The moment you get your hands on this supplement you get the idea of what you are in for; a great understanding of devils and their lore, alongside an earnest wish to create something for DMs to get some actual use out of in their games, filling one of the Nine Neiches. Just one look at the insidiously good cover by Gwen Bassett (@gwendybee), the hellishly smart layout by Anna Urbanek (@2xproficiency), various dastardly interior arts, and the eloquent and humble preface by the author, Justice Arman (@justice_arman) you know you are in talented, bloodstained talons.
(Loch's Logbook: You know. I don't know what the big deal is. I got my ship and my crew back. Plus that bastard Frost Giant is now an, agonised, living figurehead. For half my life? I'm laughing...)
Have no fear if you aren't not a legal beagle, as the terms are clearly explained and the main components of the contract are described in detail with examples and random tables for generating enough contracts for all your friends, family and pets, whether for yourself or on behalf of an Arch-Devil.
(I'm only writing this review as part of a bargain to shave a few life-years off a contract. I'm getting on and my sea legs ain't what they were, and I only had to put my soul on the line! What a sucker! Wait a minute...)
These explanations and examples cover every aspect from the reasons for and benefits of contract, through the clauses, stipulations and fine print, all the way to collection any foolish or brave (see: foolish) attempts to break or renege on the contract and its terms.
(This is a joke, right? I was joking. Who signs their soul for a few life-years reprieve? Be reasonable!)
The considerations of how pressing the situation the contract is drafted and signed in, the level of the character being offered the contract and the appropriate denizen of the Nine Hells to facilitate the transactions, as well as the quality of the boon on offer, are all laid out and detailed so you can create the righgcontract for any and all characters, no matter their experience or the predicament they find themselves in.
(You know what, why don't you just make the rest of The Lawful Good dead again? I never did like that Torr much, anyway. I know his real name! He's wanted by the Red Sashes! Wait...)
What really matters in a roleplay game is combat. Lots and lots of combat, and while this could be an option (see: foolish), roleplay is key and an extremely important part of the process of drawing up the contract. This supplement has you covered, with ways to consider the Devil/ DM's approach to different characters and their alignment, as well as ways in which even the more lawful and pious characters can be tempted. Did you know making a deal with an evil entity for your soul can actually be a selfless act for the greater good? Marvelous! There is also a table of various ways a character's personality could be affected by bargaining their soul, from cavalier to apathetic.
(Doppelganger, I know right!? Okay, okay. What about the Dwarf? Can't hit the ugly side of an otyguh! Imagine what Marster would bargain for a deadeye? I could have phrased that better...)
There's clear advice in how to layout and create your own contracts for your game, props or otherwise, taking you through the process, as well as tables to determine the medium and devilish quirks for the contract and its administrator. Could you be signing your life away on an ancient Hag's wooly jumper, while the devil's hair swipes and snaps at insects like a Venus Flytrap? These and more eventualities are covered.
(take the fork out and put the eye back in! Okay. Okay. Breathe. What about Vey? She's all snug asleep in the arms of the Harpers. Ever taken the soul from an incapacitated Cleric from Zendikar? How much more fun does that sound...)
In the appendix we find the three new Devils mentioned, complete with description, full statblocks and some creepy cool illustrations, as. Well as Latin phrases and Infernal symbols to give your contact some flare, the ritual to summon an Infernal Ally and a complete level by level table of the new friend you can make and how long you get to play together, if that's a part of your contract, and a great looking example contract to give you clear idea of what they can look like.
(Just stop waving that fork around for a minute and listen! I know. I know! Voulan's new and noone would miss her anyway. Plus she's an Elf! Think of all those extra life-years of servitude...)
The amount of information provided in such an accessible and thoroughly amusing way that has been packed into 24 pages is no mean feat. The care, quality and panache in this supplement are seriously impressive, and a thoroughly entertaining read on its own. If you are planning to involve devil's and their contracts, especially with Descent around the corner, then this is an absolute must.
(I'm not going in the bag. I think I can see my dentist dressed as a clown in there. That's it! I'm not going without a fight...[see: foolish])
It's an absolute delight to read and now I have a mighty need to tempt and enslave my players with tantalising offers that will surely lead to their doom! It just sounds like such fun and some hellishly hilarious opportunities for roleplay, I simply can't wait for.
(sounds of breath weapons and swords getting slowly more faint as they are drowned out by the guttural braying of a pack of Bloodhounds and maniacal laughter of a Handler)