Your home base is the officer’s academy situated at Garreg Mach Monastery, right at the heart of the Continent of Fódlan. The monastery–and the academy within it–is run by the Church of Seiros, who hold great authority over Fódlan.
The students of the academy are divided into three houses, according to their homeland–hence the subtitle. Students from the Adrestian Empire belong to the Black Eagles, those from the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus fall under the Blue Lions, while the Golden Deer shelters those from the Leicester Alliance.
As a teacher, you will choose to lead one of these houses. This choice determines the students that you initially teach–and use during battle, so you may need to choose wisely. It’s possible to recruit students from other houses, but specific conditions must be met and it’s unclear if there are limitations
The game is divided into seasons (months), which are further divided into weekdays and weekends. During weekdays, you’re expected to teach the students of your house. On weekends, you have free time to do other things. At the end of each season, you must pass a Field Study. After that, the current chapter (or act) will end.
Just like the real world, there are 12 months in one year. To help you plan ahead, there’s an in-game calendar that shows the current day, as well as notable happenings during the month. You can even keep track of your students’ birthdays!
At the start of each new week, you’ll fulfill your duty as a teacher by creating Lesson Plans for your students.
Instruct lets you have a 1 to 1 study session with a chosen student. You can select one of the student’s Skill Levels (aptitudes) to increase its experience points. Just keep in mind there’s a limit to how many times you can tutor the same student before they get tired.
Auto-Instruct will automatically perform instructing for you, so you don’t need to rack your brain. Perhaps it’ll choose the recommended Skill Levels for a particular student. Or maybe it’ll just pick randomly…
Of course, you can’t just instruct endlessly. Along the top of the screen, there’s a gauge showing your activity points for teaching, which lets you know the remaining number of times you can teach your students.
Group Task has you pick two bright-eyed students to go and fulfill a certain task by the end of the week. Completion of the task will raise both students’ Skill Levels in a particular category, earn support points and various rewards.
Set Goals lets you select two Skill Levels for the student to focus on during their own time. Students can also suggest their own goals for you to approve.
Once, you’re ready, Start Class will begin the lessons. The calendar will then automatically advance through the current week until it reaches the weekend. Any students assigned to a Group Task will report their result. At the end of the week, all students will gain experience towards Skill Levels they’re focusing on.
If you’re the type that doesn’t care about micro-managament, you can choose to have the game automatically create a lesson plan for you when each new week begins.
When it’s the weekend, your options become more broad.
Explore lets you go outside and explore the monastery and academy grounds, similar to the dungeon exploration in Echoes. Here, you can also interact with students and take on quests. However, your actions are limited by your activity points for exploring, similar to teaching.
Seminar allows you to teach your students outside of normal teaching hours or receive a lesson from a fellow instructor instead. You are limited by your activity points for teaching just like during weekdays.
Battle gives you the chance to engage in auxiliary (optional) battles and paralogues that involve your students (and even those from other houses). There’s a limit to how many times you can use this option, according to your activity points for battles. If playing Normal mode, there’s always a low Level battle that costs 0 activity points.
Rest lets you rest and restore the Motivation of your students, so you can tutor them more times. Furthermore, the Sword of the Creator will automatically regain 5 uses.
It seems the above four options are mutually exclusive. If you choose to battle during a weekend, you cannot explore at the same time (and vice versa).
Certification allows you or your students to take exams to change classes. An item is required and you’ll need to meet the new class’s required Skill Levels or else your pass rate may be low.
Marketplace probably lets you visit the shops to buy weapons and supplies.
Skip will bring up a menu where you can move forward to a specific day. It seems only Mondays (the start of a new teaching week) and Sundays (the weekend) can be selected.
By the way, your activity points for teaching, exploring and battles can be increased by raising your Professor Level. This seems to function like a Skill Level that only you have. You can earn experience towards your Professor Level by teaching students, interacting and whatnot. Basically, by being a good teacher.
While exploring the monastery, there are many activities you can get up to.
Converse: Naturally, you can talk to other people and build up a stronger relationship with them. You can attempt to recruit students from other houses (excludes the leaders and certain students) by meeting their stat and Skill Level requirements. Also, you can give them gifts or lost items to increase their friendship.
Quests: Dotted around the grounds are bulletin boards containing requests from students and other monastery occupants. You can accept quests and complete them to earn rewards, including items and Renown. Reporting a quest may consume activity points.
Faculty Training: If you find an instructor around, you can take a quick private lesson with them to boost your own Skill Levels. However it doesn’t come cheap, requiring you to spend activity points.
Fishing: There’s a pond where you can play a fishing mini-game. Fish can be sold or used as ingredients. There may be days where you can catch rare fish.
Dining: In the Dining Hall, you can cook food for your whole class to boost their stats temporarily. Or share a meal with two fellow students and/or monastery occupants (can be from any house) to raise your support relationships. Again, you need to burn activity points
Greenhouse: Should you feel like giving back to the Earth, you can grow crops and later harvest them. Crops can be used as ingredients, while flowers can be given as presents.
Tea Party: When it’s their birthday or if you spend activity points, you can invite students for a fancy tea party. First, you choose some tea leaves. Then you try and choose topics that the other person may be interested in. Keep the conversation going long enough and you can enter “free time”, where you can give gifts or gaze at your companion.
Advice Box: Located in the cathedral, you can read anonymous notes posted by troubled students. Answer successfully within the allotted time and you can gain support points.
Choir Practice: In the cathedral, you can attend singing practice with two fellow students and/or monastery occupants (can be from any house). Doing so will boost your relationships, Faith skill level and–for yourself–Authority skill level.
Saint Statues: Also found in the cathedral are 4 statues created in the shape of the patron saints. Here, you can spend Renown earned from battles and quests to unlock all sorts of rewards.
Market: Situated towards the south-east corner of the monastery, this is where you can stock up on weapons and supplies. There are also traveling merchants selling items you can use in the monastery (like ingredients), a Smithy where you can repair and forge weapons, and maybe even a secret shop…
Drill Grounds: From time to time, there are inter-house tournaments focusing on specific weapon types. You can choose a class representative and battle it out for glory, in one-on-one arena-style matches. If you succeed, you can earn a prize (such as passes to take exams to change class).
amiibo Gazebo: Towards the east side of the monastery, there’s a place where you can scan in compatible amiibo figures to receive items.
Exchange Students: If you’re connected to the Internet and have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you may meet students from other peoples’ games in the monastery grounds. Speak to them and you can buy an item, try some ambush training (for 1 or 4 people), or hire them as an Assistant (for the Pair Up system).