How often do Jagens get canon story deaths mid-game, ensuring the moment their usefulness is supposed to fall off (or earlier) will be the moment they fall off this mortal coil?

How often do Jagens get canon story deaths mid-game, ensuring the moment their usefulness is supposed to fall off (or earlier) will be the moment they fall off this mortal coil?

To me it seems like a great way of ensuring the character gets to go out on a high note, and give the heroes more motivation and emotion. A real “Passing the torch” moment to ensure they shuffle off this mortal coil instead of shuffling over to the bench. It also ensures that all EXP given to your powerful Jagen is well and truly wasted, encouraging you to use him as little as possible.


i reject your anti-jagen agenda

Spoilers for Langrisser/Warsong

Langrisser 1 did this to Baldarov/Volkoff (The jeigan of that game) after Chapter 5 and I thought it was a decently executed story moment. I’m surprised FE has never tried this concept even though they put permadeath in the forefront as a mechanic.


I feel like (correct me if I’m wrong) this happens in a decent number of fangames but only one or two mainline games. Maybe what I’ve played isn’t the most representative sample (games with plotline deaths neccesitate they have plot, and plot play a big role in which fangames I decide to pick up), but it does happen occasionally. Funnily enough, the example that sticks out to me the most (other than my own, unreleased, amateur project) is an example of the Jagen getting offed even though with his stats & growths he’d be viable far longer into the game.

Related Spoilers

It was an FE8 retelling though, so Seth’s death was for game balance purposes as well as story purposes.

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I feel like Jeralt was originally intended to be your Jaigen character in 3H, but they decided not to make him playable as they thought some players may be annoyed that they took away a unit that they may have become attached to or invested into.

It seems like Jagen was originally supposed to die according to some developer notes in FE1, so this is something that IS thought of even back then.

From a gameplay perspective this removes some choice from the player. Forcing units to die during the story, completely out of the player’s control, isn’t exactly a good feeling. It could be done well for sure, plenty of RPGs have done similar things, but it should be framed in a way that makes the player feel like they’re losing a character they care about instead of some unit they invested time into training.


While it’s early in the story, Shadow Dragon did this and I definitely don’t like it. The whole idea of leaving someone to make the enemy think that it’s Marth is kinda dumb AND if you play the Prologue you’re forced to do it (so if you want to use Frey or Norne on a playthrough on cart you’re stuck), which leaves a sour taste in the mouth. And, because it was added content for the remake, they never really touch on it after the Prologue portion is over until New Mystery (meaning Marth only has the decision weigh on him for a short period of time instead of the whole game), and then you find out that the decision didn’t really matter anyway since the sacrifice survived anyway.

I know this argument isn’t exclusively about a Jagen’s death, but it definitely hits the same points that you’re trying to get across.

And this is where Sigurd shines (kind of), since you had half a game of time with him and the game transitions to basically an entirely new army afterwards, so there really isn’t an element of lost investment by losing units from a story perspective here.

Shoutouts to other RPGs that “reimburse” the player when characters die or leave the party by transferring the resources (stat gains, exp, etc.) into units that come into the roster after them or by automatically refunding what you spent on them so that it isn’t a wash.


In that case plot-mandated Jagen death would likely be best in games where you cannot invest grinding time into your units, or games where you’re not supposed to grind. Games set up with Iron Manning in mind where instead of investing hours into customizing and optimizing you must make the best out of what you’re given for the chapter.

How does giving the Lord a plot-triggered buff to make him your new strongest guy sound? Combine that with a “This unit and adjacent allies gain bonus EXP” skill and you’re going to want to minimize use of your strong unit because investing that EXP into other units would be better than spending it on your Lord Jagen.

Perhaps all EXP given to the Jagen could be transferred to the Lord? A real “JOJO! THIS IS MY FINAL HAMON! TAKE IT FROM ME! MAKE! IT! YOURS!” moment. But that would encourage using the Jagen.

To kill off a character is to deny the player the use of that character so it’s highly important that there’s a very important reason in story as to why they need to die other than “they’re the Jagen and I don’t like Jagens” or whatever. I also think that killing the Jagen is just kinda lazy design, instead of making a tool that gets less useful as the game goes on the creator chooses to just take away said tool even if the tool may have still been needed.


I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an agenda. It’s just that when you have no other option other than the Jagen, relying on him feels like cheating. It also feels like a waste of EXP and weapon EXP your other units would appreciate more. Either your Jeigen is too good and it’s possible for him to solo the game alone, or he’s the star of the show (Frederick Emblem Lunatic+), or the Jaeigen falls off at some point and stops being worth it, or he’s good enough to be used right until you can replace him to “avoid cheating”. And at that point it just feels weird for the Lord protagonist character’s oldest friend and strongest old warrior to just… miserably look down and trudge over to the bench while avoiding eye contact with everybody just because he got upstaged in the stat and potential department by the obligatory little girl character.

