About recruiting the children characters....
Do you have to have their mothers married to make them appear?
If so, is there a time limit you have to get them married by a certain chapter? Or is there no time limit and I can even just wait until I beat the final boss and still recruit the children?
Mothers must be married to get children to appear (but they can be married to any of the men).
You can get them any time after the mother gets married, I believe.
So there is no time limit eh? Awesome, now I don't need to worry about getting the supports up fast.
There is no time limit, although the children characters will not be available until after Chapter 13. Some require slightly longer for their chapter to become available, but most do not.
Once you have the parents married and you've played far enough in the game, an additional location will appear on the world map. You can go there to play the side chapter when you choose to, and you can delay as long as you wish, even at the end of the game.
Regarding the end of the game, it doesn't actually save over your file after completing the Final: you're just back at where you last saved preparing for the last chapter. So you can just go around and do stuff from there, much like Creature Campaign in FE8. You can unlock any and all of the side chapters at that point and play them; there are even a few bonus ones available for download that you can only access after the final chapter is available.
So there is no new game+? Would I be able to play the story over again on a higher difficulty with all my stuff carried over?
I guess would be no since it wasn't for FE8...
You can hire your MU from previous files to add them to your team, although the price can get high depending on your levels. That's about it. You can't carry over other characters or their items, although there are some SpotPass and DLC things that will stick with the game regardless of files.
One final question then, how long is awakening? I know its probably not as long as radiant dawn (over 40 hours). In how much time would a normal person complete all the main storyline missions in?
My main file is at 41 hours during postgame stuff, and I'm nowhere near finished with it. I think I completed the main story at around 30 hours, though.
It's actually got quite a lot of substance. Prologue, 25 numbered chapters, and the Final, that's 27 required maps. If we don't count the Intermission, which we shouldn't. But then there's also the 17 sidequests, which can be unlocked throughout the game and completed when you wish: five are easily unlocked just be progressing through the story, but the other 12 are where you recruit the children characters: you'll likely need to do some grinding on the side to get them all in one playthrough. But if we're looking strictly at numbers, that's 44 chapters, more than even FE10.
And that's the stuff packaged with the game. More sidequests are being distributed for free through SpotPass: it seems the only requirement is being at the end of the game, so you can play them on any completed or near-completed file. Only one has been released so far, but it was linked to the first of six bonus characters from the story: it's a safe bet that we'll see at least six of those maps total, for a total of 50 chapters.
Meanwhile, there's unlimited skirmishes, and in some areas they can get quite tough, to be a challenge even for a postgame team. The same goes for the SpotPass characters, which like skirmishes show up on existing maps, and you can battle each SpotPass team unlimited times: apparently there will be 120 teams in total. Also enemy player character teams through StreetPass, or randomly generated ones through SpotPass.
Also the DLC, if you're willing to pay for it. So far, they've released six maps and announced a seventh, but based on looking at some things, my guess for the total is 20, probably a bit more. Which can get expensive if you're getting that money, but it's content, it's there, and you can play it on any file unlimited times once you unlock it.
So there's a lot to do in this game.
It's hard to say how long Awakening is when you include story and cutscenes, given how those of us who don't speak a lick of Japanese just skip through the cutscenes. But including Gaidens and the occasional skirmish, I'd say it's the second-longest next to RD.
By the way, what were to happen if the mother dies? Would the Gaiden disappear? And can you build up multiple S-Supports by killing off the previous MU lover? That'd be a good way to collect all of the confession screens.
Awakening currently has, about 45 chapters. Seems like it has decent length.
Give me all teh FE D':