[[quoteright:258:[[Disney/TheLittleMermaid http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Contract_3442.PNG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:258:[[DisneyOwnsThisTrope Now Disney owns your soul]].]]

->''"Hah! You see? The contract's legal, binding, and completely unbreakable, even for you."''
-->-- '''Ursula''' ''[to [[PhysicalGod King Triton]]]'', Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''

In fiction, particularly fantasy fiction and DealWithTheDevil plots, normal {{Leonine Contract}}s just don't cut it. Part of the reason for this is because it's usually pretty vague what kind of government most fantasy cultures use, so nobody really knows how contracts would work anyway. What do you do if the other party decides to welsh on their end? Besides, we have contracts in RealLife, and they're usually pretty boring [[WallOfText Walls of Text]]. So one sure way to get some excitement is to have a character sign one that is magically binding.

Where a normal contract is bound by regular laws, this one is bound by the laws of magic. Rather than being enforced by threat of punishment by a lawful governing body, this contract is simply physically impossible to break. Sometimes it is implied that the magic punishment for breaking a clause is somehow contingent on the permission being given by the one who signed the contract.

Really, the [[HandWave easier]] explanation most of the time is that AWizardDidIt. The basic idea here is that magic is the law, and will punish anyone who tries to go back on a contract. In other cases, the question of punishment doesn't even arise-the magic compels signatories to abide by the terms whether they want to or not. Even the person who receives the benefits may be unable to [[ReleasingFromThePromise release them]].

Any character who makes such a contract -- even if it's a LeonineContract -- has no choice but to fulfill it somehow. [[LoopholeAbuse Loopholes]] are, as always, still permitted, and there may be a CurseEscapeClause. Physically destroying a contract can also absolve the penalties. In some cases, magic apparently only works with the magicee's permission. Even ReleasingFromThePromise may require such trickery; the other character often can't just let you go.

Most of the time this is how the DealWithTheDevil works. In all likelihood, this started out as a subtrope of DealWithTheDevil but branched out as writers found they could apply the same basic concept to any magically-empowered contract-maker, not just Satan.

