The standard of number of player units in early chapters

Hello FEUniverse community,

This is a question topic that I’ll find about what people expect for the standards of the number of units that the player is given in the first chapters and could serve well as a modeling example for future ROM hack creations.

So with further ado, the questions are:

How many player units should be added minimum (and maximum) in the first chapter in a FE ROM Hack?
In the first few chapters after the first chapter, how many you’re planning to add? (Up until at most one-third of the game / the first “part” defined)

It’s also helpful to explain why do you think the minimum should be that around number and provide the reasons why the player should be able to have control over not too few units, but not given a lot that it’s too complex/confusing early on.

1 Like

I’d argue the max should be 4-5 for the first chapter. That would give players a nice spread to get used to from chapter 1. FE5 does this decently, though half are cavalry units, you have your Lord, the pre-promote Jagen, a long range damage unit, a tank and two other high mobility mounted units, so you can start tailoring your crew and style immediatly. However that’s not mandatory. FE8 starts with only the Jagen and Lord and gives you 2 units per chapter until chapter 5 which make up the first layer of your army in terms of all the different unit types you’ll have at your disposal. FE7 literally only gives you the lord in chapter 1. I’d argue for around 8-10 ish units spread across the different classes, so the player can have a nice smooth introduction to the pros/cons of each, without getting overwhelmed or just having too many units benched. Which is another issue you should consider: deployment slots.


Prior to preps, it depends on the maps you’re tackling and how many systems you’re interacting with, especially when it comes to weapon variety.
Once you’ve got preps, you can literally shove in like a hundred units and it wouldn’t necessarily cause issues.

I know your problem is not enough units, which is why I suggested starting the narrative at a different point in bandori bs1, so you can start with 5 and then get between 1 and 3 units each following chapter.

Speaking of which I had not really announced that project earlier, but the fact you said it here means I should just announced it earlier.

“Shove in like a hundred units” is pretty much a hyperbole, but I would generally agree that after preparations is available in each FE maingame generally happens before or right at the same chapter as units joining that you have a relatively lot of units.

Anywhere between 4 to 7 to start off with and theb handing out to 2 to 3 units every chapter or every other chapter during the early game on average. After that just 1 or 2 units usually.

I like this question. I think it’s best to ease the player into understanding the weapon triangle right away. For my hack I chose to follow the previous GBA games, so the lord, the red and green cavaliers, the pre-promoted paladin and an archer. But it could be interesting to reverse that tradition by making the lord a brigand that uses axes, and it’s the cavaliers and nobility that are attacking his home. Could be an interesting spin? I’ve almost convinced myself to do that instead.

Does this ROM hack sound familiar to you already?

Personally, it depends on how the story (if there is any in your hack) flows. If you introduce 10 characters in the first chapter, then either it will be an exposition dump which will disinterest the players the moment they realize how long it’s going; or the characters will have very little to no time to showcase their traits. Hacks don’t need to have story as their focus, so some characters might not matter at all and that’s ok, but the players might also not get attached to them either.

When you introduce a playable character, you have to, even if not right away, showcase their role in the story, why are they involved in the conflict, what connection they have with the protagonist, motivations to keep risking their lives, and so on, that allows for the players to slowly understand the characters and the world around them. So if you care about that, inserting many playables at once might not be good, I think 6 is a good limit for a chapter 1.

So what you saying is a total of 6 playable units within the prologue or chapter 1 is acceptable as long as you don’t go above the number. I would start with the main character first in the prologue then introduce new playable units in the next chapter. Suppose I would take that approach.

I generally would prefer around as many as FE6 gives you early on (6). More units means more tools for the player to use, and more tools means more variety and replayability.

Take fe8 as the polar opposite where you only get seth and eirika in the first chapter. You have less tools to use and thus the prologue always feels the same, and quite boring.

While I do agree with this point - I do think that you could potentially get away with having introductions/characterizations of characters later on rather than on the spot, but this would potentially require a less traditional game/story to truly work.

Definitely! Make no mistake, nothing is set in stone and really, on the hands of a skilled writer, I’m sure they can pull it off having many more units in an introduction. For convenience sake I think more than 6 characters in an intro can be a little too much, however that doesn’t mean anything above 6 is bad, it just needs to be dealt with carefully and you’d probably need to plan out how the characters will be fleshed out as the story goes.

1 Like

I think the 4~7 range others have shared to start the player off with is a pretty good one, personally. Most Fire Emblem titles give you preps around Chapter 4~6 or so, by which point you usually have 1~4 more units than you can bring into that chapter. Off the top of my head, that generally means a deployment count of 10~12 with a max potential party size of 12~16 by that point.

Granted, this is just the numbers vanilla games generally use, and not every game does things this way to begin with. It’s not a hard and fast rule or anything, but it’s a definite trend that’s useful to keep in mind, I think.