Section 1: Introduction
Q) Are the new features from The Sacred Stones in this game?
A) Generally speaking, no. So you can say goodbye to things like repeatable maps, movement on the world map, branched promotions (including the new classes introduced for this), two routes and etc. Whilst this might sound disappointing, it should be noted that Path of Radiance was initially developed before The Sacred Stones. Also the new features were generally atypical of the Fire Emblem series (barring Fire Emblem: Gaiden, which was the inspiration for the game).
Q) What differences are there between this and other Fire Emblem games?
A) Almost too many to list! Basically the system used in the GBA games has mostly been thrown away and replaced with elements from the older SNES titles. If you’re worried that this is a bad step- don’t fret, since the SNES titles were arguably the best in the series. Also, whilst there are many differences, there are almost the same amount of similarities. So if you’re a veteran of the Western titles, this game should still feel like a Fire Emblem game, and feel like a brand new game at the same time.
Anyway, most of the differences can be picked up by reading through this section of the FAQ.
Q) What are the Laguz and how do they work?
A) The Laguz are one of two races that feature in this game. Well, it’s a bit misleading, since you get way more Beorc (human) characters than Laguz characters. The Laguz function a little like the Manaketes in The Sacred Stones, and are able to do heavy damage when transformed. However, unlike Manaketes, they do not spend all their time transformed. Instead, Laguz characters must wait until their Transformation Gauge is filled, which at that point they transform into their animal form, which is the only time they can attack. Then they will stay in that form until their Gauge runs out, returning to their demi-human form, and the cycle repeats.
Different Laguz characters raise their Transformation Gauges at varying speeds. Some characters start chapters with a near-filled Gauge, others start with a half filled Gauge and there are even some who start with an empty Gauge. An item called the Laguz Stone can be used to immediately fill a character’s Transformation Gauge. The Demi Band can be equipped to keep a character permanently transformed, but with lower transformed stats, while the Laguz Band does the same, but with no decreased stats (however only certain Laguz characters can equip it).
Also the Laguz are divided into three main tribes- the Beast tribe, the Bird tribe and the Dragon tribe.
Members of the Beast tribe take on the form of big cats. They boast above average attack and defence, as well as excellent movement. As the name implies, members of the Bird tribe take on the form of various large birds. The Hawks and Ravens of the Bird tribe are almost a parallel to the Tiger and Cats of the Beast tribe, with the extra advantage of flight. The Herons are more specialised- they are able to restore HP to adjacent allies, and their main function is to allow units to move again after waiting (like Dancers and Bards in the other games). Finally members of the Dragon tribe take on the forms of… Dragons, which are the strongest of all Laguz.
Q) Is there Dark magic in this game?
A) No. Also there are no Shamans.
Q) How does the Weapon Triangle work for magic?
A) Fire beats Wind, Wind beats Thunder, Thunder beats Fire. Light is neutral to all three. (A similar arrangement was used in Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776.)
Q) What are the 3 difficulties like?
A) Easy Mode was newly introduced for the English versions. This mode is aimed at beginners and awards much more experience points compared to the other modes.
Normal Mode is the default mode. Its difficulty is approximately equal to that of Blazing Sword (Lyn Normal Mode) or The Sacred Stones.
Hard Mode is geared towards Fire Emblem veterans. The difficulty of this made is approximately equal to that of Mystery of the Emblem or Sword of Seals.
In the Japanese version there wasn’t an Easy mode, but instead there was a difficulty above Hard Mode, which was called Maniac mode. This mode is apparently of similar difficulty as Thracia 776 (arguably the most difficult game in the series).
Q) How does the Skills system work?
A) Like in Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, certain characters may come with innate Skills or you can teach Skills to characters. These Skills affect various things both during battle and outside of battle. For example, the Adept Skill gives a character a chance of performing a two-hit attack during battle.
In this game, Skills are divided into Standard Skills and Mastery Skills. To learn a Standard Skill, you must go to the “Manage” menu, at the Base, and use a specific scroll that teaches that Skill (for example, to learn Adept requires an Adept scroll). Mastery Skills are more special and a character must be promoted before they can learn the Skill. To learn a Mastery Skill also requires you to go the “Manage” menu, but this time you must use an Occult scroll on that character. Which Mastery Skill is learnt depends on the character’s class.
Unlike in the previous games, characters possess a Skill Capacity gauge, which determines how many Skills a character can have at once. So a single character can no longer have dozens of skills. Different Standard Skills have varying amounts of capacity usage, ranging from 5
to 20, while all Mastery Skills take up 20 Capacity.
