[FE8] The Princess's Lament - A Sacred Stones rebalance, rewrite, overhaul, expansion extravaganza!

Project Fado-16

Hello! My name is Saint Rubenio, and this is my first hack. I’d been curious about making my own hack for a long time, but it always seemed like quite the daunting task. Map design in particular scared me. I wanted to set myself a humble goal, one that I could see myself completing. Thus, when I got the itch for hacking again, I decided to just make a little FE8 rebalance and stick with it to the end.

Then I started having wilder ideas.

In the end, it became a sort of plot rewrite / gameplay overhaul that went beyond the initial scope. Even ended up making a couple of maps, after all! The hack includes new chapters, new characters, new story beats… I pretty much just did anything I came up with, to see if I could pull it off.

Think of it as a sort of Project Ember-style thing (in fact, my first idea for a title was Project Fado haha), but with bigger story and gameplay changes. I don’t know how much interest there could be for this, but I had a blast making this. I can only hope some folks will enjoy it at least a little bit.

Features

  • Overhauled maps, with changes that range from the small to the dramatic. Almost every map has seen at least some slight changes.
  • Four brand-new chapters, two missable sidequests and two mandatory lategame maps.
  • Improved enemies. They now have far greater offense than in vanilla, but only slightly higher defense. I can only hope this will make the game feel more challenging than the original, but fair.
  • Overhauled cast. I’ve tried my best to make everyone have something that makes them viable and fun to use. In some cases I just reworked units entirely. Some changes are more unusual than others.
  • Story rewrites. Make no mistake, I did not set out to “fix” Sacred Stones’s story or anything like that. Think of it as just a sort of “what if?” fanfic I wrote for fun and to accommodate some of the gameplay stuff I wanted to do. The overall plot is the same, but lots of different things happen in it, to varying degrees of importance. Main story changes begin in chapter 8.
  • Route split is gone! You will play through both twins’ stories. Eirika keeps her army, while Ephraim’s offscreen army of Frelian knights get faces and names.
  • Speaking of, between these and certain old foes and allies turning playable, it all amounts to 27 new playable characters, plus a secret easter egg character. I… may have gotten a bit carried away, I won’t lie.
  • Added music. Primarily from other GBAFE games, plus a certain custom track I imported and tweaked myself. I pray it’s not too janky for your liking!
  • Optional conversations that raise stats. Like in the Kaga games!
  • No fog. Screw fog.
  • QoL patches. Danger display, growth display, stationary enemies have no movement, hold L to skip animations, etc.

Screenshots

Project Fado-21Project Fado-13
Project Fado-27ass
Project Fado-17Project Fado-31Project Fado-46Project Fado-49
Project Fado-48Project Fado-46Project Fado-48Project Fado-47Project Fado-48Project Fado-47Project Fado-47Project Fado-47
Project Fado-53Project Fado-49

Download

Download the hack here.

Patch over a vanilla US FE8 ROM. The hack has primarily been tested on mGBA. VBA seemed to cause some issues for one of my friends, so be warned if you use that emulator.

Be warned, the hack is not properly tested past chapter 21. I had some people playtesting it, but I wanted to release it before the end of the year and they were busy with other things. Obviously, I played through it as I made it, but if watching others play taught me anything, it’s that there’s a LOT of nonsense one can miss or retroactively screw up.
This part no longer applies, as a good number of people have finished the whole hack by now. Still, there’s always the chance of obscure bugs that may have slipped past everyone else. Keeping multiple saves is a good habit!

What I’m getting at is, please, do not hesitate to yell at me if you find any issues not listed below. I am certain there’s got to be more. Also, do let me know if you’ve any feedback. This is my first hack, and I don’t expect it to be, nor set out to make it perfect, but if you’ve any thoughts, I’ll be happy to listen.

Bugs and other notes

  • I have received multiple reports that, sometimes, waiting with certain units causes the player’s turn to end automatically, regardless of how many units are left to move. I haven’t the faintest clue what could be causing this, it is wildly inconsistent in terms of chapters and units that cause it, and I never experienced it myself. I always play with autoend turns off, which could be the reason this never happened to me. Please try turning autoend turns off if you experience this glitch.
  • The prep screen unit list becomes a bit glitchy past chapter 21, when the two armies merge. Really got carried away with the amount of units. Nothing I can do about this, as far as I know. It’s just a cosmetic glitch, anyway.
  • If Harriett/Elaine die, the screen will become glitchy for a moment. It’s merely cosmetic.
  • There may be some issues with the exp scaling of the malig knight class. This was reported to me, I’ve not been able to verify it and I cannot figure out why it’d happen, so I would appreciate confirmation here.
  • During the epilogue, Mansel appears as a green cavalier. I replaced his class and I cannot figure out how to change it in that specific cutscene.
  • User Hederbomb reported the supply convoy glitching out between chapters 17 and 18. They were using VBA, but the glitch persisted when they switched to mGBA. I’ve not experienced this, nor have I received any more reports like this. I would chalk it up to VBA problems, but if you do run into a similar problem, I would appreciate it if you’d let me know.
  • Supports are not finished. No promises there. Supports are the bane of every hacker’s existence, from what I’ve seen. I’ve only written a handful. Everyone has a bunch of functional gameplay supports, though. If you are curious, here’s the list of completed supports:
Character spoilers ahead