Note that another sub-trope of DealWithTheDevil, the FaustianRebellion, is rarely if ever presented as viable countermand to a Magically Binding Contract. However, should the person accomplish whatever ImpossibleTask was provided in the contract, then the [[LawfulEvil The Devil has to follow his part too]]. In this trope, you gotta beat 'em at their own game. [[FrequentlyBrokenUnbreakableVow Characters who break one of these]] can become TheOathBreaker. Compare {{Geas}}, which is more of a spell or curse.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'', Keiichi unwittingly puts himself under one of these he half-jokingly wishes a goddess like Belldandy would stay with him forever. Much HilarityEnsues follows as various people, demons, and deities try their best to rend these two asunder only to find themselves unequal to the task.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'':
** Kyubey makes contracts with girls to become {{Magical Girl}}s. Notably, his contracts are entirely verbal, and are without any form of fine print mentioning the downsides and side-effects, meaning that they aren't actually ''legally'' binding under most systems of law, despite being ''magically'' binding. There is no compulsion but not doing as the contract states leads to dire consequences. [[MemeticMutation Contract?]]
** Also, Kyubey will always follow through on his end of the contract. ''Always''. Unfortunately, while he gives the girls exactly what they wanted with no LiteralGenie side-effects, the girls don't wish for the right thing in the first place. Given that one of the anime's main themes is that a truly SelflessWish doesn't exist, this isn't surprising.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' had a magical item that makes contracts magically bound so that they ''have'' to be followed through. Fate attempted to use it: he nearly got Negi to promise not to interfere with his plans, in such way that Fate himself would not be bound to what he proposed in exchange. [[spoiler:The girls later use it against Dynamis, making him promise to stop trying to interfere with ''their'' plans. Dynamis only agreed because he thought he'd already won anyway, and because while conductive to the Fatettes, it wasn't conductive to the Averrunci.]]
* Chihiro signs one with the witch Yubaba in ''Anime/SpiritedAway''. The contract is sealed with her name, so in the bathhouse, she must answer to "Sen" instead.
** Turns out [[spoiler:Haku]] also signed one, and Chihiro has to free him by [[IKnowYourTrueName giving his proper name back]].
* In ''Manga/BlackButler'' Ciel has a contract with his demon butler, Sebastian, which basically means that when he has accomplished all of his endeavors his soul will be devoured by said demon. In the meantime, Ciel gets [[TheAce a multi-talented butler and bodyguard]] who will follow his every command.
* A requirement for {{Familiar}}s on ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha''. The contents of [[ParentalSubstitute Linith's]] contract, which stipulated for her to be erased after she had trained Fate as a first-class mage and completed Bardiche, was the reason why she was [[PosthumousCharacter dead before the start of the series]].
** In a reversal of the usual bindings, Fate's Contract with Arf is much more open ended. Arf is contracted with Fate to "live her life in any way that she pleases, for as long as they both live."
* One of these is [[LoopholeAbuse exploited ruthlessly]] by [[CombatPragmatist Emiya Kiritsugu]] in ''LightNovel/FateZero''. [[spoiler:[[IHaveYourWife He holds the fiance of another master hostage]] and agrees to let her go if Kayneth signs a geas with the terms that he will use his command spell to force his Servant to commit suicide and withdraw from the Grail War, and in return, Kiritsugu will be unable to harm him or have someone else do so. Kayneth signs the contract and makes Lancer kill himself- and then Kiritsugu's ''accomplice'' [[ActionGirl Maiya]] follows the orders he had been given ''before the contract was signed'' and shoots Kayneth and his fiancée Sola-Ui.]]
* Pilots in ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'' are normally contracted by them placing their hand on a metallic scanner-like pedestal and stating their names. The contract is unbreakable and unvoidable; once contracted, your only way out is either dying or getting killed. The fun part of this particular contract is that the only being that knows it fully and is able to enforce it is [[ConsummateLiar Dung Beetle]]; the game is actually booby-trapped so that the pilots automatically lose the whole game if anybody from their home world (including themselves) gets hold of any information contained within the contract outside of what little information Dung Beetle is allowed to (or is willing to) disclose. So far, the closest to a loophole the contract has is that people are not limited to one battle, so you can spare a pilot if you get chosen as the pilot twice in a row and win both battles. Good luck pulling that off with the current set of rules, though.
* In ''Manga/UndertakerRiddle'', the main protagonist, Hayato had to do one with Riddle to save his life. Now, half of Riddle's soul is bond to Hayato's in change of Hayato becoming Riddle's assistant and fellow Undertaker. The trick is, Riddle needs to be close to him to be at the whole capacity of his power and if Riddle dies so does Hayato.
* This is how nen users are able to power themselves up beyond their normal capacities in ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', usually by imposing some kind of handicap on their abilities. For example, Gon gets stronger by [[CallingYourAttacks calling his attacks]], while Kurapika gains the ability to conjure unbreakable chains that will kill him if he ever uses them on anyone other than a member of the Phantom Troupe. Much later, Gon uses this to dramatically increase his power to curb stomp a powerful enemy. The price he paid for this temporary power boost was a grave one: [[spoiler:losing the ability to use nen ever again and being brought to the brink of death.]] Even a ''RealityWarper'' couldn't fully restore him -- his life was saved [[spoiler:but he still can't use nen.]]
* In ''LightNovel/LogHorizon'' Shiroe basically does this when [[spoiler:Rudy dies. Shiroe writes up a magical contract that will grant Rudy all the benefits of an Adventurer (which he would retain even if the contract is later nullified) so he will respawn at a cathedral instead of dying.]]
* In ''Anime/NoGameNoLife,'' war has been replaced with games where anything, great or small, up to and including ''global'' matters, is decided by the outcome. In the backstory, the gods of that world had had a war that left it in ruin, leaving the only one who'd stayed out of it - the god of play - as TopGod, and he instituted a new system, enforced by magic. Bets made by two parties who formally agree to both the game and the wagers will be upheld ''no matter what.'' (This means you shouldn't bet something like "I'll do whatever you ask." The one who did that was told "Fall in love with me" by the winner and spent the rest of the story as the most justified {{Tsundere}} ever...)
* ''LightNovel/SoICantPlayH'': The shinigami of [[AnotherDimension Grimwald]] form contracts with humans that allow them remain in their world by periodically feeding of their contractee's energy. But to establish the contract, the shinigami stabs them through the chest with a ceremonial sword that's attached to a soul binding chain. Ryosuke tried to hit on Lisara, shortly after meeting her, which she mistook as an offer to form a contract. [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice She accepted.]]

