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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    This is something that has driven me nuts every seen I wondered it, but can't find a place to really ask anybody else about it. The question is: What keeps demons and devils in D&D from makeing deals with kids who don't know any better?
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    What keeps them from doing that? You think if it was common we would hear about in some of the fiend follo's as something people teach there kids about as a world building thing and as a way to show just HOW evil the devils are, but I don't recall reading anything about it.

    But if it's not common enough to be used as world building info: why not? and again same problem as the last one. Devils are lawful so using a 'don't make deals with underage kids' clause in the rules of the multiverse would demonstrate that and act as good world building, and yet again: no fact as far as I know exists to that effect.

    So why not? Is it something they can do that just has not been in any of the D&D books, even the ones based on devils and demons, or is there something that keeps them from it?

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    Or am i just making a mountain out of a molehill here just banging my head on a random question that stuck in my craw. Would not be the first time I assure you.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Yes there is an underlying metaphysical rule to it in fact.

    Its called "censorship/parental outrage/disturbing implications"

    See, the whole logic of media depictions to kids being okay is that they can't be imitated. for example, if a wizard casts fireball, no kids is going to try and imitate that to see if its fun. or if they do, they quickly see that it doesn't work or just learn to pretend and accept that fireballs will never be a thing in real life.

    so, depicting kids making deals with devils and devils approaching children to exploit them is kind of iffy from that perspective, because even if the supernatural being can't be imitated, the underlying message of "make deals with evil people kids!" is still something that they probably wouldn't want to be shown, since it has too many real life parallels to say......stranger danger, kidnappers, child molesters, things like that. its too real and disturbing to be something people want to come for. the kid doesn't see whats wrong, but the parent will almost certainly be incredibly afraid for their child

    so in many ways, it kind of breaks the fantasy, as its close to a real life thing thats disturbing and its unlikely that anyone would want to read about it. whose to say they haven't kept away from that ever since that irrational devil worship scare in the 80's? corporations that like to stay in business don't take needless risks, and what needs to be good for a child, needs to be good for the parent as well, as it goes through the parents approval.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Two other thoughts: nothing prevents you from having it happen in your own games. In fact, it's probably a great way to make your players take a personal dislike to that particular devil.

    The other thing is there could be a cosmological reason. Devils are lawful and children often don't have full decision making capabilities, so devils might be under some kind of strange age restriction (sort of like Death Note had some strangely specific rules that didn't always have human explanation) or even if they aren't barred from such deals, it might just be less profitable to make such deals. Kids may be easy to fool, but they also have a very small region of influence into other people's lives. It could be that whatever otherworldly power devils get from deals just don't payoff enough with kids.

    Lots of ways to sweep it under the rug and cover the plot hole. The game makers just decided to let you figure out how to do that.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Could be fluffed really easily.

    -Could be a rule of an ancient concord.
    -Could be because kids mostly don't fulfill the "temptation" aspect of a deal. They don't possess a will strong enough to validate a deal. It would be similar to making a "deal" with an animal.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Could be a section of the pact primeval, maybe.

    There's a part somewhere that says that young children who die automatically go to Elysium if their parents end up in an unpleasant place and they can't be with them. You could expand that and add some kind of celestial group who acts against fiends who try to entice children. Guardinals, probably. Quite likely more than a few gods, too.

    Just say something along the lines of "the forces of good find violations against children to be so vile, they have publicly sworn to drop everything else and go after whoever did it. In turn, most of the forces of evil have decided that this means the souls or children are not usually worth the effort."
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    The closest thing to a rule saying this doesn't happen that I've been able to find is in Fiendish Codex II (in 3.5, page 14 in "The Moment of Damnation" sidebar):

    Individuals raised in lawful evil societies typically take the decisive step toward damnation upon reaching the age of reason.
    So even in Lawful Evil societies (that might very well be under devilish influence) damnation doesn't happen until adulthood.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    They do. The more naive the victim, the better!
    But there is no need, as they have already bartered for the souls of 'all of your descendants' with every living child thousands of years ago. Every single one of those paladins is bound for the abyss.

    In local games, if the subject of the pact has no actual way of removing their own soul and somehow handing it over, the demon in question is out of luck anyway. A kid can promise their soul, all souls or even all planets in the solar system if they like - they simply cannot deliver.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Could be a section of the pact primeval, maybe.

    There's a part somewhere that says that young children who die automatically go to Elysium if their parents end up in an unpleasant place and they can't be with them. You could expand that and add some kind of celestial group who acts against fiends who try to entice children. Guardinals, probably. Quite likely more than a few gods, too.