Sure, there are things the best Jaygen can do besides deleting enemies/groups of enemies like blocking paths, chipping foes down with weak weapons to set up kills for your other units, rescuing/separating to get units where they need to be, increasing stats of other units in Awakening, and more. But if the Jigen is there to be a crutch the player chooses to stop using to avoid wasting resources, taking that crutch away from the player when it is no longer needed and going out a hero and making his mark with a big dramatic heroic sacrifice sounds better for the story’s internal logic than… I mean, can you imagine Marth or Robin telling the local Jhyeaigenne to stop serving Milord and get on the bench between the garbage bow user and replacement weapon users you never needed?

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Jagens probably feel like cheating to you because they’re meant to be reliable safety nets for the early game. A good Jagen allows the creator to make more challenging maps early on while the player doesn’t have many tools through means of giving the player a unit that is better than everyone else for a time, and killing that character is not only running the risk of getting rid of them too early, or the risk of their death feeling like a cheap alternative to actually making them scale as the game goes on, instead of making a pencil that you toss once your other utensils are properly sharpened and ready to go you make a pencil and then just throw it away with no warning.

Because of how Fire Emblem games work lost exp rarely matters and it’s important to give the player wriggle room anyway unless you want your game to be an unironmannable tedious boring slog of a game that requires too much of the player. Weapon ranks are another matter altogether but ultimately share the same issue as exp distribution, unless you want to make your game an unfun one you should give the player wriggle room.

Jagens should fall off yes but it’s important to not force the Jagen to fall off at any specific point because every player is at a different skill level and may need the Jagen for a longer period of time then the designer thinks.
I know as a player and a romhacker if I feel that I’m having my fun tools taken from me in order to adhere to what the designer thinks my skill level should be I’ll probably drop the hack altogether, as I’ve done with some hacks in the past.

Also there is no “cheating” with a Jagen if the hack is actually designed.


I’m probably not the best to comment on something like this, since I don’t really use Jeigans anyways, but here we go:
I don’t think killing a character off, regardless of which, is a good idea, unless the story has a good purpose for doing so. The one thing I point to is Princess’s Lament

(Mild spoilers for the hack)

Seth is killed at the beginning of chapter 8, and this is an event which affects Erika for the entire game. I don’t think that the hack was perfectly written (Hell, regular fire emblem doesn’t write that well either lol) but it makes a statement, and the units you are given make up for Seth’s absence. As well, this is done early on enough to make loosing your unit less painful.

This is what I would use as a good reference for what a story death should be, and how it should work. Still, unless the Jeigan is killed for a story reason, and a REALLY good story reason, I don’t think it’s really a good idea. If you want to make a Jeigan good enough to be used by the endgame, it’s not too hard to do, Seth is good for a reason, but the harder thing to do is to make them balanced. An idea I had for a recently cancelled project was to have a “Semi Jeigan” in a character who had rather good defensive bases, but only average offensive ones, and started unpromoted. Something like this still lets you design harder maps, but in a different way.

Official Fire Emblem only has one (or two depending on how you want to count it) canon mid-game story death for a Jagen in Birthright’s and Revelation’s Gunter, but Thracia 776 also yoinks your two big Jagens away and makes you earn it if you want them back. I guess you could also count Orson in Sacred Stones if you wanted, but he’s really just Ephraim’s I Can’t Believe It’s Not Seth for Chapter 5x.

I do think the concept of giving the player a hard, scripted cutoff point after which the Jagen becomes unavailable is one way of curtailing reliance on them, though it also feels like a bit of a blunt tool to me; perhaps a bit inelegant, if still something that can be done well and have a place. @theghostcreator actually did a really good job of explaining the biggest potential issue with it on the game design/balance side of things; that not every player will be ready to wean themselves off using the Jagen by that fixed cutoff point, and may experience an unfun, momentum-killing difficulty spike as a result. I don’t think that it can’t be done well period, but taking away the Jagen completely at an unchanging deadline carries some significant risks and is most certainly not a miracle panacea to Fire Emblem’s issue with Jagens often remaining overpowered for longer than they’re probably meant to.

