Content of the article: "Sneaky Warlock Pact?"
If you're Lyrician or Thazilian, or know who King Haccom Daar is, then do not read on! Spoilers contained herein!
Hi folks! I need help with a warlock contract. One of my PCs, Kirv, a dragonborn fighter, mentioned wanting to multiclass into warlock with one of my NPCs, Tahrin, a dragon who oftentimes disguises himself as a dragonborn. Little does the party know, but Tahrin is the actual BBEG, gathering up folks for a big blood sacrifice to seal off the material plane from the other planes so no bigger bads can get in (greater good and all that), while the pseudoBBEG, Strix, goes around starting a very distracting war with the neighboring country.
Anyways, I've written up a first draft of a contract between the two. I'm trying to make it seem like typical liege lord/vassal stuff, but with more wordy terms that would effectively disarm Kriv from fighting Tahrin without breaking the pact (cool character arc, because Kriv basically worships dragons and values his freedom a lot, and one betraying him in this way could lead to cool rp and such). I also want to have Tahrin own Kriv's soul and be able to cast Geas on Kriv if he breaks the pact (the potential for this was cleared in Session 0). I'm also trying to work in a few possible outs, with the easiest being just killing Tahrin.
Kriv has 11 int, but the player is very clever and studying to go to law school. He's typically quite good about not metagaming, but I'd like these more tricky terms to be easily passed off as the dragon being stereotypically possessive, or has been taken advantage of by warlocks in the past, etc.
The bolded text is going to stand out to Kriv in glowing runes (hopefully to distract from the other stuff). Here's the text of the contract, please advise (also, the subnumbering is weird for some reason- the points under the numbers should be letters):
Pact of Fealty between Tahrin the Warrior, He of Many Faces, Keen of Mind, Keeper of the Balance, and Protector of the Weak and Kerrhylon Kriv
This Fealty Pact (hereinafter referred to as “the Covenant”) is made and entered into on
In consideration of the mutual blood covenants set forth below, the Liege Lord agrees to bind the Vassal, and the Vassal agrees to follow the orders of the Liege Lord as set forth in this Covenant.
- The essential job functions of the Vassal are as follows:
- The Vassal shall obey the Liege Lord. To demonstrate loyalty, the Vassal shall be painlessly but permanently marked by the Liege Lord.
- The Vassal shall not take part in any plot or scheme which will undermine the Liege Lord, nor will the Vassal keep any known information regarding such plots or schemes from the Liege Lord. If the Vassal does not comply with the previous clause, the Vassal can be charged with breaking this term and/or committing a major infraction of the Covenant.
- The Vassal shall, in all his dealings with the Liege Lord, work to benefit the Liege Lord. If the Vassal’s dealings with the Liege Lord do not aim to benefit the Liege Lord, the Vassal can be charged with breaking this term and/or committing a major infraction of the Covenant.
- The Vassal shall, in all his dealings with Strix the Swift, Bringer of Death, and Master of All, otherwise known as Kilzar Gamus, otherwise known as Norixius Zoril (hereinafter referred to as “Enemy”) work towards the utter destruction of the Enemy. The Vassal is permitted to aid the Enemy in order to gain greater influence with the Enemy, but if the sum total of the Vassal’s interactions with the Enemy is found to be of benefit to the Enemy, the Vassal can be charged with breaking this term and/or committing a major infraction of the Covenant. The Vassal shall avoid revealing the contents of the Covenant to the Enemy or any of his underlings, thereby ensuring that the Enemy is unaware of the Covenant between the Vassal and the Liege Lord. If the Vassal intentionally reveals the Covenant to the Enemy or his underlings, the Vassal can be charged with breaking this term and/or committing a major infraction of the Covenant.
- Duty of Loyalty and Best Efforts: the Vassal shall devote all of his working time, attention, knowledge, and skills to the Liege Lord's interests and shall do so with best efforts to the letter of the Liege Lord's verbal, written, or otherwise conveyed requests or orders if not to the spirit of said requests or orders. The Vassal shall give his best efforts to act in good faith and perform tasks to the reasonable satisfaction of the Liege Lord.
- Terms of Enthrallment: The Vassal shall be bound for all time or until permanent, irreversible cessation of vital functioning of the Vassal or until the permanent, irreversible cessation of vital functioning of the Liege Lord or until a carelessly worded verbal request from the Liege Lord terminates the Covenant or as outlined in Terms 7a or 8a.
