mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

Okay. Yesterday, after recruiting Julia, I was about to send her off to Velthomer to collect the Naga tome while everyone else started luring out Dark Lords. I wanted to see how Arthur'n'Tinny would do, I wanted to see how Ares would work against them when not dead, I wanted to see if Patty could get another kill in, and I wanted to make use of Awareness!Del and Nanna one more time. But since I was faced with yet another lull in the action, I decided to go through everyone's stats to record them for comparison purposes.

Welp. While transcribing Ced's results, I accidentally "defrosted" a save state from this playthrough's Chapter 3. One moment I was looking at Ced, the next I was looking at a Lvl 17 Briggid in Agusty Castle. I don't use save states on this emulator for Mac 'cause they are notoriously unreliable, and here I'd managed it by accident at the worst possible time.

So, yeah. Everything I've done in this PT and two others since August is gone. I think the worst part is losing the stats on the Gen 2 kiddies after working so damn hard at it. I've already restarted a new game file to make up progress in the other breeding experiments, but dammit I hate losing data.

In summary, though...

So... on to the next round, I guess.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
God, I love Chapter 10. Favorite chapter in this game, hands-down.

With a matured party, there's not so many stand-out moments of awesomeness or suck to go around. Every character does his or her part by this point and does it pretty efficiently, so by this point I'm enjoying smooth and elegant gameplay instead of setting up support chains and crossing my fingers. It's a pleasant break before the Final chapter sics falcoknights from hell on us. I had so much fun I barreled right into the next chapter once 10 wrapped up and didn't pause for about six turns in.

Oh, yes.


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All right.

FE4's Chapter 9 isn't my favorite but it's not terrible the way that 2, 4, and 7 are terrible. The action goes very smoothly in a counter-clockwise direction and if you have staff users to Warp and Return then defending all of your castles is a piece of cake. The main delay comes from harvesting all the money from the villages and that's only slow if you want Patty collecting all the money and dumping it on poor Corple/Sharlow one bag at a time. If you let Fee and Altena grab all the cash and the Barrier Ring, it'd be less troublesome.


Giving a small child a crazy-inducing status staff to play with seems mildly bonkers to me. )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Okay.  I took a damn long hiatus from playing FE4 because a) it is unhealthy to sit at my computer any longer than I already do and b) the playthrough I wanted to continue with most was stuck at a bottleneck of RNG screwage.

Basically, no one could kill Chapter 8 Ishtar.  Shanan was too far away, Holyn!Faval missed with his opening shot, and Ares left her at 2 HP and died under return fire.  Given Faval should be able to handle her upon recruitment, I was pretty pissed, so after soft resets and hard resets didn't do a damn thing, I left it sitting for a couple of months.  Today I dusted off the emulator and reset the RNG by sending Finn into the arena to lay waste to it.  This worked[*], and Faval made Ishtar go bye-bye so I could continue the damned chapter.

Anyway, I cleared Chapter 8 yesterday, and here's how the kiddies stand going into Chapter 9 and Thracia:

Update on the Genealogy of the One-Night Stand Kiddies )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, last weekend I spoke at a local sci-fi con (about actual science) and attended some of the workshops before vegging out in the anime room and watching Bodacious Space Pirates.  One workshop I attended was simply called "Combat for Writers," whose appeal to me should be obvious.  Trained martial artists (Western, mostly) acted out various scenarios so we scribbly types could see things play out in 3D.  Pretty cool. One attendee wanted to know how an unarmed "street thug" or two would fare against any random person with a sword and moderate training.  In the opinion of the workshop leader, it was an easy answer.  Your stereotypical low-level thugs, he said, operate on the following principles:

1) They work in gangs to outnumber their victims
2) They don't expect anyone to actually put up a fight

It's not about actual combat, it's about numbers and terror.  They're bullies punching down.  A decently skilled sword user walking into a street tough scenario with the intent of giving them a fight has everything on his/her side.

That got me to thinking about the oh-so tiresome opening chapters to most FE games, which tend to consist of BANDITS!  and MORE BANDITS! and DIFFERENT BANDITS!!! (apologies to [personal profile] hooves ).  But even given FE's bandit/pirate/brigand thugs are armed with shitty axes, having them as your opening opponents really is ideal to ease the player and cast into the game.  Your OP crutch character (Seth, Evayle) can dispatch a BANDIT without breaking a sweat.  Your moderately experienced characters (Christmas Cavs, someone like Chrom or Sigurd) can take on bandits and triumph without much trouble.  And these unskilled bullies are ideal as a whetstone for your genuine nooblets like Eirika and some of the random kids you get in opening chapters (baby cavs, baby archers, baby peg knights).  Sure, your lordling might get killed in Chapter One (Leif, I am glaring at you), but overall your playable cast should fare well against no-name loser thugs who are used to pissing on unarmed civilians. They're punching back, even if some of them are punching up.