One idea I had is to put limitations on a Jagen’s weapon access; say, a swordlocked Jagen with a low base weapon rank. This would require some in-universe rationalization on the writing side (maybe the Jagen was, say, a skilled marksman who vowed never to pick up a bow again after the Tragic Backstory Incident, but finds themself taking up the sword instead when danger comes knocking) but it’s the sort of thing that wouldn’t impact a character’s performance as much at first when both enemy formations and player weapon options are relatively simple, but that would allow other party members to start having noticeable edges over the Jagen as the game goes on and more varieties of weapons become both more available and more relevant. It’s just a thought, but it is one I’m interested in exploring.


Isn’t this just an argument to not have a Jagen in the first place.

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I don’t think Gunter counts as a good example of this trope. You barely get to use him before he is chucked off the bottomless canyon, so you never get to form any emotional connection to him. The best way to do this trope is to have the player get to use the Jagen for about 5 to 10 chapters and then have him die heroically saving the hero. That hits the emotions a little harder if pulled off correctly, as if you were relying on or liked the Jagen, you will absolutely be devastated.

Orson is also a bad example since you only get to use him for one chapter and from the beginning they are telegraphing betrayal. It would’ve been better if you got to use him for a couple of chapters and got to know him more.

I think Eyvel is a good example of the trope. The whole storyline with Leif getting captured and thrown into a dungeon is one of the better parts of Thracia. I think though that killing off Eyvel would’ve hit harder and made the player more invested in beating Raydrick. Not that they needed more motivation, but still.


Lets boil it down to facts:

-Gunther in Fates (and thats in Early Game, he also reappears later on in Conquest as a terrible unit and in Revelations he immediately returns as a terrible unit.)

-Jeralt in Three Houses (And Jeralt doesn’t even count because he is not playable. Many like myself agree with Mekkah that he should’ve been a Jagen - I think he could’ve worked if you simply don’t let him be in the class with other units ensuring he would stay a Paladin and maybe don’t allow him to be deployed in optional missions such as Training or Sidequests (minus Gaidens imo). I actually think him being playable would’ve benifited him since then we would have opportunitys to actually get attached and give him supports with us, Leonie and the other teachers. Maybe even the lords to give Edelgard further motivation for Revenge.)

-Oifey from Holy War (He actually is a -1 so he raises the number down to 0 (or 1 if you count Jeralt) since he is a Jagen you have from the start but can only use in the second half of the game)

-Eyvel and Dagdar from Thracia 776 (These two can actually come back but especially Eyvel is a big if especially for blind players. Dagdars fate remains unknown if you miss the Gomez-Gaiden. Their deaths also occur early game and especially Dagdar can remain a fantastic unit though his Duel Skill kinda messes him up here and there)

Honorable mention
-Fernand from Sacred Echoes (Here he also doesn’t die, he just leaves the group early on and gets killed by us except if the devs changed that to him being recruitable. I am aware that this is a Fangame but it would’ve been something cool to see in the main series… WAIT A MINUTE )

-Orson from Sacred Stones (He is only playable for 1 chapter and does a good job as such a character. I think him being around longer would be for an even better betrayal. But again, he leaves the group early and gets killed later on by the players. I unironically think though that except him leaving early he is one of FEs best written characters. Simply because his simple story is executed perfectly.)

-Greil from Path of Radiance (Unlike Jeralt he isn’t even an NPC. But I think if Jeralt counts he should count too. He is a Boss that gets killed during the tutorial in training. But again that’s early and since it is training it doesn’t count. He gets killed again later on due to story reasons which is still pretty early. By the Waste EXP Logic, Greil is actually the very best Jagen since he isn’t even able to gain EXP.)

-Black Knight from Radiant Dawn (While only being playable for 3 chapters (being an NPC in one of them iirc) and truly wasting EXP he is the most OP Jagen of all time. But since you don’t get anything at all… Oh wait I dunno if his potential EXP are added to the Bonus EXP pool actually, someone who knows please give the awnser. He actually leaves the group early but returns during the final chapters of the game. He then is killed of during the endgame chapters… So he reverses things for once, nice. Interesting Ma-)

Shadow Dragons Suicide Descision (The game forces you to sacrifice either Abel, Kain, new Cavalier or Jagen to leave to die. Thats only if you play easy mode though and third Cavalier never appears if you play any other difficulty. While Jagen can technically die for story reasons here he is not the canonical choice and even if he would be, it’d be early on again. Also in New Mystery everyone who could’ve been sacrificed is magically alive again so it doesn’t count.)

Frederick from Awakening (It is implied that there are multiple different versions of not just Awakening but even the other games. Meaning that in at least some of these Frederick died due to story reasons. While it can’t be exactly determined how and when he theoretically COULD die offscreen in Lucinas original world.)