- Compensation: The Liege Lord shall aim to use their powers to protect and maintain the Vassal’s continued vital functioning for as long as the Liege Lord deems it worthy of their protection and maintenance. The Vassal shall gain the ability to contact the Liege Lord mentally and vice versa- response is not required on the part of the Liege Lord. The Vassal shall know that their life has taken on a greater purpose– that of serving the Liege Lord. The Vassal shall receive arcane abilities sourced from the Liege Lord’s power, with more abilities awarded as the Liege Lord deems the Vassal can handle, has earned, and/or requires. These arcane abilities may be revoked at any time the Liege Lord sees fit, or upon the termination of the Covenant. The potential abilities to be gained are outlined as follows:
- The ability to cast spells, with the potency of the spells and the number of spells available to the Vassal at any given time increasing as the Vassal’s ability to handle spells improves.
- The ability to cast cantrips, with the potency of the cantrips and the number of cantrips known to the Vassal increasing as the Vassal’s ability to handle cantrips improves.
- Eldritch invocations, powers that push the Vassal beyond the normal limitations of Mortals, with the number of eldritch invocations available to the Vassal and the number of eldritch invocations held by the Vassal increasing as the Vassal’s ability to handle eldritch invocations improves.
- A pact boon, chosen by the Vassal once the Vassal is capable of handling the boon, granting the Vassal a familiar, tome, or weapon to aid them in his fulfillment of the Covenant.
- A blessing of vitality upon killing a hostile creature.
- Access to the luck of the Liege Lord, once the Vassal has proven they are sufficiently trustworthy.
- Limited resilience to harm, once the Vassal has proven to be exceptionally useful to the Liege Lord.
- Limited access to the power of the Liege Lord to induce pain and torture to be used to harm hostile creatures.
- Mystic arcanum, to allow the Vassal to partially mirror the spellcasting abilities of mortal wizards once the Vassal has proven to be an exceptional spellcaster.
- Mediation and Binding Arbitration: The Vassal may futilely beseech a higher 3rd party for mediation or binding arbitration in the event of a breach of the Covenant. The Liege Lord shall likely not be swayed.
- Limitation of Damages: The Vassal agrees that in the event of a breach of Covenant, the Liege Lord shall not be limited in visiting special damages, general damage, compensatory damage, arcane effects, loss of income, emotional damage, or punitive damages upon the Vassal, his family, his compatriots, his property, or his chattel.
- Breach of Covenant by Vassal: In the case that the Vassal undertakes an action breaking any term of this Covenant, along with the enforcement of any punitive measures the Liege Lord sees fit, the Liege Lord has the right to add an additional term. This additional term may either grant complete ownership of the Vassal’s soul after death of the Vassal, or dictate the nature of the Vassal’s interactions with a single individual, group, or faction. If the additional term dictates the nature of the Vassal’s interactions with a single individual, group, or faction, the term must only require the Vassal work towards that individual, group, or faction’s utter destruction; maintain a consistent, obvious hostility towards the individual, group, or faction; work to benefit the individual, group, or faction; or avoid the individual, group, or faction such that the individual, group, or faction remains unaware of the Covenant between the Vassal and the Liege Lord. Furthermore, if the additional term dictates the nature of the Vassal’s interactions with a single individual, group, or faction, the additional term may contain any punitive measures the Liege Lord deems fit, not limited to special damages, general damage, compensatory damage, arcane effects, loss of income, emotional damage, or punitive damages upon the Vassal, his family, his compatriots, his property, or his chattel.
- In the case that the Vassal commits a major infraction of the Covenant as outlined by the Covenant or as determined by the Liege Lord, the Liege Lord gains the right to revoke the Covenant and gain eternal ownership of the Vassal’s soul at any time. Alternatively, at any time after the Vassal commits a major infraction of the Covenant, the Liege Lord may offer the Vassal a choice between a modification to the Covenant or an end to the Covenant.
- Breach of Covenant by Liege Lord: In the case that the Liege Lord misleads the Vassal with the intention of causing the Vassal to break a term of the Covenant, such that the Liege Lord is able to add a term to the Covenant as described in Term 7, and the Vassal is able to convince the Liege Lord of such a breach, the Vassal shall gain the right to strike one term from the Covenant according to the following guidelines. If any terms have been added to the Covenant using Term 7 and these terms are still in place, the Vassal must choose one such term to strike from the Covenant. If there are no terms in the Covenant added using Term 7 and the Vassal has gained the right to strike a term from the Covenant, the Vassal may strike any of Terms 1b,1c,1d,4,5,6 from the Covenant.
- If all of the Terms 1b,1c,1d,4,5,6 no longer remain a part of the Covenant and the Vassal has gained the right to strike a term from the Covenant, the Covenant shall be replaced by Terms 4 and 7a only. If the Covenant is replaced by Terms 4 and 7a only and the Liege Lord breaches the Covenant, the Vassal may lay claim to all property and titles of the Liege Lord and the Covenant is terminated by the choice of the Vassal.
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