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"Souls are meaningless anyways, just sign here..."

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  • "Souls are meaningless anyways, just sign here..."

    Hi,

    My today's annoying forum topic is about soul pacts.

    A lot of the fluff around in the book on signing soul pacts often goes around "give them some supernatural gifts/minor pacts/grow them in intensity until you have them so deep in your pocket that you can pull out the big pact.". This sort of ensures that the person believes his soul to hold weight (as supernatural get's proven beforehand).

    What if a Demon approaches someone and just tries to discredit the soul as existing? For example, claiming that an eccentric/slightly deranged rich man likes the thought of that and pays money... yeah he's really weird, so you need to prick your finger and sign in blood. After all, if you sign of your free will, it's on your head, but from a gameplay perspective, such an approach feels cheap, and reduces soul pact bussiness down to 'how many people can I easily trick'. The fluff in the book didn't feel that way at all.

    That feels like a much easier way to a soul pact than having to go through the long-winded side of proving to them that the supernatural exists, and then trying to convince them to lose their most valuable supernatural possession.

    Also, for the sake of the argument, let's imagine that this Demon mostly is planning to sell soul pacts to other Demons, so he doesn't really care to know that much about the victim or to verify who they are.


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  • #2
    With Demonic Pacts, the signer still needs to know what it entails. Soul Pacts, I believe, also are said to have that feeling of doom and significance as well (though that might be after the Pact is signed).

    My point is - you can't just say "sign here, it doesn't matter". They have to know what they are trading away, even if they don't fully believe it.


    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
      With Demonic Pacts, the signer still needs to know what it entails. Soul Pacts, I believe, also are said to have that feeling of doom and significance as well (though that might be after the Pact is signed).

      My point is - you can't just say "sign here, it doesn't matter". They have to know what they are trading away, even if they don't fully believe it.

      Why not? I fully told the person "you're trading away your soul. But they're not real and don't matter, so...". Where's the line between what the person has to believe and what enables them to sign/not sign the pact?

      Also, pacts - the person doesn't need to know anything about the pact he's signing. It's said in the book that if the person signs it without reading, or talking with anyone - it holds. you can mix in a pact into a normal pile of documents to sign and it will hold. That's quite impossible for soul pacts, just because of the blood requirement, but going from that, it seems it really doesn't matter what the person believes or thinks, as long as they sign the pact and the pact details what you're losing... in this case it being "one soul"

      Note: I would personally be more than happy for it to be your way. If it also means that the person has to, on some level, understand that they are trading away their soul, which would invalidate it all, but I don't think that's RAW/RAI right now...


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      • #4
        Well, the Player's Guide gives an example of a Soul Pact in the form of someone jokingly writing "IOU: One soul" on a bar napkin in exchange for a drink, so intent on the mortal's part doesn't matter as much as consent does.

        I think whether or not it's easy to trick someone into signing away their soul depends on with whom one is bargaining. It's perfectly in theme with Demon for most mortals in the modern, Western, secular world not to really think about their soul as something that exists or matters (because of course what really matters is having a steady job and a good credit score, a Social Security number, plus those wacky three digits on the back of your mom's credit card, and what is it that an Unchained is really getting from a Soul Pact anyway?); that said, at the same time, there are plenty of people who will raise their eyebrow when you try to buy their soul, assuming the demon either to be crazy, or to be trying out some weird new scam, which is where lesser pacts priming the mark become valuable (or Social Maneuvering). Also, even among the non-religious, don't discount the psychological value of the soul, the singular, subjective, personal identity as a mortal might understand it, especially in a world that tries to force us to bear all on social media while at the same time conform to the absurd standards of rigid corporate, governmental, academic, and/or socio-political hierarchies.

        There's also the matter of signing the pact in blood. That's, like, weird, man. Honestly that's the part that might scare off your modern, Western, secular mortal more than asking for their soul.

        Finally, creating a Soul Pact requires a dot of Willpower, so a demon can't exactly do this willy-nilly. That's probably the greatest mechanical balancing factor. It's kind of a brute-force one, sure, but there you go.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by espritdecalmar View Post
          Finally, creating a Soul Pact requires a dot of Willpower, so a demon can't exactly do this willy-nilly. That's probably the greatest mechanical balancing factor. It's kind of a brute-force one, sure, but there you go.
          This is probably what I forgot to account for.


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          • #6
            demons HAVE to tell the truth during a pact. if your storyteller allowed you to say that, then he left out an EXTREMELY important aspect of the deal. (plus even if you could lie during the pact, if a demon approached you and said souls didnt exist, despite the fact you are talking to a DEMON, would you believe him)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
              demons HAVE to tell the truth during a pact.
              They have to be truthful in the language of the pact, which exists in writing.


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              Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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              • #8
                As Satchel said, the pact must be truthful. however, it does not have to explain what losing one's soul entails. The pact does say "You lose one soul, and gain a bag of money in exchange", which is completely truthful. Meanwhile, while saying this, the demon poses as an eccentric millionaire saying saying "I'm buying up meaningless souls, just sign here in blood and the bag of money is here"

                We're not talking about someone who's being tried to make to believe that demon or souls are real. Quite the opposite, they are made to believe that everything is ordinary here, albeit weird and that for this meaningless act of losing a bit of blood and signing (playing along with a weird man's... fetishes, let's say) you get money and whatever else.

                Anyways, after weighing in the XP cost associated with pacts, and the fact that you don't get an opportunity to set up your mark into a better spot and it's more complicated to learn about them, I no longer see a problem with the approach.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Griautis View Post
                  As Satchel said, the pact must be truthful. however, it does not have to explain what losing one's soul entails.
                  That's not quite true, either. "The demon gets the right to take your soul at any point thereafter, barring further stipulations" means "the demon gets to take your entire identity." The Player's Guide's example "IOU one soul for a badly-mixed drink" exists as an illustration of "the written contract doesn't have to be written formally or read carefully for its signatures to be valid," not as a reversal of "if the human reads carefully then the true terms of the pact cannot be completely hidden."


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                  • #10
                    my bad guys. but Griautis, didnt you say earlier that you had your demon say "but souls aren't real anyway" that's a pure lie ain't it? language and all

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                      my bad guys. but Griautis, didnt you say earlier that you had your demon say "but souls aren't real anyway" that's a pure lie ain't it? language and all
                      Yeah, but it wasn't in the text of the Pact. The pact must represent things tangibly, as actual things up for barter, and therefore can't have phrasing that invalidates the reality rewriting it supports. The conversation around the pact, that isn't part of the text of the pact, though? You can sell whatever shit you want there.

                      The words on the pact is coding. THe words said about the pact is only waves in the air.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                        Yeah, but it wasn't in the text of the Pact. The pact must represent things tangibly, as actual things up for barter, and therefore can't have phrasing that invalidates the reality rewriting it supports. The conversation around the pact, that isn't part of the text of the pact, though? You can sell whatever shit you want there.

                        The words on the pact is coding. THe words said about the pact is only waves in the air.
                        ahh ok. I think I understand now. thank you!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                          That's not quite true, either. "The demon gets the right to take your soul at any point thereafter, barring further stipulations" means "the demon gets to take your entire identity." The Player's Guide's example "IOU one soul for a badly-mixed drink" exists as an illustration of "the written contract doesn't have to be written formally or read carefully for its signatures to be valid," not as a reversal of "if the human reads carefully then the true terms of the pact cannot be completely hidden."
                          Fair enough. Thank you for clarifications


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