Fire Emblem: Black Fang

Years ago my friend Mariobro3828 and I started the Romhack Fire Emblem: Decay of the Fangs.
After nearly a decade, the story will finally conclude! I’d like to introduce:

FIRE EMBLEM: BLACK FANG

The Fang’s Justice is Absolute

The Four Fangs have fallen. The Black Fang is dead. Its purpose polluted, its vigilantes vanquished, it’s now up to a small band of survivors to vindicate its legacy and in the process, bring revolution to Elibe.

Take command of a rogue faction with a never-say-die attitude and a penchant for violence. Directly following the events of Fire Emblem and setting the stage for Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Fire Emblem: Black Fang is an original story of disenchanted renegades fighting to survive against cutthroats, the nobility, former allies, and gods among men.

This is a game about survivors of the Black Fang being forced to find new meaning after Hector and Eliwood decimate their army. Tonally this game is a bit darker and more adult oriented than most Fire Emblem games with a few serious and earnest moments, but it is mostly intended to be a bit silly. The game is inspired as a tribute to the members of the Decay of Dragons forums whom many of the characters are based on. If some jokes don’t land for you, please overlook it with this in mind.

The game is not finished but it was important to me to lay down the bones of the main story. It can be played from prologue to epilogue , all 25 plus chapters . I’m working on a chapter guide on the Wix site with the chapter unlock conditions (though later chapters will often have characters explain what to do in the prep fortunes). At the time of writing, not all supports are complete but just about 180 are (meaning 60 through to A rank). Some actions have consequences. It is impossible to keep every recruitable character alive.

Patch: The UPS can be found here. UPDATED 1.05 1/18 Apply this to a base FIre Emblem Blazing Blade rom to play.

Discord channel: https://discord.gg/hhwtCjUbU2

Gallery (avoided major potential spoilers)

This Fire Emblem Romhack could not have been possible without the extensive support of software, art, and music contributors. As the project is almost a decade old, I have lost the names of some of the early contributors. If you have designed a sprite or software that was used in game that was not properly credited, absolutely do not hesitate to let me know. I will immediately add your name to the list of contributors! If you would prefer to have your work removed, please contact me via Discord (link below).

Discord channel: https://discord.gg/hhwtCjUbU2

Bugs can be shared in through the Discord as well as general thoughts about balance and design. I’m certain there are better programmers out there that could make suggestions as well and I’d be thrilled to tap into any and all resources to make this game the best possible. Development is an ongoing process and errors/mistakes will be made, please be patient.

Special thanks to

7743 for the incredible FEBuilder open source software
Darya Abdulina for cover art
Marlon0024, Asael, MysteriousDancer for the base tactician animation adapted for Chadwick
Pikmin1211, Retrogamer for Hexer sprite
Aruka, Kenpuhu, Orihara_Saki, Venno for Viv’s promotion
RedBean, Mikey Seregon, Marlon0024, yikes for Hannah’s animation
GabrielKnight for female monks’ animation
GabrielKnight, Skitty for angel William animation
Nuramon for apostle animation
IS, Primefusion for Wraith animation
Red Bean, Zelix for Echidna animation
Nuramon, ZoramineFae for Zephiel animation
Nuramon for Zephiel promotion animation
Cipher Lee, DerTheVaporeon, Nuramon for Jonas animation
IS, Skitty, Primefusion, Orihara_Saki, DerTheVaporeon, Kao, Aurora for axe cavalier animation
Deranger for Miguel animation
TBA, Spud, MeatofJustice for halberdier animation
IS, SHYUTERz, CamusZekeSirius for Chadwick regular promotion animation
L95 for the base of bard animation
Seal for the base of Chadwick using the ballista animation
Spud for conduit animation
ZoramineFae for the Leif X animation
TBA, Arch, Skitty, Temp for L.E.I.F. animation
IS, Marlon0024, Orihara_Saki for Morph-Dra/Mal Aenir animation
IS, Marlon0024, SHYUTERz for Marek animation

Supports can be viewed in game because all are unlocked in the menu without triggering them in game. Meaning you can go back and read everything without having used it before. BE ADVISED you may spoil late game surprise characters if you view this on your first playthrough. Completed supports can be found here: Supports

As mentioned, this passion project is still a work in progress so please post any constructive feedback, questions or advice here or in the Discord. I kinda don’t know what to expect because I haven’t been active in the romhacking community in recent years.

