. I love that track.

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7 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

You've obviously thought about this a lot; good job! It was an enjoyable read. The changes aren't incredibly ambitious, but do improve the route overall, I think.

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really did try to stick as close to the original route as possible, just fixing what I felt needed to be fixed. I didn’t want to stray too far in an entirely different direction and risk losing/rushing the core 3H plot, which I feel is still an important aspect of Claude's story.

7 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I'm honestly not a big fan of Reunion at Dawn in any route but Azure Moon. Something seriously rubs me the wrong way about Byleth just waking up and Claude/Seteth saying "hey, let's go kill some looters". In Azure Moon the game highlights that these "rats" are people too but Dimitri insists on hunting them down; it's good character work for him. On all other routes it's filler at best and somewhat tone-deaf at worst. I don't really like it on the other routes and I'd rather Claude's opening chapter be something else entirely. Maybe a map where some imperial spies have gotten wind of Claude's presence at Garreg Mach and you have to keep them from escaping.

I do see what you're saying about the difference between the AM and VW versions of the chapter. I think however it's framed in-story though, the bottom line is that if Byleth and Claude/Dimitri are gonna use Garreg Mach as their base, the bandits have gotta go. AM makes it a point that the "rats" are people too, imo, not simply because Byleth and Dimitri are killing them, but because Dimitri is referring to them as "rats that need to be slaughtered". For Claude though, the question of their humanity isn't brought up because nobody's dehumanizing them in the first place. Claude basically says "Hey can you help me take the monastery back from these guys?" and Byleth nods along with it. They're essentially doing the same thing as Dimitri, but the difference in how they view the bandits as people is why the issue doesn't come up on VW. After all, they're still bandits. Can't have random criminals hanging around your military base, it's bad for business!

7 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Yay Judith. Not a big deal but change her Faith list to Nosferatu D+ and Recover C, if you're going to go for a filler non-mage list you might as well make it the generic one instead of a worse version of it.

Whoops, you're right! Didn’t realize that the generic list had Recover too. I'll go back and fix that.

7 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Fog of war for chapter 17 certainly makes more sense plotwise. I kinda like that it isn't there gameplaywise because Three Houses fog is terribly implemented (your default fog vision is 2, but generic archers can shoot from 3 squares away, ridiculous). In my dream version of the game chapter 17 would be fog but base fog vision would be upped to 4 (most games use 3, but most games feature lower ranges than Three Houses), with thieves/assassins getting a further boost.

Oof, yeah I didn't think about how far those archers can reach, that may make the map a wee bit too hellish now that you mention it. I think upping the fog vision to 4 spaces like you said though would fix this.

8 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I don't think I'd put the scene where Byleth's heart begins beating in this route. There's a thematic reason it occurs in CF but not SS, and while this new VW does belong in the middle, it's still closer to the SS case in my opinion

Ah, I didn't realize that there was an in-story reason for it happening on CF but not VW. From Edelgard's dialogue before the final map on CF, I assumed the crest stone was magically linked to Rhea somehow and that it just disappeared no matter what when she died. Also, I guess I just kinda find the "immortal Byleth" ending a bit depressing too, especially if she marries someone who isn't Seteth. She's doomed to watch all her closest friends and possibly her spouse die of old age while she lives on for thousands of years. I can definitely change up the ending a bit though if there's a reason for the stone not disappearing on VW. Byleth x Claude's overrated anyway, it's all about the Lettuce Family on VW lol

8 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I notice your version of the game doesn't include the bit where Rhea tells Byleth about Sitri and how Byleth's heart is a crest stone (from SS). That detail does need to be somewhere in the game IMO, though I'm not sure what route you think it now fits in best.

Honestly... I feel like Cindered Shadows covers it pretty well enough at the end. I get that this means that Byleth's origins are essentially paywalled, but I mean, they've already paywalled an entire side route, four classes, two relics, the game's only effective Bolting mage and flying magic battalion, Yuri's ass and Sitri's name. So I wouldn't really see this as any more of an issue than it already is.

7 hours ago, Jotari said:

Doesn't really sound like you changed all that much at all. Just stuck the Silver Snow final boss in Verdant Wind. I still don't see this as fixing many of the problems with Verdant Wind, namely that it's not about Claude at all. Most of your changes are nice, but basically superficial.

I mean, I get what you're saying. Perhaps "story overhaul" was a poor choice of words on my part. My aim was more to rewrite the storyline they'd already established and "fix" what I felt was wrong with it than to write a completely new route. From the discussions we've had before about VW though, I think you and I just have slightly differing opinions on where the route falls short. A lot of my issues with VW are specifically about the way the last two chapters and the ending are written, which is why my most dramatic changes are made to that part of the story. Aside from that, I also addressed points like Judith not being recruitable, the lack of focus on Alliance politics and Dimitri's anticlimactic death, which were all problems I had with the original route. I disagree with saying it's not at all about Claude, though. I feel like Claude has way more of a voice as a character in this version, even if it's mainly because the finale and the ending actually reflect his goals for Fódlan and bring them to fruition instead of working actively against them to push the whole "God-Emperor Byleth" ending.

3 hours ago, lenticular said:

Specifically, for everyone else, having a strength in a weapon skill is tied to learning combat arts in that skill. Nobody else learns combat arts for weapons they aren't strong in (and conversely, nobody is strong in a weapon they don't learn combat arts for). As such, Judith should either have a strength in axes or lose those axe combat arts. Next, for Faith spells, literally every other character in the game learns Heal at D and Nosferatu at D+ and then has at least one more Faith spell past that (commonly recover at C). I don't see any reason why Judith should not follow this pattern.

Ah, my mistake. I didn't realize that combat arts were always tied to weapon skill proficiencies. Since having four boons seems pretty excessive even for a pre-promote, I'll just get rid of the axe arts. They were pretty much just filler anyway.

3 hours ago, lenticular said:

This one is slightly less of a hard and fast rule, but I also don't think she should come with a bane in Faith. Almost universally, a bane in Faith is for characters with a good storyline reaspm to have it. It's for characters who aren't from Fódlan or who have a strong antipathy to the Church. There is one exception to this rule (Hilda), so I can't say it's something you absolutely need to follow, but Judith never struck me as particularly impious, so I don't think it's appropriate for her.

I felt a magic bane of some sort would be appropriate for Judith since she's purely a physical fighter. I basically just chose Faith on a coin flip, but I don't think it really matters either way. Like you said, Hilda's got a Faith bane for no apparent reason (heh) other than I guess not being very good at it.

7 hours ago, lenticular said:

Also, unrelatedly, I cannot get behind any change that would get rid of God Shattering Star entirely. I just can't. I love that track.

Unfortunately it's kinda Nemesis's theme song, so it wouldn’t really work the same without him.

