Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Key Gameplay Mechanics in the Cindered Shadows DLC Side Story

A list of key gameplay mechanics in Fire Emblem: Three Houses' Cindered Shadows DLC. Included are important new features found in the expansion in terms of general gameplay, academy life, and equipment.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Key Mechanics in Abyss Episode

Cindered Shadows Side Story Key Mechanics

Below is a summary of key gameplay mechanics in Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ Cindered Shadows DLC.


  • The Cindered Shadows DLC side story can only be played in Normal or Hard difficulty.
  • The characters you can use during the side story missions are fixed. These are Byleth, Edelgard, Dimitri, Claude, Linhardt, Ashe, and Hilda.
  • Characters have a fixed set of classes available to them.
  • Characters have fixed skills available to them which to do no grow in battle. They will, however, still gain levels by acquiring experience points.
  • Completing the side story also allows you to freely explore the Abyss in the main game.
  • The new characters Yuri, Constance, Balthus, and Hapi will appear in the main game after you have cleared Chapter 1: The Fourth House of the side story. They can be interacted with in free exploration as with all other students in the academy. Progressing through the side story allows you to recruit the new characters to your house in the main game.
  • New Paralogues and support conversations are unlocked when any of the new characters join your house.
  • The newly implemented Tea Party event with Archbishop Rhea is automatically unlocked upon installing the DLC.

Academy Life

  • There are no calendar days to freely manage your characters. Usually before each mission, you can freely explore the Abyss to buy items, repair and forge weapons, and replenish battalion endurance among other things. There are, however, certain chapters in the side story that immediately put you into battle.
  • There are no certification exams to change to other classes other than the preset ones for each character.
  • Clearing the first episode of the Abyss Chapter unlocks the certification exams for Trickster, Dark Flier, War Monk, War Cleric, and Valkyrie in the main game. Some of these classes have prerequisite classes that must be unlocked first before being allowed to undergo their respective exams. Characters must also be at level 20 or higher to take them.


  • It is important to conserve the durability of weapons as much as possible. This is because the amount of ores and funds obtained in the side story missions are quite low.
  • Ore can be obtained by clearing missions in the side story. Breaking the armor of large enemies also rewards ores.
  • Equipment can still be purchased in shops found in the Abyss and you can still repair them at the blacksmith.
  • You can scavenge rusted weapons at the Abyss’ Scrap Heap. These can be repaired at the blacksmith if you cannot afford to buy new weapons at the shops.
  • Byleth’s Hero’s Relic, the Sword of the Creator, is automatically repaired after each mission in the Abyss Chapter. This means that it is not necessary to use Umbral Steel to restore its durability.


  • Shops can also be found in the Abyss. These are Item Shop, Armory, Battalion Guild, and Blacksmith. As with the main game, these can be accessed in free exploration in the Abyss.
  • New NPCs and services are available in the Abyss and can be accessed after clearing the first chapter of the Cindered Shadows DLC storyline. These are the Pagan Altar, Mysterious Teacher, and Wayseer.

Other Beginner Guides

Getting Started
 Game Modes Game Menu Game Controls
Online Features Permanent Events What to Do First
Which House to Choose - -
Tutoring  Free Day Activities Professor Levels
Skill System Support System Motivation System
Budding Talents Class Change and Exams Group Tasks
Battle System Battalions Divine Pulse
 Saint Statues Amiibo Gazebo Personal Abilities
Free Day Activities
Dining Cooking Together Tea Party
Fishing Gardening Locating Lost Items
Choir Practice Advice Box Giving Gifts
Tournaments Seminars -

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