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If you were looking for the the mechanic in Pokémon Conquest, see Warrior#Recruitment.
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Smoochum asking to join the team

Recruitment is the main method of obtaining new Pokémon in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. After defeating an enemy in a dungeon, it will occasionally offer to join the player's 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 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 instead, and 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 the first two games, offers will only be made if there is space in the current party. In the sequels, this requirement was removed, instead excess members simply warp out of the dungeon. In Explorers of Sky 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.
  • 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.

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.

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%

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.

Recruitment-affecting items

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.

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.

In other languages

Friend Bow

Language Title
France Flag.png French Ruban Ami
Germany Flag.png German Sympathie
Italy Flag.png Italian Arcoamico
South Korea Flag.png Korean 친구리본 Chingu ribbon
Spain Flag.png Spanish Lazo Amistad

Amber Tear

Language Title
France Flag.png French Larme Ambrée
Germany Flag.png German Amberträne
Italy Flag.png Italian Goccia Ambra
South Korea Flag.png Korean 앰버눈물 Amber nunmul
Spain Flag.png Spanish Lágrima ámbar

Golden Mask

Language Title
France Flag.png French Masque d'Or
Germany Flag.png German Goldmaske
Italy Flag.png Italian Mascheradoro
South Korea Flag.png Korean 황금가면 Hwang-geum gamyeon
Spain Flag.png 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 WingsWish StoneMusic Box
Treasure boxesMystery Part and Secret SlabExclusive items
Relic FragmentWonder EggLost LootSky Gift
Lookalike ItemsPrize TicketsGates to Infinity exclusive items
ManualsEntercardsLucha TokenConnection Orb

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