Discord (Link no longer expired!):
Frozen Throes is an abominable project spawned from the culmination of a lonely idea guy, patience, and time; including, but most assuredly not limited to: a heavy basis on the charm of Gaiden/Echoes the gameplay and depth of Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn, and the storytelling perplexity/bizarreness/styling’s based on the works of Yoko Taro.
Planned feature summary, I highly suggest you just look at this if you don’t want to spend the rest of your week reading everything in the spoiler tags below. Everything listed here is assuredly not implemented quite yet, but there is nothing here I’m not confident I can eventually and adequately deliver.
40ish playable chapters planned, maybe?
40-50ish playable characters I guess, some playable generics probably
Several possible endings
Easy/normal/hard modes with slightly different minor story/chapter changes
A continent where the countries haven’t been at war for hundreds of years
A story that largely revolves around a unit in the greater army, rather than the commander
Tight paced, mechanically complex, thoughtfully engaging, and feature rich chapter design
Blizzards, freezing rivers, avalanches, snow drifts, map palette changes, fog of war, third faction green units, split Thracia escape, and that’s all just in the 10x15 prologue. Many other new and familiar features as well
Themes include, but aren’t limited to: social and economic impact of conflict, morality, expectations, and change
Obligatory rom hack several arc structure
Obligatory rom hack time skip, expect it’s a flashback
Obligatory rom hack route split, but also a Tellius style split towards the end
Pre arc interactive explore-y style chapters akin to Gaiden
Pre chapter interactive Tellius/Fates style base
A plethora of new classes
Tier 0 – Tier 3 class units, a few tier 4 units
3 branch promotions instead of 2, with reclassing therein to an extent
Skill per unit tier, with a half-assed Tellius style system as well
One or two mid/post game story relevant dungeons
Many new items, and familiar items of yore
Resource management/Forging system
Morale system (not fatigue)
Now commonplace QOL stuff
New music/graphics/UI/tilesets, yes, more new tilesets
I haven’t looked into it yet, but hopefully a usable world map
Lots of cheeky little references to things like engineering, science, history, philosophy, and metal music
A bunch more things that I’ve already forgotten
0.1.1 Important update! There was a rogue magic seal in chapter 1 that wasn’t supposed to be there… He must have snuck his way in from Auri’s nightmare… I’ve remedied the issue in an updated patch up top and recommend playing again to get the full proper experience…
As the days grow shorter and the nights become colder, you find yourself restless, searching for something new. As you sit there, lost and confused, the gentle wind brushes the snow off the trees. As it falls you notice a faint glistening. But it’s dark; you’re alone, your senses fading as the cold wind nips at your very soul. You crawl over by the faint light of the moon. What is it? You ponder. You brush away the last bit of frost and reveal what it is. You let out a puzzled, “huh?” And at the tip of your nearly frostbitten fingertips, there it is, that one project you hadn’t heard about before FEE3, were temporarily distracted by, and subsequently forgot to remember:
Ver: 1607212800 (0.1) includes the prologue, first explore-y chapter, and 4 more chapters, serving as the first half of act 1. The veritable Lyn mode, if you will. I do have quite a bit more complete than what I’m releasing today, but the lot of that has been omitted from this patch, because no spoilers.
I’ll preface with this: I’m not a writer, I work with electric cars, so far from it, and never have been. In fact, the draft of this post is the longest thing I’ve written in years. I don’t expect the story to end up as epic and fantastic as I like to pretend it is in my head, or even make as much sense. And honestly, that isn’t even really a goal of mine. Rather it simply be something memorable, and enjoyable. You can expect a lot of influence from Yoko Taro in regards to the story development and style. And much like the draft of this post, I tend to write things as they come to mind, and leave them as such. The fun part there being the story is different every time I think about it.
Now on to the actual story bits. Frozen Throes takes place on a continent where the larger nations tolerate each other for mainly for the sake of economic cooperation, and the smaller nations, well don’t really have any other choice but to follow suit. You’ll learn much more of the back-story and relation among the nations as you progress. The world is assumed to be fairly far to the north, and largely in an adequately chilly and unruly climate.
The story is largely character based, and tells their tales relative to the world around them. You’re introduced to three of the main characters in the prologue, who part ways shortly thereafter. The bulk of the game follows the young mage, Auriela (Auri), as she travels in the party of Verdaine, a knight serving under the Dragoon Nikolai. Auri won’t really be calling any of the shots in her time travelling with Verdaine, as the latter is eventually set off on a mission given by an old lord in a relatively recently annexed region of one of the larger/wealthier kingdom, Veritas. In conjunction with the lord, Nikolai sets off on his own path to be revealed through the game. Paths will eventually realign as a common goal is sought. I really don’t know what else to exactly put in this section, without spoilering too much that you’ll eventually learn, I guess you’ll just have to play and find out.
