A Turn-Based Strategy series developed in-house by Nintendo's Intelligent Systems, also responsible for fellow Turn-Based Strategy series Nintendo Wars. The series innovated strategic role-playing games, later popularized in the west by games such as Final Fantasy Tactics. The series has spanned thirteen games so far on seven systems. Moreover, the series, being roughly as old as genre mainstays Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, helped make and codify many elements of the strategy RPG genre.The series was originally a Japan-exclusive series with no western releases that started in 1990 with its first releases on the Famicom with later games landing on the Super Famicom. It wasn't until 2001, just before the release of the 6th game on the Game Boy Advance that two characters from the series, Marth and Roy, appeared as unlockable fighters in Super Smash Bros. Melee, introducing the series as a whole to western gamers. They proved to be very popular characters among the English fanbase, garnering enough interest in the franchise to warrant the international release of the next game; all subsequent games in the series have been released worldwide, save for the twelfth title. Incidentally, Marth and Roy were originally only supposed to be in the Japanese version, included to promote the upcoming release of Fire Emblem: Binding Blade; the intent was for the localization team to dummy them out in the translation process as they would theoretically hold no interest to international games.The series' appeal comes from its unique flavoring of the typical grid-based strategy game with RPG Elements. The games emphasize Character Development and story in addition to strategy and unit building — even relatively minor characters (of which there are a great many) and included mostly just to flesh out the player's army, receive lots of backstory and interaction with the other characters. Fans of the series spend just as much time admiring the depth and intricacy of the characters and setting as they do debating over the Character Tiers.Another thing to note about the series is the handling of death: 99% of the time, dead characters stay dead. Only six games (out of thirteen) offer ways to revive dead characters, and they are all heavily limited in use note One use, not even obtained until the penultimate chapter, and only usable by princesses (FE1 and FE11); multiple, but not unlimited, uses, placed out of the way and guarded by multiple encounters (FE2); one use and not obtainable until the penultimate chapter of Part 1 or last chapter of Part 2 (FE3 and FE12); and one use without obscenely expensive repairs for a unit that has issues getting money in the first place (FE4). Later games in the series, from New Mystery of the Emblem onwards, offer a casual mode, in which units killed will come back once the current chapter is finished. The series is generally Nintendo Hard as well, with variations in difficulty from game to game ranging from relatively easy to mind-crushingly difficult... and the bonus difficulty modes recently cropping up just make them even harder.The series is semi-linear, as each verse will feature between one or more interrelated games before moving on to a new universe. The Series listed here based of games and/or the continent/country the games are based:
Fire Emblem Akaneianote The name of the country was translated as "Akaneia" in Europe, but "Archanea" in North America.: The original series of games, starring Marth in the first and third gamesnote which originally contained a remake of the first as a prologue, and is by far the most prolific of the timelines, encompassing the first three games in the series along with the eleventh and twelfth (since they were remakes of the first and third). The second game, Gaidennote The only one of the original 3 games to not feature Marth's story is notable for the many gameplay mechanics differences it has had from the original game and most of the series installments aside from a few notable Spiritual Successor games. Awakening also takes place in this timeline, but thousands of years in the future.
Fire Emblem Jugdral: After the release of the third game (Mystery of the Emblem) on the Super Famicom the series moved on to a new set of characters and a new world, with the release of Genealogy of the Holy War (Seisen no Keifu) in 1996 and its sequel/Interquel, Thracia 776 in 1999. Set in the same universe as the Akaneia games but hundreds or thousands of years in the past, according to Word of God. The games are notable for having the darkest storyline of the entire franchise, and Thracia 776 is known for being extremely difficult even by the frachise's own standards.
Fire Emblem Elibe: The final Super Famicom games in the series were released long after the Super Famicom's successor, the Nintendo64, had been released worldwide. The N64 would be the only Nintendo home console not to see a Fire Emblem release, though one had been announced as a fourth game in the Akaneia saga. That game was scrapped, but according to some accounts, its elements were recycled into a game subtitled Maiden of Darkness, which eventually became Binding Blade. This game was released in 2002, three years after Thracia 776 in a completely new universe and in portable form on the Game Boy Advance as two games, Binding Blade and later the prequel Blazing Sword. It was here that interest in the series among western gamers was sparked, with the other Super Smash Bros. recruit, Roy, starring in Binding Blade. His popularity lead to the 2003 release of Blazing Sword internationally, as the first Fire Emblem released outside Asia.
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (Game Boy Advance, 2004) took place in a new world, Magvel, and starred the twins Eirika and Ephraim of Renais, as they dealt with the sudden antagonism of their southern neighbor Grado and tried to stop the resurrection of the Demon King. It serves as something of a Spiritual Successor to Gaiden, bringing back some of said game's exclusive mechanics such as a traversable world map and random monster encounters on said map, as well as implementing its own ideas like branching class promotion. It was re-released on the Nintendo 3DS as one of the ten GBA games distributed for free as part of the Ambassador Program.
Fire Emblem Tellius: With this series, Path of Radiance on the Nintendo GameCube and Radiant Dawn released on the Wii, Fire Emblem made its long-awaited return to home consoles, starting in 2005 with another new universe. Starring Ike, the series first non-noble born main character, Path of Radiance marked the franchise first attempt at making the Video Game 3D Leap and the first home console game in the series released outside of Japan. Ike would later be the first Fire Emblem character to come to Super Smash Bros. after his game was released stateside, with the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Fire Emblem Awakening: After the two remakes of Marth's games on the Nintendo DS, a new Fire Emblem title for the Nintendo 3DS was announced on September 13th 2011. Awakening (Nintendo 3DS, 2012/2013) stars yet another royal blue haired swordsman named Chrom, set in the same universe as Akaneia and Jugdral but thousands of years in the future. The game brings back the world map system of Gaiden and The Sacred Stones, reintroduces the skill system along with a graphical style reminiscent of the Tellius games with a more cartoonish bent when it comes to 3D models and a Seinen art style for character portraits, with a 2˝D map and 3D fights. A new feature introduced allows units to join in on allies' attacks or block enemy attacks for one another. The game was released in April of 2012 in Japan, in the United States on February 4th, 2013, and in PAL regions on April 19, 2013.
Fire Emblem is one of the featured series in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, debuting in Super Smash Bros. Melee due to popular demand from the Japanese fanbase. Melee features Marth and Roy as unlockable playable characters; Brawl has Marth and Ike playable, Lyndis as an Assist Trophy, and the Castle Siege stage, a nonspecific amalgamation of typical location themes and tropes present throughout the series as a whole with a stylistic focus on the Tellius canon. The fourth entry has Marth, Ike, and Lyndis returning in their respective roles, and introduces content from Awakening, namely Lucina and the Avatar (under the default name Robin and with both male and female variations) as playable fighters and Regna Ferox's arena as a stage for the 3DS version.See also: Tear Ring Saga, the next game made by Fire Emblem creator Shouzou Kaga after leaving Intelligent Systems and the franchise, which is basically Fire Emblemon the PlayStation!
Provides Examples Of:
Action Girl: Tons of them. Once you start playing a game, expect your army to be joined by plenty of beautiful girls who kick tons of ass. Armies and mercenary groups in Fire Emblem are very equal-opportunity as far as gender is concerned, which is quite surprising considering the medieval-fantasy setting the series takes place in.
Cranked up a notch in Awakening, where females have mostly exclusive access to the crazy-useful "Galeforce" ability, which lets them have another full turn if they defeat an enemy. Watch your Amazon Brigade smash their way through the map!
Aerith and Bob: On one hand, you have names like Guy, Joshua, Mia, and Edward; on the other, you have names that are rarely used modernly, like Kieran; and on yet another, mythological references like Oguma and Roland; and THEN, you have Biblical names that are rarely used (for good reasons, most of them were smote) like Nabal (or however you translate it). When you have have Loads and Loads of Characters and One Steve Limit is in effect, you need every name you can get.
Aliens Made Them Do It: Manfroy brainwashes two half-siblings into breeding as part of his plan in Genealogy of Holy War.
All Swords Are the Same: Non-magical weapons are broken down into four categories: swords, lances, axes, and bows. Not accounting for all of the different styles and variations of weapons that different classes can wield, any character that can use a weapon type can use every weapon of that type. It's absurd enough when any sword used by a Hero becomes a claymore while it becomes a katana when wielded by a Swordmaster, but when it gets to where equipping it to an Assassin turns it into a pair of knives, it starts to get just a tad silly.
Averted in the Jugdral games and 3D games in general: a weapon has the same appearance regardless of who equips it.
Also subverted in some games as there are weapons that are class exclusive, like the Myrmidons, who are usually depicted as katana weilders, weilding the more Japanese styled swords in the series such as the Killing Edge or the Wo Dao that the OTHER sword weilding class, Mercenaries, can't use.
Awakening averts this, as well, by giving each weapon its own unique model. Assassins even use the full-size sword in a Reverse Grip style instead of using daggers like in past installments. Killing Edges are still represented as katanas, though.
All There in the Manual: A crapload of info about Fire Emblem 4's universe and background story is only revealed and / or told with more details in author's notes and guidebooks, such as the Treasure book and the now-closed blog of Shouzou Kaga (the creator of the series). The same applies to Fire Emblem 1, 3, and Gaiden with notably the Fire Emblem: The Complete book, and Drama CDs.
Anachronism Stew: Happens a lot where fashion is involved in the pseudo-European worlds of Fire Emblem. The biggest offender is Vika, whose outfit looks like it came hot off the runway in modern Milan.
Animorphism: Various titles in the series feature characters that can shapeshift into dragons, called "Manaketes". Path of Radiance adds different species of felines and birds, and Radiant Dawn adding wolves, all of which are called "Laguz". Awakening adds rabbits, called "Taguel", though the one you get (who is called the last of her kind) says that there are Taguel in far away lands that can turn into other animals, suggesting they're just different words for the same thing.
Anti-Air: Bows and wind magic is often effective against flying units.
Anti-Armor: Armorslayers, Heavy Spears, and Hammers are effective against armored foes, as are most Lord-exclusive weapons. Magic is a less extreme version of this, receiving no damage bonus but using the target's Resistance stat (which for armored units is generally quite low) instead of their Defense.
Anti-Cavalry: Long Swords, Zanbatos, Halberds, and Horseslayers are effective against mounted units, as are most of the unique weapons your Lord units start with or receive early on.
Anti-Poop Socking : In Awakening, if you've been playing for a long time, Anna will pop up on the bottom screen to remind you to take a break every so often, just like most 3DS games.
Anyone Can Die: With how they treat death, the game was apparently designed with that thought in mind. The player can avert this, but it becomes irritatingly difficult. The latest games in the series introduce a "Casual" mode that Averts this, but most Fire Emblem fans stuck with "Classic". Most also choose to count any death as a Game Over and reset.
Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Yes, the games do expect you to fight armies of fifty to over a hundred enemies with only twelve to fifteen people. When you usually have about thirty to forty characters to choose from at that point. Averted in the fourth game, but you only get up to twenty-four units at a time anyway.
Arbitrary Minimum Range: The Ballistas work this way, but also regular bow and arrows act like this also. If you surround an archer with four units, they can't move and can't attack.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Inverted. Nearly all of the heroes are of royal or at least noble lineage and except for the occassional Big Bad, nearly all other characters of blue blood, especially rulers, are usually shown to be open-minded, kind, helpful and actually caring for their people. Simultaneously played straight since many enemies are also nobles, with a tendency for minor enemy nobles to be of the simply jerkish, power-abusive type, whereas enemy kings tend to have greater, world-changing, but malevolent plans and intend to pull them off at all costs.
Armor-Piercing Attack: The spell, Luna, as well as the skill of the same name in games that have skills, ignores defense and resistance. The second half of Aether (Ike and later Chrom and his family's signature skills) is also Luna.
Art Evolution: The series used semi-realistic sprites for battle until the GBA era, where it switched to a more cartoony, expressive style. As of Path of Radiance they've switched back to realistic models, although Radiant Dawn uses more vibrant colors to make the models stand out.
Part of the reason for the Game Boy Advance titles' Art Evolution was that they were on the Game Boy Advance, at a time when the standard model was still out there. When Sacred Stones came out, the frontlit SP was around for awhile, and thus they used a slightly darker palette (Especially evident in the menus, which are a lot darker brown.)
Also, you can really see the art Evolution when you look through the series. They couldn't afford a dedicated artist until around the Jugdral series.
Art Shift: Awakening was designed by a different artist than the previous titles, looking more Seinen.
Artifact Title: Averted. With the exception of Jugdral (where it gets a brief mention in 4's ending and calls it "seal of fire" instead of Gratuitous English), every continent is given its own "Fire Emblem".
Artistic License - Statistics: In early FE games, hits were checked by rolling a number between 1 and 100. For FE6 onward, it instead rolls twice and takes the average. For a 50% hit chance the result is the same, but the further you get in one direction the more skewed the probability becomes. In this way, the outcome of a fight will usually adhere to human misunderstandings about RNG; a 90% hit is nigh guaranteed and a 10% hit is extremely unlikely.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn: Elincia, first Princess and later Queen, is a phenomenally useful and powerful unit; the Laguz Royals seem to follow this as well, although in the case of the Beast and Bird Tribes it is stated to be more Asskicking Equals Authority.
Ike, as leader of the Greil Mercenaries, takes this trope and runs with it, being the most powerful unit in both games, which is saying something. His father, who founded the mercenary troupe Ike now runs, was once the highest ranked general in Daein, a notoriously militarized country. And then there's the Black Knight, who trained under Greil, and was The Dragon to the first game's Big Bad. All three characters spent some time as the strongest human in the world.
Anyone who has played the GBA games has found that the lords Hector and Ephraim, from FE7 and FE8 respectively, can be serious physical powerhouses, capable of dishing out damage and either not taking any at all or not getting hit at all, also respectively. It should also be noted that in the first level you play as Ephraim in FE 8, you must siege a castle with an army less than one fifth the size of the enemy's (not entirely new for FE, except that you only have 4 units, Ephraim included) and Ephraim can generally stand his ground, if not kill everything on the map without so much as dropping a bead of sweat.
In a hilarious way, FE 12 Marth, while not as powerful as his FE 1 counterparts has a much more superior base and growth compared to his younger counterparts. And it should be noted that he actually have an authority at the time of the story.
Honestly, this trope applies to the entire series seeing as how the Lord characters are more than likely going to be one of the better units you can use in terms of stats, skills, and weaponry. As well how the boss characters are usually significantly stronger than any of the generic enemies.
Autosave: The GBA titles all have a continuous autosave.
Awesome, but Impractical: Triangle attacks give an automatic critical, but require three specific units of the same type (usually pegasi) to surround an enemy, and many enemies you'd like to Triangle have at least 2 sides blocked, preventing its use.
If you're playing one of the games where the units who can Triangle Attack are fliers, and the game has movement conservation after attacks for mounted and flying, you can execute up to three Triangle Attacks in a turn (four in Radiant Dawn). It's still a lot of hassle, though.
Mages in Path of Radiance, upon promotion, can learn to use knives instead of staves, if they want. While it sounds theoretically awesome to have a unit that can both use weapons and magic, in practice, it's really useless, because: 1) Physical strength and magic are separate stats. Guess which one knives use, and which one mages barely have anything of! 2) Mages are really squishy, so they're better off attacking from range anyway. 3) The most practical use for knives, therefore, would be to defeat an enemy with a high magic resistance. In that case, you'd be better off using a physical fighter to begin with. 4) Healing staffs in Fire Emblem are Boring, but Practical to the max and even grant a mage extra EXP when in use. Trading them off for knives is a very bad deal.
Averted in Fire Emblem Awakening, while there is only one player character that can be considered bad looking (and even then half the time, in-universe and out, Gregor is still considered handsome), the generic enemies are EXTREMELY pretty looking compared to older ones, and the bosses are ugly only half the time. Special mention given to Victor and Vincent, the Bandit Twins, who are probably still considered ugly, but if you look at the Bandit Twins from any of the previous games (who, despite being different characters, always have the same exact looks and personality), Victor and Vincent are downright Beautiful, which takes away from the intended creepiness.
Big Damn Heroes: At the end of Act 2 of Radiant Dawn, Lucia is about to be executed by rebel Crimean forces with Queen Elincia looking on helplessly. Just as Lucia is about to be hung, the Greil Mercenaries show up out of nowhere to rescue her in such a heroic fashion that it really counts as Crowning Moment of Awesome as well.
Also, in Chapter 1 of Genealogy of the Holy War, Eltshan and the Cross Knights massacre Elliot's soldiers when they attempt to capture Evans.
Big Fun: Brom and his daughter Meg of Tellius are pretty much our heaviest characters of their gender. However, they both remain rather upbeat and cheerful, if not slightly oblivious.
Bigger Bad: A very common scenario for the final battle in each game is that, following the climactic battle against the Big Bad, the Eldritch Abomination/Dragon/Goddess/Whatever that the Big Bad was trying to summon to destroy the world will appear to be the true final battle. These bigger bads have varying influences on the plot and the Big Bad's motivations, but the general feeling for these battles is usually one of simply cleaning up the mess caused by the real Big Bad. In all, we have
Medeus from Shadow Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem to Gharnef and Hardain
Julius from Genealogy of the Holy War to Manfroy
Beldo in Thracia 776 (which, as a Gaiden Game, has Julius as the Bigger Bad to the Bigger Bad) to Leidrick,
Idoun in Binding Blade to Zephiel,
The Fire Dragon in Blazing Sword to Nergal,
Formortiis in The Sacred Stones to Lyon,
Sephiran in Path of Radiance (though we don't learn this until the sequel) to Ashnard,
"Blind Idiot" Translation: The Spanish translation of The Blazing Blade has an amount of typos that counts by dozens, and Fae was turned into a boy for no reason. Later games avert this, except Amelia from The Sacred Stones, she also refers to herself as male when promoting.
Boisterous Bruiser: Most of your primary Axe-users are like this, and it seems to be a personality requirement for Berserkers.
The general theme for divine dragons, Legend of the Divine Dragon - A is usually associated with Tiki after she was given a slightly remixed version of this music in Shadow Dragon and later, in Awakening.
The music used for bittersweet victories, called After the Battle in the remake of Dark Dragon, was later used as a recruitment theme for knightly characters in Blazing Blade and as a theme for Elincia's knights in Path of Radiance, forever associating it with the idea of loyalty and knights rather than its original use as a bittersweet victory theme.
Boring, but Practical: Cavaliers are probably the least "exotic" of all unit types, yet their mobility, all-around good physical stats, and powerful promotions make them the default go-to combatants.
Iron weapons are the weakest in each game (compared to Steel or Silver) but cost the least, have the most uses, and are the most light, meaning that they are perfect for when low-leveled units can't effectively use Steel ones. Their cost effectiveness leads to some players using them alongside Steel and even Silver ones later on.
Bow and Sword, in Accord: Alm, after his promotion, Lyn, after her promotion, and the Nomad/Ranger/Horseman classes. Warriors can use both bows and axes, although they're limited to crossbows in Radiant Dawn. Certain generals and paladins can opt to use both lances and bows, too.
Assassins get this in Awakening, and the possibility of close and far ranged attack coupled with the ability to land an instant kill and pass through enemy spaces makes them the deadliest incarnation of the class yet.
Bowdlerise: Not as bad as other examples. Nintendo holds nothing back when it comes to death and the consequences of war (some dialogue can be pretty descriptively violent for E-rated games). But other things such as drinking and swearing can be omitted. Best example is probably Lucia/Janaff's Path of Radiance support, in which any mention of drinking is instead replaced with "a night on the town" or something similar.note Even though "A night on the town" can sometimes be referring to more than just drinking. In the same vein, some of the more explicit, unsavory messages are also ignored completely.
It's generally held that it's a good thing that Seisen no Keifu wasn't officially translated and released; with its use of incest as a plot point, and since it would have been released in Nintendo's censor-happy SNES days, it would very likely have been Bowdlerised to high hell... then again, though, there's also the issue of its 1996 release date, meaning if it were localized it would have been probably overshadowed by the Nintendo 64 since Nintendo tended to push it more on NA and EU consumers.
Seems to be gone completely as of Awakening, which went with a T-Rating, very small instances of blood the ESRB didn't pick up on, and deliberate mention of drinking as well as swearing or what would be considered swearing in a medieval setting.
Broken Record: "This is a message from Lord Nergal. 'I await you on the Dread Isle.'" Denning is one of the more popular characters because of it.
Brother-Sister Incest: Disturbingly enough, a recurring theme in the series. Toned down in the localizations [presumably to give Nintendo plausible deniability], but still noticeable.
In fact, part of Manfroy's plot in Genealogy of the Holy War is to use his mind control powers to have half-siblings Alvis and Diadora breed to create a vessel for their ancestor, a dark god. And it works!
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": In Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, normal humans are referred to as "beorc," though beorc usually refer to themselves as humans, while laguz (the game world's other humanoid race), who dislike beorc, use the word "human" as an insult.
Cap: Typically, characters can level up to level 20 in a base class before changing to a higher class and again going to level 20. In Genealogy of Holy War, however, promotion occurred at level 20 and the character then went on to 30. In addition, each class has stat caps that play a large part in determining Character Tiers.
