Somewhere between General Character Tropes and Class related tropes, the series is known for recurring archetypical characters that serve the same role either in gameplay, story or both. More explanation and archetypes can be found here.
Take note that some archetypes from the aforementioned link might not exist in this page, as well as some of the archetypes listed here might not exist in that page as well. Or Archetypes here may have different, probably looser definition than the link's definition, which means the examples could be different, but the core meaning remains similar. Archetypes can differ between communities.
- The Lord: The protagonist and POV character of the game. Usually young nobles thrust into the center of an international conflict.
- Peaceful Lord: Avoids unnecessary conflict, and relies on strong bonds within the army.
- Martial Lord: Prefers to settle conflict directly, cares little for royal etiquette.
- The Avatar: A customizable character that serves as the lord's confidante. Often a tactician.
- The Heroine: The Lord's opposite gender counterpart, and sometimes love interest. Either a Lord herself, a pegasus knight, or a mysterious waif.
- The Cornelius: A parent, sibling, or mentor that meets with a terrible fate, making the journey personal for the Lord.
As characters, the Lord can be subdivided into two types: the peaceful lord, and the martial lord.
- Blue Blood: Every Lord is either royalty or discovers they are such over the course of their journey. The only exceptions are Ike, a common mercenary, note and Itsuki, an Ordinary High-School Student.
- Composite Character: As with many long runners, increasingly the archetype is played with by either combining aspects of other archetypes, or mixing and matching traits of previous Lords. In particular, Hector has been enough of a direct inspiration for future Lords that he's created a sub-type.
- Sigurd is a mix of the Lord, Crutch Character, and Cornelius archetypes. Like most Lords, he starts off as the main character and gets exclusive access to the Infinity +1 Sword; like Crutch Characters, he is a prepromoted unit who has early access to Silver-grade weaponry and can kick ass far harder than the rest of the party at the beginning; like Corneliuses, he is murdered halfway through in order to give motivation to his son Seliph.
- Ike is a mix of the Lord and the Ogma. His Ranger Class is the Tellius equivalent of Mercenary, promotes to Hero in the sequel game, and eventually gains access to Axes. Instead of a prince, he's the head of a mercenary company. He becomes the loyal sword of a pegasus-riding princess (Caeda/Elincia). His starting party even references this by getting Bord (Boyd), an axe fighter like Ogma has, and Abel (Oscar), a cavalier like Marth has, instead of a pair of either.
- Micaiah is a mix of Lord and White Mage. While she has Light Magic to engage in combat, she's an innate healer through her Sacrifice skill before she gains staves. She's assisted by a Julian (Sothe) as well.
- Corrin is explicitly a mix of Lord and Avatar, as the customizable self-insert character. Class-wise, however, they are a manakete instead of some type of magic class.
- Frontline General: They always fight in the thick of combat alongside the common soldiers.
- The Hero: The main POV character who stands on the side of justice.
- Primary-Color Champion: With the exception of Corrin, who wears different shades of black and white, the main Lord and most supporting Lords have red, blue, and yellow somewhere in their base class outfit.
- Protagonist Power-Up Privileges: Played with. While they do always get the Sword of Plot Advancement, they are sometimes also locked into a plot-based class promotion. If it comes late enough in the game, they may actually end up weaker than the supporting cast that the player can level grind consistently.
- Rookie Red Ranger: Even if they've had training, the beginning of the game is typically their first brush with actual warfare.
- Weapon of Choice: The game's main legendary weapon, of course. However, they also typically have a starting weapon that's both an armor and horse slayer to ease their journey fighting the backbone of The Empire's troops. The original prince style lords get the Rapier (except the Jugdral Lords; Sigurd and Seliph start out with normal, common weapons before getting the Tyrfing, while Leif starts with the Light Brand). Myrmidon Lord Lyn gets the Mani Katti. Axe General Lord Hector gets the Wolf Beil. Soldier Lord Ephraim gets the Reginleif. Mercenary Lord Ike has the Regal Sword (and later Ettard, but without the bonuses), Mage Lord Micaiah gets Thani. Chrom gets both his Rapier and a weak version of his legendary, the Falchion, to start with that later gets powered up through the plot. Corrin starts with a weak version of the Yato which gains different boosts depending on the route as the story goes on.
The Peaceful LordThe more peaceful of the two Lord subtypes. Young and kindhearted, they generally hold an idealistic view of the world, and thus prefer to resolve conflicts with as little bloodshed as possible. However, they can also be naive and easily distracted by smaller matters, and they can be easily manipulated due to their trusting nature. Through Character Development, they learn to be less naive and more intelligent while still keeping their idealism and hope for peace.
- Humble Hero: Lords of this subtype generally downplay their accomplishments when given praise.
- Martial Pacifist: They generally prefer to resolve conflict diplomatically. But make no mistake, they'll come down hard on their enemies when pushed.
- Nice Guy: They're among the kindest and most generous people in their respective games.
- Reluctant Warrior: While they are trained, capable fighters, they would rather solve conflicts peacefully than raise their swords.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to the Martial Lord's Manly Man when both are present.
- Took a Level in Badass: Stories following the Peaceful Lord generally involve them growing from naive, inexperienced greenhorns to confident and powerful leaders. More often than not, this is reflected in their stats, as they tend towards low bases and high growths.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: They're always full of hope that things will work out for the better, though Character Development later decreases this to more sensible levels.
- The Wise Prince: Naturally. They always put the needs of their people before their own, but their idealism can take a toll on them until they undergo Character Development.
The Martial LordThe more aggressive of the two Lord subtypes. Unlike their more pacifistic counterparts, these Lords are more willing to fight and kill for their beliefs and are much more willful and blunt when interacting with others. Because of their willful nature, they tend to be reckless and charge headfirst without thinking of the danger involved. They often undergo Character Development in which they learn to think about the consequences of their actions and to solve problems without charging headfirst into them.
- Action Hero: Unlike the Peaceful Lord, their primary instinct when confronted with a problem is to stab it until it stops breathing.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype:
- Sigurd. His recklessness and lack of hesitation towards using violence to achieve his goals allow the villains to play him like a cheap kazoo, ultimately get him and most of his followers killed, and leave his son Seliph to fix the devastation left in his wake.
- Ephraim. His gallivanting in enemy territory doesn't endear him to the populace one bit, to the point that when he liberates Renais, the people only cheer because The Caligula's rule is at an end. After this incident, he begins to mature.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Characters of this sub-archetype had some elements of the Peaceful Lord with Alm, Sigurd, and Leif, but fully diverged with the popularity of Hector, leading to several other lords being based around his personality.
- Knight In Sour Armor: Tend to hold a more cynical view of the world compared to their more peaceful counterparts, but they're just as willing to make it a better place.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Their Fatal Flaw is that they're a bit too eager to fight, reaching Blood Knight levels in a few cases.
- Rebel Prince: A lot of the time, they would rather serve as a warrior rather than fulfill their royal/noble duties.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man to the Peaceful Lord's Sensitive Guy when both are present.
- Trope Codifier: While elements of the archetype were present before him, most modern Martial Lords follow in the footsteps of Hector from The Blazing Blade.
The Avatar's narrative role has fluctuated over time. Mark is basically an extra in The Blazing Blade, Kris is a Supporting Protagonist in New Mystery of the Emblem, Robin is the deuteragonist of Awakening, Corrin is the protagonist of Fates, and Kiran of Heroes returns the Avatar to their roots of being a faceless extra.
- Ascended Extra: The first fully playable Avatar, Kris, wasn't a particularly important character to the plot, mostly because Kris's game was a remake. In Awakening, Robin has a vital role as the Deuteragonist, and in Fates, Corrin is the main character. This also applies to the idea of the Avatar archetype itself, as it grew out of a minor featureless character, Mark, in The Blazing Blade.
- Canon Name: All Avatars have a default name for when they are customized.
- Character Customization: Their whole schtick is being the player's customizable character.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: With the exception of Corrin, each Avatar serves their game's Lord. They end up being the most powerful unit and/or are stated to be the key to be the army's success.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: They have good growth rates across the board by default, though the player still picks one stat to specialize in and one Dump Stat.
- Job System: Notable in that, before Fates, the Avatar could reclass into virtually any other kind of unit in the game, allowing them to gain whatever skills or training they wanted with enough time and patience. Fates toned it down significantly: they have their own class/promotion, but can only choose one alternative class at the beginning, and later can acquire their spouse's and the people of the same gender that they get A supports with (save for Niles and Rhajat, who are the bi options).
