[FE8] Fire Emblem: The Drowned King

Hello people, I have reemerged from my slumber to reveal a new project I’ve been tinkering on for a while now. It is a hack of FE8 called Fire Emblem: The Drowned King!

It is an old-fashioned ROM hack supposed to play something like how FE7 does, with linear promotion and a single-routed story, and no skills.

The Story

The Drowned King takes place on the continent of Ferris, split into six nations. The Kingdom of Ambrose. The Theocracy of Auspicia. The Dacian Coalition. The Republic of Pontus. The Northern Islands. And finally, the Empire of Valeria. The story takes place thirty years after a brutal conflict known as the Iron War.

Since the war, Ferris has existed in relative peace, though tensions have flared up once more. Dacia and Valeria have signed and alliance and have begun attacking Ambrose and Auspicia. As a result, the King of Ambrose, Leopold, has gone on a journey to meet the Valerian Emperor to sort things out before they escalate further.

Our story follows Randall, a solder in Regiment XIII of the Ambrosian army. A small unit stationed on the Dacian border and generally considered the dregs of the military. Everything changes when what seems like a simple border patrol ends up becoming something much more sinister…

Planned Features

  • 28 Chapters
  • 54 Playable Units
  • Support Conversations
  • An actually good title screen
  • FE8 Style World Map, though with no skirmishes or tower, useful for shops and worldbuilding

Current Features

  • 8 Chapters
  • 22 Playable Units
  • Support Conversations

The Cast

Randall: Our protagonist. A soldier in Regiment XIII of the Ambrosian army. The son of a legendary mercenary.

Stanley: The captain of Regiment XIII. A former royal guard who retired from his position.

Kristoph: A priest who travels with the Regiment. Stanley’s oldest friend.

Thomas: A knight from Regiment XIII. Randall’s adoptive brother.

Elaine: A knight from Regiment XIII. Kristoph’s daughter.

Corey: A sleepy fighter from Regiment XIII. Works as their scout.

Leopold: The beloved King of Ambrose.

Caspian: The Emperor of Valeria. An extremely patriotic man who has ruled since the Iron War.

Eleazor: A mysterious swordsman affiliated with the Dacian army somehow.

Map Examples
ch2
ch6
ch7

Screenshots
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Patch
The Drowned King

15 Likes

Hello! I love me some plan and simple GBA gameplay, so I decided to give this a whirl with a little free time this afternoon. I’m only through the prologue and Ch. 1 so far, but I hope to maybe pick this back up again maybe tonight or tomorrow.

Overall, I’d say this game played very much like normal mode in the vanilla FE GBAs, so if this is what you’re going for, then you are on the right track. The first couple chapters didn’t offer too much challenge as enemies are pretty weak, and Stanley could have easily beaten both maps on his own if I’d let him. I would call it a pleasant, but not particularly engaging, experience. This might change in the future as I progress, but I wanted to say this from the start as this was my immediate strongest reaction.

The story started off fairly simple, but got more interesting quickly with the invasion. I don’t have too many thoughts right now since the characters themselves haven’t had much time to shine, but Bailey has been a standout so far with his anger at being betrayed. Dialogue in general seems to flow fairly well and is easy to follow, so no complaints there.

Some more detailed feedback:

