[FE8] Fire Emblem: The Lotus King

Welcome to The Lotus King project page. This is a Sacred Stone hack with an original story and characters. This is very much a work in progress and it will be a very very long time until the game is in full working order.

Last year out of the blue, I revived from an eleven-year hiatus the Decay of the Fangs hack by filling out the second half of the game and making some general improvements to the base game. Rather than keeping this project in the dark and doing a sudden release like my last project, I thought I’d get it out early to vet ideas and get improvements along the way. I’m still pretty new at rom hacking and am very open to collaborating. This game itself may change drastically before it settles into its final shape.

Credits

I’m working alone on this project at the moment but I have used animations from the sprite repository and spliced some portraits I found on there. The impression I got is that these are okay to use. I’m going to keep adding to this list as I add things to the game.

7743 for being the absolute legend to put together FEBuilder
Spud, TBA, Black Mage, Temp, Wan Suhayma’s alternate second class ameila knight sprite
TBA, Spud, MeatofJustice Bakwena starter class soldier
GabrielKnight, BigMood Samurai animation
Jj09, Pikmin1211 for Dark mage animation
FE7if for Vorvo animation
Mercenary Lord, NYZGamer, Pikmin1211, Maiser6 Bakewna second stage
RedBean, Jj09 Kezia Lotus King
Spud, Leolink, Iscaneous, Nuramon Templemen
Leo_link, Spud, MeatOfJustice Ruhi and other archers
Nuramon Cricket sniper animation
Marlon0024 Jackal Sage
MK404 Knights animation
Obsidian Daddy, Rexacuse, Leo Link Promoted Elijah
Blade Skin tones
Caringcarrot for some splicing content for Kayvan, Astr and Yazdan, hair pieces on some others
SomeDenseGuy for splice hair used on Astr
ZeMedic for armor used on Astr
JT for Suhayma splice material
JT for Vampires Marzanna and Mora
L95 for Skeleton mug
Nuramon various armors
Nobody for splice content on Tarcin
Blademaster splice content armor for young Shaddai and old Shaddai
MrGreen3339 for splice content taken from Diane
Rasdel, Spud Deserter class portrait used for Templemen class portrait
Flasuban, Jj09 for the fire used in Mik3 class portrait
Yoshirider I think I spliced a shoulder spike from OC6
MarioBro for Wicke and kickstarting Black Fang
Olechandserif (imo probably the best fe portrait spriter) for hair and face splice material taken for Attalid
RedBean, Jj09 for Fir animation used for Kezia
Spud, Leolink, Iscaneous, Nuramon for Templemen animation
TBA, Spud, MeatofJustice for Halberdier used for Bakwena
MercenaryLord, NYZGamer, Pikmin1211, Maiser6 for Dragoon animation
Nuramon for Cricket sniper animation
Leo_link, Spud, MeatofJustice for archers animation
IS, MK404, MakeFEGayer for pegasus knight sword animation
Flasuban, Greentea, RobertFPY for Astr animation
JonoTheRed for supplier animation
Dolkar for the rifleman gun
Pikmin1211, Retrogamer for hexer animation
Flasuban, eCut Helmetless wyvern

With the preface complete, let’s get into what this hack is all about.

[UPS PATCH] Updated 6/16/2022 (Lotus King.PATCH.20220616203359)
If you downloaded the first patch, please update. There was a progress blocking bug in chapter 4.

Discord

The Lotus and the Spider's Thread

One fine morning in Paradise, Buddha was taking a walk alone around the Lotus Pond. The white lotus flowers filled the air with a sweet fragrance. Buddha stopped and looked down below through the lotus leaves. The floor of Hell was right below the Lotus Pond, and he could see the Sanzu-no-Kawa and Hari-no-Yama. There he saw a man who was having a hard time along with the other sinners. The man’s name was Kandata. He was a bad man. He killed many people in his life. But he did one good thing.

One day, when Kandata was walking through a forest, he saw a spider. He was going to crush it with his foot. But he thought, “No, no. Although it’s a very small spider, it has life, too. I can’t kill it.”
Buddha remembered this good deed and thought, “I’ll give Kandata a chance to escape from Hell.” Buddha saw a spider which was spinning a beautiful thread on the green lotus leaves. Buddha carefully took the spider’s thread in his hand, and through an opening among the lotus leaves he let it down into Hell.