And in Radiant Dawn, laguz go up to 40, while beorc go to 20, promote, go to 20, promote again, and then cap at 20.
And in Shadow Dragon, Marth, ballista users, manaketes, and thieves can go up level 30 to make up for not promoting — funnily enough, units with a level 20 cap but can promote are always (barring certain exceptions) superior since they get more stats, total.
In Awakening, Dancers, Villagers, Manaketes, Taguel and Conquerors can reach level 30 to make up for not promoting.
Captain Obvious: In Blazing Sword, you can pay a fortune teller to give you mission-specific advice. It's almost always along the lines of "Bring lots of lances. Swords and axes are good, too. You want magic and healing, so bring casters. You know what? Just bring everything you can. Use the forest for cover. Talk to green units and visit villages and stuff. Don't die." However, occasionally the fortune-teller will mention a particular unit — this means you need that unit to recruit another unit.
Hilariously enough, the fortune teller is replaced by Nils about halfway through, who has the complete opposite problem: his advice is vague to the point of uselessness, and usually amounts to "They're dangerous, so you'd better be very careful. And move as a group. Don't die."
Chained by Fashion: The Fighter class in Awakening sports fashionable chains hanging from their collar guard.
Character Development: One of the reasons why the series is such a hit. It was rather sparse in the original three games, but four and five started to get better with it. It didn't really become notable until Elibe, which added supports that also allowed the player to affect the ending, with certain characters having paired endings.
Church Militant: Several character classes such as the Monk, Bishop, and Valkyrie who can use magic to attack. There are also Priest and Cleric classes, which, while unable to do damage, can heal units and put enemies to sleep/berserk/silence with the right equipment.
Awakening does away with Light Magic. There goes the Monk class. Valkyries use the same magic as everyone else, but having a Cleric/Priest promote to a Staff/Magic class makes them indistinguishable from sages, so instead they promote to War Clerics/Monks, which is this trope as far as the series goes, using staves to heal but always keep an Axe on hand to deal heavy physical damage. Libra is the only natural War Monk you get, and personality wise seems like a god-fearing pacifist through and through, but he appears as an NPC unit that you have to hurry to recruit quickly - not because he'll die, but because left alone he'll kill too much of the enemy, including another recruitable unit, with his Killer Axe and lines such as "Repent, Sinner!" and "Gods, forgive me" right before each slaying.
Class Change Level Reset: The method of promotion in the series. After a character reaches a high enough level in their base class and uses a special class changing item (in the Tellius games, one only need to gain a level after reaching level 20), that character's level reverts to 1. However, their stats, stat caps, and abilities sharply increase in the process. The exception being Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, where you don't reset to level 1 and have a 30 level cap instead of traditional 20.
This made it so most people prefer waiting 'til level 20 to promote for the max possible chances of getting stat/gains, though in Awakening you can use a Second Seal to change classes entirely (as opposed to promoting to an upgraded version of your class) and still get boosts, and any penalties won't matter since you get another 20 levels to make them up.
In some games, the enemy units may receive reinforcements - at the start of the enemy phase. This basically means that, short of prescience on your part, an enemy can appear out of a fort or the edge of the map that you thought was safe and beat down your helpless healers and archers before you can react.
In Seisen no Keifu, when enemies have, say, an Iron Axe (close range) and a Hand Axe (can be thrown, but weaker), they will switch between these weapons depending on what range you are attacking them from. Naturally, you cannot do the same thing. Also, in this game, enemy weapons have unlimited uses, which is especially annoying when the enemies have powerful healing or status-inflicting staves (which usually have less than 10 uses when you are the one using them).
Because critical hits are calculated from the Luck Stat, and faceless enemy units typically have 0 luck, you are safe from crits for the most part. However, for the enemies that do have a chance to crit, even as low as 1%, a good rule of thumb is treating them as if they had 30% or better.
Crippling Overspecialization: Archers are helpless in a melee unless they're the kind who have swords and horses too, and some classes like Clerics and Priests have no combat skills whatsoever.
Radiant Dawn attempted to balance this more by giving Crossbows to Archers and allowing staves to be used as weapons should a staff-user be attacked (though "No damage!" is a common reaction to getting hit with a staff). That being said, Healers should still never be attacked, through a combination of several factors that does not include said Crossbow, Shinon is almost a Game Breaker.
Also as long as a healer has a staff equipped, they treat themselves at the beginning of each turn with it (if the staff inflicts a status effect it cures it) with no cost. This brought about a new way of Level Grinding.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Can happen due to the Point of View-change mechanics in Radiant Dawn. Of all characters, Jill probably holds the record for the total amount of times in a Verse where a character can be persuaded into switching sides note She first joins Ike out of an Enemy Mine situation, but then decides to stick with his forces, betraying her native country of Daein, which Ike and friends are fighting against. When one of the enemy generals they face is revealed to be her father, trying to make her fight him will result in her switching sides to Daein again. She can be promptly recruited back if she has an A-Support with a character in the player's party. In Radiant Dawn, she fights for Micaiah's forces, but can be persuaded to join back to Ike's side. Sheesh, make up your mind, girl!
Naesala's no slouch in this department, though.
Critical Hit Class: The Swordmaster is the traditional critical-reliant class, but later games added Myrmidons and Trueblades (part of the same promotion chain), Berserkers, Assassins, Snipers and Halberdiers into the mix. All of them have a boosted critical hit chance.
Crutch Character: Examples in every title, being something of an ever-present. The first of the archetype, Jagen, is famous in this role in the FE community, and they are, in fact, called "Jagens" within the fandom. In fact, he used to be the Trope Namer. The idea behind "Jagens" are that tend to be extremely high level (usually promoted) troops who have stats that would be terrible for that level, but are very strong compared to when you get them.
...which, in the harder games, makes them handy to keep around for a while either as a meat shield by unequipping their weapons (so that enemies attack them, do no/little damage because of their stats, then can't counterattack) or a nuclear option to kill off a dangerous enemy that would be able to kill one of your other characters if left alone.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: The churches in most of the games are vaguely Roman Catholic in organization, but they usually worship "saints" — i.e., legendary heroes. A few of them, most notable in Awakening, worship Naga, though, a rather literal dragon jesus, though not made of crystal.
Cute Bruiser: The entire series is rife with presumably adorable characters, usually quite young, who can kick untold amounts of ass.
Dangerously Short Skirt: Some of the female characters sport miniskirts, and of course are capable of clearing out enemy groups.
Dark Is Not Evil: Well, in some games, the player can recruit users of Dark Magic for his party, who usually are pretty decent people. They often prefer to call it "ancient" magic rather than "dark" magic, though.
However, at the same time, Evil Is Not a Toy (or rather, darkness); just look at Bramimond, likely the most powerful heroic darkness user in Fire Emblem history. It practically cost him his soul to master the darkness.
Or get some of Canas's supports, in which he explains that his three brothers, also Shamans, fell victim to exactly the same fate.
Darker and Edgier: On the whole, when really looking at the various installments, Radiant Dawn could seriously be considered one of the darkest, or at least more mature, of the FireEmblem games. Most certainly if you look at its former, Path of Radiance.
At the opening of Dawn we learn that Daein, formerly viewed as a completely one-dimensional empire, is now under the thumb of Begnion, who isn't being so nice to the war-torn country. Though understandable, seeing how nasty Daein had been, some of the Begnion soldiers are shown to maybe enjoy their dominance over its' former enemy a bit... too much. The game unfolds from there with increasingly complicated and intricate plots, characters who were once one-dimensional getting more developed, becoming more sympathetic and believable, and country to country relations being realistically portrayed with the past war actually weighing heavily, namely how Begnion practically bailed Crimea out in the first game becoming a serious point of contention. Where the first game definitely ran on Ruleof Drama and even a bit of Ruleof Funny, the sequel takes everything from the first and makes it much more... hard hitting.
However, the darkest of the series, of course, would be Genealogy of the Holy War. That one, though, seems to be deliberately going for a Crapsack World, rather than Radiant Dawn's more "realistic" approach.
Mystery of the Emblem basically pissed on the face of the very optimistic tones of the ending of the first game.
Difficulty By Region: The bosses had their stats lowered slightly in the US/PAL version of Fire Emblem. On the other hand, several player characters in The Sacred Stones had their stats raised.
Discount Card: the Silver Card halves all shop item prices when held by the buyer.
Divergent Class Evolution: Dragon Riders and Pegasus Knights were essentially the same class in most games, using the same weapons and having the same vulnerability to Bows and (where applicable) Wind Magic. The former had more Strength and Defense, and the latter had more Speed and Resistance. Radiant Dawn switched the Dragon Knights' Lances for Axes, and switched their Bow/Wind vulnerability for a vulnerability to Thunder magic.
They even had a common second tier class (Wyvern Knight) in Sacred Stones, but they diverged more in Awakening which enforces that Pegasi are female only and Wyvern Riders are both genders; in addition, they lost the common promotion. Now Wyvern Riders can promote to Wyvern Lords and Griffon Knights, which use axes/lances and all axes respectively, and have high physical stats; and Pegasus Knights become either Falcon Knights, which can heal with staves as well as attack with lances, or Dark Fliers, which can attack with lances and tomes. On the other hand, they share the common weaknesses of bows and wind magic again, though bows hurt the less physical pegasi more whereas wind hurts the low resistance wyverns a lot more.
Doomed Hometown: Most of the games begin with the heroes' entire country being invaded.
Do Well, But Not Perfect: All but the last of Shadow Dragon's Gaiden Chapters require that you keep your army at 15 or fewer units to unlock them — and the last one exists to give you another chance if you're missing both Tiki and Falchion, your best bets at beating the final boss. Of course, there are ways of getting both....
Dragon Rider: A group of character classes; initially renamed "Wyvern Riders" when the games started being translated, probably to prevent Fridge Logic regarding how the main point of Blazing Sword was to prevent dragons from returning to the world; from Radiant Dawn onward, they reverted to being called dragons. The Japanese version is also inconsistent on this; in the Archanea games, and Awakening they are wyverns (here a degenerate dragon subspecies). Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is thus far the only game in which both two types of Dragon mounts appear together(as separate but related classes).
Dual Wielding: Assassins and Pirates in the GBA games, though this is purely aesthetic and happens even if they just have one sword/axe. Gameplay-wise, this simply isn't possible. Also, in the backstory of the Tellius games, the ancient hero Altina duel-wielded a pair of legendary BFSs.
The Swordmaster class in Awakening appears to dual wield on the map tiles and has two scabbards that have swords inside them. Just for show, though, as they apparently sheath those swords and stick to using a single two-handed sword that they are equipped with.
