If someone makes a pact with a magical entity, does it have to be warlock abilities, or can it be something more traditional — wealth, political influence, or something simple like killing someone they dislike? The deal with the devil stereotype.

I just find it kinda weird that a powerful being like a devil or outsider would only grant a fixed set of things. It seems kinda restricting for someone who lives by making deals. More deals means more power so if you could pick up a beggar who feels disatisfied with his lot in life and asks for "wealth and power" that would be a pretty good and easy deal which would require little to no effort.


5 Answers 5


Although any kind of social contract between characters in the game are within the ability of the DM to create or enforce, there are no rules to handle such things in character creation beyond those in the Player's Handbook. A DM is perfectly within their rights to set up a situation in which a random beggar has sold his soul to a devil for worldly power there are several things to keep in mind:

  1. Player Characters are fairly bound by a system of rules to ensure a good play experience. They are granted certain powers and restrictions based on class choice, race choice and various build options. To throw in an uncontrolled element such as a devil suddenly granting extra powers in return for something the player is unlikely to pay for risks that play experience. How many characters who have lost their soul go on to play eternal torment? Most likely they roll up a fresh character. There is no real incentive not to make such a deal, as there are no real consequences.

  2. In-game, the soul of a beggar is a poor commodity. Since they would be so easily bought as you suggest, it is highly likely that they are of little value to devils and other extraplanar powers. Supply and demand would indicate that the high number of beggars would mean that devils would not need to offer much in return for a soul. The earthly rewards of such a bargain would rarely make its presence felt in the world of high power that is that of a typical D&D adventurer.

  3. That being said, there is nothing stopping you from making this the plot point of a specific adventure. It would be better run as a central campaign event rather than a general character building feature.


A warlock’s pact is a special, specific, long-term deal with their patron.

Anything with intelligence (in the general sense) can make a deal with anyone else of intelligence on any terms within their respective power.

Wealth and power in return for your immortal soul? Sign here, initial there, see you in the afterlife. Have a nice day

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You might also want to clarify that such deals (besides a warlock-patron relationship) aren't generally something covered in the rules - as far as I know - so it's basically up to the DM to decide how such a deal would work. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 4, 2018 at 0:51

Just noticed this in the related questions list. Aside from the DM's usual ability to always invent new things, there are a few instances of this specific thing in the canon, including some in D&D 5th edition.

Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus has a chapter, "Appendix A: Diabolical Deals", which describes deals with devils in particular. Devils want to acquire souls (which in the long term are processed into more devils), and will offer various specific rewards, such as loyal service for a time, treasure, magic items, etc.

The D&D 3.5 sourcebook Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells also describes Faustian pacts, which is essentially the same thing under a different name (probably to avoid confusion with warlock "pact" which has specific meaning in 5e). You have the Pact Certain, where the individual willingly pledges their soul for a reward, and the Pact Insidious, where the contract is more subtle and creates a slippery slope to lead the contractee into evil. Possible rewards include things like feats, spell slots, ability score increases, skill increases, gold, or XP.

The D&D 3.0 Book of Vile Darkness had a related set of sacrifice rules, where characters could gain various magical rewards, or gold and XP toward magic item crafting, in exchange for elaborate ritual sacrifice of humanoids.

There's an NPC in the AD&D World of Greyhawk sourcebook Ivid the Undying named Karoolck who made a specific pact with an archdevil, such that he would live 333 years without aging, and return to life if killed during that time (up to nine times).


Yes - Infernal Contracts are an example

As others have answered, there are lots of magical pacts you could come up with. One that is explictly described in the rules, and that exactly matches what you are looking for is an infernal contract with a devil. The Monster Manual on p. 65 describes this under "Dark Dealers and Soul Mongers":

Devils are confined to the Lower Planes, but they can travel beyond those planes by way of portals or powerful summoning magic. They love to strike bargains with mortals seeking to gain some benefit or prize, but a mortal making such a bargain must be wary. Devils are crafty negotiators and positively ruthless at enforcing the terms of an agreement. Moreover, a contract with even the lowliest devil is enforced by Asmodeus's will. Any mortal creature that breaks such a contract instantly forfeits its soul, which is spirited away to the Nine Hells

What the devils offer or can offer in exchange for such a pact is not further specified there, and is up to what the DM thinks makes sense for the story.

The module Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus vastly expands on describing such pacts, in Appendix A: Diabolical Deals (p. 212-215), and describes some of the things that the devil could offer to a PC, depending on the standing of the devil in the infernal order. For example, here is the list of things that an Archdevil can offer (Archdevils are powerful enough to act as Patrons for Warlocks, as described under the "Fiend" section of the warlock class, so this would be other things the same being could offer as a pact reward, instead of the warlock class features):

  • Up to 50,000 gp worth of art objects, coins, gems, or property
  • An uncommon, rare, or very rare magic item
  • A valuable piece of information that can't be acquired by any other means
  • A single task that the archdevil or one of its minions can complete within the next nine days
  • A supernatural gift manifesting as a charm (see "Supernatural Gifts" in chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide and "Archdevil Charms")
  • The benefit of a wish spell (with no exhaustion for using an effect other than duplicating another spell)

Sure, there are many kinds of bargain a mortal can strike with a powerful being for many different costs. The Warlock represents a particular kind of close relationship; a Warlock is their patron's hand in the world, rather than the result of a single exchange.

That is to say, while you might trade your soul to a devil for temporal power, a fiend-pact Warlock is doing much more than that; they're required to do things to increase their patron's influence in the world.


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