Fire Emblem's Hollywood Archers


Makes Robin Hood look like a chump, doesn’t he? Anyways, it was really fascinating to learn about legit war archers (and, ya know, what they actually did - which wasn’t this slow modern archery range bullshit).

I’m kind of interested in it from a design perspective as well, since Fire Emblem definitely uses these more modernized renditions of archery as inspiration for the way bows function as predominantly 2-range locked.

I’ve been experimenting with bows in EN, adding a series of 2-3 range bows that suffer accuracy penalties at 3-range. Longbows with 3-5 range are another thought, and I’ve enjoyed the gameplay impact. Basically, my goal was to give archers more options to expand their range; at the cost of keeping their effectiveness multiplier at 2x instead of the buffed 3x for specialized slayer weapons. The flaw of the archer class is that basically their enemy phase is useless; if used improperly they’ll just be a free target, and if used at a distance they’re less likely to be targeted by the enemy’s ranged units, who will also be looking for a free target. My thoughts for changing bows are basically that their player phase should have as much utility as is feasible while still keeping the class balanced.

If I ever get around to having a game with skills, one idea came to mind for a class skill for the Hunter class in order to substantially differentiate the class from other bow classes (there’s only two T1 classes in regular GBAFE, which is a weak representation).

Toxophile: Grants an archer the ability to counterattack at melee range with their bow. This grants Hunters the benefit of a productive enemy phase.

What kind of gameplay ideas come to your minds after watching this legit display of archery?


Nit: “War archers”, like mounted ones etc., the kinds appropriate for an FE setting (at least on the blue team) didn’t. Archers that had more of an ‘artillery’ role, e.g. the English longbowmen, likely would have, because they were depending on (a) numbers and (b) range, such that they didn’t have to get shots off quickly (though of course more dakka always helps) but did need to draw really stiff bows. I imagine they still would have set the arrow out on the right side of the bow, though, because they wouldn’t be aiming so much at that distance vs. just trying to create huge amounts of cover fire.

Edit: Actually, not quite sure what point I’m making here. The longbowmen wouldn’t have had to do the fancy hold-multiple-arrows-in-firing-hand tricks, but they also wouldn’t be wearing a back quiver (they don’t need the mobility and there’s no reason to slow down the firing rate by mucking around for the next shot). Either way it’s a clearly different style of archery; we’re talking about distances of hundreds of yards and firing rates down to 10 per minute (vs 2 per second).


I think the point was more that archers were still trained to shoot in close-quarters ranges too, that they didn’t all of the sudden become useless when two armies directly clashed. They could still contribute, albeit at a disadvantage (which is where @BwdYeti’s 1-range weapon triangle disadvantage would come into play).


probably still useful to be able to work as efficiently as the guy in the video, maybe not to his extreme but at the very least quickly drawing and firing, with a good amount of power (recurve bows are difficult to get good strength with as compared to a compound bow), still i doubt to such an extremity as the guy in the above video but i would suspect the average archer was pretty damn strong, after all the English longbow was considered one of the deadliest weapons of its time.

as far as archers in fire emblem go though ive always found it silly they couldn’t defend from close range with there bow and arrow, i mean not attack up close okay sure, but they could at least try to defend themselves. as such a game play mechanic that allows them to counter attack on enemy phase with say an accuracy cut or something if only to encourage keeping archers closer to the back.
your skill idea sounds good though arch, but then again skills would balance out a lot of things in fire emblem, or at least let classes do what they’re suppose to do more effectively.


Yep. Again, the longbowmen wouldn’t, because the battle strategy was such that you were already completely hosed if the enemy got anywhere near them. They’d be more like ballista operators in the FE model. But yeah there’s tons of justification for 1-range bows here. I suspect IS had game-mechanical reasons in mind more than realism, but who knows.

(Now there’s a scary thought, a GBAFE map with like ten ballistae on it… make it fog of war and in the rain, too. You really want to model battles like Agincourt and Crecy? Go for it :smiley: Hmm, maybe mines could be relabeled as caltrops?)