I think pondering this helped give me clarity on why the H5/Lunatic modes of the DS/3DS era feel so unfair and un-fun to me.  Why are these damn no-name bandits so ungodly hard that even someone like Jeigan or Frederick can't take them down in one hit?  Actually, even FE11's H5 I can kind of understand, since these particular pirates have overtaken an entire country.  But those stupid bandits in FE13's opening chapter?  Having them be anything other than a cakewalk for even a fraction of the Shepherds pits storyline sense against gameplay mechanics in a way that just doesn't sit right with me.  

IDK.  There's got to be some ideal "this is hard as hell but fun" balance that takes the good stat-based parts of FE11's H5 and the good bullshitty parts of
Thracia 776. Right?
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
It was originally planned that, in the 2nd Generation, only one child would be born per parent and their gender randomly selected (with the exception of Celice, Yuria, Leaf and Altenna). (source)

I've wondered about that for a long time.  It seems like a pretty cool idea that would be a nightmare to implement.  I mean, it's one thing if the kiddies fill a similar gameplay niche-- Arthur or Tinny, Larcei or Ulster.  But to randomly get either Ced or Fee?  Either Leen or Corple?  Either Faval or Patty?  Have fun rescuing villages without your Peg Knight.  Have fun managing everyone's funds without a thief.  Have fun doing anything time-sensitive without a dancer.  Maybe the random kids were all of a type with Larcei/Ulster-- same class (or close enough given gender-exclusive classes) and same basic weapons.  This could've been the same stage of development where troubadours and bards were basically the same thing (and Sylvia had blue hair and didn't look twelve).  

Then again, there are only seven breeding pool females in Gen 1 anyway, so you'd have a mere seven kidlets to accompany the fixed characters.  Even if they're all godly that's not a large army, and FE4 in its current state has a small cast available to the player at any one time.  It might be workable if you had parity between the Gen 1 gals'n'guys-- ten/ten rather than the seven/thirteen split we got-- and then maybe, say, Ayra would still have twins for funsies.

I'd recommend someone try this for a hack, but based on the character-swap hacks I've seen I doubt it would work.  It appears that once a character gets swapped out-- say, you put Azel and Tiltyu in place of Ethlyn and Quan-- you can't just randomly switch them back to their old roles.  Azel and Tiltyu are now going to bail on you in Chapter 4 and march off to their deaths in Chapter 5, while Ethlyn and Quan instead will stick around to have the Chapter 4 and 5 conversations that belonged to Azel/Tiltyu.

So, if we did take an easy target-- hello, Midayle-- and decided to make him a female to get the m/f balance closer to parity, we're still operating under severe constraints in terms of the event conversations girl!Midayle would trigger, and then something totally goofy would happen in Gen2.  I believe when existing female characters "marry" each other via hacking you get subkiddies for one half of the pairing?  I don't think you can just reassign, say, Lester to have a different mother and not be Lana's brother, much less somehow provide a random girl!Lester to confuse the hell out of players.  If somebody were to pull this off it would require a much greater effort than just tinkering with FE4 vanilla.

Mind you, there are indeed some crazy-elaborate hacks so maybe the fairly straightforward character-swap hacks like Genealogy of Ayra and Genealogy of Fala don't hint at the true possibilities of what a fan can do to/with FE4.  And if that's the case...

So, who besides Midayle ought to be turned into a chick?
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I never much liked Celtic myth, despite being 1/4 Irish and having it shoved at me periodically as part of my heritage. My mother, who had everything from The Golden Bough to Hermes Trismegistus on the bookshelf in her bedroom, didn't much care for it either. I recall one conversation we had when I was about 13 or 14 wherein we agreed that Celtic myth was basically about beating people up-- the more people you beat up, the bigger a hero you were. I was far more interested in myths that praised wit and cunning-- the exploits of Theseus and Odysseus, Raven, Anansi, Daniel and Joseph from the Old Testament. Even famous Celtic stories that involved trickery, like the one where Fionn mac Cumhaill decides to fuck with Cuchulainn to get out of fighting him, didn't seem especially clever or admirable. I mean, Cuchulainn's dumb as a rock anyway, so fooling him isn't much work. Also, biting someone's finger off is a pretty nasty trick, but if your magical powers are stored in your middle finger I guess it's a valid target.