Thank you everyone for your feedback! You've given me lots of interesting things to think about. I'll be sure to keep you all posted on any changes I make. Until then, I'd love to hear any other ideas or suggestions you may have.

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2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Ah, my mistake. I didn't realize that combat arts were always tied to weapon skill proficiencies. Since having four boons seems pretty excessive even for a pre-promote, I'll just get rid of the axe arts. They were pretty much just filler anyway.

Four boons really isn't all that unusual. If I've counted right, there are 15 characters who have at least four boons, and then a further 8 who have three boons and a budding talent, which is almost as good. Which is about half of all characters. Cyril and Seteth both have five boons, and Balthus has a borderline-ridiculous five boons and a budding talent. I don't think four boons is even a little bit excessive.

2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

I felt a magic bane of some sort would be appropriate for Judith since she's purely a physical fighter. I basically just chose Faith on a coin flip, but I don't think it really matters either way. Like you said, Hilda's got a Faith bane for no apparent reason (heh) other than I guess not being very good at it.

There are a fair few characters (eg Ferdinand, Leonie, Gilbert) who are neutral in both faith and reason who have no business going anywhere near magic builds. Just having garbage for magic growths and/or spell lists is more than enough to keep them as purely physical fighters. In this particular case, starting as level 30 with no weapon ranks in Reason or Faith would also be a strong reason to stay away from magic builds. Not that it's really harmful to add in a bane (though I'd still prefer a Reason bane) but I don't think it's necessary.

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17 minutes ago, lenticular said:

Four boons really isn't all that unusual. If I've counted right, there are 15 characters who have at least four boons, and then a further 8 who have three boons and a budding talent, which is almost as good. Which is about half of all characters. Cyril and Seteth both have five boons, and Balthus has a borderline-ridiculous five boons and a budding talent. I don't think four boons is even a little bit excessive.

Well damn, clearly I need to start paying better attention to boons. I was way off the mark on that one lol

In that case then, I guess it wouldn't be an issue to throw in an axe boon and maybe a fifth one (could do bow) for good measure.

23 minutes ago, lenticular said:

There are a fair few characters (eg Ferdinand, Leonie, Gilbert) who are neutral in both faith and reason who have no business going anywhere near magic builds. Just having garbage for magic growths and/or spell lists is more than enough to keep them as purely physical fighters. In this particular case, starting as level 30 with no weapon ranks in Reason or Faith would also be a strong reason to stay away from magic builds. Not that it's really harmful to add in a bane (though I'd still prefer a Reason bane) but I don't think it's necessary.

True, but in all fairness lots of characters have banes in things you'd never train them in either way. Hubert's got banes in axe and flying, but I doubt anyone would be making him a Wyvern Lord even if he didn't. And I don't think Linhardt would fare so well as a War Master even without those axe and brawling banes. A faith or reason bane on Judith would mostly just be there for flavor to underscore the fact that she's just not good at magic, just like Linhardt isn't good at punching people.

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Banes are sometimes there for flavour, for sure. In Hubert's case, his flying bane references his fear of heights; in Linhardt's case, he has a bane in brawling because he doesn't want to get other people's blood on him. Faith banes above all currently serve a notable flavour purpose: they indicate a character who is not from Fodlan or has an aversion to religion and/or the church (plus Hilda. I wonder if the scrapped Dorothea/Hilda support might have gone into that?). I definitely wouldn't give Judith a faith bane; there's a line that suggests she actually is relatively pro-church (I think it's in SS, but I could be misremembering). Reason bane would be fine.

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There are definitely some things I like about this proposal! Others, though, I'm not so sure of. So, let's get into a few...

22 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Byleth's dialogue choices, particularly in chapters 13 and 19, won't mention saving Rhea nearly as much as on the original route. It makes sense that maybe once or twice over the course of the route she'd bring up how important it is that they find Rhea, but having multiple instances (often in the same scene) where both dialogue options talk about Rhea just seems uncharacteristically obssessive for someone as level-headed as Byleth. Not to mention it makes her sound so callously indifferent to the safety of her students when she says stuff like "saving Rhea is all I care about," especially when she says it right to Claude's face.
• Since Rhea dies on this route no matter what, her S-Support and paired ending with Byleth is completely removed. Sorry, no Incest Emblem in this rewrite. Their support convos still exist for lore/character-building purposes, but that's it.

I dunno, I feel like the game loses something without the ability to simp for your Dragon Pope grandma. I agree that getting rid of the Rhea-obsessiveness will improve Verdant Wind, but I'd prefer it as a way to differentiate VW and SS. So in light of SS disappearing, I'm not sold.

22 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

• You may notice that the chapter mission Protecting Garreg Mach has been completely written out. That's because, unlike on the other routes, this mission serves no purpose other than filler on Verdant Wind. On Crimson Flower, it marks a major shift in the war: the Empire has sustained its first heavy loss, Randolph and Ladislava have both been killed and the focus has turned from the Alliance to the Kingdom as the route proceeds into its final act. It also kickstarts Fleche's character development. On Azure Moon, it sets up for Rodrigue's death later on by having Dimitri kill Randolph, driving Fleche to seek revenge. On Verdant Wind, it's... just kinda there, wasting the opportunity for a more story-relevant chapter. Due to this chapter's removal, it can be assumed that Randolph survives on this route, though he's never seen or mentioned post-skip.

This is a good change. "Protecting Garreg Mach" feels like a retread of chapter 12 on non-CF routes, anyway. Although, I understand the rationale for retaining it on AM.

22 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 13 - Reunion at Dawn

At the very least, Flayn deserved to show up in SS13, so I'm a fan of her being playable here. My own reform would be more dramatic, wherein the Professor returns to a near-deserted Garreg Mach. There, they encounter their old students one-by-one, before meeting the main Lord at the Goddess Tower. So when chapter 13 happens, everyone is deployed from the start, and they have the chance to prep menu.

22 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 14 - Valley of Torment

Playable Judith sounds rad! As for the technical details, I won't go into them, aside from seconding what @lenticular said.

22 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 15 - The Golden Scheme

Here's the thing - why does Acheron decide to attack Claude and company? It can't be out of loyalty to Count Gloucester, as Acheron was introduced as a threat to Gloucester territory. It's probably not the Empire intervening, unless they've put a bounty on Claude's head. If anything, I'm thinking that Acheron would try to endear himself to the new Head of the Alliance - at least superficially. Suppose he pesters Claude for a seat on the Council, then arranges an assassination attempt that goes awry?

Also, a totally new map? Best I can offer is a reuse of Brionac Plateau.

22 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 16 - The Rose-Colored River

Randolph could show up here, perhaps? Unless you really want him to survive in one route.

