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Strength alone does not make one powerful or strong.
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Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is the ninth game in the Fire Emblem series, released on the Nintendo GameCube in 2005 to coincide with the series' 15th anniversary. It is the first of two games that take place on the continent of Tellius, seemingly completely disconnected from the canon of previous entries. Path of Radiance is the first home console Fire Emblem since Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 back in 1999, the first game in the franchise to feature voice acting and the first console game to get an international release. The CGI cutscenes were animated by Digital Frontier.

The game stars mercenary Ike, the first main character in the series to not be nobility or royalty, as he aids Princess Elincia in reclaiming her kingdom of Crimea (no relation to real life peninsula) after its fall to the suddenly-aggressive nation of Daein. However, the way to gain a force strong enough to oppose the Daein Army is far more complicated.

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Path of Radiance is something of a return to the style of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, with more complex and linked plotting. The game also reimplements the Anima magic triangle and the Skills system in full after their absence in Game Boy Advance titles, along with adding new features like the base menu and Bonus Experience. It also introduces the Laguz, an animalistic race whose combat revolves around transforming into animals.

Path of Radiance is followed by Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, a direct sequel on the Wii that takes place 3 years later.


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Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance contains examples of the following:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Empire of Begnion is ruled by the 10-year-old Empress Sanaki.
  • Animorphism: The defining trait of Laguz is their ability to transform into animals.
  • Aerith and Bob: A mercenary group with characters such as Ike, Mist, Oscar... who later finds characters with names like Sothe, Zihark, Haar, etc. Somewhat justified, considering the party consists of people from several in-game countries which probably have their own naming customs, but then you have Crimeans named Brom, Renning, and Kieran, as well as a Daeinian named Jill.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Black Knight and King Ashnard have armor blessed by the goddess Ashera, making them impervious to all damage except from Ragnell and certainly extremely powerful Laguz.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: In a hidden cutscene, after Boyd makes fun of Mist's weight, she shoves him double-distance ("smites" him). In most situations, Mist is too light to shove Boyd at all.
  • Artifact of Doom: The titular Fire Emblem, also known as Lehran's Medallion.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Royal Laguz are selected from the strongest in the tribe. To get the throne, you must fight the king or queen and defeat them.
    • Ashnard also has this attitude... and takes it way, way too far. That being said, he still is far more powerful than any of the Laguz Kings (and Giffca) in Path of Radiance. No single unit can beat him without healing or multiple skill activations.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Largely averted in terms of heavier weapons, thanks to Tellius games using Strength instead of Constitution to determine speed penalties. Units with good strength growths can utilize Blades and other previously Awesome, but Impractical weapons without issue once they're trained up, though magic users with low Strength can play this straight with heavy tomes.
    • Rexbolt, the S-ranked light tome that only Rhys can use. It's powerful but far too heavy for Rhys to use and double with, not to mention barely worth it since it's only available in the final chapter and it takes a bit of effort before you can actually steal it.
    • Several of the more impressive-sounding Mastery skills aren't worth one of your limited Occult scrolls. Astra for Swordmasters will just eat up weapon durability for little gain if Mia or Zihark lack strength (Stefan's strength starts solid enough) and Deadeye is redundant on your highly accurate Snipers anyways.
  • Badass Army: The Greil/Ike Mercenaries and all of their allies are a force to be reckoned with.
  • BFS:
  • Big Brother Instinct: One possible interpretation for Ike and Soren's relationship. However, though Ike is the physically stronger of the two, Soren does his utmost to protect Ike using wits and promises to always watch over him. A more straight example would be Ike and his little sister Mist.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Gallian forces do this on a regular basis in the first part of the game.
    • In their first apperance, they bail out the Greil Mercenaries in a cutscene at the end of Chapter 7, forcing a troop of Daein forces outnumbering them 4-to-1 to retreat out of sheer teror.
    • In a later cutscene of the same chapter, the distinct roar of Caineghis causes the Black Knight to reconsider finishing off Ike and Mist and leave, though he is too late to save Greil.
    • Chapter 8 is a defend map, and even if you rout the enemy, more reinforcements still show up and force Ike back to defending a smaller area. When all looks lost, Lethe and Mordecai blitz in and the Daein troops again flee.
    • At the end of Chapter 13 (another defend map), if you haven't routed the enemy already, the Apostle Guard lead by Sigrun charges in and finishes everyone off for you.
  • Big Eater: Ilyana, who remains thin as paper throughout the game and spends all of her support conversations either on the point of passing out from hunger or chewing on Mia's shoes. She also is a twig, and uses her looks to charm food out of guys.
    • It's also mentioned that the beast Laguz in general are this, probably due to the energy needed to transform, and the animals they transform into are large carnivores. And it's also said that Ike's appetite is about as big as theirs.
  • Blackmail: After Soren discovers that Nasir is a spy and confronts him about it, the latter subtly threatens to reveal Soren's secret, that he is Branded. Soren is then so terrified of being found out that he keeps his mouth shut about what he knows, even when Mist's medallion vanishes and after Nasir is caught. Bottling up the truth makes him become gradually (even more) meaner and more upset during briefings until the earliest time he can tell Ike his secret on his own.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Anyone who knows anything about Heron laguz finds it preposterous that they could have been responsible for any kind of assassination at all, let alone the Apostle of Begnion. Unfortunately, the ignorant Beorc mob didn't know anything about them, and were eager to take "revenge" on them when pointed in that direction.