- Lethal Chef: A Running Gag is that the Avatar's cooking tastes like steel.
- Lightning Bruiser: When playable, their stats are usually off the roof because of various factors such as high growth rate, fast EXP gain, and perfect availability.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Two of the three playable Avatars have turned out to have evil and unsavory heritage.
- Magic Knight: Two of their three playable appearances give them a class that can use both magic and swordplay, or let them promote into something that does.
- Non-Entity General: Mark and Kiran do not exist in gameplay and barely exist in-story, and their whole existence is very much just used for characters in-game to refer to the player.
- The Strategist: As befit their role as the extension of the player, many characters defer to them for strategy. Kris is an exception; Jagen and Katarina serve as strategists in their game.
- Virtual Paper Doll: In The Blazing Blade, you could only choose gender, name, and birth month. Later games added face, body shape, hair color and style, voice, and sometimes even accessories.
As games from The Binding Blade onward gave more freedom to the player to pair the Lord with whoever they please, these characters would usually end up being the Implied Love Interest. The game might 'encourage' the player to pair these characters with the Lord by providing extra story perks if they are chosen as the main pair of the Lord, but in the end, the final say is in the player's hands: follow the implications/suggestions or not.
The character's class is rarely the same in each passing game (though we've had repeats of Pegasus Knight, Mage, Dancer, and complimentary Lords). However, they have a tendency to be nobles, whether or not they have a Lord or another unique class. Gameplay-wise, they are also usually the second-best recruiter after the main Lord, and they have a knack for being able to recruit a complete stranger that you have no idea that they are related (a job usually reserved for the main Lord). Particularly if they happen to actually be Lords, or have a unique Lord-like class, they may be the main character of their own side conflict.
- Action Girlfriend: If a female, she'll usually be able to defend herself from the beginning or will start leveling up as the game progresses. Even moreso if the boyfriend/Lord in question had their promotion time locked and stuck in Level 20 unpromoted while the heroine can promote any time she wanted.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: A few get to be the main hero or the Arc Hero of their own adventures. Celica leads an alternate party that doesn't join Alm's until the final chapter. Lyn, Eirika, Micaiah, and Elincia all have prologue/tutorial modes where they are the main character before the male Lord shows up (Eirika can even remain the main character after). Katarina is the focus of an original sidequest arc. Lucina gets the Future Past arc in DLC that focuses on her world if she didn't go to the past. Azura is technically the sibling that Corrin sides with in Revelation (before all the other siblings join). Fjorm becomes the main focus of Heroes Book II.
- Deuteragonist: If a character of this archetype isn't given equal protagonist billing note (see the Lord archetype above), she will most likely fill this role in the plot. (We didn't say "always" because there are plenty of exceptions.)
- Early Installment Weirdness: Shadow Dragon's Heroine (Caeda) was a fourth Pegasus knight, separate from the White Wing Sister Trio. In future games where the Heroine is a flyer, she's typically combined with the Est/Youngest Sister of the trio (Sumia, Elincia, Tana, and to a lesser extent Florina to Lyn for Lyn's prologue mode only).
- Implied Love Interest: If they aren't explicitly the Love Interest of the Lord or Avatar due to a marriage or paired ending mechanic, the games give some hints to indicate that they should hook up.
- Lana/Muirne are a subversion. While they are the predestined partner for Seliph and their hook-up dialogue is achieved the same way as other predestined dialogues in the epilogue chapter, they're the first to join Seliph and have the biggest Love Growth points, enabling them to become lovers even in the chapter they debut in; this is to make up for the bug that Julia got stuck with. Moreso, for a substitute character, Muirne gets a special privilege of having a conversation with Seliph where he actually talks about his own insecurities, something he never does with any other prospects.
- Pairing Lilina with Roy in The Binding Blade switches the scene where Roy greets Guinivere after the coronation for one of him talking with Lilina about the future that will come.
- In The Blazing Blade, Ninian for Eliwood, in consideration of how strongly she's tied with his story, including accidentally killing her, and if paired together, Ninian stays in Elibe instead of passing through the Dragon Gate. In the case of Lyndis, it's for Hector: There are exclusive scenes between them together that are available only in Hector Mode.
- Near the end of Ephraim's route in Sacred Stones, Tana manages to confront and snap him out of a Heroic BSoD, while in Eirika's route (or if Tana dies in Ephraim's route), the role goes to L'Arachel, and they cannot pair together. In the case of Eirika, many characters are jealous of her closeness to her brother Ephraim. They are also one of the few sibling teams to have a paired ending.
- Elincia is a Red Herring to this archetype in Path of Radiance. While she gets a Ship Tease with Ike and has a Pegasus Knight-like class, she also fills the same role as Nyna and Guinivere (who is never paired with the hero for various reasons), and as such she and Ike never get to hook up. She ends up with Geoffrey instead.
- Sothe serves as this for Micaiah in Radiant Dawn: if their A support is maintained to the end, they marry and when she's crowned as the Queen of Daein, he becomes her Hot Consort.
- Katarina in New Mystery of the Emblem is actually an addition to the remake and serves as the Love Interest for the Avatar, not Marth. While they are not shown to marry or live together in the end, Katarina has her own whole subplot that the player can choose to follow, and completing the subplot depends on how the player manages the Avatar.
- In Awakening, Sumia and Female Robin split the difference for Chrom Sumia is the only female character who openly shares screentime in Animated CG scenes with Chrom (both her debut stage and the opening movie holding baby Lucina), and the game prioritizes her for Chrom's scripted marriage. A Female Robin is the only one of Chrom's lovers who keeps her plot importance after marrying him, a non-Robin Lucina openly lampshades how close she is to Chrom (to either Robin herself or a non-Chrom!Male Morgan), and he has a modified scene where she's confronted by a Lucina mothered by her. Lucina serves as this for Robin in both ways since she also has the modified scene when confronting Robin and contemplates killing him to stop Grima, if she marries a male Robin beforehand.
- In Fates, Azura is the only character to get different Support conversations with Corrin (of both genders, though only the Male one can marry her) and altered Love Confession scenes depending on the route. Her Support ranks with Corrin also increase faster than her other Supports.
- The Gaiden remake, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, also has a subversion: Faye fits the archetype surprisingly well (beauty, devotion to the guy she loves, starts out physically weak but can become a very skilled fighter, etc.), but since Alm and Celica are set in stone as the game's Official Couple, she's technically a Catria instead.
- Love Interest: In older games, they are the main girl that the Lord is interested in and ends up marrying. The newer games are more lax about it.
- This is subverted by Julia in Genealogy of the Holy War: pairing Seliph and Julia is flat-out impossible outside of glitches due to the negative love point system placed upon them only, though Julia can't be killed until the last chapter. This is due to both of them being half-siblings through their shared mother.
- This is also subverted by Elincia: It may have been a possibility with Ike in Path of Radiance, but Radiant Dawn puts an end to it as seen below.
- Mystical Waif: A notable subtype of this archetype is a non-physical unit with a Mysterious Past and possessing special abilities that make her valuable and/or a significant threat to the villains. This subtype was pioneered by Deirdre and Julia in Genealogy of the Holy War, and later followed by Ninian, Micaiah, Female Robinnote , Azura, and looping back around to Celicanote . This makes Lilina the only magically-inclined member of the archetype to not have some great latent potential.
- The Not-Love Interest:
- Despite fulfilling a lot of the traits of this archetype and having quite a bit of Incest Subtext, Eirika serves as this to Ephraim, as they are siblings.
- Elincia serves in a similar role as a Love Interest in Path of Radiance, complete with Ship Tease, but she and Ike go their separate ways and have no Support ending in Radiant Dawn. She has one with Geoffrey, and Ike only with Soren and Ranulf. Plus, even if they're both left unpaired, Ike leaves the continent.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: A lot of times, they're given exotic hair colors that stick out like a sore thumb. There's just about three of them that have hair colors that can be considered normal: Celica (redhead), Nanna (blonde), and Sumia (grayish brown).
Since they die early, the Cornelius tends to be an unrecruitable NPC.