Much like Radiant Dawn, and just about every rom hack out there nowadays, FT will feature several arcs throughout the story consisting of several different parties. Also, like in Gaiden, they’ll alternate, up to a point about 2/3 of the way through the main story. There will also be a few opportunities to swap items/units between parties therein. Since time skips are also all the rage, one of my arcs will also take place at an alternative time to the main story. However, the time skip arc in question will take place in the form of a flashback of an amnesiac old man. This opens the opportunity for future events to occur (or not occur) based on the possible recollection from this sequence. There is more than enough material therein for a whole prequel, but with the time it’s taking me just to deliver the main story, that will all be condensed into the flashback portion.
Aside from the typical level/unit placement/reinforcements common to different difficulties, I’d like to include a few more changes. There will be minor changes to story and the relative passing of in game time based on difficulty. In one chapter for example, on normal mode in a particular FOW chapter, your party will arrive at a location as it begins to rain, which slowly puts out torches. On hard mode, you will arrive after the rain has picked up and already put out all the torches. On easy, you arrive before the rain starts. So the difference will be pretty minor, but there will essentially be a bit more content for the higher difficulties, up to and including more competent enemies (in the greater scheme of things), new mini bosses, item availability, tighter pacing, enemy AI, and perhaps a few more things…
Throughout the game, there will be 2 types of generally non-combat, free-roaming, more typical rpg wander around and explore type of map
Once-ish per arc, usually at the beginning, there will be a larger, slightly more exposition heavy chapter, akin to the villages in Gaiden, but not quite Echoes. They’re meant to serve as a little break from the typical gameplay, and let you learn about the world/story. Within them, you’ll find plenty of dialogue with NPC and maybe some of your units, as well as opportunities to get items, experience, gold, hints/secrets, skills, new units, send off your merchants to transfer items, and even receive quests. You’ll generally be able to return to these locations and turn in quests, which should function just like they did in Echoes. There may also be some simple cheeky little puzzles within these chapters. I don’t plan to include any combat in these chapters, but things can always change…
The other type of pre-chapter chapter is meant to occur prior to every chapter, starting around chapter 6 on Auri’s route. These consist of a single 10x15 map, with only your “lord” unit playable, and function fairly similarly to the larger interactive cut scene chapters. The main difference being that these are meant to act just like the Tellius pre-chapter base segments, and will have most of the familiar features from those games, just in the form of a map, rather than nice menu. As you progress in the game, and more units join your party (playable or not), you will have access to many more things to do; more on that somewhere below. Come to think of it, it would make much more sense to say these segments will function just like My Castle from Fates, albeit in a new non-customizable scenic locale per chapter, but with many similar and several new options.
Fun fact! The explore-y chapter at the beginning was just the test bed for some of the things I wanted to try and do with the pre-chapter base thing, but got taken so far out of hand; it became its own thing.
There’s a lotta them, 80 in the main class tree if I can count correctly. All base units have 3 promotion options, with every tier 2 class only having 2 possible base classes. The main idea behind this is to have a great degree of freedom with how you choose to play units, but not quite as much as Three Houses. The silhouetted classes have not yet been shown in the currently playable chapters. Most really shouldn’t be too hard to guess, but there are certainly quite a few new additions, or even changes to old. I’ve also omitted a few of the classes that were only briefly seen in this release. This is the current tree after about a baker’s dozen worth of iterations, and at one point all of the classes were nicely intertwined, but then I got carried away… And if you don’t like all the choices provided, go play Three Houses and change everyone into a Wyvern Lord, ya bunch of heathens.
I said this was partially based on Gaiden, right? So there will be some tier 0 units. I don’t necessarily plan on having a bunch of tier 0 classes, but instead just a single class (or 2) capable of E-ranking multiple weapon types and promoting accordingly. So I guess they’ll be pretty akin to the commoner/noble from 3H.
There are a bunch of tier 2 classes to not only encourage replayability, but also ensure no two runs are identical. And if you’re not happy with the first tier 2 class you may promote into, there will be reclassing. Yes, the illusive modern FE feature in GBA. It won’t be quite as simple as using a second seal, but rather a more text based option at base, and limited to the 2 other classes the given unit may have promoted into otherwise. Any promotion bonus/nerf, and skill, will all get adjusted accordingly. I’d really like to incorporate the class growth modifiers to units to possibly incentivize exploration, but lest I recall the patch is buggy.