The World
The Lotus King is set in the empire of Xsaca (Kh sha thah). If Elibe is influenced by Greece, Xsaca is the Persian Empire. It is grander, more modern, and heavily militarized. The Empire is effectively a republic in the sense that specific councilmen have the ability to nominate the emperor. This nomination right extends to all people. Functionally however, one family has not been contested for a century. An alleged bastard known as The Great Pretender claims the lineage of the dying emperor and contests the throne against his stoic cousin. Of course, things turn out far more complicated than a simple family squabble.

Other factions gain prominence on the continent. One, a private military which has harnessed the dragon amber of dead manaketes post-Bern war. Another guild of assassins setting a railroad like network of warp staves making instant travel and regicide possible across the continent.

The game has callbacks to the Black Fang romhack but it is not required at all to play this one. You’ll simply have “oh, snap, I got that reference” moments if you’ve played both.

The Characters
Though this conflict draws in our cast, it is a tale not told through a lord’s journey but the idealistic peasant children swept up in his campaign. The story is largely a coming of age story about our protagonist, Elijah. Elijah finds himself suddenly appearing in this foreign land, somehow able to speak the local language. He is quickly indebted to the kindness of strangers, overwhelmed by the pressures to fulfil a role which puts the practical needs of others over his own emotional needs, and a mysterious doomsday clock ticking away all magic from the continent.

Chapters
Presently there are eight playable chapters including the prologue. Six from Elijah’s perspective and two from the perspective or Shaddai, a supporter of the establishment candidate Kayvan III. Supports have not begun but will be in play later. Talk conversations are “hidden” in various chapters and can reward valuable items and even skills.

The game is not adequately balance tested.

Lotus King.emulator_01

Content Warning
This game will contain emotional manipulation, specifically of child soldiers for political purposes.
Some adult language is used (but far less than Black Fang - in that game the characters were based on coal-union blue-collar guys so they used a lot of it. A few people apparently had an issue with it.)
In order to later subvert it, the game is going to give the impression that this is a White Savior story. It’s not.
Every chapter is named after a Queen song… if you were wondering what was up with that.

Chapters

Prologue: Now I’m Here
1: The Great Pretender
2: Leaving Home Ain’t Easy
3: Killer Queen
4: Living On My Own
5: All God’s People
6: Breakthru
7: All Dead - All Dead
8: Made in Heaven

Spoiler

Our protagonist Elijah is trans. Always a compassionate character, Elijah will continue to be kind but will grow firm and resolute in his principles. Rejecting half-measures and platitudes. I want to be as respectful as possible with this character and could use advice from time to time.

18 Likes

Sounds cool I’d love to play it

I’ll be shortly playing this game soon, so stay tuned up for reviews/feedback and other distasteful comments on this project!

Although, by what I’m seeing thus far, and the fact that there’s no need to have played a previous game to understand this one (references may require previous plays) are things that actually make me feel good with this, so get ready.

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So this is set on the continent to the east of Elibe, in the future?

Yeah, about 30 years after the Binding Blade. Some characters from that (Raigh, Chad, Klein) show up but much older.

1 Like

ok, looking forward to this

A ROM hack that was kept in the dark and was brought back after Decay of the Fang has been brought back from an 11-year hiatus. I say this ROM hack has potential and it’s promising to say. Looking forward to playing this in the meantime.

Played the first three or so chapters and I’ve got a bit to say.

Probably the biggest “bug” to fix is that it looks like about 80-90% of all speech bubbles are missing an A press prompt at the end. The other one I noticed was that the slim lance isn’t consistent with the slim sword, and the player wyvern’s mapsprite has lances, while his wranks show swords and axes? Similar thing happens with the peg, where the mapsprite is lances, but she actually wields swords.

On story and writing, I don’t have that much to say. I do think that maybe Elijah being constantly misgendered is a bit repetitive if the idea is to show he’s trans. I don’t think it’s bad or anything but doesn’t need to really happen every time he meets a new character, even if that’s what realistically would happen. I’m not a writing guy anyways though, so it all seems fine enough to me.

