Offensive skills, known as special sword skills (Japanese: とくしゅ剣 special sword) in Genealogy of the Holy War, and colloquially known as trigger skills or proc skills, are a specific type of skill used in combat. By definition, offensive skills are skills which have a percentage chance of activating which is derived from a specific stat possessed by the user, usually their skill stat. When activated, the effect of an offensive skill is to, one way or another, augment its user's next attack with a powerful effect, making the attack significantly more potent. Owing to their raw power and unique effects, offensive skills are typically treated differently from other skills and are often subject to specific rules. The first offensive skills were introduced in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, along with the skill system as a whole.
While a distinguishing feature of offensive skills is their use of their user's skill stat as their chance of activation, offensive skills are far from the only skills in the games which are dependent on chance to activate, with others such as Vantage and Pavise also typically using one of the user's stats as their percentage chance of activation and often improving their users's attacks. Loosely speaking, while non-offensive skills with offensive uses augment the user's ability to attack in general in a passive way, such as the critical boost of Wrath or the stat boost of Resolve, an activated offensive skill actively augments one specific attack. However, even this is not a foolproof definition as, for instance, the effect of the offensive skill Astra is very similar to the non-offensive skill Adept. One possible distinguishing feature is that offensive skills will not stack with each other when multiple offensive skills are taught to a single unit; while it is possible for Resolve, Vantage and Wrath to all activate at the same time on a single unit, giving that unit the effects of all three, only one offensive skill per attack can activate.
In a way, the difference between offensive skills and ordinary skills that happen to have similar effects is more style than substance as, for instance, Adept is decidedly not presented in the same way as Astra. One trait shared by offensive skills, and found in few to no other skills, is fanfare and dramatic effect. From their first appearances in Genealogy, the activation of a offensive skill has always been announced by a distinct flash and/or noise, which are much brighter and more attention-grabbing than the more low-key sounds and lights used by other skills. From the Tellius games onward, offensive skill attacks usually have the skill's user move with completely unique animations. In the Tellius games and Radiant Dawn in particular, these traits are taken to their logical conclusion and the skills are presented with significant dramatic fanfare to emphasize them as a big deal, with offensive skill attacks involving long, drawn out animations which make heavy use of exaggerated motions, dramatic camera angles, motion blur, and darkened screens.
Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776
In both Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, there are only three offensive skills in legitimate gameplay, with two more existing as unused content in the former. In Genealogy's skills menu, offensive skills (known as "special sword skills") are specifically labeled as such while the same menu classifies all other skills into the more general "standard skill" and "combat skill" categories.
In the inheritance mechanic of Genealogy of the Holy War, the offensive skills have a unique restriction placed on them: they will only be inherited by child characters who start in a sword-wielding infantry class; this means they can only be inherited by Larcei, Ulster, Patty, and Leen. This restriction is lifted in Thracia 776, where units of any class are able to learn Sol or Luna by using their respective skill manuals.
In Thracia 776, Sol and Luna will only activate on an attack if that attack will hit the enemy. A unit's hit rate random number is rolled before the offensive skill activation random number, and if the game rolls a missed attack, Sol and Luna will not activate. The exception is if the target has activated Miracle, as Miracle has the potential to force a Sol or Luna attack to miss. Additionally, Astra is not affected by this, and any or all of its strikes can miss the target.
All offensive skills have the word 剣 sword in their names and an image of a sword in their icons.
Fire Emblem and The Sacred Stones
Between the two games, only three offensive skills exist:
All of them are assigned only as class skills, so unlike in prior games, it is not possible for a unit to learn more than one offensive skill.
In The Sacred Stones, the three offensive skills are subjected to a priority system involving the Great Shield skill. This priority dictates what will happen if a unit with one of these skills attacks an enemy with Great Shield:
- Sure Strike = Silencer > Great Shield > Pierce
Therefore, the enemy's Great Shield will not be activated if Silencer or Sure Strike trigger, but will activate against Pierce and prevent it from activating.
Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn
In Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, all offensive skills are mastery skills, and in the latter game all mastery skills are offensive skills. The following skills are classified as offensive skills in the two games:
Since all offensive skills are learned strictly on the basis of the user's class, there is no way in legitimate gameplay for a unit to possess multiple offensive skills at the same time.
In both games, there are restrictions placed on offensive skills based on the unit's equipped weapon and range. In Path of Radiance, offensive skills can trigger at any range for every weapon type except swords, where they will only activate at 1 range. Offensive skills will also never activate on ballistae or long-range tomes.
In Radiant Dawn, for classes which wield swords, lances, axes or knives, offensive skills will only activate when fighting at 1 range. If a unit uses an enhanced-ranged sword, lance, axe or knife (for instance, a Hand Axe or Ragnell) to attack at 2 range instead, their offensive skill will never activate. This restriction does not affect Bows or tomes, which can activate offensive skills at both 1 and 2 range. Additionally, offensive skills will never activate on crossbows, ballistae, long-range tomes, staff counter-attacks, or unshifted laguz counter-attacks.
The following skills are classified as offensive skills in Awakening:
From Awakening onward, it is possible that any offensive skill can activate but still miss the target. The restrictions from Radiant Dawn are mostly lifted, meaning that offensive skills can be triggered regardless of weapon, except for Mire.
As the mechanics of Awakening encourage endless grinding to collect skills, the game system takes into account the possibility that a unit will have multiple offensive skills assigned to it at the same time. Two or more offensive skills cannot activate at the same time as each other, and instead the game prioritizes certain skills over others and will have higher-priority skills activate over lower-priority ones. This hierarchy goes, in order of highest priority to lowest:
- Lethality > Aether > Astra > Sol > Luna > Ignis > Vengeance
As a general rule, the lower the skill's basic activation rate, the higher its priority.
The following skills are classified as offensive skills in Fates:
The same ability to miss and rules of priority from Awakening also apply in Fates, although the priority order is not currently known.
Several weapons in Fates are unable to activate offensive skills at all; all of these weapons also cannot inflict critical hits. These weapons are the following:
Etymology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
|English||Offensive skill||As of Fire Emblem Fates.|
|Sword skill||Fan term originating from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War.|
|Japanese||とくしゅ剣||Special sword; this term is used in Genealogy of the Holy War. No term was used in Japanese Fates, help texts only mentioning the inability to make critical hits, the offensive skill term being invented by the localization.|
- dondon151, FE5: are sol/luna checked before hit, or is hit checked before sol/luna?, Serenes Forest Forums, Published: 2015-10-29, Retrieved: 2015-11-02
- VincentASM, The Sacred Stones - Skills, Serenes Forest Forums, Retrieved: 2015-11-02