At times, there are cases where it's not the Lord who has a Cornelius figure, but instead a party member, usually of the Linde archetype. When that happens, the Cornelius can be referred to as a 'Miloah' (named after Linde's dead father), but they can overlap with the original Cornelius since they have the same role.
- Flat Character: They exist to get killed off, so they usually don't get much development within the game/timeline where they took up the archetype role.
- One Of These Is Not Like The Others: Hector is unique among those who serve this role in that he's the Love Interest's father, not the hero's. Roy's father Eliwood, for his part, survives the game just fine and dandy.
- Posthumous Character: Some of these characters get their characterizations post-mortem.
- Sacrificial Lamb: A lot of them die very early in the game, mostly to instill righteous fury in the hero to finish the job.
- Satellite Character: They're defined largely by their relationship with the Lord and how their death affects the Lord, at least in the scope of the game of said Lord.
- Sole Survivor: Only Emmeryn manages to survive being a straight example of this archetype, and even she suffers irreversible brain damage. Gunnthrá is also a weird case of this thanks to the game mechanics of Heroes; she can be summoned by the player even before her death scene, and nothing stops the player from summoning her afterwards too (nor does her death scene remove any of her playable versions from the player's party).
- You Killed My Father: A common motivation for the Lord is to avenge these guys' deaths. Ike in particular wants vengeance for his father Greil's demise.
Availability vs. GrowthThese characters are marked by their gameplay impact on the player's party, and can shore up your strength at various points in the game.
- The Crutch Character
- The Jagen: An early-game old veteran that can't keep up due to poor growths.
- The Oifey: A early-game experienced lieutenant who has growths to keep pace.
- The Magikarp Power
- Est: A late-game young rookie with amazing growths if you invest in them.
- The Trainee: A rookie with a unique weak class that can be recruited at anytime.
- The Eyvel: A Taste of Power Guest-Star Party Member that returns when they may no longer be relevant.
- The Gotoh: A Crutch Character given at the very end of the game to make the last chapters easier if you're unprepared.
The JagenThe Jagen is a Crutch Character granted early in the game. They start off at a high level or are already a promoted class when the game begins, but they also have average to poor stat growths. Relying on the Jagen too much can hurt the player in the long run, as they will steal the majority of EXP if they're on the front lines killing enemies. They are generally an older mentor figure and bodyguard to the Lord, almost always of the Paladin class and come equipped with a Silver Lance. The typical justification for a Jagen's poor potential is usually advanced age or sickness.
From The Blazing Blade onward, the Jagen archetype was phased out of the series (sans remakes) in favor of the similar Oifey archetype, though the Jagen makes a comeback in Fire Emblem Fates through the Great Knight Gunter.
- Blade on a Stick: The Paladin Jagen typically has a lance (usually a Silver Lance) as their Weapon of Choice.
- Boring, but Practical: Oftentimes, they'll be able to pull their weight throughout the game doing stuff like chasing down thieves, or handling weak mooks while the other characters go after the main objective.
- Cool Horse: Almost all Jagens are Paladins.
- Crutch Character: Jagens are quite useful in the early game, starting out as Disc One Nukes due to their stat advantage. They start losing steam starting from mid-game due to their low stat growths, receiving little EXP early on due to scaling, and other characters with higher stat growths catching up. Using Jagens to kill a lot of enemies early on can actually hurt you in the long run, as their initially low EXP yields and the limited EXP available lead to other characters being deprived of levels.
- Disc-One Nuke: Jagens start out able to flatten run-of-the-mill enemy units, and usually can take the early bosses without breaking a sweat.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Their lack of long-run potential is entirely justified by the story; they are old veterans who have little to learn in the way of combat and are hampered by their years compared to the more youthful units. Thus, they serve as mentors to the younger characters, which is conveyed through gameplay as being explicitly designed to feed kills to the younger, weaker units in the early game.
- The Mentor: As the elder statesmen they may train the younger units early on in hopes that they'll be surpassed in time.
The Oifey is an evolution of the Jagen that generally fulfills the same role as the Crutch Character and shares many of the Jagen's tropes and elements (retainer/mentor of the Lord, tends to be a Paladin, starts out wielding a Silver Lance), but the Oifey continues to be useful in the long term due to having higher stat growths. The Oifey is also not much older than the Lord they serve unlike the Jagen, who has a decade or two on most of the cast and may have a Bodyguard Crush on their liege if they're of the opposite sex.
From The Blazing Blade and onward, the Oifey essentially replaces the Jagen archetype bar the remakes Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem. Oifeys would continue to be a staple of Fire Emblem games until Fates reintroduced the Jagen archetype through Gunter.
- Blade on a Stick: Being pretty much a Jagen, the Paladin class Oifeys typically have Silver Lance as their starting weapon. Oifey himself is an exception to this rule, by not having any kind of Silver weapons and specializing in Swords over Lances.
- Bodyguard Crush: They may crush on their Lord. Seth to Eirika, Titania to Greil, Sothe to Micaiah. Played for Laughs between Frederick and Chrom. In Fates, when the main Lord and customizable Avatar were combined into Corrin, you get one of two Oifeys that will always be Corrin's opposite sex if you want to invoke this yourself, and you'll get the same-sex one later in the game.
- The Consigliere: They're often the only non-Lords that remain core characters throughout the story, and the one who talks sense into the heroes as they go on their adventures.
- Cool Horse: Almost all of them are a promoted horse class like the Jagens.
- Crutch Character: Unlike the Jagens, though, these guys will typically remain a viable unit for the majority of the game, and maybe even well into the endgame, though Frederick is generally considered much weaker.
- Disc-One Nuke: Like Jagens, they start as this. Unlike Jagens, the end result is much better.
- Mercy Mode: In less difficult installments, they serve to help less experienced players overcome difficult segments such as that game's Early-Bird Boss, at the cost of losing out on experience for their other characters. This is averted in more difficult games, where there's a much heavier obligation to use these characters to get past the Early Game Hell or to achieve a higher ranking, regardless of the player's skill level.
The EstThe Est is the opposite of the Jagen. While the Jagen is a Crutch Character that is older than most of the cast, the Est is one of the younger characters that joins the group late in the game and embodies Magikarp Power. They may start off at a low level and as a basic class, but they'll become very powerful when trained thanks to their high stat growths. The original Est was a physical unit, though from Genealogy of the Holy War onward, they are more likely to be magic users.
Since Radiant Dawn, there have been no new characters of this archetype. Instead, their role as the Magikarp Power unit has been replaced by a character using the game's equivalent to the Trainee class, who is available earlier.
- Badass Adorable: Often cute or among the youngest of your army, but they can still fight and are potentially one of the strongest units.
- Late Character Syndrome: Despite their potential, they tend to come rather late, and at such a low level that it's almost not worth it to train them.
- The Load: If you're not willing to invest the effort to train them, they might as well not be there.
- Magikarp Power: They start off very weak and at a low level, but become one of their game's strongest units when trained.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: If not slender adults, Est characters are often children or small enough to pass as them. This actually can be a gameplay handicap, as a low Constitution (or Strength in some games) limits their ability to use heavier weapons.
- Squishy Wizard: Even if their growths are impressive overall, most tend to have mediocre HP or defense and low stat caps besides. A player wishing to use one of them should have some boosts handy.
The TraineeSimilar to the Est, but with much more variance in availability. These units tend to have a unique Trainee or Villager class. Through branching promotion, this gives them many more final class options than most units. Their versatility is appealing, but like Est, they start so weak they'll just be doing scratch damage with no special advantages for a while.
Trainees are almost all small town youths who are just getting their first taste of war.
- Country Mouse: Donnel and Mozu fit squarely here. Many of their predecessors were at least small town heroes, with the exceptions of Lachesis and Leif, who were both royalty.
- Job System: Especially in Gaiden and Echoes, where the Villager class can split into 5 other unrelated class trees (in Echoes, Faye gets 4). In Sacred Stones, Ross gets access to all axe fighter variants, Amelia all armored and mounted knightly classes, and Ewan all anima and dark magic classes. In the beta, there was also a Probabtion Flier trainee class that presumably would've gotten access to all flying units.
- Late Character Syndrome: Averted, one of their main distinctions from Est. The Gaiden crew on Alm's route can all join before the first chapter (or can be saved and picked up later) while Celica gets Atlas midway in the story. Lachesis joins midway through Sigurd's half of Genealogy, while Leif joins in the second chapter of Seliph's story. In Sacred Stones, Ross is early game, Amelia mid-game, and Ewan closer to late-game. In Awakening and Fates, their sidequests become available early in the game, but it's up to you when you want to pick them up.