I think the other thing I didn't like is I didn't understand how justice worked in these stories. It didn't seem to, really. With characters like Odysseus and Joseph, there was an actual payoff in their exploits. Live right, honor the gods, outwit your enemies, persevere during your hardships, and you get rewarded in land, women, sons, renown, etc. Sure, things often fall apart a generation or two down the line (or in the case of Theseus, in his own lifetime) but there seemed to be an actual, you know, life lesson involved her. Teacheable moments and (mostly) happy endings.

A petrified brain in a slingshot )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
What it says on the tin.

Alright.  General Seth of Renais, aka the "Silver Knight," appears at first glance to fit neatly into an archetype box.  Older sources will assure you that Seth is "an Oifaye," aka "a Jagen that stays good," but these are now classified as fictions based on a misunderstanding of Jagen's usefulness in FE1 and an inflated sense of what Oifaye can do in FE4.  Stats aside, though, he's definitely appears of a sort with Oifaye, not to mention FE3's Cain, FE5's Finn, and Seth's successors Titania and Frederick in FE9/10 and FE13.  All of 'em are veteran fighters who fall somewhere in their mid 20s to mid 30s-- definitely with an edge of age and experience on the teenaged main cast, but not, you know, Jagen-Mycen-Marcus levels of old.

Seth is definitely top dog among the knights of Renais-- here he is with the resident red/greens, Forde and Kyle, plus Forde's little bro Franz, the requisite n00blet knight.  One would assume Seth to be the eldest of the four by some years.

Except there seemed to be some textual evidence suggesting that Seth might actually be younger than Kyle (and presumably Forde) and must be one hell of a prodigy.  This hypothesis was advanced by korsriddare back on the old magvel comm, and I'll let his evidence speak for itself.

Now, FE8 never gave us concrete ages for anyone but Myrrh and Dozla, so this could certainly be true.  Seth arguably looks older than Kyle'n'Forde, but art can be misleading.  Also, Seth-- unlike all the rest of the Jagens/Oifayes/whatever you wanna call 'em, can get with his leading lady, which might imply he's actually rather close in age to Eirika.  Wouldn't hang my hat on that one, though-- FE doesn't shy away from May/September kinda relationships. (Oifaye has a game-endorsed pairing with a lil' pegasus knight who's probably twenty years younger than he is, and let's not even get into what Frederick can do.)  

So really, it's down to sifting through these little clues from the support conversations.  Does the death of Forde'n'Franz's father ten years ago really imply Seth was a mere apprentice at that time?  And was Kyle truly a fully-fledged knight, possibly Seth's senior, at that same ten-year timeframe?  

Well, I ran the Kyle/Syrene supports by the friendly local FE Japan translation tumblr, and it looks like NoA look a few minor liberties with the text. Nothing earth-shattering to the meaning of the conversation, but the original text just doesn't state that Kyle was a knight ten years before the start of the game.  He was a horseman, yes.  Running errands, yes.  Being very brave, yes.  A knight, not necessarily (and Syrene apparently wasn't either but that's not clear).  Kyle could just as likely have been an overly-conscientious n00blet himself at the time.  He was delivering a letter, fercryingout loud.  Even in "peaceful" Magvel I'd hope they weren't wasting the time of a fully qualified knight with the royal mail service-- there's brigands and pirates and whoever the hell keeps hiring Jehannan mercenaries to worry about.  But an apprentice of, say, thirteen or fourteen who knew which end of the lance to hold and wasn't inclined to get into trouble might well have been entrusted to deliver a letter by himself.  Same goes for Syrene, who could've been a Florina/Shanna/Karin type at the time, able to fly and fight but not properly a knight.   

[It was Kyle's statement about "I had no idea you'd become a knight!" to Syrene that got me on this track again.  This Frelian chick bailed him out of trouble... and wasn't a knight.  Just some random teenager with weapons and a flying pony? It made me wonder if Kyle himself weren't exactly a proper knight in shining armor at the time of this bandit encounter... and, per NoJ, he may not have been.]

In conclusion... d00d, this is Magvel.  At the end of the day we still don't know anything!  We don't know whether or not Seth was still a "mere apprentice" when Forde'n'Franz's father died.  We don't know whether or not Kyle was a qualified knight during that same time period.  We don't know how old they are in relationship to one another or to anyone else beyond that yes, they're both clearly younger than Dozla and Myrrh.

Unless Seth's not fully human and is actually, like, sixty or something.  At this point I'd believe almost anything.