22 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 17 - Blood of the Eagle and Lion

Fog-of-War doesn't work the way you described. You can only attack an enemy in your sight range, so if you attack Bernadetta, you know who you're hitting. On the flip side, the enemy is unaffected, so Ingrid won't get into an unfavorable matchup, unless it's the only one available to her.

That said, fog would fit better with the narrative. Gameplay-wise, it could be tolerable, if a couple things happen. First, make it a light fog, so units can see at least 5 tiles away before torches. Second, get rid of the reinforcements that spawn, inexplicably, right where your army started. Second change: the Golden Deer now come into this map from the east, while the Blue Lions show up from the north. Do the same on Azure Moon, so the starting position varies between routes. I'd make a similar change to Gronder I as well.

The cutscene sounds solid, but I have to question whether such a scene belongs on Verdant Wind. It shows the tragedy of Dimitri, but it doesn't really do anything to advance Claude's arc, does it?

I'd keep the post-battle largely as-is, but instead of Hilda, it's now Gilbert who recounts Dimitri's final moments. He then vows to bury the fallen Prince, and if Annette is in your army, she goes with him. Once the next month starts, she comes back to the Monastery, with Gilbert in tow.

23 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 18 - The Impregnable Fortress

This seems fine - although, I did appreciate the original challenge of chasing down the Death Knight, before he manages to escape. Also, kind of wish the Almyran soldiers did something other than just "be there". How about, in the cutscene, Claude's army escapes the blast by catching rides on the Almyran's wyverns? The Professor, for instance, can hitch a ride with Nardel (or was it Nader?).

23 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 19 - The Chaos of War

I don't think Dedue would be content with leaving your army to take down Edelgard, though. He promised her head to His Highness, after all. As inconvenient as it is to try to save him, I think chapter 20 is where he belongs, narratively-speaking.

23 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 20 - Conclusion of the Crossing Roads

See, a scene like that is another thing that would be great to remove from Verdant Wind, but also totally belongs in an "all hail the lizard lady" route like Silver Snow.

But, Edelgard dropping the Sword of Seiros? I'm here for it!

23 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 21 - The City Without Light

This all seems pretty good, up until the ending. I'm just not really a fan of Rhea going berserk.

23 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Chapter 22 - Fódlan's New Dawn

Damn, your setup sounds really good! If there has to be a "Rhea has gone berserk" ending, then I love the idea of Claude drawing in support from across the continent to take her on. And of using "power of friendship" speeches. 

Eh, I still like Nemesis and the Ten Elites better as a final boss, so that each route gets a unique one. But I'm not sure how I'd comfortably integrate them into the story.

23 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Ending

This ending sounds pretty good, given the setup! I like the notion of Claude choosing to lead Fodlan, rather than returning to Almyra. His closest friends are here, after all, and he's spent years by now as an Alliance lord. I'd personally rather have Seteth or Flayn become the new Archbishop, but I'm fine with the Professor doing so. Although, I wouldn't have them lose the Crest Stone, since that's a material part of their connection to Sothis.

But I do have to wonder how successful the new Archbishop would be at reforming the Church. A lot of people, noble and commoner alike, are likely to feel betrayed and alienated if the truth comes out. The same friction that we saw pre-skip, between the Western and Central Churches, might very well come back.

All-in-all, there's a lot of pretty cool stuff here! I don't necessarily know if I like it better than the VW we got. And I'm not ready to surrender SS just yet. I hope my own opinions on everything make sense, too.

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4 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Banes are sometimes there for flavour, for sure. In Hubert's case, his flying bane references his fear of heights; in Linhardt's case, he has a bane in brawling because he doesn't want to get other people's blood on him. Faith banes above all currently serve a notable flavour purpose: they indicate a character who is not from Fodlan or has an aversion to religion and/or the church (plus Hilda. I wonder if the scrapped Dorothea/Hilda support might have gone into that?). I definitely wouldn't give Judith a faith bane; there's a line that suggests she actually is relatively pro-church (I think it's in SS, but I could be misremembering). Reason bane would be fine.

Doesn't Cyril have a faith bane though? I know he isn't from Fódlan, but aside from Catherine he's as pro-church as they come. And Hilda must have some degree of loyalty to the Church considering she's the only "regular" student (i.e. not one of the other two lords or Dedue) who can't be recruited to fight against them on CF. So it wouldn't be completely unreasonable for Judith to support the Church and just happen to suck at using their magic.

I can definitely swap it out for a reason bane though if you guys think that makes more sense. Doesn't really make a difference either way.

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9 minutes ago, RainbowMoon said:

Doesn't Cyril have a faith bane though? I know he isn't from Fódlan, but aside from Catherine he's as pro-church as they come. And Hilda must have some degree of loyalty to the Church considering she's the only "regular" student (i.e. not one of the other two lords or Dedue) who can't be recruited to fight against them on CF. So it wouldn't be completely unreasonable for Judith to support the Church and just happen to suck at using their magic.

I can definitely swap it out for a reason bane though if you guys think that makes more sense. Doesn't really make a difference either way.

Cyril isn't really pro-Church as much as he's pro-Rhea. He outright states that he isn't actually a believer in one of his supports with Byleth:

Byleth: Are you a believer?
Cyril: Nah, not really. And Lady Rhea told me it's OK if I don't show an interest unless I feel like it, and I haven't so far, but... I just want to take good care of the things she cares about.

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I was looking through your rewrite as well. I do wish that they had more time to give Verdant Wind a make over or something because I do like Claude as a lord character but he feel likes a passenger  Yours definitely seems to be more put together in comparison.

Also a couple of things to comment on as well: I do agree that Flayn should have been in the Hunting by Daybreak fight because her being able to meet up with the other Blue Lions or Golden Deer classmates would have helped out since she's the quote on quote dedicated healer. If anything if they give her the right spawn spot, you would still be able to move her to a safe spot so she wouldn't be targeted immediately. Like if she showed up with Felix, Sylvain, Ignatz or even Raphael since she has a support with all of them and they could equally benefit from Lily's Poise. Just a thought anyways.

Judith not being a playable character is such a missed opportunity. Because even on Golden Deer where she appears as a NPC, she is quite resilient. Judith could have taken some of the load for you and could have been an interesting character to use. She flat out says that she'll join Byleth's and Claude's army. I was so mad that she wasn't actually playable. Removing the gender lock for Hero is such a great idea. Imagine girls getting use out of defiant strength (Vengeance Bernie is looking like a monster right about now). A minor thing to bring up: they should have removed gender lock for Dark Mages too. And rework them altogether but that's a discussion for another day.

