Monday, September 15, 2014

Fire Emblem Matchmaking

Recently I started playing Fire Emblem: Awakening again, partially because I love turn-based strategy games, but mostly because while I was at PAX I finished Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, leaving me with no other games to play other than the ones I have downloaded to my DS. Out of those two games (Mario Picross and Fire Emblem), I chose the one that other people in the room were playing.

Shortly after beginning, though, I remembered that Fire Emblem wasn't just a strategy game. In fact, strategy played a rather small part in it the first time I played the game. No, the primary focus of the game is to figure out who's going to marry whom, making you basically a glorified matchmaker. So, this blog post will detail my decision making process. If you're familiar with Awakening, you'll understand. If not, I doubt this will be an interesting journey for you, and I apologize.

First, we have the main character whose official name is Robin apparently. My Robin is male this time (she was female last time), and has the ability to marry any female character in the game. I specifically chose to make Robin male this time since he's one of only two men in the game who has a child character attached to them, the other being Chrom, while all other child characters are connected to their mothers. I wanted to see the sibling dynamic between at least two characters, so male Robin it is. (Interestingly, that mean that the only sibling interaction Male Morgan can have is with Lucina, while Female Morgan can have a sibling relationship with potentially anyone but Lucina.) Since I want to give Morgan a sibling, that also narrowed my choices for Robin's wife down to the first generation women, which presented my first problem.

In the first generation of characters there are 13 men (not including Robin) and 11 women (also not including Robin). So, even if Robin is female and marries into the first generation that leaves one man without a wife, an unlucky honor that went to Henry my first time through the game since I didn't know he was coming and all of the rest of the women were already married by the time he appeared. Whoops.

Anyway, with a male Robin it not only removes a character from the pool of women but adds one to the pool of men, leaving three characters to their fates as eternal bachelors. So, my first act was to determine those three characters: Ricken, because he's, like, 10 years old or something and has no business getting married; Vaike, because he's mentally probably younger than Ricken; and Libra since, as a man of the cloth, he seems pretty comfortable with a chaste lifestyle.

Next comes the characters with fairly limited marriage options: Chrom and Sumia. While pretty much everyone else in the first generation can marry anyone else in that generation, Chrom and Sumia are both limited to only four possible candidates.

For Chrom, those candidates are Sumia, Sully, Maribelle, and Olivia, with apparently the possibility of ending up with some nameless townswoman if all of those women are already dead or married off. The rest of the women would I guess be problematic for Chrom in some way or another: Panne and Nowi aren't human, for instance, which would certainly make Lucina look considerably different than the way she's established early in the game. Lissa is Chrom's sister. Tharja is Plegian. Cordelia's entire character is based on her unrequited love for Chrom. Cherche, I think, joins the group after Chrom is forced to marry, and her son Gerome is known to be infatuated with Lucina, which would make for a strange sibling relationship. The only character who doesn't have a decent reason to not marry Chrom is Miriel, though I guess perhaps it's because she's sort of a mother figure to the Shepherds? Though every other first generation male character can marry her, so...

Anyway, I decided against Sumia since she married Chrom last time. Also, I wanted Sully to marry Robin for several reasons, which left Maribelle and Olivia. For some reason, early on I got confused and thought that, because I started getting support conversations with Maribelle I wouldn't be able to marry Chrom to Olivia, which wouldn't be so bad since Brady's pretty great and I'd like to see him as a prince. However, later I realized that I was an idiot, and all I needed to do to eliminate Maribelle from the running was to marry her off before Chrom is forced to marry. So, I switched Maribelle over to the person who would have otherwise married Olivia, leaving Chrom free to pursue a relationship with a woman he barely knows.

Next was Sumia, who was somewhat difficult to match since I'm not really a fan of hers. She suffers from a dreadful lack of confidence, she's pretty dense, superstitious, and rather possessive. So, which of her potential mates would I inflict her on: Chrom, Gaius, Frederick, or Henry? Also Robin, I suppose. As I said, though, Chrom was specifically not going to marry Sumia since he did last time, so that was out. Henry wasn't going to show up until after Chrom is forced to marry, so he was out of the question as well, since I wanted to make sure Chrom is with Olivia. Robin, as I said, is going to be with Sully, and I frankly since I don't like Sumia much I wouldn't pair her with my avatar character anyway. That leaves Frederick and Gaius. In the end, I decided to pair Frederick with Cordelia so they can share their passion for the only man they have eyes for: Chrom. That leaves Gaius, who I really like a lot, but not enough to spare him from Sumia.

Next, I mentioned twice now that I paired Robin with Sully, and now I'll explain the reasoning there. First, I think Sully's great, and I love watching her interact with everyone else. She's strong, confident, crass, and fiery. Mostly, though, I think her daugher, Kjelle, is pretty awesome; taking many of her mother's traits and refining them into a sharp sense of resolve. I thought she would make an interesting sister for Morgan, though they're nothing alike. Likewise, I wanted to make sure Kjelle had access to the Dark Flier class so she could have access to the all-powerful Galeforce ability, which she doesn't have access to naturally. Only a few potential fathers would give her that class, and Robin is one of them.

So, with four pairings decided and explained (Chrom X Olivia, Sumia X Gaius, Frederick X Cordelia, and Robin X Sully), that leaves seven pairings left to go. My focus from here on out was to pair interesting people with other interesting people, keeping the child's relationship to the father in mind, and making sure none of the pairings were the same as last time I played through the game.

I paired Lon Qu with Nowi, not because I felt terribly strong about the pairing, but mostly because I wanted Lon Qu to have a daughter. He has an aversion to women, so I was curious to see how that plays out if that women is known to be his flesh and blood. The only other woman who would give him a daughter was Tharja, but I wasn't about to inflict Noire with both a mother who traumatizes her and a potentially distant father. Plus, Nah's personality is much closer to Lon Qu's anyway, so it kind of fit.

I wanted to make sure Henry ended up with someone nice to make up for last time. I settled on Cherche since I didn't want to double up on the mage classes (Miriel), and I didn't want to give Laura the satisfaction of having me take her suggestion (=P) so I didn't pair him with Lissa. The remaining options were all mediocre at best: Panne is okay, but then Henry would have to deal with having Yarne as a son. Tharja is abusive. I thought Olivia was still available at the time, but I decided that Gerome would be a better child for Henry than Inigo. So, Cherche was the best choice.

Likewise, I wanted to make up for Kellam having Yarne as a son last time, so I married him to Miriel. She doesn't really fit Kellam but, really, nobody does. At the very least, Miriel's scientific approach to understand Kellam's lack of presence amused me and, best of all, he gets one of my favorite characters, Laurent, for a son.

Another of my favorite characters, Gregor, was going to be paired up with Olivia until I realized my mistake with Chrom. So, they switched and Gregor is now stuck with Maribelle, so isn't all that bad really. Her harsh noble nature belies a truly caring and gracious personality beneath, which I think Gregor will appreciate... in time. Plus, he gets Brady as a son, so... bonus!

I paired Lissa with Virion, strange as it seems. I like Virion in all his pompous nobility, and I think Lissa has a good chance to end up in a nice place by hitching up to another noble, even if she vastly outranks him.

That left me with the two most difficult women to pair people up with: the abusive Tharja and Panne, who gives us that most cowardly of children, Yarne. Noire is also kinda cowardly, actually, but in a different way. I guess both of their cowardices are justified.

I gave Donnel to Tharja, hoping that his plucky innocence would allow him to both handle Tharja's abuse and provide some comfort to Noire's tortured soul.

Stahl... well, hey, be happy you got somebody.

Matchmaking is a tricky business.

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