Yeah, obviously some types of archery classes are more in line with the modern interpretation. What I’m saying is, we could stand to diversify that portrayal.

Also, we need a way to set mines through events. That’d be super neato for stuff like what zahl’s talking about.


This a million times.


From a mechanical perspective, the counter-on-melee skill wouldn’t really be effectually all that different from your Crossbowmen.


thats why i personally hope for more use of the crossbow in the main fire emblem games.


Or I guess we could use fire traps and change the map animation?

+1 for diversity. GBAFE nomad troopers suck because of the weapon switch at melee, would be better if they could at least counter at 1-range and then switch to a more powerful sword on their phase.

Maybe the problem is really that we call them ballistae and make actual map elements out of them, though. Like, if ‘longbows’ can fire 3-10 (which seems entirely reasonable to model the effects that the English longbowmen had on combat; at 10 arrows/minute you could - from what I’m reading - get a couple off before you were reached even on horseback), then a real ballista would be like - able to cover the entire map, but maybe not even hit the square you targeted (and that’s still more accurate than other long-range weaponry).

Also just wondering, do ballistae get treated like the weapon has a huge Wt? Seems like you can almost always double units riding them (which is good IMO, what we want to model here).


Yeah, the ballista weapons all have 20 WT.


i would suspect that there treated as if they have huge wt compared to other weapons, but a more realistic explanation would be the fact that it takes longer to operate one of them as compared to just hitting the thing with a sword.
though ballistae with more range would certainly be interesting, kinda like the wooden cavalry chapter in fire emblem 1 and shadowdragon which was almost entirely ballistaes, which is actually one of my favourite maps if only for the unique flavour of it. makes healing your guys and not dying a little tricky though without a physic staff.

EDIT: damn venno you ninja’d me, i’ll get you next time though (flies off shaking fist in a comedic angry fashion.)


A single tier 2 class out of 7 bow using t2s, and who has to solely dedicate his mastery to getting it. A far cry from giving it to a t1, or to a weapon multiple classes can use.
The normal crossbow users gotta deal with 2 range life just like everyone else


Valid point. I’d forgotten that T1 crossbows didn’t have 1-range.

So re-purpose the skill concept for the Sniper class, then, since you’re trying to make the Longbowman/Sniper split a thing.


In my opinion making archers anywhere near decent and worth using requires you to essentially plan the game around them. You need to increase enemy hit rates and/or damage output to the point where attacking from 1-range is quite punishing and possibly debuff player mages to a point where their 2-range output is not as effective. Aye, then we’re talking. Archers could probably do with defensive buffs so that being attacked on the enemy phase isn’t quite as punishing. I’ve personally no problem with the niche that they fill otherwise–as long as they’re the one character that you can rely on to kill one enemy at full HP per turn they’re doing their job just fine.

2-3 bows on enemies is still annoying as shit, by the way.


Yeah I don’t really get the love for 2-3 everywhere, it doesn’t solve archers’ fundamental problems and makes it frustrating to keep frailer units out of danger.

It’s as annoying as groups of enemies with 1-2 range weapons.


I only put 2-3 on an Iron/Steel/Silver series; it gets to be overbearing on every single bow.


I think we all need to keep in mind how important it is to be able to attack enemies and emerge without damage on maps when your healers are taxed and you can’t support the burden of another melee unit that needs healing each turn. Archers should get a little boost to def to differentiate them from mages… I suppose…


well i mean its not like they cant not wear armour, a def buff is probably the best solution for the time being. id still like crossbows back in the main series.


here have a complicated bowman idea

bow users (or maybe just one class with a skill) that have AW artillery functionality so they can still do the normal FE move and attack 2 range thing but as an alternative you attack without moving/only moving one tile/whatever and get say 2-5 range which gives extra range versatility without also compounding it with 90%-of-the-map-attack-range (also somewhat intriguing for siege tomes, basically makes them kind of like the SNES ones where you can’t move with them, but instead you can move you just can’t attack afterward)