The Death reappearing several times even throughout part 1 got a little to over excessive even for me. If they had spread him out a bit better like have him show up twice in part 1. Then if you want him to appear in the Paralogue involving Mercedes and Caspar (though I don't know why he's there but whatever) that's fine. Having to face him for a decisive third time I think would have been the best thing. Reusing bosses can work and probably could have worked with the Death Knight but he is over exposed and that killed any special interest in defeating him IMO. So yea, having die in Fort Mercius would have been fine with me.

Rhea slowly going berserk interesting because when you think about it, as pure as she seems on the outside, she does show some form of wickedness form time to time. Claude in particular has been noisy to wanting to know the church's secrets and Seteth would intervene on her behalf in part 1. Like taking away one of the books Claude was referring. So that should have been the culmination of the story. 

Overall, you did a really good job. You obviously put in a lot of thought, effort and passion into this.

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14 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

I mean, I get what you're saying. Perhaps "story overhaul" was a poor choice of words on my part. My aim was more to rewrite the storyline they'd already established and "fix" what I felt was wrong with it than to write a completely new route. From the discussions we've had before about VW though, I think you and I just have slightly differing opinions on where the route falls short. A lot of my issues with VW are specifically about the way the last two chapters and the ending are written, which is why my most dramatic changes are made to that part of the story. Aside from that, I also addressed points like Judith not being recruitable, the lack of focus on Alliance politics and Dimitri's anticlimactic death, which were all problems I had with the original route. I disagree with saying it's not at all about Claude, though. I feel like Claude has way more of a voice as a character in this version, even if it's mainly because the finale and the ending actually reflect his goals for Fódlan and bring them to fruition instead of working actively against them to push the whole "God-Emperor Byleth" ending.

I'll amend that to it's nice more about Claude than it already is. It's not like Claude is complete divorced from the ending of the route, his voice is still heard, it just doesn't connect massively to the rest of what's going on in anything more than a mild symbolic way (and while having the Almyrians and such actually join on the battlefield would help regards reinforce that idea, personally I'd rather Nader was an actual recruited character).

Regarding "alliance politics" I have more or less the same opinion. You're changes are nice, but ultimately superficial. The one chapter you added would definitely go a long way to making it "feel" more like an Alliance Route, but ultimately you haven't actually changed anything about the story. You've just moved Acheron from one chapter to another.

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14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

At the very least, Flayn deserved to show up in SS13, so I'm a fan of her being playable here. My own reform would be more dramatic, wherein the Professor returns to a near-deserted Garreg Mach. There, they encounter their old students one-by-one, before meeting the main Lord at the Goddess Tower. So when chapter 13 happens, everyone is deployed from the start, and they have the chance to prep menu.

This sounds like an interesting idea! I dunno how I feel about everyone being at the monastery already before Byleth gets there, though. Kinda weirds out the whole "reunion" feeling since technically everyone's already reunited and Byleth's just late to the party thanks to her five-year disco nap. As annoying as it makes the chapter battle, I think having Byleth and her students reunite in the midst of the fray is more thematically fitting, as it shows them all rallying together, one by one (or two by two I guess lol), in their darkest hour to fight side by side once more.

14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Here's the thing - why does Acheron decide to attack Claude and company? It can't be out of loyalty to Count Gloucester, as Acheron was introduced as a threat to Gloucester territory. It's probably not the Empire intervening, unless they've put a bounty on Claude's head. If anything, I'm thinking that Acheron would try to endear himself to the new Head of the Alliance - at least superficially. Suppose he pesters Claude for a seat on the Council, then arranges an assassination attempt that goes awry?

I could see him doing it to endear himself to the Empire (since he's firmly on the pro-Empire side of things) or just to prove that he's better than Count Gloucester. Considering his entire character shtick is "opportunistic bastard but never thinks any of it through", I think both could be plausible.

14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Randolph could show up here, perhaps? Unless you really want him to survive in one route.

Personally, I kinda like the idea of him surviving on VW, if only because it makes Fleche's appearance in the final chapter more believable. I don't think she'd be as eager to support the Alliance if they're the ones responsible for her brother's death.

14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

The cutscene sounds solid, but I have to question whether such a scene belongs on Verdant Wind. It shows the tragedy of Dimitri, but it doesn't really do anything to advance Claude's arc, does it?

I suppose you could say that having Claude witness Dimitri's death firsthand could serve as further motivation for him to end the war before more lives like Dimitri's are unfairly taken, which lines right up with Claude's desire to create a just and peaceful society. I'll admit though that I mostly included the scene because I hated the fact that Dimitri got offscreen'd like some cheap extra on the original route. They should've at least let us witness his final moments, even if it's with cutscene stills and not a full-blown cutscene.

14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

This seems fine - although, I did appreciate the original challenge of chasing down the Death Knight, before he manages to escape. Also, kind of wish the Almyran soldiers did something other than just "be there". How about, in the cutscene, Claude's army escapes the blast by catching rides on the Almyran's wyverns? The Professor, for instance, can hitch a ride with Nardel (or was it Nader?).

There's just something about the Death Knight of all people choosing to run away from a fight that seems oddly out-of-character for him.

I do like the idea of everyone escaping the blast on the wyverns, though. I agree that Nader could use a little bit more to do in this chapter besides just "show up and fight", and this seems like the perfect way to make that happen.

14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I don't think Dedue would be content with leaving your army to take down Edelgard, though. He promised her head to His Highness, after all. As inconvenient as it is to try to save him, I think chapter 20 is where he belongs, narratively-speaking

Yeah, I was mostly just trying to give Dedue a more climactic send-off than the one he got. Having him die in a heroic "hold the line" moment seemed like better closure for his character than him just sulking off in self-exile for the rest of his life. It would also be a nice moment of growth for him, where he puts the greater good ahead of his own thirst for revenge and gives Claude's army the chance they need to end the war once and for all.

14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Damn, your setup sounds really good! If there has to be a "Rhea has gone berserk" ending, then I love the idea of Claude drawing in support from across the continent to take her on. And of using "power of friendship" speeches. 

 

14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

This ending sounds pretty good, given the setup! I like the notion of Claude choosing to lead Fodlan, rather than returning to Almyra. His closest friends are here, after all, and he's spent years by now as an Alliance lord. I'd personally rather have Seteth or Flayn become the new Archbishop, but I'm fine with the Professor doing so. Although, I wouldn't have them lose the Crest Stone, since that's a material part of their connection to Sothis.

Thanks! The ending's really one of the biggest issues I had with the original route. I'm glad you like my idea, even though the berserk Rhea thing isn't your cup of tea. It just never felt right to me that the route that talks the most about peace and acceptance basically ends with all three nations completely subjugated under the Church and Claude disappearing to Almyra again. The Almyrans don't even show up to fight Nemesis on the original route! They had the perfect chance to bring Fódlan and Almyra together to fight side by side and they blew it.

