SUIKODEN V RECRUITMENT GUIDE FOR THE MOST OBNOXIOUS CHARACTERS
This isn't meant to be a complete guide to recruiting all 108 characters, just the ones that are the most annoying/obscure to get. It was created as I felt the existing guides didn't really get specific enough and/or left out some important details that could cause you to waste a bunch of time.
RECOGNIZING RECRUITMENT WINDOWS
A lot of optional characters are only available during so-called "recruitment windows", or points where you aren't entangled in some plot element or another. Usually these begin with you regaining control in your bedroom with either just the Prince or the Prince and Lyon. If you talk to Lyon and she says something like "What should we do now?", that also means you're in one.
You've no doubt seen Josephine standing around Haud, but all she ever does is rag on your clothes. Obviously you have to bring a character whose clothes she likes, but only one in the whole game fits the bill -- Sialeeds. If Sialeeds is with you and she's not joining, then it's too early yet, let some plot go by then come back.
The only other option for recruiting her is to bring a certain naval commander whose name would be a spoiler, but who won't join you until waaaaay near the end of the game, just before you're about to take Sol-Falena back. Fortunately, you can't miss this character, the plot forces them into your party.
Oh boy, Oboro. One of the most easily missable characters and will cause you to miss like six or seven others if you miss him.
Easiest and best time to get him -- while you're holed up in Rainwall early in the game as a guest of Salum Barows. You'll start seeing his ship in the dock there, but you can't get him until you've recruited the tactician Lucretia as part of the story, and she suggests hiring a detective.
When she does that, go down to his ship and talk to him to hire him. Then immediately go to the bar and talk to the drunk guy who has a character portrait. Go outside and a scene with his assistants should automatically pop up. When prompted, always opt to personally stay with the investigation, and when he brings up use of the mouse DON'T QUESTION IT. He won't join you right after the investigation, but he'll stay perma-parked in Raftfleet and will join you during the next recruitment window.
If you missed this sequence or borked it up with the wrong responses, you can still get him, but it's more annoying. You have to simply keep asking him in Raftfleet during recruitment windows. It's just a random chance at bad odds. If he says "no" during one window come back during the next. If you go through five or so and don't get lucky, eventually he'll say yes on the fifth or sixth try. You have to be dogged in this though as he's only available until the battle called The Queen's Campaign, then he's gone from the game forever.
* CORNELIO and his stupid elves
OK, so Cornelio is one of the 108 stars. You have to get him, and he's not hard to find -- just enter his house in Haud sometime after you get your castle during a recruitment window, you'll be attacked by his wimpy DoReMi elf squad, kill them and he joins you. He'll never leave you after this even if you completely blow off his quest to round the elves back up, and even if you gleefully slay them right in front of him (though they never die permanently, they'll keep randomly reappearing in their area until recruited). I think it's secretly his plan for you to never find them, so he can hang out and sponge off your army forever. Anyway.
The elves are playable characters, but they aren't part of the 108 stars, they're completely and totally optional and have no effect on the ending you get whatsoever. The thing is, they are easily the most irritating to recruit, because some of them are in absolutely random-ass spots on the world map where they only have a fairly low chance of appearing in random battles, and you'd never stumble across them without a guide or just incredible dumb luck.
There's some other sites on the interwebs that give you a general idea where they are, but none I saw get specific enough, they will still leave you wandering that area guessing exactly which spot they mean which can burn stupid amounts of your time, so here's my extremely specific guide to where I found them:
Idiot Elf #1: Appears outside Cornelio's house automatically as part of his little recruitment deal. If you kill it by accident instead of capturing, it'll appear later in some woods north of Haud, tucked into a little corner on the west side of the river that runs north-south located to Haud's east.
Idiot Elf #2: Appears on the Mountain Path between Yashuna Village and the Beaver Lodge, seems to have an even lower frequency of appearing than the other guys, though maybe that was just my dumb luck.
Idiot Elf #3: Appears in Twilight Forest, you very likely saw him already if you went through the plot-necessary dungeon sequence there. Seems to appear way more frequently than the others.
Idiot Elf #4: On the world map in some forest between Lelcar and Doraat. The easiest way to find him is to teleport to Doraat, then turn around and leave (walking off the pier takes you out to land because raisins). Follow the path away from the castle, it should go south a tiny bit then turn west-east, the woods where the elf is are *just* north of the west-east portion of it. You have to be fairly near the path, go too far north into them and he won't show up.
Idiot Elf #5: South of Rainwall just a little bit in some forest, but the spot where he appears is tricky to find. It's immediately south of Rainwall, across the bridge just to the right of it -- like RIGHT on the other side of the river fairly close to the castle.
