OK guys, let’s go back to the times of Genealogy. I want to make a hack with large scale maps that use the new fire weapons efficiently, and at the same time lots of help for balancing issues with the updated mechanics.
Let us do magic.
Here’s our template:
Quote from Alusq in, “Creating Fire Weapons on Fire Emblem!?”
My take on guns in FE would give them a high might that isn’t affected by the user’s strength (you can pull a bow string farther and more easily with strength, but it makes no difference for pulling a trigger). I remember Arch(?) having the idea of guns both not being able to counter and not being able to be countered, which would make them interestingly surgical in combination with the fixed might; it could also be compared to actual early gun use where smoke made it impossible to aim directly after shooting and reloading took a long time.
If you wanted to take historical comparison to the extreme, you could make it so you have to wait a turn after attacking with a gun to use it again (the stipulation being that the gun has to be reloaded); this would also encourage a loosely historical flow to battle where you open with a volley of gunfire before sending in the cavalry, and the infantry have spears or bardiches as secondary weapons to either defend against the cavalry or slam against the opposing infantry line. Maybe give guns a hit bonus when the user has an ally adjacent and a penalty when there’s an enemy adjacent to encourage structuring units into lines.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you do try to emulate this style of warfare, you have to reconcile the fact that death count was just a statistic with how much of a huge loss it is for just one unit to die in Fire Emblem. You can lean into this and have your non-lord characters be more “generic” (Allen/Lance/Noah/Trec from FE6 come to mind: you might come to care about each one of them through supports but from a gameplay perspective they’re a certain degree more expendable than others because they’re all the same class), or you can do a little writing and say that the presence of magic in the world changes this: for example, clerics might become vital to the structure of armies because of their potential as battlefield medics, and for this reason your non-lord units would just have casual mode-style deaths because it’s understood that the clerics will run around bringing everyone back from the brink of death after the battle is over. This also gives you an interesting subplot to play with where killing clerics is considered a war crime because it potentially causes thousands to die untreated, but on the other side of things, there are people who are doomed to live their entire lives in the army because wounds that would normally cause their retirement can just be healed. This sets up not only a “clergy vs shamans/mages” plot, but a “nobility vs peasants” plot as well.
The main obstacle to people actually putting guns in their game, as far as I see it, is that they worry about making animations for all the new classes and/or people just want the sword-and-sorcery setting with no strings attached. Something like the invention of the bronze cannon could turn any FE setting on its head (can’t get through that door? BOOM! Whoopsidoodle, 1/4 of the map is now ruins! I knew it was a foolproof idea to give Cath a horse-drawn cannon). The Emblem Brigade’s Project Z had guns, but they were just reskinned bows; the big difference was that rifles replaced longbows and pistol- and rifle-users were their own classes with weapon locks.
As for people wanting to use bows over guns? Take a page from history again and throw some real-deal steppe hordes into your setting: horse archers were so powerful on the plains that the hordes’ biggest downfall was in-fighting until guns and the requisite military tactics came around. Guns should straight-up be the best way to fight them (“the only way” according to the plot). The steppe setting also lets you have setting-appropriate shamans, and in the hypothetical plot from earlier, the combination of guns and clerics would easily steamroll the cossacks and shamans and be a testament to the power of the big bad empire which was the first to perfect the guns+clerics strategy. An actual way to differentiate bows from guns would be to make guns unable to fire behind things, i.e. you would need a straight shot at your enemy rather than being able to hit them behind other units or rough terrain, but this would be technically challenging to implement and the sort of thing I’d procrastinate on until the rest of the game was finished.
Curse you for prompting me to write this essay; now I wanna make the game I just described.
P. S.: I’m as noob as one can be to Fire Emblem hacking. I’ll need help with pretty much everything so please bear with me. A pleasure to make an acquaintance.