14 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

But I do have to wonder how successful the new Archbishop would be at reforming the Church. A lot of people, noble and commoner alike, are likely to feel betrayed and alienated if the truth comes out. The same friction that we saw pre-skip, between the Western and Central Churches, might very well come back.

How I see this going down:

http://imgur.com/a/zuhnhOZ

@Dark Holy Elf

If you don't mind me asking though, why doesn't the crest stone disappear when Rhea dies on VW? Is it because Byleth herself isn't the one who kills her? Or that Byleth and Rhea are still on "friendly terms", so to speak, unlike on CF? Is there a story detail I missed that explains it?

Edited by RainbowMoon

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2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

could see him doing it to endear himself to the Empire (since he's firmly on the pro-Empire side of things) or just to prove that he's better than Count Gloucester. Considering his entire character shtick is "opportunistic bastard but never thinks any of it through", I think both could be plausible.

I don't really see Acheron as "firmly pro-Empire" - he supports them on the bridge maps because he's pressured to. But on the CF version, he flees from battle if he views his own life at risk. His first loyalty is to himself, and his own chance at power. I just see it possible to use Acheron in a more dynamic way (say, he tries to ally with Claude for the sake of power, then betrays him, so you have to kill him) on a route that emphasizes Alliance politics.

2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Personally, I kinda like the idea of him surviving on VW, if only because it makes Fleche's appearance in the final chapter more believable. I don't think she'd be as eager to support the Alliance if they're the ones responsible for her brother's death.

In that case, maybe both Randolph and Fleche could show up at the final battle? I don't believe they're ever depicted fighting side-by-side.

Also, playable Fleche on Crimson Flower, please! She could be a perfect Est archetype.

2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

There's just something about the Death Knight of all people choosing to run away from a fight that seems oddly out-of-character for him.

I do like the idea of everyone escaping the blast on the wyverns, though. I agree that Nader could use a little bit more to do in this chapter besides just "show up and fight", and this seems like the perfect way to make that happen

Thanks! It's kind of weird, in the original, that they see the missiles coming, and are just... able to escape? By running? In a manner of seconds? It strains credulity.

And yeah, the Death Knight fleeing is admittedly out-of-character.

2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Yeah, I was mostly just trying to give Dedue a more climactic send-off than the one he got. Having him die in a heroic "hold the line" moment seemed like better closure for his character than him just sulking off in self-exile for the rest of his life. It would also be a nice moment of growth for him, where he puts the greater good ahead of his own thirst for revenge and gives Claude's army the chance they need to end the war once and for all.

That could work, I suppose. I've seen Dedue as a fairly static character. Still, if he does this, he should get a one-liner, like: "Professor. I'm counting on you to take Edelgard's head. Do that, and His Highness will know peace."

2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

How I see this going down:

http://imgur.com/a/zuhnhOZ

Alright, you're in.

2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

If you don't mind me asking though, why doesn't the crest stone disappear when Rhea dies on VW? Is it because Byleth herself isn't the one who kills her? Or that Byleth and Rhea are still on "friendly terms", so to speak, unlike on CF? Is there a story detail I missed that explains it?

So I know you weren't asking me, but to my knowledge, there isn't really an explanation for the crest stone disappearing. Like, it just does. You could say it's because Rhea dies, but that shouldn't undo anything she did in life, right? It has a thematic purpose in CF, I guess (cutting ties with the past, and with the Church), but no real narrative rationale.

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

So I know you weren't asking me, but to my knowledge, there isn't really an explanation for the crest stone disappearing. Like, it just does. You could say it's because Rhea dies, but that shouldn't undo anything she did in life, right? It has a thematic purpose in CF, I guess (cutting ties with the past, and with the Church), but no real narrative rationale.

My personal interpretation was that it was Sothis's undoing what she did to Byleth because she disapproved of basically carrying out the will of the people who killed her. But then a Sothis S support being possible in Crimson Flower sort of ruins that as a possible explanation. Can't just be because Rhea dies though, since she also dies in Silver Snow (outside of a Rhea S support), and it doesn't happen there. Unless Rhea was able to somehow curse Byleth and remove Sothis's power in her final moments but was too crazed to do anything similar in Silver Snow.

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48 minutes ago, Jotari said:

My personal interpretation was that it was Sothis's undoing what she did to Byleth because she disapproved of basically carrying out the will of the people who killed her. But then a Sothis S support being possible in Crimson Flower sort of ruins that as a possible explanation. Can't just be because Rhea dies though, since she also dies in Silver Snow (outside of a Rhea S support), and it doesn't happen there. Unless Rhea was able to somehow curse Byleth and remove Sothis's power in her final moments but was too crazed to do anything similar in Silver Snow.

Sothis does encourage the Professor to "cut their own path", so I don't see her punishing them for siding with Edelgard. If anything, perhaps removing the Crest Stone is a mercy - it allows the Professor's heart to start beating, and for them to have a normal life. But it's not clear that either Rhea or Sothis would have the power, or the opportunity, to manually remove their Crest Stone - nor to "kick-start" their heart.

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4 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

If you don't mind me asking though, why doesn't the crest stone disappear when Rhea dies on VW? Is it because Byleth herself isn't the one who kills her? Or that Byleth and Rhea are still on "friendly terms", so to speak, unlike on CF? Is there a story detail I missed that explains it?

Well, obviously this is open to interpretation, but my opinion: it's thematic. In Crimson Flower, Byleth chooses to consciously reject the role that Rhea wanted him/her to play (that is, becoming a symbol of Sothis and the Church, essentially her representative in the form of the new Archbishop or theocratic ruler of Fodlan). Byleth chose to live as a human, and not be defined by their crest or whatever piece of the Goddess dwells inside her. Why it happened is less important; perhaps it was a gift from Sothis herself, who respected Byleth's choice. One thing we can say is that it's not just tied to Rhea's death, because it doesn't happen even when Rhea dies in Silver Snow.

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5 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I don't really see Acheron as "firmly pro-Empire" - he supports them on the bridge maps because he's pressured to. But on the CF version, he flees from battle if he views his own life at risk. His first loyalty is to himself, and his own chance at power. I just see it possible to use Acheron in a more dynamic way (say, he tries to ally with Claude for the sake of power, then betrays him, so you have to kill him) on a route that emphasizes Alliance politics.

With the right setup, that idea could work out really well! I can totally see him joining as a green ally for a few chapters to further his own selfish ends, and then defecting to the Empire the second things start looking unfavorable for him. Because you're right in that he's only truly loyal to himself, and will support whichever side he thinks will benefit him more. The question is when the best time for him to join would be, and the best time for him to betray Claude. For the latter, I'm thinking maybe Fort Merceus. A few turns in, he'd try and slip away amidst the chaos to sell out the Alliance, so he'd have to be chased down and killed before he escapes.

