[COMPLETE] Blade and Claw (Full Length, 23 chapters)

Blade and Claw is a complete tactical RPG featuring the pair up mechanic. It boasts 23 chapters and around twenty hours of playtime.

A short trailer can be found below:

This is the first strategy RPG in six years to utilize pair up. Similar to its inspiration of Fire Emblem: Fates, units can pair together or fight adjacently to provide defensive bulk or offensive power respectively. Both the player and enemy can utilize this mechanic, with crafty enemy generals constructing dangerous formations with pair up.

This game is quite difficult. Hard mode is the intended experience, while Normal mode is present for any players wishing to enjoy the game at a more relaxed pace.

The game can be downloaded here.

The drive contains a zip file. Download the zip file, extract it, and open the .exe file inside to play.

This game was created by myself and SP. A full list of credits can be found in the game’s files or the ending slides. Please inform me if I have miscredited or accidentally left uncredited anyone whose assets were used in this game.

Gameplay

Pair Up

Attack Stance and Guard Stance return as staple mechanics of Blade and Claw.

While in Guard Stance, the lead unit is given stat buffs and, in rare cases, additional skills by the supporting unit. Each attack by or against a unit in Guard Stance builds the Guard Gauge. When the Guard Gauge reaches maximum any damage from the next attack will be blocked by the supporting unit.

When a unit is not in Guard Stance they are eligible for Attack Stance. While adjacent to an allied unit, the adjacent ally will perform a follow up attack at half damage. However, this attack will not occur if the target is in Guard Stance.

Stat Overhaul

Gone are the days of useless skill and luck level ups. Unit stats have been reduced to strength, magic, dexterity, speed, defense, and movement. Most stats now serve a dual purpose, making any stat increase exciting.

Strength works against the weight of the weapon, becoming an important factor in mages’ ability to double attack. Magic works as resistance, making your bulky physical units happy to have extra magical prowess. Dexterity increases each of your growths by 1% per point, leading to a potential cascade of power.

Oh, and did I mention that there are movement level ups? Because there are.

Varied Objectives

Defense maps, escape maps, and escort maps are prominent throughout the game, as well as interesting complications that keep common map objectives fresh and engaging. Enemies will often interact with their environment in unique ways, forcing you to improvise new tactics for every situation.

Bonus Experience

Bonus experience is awarded as a reward for clearing maps quickly, with the details communicated in a lore-friendly way before each chapter. Every level up using bonus experience is guaranteed to increase three stats, allowing you to exert control over your character’s growths.

The Bestowed

Special shapeshifter units, the Bestowed shapeshift in combat into their animal form. Powerful allies and dangerous enemies, Bestowed use their natural claws and fangs instead of traditional iron weapons or magic tomes.

Limited Skills

Character skills are scaled down to reduce cognitive overload while still creating interesting distinctions between characters. Class skills are gone in favor of personal skills, with each character beginning with at most one skill.

Rare skill books allow you to pass powerful abilities like Renewal or Paragon to your favorite characters, while passive skill scrolls give you the power to augment your growths and avoid enemy critical attacks.

Story and Characters

A Focus on Characters

A plethora of base conversations allows characters to develop with the main plot, rather than disconnected from it. Characters grow through their interactions with the party, rather than by speaking to one person three times.

A Light-hearted Journey

This isn’t some Shakespearean tragedy that will make you weep while reconsidering the meaning of life. But it won’t pretend to be that either, so hopefully you’ll have some fun.

Screenshots








Lex Talionis

Lex Talionis is an engine created by rainlash and developed by them, mag, and myself. It is open-sourced and easy to learn. If you’re interested in making your own Fire Emblem game, you can check out the Lex Talionis discord here.

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image

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Looks pretty good ill try it also good choice of music for the trailer

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I don’t see a Credits or Readme file in the .zip, although the filenames of many assets are unchanged from how they were in the repo. It’d probably be best to put a Credits/Readme file in the root folder so anyone looking to see where a resource came from doesn’t have to either scour the file tree or finish the game.