Also note that Standard Skills are further divided into Soldier Skills and Citizen Skills. Soldier Skills are determined by class (for example, all Thieves have the Steal Skill). Meanwhile, Citizen Skills are determined by character (for example, Ilyana has the Shade Skill). When you teach a character a Skill, it will be listed as a Citizen skill.
Q) Do the Supports work like the previous GBA games?
A) Yes and no. Like in the GBA titles, a character can only have 5 levels of support, with A counting as 3 supports, B counting as 2 supports and C counting as 1 support. Also, the support bonuses still only apply if the two characters are within a 3 square radius of each other.
However, unlike in the GBA titles, you do not need to have characters waiting on the map for several turns to build up support levels. Instead, support points are increased by just having two characters participate together in the same chapter. Once enough support points have been accumulated, you can activate the support conversation back at the Base (and not on the battlefield like the GBA games).
Q) How many movies are there?
A) Practically speaking, there are just 6, but all (except one) are of good length- lasting about a minute or longer. Technically, there are 2 extra movies, but these ones cannot be accessed from the Theatre, for obvious reasons.
- Ike practicing against Greil
- Greil fighting the Black Knight
- Meeting of the Laguz
- Ike and Mist listening to a song
- Mist holding the Fire Emblem (lasts about 10 seconds)
- Ike and Elincia at the castle
- Opening movie
- Chapter opening
Q) Can you link up using the GBA-GC cable?
A) Yes, but only after completing the game. By linking up, you can unlock character art galleries and new Trial Maps for each game (Blazing Sword and The Sacred Stones). Note that The Sacred Stones only has a handful of character art that can be unlocked.
Section 2: Mid-game
Q) Where is the Fire Emblem theme?
A) You’ll hear it eventually.
Q) How comes Ike and Mist can’t support each other?
A) Characters with a special relationship do not require supports, as they have an in-built bonus. These bonuses are listed in this page.
Q) How does Biorhythm work?
A) As chapters progress, the character’s Biorhythm touches 5 distinct points- highest, high, middle, low and lowest. At the two high points, the character receives a +5 bonus to accuracy and evade, while at the two bottom points, the character receives a -5 penalty to accuracy and evade. At the middle point, the character receives no stat bonuses. Tempest and Serenity respectively double (+/-10 accuracy and evade) and halve (+/- 2 accuracy and evade) this effect.
Q) Do Mages need Strength?
A) Yes they do, since Strength is now used in place of Build (also known as Constitution) to calculate Attack Speed. In this game, if the user’s weapon Weight is higher than their Strength, they receive a Speed reduction equal to (Weight – Strength). Just remember that this applies to all units, whether physical or magical-based.
For example, if Ilyana has 4 Strength, 11 Speed and she’s holding Thoron (Weight of 7) then she gets a 3 Speed deduction (ending up with 8 Attack Speed).
Q) What does Build do now?
A) Build now determines an unit’s Weight. An unit can only Shove an unit, if their Weight isn’t more than 2 points lower than the unit’s Weight. Units can also rescue allied units if their Weight is at least 2 points greater than the allied unit’s Weight. Weight is also used as a factor in the Warrior and Berserker’s Colossus skill.
Q) Do physical units need Magic?
A) Well, there are a few swords, lances and axes that act as magical weapons- their damage is based off the user’s Magic stat, instead of Strength.
Q) What determines how much Bonus EXP you get?
A) Most of the time, it is solely determined by the number of turns taken to complete chapters- the less turns taken, the more Bonus EXP you get. However some chapters may have discreet bonus objectives, which reward some Bonus EXP if you complete it, such as keeping the Priests alive in Chapter 22. When you’ve beaten the game once, you can toggle a Bonus EXP display from the Configurations menu, which appears at the end of each chapter to show you how much Bonus EXP you earned (and how).
Q) What does MVP stand for?
A) Most Valuable Player. From what I can see, it is determined by number of kills, EXP gained and maybe other things.
Q) Can you recruit Nedata?
A) No, he’s just a slightly less generic Bandit.
Q) How do you promote characters?
A) For all normal characters, once they’ve reached Level 10 (or higher), you can use the Master Seal to promote them. Alternatively, once they have reached Level 21 they will promote automatically.
Q) When does Ike class-change?
A) Automatically once you’ve complete Chapter 17.
Q) Can Thieves promote?
A) Volke can promote to an Assassin at the end of Chapter 19. Sothe can not promote at all.
Q) Which playable characters can use Light magic?
A) Only Rhys can, once he promotes to Bishop.
Q) How do you determine a Paladin’s 2nd weapon type?