5 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

In that case, maybe both Randolph and Fleche could show up at the final battle? I don't believe they're ever depicted fighting side-by-side.

Also, playable Fleche on Crimson Flower, please! She could be a perfect Est archetype.

Of course! I could definitely include them both in the final chapter. It would be cool to see their brother/sister dynamic play out on the battlefield since I imagine it'd be quite similar to what we see with Seteth and Flayn. It'd also be nice for them to have at least one happy ending where they both survive.

And don't worry, I've already got ideas for recruitable Fleche on CF! If by Est archetype, you mean similar to Mozu or Cyril, that might be a bit tricky seeing as she'd be joining pretty late on the shortest route. My thinking was more along the lines of a strong pre-promote, but with a few different options. She'd join as a Lv.30 Sniper and have strong bow CAs, meaning she wouldn't have to reclass at all if you didn't want her to. But she'd also have a decent spell list/magic growth (a la Ingrid), a budding talent in swords and a good selection of rallies too for some different build options.

6 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

That could work, I suppose. I've seen Dedue as a fairly static character. Still, if he does this, he should get a one-liner, like: "Professor. I'm counting on you to take Edelgard's head. Do that, and His Highness will know peace."

Oh yeah, he'd definitely get a badass parting line like that! This would be Dedue's moment to go out in a blaze of glory, taking as many Imperials down with him as possible.

5 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Well, obviously this is open to interpretation, but my opinion: it's thematic. In Crimson Flower, Byleth chooses to consciously reject the role that Rhea wanted him/her to play (that is, becoming a symbol of Sothis and the Church, essentially her representative in the form of the new Archbishop or theocratic ruler of Fodlan). Byleth chose to live as a human, and not be defined by their crest or whatever piece of the Goddess dwells inside her. Why it happened is less important; perhaps it was a gift from Sothis herself, who respected Byleth's choice. One thing we can say is that it's not just tied to Rhea's death, because it doesn't happen even when Rhea dies in Silver Snow.

I totally get the thematic reasoning behind the stone only disappearing on CF. That's actually one of the many reasons why it's my favorite route, Byleth choosing to walk her own path and not letting Rhea's scheming dictate who she becomes. I was more curious if there was an established in-story reason for the stone not disappearing on VW, which there doesn't seem to be seeing as everyone's got their own unique interpretation. Closest thing I can find is from before the final battle on CF:

Quote

Edelgard: After Rhea is gone from this world, I don't know what will become of you. But whatever happens, I hope you know that you're very special to me.

Which suggests that something in fact may be tied to Rhea's death, but then again this is just Edelgard's own speculation.

So I guess I should go with what makes the most sense thematically, which would be to keep the stone on VW.

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10 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Sothis does encourage the Professor to "cut their own path", so I don't see her punishing them for siding with Edelgard. If anything, perhaps removing the Crest Stone is a mercy - it allows the Professor's heart to start beating, and for them to have a normal life. But it's not clear that either Rhea or Sothis would have the power, or the opportunity, to manually remove their Crest Stone - nor to "kick-start" their heart.

Well if we go with it as a reward then the question still loops back to why it doesn't happen in other routes too, as it's not really like Byleth cuts their own path any less in the other routes, especially Silver Snow where Edelgard is their student and they can actively make a choice between joining and rejecting Edelgard.

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2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

With the right setup, that idea could work out really well! I can totally see him joining as a green ally for a few chapters to further his own selfish ends, and then defecting to the Empire the second things start looking unfavorable for him. Because you're right in that he's only truly loyal to himself, and will support whichever side he thinks will benefit him more. The question is when the best time for him to join would be, and the best time for him to betray Claude. For the latter, I'm thinking maybe Fort Merceus. A few turns in, he'd try and slip away amidst the chaos to sell out the Alliance, so he'd have to be chased down and killed before he escapes.

That could work, I suppose. I like the notion of him staying a "story green unit" for awhile, kind of like Zola in Birthright. Rather than selling out the Alliance on the whole, though, I was thinking he backstabs Claude in particular. Say, he coordinates with the Empire to betray Claude and the Professor at Fort Merceus. That way, he can escape to the Alliance, as the "sole survivor whom Claude, in his dying breath, asked to lead the Alliance in his stead". Then the follow-up chapter can be returning to Dierdrieu, where Acheron has "set up shop", to prove Claude's survival and take down Acheron's puppet rule.

2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Of course! I could definitely include them both in the final chapter. It would be cool to see their brother/sister dynamic play out on the battlefield since I imagine it'd be quite similar to what we see with Seteth and Flayn. It'd also be nice for them to have at least one happy ending where they both survive.

Maybe Fleche and Randolph could get a mid-map convo? If they're "controllable green units" a la Seteth on the Seteth/Flayn paralogue, this could be done manually. Alternatively, if they're AI green units, they could get one if they both manage to survive up to a certain turn.

2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

And don't worry, I've already got ideas for recruitable Fleche on CF! If by Est archetype, you mean similar to Mozu or Cyril, that might be a bit tricky seeing as she'd be joining pretty late on the shortest route. My thinking was more along the lines of a strong pre-promote, but with a few different options. She'd join as a Lv.30 Sniper and have strong bow CAs, meaning she wouldn't have to reclass at all if you didn't want her to. But she'd also have a decent spell list/magic growth (a la Ingrid), a budding talent in swords and a good selection of rallies too for some different build options.

Well, Mozu and Cyril, I think of more as fitting into a "Ross" or "Donnel" archetype - an early-joining unit with low bases, but great growths. Whereas the Est, obviously, joins a lot later. I like the idea of making her strong in Bows, as Crimson Flower doesn't have a ton of units like that. Still, I wouldn't have her start as a Sniper - as a relatively fresh recruit, I don't think she should be in an Advanced class just yet.

