An exercise in masochism: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn Hard Mode

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A Gathering Hope

Another day, another update. Once again, this is in celebration of me choosing a terrible few months to start this game.

  • Ahem*

This is an almost breather chapter, once again, as if they're trying to tell us something. Again, not a difficult chapter, although it has its moments.

We have some minor plot happenings when someone in our army realises that the Dawn Brigade, and all its clones, are hardly the best way to go about freeing a country. A prison which contains Daein soldiers (poor chaps... the war ended, what, 3 years ago, and they're still Po Ws?) holds hope. Izuka is a creepy fuck as always and suggest POISON to kill off the guards, which Micaiah objects to (and I hope you do too) on moral and practical grounds.

In any casem the obvious solution here is to summon the Dawn Brigade. Cause, you know, there aren't enough Nolans left in Daein.

In Base, there aren't very many preparations to do this time.

First off, we set up the Nolan/Zihark Earth pair, which immediately grants a +15 boost to avoid. We also set up a Jill/Volug pair, which gets a +10 boost to avoid, which is decent.

Information alert: Earth supports are the most useful by far because they give a +7.5 boost to avoid. This game happens to round UP figures, unlike the previous ones, so any Earth support is guaranteed to give a minimum of +23 (7.5 X 3 = 22.5 ~ 23) at A, the maximum obtainable level.

The worst pair, if you're interested, is Heaven-Heaven, which gives a +45 boost to Hit (2(7.5) X 3 = 45), which is pointless, because a) you won't ever need that much Hit and b) Other boosted stats are generally more important.

Also, Supports only activate if the units are within 3 spaces of each other.

Rounding up our support infodump is Bond Supports, which are intrinsic and unbreakable. Units that are close to one another (relationship-wise) get Bond supports, which increase Critical rate. For example, having Sothe stand adjacent to Micaiah (the condition needed to activate the Bond support), then both of them get a boosted critical rate (around +10, though this varies depending on the strength of the bond). Returning characters who transfer an A-support from POR also have bond supports.

Finally, the older games were cooler in some ways because they had personalised supports. The RD ones are way too generic, and even if some are pretty funny, it's just not as warm/friendly as the GBA games and POR.

Oh yeah, Fiona joins us. She's kind of pathetic, but anyways, if Meg gets her stats posted, so does Fiona.

Fiona (Level 9 Lance Knight)

Base stats

25 HP 45%

8 Str 40%

6 Mag 15%

8 Skl 40%

10 Spd 60%

7 Luck 55%

8 Def 55%

6 Res 50%

7 Con

31 Wt

You know what? I'm going to be totally fair here and say that she's not a terrible unit. Rather, she hits 34 speed (one of the only 2 paladins who do), has an Earth affinity, and has good growths - fairly similar to Jill's even, and I called her a great, if mercurial, unit. BUT BUT BUT, she's hard to train. There is, as far as I know, only one genuinely reliable way to train her, and it is tedious. It is very tedious. And pointless. And kicks your turncount into horrible places. If you can train her then she's arguably worth the effort, unlike Meg, but it's not needed. You get enough God units by the endgame that you don't even want paladins. Plus, given that this is Hard Mode, she is going to warm that bench and warm it good.

We have 2 conversations this time as well, one of which nets us an awesome item, and one which doesn't really do anything, other than make us feel for one of the characters involved.

1) Companions * - So, you remember Brom from POR who struck up an Odd Friendship with Zihark, before trying to get him to marry his daughters? Well, Meg is his daughter. And she wants Zihark. Zihark is understandably creeped out by this.

2) Pelleas *** - Ooh, good stuff. We get a Brave Sword from him. Brave swords are awesome.

Brave swords give 2X hit. Basically, a unit with one gets two strikes in on one attack. A unit like Edward or Zihark can get 4 hits in thanks to this.

Map 1-7

Victory Conditions: Seize

Defeat Conditions: Micaiah/Sothe dies

Roster: Micaiah, Sothe, Volug, Nolan, Zihark, Jill, Laura

Tauroneo is up to logistical duties, I believe, so he's taking a break from this mission.

So, we find ourselves in prison again. No, wait, we break into a prison again.

The objective of this mission is to THANIBOMB the boss, while killing thing and not dying. The catch here is that there are a bunch of jail cells around the place, which contain Daein soldiers. While it is perfectly acceptable to leave them there and concentrate on the fighting, it is infinitely better for BEXP gathering to break them out and then wait for them to escape.

Our plan of action is simple - Sothe and Micaiah go East by themselves, while everyone else works their way up North and around. This is less silly than it seems for a good reason.

The first turn is, again, the great set-up turn. There are a few annoying enemies close to the starting point, so the key is to make sure that Laura is safe. She can heal people and stuff, but if an enemy so much as glances at her, and she's a priority target, she WILL die.

