Saturday, December 26, 2020

8 Dark Pacts

Give your skin,
to save a life.
Clearest soul, peace of mind.”

Save yourself,
rich as sin.
Empty eyes, pay the price.”

8 Dark Pacts
[1] The Nameless Dark Pact
Take at least eight shiny stones and place them in an oval on the grass. Set them out at dusk, so they capture the last light, and keep your mirror hidden under black cloth. Place the mirror in the center of the oval once night falls, it must be spotlessly clean. Take a pitcher of water from a well and pour it around in circles around the mirror without crossing over it, over and over, until a sucking sound is heard. Those who seek for curiosities sake, foolish as you are, must now force their gaze downwards and stay there until the morning comes. For those who wish to seal the pact, look up.

This Dark Pact is with a nameless being, it's only moniker is Foe of Reason. Once you have looked and gazed upon it, your mind is twisted but not broken. You will be able to see how the creature bends inwards on itself, its body angled away from you despite it pointed right at you. Its face will stare into yours, alien eyes without love of life or sense, and you will know its terms without a word. To refuse the pact is to have the creature find out what it wants through force- you will die on the spot with your brain gone from your skull. For this reason, those who do not wish to join this pact must not match the eyes of the being at all.

Once the Pact is accepted, its terms are simple. At the end of each day, you will forget everything you learned. You can remember everything from before the pact, and everything you learned each day, but as soon as the night falls again you lose all thought from that day- you don't even need to fall asleep, just as soon as the nameless sky returns it drains the thoughts straight from your head. You also lose -30% of your experience gained from this point on for player characters, and will be caught up to speed in universe or keep a journal to remind you of important details and events.

In exchange, those with this pact become sponges like their pact's writer- as in, they absorb everything. Each day, your eye for detail and knowledge skyrockets to dizzying heights. By studying fighting techniques and watching trained professionals, you can cram several months or years of training into just an hour or two; watching fighters train gives +2 to hit for the rest of the day. By taking a book from a shelf you can learn a basic spell or two and prepare it for casting later, even if you aren't an MU. You also pick up on tiny cues and investigative details, and can “cold read” anyone by picking up on tiny details- letting you get information such as where they live, their diet, their habits or occupation, or even their weaknesses in the case of monsters or if they are a vampire/werewolf and so on.

[2] Nature's Dark Pact
Take the skull of a man and the skull of any predator larger then a wolf. Crush them to dust and mix them in a fire made from oak wood. Burn them to ash and take them to a river- at dawn sprinkle them in the river and then walk up stream until night falls. Once the sun has set, you must find a dark clearing and stand at the edge, waiting for the spirit to appear.

The Nature's Dark Pact summons an old god, one of the first man found or created. It appears with the head of a man with glowing orange eyes that burn with a wildfire. It's body is that of a huge grizzly bear, with cubs latched onto its fur and nursing its teats. It is known as Hucalip, and offers its Pact bluntly and with little coercion. To accept the Pact, one must prostate themselves before this being and rub mud on their skin and clothes, becoming one with nature and filthy by their own hand.

The terms of the Pact are thus; you must sleep in the woods every night. Your body will ache without the comforts of home, and you are prohibited from bathing. Reduce your Charisma modifier by -1 after accepting this Pact. On top of this, you must only eat meat from living creatures- you must eat things you catch alive. Your body rapidly decomposes any fruit, grain, or agricultural products that you touch, making you a bad omen and forcing you to further live on the outskirts of society. Even if someone forces you to take a bath or eat civilized food, your body will become even more filthy and you will gain a nervous twitch or habit of picking your flesh in response to being “too clean” and “too civilized”. Even being forced into it, you cannot raise your Charisma modifier back up. Finally, you cannot have children anymore and become infertile- this ties into the power of the Pact.

