Devil’s Advocate: Review

Devils have long been a favorite fantasy monster of mine, and especially the dealmaker archtype. Most fantasy games usually spend some lip service towards the idea that one could make a deal with the devil, but there’s rarely mechanical rules with impact for doing so. Most often, it’s handled offscreen or by DM fiat. I grabbed this a while back on the hope that it would have some rules for it. Overall, I’m pretty pleased. You can get it for $5 on DMs Guild

Mechanically, each contract is broken out into five parts.

  • The Consideration: the thing the person gives up. A soul, a life year, or other things.
  • The Offer: What you get in exchange.
  • The Obligation: The terms of the contract, and specifically what happens if the contract is broken.
  • Fine Print: Checks the players can make to detect secret, hidden, or otherwise damaging clauses.
  • Acceptance: The signature of the contract.
  • Supplementary Clauses: an optional addition to include things like breach of contracts, collateral, damages, cancelation, noncompete, and nondisclosures.

This gives a really nice framework to make sure you’re including some mechanical content, without having to just say “It’s really complicated” or writing an actual legal contract. We get a sample at the end of the book, and its a single page with fancy layout and art. In my opinion that’s a great length for something like this to serve as a prop for the table. Each section contains some explanations for what it is and how it works, along with a nice chart to roll on or use for inspiration.

The guide also includes sections for how to escape contracts, and how to enforce them. This is really critical. It turns a contract into a pure mechanical yes/no decision to a plot device. You can agree now and try to get out of it. Or you can agree, but someone still has to go collect you. Maybe since you made the pact, you’ve become a level 19 warlock, and can battle off the CR 3, 4, and 5 default collection crew. Maybe you can go to Hell and kill them forever (devils respawn in Hell if killed on the material). Maybe you can become so powerful that they decide its cheaper to let you go than to collect. There’s a lot of hooks in there for an inventive player, and a willing DM.

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