I really liked the eventing with the assassin in the desert killing the guys, and the cg. Pretty cool stuff.

On the gameplay, I think you need to test this game much more thoroughly. There’s a lot to say, but the biggest thing I noticed were that hitrates were consistently really garbage and enemies are way too bulky. I’d recommend at least adding something like DS avoid.

The entire prologue was just a slog because the lance trainee + mage lord don’t even 3HKO most enemies, I think. Also, the mage lord has 4 mov. I assume this is an oversight since both armors and the lance trainee have 5. The fighter in the fort is stupid hard to hit and his AI isn’t properly displayed. I thought he’d move but he just doesn’t. The boss having counter I assume is a leftover from defaults and is really annoying since it means I just have to EP with Elijah. I’d recommend removing it. I also like the idea of different characters getting stuff from the villages, but I got the javelin and so the pirate guy was a lot weaker than he might have been expected to be.

Chapter 1 had the cool cutscene at the beginning, but the gameplay is also part of the cutscene. You can’t really do anything because all of these enemies are on the other side of sand that slows you wayyyyy down. I just kept hitting end turn till the assassin guy won the map for me. I also don’t like the area reinforcements but they aren’t that bad since even though they are kind of ambushes, they’re also not that strong. This applies to chapter 2 more than chapter 1, but the weapon that the lance trainee gets is just like, really garbage for no reason? Why is it only 3mt?

Chapter 2 feels like a really confused chapter. I just sort of camped out at the start and the enemies just kind of… died. Counter can’t kill, so I just used the peg to kill the boss. Wondering why there’s a shop in this chapter when I have no gold at all. Maybe I missed something? The enemies here are way too dodgy, but their bulk isn’t really as bad as the ones in prologue/ch3.

I didn’t really get that far in chapter 3, but the “search” objective is wayyyyyy too vague. I assumed it would be an area event so I just flew around the map with the flier, then I realised it was seize. You should tell the player this. Enemies here are way too bulky again, maybe they should have 4-5 defense instead of 8. Also, why do you give the red gem after preps and then make the player shop in the chapter? I didn’t even know what tile it was till I looked in builder. I’d recommend just giving the gem at the end of the previous chapter, so the shopping can be done in preps.

This is a personal thing, but you overuse skills a lot, with some units having 3-4 skills in the very earliest chapters, and some generic enemies having skills. This isn’t really necessary, I’d recommend cutting down on the skills significantly on both sides. The learned skills aren’t really an issue but the ones I’ve seen so far are kind of lame and unimpactful at best (focus, sol), so I’d either recommend removing those entirely too or changing them so they matter more.

I don’t really have much else to say but that the gameplay really needs to be polished up. It plays like an untested first draft right now, but I think there’s a lot of interesting potential in the concept that can be realised once the game is better tested and tweaked. The art is also really good for the most part. Also, if any of this is unclear to you, feel free to ask for clarification on any aspects I mentioned. I’d be happy to explain and try to help.

Eager to see where this project goes in the future since like I said, it definitely has potential.

4 Likes

This is exactly the sort of feedback I was hoping for. A few of the points you made here I’m going to immediately implement. For example the overabundance of skills. Yeah, when I first activated the skill patch it gave every class skills and I’ve been stripping them away bit by bit and putting some on characters as a kind of narrative gameplay synergy, like Rasheda getting hot blooded to show that she’s vengeful and gets stronger the madder she is. But other ones like giving Elijah the Sol skill in an optional talk dialogue was kind of an impulse and doesn’t really accomplish anything specific. So I will probably change that. I just wanted to reward the player for doing the talk convos since I wasn’t confident the lore dumps would be for everyone.

For balance, I’m aware that this is a mess. I typically approach level design as just scaffold a chapter with an intro, combat and end scene and then hopefully make it actually not terrible later. Map design and balance are the areas I’m least confident in, and I could definitely use help with strategic placement. I’m glad you gave specific details like lowering the defense stat of some of the mobs because when I show people in person it’s often “I know it doesn’t quite work but I couldn’t tell you how to fix it.” This advice was much more helpful. I’ll probably jump right on that if I can remember to when I get home.