    • Rolf claims that he just picked up a bow and learned how to use it on his own, which his brothers immediately call out as extremely implausible. Ike doesn't press the matter any further though, and if Shinon is re-recruited, a Base conversation reveals that he was mentoring the boy in secret.
  • Blessed With Suck: According to a support conversation, some mages can invite a spirit to enter their bodies, allowing it to consume said mage's soul in exchange for essence (i.e. power).
    Callil: Magic comes from interaction with spirits. If you let one into your body, it will give you tremendous power... for a price.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Minor example. Chapter 22 is titled "Solo", which is more properly rendered as "A Single Song", as in a song of great story importance rather than a song sung by one person (i.e. a technically accurate translation that still misses the original point).
  • Blood Knight: Ashnard, all the way. In one conversation, he hints pretty heavily that he's deliberately setting up a Sorting Algorithm of Evil to allow Ike's group to reach their full potential before meeting him, provided they're worthy.
  • Bookends: An inversion regarding the Fire Emblem Theme. It might seem that the game has discarded the iconic tune, until the very end. You hear a bit of it in the background of the last cutscene, and in Metroid-like fashion, the theme returns with a rousing vengeance on the last screen of the game (the Unit Records).
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Enemy Beorc factions sometimes use Feral Ones (Laguz who have been enslaved and drugged into rabid beasts) in combat. Also counts as Kick the Dog.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: If you have Jill fight Ashnard, he'll say he doesn't even know who her father is, even though he's one of Daein's generals and died for his country. Unfortunately for Ashnard, this pushes Jill's buttons.
    Jill: ...Ashnard... Ashnard!! ASHNARD!! I... will never forgive you! NEVER!!!
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": 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. Meanwhile, the beorc use the term "sub-human" to refer to Laguz, and again, this is meant to be an insult.
  • Character Development: Path of Radiance had many conversations for each character. However, like the GBA Fire Emblem titles preceding it, each character could only have 5 conversations per playthrough (many characters have over 10 conversations, so it takes more than one playthrough to unlock them all).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ragnell is first presented in this way, during Greil's battle with the Black Knight.
  • Child Soldiers: Rolf, Mist, Tormod, and Sothe are at most in their middle teens, but they still fight with the rest of your army. Rolf's support conversation with Mist discusses this, as Mist notes that Rolf is starting to become too comfortable with killing.
  • Crutch Character:
    • Titania is the closest the game has to a classic Crutch Character, but in a subversion, she has decent enough growths to remain feasible throughout the entire game.
    • Shinon starts out looking like a straight Crutch Character, then becomes unavailable until roughly two-thirds of the way through the game, by which time he Can't Catch Up.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Lethe and Mordecai blow past half a dozen Daein mooks in a scripted sequence, instantly killing them in a Big Damn Heroes moment. It's likely that they could have fought all of them anyways and this shorthand method was used to save time.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Elincia when she's first discovered unconscious on the side of the road in Crimea. Lampshaded by the more cynical members of Greil's Mercenaries that Ike and Greil can't resist saving a helpless woman.
    • An unusual variant in that Leanne is incapacitated for all of Chapter 17, but unlike previous installments where she's a stationary NPC to protect, Ike insists on carrying him for parts 3 and 4, basically hampering his stats by using Rescue on her and not being able to put her down or give her to anyone else.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Greil's combat animation looks a bit... weird... compared to Ike's or Boyd's in the prologue of Path of Radiance; his sword-arm looks rather stiff, and his backhanded swing doesn't look very forceful compared to Ike's and Boyd's fore-handed swings. Not only was Greil deliberately holding back during that fight, but his sword-arm had been crippled so that he COULDN'T swing his training sword properly.
    • As per usual for a Fire Emblem game, various houses will have different dialogue depending on who you send there. In one early example in Path of Radiance, the members of a racist Crimean town will give you goodies if you have a Beorc visit, but shoo away any Laguz.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Downplayed in a few examples.
    • Titania starts off as the traditional Crutch Character Paladin but her growths and bases still make her one of the most useful characters in the game.
    • Lethe and Mordecai, your first Laguz, also join as pseudo-prepromotes at the start of the second story arc and are quite powerful compared to the Mooks there, but eventually enemies will be able to keep pace with them.
    • Stefan joins as a Level 7 Swordmaster with Astra in the middle of the game- he can solo several maps by himself for a while, and though he remains useful, his low Luck can eventually become a liability against high-crit enemies.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: When Ike's army assaults the capital of Daein, everyone treats it like the final battle and anticipates facing Ashnard. Nope, he and his most elite troops already left it, and instead you face Ena instead.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: More blatant Fantastic Racism between Beorc and Laguz aside, the Branded are people born of both races who are hated and shunned by Beorc and Laguz alike for the "crime" of being born, evoking the unfortunate stigma that people of mixed race can face in the real world.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: If you want to get the Bonus EXP for not killing any of the enemy Laguz in Chapter 15 ("The Feral Frontier"), you'll need to have leveled up your fliers and mages well enough that they can withstand the attacks of the enemy Laguz, but not so well that they kill the enemy Laguz in one or two retaliatory attacks.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: The four parts of Chapter 17 are the last chances Ike has to gain experience before he promotes mandatorily. It's likely that any given Ike is already quite strong by that point, so the game handicaps him by encumbering him with an unconscious Leanne (as if he Rescued hher and can't put her down) for last two harder parts.