- Magikarp Power: Like proper Ests.
- Optional Party Member: In Awakening and Fates, they come from optional sidequests. In the original Gaiden, Alm could leave his home town without them, and in the remake, he can still leave Kliff and Faye behind.
- A Taste of Power: What they essentially amount to.
- Can't Catch Up: Their bad growths prevent them from staying up to par with the other units.
- Crutch Character: They act like a Jagen at the start, being a powerful unit you can rely on for a short period.
- Disc-One Nuke: Like other Jagens, they murder the early chapters, but they're not even available again until Disc 4. Almost literally in the case of the Radiant Dawn examples.
- Fragile Speedster: While some, like Muarim and Geoffrey, are of the big, tanky classes common to other Jagens and Oifeys, there are also two Swordmasters, a Sniper, and a Raven all classes characterized by speed and skill rather than strength.
- Late Character Syndrome: By the time they return, they're essentially superfluous.
- Plot Armor: Most of the time, they'll suffer a Non-Lethal K.O. if defeated early on, although Geoffrey and Lucia are acting Lords on their chapters and therefore instead get We Cannot Go On Without You. Eyvel herself actually can't be defeated in "Disc One" Thracia 776 never allows any attack to have a 100% chance of hitting or missing, and it will cheese the RNG to ensure that any potentially lethal attack to Eyvel will miss.
- 11th-Hour Ranger: Always joins very late into the game, but has stats that ensure that they remain useful. Nailah actually shows up late in Part 1 for a couple of chapters, but doesn't return until Part 4.
- Anti-Frustration Features: Their purpose is to make sure the player can still complete the game even with a decimated and/or RNG-screwed army.
- Mission Control: Usually serves as such before actually joining.
- Red Baron: Often, as they are typically famous In-Universe.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Sometimes the Gotoh is a ruler of a whole nation.
TeamsThese units are of the same class, but have different stat distributions to fit different playstyles and are personality foils. They are complementary when fielded together, and may give strong support boosts or team attacks.
- Cain and Abel: A Red and Green knight duo that typically serve the main Lord.
- Bord and Cord: A Red Oni, Blue Oni pair of axe fighters that may serve the Ogma.
- Pegasus Trio: A Three Faces of Eve trio of fliers that can use the Triangle Attack.
- Wyvern Duo: A Red and Black Wyvern Knight duo (with clear distinction of who is superior in rank) from the enemy territory where both or one of them realize the error of the countries and defect.
- Personality: One is more relaxed or detached, while one is more serious or hot-blooded.
- Stats: The two have different stat specializations, with the specifics varying by game. For example, one may have high Speed and Skill while the other has high Strength and Defense.
- Color: One wears red, the other wears green.
Cain and Abel always share a Character Class, which is usually Cavalier or some variant thereof. They are also usually both male, though Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia have females in their duos (Sully and Mae).
- Blade on a Stick: One tends to specialize in Lances, the other in Swords. Some games allow one to specialize in Axes as well. Exceptions include Kaze and Saizo, as both specialize in Hidden Weapons, essentially knives/daggers. Mae and Boey as well, since they are mages.
- Chromatic Arrangement: The red Cain and green Abel are typically close with the (usually) blue Lord character, oftentimes serving as the Lord's loyal retainers.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Usually, the one in red is the red oni and the one in green is the blue oni; Mystery of the Emblem changed red for blue with Luke. The Blazing Blade is the only one that reverses this (and possibly Thracia 776, where the duo filling the archetype are little more than extras). Their stat specializations also tend to follow a pattern where the red one is strong and the green one is swift, though both The Blazing Blade and The Sacred Stones reversed that one.
- Cool Horse: Are always of the Cavalier class, with the exception of Kaze and Saizo, who are of the Ninja class (which itself is a counterpart to the Thief class), Lukas and Forsyth, who are of the Soldier class, and Mae and Boey, who are of the Mage class.
- Foil: Almost always of clashing personalities, which gets brought up (or even emphasized) in support conversations.
- Lightning Bruiser: For the most part, they are durable, strong, fast, and mobile with weaknesses that might as well not exist.
- Non-Indicative Name: Named for the original Biblical figures Cain and Abel. Absurdly enough, the two times the Cain and Abel trope actually comes into play (Mystery of the Emblem and Fates: Conquest), it's the Abel who betrays the Cain. Please note that this is only in a matter of 'betraying the homeland', not 'betraying the hero', since Abel ended up betraying both the hero Marth and his home country Altea, while Kaze betrayed Hoshido in Conquest, but sticks with the hero Corrin. And despite the namesakes of the archetype, only the Fates duo are actually siblings, though most of them do share a brother-like relationship with each other.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Usually one is intense and the other is calm, or one takes their knightly duties seriously and the other pursues other interests or hobbies. While the original Cain and Abel are the former and latter respectively, other games occasionally swap around the aforementioned traits.
- Those Two Guys: They generally act like this.
- An Axe to Grind: Their Weapon of Choice.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first Bord and Cord actually came as a trio with another axe fighter named Barst. Barst was the Blue Oni to their collective Red, and a Jack-of-All-Stats between the two about equal with Ogma.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Usually, one is calm and the other is a Boisterous Bruiser. For instance, Garcia and Nolan are older and more level-headed war vets while Ross and Boyd are young in their careers and eager to fight. Dorcas is doing mercenary work to save money for his sick wife, and Bartre is throwing himself into battle to get strong enough to fight his rival.
- Those Two Guys: They are usually friends, join at the same time, and even tend to look alike. Garcia and Ross are a father-son duo.
Personality-wise, the youngest is the most innocent, the eldest is the most mature and usually the captain of the guard, and the middle child is extremely dedicated to one thing, whether her duties, her family, money, an unrequited crush, etc.
Notable for being one of the only typically-player-side archetypes that has been used by the enemy: a Pegasus trio of Meng, Maybell, and Bleg appears in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War.
This archetype did not appear in Fire Emblem Awakening or Fire Emblem Fates: Awakening pulled a bait-and-switch, leaving only two recruitable Pegasus Knights who fit the archetypenote , while Fates's recruitable Sky Knights (or who use their promotions) don't fit the mold set by this archetype. The Triangle Attack is also absent from these entries as well (barring a reference in the former), being somewhat succeeded by the Pair-Up mechanic in Awakening or its successor in Fates.
- Awesome, but Impractical: While definitely cool, setting up the Triangle Attack is often more trouble than it's worth.
- Blade on a Stick: Almost all of them can use Lances. Upon promotion, most of them typically gain Swords as well. Of special note are the Pegasus Knights of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, who start with both lances and swords and gain healing staves on promotion.
- Boyish Short Hair: The middle sister (Catria) tends to have shorter hair than other girls.
- Combat Medic: Only in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War and Elincia in the Tellius duology.
- Combination Attack: The Triangle Attack. The effect is always a guaranteed Critical Hit on the unfortunate enemy. Yes, the trio of enemy Pegasus Knights can do this as well, so be careful.
- Composite Character: Some games incorporated traits from Caeda into their resident youngest Pegasus Knight. Shanna, Florina, and Sumia are the starting Pegasus Knight in their games while being acquaintances with the starting Mercenary (Dieck) and a Lord (Lyn and Chrom) respectively. Elincia has elements of the Heroine archetype, and conveniently Ike is a Lord with elements of the starting Mercenary. While Tana's age is vague in relation to Vanessa, she is the least experienced fighter in the group and is close friends with Eirika and Ephraim.
- Cool Horse: Well, Cool Pegasus actually.
- Fragile Speedster: Most of them tend to be this compared to other units, having high speed but mediocre to low defense.
- Long Hair Is Feminine: The eldest of the sisters (Palla) always have long hair to emphasize their 'wife/mother' status in the Three Faces of Eve dynamic and being the caretaker. The only exception for this rule was just Tanith during Path of Radiance, but in the sequel, the more feminine, long-haired Sigrun takes over the 'eldest sister' part.
- Mage Killer: Because most of them tend to have high Resistance as well, they tend to excel at slaying mages.
- Rule of Three: Three Pegasus Knights who all know each other and who can initiate the Triangle Attack exist as recruitable characters in most games.