    Just say something along the lines of "the forces of good find violations against children to be so vile, they have publicly sworn to drop everything else and go after whoever did it. In turn, most of the forces of evil have decided that this means the souls or children are not usually worth the effort."
    Probably the best way to go about it; devils and demons messing with innocent kids are one of the absolute easiest ways to get a warparty of Guardinals against the forces of evil on the mortal planes, which means that it is an activity only done by particularly desperate or idiotic fiends. Alternatively, have it that a archfey or something suitably outside the main alignment axis has domain over the protection of children until they are a certain age and extraplanar's doing so quickly find themselves the target of the local equivalent of the Wild Hunt.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    I'd say they would if they could (No evil should be beyond the reach of being literally made of sin), but they don't have the opportunity.

    First, most demons/devils are in the hells or abyss, and thus are unlikely to have access to earth children.

    Second, Even if summoned, they tend to be summed by adult diablosits: very few children have the talent or the interest in summoning friends, or recognise doing so as a means to their desires.

    Third, devils would find little gain to deal with a child. The goals of the fiendish deals are to corrupt more mortals toward evil, and to become more fodder for demonic armies. Sure, they corrupt another soul towards evil, but a child has little means to corrupt others They would instead peddle their deals to those with or in power, so that they have a pawn both malibule and useful.

    In other words, the devil would not deal with the beggar child, but with the crown prince, only to call in it's favors when they are in power.
    As for demons...It's a big assumption they make deals willingly in the first place. They would probably just eat the damn kid.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    In the real world, in the U. S. at least, contracts with kids are not binding. They're considered not having the maturity to make informed decisions. That can be the same in D&D world. The soul isn't mature enough yet for true free will. Even an orphan tough street kid will cling to an adult when one presents himself as an authority figure. A contract cannot be valid until the soul is free. A demon, on the other hand, has no such formality. When a kid is tempted into evil, a demon is behind it. The demon will possess a kid or her doll or his teddy bear or be the imaginary friend.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    In the real world, in the U. S. at least, contracts with kids are not binding. They're considered not having the maturity to make informed decisions. That can be the same in D&D world. The soul isn't mature enough yet for true free will. Even an orphan tough street kid will cling to an adult when one presents himself as an authority figure. A contract cannot be valid until the soul is free. A demon, on the other hand, has no such formality. When a kid is tempted into evil, a demon is behind it. The demon will possess a kid or her doll or his teddy bear or be the imaginary friend.
    I find myself in complete agreement with this. There are plenty of examples of kids falling victim to other sorts of evil in 5e's published materials, for example.

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    Curse of Strahd has, for instance, two ghostly children in the intro adventure. Their parents were cultists and left them to starve. D&D doesn't really shy away from infanticide (though I'll concede that my example was via negligence).


    Devils rely on getting willful consent from their victims. They want souls that have been given freely, though they obviously will often manipulate the situation such that the victim feels like they have no other choice. A child wouldn't have the ability to fully understand the implications, so they're essentially immune until they age. I wouldn't be surprised to see a devil that manipulates a child's life until they come of age, though.

    That would actually make for an interesting plotline. Say the young boy Prince of Kingdomsland constantly has things happen to him which are slowly making his life more and more desperate. The adventurers, over the course of several years, must fix the problems in the Prince's life as well as the greater threats to Kingdomsland before the Prince comes of age, as they know there is a devil behind the scenes looking to gain a soul of royal blood. The Prince himself isn't under active threat, either physically or spiritually, so they can be free to adventure, but there is a threat lurking in the background. Sounds like a fun, interesting campaign thread to me!
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Kids are born as cute little sociopaths, so there's no gain to be had. They're already evil (and cute).

    It's only after the Ceremony of Adulthood that a humanoid soul is free enough of taint to be worth targeting.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Yes there is an underlying metaphysical rule to it in fact.

    Its called "censorship/parental outrage/disturbing implications"
    Since this does not seem to extend to anything else, I find this explanation to be highly unlikely.


    The literal trope of temptation by the devil is as least as old as the bible. The important word here is "temptation". And the subject of temptation must fulfil certain requirements to make the temptation possible in the first place.

    You can only "give in" when you have reasons not to. The entire point of the Faustian pact is one of the failing of the subject - not of missing knowledge.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    As part of my Tiefling Paladin's backstory, I had her older sister unwittingly make a deal with a Devil (a Falxugon, to be precise) when she was around 7-8 years old.

