“I see, so you’ve come at last… Whatever happens now is inevitable. Shall I not witness this final battle as one of the glorious knights of Rigel? Brave soldiers of Rigel! How admirably you have fought for me until now! However… The time has already grown late. The fate of the Rigelian Empire has drawn to an end. Hear me, all of you!!! This is my final request. If I should fall, you must not interfere.
Those of you who remain should surrender like the courageous men you are. I hear that Zofia’s young general is a man of compassion. In no way should surrender be a bad choice for you. Is that clear? Do not die in vain. Do not throw away your lives so frivolously!”
—Rudolf's pre-battle speech in Chapter 4.
Rudolf is the 4th generation Emperor of Rigel, as well as a renown general who stood on the battlefield from a young age, with numerous victories to his name. Within the empire, the people fear his reign of terror. About 17 years before the start of events of the game, Rudolf took his newborn son Albein to the Zofian general Mycen and left him in the knight's care, explaining that he planned to one day erupt Valentia in war in order to provoke true heroes into rising up and stopping him and creating a new era in which the people were free from the gods, whose over involvement was leading mankind to ruin. 16 years later, Rudolf befriends a man with amnesia who was found by Tatiana, a Rigelian priestess, and names the man Ezekiel. Rudolf became like a father to Zeke and promoted him to a high rank within the army of Rigel. One day Rudolf tells him that if he should find someone with a cross-shaped birth mark on their right arm, then he should dedicate everything to this person, as this person would be the savior of all Valentia.
Rudolf then begins his plan, requesting the Falchion from Duma in order to seal Mila, and aiding Desaix in his rebellion in order to provoke the true heroes to come out and stop him or unite the continent by military might. Before his army's final battle, Rudolf praises his soldiers for how admirably they had fought for him to this point and commands them to lay down their weapons and surrender if he is killed. The Rigelian army then does battle with the army of Alm, although Rudolf refuses to attack Alm. As he is dying he reveals that he is Alm's father and shows pride in the man he has become before requesting that Alm claims the Falchion and defeats Duma.
*Due to equipped Angel Ring
As previously stated, if Alm attacks Rudolf or if Rudolf attacks Alm, then Rudolf will not attack/attack back. This is the only real method that the player can use to beat him (unless they level grind for a very extensive amount of time), as in addition to being equipped with an Angel Ring (which essentially boosts his critical rate by 20%), he has very high HP (52, the max HP of the game for all units except the final boss), attack, defense, and speed. Assuming the player has refrained from serious level grinding, he will generally be able to double any unit that attacks him, and given that the highest amount of defense your units will have generally is 20 at best (and this would only include your Barons), he will do an average of 14 or more damage given the fact that he has a high critical rate. If not for the fact that Rudolf will not attack Alm in battle, Rudolf would likely be the most difficult boss out of all the Fire Emblem games given his high stats and abilities, along with the fact that he moves.
*Due to equipped Angel Ring
Like Gaiden, Rudolf will not attack Alm. If Alm is in range of Rudolf, he will initiate an attack on Alm.
In Normal Mode at least, Rudolf is fairly vulnerable to magic; the best strategy to abuse this would be to kill all of the enemy Bow Knights and use a Bow Knight of your own to kill the enemy Arcanists before attempting to attack Rudolf. This would require Rudolf moving out of his position, which would entail using the Invoke spell or sending an incredibly durable unit to lure Rudolf out of his position to a point where he can attacked by a Thunder or Sagittae spell over the wall of the right side of the map. In Hard Mode, this strategy is much more difficult, as Rudolf's resistance has been improved.
“You've...done well...I'm proud of you...my son. I knew I was right to entrust you to my dearest friend. I'd thought you'd have realized it by now. Your true name... Your true name is Albein Alm Rudolf. You are...my one and only son. Nnngh... Be still, Alm. I haven't time left...to explain. But I beg you to grant me one...final favor. Take the divine Falchion that...sealed Mila's strength... Duma has become a thing of mindless evil. Use the blade... Destroy him... Please, my son... You must...”
—Upon Rudolf's defeat in Chapter 4
Rudolf is a Germanic name deriving from two stems: Rod or Hrōð, meaning "fame", and olf meaning "wolf".
- Rudolf's first name is unknown, as his son Alm's full name, Albein Alm Rudolf, clarifies that Rudolf is the family name. This makes him one of the only Fire Emblem characters to be referred to only by his last name.
- Rudolf does not have facial hair in the manga adaptation, but he has it in the game.
- Aside from the manga, there is no artwork of Rudolf in any of the supplementary material for the original Gaiden. This is likely why he was excluded from SpotPass content relating to Gaiden in Fire Emblem Awakening.