[[folder:Card Games]]
* The background of the ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' plane of Ravnica includes probably the largest example on the list: the Guildpact, a magical contract between the ten Guilds that essentially governs the entirety of the plane. The main plot of the novels [[spoiler:turns out to be a [[GambitPileup convoluted attempt]] to break the Guildpact. Which eventually works due to a loophole]]. Also they have advokists and lawmages. Yes, ''lawyer mages". The plot of the "Return to Ravnica", "Gatecrash", and "Dragon's Maze" block revolves around the consequences [[spoiler:of breaking the Guildpact]] and a contingency plan [[spoiler:to restore it.]]
** "Law Magic" is basically used to do two things: make the witness tell the truth, and memorize the code of laws, no matter how convoluted.
* Geth, Lord of the Vault, specializes in making magical tablets into which contracts can be willed. If they break the contract, Geth controls them forever. These are actually very popular, and his agents take them all over New Phyrexia, so that two parties who don't trust each other can use one of Geth's tablets and be assured that neither of them would dare break the agreement.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* As mentioned below, these exist in the ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' series and the PowerPerversionPotential naturally occurred to FanFic writers.
** Several Triwizard Tournament fics involve Harry deliberately defying the "magically binding contract" enforced by the Goblet of Fire, despite the strong possibility of losing his magic. In ''The Power of the Press'', the prophecy turned out to be stronger than the contract, making the Goblet explode, while in ''Banking on Her'' it was Barty Crouch Jr. who lost his magic.
* Presented to the protagonist of ''Fanfic/FairVote'', a ''Literature/DresdenFiles'' fic, by a literal Devil's Advocate.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' fanfiction, ''FanFic/{{Cinderjuice}}'', this is what Beetlejuice has to sign with the Fairy Godfather. Naturally, he doesn't read the fine print.
-->'''Beetlejuice''': Who actually ''reads'' a Terms of Service Agreement?
* ''FanFic/QueenOfAllOni'' has one of these show up when [[spoiler: Blankman forces Verde into submission and makes him sign into servitude]]. Notably, aside from the signature, it's totally blank, with the binding terms to be filled in later.
* ''FanFic/MyLittleAnimaniacs'': The contract that all of the Animaniacs signed (but only Yakko and Slappy actually read) for their own show. It requires them to help out whoever summons them to another world.

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon:
** This is the type of contract Ursula makes Ariel sign in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''. Even the power of Triton's trident has no effect upon it, implying that there must be some source of power in the ocean greater even than his. Ursala even uses it as a shield to keep King Triton from killing her on the spot. Of course, once Ursula dies, her contracts are [[NoOntologicalInertia no longer legally valid.]]
** ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' has a similar unwritten contract stating that his deal with Hades is forfeit if Meg is hurt in any way. It's part of Disney's larger theme with Hades and his propensity for [[DealWithTheDevil Deals With The Devil]]: Hades may be a sleazy, double-dealing scumbag who will do everything short of murder to get you to sign, but the one thing he will never do is welch on a deal.
** Interestingly, Hercules initiates another deal (purely verbal) on his own with Hades in order to get Meg's soul back from the Underworld's pit of Styx in exchange for his own. Hades agrees, betting on the fact that Hercules having to fetch said soul physically would end up killing him and thus leaving Hades with both souls. However this act of self-sacrifice by Hercules grants him Godhood, the immortality needed to fetch the soul and leave Styx alive. Hercules walks out with Meg's soul and with his own life in violation of his own agreement with Hades. Whether this is because Hades tried to cheat getting two souls and the contract intervened by giving Hercules immortality at the last moment and nullified the rest of the contract, or because the purely verbal contract from mortal to god was unenforceable was never elaborated, and Hercules's Godhood was explained away as the power of love and self-sacrifice instead.
* The second ''WesternAnimation/AllDogsGoToHeaven'' had a contractual handshake form a magical choke collar.
* These are Literature/{{Rumpelstiltskin}}'s specialty ''WesternAnimation/ShrekForeverAfter''.
* ''WesternAnimation/WereBackADinosaursStory'' doubles as a BloodOath when the two kids join Screweye's circus using their blood to sign the contract.

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest'', Davy Jones is under a Magically Binding Contract to ferry souls to the afterlife (he can also draft dead sailors using contracts of his own). His neglect of this duty is the reason he and his crew look like [[FishPeople fish-men]].
* In the film version of ''Film/GhostRider'', the Devil presents Johnny with a contract for his soul in exchange for his father's health. Where this moves beyond DealWithTheDevil is that Johnny cuts himself on the contract while reading it, and the Devil takes his blood on the deal as agreement. But because he never actually agreed, Johnny eventually is able to resist Lucifer and keep the Rider's powers.