But why stop there, I said this was partially based on Tellius right? So how about tier 3 classes too? Yep, they’re not in the chart, but I do fully plan on having tier 3 classes. They won’t be quite as numerous as the tier 2 options, where similar classes will all promote into a single class. For example, most of the T2 physical cavalry classes will promote to the Destrier class. The interesting part there is the possibility of having multiple units of the same class, but with different weapon uses, as well as unique skills, based on their possible tier 1 and tier 2 classes.
So T0 through T3 equals 4 tiers worth of playable units. But wait, Gaiden had overlasses, so I’ll have a few of those too for some specific characters. So yes, 5 tiers of classes.
There will also be most of the vanilla monster classes, along with maybe a few more, and of course a couple NPC only classes.
*all of this is subject to change pending several things (and before you say it, I do have a janky late game solution to relieve OAM limits)
A closer look at the humble Merchant class:
Throughout the game, you’ll encounter several characters of the merchant class. These unique units have several uses. They’re mainly used a support class wielding potions that act like the dancer’s rings (because they are) albeit providing different buffs/nerfs than vanilla. The merchant class, as well as its promotions can use potions exclusively.
Merchants can also exclusively wield the walking stick lance to defend themselves, to give a use to the animation I made. They won’t be able to use any other lances (maybe), and will lose use upon promotion.
Another feature of the merchants, they will generally have their own little mission within their respective act, whether it simply is visit a village or something a bit more involved. I suggest seeing through what they’ve set out to accomplish…
Outside of the chapters, they will also function similarly to the traveling merchants found in Echoes, in that they will switch parties after the respective act they take part in, allowing you to transfer up to a whopping 5 items between parties. This will occur during the free-roam portion preceding every new act, so it won’t be any more easily missed than in Echoes.
Allow me to preface this section as such. Upon finding the skill section in my early FEBuilder forays, I will admit I made a spreadsheet allocating two skills each to some 90 classes in a much earlier iteration of my class layout.
Anyways, I’m not a huge fan of forcing skill emblem onto the player, especially in one-off rom hacks, so here’s the approach I’m using. What I’m particularly happy this method does, is gently ease the player into the new skills as they slowly start encountering more and more promoted enemies, rather than just be thrown into the game with a completely new arrangement of skills to try and comprehend on every single enemy.
T0 and T1 classes will all have a movement based skill- shove, swap, pivot, or reposition (anyone wanna make a draw back skill for me?). There shouldn’t be any extra combat skills on these classes.
T2 classes will gain a skill through leveling at some point, or maybe just on promotion, not got that far quite yet.
T3 classes will also gain another, probably pretty powerful skill akin to the Tellius mastery skills, being that these enemies will only be bosses/very late game/post game.
Other classes outside the main tree won’t exactly follow these rules, and have a few skills of their own accordingly, like lordly/unique classes, dancers, monsters, etc.
Certain classes will also have what I call their intrinsic skill, things like canto, the thief stuff, and a few others.
Playable units will have a personal skill. I initially wanted player units to have to “earn” their personal skill, by accomplishing some fairly simple task based on their dialogue or personal info page. I figured it would be either too easy to miss since it would probably be through a specific chapter event, too slow if I had a bunch of always conditional events, or just too laborious for me to accommodate unique requirements in any given chapter. So default personal skill it is.
Bosses/named NPCs will also have personal skills.
Some weapons and/or items may grant skills when equipped.
There will also be other ways to give/remove skills, similar to the implementation in the Tellius games. This will take place during the pre-chapter base chapters through a fairly text based event. I may or may not make it use a similar gauged based system just like Tellius, or just keep it limited to your own wants. Some in game events/progress will unlock new skills here you’ll have access to over time. There is one more way to earn skills here that you can create your own (kind of). More info on that somewhere below.
Another lucrative feature I’d like to add comes from a whole nother genre, but was partially implemented in Three Houses. Now I won’t have any crazy 4 tile monsters (although I think I know how to pull it off), but there will be several means of gathering various components, that can be crafted into something else. I’ve decided on giving items that you’ll need in order to collect the resources through some of the following actions: hunting in dense forest patches, fishing in bubbly water, mining at particular mountains, FE lore based quiz sorta thing at bookshelves, exploration at ruins/destroyed homes, praying at shrines, and maybe more. But that would just be too simple to always just give you a free item for moving a unit with an item to a particular space. So when interacting with these tiles, you’ll face a semi random event based on game progression that could just simply give you an item, or could spawn various enemy reinforcements, which could also give you a little surprise. Quite a few possibilities…
Resources gained through these events can be traded in, with gold, in some capacity to units you may encounter at either of the explory chapters for unique weapons, items, or even skill granting things. As an example, if you manage to fish up a pair of old boots, pay some gold to your local cobbler, and you’ll get the swiftsole movement stat booster. But hold on to those swiftsole, and come back later with a different special item and you may be able to turn them into a nifty new acrobat ability for a unit…
Originally, I planned to implement a system where a slightly random event will then occur from a list based on that particular unit’s weapon rank. But a check for that doesn’t exist, oh well.