- Three Faces of Eve: Tend to have this dynamic. The Est is the Child, the Palla is the Wife, Catria is usually the Seductress but is the one that varies the most.
In the earlier days, only the red Wyvern Knight would join you, but eventually both would join, forming this archetype. If that happens, usually it's the female who joins first. This is why at first the archetype used to be named after the first female example of this: Minerva. There are other instances of this, however.
There's also another similarity in traits for this. Unlike Cain and Abel, who are more or less equals in rank, the rank hierarchy is clear in this archetype: One would be a senior/senpai, the other one would be a junior/kouhai.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Red and black, similar to Cain and Abel (switching green for black).
- Defector from Decadence: They always hail from the enemy empire, which is often made to be the only place capable of breeding wyverns. This is also why both Cherche and Gerome from Awakening don't quite make the cut despite being a duo of wyvern knights: the country they're from isn't antagonistic.
- Dragon Rider: They're always of the Wyvern Knight class.
- Foil: In a way, to the Cain and Abel archetype. Two color-coded mounted knight duos. One uses horses (mostly), one uses wyverns. One is from the Lord's country, one is from the enemy country. One seems to be equal with each other, one has a distinction in who's more experienced or in higher position.
- HeelFace Turn: They are always defectors from the enemy nation (with the exception of Camilla in Fates: Conquest), and often must be recruited directly from the enemy.
- Lightning Bruiser: As Wyvern Knights, they've got very good speed and power and even defense, although arrows still deal a big chunk of damage to them.
- Sempai Kouhai: Unlike Cain and Abel, who are almost always equal, the Wyvern Duo usually has a clear distinction of seniority or who has more experience, or in the case of Fates, which one is a noble and which one is a commoner. The junior usually joins first (excepting Melady), and the junior is almost never the one to refuse to join (excepting Scarlet in Fates: Conquest). For more details:
- The juniors are Minerva, Altenna, Eda, Zeiss, Heath, Cormag, Jill, and Scarlet.
- The seniors are Michalis, Arion, Dean, Melady, Vaida, Glen, Haar, and Camilla.
Recurring Physical UnitsUtility physical units. Some join early-game to teach core mechanics of weapon variants, and common strategies like taking advantage of chokepoints.
- The Draug: A Stone Wall armor knight to shield weaker units.
- The Archer
- The Ogma: A well-rounded Mercenary good for any situation.
- The Navarre: A Critical Hit Class Myrmidon who usually has to be recruited from the enemy.
- The Julian: A Lovable Rogue street urchin or spy to teach the mechanics of the Thief class.
The Draug is usually characterized by their loyalty and humble nature despite their imposing strength. Even if they are in service to nobles, they are typically from rural or lower-class backgrounds.
- The Big Guy: They're the muscle of your army early on.
- Fragile Speedster: In the games with reclassing available, they can be surprisingly squishy outside their base class, yet with tremendous speed to offset that.
- Gentle Giant: They are all humble or stoic, but no one is unfriendly when approached. Kellam takes this to its logical extreme by being outright ignored, and sometimes even invisible to friends.
- Stone Wall: Their biggest claim to fame is their high defense, making them ideal for holding chokepoints to protect weaker units.
- Super Strength: They are known as great soldiers, if not capable of superhuman feats of power.
The GordinThe Gordin is an archer, often the first one you recruit. He's the youngest of your starting army or a villager who decides to help out. They lack war experience but are good with a bow, optimistic, and eager to join the cause. They tend to be pretty good hunters, too. This unit is used to ease players into the adventure, to understand ranged vs. direct attacks. As such, they are the antithesis of the Draug, and often need to be defended by other units until they're fast enough to dodge.
- Friendly Sniper: Many of them are upbeat and friendly towards others, especially the younger ones due to their age. This is in contrast to Jeorges, who are usually more cold or level-headed.
- Glass Cannon: They can't defend themselves against direct attacks, but are useful for picking off enemies with proper training.
- Magikarp Power: If you can stand their low base damage and raise them properly, they can finally pick up the slack and be powerful archers on their own, though not to the extreme degree of Est characters. It also helps that they have early availability.
- Scratch Damage: When first recruited, they'll only be doing a little damage. You can use them to weaken units for your other fighters to swoop in for the kill, or have them pick off the last sliver from an already ailing opponent.
- Tag Along Kid: Usually the youngest of the early-game roster.
The JeorgeThe Jeorge is usually an upgraded version of the Gordin archetype. There's usually a mid/late-game prepromoted Sniper that will nicely answer to the player's need of an immediate archer if they have neglected to raise other low-leveled archers, since they usually possess good base stats. Their prepromoted status means that if there's an unique bow within the game, then they will need only a little time to start utilizing it, based on how Jeorge himself receives the Parthia bow come Mystery of the Emblem, or sometimes, that unique bow is locked exclusively towards them. If a Jeorge comes unpromoted and a bit early-game, then the exclusivity of that unique bow would make them ahead of the curve of archery compared to other Gordins. Much like Merric and Wendell, the Jeorge in this case often tends to be a Big Brother Mentor figure or sorts to the Gordin character or a literal elder sibling to someone else.
- Aloof Big Brother: They tend to be a more aloof/stoic elder sibling of someone or mentoring a junior archer. Jeorge mentors Gordin, Louise (while not being totally aloof) is looked up to by Rebecca, Shinon mentors Rolf. Brigid is Edain's big sister, Febail is Patty's big brother, Klein is Clarine's big brother, Innes is Tana's big brother. Takumi has Sakura as his little sister and the young archer Kiragi as his son. Zig-zagged with Jamke, as he's actually the youngest brother of the Verdane Princes, but he's also the Only Sane Man of his siblings.
- Archer Archetype: They usually possess a cool and calculating attitude when compared to the more eager Gordin.
- Cold Sniper: Most of them can be a bit of an asshole (save Jeorge, Klein, and Louise), and they all favor bows as weapons.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the later games, their aloofness can veer into Jerkass levels to the point that they may look like a Cold Sniper with a bow, but they will always have a Hidden Heart of Gold somewhere.
- Weapon of Choice: They are usually prepromoted Snipers, thus specializing in bows. However, some of them come with unique bows that only they can equip, such as Yewfelle and Fujin Yumi. Other non-exclusive unique bows include Parthia (locked to Jeorge in Fire Emblem Heroes), Mulagir, Nidhogg (locked to Innes in Fire Emblem Heroes), and Silencer (named Shinon's Bow in the Japanese version), and the Jeorge is a very likely candidate to wield them ASAP due to their already high affinity with bows.
In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, the Ogma will often vanish without a trace.
- Dark and Troubled Past: They don't often have very bright pasts; whether it be the conditions they were raised in or the loss of loved ones or their status in the world, they haven't had an easy time.
- Force and Finesse: The Force to the Navarre's Finesse. Usually muscled men, the Ogma usually prefers massive swords and uses a rougher fighting style to go with it.
- Only in It for the Money: They usually start off tagging along because they're getting money out of it. Their difference with Beowolf characters is that their policy is "Job first, pay later."
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Typically have overall solid stats.
- Jade-Colored Glasses: They often have seen enough in their day and tend to not be optimistic, usually being very cynical, but no less loyal to the army.
- Soldier vs. Warrior: The Soldier to the Navarre's Warrior, using the sword as a means to an end, which, as the class name "Mercenary" indicates, is usually to make a living.
The Navarre usually has some sort of pre-established relationship with another character, usually the Lena or the Julian. They also have a code of honor alongside a desire to fight to hone their skills. Like the Ogma, the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue will mention that the Navarre faded into obscurity after the conflict.
- Blood Knight: They often have a particularly strong obsession with improving their skills in battle.
- Code of Honor: Legendary and often paid professional killers, they may hold themselves to some code that prevents them from killing certain targets, such as women, children, or in the case of Zihark, the laguz. Lon'qu plays with this in that he has a paralyzing fear of women.
- Critical Hit Class: Their starting weapon tends to be a Killing Edge or some other high-crit weapon, which makes getting to them to recruit them more dangerous. Ayra is the sole exception; she doesn't have a Killing Edge or similar weapon, but she has the Astra skill, which allows her multiple consecutive hits that acts like her Critical Hit.
