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Video Game / Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

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Spoilers for Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn will remain tagged as usual. However, being a direct sequel to Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, this page does contain unmarked spoilers for that game. You Have Been Warned!

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is the tenth entry in the Fire Emblem series, released on the Wii in 2007. It is a direct sequel to Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, taking place three years after its ending.

Radiant Dawn is divided into four parts, each starring a different main character. The first arc features Micaiah, the leader of the Dawn Brigade, in her work to liberate the country of Daein from its abuse at the hands of its post-war Begnion occupation, an act which instigates the conflict to come. Following arcs feature Elincia, now queen of Crimea, dealing with rebellious nobles, and Ike and his mercenaries aiding the Laguz kingdoms in a war against an apparently corrupt Begnion, with the final arc bringing all the characters together in order to avert the destruction of their world.

The gameplay of Radiant Dawn is largely identical to its predecessor, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, using the series' standard turn-based tactical combat. The most major changes are the reintroduction of Dark Magic (affecting the magic Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors), discrepancies in terrain height now affecting battles, and third-tier Character Class promotions returning from Fire Emblem Gaiden. Also, despite being an early Wii game, Radiant Dawn completely lacks any form of motion controls.


Radiant Dawn was followed by the Nintendo DS game Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, a remake of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn contains examples of the following:

  • Actually A Doom Bot: In the Japanese version, the Black Knight says that what Ike fought and defeated wasn't him, but a ghost created by malfunctioning warp powder. The English localization team decided to change that into an instance of I Let You Win and justified it using existing canon.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You spend most of game switching between various different parties, though the most abrupt case is Part 2, where you play through the prologue as Elincia, then switch to Nephenee for Chapter 1, then Lucia for Chapter 2, then Geoffrey for Chapter 3, before finally going back to Elincia for the Endgame.
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  • Anti-Frustration Features: The international release allows units to promote by reaching Level 21 (unless they have a plot-based promotion), whereas the Japanese version only allowed units to promote with promotion items, which are severely limited.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The most villainous people in the game are the Begnion Senators and their lackeys, all of whom are landed nobility.
  • Badass Boast: If Stefan battles Duke Numida, he makes a hearty boast.
    Numida: Wh-who are you?
    Stefan: I am the desert, and I brook no intrusions. Make peace with your goddess.
  • Badass Normal: Chapter 3-13's Archer, who in all likelihood has better stats than Leonardo in that chapter. He starts the chapter on a Balista and proceeds to Crit everything he shoots at. Then, a common scenario in the chapter is that the mage near the archer will get killed by a hawk. The archer will then kill the hawk and block the ledge so laguz cannot climb while simultaneously attacking them, making him VERY useful to avoid getting overrun from both sides. Best part of all, he usually lives. Witness his unbridled wrath.
  • Bag of Spilling: While most returning characters return at the same relative class or promoted from the last game, two characters you likely trained in PoR return to being first tier in this one for the sake of it being the beginning of the game — Ilyana and Jill. Thankfully, transfer bonuses can partially rectify this if they capped any stats or weapon ranks, but Thunder magic being nerfed in this game make it an uphill climb to third tier for Ilyana.
  • The Battle Didn't Count:
    • If you manage to defeat Ike in Chapter 3-13, he merely says that you've held out longer than he expected before being informed by one of his soldiers that his forces have breached your defenses at another location. The wounds that would have resulted in a Game Over were he under your control don't seem to bother him much.
    • Any of the battles between Ike's forces and Micaiah's don't result in any of the PCs under enemy control dying.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of Act 2, Lucia is about to be executed by rebel Crimean forces, with Queen Elincia looking on helplessly. Just before she gets hanged, the Greil Mercenaries show up out of nowhere to rescue her.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: The Sentinel and General classes "dodge" attacks by blocking with their shields.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Several endgame bosses have obscenely good Skills coupled with their high stats. An easy solution? Send someone with Nihil to cancel them out.
  • Crutch Character: There are several examples in this game, especially in the Dawn Brigade chapters:
    • Sothe is the traditional "Jagen" of this game; he joins the Dawn Brigade in Chapter 1-2 as an already promoted unit (being in the Rogue class) with base stats way beyond the rest of the Dawn Brigade and the enemies, with him being strong enough to solo large parts of maps by himself for most of Part 1 even on Hard/Maniac difficulty, especially if supplied with forged Knives for stronger weaponry and superior 1-2 range to what everyone else can have at this point. He additionally actually has some pretty good growth rates, so while he'll gain EXP slowly he can have productive level ups to help him dominate harder in later Part 1. Come Part 3 though his low HP and Defense growths will catch up to him, where he is no longer durable and will be easily 2HKO'd by the Tiger Laguz, but he can still be productive offensively with his access to strong 1-2 range with the aformentioned forged Knives and a Beastkiller to reliably one-round Laguz. In Part 4 however he becomes unsalvagebly bad, as in Chapter 4-P he is still a weak second tier unit who can't promote until his storyline promotion occurs after the map is completed, and then he has the worst third tier class (a Whisper) with an abysmal Strength cap and the worst mastery skill, while still being restricted to Knives (which other than the SS ranked Baselard are very weak for this point in the game). With his class limitations he'll struggle to do more than Scratch Damage in Part 4 while being unable to take more than two hits, and unlike other speedy classes with low Strength, like Trueblades and Assassins, his class doesn't get any sort of crit bonus to alleviate his damage-output issues.
