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

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Geoffrey's Charge

Last time, we ended with Elincia ordering Geoffrey to give the rebels a sound thrashing. This time, we'll do just that.

Base Prep

The market is finally open, so we can stock up on items, though it isn't absolutely necessary just yet. Picking up a couple of lances for Geoff isn't a bad idea though - given that he gets only 2 to begin with.

Also Conversations!

1) Calill's Shop*** - Funny conversation between the knights and Calill. Danved also joins, he is most certainly not Devdan.

2) Elincia*** - Is this a romance I spy? Biggest hint you'll get ingame (unless Elincia dies)that the two of them have a thing going. Also nabs us a Brave Lance, which is awesome.

3) Kieran*** - Oh Kieran, you never fail to make me smile, and you have a crazy mancrush on your commander too. Silver Axe obtained.

That's it for the Base. We can't manipulate skills yet, sadly, so no taking off that Paragon on Astrid, and handing it over to someone else.

Egads, that's a lot of enemies. 50 of them, versus... 18? Oh dear.

Map 2-3

Victory Condition: Seize

Defeat Condition: Geoffrey dies; Kieran dies

Roster: Geoffrey, Kieran, Marcia [Makalov, Astrid, Danved available]

Most of the Crimean Knights are kind of terrible, all things considered, and you're better off ignoring them. On the other hand, Marcia could use a few levels as she's vital to my master plan for a chapter far in the future, and the two commanders, Kieran and Geoffrey, are great in their own right.

On the with battle then.

The map gives you 12 mooks who do a decent job on lower difficulties, so this should be interesting. Normally, I let them Halt, and then not do anything, but this time around, I'll be using them to help clear out the initial wave of enemies. Also, this chapter is a slow, slow thing in general.

Marcia also gets the Brave Lance so that she can hold her own, despite being on the underleveled side (compared to the rest of the group). I don't even bother with Danved, Makalov and Astrid because they're a waste of experience even on Easy.

So, on our phase, we kill 2, and then the partner phase results in a pathetic display from the Crimean Knights. In the enemy phase, we get a staff critical, which is somehow more adorable than a regular staff attack. The sheer volume of moving enemies also means that I stare at my screen in frustration for far longer than I would like to.

Kieran and Geoffrey continue to be awesome, and Marcia scores a kill and a level (HP, Str, Skl). Some Crimean Knights heal themselves and scurry around the field in confusion. The enemy's buffed stats are really apparent this chapter, as they normally tend to die quickly and horribly unless attacked by anyone names Astrid. In which case they laugh mockingly.

More die on the next turn, even though the Crimeans continue to be terrible at their job. Geoff acts as a blockade against one large group of nasties. Or at least, he was supposed to. One fool stands in front of him, trying to be useful and failing. Miserably. At least he survives.

Oh, and the rebel army now has 35 units.

One Arm Scroll later, the entire beginning of the map is emptied of enemies.

Two Crossbowmen are eliminated, making the battlefield a lot safer for Marcia. In other news, the Partner phase remains entertaining in it's incompetence. Also, I screw up, but don't die a horrible death for once.

Basically, I placed Marcia near a fence, and forgot that arrows can go over fences. Genius, I know.

An unfortunate being with a Horseslayer is also duly dealt with, because Horseslayers give me nightmares for good reason. The only non-Horseman unit available right now is Danved, hence my agitation.

Again, nothing of note happens except that one of the Stone Ballistae fire, hitting me for 2 damage, and one of the enemy for 10. Thanks!

Stone Ballistae, which are a FE 9/10 thing, are annoying but weak. They won't hurt very badly, but by gum, they will sap your HP and leave you vulnerable to other nasty things. There's not much you can do to stop them, so it's advisable to either zip forward with a powerful flier, and take the archers out, or weather out the storm. I've not been able to confirm this, but I believe that they always do 1 damage regardless of defense, in the event that the attacked unit has more defense than the ballista has might.

