Recruitment is a key element of most Fire Emblem games, but it works a little differently in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. During your Exploration days, you can talk to characters of other houses and ask them to join yours. If you play your cards right, they might do just that.
In order to recruit a character, there are three factors to take into consideration: 1.) One of Byleth's Skill levels, 2.) one of Byleth's stats, and 3.) the character's Support with Byleth. Each character to-be-recruited values a different Skill and Stat in order to be satisfied and join Byleth's class. For example, Leonie values Lance Skill and Str.
In our testing of the game, it seems like while each character's requirements can vary, getting a C in the desired Skill, ~15 in the desired stat, and a C Rank Support should get you close to successful recruitment. Some characters still seem to require slightly more than this though, as we experienced with Felix and Dorothea especially. A B support can also be very useful in lowering the Skill requirement.
Note, it's not the specific lettered Support Rank that influences recruitment, but rather the invisible Support Points between the to-be-recruited character and Byleth. If your Skill and Stat seem high enough, and you have a C Support but a character still won't join you, try raising your Support Points with Gifts and Flowers, returning Lost Items, and giving good counselor advice answers. Even if you don't reach the next lettered Support Rank, that might be all you need to go from failure to success.
Depending on the house/route you choose, some recruited characters will join automatically in the timeskip, while some might need to be encountered in an enemy army first. If you recruited a character before the timeskip, and they show up in the enemy army in a post-timeskip battle, all you need to do is defeat them on the field and they will then join you. Ashe and Lorenz are characters that seem to need to be re-recruited in the method. It seems that sometimes characters who you did not recruit can also join post-timeskip with this method, but the details on this are unclear.
Some recruitable characters are route-exclusive and cannot be recruited pre-timeskip, depending on your house. The most obvious examples are the House Leaders, but a few other characters fell into this category too.
Remember that romanceable characters are available in all houses, but if you want to pursue one romantically they must be in your house.
Additionally, sometimes a character might request to join your class during the week in between Exploration/Lecture days, even if you don't meet their recruitment requirements. This seems to happen when you reach a B support with a student outside your class, so try it out on someone who's stat&skill requirements you don't think you can reach.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses Recruitment Requirements
Black Eagles Recruitable Characters
- Edelgard - House Leader, cannot be recruited
- Hubert - cannot be recruited
- Ferdinand - DEX & Heavy Armor
- Linhardt - MAG & Reason
- Caspar - STR & Brawling
- Bernadetta - STR & Bow
- Dorothea - CHA & Authority
- Petra - DEX & Riding
Golden Deer Recruitable Characters
- Claude - House Leader, cannot be recruited
- Hilda - CHA + Axe (Hilda can be recruited to the Black Eagles in calendar Month #3)
- Leonie - STR & Lance
- Raphael - STR & Heavy Armor
- Lorenz - CHA & Reason
- Ignatz - DEX & Authority
- Marianne - MAG & Riding
- Lysithea - MAG & Faith
Blue Lions Recruitable Characters
- Dimitri - House Leader, cannot be recruited
- Dedue - cannot be recruited
- Felix - SPD & Sword
- Sylvain - CHA & Reason, or Instantly if Byleth is female.
- Ingrid - DEX & Flying
- Mercedes - MAG & Bow
- Annette - MAG & Faith
- Ashe - CHA & Lance
Other Recruitable Characters
Note: Some of these we are not sure what the requirements are, because we were able to recruit right away. Month # refers to the number on the Fodlan Calendar.
- Catherine - Level, Starting Month #7, cannot be recruited to Black Eagles
- Cyril - Level, Starting Month #8, cannot be recruited to Black Eagles
- Shamir - Level, Starting Month #9
- Hanneman - Starting in Month #11
- Manuela - Starting in Month #11
- Alois - Starting in Month #2
These characters may join at certain points in the storyline, depending on your route.
Want more Fire Emblem: Three Houses help? Check out our full Fire Emblem: Three Houses guide and walkthrough, which ranges from beginners tips to advanced strategy.
How many students can you recruit in Fire Emblem Three Houses?
There is one common question from players once they understand how recruitment works in Three Houses: how many students can you recruit? Well, the answer from our testing so far is that there is no limit - but the game will find ways around your recruiting habits.
This is still a work in progress, but we know that there is no 16-character cap this time around - if there is a cap, it's higher than 16.
Because students require some investment in time and stats to recruit and because every single one has different stats on their recruitment requirements, it'll be difficult to recruit a lot of students at once. Then, once the game shifts in narrative later on, there will be reasons why some of your recruited characters might not stick with you.
This isn't Pokemon, so don't try to recruit 'em all - just grab the ones that you like that'll be useful to you. If you really want to try to get everyone, that'll be something to save for Fire Emblem Three Houses' New Game Plus mode.