- Force and Finesse: The Finesse to the Ogma's Force. With their more lean build, the Navarre utilizes swift swordplay in battle to dodge hits and perform follow-up attacks. They rely on their equally high Skill to potentially deal critical hits to make up for their relatively low Strength.
- Fragile Speedster: Always fast, (nearly) always fragile, and depending on their growths, may be lacking in strength.
- HeelFace Turn: Most Navarres are found on the enemy side and must be persuaded to join your army. Subverted with Lon'qu, in that he is a sullen swordsman with the Killing Edge who was intended to fight you in a gladiator-style match, but he was replaced as champion at the last minute by "Marth". After "Marth" is defeated, he still joins anyway.
- Master Swordsman: The Navarre is often noted for their exceptional prowess with a blade.
- One Of These Is Not Like The Others: Aran fits most of the hallmarks of the character archetype (recruitable enemy in fact, he's the only unit in the entire game that needs to be recruited from the enemy ranks in this fashion with a pre-established relationship with the Lena and a Critical Hit Class), but he wields a lance rather than a sword and he's so slow that he can still come off as rather fragile early on despite his Stone Wall growths.
- Jamke actually fits the archetype better than Ayra does, despite being an archer rather than a swordsman. He is initially an enemy unit who must be recruited by the Lena, and comes equipped with a Killer Bow.
- Rocket-Tag Gameplay: What makes recruiting them as enemy units so difficult is that their high Critical Hit rate and low defense makes it so that either they easily kill one of your units, or vice-versa. Even if either one survives the encounter, the ensuing injuries make either one of them susceptible to being picked off by a nearby enemy (especially when encountered in a space crowded by enemies). The solution is to somehow talk to them without engaging in combat with them, which in itself can be difficult as the required units are often themselves Fragile Speedsters or Support Party Members.
- Ronin: They're lightly-armored swordsmen that wield katana-like weapons (in their attack animations, at least), and are normally first encountered working as a mercenary for an enemy group.
- Soldier vs. Warrior: The Warrior to the Ogma's Soldier, being dedicated swordsmen that are either Blood Knights or seeking to become a Master Swordsman.
- To Be a Master: Those who are not Blood Knights typically seek to become a Master Swordsman.
- Unbuilt Trope: Samuel, one of the first "Navarre-style" Mercenaries/Myrmidons to be recruited in the series, was a Costume Copycat who was much weaker than the original, and not portrayed as awesome in the slightest. One could think of him as a Deconstruction of the Archetype and Expies in general, but he was probably the series' first.
The Julian is the first Thief (or its equivalent), making him the go-to guy to teach you how to lockpick things without the need of keys dropped by the enemy, or steal items from enemies. His combat ability isn't exactly superb due to being a Fragile Speedster lacking in Strength, but he's usually strong enough to not be useless.
Despite his less-than-lawful ways, the Julian is still a generally good person with some sort of moral compass and is often a Gentleman Thief. He tends to join your army alongside another character, usually one that he already has a close relationship with.
- Lovable Rogue: With the adult examples as Gentleman Thief and the kids the Artful Dodger.
- Morality Pet: On the flipside from the above. As the original was paired with Lena, the partner they pair with tends to be similarly squishy, even if not The Lena. Julian has Lena. Matthew had the NPC Leila (emphasis on "had"), and to some extent the playable Serra. Colm and Neimi. Sothe and Micaiah.
- Token Evil Teammate: Amongst the many Julians, Lifis is the only one who isn't a Lovable Rogue. Instead, he's a sleazeball who lies and cheats to get what he wants, and he routinely pillaged villages before joining your party, too. He's only balanced out with the fact that at the same time, he's made to suffer by several other characters.
Recurring Magic Units
- The White Mage: Typically a young girl that can only heal until promoted. The line between personality and class may be interchangeable from game to game.
- The Lena: The early on-foot priestess, typically religious and demure.
- The Maria: A healer who joins later, typically a noble, mounted and enthusiastic.
- The Black Mage Prodigy: Early-to-mid-game mages that specialize in offense, particularly Wind.
- The Merric: A social optimist who takes pride in the power of magic.
- The Arlen: A socially distant bookworm who values their studies.
- The Linde: Mid-game feminine auxiliary mage who compliments the Prodigy, and has had a family member killed by the bad guys, giving them a Revenge and tragedy angle.
- The Wendell: Mid-to-late-game pre-promoted Mage who mentors the Prodigy.
The LenaThe Lena is one of the early-game healers, more often than not the first you will recruit. She usually ends up joining up with your army because she was rescued from some sort of tight situation, such as being kidnapped. Just like how the Gordin is used to teach you about how bows work, the Lena is used to ease players into the healing mechanic.
The Lena tends to be a young and pure-hearted girl who is part of the faith/religious group of her country, and is also good friends with and/or the morality chain for another character. She starts off as a Support Party Member and needs to be defended until she can Class Change, at which time her high magic potential that has been used for healing can also be used for powerful attacks.
- Damsel in Distress: You usually meet them when their home is under attack, or when they're on the run from the enemy.
- Healer Signs On Early: The Lena is usually your first medic (and if not, they're usually the secondfor example... ).
- The Medic: Will most likely be your main healer and joins early most of the time.
- Morality Pet: She may be paired with least one guy who has a soft spot for her despite usually being more nonchalant. As the original was paired with Julian, they tend to be Fragile Speedsters. However, they are not always The Julian, and can be of any class. Lena has Julian. Serra and Erk (in Lyn's story, and to some extent Matthew in the main story). Natasha and Joshua. Rhys and Mia. Laura and Arran.
- Token Religious Teammate: Not just using the stock RPG class, they are almost always literal clerics and priests that are part of the fantasy faith tradition of the continent.
- The One Guy: Rhys is so far the only male that's ever been considered part of this archetype. He even gets a female partner in Mia the Myrmidon.
- Proper Lady: They're always demure and polite, and even Rhys is like this even though he's a guy. Except Serra, who's instead loudmouthed and obnoxious to many (but still has a good heart), and Lissa, who insists that she's not delicate and comes off as being more plucky.
- White Mage: It takes a lot of effort to get her to level 10 to promote, or level 20 to get her maximum potential before attacking. But it's usually worth the wait.
The MariaThe Maria is the female mid-game healer, joining later than other healers, typically because she has somehow been sidelined. To justify using the Maria over previous healers you've obtained, she often comes equipped with more potent staves or has a different class. Starting from Genealogy of the Holy War, this class is usually a Troubadour or other mounted healer class.
While the Lena is typically a healer because she's part of the faith, the Maria is often of Blue Blood and became a healer because it's an Acceptable Feminine Goal for a noble. The Maria also tends to focus on her family, with her siblings usually being playable. In many games, the two white mage archetypes are personality foils to each other, but who takes what role depends on the game.
- Blue Blood: The Maria is often from a family of nobility, and sometimes this has an effect to make the Maria a snobbish princess, but still a good-hearted one.
- Damsel in Distress: Almost all of them are held against their will at some point.
- Hair Decorations: These young women tend to use headbands or bows in their hair.
- Magic Knight: Almost as often as not, they'll have a promoted class that will give them access to swords (or knives in Elise's case) rather than tomes, and Ethlyn, Lachesis, Nanna, and Mistnote don't even need to promote to be able to start slashing.
- Proper Lady: Tends to be a noble, or have secret noble lineage.
- Sibling Team: Most have at least one brother or more siblings that are also recruitable.
- White Mage: Like Lena, she's primarily a medic.
The MerricThe main mage archetype, The Merric is an early-to-mid game youthful mage who belies a lot of potential in magic and studies quite hard to achieve it. Because of their youth, they are often underestimated due to their age, but a lot of times, it doesn't bog them down. Their personalities are mostly on the more positive ones, but overall a bit more passive; they could be a little shy or cowardly, or just too much of a Nice Guy to confront those that taunt them, even if sometimes their childlike stature gets pointed out.
They usually have early joining time, allowing time for the players to invest in them as a magical powerhouse ASAP.
- Badass Adorable: They're young, youthful, and positive boys, they can be precocious, but they still pack a punch with magic tomes.
- Badass Bookworm: Well read, and they fight with tomes.
- Blow You Away: In games where Wind magic is distinct, they start with a wind tome. Many of them are associated with Excalibur and its equivalents. Hayato plays with this by being from the "Wind Tribe" despite Hoshidan mages using animal spirits instead of elements.