A Crimean Knight finally dies, after ages and ages, as I've stuck them at a chokepoint to keep reinforcements busy. Also, Geoffrey dodges a 70% chance to hit from mage that could have left him in bad shape and kills the mage on the counter. What a guy. What a guy. He does a repeat of this on the Player Phase, and I may have just used up all my luck for the year (good thing that the year is almost over then).

One enemy of note, who begins to move on turn 10, is a Halberdier with a Speedwings. Also, Geoffrey uses the Brave Lance (so that he can double) the Swordmaster Boss, and criticals on the second hit. What a guy. What. A. Guy.

The Brave Lance goes back to Marcia on the next player phase, as I need her to hang on to it, all all costs. I also lend her a Steel Greatlance, because why not? This is all preparation for the next chapter. Speedwings guy dies on this phase, and I Seize the tile.

One major thing to note about this chapter is the bonus experience. While it can be reasonably difficult to get decent amounts of Turns experience, especially if you decide to be hipster gamer, and train Astrid, you can get piles of the stuff by leaving large numbers of rebels alive. The maximum, I think, is 34 units. Multiplied by 200 on Normal and Easy, and by 100 on Hard.

The experience for this chapter is therefore:

Clear Bonus: 1250

Turn Bonus: 437

Red Army survived: 2400

Other Units: 477

which is a pretty good total of 4564 points of BEXP.

Infodump time: I can't remember if I did this before, but I don't think I did.

There are several types of Experience, as I've mentioned before, with BEXP being this game's answer to the Arena from the older games.

The types of BEXP are:

Clear Bonus - gotten whenever you beat a map.

Turn Bonus - given when you beat maps quickly. After a certain number of turns, usually 10 (but varies), this starts to decrease. After you spend long enough on a map, you get none.

Special Condition Bonus: A special condition is assigned - for example, X units of ____ Army survived/ X Villagers Survived - where meeting the conditions can get you huge amounts of BEXP. Not meeting the condition isn't terrible, but not recommended. These tend to be chapter specific, and a lot of fun to strategise for.

Other Units Experience - Experience that Partner and Other units receive is converted on a 1-1 basis to BEXP. This is a nice inclusion, and means that letting NP Cs do some work isn't necessarily a lost cause.

Oh, and we have some plot! Ludveck has attacked Crimea Castle, which means... something cool is about to occur. And the Knights aren't even around. Oh no.

New Units:

Geoffrey (Level 15 Lance Paladin)

Base stats

37 HP 60%

24 Str 50%

08 Mag 10%

23 Skl 60%

20 Spd 35%

19 Luck 30%

18 Def 35%

15 Res 55%

11 Con

36 Wt

Oh Geoffrey. Oh Geoffrey. He continues to be the Paladin with terrible availability that still makes himself useful, somehow. His bases are goodish, but not great, and the same goes for his growths. He's just so overleveled that he smashes through everything in Part 2, does a decent job in Part 3, and then fails in Part 4, when he finally returns to the team after being missing for several chapters. The only real reason you'd want to use him over the Greil Paladins would be if you want his ending with Elincia, which is a typical Knightly Romance (which I am a sucker for, I admit). Then again, none of the Crimean Knights are really worth the effort, so abusing Geoff is never a bad thing.

Kieran(Level 11 Axe Paladin)

Base stats

41 HP 75%

21 Str 60%

06 Mag 15%

20 Skl 40%

20 Spd 30%

16 Luck 30%

18 Def 65%

11 Res 25%

11 Con

36 Wt

Kieran is the other semi-decent Crimean Knight that merits abuse in his chapters. He's also around for a leetle bit more than Geoffrey, and makes a good B-Team candidate on easier difficulties, in the event that you have dozens of 3rd-tier units but still want some semblance of a challenge. He's good, but not really amazing, so not endgame material in short. He comes with innate Gamble, which halves Hit and increase Crit - amazing skill to put on a Marksman, but terrible for him as he doesn't hit reliably as is.