In exchange for this Dark Pact- you will gain the strength and knowledge of nature. Firstly, you become an apt tracker regardless of your background, and can follow the smallest signs to find hidden places or track prey. Secondly; you cannot have children because you see the pointless, endless futility of life, and the self as it is a part of eternity. Feral children in the woods, spirits in the depths of nature with child like minds, and orphaned bear cubs and wolf pups will instead find solace in seeking you as their mother. Those who have joined this pact may either raise this children as their own, becoming their family, or may kill them. By bashing in the heads of these orphans and eating their brains, you gain +1 to your Constitution score without limit- but your modifier cannot exceed +4 from the power of this Pact alone.

[3] The Deathly Dark Pact
Go to a graveyard at midnight with a violin. Play the strings as fast and frantic as you can; you don't actually have to know how to play. Using an old, neglected violin is actually better for this. Whenever a string snaps, you'll hear the ground shiver underneath your feet. Keep playing. If the sun rises, come back to the same spot the next midnight continuously, every night, until all the strings are broken. If you miss even one night, the spell will be ended and the calling will not work. When the final string has broken, you will know you have woken the dead.

The dead come as a collective. They appear as little pale white faces, peaking up at you from the blades of grass and around the stones. They have no bodies anymore, and are jealous of life. They can give you great power, but it comes at a price. To accept the contract, one must cut their hand and give blood to the procession of the dead- the blood rejuvenates them enough so they can speak. When enough of them have drunk from your blood (1d6 damage), they will give you the title of Graver. Any number of people can join the pact once this ritual is complete if they are present- the dead are limitless in number, there are always more mouths thirsty for living blood.

This pact shall drain your soul. You feel the deaths of all beings around you who die. Once this pact is accepted- it takes a few days to acclimate to the tiny deaths of insects and vermin, constantly expiring just out of your sight, you will feel shivery and cold and pained and sad. But even once you are used to this, the deaths of greater beings only get more intense. Whenever anything as big as a rabbit dies nearby you, you are stunned for one round as you feel the waves of death creep over you. Whenever a person dies nearby you, you cough up blood- you take 1d4 damage from the internal harm caused by having death so close to your breast. This cost applies to anyone or who things who dies within about a stone's throw of you at the moment they are struck down. If something like a ageless sage, an annointed king, a demigod, etc. dies nearby you, save or die yourself- the death of greater beings then mere mortals is too great a sorrow for you to endure.

In return for your closeness to death, you now have sway over death. You can anoint any willing being with midnight oil and make them immune to death. They cannot die for 7 days. Once these 7 days are up, the being will now die the next time they take even a single point of hit point damage. You can also anoint yourself. Additionally, you gain the power to raise the undead by assembling a mostly complete skeleton of a dead creature- this skeleton becomes a 2 HD skeleton servant under your control, with abilities and intelligence similar to what it was like when it was alive. You may only have one skeleton servant at a time, and if the skeleton servant is slain its bones are shattered and cannot be raised from the dead a second time.

[4] The Bloody Dark Pact
Fill a bowl with leeches and let them starve. Once they are nearly dead, attach them to your body and let them drink deep. Lay on the floor in the darkness. It helps to use a clock to perform this ritual, but a water-clock or a helpful assistant can help keep the time- once per turn, you must pull off a leech and bite it in half, letting the juice and blood wash over you. Once you become delirious from the blood loss, and are starting to feel cold from the cooling blood all over you, you'll see it.

The being looks like a beautiful woman of your own race, but her head is replaced with that of a bleeding stump, with leeches pouring out. She is always inverted, levitating in the air, blood trickling on the floor beneath her. She calls herself the Queen of Bloody Mornings. Nobody else in the room will be able to see or hear her, but entity is not purely a hallucination, as a dark black stain will spill under where she levitates that will never ever wash out from the wood or stone. She will offer her terms persuasively, not mentioning the costs or drawbacks, and promising great power and riches for those who follow her. She is manipulative and is quite good at getting people to accept her pact- especially since they're lightheaded from blood loss. Those who deny her pact after summoning her will suffer her wrath- she will flood the room with burning hot black blood that causes whoever who is splashed or submerged by it to contract a nasty diease; welts and sores open up on your skin. This disease will kill if your Constitution is 8 or less, otherwise you will suffer from skin lesions and daily pain for about 3 years for your insolence.