    • Tauroneo joins the Dawn Brigade in Chapter 1-6, as a prepromoted General with ridiculously high base stats for that point in the game, and for the two 1-6 maps he is pretty much a god, with barely any enemies being able to barely damage him if they can hurt him at all, while he one-rounds everything unless (or maybe even if) he is equipped with a Bronze Lance. Then the player becomes unable to deploy him for a long time, with him finally joining the battlefield again in Chapter 3-12, where while decently strong, he is no longer the untouchable god he was, and when fighting the Laguz in the next chapter he is completely unimpressive, while not being able to tank much despite being a General (or Marshall if you used one of your Master Crowns on him to get some sort of third tier unit for the brutal Part 3 DB maps and had no other decent candidates). Then for Part 4 his bases can no longer carry him at all and he would have levelled little if at all unless you fed most of the kills in 3-12 and 3-13 to him, and then if you do invest into him his growth rates are only ok and as a Marshall he'll be stuck with awful movement and a low Speed cap that will prevent him from doubling in later Part 4, so he'll never be better than mediocre by endgame.
    • Tormod and Maurim join the Dawn Brigade in Chapter 1-7 as a prepromoted Sage and relatively high level Tiger Laguz respectively, where Tormod is fast enough to double and ORKO most enemies in the rest of Part 1 while having enough durability to usually take at least three hits, and Maurim's stats are so high when transformed he is essentially a god that can't be damaged by any physical attacks and will ORKO everything, if he doesn't just outright kill them in one hit. After Part 1 they leave and aren't seen again until all the way in Chapter 4-4 without having gotten any stronger since, where Tormod is now hopelessly so far behind and can't hope to survive a round of combat with any enemy, and Maurim is still strong enough to deal a hard hit and has pretty good durability but will now get doubled by everything while being vulnerable to crits, so he can't endure more than a couple rounds of combat. Then right after this Chapter it's the endgame for them, where they have no hope to compete unless the player dumps a ludicrous amount of bonus EXP and stat boosters into them, and on Hard/Maniac not even that might make them remotely salvageable.
    • The Black Knight joins the Dawn Brigade in Chapter 1-9 and is deployable in Part 1's Endgame, where unsurprisingly as a unit meant to be an endgame boss and armed with the Alondite, absolutely nothing can even damage him and he'll absoutely destroy everything that challenges him. He then comes back midway into Chapter 3-6, where even the strongest Tiger Laguz can't deal more than a single point of damage to him, if they can damage him at all. But after that he is never controllable by the player again, only showing up midway into Chapter 4-3 as an Other unit that helps the player, and then as a boss in the second level of the Part 4 Endgame.
    • In Part 2 you have Geoffrey, the leader of the Crimean Knights, who is the strongest unit you'll have for Chapter 2-3, and while worse at base than Haar and Elincia, will still be a very strong unit when he shows up halfway into Part 2's Endgame. Then when the CRK are in your control again for Chapter 3-9 he'll be your strongest unit there, but after that he disappears all the way until literally the last chapter before the Part 4 endgame, where even if you used the CRK's Master Crown to promote him into a third tier unit he'll be quite weak for this point in the game, and even if invested into his relatively poor growths and his class' low stat caps will make him no better than emergency filler for the Endgame.
    • In Part 2 you also got Lucia, who is in your control on Chapter 2-2 as by far your best unit and way stronger than the enemies you fight there, and then she won't be back as a playable unit until Chapter 4-2, where she is barely hanging on and way worse than your trained units at that point. As a Swordmaster/Trueblade she does have potential to be good in Part 4 and its endgame, but with her base stats being rather low for a level 14 second tier unit (Mia for example, a fellow Swordsmaster who starts 7 levels lower, has comparable bases and even better base Speed), and her growths being rather low and poorly-distributed (including an outright bad 25% Strength growth and abysmal 15% Defense growth), she is significantly worse than all the other potential Trueblades you can have and will require a lot more effort to bring her up to speed.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Kurthnaga forces a ceasefire by virtue of being as large as a castle and blowing it up. When he gets on the battlefield in the next chapter however, you find out he's only around Level 20 (halfway to his max), his accuracy is subpar, he's incredibly slow, and he doesn't even hit that hard; your trained up units at this point would be able to easily take multiple hits from a dragon whose breath is supposed to be strong enough to blow up a castle tower. Then when you finally get to use him for the Part 4 Endgame, he is just outright terrible for that point of the game.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Bows and Wind magic note  don't deal effective damage to Wyvern Riders in this game, so a first time player (and some multiple time players) will often attack an enemy wyvern with those or leave Jill/Haar away from enemy archers/wind mages expecting them to do deal effective damage.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Yune goes through great lengths to explain that the two goddesses are not good or evil.
    "I am... freedom. Chaos. Transformation. Future. Mystery. I am Yune"
    "She is... restriction. Order. Stability. Past. Certainty. Restraint. She is Ashera."
  • Deconstructor Fleet:
    • Dark Is Evil: Yune is the Goddess of Chaos and associated with darkness. Chaos also means free will. She was never evil, rather Ashera and her Apostles framed her as such in history to prevent her from returning. She's ultimately the more humane of the two goddesses.
    • Heroic Neutral: Deghinsea attempts to force Goldoa to remain out of any conflict that occurs, regardless of how terrible it is. His reason is because if he does get Goldoa involved, the pact made with Ashera many years ago will break and she will pass judgement on the world, so if he keeps out of any conflicts, he can avoid a world war that would awaken her. However, several characters call him out for letting other nations more or less suffer for no reason when he could help those in need, and by the end, he is so dedicated to remaining neutral that his son joins the war because he can't stand how Stupid Neutral his father is being. This causes Ashera to reawaken like he feared, but while he was right to avoid it, the party call him out not taking steps to help before things got to the point they did.
    • Lesser of Two Evils: In the previous game Begnion was seen as this compared to Daien. With Daien defeated, Begnion's corruption steps into the forefront, and they turn out to be just as bad, if not worse, than Ashnard. The "lesser" problem was just as bad as the "greater" problem, and was allowed to fester and get stronger.
    • Magnetic Hero: After Ike showed how basically a nobody could become a leader, many young people became inspired to follow in his footsteps. When Ludveck appears with a charismatic personality and talks about overthrowing the queen to bring stability to the kingdom, they join because they want to follow in his footsteps.