Dump Stat: Skill. Typically, your already have enough accuracy as it is that you don't need them. Luck is another for being a relatively irrelevant stats. Strength for magic users (except in the Tellius games, where it determines their ability to effectively wield heavy tomes). Magic for non-magic users.
It says something when the Tier-Induced Scrappy of all classes typically focuses on skill, and the Secret Book and Goddess Icon are basically considered to be an "always sell" kind of item.
Most, if not all, of the mechanics from the original Akaneia games, as well as Gaiden, are gone by the Jugdral games, and even then, Genealogy of the Holy War is a beast in itself and it differentiates itself from the others by having massive maps that require multiple castles to capture, and those castles acted as something of a "home base" - you could get EXP in the arena or go shopping. Also, Genealogy is the only game that allows you to fix weapons ad hoc: if you had enough money, you could fix them in a shop, whereas later games dropped this, and the only way you could fix weapons was by using the extremely rare Hammerne Staff. Among Akaneia's mechanics that were dropped include:
You couldn't tell where your units could move in the first two games.
Weapon Rank went up with levels like any other stat. All later games had the level go up with weapon usage, though Genealogy had it so that Weapon Rank was set in stone based on the user's class and holy blood.
In the first game, no one got any sort of Resistance growth. Also, staff users gained EXP by entering battle, while in Gaiden, magic was cast from the user's HP.
While a walkable world map was re-inserted into the series in severalways, Gaiden, to this day, remains the sole Fire Emblem game to have players freely roam towns and villages a la Shining Force.
Thieves could not promote into a stronger class until Genealogy. Likewise, thieves in Genealogy could get EXP from stealing and trading gold with other units.
In Mystery of the Emblem, Tiki could gain several types of Dragonstones and turn into other dragon types, and she could even turn into a Dark Dragon or spew Fire Breath if those stones were given to her. Also, she had to take a turn to transform, and would change back after attacking at least twice. All later games that include dragons drop both of these.
Most have agreed that Thracia 776 is the forefather to the "modern" games as we know them, albeit with its own oddities that were dropped, namely the fatigue meter, capturing enemies, and the fact that healing staves could miss.
And movement stars, and growth rates for Build and Movement.
In Shadow Dragon, if you enter a chapter with fewer surviving units than the maximum allowed for the map, you be given generic replacement units. The names of the replacement units at first follows numbers theme naming (Unil, Dua, Quattro, etc). However, if you still keep suffering casualties, the new unit names will be Auffle, Wymp, Lucer, Owend, Rejek, Wieklin, Laim, etc.
An unintentional version exists in early NTSC copies of Radiant Dawn, where just having Easy Mode Path of Radiance save data on your GameCube memory card when attempting to initiate an Old Save Bonus from said game will cause Radiant Dawnto crash. This was rectified in the PAL version and in later prints of the NTSC version, or by sending the disc to Nintendo for repairs.
Elemental Crafting: Typical order is Iron < Steel < Silver in terms of damage output and the reverse for durability, so weapon selection is not as straightfoward as in some other games. Legendary or unique weapons typically have high damage and decent durability. In Genealogy of the Holy War, all weapons had a flat 50 uses, so there was no reason not to switch to silver weapons when available except maybe the cost of keeping them in good repair.
Weight is a strange issue - Steel is often heavier than Silver, and thus carries a higher penalty to attack speed, but by the time you get Silver weapons, your units will likely be too strong to care.
Still an issue in some of the games, as a few installments base speed penalties on the character's constitution, a stat that does not increase on levelup, only slightly on promotion and due to magic items. Having Fiona use a silver lance is still a tradeoff with her constitution of four. It's even worse with some mages who can have tomes with weights up to 20 and only boast constitution scores under 5.
Eleventh Hour Ranger: Usually at least one character in several titles, who joins at nearly maxed out level. The very first was the Bishop Gotoh from the first Akaneia game, and the archetype related to this trope is named after him.
There's no real ranger in Genealogy, thought Julia can use the one tome that can effectively damage Julius, she's the closest Genealogy gets to one, despite joining the group in Chapter 6.
Thracia 776, meanwhile, gives us Galzus, a Hero toting two amazing swords, and Ced, who can use Forseti.*
This also solidifies in canon that Lewyn married Ferry the Pegasus Knight from the previous game
. Sara is a case of Magikarp Power, but she's the only character who can use the Kia Staff.
For Binding Blade, there's Karel, although you can only get him if you managed to get all the requirements for the true ending; for Blazing Sword, there's Athos.
In Path of Radiance, there's the laguz Gifca, Tibarn, and Naesala - you can only choose one for the Final Boss, but they are all powerful in their own right. In Radiant Dawn, we have Gareth and Renning, and during your second runthrough of the game, you can also use Sephiran or Lehiran.
Awakening has Basilio and Flavia join you during Chapter 23, but if you've been diligently training all of your units, then they will greatly outclass them by the time they join. Straighter examples are all of the Spot Pass characters - all of them excel in one or two stats, and Walhart and Aversa each have their own exclusive skills that can be potentially passed down to Morgan, as the Avatar can marry them.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: Ditto for the above trope; there will always be at least one weapon that can effectively damage the Final Boss. Depending on the game, it may be the only weapon. The most nefarious example is Geneaology of the Holy War's Naga Tome, which can only be wielded by Julia, is found near the very end of the final chapter, and is the only weapon capable of canceling out the defensive effects of Julius' Loptyr Tome. Whereas most of the other characters, Seliph included, can have a hard time damaging Julius, Julia can nail him with four attacks in one turn. Other examples include:
Falchion in all of the Akaneia games. Gaiden also has several other weapons (the Astra and Sol lances) that have additional effects, but you can get them from some monsters every so often. Awakening gives us a variant with the Exalted Falchion, which is the Falchion blessed with Naga's power. It is the only thing capable of heavily damaging Grima, which becomes more evident on harder difficulties because Grima has more defensive skills available. Though Lucina's Parallel Falchion certainly works just as well.
Any one of the Holy Weapons in Genealogy of the Holy War, although the above example (The Naga Tome) is the most outstanding case.
The Holy Weapons in all of the GBA games; you get all of them in Sword of Seals, but only four, plus a unique sword for Lyn, are available in Blazing Sword. Finally, in The Sacred Stones, there is one Holy tome for each school of magic, two swords, two lances, an axe, a bow, and an all-healing staff on top of that. The Elibe weapons can fight off dragons (and are the only things capable of damaging the Fire Dragon in Blazing Sword), while The Sacred Stones weapons can kill monsters, the undead, and the Final Boss in one to two hits.
Ragnell is treated this way in the Tellius games, as it can nullify enemy criticals.
Done slightly differently in Radiant Dawn. At the start of Part 3 of the Final Endgame, Yune blesses each of your character's equipped weapons (and the claws/talons/breath of each of your laguz members). This doesn't make them any stronger, but it does make them unbreakable and they will be the only weapons that can damage the final bosses.
Escort Mission: Sort of; some missions have you defending NPCs, but the NPCs in question are either irrelevant to your success, powerful fighters in their own right, or very easy to defend, so it's not really all that frustrating. In some cases, you can have one of your tankier units Rescue the NPC and turn the map into a simple survival scenario.
Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Lots of 'em. You can tell whether or not you can obtain an item from an enemy if the name is flashing in its menu. Lightened up in Ike's games, where you could finally use Thieves to steal enemy equipment, provided the enemy didn't currently have it equipped and its theft wasn't specifically prohibited.
The female default "My Unit"◊ can easily be mistaken for Mia while the male◊ "My Unit"◊ looks more than a little like Ike (it gets even closer when you add a headband through an info conversation). They both even share a default class note Ike's official class is "Ranger" which is the Mercenary class in all but name, right down to the caps.
Faceless Goons: You can easily tell whether a character is a nameless mook or a main character by whether their eyes are visible. Soldiers will always be shown with their helmets obscuring their eyes; in the Tellius games, Laguz soldiers' eyes are (mostly) obscured by their hair.
Radiant Dawn provided the exception, as mounted units suffered a movement penalty indoors (which, admittedly, only brought them down to about even with the rest of the army) and non-winged mounts were completely unable to cross certain terrain types, making them useless on certain chapters. Any chapter with a swamp, river, or multiple cliffs hampered them completely—which covers pretty much every level after you first get a mounted unit in Part 1, the final chapter of part 2, about half of part 3, and the second half of part 4. And the finale is indoors, so you don't even get to benefit from their added movement if you do train one enough to take along.
Mounted units in general. There's a good reason why the series has been called Mounted Emblem.
Fake Difficulty: Radiant Dawn, where Hard Mode disables the ability to check the enemy's movement and attack range. You have to count them yourself.
Fantastic Racism: The various shapeshifting Laguz tribes are called "sub-humans" by many beorc/humans. This is not limited to your enemies; some between chapter dialogue has your own characters referencing your own laguz characters as sub-humans. And it goes both ways, too... a laguz calling a beorc 'human' is the same as a beorc calling a laguz 'sub-human', and it happens more than once.
Most characters get better though — except Shinon, who is a Jerkass and remains unrepentant even throughout Radiant Dawn.
While Lethe learns to treat beorc better, she still makes sweeping generalizations about them, implies they are inferior in their customs, and the word "human" escapes her lips sometimes.
There's also the Sacaens in Blazing Sword, which are referred to as "nomadic mongrels" and such by the villains.
Radiant Dawn takes this to a new level with the Branded, who are despised as mongrels with no place on Tellius by both beorc and laguz alike. It doesn't help that laguz have a sort of acquired sense for sensing them which manifests as uneasiness if not outright hostility, they can be mistaken with people who have made pacts with a spirit by beorc, and lies have been spread about them being "unnatural" creatures resulting from the "forbidden" union of beorc and laguz (who are "punished by Ashera") as a way to prevent anything like what happened to Lehran with Altina.
Even earlier than in the Tellius games, the games set in Archanea have the Earth Dragons degenerating and attacking humanity, which leads to them being sealed away. Later on, several dragons became the manaketes who were apparently mistreated by humans. This lead to Medeus and other dragons making a new empire that would attack humanity, with Naga helping the humans through Falchion. Xane and Gotoh both didn't rate humans that highly as well, although Gotoh eventually Regained His Faith In Humanity while Xane gets along with Marth.
Fan Nickname: The official term used when a unit becomes a different class, on both sides of the Pacific, is Class Change. Since units get a boost in stats, weapon proficiency, and/or a level reset, (Western) fans always say they promote.
Fan Translation: Given that all the Fire Emblem games from Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light to Binding Blade were never released outside of Japan... They vary somewhat in quality and level of completion; however nearly all of the games have been translated over 90%, and are certainly playable to western audiences.
Faux Action Girl: Stats notwithstanding, there are a few of these. See the character page for more details.