  • The Dreaded: The Four Riders of Daein, plus Ashnard himself. Actually Gameplay and Story Integration as each one you fight has the skill Daunt, lowering the Hit and Critical chance of your units to reflect their fear.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole:
    • During the English version of Ike and Soren's A support, Soren says that Greil was involved in his rescue. This is clearly not the case in the version of the events retold in the special scene in Radiant Dawn, nor was it ever mentioned to be the case in the original Japanese.
    • In an unintentional swap of keywords, Rolf tells Tauroneo in their C support that his mom died and dad left his family. While this is already confusing because Boyd mentions his dad dying earlier (in an early info conversation), it's made clear in Radiant Dawn that Rolf's mom is alive and was the one who left the family while their dad was dying. In the original Japanese, Rolf's retelling of the events match up with the rest of the games.
  • Duel Boss: The Black Knight is fought on his own, seperate part of a level, and only Ike gets to battle him. You can get Mist to help you by healing Ike, but she can't even scratch Black Knight thanks to his blessed armor.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Several characters, such as Lekain and Hetzel, make minor appearances in Path of Radiance, but aren't relevant to the plot until Radiant Dawn. Hetzel and Gareth are the most prominent examples, as they have a grand total of one and two lines respectively, with essentially no content, but are still clearly important enough in the grand scheme to get special sprites and official names.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: The Greil Mercenaries.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: During the final battle, you can get help from two of the following: Tibarn, Giffca, or Naesala (only for the second part on Hard). If your army has lost its heavy hitters and your Ike is lacking, any of them (the former two especially) can eventually take down Ashnard with some support.
  • Elite Four: Daein's most elite generals are the Four Riders of Daein, Petrine, Bertram, the Black Knight, and Bryce, all of whom report to the Ashnard "the Mad King". They are the successors to the Great Riders of Daein, who were themselves another Elite Four, and consisted of Gawain, Tauroneo, Lanvega, and the very same Bryce.
  • Emotion Bomb: The Daunt skill is described as the fear variant and has the effect of lowering enemies' hit and crit chances.
  • The Empire: Daein, a heavily militaristic country under the darwinistic rule of King Ashnard, and is the main threat of the game. The campaign against it ends up doing more harm than good however.
  • End Game Results Screen: Relegated to Trial Maps, and only ranking the player on their kills.
  • Eternal English: Averted. The main language of Tellius changed over time, as in the current day, the language spoken in the distant past is unintelligible by most people, only used by mages to cast spells. It's only spoken regularly by the heron princess Leanne and few characters in Radiant Dawn. A few characters like Naesala and Nealuchi understand it, but don't speak it.
  • Exact Words: One of the bandits in chapter 2 tells Titania "If you don't (throw down your weapons), I'll start with the girl." When Titania throws down her weapon and commands Ike and the others to do the same, the bandit "starts with" Rolf instead.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Ike's first meeting with the apostle of Begnion.
  • Extra Turn: The herons' galdr refreshes units that have already acted during the player phase, granting them a second action in the same phase.
    • Unlike previous installments in the franchise, horse and winged cavalry can move again after attacking for any unused movement distance, but can't do anything but end their turn.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Oscar's eyes are never open. Lampshaded in the English version, when Kieran calls him, among other things, "Squinty."
  • Facial Markings: The members of the Black Dragon Tribe of Goldoa have one on their foreheads. Many of the Beast tribe laguz, including Ranulf, Muarim, and Lethe also have stripes of color on their cheeks.
  • Family Theme Naming: The Herons that we know of follow a pattern - R names for boys (Reyson) and L names for the girls, Leanne and Lillia. The sequel adds another Heron sibling, a male named Rafiel. Averted with their father, King Lozariah and their ancestor Lehran, but it does apply to their generation.
  • Fantastic Racism: Beorcs (humans) and Laguz don't treat each other very well. The various shapeshifting Laguz tribes are called "sub-humans" by many beorc/humans, while Laguz call beorcs "human" as a racial slur. There are also Branded - hybrids between the two - that are treated horribly by both sides of the fence. Beorc use slurs like "half-breed" and tend to get violent when they discover a branded among them. Laguz will completely ignore any branded in their presence regardless of their state, which almost led to Soren's death by starvation as a child, and will resort to lethal violence if ignorance is not an option. And that's just their modern behavior. In the past, they would lead pogroms that resulted in more than a few branded being burned at the stake.
  • Fantastic Slur: "Half-breed" and "hairball" are used to refer to laguz. "Half-breed" is also used by beorc to refer to the Branded, while laguz refer to them as "parentless".
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The general plot of Path of Radiance seems has some parallels with World War II, particularly in the roles of many of the countries. Daein/Germany is a bigoted, militaristic aggressor nation, Crimea/France is a cultured nation invaded by said agressor state, Begnion/Britain is a powerful, aristocratic empire to whom Crimea/France appeals to for help and the Laguz/United States are isolationists who come to join the Allies when they realize Daein/Germany threaten them. To top it all off, the leader of the allied force is called Ike.
  • Favoritism Flip Flop: At the beginning of Chapter 13, Soren comments that it's surprising that the apostle would want to contact a country she must consider inferior. Nasir gets mad at him for being rude, and he defends his actions. Then Ike backs Nasir's opinion up, and Soren says he will try to be more diplomatic.
  • Fighting Fingerprint: Greil immediately identifies the completely anonymous Black Knight as one of his former students after exchanging blows and hearing his manner of speech.
  • Final Solution: The Serenes Massacre enacted by a frenzied Begnion mob that killed all but a handful of the Heron laguz and destroyed their home. It's later revealed that the Herons were scapegoated for the death of the previous Begnion Apostle, and the grief-stricken mob, who already had anti-Laguz prejudices, did the dirty work.
