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Set in an unnamed fantasy world, you control the brothers Janos and Horace Blackthorne, along with their lieutenants, Clydas Flowers, Grenn Hightower, and Taena Botley. Together, you are captains and lieutenants of Blackthorne company, a kick-ass, take no-prisoners band of unscrupulous and amoral mercenaries. Blackthorne Company conducts its business with only one rule: get the job done!

The Prototype
In this short adventure, Blackthorne Company is hired to rescue the helpless people of the town of Widow's Watch from an undead necromancer that has returned from beyond the grave to plague them with its army of walking corpses. This is a complete game, not a demo, but it can be completed in less than an hour and contains only one (very involved) battle. While just about everything in the final version is more advanced and more sophisticated, this is very much a "demo" providing a full-scale fifteen character battle.

To Arms! Episode One: Deceive, Despise, and Murder Men

The prologue and the origin episode for the Blackthorne brothers, journey back to a time before the formation of Blackthorne Company, when Janos and Horace were bonded men who had sworn fealty to the kingdom of Rydony and its ruling family, the House Lychester. Janos is the captain of the guards at the Castle Ryn, while Horace is the court wizard. But the series of deception, betrayals, and murders that follow will shatter their quiet lives of loyal service forever.

To generate the names for minor characters in To Arms!, I basically scrambled the first and last names from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire as a kind of random name generator, since I quite like his naming conventions. The game also contains some intentional homages to Game of Thrones. To Arms! also shares some standard western fantasy tropes with ASoIaF, in the same way that 90% of other games on this site share standard jRPG tropes with each other and with most jRPGs. In general much too much has been made of this whole thing, but that's another story for another day.

For more information on To Arms! (the main series, not the prototype), please see the attached pages.

Latest Blog

Music. Music? Music!

New composer acquired...may have us an OST after all.

More details to come.


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ah, so this was your entry for action52.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Yes indeed. It's done, kind of (I had to downgrade the status from Completed to In Production as I'm working on resolving some final issues).
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Manual updated. Pages for unit types and equipment are now up.
contains only one (very involved) battle.

Well that explains why he's balls to the walls hard! (I killed almost everybody but my party fell apart first :( ), I'll give this a spin when you release it
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Yeah I'm actually going to make a blog post about the difficulty when I release it. A lot of the gameplay in To Arms! is losing this battle until you figure out one of several ways to win it. : )
*click to edit*
Whew! Managed to beat them on my first try without buying any equipment! :D

I recruited one of each class and kinda made up my strategy on the fly. Killed the skellies first, then the mage guy, the knight guy, and finally the lich. I had 2 of each item left in the end.

Pretty fun lil' game, but I skipped all the dialogue to be honest :)
*click to edit*
So, going over the unit manual I will quickly evaluate the characters based on what I remember from playing the game.

Alchemist - I didn't even realize this guy was in my party. I think I used him as an item user and maybe fired off his damage skill once or twice.

Arcanon - Flame Burst kicks ass, three hits on a lone lich is awesome. Freeze not so much. Main damage dealer (one of, actually).

Archer - Fire Arrow each turn for great damage!

Berserker - i don't think this guy lasted beyond turn two. No skills whatsoever? Not very useful.

Engineer - limited MP, but Catapult pretty much destroyed all the mooks by itself. Later on relegated to item user, but he somehow survived the whole fight. He got a medal afterwards.

Healing Sister - healed every turn. Better than the other healers.

Knight - he dealt mediocre damage each turn, less than the Archer. His two skills were useless. I believe Armor Break didn't really reduce the lich's defense whn it connected. If so, I'd rather take a real fighter next time.

Pikeman - died early on, but he wouldn't do much anyway. Who would want to use a defense buff on one character out of 15 instead of trying to deal as much damage as possible? His other skill sounds useful but I bet the lich's immune to stun.

War Priest - a mediocre damage dealer and a mediocre healer. Leave battle clerics to DnD. When you have a healer in the party you use him to heal every turn, not attack.

Main chars - leader used attack formation (what does it actually do?) then attacked physically. Healer healed. Archer used the "attack last for big (x2) damage" skill. Knight or whatever used Shield Bash (inflicts daze) each turn on the lich which allowed me to win this fight, even though it got off only every other turn.

Once again, I did not buy or switch around any gear.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
I am AMAZED you won first try without buying any gear. Either you got super lucky or I nerfed the bad guys too much (and since I think I nerfed them hardly at all since I was getting my ass kicked by them, I'm inclined to think it's the former). (I am curious, did Quentyn ever cast fireball and did the Lich ever cast "Waking Nightmares".) Anyway this exactly the kinda feedback I was looking for so thank you.

Some notes:

Catapult is doing exactly what it's supposed to, same with the engineer, arcanon, alchemist, and healing sister.

