Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

From Before I Play
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  • Unlike Path of Radiance, you can add and remove skills without discarding them. Feel free to use Paragon on the entire Dawn Brigade, for instance.
  • On the other hand, skills that characters start with are generally "free", and don't cost any skill points unless transferred to someone else. Be sure that you don't want to use the character in the future before removing and transferring a starting skill.
  • The game shifts perspectives a lot, focusing on different groups of characters. This means that you can transfer items and skills between different groups, and (more importantly) that you may want to unequip certain valuable items at the end of certain chapters, as your characters will be AI controlled and happy to waste them next time you meet:
    • Ilyana (end of act 1), Lethe, Mordecai, Heather, Brom, Haar and Nephenee (end of act 2) will transfer between groups at the ends of their respective chapters. All the Crimean Knights (Marcia, Astrid, Makalov, Calill, Danved, but NOT Geoffrey) will join after chapter 3-9. Zihark and Jill may be recruited via a conversation with Lethe and Mordecai for the former, Haar and Mist for the latter during both 3-7 and 3-13 (act 3 endgame).
    • You want to trade your important items (Psysic staffs etc) to characters that can't use them at the end of 3-6, 3-9, 3-11 and 3-13.
  • You are sometimes reinforced with generic soldiers from your army. These guys will generally run around, steal your XP, get in the way of your tactical positions, and generally mess things up. They're only useful for killing the occasional stray enemy and healing via Psysic staffs. Here's the thing: any order you issue them via "Direct" other than Roam - Halt, Avoid, Target - will mean they'll never attack, even when enemies are directly in front of them, and will never heal, even when well in range.
  • By the time the endgame starts, the only use for stat boosts is indulging your perfectionism - most characters you use during the endgame should have capped their important stats. If anything, stat boosts applied the instant you find them can probably make your Dawn Brigade characters slightly more survivable.
  • Regarding stat boosts and capped stats. Levels characters gain with Bonus XP (BEXP) will always increase exactly three stats. If a character already capped their important stats, BEXP might actually mean more stat increases on average. It also means that if you feed someone a stat boost for a stat they'd cap anyway, it's not "wasted".
  • You get a discount card in chapter 3-2. The game emphasizes that it's a one-off, and isn't kidding. The card disappears once you start your next battle, so sell it once you've finished shopping.
  • Part I is the hardest part of the game by a country mile, because the Dawn Brigade is a fairly meager bunch for the most part, especially in the first 4-5 chapters. Eventually you get a couple promoted units who will help you, but it's natural to struggle. Of the original Dawn Brigade members, Edward and Nolan are definitely pay out dividends, and all the returning Path of Radiance peeps are excellent. Try to get at least those two members promoted by the end of Part I. The rest of the characters vary in degrees of usability, but when you revisit the Dawn Brigade later in the game you'll find things to be a lot harder (though still winnable) if you don't have some good levels on those two. In theory all of the Dawn Brigade troops are good enough, but the amount of XP you need to pump into the lower level people can make your life hell later on.
  • Don't pass the Beastfoe skill scroll along from Part I to Part II. Keep it with the Dawn Brigade.
  • Myrmidons/Swordsmasters like Edward, Zihark and Mia are godlike if you team them up with an Earth Support granting Dodge. It's pretty easy to create set-ups where their chance to be hit is regularly less than 20, letting them dodge-tank most any physical threat.
  • Unlike Path of Radiance, Support in Radiant Dawn is built by characters deploying together and ending their turns together; there is also anecdotal evidence suggesting that you build support by pushing, healing and rescuing, but the game never communicates any of this in a useful way. If you're really determined with this you can get from C to A Rank in a Support within 3-4 missions.
  • When you Forge, you can use Coins to give your weapons boosts, like +Hit, +Might and +Critical. These seem random, but they're actually fixed per run. If you draw a +Hit, then reset your game and choose a different card, you'll always still get +Hit. This means you can forecast what your upcoming bonuses will be by forging a bunch of Iron Axes with Coins added; that way you can avoid drawing a Vines or Ravens (which don't give any Stat boosts) on an otherwise valuable item.
  • There's some endgame content locked behind a second playthrough, and also some story content that requires Ike to have an A-Support with Soren in both Radiant Dawn and Path of Radiance. It's not really anything groundbreaking, and you'd need an FAQ to figure out the Steps to pull it off.
  • You get one Purge book for free during the game. Try to keep it intact as long as you can, it can be handy for the Part IV Endgame.
  • Part IV Endgame tactics (not a real spoiler, but just in case):
    When instructed to split your troops into three armies, put all your Fliers with the Silver Army