Recruiting demons is the best way to obtain fusion fodder, to put it bluntly. As always, in Shin Megami Tensei IV, this is done by talking to them.
Talking to demons is actually one of Burrough’s Apps, so the options associated with this function can be expanded upon. The primary purpose of talking to demons is to ask them to ally with you. Demon scouting makes you jump through hoops, attempting to answer the bizarre questions the demons toss at you and giving them whatever they want, in the hopes that they’ll join your team.
The demons in Shin Megami Tensei IV are all rather unique. I love how each demon type has its own voice and personality. The answers to their questions also seem to fit their personalities, although every individual demon seems to prefer different answers, which is an interesting twist. Sometimes, one demon of a species will want one answer, while another will be looking for something else. This makes negotiation difficult sometimes.
Other times, trick questions will pop up. One of these, for example, is, “Who’s stronger, Demons or Humans?” All three answers will be “Demons.” If the demon likes this answer, then you’re lucky. If they don’t, then you’ll just have to try again because… well, you don’t have much choice, do you?
There is some trick to giving items, HP, MP, and money to demons while recruiting them, though. For example, it appears that Femme demons won’t join you if you’re too complacent and give them everything they want. Sometimes, you can also cheat demons of the items you owe them and they’ll still be satisfied.
If your negotiation succeeds, the demon becomes your ally, provided you have room and you are of sufficient level. If you are not of level, the demon may summon a lower-level “friend” to join you instead. Sometimes the demons will say “I will join you later,” but in this game, that just means “Too bad, try again later.”
There are a few lucky instances where a demon will join you of its own volition, too. This may happen if you kill all other members of its party so brutally that you scared the living wits out of it. Alternatively, they could just love the response or answer you gave them so much that they want to join you.
If the negotiation fails, then they’ll just leave—if you’re lucky. Other times, the failure may also count as a “missed attack,” in which case two Press Turn icons are eaten up. If the demon becomes angry, then you’ve wasted your entire turn and they attack immediately. Luckily, damage control for this can be done because apparently demons don’t mind if you attack them a bit, so culling down their numbers first helps a lot.
If you choose to upgrade your demon negotiation App, you can also talk to demons that speak in tongues or you can unlock other options. One of these is Fundraise, which involves you throwing yourself at the demon and begging him for money. This is actually pretty hilarious because the demons are so intimidated by you they just start throwing Macca at you so you’ll stop. Every time you do this, you are given the choice to continue or to stop. If you continue, there’s a chance the demon will get angry, at which point they attack. If you stop, you keep the Macca and your turn continues as usual. The Macca you earn from this is handy at the start of the game, but is much less than you get from selling relics later on.
You can also choose to unlock an option that allows you to negotiate a ceasefire, which may be handy later in the game when you accidentally wander into an area with demons several levels higher than you.
Finally, sometimes demons will give you quests when you talk to them. These quests are fairly hard to find and are pretty difficult to complete, but defeating the demon boss often unlocks the demon for fusion.