Final Death: Everyone, if you're careless enough to lose them. The series is notable for this, and keeping all units alive is the main source and major contributor to its difficulty.
Though important non-Lord characters just get a major injury so they can still participate in the plot.
Marth's games and Genealogy of the Holy War have the Aum and Valkyrie staves, respectively. Each can revive an ally that's died in battle, though they only have a single use and can only be used by certain people, and while the Valkyrie staff can be repaired, it's incredibly expensive to do so.
Awakening's casual mode allows you to turn this off, but you still lose any units that "die" for the rest of that particular fight. However, downloadable units can be re-recruited after death, either at their initial levels or (if you remembered to update them in the Avatar Logbook and have a lot of gold to spare) closer to where they were when they died.
Fishing For Mooks: There are enemies that only move when you're on their line of sight. Thus the best way to defeat them is putting a strong unit just on the edge of their movement range to kill them one for one, or lure them out with an unarmed Crutch Character and then rush them (or recruit them) with your other characters.
Gaiden Game: Fire Emblem Gaiden (set on a continent distant to Akaneia) and Thracia 776 (set between the first and second generations of Genealogy of the Holy War); the former actually has the word Gaiden on its title.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Subverted with the Crutch Character you get at the beginning of the game, who have a justified in story reason for not being able to grow well (e.g. old age, sickness). Also, the defining characteristic of the two different types of fans of the games.
On a less rare note, all games in the series have standard terrain, consisting of plains (which makes up most of the terrain), trees (which give a 10% bonus to dodge but restrict movement), mountains (which give a 20% bonus to dodge, but can rarely be crossed by anything other then flying units and bandits), and sand (which dramatically lowers the movement of most units, but do not effect flying units or mages)
Seisen no Keifu also zigzags this. On one hand, Light and Dark magic are neutral against each other (and everything else for that matter). On the other hand, the only way to do anything beyond scratch damage to the final boss - a dark god possessing prince Yurius - is by using the strongest light spell, usable only by one particular unit.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Variation; characters use archaic slurs like "Craven cur!", "Blackheart!", and "dastard!" (the root of dastardly).
Guilt-Based Gaming: "W fell in battle in chapter 2 and vanished from the pages of history." "X fell in battle in chapter 14 and vanished from the pages of history." "Y started up a flower shop after the war, and is known to grow the best specimens in the land." "D fell in battle in chapter 9 and vanished from the pages of history." etc.
Heel-Face Turn: If one of your enemies has a name and a face, either they are a boss or they will join your party if you fulfill certain conditions (usually just talking to them with a certain character in your party). Occasionally both.
Another easy way to tell if a unit is recruitable is to check its stats — if their Luck Stat is reasonably high for his level, then it is usually safe to conclude that it can be recruited. Mooks and Bosses in many of the games either have really low Luck or none at all, as a balancing measure to having superior numbers and equipment than your own units (among other things, it affects the likelihood of getting a Critical Hit).
Subverted by Gale in Binding Blade. Highly prominent non-boss enemy, with strong ties to two recruitable characters (his girlfriend Miledy and her younger brother Zeiss)... yet he cannot be recruited himself.
Heir Club for Men: Played mostly straight in the Akaneia and Jugdral games; averted from the Elibe games onward.
Marth is the heir to Altea's throne, despite having Ellis as an older sister; the same applies to Yubello of Grust, as he has Yumina as an older sister. Nyna also married Hardin, but she was also the only member of Akaneia's royal family left alive by the time the first game began. Gaiden seemingly averts this with Alm and Celica both being the respective heir an heiress of Rigel and Zofia, but they marry at the end of the game, and both kingdoms are united.
The biggest players across Jugdral are men, and they are usually presented as heir apparent to whatever castle, territory, or land that they were born to. This is also enforced with many of these rulers inheriting the Major Holy Blood needed to wield one of thirteen almighty weapons that were made in ancient times. The very few women who inherit Major Blood are either living away from their homes (Deirdre, who has Major Naga blood, lived in the Spirit Forest ,albeit this was because of her Minor Loptyr Blood, which is considered to be a "cursed" bloodline, and Briggid, Major Ulir, was kidnapped by pirates during her infancy), or are encouraged to marry for power (the second generation's Ishtar, who has Major Tordo, is engaged to Julius). A notable case is Altenna, possessor of Major Noba blood for the second generation; while she was kidnapped by Trabant of Thracia during her infancy and was raised as Thracia's princess, she is Leif's older sister, she does find this out, and what she does after the war is left ambiguous, as Thracia 776 makes it clear that Leif will become Lenster's king. At the end of the second half of the game, any female characters who have rights to rule on her own will live with their spouse if they marry instead. In Thracia 776, it is mentioned in passing that Leif is the only male heir across the Manster District, and Princess Miranda of Conote was up for an Arranged Marriage with him.
This is averted after the Elibe games; Lyndis is considered to be the true heiress of Caelin, as is Hector's daughter Lilina for Osita. Fire Emblem Awakening has Emmeryn as the ruling Queen of Ylisse at its start, along with the dual Khans ruling Regna Ferox (they are a man and a woman in this case); In The Sacred Stones, all of the royal siblings shown are older brother/younger sister duos, as opposed to the opposite in the Akaneia games, and it's even gender-reversed with Begninon's offices of Apostle and Empress in the Tellius games.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Varies; in the old games, all knights, paladins and generals wear helmets, while cavaliers don't. In Path of Radiance, Titania and Mist (upon promotion) are the only mounted units not wearing helmets. In Radiant Dawn, the only characters who have helmets are Aran, Nephenee, and Haar; Jill is back to being helmetless, and Kieran loses his helmet upon promotion.
He Knows Too Much: In Seisen no Keifu, this is certainly Alvis's excuse for killing Sigurd at the end of Chapter 5.
Heroic Bastard: Guinivere in Fuuin no Tsurugi is a female version of this trope; Soren and Stefan in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are also both heroic and illegitimate.
Heroic Lineage: Every lord. Genealogy of Holy War has this as a game mechanic.
Heroic Sacrifice: You have to have one of your people make one to advance in Shadow Dragon.
Hero of Another Story: Fire Emblem 4 is particularly susceptible to this, given the epic nature of the storyline and cast. Examples include Eltshan and Leaf (who actually gets to BE the hero of his "other story" in Fire Emblem 5.)
It is also implied that Joshua rigged the coin toss he makes with Natasha, allowing her to win so he can join their side. And also so he won't have to kill her.
Inconsistent Dub: In the Spanish translations, it's almost impossible to find a class that has has the same name more than twice in a row. Particularly bad for The Sacred Stones and Path of Radiance, as they were published on the same day in Europe yet have wildly different translations for several classes.
Level Grinding: Arena Abusing, though Sacred Stones also had the Tower of Valni and various Revenant skirmishes to use between chapters.
If you have a healer and attacker with several spare staves and weapons, you can trade hits with a (not overpowering) boss and gain experience for participating in combat and healing your attacker. Lots of conditions, though.
In ''Thracia 776' giving item with the steal command counts as stealing. The way that you can abuse this feature is basically uncountable.
Lost in Translation: Bandits and Pirates are literally "Mountain Thieves" and "Marine Thieves" in Japanese, hence why they can cross those tile types.
Love Ruins the Realm: King Desmond of Bern, King Ashnard of Daein, and arguably Arvis of Velthomer all had their realms ruined by their affairs.
Luck-Based Mission: Battle Before Dawn in Blazing Sword gives no guarantee that you'll reach Jaffar in time to keep him alive in Hector's Hard Mode. If he dies, you don't get a side chapter.
Also Ike's fight with the Black Knight in Path of Radiance. Ike at capped strength does 9 damage, you have 10 blows (if you raised Mist and Ike doesn't have to waste a turn on an elixir), the Black Knight has 60 HP and recovers 6 HP every turn for 5 turns. It involves no skill whatsoever and hinges entirely on whether he activates his Aether skill at least once (or whether he hits the Black Knight on every single attack). If he does, you win. If he doesn't, you don't. Simple as that. The odds are a bit better (but still random) if you use the Wrath/Adept combo instead of Aether, but the opinions for giving that to Ike are mixed.
If you want to unlock Lehran in the sequel, you need Ike to have at least 27 speed if you want to survive an encounter with him again. This is easy enough if you're using a PoR save file, but if not your Ike will have only 23 speed initially, meaning you need to Save Scum in order to make sure he gains speed with every level or you're screwed.
Luck Stat: Vaguely described, it increases accuracy and evasion while lowering the enemy's chance of landing a critical hit.
MacGuffin Title: The titular Fire Emblem is in almost every game of the series.
Mad Lib Fantasy Title: Try typing "The Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light" with a straight face. It's not easy.
Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light is much easier, but still an example.
Meaningful Name: Roy has origins in words meaning both red (hair) and king. Ayra/Ira, while not the name's real life origin (where it is short for Irene), is wrath in Latin. These may be coincidental, though.
Marth is a weird example; early translations gave his name as Mars (you know, after the god of war?), but now Marth seems to be the primary translation
Most of the common names have meaning, too. Hector was named for Hector of Troy, Leila was named for a harem girl in a poem, Raven was named for the titular raven from Edgar Allen Poe's poem, etc.
Hector has a double-meaning; since he has a brother named Uther (you know, like the biological father of King Arthur), he might also be named after Ector, Arthur's foster father.
And most characters in Seisen no Keifu are named for someone suitably obscure in Celtic mythology. You'll never read The Fate Of The Sons Of Usnach quite the same way again...
Soren (Senerio in Japanese) is an interesting case of having two different names, and both of them being meaningful. In Japanese, it's a play on the word "scenario" (Soren being the Tactician), but his English name, Soren, comes from the Italian name Severino, which means a short, grouchy guy.
Nearly every place-name in the series is either cribbed from or suspiciously similar to the old name for European territories; Crimea, Gallia, Ostia... there's also the world of the Ike games, Tellius, based on Tellus, the Roman name for the mother earth goddess. It's best not to think too hard about these names, as most of them seem to be totally random.
Macedon and Lycia are also real places, Lycia being a city and Macedon being the famous home of Alexander the Great.
"Elphin" is a pretty good description of his appearance.
In Path of Radiance, sparing the Laguz bandits in chapter 15 and the priests in chapter 22 also rewards you with bonus experience and one of the best staffs in the game, respectively.
Merging The Branches: In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, several characters were only recruitable in gaiden chapters that required several playable characters to die to access them. In New Mystery of Emblem, however, all returning gaiden characters except Nagi are treated as if they joined Marth's army despite the fact that every playable character from the previous game survived to see the sequel.
Mighty Glacier: (Armor) Knights. Clad in full plate armor, wielding heavy spears. Very hard to kill without magic, powerful enough to one shot many other classes, but slow as molasses.