Marcia (Level 5 Falcon Knight)

Base stats

34 HP 70%

16 Str 30%

06 Mag 20%

17 Skl 40%

20 Spd 55%

12 Luck 50%

16 Def 35%

15 Res 35%

7 Con

23 Wt

You could do better than Marcia if you need a flier. There's always Jill and Haar. She's still the best Pegasus Knight though, and is a good Paragon candidate in Map 3-9. Plus, she's vital to the 3-9 gameplan, so she merits training up till that point. Nothing much to say about her - she's just there. Decent Crimean unit that should only be used during those chapters, or as a B-Team substitute.

Makalov(Level 7 Blade Paladin)

Base stats

37 HP 5%

18 Str 40%

05 Mag 14%

17 Skl 40%

18 Spd 75%

20 Luck 45%

17 Def 50%

09 Res 25%

10 Con

35 Wt

He's kinda terrible. And ugly. Pass.

Uh, ignore my inner voice there. Makalov is essentially the unit that you could use, but won't anyway because there are better ones out there. I suppose you could train him, but he won't turn out spectacular. That speed growth is the most amazing thing about him, other than his hair. And the fact that Astrid has a crush on him (WHY?). He's so generic as far as the CR Ks are concerned that I can't even think of anything funny to say about him.

Astrid(Level 2 Bow Paladin)

Base stats

33 HP 55%

13 Str 50%

08 Mag 10%

16 Skl 60%

15 Spd 35%

17 Luck 30%

10 Def 35%

14 Res 55%

07 Con

31 Wt

Astrid from POR, come back *cries*! She's degenerated more than Marcia, and has gone from potentially gamebreaking to just pathetic. Her growths are actually pretty good, and she's capable of hitting the 34 Speed mark that every unit in this game covets, but that level... and those bases. Her innate Paragon alleviates some of these issues, and with some careful kill-stealing, she can get to double digits by Part 3, and promote early into Part 4, by which time she will be an okay murder-machine. There are better candidates for Paragon though, and there's no point in training her outside Easy mode.

Danved(Level 09 Halberdier)

Base stats

39 HP 75%

17 Str 40%

08 Mag 20%

23 Skl 30%

21 Spd 45%

18 Luck 60%

15 Def 45%

12 Res 25%

12 Con

18 Wt

Danved, who is most certainly not Devdan (OR IS HE?), is the middle ground between Aran and Nephenee. As such, he's inferior to both of them. He makes a reasonable back up unit, but like the rest of the CR Ks, he suffers from horrible availability, making it quite hard to level him up to say, Nephenee (who gets all of Part 3, and a big chunk of Part 2). He's a nice man in general though, even if he isn't Devdan. He gets Devdan's transfers also.

New Items:

1) Steel Greatlance (2) [Store] - This game is the only game where the big, heavy, inaccurate weapons are superior to the smaller, lighter ones (thanks to them being ungodly expensive in comparison). It's quite silly to use anything but Poleaxes (which are no longer effective weapons), Greatlances and Blades.

2) Brave Lance [Base Conversation] - Auto-double attack. Can lead to a Quadruple if the unit can already double the opponent.

3) Silver Axe [Base Conversation] - Upgraded axe, though inferior to Steel Poleaxes.

4) Arms Scroll [Hidden Item] - Raises equipped Weapon Rank by 1.

Further comments:

  • The best chapter to train Astrid, thanks to the all the cannon fodder. Not that you'd want to, under normal circumstances.

  • My normal strategy (for BEXP) is to stick Makalov at the chokepoint where all the reinforcements appear and have him tank their hits without countering. It works pretty well, but I didn't want to risk it this time. NP Cs are expendable after all.

Next time: A rebellion is thwarted! And FANSERVICE.


Speaking of Geoffrey and Elincia's "Knightly Romance", it's a tad absurd just how many special support endings there are between people you'd have to go out of your way to train up. And is it really worth it just to see a different two-sentence messages at the end of the game, when it's much easier to just type up a shipping fanfic for any pair you want?
EndarkCuli 4th Jan 12