Hot take: Convoy Lords make no sense. Bring back Merlinus-type units

The convoy has always been a key feature in Fire Emblem, although it was a lot more limited in the early games.

In, Gaiden, Genealogy, Thracia 776, PoR, and RD, the convoy could only be accessed outside of battle. Also, in FE1 (NES), there were special convoy shops in-map.

But in Mystery, the current trend of the convoy being accessed via the main lord began. Sacred Stones brought the mechanic back later. And then from Shadow Dragon onwards, every main series game has had the convoy be tied to the main lord.

Now, I get it. It’s supposed to be a quality of life feature. It’s convenient. But to me, it almost feels… TOO convenient.

Even in a fantasy world, it makes no sense that a unit is carrying all of the armys weapons by themselves. No explination is given to how this works. It just happens. Other mechanics, such as Divine Pulse are given a canon explination. So why not the convoy???

Personally, I think that the Elibe games (Especially FE6) did the convoy much better: Merlinus. Having a dedicated convoy unit feels more cohesive adds another layer of strategy to the game.

In FE6, you have to either give up a deployment slot for the convenience of the convoy, or you have no convoy, which I think is pretty fair. As excess items can still be SENT to the convoy if Merlinus is not present.

Meanwhile, FE7 did some changes to Merlinus, both good AND bad. For one, having him be a separate unique deployment slot and him automatically grow if he is unharmed is a lot better than how he worked in FE6. However… Being unable to send excess items when he’s not present is a big flaw.

I would love if FE brought a merlinus style convoy back to the series. Hell! You could even make it so that the unit is required in higher dificulties, but have the convoy Lord in Normal and Easy.

If they’re gonna keep the convoy Lord mechanic, they could at least make it so that it’s explained in some way. Like, maybe the Lord has a magic infinite capacity bag, like Hermione in Harry Potter 7, or Jack Horner in Puss in Boots 2.

The way I’m doing it in my hack, is that I have a convoy unit, like Merlinus. BUT, I also have a special Item called “Magic Mirror”, which gives convoy access to ANY unit that’s holding the item (In-story, the convoy unit has an identical copy, and the mirrors are 2 ends of a portal). That way, if you want to have the convoy on a combat unit, they still need to give up an inventory slot. Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t as bad as an entire deployment slot.


So… What do you guys think? Should FE keep convoy Lords? Bring back dedicated convoy units? Or something in between?

Feel free to comment your thoughts.

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To me it’s sorta like uhh… Well look at Three Houses since I don’t know how to explain it properly, one ‘unit’ is actually equal to an entire squad, so in this case it’s the convoy staying close to the lord. I don’t know it what I said makes sense, but the Lord having access to the convoy makes sense to me for that.

Could be intriguing to see another Merlinus though, long as it’s not the terror of the FE6 Merlinus.

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I like convoy units, but I also like support units in general. I like the idea of not just relying on stats to force your way though a game but instead use units with weird non-combat niches. A good non-combat niche is a convoy unit.

I have no real thematic issue with the main lord having access to the convoy or being the source of the convoy. Like sure it doesn’t make sense, but I’m not bothered that much by it. The problem for me is that now the lord is the unit you must protect to prevent game over, the unit with access to all of the items you have collected in the game, AND (in mainline games) probably one of you strongest units, which is a bit too much for me.

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I mean, yeah. In 3H you have Batallions. But that’s not the case in Other FE games

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In my game there’s one unit who has convoy access because lore wise he’s a merchant with a horse.

I do make it that if he dies it passes off to the MC, but that’s just because I thought it was too cruel to take convoy access away midfight too cruel lol.

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I was using that as a way to illustrate what I meant in that one unit is more than just that literal unit, in all of the games there are notes of there being an army and proper troops, which is a bit odd to call your 30-or-so character team.

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I also really like the magic mirror idea! Especially if it was an item the player could earn in a gaiden or something like that.

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In my opinion
Fuck realism

Link can carry 50 bombs and hundreds of arrows this isn’t out of the ordinary for games.
It’s also just better for gameplay imo since you have an easily accessible source to access your resources from that doesn’t take a deployment slot like in FE6 or is stationary somewhere completely stupid such as the beginning of the chapter like fe7 but is instead a unit that moves and acts independently.

I think it’s perfectly fine as is and honestly any FE game that doesnt have this convoy system already reduces a lot of points for it in my book since I, y’know like to use the tools given to me without having to walk back to the start of the chapter like it’s a damn genealogy map

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In my hack it’s a guaranteed item you get once in the same chapter as the convoy unit. But in the mid game, there will be a secret shop where you can buy more of them.

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I agree completely with you, I made the convoy a separate unit in my hack and explained it away with a Bag of Holding since I like DnD and incoporated elements of that universe into my own. There will also be more than one convoy unit depending on if and how certain events happen.

