[FE8][COMPLETE] A Vestrian Tale (1.2, November 3rd 2023 update)

Greatings. Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to:
A Vestrian Tale Skill13

A Vestrian Tale is a FE8 Rom Hack created with the use of FEBuilder.
It is my love letter to the most volatile and pathos-laden aspects of the franchise.

Plot

Helena’s Journal
Year 834, 17th day of the 9th month
Cloudy skies, light drizzle.

Yesterday we were approached by an individual whom I did not expect to meet in the slums of the capital. He was a bold man with a pompous disposition and commanding tone, clearly trying to compensate for his otherwise low status.

He claimed to represent a certain merchant of the Kingdom of Aragona. His lord was interested in a manuscript of recent discovery, unearthed by the Marquis of the Lafayette Province and her team of archaeologists. His patron was willing to pay a sizable sum to have that book in his private collection and, more importantly, was willing to overlook the methods involved in acquiring this relic.

Upon hearing this, Ezekiel’s eyes were suddenly shining far brighter than the gold he was promised.

Amidst a thousand pleasantries and attempts to cheat each other, the two eventually agreed to do the job for the sum of 180,000 gold. When the mission was complete, we were to meet in a village south of Veronica.

Ginepro and I tried to dissuade Ezekiel from taking the deal, reminding him that we still had to lay low for at least a couple of months before attempting another job that large.

“Helena, my dearest, I can understand your concern for our safety, but think of all the good fortune these recent weeks have brought us. Our theft of the Love Promise, and the resulting bounty on my head, has led us to meet with this distinguished gentleman. At this rate, we’ll be sailing the south seas of Vestria before you know it! Besides, aren’t you tired of being little more than a chicken thief?”

Thus was his argument and although I do not share his opinion, the amount offered by our ‘client’ is difficult to resist.

Features
  • The game consists of ten chapters. It doesn’t feature any gaiden chapters.
  • It features a new story set in the small nation of Vestria.
  • The player has 26 units at their disposal, all accessible in a single playthrough.
  • A Vestrian Tale borrows numerous mechanics from Thracia 776, namely True Hit, Thracia Trading and the 99% Accuracy Cap, as well as the Capture Mechanic.
    The general game loop and its economy are based upon it.
  • To make the capture mechanic more organic, weapons and items have been rebalanced to better harmonize with it.
    Moreover, the game presents a select number of skills that synergise with the aformentioned mechanic.
  • In order to create a more personal gaming experience and encourage replayability, each map features several secret events.
    To satisfy the gambler that is in all of us, some of these events feature a risky but rewarding coin toss.
    In the name of fairness, the majority of them are skippable.
  • Are you afraid of losing your game progress to an unlucky miss? There’s nothing to fear. Every map features FE11 inspired save points.
  • The support system is not present in the game. However, in its place, there is a fixed number of interactions between characters per chapter.
  • Custom portraits, music, status screen and much more to satisfy your aesthete side.

For more information about game mechanics, please refer to the guide in the game menu.

Screenshots

A Vestrian Tale Skill.emulator-272
A Vestrian Tale Skill.emulator-16
A Vestrian Tale Skill.emulator-287
A Vestrian Tale Skill.emulator-271
A Vestrian Tale Skill.emulator-266
A Vestrian Tale Skill.emulator-284
A Vestrian Tale Skill04
A Vestrian Tale Skill.emulator-269
A Vestrian Tale Skill11

Known Bugs
  • DO NOT CAPTURE near a breakable wall. You will target the wall instead of the enemy unit and consequently lose a turn.
  • DO NOT USE the Aged Cheese in preps. Funny stuff happens if ya do that.
  • In chapter 4, if anyone talks to Schmidt while holding an enemy unit, after the intended dialogue, a dialogue between Ezekiel and Yehoshua will play. It has no influence on gameplay.
  • mGBA was the emulator used during the creation of this hack. It is the one recommended for a more stable gaming experience.

Download the patch here!

59 Likes

This ones a certifiable banger boys, make sure to use anatolj to satisfy your inner Bors lover!

5 Likes

Looks cool, I’ll give it a shot sometime soon.

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Congrats on release! Have seen this in #playtesting a few times and looks cool. Keen to try and share feedback.

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I found difficulty to be quite on point for me.
Enemies hit quite hard, and so do your units.
With capture in play, and plenty of stealables, your units have a ton of options to deal with tough foes.
However, in all 4 chapters played there’s quite strict anti-turtle so capture can normally not be abused.

One RN is an interesting decision not taken lightly, but the hack is very much balanced with that in mind. Bronze weapons are much more valuable since just ‘decent’ hit no longer effectively gurantees hits.
There’s a lot of save points (maybe too many) which also helps avert ‘unluckiness’ (but more likely to abuse capture chances.

Honestly, I found it to be very fun, which is the whole point of a hack and I definitely recommend it.