* {{Faust}}'s contract with Mephistopheles has to be signed with blood, and can't be broken.
** Although Creator/DennisWheatley's horror novel ''To The Devil A Daughter'' hinges on the need to find and retrieve a Faustian contract signed in blood; the novel hinges on the signee's sincere repentance not being enough; the physical contract has to be located and destroyed by burning, leaving no trace. This has its basis in some old Christian polemics.

* In Creator/TamoraPierce's ''Literature/DaughterOfTheLioness'' books, breaking an oath signed in blood will result in one's blood boiling in one's veins. (It applies to the Literature/TortallUniverse in general, but we see it most in that series.)
* ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' has several instances of this:
** Used in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire''. When the Goblet says Harry has to compete, well, Harry has to compete. Even though ''he didn't enter himself for consideration as a contestant''. Still, it's mentioned that the one who set Harry up to this had to have been an extremely powerful wizard to have messed with the Goblet in this way, ordinarily it would never have picked a fourth contestant. The consequences of breaking the contract, however, are not explained.
** In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'', Hermione turns the "member's list" of Dumbledore's Army into one. The result being that when [[spoiler:one of the members rats them out, she ends up with the word "SNEAK" written across her face in pimples]].
** Introduced in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' is the "Unbreakable Vow", which kills you if you attempt to break it.
** Wills can apparently also work this way at least as far as house-elves are concerned. After [[spoiler:[[ParentalSubstitute Sirius]]]] dies, he officially leaves Harry everything, but there's still concern that control of his house and property (including [[spoiler:Kreacher]]) might magically pass to his next living relative, [[spoiler:[[TheDragon Bellatrix]]]]. Dumbledore and Harry field-test this by giving [[spoiler: Kreacher]] an order - when he has to recognize Harry as his new master, it confirms [[spoiler: Sirius]] knew what he was doing when he made his will.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', any oath taken by a mage while passing her magic through a tool called "the Oath Rod" is magically binding, though it can be removed by the same object. When created in [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas the Age of Legends]] the rod was simply called a "binder", and was only used against intractably criminal mages (understandably, given the side effects - also now forgotten) to seal their powers.
* The ''Literature/YoungWizards'' series has the "Binding Oath", which if broken permanently strips you of all supernatural energy. This version of the Magically Binding Contract is interestingly different in that:
** The person extracting the Oath can only do it once in their lifetime.
** The person extracting the Oath will eventually suffer a backlash from the Oath, with the backlash being worse the more powerful the Oath is.
** The Wizards Oath itself is one in that if you break the oath, you will invariably lose your wizardry. Many spells also effectively end up like contracts where a wizard promises to pay later for an effect now, and spells are transacted in a LanguageOfMagic which is also a LanguageOfTruth.
* Lee and Taro sign one when they sign on with the troupe in [[Literature/HeroSeries Heroes Adrift]], though they don't seem to really "get" that things would rebound on them badly if they ran away.
* ''Warrior And Witch'' series has these where a witch forms a pact with somebody. The ritual involves making a lethal cut on the wrist, and then magically sealing it up. If the person does not meet their end of the deal, then the cut will reopen, letting the person bleed to death. Once the deal is over, the wound permanently heals over, and can become a badge of pride. The ritual is intended for deals that are met, such as discovering the culprit in a murder, or hunting a bounty. One witch in the sequel uses it to hold others to secrecy, a deal that never ends, and thus never permanently seals, and thus they will be in danger of it reopening for as long as they live. This is considered a gross perversion of the ritual by the witch's peers.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', it's frequently mentioned by Harry that a wizard who swears an oath "by their power" must hold to it. If it's broken, the wizard loses a portion of their power, to the point that a serial oathbreaker may lose the ability to work magic entirely.
** Oaths and bonds issued by [[TheFairFolk the Sidhe]] are also binding, and if they break a promise it causes them intense physical pain. However, they are only bound to the [[ExactWords exact wording]] of a contract, and they subsequently [[LoopholeAbuse abuse the hell out that]].
*** In ''Literature/ColdDays'', Harry finds he is now bound by Winter Law himself, so when he tries to break it (something the Fae cannot even conceive of doing), there are immediate, serious consequences. [[spoiler:His Winter Knight Mantle vanishes, leaving him paralyzed as he was in Changes]].
** These contracts are so binding that not even Michael, who wields a holy sword and serves God Himself, can do anything against a valid contract, as such an act would be dishonest and break his power if he tried.
* In ''Literature/{{The Guardians|MeljeanBrook}}'', this is how [[DealWithTheDevil bargains and wagers]] are enforced. If they are broken, that person or demon is damned to the field of frozen faces when they die.
* The heroine of ''Literature/TheAssassinsOfTamurin'' learns towards the end that a character has been bound by this all along.
* Madam Morrible does this to Nessarose, Elphaba and Glinda in ''Literature/{{Wicked}}''.
* In ''Literature/TheHexslingerSeries'', it transpires that the "hexes", or magicians, of the series can get around their otherwise-irresistible urge to parasitically devour each other's magic (and ultimately life) in a variety of different ways by swearing a binding oath with their magic -- although depending on what you swear to and who, this can have a variety of much nastier consequences as well.
* A possible example of this is the story of King Cohilt of Caederan in ''Literature/TheQuestOfTheUnaligned''. Eight hundred years before the story started, Cohilt magically bound himself and all his descendants to the land of Caederan. This turned them into the first natural unaligned, born with access to all four ElementalPowers instead of just one. The contract also came at a cost, for if the royal family ever favor one of the elements over the others, the magic of Caederan itself will become imbalanced, unleashing hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and floods.
