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Diary of a Tactician - Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

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As you know by now, I like my mad ideas.

So here’s my latest one, a sorta ‘Lets-play’ of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, but written as ‘in-character’ diary entries of the events that occur in during my play through.  Now, I don’t know the characters in Echoes well enough yet to write for them, so I’m gonna slip in an extra character to be the groups ‘tactician’ (a la Mark in FE7).  Not that they are gonna impact the plot, it just lets me write how I wish, and make funny asides without breaking character.  Well, okay, it’ll be two extra characters, as the game follows two different heroes on their separate journeys.

After each event, I’ll also do a little Out of Character post just to explain what’s going on a bit more clearly, (which will appear like this.)

And of course, there WILL be spoilers, so be warned.

Now…. Onwards to Valentia!


Date obscured, some years ago, Ram Village

Knights are jerks!  I learned that today!  A bunch of them came to the village.  They wanted to chop off our heads. AND they wanted to meet Gray’s sisters.  Why would a bunch of knight wanna hang out with sissy girls?  Maybe I should ask Alm, he’s been hanging out with that girl Celica since she got here.

Okay, not all knights are jerks.  Alm’s grandpapa is a knight, and he’s not a jerk!  He fought all the other knights single handed and chased them all off!  Yeah!

Alm’s all upset now though.  His Grandpapa says Celica needs to leave.  I wonder where she’s going?  And my sisters going too.  I dunno why…

(Alm and Celica are our two leads, with Alm being a villager being trained by his former knight grandfather, and Celica a girl with a mysterious past.   We open with our main cast as kids, and yes, some knights do show up and threaten to murder then.  And it’s strongly implied they want to… be very unchivalrous with the women of the village.  This is a bit darker than the other 3DS games.  Thankfully, Alm’s grandfather shows up for the first tutorial mission, during which you control him, as well as the children Alm, Celica, Gray, Tobin, Kliff and Faye.  While you could have the kids fight, I just kept them back and let Sir Mycen do all the work.

And why is the narrator’s sister going with Celica.  Simple, as we have two different leads, we need two different narrators, one for each of them!)

1st of Flostym, 401, Ram Village

Today was a day of big news!  We’ve heard the stories about solders from Rigel invading our land of Zofia, but now it’s worse than we thought, even with the drought.  The King has been murdered, by his own Chancellor.  Okay, the King was a jerk…. Is that treason now he’s dead?  But it sounds like the Chancellor is even worse!  And he’s using the army to enslave people.

Some solder called Lukas arrived to give us the news, I’m not sure I trust him.  He wanted to try and recruit Alm’s grandpapa for a resistance movement called The Deliverance.  Yeah, I know Alm finds it embarrassing when I call his grandfather ‘grandpapa’ like he used to, but his reaction is just too funny.

Sir Mycen didn’t want to go, so Alm decided to go in his place.  Not really surprised.  And Gray decided to go with him.  So my comment on Alm.  Even Tobin is going to.  He SAYS it’s for the money.  But I just think he wants to stick with Gray. 

And as we were about to leave, Faye and Kliff showed up wanting to come.  Faye… okay, Faye wasn’t a surprise, she’d follow Alm into the Rigelian throne room if she could!  But Kliff, I always thought he was a shy bookworm!  Just goes to show!

(This is where the story proper begins, and you learn just how bad the situation is.  In terms of characters, you start with Alm, Lukas, Gray and Tobin, with Kliff and Faye being optional recruitible units.  The latter four are also the Villager class.  So, weak with low stat gains, but can reclass into several other classes from level three onwards, at a Mila Statue

As for Gray and Tobin, well… normally I’m not one to assume that just because to male characters are close they have the hots for each other.  But… in these two’s cases… well…. I wouldn’t rule it out.  Dialog like this doesn’t help either:

Gray: Don’t you LIKE girls?

Tobin: *awkwardly* I mean, I admit they’re…. not bad?)


2nd of Flostym, 401, Ram Woods

Maybe Alm’s Grandpapa was right when he wouldn’t let Alm out of the village.  We’d barely gone ten paces before we were set upon by brigands.  We could have run back to the village, but we decided to fight instead.

The fight was easier than I thought it would be, though Gray did see something in some nearby trees and rushed off thinking it was some ambush, instead of just a curious fox.  Faye.. she seems to enjoy herself a bit too much, and I hadn’t expected Kliff to be so handy with a sword!  Note to self: Don’t call him a sissy bookworm ever again.

(I’m not exaggerating at how close you are to the village.  It’s even part of the battle map!  You can head back inside it!