  • Foreshadowing: Immediately after Greil's death, the roar of the King of Beasts is enough to send the formidible Black Knight into a swift retreat (though he regards it more of an annoyance than anything). While this immediately establishes the badass credentials of the Laguz royals, it also foreshadows that certain things can hurt Ashera-blessed armor, including the extremely powerful Laguz that show up to help you in the end against Ashnard.
  • Forgiveness: A major theme of the Begnion arc. Empress Sanaki's fitness to rule and govern is ultimately cemented by her bowing to the Herons that were so, so wronged by her people. Reyson is understandably reluctant to even consider forgiving them, but changes his mind when Leanne genuinely forgives the Beorc. This marks the point where Beorc-Laguz relations in Begnion begin to change.
  • Fog of War: Some chapters have fog that restricts your vision, though this is only present in Hard mode and the Japanese-only Maniac mode.
  • Gaia's Lament: Serenes Forest is a dark, burned-out husk of a forest after the Serenes Massacre. You spend 4 sections of a chapter fighting your way to the bastard that's trying to own its last (former inhabitants) before their magic gaeldr brings it back The Lost Woods.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Many of the skills that characters start off with reflect their personality or backstory. For instance, Tomrod has Celerity (+2 movement each turn) because a tiger laguz taught him how to run, and Shinon has Provoke (increased chance of Draw Aggro) because he's such an asshole.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • When you recruit Makalov in Path of Radiance, Ike mentions that they paid all of his debts back. Nothing happens to your current inventory of gold, meanwhile.
    • Likewise, Ike agrees to hire Calill and Largo during their individual Info conversations and pay their based on their demonstrated performances, but you never actually end up paying anything from your gold stores.
    • Stefan offers to train Ike in his ultimate swordsmanship technique in one Base conversation, which translates gameplay-wise to receiving one of the four Occult scrolls. While the vast majority of players will probably use it to teach Ike Aether anyways, there's nothing stopping you from just teaching someone else their Mastery skill, which leaves one wondering where Stefan's lesson to Ike went to.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: The heron clan is said to be the closest to the Goddess of all the peoples on Tellius. Members of their royal family all have gold hair and white wings, and the ones we see all prefer white clothes with gold patterns.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: Played with. The Kingdom of Crimea is largely portrayed as good nation, racism of its smallfolk towards Laguz aside. The Empire of Begnion has quite a few problems with its aristocracy and corrupt Senate and is even more discriminatory against Laguz, but ultimately its Empress decides to aid Crimea in its liberation. However, Daein is also a Kingdom as well, and one that was revealed to be part of Begnion that broke off due to disagreeing with Laguz equality, and is on the whole a brutal, repressive nation with some sympathetic and honorable people.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: After the penultimate chapter, the main characters discover a hidden dungeon beneath the fortress. Ranulf comments on the stench, and the screen goes entirely black as they enter, showing only the character portraits as Ike and the others react with horror at what they see. It's a dungeon where laguz were imprisoned for hideous experimentation by Daein. When the light returns, the CG still is of an empty cell... full of chains and collars, with a bloodstained floor and bricks torn from the wall.
  • The Greatest Style: The greatest style is the one used and taught by Greil, the leader of the Greil Mercenaries. Even past his prime, Greil was seen as having super human strength, and Ike as a rookie practitioner was able to become one of the strongest fighters on the continent within about one year.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Want to recruit Stefan, one of the best characters in the game, as well as obtain one of the four valuable Occult Scrolls? You can only do it in one mission, by sending one of your Laguz characters to stand on a single square that's so far off the beaten path they pretty much won't be participating in the fight. It has to be a Laguz too, otherwise you their nice sword as a gift only. The only indication the game gives you about this is a vague hint by a servant at the base, though a few players might find the area you need to go conspicuous, seeing as it's a massive detour that leads to a dead end. The rest of the hidden treasure can be this too, particularly the ever-valuable boots, but at least this is supposed to be a secret and mitigated by the presence of an easy-to-find Coin right in front of your start position that most people will discover by accident.
    • Re-recruiting Shinon. You have to talk to him with Rolf, then kill him with Ike. Yes, you have to kill him to recruit him. And if you do it with anyone but Ike, or Rolf hasn't talked to him, he doesn't join. Granted, Rolf's connection to Shinon is more of a Moon Logic Puzzle, and there was a precedent for Defeat Means Friendship since Ike had previously recruited Muarim after beating him in battle too.
    • From the second playthrough onward, the game adds equippable armbands that slightly boost a unit's level up growths in one or two stats. Does the game tell you which stats each band increases? No. It's either guesswork or "Guide, Dang It!" for you! Even worse, the Knight Ward that Astrid starts off with tells you about its +2 Defense, +2 Resistance, and knight/soldier/cavalier-only requirement, but what it doesn't tell you is its most valuable property: +30% to Speed growth!
    • Some of the Bonus Experience (BEXP) requirements. Sometimes it's completely logical like completing a chapter as fast as possible, keeping as many Ally/Other units alive, and having the enemies actually fight(which is usually less than you actually getting them to yourself). However, you can also get BEXP from having ALL of your units (including Partner) escape on a level such as Chapter 10. While they do tell you that everyone needs to escape, most would probably just run Ike over there and be done with it as soon as possible because you recruit most of the prisoners anyway. There are also some chapters that give you BEXP for not deploying the maximum number of units allowed, specifically "defend for X turns" maps where you can't end the mission early or late.
