If you were looking for the mechanic in Pokémon Conquest, see Warrior#Recruitment.
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Recruitment is the main method of obtaining new Pokémon in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Adventure Squads, and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. After defeating an enemy in a dungeon, it will occasionally offer to join the player's team.

Smoochum asking to join the team

In Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, if a newly-recruited Pokémon—a recruit who has never cleared or warped out of a dungeon or didn't make it to a rest stop—or the team's leader faints before making it out of the dungeon, it will leave the party permanently. Dungeons consisting of multiple parts—such as Mt. Thunder—will count reaching a checkpoint as making it out.

The games contain items that increase the chance of Pokémon asking to be recruited. These are important as the base recruit rate of certain Pokémon, most notably Kecleon, is below zero.

There is a limit of 413 Pokémon at one time in Red and Blue Rescue Teams. In Explorers of Time, Darkness and Sky, the limit is 552. In Blazing, Stormy and Light Adventure Squads, the limits are 176, 352 or 552, depending on how many games have been added to the same save file. In Gates to Infinity, it is 288.

In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, recruitment is no longer present. Instead, the player must connect with other Pokémon in order to expand their team.


In addition to the prospective recruit having an effective recruit rate higher than zero, there are several other prerequisites for recruiting a certain Pokémon to be possible:

  • In Red and Blue Rescue Team, offers will only be made if there is space in the current party. In the Explorers series, this requirement was removed, instead excess members simply warp out of the dungeon. In Explorers of Sky, Blazing, Stormy and Light Adventure Squads, and Gates to Infinity, players can choose if they want to send home the recruited Pokémon or not.
  • The team leader must deal the finishing blow that causes the enemy to faint. Status conditions such as poisoned, even if inflicted by the team leader, do not count.
  • The enemy must be adjacent to the team leader when the finishing blow is delivered. However, Pokémon that are not immediately recruited when the final blow is dealt, but after a short cutscene (many Legendary Pokémon for instance), are an exception to this rule. In DX, this was extended to two tiles away.
  • Some Pokémon, such as Omastar in Brine Cave, are unrecruitable. In addition, many boss legendary Pokémon cannot be recruited on the first visit. In Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, all but nine fully evolved Pokémon cannot be recruited and have to be acquired via evolving.
  • In Red and Blue Rescue Team, the "Recruitment search" option in the menu is always unable to be selected when facing a Legendary Pokémon, even when it is able to be recruited.

Additional requirements

Red and Blue Rescue Team

  • The player must be able to buy Friend Areas; the ability to do so is unlocked after clearing Mt. Steel.
    • The player must have bought the Friend Area that a prospective team member belongs to. This means that some Pokémon cannot be recruited until the post-game, because their Friend Areas aren't available for purchase until then. This is not the case for some legendary Pokémon such as Kyogre, whose Friend Areas cannot be bought; instead, their Friend Areas are unlocked after they are recruited.

Explorers of Time, Darkness and Sky

  • Chimecho Assembly must be open to the player's team.
  • Boss legendary Pokémon no longer have to be defeated by the team leader, in order to be recruited.

Rescue Team DX

  • Recruitment will still begin after finishing Mt. Steel, where the player will then be able to acquire Friend Camps.
  • Players can now temporarily recruit members after defeating the enemy. If these temporary recruits are with the team when the player escapes the dungeon, the player will have the option of permanently recruiting these members should they have the appropriate Friend Camp and availability.
    • The player's team may only have enough temporary recruits to fill a party of eight. Any more will require one of the other members to be released.
    • If the player declines recruitment at the end, or does not have the appropriate camp unlocked, the Pokémon give the player a small amount of money "for a fun adventure". The amount of money given depends on the number of turns spent by the Pokémon during the adventure with it.
  • Recruitment is temporarily unavailable during specific portions of the story, specifically from Lapis Cave to Mt. Freeze Summit, and also the first visit of Sky Tower.
  • Recruitment for most legendary bosses will now be guaranteed upon their first defeat after clearing the story.
  • Shiny Pokémon can only be recruited when the player is wearing the Friend Bow.
  • Recruitment rate boosts cap at +55%.

Recruitment rate modifiers

Recruitment rate by level

Red and Blue Rescue Team

Level Bonus
1-29 +0%
30-39 +5%
40-49 +7.5%
50-59 +10%
60-69 +12.5%
70-79 +15%
80-89 +17.5%
90-100 +24%

Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky

Level Bonus
1-29 +0.0%
30-39 +5.0%
40-49 +7.5%
50-98 +12.5%
99-100 +24.5%

Blazing, Stormy and Light Adventure Squads

Level Bonus
1-14 +0.0%
15 +5.0%
16 +5.1%
17 +5.2%
18 +5.3%
19 +5.4%
20 +5.5%
21 +7.5%
22 +7.6%
23 +7.7%
24 +7.8%
25 +7.9%
26 +8.0%
27 +8.1%
28 +8.2%
29 +8.3%
30 +8.4%
31 +13.0%
32 +13.1%
33 +13.2%
34 +13.3%
35 +13.4%
36 +13.5%
37 +13.6%
38 +13.7%
39 +13.8%
40 +13.9%
41 +18.0%
42 +18.1%
43 +18.2%
44 +18.3%
45 +18.4%
46 +18.5%
47 +18.6%
48 +18.7%
49 +18.8%
50 +18.9%
51 +19.0%
52 +19.1%
53 +19.2%
54 +19.3%
55 +19.4%
56 +19.5%
57 +19.6%
58 +19.7%
59 +19.8%
60 +19.9%
61-98 +20.0%
99-100 +24.5%

Gates to Infinity

Level Bonus
1-40 +0.0%
41-70 +1.0%
71-100 +3.0%

Rescue Team DX

Level Bonus
1-40 +3.0%
41-50 +4.0%
51-100 +5.0%

Fast Friend

The IQ Skill "Fast Friend", available in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, raises the recruitment rate by 5%. It's important to notice this 5% is crucial for recruiting Kecleon, which has a recruitment rate of -49.5%, making it impossible to be recruited with only a high level Pokémon and a Golden Mask.