A) When you promote a Sword Knight/Lance Knight/Axe Knight/Bow Knight, a menu will appear asking for your preference. The available options are Sword, Axe, Lance or Bow. Obviously the Knight will already have one of those weapon types already, so you pick one out of the other three. Already-promoted Paladins (i.e Titania and Geoffrey) already have both weapon types determined from the start.
Q) What’s the point of giving Sages Knives?
A) To be honest, I don’t know. I never give them Knives anyway, since all three Mages that you get have mediocre Strength. Some suggest it makes fighting enemy magic users more effective- since enemy magic users generally has high resistance, but low defence, and your character has high resistance to take less damage from them. However I find using a Sage’s superior magic works just as well, or even a physical user.
Q) How comes the Knight Ward doesn’t work?
A) You need to go to the equipment menu and equip it. Unlike the items in the GBA games (eg. the Iron Rune), you must equip items to gain their effect. This also applies to the Laguzguard, Beorcguard and Full Guard. (Also note that you can only equip one accessory at a time.)
Q) How comes the Beorcguard doesn’t work?
A) Its in-game description is incorrect. It only prevents the effective bonus when enemies attack you with Laguz-killing weapons.
Q) Do Coins do anything?
A) No. It is suggested that they can be used to distract Ravens from stealing more important items, but that probably wasn’t its intended use. Coins do have an use in the next game, Radiant Dawn, which transfers obtained Coins from this one (however they aren’t used for collecting, so don’t fret if you miss any).
Q) Where are the Arenas or Secret Shops?
A) There are none in this game.
Q) Where are all the items in the desert (Chapter 15)?
A) Please check this page.
Q) Why is Nosferatu light magic?
A) It’s kind of a long story… First of all, Nosferatu was called “Resire” in the Japanese Fire Emblem games and it actually started life as a light magic spell. Anyway, to cut a long story short, Resire was changed into a dark magic spell for the GBA titles, which is also the same time that it had its name changed to Nosferatu for the English versions. In this game, it returned to being a light magic spell again, but unfortunately it kept its Nosferatu name…
Q) What happens if Reyson dies in Chapter 17?
A) Don’t worry, he doesn’t die (he just retreats). You can still recruit him normally later on. This also applies with Ulki, Janaff and Tibarn if they somehow died in this chapter as well.
Q) What should I do with Naesala in Chapter 19?
A) First talk to him with Ulki or Janaff. Naesala will then automatically go and talk to Reyson and become a NPC. Also, if you somehow manage to defeat him in this chapter, you can still choose him during the Final Chapter.
Q) How comes I can’t critical Naesala?
A) Naesala’s weapon (Beak) enables him to negate criticals. Other weapons that have this property include Ragnell, Alondite (the Black Knight’s sword), Gurgurant (Ashnard’s sword), Tibarn’s Beak and Giffca’s Claw. Note that this property is bypassed if a character has the Wrath skill or performs the Triangle Attack.
Q) How can I recruit Jill once she’s talked to her father?
A) If Jill has an A support with either Mist or Lethe (although it’s actually impossible to reach higher than a B support with Lethe at this point), then Jill will not be convinced by her father. If you don’t have the required support level, then make sure Jill doesn’t talk to him, as nobody can recruit her back.
Q) How do I avoid killing the priests in Chapter 22?
A) If any priests block the path, use the “Shove” command on them.
Q) Why do weapon levels take so long to rise?
A) There are a few reasons for this phenomenon. Firstly (and perhaps most important) the “fatal hit bonus” from previous games is gone-
that is Weapon EXP is no longer doubled during the strike that kills the enemy. Then, there is also the introduction of Bonus EXP (getting EXP without fighting) and a general lack of enemies.
To counter slow weapon level rising, I suggest using weapons with high Weapon EXP like Steel, Killer, Class-effective weapons and long ranged spells etc. Since forged weapons (aside from Steel etc.) use the basic weapons, which have low Weapon EXP, it is recommended not to overuse them if you’re trying to raise weapon levels.
Q) How do you defeat the Black Knight?
A) The most commonly used method is to make sure Ike has learnt the Aether skill (teach him that skill using an Occult scroll). Then it’s a case of engaging the Black Knight several times and praying that Aether activates. Because of this, victory or defeat in this battle is pretty much determined by luck. However, don’t forget to heal Ike, with some Elixirs, as you don’t want to restart the whole chapter again because Ike unexpectedly died.
A less common method is to equip either or both of Adept and Wrath on Ike, and have Ike fight the Black Knight from range. Adept allows Ike to occasionally double attack the Black Knight, and Wrath occasionally allows him to critical the Black Knight when he has under half HP. This method is quite effective as it also prevents Ike from being hit by the Black Knight’s Luna skill. Note that, if you’re playing in Hard Mode, the Black Knight will move to attack at melee range, so Ike may still suffer a Luna blow.