Here's my own vision for Fleche:

Spoiler

Class: Soldier (also has Commoner and Pegasus Knight at base)

Level: 25 (if recruited in chapter 13; this will increase if recruited later)

Personal Ability: Quick Learner (doubles all skill rank growths outside of combat)

Skill Ranks:

Lance: C+ (>>), auto-grow

Axe: D+ (>>)

Bow: C+ (>>), auto-grow

Faith: D+ (>>)

Authority: E (<<, *)

Flight: D (>>)

All Else: E

Unique Abilities:

Battalion Wrath (C+ Authority), Battalion Vantage (Budding Talent)

Combat Arts:

Swift Strikes (C+ Lance), Vengeance (A Lance), Lightning Axe (C+ Axe), Encloser (C+ Bow), Point-Blank Volley (A Bow)

Spell List:

Blizzard (D Reason), Cutting Gale (C Reason), Fimbulvetr (B Reason), Excalibur (A Reason)

Heal (D Faith), Nosferatu (D+ Faith), Restore (C Faith), Aura (B Faith), Fortify (A Faith)

Stats and Growths (before accounting for class modifiers, also bases as of chapter 13):

HP: 32 + 0.70

Str: 19 + 0.60

Mag: 17 + 0.50

Dex: 18 + 0.60

Spd: 20 + 0.70

Lck: 14 + 0.40

Def: 17 + 0.50

Res: 16 + 0.60

Cha: 14 + 0.40

Supports:

Professor (C, B, A, S) - not sure what they'll talk about, Fleche has no personality LOL

Edelgard (C, B) - I'm imagining her idolizing Edelgard, who gets kind of annoyed with her

Caspar (C, B) - could talk about Bergliez family stuff, IDK

Felix (C, B, A) - Fleche asks why he's here, instead of the Kingdom; Felix expresses his disdain for Faerghus culture, bringing up his brother; after Randolph dies, Fleche shares in his grief; paired ending where Fleche tries to track down and arrest roving Felix, but marries him instead

Lysithea (C, B) - Fleche thinks Lysithea is around the same age (she's not); then thinks that having a Crest must be great (it's not)

Jeritza (C, B, A) - Fleche wants to understand the Death Knight she feared and admired; wants to know what drives him to such ferocity; discovers it's not zeal for the Empire; paired ending where they coordinate an official effort to eradicate the Slitherers, disappearing afterward

Unpaired: Fleche rises through the ranks of the new Imperial army, becoming one of Edelgard's foremost generals

 

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10 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

That could work, I suppose. I like the notion of him staying a "story green unit" for awhile, kind of like Zola in Birthright. Rather than selling out the Alliance on the whole, though, I was thinking he backstabs Claude in particular. Say, he coordinates with the Empire to betray Claude and the Professor at Fort Merceus. That way, he can escape to the Alliance, as the "sole survivor whom Claude, in his dying breath, asked to lead the Alliance in his stead". Then the follow-up chapter can be returning to Dierdrieu, where Acheron has "set up shop", to prove Claude's survival and take down Acheron's puppet rule.

I could definitely do something like this, since taking out the second Garreg Mach defense map means I've basically got a free chapter to work with. It might be a bit awkward to put the Derdriu mission in between Fort Merceus and Enbarr though... I'll have to do some rearranging probably.

10 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Maybe Fleche and Randolph could get a mid-map convo? If they're "controllable green units" a la Seteth on the Seteth/Flayn paralogue, this could be done manually. Alternatively, if they're AI green units, they could get one if they both manage to survive up to a certain turn.

I was thinking at first that they'd be AI, since I completely forgot about paralogue Seteth lol

But having I kinda like the idea of having them be controllable units now. Either way though, a mid-map convo is always a welcome addition.

10 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Class: Soldier (also has Commoner and Pegasus Knight at base)

Level: 25 (if recruited in chapter 13; this will increase if recruited later)

Personal Ability: Quick Learner (doubles all skill rank growths outside of combat)

Skill Ranks:

Lance: C+ (>>), auto-grow

Axe: D+ (>>)

Bow: C+ (>>), auto-grow

Faith: D+ (>>)

Authority: E (<<, *)

Flight: D (>>)

All Else: E

Unique Abilities:

Battalion Wrath (C+ Authority), Battalion Vantage (Budding Talent)

Combat Arts:

Swift Strikes (C+ Lance), Vengeance (A Lance), Lightning Axe (C+ Axe), Encloser (C+ Bow), Point-Blank Volley (A Bow)

Spell List:

Blizzard (D Reason), Cutting Gale (C Reason), Fimbulvetr (B Reason), Excalibur (A Reason)

Heal (D Faith), Nosferatu (D+ Faith), Restore (C Faith), Aura (B Faith), Fortify (A Faith)

Stats and Growths (before accounting for class modifiers, also bases as of chapter 13):

HP: 32 + 0.70

Str: 19 + 0.60

Mag: 17 + 0.50

Dex: 18 + 0.60

Spd: 20 + 0.70

Lck: 14 + 0.40

Def: 17 + 0.50

Res: 16 + 0.60

Cha: 14 + 0.40

This looks really well thought out! Very much along the lines of what had in mind.

Here's my Sniper pre-promote idea for comparison:

Spoiler

• Personal Ability: Maiden (On player phase, grants Str +6 and Crit +5 if unit isn't being targeted)
• Starting Class: Sniper
• Starting Level: 30
• Previously Unlocked Classes: Fighter, Archer (Mastered)
• Starting Skill Ranks: Sword E (Budding Talent), Lance E (Boon), Axe D, Bow A (Boon), Brawling E (Bane), Reason E, Faith E (Boon), Authority C+, Heavy Armor E (Bane), Riding D+ (Boon), Flying E
• Learned Abilities: Rally Speed (Authority D), Model Leader (Authority C), Rally Strength (Authority C+), Rally Dexterity (Authority A), Rally Movement (Authority S), Sword Avoid +20 (Sword Budding Talent)
• Learned Combat Arts: Deadeye (Bow C+), Point-Blank Volley (Bow A)
• Learned Spells: Blizzard (Reason D), Heal (Faith D), Nosferatu (Faith D+), Thoron (Reason C), Seraphim (Faith C), Fimbulvetr (Reason B), Rescue (Faith B)
• Growth Rates: HP 65%, Str 35%, Mag 35%, Dex 45%, Spd 40%, Lck 25%, Def 30%, Res 35%, Cha 40%
• Starting Inventory: Silver Bow, Concoction, Large Bullion
• Starting Battalion: Empire Snipers

A bit farther along in the ranks, I'll admit. But I was a concerned about her late join time so I decided to give her the Jeritza treatment just to be safe.

10 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Supports:

Professor (C, B, A, S) - not sure what they'll talk about, Fleche has no personality LOL

Edelgard (C, B) - I'm imagining her idolizing Edelgard, who gets kind of annoyed with her

Caspar (C, B) - could talk about Bergliez family stuff, IDK

Felix (C, B, A) - Fleche asks why he's here, instead of the Kingdom; Felix expresses his disdain for Faerghus culture, bringing up his brother; after Randolph dies, Fleche shares in his grief; paired ending where Fleche tries to track down and arrest roving Felix, but marries him instead

Lysithea (C, B) - Fleche thinks Lysithea is around the same age (she's not); then thinks that having a Crest must be great (it's not)

Jeritza (C, B, A) - Fleche wants to understand the Death Knight she feared and admired; wants to know what drives him to such ferocity; discovers it's not zeal for the Empire; paired ending where they coordinate an official effort to eradicate the Slitherers, disappearing afterward

Unpaired: Fleche rises through the ranks of the new Imperial army, becoming one of Edelgard's foremost generals

Damn, your ideas are almost exactly like what I came up with!