Mook Chivalry: Zig-zagged. Depending on the game and chapter, enemies will either sit around and wait for you to enter their movement/attack range, start to move toward you once you enter a certain zone, or just outright swarm you. As a general rule, whenever the party is attacking a location, enemies will attack when you go near them. If your party is holding the line or trying to rescue someone, prepare to be swarmed.
Mystery of the Emblem and Binding Blade both end early if you didn't get all of the items you need.
Musical Nod: Traditionally, the Arena and Trial Map themes reuse musical tracks from prior games.
Genealogy: Arena entrance theme is a remix of the player map theme from FE1, and the arena battle theme remixes the player battle them from the same game.
Thracia 776: Arena entrance theme is a remix of the first player map theme from FE3 Book 2.
Binding Blade: Arena battle theme is a remix of the player battle theme from FE4, and the Trial Map player and enemy map themes are based on their equivalents from FE2.
Blazing Sword: Arena battle theme is a remix of the player battle theme from FE5.
Sacred Stones: Arena entrance theme is a remix of the FE4's Prologue player map theme, and the arena battle theme is a remix of the FE2 player battle theme.
Path of Radiance: The Trial Map map theme is a remix of FE4's Chapter 10 player map theme.
Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem: Arena entrance theme is a remix of Ephraim's first map theme from FE8, and the arena battle theme is a remix of the FE9 player battle theme.
My Country, Right or Wrong: Pretty much every single game features multiple bosses that fight you only for this reason. Some of the potential recruits also follow this until you recruit them.
Near Victory Fanfare: Most Fire Emblem games have a tune that plays when there's only one enemy left on the map (Often the Boss, but not always), which can get annoying if you grind for Supports.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Blazing Sword, if you get the best Tactician rating, the game says that you "changed the course of history" and that "Bern and Etruria (the countries fighting in Binding Blade) so desired this skilled mind that they went to war". Granted, they still go to war if you do poorly, but...
Pretty much sums up the first generation of Genealogy. Although as the side story Fall of Lenster revealed, Quan is the grand champion of this trope.
Nintendo Hard: The series are not that notably hard until ''Thracia 776' comes along, followed by the series introduction to a proper Hard Mode.
Even amongst them, Thracia 776 should be the winner of Nintendo Hard for its "unique" flavor of difficulty. Seriously.
New Mystery of the Emblem has Lunatic mode, which between hindrances (certain items no longer exist, certain shops are inaccessible), and buffed computer stats (and buffed computer weapons) is a real trial to beat. However it unlocks Reverse Mode, which is just like Lunatic mode but enemy unitsalways attack first.
Thankfully this seemed to be an isolated example, as Awakening came to America with a bang. This might give New Mystery a shot in the arm, but it's unlikely.
For similar reasons, barring remakes it seems unlikely that either Jugdral game, Binding Blade, or Gaiden will ever be exported - in some cases the source code for the games may no longer be available.
No Hero Discount: Played straight in every game, but taken to ridiculous extremes in Radiant Dawn when the last three merchants IN THE WORLD still charge you full price for supplies, as they accompany you on your quest to slay GOD. If you fail they will turn to stone, but apparently they're not even willing to hand over another silver card. Even worse because there are certain cutscenes in which they give you free items, explicitly because you're their only hope of survival.
Non-Linear Sequel: There are several different universes. However, it's been confirmed that Archanea and Jugdral take place in the same world, and so does Awakening.
The Notable Numeral: This series positively loves this trope. Used for the heroes of legend, and for notable enemy corps.
Nostalgia Level: Chapter 14 (with 1-10 being a tutorial) of Blazing Sword is in the same place and identical to Chapter 4 of Binding Blade, with the same character as the boss. Hector Chapter 25 of Blazing Sword has an objective to capture every castle, mirroring the objective of every chapter from the 4th game.
If you look closely in chapter 29 (31 in Hector's story) of the same game, you'll find the starting area is the exact same place as the boss' area in chapter 8 of Binding Blade.
There are a lot of these parallels in areas between Blazing Sword and Binding Blade, especially near the end.
Chapter 27E/29H has the same boss area as Chapter 21 of Binding Blade, but approached from the other direction such that it's in the northwest corner of the map rather than the southeast corner.
Chapter 28E takes place in the same cave as Chapter 8x of Binding Blade, while its Hector's Story counterpart, chapter 30, matches up with Chapter 12x.
Chapter 29xE/31xH takes place in the same town as Chapter 7 of Binding Blade.
Official Couple: Interestingly, all of the Shouzou Kaga-directed (Akaneia, save for Awakening, and Jugdral) games have the Lords have official love interests, whereas all of the ones that came after Thracia 776 do not, although there are some interests that more preference than others. Marth and Sheeda are engaged by the end of Shadow Dragon, and marry when the events of Mystery of the Emblem wrap up. Meanwhile, Celica and Alm (both the Lords of Gaiden) marry when their game ends, Sigurd and Dierdre marry after the first chapter of Genealogy, and though Leif can be paired up with almost all of the other female characters, he proposes to Nanna at the end of Thracia 776. Seliph is an exception, and though he insists in being uninterested, his half-sister Julia appears to be very much in love with him.
One-Man Army: Most units in any game become this if leveled up high enough—come endgame in pretty much any FE incarnation, it's not uncommon for a high level character to be able to solo the final chapters by him/herself.
Jeigans are also this early game if you choose to use them.
One Steve Limit: A few exceptions exist, like Aran from Radiant Dawn and Arran from Shadow Dragon, but the first was named Brad in the Japanese version. A legitimate exception is Lynn from Genealogy of Holy War and Lyn(dis) from The Blazing Sword as well as Linde/Linda from Archanea and Linda from Genealogy of the Holy War (recurring NPC Jake will comment on how Jugdral!Linda's name is familiar.
Radiant Dawn has Amy and Aimee in the same game. This is another example of a name change clash, the 2nd originally (she keeps this original name in Shadow Dragon) being Larabel.
Sacred Stones had Marisa, whose original name was Marica, which makes Marica and Marcia.
Optional Party Member: If you didn't steal soldiers from the opposing side, you'd almost never make it through the game.
Orcus on His Throne: Virtually every boss guarding a seize square. Because they are typically bulky Knights/Generals, they will just sit there while you whittle down his health at a range and not getting a single hit on your party, except for the rare one that wields weak throwable javelins over high-end spears. However, certain bosses (sometimes depending on the difficulty) do avert this, which is usually troublesome, especially if this behaviour isn't known in advance. In the later games such as Awakening, the range markers will helpfully indicate when the boss won't be moving.
More specifically, there are two different kinds of humanoid dragons, Manaketes and Dragon Laguz, that transform into dragons using separate methods. Then we have Wyvern Riders who ride non-humanoid dragons akin to the Pegasus Knights. Two games had Draco Zombies, and a few other varying examples exist throughout the rest of the series.
Winged Unicorn: They either grow horns or wear armor with them when their riders promote to Falcon Knights.
Perfect Run Final Boss: Binding Blade: defeating Zephiel with all legendary weapons intact unlocks a few extra chapters, including the real final boss fight.
Personality Blood Types: The Japanese version of The Blazing Sword allows you to choose' the blood type of Mark, the player character. To absolutely no effect.
The Player Is The Most Important Resource: In 7, the characters of your party will be stunned at your great abilities upon victory, and especially grateful at the end of the game. However, this is optional — you don't need to "create a tactician" for the main characters to address.
Plotline Death: Lorenz in Mystery of The Emblem's Book 2, Sigurd and almost all of his army halfway through Genealogy of Holy War; Hector near the beginning of Binding Blade, Leila roughly halfway through Blazing Sword and Ninian towards the end; Greil and Rajaion in Path of Radiance; Pelleas in Radiant Dawn under most circumstances; your decoy in Shadow Dragon.
Except not really on that last one, according to New Mystery of the Emblem - Hero of Light and Shadow.
Power Up Let Down: Kieran's Gamble. Not so much if you take it off of him and give it to someone with a high accuracy.
Snipers in The Sacred Stones have a skill that randomly activates, ensuring a hit... but the game is so easy and Snipers typically have a very high Skill stat that they almost always have 100% accuracy anyway.
In the Radiance games, Snipers are given "Deadeye" instead, a skill which puts enemies to sleep. Would be useful if Rolf and Shinon were even halfway capable of not one-shotting anything they touch.
In Path of Radiance, Deadeye also had the passive effect of increasing accuracy by 100% — so any attack that would have had even the slightest chance to hit normally will never miss, and even attacks that would've been guaranteed misses are likely to hit. Most likely nerfed in Radiant Dawn because the change in skill capacity would've made it possible to combine Deadeye and Gamble.
Most Beorc Mastery Skills in Radiant Dawn triple the attack's damage on top of their effect (the Sentinels' Impale quadruples damage, but has no other effect; Sages' Flare and Saints' Corona negate Resistance instead; and the Black Knight's Eclipse is Luna with quintuple damage rather than triple, because he cheats). Needless to say, few enemies survive long enough to suffer those effects and the ones that could have abilities that prevent them from activating in the first place; strictly speaking, it is literally impossible for anything in the game to survive a hit of Eclipse, including Ashera.
Precision D Strike: In the NA localizations, The word "damn" is reserved for the worst moments (e.g. main character dying).
Punch Clock Villain: Most of the enemies you can recruit are this. A good number of minor bosses will also fit this trope.
Quickly Demoted Leader: Titania in Path of Radiance. While never actually demoted, her subordinate and student Ike gets promoted to leadership. Unlike most examples, this was actually a source of conflict and everyone there had to choose whether to follow him or not. Some of them don't. Titania does.
Quirky Miniboss Squad: A trope this franchise loves. Typically, it's a set of notable enemy commanders. Examples include the three princes from Verdane in the fourth game, the three Dragon Lords of Bern in the sixth game (and Etruria's Three Generals on your side), the Four Fangs in the seventh game, the six generals of Grado in the eight game, Daein's Four Riders in the ninth game...this sometimes goes hand in hand with the use of Red Baron, for example, all the generals of Grado have titles that are related to gemstones. Sometimes, one of them can join your army instead. Usually, when you start fighting them, it's a good sign that you're approaching the game's finale, due to the Sorting Algorithm of Evil kicking in and the enemy finally sending his elites after you.
Rage Quit: Game mechanic ensuring your allies stay Deader than Dead when they hit 0 HP conflicts with those who don't want to see their allies die. It's common practice among the fandom to give up on that attempt and restart the chapter, or revert to a save point in the few games that offer the feature.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The player usually starts with a small core of professionals that know each other, but by the end will have recruited and used a whole bunch of miscellaneous weirdoes.