General
  • You may not know this, but vanilla FE8 actually has this very weird quirk until Chapter 8 where your experience gain actually increases as you gain levels, instead of decreasing. I noticed the is still in this hack, and you may want to disable it, as a couple of my units are already very high level after 2 chapters. You can adjust this in FEBuilder/find to offset to adjust it if using buildfiles by looking up the patch “Adjust Mode Coefficient Experience Gain” in FEBuilder.
  • While I appreciate vanilla mechanics, I think the hack could use some modern, quality-of-life-type features if you’re so inclined to add them. Things like a growths display, enemies displaying when they won’t move, and making “Talk” a free action are things I’d recommend looking into if you’re so inclined, because I think they tend to make the overall experience smoother. A modular minimug box would also be welcome.
  • The eventing in general is pretty nice, so good job with that, but they could use a few more STAL commands to pause before something else happens - things like a unit moving and a convo starting immediately are common, and brief pauses can help add emphasis on what’s going on in the scene.
  • The description for Knight lists that they can only use lances, but they also seem to be able to use axes now
Prologue
  • Randall starts with only is personal lance, but it feels a little bad to have to use it here when it can’t hit any enemy in this chapter for effective damage. I’d suggest maybe tossing him an iron lance as well to start, and you could maybe compensate by just lowering the gold given the village if you so desire.
  • A number of units here (Elaine in particular) have very low luck and immediately face crits rates from enemies, particularly mercs. This wasn’t a serious issue since enemies don’t hit very hard, but I would recommend maybe slightly raising base luck of units (and lowering growths correspondingly) just to help players avoid nasty low % crits that they can’t avoid early.
  • The boss was a bit tedious and annoying to take on since Stanley with the Iron Sword was the only unit to have a hit rate over 80. I’d suggest maybe removing the boss’ terrain to help speed things up, since he is not very threatening either way, but the extra avoid makes him more tedious to take on.
Chapter 1
  • Same deal with the low luck on Bailey here, I would raise it a little so he’s not randomly ended by a merc for an unlucky player
  • The breakable walls is a neat idea, but things just got very clogged with all of the reinforcements filing down a one-tile choke. A lot of enemy phase combat for usually only one unit at a time made it a bit of a slog. I’d recommend maybe widening the hallway to 2 tiles.
  • Edmund can get doubled by mercs in this chapter, and they’re the only enemies he has weapon triangle advantage on. This makes him leave a poor first impression.
  • Elaine’s Iron Sword was almost broken by the end of this chapter, seeing as it saw heavy use against the many axe enemies here and was typically the best option in both early chapters. Consider adding another early sword here, maybe.

All in all, I did have a good time. If you intend for the hack to be much harder, I can give some additional critique, but for these two chapters at least, the intention seemed to be for them to be pretty easy, so I filtered my feedback towards playability/fun over difficulty. Hope to be back soon after playing more!

2 Likes

Firstly, thanks for taking time to check it out. Means a lot. :slight_smile:

Ok, I did not know about the mode coefficient experience gain. Thank you for telling me, I’ll fix that.

Quality of Life wise. I’ve been meaning to add most of those, and actually thought I had made Talk a free action. I’m not sure where to find the relative patches for them as I can only seem to find the ones that are lumped in with SkillSystems.

Not sure what’s going on with Knights… Will have a look at that. They’re supposed to be lance-locked here.

I’d never struggled too much getting critted on my test runs, but that is of course personal experience. So I’ll probably tweak that a little.

I’ve been considering making Randall capable of wielding both lances and swords, so maybe have him begin with the Partisan and an iron sword would work?

Regarding difficulty, yeah the first couple chapters aren’t supposed to be too taxing.

Also story is kinda being stunted by me not being able to figure out how to get a working world map in there. That’s definitely a work in progress though.

Again, thanks for checking it out. :slight_smile:

I’ve gone through all current release chapter. I agree with @WarPath on giving Randall a basic weapon besides his personal one. Half of the uses of the lance ended up going down bc I only had that for him till I had access to the preparation screen.

The story so far is going at nice pace tho I do have to agree once again that EXP is getting a bit ridiculous since the units I have invested are already over Lv 15 and this is by Chapter 7 (with less than half your planned amount of chapters).
Fitting for a unit like Elaine (which is one of the few I’ve invested) but a bit ridiculous for a unit like the Lord (image example of my Lord’s level by the end of the chapter below)

I don’t know if you are planning on an earlier promotion or smth along those lines after this chapter but that much growth seems a bit too quick (specially since with him being the Lord he always ends up getting EXP from deploying in all maps regardless of whether I focus on feeding him EXP or not)

Regardless, I feel this is a decent hack (haven’t played through that many myself) that I’ve enjoyed so far

Thanks a lot or taking your time to check it out, it means a lot!

The snowballing exp could be something to do with the mode WarPath mentioned. Randall is supposed to promote in at the end of Chapter 13.