    • My Country, Right or Wrong: In act three when Daien joins the war on the side of Begnion and not the Laguz Alliance, Micaiah is rightfully confused by this but agrees to lead the war for the sake of the people. She slowly however begins to throw away her morals as it becomes clear Daien has no chance of winning, and she almost crosses line into committing acts that before disgusted her just so she can win. She gets a dose of reality when Tibarn threatens to kill Sothe, causing her to crack and try to stop the conflict. She finds out that Pellas was forced to sign a Blood Pact without knowing, meaning if they don't fight Daien will be wiped out by it, forcing her to continue the war anyway.
    • Rightful King Returns: Elincia suddenly appearing and taking the role as Queen of Crimea doesn't go smoothly, with just as many finding her to be incompetent at worst, at best unsuited due to having no prior experience. Ludveck starts a civil war to obtain power, causing the nation to nearly fall apart. Act two is all about the struggle she goes through having to prove she can lead a nation.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Micaiah is set up as the main character, but it becomes clear by the end of the game that Ike is meant to be the hero. At least, kind of.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Several particular maps have your own player characters against each other. Sure enough, a few characters with relations to one another will not attack one another. Not only that, but you can actually have them be persuaded to join the other team. (Which can also be used to easily transfer items between armies)
    • There exists an obscure but noteworthy Aversion of this trope in the endgame. Although it is never mentioned, Volke still charges the player 50g to open chests. Because he only joins at the end of the game when there is just one remaining chest to open, it is highly likely you will never discover this. That said, if you somehow go into the endgame with less than 50g and try to make Volke open that chest, the game will prevent you from doing so... and give you an error message that just reads "dummy".
  • Divine Conflict: The story comes down to a showdown between Ashera, the Goddess of Order, and Yune, the Goddess of Chaos, both of whom are aspects of the same being, Ashunera, who split herself into two halves.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-universe example. Ashnard was a complete bastard in Path of Radiance, but thanks to Begnion running the country so horribly, the people of Daein started painting the Mad King in a more positive light, somewhere along the line of "Maybe he's bad, but at least he's not as bad as those Begnion dastards!"
  • Dramatic Irony: It was explained in the previous game that the reason Begnion's Beorc population was so quick to believe that asinine idea that the pacifist Herons could have assassinated Apostle Misaha is because the Herons had always denied that the Apostles had any special powers or connection to Ashera. Not only do the Apostles really have those powers, they have them because they are of Heron blood.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The multiple parties you control end up fighting each other on several occasions.
  • Dummied Out:
    • Renning is programmed to be able to use the Amiti, as he is Crimean Royalty, which could have made him an actually pretty good combat unit for the Part 4 Endgame that requires no investment. Unfortunately the Amiti is locked into Elincia's inventory, so without modding/cheating the Amiti into Renning's inventory there is no way for him to legitimately use it, leaving him as last resort filler for players that made it to Endgame with few of their trained units alive.
    • Levail is programmed to have personal growth rates unlike other bosses, suggesting it was originally intended for you to be able to recruit him, but in the released game there is no possible way to legitimately recruit him.
  • Dump Stat: Stats are not of equal value in Radiant Dawn, with some being of particularly far less value, and units whose base stats and growth distribution favor these stats tend to end up performing much worse on average.
    • Obviously Magic for any physical unit, but even moreso with the fact that no magical weapons exist in Radiant Dawn and there is no reclassing to potentially utilize it by turning them into a magical class. So the only time Magic can come into play for a physical unit is using the Imbue skill (which restores a physical unit's HP by an amount equivalent to their Magic each turn, and there's only two Imbue scrolls obtainable in RD), and when attacking with Magic cards (which are pretty much a Useless Useful Spell when 99% of the time you'll deal more damage by attacking normally). For magical units Strength is pretty useless too, though there are a couple instances where a magical unit's Strength is so low that they get slowed down by their Tomes, which is particularly a problem for Sanaki.
    • Besides Magic for physical units and Strength for magical units, Luck is generally considered the least useful stat. What Luck does is for each point in Luck your unit gains a point in their avoidance, hitrate, and crit avoidance, as well as help activate certain skills more frequently. However this boost is pretty meager and makes a point in Luck much less useful than a point in other stats, and there's only two skills in the game that have an activation rate based on Luck (Shreik and Miracle, both of which are a Useless Useful Skill). Additionally unlike other stats, each class line's stat cap for Luck is set at a static cap for each tier in the class line, so as a result first and second tier units will have a Luck cap of 30 or higher and will not get more Luck on promotion. Why is this bad? It means units with high Luck as one of their strengths won't realistically be able to cap Luck in their first and second tier classes, and will take a while to cap it in their third tier class, so they then can't use BEXP as effectively to increase their weaker stats after their stronger stats have capped when they're stuck waiting so long for Luck to cap. Also for Laguz, Luck does not double when they transform, farther decreasing the impact of Luck for them. The only time low Luck is considered a problem is when it's so low that a unit faces a crit rate from enemies with no crit-boosting weapons and abilities (such as with Aran, which is one of the reasons he is considered a pretty poor unit), however this is an uncommon problem as it doesn't take much Luck to completely avoid this.
    • Resistance in theory should be useful, as each point of Resistance results in one less damage taken from Magic, but in practice is of far less value than other stats for the vast majority of the game, as the Mage and Priest class lines are really underpowered in Radiant Dawn, with them being the easiest enemies to kill with their paper durability and terrible Speed, and when Tomes are so weak relative to physical weapons that they can't even hit you that hard even if your Resistance is low. Plus Mages are uncommon relative to physical units and Priests are more often stuck healing, if they have access to a Tome at all. However this changes for the Part 4 Endgame, where there are actually threatening magical units, and the final two chapters have exclusively enemies that attack with magic, making it Not Completely Useless at this point of the game and a serious consideration for which units you take with you into the Tower.
