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This post contains a reusable element from my Caverns of Slime adventure.
At one point, the characters are traveling in hell. Imps are watching. The party is in trouble: they need help fighting a powerful enemy, the need help an ally, they need to find a guide, something. The idea is to present the players with a choice and long term consequences: let the players decide how easily the characters is corrupted, or let the player decide how much their character is willing to suffer in order to avoid dealing with the devil – any decision is fine as long as it’s the result of a struggle, a result of being confronted with temptation.
Here’s what the section in the adventure says:
Whenever player characters cannot make up their mind or whenever they are in danger, have imps and devils come up and offer to help – for a price. They will enter a pact with player characters. Once the details have been hashed out, a pact requires a simple act to seal it. When a pact is broken by a player character, the character will suffer a curse.
|1||I will lead you to somebody who can help.||In return, you will fight for me when I summon you.||To seal this pact, you will wear this amulet with the copulating monkeys. Atempting to take it off will strangulate you.||If you don’t give your utmost to win the fight, these monkeys will animate and grow and do their utmost to wreck your neighbours, your family and your friends.|
|2||I will lead you to somebody who will help.||In return, you will wear this hell sigil in your face for a year and a day, invisible to all except for those that can detect evil.||To seal this pact, I brand you with this painful hell iron.||If you fail to do this for me, you will have sown the seed of evil in the hearts those near you, triggering an alignment change, if appropriate.|
|3||I will summon somebody who can help you.||In return, you will forswear fighting all demons and devils for a year and a day.||We will drink each other’s blood in order to seal this pact.||Should you break this pact, your muscles will wither and shrink. You will loose 4 Strength.|
|4||I will summon somebody who will help you.||In return, you will donate one tenth of any treasure found (not just your share of the treasure!) to evil deeds for a year and a day.||To seal this pact, you shall wear this ring of mine.||If the pact is not kept, this ring will poison you and you shall die. You can never take it off, obviously.|
|5||I will help you.||In return, you will suffer for seven long weeks in hell when you die. You cannot be resurrected in that time.||To seal this pact, I will take a lock of your hair and keep it safe.||Even if you are rescued before you served your time, I shall keep your mind locked up. Your body will be but an ordinary, 0-level mortal until your time is up.|
|6||I will solve this issue for you.||In return, your soul belongs to me and you can never be resurrected.||To seal this pact, I shall cut off your hand and replace it with this bejeweled gauntlet.||Anybody attempting to rescue you will have to face treachery and greed every step of the way.|
The above table only makes sense if there is temptation. The party must want the help being offered. Some ideas:
(These two items only make sense in the context of the adventure, obviously. In your own campaign, you need to determine what might tempt your players and their characters.)
Also note that the devils will have tried to prevent the simple removal of curses and the simple circumvention of poisoning. They can be outwitted, but it shouldn’t be easy. Make players work for a release from the curse!