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“back”?

Marth had access to convoy since FE1!

Nope. In FE1 there was a Convoy shop. Imagine a Merlinus tent you didn’t have to defend. It costed 10G to deposit each item.

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I started with FE9 and 10 so I like the “invisible convoy” system they use. You can send excess items to the convoy during battle, but if you want to retrieve something you do it outside of battle. I like that this trims down the amount time being spent on item management during battle and keeps things moving forward.

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There was.
But Marth could access the convoy anyway.

No. That was the only way you could access the convoy. If you want to do preps, you have to actually keep playing the previous map, taking many turns sending everyone to the tent. If you want to deploy some different units next map, too bad, they’ll have to make do with what they last had or spend a turn at the convoy during the next battle. And since only one unit may go on the tile at a time, you’re having to delay those unbenched units for sometimes multiple turns. The only thing you can do in the actual pre-battle preps is view the map and select units. If you have less than the threshold alive, there are no preps.

It’s kind of the opposite of fatigue, it makes it more convenient to use the same team every chapter and permabench everyone else. Unless your’re a manakete with your infinite use stone. Hero Crest glitch go brrrrrrr.

I think there was a meme in the past month on reddit or something aboiut the convoy guy being the true villain of FE1 for charging you 10G per item. Also, Merlinus is almost assuredly doing business with the enemy in FE7. He never complains like Hannah about being dragged to the desert and the Dread Isle, because the Black Fang are many of his customers. They make sure to never actually kill or loot him. But FE1 convoy man is on a whole 'nother level, the enemy never attacks him, and he sometimes has 2 tents on the same map and can teleport the entire convoy and himself between them. That is, assuming he’s the same person. Then again, every shop is “Larabel’s.” Businesses in FE are weird, the vendor always looks the same. Maybe Anna isn’t the only one with clones. Anyway, I’m clearly overthinking this.

As for my opinion I like when convoys make sense, even if you have the MC be the convoy it’s trivial to just explain it away in one line of dialogue that “Lord has a Portable Hole.” In a world where warp staves exist there surely must be more mundane everyday applications for magical spatial manipulation.

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Well, I would assume that valuable items such as Warp are as rare in-lore as they are in-gameplay. Sometimes characters will casually namedrop Vulneraries or other weapons in dialogue, but usually not powerful items like Warp, unless it’s story-relevant. In fact, in Tellius, they make it a big deal how Rewarp is a NEW technology.

Also, I don’t blame Merlinus. Business is business afterall. I don’t think the Black Fang are gonna get much use out of 1 use handaxes.

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The solution I went with when doing lord convoy was to have the lord be the sole practitioner of space-time magic that allows for convoy access. However, this does beg the question: Merlinus lord when?

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Bring back thracia “convoy” you cowards; I wanna pay 30,000 + to swap weapons and accessories between my units

In all seriousness, the idea of support units is a good one, since it expands the tools and concepts available when creating deployable units… but you have to really build with that in mind.

Example: its pretty common to see around 11 deployment slots in the early to mid game of quite a few rom-hacks I’ve enjoyed as of late. If you deploy a cleric in those maps, as well as potentially a dancer if the rom-hack author added them early, you are now down to 9-9 1/2 units that can handle enemy phase as well as aggressive push across the map, which is already tricky if you are up against 20+ enemies that require playing smart around (I.E avoiding effective weapons, prioritizing thieves, crit units, mages, etc). In this hypothetical rom-hack, if you add a convoy unit, without adjusting, you are now down to max 8 frontline units, and any number of them could be growth units that better chip for damage, or struggle with lower movement, or are too squishy to play blocker…

To get to a point, a support-supply unit can be worth bringing back, just it needs more consideration in design. I personally really like what the supplier animation brings to the table; you could make, like, an alchemist or merchant class who doubles down as a healer as well as supply

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That’s where instead of having the convoy unit use a deployment slot, it could instead be like FE7 where you’re prompted to deploy them or not, independant of slots. But that depends on each hacker, I suppose.

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The dedicated convoy unit is nice thing to have, both in FE6 and FE7 Merlinus had it uses apart from being a convoy.

In the first map on FE6 where is deployed, he can easily visit the village and shops without need to slow down any of the combat units, so you want to use him as a visit/shop bot in safe (and boring) parts of the map.

On FE7, he serves more as a secondary objective to defend since usually there are at least some reinforcements that will appear to attack him. Also in FE7 that he is inmobile for a big part of the game is not that much of an issue since most maps are small.

In both cases, the convoy unit goes well with high Mv units to take the items back and foward.

But… outside of being QoL, does the convoy gets that much use on maps when you have full preview of the map at battle prep and can just manage your items there?

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