Dozla and Ramón
Qastimon and Na’amah
Qastimon and Afrira
Elaine and Harriett
Ramón and Elaine
Ismaire and Fado
Amelia and the secret character
Novala and Melville

  • Vanilla supports are also untouched, which might just lead to inconsistencies with my own story changes here and there. I would hope not, but I don’t know every FE8 support by memory haha.

Credits

All custom portraits, portrait edits, Strong One (Mother 3) and the attacking Tethys and FE6 bishop Moulder animations by me. I’ll probably make them F2U down the line. They’re not masterpieces, but I’d be so flattered to see them used in better, fully custom hacks.

Special thanks:

A number of Serenesforest users with whom I shared the journey, and who gave me some helpful bits of advice and feedback. Including:
Hawkwing, who helped me with a few questions I had.
Dayni, who gave me some feedback regarding portraits and color palettes.
Lightcosmo, who helped me a lot with the technical side of things.
Armagon, who suggested the Carcino Samson/Arran split. I can’t believe I didn’t come up with that myself.
Interdimensional Observer, who suggested the Moulder portrait edit.
Acacia Sgt for helping me out with Lorell’s name.
Ping and two of my real life friends, for doing a bit of playtesting.

FEBuilder’s creators. This thing is incredible.

JeyTheCount at FEUniverse, whose dark-skinned Jehannan portraits I did not use, but they gave me the idea to make my own.
The community of FEUniverse, for all the assets, patches and stuff they created which I utilized in this hack. Couldn’t have done half the stuff I wanted to do with without your collective genius. More on that below.

Patches installed

Anti-huffman by Hextator
Fix Weak Promoted Enemies by Gryz
Modify S-Rank limits by Tequila
Switch:Animation on / off with L button by aera
Set staff experience
JunaFruits Decliment level setting
Remove Pierce Glitch by Brendor
Change Skill Pierce activation rate from LV to Skill by aera
Add event: Change Edition by 7743
Enable Event34_MessWithUnitState_Fix not to freeze even nonexistent units
Staff Range Fix by Tequila/Lord Reyson
Unit Growths Display by Tequila
Enemy Range Display by Circles
FE8-Battle Stats with Anims Off ver2 by Vesly
ModularMinimugBox by Zane (Runabox)
HPBars_with_warnings Cache by Circles and Tequila
Show Heal Amount by Tequila
Healing Formula: Staff Might: MAG/2 + Staff Might = Heal by Venno
IsSethLArachelMyrrhInnes Table
Monster Weapon Display fix by Brendor
Mov display fix by Circles Zeroing/nullifying mov FEDS style (based on AI parameters?) - #7 by circleseverywhere
Set Unit Status by 7743
Lose Weapon Ranks on Promotion by Venno
Prevent Freeze for Get Unit State / Unit State Event by 7743
Continue Battle BGM Between Map and Combat by 7743
Change Battle BGM by Chapter by 7743
Set Preparation BGM by CHapter ported by 7743
Switch Portrait images by class, chapter, flag by 7743
Switch unit’s description by class, chapter, flag by 7743
Set Multiple Staff BGMs by 7743
Multi-Class Pick Skill by kao, made compatible by 7743
SOUND_NIMAP2 by Alusq + drumfix by Circles
Skip World Map Fix (For World Map Users) - MNC2Fix by Stan
NarrowFont by Scraiza
Set Preparations Store Pricing by Aera
Skill pierce to this class by Chap
Add event: Split Menu by Stan, Circleseverywhere
C01command_hack by Hextator
Fixes the world map chapter ID being loaded instead of the actual chapter ID
Toggle World Map Monster Skirmishes by FE8_GIRLS
Character Custom Animation by EA by 7743
Remove game clear requirement for trainees third promotion options by vilk, Onmi, Tequila
Allow 3 or more trainee to be regist by 7743
Distance of sight that thieves can secure additional in mist by 7743
Make a magic throwing axe (Bolt Axe) by Midori Patch and 7743
Range-Animated Weapons List by Circles
Minimum and Maximum poison damage
Support conversations room unlock by 7743
48command_hack by Hextator
Set Defualt Option “Animation” and “Cursor & etc”
Weapon S value of bonus item 1 and 2 (hit 10, critical 0)
6_tracks_12_sounds by Aggro/Bendor?
Weapon lock ex by 7743
Remove Easy Mode by Nintenlord
Expanded the setting of the ring effect used by dancers by 7743
Movement icon ID used when attacking with dragon stone when the animation off by aera
Fixed sound of Aircalibur from aera’s data
Add event: Lose item by 7743
Autocursor Fix by Venno
Define multiple classes to suppress status display by 774
Set whether transporter can be used for each map by 7743
Weapon LV up when destroyed by FE8Girls chap
Change to have multiple units that can be seize by 7743
Units after this Unit ID will Class Grow by fe8 decomp project
Don’t draw portrait on item select menu if unit is generic by Hypergammaspaces
allow Wyvern Knights to triangle attack
Armor Triangle Attack Class Range From and To by 7743
Skip World Map Fix (Disable Skirmishes & World Map)
Add Event: GetSupportLevel, SetSupportLevel, ClearSupportLevel by 7743
Setting Hide chapter title calls by 7743
Send unit’s all items to transporter by 7743
Actions after talk and actions after support by Circleseverywhere and 7743