- Child Prodigy: A young teen or preteen that is often the best student of a well-known Sage, if not just having The Gift.
- Nice Guy: All of them are mostly pretty nice to others, actually quite similar with the Peaceful Lord.
- Playing with Fire: If they are not using Wind Magic, then they would instead specialize in Fire Magic. They never do Thunder Magic.
- Tagalong Kid: Some of them are very young, to the point of not being taken that seriously by the rest of the army. Ricken and Hayato in particular find this frustrating.
The ArlenA personality foil to Merric. They may be talented in the same way Merric is, but their personalities are what makes them different. Unlike the Merric or the Linde, the Arlen is standoffish and dark. They're confrontative, having a sharp tongue or maybe even being jerks in general (or sometimes being socially awkward) that may make them look like 'The Asshole Mage', but once recruited, they absolutely won't betray the Lord's party, and they're just as dedicated in blasting evil with magic even if they're not paragons in personality. And unlike Merric and Linde, oftentimes, they may be a little older than the other two (but no older than Wendell).
- Aloof Ally: Every one of them probably wouldn't be the most friendly mages you'll meet, but they will still fight the bad guys.
- Badass Bookworm: Much like Merrics, of course.
- Blow You Away: Like Merrics, some of them also specialize in this when Wind Magic is distinct.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Another part that makes Arlen differ from Merric is that sometimes they're not afraid to dabble in dark arts, sometimes even actively pursuing it, when compared to Merric. whose bright personality would make them unsuited for dark magic. Regardless, they still kept their sanity to use the dark arts for good goals.
- Foil: Personality-wise, they serve as this to Merric, mirroring the originals' near-deadly rivalry. While the Merric is more open and social, the Arlen would be more antisocial and coming off jerkish.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: They may be more confrontative and less social, but they're still decent-hearted people when you get to know them. Some of them hide their decency really well.
They tend to join later than Merric characters, thus people often have to choose which one would be their main magical powerhouse, their stat growth could be quite stellar that they could surpass the Merric character if the player invested their time, even if their starting stats and availability might not be that hot.
- Badass Adorable: Due to their youth, they tend to be very cute, but they pack a very heavy punch with their magic. Even moreso, the combination of adorableness and magical prowess (and a lot of times, tragedy angle) tend to make them high candidates to become fan-favorites.
- Black Magician Girl: They're young girls with the gift of magic.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Downplayed. They're not lazy, but due to their talent with magic, some of them can afford to focus on other personalities instead of 'studying magic really hard'.
- Foil: They tend to be a more positive foil to Merrics and are often seen paired with the Merric. Their growths also often differ with the Merric in a similar way with Cain and Abel.
- The Gift: They're often someone who's just born with magical talent, thus requiring less studies than some of their fellow mages.
- Magikarp Power: Though not as much as Est characters, a Linde can come a bit late when you have already developed your Merric, but they have a chance to grow exponentially more powerful than Merrics.
- Parental Abandonment: Most of their parents are dead, usually by the hands of the bad guys.
- Linde's father Miloah was murdered by Gharnef.
- Tine's mother Tailtiu (or Linda's mother Ethnia) was tortured and driven to death in depression by Hilda. Tailtiu herself would see her father Reptor, who she still cared about despite how power-hungry he is, killed by her army or herself (and mainly due to the betrayal of Arvis).
- Miranda's whole family and relatives were slaughtered by the Friege army.
- Lilina's father Hector was killed by Zephiel.
- Nino's original family was killed by both Nergal and Sonia, and later, her new foster family, the Black Fang, was completely ruined and destroyed by them.
- Sanaki's grandmother was murdered by Lekain, who proceeds to manipulate her and use her as a figurehead ruler.
- Katarina's parents were killed by bandits, and then her other foster families die one by one at the hands of her own foster mother, who was brainwashed by Gharnef.
- Ophelia might look normal, but during the Heirs of Fate scenario, her father Odin was murdered and raised as a revenant by Anankos.
- Revenge: If they lost a relative as stated above, chances are, they want to exact the trope on the ones responsible within the enemy ranks.
- Ship Tease: Much like Linde's crush on Merric, they tend to contain one to mostly fellow mages that may belong to the Merric archetype, or even Arlen. This is mostly seen with Mae, who'd end up as Boey's future wife; Delthea, who is the little sister of Luthier; Tailtiu being a childhood friend and strong predestined for Azelle, which results in Arthur and Tine being siblings; Sophia having a Support with the non-elderly non-Nabata dweller fellow dark magic user Raigh; Nino being able to support and marry Erk (despite her default pair deviating from the rule, being the Assassin Jaffar).
- The ones who deviate from the 'Mage-mage' rule include Miranda, who's implied to marry the knight Conomore; Lilina, who's instead paired with Roy (who ironically played the 'studious Merric' role when they studied under Cecilia); Nino, as mentioned above; and Ilyana, who can form a rapport with Zihark and even bring him to the Greil Mercenaries' side in Radiant Dawn.
- Stepford Smiler: They mostly put up a strong front, but hide great anguish about losing a loved one.
- You Killed My Father: Oftentimes, the murderer of their parents are amongst the enemy ranks and they have a chance to exact direct retribution for it.
- Mentor Archetype: Obviously. Claude's case is between-games, though it might be easy to think that Tailtiu is the student, but it's actually Sleuf.
- Student and Master Team: They're the 'Master' in question. Student can be any of the three mage archetypes.
- Surpassed the Teacher: The Wendell will often remark that the student will surpass them. This is true to an extent: if you have been training the student, the Wendell would look like they're Overrated and Underleveled or a Crutch Character, though Ced is an exception because he also pulls double duty as the Gotoh as well, so he'll still be very strong even when Asbel can hold his own.
Other Mid-Late Game UnitsThese units show more variance between games. They are marked by similar story or gameplay impact, but exactly what that impact is changes depending on the arc of the game as you get deeper into the story.
- The Dancer: A unit that allows other units to act twice per turn. Regular dancers are often perky teases. Plot relevant dancers are elegant Mystical Waifs.
- The Tiki: A Really 700 Years Old manakete/dragon unit taking form of a little (often childish) girl that packs a massive punch but powered by a rare resource.
- The Lorenz: An enemy general with a strong conscience. They may have a complicated recruitment, but a HeelFace Turn is possible.
- The Secret Noble: A character pretending to be a common traveler who turns out to be some sort of nobility.
- The Beowolf: A optional soldier for hire that actually charges you to use them.
- Arran and Samson: Mutually exclusive party members where only one can join depending on the choices you make.
See the class section for more details.
In terms of relationships, this archetype often has an attachment to one of the Lords, and an adult care taker figure (despite usually being older than they are). Like the original Tiki, they may also have some sort of relationship to holy powers, or another legendary dragon.
- Badass Adorable: They look like young but their main feature is the ability to turn into a dragon and lay waste to the enemy.
- Cute Monster Girl: At least appearance-wise. Most look like young girls but with dragon like features like odd colored eyes, pointy ears, fangs, or even wings.
- Hidden Depths: They are often much wiser and more mature than they first seem.
- Immortal Immaturity: Despite being hundreds of years old, they are still young by dragon standards and tend to act as such.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Played straight with all of them except Ninian and Nils. While they can transform, Ninian only does it once during a cutscene and Nils not at all in their first game. When she comes with a proper dragonstone in Heroes Ninian can function as both a full time manakete and a dancer, however.
- MayflyDecember Romance: If the precocious crush below is allowed to blossom. Even on a platonic level, they are all very aware that they'll outlive their allies. Subverted with Ninian who chooses to live a shorter life if she marries Eliwood.
- The One Guy: Nils splits the traits of the archetype with his sister Ninian. He's the childlike one, but she is more valued for her latent powers, and has the crush on the Lord.
- Parental Substitute: A few of them may have an 'older figure' looking out them. Bantu to Tiki is the straightest example as he's also a manakete. Fae has the guardians of Nabata, both Hawkeye and Igrene. Saleh to Myyrh. Nowi comes in the company of Gregor. Nils, despite being the younger sibling, plays a Bantu like role in being protective of Ninian.
- Precocious Crush: Or Interspecies Friendship implied in their bond to the Lord or another figure. Tiki to Marth, Fae to Elffin, Myrrh to Ephraim. Sothis to Byleth. As Ninian presents as an adult it's allowed to become a full Interspecies Romance with Eliwood. Nowi and Adult!Tiki also have some marriage options due to Awakening's marriage/child mechanics.
