- "Trial Maps" redirects here. For the type of Special Maps from Heroes, see Trial Maps (Heroes).
The Trial Map (Japanese: トライアルマップ Trial Map) system is a post-game gameplay mode available in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Trial Maps allow the player to use their army from a completed save file to challenge a set of bonus maps, generally of high difficulty with challenging scenarios; the player can also, through repeated completions of the main game, unlock special characters for exclusive use in Trial Maps, often important bosses or NPCs from the main story. Upon completion, the player is scored on their performance in the map; no reward is provided for completion, save for the player's satisfaction for completing the difficult maps.
It is related to several other similar recurring post-game concepts: the Creature Campaign mode of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, which is similar but features some distinct differences in operation (primarily that progress is saved and units can be leveled further throughout the Campaign), and the bonus chapters of Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, which differ primarily in that they feature a static pre-set cast of playable characters. The concept as a whole may have its roots in Fire Emblem: Archanea Saga, which broadcast a set of four unique one-shot chapters putting the cast of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem into challenging new scenarios; appropriately, these were remade as bonus content for New Mystery of the Emblem.
In Fire Emblem Awakening, paid downloadable content is utilized to provide a similar post-game challenge, albeit just as playable during the course of the main story mode. In particular, the three-part "Challenge Pack" DLC series and the final DLC episode, Xenologue: Apotheosis, are most similar in their exposure of the player to unusual and exceptionally challenging scenarios. Outside of paid DLC, skirmishes with SpotPass characters can provide a similar challenge, if not to the degree of the DLC or formal Trial Maps from earlier games.