Instead of Edelgard, I actually gave her a support chain (C, B, A) with Hubert. I'm not entirely sure why tbh, but I just get the feeling that something between the two of them would click.

A little (C, B) chain with Petra I think would be nice too, seeing as Petra's had a strained relationship with the Empire (outside of the Black Eagles) for so long due to her kidnapping and mistreatment at the hands of Aegir and his cronies. I'm sure she'd be happy to see through a young noblewoman like Fleche that the Empire's steadily moving past the corruption she hated so much and towards a brighter future.

Building on that Caspar support, I'd split their B-support into a B and a B+, with the latter unlocking after Randolph's death in Ch.15. B+ and A would see them mourning and reflecting on the loss of Randolph and thinking about the future of the Bergliez family.

I had pretty much the same exact idea for a (C, B) support with Lysithea. In mine, the two of them would bond instantly over what it's like being shorter than everyone else. Basically just a funny lighthearted support to offset the more somber tone of the war phase chapters a bit.

My idea for a Jeritza support (C, B, A) would have C-support unlock after Ch.15. Jeritza would talk to Fleche about whether or not she plans to seek revenge on her brother's killer. Fleche would then explain to him why, unlike on AM, she doesn't feel the need to go to such lengths.

I was also thinking of giving her supports with Ashe (C, B, A) and Yuri (C, B, A), but I haven't decided on any of the details yet.

Her paired endings would be: Byleth of either gender (platonic), Hubert, Caspar (family), Ashe, Jeritza and Yuri

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1 hour ago, RainbowMoon said:

could definitely do something like this, since taking out the second Garreg Mach defense map means I've basically got a free chapter to work with. It might be a bit awkward to put the Derdriu mission in between Fort Merceus and Enbarr though... I'll have to do some rearranging probably.

Up to you, by all means. I was thinking, with Acheron's betrayal (and the subsequent Javelins of Light), there'll be a lot of loss of faceless mooks. So they need the time to regroup, and regain support from the Alliance nobles.

1 hour ago, RainbowMoon said:

This looks really well thought out! Very much along the lines of what had in mind.

I never really explained my rationale here. Basically, I made Fleche a Soldier by default because... well, that's what her generic model and portrait look like. Her personal skill is basically an inverse of Lysithea's (rather than gaining double ranks on the battlefield, she gains double ranks in classes, seminars, etc.), so she can build up from her poor base ranks fairly quickly. I namely took inspiration from a couple missing units in designing her. Like Cyril, she's good in Lance/Bow/Flight, and gets Vengeance and Point-Blank Volley. Her spell lists bear some similarity to Flayn's, but with more high-crit spells. Also with some shades of Dimitri (see Battalion Wrath/Vantage Combo) and Seteth (flier with Swift Strikes). Finally, as bad as her bases are for this point, she also has the highest overall growths in the game, averaging 5 stats per level-up. So with some training, Fleche could go from seriously underwhelming, to one of your best units available. 

1 hour ago, RainbowMoon said:

Here's my Sniper pre-promote idea for comparison:

I like quite a bit about this! Her spell lists have some interesting ones, like Thoron and Rescue. If Faith is going to be a boon, and you want magical builds to be viable for her, I'd probably start her above E. Seeing Point-Blank Volley again is great, since Leonie is the only other CF unit who gets it. Giving her Sword Avoid +20 through Budding Talent is an interesting choice, since she can't get it through Dancer. Her Rallies might be a bit overloaded, since your other Rallybots (Annette, Ignatz, Hubert) max out at 3 learned, and that's with a boon in Authority. But I like seeing more rally units, even if I took my Fleche in a different direction. Her growths are fairly unimpressive, so her performance is likely to depend more on the bases you set for her.

1 hour ago, RainbowMoon said:

Damn, your ideas are almost exactly like what I came up with!

Instead of Edelgard, I actually gave her a support chain (C, B, A) with Hubert. I'm not entirely sure why tbh, but I just get the feeling that something between the two of them would click.

A little (C, B) chain with Petra I think would be nice too, seeing as Petra's had a strained relationship with the Empire (outside of the Black Eagles) for so long due to her kidnapping and mistreatment at the hands of Aegir and his cronies. I'm sure she'd be happy to see through a young noblewoman like Fleche that the Empire's steadily moving past the corruption she hated so much and towards a brighter future.

Building on that Caspar support, I'd split their B-support into a B and a B+, with the latter unlocking after Randolph's death in Ch.15. B+ and A would see them mourning and reflecting on the loss of Randolph and thinking about the future of the Bergliez family.

I had pretty much the same exact idea for a (C, B) support with Lysithea. In mine, the two of them would bond instantly over what it's like being shorter than everyone else. Basically just a funny lighthearted support to offset the more somber tone of the war phase chapters a bit.

My idea for a Jeritza support (C, B, A) would have C-support unlock after Ch.15. Jeritza would talk to Fleche about whether or not she plans to seek revenge on her brother's killer. Fleche would then explain to him why, unlike on AM, she doesn't feel the need to go to such lengths.

I was also thinking of giving her supports with Ashe (C, B, A) and Yuri (C, B, A), but I haven't decided on any of the details yet.

Her paired endings would be: Byleth of either gender (platonic), Hubert, Caspar (family), Ashe, Jeritza and Yuri

These all sound pretty good! A point of concern, though - is your "ideal CF" still stick at 15 chapters? If so, there might just not be time for , say, locking her C-support with Jeritza until after chapter 15, or for a four-stage chain with Caspar. I think it's hard to really craft supports for Fleche, because we see so little of her personality in the base game. But yours offer some good ideas.

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Just yesterday I had an alternate idea for VW that would drastically change it, what if the war ended at gronder field? To elaborate, imagine if you got to chose whether to kill Edelgard or Dimitri, and Claude surrenders the Allience to the victor in exchange for Rhea, leaving the second half of VW to explore the Almyran and Agarthan plots and giving Rhea more screen time. Of course the idea needs refining, Hubert/Dedue may need to die as well, and then there is the Death Knight, and the biggest problem with Almyra that I think no one has brought up is it's lack of development in part 1, which makes it hard to introduce an Almyran villian on the same level as Edelgard, Rhea, or even Thales or Nemesis, who all had some sort of build up in part 1, maybe if chapter 8 was in Gonreil territory instead? It makes sense with it's proximity to both Almyra and Shambala, and Holst could make an appearence, but it removes some of the horror of the situation. I would keep Nemesis as the final boss though, even though he came out of nowhere, he at least made it personal for Hilda and Lorenz, and he's commited genocide, giving some (only some) relavence the racism plot. Villians who show up at the end can be good, for example, Asgore from Undertale, they just need proper build up, characterization and motives, Nemesis had each, just not enough.

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