    She thinks he's a fellow Tiefling because of their physical similarities, so she considers this Devil to be her new friend. They talk a lot about things, such as her desire to become a famous Bard so she can make people happy. The Devil offers to 'teach' her how to play and sing beautifully, because he wants to help her. When the girl says she has no money to pay for the lessons, the Devil says he can wait until she's become famous and rich. By then she'll have plenty of gold to pay for her lessons, right? When the girl agrees, the Devil takes out a contract. He says that this is how grown-ups promise each other things, and because he takes her dream as serious as that of a grown-up he wants to do it all official-like. The girl glows and agrees to sign: singing and instrument lessons for future payment, to be determined. Oh dear, the Devil forgot to bring any ink with him. What could we do? Oh hey, I know, let's use some of our blood. That also works great as ink, wouldn't you agree? The girl nods and happily draws a bloody smiley face in the bottom corner of the parchment.

    A slight twist I made to this was that because of her innocence and naivety she doesn't shift to Evil alignment. Makes sense to me and is important for my Paladin's own backstory, when the sister ends up being betrayed by the Devil who sets a village mob on her that lynches her in the village square. There was not a shred of evil in her, and yet she suffered for what she was and what she was tricked into. With her dead sister's ripped and torn body in her arms, my character vowed to avenge her sister's death by killing all responsible. No, not the villagers... Devils. All of them. Those conniving bastards who corrupt innocent people. They're also the reason Tiefling's exist in the first place, why her and her sister's life has always been difficult. They all have to die. But especially that one Devil who tricked her sister. She will find him and she will kill him.

    And that's how my character got her Oath of Vengeance. As such, her holy symbol is a small ornate vial, containing preservation liquid and her sister's eye. Always watching. Always keeping an eye on her. The sister's name was Hope, and that eye is all the hope my character has left.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Devils are lawful, and most legal systems have a minimum age to sign a binding contract. In fact, this would probably prevent them from making deals with those who are insane or otherwise not deemed to have full control of their behaviour.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Eh. While all the reasons given make a lot of sense both from a narrative perspective and in a worldbuilding sense, I still think it can occasionally be done well.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kami2awa View Post
    Devils are lawful, and most legal systems have a minimum age to sign a binding contract. In fact, this would probably prevent them from making deals with those who are insane or otherwise not deemed to have full control of their behaviour.
    If devils were to respect the laws of mortals, then every kingdom would just write a law prohibiting devils from visiting anyone ever.

    Thus, devils presumably don't respect mortal laws in most games.

    Perhaps kids simply don't have souls yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by comk59 View Post
    Eh. While all the reasons given make a lot of sense both from a narrative perspective and in a worldbuilding sense, I still think it can occasionally be done well.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Kids are born as cute little sociopaths, so there's no gain to be had. They're already evil (and cute).

    It's only after the Ceremony of Adulthood that a humanoid soul is free enough of taint to be worth targeting.
    There is actually more truth to this than most realize. We like to think of kids as innocent, but the oppisite really is true. Good is a learned trait, evil deeds are instinctive. Stealing is rampant amongst children, and if children were left completely to their own devices, merely given their basic needs, I have little doubt half of them would be murderers by the age of 5.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    I use possed kids all the time in my games.

    Nothing spells horror like lost of innocence, or innocence that was never there int he first place.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Maybe it's just not worth the time?
    devils and demons strong enough to make pacts have better things to do
    I'd probably go with contracts aren't binding with kids; so it'd only serve as a means to encourage them toward corruption. i.e. the contract isn't enough to get their soul; you still need to get them to actually be evil in their lives. this tends to require a lot of guidance/prodding over time; and it's just not generally worth it for just one soul. Years of work for a chance at just one soul isn't worth it; not when there's better opportunities.


    the dnd world building has plenty of holes in it (especially economics) so having such things as this be unexplained is to be expected.


    we can always make up more reasons of course; and just pick whichever ones are wanted for a setting.

    here's one I just made up: mechanus doesn't recognize the validity of contracts with minors, and is opposed to enforcing unlawful contracts. So the devils avoid doing so in order to maintain mechanus' neutrality. The devils already have enough enemies to deal with, they don't want to make an enemy of mechanus as well.
    occasionally some devil does it anyway of course; but they're disowned/not protected once found out, so the rest of the hells just let that devil get killed by inevitables.
    Last edited by zlefin; 2018-07-02 at 10:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Needful Things is probably good inspiration for this sort of thing. Give a kid a baseball card in exchange for them throwing a rock through a window, and soon you've got a small town all murdering each-other over petty grievances. Though I suppose that's more of a demon thing than a devil thing in a D&D context.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    That's easy, it's the same reason you can't enforce/build your case around a contract signed by a kid in the real world - you'd be laughed out of court. Remember, even capital-D Diabolical contracts can be overturned, and the party having no legal/metaphysical standing to consent would almost certainly qualify.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonkingofth View Post
    This is something that has driven me nuts every seen I wondered it, but can't find a place to really ask anybody else about it. The question is: What keeps demons and devils in D&D from makeing deals with kids who don't know any better?
    You answered your own question.