* In the Literature/CraftSequence, the Craft and Practical Theology are both powerfully rooted in these. It plays out to the extent that "powerful magic requires as much lawyerly skill as sorcerous ability" can be called a key conceit of the series. It's ''definitely'' a key conceit of ''Literature/ThreePartsDead'', the first book of the series, in which a contract coming due at just the wrong time kills a God and sets off a high-intensity legal wrangle over His estate.
* In ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', such contracts are usually made between powerful Others and human practitioners, and are a source of great power-in fact, most all human practitioners rely to one extent or another on deals with Others for their power.
* In ''Literature/MaledictionTrilogy'' any promise made to or by a troll is absolutely binding. That is, unless you find a loophole in its wording, or the person to whom the promise is made dies.
* Graydon Saunders’ ''Literature/{{Commonweal}}'' has built its overarching mechanisms of government into a vast enchantment called the Shape of the Peace. Formal legal testimony cannot lie, for example; and being a sorcerer requires agreeing to be bound by the Shape, on pain of death should the sorcerer attempt to circumvent its strictures.
* ''Literature/SchooledInMagic'': A person who swears a magical oath but refuses to fulfill it, or deliberately puts themselves in a situation so they cannot, will die. If they're unable to fulfill it because of something beyond their control, though, it won't kill them. It's discussed by name at greater length in book 3, when Emily starts taking a class in Law.
* In the ''Literature/ApprenticeAdept'' series, any promise accompanied by the Splash of Truth (a flash of rainbow light, signifying the speaker is speaking absolute, heartfelt truth), is treated as absolutely binding. The consequences of going back on one's word (or even not giving one's all towards said promise) are never spelled out past "there are some."
* In ''Literature/TheWitchlands'', Wordwitched documents, most notably the Twenty Years Truce, are this. Each copy is identical to the other, even if one is modified, and when someone breaks the rules established in the document, their signature disappears and no-one else is bound by the contract any more.
* ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'': Anything someone swears to do in the Ancient Language ''will'' be done-it compels them. The only out is if their personality gets changed so much they really aren't the same person as who swore it. That, or death, of course, or otherwise becoming physically or mentally incapable of doing it.
* A wizard-word oath in ''Literature/CounselorsAndKings'' functions like this; if a Halruaan [[TheMagocracy wizard-lord]] swears to do (or not do) something "by wind and word" they are compelled to follow through, though they can interpret the ExactWords rather creatively to find loopholes. For example, when [[EccentricMentor Basel Indoulur]] promises under such an oath to "deal appropriately" with his apprentice after she humiliates a rival wizard, Basel actually ''rewards'' her instead of punishing her, as he felt the other man had it coming. More seriously, supporting villain [[spoiler: Dhamari]] is under an oath to never [[SummonMagic summon]] "any creature he doesn't understand and can't control", which means he has to find an UnwittingPawn to conjure the [[TheFairFolk malevolent fairies]] his plans require, as he'd be physically incapable of doing so himself.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'' episode "Escape Clause". A hypochondriac signs a DealWithTheDevil to live forever. [[spoiler:Then he kills his wife, is not afraid of the death penalty obviously so mocks the proceedings, but his smart lawyer manages to get a life sentence. The man is horrified by the prospect of an eternity (literally) in prison, and uses the "escape clause" from the contract, dying of a heart attack in his cell. He should have known TheDevil has ways of subverting contracts.]]
* In the ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' episode ''Soul Survivor'' (episode 7 of Season 6) A demon makes Faustian deals using magical contracts, they have a special clause that says the souls are to burn forever if he himself is killed, this is to discourage people from trying to break the contract by killing him. The main characters manage to deal with him by locating the vault and burning all the contracts, '''then''' killing the demon!
* In ''Series/{{Angel}}'', contracts with Wolfram and Hart are often magically enforced. High level employees sign away their lives ''and afterlives'' to work for the firm. After being killed by Darla, Holland Manners continues to serve the Senior Partners, and the same happens to Lilah Morgan after being killed by Jasmine. Wesley attempts to free Lilah from her contract by retrieving it and burning it. It simply reappears back where he found it.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' is positively drowning in these, notably Dean's deal with a crossroads demon to bring Sam BackFromTheDead, which he can't break or else Sam's life will be taken away again.
* In ''Series/TheTenthKingdom'', Wolf binds himself to do the queen's bidding, in return for his release from prison. He first accepts the contract eagerly, only later getting second thoughts, after it's too late to renege.
* [[MagnificentBastard Rumplestiltskin's]] deals in ''Series/OnceUponATime'' are the definition of this. Magic will severely punish anyone who breaks one of his contracts, which is made even more dangerous by the fact that he's a master of [[ExactWords exact words]] and his victims often fail to ReadTheFinePrint.
* In the ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' episode "Soul Possession," there was a magical contract saying Xena had to marry Ares. Xena escapes from him, so Ares later troubles Xena's modern day reincarnation Annie, since [[IdenticalGrandson they look identical]]. The contract could only be destroyed by Ares, so Xena/Annie tricks him into hitting it with a fireball.
* ''Series/TheMagicians'': Quentin agrees to make a contract with Alice as a niffin which is subject to "Word as bond", which neither of them can break. She finds ways to circumvent the contract's restrictions despite this.

