View Full Version : Asmodeus went down to Georgia...(Expanded pacts and wagers with Devils, 3.5)

Angry Bob
2010-11-25, 03:55 PM
Among mortal scholars learned in such matters, the Pact Certain and the Pact Insidious are the most well known, and certainly the most formalized. However, there are other, less well-known methods baatezu have of claiming mortal souls for their own. Below are listed several of them.

The Wager

Devils, as a whole, are not given to gambling or uncertainty. From time to time, however, a soul proves too tempting to let pass. In these cases, a devil will usually dangle a bargain in front of a powerful chaotic mortal. If the mortal wins, the devil will shower them with wealth and power. If the devil wins, it gets the mortal's soul.

These wagers are useful for devils looking to ensnare souls that would ordinarily be loathe to simply sign away their immortal essence. Most chaotic characters, for instance, and some neutral characters. These wagers, unlike the major pacts, cannot be sought out, and are always offered by a fiend to a mortal.

These wagers are not backed up specifically by the Pact Primeval, the way the two major pacts are, but instead by the Devil's good faith, if such a thing can be said to exist, and the strength of the lesser magical agreement they involve. While entering into such a bargain is perilous and always stacked heavily against the mortal, if the mortal can irrevocably claim victory, the fiend will never fail to pay its debt. Additionally, because they aren't backed up by the laws of the universe, it's theoretically possible to try to retrieve a soul lost this way by force of arms, though in truth, a great force of arms will be necessary.

The Contest
"The Devil went down Georgia, lookin' for a soul to steal..."

The most famous contest of skill is undoubtedly the contest of musical skill, but this covers any contest of skill. In game terms, it involves the devil and a mortal character comparing check results, sometimes in a "best-out-of-X" situation. Because the devil in question has likely prepared ahead of time for tempting this mortal, it often retrains some of its skill ranks to the appropriate skill, and depending on the DM, may have accumulated a racial bonus to the skill with the infernal powers it has access to, but no more than half its CR. This contest will almost always use a skill the mortal is greatly accomplished in, to give an impression of fair play. To its greatest ability, it will have "optimized" for that skill, sometimes retraining feats it possesses for ones that improve its ability in that skill, though within reason - it won't rebuild itself to the point that it's useless in combat. It will also offer the wager at an inopportune time for its target, often insisting on the contest occurring while the mortal is tired, under the weather, or suffering from debilitating magic - sometimes even that inflicted by the devil's own minions.

The Reward points system is outlined on page 24 of the Fiendish Codex II.

The prize for winning a contest with a devil is a reward or rewards with a rating or combined rating equal to one quarter of the mortal's ECL, rounded up, plus the additional modifiers, agreed upon before the contest begins:

The mortal voluntarily forgoes any enhancement and circumstance bonuses to their skill check(the bonuses are simply ignored, regardless of the source: +2
The mortal takes 10 on the skill check: -1
Best two of three: +4 (In these cases, the deal will start as an ordinary one. The devil will voluntarily fail its first check, bluffing vs. the PC's sense motive that they're just bad at it, and then extend the deal to a two out of three contest for a greater reward. Then it will use every ability it has at its disposal to maximize its check.
The mortal activates a spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability with a duration expressed in rounds that grants a bonus of any sort on the skill check after being approached by the fiend: -3, if the terms of the wager aren't broken by this. They usually are.
Other modifiers to come

If the mortal loses, the devil vanishes to Baator to finalize the claim on the mortal's soul. No rewards are dispensed. If the mortal dies, their soul is immediately claimed by that devil. If the devil is permanently slain before then, the mortal is free of the devil's claim, but before that, attacks and spells they make against the devil automatically fail, and they are automatically hit by the devil's attacks and automatically fail saves against that devil's spell-like abilities.

The Ordeal
"Don't let any razor touch your hair or nails, don't bathe. Do this for seven years, and all the power and money you've ever wanted will be yours. Fail, and your soul is mine.

These are better customized by the DM, but are usually offered to mortals with reason to believe they can carry them out. Once fulfilled or failed, the same rules as the Contest apply.

I'll fill out more of this later. Let me know what you think of these for now.

2010-12-06, 06:38 PM
Don't really have much to add, short of voicing approval for more forms of diabolical dealings(...which I would have done sooner, where it not for being busy).

However, I do wonder about this:

The Contest

...Best two of three: -1...

This strikes me as a bit odd. Specifically, it strikes me as odd that Devils dislike circumstances in which a contest is more about skill than luck. Or is the reasoning behind this, that the Devil might ''pull a trick'' during the contest, that can not be accounted for if there's only one; but can be if there are multiple contests?

Angry Bob
2010-12-06, 07:49 PM
Actually, that makes a good point. I can see the Devil giving the mortal an ordinary deal, voluntarily failing its check, losing, then offering to extend the contest to a two out of three contest for a greater reward for the mortal. At which point it basically turns into Satan from Tenacious D.

OP being edited as we speak.

2010-12-07, 09:18 PM
These are cool. I like both the fluff and the mechanics and will probably be stealing these at some point. :smallbiggrin:

Angry Bob
2010-12-11, 11:04 PM
Glad to hear it. Are there any other modifiers? I've been over it again and again, and I can't think of anything else that fits.

2010-12-11, 11:59 PM
You might take the mortal's alignment into consideration when determining the reward, since good mortals are less likely to take the pacts and their souls are worth more than evil mortals.

Aside from that, it's pretty good as is. Maybe mention loopholes commonly used, such as allowing the participants to have help with their contest checks, but not mentioning that to the (usually isolated) mortal until the time of the contest. (Then a band of demons joined in and it sounded something like this...)