Animations implemented
Sword, axe, handaxe and bow knight by TheBlindArcher
Chained Sword general by Knabepicer
Cannon bow general by GabrielKnight
F Warrior Reskin Repal by Temp
F Fighter Variant by Pikmin
F Rogue Ponytail by Temp
F Assassin by Keks_Krebs, Beccarte, SD9K
M Valkyrie by Gabriel Knight
Halberdier by the_blind_Archer
Necromancer alt Warlock by JeyTheCount
Ranged revenants by Teraspark
Ranged entombed by Teraspark
Axe Cavalier by Primefusion
Mounted Marauder by Spud
Deacon (M Troubadour) and FE7 troubadour (magic) by Pikmin1211, Maiser6, Lisandra_Brave, TBA
Priest Base Skintone Repal by Flasuban
Axe summoner by Spud, TBA
Wicked flier by Blue Druid, Alfred Kamon
Dozlazerker by Aruka, Kenpuhu and blood
Hat myrm and swordmaster by SD9K
Ranger-style dark knight by Pikmin1211, Nuramon, and DerTheVaporeon, original by Teraspark
Baron cape + shield by Leo_link, Nuramon, Iscaneus, The_Big_Dededester, Revamped Handaxe by Sax Marine
FE7 coat hero by Swain
Bald hero by Pushwall
Bow promoted eirika by Belle and St jack
Heavy Infantry GL Eph by Nuramon
Zephiel Bulwark King by Leo Link
Short haired F fighter by Black Mage

Map sprites and other art used

F cav map sprites by Flasuban
F paladin map sprites by L95
F Fighter by Pikmin
F paladin by Stand
F Rogue by Stand
F Warrior by Stand
F ranger improved bow by Stand and Flasuban
Halberdier by the_blind_archer
Axe and sword knight map sprites by Aggro
Cav sword sprites by Aggro
F halberdier map sprites by blood, Dei, dondon151
F soldier map sprites Rexacuse, Peerless, Alusq, WarPath
Spud’s Marauder map anims by LonkFC
Axe cav map sprites by Salvaged
Thaumaturge map sprites by Pikmin, Der
Battle Sage map sprites by Smug_Mug, Unknow
Wicked flier sprites by MeatOfJustice
Ranger-stlye dark knight map sprites by Pikmin1211, Nuramon, and DerTheVaporeon
Axe hero map sprites by Raspberry
Ephraim infantry GL map sprites by Snewping
Halberdier class card by the_blind_archer

25 Likes

I’ve played the first 5 maps of this, and I’m having a good time with it. Definitely some of the best redux ideas I’ve seen. One small critique is I would personally recommend removing crit from the items that have 5 crit carried over from vanilla (reavers, slims, Crimson Eye, etc.)

EDIT: Also, you can remove stat variation with a patch called “Change formula of automatic growth of enemy.”

1 Like

Interesting. I might give it a try.

I see possible playable monsters

I click

1 Like

Thanks! You are probably right about the crit on those weapons. I’ll take a look at it this afternoon.

All right! If you do go for it, let me know how it goes.

Heh… Well, don’t let me stop you! See if your suspicions are correct.