* Music/TransSiberianOrchestra's RockOpera ''Beethoven's Last Night'' features such a contract between [[Music/LudwigVanBeethoven Beethoven]] and [[DealWithTheDevil Mephistopholes]], "which even Mephisto dare not violate" (not mentioned in the songs themselves, but [[AllThereInTheManual extrapolated in the album liner notes]]).
** They accomplished this by making the contract on the back of a page from the Bible. When in doubt, use Holy© for all your binding-contract needs!

* The ''Jade Regent'' RPG Actual Play podcasts from Podcast/{{RPGMP3}} feature a weapon called [[NamedWeapons Oathtaker]]. During their travels, the adventurers [[RobbingTheDead stumbled across]] this magical ''tetsubo'' (a [[CarryABigStick huge Oriental bludgeoning weapon]]). Apart from its obvious uses, it can also force people under a Blood Geas. It's currently wielded by Harold Shinken, who discovered that the Viking women of the [[GrimUpNorth Linnorm Kingdoms]] were [[ChickMagnet very impressed]] by the weapon's... [[PhallicWeapon craftsmanship]].
* One of the victims of Oathtaker's powers in the Podcast/{{RPGMP3}} podcasts, is a character called Skygni. He's a [[UpliftedAnimal magically Awakened]] [[KillItWithIce frost]]-[[BreathWeapon breathing]] [[AnIcePerson Winter]] [[SavageWolves Wolf]]. He swore a Blood Oath (under duress) to [[TokenEvilTeammate not eat people]]. Well, at least not the ones travelling with the heroes' caravan, anyway.