    • Obtaining the Ashera Staff requires you to not kill any of the enemy priests cramping up Chapter 22. Ike does tell you to avoid them because they are not your enemy, but you have to shove (or Smite) them out of your way in order to not harm them.
    • Gaining the BEXP from completing Chapter 10 without the guards noticing you is very difficult to pull off without a guide (or at least lots of resetting), and that's if you even know about it at all. Ike does encourage you to break the prisoners out and avoid fighting if possible, but it doesn't make it any easier. In the Japanese-only Maniac Mode, the recruitment requirement for Brom, Nephenee, and Kieran actually changes between Normal/Hard and Maniac Mode. While previously all you needed to do was break open their jail cells and complete the mission, on Maniac mode you were required to "recruit" them into Partner units (talking to them as Ike for the first two and Oscar for the latter) then Direct them with Ike to escape the map before clearing it. Of course, nobody was ever told this...
  • Harder Than Hard: The Maniac Mode difficulty that was Dummied Out of the English release features a noticeable increase in both enemy stats and enemy number. This can get to ridiculous levels such as in the infamous Maniac Mode version of Clash which can potentially have upwards to 100 or so enemies on the map.
  • Hard Mode Filler: One reason why the Japan-only Maniac Mode is so difficult is the sheer number of added enemies to the map, combined with slashing EXP gains across the board. You're essentially forced to fight many more enemies with fewer units, making chapters drag on for longer.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Geoffrey's unit of knights are prepared to do this for Princess Elincia when they get completely encircled by Daein. Against the advisement of Lucia and Bastian, Ike presses the attack and saves them without risking Elincia's life.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: Princess Elincia's existence isn't widely known prior to Daein's invasion, so everyone is skeptical that she's actually who she claims to be.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Somewhat uniquely, the class skill Canto for winged and mounted cavalry lets those classes use unused movement spaces after attacking, which lets multiple cavalry units attack a single target then move out of the way for the next one.
  • Hold the Line: A few missions require you to defend a particular point for a certain number of turns against a more numerous enemy.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Ike refusing to Drop or Give Leanne to anyone during the last two parts of Chapter 17, even though it would make far more sense to give her to a mounted unit so he can continue to fight unimpeded.
    • It's explained that Laguz refuse to stoop to using crude Beorc weapons, as they consider themselves living weapons with no need for them. While it makes sense balance-wise, there seems to be little in-game reason besides stubborn pride for them standing around and letting themselves be helplessly attacked in untransformed mode without even hitting back unarmed. It's especially odd since they have the capacity to use Beorc tools- Lethe freely uses a knife to cut her food out of combat- and their weaker untransformed stats are still good enough to wield weapons.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first two times that the Black Knight appears on the map, you are not supposed to engage him, you are supposed to stay away. If his extremely high level and stats didn't dissuade you, you don't have anything at that point that can actually hurt him, no matter how strong your characters are.
  • Hot-Blooded: KIERAN, LEADER OF THE FIFTH PLATOON OF THE CRIMEAN ROYAL KNIGHTS!
  • Hulking Out: The game seems to encourage this to a degree by letting Laguz transform faster if they've been attacked by enemies.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: "Beorc" is the proper name for the human race of Tellius; ironically enough, the word "human" is instead used as a slur by human-hating laguz.
  • I Found You Like This: Ike's patrol comes across Princess Elincia half alive in the shrubs. Her convoy was attacked by Daein soldiers as she attempted to flee Crimea. She awakens inside the Greil Mercenaries' base.
  • I Let You Win: Three examples.
    • Greil to Ike at the very beginning of the game, although Greil was also impressed that Ike figured it out on his own.
    • The second time the Black Knight appears on the field, if Ike doesn't engage him in the middle of the chapter, he tries attacking him during a cutscene after the fact. The result is that Ike's attacks do nothing, and the Black Knight doesn't kill Ike, leaving after telling him to bring Ragnell next time.
    • Radiant Dawn reveals that the Black Knight also allowed Ike to defeat him after he learned that Greil crippled himself. At least in the English version.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: If you choose not to recruit Calill while watching her info conversation, Ike says you can never have too many mages and only a few seconds later says they have enough mages.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The S-ranked sword is the Vague Katti, basically a Killing Edge on steroids. Unfortunately you only have 25 uses for it, so even though it's available mid-game (if you know where to look) it has limited availability.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Ragnell, the true personal weapon of Greil then later Ike. With the best combination of Might, Hit, and Crit in the game, +5 Defense, (non-Wrath) critical hit negation, unlimited uses, and 1-2 Range, it's by far and away the best sword in the game, but you only have it for more two chapters. To say nothing of its ability to actually harm the Ashera-blessed bosses of the Endgame.
  • Interface Spoiler: Not for this game, for Radiant Dawn. In Chapter 10, one may notice that Sephiran has very high stats for a Level 1 Bishop and the Mantle skill, which are suspicious for an alleged simple monk. It is later revealed in Path of Radiance that he's actually the Prime Minister of Begnion, which helps explain the stats but not the presence of Mantle. Radiant Dawn eventually reveals how much more there is to him.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The Provoke skill will make enemies prioritize attacking its user presumably by using this. As you may suspect, it's useful on units that soak up attacks well and suicidal on ones that can't. It appears automatically on Shinon, a Sniper. This doesn't make much sense tactically, as he can't retaliate at close range, but story-wise...
  • Item Crafting: You can pay out the nose to create better versions of generic items. In fact, the game practically expects you to forge weapons regularly - forged silver weapons are the best weapons you could wield in the game, and you have Money for Nothing else.
