In the process of working on yet another iteration of a hack that i will abandon with tired disappointment, I got to thinking as to what makes for iconic and interesting weapons in the mainline and fanmade Fire Emblem games, and asked myself why some weapons stick in the memory and others don’t. A couple examples that came to mind:
-The Lord Swords: This is a catch-all, but it refers to the anti-armor/anti-cavalry weapon basically every main character gets as a personal weapon. Some, like the Wolf Biel or the Winged Spear, are more powerful then others, but over-all they seem to make up for the lack of strength most early game lords bring to the table, and with careful management of uses, can carry through the lords promotion or they get a better weapon, case in point
-The Binding Blade: iconic because of how heavily Roy leans on it, how valuable it is, and how relatively broken it is in its game. Its the equivalent to marth getting the Falchion at the very end of his game, but it breaks after 15 uses, functions at range, and has nearly as many stats as the lord wielding it. The fact it turns what is overall a tough game into a face-roll end game is a joke
-the Vouge/Pugi: probably my favorite axe in the franchise, and a case for how the weapon can overshadow the wielder. There are some factors as to why its so good outside of its stats, pursuit critical and axes actually being awesome on the SNES/Super Fam, but the fact its just a throwable killer axe, when handaxes are already a fantastic weapon type, more or less defines what make Osian so good in Thracia
So what are some iconic weapons for you all, and how would you go about making interesting weapons/magic in your hacks?
Sometimes a weapon can be memorable just for being weird. The Saunion from Echoes is a 2-3 range lance, which is completely unique and also very silly to just think about a lance that can’t attack at 1 range. Yet it still has a decent niche of letting lance users counterattack enemy mages from mid-act 3 onward. It was funny enough for me to put it in my hack at least
one of the most iconic weapons of GBA fire emblem is the killing edge, a 30 crit weapon slightly more powerful than an iron sword, it usually comes equipped to an enemy myrmidon which you can recruit. Rutger, Guy, and Joshua in the GBA games. This weapon gives you a good first impression of the myrmidons and makes them seem like they have more natural crit than they actually do, which flows nicely into the swordmaster class.
this weapon is usually the first ‘unique’ weapon you come across, it’s also seen as exceptionally rare, only really being available to the player a few times. This weapon can also be found on a few enemies, these enemies are almost always scary for the player, this further creates a firm memory of the killing edge being a powerful and iconic weapon.
So to create an iconic weapon, you need to
- not overuse the item on enemies or player units, that will make it as dull in the players mind as iron weapons
- make it unique in a way, much like how killer weapons are known for their crit, brave weapons are known for their unique properties. Make your weapon special with a unique use.
- put it on characters that can make good use of the weapon, but not optimal use, letting the player discover how good or bad the weapon truly is
- put it on dangerous and memorable enemies to make the weapon seem even greater.
- make the gain of the weapon an event, make it given as a story item or as the only chest in a room, make it feel special. Don’t put it in a room filled with items or drop it from a meaningless enemy
- make it feel good to use.
this overall will make your weapon more iconic.
Edit: I’d also like to add an example from my own hack, I added a new type of weapon known as ‘‘prop’’ weapons, these are only one a game, there’s one for every class and it’s a 0 might brave weapon that has low weight and 4 wexp gain
the first prop weapon is first given to you after recruiting your Jagen for the second part, the prop sword, its description and stats makes you think it’ll suck, it also starts with the low attack lord rather than the high base attack Jagen that makes better use of it, this is because these weapons vary wildly in effectiveness depending on what point you are in the game and which unit uses it, it’s a joke weapon meant for fun that can be put to good use.
you also get another from a single chest in a room three chapters later and one from the sand a chapter before that meaning you’ll likely try them out at least once. These weapons also have an around 10 crit which will make it feel amazing to use with swordmasters and berserkers.
Semi-unique weapons make for a good case yeah, especially high crit weapons or things like magic axes and swords; They can really change how you use the character and how you play against the boss/mini-boss using it
Thanks for the feedback!
Weapons become memorable when they stand out from the basics.
Some examples are:
Ruin tome from Awakening(50 crit tome);
The legendary weapons from TRS (notably Dullahan, Sylphid, Sunflame, etc.);
FE4 Brave Axe (Unique way to get it early);
The Devil weapons from the entire series
And many other examples scattered around.