  • Early Game Hell: The early levels of the game are surprisingly difficult compared to other games on the series. Each level gives only one or two new units, theres no option to buy new weapons for several levels straight, and you lack a healer for roughly four levels. It's easy to make a mistake and lose a unit, especially if you picked "Normal" in the Western version, unaware that you were actually playing Hard as a result of a translation error. It's justified though, as your Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits is trying to squeeze by a huge occupying army, but from a gameplay perspective, it's quite a shock if you didn't play Path of Radiance first. The only mitigating factor is that you don't have a lot of freedom both in which characters you bring in and where they move (the first few levels are fairly cramped), so eventually you're going to figure out something that works.
  • Easter Egg: On the final map in Part Three, there are numerous interesting battle conversations that can be had between all of the important people taking part in this battle. The problem is that the relevant enemies are all the way across the map, and it is extremely likely that the chapter will end before you are anywhere close to them. It takes some real finagling in order to see most of them.
  • Empty Levels: Defied - unlike in other Fire Emblem titles, leveling up in Radiant Dawn guarantees a minimum of one stat increase so long as at least one stat is not yet capped. Gaining a level using Bonus Experience guarantees what is on paper a pretty average level up by always increasing exactly three stats, but this can quickly become much better than leveling up normally once a unit starts capping stats, forcing the Bonus EXP level up gains to go to stats they would normally have a harder time raising.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: At the end of Part 3, Ashera's judgement has turned nearly the entire population of Beorc and Laguz to stone. Ike ventures outside to an eerie quiet, desperate to find a survivor among the statues. Part 4 involves confronting and defeating Ashera to undo their fate.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Using the Old Save Bonus feature can freeze the game if there is any Easy Mode data of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance on the GameCube memory card. This is fixed in the PAL version.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The one on one duel between Skrimir and Zelgius is scripted, so Zelgius always wins the duel. While the critical hit Zelgius lands is impossible, Zelgius is destined to win if they fought at that time. He doubles Skrimir so he only needs 3 fights to win, while Skrimir needs to land 4 blows. That's with handicapping himself using a stock iron sword.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game does not at all convey how to unlock some of the certain extra characters. Some can only be acquired on multiple playthroughs, while some require putting certain characters on the field in specific levels. For example; acquiring Stefan requires placing either one of the Laguz who can support with him (and must of done so) from the previous game, or Micaiah, on a specific tile in Micaiah's second level in Chapter 4.
    • Ike, Micaiah, and Sothe all promote during the story, but when they are isn't at all conveyed to the player. Micaiah will promote after you finish Part 1, and right before you enter Part 4's endgame, while Ike promotes at the start of Part 4 and Sothe promotes after you finish Part 4-P. In the case of Ike, this is very important because if he is not levelled up enough before promoting, he can potentially turn the final fight with the Black Knight into almost a Hopeless Boss Fight because Ike's stats will be too low to reliably deal with him (though considering how many maps you play before this and how good Ike is, you'll have to really go out of your way in not using Ike to not get him to level 20 or at least near it before the end of Part 3, especially if you're playing below Hard/Maniac difficulty).
    • Downplayed a bit with a section during the final dungeon following the fight with the Black Knight. Yune instructs the party to equip their best weapons, and she'll bless them. This causes them to never lose any durability at all. The game doesn't tell you however, that several enemies from that point forward can only be hurt by said blessed weapons. This can be quite troublesome if you decide to have someone keep a previously used weapon over a weapon like Alondite, or the Wishblade, which you would have acquired the level before. The Downplayed part is that the game does allow you to equip the weapons that will be blessed, but it can be still frustrating if you forget, or are unaware that some enemies can't be hurt without being blessed.
  • Hate Sink: Duke Lekain of Gaddos is the Vice Minister of Begnion and an extremely heartless and an extremely bigoted man. Before the events of both games started, he and a few other Senators murdered Empress Misola of Begnion and blamed the murder on the peace-loving Serenes Forest Heron Laguz, leading to the people of Begnion massacring all but four in a single night, and bedridding one. At the beginning of Radiant Dawn, he allows Duke Numida and General Jarod to brutally enslave the conquered kingdom Daein and cruelly mistreat and or kill them. He tells Izuka, a man the Mad King Ashnard had as his loyal adviser, to work with him and together they find a young man named Pelleas who appears to be Daein's prince, and manipulate him into signing a blood pact. Lekain also had King Naesala of the raven kingdom of Kilvas sign said pact tricking both rulers into thinking it was a sign of goodwill. After approving laguz slavery between the various nobles, and the usage of a drug made by a partner in crime, Izuka, to turn the Laguz into Feral Ones, he murders an ambassador of goodwill which kickstarts a massive war between the Laguz Alliance and Begnion. Using the king of Daein and his nation, as well as Kilvas, he takes this opportunity to attempt to wipe out the Laguz for good. Upon Ashera unleashing her divine judgment, he quickly sends fanatics of the goddess to murder the remaining heroes. In short, he's nothing but a despicable, bigoted human.
  • I Am Your Opponent: Ranulf, before challenging Zelgius to single combat:
    Ranulf: I'm Ranulf, right hand to Gallia's future king. (Morphs into cat form) Will that do?
  • Interface Spoiler: In Part 1 Chapter 3, you're playing the Dawn Brigade as they bust Micaiah, Laura, Aimee, and Kurth out of a prison. The latter two are non-combatants who you're supposed to protect as you make your escape, and Aimee has appropriately low stats to match this role, but if you examine Kurth's stats you'll notice they are strangely high for such an early point of the game, particularly his massive 55 HP that makes him far more durable than any of the actual combat units at your disposal, giving away that there's certainly more to Kurth than he lets on. It turns out he is the prince of the Dragon Laguz and those stats are his untransformed stats for when he appears much later in the game.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The five-part finale has the heroes ascend the Tower of Guidance to confront Ashera.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Elincia starts off as a Crutch Character in part 2, but unlike others, remains feasible late-game and can function as a good staff user as well as a decent combat unit thanks to her special sword.