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The 2nd Edition ''Tome of Magic'' sourcebook had the Contracts of Nepthas. Anyone who breaks such a contract is struck deaf, dumb and blind. Ambiguities in the contract's language can be exploited.
** Sareshan Oaths in the ''Living Arcanis'' third party setting for 3/3.5 are another D&D example.
** And ''geas / quest'' and ''mark of justice'' can be construed to be a type of contract without paper, as well. Also, people don't have to agree to it, so you can just use it to force people to do your bidding. Though it has a ten minute cast time, so unless they're restrained you'll be long dead before you finish casting it.
** This is also what Devils are known to use; depending on the contract, once you sign, you're either going to Baator when you die OR you're going to have to make increasingly evil acts just to keep the benefits. Tearing up the contract isn't an option; there are ''always'' clauses that lead to the signer getting harmed if they do this.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', Eclipse Caste Solars can sanctify any sort of agreement to be magically enforced by Heaven.
** Moonshadow Caste Abyssals and Fiend Caste Infernals can do similar things - for the Moonshadows, it's enforced by the Neverborn, while for the Fiends it's enforced by the [[EldritchAbomination Yozis]]. This isn't entirely surprising, as both Moonshadows and Fiends are corrupted Eclipse Exaltations.
** The Perfect of Paragon can make these contracts as well. In fact, he requires them of anyone who wants to live in his city.
** The [[TheFairFolk raksha]], thanks to a quirk in their nature, must abide by their sworn word, or be cursed. They know this full well, and are very, /very/ good at exploiting loopholes. The raksha can also make adjurations, oaths that empower a raksha who swears to them, so long as the raksha fulfills their conditions.
* ''TabletopGame/InNomine'' has the Lilim, demons with the ability to read people's Needs (which really means wants most often) by looking in their eyes; if the Lilim can fullfil a target's Need she (Lilim are almost always female) gets a "hook" which she can later use to place a Geas on that person, forcing them to do a return favour or else suffer dissonance (for celestials) or physical harm (for humans). It is possible for a strong willed person to resist the Geas at the time when the Lilim tries to call in the return favour. They can also place a Geas on a willing target (including on themselves). Their Mother, Lilith, has the same abilities but her Geases cannot be resisted.
** ''TabletopGame/InNomineSatanisMagnaVeritas'' had Marc, archangel of trade, whose angels could sign a binding contract. Breaching the contract caused direct damage to the breacher. This is also present in the American version.
*** In one notable published scenario, Lilith and Marc make a deal with one another!
* ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'' has a borderline case with Pledges, supernaturally-enforced deals Changelings (and the True Fae) can strike with others. While the Pledge doesn't supernaturally force others to obey, most Pledges offer significant penalties, called Sanctions, which afflict an oathbreaker. These Sanctions can range from a -1 to all rolls, to owing the other party a favor, to death.
** This is also how Arcadia, land of the [[EldritchAbomination True Fae]], functions. If you're lost there, and you're cold, and you start a fire, the fire won't warm you. You don't have a contract for that. Water won't quench your thirst, because it doesn't know what it'll get in return. True Fae can use these contracts- and more importantly, the loopholes therein- to make things normal-ish for themselves.
*** There's also the so-called Goblin Pledges, which allow a changeling to make an impromptu deal with some aspect of the mundane world in exchange for a favour. Like asking the moonless night to hide you from your enemies, in exchange for you busting every streetlight you find for a month.
** The TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness' predecessor game, ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheDreaming'', had a similar mechanic. Characters could willingly swear Oaths to each other. An Oathbreaker not only was a pariah, but suffered serious game-mechanic based penalties as well. The Oaths functioned as magically binding verbal contracts.
** In ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'', Mages can use Fate magic to bind a person to their word. Such Oaths are permanant unless their terms are fulfilled or fairly powerful magic is used to break them. The Oath does have the advantage that it confers the benefit of giving the person so bound a potential boost of will to overcome anything that might prevent them from fulfilling it. However, if they break the Oath, they are permanantly blighted with a curse whose power is proportional to that of the mage who cast it. At higher levels, mages can bind people to Oaths that they didn't actually make.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'', if you manage to summon a demon (fairly easy) and control it (''not'' so easy), you can order it to do one task lasting up to one hour. The demon is bound to obey, but it will use any loopholes it is smart enough to think of, ''and'' get into as much trouble as possible along the way. Remember how we said EvilIsNotAToy.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Castle Falkenstein}}'' the Adversary and the rest of the Unseelie are bound by the Second Compact ''even though they were tricked into signing it'' by Auberon.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The infamous Blood Pact in ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn]]'' is a contract between a ruler and another party. The ruler can do whatever they please, but the other party can invoke the pact at any time, killing one person under the ruler's, um, rule on the first day, two on the second, and so on until they decide to stop. It can be broken, though. [[spoiler:Rip up the contract and kill one of the people who made it.]]
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemHeroes'', this is how [[BigBad Princess Veronica]] has Heroes work for her. The contract states that Heroes who are defeated by Veronica and her empire are to serve her. However, the contract becomes null and void once someone defeats them in battle.
* In Thage's path in ''VideoGame/EternalPoison'', she forces a magical contract upon adventurer-hunter Retica, preventing him from disobeying her wishes as she searches for the game's namesake MacGuffin.
* In ''VideoGame/GranblueFantasy'', Mithra's power forces any promise or contract made within its domain to be carried out to the letter, regardless of situation or laws of reality. This becomes a problem during the Golonzo Island arc when the Grandcypher is incapable of leaving the island until Rackam fulfills his promise.
* In ''VideoGame/Disgaea2CursedMemories'', demon summoning rituals are magically binding contracts that require an equivalent price to pay. This is how after the attempt to summoning [[BigBad Overlord Zenon]] [[spoiler:supposedly]] goes bad, Adell is stuck with Rozalin as a party member.
* Devils do this by the letter in ''VideoGame/GrimGrimoire'', Lillet Blan actually manages to get out of two; the first [[spoiler:by using MentalTimeTravel to before signing the contract]] and the second [[spoiler:by binding the Demon Lord to do something he would never, ever do: embrace God.]]
* A plot element in ''VideoGame/MagicalDiary''. Apparently the promise of a witch is ''always'' binding - break your word and you [[spoiler:lose your magic]]. Naturally nobody bothers to warn the PC of this until it's too late!
** They did warn her, but it was when she was thirteen and first learning about the magical world, and she forgets about it until [[spoiler: she breaks a promise and loses her magic.]]
* While ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' doesn't have the standard ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' ''geas'' as a usable spell, the echantment shows up a few times as a plot point.
** In the first game, there is a special quest where an assassin called Lothander shows up and informs you that if you help him get rid of the ''geas'' by which he is bound to serve [[TheSyndicate the Iron Throne]], he'll tell you how to heal the poison he and his partner have given your whole party that was meant to kill you in a few days to get you out of the Throne's way. The ''geas'' prevents him from looking for the way to opt out of it himself, but [[LoopholeAbuse not asking his "enemies" to get it for him]].
** In ''Shadows of Amn'', it turns out [[spoiler: Yoshimo]] is under a ''geas'' that obliges him to betray you to the BigBad, having agreed to the contract earlier when he didn't know what he was getting into.
** In ''Throne of Bhaal'', [[spoiler:Sarevok]] tells you that, in exchange for getting to join you, he can swear a special oath to stay loyal, which done in the Demiplane would due to the nature of the place act like a ''geas''.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Used in the third route of ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'', although agreeing to it leads to a bad end a while down the road.
** In the prequel ''LightNovel/FateZero'', [[spoiler:Kiritsugu forces Kayneth to sign a self-geas scroll to force Lancer to kill himself, otherwise Kiritsugu will execute Sola-Ui. Although the contract also prevents Kiritsugu from killing Kayneth and Sola-Ui, he uses LoopholeAbuse and has Maiya snipe them from afar once the deed has been done.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/JunipersKnot'', there is a magical effect that echoes off the chamber when the boy strikes a '''deal''' with the Fiend.