3 Likes

I played all 4 chapters today after a friend on discord recommended this hack to me and I gotta say, this game is amazing. It’s really fun and challenging without going too overboard with it’s difficulty. No doubts one of the best hacks i’ve played.
Now there’s a couple of typos here and there that could use some fixing but I don’t remember them at the top of my head asides from Alva calling of the wyverns “Miverva” on the ending cutscene of chapter 1 which I assume is a typo. Also also it seems Laurencio doesn’t have animations and the Liquirizia Ezekiel conversation on chapter 3 shows the same dialogue as Yehoshua’s recruitment convo.
cheese
I would 100% recommend this hack to anyone, specially if they like stat deflation.

4 Likes

I am glad you enjoyed the game and thank you for reporting these issues. They will be slowly but surely fixed.

2 Likes

Normally I don’t really take the time to play hacks that aren’t complete but the maps in the screenshots looked amazing so I really wanted to help with feedback for this. Completed the available chapters just now and it was fun.

First of all I love the save points. I recently played Vestaria Saga and having intended checkpoints that don’t make you feel like you’re cheating by using them are a massive yes for me and my time management. On that note, even I agree with Rivian that one less is probably also okay. iirc I actually left at least one save point unused in every chapter.

It also opens up far more freedom in increasing the difficulty while still being enjoyable. Speaking of which, the difficulty was really comfortable. I had to move carefully but it never felt stressful or oppressive and I can’t quite compare it to anything else I’ve played. I guess its somewhat comparable challenge level to HHM, but no stat inflation really helps in preventing snowballing like in FE7. Definitely stick to that formula.

Question tho, what actually triggers the 2nd boss in the Prologue? Is it turn count? The warning message at the beginning got me into eligor’s spear prologue panic mode, but it turned out to be maybe a bit too lenient. I took my sweet time capturing stuff and got both chest rewards (by deliberately letting a thief live and do part of the work for me) and I still had one residual turn to hang out and kill some more enemies for extra exp before coming into his range and choosing to escape.

Also another thing that bugged me was in chapter 2 where Ezekiel mentions he hears sounds “on the other side” and that there may be someone fighting. Thing is, the map is… square. I found [armor knight] in [redacted] but if there was any other secret on the map then I feel like he should’ve said ‘north’ or ‘east’ at least, or asserted that [armor knight] wasn’t the only thing or was indeed the only thing that he heard (in the recruit convo). I thought he was the secret but I triggered a message on turn 10 saying the sounds stopped only then, indicating that I might’ve missed something else. For some reason, the secret in Chapter 1 was actually very clear and didn’t need further indication.

EDIT: Actually I just realized it was probably a teaser for the story segment after the battle.

In any case though, I really like where his hack is going and definitely recommend it, and I very much appreciate shorter hacks if that means they are completed and polished quicklier : )

3 Likes

Thank you for sharing your opinion. The second boss of the Prologue is triggered by a turn event.
Concerning Ezekiel’s lines in chapter 2, I will still consider giving a tweak to them. There is no need to be misleading.

Hey Roze - I booted up the hack this morning to give it a whirl. Overall first impression on the concept was quite positive (I am a big fan of capture, 1 RN, Thracia caps, and the general design of the units you’ve provided), however, there are a few things I want to call out.

This is my first time playing a hack with save points. I’m generally not keen on them in general, since I find that games with mid map saves either 1) have bullshit or 2) are too long. It’s like a half-step towards turnwheel design and I hope that they aren’t there as a failsafe for trial and error gameplay.

I went to test combat against an enemy adjacent to a save point and accidentally saved over my previous point. Tried to fight my way out, but reset. I hit suspend and when I reloaded the game, it took me back to the turn where I lost the unit, not the point where I saved. Is this a bug, or did I do it wrong?

I’m guessing I need to ignore the suspend function. I apologize if I missed this in dialogue.

I’d recommend 1) removing the suspend menu item if you can, and 2) putting the “save” action to the bottom of the list since one misclick can mess up a turn and force a reset.

I’d also add that while I love 1 RN conceptually for its transparency, the issue I noticed is that the damage output and enemy density makes it a bit unkind. I found that a lot of the combat I was doing that wasn’t at WTA or Helena was in the 70s, meaning that I have 25%-30% chance of messing up on every action. My run ended when Liquiriza missed a 70-something and then I was two hit by enemies.

I could probably stand to get good, but it does feel bad to lose because of a miss.

While I can see why you’d have save points to mitigate this, I do think that because of how strong enemies are, it can make misses punishing.

One of the reasons I think 1 RN works in the older games so well is because the consequences of missing are generally not life or death.

This is generally a function of enemy density and strength. Enemies usually are weak so they are easier to hit and don’t hit back as hard, so the unreliability baked in is usually not as punishing as it would be in a game with stronger enemies (which also generally have more reliable hit rates, like FE12).

To help fix this, I’d recommend two potential approaches: 1) lower the MT of weapons or strength of enemies to make each hit less impactful or 2) increase weapon hit rates to improve reliability.