  • Joke Character: Oliver, who has one of the worst third tier classes and has pretty terrible stats for the end of game when you recruit him (including a 20 base Speed that will get him doubled by about everything), making him pretty useless in the Tower Of Guidance unless you somehow desperately need another Staff user besides Micaiah and Elincia but have no other remotely trained up options available. Not to mention his Violation of Common Sense recruitment method that no sane player would think to do on their own. However he has plenty of special dialogue with bosses and other characters, much of it hilarious.
  • Lord British Postulate: In one chapter, Lekain appears on the field for a couple turns, and then leaves. During the time they're on the field, it is actually possible to reach and kill him, where he simply retreats upon being defeated.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Part 2, chapter 1 has you controlling minor characters Brom and Nephenee from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.
  • Mark of the Beast: A Spirit Charmer gets one as a result of his Deal with the Devil, and those who sign or inherit Blood Pacts also get them. Spirit marks are indistinguishable from the marks of the Branded, certain offspring of mixed Beorc-Laguz relationships, which are also considered sinful.
  • Meta Twist: Radiant Dawn is the first and only game thus far in the series to avert the series trope of the Medeus archetype being an Eldritch Abomination of some kind. Instead, the final boss is Ashera, the Goddess of Order.
  • Nerf:
    • After mounted units dominated Path Of Radiance, Radiant Dawn nerfed them quite a bit. The Cavalier and Pegasus Knight class lines have substantially worse stat caps than other classes, and stat caps actually matter in Radiant Dawn, so they'll often find themselves performing substantially worse in combat than infantry units, in particular the former will often hit Speed caps that prevent them from doubling on Hard/Maniac, and the latter will find themselves unable to hit that hard while lacking abilities like crit bonuses to make up for their subpar offensive output. Additionally several maps in the game have terrain that severely limits the movement of Cavaliers, and Pegasus Knights now have a new severe weakness to the newly introduced Crossbow weapons, which as very accurate 1-2 range weapons with huge Might values, will pretty much ALWAYS one-shot them with little chance to dodge, despite them ignoring the weilder's Strength and so being just a nuisance for non-flying units. As a result even with them still having super Canto, units in the Cavalier and Pegasus Knight class lines don't dominate tier lists like in POR, with only Titania and Elincia still being considered exceptional (and the latter is in a special Pegasus Knight class that can use Swords and Staves, and is only good offensively because of exclusive access to the Amiti, a brokenly powerful Brave Sword with infinite uses that additionally boosts her durability). Note however that none of this applied to the Dracoknight class line, where for some reason they have some of the best stat caps in the game and have no weakness to Bows (with their only weakness being to the very weak, inaccurate, and uncommon Thunder magic), which is part of why Haar and Jill are such a big Game-Breaker.
    • Mages were nerfed considerably. First the gap in power between physical weapons and tomes was increased, and 1-2 range physical weapons were improved substantially, with Javelins and especially Hand Axes being stronger and more accurate, and Swords now have proper 1-2 range options that aren't limited to exclusive and magical weapons, with Wind Edges and its upgraded counterparts being added. Additionally physical enemies have actually decent Resistance now, so Mages aren't hitting that hard either. As a result competent 1-2 range is no longer exclusive to Mages, and they can be easily outdone by physical units. The biggest nerf though is that Sages used to be among the faster classes, having one of the higher Speed caps in POR and only really be outdone by very fast classes like Swordsmasters, but in RD they're now among the slowest second and third tier classes, with them being about as slow as Generals/Marshalls, and most playable Mages/Sages have a poor Speed base and/or poor Speed growth too, so they will pretty much never be able to double on Hard/Maniac difficulty (and the one Sage that's actually fast before he hits his cap, Tormod, is unavailable for most of the game and comes back at the end unsalvageably underlevelled). It should also be mentioned that Thunder magic got the worst of this by being weakened significantly, now being the weakest and least accurate magic in the game, and for extra salt in the wound, Thunder Arch Sages are tied for having the absolute slowest Speed cap among the third tier classes.
  • Neutrality Backlash: Dragon King Dheginsea stubbornly tries to have the country of Goldoa remain neutral for 1,000 years to satisfy the terms of the covenant with the goddess Ashera. He ends up having one of his children killed and another one forced into exile because of his insistence on neutrality.
  • No Hero Discount: It doesn't matter that the entire world besides your company gets paralyzed, and you're gearing up to fight against the Goddess to save the world. If you want that forged silver sword you still need to pay full price for it.
  • No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Most Tier 3 mastery skills have effects to put enemies to sleep or paralyze them, but there's a good chance the player will never see these effects, since they're also effectively critical hits+ and almost always kill before their effects take hold. To give an example of how overkill the skills are, even Lyre can kill about anything if she activates Rend.note 
    • Eclipse exemplifies this the best of all masteries; it not only negates Defense but multiplies the the Black Knight's Strength by five. With the Alondite equipped, he would do 208 damage to anything; for reference the absolute most HP any player unit can have is a capped out Gareth with 90 HP, while no Beorc unit can exceed 68 HP, and the final boss has the most HP in the game with 120. It activates on half his Skill stat, so he always has a fixed 20% chance to absolutely kill anything multiple times over. And to farther emphasize just how excessive Eclipse is, if the Black Knight had Luna like the other armored units, which "only" triples Strength while negating Defense, he would do 132 damage, which is still more than enough to easily one-shot absolutely everything in the game.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Chapter 1-9, in which Micaiah and a Purposely Overpowered Black Knight are your only two characters, disables the use of the Rescue mechanic under the justification that Micaiah insists on fighting herself. This prevents the player from rescuing Micaiah with the Black Knight and then soloing the map with him, as since he is effectively invincible against the enemies at this point of the game, it would have completely eliminated any sort of challenge if you could completely keep Micaiah out of harm's way.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you have a Nintendo GameCube memory card with Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance data plugged into the Wii, you can transfer data from Path of Radiance to Radiant Dawn to buff your characters and/or get extra coins for forging.