Hehehe. I played a bit of it, and a certain event with a man and his new friend was hilarious. I’ll need to try to play more of this when I can.

1 Like

1.1 is out

  • As per the suggestion of ArcherBias, I took a lot of weapons that had 5% crit and set it to 0. Those weapons have their own purposes and the extra bit of RNG doesn’t really add anything.
  • The female rogue animation was glitched. It’s fixed now.
  • Fixed a thing in chapter 8.

Oh I didn’t see the sneak edit! I don’t personally mind that too much, but it’s something worth considering. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Glad you liked that! I am rather happy with that moment, if I do say so myself.

3 Likes

Just finished Chapter 8. And I’ll just say…

How could you ?

2 Likes

I just started playing it. This is going to be a bit of a Stream of Consciousness, so bear with me.

Did you change the light brand? It seems Strength isn’t halved when attacking from 2 range, and it still counts as a sword. I like how bows have more might now, and that knights have bows and no move penalties. That soldier roasted Breguet, I love it! The reward for visiting the prologue house is a bit underwhelming, not going to lie. And what happened to the steel sword Seth had in the battle with Valter? That special javelin is quite bad, too… 25 weight is prohibitive, and the +1 mt and 100 hit don’t make up for it. I suppose the idea was to prevent Seth from doubling so he can set kills up for someone else, but the dude just gets doubled by everyone. If you want to do that I would recommend banning the weapon from doubling with a patch. The fact cavs can only use swords is interesting. It sure nerfs them. The slim lance giving +2 skl and spd is rather curious too. While brainstorming ideas for a hack, I came up with a +5 or +10 luck buff so they could serve a similar role to bronze weapons in Fates. And thank you for equalizing the male and female mounted aid formula! It always seemed dumb to me that they were unequal.

Edit: Oh wait, it seems the light brand does physical damage. Odd. So it’s like a Kodachi from Fates.

:full_moon_with_face:

Thanks for the in-depth feedback.

The prologue house is certainly underwhelming. You can really tell I was just starting at the time haha. My idea was that you could use it to stop wasting the rapier on everything, but it’s… really not worth it. Then again, the brigand does give Eirika a good amount of experience haha.

Seth still has a steel sword in the Valter fight, does he. Whoops. I’ll have to change that… or just give him his sword back, I don’t remember why I stole it from him to begin with.

Yeah, the Sethvelin is pretty much just a Jeigan weapon. I balanced it around the enemies in the first few chapters. Wanted a way to hold him back in the early earlygame, without such an underpowered weapon he just kills everything. I couldn’t find a more elegant way to prevent doubling, and I really don’t want to install Skillsys, so I think it’ll have to remain this way.

Not all cavs are swordlocked, actually. They are weapon locked, but not necessarily to swords. I felt Franz really needed to be hit by a nerf, seeing how he’s a few levels away from being another Seth, so I left him stuck with swords. I might’ve overnerfed him a little like this, but then, he IS a cavalier.

You’re right, the light brand was repurposed into a regular javelin/hand axe equivalent for axes. A bit counter-intuitive, I won’t deny.

Otherwise, thank you for the praise! I’m happy you seem to be enjoying this. Please keep on bringing the detailed impressions, if you wish at all!

So, was Chapter 7 supposed to be auto-skipped? I load up the map, hit begin, and the map immediately ends with a cutscene and Chapter 8 starts up.

On Ch. 11 so far - great hack, great work! Had the same problem with Ch.7 auto-skip as AugmentedAntics. Only real complaint are some of the portraits - it may simply be my preference, but many of the new characters have portraits that are kinda… well, not very good. To my taste at least. Some of them either have a bit too much going on or are otherwise a bit jarring - kind of like a certain main lord’s new portrait.
While I’m on the subject of new portraits, however, I do like the touch of darkening the skin tones of people from Jehanna! Really helps us to both diversify the cast, and distinguish the country itself.
In terms of balance, the game seems to be a significant improvement from the original lazy river that is Sacred Stones - the difficulty makes some surprise ramp ups (although not terribly) as you approach the route split. I liked that. Removing the ability to tower-grind helps too - will you be bringing it back in any capacity, or is it a permanent removal?

1.2 released

  • Given Seth his steel sword back
  • Fixed the chapter 7 skip goof.

I was doing some tests in chapter 8, I only had a working 6x save so I set an event to skip 7. And then I forgot to remove it when I released the patch. Genius!

Well, you didn’t miss much. Chapter 7 is one of the least edited chapters in the hack, it just became a rout to accomodate the Berwick Saga reference. Check it out if you kept a save there, but it’s not worth going back if you’ve continued, I’d say.

