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Substitute character

From Fire Emblem Wiki, your source on Fire Emblem information. By fans, for fans.
This article is about the inheritance mechanic in Genealogy of the Holy War. For the spare units in Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem, see Replacement unit.

In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, substitute characters are playable units who replace the second-generation children characters in the event that their corresponding mother failed to have children. Seven of the female characters in the game's first generation, all potential mothers, are not guaranteed to be married before or to survive until the first generation's end, and so if a mother dies or is not paired up before the conclusion of Chapter 5, their corresponding children characters are replaced by a pair of substitute characters who function in a near-identical role in the second generation's plot and gameplay. To a lesser extent, the substitute character concept is also applicable to Fire Emblem Awakening with regard to Lucina's parentage in the event that Chrom fails to marry.

Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War

Of the nine female characters playable in the first generation, seven are left to the player's discretion on the matter of being paired up, and so the potential exists for these mothers to either be killed or fail to be paired with a male character in order to give birth to the mother's assigned child characters for the second generation. As such, each mother is assigned a pair of substitute characters who will appear in their children's stead if they fail to be paired, filling story roles and ensuring the player does not have any fewer units than if the mother had been successfully paired. This obviously does not apply to the two pre-set relationships in the first generation's story and gameplay: Deirdre's children, Seliph and Julia, do not have substitutes as Deirdre being married to Sigurd is entirely unavoidable in the course of the game, and Julia's stats are instead pre-set outside the standard inheritance system. Ethlyn's children, Altena and Leif, also do not have substitutes as she begins the game already married to Quan.

For the most part, the substitutes are identical in class and functionality to their matching children, with a small handful of exceptions: Amid is a Wind Mage as opposed to Arthur's Mage, Linda is a Thunder Mage as opposed to Tine's Mage, and Creidne promotes to Forrest instead of Swordmaster as Larcei does. As the substitute characters do not receive any form of inheritance from either parent in the course of gameplay, as a general rule they are inferior to their corresponding child characters, though still entirely usable. The only substitutes to possess Holy Blood are Amid and Linda, who are still part of House Friege as necessitated by replacing the story roles of Tailtiu's children. The game goes to some lengths to provide minor compensation for the inferiority of the substitutes: all fourteen have special events that the corresponding children lack that grant items or stats (though Femina and Jeanne share an event so only one of the two can receive it), and others start with otherwise unobtainable items and skills not easily available to the corresponding children.

While the matter of what is and is not considered canon is always nebulous and debatable in the context of Fire Emblem games, owing to the large number of possible outcomes with respect to unit survival and pairings achieved, as a general rule the substitute characters are neglected as not canonically existing in other representations of the Genealogy of the Holy War cast. Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 establishes a number of canon pairings and accordingly present children while none of the substitute characters appear or are acknowledged, although there is evidence to suggest that at some point in the development of the game they were intended to appear instead.[1] Similarly, only actual children characters appear as bonus units in Fire Emblem Awakening while the substitutes remain excluded.

List of substitutes

Mother Children Substitutes
Portrait deirdre fe04.png
Portrait seliph fe04.png Portrait julia fe04.png
Seliph and Julia
Junior Lord and Shaman
N/A. Sigurd and Deirdre always fall in love during Chapter 1.
Julia is considered a static character (i.e not a child unit) in gameplay.
Portrait ethlyn fe04.png
Portrait altena fe04.png Portrait leif fe04.png
Altena and Leif
Wyvern Rider and Prince
N/A. Quan and Ethlyn are lovers by default.
Portrait edain fe04.png
Portrait lester fe04.png Portrait lana fe04.png
Lester and Lana
Arch Knight and Priest
Portrait deimne fe04.png Portrait muirne fe04.png
Deimne and Muirne
Arch Knight and Priest
Portrait ayra fe04.png
Portrait scáthach fe04.png Portrait larcei fe04.png
Scáthach and Larcei
Myrmidon and Myrmidon
Portrait dalvin fe04.png Portrait creidne fe04.png
Dalvin and Creidne
Myrmidon and Myrmidon
Portrait lachesis fe04.png
Portrait diarmuid fe04.png Portrait nanna fe04.png
Diarmuid and Nanna
Free Knight and Troubadour
Portrait tristan fe04.png Portrait jeanne fe04.png
Tristan and Jeanne
Free Knight and Troubadour
Portrait silvia fe04.png
Portrait lene fe04.png Portrait coirpre fe04.png
Lene and Coirpre
Dancer and Priest
Portrait laylea fe04.png Portrait charlot fe04.png
Laylea and Charlot
Dancer and Priest
Portrait erinys fe04.png
Pegasus Knight
Portrait ced fe04.png Portrait fee fe04.png
Ced and Fee
Sage and Pegasus Knight
Portrait hawk fe04.png Portrait hermina fe04.png
Hawk and Hermina
Sage and Pegasus Knight
Portrait brigid fe04.png
Portrait febail fe04.png Portrait patty fe04.png
Febail and Patty
Bow Fighter and Thief
Portrait asaello fe04.png Portrait daisy fe04.png
Asaello and Daisy
Bow Fighter and Thief
Portrait tailtiu fe04.png
Thunder Mage
Portrait arthur fe04.png Portrait tine fe04.png
Arthur and Tine
Mage and Mage
Portrait amid fe04.png Portrait linda fe04.png
Amid and Linda
Wind Mage and Thunder Mage