    Because they don't know any better... the target has to be fully aware of what they're doing. Otherwise devils could just pose as normal businesspeople, write horrendously convoluted contracts, and get people to unknowningly sign a pact.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    There is actually more truth to this than most realize. We like to think of kids as innocent, but the oppisite really is true. Good is a learned trait, evil deeds are instinctive. Stealing is rampant amongst children, and if children were left completely to their own devices, merely given their basic needs, I have little doubt half of them would be murderers by the age of 5.
    If I were going to apply D&D rules to the real world, I would say rather that children are instinctively chaotic, and lawful behaviour is learned. Children are innocent, and part of innocence is a failure to understand the ways in which your actions are able to hurt others.

    Evidence from studies is that empathy is an innate trait. Stealing is rampant because children have a hard time making the connection between "I want this thing" and "it will hurt someone else if they don't have this thing". It's quite common to see a child grab a toy from a younger child, and then get really freaked out that the younger child is super-upset.

    Anyway, my argument would be that in my cosmologies, you can't be tricked into selling your soul, because you can't sell your soul without understanding what you're doing. This is also why devils don't just write "I sell my soul" in microscopic text and magically add it to every merchant's contract in a kingdom.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    You answered your own question.

    Because they don't know any better... the target has to be fully aware of what they're doing. Otherwise devils could just pose as normal businesspeople, write horrendously convoluted contracts, and get people to unknowningly sign a pact.
    Even non-demonic EULAs don't hold up in court, after all. And that's not even signing away your soul... at least not literally.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Well, there is nothing in the rules that says they don't do it.

    For the most part though, devils avoid kids for the same reason they avoid Farmer Joe: there is little to gain and little damage they can do.

    A devil could make Farmer Joe lets his crops rot and harm his farm animals, but it's not exactly a 'big win' for evil. And the same is true for little kids: the dvil helps little Billy cheat on a school test. Wow, what evil.

    The world is full of plenty of adults to make deals with, adults with much more power and influence to to great things of evil.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scripten View Post
    Even non-demonic EULAs don't hold up in court, after all. And that's not even signing away your soul... at least not literally.
    I'm pretty sure all EULAs and TOSes are demonic.
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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    I might see them targeting a kid if they're after the parent. "Well, Lord Fancypants, it seems your daughter has agreed to give me her soul in return for the pony you didn't get her for her birthday. I've provided the pony. Now, I might be persuaded to drop the case, for a price..."

    Note that the devil honestly describes what's happened, and never actually claims ownership of the soul; he simply agrees to drop the case (which he wouldn't have won). If Lord Fancypants is in a situation where he can't ask for help, and he doesn't know that the devil couldn't win that case, he might sign away his own soul.
    Last edited by Telonius; 2018-07-02 at 01:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    Devils do try to take little kids' souls. So do demons. That's part of why the tales of monsters and evil creatures to scare kids straight are so important. That's also why regular church attendance is so important. Because the kids don't know what they're doing, they can't be making a mockery of the simple rituals of atonement that are part of such religious ceremonies, even as they get tempted again during the week. So, maybe saying devils and demons do try is a bit of a stretch. Only the inept or desperate do; the majority find it a huge waste of time and a very risky gamble. Sure, if they make it stick, somehow, the fresh young soul is valuable, but it's so low chance of success that it's generally considered not worth it.


    Or at least, that's one way to rule it.


    In one campaign setting, there is an obscure but dangerous Demon God of Children. He grants children's prayers. Unfortunately, children's prayers are rarely well thought-out, and while he will pour a great deal of power into making them come to pass, no matter how unworkable, they also still have horrific consequences. He doesn't even need to bargain; the evils that arise as cascade effects once the child's prayer granted him permission to intervene pile up to far greater than his investments, as a general rule.

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    Default Re: Why don't D&D devils, make deals with kids?

    I disagree with most everyone here, and would make my own houserule: souls, when sold, go into a sort of astral escrow account. They cannot be collected until death, but they are also in a sort of stasis. Souls are desired because they are valuable to a fiend, but grown, mature souls are exponentially more valuable. This means that children's souls, while easier to get, are far, far less valuable, and most often not worth the time or effort.

    Hence, parents can warn children of devils and demons, and kids can be possessed or corrupted, but it is uncommon to rare.
    Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking).

    Cuthalion makes great avatars. Like my Silver Dragon.
    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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