Eugenics is a horrible set of ideas adopted by horrible people (like Margaret Sanger and Adolf Hitler) to justify horrible acts against humanity. I condemn eugenics in no uncertain terms and will use this short introduction to condemn it categorically and unilaterally.
Except when applied within the context of video games. Then it’s all butterflies and rainbows!
One of Fire Emblem 4: Genealogy of the Holy War’s biggest selling points is its complex marriage system. In short, characters in the first half of the game (hereinafter referred to as “Generation 1,” which ends after Chapter 5) will have children. These children will become playable in the second half of the game (“Generation 2”, which starts in Chapter 6) and will take on characteristics depending upon how your characters in Generation 1 acted. How do these mechanics work? Great question! This guide will seek to answer this, as well as offer some of the most optimal choices for how to make the most of this system. Do note that this guide will NOT contain any spoilers, and is written primarily for casual players/newcomers – not efficiency/ranked/low turn count runs, although I will occasionally mention these playstyles in passing if the differences are especially notable.
Anyway, here are the basics of marriage in FE4:
- Two marriages are set in stone: Sigurd x Deirdre and Quan x Ethlyn. You cannot make these characters fall in love with anyone else, so I will not be covering these pairings in this article. I recommend giving Sigurd the Leg Ring and the Paragon Ring, while giving Ethlyn the Pursuit Ring. That’s all I’ll say about these pairings though.
- For every other character in Generation 1, the love system exists. There are 7 eligible bachelorettes in Generation 1, and each can fall in love with any of the 12 eligible bachelors. (Gay/lesbian couples are not supported, probably because, due to biological reasons, they wouldn’t result in any kids.)
- To get characters to fall in love with each other, simply deploying them on the battlefield will grant them love points each turn. A couple will gain additional love points by ending their turns next to each other. These methods will work until turn 50 of any given map, when love points stop accruing. Additionally, some couples will have certain map events and can talk to one another on the battlefield: for example, Levin and Fury can converse during Chapter 4 and will fall in love instantly. (I recommend not doing this if you want to pair them up with other units.)
- After the couple falls in love, you guarantee yourself two kids in Generation 2: one boy and one girl. Make sure the mother survives, or else she will not have any kids. In this case, or if the mother never fell in love to begin with, then her kids will be replaced by two “substitute characters” who are usually inferior to her actual kids.
- Both kids will inherit all personal skills from both parents. Note that they do not inherit any class skills. You can check whether a skill is personal/class by pressing X on the unit screen and hovering over the skill in question. Also note that Sol, Luna, and Astra are only inheritable on infantry sword-wielding kids, namely Ayra’s kids, Silvia’s daughter, and Briggid’s daughter. No one else can inherit these.
- Boys will inherit their fathers’ inventories. Girls will inherit their mothers’. This is reversed for Briggid’s kids and Ethlyn/Quan’s kids (i.e. Briggid’s and Ethlyn’s sons will inherit their inventories, while the daughters will inherit their fathers‘ inventories).
- Regarding growth rates, boys will inherit their fathers’ full growth rates, plus 50% of their mothers’, while girls will do the opposite. Additionally, these growth rates are augmented by their parents’ Holy Blood, if applicable.
- There’s an extremely convoluted formula which dictates base stats of kids. I can’t explain it, nor do I feel any desire to, so if you’re curious, then just read the formula here: https://fireemblemwiki.org/wiki/Inheritance#Calculations
With that out of the way, let’s now begin talking about the pairings themselves. I will cover Tailtiu’s first because I firmly believe that hers is the most important pairing in the game.
In summary, here are the pairings that I advocate:
- Tailtiu x Levin
- Edeen x Midayle
- Ayra x Noish or Jamke (or Chulainn if you like incest and glitches)
- Bushmaster x Beowulf (or Alec if Beowulf isn’t available for some reason)
- Silvia x nobody
- Fury x Claude
- Briggid x Lex.
I believe that these are the best pairings that’d help a newcomer get the most out of Generation 2. To be clear, some of these couples are not optimal for ranked/LTC/efficiency runs. In those such runs, the main changes I’d see are Ayra x Dew and Edeen x Claude. Also, just for fun, here’s a list of virgins:
- Alec because his best pairing is Bushmaster, but Beowulf is better
- Arden because he’s a useless sack of HP whose only function is to nab us the Pursuit Ring in chapter 2
- Azelle because surprisingly, Pursuit isn’t really in high demand
- Finn because he’s too busy playing Thracia 776 and because NOT pairing him lets you preserve his inventory for the game’s second half. I’d rather have an inventory on Finn instead of a subpar kid
- Dew if you’re not playing a ranked/efficiency run, because of his super awkward skillset. Sol is unreliable, and nobody needs Bargain except in ranked runs.
- Jamke. In fairness, he can work very well with Briggid or Ayra, but I prefer Lex and Noish respectively.
- Chulainn if you’re anti-incest and anti-glitch
Well, hope you have fun! FE4 is one of my favorite games ever made, and I hope this guide can help newcomers enjoy it as much as I do.