You can probably see in some chapters that I’m sort of experimenting with the mechanics like getting a board-able ship to cross water, player instigated fog timing, opening doors for npcs using ballista, and having switches on the floors that open paths and stuff. I did stuff like this in the later chapters of Black Fang too where different chapters had gimmicks like the cast being turned to stone and having to be talked to to have them restored, having a no magic map, having enemy factions that can turn on eachother based on who you instigate, etc.

For chapter 3, search is vague but on turn 9 Bakwena specifies the noises are coming from stright north. In the next version the camera is going to pan up and a sparkling frame will highlight the square. The idea is for the player to dive in and get more specific directions after some combat because that’s sort of how the characters are feeling.

Very minor notes Elijah is definitely supposed to have 5 move. I don’t know how that happened but I immediately fixed it when I read your post. Wish I’d caught it before putting the patch out. Another thing is it is technically possible to get money before the shop in Chapter 2 but it depends on who visited the village in the Prologue. If Elijah visits you get money, if Suhayma visits you get a javelin, if Hassan visits you get a steel axe.

Edit: Oh, and about the dialogue boxes. The [A] thing is definitely present but typically in every other line, not every individual line.

If the player cares about the lore then the talk conversation itself would be the reward in and of itself. I’m of the opinion that the player shouldn’t feel pressured to do them for possible rewards if they don’t know which talk conversations give them something. Really I think most people won’t care, but giving skills like Sol or Focus does not feel super meaningful, especially since these conversations don’t feel important enough to warrant giving these skills so early in the game. The lance in ch2 was alright, but again a very weak weapon.

Turn 9 is wayyyy too late, even though I didn’t actually play the chapter the intended way, like I said I just sort of had the flier look all around the map. I think it should at least be specified that Elijah is important to clearing the chapter in some way because to me, at least, it wasn’t immediately clear that he needed to seize anything. I’m also reminded that you don’t have any sort of way to mitigate fog vision, so maybe giving characters 1 more tile of vision would be a good choice here. Personally I loathe fog and would rather it be removed entirely but I understand why it’s there, so mitigating it is a good option, I think.

I meant that the game is missing several of them at the end of text boxes, so there is a lot of text skipping, as in, it moves to the next character’s text box without pausing to wait for your A press. I was able to read the text fine, but this makes it so people who want to take more time reading aren’t able to. I assume this wasn’t intentional.

Another thing I just remembered was that you should probably add ModularMinimugBox. It’s not essential but I find it an extremely helpful quality of life feature.

I haven’t played the hack yet (gonna download the patch in like ten minutes) but reading that other person’s review and seeing your request for guidance on Elijah’s identity, I’ve got advice.

I mean, I’m not trans (probably), but a solid over-half of my friends are, so here’s the thing. You don’t need to show the character being misgendered. It’s a bit harder in this format where there’s no “narrator”, but it’s generally frowned upon to make a trans character’s trauma with their identity take too much space.

1 Like

If you haven’t yet, you should probably do so ASAP. I can only speak for myself, and Idk if you’ve used anything I’ve created, but if you have, I’d like to be credited. Not later, but as soon as you’ve made a patch available.

1 Like

Hi, welcome back!

Since you’ve been away from the community for a while, it’s understandable to have lapsed on what we consider acceptable asset usage. You can check out this thread which has a great summary of how to credit graphical assets in your work. If you missed it, I’ll draw your attention to this note in the second post:

I’ve unlisted the thread while you get that sorted; you can let me know once that’s done and I’ll restore the thread. Note that you should credit the creators of individual assets by name; a blanket “credit goes to the creators” is not enough. This is not a warning or punishment, just a notification.

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Fairly major changes to all of the chapters in the new ups file. Major story and map changes. Obviously nothing is super balanced and there’s a lot of work ahead. But by playing it you can see what I’m going for.

New characters:
lughDanaeklein
Lugh, Danae, Klein

kaustos3ahmedIza12jackal1Cricket
keiko2

Kaustos, Zano’ah, Iza, “Jackal”, Cricket, Vara

New Chapter added on 6/16/2022
Noticed a bug where my Suhayma reverted to level 0 after disappearing and reappearing. Not sure what happened there but I’ll look into it later. Up to chapter 9 is playable but the end scene isn’t designed yet.

9 Likes