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Jagen dies in the backstory of this game just as everyone else. He is not playable but it happens in late midgame. He is a boss fight actually so idk if he should be counted.)

Ryoma from Fates (Ryoma is actually the only Prolouge character you are allowed to play with in early game under any circumstances. If you pick the Conquest Route he must be killed to progress the story. This happens in endgame so it doesn’t count.)

Mèare from Parallel Emblem (Again, a Fangame. One that is very good I heard and that is my totally unbiased opinion. Under normal circumstances it wouldn’t count but I think we can add this here because it is basically Fire Emblem Engage and I haven’t played that one yet. She is only around for two chapters and a very good unit with a weak weapon to ensure that you don’t have to waste EXP with her. But she dies off in the last prolouge chapter. While it is very tragic since in the total of 5 dialouges she has the developers managed to built up a much more fleshed out character than any of the above it still happens in early game and therefore it doesn’t count.)

In conclusion: Since we don’t know how often Fredrick died, the imaginary domain number it boils down to is U-QX-IZWBBULA-BWB

But since no one can understand that we leave Freddy out and leave at 0. Why? Because Gunther also is a reverse case since he only dies in two routes early, returns in two routes (one early and one midgame, just like Oifey does in midgame - I forgot to mention that Oifey actually leaves the group before he becomes playable.).

Actually though I think we might have to add Quan because Quan is also a prepromote that isn’t as good as Sigurd. But he fullfills many requirements. He is an excellent unit but hold back by things such as having Adapt over Pursuit making him a bit worse than others. He also gets Gae Bolg for 1 chapter before leaving and he actually dies midgame. So in reality there is 1 Jagen in the original games where we could truly say the goal of the thread has been reached.

In totally honesty I would prefer it if I have a Jagen that I can decide to train or not. If he dies because of my mistakes thats fine. But if he dies for a story reason he should die early on so people won’t get frustrated over the tragically low ammount of EXP they wasted.

Not at all. For one thing it’s the discussion of a topic, not an argument for my particular view on it. I think around the time you bench a Jagen because you can or because you want to or because not doing so would be an objectively bad move, you have to ask, why is he still on the bench?

Take away the player’s safety net early on to create feelings of panic. Take the safety net away too late and you’ve forgotten about him by the time he makes his heroic sacrifice. Not sure where the sweet spot would be. Any difficulty spike created by the sudden removal of the Jagen could be offset by buffing the obligatory Lord protagonist guy so he can take up the Jagen’s torch as your new strongest guy. That could hit extra hard if your Lord character was weaker than Roy up until that point, to keep him from being someone you’ll overly rely on like Pair Up Chrobin.

if you absolutely must get rid of the Jagen for whatever story reason the best option would be to replace the Jagen’s contributions with another unit who can perform a similar gameplay function to them in order to keep players of all skill levels comfortable and encouraged. If Jagen did indeed die in FE1 like he was originally supposed to do, it would likely to be about halfway through the game, around the time you get Midia and the rest of her group.

With Jagen’s very low growths Midia will either match or exceed him in most areas even by this point without the use of manuals. This is probably the best-case scenario with replacing the Jagen in my opinion but you can do some more unique stuff then a direct almost ctrl+c ctrl+v of the Jagen’s stats.

Marcus and Zelot is another good case of being able to replace the Jagen if they were to die at that point.

There’s also the trouble of having the Jagen’s death mean something. We’ve all seen with Engage that regardless of the great performance of Alear’s VAs that Lumera’s death scene still wasn’t impactful because we spend so little time with her. It’s incredibly doubtful that five chapters will be enough either. Writing for character deaths is difficult as that character’s death denies them of any further development and character building so if the death’s not done with a distinct purpose, it will leave a sour taste in the player’s mouth.


I should’ve been clearer in that I realize none of these are really exact examples of what OP was talking about; they’re just the closest official Fire Emblem gets to it.

If your game needs a jagen, implement one.

If your game is struggling to balance the jagen, struggle until you get it right.

If it’s not struggling, then good! Jagen success achieved, you’re now good to go.

If your script needs the jagen to die, kill him. Players will say it feels bad; ideally, that’s the whole point.

If your script doesn’t need him dead, don’t kill him. There’s no reason to, so why is this a consideration?

None of these situations involve killing him off due to a gameplay concern, and it should be obvious why.

At no point should you be implementing major story events because you don’t know how to, or don’t care to, balance a unit. “Encouraging” players not to give exp to the jagen despite this already being something they discourage doing by killing them entirely doesn’t work because players don’t know it’s coming – even if it did, why is this something important to do?

Just balance your units properly instead of brainstorming ways to get around doing so.