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So I picked up my original playthrough of FE13 (the m!Robin/Anna one) to collect all the remaining kidlets and then play the DLC I hadn't bothered with before.  This was tedious 'cause it involved leveling up AND pairing units that I'd left on the bench for basically the entire playthrough.  Fortunately there were weak-ass Spotpass teams to abuse.

Anyway, after a day spent grinding and collecting support points I managed to finally get:

Ricken!Yarne (my soul died a little for this)

I just achieved but have yet to recruit Libra!Noire (yuk on that S-support, Tharja) and am one support level away from Gaius!Cynthia, though her parents need to collect some skills first.

So the complete kiddie team is:
Sully!Lucina and her accessory Chrom!Kjelle

And the aforementioned Ricken!Yarne, Lon'qu!Brady, and soon-to-be-added Libra!Noire and Gaius!Cynthia.  And that, I said to myself, was the entire set.

Oh no.  I forgot somebody.  I have a couple of somebodies languishing on the bench.  I never did nothin' with Miriel and thus don't have jack toward progress on Laurent.  So...

Vaike!Laurent or Kellam!Laurent?  These are difficult questions, people.  :/

PS: Those Ricken/Panne supports started off one brand of awful and concluded as another kind of awful.  And it just got worse when Yarne showed up.  :(
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Went and uploaded Chapters 2, 3, and 4 in recent days.

It occurred to me three chapters in that the dynamic between Lester, Faval, and Dew is reminiscent of old Penny Arcade strips featuring Tycho, Gabe, and Div the sentient DIVX machine.

I think I'm OK with this.
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Just to get these thoughts down in one place...

I don't know about y'all but I found little things about the way female characters were handled to be a very off-putting thing in FE13. I didn't like a lot of the Big Things in FE13 either but small disparities really got under my skin. At this point, the high-water mark for the franchise treatment of female characters looks to be Tellius, but it's worth examining the baby steps-- both forward and backward-- it took to get to that level, or even to FE6's level of female empowerment.

Spoilers for FE1-FE10 )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, some time ago I posted a fragment of a WIP that featured a post-war Lester and Faval banging around Verdane and encountering an adult and thoroughly "embittered" Dew.  My comment at the time was that aside from Faval being the Bad Cop to Lester's Good Cop, nothing actually happened in the story.  It revolved around two "high concept" ideas: Adult!Dew and "LOL Lester looks like Lex."  That ain't enough.

Well, I think I'm in the process of fixing that.

I always liked the premise of the story and really wanted to fix it, but at first I was afraid it was just inherently not a story.  Lester made a suitable POV character of a "type" I prefer-- reasonably intelligent but not super-observant, not terribly quirky, pretty vanilla-- but didn't have much going on and Faval was just coming across as off-key and pissy more often than not.  Dew was fun but that was it.

Then I ended up dumping the meta/headcanon content about about three other problematic WIPs into the framework of this one and hey, I think I like it a tons better.

Notes )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

I finally finished that Journalist!Innes w/ mandatory Innes/Gerik content AU.  It's only a year past the deadline.

OK.  It's set in a 1920's Magvel, except Magvel's recast as New York City, and there are mashup references to other gameverses and Magvel fandom in-jokes.  And stuff.

I wrote most of it on the train from Chicago after having a block on it for a year.  I really wanted to see Innes holding a very silly drink.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Why not?  The more I write the more I have to think about it.

Jugdral, like most FE worlds, appears to be strictly Northern Hemisphere, possibly at the latitude of Europe considering the snow-covered state of Silesse. Silesse could, however simply be at a very high elevation which allows for the whole continent to be closer to the equator. It really does look like Fake Europe tipped at an angle the way that Archanea/Valentia[*] look like Fake Eurasia and Fake Americas.  Orgahill would be Great Britain, Agustria is France and Verdane Spain, Grannvale is Germany and Miletos Italy, Northern Thracia is the Balkans and Southern Thracia Greece, while the Yied is Poland, Isaac is Ukraine/European Russia, and Silesse is Scandinavia.

But my headcanon doesn't entirely play that way.  My headcanon also says that a warm ocean current akin to the Gulf Stream keeps Western Jugdral much warmer than eastern nations at the same latitude-- so, Northern Thracia and Southern Agustria aren't in the same climate zone, and Souther Thracia is far less warm than the south of Verdane.  Silesse meanwhile takes the full brunt of a cold airstream that glances off Isaach.

My headcanon also doesn't bother mandating a distinction between Old World Food and New World Food like I do with Archanea/Valentia.

* I refuse to call them Ylisse and Valm.

fooooooooood )

So, where does the coffee grow?  We have to have coffee.  Originally I thought coffee might grow in Isaach because hey, "exotic" peoples at the edge of the desert, but the latitude looks aaaaaall wrong. 
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So after a fairly shitty week at work-- couple of weeks, really-- I came home to something that genuinely brightened my day.