Couple updates here. Weather will generally be aesthetic only; I may nerf flying during strong blizzards, maybe something else. I’d actually like to have other events based on the type of weather, but I don’t think there’s a “get weather” check. In terms of terrain, I’ll be adding in heal tiles, cover, wardwood, snow drifts, ledges, and maybe more. Also, vanilla peak tiles where the mountain takes up less than half of the tile will now be traversable plain tiles.
There’s a nifty little event I found and wanted to use in FEBuilder that checks total turn count across all chapters. So I thought of baking this in as a sort of anti-turtle feature, which also lends itself to expressing the passing of in game time. The check will occur at the start of the chapters, and will compare your total turn count with what I consider to be a reasonable expectation for how many turns I think you should have spent up to that given point within the respective arc. Output will be just some brief message essentially relaying your gameplay pace expressed by one of your main units. This will have minor influences on chapter events, as well as possibly story events. Effects can also scale according to difficulty. The game is designed to be a fairly tight paced endeavor on its own, and this is just a tiny little addition to further spice things up a bit.
There are a few things in here taking advantage of some of the lesser used features of FE8, generally reserved for the tower/ruins. All of which are simply to provide an ever so slightly different experience every time a given chapter is played. It will never be anything to ruin your day or make things overtly difficult, but just to keep you on your toes, or slightly reconsider your strategy. Features include chests, reinforcements, and maybe something else.
Supports will probably be kept pretty similar to vanilla, I may adjust the rates a touch, since I’m only planning on about 3 support units per character since I don’t want to type all the conversations. A few main characters may have up to 5 or so. I’ll boost the support point gain range to 3, since I think that makes a bit more sense than full map gains, and not as slow as the adjacent requirement.
I did try to think of an alternative for affinity’s based on things like occupation outside of combat, nation their allegiance is towards, or even just home country, but I couldn’t really figuring out what to do with that info and how it to adequately apply it to supports.
Some chapter inspiration:
These are some of my favorite/most memorable chapters (that I can remember at the moment) from the series that I figured I’d list as they may influence some of my design choices, among several other chapters and mechanics not quite as memorable as a whole. I generally prefer eclectic maps, with a lot going on.
3H Reunion at Dawn/Hunting by Daybreak (bonus points for maddening mode)
FE7 - Battle before Dawn, sans Jaffar’s rng
Radiant Dawn - Elincia’s Gambit
FE6 - Hero of the Western Isles
Awakening - The Midmire, mainly for the narrative around it
3H Cindered Shadows – Danger in the Dark
I’ll be adding to this list with each update based on what’s currently playable at that point, so it’s very likely I just haven’t listed your name yet.
Also, anything not created by yours truly should generally be from any of the various FEU repos, or from personal user F2U threads. A fair few mugs of mine are very heavy edits of some of those F2U mugs, but I’ll try to list who made those as well; and there are still a few just recolors, which I plan to make my own as well at some point. Please let me know if you see any asset that isn’t F2U by the creator, and I’ll remove it.
Anyone that has their patches incorporated into FEBuilder
Map related stuff:
Flasuban for showing me how to do all that that tileset nonsense
Dragoon map - Pikmin1211
Dragoon anim - Mercenary Lord, NYZGamer, Pikmin1211, Maiser6
Scout - Deranger
Merchant staff anim - JonoTheRed
Axe cav map - Siuloir
Axe cav anim - S, Skitty, Primefusion, Orihara_Saki, DerTheVaporeon, Kao, Aurora
King anim - Aruka, Kenpuhu
Legion map - Ryn
Stowaway anim - Eldrich Abomination
Privateer anim - Alusq
Swashbuckler anim - Monkeybard, Miguel-Rojo
Buccaneer map - Warpath
Helmsman map - Unknown
Chancellor map - Unknown
Spooky Fella - Lenh
Dream Spooky Fella - Klok
Fighter - peerless
Myrm - NickT
Theif guy - GabrielKnight
Missionary - Orihara_Saki
FGO stuff - Zoramine
Digimon World – Night Time in File City - Cuddly Battleship Kattywampus
Wintersun - Starchild - Author Unregistered
Dethklok - Thunderhorse - Pratton
Well if you’ve made it this far after reading everything, I think you deserve a complimentary “Good job”. Good job. If you didn’t read everything, well, that was probably the better move. I know there are some things that still aren’t quite right in this patch, but please let me know your feedback. I’m really hoping to deliver the sun, the moon, and the stars to you with this one. And I truly hope that you’ll at least moderately enjoy Frozen Throes.