In The Blazing Sword, the player is given both the magic general of all of Etruria (the most magically proficient country in the world) and an illiterate fourteen-year-old girl you recruit from the bad guys. The girl has the potential to be one of the best magic users in the game (it is debatable if she has enough time to realize that potential, though).
Lampshaded in this support conversation from Path of Radiance:
Largo: That's strange...
Largo: Hey, Tauroneo!
Largo: Don't you think this army is a little odd? I mean, heck! It's not every day that you see soldiers from this many countries all mixed into one army. I've traveled and fought in a lot of strange places, but this is the first time I've seen anything quite like this.
Tauroneo: You're right. There are even former Daein soldiers in this army. There is no shortage of nationalities, to be sure.
Also Lampshaded by Raven in Fire Emblem Elibe when he wonders how Rebecca doesn't know his face or name despite theres being a small ragtag group.
In the GBA installments, however, you can disable the character-specific color display, resulting in them all adopting blue clothing the way they would wear a uniform. Formations are entirely up to you, you can let them loose on the enemy lines if you're confident or go for actual tactics.
Leif's army in Thracia 776 has a combination of a band of village mercenaries, a former bandit leader, (multiple) prince and princess, the leader of a thief guild, a fallen prince and his daughter, and the commander of a squad of Pegasus Knights that joined after being kidnapped by your army.
Random Number God: In addition to the usual complaints about misses and critical hits, the levelling/stats system used in many of the games can, at the whim of the RNG, turn a character into an unstoppable monster or a useless waste of space. Characters with 'average' stat growths (around 30%) are particularly prone to this.
Despite RNGs being present in many games, this series somehow has a reputation as the cheapest when it comes to unlikely random events, usually involving the phrase "1% chance". Any unit with an even mildly decent Luck Stat will usually only get a critical hit against them if the enemy has some sort of bonus to criticals, but early-game myrmidons/mercenaries, wielders of light (GBA games) or thunder magic, and any enemy attacking Knoll can get a tiny chance of a critical. (Swordmasters, Berserkers, and wielders of Killer weapons and higher-level Light/Thunder magic (or Luna in FE7) usually have a better chance and are legitimately dangerous.) These enemies really don't get criticals that often, but you know how it is when they do.
A level that really accentuates this is the church chapter in Path of Radiance. The map is very small, so it's all closed quarters, but there are tons of bishops that are blocking your way, but not the enemy's. It takes time to shove the bishops out of the way (or kill them, which is discouraged). The bottom line is that the bad guys are definitely going to get a few hits in, which wouldn't be so bad if they weren't all axe-men with decent critical chance. The boss exaggerates everything above, carrying both a Killer Axe and Killer Bow (high critical chance), high strength (better chance that the critical will kill you), and seems to know exactly when he should pop out to kill someone and when he should hide in the back behind a whole stack of bishops; in other words, unless you really take your time in this chapter, the boss will get some hits in; just hope he doesn't get a critical at the wrong time.
Not entirely correct, the aforementioned boss does not move. Although, if you can get a Thief in position next to the boss, you can steal whichever weapon he hasn't equipped at that moment, and then exploit his blind spot in the spaces he can't target.
Ranged Emergency Weapon: Hand axes and Javelins have the attack power of the most basic axes/lances with lower accuracy and much lower durability, but have a range of 1 or 2 tiles, opposed to every other melee weapon's 1 (There are stronger versions with the strength of higher grade weapons, but they are rare and typically can not be bought). There are also a handful of magic swords able to attack at range, but they usually draw from the Magic stat instead of the Strength stat, which sword users won't bother raising.
Unless you're playing a game in which a physically oriented unit doesn't HAVE a magic stat- in these cases, the strength stat is used as the magic stat, making it more useful.
Reclusive Artist: Shouzou Kaga is quite the enigma. He directed and designed every game through Thracia 776, then abruptly splintered off from Nintendo to start up his own studio, created Tear Ring Saga (which got him and the game's publisher sued for being a littletoo much like
Red Baron: Nearly everyone has a nickname, from Karel "The Sword Demon" to most of the bosses you face; in particular, in Blazing Sword, any Black Fang worth his/her salt has a nickname, from Jaffar, "Angel of Death" to Lloyd the "White Wolf". Even the weaker members get their own nicknames, like Teodor the Shrike Shadow Hawk, that they prefer to go by rather than their real names.
In character endings, each is given a nickname.
Grado's generals in Sacred Stones are each given a gemstone nickname by the emperor when they are promoted to that rank (Moonstone, Blood Beryl, Flourspar, etc).
Reincarnation Romance: Julius and Ishtar is essentially Azel and Tiltyu's romance reincarnated, one born from a bastard child and the other forced to continue the bitter legacy.
The Remnant: "The Ghosts of Bern" in Binding Blade. Also, the remaining forces of Grado in The Sacred Stones are actually called The Remnant.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Wyvern Riders are traditionally the feature class of the enemy country in each game, in contrast to the more 'graceful' Pegasus Knights. Often times, you face more of them as enemies than Pegasus Knights, and those which are recruitable are almost always on the enemy side.
Save Scumming: "Start-of-turn-save" in Genealogy of Holy War, "Battle Save" in Radiant Dawn, and to a lesser extent, the save points in Shadow Dragon at least make Save Scumming possible. Path of Radiance lets you reset if bonus XP doesn't result in enough level ups. On the other hand, the trope is averted in all other games, as most don't have mid-chapter saves.
Secret Shop: You'll need a card to get in, and the secret shops are usually an out-of-the-way panel that just looks slightly different from the rest.
Became an Artifact Title of sorts when Anna is referred to as "The Secret Seller" in Awakening, even though she pops up all over the place in clear sight, but still with rare and valuable items.
Sequel Difficulty Drop: The series has been relatively easy until Thracia 776, which is followed by Sword of Seals which have a rather absurd Hard Mode. Blazing Sword is considerably easier than Sword of Seal and Sacred Stones is even easier. It goes up from there.
Awakening is a weird case. While New Mystery is far and away the hardest entry in the series thanks to its absurd highest difficulty mode and game mechanic. Awakening's Lunatic Mode+ is potentially the hardest mode in the series, but only because it is a Luck-Based Mission. Awakening's Normal, and Hard mode is extremely easy, while the Lunatic Mode can be easilly trivialized. Put simply, the game's poor design make it pretty hard to judge.
Sequel First: An extremely egregious offender. No games in the series made it to the West until Blazing Sword, which was not only the 7th installment, but a prequel to the 6th game. Nintendo also lopped the Blazing Sword subtitle off to call it just Fire Emblem - understandable from a marketing standpoint, but in the long-term, it's created a tangled heap of confusion for new players over which game is what. Essentially, it's the saga of the "missing" Final Fantasy sequels all over again, but with more games missing, and Nintendo thus far not interested in clearing it up for westerners.
Shoot the Medic First: This would be a straighter example if the enemy actually had more (and more effective) healers on their side; alas, they don't. Rest assured, put your own Clerics in harm's way, and the enemy will go right after them.
The AI priority in the first game is basically Cleric and Archers > Marth > the rest. And your cleric gets exp by being attacked.
Combat Medic: However, once your clerics class up, they learn how to fight back. Typically, your offensive magic units learn to heal when they class as well, making them an inverted Combat Medic.
One very poignant example, however, is during Ike's firstduel with the Black Knight. On the third turn, some reinforcements will appear, including a Bishop with a Physic Staff. If he manages to heal the Black Knight, you won't win.
Sound of No Damage: In the Game Boy Advance games, any attack that does no damage will make a high-pitched ping sound.
Spanner in the Works: Kishuna in the first chapter he appears in Blazing Sword. The boss of that chapter (who, incidentally, comes off as a chessmaster-type character, what with remarks like "battle is an equation") has long-range magic that will do some nasty damage to your non-magic party members... had the aforementioned Magic Seal not made his conveniently-timed unexpected appearance.
Spell Levels: The series does this with both spells and weapons, by dividing them up into Weapon Levels dictating when a character is skilled to use stronger weapons. Ranks E-S or in some games E-SS. The typical progression for weapons is Iron, Steel, Silver. Magic was further standardized in Radiant Dawn giving basic magic, 'El' magic, 'Arc' magic, a named long range attack, named high level, and then 'Rex' for the ultimate (e.g. Wind, Elwind, Arcwind, Blizzard, Tornado, Rexcalibur).
Spell My Name with an S: None of the titles before Fire Emblem have official English releases, the inevitable result (combined with the rather scattered nature of the fanbase) being that different sources have different names for pretty much everyone and everything. Due to the vagaries of Japanese transliteration of foreign names (usually of legendary weapons), the Gae Bolg has been referred to as the Gay Borg in more than one FAQ for Genealogy of the Holy War. For that matter, Nintendo themselves seem to have trouble, turning Turpin into Durban and Almace into Armads. Admittedly, once Archbishop Turpin from The Song of Roland became an axewielding berserker, all bets were off.
Eideen/Edin/Aideen/Edain/Adean isn't too far behind the above.
The European version of Blazing Sword can't seem to decide whether it's Ostia or Ositia; Laus or Lahus; Bern or Biran. The world map tends to use the former name, while the rest of the dialogue uses the latter.
A strange case is Seliph, the second protagonist of Seisen no Keifu. He's near-universally referred to as "Celice" by the fandom, but in their summary of the history of the franchise on their Blazing Sword website, Nintendo of America calls him "Serlis". It's possible this was done to differentiate him from Celica, protagonist of Gaiden who was mentioned several paragraphs before, but...
Spiritual Successor: Tear Ring Saga for the PlayStation, which was designed by Fire Emblem creator Shozo Kaga. In fact, Nintendo sued Enterbrain, the publisher of the game, for copyrights infringement, but lost the case.
Also happened within the series. Later installments of Fire Emblem regularly took up features and game elements again that had been absent from the franchise since a certain earlier game. The 8th game can be stated pretty surely to be this for the 2nd game. The 9th and 10th game bring back game elements from the fourth game.
If neither the lord nor your cleric are in range, the AI will attempt to gang up attackers on one of your units in an attempt to kill it in one turn before it can retreat.
The AI also loves to attack even when it would not do any damage at all; it values more wasting charges of your Infinity–1 Sword than the wellbeing of his troops. Alternatively, it'll do exactly that to deny you an Optional Party Member, which is even more frustrating. Though mercifully rarer.
Soren in Path of Radiance and Malledus in Shadow Dragon.
August and Dorias in Thracia 776 and Elphin and Merlinus in Binding Blade as well.
Ephraim in The Sacred Stones.
The player character again in Awakening. Being an amnesiac with only recollection of how to use strategy in battle, this becomes their entire personality, especially with such battle lines as "Checkmate!" and "Now that's strategy."
