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|“||Elemental affinity. Determines compatibility with other units.||”|
— Description of Affinity in Fire Emblem and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.
Affinity is a game mechanic introduced in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. Initially restricted to being used for support bonuses, Radiant Dawn introduced other bonuses related to affinities. Currently, Radiant Dawn is the most recent game to feature affinity, games after Radiant Dawn once again lack this character attribute entirely.
In the games that feature affinities, all playable characters and all major bosses are given one affinity. The primary use of affinities is to determine what stats characters gain boosts in when they support with other units. This, however, renders affinities on non-playable characters and bosses useless, with some exceptions; in Fire Emblem, for instance, the bosses Paul and Jasmine have an A support with each other, thus allowing for the two to increase their stats if they stand near each other.
In terms of supports, boosts in stats given by the affinity of two characters stack, and their initial effects are doubled and then tripled for B and A level supports; effects that have a decimal in their total sum, however, are rounded down.
For example, pairing Nino and Canas in Blazing Sword, who have the Fire and Anima affinities respectively, would gain 1 point of attack, 5 points of evasion, 2 points to critical, and 2 points to critical evade in their C support; while Canas's Anima affinity does grant a 0.5 increase in defence, this value is rounded down to zero, thus giving neither character a bonus in defence. Increasing their support level to B, however, grants a double in each stat, and in addition to increasing stat bonuses, such as attack to 2, this also causes Canas's Anima affinity to grant both characters a increase in defence by 1.
In The Binding Blade, Blazing Sword, and Sacred Stones
The support bonuses attained by each affinity is as follows.
Tactician's Bonus in Blazing Sword
In addition to support bonuses, a unique application for affinities can be found in Fire Emblem; at the start of the game, the player can choose to create a Tactician who has his or her own birth month. In the international versions of Blazing Sword the various birth months, have a corresponding affinity, which are as follow:
The Japanese versions of the game also feature the ability to choose the tactician's blood type, which further altered their affinity. As blood types hold a considerably lesser significance in Western culture, this option was removed. The following table list the possible combinations and resulting affinity:
The bonus gives characters with the same affinity as the tactician a stat boost in both hit and evade percentage, and all characters receive a boost to critical evade that is equivalent to how many stars the tactician has earned.
Contrary to popular belief, the tactician's affinity does not increase growth rates by 5% for any character that shares their affinity; this was proven false by setting growths of some characters to 95, then demonstrating that even with this supposed addition, some stats would fail to increase on the onset of a level-up.
In Radiant Dawn, each chapter also has an affinity, and characters (allied and enemy alike) receive bonuses if they have the same affinity as the chapter. Most bosses share their affinity with the chapter in which they are fought.
Support bonuses are as follow, for Path of Radiance...
...and Radiant Dawn.