  • Karma Houdini: Izuka, Ashnard's chief scholar. His role is essentially a cameo and is restricted to one chapter, but he sticks around just long enough to take credit for some of the most depraved acts in the game before just leaving with no punishment whatsoever. At least not in this game.
  • King of Beasts: Caineghis is a very literal one.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: Mist starts with a skill called "Miracle" that halves any lethal damage, making it possible to survive with or close to 1HP. Of course, if even half damage isn't enough...
  • The Leader: Ike matures into a type II for the Greil Mercenaries and Crimean Army.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One info conversation before Chapter 13 has one of the merchant brothers discussing ship combat tactics with Ike that are oddly relevant for the upcoming battle. Ike asks what this is for, and apparently it's for a [[Video Game\Fire Emblem strategic turn-based battle RPG on a grid]] that they're playing on pen and paper, which Ike thinks is dumb.
  • Leave Him to Me: During the major Black Knight duel, some Mooks sensibly show up to help out, but their leader demands that Ike is his, and his alone. However, if Mist is still around, they are free to attack her, basically forcing her to retreat unless she's promoted and able to fight them.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: At the start of Path of Radiance, Ike is a member of a relatively obscure mercenary company based out of rural Crimea. By Radiant Dawn, he's a hero and a household name across the entire continent.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Invoked. When Petrine finally catches up with the Greil Mercenaries in Chapter 7, your party hasn't the slightest hope of taking her on. Fortunately, Greil has the cunning to goad her into a one-on-one fight elsewhere, knowing that she wants to capture a strong combatant for Daein's blood sports and she doesn't want any distractions to interfere with her fight.
  • Light Is Not Good: You only have one character who can wield light magic (Rhys, and only after he promotes), but you face plenty of Bishops on Ashnard's side.
  • Limit Break: Mastery/Occult Skills. Originally prototyped in 7 with the Assassin's "Silencer" ability (renamed Lethality in this series), and in 8 with class-specific skills like the Wyvern Knight's "Pierce". Any promoted beorc unit can use an Occult Scroll to learn one, which then has a chance to trigger based on their Skill stat. The exact skill depends on unit's class - Paladins' Sol heals them for half of damage dealt, Generals get Luna which halves opponent's Defense, and Ike's Aether does both.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The cat, tiger and wolf laguz have animal ears and tails while in their humanoid forms, while the lions have the rounded lionlike ears.
  • Loving Details: Soren can tell that Ike is tired in their C support because when he's not feeling well his left eye twitches, something Ike hadn't noticed himself. Later on in the supports, it becomes clear just how important Ike is to Soren, though in what way is ambiguous.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The fight with the Black Knight. If Ike has his relevant stats maxed (almost impossible for him not to if he hasn't been left out of the action), you still need Aether to activate at least once before the battle ends. If it does, you win! It doesn't? Too bad. (Unless Ike's strength is capped, Mist is tough enough to survive the mooks and heal him, and he hits the Black Knight on every single blow. To be fair, you're more likely to get a single Aether than all of that.)
    • Reaching Astrid or Marcia (mostly on Maniac Mode) with Ike before they're killed is an exercise in luck. Astrid in particular can die within one turn, but you can at least Shove/Smite Ike with several people to guarantee her safety.
  • MacGuffin: Lehran's Medallion, a.k.a. the Fire Emblem.
  • Mana Meter: Laguz have a Transformation Gauge which lets them transform when it hits 20. It increases by 4 each turn (+2 for each combat they're in) and it decreases by 3 each turn, (-1 for each combat they're in).
  • Marathon Level: Chapter 17 is unique broken up into 4 parts, and while you can save in between each part, you can't switch out your units or weapons in between, though you can bring 2 reinforcements per chapter to help you out or resupply you with more weapons.
  • Mercy Rewarded: You are incentivized with BEXP to leave certain enemies alive, which Ike usually tells his troops to try to spare if possible. In addition to a lot of BEXP, you can receive an Ashera Staff in Chapter 22 for sparing all the priests and bishops.
  • Mini-Boss: Nedata in the "Gallia" level from Path of Radiance, a hilariously stereotypical pirate.
  • N-Word Privileges: Beorc refer to themselves and each other as "human" without a second thought (perhaps because they don't know that Laguz use it as an insult), but if a Laguz says it to one, it's meant as an insult (though it's not always effective). "Sub-human," on the other hand, is always malicious.
  • Nemesis Weapon: The Black Knight has the two blessed swords dual wielded by the legendary warrior Altina, and which are named Alondite and Ragnell. When he confronts Greil looking for a duel he only uses Alondite and actually gives Ragnell to his opponent so it can be an even fight. Greil refuses and ultimately loses. In the aftermath, Ike takes up Ragnell and duels the Black Knight with it to get revenge for Greil's death.
  • New Game+: From the second playthrough onwards, certain characters gain bands that increase the growth rates of one or two stats by a small amount. You can also set a different method for leveling up the characters, but it doesn't end up much different from the normal, random method. Playthroughs after that can unlock special characters to play in some trial maps.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: The officers of Greil's Mercenaries after the first arc. Titania is compassionate and acts with honor and courtesy, Soren is cynical and bluntly speaks his mind, while Ike is both compassionate and speaks to the point.
  • No Blood Ties: Greil's (and later Ike's) philosophy regarding his mercenary company: everyone in the company is family, so live if you don't want to cause your family grief.