Berserkers can deal really good damage if you equip them properly. They are rather fragile but that is what War Priests are for.

Knight is the hardest hitter of all melee fighters. Try to follow up Armor Break (if it doesn't say "x's defense was reduced", Armor Break's status effect didn't hit) with Power Attack or if that fails, just Power Attack. Again, they benefit from stronger weapons.

Pikeman suck. Pikeman are kind of meant to suck. They're not completely useless, especially if you're trying to save money for equipment. But I mean in-game dialogue even describes them as sucking so, it's not like you weren't warned. Anyway the lich wasn't immune to stun (stun = daze, sorry if that was unclear) and they get 200% ATK and DEF when they use "Bring It On!" but I do agree that they are the weakest unit.

The War Priest class is far better than you've giving them credit for. To improve their damage try to give them non-starting equips (how can you complain about the damage of any fighter if you don't buy them better weapons?). Additionally their "Miracle of Kryllor" allows them to rezz dead characters which I found to be universally necessary since about half of my party was dead after turn four most times I played through.

Finally, in terms of the main characters, "charging" increases attack and decreases defense. I've never used Taena to stun-lock the lich, in fact I avoided that skill a lot period so I'm really glad it even works. I mostly used her to "Lunge" for massive damage (up to ~1000 per hit while Charging, around ~400 when not Charging).

I don't know why you skipped the dialogue, it is really very good. : (
There is an astonishing and very pleasing lack of the word fuck in this game.
"It's nothing like Diablocide at all! It's got one more dude and different graphics!"
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
And a bad map and an ugly save menu (why would you take a screenshot of the save menu?).
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
Actually, Diablocide has pretty horrible maps, but they are cohesive!
So I played this once, beat it the first time, and then played it again to see if my suspicious were correct.

To preface, I did not buy any equipment, but I did buy PP restoratives and some powerful healing items.

Main chars -
Leader (Spam attack buff forever)
Mage guy - Flame Burst. Every turn.
Archer guy - I never did get much use out of him and did not miss him when he died. By far the least useful of the main characters.
War Priest guy - This guy is probably the most useful of the main characters. Durable and could do tremendous damage with either of his attacks, along with a revive skill. The mass blind attack can pretty much lock the battle.
Knight chick - I used her one attack that hits twice for a lot of damage until she died. Good enough to revive, at least.


Pikeman - Avoid.
Berserker - Avoid.
Knight - Avoid, unless you need a durable item user. Otherwise, avoid.
Archer - Seemed okay (their one attack is alright, nothing special) but woefully lacking when compared to the Engineer. This seems to be the one character that is worth buying gear for.
Arcannon - Take two of these. Flame Burst is no Catapult, but it appears to be a better contribution to the battle than the Archer can provide (this may be a different story if the archer is geared as their one attack does do decent damage.)
Engineer - Catapult. Every turn. Always take two of these. On top of the ridiculous damage they inflict daze. which frequently paralyzes the lich enemy. Keep them healed, revived, ailment free and buff them with atk+.
War Priest - These guys are not bad if you go for the 'catapult kills everything' strategy because they are durable, have a revive if you run out of revive items and can use PP restore or healing items on the engineer with a fair degree more reliability than the Alchemist due to their high HP. I'd take them over Knights. I expect they can do decent damage with their attacks and a weapon upgrade but I never really did since compared to the two overkill main characters and the Arcannon/Engineer it was not impressive.
Healer chicks - These are pretty much useless. It is impossible to keep them alive long enough for them to do anything of note. Avoid.
Alchemist - These are the best actual healers. They are slightly more durable than the healer gals, but on top of that buying HP restoratives does not prevent you from using them with other characters, and the heals with the powerful item are in excess of 600. Their attack is useless however.

I played the first time with one of everyone and a second healer chick but quickly found that basing my strategy around the engineer class would be by far the quickest way to end the battle. And I was right. I replayed and beat the battle in about five minutes. Battle balance is pretty much shot because of them.

Take that for what you will.
Also the text was thankfully free of the word fuck, as far as I could tell. The dialogue wasn't bad but characters had a habit of explaining themselves/talking too much, and the bad guys at the end act like DC super villains with their WE WILL MEET AGAIN BATMAN tripe.

That said, I have played Fire Emblem 9 and 10 and I found it hard to take the story or tone of the game seriously becaus of this. I mean I know how all these characters act and such and to see Ranulf (hooded dude) turn into a Superfriends Lex Luthor wannabe just really made me cringe.

Just some input on that front since I didn't mention it in my previous post.
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
*Legion uses PILFER

You know what you did. Name it and own i -

...you didn't even bother to rename it. Granted, it is a popular song downloaded off of Newgrounds but seriously now.

Also lulzdemontower.
Alright, gave this a shot and was mindlessly entertained in that "I don't really care what's going on here" sort of way.

