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A classic Fantasy and Science Fiction trope. A group with extraordinary powers of some sort goes recruiting among the general population, searching for others like themselves. They may be from The Order, or a school for wizards, witches or gifted youngsters.

Key to this trope is the fact that they come looking for you. Those extra-normal folk leave their ivory tower or basement lab and go out among the rest of us. The scene may subtly juxtapose the mundane with the fantastic (e.g. Prof X sitting in your living room, drinking Mom's tea like a college recruiter), or it may be as grandiose and dazzling as a WWII recruitment drive.

Note this rarely happens in a world where the supernatural stays hidden, and the Search is usually open and above-board. Generally being chosen is a prestigious thing; the only ones who would interfere either have a inherent distrust of all things outside the mundane, or nefarious plans of some sort.

Regardless, everyone accepts. Most characters accept immediately, recognizing that riding a dragon while incinerating your enemies with telekinesis is a lot cooler than moisture-farming on Tatooine or whatever. If not, no matter. Just don't make plans to settle down.

Contrast with Mutant Draft Board, where acceptance is mandatory. If you want to know what the recruiters are looking for, check out Magic and Powers. Compare The Call Knows Where You Live.

Examples of Fantastic Recruitment Drive include:

Comic Books

  • Marvel Universe X-Men. Professor X used the Cerebro computer to locate mutants so he could recruit them into his school.


  • The Dragonriders of Pern: When the dragonriders go on "Search," they seek young men and women with latent telepathic abilities, able to bond with dragons.
  • The Sharing Knife: It's known that Lakewalkers are descended from the sorcerer-lords of ancient times. Dag theorizes that they became a separate caste through selective breeding--singling out those who had groundsense, and adding them to the gene pool.
  • In the Dark Visions trilogy by LJ Smith, the Zetes Institute runs tests across the nation to find people with psychic powers.
  • In The Obernewtyn Chronicles, the antagonists and the protagonists both at some point seek out children with special powers, referred to as Misfits, to attend the titular Obernewtyn.
  • The Alfred Bester novel The Demolished Man contains a great scene where the Espers (telepathic people) are trying to find undiscovered Espers. There is a line of people moving through an area, and an Esper is broadcasting something along the lines of, "If you can hear this, please go through the door on your left." IIRC, only one or two people per day actually go through the door.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Luke does a lot of this, trying to find hidden Jedi, their descendents, and those with raw talent.
  • In Harry Potter, the boarding school Hogwarts selects students at birth. A magic quill takes down the names of wizard children the moment they are born.
  • This is how the "mutant corps" of early Perry Rhodan came to be -- basically by means of a few dedicated recruiters going around with portable mutant detection devices and asking potential candidates if they'd like to leave their mundane lives behind and join the guys working to break the then still ongoing cold war stalemate and help Earth get ready to face the larger universe full of alien civilizations on its own terms. Most of the people asked Jumped At the Call.

Tabletop RPG

  • Shadowrun. People with the ability to use magic are extremely rare. Schools, corporations and magical groups regularly test citizens (particularly children) for magical talent.
  • Traveller. The Zhodani Consulate extensively uses psionic abilities in its government and military. They test children for psionic aptitude and train those with a significant level of power.

Web Original

  • Whateley Academy sometimes engages in this when a newly-emerged mutant makes the headlines and they can get people there quickly enough, while others get pointed at the school by former alumni or simply people who have heard of it. It's strongly implied that at least some "mutant schools" in other parts of the world are more straightforward examples of the Mutant Draft Board trope instead, but attendance at Whateley is technically entirely voluntary -- simply usually presented as a very good idea considering the likely alternatives.
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