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Whoa! This was a blast from the past I wasn’t expecting this year! :open_mouth: Good to see you and this topside once again!

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Oh wow, I remember this hack from when Markyjoe reviewed it, good times. It’s cool to see it once again, since it was one of my favorite hacks from the old hacking days.

wait mariobro is alive?
thank goodness

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Sounds neat! I’ll have to check it out!

holy shit i remember this hack

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ONLY TRUE MARKYJOE FANS WILL REMEMBER THIS

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I remember playing through this ages ago and really liking it, nice to see it continued

Edit: The Discord server invite seems to be expired. You should probably also add in a document with the growth rates and supports aswell as mention if you use fe8 or 7 to patch (I’m assuming it’s the latter?)

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Old FE7 hacks :weary:

Congrats on the release!

Funny that this should happen, not even a week ago me and some friends were talking about certain old hacks that had received either a sequel or a reimagining, and I jokingly posed the idea of “decay of the fangs remake when”.

It’s very cool to see life breathed into a project that was abandoned in the TLP era, so big thumbs up to that. However, seeing the game still almost entirely identical to how it was back then is a little disappointing; it definitely had a lot of glaring problems back in the day and they haven’t aged particularly well. Given how little has changed and your search for contributors, I’m going to assume that the project’s revival only began very recently, in which case, that’s fair. Something that probably hinders my perception here is the fact that it was only a month ago that I rediscovered DotF and played through the whole thing (up to ch12, the last map that was released), so it’s still fresh in my mind.

So far (having played up to chapter 5) all the maps seem to be the originals except with a couple of holes cut in old obstacles and extra snags/bridges added to make the maps less linear and less unbearably long. These changes are good! However, every other map design problem seems to have been left completely untouched - and the quickening has introduced some new problems too.

  • Prologue still has the same old range reinforcements when you get near the boss. Reinforcements who are also in range of the unit you just moved, who might still be on low health because you saw no enemies in range. This is practically the same thing as ambush spawning, and there seems to be no reason for them to spawn in this manner instead of just being there from the start, besides being a “gotcha” and a relic of an age where people were expected to save state their way through maps and just load state whenever the designer decided to throw some unforeseen BS at them. Not a good first impression.
  • Chapter 2 still limits you to 5 of your 6 units. It’s a little early to be benching people. There’s seemingly no reason behind this either; it’s made even more bizarre by Jacobi pointing out that there are, in fact, 6 of you. What’s the other one doing?
  • Chapter 3 still consists almost entirely of 1-tile chokepoints and adds rain into the mix AFTER the anti-turtle incentive (Reid) has already taken care of so all it really does is force you to hit end turn a few times for it to stop. I like that the new routes make it actually possible for you to intervene in the fight between Reid and the brigand (which, when I originally played, resulted in Reid dying before the player could conceivably reach him, because shockingly, a steel bow is not a good weapon for a green unit to solo with), and I can also appreciate that rain was changed to not be a global debuff and only affect certain classes (though I still prefer rain just being aesthetic), though in some cases it feels arbitrary. I can understand mounted units and armours being penalised, but why do mages and axe users suffer penalties while swordies, archers and soldiers do not?
  • Chapter 4’s flow has been helped greatly with the addition of the extra breakable walls, but the thief reinforcements and Leif’s scripted death haven’t been updated to accommodate this. For the thief reinforcements, they now show up too late to pose a conceivable threat to the treasure. For Leif, it’s now possible to circumvent his scripted death entirely or delay it until after Batta’s recruitment (or death) since it hinges on opening a door that is now optional, which causes a multitude of issues:
    • If you circumvent his scripted death and go to 4x, he will not have a refreshed inventory when he is resummoned in the gaiden, which means you miss out on a certain anti-softlocking measure.
    • If you circumvent his scripted death and don’t go to 4x, he can be deployed in chapter 5.
    • If you recruit Batta, give his axe to Luke (who is probably a much better unit at this point so this is an entirely understandable move), and open the door, the scripted battle freezes.
    • I haven’t tested this but I have a strong feeling that the game will freeze or otherwise break in some way if Batta is dead when the door opens.
  • Chapter 4x, I was going to complain about how easily softlockable it is, until I realised that if you do come in unprepared, you can skip the map (forfeiting the rewards, of course) by just not alerting the enemies and hitting the end turn button 12 times. I suppose it’s good that this means it can’t be softlocked, even if this way out is a little boring. What really irks me is that the majority of the rewards for the map are inside chests, and it’s entirely plausible that at the end of Chapter 4, you could have sent Chadwick’s lockpick to the convoy after having him open the final chest because hey, you don’t need it anymore, right? So it’s plausible to be thrust into the map in a state where you’re fully capable of surviving it but don’t get anything out of it. I guess the exp is nice but Chadwick already rams his level cap and
spoilers