You may not even want to bother with all this though as the best thing they do is let you play the soundtrack from your HQ. In battle, they unlock Cornelio's level 4 rune attack which does 1500 base damage to all enemies, which is actually pretty good even at the end of the game. Here's the problem though, you can only use it two or three times max before having to find an Inn to recharge, and your party also has to be jammed up with all these otherwise-useless characters. By the final dungeon your best rune mages should be close to doing 1500 damage with their better attacks all by themselves, and your better short-range fighters will also often get above 1000 to at least one enemy if they land at least two hits in a turn, so the window where this actually might be useful is extremely limited.
Go to Lunas Nothern Woods with Takaru in your party. After the initial ladders you should see a dialogue box where Takaru hears a loud roar. Go north along the little path and you'll see him there with a dead monster. He won't join right away unless you picked the right dialogue choices way back during the Sacred Games and aftermath, however (basically never throwing him under the bus). If he won't join, it's like the process with Oboro, keep coming back in the next recruitment window and there's a random chance he'll say yes.
The old merchant in Raftfleet. He'll eventually badger you about salt prices. The problem here is, if you didn't already stash away five or six Salts prior to him bringing it up, then you can't help! You have to buy salt when it's at a low or normal price and let it sit around in your inventory/storage, then bring it out and sell it in Raftfleet when he complains about the price. Fortunately, if the price adjusts on its own, it will continue to cycle around again at some point. You may also need Shinro (item shop guy in Raftfleet) before you can get him.
During recruitment windows you'll find him holed up in a dead end in the caves north of the dwarf town (the path that leads to the prison). When you talk to him, don't push X to speed up the dialogue AT ALL -- you can push it when the text stop scrolling and the little button icon starts twitching to get the next text box, but that's it, never when it's slowly scrolling in. If you did it right he'll join you at the end of his rant.
Frustrating as you can see them all standing around, but there's no indication what you have to do to get them to join. The trick is to get them in a certain order, and you have to be at the point in the story where Beaver Lodge has been attacked.
The first one to talk to is Muroon, who is hanging out on your castle dock and should join right away. Take him to Yashuna Village and you can get the one working at the hot springs there. Then talk to the rocker beaver Moroon outside Baska Mine with Maroon (the one beaver who the plot forces into your party). He won't join but you should see an exchange between him and Maroon. Next is the little girl beaver Meroon, she should be standing around in burnt Beaver Lodge and will wonder if her brother knows about this, and you should get a dialogue box saying something like "You mean Moroon?". Meroon will then join you temporarily, which becomes permanently (along with Moroon) when you bring her to him.
She's standing around near the Raftfleet entrance during recruiting windows and is easy to find, the trick is winning the fishing mini-game, and the trick to that is simply SITTING STILL at your starting position and waiting for fish to come to you even if there aren't initially many in that spot. Enough will eventually come by to win every time, moving around in the boat makes them move away from you and makes the game 100x tougher.
Talk to him in Haud with any "? Painting" in your inventory. If the scene doesn't trigger, exit the shop and re-enter then talk to him again until it does.
I think Haleth is theoretically available anytime after you regain your HQ and free access to Port Spinacks / Sauronix / Hershville, but the sure time to get him is in the last major recruitment window, which is right after you do the Lelcar / Lordlake battle but before you initiate the battle for Stormfist. After Lelcar / Lordlake, there will be some plot events, then you'll regain control of the Prince in his bedroom with no party members whatsoever -- that's the window. It ends when you walk up to the War Room to initiate the Stormfist attack.
After you attack Stormfist, Haleth is no longer available -- if you didn't get him by then, you missed him forever.
Note: Make sure Logg and Kisara are NEVER in your party for this whole process, or key scenes won't trigger.
To start his recruitment, you need to speak to him at least twice in Hershville, exiting and re-entering the area each time. To get to Hershville, you need to talk to a rando NPC on the docks of Port Spinacks who tells you about it, and then the boat will be able to take you there. Once you've been there one time, Viki can also teleport you there from then on. He's in the Administrative building, which is an isolated building up a short flight of stairs around the center of the dock area.
Talk to him then leave Hershville and come back and talk to him again until you get dialogue about Estrise ships being rerouted to the port, and he's too busy to talk to you. Once you're at that dialogue, he can be recruited.
Go back to the Tavern in your castle and a scene with Logg and Kisara enjoying some wine will automatically trigger when you walk in.
Now, go back to Hershville and enter the empty warehouses near the armor shop until a scene with Haleth and Logg triggers.
Go back to the castle then immediately return to Hershville. Go to the Administrative building and Haleth should be gone, replaced by some rando. Talk to said rando and he informs you that Haleth got caught out supplying the rebel army and has gone into hiding.
Go back to your castle Tavern and Haleth should be standing there waiting. Talk to him and pick "Why not join us?" when prompted, and that's it.