  • Non-Combat EXP:
    • Bonus EXP is awarded for completing maps, doing so quickly, leaving certain units alive, and other tasks, which can be given to different units to build them up.
    • Staff users gain EXP whenever they use a staff, and Reyson can gain it by using his galdr.
  • Orcus on His Throne:
    • Played with. Ike and his allies are surprised to not find Ashnard lounging about in his home castle of Nevassa. Instead, he has taken up residence in Melior (capital of Crimea), getting ready to wage war on Gallia. When you re-conquer Crimea, he plays this straight by twiddling his thumbs the entire time until you attack the palace itself instead of using his immense power to personally turn the tide of any of the battles leading up to that.
    • During the final battle itself, on Easy or Normal difficulties Ashnard plays this straight. However, if on Hard mode, Ashnard subverts this by moving around the map starting on turn 9. His super-empowered form also proactively hunts you down as well.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Heron Laguz are traditional angels in all but name and in-universe definition (not counting their ability to turn into herons), appearing as inhumanly beautiful, golden-haired individuals with white wings, a tendency to always wear white, the inability to physically harm anyone, and they can heal and rejuvenate others using magical songs.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Notably, other games in the Fire Emblem series also feature a race of people that can transform into dragons. But here, they're not called "Manaketes," and they don't transform with the aid of special Dragonstones.
  • Playing with Syringes: One of the more horrifying things that Daein sanctions. The heroes eventually discover a dungeon where imprisoned Laguz were cruelly experimented on, with many of them implied to have died or lost their minds. They turn out to be Feral Ones that you fight later, who unwillingly lost their identities and are forced to constantly be in transformed mode.
  • Plot Armor: Like most Fire Emblem games, most characters who are important to the plot will retreat when they should have been killed by gameplay, removing them from use but allowing them to stay around for the story.
  • Pointy Ears: The Bird tribe Laguz have pointed ears in their humanoid forms to help emphasize their beastly nature.
  • Power at a Price: Equipping Laguz with the Demi Band keeps them in transformed mode constantly, but with half their transformation bonuses (the Laguz Band that the royals have has no such restriction). The Feral Ones are enemy Laguz created by Playing with Syringes that are slightly stronger than normal with permanent transformation, at the cost of their identity and sanity.
  • Precision F-Strike: While later games would use more liberal swearing, this was the first Fire Emblem game to use mild language in its English translation; "damn(ed)" is used twice, both in contexts where the drama or emotion calls for it.
  • Private Military Contractors: Naesala and his Ravens fight for any side... for a price. Even though he's notoriously unreliable, he seems to get away with this by taking advantage of people in situations that desperately need him.
  • Psycho Serum: Whatever was given to the Feral Ones Laguz, it turned them into mindless abominations with greatly diminished lifespans and sanity in exchange for power.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The three royal Laguz that you can take as reinforcements in the final chapter are this and the Eleventh Hour Rangers, and potentially necessary to beat Ashnard if your Ike or your dragon aren't up to scratch.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: A bandit takes Rolf and Mist hostage early on in the first game, and tells everyone to do this. Titania, seemingly grabbing the Idiot Ball, tells everyone to comply, after which the bandit simply decides to kill them anyways. Turns out that Titania was just stalling for time to let Shinon get a clear shot.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Alluded to in a PG fashion, when Elincia can't believe what Daein civilians think will happen to him, Soren snaps and spells out exactly what happened to Crimea, albeit leaving it at "homes destroyed and common people treated like dirt".
  • Rapunzel Hair: The Heron tribe have hair between waist-long (males) and feet-long (females). Aside from members of this tribe, others such as Jill, Sanaki, Titania and Naesala also have it to varying degrees.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sanaki becomes this in Path of Radiance, although at first she appears to be a spoiled little kid. (Which well, she is...she's eleven.)
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Non-lethal variant. One minor villain in pursuit of Princess Elincia has volunteer Crimeans tell him her whereabouts in hopes of a reward, only to turn around and have them abused for labor for selling her out. To be fair, they didn't know that the woman was Elincia and immediately have a My God, What Have I Done? moment, but still...
  • Rewatch Bonus: Replaying this game after playing Radiant Dawn, and you'll notice a lot of foreshadowing.
    • Besides the obvious moments like every scene with Zelgius and Sephiran, there's a lot of dialogue during the Daein chapters about how bad things get for a country that loses a war, and how allowing Bengion to take credit for Crimea's victories in Daein might backfire. Sure enough, this sets up Part 1 of Radiant Dawn.
    • When Ike puts together Ashnard's plan in Chapter 22, those who've played the sequel will notice there's no evidence that Ashnard was behind the Serenes Massacre, Ike jumped to that conclusion on his own.
    • In Radiant Dawn, Ranulf is the first to figure out the Black Knight's identity. Going back to this game, this character interacted with the Black Knight the most besides Ike. Ranulf is present in the Black Knight's first scene, he reveals that he was in the forest the night Greil died, and he fights the Black Knight at the port at the end of Chapter 11.
  • Rousing Speech: Elincia gives one at the beginning of the Path of Radiance Endgame to rally her troops into battle. Ike can then either play the trope straight or defy it depending on the player's choice. If he plays it straight, it involves a Meaningful Echo to an earlier speech that Greil gave and ends with an illustration of Ike leading a charge. There are no consequences of choosing to defy it, however.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After Greil's death and the decision to make Ike the new leader of Greil's Mercenaries, an enraged Shinon promptly leaves, and his Heterosexual Life-Partner Gaitree leaves with him.
