So after the events of one of my D&D games, our warlock Tulvar was distraught after his pet snake Percy rolled a 1 and died. I decided to have a little fun with this, and give him the opportunity to gain Percy back by making a deal with his patron, Bacelsis. In-game, it meant he switched from Pact of the Tome to Pact of the Chain, as his tome's secrets and power were used to bring Percy back, but the main twist is that he now has to go collect souls for Bacelsis. He wanted a real version of the contract to try and exploit, so I came up with the version below.
The general idea is that he has to collect 24 souls in a year – they must have been killed by him personally, and their bodies (or "forms") are in good condition when they die. After a small ritual, they're sent on their merry way to Bacelsis, although none of the party are allowed to know he's made this deal.
As a bonus for Tulvar, I decided that every time there is a long span of downtime (roughly a week or more), he can choose to roll a d20. If it beats the DC of 12, it counts as a kill – the DC increases by 1 and he can roll again. Rolling a 20 counts as a kill without increasing the DC, however rolling a 1 causes him to be arrested…
The only part of the contract below I didn't write is on the calendar of Els'ir (our setting) – this was taken from information on the Iomandra setting online. Other than that, feel free to adapt and reuse the rest of the contract for your games if you wish – I hope somebody other than my group may find this useful!
Contract for the Exchange of Souls
- "Issuer" means Bacelsis, the Vampire Queen;
- "You" or "Your" means Tulvar Wildbeard, the licensee in terms of this agreement;
- "Percy" means the 1 (one) snake in the care of Tulvar Wildbeard known as Percival, who was declared deceased on Starday the 28th of Hlal in the year 557.e5 (as described in Appendix 1);
- "Contract" refers to this document, signed and dated by both the Issuer and You;
- "Soul" or "Souls" means the standard life force of any being in the Universe;
- "Form" or "Forms" means the current body that a Soul inhabits;
- "Kill" or "Killed" means the final attack by You only, which mortally impairs the Form of a Soul;
- "Sigil" means the insignia of the Issuer that is attached in the appendix of this Contract;
- "Beneficiary" means The Keeper, Deity of Time, the third party who shall legally enforce this Contract;
- "Authorised Party" or "Authorised Parties" means the group including the Issuer, You, and any parties who are defined by the Issuer.
- Services Rendered to You: You are offered the revived and reanimated Form of Percy with their Soul restored to their mortal Form, who will be granted life under your care and command for as long as You inhabit either Your current mortal Form, or inhabit Percy's new mortal Form, effective as of the date of this Contract.
- Services Rendered to the Issuer: You agree to provide the Issuer with 24 (twenty-four) Souls, all of which must meet the conditions set forth in Section 4 of the Contract. The Souls must be provided via the process described in Section 5 of the Contract, and must be provided before midnight on Moonday the 1st of Falazure 558.e5 (as described in Appendix 1).
- Condition of Souls Provided: The Souls provided to the Issuer must have been Killed by You. The Forms of each Soul must be in a good condition with no pieces of the Form missing, whether accidental, due to your Kill or from other circumstances. Additionally, the forms must be considered a worthy opponent (this criteria can be met by consulting the documents listed in Appendix 2). The Issuer may elect, at their discretion, to accept or reject a Soul whose Form has been impaired to a lesser condition or does not meet the criteria of these books.
- Providing the Souls to the Issuer: To prepare a Soul, You must inscribe the Sigil of the Issuer (provided in Appendix 3), with blood shed from Your Form, while simultaneously chanting the Issuer's name 12 (twelve) times within 5 (five) feet of the target Soul's Form. This process must be completed within half of an hour of the Kill (as described in Appendix 1). Should the terms of this Contract be followed and the Soul received by the Issuer, the target Soul's Form will disappear and leave a numbered mark in the space the Form once occupied, indicating the number of Souls you have provided for your convenience.
- Conditions of Signing: You agree that this Contract is binding even if signed in a non-corporeal manner where Your Soul is outside of its current Form (for example, via astral projection or dreamscaping). If the Contract is signed in this manner, then this Contract initially takes effect when You return to your corporeal Form.
- Confidentiality: You must not disclose the existence of this Contract, or any of the terms of this Contract, to anybody that is not an Authorised Party. (To learn more about who is an Authorised Party you may contact the Issuer, but the Issuer has no obligation to disclose any information about any Authorised Parties.)
- Role of the Beneficiary. By signing this Contract, You agree to not only abide by its terms but acknowledge that the Beneficiary legally has the right to monitor and enforce this Contract, both against You and against the Issuer. Also, should a Soul intended to be provided to the Issuer as described in Section 4 be contested by both You and the Issuer due to the criteria not being met, the Beneficiary reserves the right to make a final judgment on the validity of the Soul provided. In this case, the Beneficiary will contact you at their earliest convenience via a method of their choosing to inform you of the decision.
- Termination: This Contract will terminate automatically if You fail to comply with any of Your contractual obligations, as set forth by the terms above. Upon termination, the Souls and Forms of all living blood and marital relations to You, as well as all living blood and marital relations to Percy, will be forfeit and property of the Issuer.
Citations and Appendices
1. Standard Calendar of Els'ir (cited below for contractual purposes)
Original authors: Wyar and Tandra Starsong, year 1.e1
There are 7 days in a week, 4 weeks in a month, and 12 months in a year. The days and months of the calendar year in order are as follows:
Days of the Week: Sunday, Moonday, Earthday, Waterday, Thunderday, Fireday, Starday
Months of the Year: Falazure (late winter), Lendys (early spring), Zarenshar (mid-spring), Varuuc (late spring), Iolor (early summer), Tamara (midsummer), Chronepsis (late summer), Erynian (early autumn), Shivrah (mid-autumn), Ashardalon (late autumn), Garyx (early winter), Hlal (midwinter)
2. Books for the Rating of Souls
Any of the documents listed below may be used to determine the worthiness of a Soul via its "Challenge Rating" or "CR" as listed within the documents. The Soul must be categorized with a rating of CR 1 or higher.
- Monster Manual by Volothamp "Volo" Geddarm
- Volo's Guide to Monsters by Volothamp "Volo" Geddarm
3. Sigil of the Issuer (Bacelsis)
The Sigil required for Section 4 of this Contract is attached below.