Capture (捕捉) is a recurring gameplay feature that appears in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, to an extent in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and in Fire Emblem Fates. Under certain conditions, characters can capture those from the opposing side, equivalent to rescuing allies.
Characters can only capture enemies that have a smaller Build compared to them, though mounted units are exempt from this rule except while dismounted. When a battle is initiated with the intention of capture, the character's Strength, Magic, Skill, Speed and Defense are all halved, so it is advised to weaken the enemy prior to a capture attempt, unless the character is powerful enough to inflict sufficient damage regardless of stat reductions.
Once an enemy is successfully captured, the character can trade with their hostage to take anything in their inventory. They may also release the hostage, although this counts as killing them gameplay-wise (whereas just holding onto them until the chapter's end counts as if they have never been fought). Ostensibly, releasing a captured unit counts as letting them escape the battlefield with their lives intact, in relation to the story.
Capture is an extremely important element in Thracia 776, especially since the game begins with no gold and selling stolen weapons is almost required to earn funds, unless the player exploits the arenas available.
Mounted or airborne units cannot be captured normally, unless they have been put to Sleep, in which case they are treated as though they have dismounted. Characters with a Build of twenty cannot be captured, though. Interestingly, unique enemies and bosses usually say different lines if they are captured and released, instead of merely defeated in combat.
Enemies may also attempt to capture the player's units, so keeping non-combative units, such as Priests, away from the front line is strongly recommended at all times. Any unit that is unarmed will always be captured in an attempt, as they have no means to defend themselves. It should be noted that if a unit is captured, the enemy is severely weakened, making them very easy to defeat and get your unit back; therefore, sometimes putting an unarmed unit in the front lines can be useful for defeating more difficult enemies.
In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, a very similar mechanic exists, though it only appears in the Prologue of Part II; in this chapter, the opposing Begnion Dracoknights will capture and carry off Princess Leanne if she is within their range.
In Fire Emblem Fates, the ability to Capture is only available to one unit in each route, or two if playing on the Revelation path. In this case, Birthright players can use Orochi to capture enemy units, while in Conquest, Niles does this instead. To capture a unit, you must use either one and select the "Capture" option when they are in attack range of the desired target. Normal battle sequences will occur and the enemy must be defeated in order to be captured. Players can capture most generic enemies. The list of enemies that cannot be captured are listed below:
- Most DLC enemies (e.g Visitors and Staff in Museum Melee, Witches, Ballisticians, shades)
- Playable route characters (not including the boss list, shown below)
- Vallite soldiers (invisible units)
Once kept in the prison, enemy units stay there for an indefinite period of time. You can persuade and/or bribe them to get them to fight for you. This will require resources which can be obtained from either your or other players' castles to meet their requirements. Depending on who is on post at the jail, these costs can be reduced slightly. They can also be released where they will simply leave and never return, being unable to be recruited. Demolishing a jail will result in you releasing all prisoners inside. In a My Castle battle, enemies can attack and destroy the jail. In this case, no prisoners will escape if the jail is destroyed and will return when the battle is over.
Captured units can be used like normal units, however they cannot form supports with any other units and do not have a secondary class. Their primary class is also randomly selected, although they may have skills from other classes that can normally promote into that class. An example would be the Hero class, where generic Heroes may carry Fighter-unique skills such as HP +5, even though when the player reclasses them, their base class is always Mercenary. They can still use typical promotion/reclassing seals that they can use (e.g a unit can be reclassed from a generic Sniper into a Ballistician class with the corresponding seal).
Players should always try to capture the most unique units in a chapter to get the best out from them. An example would be in Conquest chapters 17 and 23, where there is a Master Ninja with Poison Strike and Grisly Wound (in addition to Movement +1). Since Grisly Wound and Movement +1 are unavailable for generic Master Ninjas, this allows that specific Master Ninja an advantage over any other master ninjas in game. Another example is shown in Chapter 23 where there is a "rallybot" (commonly known as Rallyman) Master of Arms with four different Rally skills, all of which are unavailable for the Samurai class. Note that in the event that an unit with an enemy-only skill (such as the Master Ninjas of Chapter 25 on Conquest who carry Inevitable End on higher difficulties), upon being captured, any enemy-only skills they are carrying will be removed.
A player can have up to 20 captured units in their army at any given time; if the player gets more than that they will be forced to send one captured unit away. The player is prompted to update their stats incase they wish to rehire them again without having to capture another one.
Capturable Boss UnitsEdit
In Fates, the bosses below can be captured by the player rather than killing them. They can be found in their respective chapters (Daniela, Haitaka and Kumagera being path-locked to Birthright and Conquest respectively). All bosses excluding the three mentioned characters can also be found in the DLC Museum Melee.