Gray got confused in this fight for pure gameplay reasons.  I mentioned before that villagers can promote at level 3 (and given how levelling works in Echoes, levelling asap is better).  Gray however starts at lvl 5, while Tobin is at lvl 2, and Faye and Kliff at 1.  Therefore, I wanted to give as much exp to the latter three as possible, so Gray pretty much sat this fight out.

And Faye…. Faye is scary.)


3rd of Flostym, 401, Fleecer’s Forest

More brigands today.  We were gonna sneak past, then Alm heard how they had a girl prisoner so he charged in.  Why do I get the feeling this is gonna be a regular occurrence?  We soon sent them packing, though the one in charge of this group was tougher than most.

(Not much to say about this fight, it’s basically an expansion of what you’ve done before, plus a boss for good measure)


4th of Flostym, 401, Thieves Shrine

We headed into the old shrine to Mila that the thieves and brigands had made their hideout.  Watching Alm explore, smashing pots and slicing grass with his sword while yelling….. I got the oddest feeling he should be wearing a green tunic.  I’m not sure why.  There was a few brigands around, but we’ve gotten quite good with dealing with them, and soon they and their boss are lying on the ground.

Wow…. We’ve all become pretty casual about death…

We find the girl, a Cleric named Silque.  She seems nice enough, joining our little party, and giving Alm some odd clock thing.  There’s also a Mila Statue in here, so the others use it to focus their experience, while I hand them some new weapons.  Gray seemed pretty happy with his new sword.  Tobin and Kliff seemed angry with me, and then each other, as I gave them the magic tome and bow.  Hey, I didn’t see that Tobin and carved his name on the bow, and Kliff had written his in a book.

I also told Silque to teach Faye how to be a Cleric.  Maybe that will curb her… enthusiasm in combat.

We also found a bottle of Ram Wine.  And some old geezer back in the village wanted one… hmmm…

(The first Dungeon you explore.  Just a small one, one big room, then a bridge to the boss battle, but a nice intro.  But given you can smash things with your sword, and swinging it does cut any grass around, and doing so can yield items… yeah, it does feel a little ‘Legend of Zelda’-y. 

This is also where you find your first Mila Statue, and all my villagers were above lvl 3, so all got promoted.  The reason Tobin and Kliff are angry is that according to Canon Tobin should be an archer and Kliff a mage.  But I decided to swap the classes around.  Gray I made a Mercenary as per canon. 

In other news, Faye continues to be scary in combat.)


9th of Flostym, 401, Ram Village

We headed back to the village and the old man was delighted to see the wine.  So he gave us… uh… some very smelly cheese… er… thanks?  But while we were there, a woman came over to tell us how she was just accosted by bandits.  Where?  At the Thieves Shrine.  Didn’t we just clear that place out?  Oh well, looks like our job isn’t done.

(In villages and the like you can get quests.  Some are a less direct, the Old man here just saying he’s like to taste some Ram Wine again, and there just happens to be a bottle in the Theives Shrine.  Others are more direct, like the woman asking you to kill 20 bandits, like this was an MMORPG.  Well, back to the Shrine.  And although I complained about the cheese, it is actually a useful healing item)


15th of Flostym, 401, Thieves Shrine

It took a while, but we finally cleared the place out of bandits!  My arms hurt after all that fighting.  The others seemed to be having fun trying out their new skills, Tobin frying brigands with magical fire on one hand and Kliff filling them full of arrows on the other.  And Faye…. There was me thinking Clerics were peaceful.  I turn my back on her for a second, hear some horrible yells, and look back to see two dead bandits next to her, looking like withered husks as Faye just stands there innocently smiling….

(Pretty much just a grind in the dungeon killing the 20 bandits, and getting used to my party’s new classes.  Also, keeping an eye on the Fatigue system, which means the more damage a unit take in the same fights, the more fatigued it becomes.  Hence the comment ‘my arms are tired’.

One change I really love in Echoes is how Clerics get an offensive spell.  Nosferatu.  It only has a (fixed) hit rate of 60%, but it drains health, so the Clerics can use it to heal themselves.  And despite the 60% hit, Faye seems to hit with it WAY more often than Silque.  I did accidently more her to the wrong place and two bandits attacked her, both of which went:
Bandit hits – deals damage
Faye – Uses Nosferatu.  Heals damage all, kills bandit.

And Faye was fast enough to even double strike with it at times.  Given it’s a ‘drain life’ spell, I described it as such.  Yeah, Faye is scary!)


17th of Flostym, 401, Ram Village

Back at the village.  The woman is so grateful she gives us a Fruit of Life…. I don’t think it’s all it’s described to be though.  Talked to the old man again, and he tells us of something he hid in the Thieves Den… which we missed…. Darn, looks like were heading back there.  AGAIN!

