Fire Emblem: Three Houses takes the social interaction that has become a staple of the series and ramps it up to previously unseen levels. In Three Houses you don’t just have to think about what units fight next to each other on the battlefield, or how to talk to your soldiers when you’re chilling back at camp between battles. You’re now a teacher at a school for future warriors, and you have a whole list of things you have to do if you want to get the most out of your relationships. That means talking to almost 30 different characters on the days when you’re able to, as well as teaching them, doing favors, engaging in extracurricular activities, and occasionally even have tea parties with them. It’s a lot to juggle, and it gets even more complex with the option to recruit other students to your class—and, thus, your battle squad.
Early on in Three Houses, you have to pick one of, well, three houses to teach. Each house has its own character and its own roster of eight students, each with their own personality and backstory. The closer you and your students grow together, the more effective they’ll be in battle, so it’s important to take all the socializing seriously. Your house isn’t locked in to those original eight students, though. As the game progresses you can poach students from the other houses, adding them not just to your classroom but to the list of soldiers that you can take into battle with you.
You can’t just recruit anybody at any time, though. You have to build up to it, both befriending the student you want to recruit, as well as meeting some invisible criteria before convincing them to jump ship. You can’t recruit every member of every other house—each one will have a house leader and a loyal friend who won’t ever leave them. The rest, though, are fair game, as long as you up your standing with them enough and develop the skills they most admire in a leader.
The social rank you’ll need to successfully recruit somebody varies by character, but it’s safe to say that if you’re worked your way up to a B rank with them, they’ll be susceptible to your pitch. You can do that by giving them gifts, taking them out to tea, and just being as nice to them as you can be throughout the game. Once they like you enough, all you need to do is make sure you possess the skills they’re most into and have leveled them up enough. You can do that in battle and occasionally through the tasks you can accomplish when back at school in the Monastery. Once you’ve hit those requirements all you have to do is talk to the student you’ve got your eye on during your free time at the Monastery, and then pick the Recruit option after your conversation. If you satisfy all of their needs, they’ll pack up and move right in to your home room.
Here’s what each character from the three houses are looking for in a leader. These are the skills you have to focus on to win any of them over.
The two Black Eagles you can’t recruit are Edelgard and Hubert. Edelgard is proving to be the most popular character in the whole game at this point, so if you absolutely need to have her on your team, you need to pick the Black Eagles as your house from the start. To recruit any of her compatriots, here are the skills you’ll need.
Bernadetta: It’s hard to get to know Bernadetta, as she rarely leaves her room, but once you get to know her, you can recruit her with high Strength and Bow stats.
Caspar: The fiery young warrior admires a teacher with high Strength and Brawl stats.
Dorethea: The Black Eagle songbird is looking for a leader with substantial Charisma and Authority.
Ferdinand: This young noble is a little obnoxious about his skills and stature, but he’ll show deference to a leader with high Dexterity and Heavy Armor skills.
Linhardt: This narcoleptic rebel won’t sleep on a teacher who flashes strong Magic and Reason abilities.
Petra: The face-tatted foreigner might struggle with her English, but even she can recognize the value of a leader talented in Dexterity and Riding.
The Blue Lions are kind of like the good-natured jocks of the Monastery. Don’t hold that against ‘em—house leader Dimitri and his second Dedue are both valiant, dependable, and committed to the cause, and as a result neither of them can be recruited. The rest of the Blue Lions are up for grabs, though, if you can impress them enough.
Annette: This budding young mage puts a lot of stock in a leader with strong Magic and Faith capabilities.
Ashe: The rare commoner allowed in the Blue Lions, Ashe was adopted by a noble, and can be won over with a high Charm and Lance skills.
Felix: Insolent, cocky, and growing tired of his childhood friend Dimitri’s leadership, Felix can be recruited if you’re talented at Speed and Sword.
Ingrid: This brave and stalwart future knight comes from a family who has lost its fortune; if you want her help, you’ll need to impress her with your Dexterity and Flying skills.
Mercedes: Another noble fallen on hard times, Mercedes will join your house if you have high enough Magic and Bow ranks.
Sylvain: This would-be ladies’ man might focus on girls more than books, but if you want him in your squad all you need is Charm and Reason stats. Or just be a woman—Sylvain can immediately be recruited if you’re playing as the female version of Byleth.
The final house (and the one I myself chose) isn’t a bunch of blue-blooded nobles like the others. The Golden Deer hails from a country that believes in equality, and in Claude it has the most charming and funny house leader. You can’t recruit him, and if you’re in the Black Eagles you can’t recruit his closest ally, Hilda. Oddly enough there are conflicting reports that the Blue Lions can recruit Hilda, so we’ve included the information you need to know if that becomes possible in your game.
Hilda:: Supposedly, you can only recruit Hilda to the Blue Lions, and only if your Charm and Axe ranks are high enough.
Ignatz: Sadly Ignatz doesn’t throw bricks at his opponents’ heads, but he is a useful archer to keep on hand; recruit him when your Dexterity and Authority levels are boosted.
Leonie: A young hunter who worships your dad, Jeralt, Leonie will join your squad based on your Strength and Lance ranks.
Lorenz: Lorenz is a snob and a bore and a drip but if you want him on your team, for whatever reason, win him over with your Charm and Reason. You weirdo.
Lysithea: The Monastery’s youngest student (the kind of character that often winds up being one of the strongest by the end of a Fire Emblem game) is a future mage who will decamp for your house if you have the right Magic and Faith stats.
Marianne: This timid, animal-loving magic-user is afraid of the battlefield (and life in general), but shows a lot of potential. Win her over with your Magic and Riding skills.
Raphael: This big ol’ beef-boy is an orphan who loves to eat and beat bad guys to death with his hands. He’s a good-natured lout and yes, I kind of love him. Steal him from the Deers with high Strength and Heavy Armor marks.
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