  • On the Next: In the non-Japanese version, there are introductory movies for Part 2 - 4.
  • Properly Paranoid: Sothe is completely right to not trust the Black Knight when he comes to assist the Daein liberation and not buy into the noble, patriotic facade he puts on for Micaiah. While the Black Knight doesn't betray the Dawn Brigade or Daein directly, everything he did was in the name of hastening Ashera's judgment on the world.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Laguz Royals, who in the story are supposed to have gotten their position by being the absolute strongest individual of their respective races, and so the developers made damn sure that in gameplay they were way beyond the other Laguz in their capabilities. Besides coming very high levelled with incredibly high base stats, they also have higher stat caps than the normal Laguz, their Strike attack has greater Might and accuracy than the normal Laguz even with equivalent Strike rank, they have a much higher skill capacity, the two bird kings get an extra space of movement, and they exclusively get the Formshift skill that allows them to stay permanently transformed at will. They're held back by limited availability, as you only get Nailah for a couple chapters at the end of Part 1 and then in Part 4 each of the three armies only get one Laguz Royal, but for the Part 4 Endgame you're free to bring them all in and make the Endgame a cakewalk.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Naesala, Oliver, and on a second playthrough, Lehran. Emphasized by their respective endings: Naesala abdicates and goes into diplomacy to atone for his role in making two wars worse, Oliver finally learns to channel his appreciation of beauty in a healthy way, namely patronizing the arts, and Lehran has his Laguz powers restored by the Herons, and when a new world war brews 1200 years later, is once again at Ashunera's side, not as her accomplice in destruction, but as her assistant in searching for a new hero.
  • Regional Bonus:
    • The international versions made some changes to improve a few annoying aspects:
      • In the original Japanese version of RD you can only promote units into their third tier class by using a Master Crown, of which there were only a very limited amount of in the game (you're given five total, and can find two more hidden ones, as well as get a Holy Crown that can only be used exclusively by Mist), so you can only promote a handful of units into their third tier class by the end of the game. International versions made it so you can promote by just levelling up a level 20 second tier unit like you can to promote a first tier unit, so your potential third tier units are not limited by the amount of Crowns you have (though the two hidden Crowns were removed to counterbalance this change). This is especially appreciable if you're playing below Hard/Maniac difficulty, where you'll get plenty enough experience to easily promote more units than there are Crowns available.
      • To create forges in the original Japanese version, in addition to money to buy the forge you also need 50 "Forging Points" of the desired weapon type to create a forged weapon, of which you obtain by selling weapons (with the amount of points you get being based on the rank of the weapon you sold and going towards the type of weapon you sold). This annoying Scrappy Mechanic that would have made it especially hard to forge early on (where forging would be at its most important) was just outright removed in the international versions, so you can make as many forges as you can directly afford. However an early base conversation with the merchant brothers describing the mechanic was kept in the NTSC version (just without being given the 50 Tome forging points that the conversation originally gave you), confusing international players when no such mechanic existed for them.
      • Edward and Leonardo were even worse in the Japanese versions, with both of them starting at level 1 and having even lower base stats (notably Japanese Edward cannot double the enemy bandits in the first map on Hard/Maniac difficulty, making him near-unusable right from the getgo). The international releases buffed their starting level up to 4 and raised their base stats accordingly, raising all their base stats by 1 to 2 points. Edward, Leonardo, and Nolan additionally get a very powerful exclusive weapon in chapter 3-6 (the Caladbolg, Lughnasadh, and Tarvos respectively), significantly helping all three and making the notorious Part 3 Dawn Brigade chapters bit more manageable.
      • In the original Japanese version, the Wrath skill (which raised your critical hit chance by 50 points) required your unit to have 20% or less of their health to activate, and then still only had a chance to activate based on your unit's Skill, making it pretty Awesome, but Impractical. International versions changed it so the activation threshold is 30% or less of a unit's health and will now give your unit the crit bonus every time their health is in the activation range, making it a lot more usable. Another similar skill, Resolve (which raises your Skill and Speed by 50%) was also changed for the better; in the Japanese version it required your unit's health to be at 20% or less and then had an activation rate based on their Strength, while in the international versions it required your unit's health to be at 50% or less and will always activate when you're in the required health range (though to keep it from being a Game-Breaker, the 50% Strength bonus it also granted in the Japanese version was removed). However the text describing the skills in the NTSC version still describes their effect in the Japanese version, again confusing international players like with the aformentioned forging change.
    • The PAL version adds a couple of its own fixes over the NTSC version, fixing the Game-Breaking Bug caused by trying to transfer an Easy difficulty POR file, and fixed a few name inconsistencies with the first game and a couple of utter Blind Idiot Translations (like the infamous "Heart of Fire").
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Near the end of Part 3, as Micaiah is about to give the order to fire on the Apostle, Tibarn swoops in and hangs her Bodyguard Crush Sothe over a cliff and gives her an ultimatum: cease fire and retreat or Sothe dies. Micaiah can't retreat, however, since it would effectively mean everybody in Daein would die due to the blood pact. Unable to find a third option, Micaiah is helpless as she watches Sothe get thrown over the cliff. Micaiah promptly has a My God, What Have I Done?, until it is revealed to have been a bluff and she calls for a retreat.
    • In the final chapter of Part 2, Ludveck's men have Lucia standing on the gallows. They threaten Elincia to release Ludveck in half a mark or they shall hang Lucia. Painfully, Elincia chooses to sacrifice Lucia to save her people from Ludveck and braces herself to watch her dearest friend die before her eyes...that is, until the Greil Mercenaries come to the rescue.