  • Secret Character: Stefan. You must put a certain character on a certain tile in the desert map for them to appear. The hints of their existence - let alone recruitment - are vague at best.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In a non-divination example, the boss of "Solo" is the leader of a group of mercenaries fighting for Daein. After Ike's force captures the capital, he believes that an invading army wouldn't let a bunch of sellswords just surrender and desperately takes unarmed priests hostage as human shields. The irony is that Ike really would have let them live, given his nature, and instead has to fight them now that they crossed the line.
  • Shout Out: A base conversation between the three Pegasus knights; they are training, and Tanith shouts "DO YOU WANT TO LIVE FOREVER!" Coincidence? We don't think so.
  • Social Darwinist: Surprisingly, Ashnard fits this mold pretty well, though the only way to find out about it is through a boss conversation he has with... Reyson, who probably won't survive the ensuing battle due to his pathetic defenses.
    Ashnard: If you are stronger than those around you, you should benefit from your strength. This is why I will use my strength to remake this world. Class and rank will not matter. Human and sub-human will not matter. The strong will possess everything. The weak will submit to their will. Is this not the meaning of peace?
    Reyson: Are you saying that the lives of those without strength have no value?
    Ashnard: That is the natural order. The only way for the weak to survive is to cling to the strong.
  • Squad Controls: The games allow the team leader to give some basic orders to the other playable characters (in case you don't feel like moving them manually) and to the allied yellow units (useful if they have to survive, just send them to a square away from enemies).
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Oddly for a turn-based strategy game, but one appears early on. The party enters an enemy controlled castle and the only objective is to leave from it (meaning it can be completed without fighting anyone). However, 3 roaming guards will call for lots of reinforcements if attacked or if a unit ends up in their movement range. The weird part is that even if you stay one square out of their movement you are still completely visible to them. The player has to decide if they want the bonus EXP for being stealthy or just the regular EXP from killing everyone (plus the treasure/recruitable characters that are easier to obtain if you fight).
  • Story Branch Favoritism:
  • Super Senses: Most Laguz have them, but Janaff and Ulki (both Hawk Laguz) have them as actual combat powers. Some of their supports bring up how they wonder how Beorc function being blind at night, and so forth.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: Invoked by Ashnard when he leaves only part of his total forces at Nevassa, ostensibly his Empire's capital. Ike also gains the military support of several nations (Begnion, Gallia, then Phoenicis) but by Soren's advice is careful to relegate them to (off-screen) lesser objectives and support roles to ensure that the world sees it as Crimea's reconquest, not anyone else's.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: You might notice that the last chapter has less enemies on Hard mode than on Normal. This is for good reason: Ashnard decides to starting moving on turn 9 instead of being a Stationary Boss, and has a harder second stage after that.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Boss characters will sometimes talk to or even have conversations with your units before fighting them. If Ashnard meets Reyson in the endgame, he will go on a full-blown Motive Rant while the rest of your army stands patiently.
  • Third Time's the Charm: The Black Knight appears three times during gameplay: first, in chapter 11 (where he will most likely kill any of your units in one hit), then in chapter 24 (where Ike still can't scratch his armor, even if he is now strong enough to survive a blow), and finally at the end of chapter 27 (where Ike now has Ragnell, and can finally defeat him).
  • Underestimating Badassery: Bosses have a really bad habit of thinking the Greil Mercenaries are a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, even after they've taken on the Daein forces repeatedly and triumphed. Of course they are wrong.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Really, did you ever think there'd be a pseudo- Stealth-Based Mission in a Fire Emblem game? Albeit one where you can go loud at any point without failing the chapter. Also, if want the Ashera staff and the BEXP from Chapter 22, you need to creatively Shove or Smite the central Bishops and Priests out of the way, almost turning it into a block puzzle with active combat going on.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Marcia swears using food, like "Oh crackers!" or "Moldy onions!". Ike too uses food as G-rated swearing, telling Soren that he doesn't give "two figs" what his heritage is.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Several chapters give you Partner units (those you can more or less control) and Other units (those that you can't control) that are on your side. You can go out of your way have them survive the battle and even get rewarded with BEXP in some instances for saving the latter.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There are several points where there are sympathetic characters on the enemy side that the game encourages you to not kill (like the priests coerced to fight against you in Solo). You can butcher every last one of them if feeling particularly bloodthirsty, though BEXP serves as an incentive not to.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Normally in Fire Emblem, you need to talk to a recruitable enemy unit or occasionally defeat them. The exception is Shinon, who needs to be talked to (with Rolf specifically, talking to him with another logical person doesn't trigger recruitment) then you need Ike to beat the snot out of him. The worst part may be that Shinon doesn't even join you immediately, he appears to die and only shows up again Not Quite Dead at the end of the chapter.
  • Weapon Tombstone: Greil's tomb is marked with his axe, Urvan.
  • Wham Line: One that fundamentally changes the way that we see Greil and the rest of the story.
    Black Knight: I would prefer it if you used your proper weapon, so that I might see you at your full strength... General Gawain, Rider of Daein.
  • Winged Humanoid: The bird tribe Laguz are this in their humanoid forms.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Ike himself has the blue hair common to the majority of Fire Emblem lords, as do Geoffrey and Lucia. Several other characters have green, pink, and purple hair.
  • You Have Failed Me: Petrine executes a either the previous chapter's boss or a Mook for failing to assault the Greil Mercenaries' HQ and capture Elincia, and implies she does this on a regular basis to failed commanders or unfortunate bearers of bad news.

Alternative Title(s): Fire Emblem 9

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