The terms of the pact are ritual sacrifice- cruel and barbaric. Once every year, around the summer solstice, you must perform a ritual sacrifice of an intelligent, living being. The sacrifice must be prefaced by at least a week of torture- both psychological and physical, which primes the victim's blood to make it the most “delicious” for the Queen of Bloody Mornings. Finally, the sacrifice is made where the vicitm's blood is drained from them slowly, with the ritual master taking a sip for taste, and then allowing all the rest to spill out onto the altar and ground. Typically, the ritual is done with sharp knives and hooks, as to extract the most blood from the victim's body. The victim is supposed to die and the blood must remain trickling until the morning sun rises- so they must be killed in the middle of the night. Failing to perform this sacrifice on time or if it is interrupted and the victim saved; the pact-makers loses -1d4 Strength, Dexterity, AND Constitution as their life force is drained. Every year they successfully complete the ritual these all are restored by +1 point, as the Queen is slowly appeased. If this stat damage would cause you to drop to 0 in any stat, then you have displeased the Queen for the last time and your body slumps to the floor with your blood turning to stagnant water and flowing out of your now lifeless corpse.

In return for this violent pact- the pact-maker gains +1d8 Strength after the successful completion of the first ritual sacrifice, their body filled with supernatural strength. The Queen does not reward her servants for simply accepting her terms, only after feeding her are they rewarded. Secondly, as soon as the pact is accepted the pact-maker starts to receive dreams about blood and violence, and becomes strangely detached and unemphatic to their fellow living creatures. They gain an unnerving medical knowledge- both a combination of their torturous practices as well as supernaturally from the Queen, which makes them capable of healing many otherwise incurable diseases or wounds. Treat injuries too challenging to treat by first aid possible with first aid, injuries too extreme to be healed even in a temple or healer's workshop are now curable in the right conditions, and increase all healing done by the follower of the pact by +2, with both spells and healing items if applicable.

[5] The Creeping Dark Pact
This being cannot be summoned on its own. It comes from within oneself, when one has lost all hope. It is extremely rare for someone to have such a depressive, suicidal mindset for long enough to have this being summoned forth without the person having brought themselves out of their stupor or having killed themselves. Only those imprisoned for many decades, being like elves who can experience emotions deeper then human can understand, or those truly in otherworldly despair can chance this being. It may also be possible to induce this state through magic or drugs, but very few would ever volunteer to drop themselves into such unfathomable darkness.

The being is just a shadow. It offers itself as a comforting friend, and a way to escape. To acknowledge it at all is to accept its Pact.

Anyone who takes this Pact will be slowly consumed by darkness. They will at first begin losing weight, until they become bone thin, then the color from their skin and flesh, and then their hair will fall out, and then the light will fade from their eyes, until eventually they look like a husk. Then, they will begin to fade physically- their body becomes progressively more shade like. They may become translucent in the light, and start to weight so little that their footsteps don't even make noise or leave footprints. Later, they will only be able to manifest both physically and visually for a limited time each day; 1 in 6 chance each turn they disappear for a while. Finally, they will cease to exist totally, with spells that bring that dead back to life or can ask them questions will not work on them. Their souls seems missing- either destroyed, or gone someplace so far away not even the Gods can find them anymore. This process takes about 3 years, the person becoming progressively more withdrawn.

In addition to the advantages to stealth from being partially a shadow as above, this pact also grants the user powers over the unformed darkness. At first they can create shadows which are barely visible to others in dark corners or shadowy alcoves; almost-illusions. Later on they will learn how to make these shadows take form, creating temporary physical beings and objects in shadowy dark places- they can conjure any amount of HD of shadow beings, which can deal 1 damage on an attack, but can only exist in one “pool” of shadow and are banished by light. With mastery and time, the Creeping Darkness will allow the user to create more powerful beings and let them move out of the shadow- still harmed by light but capable of creating fully moving and animated shadow beings. These beings are formed by sculpting the darkness and the user will be drained of energy from using this ability- consider each being summoned as a -1 modifier to all d20 rolls for exhaustion without a turn of rest. At the later stages of the pact, using this power to its full potential will cause the user to wink out of reality for a while as though they are suffering from the fading of their pact- or potentially they wink out forever after one last powerful shadow was created, and with it, they cease to be.