    • After the game seemingly drops the choice system that made a brief appearance in Path of Radiance (do you want to hire Volke? let Sothe join your army?), you're confronted with one: let Micaiah kill Pelleas to break the blood pact, or make someone else do it. Of course, this trope is taken to higher levels when everyone realizes killing Pelleas did nothing, and the blood pact is still in effect (this could be subverted on a second playthrough, where you can keep Pelleas alive and let him fight for you).
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: While the localized previews for the game confirmed the return of Ike, the Griel Mercenaries, and the Black Knight (and even spoils his true identity as Zelgius), this was not the case for the previews leading to the Japanese release. Japanese previews only confirmed Sothe, Elincia and her retainers, and Zelgius as returning characters.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The final battle structures this as literally a climb up a tower. First, you fight the apparent Big Bad, who is ultimately revealed to be a mere puppet. Next, you fight The Dragon, who it turns out was deeper into the conspiracy than the supposed Big Bad. Next up is an even stronger person just as deep in the plot. After this, you face the real Big Bad, and finally, at the top of the tower, face off with the goddess the Big Bad worships.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Three characters, all of them completely innocent of any wrongdoing, are explicitly or implicitly responsible for the situation becoming as bad as it does at the end of part 3:
    • Rafiel was the only survivor of the Serenes Massacre to know that the true culprit was Begnion, not Daein, but had been stuck on the other side of a supposedly-impenetrable desert for twenty years. Once the desert finds itself penetrated, he goes to Gallia and spills everything to Caineghis, who declares war on Begnion. Arguably a blessing in disguise, though, as without this information Lekain and his accomplices would've escaped justice.
    • Later on, it's implied ever-so-slightly that Kurthnaga and Ena violating Goldoa's neutrality laws was the exact moment the Dark God was destined to be released, as only then was ALL of Tellius at war.
      • This is actually inverted as the “Dark God” is not the one bringing about judgement.
  • Useless Useful Spell: There are plenty of skills and other abilities that are of very niche use at best in Radiant Dawn.
    • Guard in theory should be very useful, as if you support a particularly frail unit with a very durable one, you could keep them on the front lines as the more durable unit takes any attacks aimed at the frailer unit. However it only has a chance to activate, a chance that still isn't even particularly great with an A rank support, and as such you can't ever actually rely on it to keep a frail unit on the frontlines safe, meaning the skill will end up going to waste as you can't ever leave those frail units open to attack anyway as banking their life on the chance of Guard randomly activating is sure to get them killed.
    • Similarly there's Miracle, which has a random chance equivalent to a unit's Luck to reduce any fatal hit to half damage instead (and if they had 1 HP left, then reduce the hit to no damage). Again in theory it sounds useful, especially in a game with permadeath, but proper strategy would entail avoiding putting a unit in a position where they could get killed at all, and Miracle will never have great odds of activating so it's not valuable as a "failsafe" either.
    • Discipline, a skill that doubles the rate of weapon EXP gain for Beorc units. It works as advertised, but problem is weapon ranks don't really matter in Radiant Dawn as the vast majority of units start with high enough weapon ranks to use what they need to, and there is no additional bonuses for getting higher weapon ranks, while weapon ranks will increase fast anyway. And Laguz can't use it, whose Strike rank actually matters and is a pain to increase. Its only real use is to get Micaiah to B rank Light tomes in time for 3-13 if you want to use Purge there, as otherwise she has a difficult time reaching it through typical usage, but Micaiah will probably be spending most of the time healing with Physic there anyway regardless of if she can use Purge.
    • Blossom, which when a unit has the skill equipped, whenever they level up they'll get a second chance at proccing a gain in each stat they failed to increase, at the expense of having their EXP gain cut in half. The problem with Blossom is your unit essentially getting half the level ups they would normally get is going to leave your units worse off than getting a couple more stat points with each level up will, and because of how levelling up with BEXP works you'll be able to reliably improve a unit's straggling stats anyway once they cap a couple stats, which you'll also want a unit levelling up as fast as they can to take advantage of sooner. The only possible practical use of Blossom is with high levelled Laguz units, as they're getting very little EXP with each kill anyway before Part 4 and often will only get a single point of EXP, especially on Hard/Maniac difficulty, so if you want to level them up you'll be relying on BEXP, where then you can BEXP them up to 99 EXP before a map and have them level up with Blossom upon any single instance of combat, which can especially help with how low Laguz's non-HP and non-Luck growths are.
    • Flourish, a skill that reduces your unit's attack power in half on command. In theory you can have a stronger unit use it to leave an enemy weakened for a weaker unit to kill, thus helping you train up a weaker unit, but if you really want to do this you can just have the stronger unit use a weaker weapon instead and save the skill capacity for something that will actually help out.
    • Similarly there's Mercy, an exclusive skill for Elincia that always leaves enemies with 1 HP when dealt a fatal blow and prevents her from killing them. This is even worse than Flourish, as it's always active instead of being activated on command, and when Elincia gets this skill in Part 4 she is quite underlevelled for this point in the game, so if you intend to use her she really needs the EXP and is not at all the sort of character you want leaving enemies alive for others. Then if you really don't want to use Elincia at all you can just have her staffbot and avoid fighting, while if you ever do need her to fight it's better to keep the option open for her to take out an immediate threat rather than be left with a unit that cannot kill enemies at all.
    • Nailah's exclusive Glare, a skill that can be activated on command instead of attacking, where she has a random chance equivalent to half her Skill to permanently stun an enemy. However this has a very low chance to actually work and pretty much every time Nailah can just outright kill the enemy instead, especially in Part 1 where absolutely nothing can survive a round with her. The only actual use for Glare is for "priest abuse", where Nailah can petrify a Priest and then any unit you want to train up can beat up on the petrified Priest for EXP, while the Priest's staff heals them up each turn and the +10 to their Defense from being petrified will help prevent you from killig the Priest prematurely. Such tedious grinding though will never be remotely necessary for beating the game.