The combination of hard hitting enemies and shaky hit rates can turn the game into a bit of a coinflip (and this is true regardless of 1 RN or 2 RN), which makes me feel like I have less agency over the outcome. This encourages me to play more defensively, which probably isn’t the intent. The game wants the player to move (the thief anti-turtle is tough to reach, but I’m all about it conceptually).

I hope my feedback doesn’t come across as harsh. I am keen to try the first chapter again and share more as I go along.

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The suspend function works like in vanilla GBA, if you want to load from the save point you have to reset the emulator without suspending or get a gameover

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Thank you for providing feedback.
This version of the game tries to mitigate the 1RN with save points and bronze weapons (which are kind of scarse in the prologue). Both of these solutions are pretty new to development and need some rework in the future.
Glad to hear you are willing to provide further feedback.
Don’t worry about the tone of the comment, I know you don’t have ill intentions. And trust me, it’s making my though gears spinning!

2 Likes

No worries - I tried again and my run went much better, until I risked it all for the far right chest… I felt so baited by the mend staff lol. Not sure if it’d be better to put something more enticing there or if it’d be better to turn back the reinforcements a turn or two. Depends on the difficulty you want to go for. Totally a matter of taste IMO.

Prob my fault for going up the left, I’d assume the right side may be a bit easier ?

The difficulty of the game generally changes based on how much the player is willing to capture. Most of the playtesters thought the difficulty was around if not a tad easier than HHM. Most of the chapters in the game have two routes with different stealables and difficulties, so the player can choose between a better reward and higher risk or and easier time but less exciting loot. In this case, the route on the right is the easy one. It is not impossible for a player who goes on the left to get the chests, but it was a deliberate decision to make it hard.
The factor I wanted to play with is how much the player is willing to put himself in danger for the best loot in the game. The quality of the enemy units is in most cases mediocre, making the choice of not capturing a strategic one. The game is supposed to be beatable even with just a few strategic captures.

Makes sense - it’s a diff experience so just need to learn how it works.

Playing blind and with my vanilla FE glasses on, I assume getting everything is possible haha.

It’s helpful to hear your philosophy, thanks for sharing.

2 Likes

Interesting comments by Pandan on the Prologue. I actually wanted to speed up the reinforcements by 1 turn instead of slow them down o.o

But tbh idt it really needs any change for now.

I should probably state in more detail what I actually did then for balancing purposes. I actually went left and got both chest rewards. Frankly, I was initially planning to include in my previous feedback post that I couldn’t really see the reason to go north but left it out as I haven’t actually tried it.

I felt like going left was more consistent. The main reason it felt more consistent is that I didn’t have information on whether enemies would move, so I feared going north would have every enemy on the left that I would be leaving alone creep towards me and I’d get overwhelmed while im busy losing turns to open the door and the chests and dealing with the armor knight and the other few enemies that are there. I think I’d only even consider going north a) on a second attempt and b) if there wasn’t a door on the left side of the chest room, which meant I could just completely ignore the north east part of the map. It did mean I couldnt get the chest key to open the cliff chest in Chapter 2 though.

So I went left and just used Helena and her PRF to one shot the archers behind the walls. I basically capture or steal from like one unit of every weapon type per chapter, which is more than enough to keep everyone fighting for a while. Fun fact, I played the entire currently available game only using weapons that units started with, or that I obtained (Longbow Jagan go brrr) or captured in the Prologue even though I only captured like 4-5 enemies there. I did also capture like 4 enemies in every next chapter and stole the Killing Edge, but didn’t really run out of the weapons I still had before getting to use them.

Sun God’s Wrath really opened my eyes after seeing that I had like 100 weapons left over in the convoy at the end of the game from excessive capturing. I think that the Prologue is perfectly fine as is if you just capture at a healthy rate.

1 Like

Sorry for the late response. The balancing of the two paths of the prologue was a pretty interesting process.
In the first draft of the map, the body ring and the rapier were not inserted, and for this reason the northen path was the optimal one. With their addittion, most players started to prefer the left path, mainly because of the assumption of being able to grab everything in the map, which is perfectly normal.
I was also plesantly surprised to discover some testers were able to take the body ring taking the northen path and the chest key taking the left path. It always depends on how lucky the player is and on how much risk they are willing to take., which is fine for me.

1 Like

(Finally a hack with stat deflation true)

Feedback:
Wouldnt say a heavy focus on capture, iron weapons are durable enough that player dont have to capture a lot

And on ch3, a talk event has a recruit dialogue repeated

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Thank you for the insights. Reducing the durability of irons is a very interesting idea. I think maybe 28 uses might be a good compromise. I will definitely thinker with the concept in the next weeks.

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I’m curious over the course of a run how many weapons will break. As in, how little capturing can I get away with and still do what I need to do effectively? I wonder if the short length of the game hampers capture’s design, because you will have fewer overall enemies to fight, and thus won’t need as many weapons.

I’ve been working on something w/ capture as well, and the balance is fun to work out.

Still need to play through and beat ch1