A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    Need a way to not make an evil PC rely on devil contracts to kill enemies. I tried having the devil say “well you’ll lose your soul to us.” But that only works once and why would it matter to them if they already are evil?

    Furthermore, what’s to stop someone else from doing the same to him? Theoretically an NPC could make a kill deal on this guy and he’d literally have to fight devil after devil after devil.

    TLDR; need a way to make devil deals not like this “Just sign right here in your blood and I’ll send a whole lotta pit fiends after the BBEG. Nice doin’ business with ya.”

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    The simplest thing that pops up to me is that you can only sell your soul once. Outside of a soul, simply make sure that most Devil contracts are out of that player's price range.

    Or make it so that the process of contacting and summoning the devil to make the contract is so prohibitively expensive, dangerous, and complicated that it becomes a quest all its own to take out a diabolic hit on someone.

    Or... and this may be the most expedient solution... ask the player in question to not do that. If this person can't be made to agree fairly quickly how trying to get devils to do all of his dirty work damages the game, then maybe you've got bigger problems.
    Last edited by Catullus64; 2021-09-03 at 12:32 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    What does the devil/devils get out of it? Like you said, you can only sell your soul once, so if he's sold his soul for 1 contract, that's no longer a viable currency for any of the other devils he wants to hire. He's going to need more than that, especially since it becomes a matter of cost-effectiveness for the devil he's hiring. Sure, he gets 1 soul, but if he has to trade 10 other souls to hire enough pit fiends to get the job done, that's not worth the deal.


    As for why selling your soul is bad for an evil character - it means when he dies, he belongs to someone else. Most evil people don't like being servants or slaves, especially when your master is also evil. When your master is not just evil, but an immortal devil, that's really going to suck for you, and it'll last an eternity.

    Why wouldn't NPCs kill-devil him? Same thing in reverse, they can only sell their souls to one devil too. And is he really important enough to have dozens of NPCs all willing to sell their soul just for a single chance at killing him?
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    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    Well, if you truly want to be evil, consider this:

    "Oh, we already have your soul, but we also need... your service. We scratch your back and then you scratch ours - we just need someone to do something for us on the material plane. Will you repay us? It will just cost you some time - let's say... 10 hours for this service? To make sure you don't back away from the deal, allow me to place this sigil on your head...and we're done with the formalities."

    If they ask, feel free to tell them what the sigil does before placing it - the devils will tell them. If not, inform them the world went black. Fast forward 10 hours, they are now chased by half of the city for performing unspeakable acts, as they were used by the devil as a vessel.

    Yeah, could be really a touchy subject, so make sure you know your players before pulling this one on them. My players would not accept the deal without reading the small letters - they know that deals like this are never simple - but they would also not deal with a devil. And of course, the price will go up every time, and more and more devils will wish to spend some vacation time in their body.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    A few other facts:

    -The PCs can only negotiate with devils they can find. An archdevil might be able to bring overwhelming forces down on their enemy's heads, but good luck getting that audience with an archdevil in the first place. Meanwhile an imp is easy to meet and make a deal with, but is unlikely to be able to do much more than inconvenience any serious target.

    -Relatedly, whoever makes the deal needs to see a net effect on their end. Time spent hunting down one difficult mortal is time not spent wheeling and dealing for more power and souls. If you could somehow get an audience with an archdevil, there's a good chance that they'd just say "no".

    -An evil soul is probably headed downstairs anyways, making the value of tempting it into your pawn specifically less important. Especially powerful and/or holy souls might be worth an exceptional effort to corrupt. An already evil PC does not get to ask for a blank check.

    At that point, finding and hiring a devil assassin is not much different from finding and hiring an especially powerful assassin through other means. The difficulty of arranging the meet and finding suitable payment should keep PCs from falling back to that as their default method of problem solving.

    And as mentioned above, once a soul is sold it's already spoken for. After that you'll have to go back to the question of what else you can offer the devil in exchange for its services.

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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    There's no way in hell (no pun intended) that one mortal's soul is enough to hire a swarm of Pit Fiends to do anything. Especially to kill a Big Bad for him, when the Big Bad is far more likely to be advancing Hell's agenda than the PCs would be in most cases.

    So you have plenty of reason to disallow this transaction. The bigger question is whether you're okay with him selling his soul at all, and if so, what you think he SHOULD get for it. And if you're not okay with him selling his soul, then some of the other suggestions here for disallowing that become more useful.
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    Your soul is insufficient for this task. We need you to collect and deliver 10,000 virgin souls or 15 willing virgin souls.

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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    Past the entire 'can only sell your soul once' thing, have people notice trends. The more deaths beneficial to the character that happen the more people will start to suspect he's up to something.

    Plus normally summoning a devil for negotiation is hard. Beware of any devil that's easy to summon, they have an agenda.

    But yeah, speak to the player first.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    Your soul is insufficient for this task. We need you to collect and deliver 10,000 virgin souls or 15 willing virgin souls.
    Unconscious creatures are considered willing, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    Start with a OOC discussion with your player. Problems with players should be solved with players, not with their characters. Though if you need some solutions against characters that want to rely on devils, here are some ideas:

    (1) Devils are not beings with unlimited resources, and not stupid either. They don't want to send "devil after devil" after a target. If the target is anything like "dangerous" and "able to defend itself and/or have bodyguards", the devil will either reject any offer, or ask for a LOT to compensate for the risks.

    (2) If devils assassin are a somewhat common practice, I'd guess that guardian angels too. And religious institutions possibly even have guardian angels assigned to guarding cities and attacking any devil they find. This combined with the previous point means that devil contracts might even be expensive against regular folks.

    (3) Picture this scene: an archdevil appears in front of the Lord Chief Justice. "So, what do you think of my proposition? It's truly a win-win. I get the souls of every man condemned to death by your Justice system. In exchange, I ensure that no devil ever accept a contract with anyone under your jurisdiction (Other than yourself, obviously). I will ensure ... personally ... that anyone trying to destabilise your realm of law and order through the use of devil contracts ... learn his lesson". [The same could be done with a mafia boss negotiating exclusivity of contracts]

    (4) Past the first contract, the devils could just reject any further fair trade and now rely on blackmail to get what they want. "So you're offering those prisoners as sacrifice in exchange of immense wealth? You know ... since our last contract, you now wear the black mark. It would be a shame if the holy inquisition were to acquire your position, isn't that right? I was thinking, maybe it would be more wise of you to offer those prisoners as a tribute rather than seeking an exchange. Yes... A monthly tribute of innocent souls, or else..."
    Last edited by MoiMagnus; 2021-09-09 at 04:12 AM.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: How should I deal with devil assassin contracts?

    It's really no different from the way you'd handle him trying to hire mortal assassins: the assassins are either impossible to find, name a price that's too high, or simply refuse the contract.

    Or have the assassin be captured, and let the PC panic when he realizes that he didn't include "do not name me as the person who hired you" into the contract.

    Or pull out the, "the devil fulfills the letter of the contract, so you'd better be VERY careful of the terms" card.

    Or have the terms of the contract be that the devil gets the soul (and life) of the person as soon as his side of the contract is fulfilled. Allow the PC to set some requirements that SEEM impossible to fulfill, but the devil works some ambiguity in that will allow him to meet them.
    Last edited by Slipjig; 2021-09-10 at 10:52 AM.

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