    • Howl, Quickclaw, Shriek, and Maelstrom, all Laguz-exclusive skills that can activate when they're attacked at 2-range. Each of them have a random chance to activate that will never be particularly high and usually you'll want to avoid leaving Laguz in range of 2-range enemies whenever possible, and if these skills activate they won't have that useful of an effect anyway (Howl might occasionally be useful by leaving the enemy stunned for a turn, allowing you to attack them on Player Phase without retaliation, but then Quickclaw and Maelstrom just deal a bit of damage, and Shriek just reduces the enemy's Luck to 0 for a turn). Overall they're better than nothing and Laguz have such huge skill capacities that you're unlikely to actually fill up, so you might as well use these skills anyway, but they're no remote substitute for Laguz's lack of 2-range retaliation.
    • Herons actually have more Galdrars beyond Vigor upon reaching certain level requirements, but you'll probably never use any of the non-Vigor Galdrars in most playthroughs; there's Bliss and Sorrow at level 15, Valor at level 30, and Recovery at level 40. First Bliss, which raises a unit's biorhythm to best, and Sorrow, which lowers an enemy's biorhythm to worst, will pretty much never be more useful than giving one to four of your units another turn. Then Valor raises a Laguz's transformation meter to its max and Recovery will fully heal a unit alongside restoring any status condition, but you'll never reach the levels to get them without dumping a load of BEXP on one of your Herons, as Galdrar only gives 10 EXP per use and Herons can never fight without magic cards. Then even if you do get them you'll rarely if ever want to use them instead of Vigor, as for Valor by the time you could get it you're either just using Laguz Royals that don't care about transformation gauges or have plentiful items to get your Laguz transformed without the aid of Valor, and with Recovery if you ever need to heal more units in a turn than your healers can manage, you can just Vigor a healer alongside other units, thus getting the healing you need while still getting other units an extra turn.
    • The magic card items, which allow a physical unit to attack with magic. Problem is 99% of the time you'll be dealing much more damage by just attacking normally, and in instances where a unit is dealing very little damage physically, they still won't be dealing meaningful damage with a magic card since enemies have actual decent Resistance in Radiant Dawn. Their only real noteworthy use is that they can allow Ike to safely attack the Black Knight in Chapter 3-7 to fulfill that requirement to recruit Lehran at the end of the game, as enemies can't counter when you attack with a card and thus Ike can survive a battle with the BK regardless of his stats. There's also the gimmick of magic cards being the only way for Herons to attack, but this is never remotely practical when your Heron can just Vigor your actual combat units to take out the enemy instead.
    • Unique to this game in the series, Staves are equipped when used, and when a Staff user is attacked they'll counterattack with the Staff. They additionally have ludicrous crit rates, including the SS-ranked Staves having 100 crit, essentially guaranteeing a critical hit. Some Staves even give some stat bonuses too. However since all Staves have 0 Might and pretty much every Staff user bar Elincia will have super low Strength, they'll tink for no damage the vast majority of the time regardless of if they crit and will be negligible damage otherwise, making this ability pretty pointless and even a detriment to promoted Staff-using units that are capable of using proper weapons.
  • Villain Ball: Lots of them:
    • Jarod suffers lots of them, mostly to stop the audience from developing too much sympathy or respect for him, to the point that this occasionally leads to rather bipolar behaviour (he expresses his pride in his subordinates and in the next moment he stabs them). The most obvious example is him demolishing the capital of Daein (and killing lots of (unnamed and story-wise irrelevant) innocent civilians in the process) for no explained reason, after Micaiah and the Black Knight let him escape, probably because said mission made him rather sympathetic, and he was required to be killed as the Disc-One Final Boss in the next one.
    • Although Ludveck is more cunning than most Fire Emblem antagonists, he too lapses into Stupid Evil by the end of his arc. His last trump card, have his men threaten Lucia, should Elincia not consent to his demands, is very cleverly played. Not so smart is his order to have her really killed, after Elincia (after some thought) decides that as a Queen, she cannot meet said demands for personal reasons. Not only does he lose his only bargaining chip in the process, he gives Elincia and her followers additional reasons to hate him and have him killed.
    • The most blatant and hotly debated case however is the one of King Dheginsea, whose reasons for opposing the protagonists make little to no sense in the eyes of most players. Suffice to say, he'd be The Scrappy if he weren't a pretty impressive Boss fight.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In chapter 4-5, Oliver appears as the enemy boss, but can be recruited to your side. How? You leave Rafiel, your very valuable and very fragile Heron that will get instantly killed by about any enemy and can't fight back, in Oliver's movement range. If you do this, instead of Oliver attacking your unit like an enemy will do any other time, Oliver will instead run up to him, talk to him, and then join your side on his own inhibition. Also serves as a Guide Dang It!, because who in their right mind would intentionally put such a fragile Heron in the attack range of any enemy, let alone a boss?
  • Water Source Tampering: Defied. When tampering with a well to take out a well-defended enemy base is suggested, Micaiah refuses to follow through. Rather than point out the questionable ethics involved, she explains that people would see it as a questionable act, and start to question their motives, maybe turn against them. More importantly, the base is a prison camp they are attempting to liberate for manpower, and this would hit the prisoners as well.
  • Wham Episode: Who could have expected the Black Knight, of all people, to come to your aid at the most unexpected time?
    "Be at ease, Maiden. I shall not allow him to harm you."
  • Wham Line: While it was rather heavily foreshadowed, when Sephiran reveals his intentions near the end of the game, it completely drops the jaws of players who hadn't picked up on it earlier (or were holding out for a Meta Twist):
    Sephiran: The goddess was to be freed... and all living creatures destroyed.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: There is both a heroic and a villainous (okay, Anti Villainous) example toward the end of the game: in the former, all but seventeen members of your party stay behind as you enter the Tower of Guidance to hold off Ashera's zombie horde (they live). In the latter, Dheginsea, in his utter devotion to Ashera, stands in your way upon entering the tower, adamant on stopping you from reaching her (he does not live).

Alternative Title(s): Fire Emblem 10


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