Anthony betrays you pretty fast, and even if he comes back which I remember being mentioned in the DotF Serenes thread, I presume that FE7 limitations mean he returns as a different character id and thus has new base stats, so exp on him is meaningless

  • …so only Luke benefits. I do like that you gave Leif an arsenal of weapons just in case the player benched and disarmed Anthony/Luke, at least. A curiosity though; the enemies that are present at the start of the map can’t move and attack on the same turn. I’m curious if this is intentional or not (could have been you trying to make it look like the enemy is ALSO impacted by the fog, in which case, very nice touch), but regardless, the reinforcements can move and attack as normal, which isn’t consistent with the others. And lastly, several of the cavaliers have no weapon ranks.
  • Chapter 5 is still the size of an FE4 map, and oddly, doesn’t seem to have received any overhauls to shorten it like so many of the previous maps. At the very least, cut a hole in the cliff northwest of the lancereaver merc?

Oh, and unrelated to the gameplay of the maps, but maps set in the Western Isles and not using the FE6 Western Isles tileset, boooo! I’m going to assume that back in 2011 it was much more difficult to make/port tilesets, and I can sympathise with that, but it’s not 2011 anymore :stuck_out_tongue:

As far as unit balance… well, given that Chapter 4x is still a thing, I am going to make the assumption that the later maps of DotF that force-deployed certain members of the earlygame cast, and in some cases expected them to be trained and protected, are still intact. This combined with the low deployment slots means there is going to be very little room for experimentation, despite the raw cast size likely being large enough to permit that (another assumption I’m making based on DotF, where your party size was a modest 25 by the end of chapter 12, and also assuming that all the White Fang members are future recruits). I’ll leave my further musings on this subject until I’ve actually seen how those “problem chapters” have been changed.

I’m going to hold off on story concerns too, because FE7 in general is just a grand mess that isn’t worth trying to fix, and I haven’t gotten to any of the new content that might possibly assuage my issues with where it went in the original DotF. Well, okay, maybe there is one thing I will touch.

William spoilers

By the end of the 2011 demo, I was already very heavily convinced that William was going to be the main villain from all the evidence laid before me, particularly the stuff at the end of the part 1 and how it ties into the start of part 2. In his newly-altered introductory scene I can already see that he’s received some additions - an over-the-top emotion mug variant and S rank in dark magic, and this has only reinforced my suspicions. Given the tone of the story, I’m guessing it’s not meant to be a shocking twist.

Lastly, I gotta say - out of all the portraits that got updated, why does Anthony of all people have a makeover? Not only was his original portrait perfectly expressive of his character, but having a helmet just makes sense for an armour. Sure, he may have been a “mere” splice (and hey, those are fine), but there’s still dozens of other splices left intact, so I doubt this change was done out of concern for quality (and he still has his original minimug anyway lol)

Congratulations again on bringing this thing back to life!