First note: I recognize a couple of themes from V&V - Minor Galactivore's and D'Kothos' themes, to be exact. It's rather odd that a midi from a free artist's site and an mp3 from Newgrounds would end up in the same place without any other connection. This assumes, of course, that you didn't dump that game's music into a general music folder when you downloaded it, in which case I encourage you not to use that folder for your game's music - it creates strong inconsistency and can generate coincidences like this.

Secondly, this is the worst thing I have ever seen anyone do to a battle interface. My god, man - I'm not even seeing a third of my army at any given time. Compounding this is that I can see "Engineer" take damage and not know who ate it. Engineer A / Engineer B, for the love of games.

Now, a class breakdown, by tier.

Engineers are amazing later into the battle. Three targets become three dazed targets with 700 less HP.
Taena is the best single-target attacker, bar none. Two hits for 550? Yes please. Keep her healed, keep her buffed, keep her warm-*ahem* (She also has what I feel is the only genuinely likable line in the game.)

Clydas moves at ludicrous speed and -always moves first- making him the most reliable item-user. Died and I didn't care.
Janos is obviously the best (only) buffer in the company. Attack buff, attack.
Grenn blinds every enemy and makes them utterly ineffective for half the battle. Then blind wears off and he makes them ineffective for the other half.

War Priests are worth bringing for their actual healing. They are also extra manly for taking lots of hits.
Horace spams Flame Burst.
Arcannons spam Flame Burst.

Archers never hit anything with their all-target attack, ever.
Alchemists also never hit anything with their attack skill, and their double item power is kind of moot when you bring items that'll full-heal anyone except Grenn anyway.

You'll notice this list lacks units that I didn't use.

It's a decent project with some glaring errors that need to be remedied. The writing was probably the most believable of any project of yours I've played. Fix up that outrageous Catapult attack and make Archers/Alchemists not suck.

And you didn't use the word FUCK once. Goddammit, I'm proud of you.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
I predict that Craze will accuse my next project of stealing things from Geondun. (And he will be right in I think exactly one instance.) Anyway, VALUABLE feedback!

Most enemies in the battle have a wide range of attacks and due to random chance will only use some of them. As a result, your mileage may vary. Mine certainly did! Anyway, balance notes:

*Attack buff is also a defense debuff of equal magnitude. And it doesn't stack. And it lasts several turns. So using it every turn is,...fairly pointless.
*With Horace I recommend opening up with Miasma and when you want to choose your targets early in the fight, Lightning Bolt is better than Flame Burst.
*Clydas is incredibly good, my guess is either he died early or you did not try his better skills (Black the Sky and Multishot, the rest of them are all utility skills for niche situations. He also goes first every turn so if you absolutely need to get a heal off, he is the king of it.
*Grenn may indeed be overpowered! I am strongly considering nerfing him.
*2 Arcanon + 2 Engineers is somewhat easy mode.
*Alchemists: I rarely missed with their "Alchemist's Fire" skill, it seems like you guys rarely hit with it. Chalk that up to random chance. Alternatively, perhaps it hit Quentyn who is (spoiler) highly resistant to fire damage.
*Archer accuracy fail is probably random chance but it seems they could use being buffed a little.

As a question, if I were to tinker with the balancing, would people be interested in playing this same fight again with a greater challenge?

I don't even know. I steal every song from every project I ever play that aren't like specifically written by Brandon Abley for some other game. I don't even know what the songs I used came from, I just knew they looked right for mine.

I thought the mapping was kind of average for VX. I don't know, wasn't really the focus. And I've never played ANY Fire Emblem game so that probably explains the wierd use of faceset choices.

Is it the one I cribbed from the movie Aliens and medievalized? I'm genuinely curious.

"Compounding this is that I can see "Engineer" take damage and not know who ate it. Engineer A / Engineer B, for the love of games. "

Wow! I will do this! It would probably be really helpful.

I was trying to medievalize the profanity and/or take medieval dialogue and make it profane, both in the style of George R.R. Martin. In any case, I thought that -12 'Fucks' and +2 'Cunt' would result in '+ PROFANE' considering how strongly people react to the latter word, so I was quite surprised. It wouldn't be out-of-place to use either word (fuck or cunt) considering how early anglo-saxon their origins are.

Anyway...thankee, sirs!

Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
"It's nothing like Diablocide at all! It's got one more dude and different graphics!"

And 2/3rds of the characters intentionally don't have personalities and there are no demons and you control 15/15 characters at once instead of 4/14?
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
So basically, so far what I'm getting is:

1. Nerf Grenn.
2. Nerf Catapult.
3. Improve Archer "Volley" ability.
4. Restore some of the Lich's badassery.
Actually, it was more of a case of "okay apparently these guys aren't just enemies they are also buttscum" than anything. Also helped make Taena slightly more fleshed out in that she responded calmly.
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