On the second turn, Tormod and Co. burst into the prison, taking out a few random enemies with them. Sothe can recruit them, and they come in handy, trust me. This is why we moved Sothe and Micaiah east, instead of with the rest of our army.

Again, slow progress killing things.

Ahaha, I didn't have to reset during this chapter, but there was this one time when I escaped purely thanks to Sothe's guard skill. An archer with a longbow went after Micaiah from atop a ledge when she had 2HP left from helping Tormod assault a couple of mages who were on the ledges in question (agreed, the logic of what I did was questionable - but Micaiah is accurate enough to hit those bastards, and has enough resistance to survive). In any case, I was about to get ready to reset, when his skill activated, and I was all "You're joking. No, seriously. What just happened." It was beautiful.

The other danger moment came when the reinforcements arrived, and I hadn't managed to get into an ideal position on the Western side. That +10 avoid boost saved Jill. It really did.

After all this madness ends, the chapter itself ends.

The boss didn't pose much of a challenge to Micaiah (who has been blessed this run), but it is usually advisable to pick durable non-axe wielder (on easier modes only - HM disables the weapon triangle after all) to weaken the boss first. He has a fuckton of HP, plus a Storm sword (the second strongest ranged sword), so he's capable of hurting your units badly, but he's also capable of missing completely, thanks to the questionable accuracy of the sword.

Items Obtained

1) Master Seal - found East of central (top) cell, next to wall

New Units

Tormod (Level 5 Fire Sage)

Base stats

34 HP 50%

13 Str 55%

17 Mag 40%

16 Skl 45%

20 Spd 55%

14 Luck 25%

12 Def 35%

14 Res 45%

7 Con

7 Wt

'Kay, he's got more Strength growth than Magic. Bit of a problem for a mage. Eh, not really. Tormod is great when you get him, in Part 1. Then he disappears until the endgame. I kid you not. It's like IS forgot about him, and then went, oh hey, he exists too. I like him as a unit and all, but he's kind of not worth it purely because of that whole 'complete and utter lack of availability issue' he's got going. His innate, Celerity, is pretty great because of the +2 movement boost. You really want to take that off him and give to someone else because your team needs it more than he.

Muarim (Level 19 Tiger)

Base stats

58 HP 60%

18 -> 36 Str 55%

3 -> 6 Mag 5%

14 -> 28 Skl 45%

11 -> 22 Spd 20%

12 Luck 55%

15 -> 30 Def 35%

9 -> 18 Res 30%

14 -> 24 Con

23 -> 44 Wt

GAH INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS WHY ARE YOU SO CRUEL? Muarim is the first legit Laguz unit in the game, and doesn't have Wildheart, so you can have fun micromanaging that transformation bar of his. And his defense is beautiful. As is his strength. He's a vastly superior unit to Volug, but IS be damned, he suffer from the same availability problems as Tormod, while being an EXP hog. He's also surprisingly close to capping quite a few stats, though his low speed (and growths) make him kind of useless for the endgame.

Vika (Level 13 Raven)

Base stats

38 HP 60%

9 -> 18 Str 25%

5 -> 10 Mag 50%

13 -> 26 Skl 60%

15 -> 30 Spd 60%

14 Luck 65%

7 -> 14 Def 15%

7 -> 14 Res 65%

6 -> 15 Con

5 -> 14 Wt

Intelligent Systems, I love your games to death, but I do wish you'd balance them better. Vika has amazing growths. Probably the best in the game. She has decent bases to go with these growths, and unless something horrifying happens, she's going to cap a lot of stats. I know. I trained her once. But, like the rest of the Laguz Emancipation army, she disappears for 90% of the game, and randomly pops up in one of the most annoying, reinforcement filled chapters in the game that I beat the first time by abusing a particular Godcharacter. If you train her, she WILL be worth it. Problem is, she's hard to train - Laguz units get less experience to begin with. There are a couple of methods for it, and I'll be pointing them out, but she's a massive investment to make.

So, 3 potentially amazing units, and we can't really use them. Wonderful. I really hate this game's balance issues sometimes.

Next time: Into a quagmire of Hatred and irritation

Ok, I lied. Next time will be interlude post.

Post-chapter musings:

  • Oh hey. We've finished my backlog.

  • This chapter would have finished so much faster if not for that random cell all the way near the boss

  • No resets. I feel so proud.

  • Did this chapter in Easy mode when I was scrounging for the Base Conversations. I am happy to report that this was my fastest ever runthrough, and I didn't even abuse Thani.


Considering the manner in which they leave the party at the end of part 1, it would have made sense for them to show up in part 3.

Imagine the end of chapter 3-12 with this game's Camus being interrupted by a Meteor spell and a Raven instead of the Hawks... 16th Nov 11
Alas, poor Tormod; you can move farther than any other man, but ironically, you're always just a few steps behind everyone else.
EndarkCuli 17th Nov 11