That’s fair. As I said in the credits, I made them all myself, but of course, I’m not an artist. I can understand not liking them so much.

Glad you enjoyed that change, though!

I had some minor plans for the Creature Campaign, but I couldn’t figure out how to bring the tower and ruins back for that part of the game only, so uh… yes, permanent removal at the moment.

Oh gosh, I missed that part. I’d assumed you’d outsourced your pictures; I hope I didn’t come across overly rude! As someone who isn’t an artist either, I don’t have much room to speak. And don’t get me wrong, I really like all of the new characters too. The portraits do a splendid job of characterizing them - despite my nit-picking

1 Like

Nah, don’t worry about it. You went about it in a perfectly civil manner. No offense taken. I know the portraits are not perfect, but I enjoyed making them. That’s really the spirit of this entire hack, come to think about it.

If I may ask, are there any you like better or worse than the rest? You see, while a few of the portraits were made for the hack, some of them are ancient. I created a bunch of mugs to use in some screenshot LPs I made over the years. A few harken back to the times when this was the best I could muster:

Naturally, I tried polishing them up for the hack, but now I’m wondering how noticeable the difference is. Sorry for the drawn-out backstory haha, just got a little curious, since the topic of portraits came up.

So I got up to chapter 7, when I ran into the event skip noted above. The new patch seems to be working, but to be safe, I decided to do a fresh save, and run it on difficult this time to see how it plays. I wanted to share some initial thoughts so far, but I’ll likely do a more thorough review once I finish the run. So far:

-The “slim” weapons for all four of the weapon types are all pretty awesome. +2 skl/spd in the early game is surprisingly huge and gives a lot of characters better chances to double and hit

-It seems like Seth was nerfed, and his personal javelin is a bit of a mixed bag, but thats fine, since the actual Oifey of the game is now Garcia. He’s got solid bases, and a talk event basically patches him up to be near on par with Seth, but with access to hand axes and no exp penalty, so thats pretty kino

-Despite seemingly having a lot more red units to recruit (so far), it doesn’t seem like there’s any hard mode bonuses, which is a bit of a let down considering that would be a good incentive to use basically all the new cast I’ve found so far

-Of the additional characters I’ve recruited so far, I already love Harold and Melville. Two enemy exclusive classes in vanilla SS are always welcome, and in spite of what Melville is, I want to hold and pet him and love his dynamic with his new best friend

-Holy Sh*t, the reveal at the end of 6X. The hints were dropped early that there were going to be pretty noticable changes, but the man showing up with a new portrait and a new attitude on a mission was a very welcome surprise. Also the writing leading up to 6x was great and made me enjoy a literal faceless jobber boss from vanilla FE, so good on you for that

2 Likes

Don’t know if it was already asked, but are the sidequest requirements easy to unlock? I like the idea of new content, but I don’t want to miss anything.

there’s a guide included in the download, but as an example the first gaiden just requires you to talk to a boss with a character who cant hurt them, which is a pretty easy rescue drop task

1 Like

Hey, i’ve started playing the game and i’m having a blast, it’s very fun, although, not to sound offensive, but the OC mugs gives me the creeps, still, i like the hackrom, i only have one critique about it

How DARE you, how COULD you??? You should not be allowed to play with my heart like you did in ch8, i hope you know that i wish upon you that everytime you walk you hit your pinky toe for the rest of your life

3 Likes

Thanks for the detailed impressions!

Nerfing Seth, I feel, is the quintessential change FE8 rebalances must do. Overbuffing someone else, the quintessential goof.

I never liked the concept of hard mode bonuses, myself. It’s a pretty obvious unintended glitch that isn’t even present in vanilla FE8, and it only serves to make certain characters unfairly stronger than others. That’s just ny opinion, though!

Glad go see some love for Melville. Lil’ Melv’s one of my personal favs haha.

On 6X,

Spoilerinos ahead

Really happy that moment got you so good! At first I considered not having his face show up here, but then I realized… I already hinted at it. He’s even in the title screen! It’s very obvious he’s going to have more of a role in this hack. So why try to hide it? Let him have his badass moment.

Glad you enjoyed Novala’s shenanigans too! He was an absolute blast to write.

The creeps, hahaha! That’s a hilarious way to put it. As I told Finalvsfire above, I’m not an artist. I know the portraits aren’t masterpieces or anything, but well, I had fun making them haha. It’s okay, though, I knew they wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking.

:face_with_hand_over_mouth: :face_with_hand_over_mouth: :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

I live for reactions like this.

1 Like