[6] The Cruel Bow Pact
This ritual requires several rare ingredients and a bow and arrow. Gremlin's tooth powder dusting the fletching, a bowstring made from a pregnant sow's intestine, yew wood from a sacred tree, a bit of magic metal for the arrowhead, sharpened the day before. Then, the bow must be fired up in the air towards an isolated place in the trees or wilds by a shooter with at least +1 to hit with bows. Finally, the arrow will fall and a loud yelp will be heard, even if nobody was around. Then, walk to where the arrow landed in silence.

When the shooter and anyone else arrive; they will see a tribal looking man with rough stones for eyes and a necklace made of teeth. The man will have the arrow in his leg, and be angrily blaming you for firing an arrow at him. Then, he will demand you heal him. If you do heal him and let him leave, he disappears and the Pact is canceled, and you can never summon this being again. However if you respond correctly- by telling him that “you deserve it!” three times, he will drop the act and smile. He will tell you his name is Carcini, and is a spirit of suffering. He will also freely answer any questions about him or his pact- in life he was a mortal who was shot by a stray arrow and died painfully and slowly over three days- and now allows others to spread in his suffering.

Once you have accepted Carcini's pact, you must spread suffering. This is the cost of the pact- you must go out of your way to make other people suffer, and cannot extend good will to anyone, or else suffer the consequences. You can still heal people's injuries, but cannot give pain medicine and just do surgery directly and bloodily, for example. You cannot give to the poor unless you fully intend to steal it back later, you can't cast beneficial spells on others unless it is directly to put them into harms way just after, and so on. If you try to break this promise, even if you regret it, you will find that your efforts to help others are instead nullified somehow by bad luck or chance, and then you will be punished for it with misfortunes plaguing you for a while until the spirit is pleased.

In return for following the Pact of the Cruel Bow, you gain the following benefits. Firstly, all arrows you fire count as poisoned- any wound inflicted by your bow will cause infection, aggravated wounds, get stuck in a bone and require surgery, or will otherwise ruin somebody's day. Secondly, you learn the dark magic of curses. You can perform magic rituals to create bad events in the future- specifically aimed against specific individuals, but sometimes many people (including yourself) can get swept up into the negative events. An example ritual is to drown an effigy of your target by firelight- they may be caught in a tropical storm where they live, or automatically fail a saving throw and be dropped into a tank of rising water. This does not guarantee a death or ruin to someone; but it will be very hard to get out of it. Finally, the knowledge of how to perform these curses is not special to the holder of this pact, meaning those who learn it can teach it to others, but Carcini is likely to punish those who share his secret art without paying the price.

[7] World Forgers' Dark Pact
To summon the World Forger's takes creating a world of your own. You must isolate a small location, such as a garden or castle, and remake everything in your image. Your favorite things, your pets, you own art style and paint everywhere. The place must be a sanctum and contain both sentimental and monetary value; an average of 25,000 coins must be spent on the location. Then, the creator must be unsatisfied with the project, or at least pretend to be to all onlookers and invited guests. They must seem to “want more”. Only then will they be visited.

The World Forgers appear as the subject's own race and ethnicity. They are an amiable sort, and interested in extended their offer to anyone of creative mind and driven determination; hence why so no expense must be spared to create your haven- that way the Forgers know you are serious. They are a collective of powerful spirits, and allow beings to join them willingly, on the conditions that they worn will lead to ruin and excommunication if they are not followed.

The World Forgers must leave. They are not to stay in a single world, nor use their powers frivolously. Their goal is to create worlds, not change the ones that exist. From that end, they give only three days to leave your world and leave with them- enough time to say your goodbyes. If you refuse to go on that day, you will be punished; your abilities will be stripped and your body will change into that of a gray approximation of what you were before. Humanoids become two legged gray beings with no identifiable facial features or sex, quadrupeds become gray beasts with no fur or markings or muzzle types to differentiate between predator or prey. This punishment is irreversible to all forms of magic, except perhaps the mercy of the divine.