(Always talk to everyone in the village multiple times, so you don’t miss a quest reward!  Whoops)


21st of Flostym, 401, Thieves Shrine

Back at the Shrine again.  We thought we could just walk in, but it turns out even MORE thieves, brigands and bandits are living here now.  You’d think after the two massacres they’d think it was a good idea to look somewhere else.

“Hey, Vincent.  Remember how we found the boss dead a few days ago?  Well there’s like twenty of our boys lying dead inside the cave again.”

“Don’t worry Victor.  They probably just had an argument over the loot.”

I guess brains are not a requirement to be a bandit.

Anyway, we look around, kill some more bandits, and find the treasure the old man talked about.  It’s a statue of Mila, so we give it to Silque, she is a servant of Mila after all.

Lukas is looking impatient.  Yeah, we really should try to get going.

(I know that from a gameplay point of view you can’t have the Thieves den stay empty, but it is still a little silly.  As for the statue, I’m not sure if I missed it when I was here before, as it is quite well hidden, or if it only spawns when you talk to the old man.

While Lukas doesn’t look impatient, given days actually pass as you move around the map, I can only imagine he must be a little fed up with all my backtracking!)

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Dunno if anyone is reading these, but here's the next part

23rd of Flostym, 401, Ram Valley

We’re off to the Sothern Outpost, a fort held be the Deliverance.  Actually, make that formally held, as we learn from a wounded solider who tells Lukas the fort has been lost to Zofia’s army, and the Deliverance General taken prisoner.  Looks like we have to re-retake the fort.

But first we need to get out of this Valley.  Easier said than done when a mercenary on the ledge above spots us, and warns his fellows in a small fort at the valley mouth.  We move forward, ready to fight to storm the fort, but instead, the bandits in the fort (hired by Zofia) charge out towards us, leaving the safety of the fort.  Again, it’s pretty clear brains are not needed to be a bandit!

As we move forward, the Mercenary who spotted us starts making his way down the ledge to attack our rear.  I was not expecting that! So I send Kliff and Faye back to deal with him.  Kliff can fill him full of arrows from a distance while he’s slowed from climbing, the Faye can finish him off.

Except… Lukas did warn us that his shield would make him tough… but I wasn’t expecting Kliff’s arrows to do next to nothing.  And he might be too tough even for Faye….


Once Tobin fries the Merc the rest of the fight is pretty easy.  One badly injured bandit tries to fell but Alm cuts him down.  All that’s left is one archer hiding in some rocks, but we manage to flush him out.

We’re out of the valley.  Now, onto the Outpost.

(This was not a hard fight.  But it DID hammer home just how different Echoes mechanics are.  I did make some mistakes here.  First, I thought the mountainous area between me and the Mercenary was impossible.  Nope, it just slowed him down.  Second, I underestimated just HOW much of a difference equipment and terrain can make, meaning Kliff’s normal two very accurate shots dealing 6 or 7 damage became about 50% accurate, and only dealing ping damage.  Thankfully, the Mercenary was slowed so much by the Mountains Tobin was easily able to get back and help.  As for the bandit fleeing, this is something I like, where a mortally injured enemy will flee from a fight and try to find healing.  It’s a nice touch.)


25th of Flostym, 401, Southern Outpost

We’re up against trained soldiers now.  You can tell because they’re not running out of the Outpost to meet us.  With the archer stationed on lookout it appears a bit tricky at first, but a bit of Tobin’s magic and soon there’s no archer left.  From then on it’s just mopping up the soldiers who come at us piecemeal.  Just as well, cause they’re tougher than the brigands we’ve tangled with so far.  I think Alm’s being lazy though, he’s just hanging back watching while a solider tires to fight Tobin.  But then he wakes up and chargers in, taking out the sergeant with ease!  Score one outpost for Alm’s team!  Well, the outside.  Now we need to head in and find our missing commander!


(Mages are so useful in Echoes, as unlike other attacks, magic has a fixed hit rate, so it’s not affected by, say, the wall an archer is hiding behind.  But as magic drains Hit Points, that is why I made Faye a Cleric despite already having Silque.  If you want to keep casting spells, you will need a LOT of healing.

Speaking of Faye, I’m worried she might be losing her ‘badass’ side.  He past couple of level-up stat boosts have been disappointing, and she’s no longer hitting every single time with Nosferatu.

These two are a bit shorter and less detailed because, well, I haven’t played the game since Sunday, but that’s the diary caught up to where I was.)

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I'm probibly not going to be continuing with this.  Partially because of the way Echoes is structured it would be far too much of 'recapping the plot so readers can keep up' than 'funny things that happened in the game'.  And partially because I don't think anyone is reading!

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