Good call. I’ll throw that in the next update

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Game looks great so far! Any way to check the character’s growths?

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I wouldn’t worry so much about growths - just use whoever feels good in the moment

EDIT: Let me give a slightly better answer here, actually. Unit’s growths can’t be viewed directly because we found that info to be useless and lead to info overload. Instead, assume higher Dex means higher growths (since Dex is added to your growths).

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Hello ! Sorry if that question would be a bit spoilery, but I’d like to know !

Is there a way to be aware about gaiden and recruitments ? Thanks !

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Looks really interesting! This is full of features I thought were impossible to implement in GBA Fire Emblem. I’ll have to try it out.

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Hey, game’s co-creator here,

There are no gaiden chapters and the recruitments are straightforward, so no need to worry about missing characters.

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Thanks for the reply !

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got a list of sources for the music?

Are there any options to disable the in-engine native controller inputs?

I’m not a fan of these default controller binds, and I often play FE hacks using Joy2Key. Using my keyboard all day can cause problems with my shoulders and wrists, so I try to game on controller when reasonable, but I’m having trouble teaching myself that ‘X’ on my PS5 controller is now my ‘back’ button.

In the credits. I’ll put together a playlist when I’m home - I can also point you to the song if you’re looking for a particular track

What an interesting hack

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Not totally certain. I’ll ask around and get back to you. Sorry about that.

maybe launch the exe through Steam and use Steam’s controller remap?

the credits function doesn’t work and it doesn’t look like there’s a credits list in the .zip either

Played the first few chapters and I have a few bugs/thoughts to point out.

I want to open with saying that I’m incredibly impressed by the use of a custom engine and that the music picks are great, and I’m having a lot of fun checking out all the new mechanics we don’t get to see in FEGBA. The rest of this post will be about potential things to improve:

General Bugs
  • Save Screen empty slots can have broken graphics when saving between chapters.
  • Credits feature is broken.
  • Default controller binds are a bit messy on Playstation controllers, add option to disable?
  • Default game resolution can exceed the size of the display – downscale it a bit?
  • Ch5: Screen goes black during a cutscene – you can still advance the dialogue and get to base camp, but I missed a few lines.

Thoughts on Chapters

Chapter 1
  • Enemies are absurdly weak on normal mode. They have, like, 12hp and no other stats to speak of, which is weaker than anything I’ve seen, romhack or vanilla.
Chapter 2
  • Boss battle quote appears on the player’s side instead of enemy side.
  • Boss battle quote replays when you attack with another unit.
  • The enemy soldier class is incredibly weak still.
Chapter 3
  • Not immediately clear Theresa and Marian are player controllable from the start, since Gilian wasn’t last chapter, and the player units don’t have obvious ‘blue, green, red’ states to tell you if you own them or not.
Chapter 4
  • Missing tutorial about fatigue? This mechanic jumpscared me and felt unsuited to a chokepoint heavy enemy spam chapter – now I can’t use two units in Ch5.
  • Enemies bypassing fights when they would deal 0 damage is really awkward in a defend chapter. My units can become worse by leveling defense too many times, and Geoff is hard to use with enemies on Normal already unable to damage him at base.
  • Wall staff is pretty neat here with the number of chokes and alternate routes.
General Thoughts
  • Dex increasing the Mov growth is getting really wacky, even early in the game. I know it’s RNG, but I’m hitting the Mov growth left and right.
  • If BEXP always increases 3 stats like in FE10, that’s going to be very abusable when I start hitting caps, given the low number of stats in total and that Mov can level up.
  • I suppose fatigue is in here to counteract the Dex growth snowball from allowing excessive juggernauting? No conclusive thought here.
  • Battle sprite palettes in general have coloration/shading issues for many units.
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There is a credits event with the credits in there. The ending also contains the credits