In return for leaving with them, the World Forgers grant the user the ability to fly, to change their form (as they themselves are form-shifters), and the ability to change and create the world. This change is very tactile; plants are woven from their hands onto the ground, animals are pulled and preened to change their shapes permanently (and their offspring carry these traits), and as such this limits that amount of the world that you can change in your short time allotted- you may be able to build a small fort, renovate a cove, or sculpt out a cave within a few days of work. Additionally, anyone blessed with by the World Forgers becomes ageless, though they are not immortal and can be killed by a blade as any other living creature. All these powers are removed for those who do not leave with them on their journey of infinite creation.

[8] Gleaming Dark Pact
To call her forth, go to a crossroads while dressed in nothing but your most private nightgown or sleepware. No one else must approach the crossroads. If anyone else crosses one of the two central roads- your ritual is spoiled and you will have to start again. Hiring bandits to stop people from getting too close is a tactic. You must take a handful of fresh snow and cradle it in your hands, and say “I wish this was cold as coin.” over and over again. As the snow melts, you must continue to hold it and speaking until it melts away completely, and only then may you get a new handful of snow. Because of this and the time of year required for it to snow- it can be very cold and is often done at night to avoid travelers crossing the road- every hour you do this roll two six sided die. The first die will be a 1 in 6 chance for you to be noticed. The second will be a 1 in 6 chance to get hypothermia. After you are noticed, you will approached only after another two hours of chanting.

She is known as the Spring Wind Spirit. It is a feminine ghostly image of a blowing sundress- with a sunhat floating just above- her body, if she has one at all in her spirit form, is totally invisible. The smell of cinnamon and other exotic spices from far away lands follow her. She represents the trade wind, and the sudden boost to all businesses and trades the moment the winter ends- the mountain passes melt open and the ships sail through what was once impassable ice. The Spring Wind Spirit will gladly accept a pact with anyone, she giggles as you and her conspire together, though she expects you to fully uphold your end of the bargain. It is a transnational relationship.

The Spring Wind Spirit demands the pact-makers to abide by one rule; scam your heart out. Every one who follows this pact is expected to extort as much money as possible from others- selling bogus potions, overpriced normal goods, services that never come, shoddy gadgets, and the bait and switch- fill a crate with cheap linen and replace just the top layer with a bit of silk and so on. The Spring Wind Spirit pockets 50% of all the money, with the pact-maker getting to keep the other half. There's no actual direct cost to those joining this pact, except the cost to your reputation and no-doubt the soon to be angry mob at your heels. You also cannot accept this pact without the intention to scam; the Spring Wind Spirit knows a cheat when she sees one and will be quick to punish those who do not try to turn a profit with her; curses that rapidly cause misfortune to drain the coffers of the offender, followed by a gust of wind to crash down their house before breaking off the relationship is common.

As business partners, the Spring Wind Spirit will grant her pact-maker two useful abilities. The first is a bit of glamour- the magic of illusion and changed perceptions. They can make anything gleam. By holding an object in the palm, a box, or a bag even a bit of charcoal will appear to catch the light just right and shine. This is most useful in tricking others with a scam, but can be used on a reflective mirror or even an especially bright outfit to dazzle an enemy- this grants a surprise round in combat, or a good chance to escape. The second ability is the power of the winds. The pact-maker can subtly wiggle their toes to control the winds; letting them change the course of ships or blow banners in just the right way. The most powerful ability of this though is the power of secrets- the wind blows secret whispered words from the mouths of other people nearby to the ears of the pact-maker on a 1 in 3 chance. By using these powers, the shrewd pact-maker is expected to steal and scam as much as possible. Finally; it should be noted here that out of all of the dark pacts- this one is the lightest and is indeed the only one that can be broken. The Spring Wind Spirit takes a liking to those who make a healthy profit with her and is willing to let them go... only after the 'debt' is repaid to the spirit for her knowledge and secret winds. The debt is always so massive that no amount of wealth the person can earn, with or without her help, would ever be able to repay it. She has the last laugh, as she will take the souls of those who followed her pact to become her invisible, spying, whispering winds.

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