Letter of the Law — Infernal bargains for TFT

“There are tales among us that you have sold yourself to the devil, and I know not what.”
“We all have, have we not?’ returned the stranger, looking up. “If we were fewer in number, perhaps he would give better wages”

– Charles Dickens


Thankfully, the Fantasy Trip does not have the complex cosmology of some other role-playing games or a vast legacy of rules and subtypes for infernal creatures. So we have a fairly clean slate to work from. The only creature that seems to fit the bill are the demons. Beyond “often hideous, and tremendously powerful being from another plane” there is little back-story and minimal motivation beyond rapacious destruction for their kind. They can be summoned — and even commanded — but prove fickle servants and dangerous to be around.

What if the creature did have a goal? And was willing to bargain with a wizard in a ‘fair’ exchange? Without diving too deeply into what a soul actually is, let’s assume it is important to the creature and something it is willing to leverage its power for. Barring the whole soul, perhaps the demon will accept temporary control over the other party for its own purposes or simply cruel amusement.

These demons are called Contract Demons— although maybe common folk think of them as devils. And whereas many of their transactions are less than permanent they are typically referred to as ‘selling your soul’. But how does it work and what is your soul really worth?


On many occasions, a contract demon seeks out a person to transact with. These are usually individuals obsessed with a single idea or goal, or weak-willed people who are in a position to further the demon’s desires. In these cases, the demon might appear in a guise friendly to the target and offer assistance. It is only after the victim agrees will the demon reveal itself and the ramifications of the bargain.

This can be as simple as an offer to help a character succeed in seducing a woman or gain an advantage in a bargaining situation. Once the offer is accepted, the figure must agree that it is indebted to the demon for the bind to take hold. At that point, the demon can command the pact holder as the Command Person spell (ITL, p. 25) for up to 12 rounds within the next 24 hours. This control will not normally lead to harm or danger to the character but it commonly damages their reputation, relationships, or their wealth. In other cases, it leads to actions the character does not even understand but aids the demon in its other goals. They may end up purchasing a quantity of unneeded goods, shouting the praises of a deity or person they have no knowledge of, or starting a brawl in a crowded tavern. They may achieve their immediate desires but it rarely works out at the end of the day.

If the target’s desires are longer-term so are the ramifications. And the consequences are usually worse. In these cases, the contract demon reveals itself as it truly is (in concept if not in form) and requires the other party to formally agree to the contract.

Many contract demons specialize in certain forms of agreements and appear in appropriate forms and haunt particular locations. A demon who specializes in lust will be in the guise of a beautiful woman or man and be found among the brothels and bath houses. Those who deal in wealth and power will appear as wise advisors and enthusiastic supporters and lurk in the halls of the powerful.

These demons can offer powers bordering on the magical for a period of time (usually a year and a day) in exchange for a ‘service’ offered at a later date. Those who seek romantic conquest will be offered Sex Appeal, Carousing, and limited access to the Friendship spell (ITL, p. 24) for the period. If a character wished military rank they would be given Leadership, Tactics, and access to powerful people. Usually, up to 3 points of Talents can be offered for the period.

In exchange, the pact holder will agree to perform a service. This ‘service’ takes the form of Geas (ITL, p. 31) which the victim gets no save against. The time-frame of the Geas can not be longer than the term of the benefit and is usually related to the contract often twisting its intentions and harming the figure’s reputations and health. A romantic character could be forced into seducing a king’s wife in a manner almost ensuring getting caught or the newly minted general may be commanded to lead their forces into sure destruction. Contract demons are extremely clever and calculating in this end of the agreement.

Only a Wish can let a person escape their responsibility and this will certainly draw the demon forth to punish the transgressor. A person may only enter into one of these agreements in life, so the thought of getting one demon to cancel the contract of another is not only risky it is doomed to failure.

In the case where a person desires something truly valuable and is willing to risk it all they may be willing to make a pact with a greater demon. This is truly a formal contract and must be signed in the victim’s blood. These contracts offer great rewards — crowns, fortunes, the love of the greatest beauty in the land — for a period of time that is doomed to come to an end. The terms can last as long as long as 10 years and a day and the party may believe they can escape it or die in that period, but in the end you surrender your soul to the contract demon. This surrender is not some abstract torture of your immaterial essence but physical Possession (ITL, p.34) of the contracting party for the sole use of the demon. This is extremely hard to detect and story books are filled with tales of mighty men whose soul turned dark and they destroyed everything and everyone they once held dear. A greater Wish will weaken the bond to the point where Dissolve Enchantment (50ST) may break the demon’s hold on the body, but its previous consciousness has been forever destroyed.

DIY Deviltry

Many who seek this sort of aid are not willing to wait around for a demon to come to them. A wizard can cast Summon Demon spell to bring the bargainer to the table. The GM can determine if this is a different spell than the standard summoning, or if additional materials or information is required. Getting the demon to agree to the contract requires a contested IQ check similar to demanding a wish, but the wizard is +2IQ in this test. If the person entering into the contract is not the casting wizard, they must succeed at this test. If failed, no Pentagram will protect against the demon’s wrath.

New Monster Variant: Contract Demon, Lesser
ST35 / DX13 / IQ12 / MA* / AD3 / D2d-1 claw
Talents/Spells: Up to IQ as appropriate to specialty

A contract demon can take any shape that fills roughly one hex but is usually of vaguely humanoid proportion. When attempting to tempt a victim they will assume the guise of the culmination of their target’s desire, whether it is romance, wealth, power, vengeance, or magic, but with an otherworldly inhuman twist. Their talents reflect their specialty but they almost always have Literacy, Charisma, and Detect Lies. It sees as Mage Sight and is rarely surprised. They often have human servitors around them and if threatened will vanish and leave those servants to do battle for them.

Greater Contract Demons have domain over individual temptations like those in human history like Beelzebub (Gluttony) or Asmodeus (Lust) but are not gods nor do they serve any paerticular gods.

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