If Mist is still alive, she will automatically enter the battle as well, so you can use her to heal Ike. However if you are planning to use Mist in this battle, it would be a good idea to train her beforehand. Even though the Black Knight won’t attack Mist, reinforcements will appear before the beginning of Turn 3 and they can inflict a lot of damage on her if she is weak. Mist can also help to kill the Bishop reinforcements, to prevent them from healing the Black Knight.
Once Turn 5 (Enemy Phase) ends, Nasir will appear and stop the battle.
Q) What happens if Ike retreats from the Black Knight battle?
A) Nothing really changes, the game treats it as if Ike failed to defeat the Black Knight within the 5 turns.
Q) How do I defeat Ashnard?
A) Just like facing the Black Knight, there isn’t really an easy way. However, this time Ike is not the only character who can do damage, as Ena, Nasir, Tibarn, Naesala and Giffca can also do damage.
Ike with the Aether skill is probably the most common ways to defeat him. So make sure to train Ike well and teach him that skill using one of the Occult scrolls. Otherwise if you have both the Resolve and Wrath scrolls handy, teach both to either Ike, Ena or Nasir and hope for a critical when the character is under half HP.
In Hard Mode, Ashnard is a slightly trickier beast. He will start to move when a character moves close to his attack range and will do the same after 10 or so turns pass. Since he has a huge movement range, be careful that your weaker/slower units don’t enter his attack range. As if Ashnard moving wasn’t bad enough, he will also resurrect (and become slightly stronger) after you’ve beaten him the first time.
If Ike is strong enough, the simplest way to win is probably to have him solo Ashnard, making sure your staff users cast Physic to back him up. Otherwise, you could try sending out your three strongest units (preferably including a character who can damage him) and try and trap him against a wall. At the every top of the map, there’s an area where you can trap Ashnard using just one character, if you can somehow manipulate him to move there.
Section 3: End-game
Q) Who is the Black Knight?!
A) Unfortunately you never find out (yes, even if you defeat him in battle). In this game at least. His identity is revealed in the next game, Radiant Dawn.
Q) Who is Sothe looking for?
A) As with the Black Knight’s identity, it’s never revealed in-game who Sothe is looking for. However, just like the Black Knight’s identity, it is revealed in Radiant Dawn.
Q) What happened to the individual character endings?
A) Unfortunately, they are absent in this game. Instead, the ending is more reminiscent to that of Genealogy of the Holy War, albeit less complete. Many suggest it was arranged like this to make way for the sequel.
Q) Is there a support conversation viewer after the game?
A) Unlike the previous two games, there is no such option. A support library, for this game, is available in Radiant Dawn.
Q) Are there any rankings?
A) Like The Sacred Stones, there are no real rankings. You can only view the Number of Turns to clear each chapter and the number of kills each character has. (This does not include Trial Map rankings.)
Q) Who is ??? in the character illustrations?
A) I think there are only two possible characters who you must recruit to get their art- Stefan and Giffca. To recruit Stefan, please check this page. As for Giffca, just choose him in the Final Chapter when you are asked to request help from the Laguz generals.
Q) When unlocking the Trial Map characters, can I just keep repeating the Final Chapter to increase my playthrough count?
A) No, I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. You have to beat the entire game from the Prologue.
Q) Is there anything new in the subsequent playthroughs?
A) You can choose whether to use Random Mode or Fixed Mode for growths. In case you’re wondering, Random Mode is the same way of leveling-up that you do normally. Also, from the 2nd playthrough onwards, certain characters are automatically equipped with special growth rate-boosting bands.
Q) What do the bands do?
A) They increase a character’s growth rate by a small amount (a total of 10% each), and work in both Random and Fixed Mode. (Also note that the bands only appear from the 2nd playthrough.)
Q) What’s the difference between Random and Fixed mode?
A) Firstly, Random Mode is the one that has existed in every Fire Emblem game to date. Each character has set growth rates in each stat and, when they level up, the RNG (Random Number Generator) determines if they get a rise in a particular stat.
Fixed Mode is a slightly trickier concept. Basically characters grow towards their average stats, but that’s only half the story. The other half is that their stat ups are affected by the enemy class they face and their equipped weapon and item.
This page has a more detailed description about the concept of Fixed growths.
Q) What language is Life Returns in?
A) It’s supposed to be sung the ancient language of Tellius, but it’s all just backwards Japanese in reality.