Subtext: Florina and Lyn from Fire Emblem certainly seem to share a Xena/Gabrielle dynamic early on in the game. Well, mostly Florina, a Shrinking Violet who admits to being afraid of men. She eventually matures and recovers from it, but the subtext is still clearly there, so much that she and Lyn have an ending. Heather from Radiant Dawn joins because "of all the pretty girls" and refers to every female she has a conversation with (and one she doesn't) as cute or lovely. For dudes, look no further than Raven and Lucius, or Legault mock-flirting with Heath. Also fans have theorised potential for Joshua and Gerik, especially as their paired ending (that alone is suggestive) describes Gerik as never again leaving Joshua's side.
Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Inverted, many of the characters from 7, a prequel, are explained as not appearing in 6 by dying. Canas is killed by continuity errors... ahem... dies in a blizzard in his ending. Shin's recruitment has Sue express concern about her grandfather, but not her father (her mother can be explained as being sent away with the women and children like she was). Nino vanishes so her children can be left orphans. Hector started as a character whose main purpose was to die. Eliwood is ill and close to death.
Suicidal Overconfidence: Whenever you elect to attack, the game shows your expected damage and chance to hit. Enemy units other than bosses tend to have poorer stats than your average player character, and will regularly try to hit when the expected damage or chance to hit (or both) are listed at zero and the PC has a 100% chance to kill said unit in a counterattack. Apparently, using up charges on your weapons are worth more to these idiots than their own lives.
Suspiciously Small Army: Takes this Up to Eleven. The Arbitrary Headcount Limit is, on a huge map, around 20 people. 4 has no headcap limit (though single characters are taking entire cities), 7 avoids having an "army" under the player's control or fighting against one, 9 and 10 state the player controls a vanguard during the parts the story says is army vs army. This doesn't explain every other game though.
The Shepherds in Awakening start off as basically law enforcement, but led by a royal with a couple of actual knights. Then the pegasus knights that were implied to be Ylisse's main military force all die out along with the country's ruler and the leader of the mercenaries is promoted to king. Two years later they fight another war and the shepherds are the entirety of Ylisse's military force. No small wonder they need Regna Ferox' help all the time.
Perhaps justified by the fact that a generation before the events of Awakening, Ylisse was a war-mongering nation that terrorized its neighbor Plegia. Perhaps as part of the reparations following that war Ylisse's armies were disbanded, leaving the diminished forces seen in the game.
In Jugdral, a group of +10 Units is an 'Army'. This is, however, justified by most of them being a One-Man Army due to being descended from a demigod and the fact that they fugitives in the eyes of The Empire a quarter of the way through the game and, therefore, don't get an unplayable Mook legion like most other Emblem protagonists.
If the Vitality Bar was reinterpreted as "number of soldiers" instead of "life", then this trope is averted.
Also a lot of the cast if you look at their artwork.
This Cannot Be!: Every boss has a death quote, so it's quite unsurprising that some of them say variations of this when they're defeated.
This Is Unforgivable: Yes, this game loves this trope. This stock phrase is used on certain times when you choose to have certain characters attack certain enemy or boss characters, like Ashnard or Nergal, for instance.
Those Two Bad Guys: It's a running gag in the series to have the party attacked by a duo of very Gonky bandits with over-the-top personalities. Some examples, all of them encountered in the middle of a desert:
Rose and Maggie in Binding Blade
Jasmine and Paul in Blazing Sword
Pain and Agony in Radiant Dawn
Victor and Vincent in Awakening, only this time they're not fought in a desert, and the Art Shift makes them significantly less Gonky.
Those Two Guys: Every game has two cavaliers, one red and one green, who fit this trope. They usually come as a pair. Oscar and Kieran, Kyle and Forde, Sain and Kent, Sully and Stahl. Heck, in a support conversation, Sully and Stahl discuss the original pair, Cain and Abel...
Oddly enough however, swords are the only weapon type that doesn't have a common throwable version. The rare sword types that do have a ranged option are usually magical. Awakening finally adds a throwable sword in the form of Yen'Fay's signature weapon, dropped by him when defeated and useable by only Myrmidon classes,
Tomato Surprise: Alm in Gaiden and Micaiah in Radiant Dawn learn of their respective royal heritages this way. Alm is the son of Rigel's king, and unlike his childhood friend Celica, he's been kept in the dark about it (Celica is aware of her own heritage - her real name is Anteze, and she's the sole surviving member of Zofia's royal family). According to a boss that Alm defeats, the king's son has a cross-shaped birthmark on his arm that notes his lineage. Micaiah learns of her heritage in a similar manner, as she is Empress Sanaki's older sister, making her the true heiress to Begnion's throne.
Radiant Dawn averts this by giving a selected weapon for each character unlimited uses for the last 3 chapters.
Manaketes seem to fall under this category too (once the Dragonstone runs out, they're useless). However, give one an endgame chapter and no doubt they'll near his/her level cap by the end with several charges to spare. In a first for the series, Awakening allows you to buy Dragonstones, so you can go ahead and use Manaketes with aplomb.
Awakening also gives the main lord TWO signature weapons, the rapier most lords in the series use for effectiveness against armor and cavalry, and the Falchion, an infinite use Iron Sword that's effective against Wyverns.
Too Dumb to Live: In the prologue of Shadow Dragon, someone has to disguise himself as Marth and run off to distract some soldiers. Any of your units can be used, including Marth himself. He even gets his own death message, though you get a game over right after.
Translation Style Choices: The various localizations offer different angles on characterization. It makes for a lot of Squee amongst fanfiction writers.
Trope Maker and Trope Codifier: For the Strategy RPG genre, at least for the Japanese side of the genre's market. It certainly wasn't the first, but it was responsible for many of the defining features and themes now taken for granted in the genre.
Tsundere: Is quite often seen in the games. Some notable ones are Lyndis, Hector, Lethe, and Severa.
In New Mystery of the Emblem, the My Unit system and the newly made Base Conversations expanded the characters' personality more. Some newly found tsunderes are Navarre (Has a tendency to blush when he is teased.), Rickard (When he cooked food with My Unit, he says "I-I didn't make that for YOU anyways..."), Wolf (He says that the Altean Knights are weak and makes other rude remarks when he talks with My Unit, but with the female My Unit, he goes on his dere dere side by asking her to take her to his homeland.), and Yumina (in one of the 'How's Everyone' convos that concerns about raising bond points, her line is typical Tsundere line "I-it's not like I care about him, or anything!")
Underrated And Overleveled: In fact any Role-Playing Games (like Fire Emblem) that emphasize a massive cast of recruitable teammates tend to be particularly guilty of this. The huge hosts of characters guarantee at least a few will be mundane people with little or no combat training, and the inability to focus much plot on each character means that the developers don't have time to give in story justification for everyone's combat capabilities.
Unusual Euphemism: Marcia from Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn swears with food items. "Oh, crackers, I don't have time for this!".
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: It depends on the game, with some having a bigger scale than others. Genaeology of the Holy War averts this trope, with the last boss fight taking place outside of Barhara Castle, and is set up like the other maps in the game, only smaller in scale. The Crimean Royal Palace from Path of Radiance also averts this trope.
Both temples in Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light and Mystery of the Emblem; both of them are somewhere in the kingdom of Akaneia.
The Altar of Loptyr in Thracia 776, which is divided into two parts (Chapter 24 and the Final Chapter)
The Dragon Temple in Binding Blade, which is seven levels in height with Idoun waiting at the top.
The Dragon's Gate in Blazing Sword.
The shrine in Darkling Woods in The Sacred Stones.
Ashera's Tower in Radiant Dawn.
Subverted in Awakening, while the last battle takes on Grima's back, the only thing standing in its way is a small army of Risen on a lone island with a volcano.
Videogame Caring Potential: Every character you control is named and has their own head-shot. Add to the mix a bit of Killed Off for Real (minus restarting the game), specific endings for every character, and lots of character interaction, you wind up with having to/wanting to restart every level multiple times so that no one ever dies.
Swords, lances, and axes are the main three weapons in the series (starting with the Jugdral games, they are a part of a rock-paper-scissors based weapon triangle), with bows, while out of the triangle, allowing for distance combat and super effective damage against fliers. The Tellius games added knives, and others had unique weapons such as dragonstones.
We Cannot Go On Without You: The death of your Lord character means an automatic game over, and applies to the enemy during a lot of missions where you don't have to rout the enemy, just defeat the boss or when the objective is to seize an enemy held throne or gate, which guarantees your success no matter how many enemies remain.
We Have Reserves: In certain games the AI will begin spawning reinforcements after a set number of turns.
You will be saying this to bosses who recover HP, or especially those rare ones that don't stay dead after reaching zero (in Tellius alone, there's Ashnard on Hard, Ashera if you don't do it right, and both Oliver and the Black Knight plotwise.)
The Wise Prince: Sigurd in Genealogy of Holy War, Eliwood in The Blazing Sword, Elincia in Path of Radiance, and Pelleas in Radiant Dawn)
The Worf Effect: While Midia herself is an acomplished knight, its pretty hard to show your competence when your opponent is Camus and Hardin, two of the most badass character in the entire series, and the designated wielder of the Gradivus.
The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: Subverted in the tenth game. After spending the first chapter getting the "legitimate" heir on the throne, he turns out to be horribly incompetent, and easily manipulated for the purpose of creating a world war. But he isn't really the real heir in the end, and the "legitimate" heir never finds out. After Pelleas reveals that he's not the legitimate heir or is killed, depending on the path the player takes through the story, the country winds up being run by the person who was actually the legitimate heir of the neighboring country of Begnion; she did find out the truth, but her sister had been running the place pretty well, and she considered Daein her home more than Begnion.
You ALL Look Familiar: All generic enemies look the same. Justified -- sort of — that nine times out of ten, you're fighting an opposing army and your enemies are uniformed soldiers. However, if there's an enemy unit that both has a name and isn't a boss, there's a very good chance they can be convinced to defect.
In Blazing Sword, some of the characters share mug sprites. For example, Puzon, who is the boss in the level where you meet Merlinus, was apparently killed by Rath in an Earlier chapter. And Rebecca's father can be found in a variety of locales. And Marquess Araphen seems to have gotten a dye-job and joined the Black Fang in the intervening year.
The earlier games used shared mugs as well (FE4's "Harolds" are a popular example), but the Famicom games are ridiculous with this: each game as maybe 3 or 4 mugs that are reused for all the oneshot bosses, and even for some of the plot important ones (like Jiol in the first game, and Dozah and Judah in Gaiden.)
In Awakening, the bosses of certain side missions reuse portraits from the main story. In fact, the only enemy portraits that aren't used anywhere else are those of the Valmese generals.
Zettai Ryouiki: Pegasus knights, most cavalry/aerie, and the occasional sage and swordmaster.