Fire Emblem Awakening

The Maiden, Lucina's substitute mother.

While Fire Emblem Awakening also features a similar multi-generational children system, unlike that of Genealogy of the Holy War, the children are not the sole focus of part of the game and are optional units, fighting alongside their parents due to being involved with Lucina's travel back to Chrom's time. As such, Awakening does not need - and thus does not have - substitute children characters. A slight exception exists with Lucina, who is critical to the game's plot: if Chrom does not have any support relationships with an eligible female character (Sumia, Olivia, Sully, Maribelle or a female Robin) by the end of Chapter 11 for any reason (such as his potential brides being already married or having been killed), he will instead marry an unnamed, generic Maiden as a substitute wife. Similarly to the Genealogy of the Holy War substitute children, this results in a Lucina with poorer base stats and growths fueled solely by Chrom's stats, as well as lacking any skills that may be inherited from a proper bride.


See also

Game mechanics
Out-of-battle management Base (BarracksBase CampBase conversationEveryone's ConditionsExpeditionGarreg Mach Monastery (Abyss) • My CastleSomniel) • Bonus experienceDungeonsGameplay modes (DifficultyCreature CampaignNew Game +) • GoldLessonsMila ShrinesPeddlerPreparationsRenownShopping (ArmoryBargainsForgeItem shopMerchantOnline shopSecret shop) • Supply convoyWorld map
Battles and chapters ArenaBattle saveBossCastleChapter (Alternate routeParalogueSide quest) • ChestCombat forecastEvent tilesHidden treasureObjectivesReinforcementSkirmishTerrain (Hazards) • Turn (Turn rewind) • Weather (Fog of war) • Village
Stats Units ActionAffinityAuthorityBiorhythmCharmClass (Class masteryClass relative powerUnit type) • Constitution (Aid) • DefenseExperienceFollow-up critical multiplierGrowth rateHit pointHoly BloodInventoryLevelLuckMagicMovementProficiencyResistanceSkillSpeedStrengthWeapon levelWeight
Weapons Brave weaponCritical rateDurabilityHitKill bonusMightPersonal weaponsRangeWeapon experienceWeapon levelWeightWorth
Unit mechanics and commands AdjutantAttack (Counterattack) • Auto-BattleBattalion (Gambit) • CantoChain attackChain GuardClass change (Reclass) • Combat artCrestsDance (GaldrarPlaySing) • Death (Decoy) • DismountDragon VeinEmblem RingsFatigueInventoryLaguz transformationLove (JealousyInheritance) • Pair UpRallyRecruitmentRescue (Capture) • Skills (Offensive skill) • SmashStaggering BlowStatus effectsSupportTalkTradeUnit (AvatarBond unitsBonus unitEinherjarLoan unitPrisonerReplacement unitSubstitute character) • Visit
Calculations AttackAttack speedAvoidBonus damageCritical hit (Combination bonusDodgeTriangle Attack) • Hit rate (True hit) • Random number generatorWeapon triangle (Trinity of magic)
Connectivity amiiboData transferDouble DuelDownloadable contentLink ArenaMultiplayer battleOnline shopSpotPassStreetPass
Other BarrierBirthdayClass rollGlitchesMultiple endingsRankingsSound RoomTactician bonus