- Token Mini-Moe: Tiki (particularly her younger self) is bound to appear in spin-off titles as the cute mascot of the series, only third behind Marth and Caeda in terms of the "most marketed Archanea character". She's the originator of the trend of young-looking girls who are actually Really 700 Years Old dragons who join the player's party.
- Too Awesome to Use: In some games there are only a handful of dragonstones, so once its used up they become useless. It's a delicate balance of saving it for when it counts, but still letting them get enough EXP somehow.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: None have natural hair colors. Most often its some shade of green.
- 11th-Hour Ranger: While not as much as the Gotoh archetype, they join late, but have good base stats and growths.
- Foil: To the antagonistic Camus archetype. Both archetypes are renowned enemy generals and Anti-Villains, but while the Camus is too mired in Honor Before Reason to fight for what's right, the Lorenz's virtue ultimately wins out and he can join your side.
- Guide Dang It!: Subverted. If a Lorenz has a special condition to join, you're usually told via dialogue about what's keeping them from joining, so the only way you'll not know how to recruit them is if you don't pay attention to the story.
- Lost Forever: While other characters can suffer this fate, Lorenz characters can be really prone to this due to the difficulty of their recruitment method. Miss out on one step, and say goodbye to the prospects of them existing within your ranks.
- Mighty Glacier: Tend to be slow armored classes, and even when they're not in those types of classes, their stat spread often tends towards power and defense.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: This is a common trait for many characters of this archetype, though unlike Camus type characters, they're always recruited in the end.
- Blue Blood: They hide it for whatever personal reasons, but they are always high-ranking members of the nobility or royalty.
- Chekhov's Gunman: They are usually introduced as some random unit you get, but prove to have plot-critical heritage. The only exceptions are Jeorge, Odin, and Laslow, whose nobility never becomes particularly important.
- King Incognito: They are a part of the nobility, but somehow have a need to hide it.
- Only in It for the Money: They're only helping you because the cast paid them. Differing from Ogma, their policy is "Pay in advance".
- Optional Party Member: Recruiting the Beowolf is optional and requires payment.
It's possible for the Arran and Samson (or just one) to belong to another archetype, and it's also possible for there to be multiple pairs of them. It's also one of the archetypes that has been used by NPCs: Gyrall and Dalen in Awakening, leaders of opposing mercenaries, may attempt to recruit your army to their side, with the one you didn't recruit becoming the boss of the chapter. Similarly, in Chapter 6 of Genealogy, your female swordfighter can recruit one of two enemy characters, but the other one will become the next miniboss.
Fire Emblem Fates takes this archetype to the extreme: The majority of the characters in that game will only join you on certain paths as a result of a choice you have to make, and as a result affects the story a fair amount. Most of them, however, can be recruited in the Revelation path. However, there are a few characters who are only fully available permanently in just one route, and in other routes, they don't fare very well or are not exactly playable. And they also still manage to get some traditional examples of the archetype.
- Competitive Balance: If the pair fulfills the same role in your army, regardless of who is chosen, one member will typically be much better in a set of stats than the other and vice versa.
- Cool Horse: A popular way of differentiating one from the other is to make one in the pair into a member of a horse-riding class.
- Foil: Often, but not always.
- Late Character Syndrome: Can fall victim to this. Other times, they're the 11th-Hour Ranger, which is popular if they're part of the Gotoh archetype.
- Mercy Mode: Oftentimes, the deciding factor between one or the other depends on how well the player does at fulfilling a certain requirement. If they fail to meet those requirements, they'll get a Boring, but Practical Lightning Bruiser to compensate for the player's inability to keep their characters alive etc., in contrast to the Difficult, but Awesome Glass Cannon they would have otherwise gotten.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: The choice is never taken lightly, as one of the pair will always be barred from joining your army.
- Schrödinger's Player Character: Typically averted. The other character of the pair is typically alluded to in some form.
Personality ArchetypesThese archetypes are defined solely by personality. Their gameplay utility and class can vary, and may even overlap with other archetypes.
- The Casanova Wannabe: A (usually) male skirt chaser, who's typically unlucky in love.
- The Catria: A (usually) female romantic, but their crush will never notice them.
- The Beautiful Priest: A pretty boy that can easily pass for a woman.
- The Malledus: An adviser for the Lord behind the scenes. May overlap with the Jagen, and was essentially replaced by The Avatar.
Unlike most archetypes, there's no pattern at all as to which Character Class gets this type of personality. They've been everything from priests to knights to swordsmen.
- Butt-Monkey: Hilarity Ensues whenever they get rejected or fail to impress.
- Casanova Wannabe: They try to be suave and impress the ladies, but almost always fail. Any success they achieve is usually very limited.
- Chivalrous Pervert: They're clearly just trying to get some tail, but they also have standards and usually know when to stop.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: While he isn't a playable character, Garon's backstory can be neatly summarized as "everything that could possibly go wrong with this character and then some". Like many Casanovas, he was a massive flirt with many women. Unfortunately, he could never let go of a woman he had relations with, and quickly amassed a harem of concubines who slaughtered each other and their children until only Xander (the crown prince through Garon's legitimate first marriage with Katerina), Camilla, Leo, Elise, and Azura (Garon's stepdaughter through his second marriage with Arete) were left standing. Then, for an added kick in the teeth, Anankos sunk his claws into him. The end result turned The Good King into a Tin Tyrant.
The Catria is usually a female and a playable character (and often a Pegasus Knight), but male examples aren't unheard of.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Even if the Catria is given the chance to confess, they will have trouble doing so. The reasons vary from one character to another, but in most cases, the Catria never actually admits their feelings directly.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: One interpretation of Faye is this, as some have speculated she was designed to be in Shadows of Valentia. She takes her unrequited crush on Alm to obsessive levels, has No Social Skills on top of her fixation on him, is strongly implied to be already mentally and/or emotionally unwell for other reasons, and never gets over him even after they are both married and have families of their own.
- Hopeless Suitor: The Catria is never able to be with the one they are crushing on.
- Irony: While the archetype is named after Catria, Catria herself only serves as the inspiration of the character archetype and in terms of personality, is nothing like how the archetype is usually portrayed (i.e., her crush on Marth is less blatant than in the "average example"). Her older sister Palla, however, has all the personality traits commonly associated with the Catria, to the point that some believe the archetype should be called "The Palla" instead.
- Second Love: Games with optional marriage will often let the Catria settle with a different person from their initial crush.
The characters of this archetype tend to be members of some church organization, thus giving them access to the more 'girlier' tools like healing magic or light magic, or make them look like a Non-Action Guy to reinforce their ambiguity and the surprise element once the cat is out of the bag.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: The gag of the archetype is that they look very feminine and often get mistaken for women.
- Early Installment Weirdness: An androgynous Dude Looks Like a Lady has existed since the Archanea games in the form of Xane. However, he didn't have anyone mistaking him as a pretty girl and he's not part of a church organization.
- Even the Guys Want Him: The guy's beauty will often be praised by other men. Libra's solo ending straight-up says that he was courted by both women and men.
- Friend to All Children: Elffin befriends Fae, Lucius and Libra both open orphanages after the war.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: They try to play the role of redeemers. Claud is a bit of a prude also.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Identifiable by their flowing blond locks. Forrest wears his in Ojou Ringlet Mega Twin Tails.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Can induce such, and it usually led to hilarity, as seen in Lucius and Libra.
- White Mage: Associated with healing abilities, or restoration in Elffin's case. Lucius can also wield light magic.
The Malledus is an NPC advisor that either serves as a Mr. Exposition or gives advice to the hero. However, they are not at all playable, or if they are somehow controllable, they can't even fight. Their official positions are usually 'adviser'. In a way, they serve as a prototype of the Tactician/The Avatar, in a way that they're not playable, but is considered a strategist and gives your Lord someone to talk to when there's no other NPC from another side.
Starting from The Blazing Blade, the archetype is 'retired' of sorts, as in either not present or merged with other playable classes or archetypes.
- Mr. Exposition: Their main job is to dispense exposition of the world they're in, for both the Lord and the player.
- Non-Action Guy: They never take to the front lines of battle.
- Non-Player Character: They are generally not direct members of your party. Merlinus is the exception, and he's a Non-Action Guy.