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This is excellently organized feedback and I totally dig what you’re saying. Some things I hadn’t thought about like what happens if people get to Batta from the right. I’ll need to adjust and mix things up a bit. I mentioned in the Discord that I wanted to lay down the bones of the story first and then fix up maps and balance gameplay because early on I got complaints about certain things missing (like key characters) that were always planned but simply hadn’t been reached yet in the story.

What I will say without getting into too many details is that yes, the early chapters add a few new characters and effective traits but are largely the same. The later chapters though will start adding a lot more gimmicks and stuff to mix things up. Hopefully nothing more annoying than fun. Are you on the discord?

(Side note, Chadwick and Keagan also get new sprites after some story shenanigans.)

Edit: okay fixed Batta thing and will update the ups once I make a few other changes. Good catch.

Sorry, I keep editing this

Spoilers:

Summary

Yeah, it shouldn’t be a surprise that William is the bad guy. It’ll be a surprise to Chadwick at the moment and he’ll try to give William the benefit of the doubt, but it’s spelled out to the audience explicitly and early. This is why Chapter 9 opens with the White Fang perspective and not the Black Fang. It’s showing outright that they are innocent and that it’s a set up. I don’t typically like “subverted expectations” fake-out kind of stories.

There’s a quote attributed to Kurt Vonnegut that I mostly tend to agree with " Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages"

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Holy damn I was not expecting this, what a comeback. I really liked DotF back in the day. I’ll have to give this one a spin too.

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Is it intended that Luke can have 2 A supports? For some reason Arnold and Luke could support each other (Arnold was at B/B with Luke and Ubaldo and Luke was at A/B with Batta and Arnold). Both of them could initiate the talk. This occurred in Chapter 9. The Discord invite still doesn’t work, it says it’s either invalid or expired. Also while i’m at it, hadn’t had as much fun with a romhack, as i had with this one, in a long while, so keep up the good work.

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Yeah, right now every character gets 9 support points to spend. Meaning multiple A ranks. Broken, probably, but why not. I’m not sure why the discord isn’t working. I swear I updated it. I’ll try again.

One other note, it’s on there but not super obvious, there’s an update patch: https://www.mediafire.com/file/tucovzj7wtot04i/Black_Fang.Achilles1.01b.ups/file

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Seeing this blast from the past is almost incredible enough to make up for 2020!
I remember Watching MJ1990 play this back when I first joined the community! Can’t wait to give this a go myself!

Not sure if what I’m asking for involves spoilers, but is there any benefit to summoning Leif in each chapter? I think there was a note in one of the early chapters saying that something might happen later in the game if you do (though I could very well be mistaken.) I’m almost done with CH. 8, and so far it looks like he gets killed off in the post-chapter cutscene of each chapter even if he survives the map.

Update: Moving Chadwick beyond a certain point on the map of CH 8 (Marquess Marcus) automatically de-summons Leif. Pretty sure this is intentional, but if not I thought I’d mention it. It doesn’t trigger with any of the other characters I’m fielding.

Keeping Leif alive gets you the chance to watch his silly death scenes each chapter but also unlocks…

Summary

a special unique late game unit.

There’s no penalty if he dies in a scripted scene. Only dying in normal combat will negate the special bonus.

Chapter 8 he dies and it is not explained but is supposed to be a “what the hell happened” joke where he must have just tripped but it’s not communicated well because I’ve had a few people asked about it. So the most recent patch (not yet released as of 1.01b) has an added line of dialogue there to clear it up.

Thanks for the info. As for the CH 8 thing, I was pretty sure it was intentional but it feels good to have that confirmed. I thought it was something like him tripping or him getting hit by a stray arrow.

Is there a guide for unlocking gaiden chapters? I was just taking a look in FEBuilder and I definitely missed CH4x (definitely going to do my best to get the rest, though!)

The chapter guide on the Wix site has the subchapter requirements in bold.
https://chadwickhhs.wixsite.com/blackfang/about