Fast Friend is learned only by Pokémon in IQ Groups B and H.

Item effects

Friend Bow

In Red and Blue Rescue Teams, the only such item to increase recruitment is the Friend Bow. When held by the leading Pokémon, it raises the recruitment rate by 10%. The bow is located behind a door needing a Key to open on floor 30 of Mt. Faraway. Further Friend Bows can be purchased from Kecleon shops in Joyous Tower. In Explorers of Time and Darkness, the Friend Bow's effectiveness is reduced to 5%, but is supplemented with a number of other items. It can still be bought from Kecleon Shops in Zero Isle North, and in Explorers of Sky, the Friend Bow is able to be won as a prize item from the Recycle Shop in Spinda's Café.

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, it functions identically to the original, but it also allows the leader to recruit Shiny Pokémon. The Friend Bow's location has also been moved to the end of Solar Cave. It raises the chance by 12.8%.

The following Wonder Mail S mission allows the player to explore the Drenched Bluff and receive the Friend Bow as a reward.

Amber Tear

Introduced in Explorers of Time and Darkness, the Amber Tear can be found located on floor B40F of Zero Isle West, or given as a reward for a mission in search of the Amber Tear. It is essentially a 'mid-tier' recruitment boosting item, with the ability to boost the user's recruitment rate by 15%.

Golden Mask

The Golden Mask, also introduced Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness, has the highest boost to the recruitment rate of any item, at 20.1%. It should be noted that this boost is necessary to recruit Kecleon. It can be found on floor B75 of Zero Isle North, or given as a reward for a mission in search of the Golden Mask.

The following Wonder Mail S mission allows the player to explore a Golden Chamber with Infernape and receive the Mask as a reward.

The Seven Treasures

Main article: Seven Treasures

Each of the Seven Treasures raises the recruitment rate by 20% for Pokémon of one particular type among Ground, Fire, Flying, Grass, Ice, Water and Rock.

Friend Gifts

Main article: Friend Gift

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, a Friend Gift raises the recruitment rate for Pokémon of one particular type. They are given to the Pokémon and the Pokémon will decide whether to accept the Friend Gift and join the team or not. The Friend Gift is not lost from the items list if it is rejected. Friend Gifts do not work on evolved Pokémon.

There are also Friend Gifts for specific Pokémon.

Friend Gifts are given as prizes after completing missions. They can be bought at Gift Shop. They are also available with specific passwords.

Wonder Orbs

In Rescue Team DX, two new Wonder orbs were created to help with the recruitment process. An Inviting Orb will boost the recruitment rate of all enemies within the floor by 25%, while the Rare Quality Orb will boost the chances of recruiting enemies with a rare quality.

Rare Qualities

Main article: Rare quality

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, Pokémon can obtain two rare qualities that affect the team's recruitment rate.

"Friendly" gives a flat bonus of 15%.

"Squad Up" gives a bonus depending on the current size of player's team. With just one Pokémon, the bonus is 3%. The second and third party member increase this bonus by 1% each with any further team members giving 0.5% each, for a total bonus of 7.5% at full size of eight.

False Swipe

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Pokémon defeated with False Swipe have their recruitment rate increased by about 8%.

In Rescue Team DX, this bonus is increased to 17.5%.


In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, the guardians of the Seven Treasures as well as legendary giants have a flat 50% recruitment rate that cannot be affected in any way.

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, if the player answers Yes to having already played Time and Darkness, the base recruitment rate of the following Pokémon is doubled if they're not already recruited. The Pokémon marked with * cannot be recruited directly, as the only dungeons they appear in disallow recruiting.

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, each Pokémon has two different base recruit rates. The second one is used if the player has already recruited that Pokémon or is in the postgame.

Recruitment-affecting items

These items affect recruitment rate and fall under no other category.

In other languages

Amber Tear

Language Title
  French Larme Ambrée
  German Amberträne
  Italian Goccia Ambra
  Korean 앰버눈물 Amber nunmul
  Spanish Lágrima ámbar

Golden Mask

Language Title
  French Masque d'Or
  German Goldmaske
  Italian Mascheradoro
  Korean 황금가면 Hwang-geum gamyeon
  Spanish Máscara oro

Consumables: FoodGummisSeedsBerriesHealth drinks
Held items: GlassesScarvesRecruitment-affecting items
Miracle and Wonder ChestsSeven Treasures
Space GlobeIQ BoosterFlagsLooplets
Objects: Wonder OrbsThrowing itemsHMsUsed TMsTMsKeys
Link BoxGabite ScaleGracideaFriend GiftsDevices
EmerasProgress DevicesWandsDjinn's Bottle
Special: Rescue Team Starter SetToolboxExploration Team Kit
Treasure BagTreasure CollectionMystery Dungeon evolutionary items
Teleport GemColored WingsWishing StoneMusic BoxVortex Stone
Treasure BoxesMystery PartSecret SlabExclusive items
Relic FragmentWonder EggLost LootSky Gift
Lookalike ItemsPrize TicketsGates to Infinity exclusive items
ManualsEntercardsLucha TokenConnection Orb

  This article is part of both Project Sidegames and Project ItemDex, Bulbapedia projects that, together, aim to write comprehensive articles on items in the sidegames.