Meet my new writing desk mascot )

Thanks so much, [personal profile] kyusil !  :D
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
This article from Wired makes excellent points about Star Trek into Darkness.  It's ALL spoilers, so beware, but read it even if you don't plan to see the film because the core weakness of the Trek reboot is-- surprise, surprise, surprise-- awfully close to the core weakness of recent Fire Emblem games.

[I repeat.  I enjoyed the film.  I wouldn't necessarily see it again, but I'll likely see the next one when it inevitably comes to theatres.]

I was making comparisons between Trek 2009 and FE12/13 even before seeing the current Trek flick, but IMO the analogy is even stronger now.

ETA: Here is a very different critique which points out that reboot Trek is missing the whole literary angle that infused previous iterations of Trek.  If you don't wanna read it, I'll quote the final lines: 

I also recognized Kirk and Spock, and Picard and all the other good Trek folks had read way more books than me. And guess what? I wanted to be just like them.

That is an excellent point.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
It's Father's Day in the U.S. tomorrow.  I could post about my FEELINGS on that, but instead let me point you toward a new and adorable picture of Azel having storytime with babby Arthur.


Speaking of Arthur, I posted Chapter Three of Blackout today.  This was accomplished mostly by chopping the previous draft of Chapter Three in two and saving the battle scenes for later.


Went to a pig roast at a friend's house today.  Said friend's husband had rigged up his Raspberry Pi to a piano and was using it to make the piano play the BGM to NES-era games... while the games were being played.  So you had a bunch of thirtyish professionals sitting around playing Super Mario Bros 2 and NES Tetris while the player piano banged out the BGM, complete with Game Over effects.

So this is what it looks like to have the original Nintendo Generation all grown up.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Stolen from damoselcastel on tumblr and a bunch of other people besides.

Send me a 'ship and I will tell you:

• When or if I started shipping it.
• My thoughts:
• What makes me happy about them:
• What makes me sad about them:
• Things done in art/fic that annoys me:
• Things I look for in art/fic:
• Who I’d be comfortable them ending up with, if not…

[The art/fic part is the draw of this one, as I don't think I've seen that asked before.]
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So. Jugdral pairings.

Actually I wasn't looking at pairings, I was looking at who tagged their pairings, either via A X B or an AB mushed-up name, which is kind of the J!fandom FE equivalent of the cutesy names you see in, IDK, Golden Sun or Pokemon or Harry Potter fandoms.

The thing is, it quickly became clear most fen on Pixiv don't do that (though it seems to be a LOT more common with individual shrines/blogs/archives). For instance, the monstrously popular matchup of Ulster/Julia has all of three tagged entries on Pixiv.

Overall, it seems to be more of an identifying tag within a subgroup, if that makes any sense? A "here be yaoi" kind of thing for, say, "Ced X Arthur" (4 entries) or a way of communicating who you're sticking with some highly popular female character (Tinny, Ayra, Raquesis).

TL;DR-- only a small percentage of shippers for any given Jugdral pairing seem to do the name-combination thing or any kind of pairing tag, and the shippers that use it more often are IMO kind of promoting a "brand identity" that may be a hangover of old, contentious shipping wars.  Then again, the Seliph/Julia shippers, who know they're being naughty, don't tag.

Also... some names maybe don't sound good together? Some tags are definitely catchier than others.  But overall it's not so much a metric of what pairings are popular as which shippers are in-your-face about it, I think. 

Stats under the cut for those who want a fairly meaningless data set. )

The other thing I learned is that everyone gets shipped with Tinny. Everyone.  Still, I couldn't seem to find an ArthurTinny tag that equates to the UlsterLarcei one, though, despite that being a highly popular subject.

Also, Lex/Tiltyu seems really, really UNpopular in J!fandom, at least as Pixiv goes.  I looked through the whole Tiltyu tag and I don't think I saw anything that struck me as bonafide Lex/Tiltyu-- just a couple of OT3s with Azel.  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
While crawling through pixiv looking for the most popular Jugdral pairings, I stumbled across a piece of fanart I thought had been deleted.  Turns out it's just not tagged to Seisen no Keifu.

It's the line art "Brady Bunch Meme" piece featuring the Most Pathetic Tinny Ever.


Speshul Bonus:

In the course of going through a metric fuckton of Tinny Pix, I found a piece of fanart that illustrates the "While You Were Sleeping" scenario.  Here's Tinny with an un-petrified Azel.


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