I dunno. I think Fem!Wizard looks rather fetching. Certainly better than the last time we caught him wearing lingerie.

Any dang way, I’d like to add a little caveat to the message in today’s Handbook. Deals with the devil may not be prudent, but they are exactly the sort of thing you want to pursue as a PC. Let me explain.

Remember how we talked about hindrances and disadvantages way back in the day? There is no easier way to add a little depth to a character than to give them a character flaw. A niche phobia or a well-placed code of honor can turn a dull PC into a memorable one, adding a little spice to the game while providing your GM with a fun story hook. I bring it up here because, even though grabbing a few extra build points in exchange for a campaign-long thorn in your side is rarely a wise decision, it is 100% an interesting one. It’s the same deal with Faustian bargains.

Here’s a case in point. I sat down for my first ever game of Blades in the Dark this week, and I came face to face with a mechanic that’s literally called “devil’s bargain.” The shtick is that you can get a free bonus die on your check, but there is a 100% chance that [insert consequence here] will happen. In my particular case, I was trying to create a distraction in a nightclub, so my alchemist decided to put on a “beer additives” demonstration for the club owners. Suffice it to say that I rolled poorly.

“No soliciting,” they said. And then they sicked their big mean bouncer on me.

“Please,” I said. “Just try it! One sip and you’ll change your mind!”

Here’s where the devil’s bargain came in. My GM said that sure, the bouncer would be a guinea pig for my weird alchemical hooch, but there would be an unexpected side effect. I could see him rubbing his little GM mitts together in glee, and I just knew that something awful would happen if I took him up on the offer.

“No,” said I.

Then I proceeded to roll poorly again. My alchemist was tossed out on his ear, and I had to struggle to figure out how to make my dude relevant for the rest of the heist. And if you’re disappointed with the anticlimax of that story, then I think you can imagine how my GM felt.

My point is that, even though bad things will probably happen to your character when that demon offers you a contract, or that mob boss asks for a favor, or that Cthulhu cultist asks you to come alone, they will be interesting bad things. I’m not sure whether that bouncer in my Blades in the Dark game would have grown tentacles, gone nuts, or started sneezing fire, but anything would have been better than standing out in a cold Doskvol alley feeling like a tool.

So here’s to you, Wizard! Sure you’re sex changed, cheated out of your promised reward, and feeling just a tad under-dressed, but at least you’ve got a good story to tell!

Question of the day then. Have you ever accepted a “deal with the devil” in one of your games? Was it worth it? Let’s hear all about your best Faustian bargains down in the comments!


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