The base system is a pre-battle management system which appears only in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. In every chapter once it has been unlocked, the player is brought to the base first and can freely take their time there to manage their units' items and support relationships, view conversations to gain new items or recruit new units, and review reference material on their progress so far and on the game's characters. The player can choose to leave the base and move on to the next battle at their leisure once they have done everything they want to do, but they will also be allowed to return to the base from the following battle preparations menu.
In Path of Radiance, the base first becomes available in Chapter 8. In Radiant Dawn, Micaiah's party in Part 1 first gains access to the base in Chapter 4, and in Part 2 it is first accessed in Chapter 3; Ike's party in Part 3 can access the base from the very beginning, as can all parties in Part 4.
The base allows access to the usual pre-battle inventory management services, allowing units to withdraw and deposit items from the supply convoy (once the merchant caravan joins), drop unneeded items, trade with each other, and use stat-boosters and class change items. In Path of Radiance, the market services are accessed through this menu as well.
Once the merchant caravan is with the player's party, the player will gain access to the caravan's shopping services as well as the supply convoy.
- Armory: Muston's armory sells weapons to the player. Unlike the armories of most games, he also sells magic tomes here.
- Shop: Aimee's shop sells staves and basic items to the player. In Radiant Dawn, she also offers a Bargains service where, for each chapter, she sells a limited selection of rare weapons and items which the player could not otherwise buy at that point.
- Sell Items: Jorge's antiques service allows players to sell weapons and items which they do not need in exchange for gold.
- Forge: Daniel's forging service allows players to forge more powerful weapons using pre-existing weapons as a base. This service is only available with Aimee's caravan and is not accessible in the generic army markets.
In later parts of Radiant Dawn, when the merchant caravan is not present (as with the Crimean party in Part 2, and Micaiah's party in Part 3), the player's army will take over the market with generic soldiers manning each shop. In Part 4, the merchants will split up with the three different parties: Muston accompanies Micaiah's party, Aimee accompanies Ike's party, and Jorge and Daniel accompany Tibarn's party. Each will assume control of all market services, although the forge is still only available in Tibarn's party.
The Manage option allows players to manage two elements:
- Award Exp: Allows the player to allocate any accrued bonus experience to units.
- Skills: Allows the player to assign skills to units using any skill scrolls they have collected, and to unequip skills from units to either free up capacity or, in Radiant Dawn, transfer them to another unit.
Supports (specifically buddy supports, in the case of Radiant Dawn) are activated in this menu in the base. When playable units have gained enough support points to be able to increase their support rank, the player will be allowed to select them from the support menu to establish or improve their support relationship. In Path of Radiance, the conversation will take place immediately along with the support upgrade, but in Radiant Dawn only the support rank increase will happen and the generic conversations between the pair will occur in battle.
At the beginning of every chapter, a set of base conversations will become available to view. Each conversations is ranked on its importance with stars; a one-star conversation will give no reward and can probably be safely missed, but a three-star conversation either contains useful story information or rewards the player with items, gold or even new playable units. Once the player leaves the base, any base conversations which they have not viewed yet will not be accessible in the next chapter or if they return to the base.
Radiant Dawn adds the library, which allows the player to view three types of supplementary records:
- Records: Performance records for each completed chapter (showing the amount of bonus experience rewarded and the highest-performing unit in each chapter)
- Glossary: A dictionary which gives quick profiles of all major characters, nations, organizations, objects and concepts.
- Character Tree: A chart detailing relationships and connections between major characters. Selecting a character on the chart takes them to their Glossary entry.