* In ''Webcomic/AvasDemon'' The pacts are a mix of this and [[DealWithTheDevil deal with the devil]]. This is why the pacts cannot be defied, because they have a built in [[TorturedMonster deterrent for anyone looking to break the rules]] although they can be [[ExactWords exact-worded a little.]]
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance''
** Spoofed in the Torg Potter parody of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire''
*** Anything the Goblet says is magically binding. Even when the commands are completely irrational and have nothing to do with the Tournament. Once Torg figures out how to manipulate the Goblet with Muggle methods, he's able to get it to apparently say that Gandledorf has to sit on a cactus for the tournament's entire duration. The only visible power the contracts have is that everyone obeys them, so a fake one works as well as a real one.
*** Worse yet, a wizard's name in itself is a magical binding contract, compelling the wizard in question to do whatever their name implies, which is why many wizards tend to change their name. Gandeldorf's name was allegedly Grad-fondle.
** Played straight (in "The Circle") with the contract between Lysinda Circle and Strakoistrat vampires: the Strakoi have a magically binding contract that without Lysinda's direct permission, no more than one of them can set foot in the New World. If they try to come within more than a few feet of land, the magic will repulse them.
* In ''Webcomic/WakeTheSleepers'', the Assassin Madoc enters into a contract to [[spoiler:assassinate Locke]], which when bound by a ''BloodOath'' binds him to complete the task.
* ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'' has [[http://archives.erfworld.com/Book%203/30 literal magical contracts,]] complete with lawyer-speak and magically enforced clauses. A non-disclosure agreement literally prevents you from talking about which you are forbidden.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* 'Sorcerer's contracts' in the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'' are this trope. Although, for humans, reneging is possible, just with unknown consequences. For more magical beings, it's literally unbreakable. They're even binding when the agreement is extracted from an unaware party through trickery or coercion, with some students not above using such tactics against others.
** However, there are loopholes in the system. Carmilla wriggles out of another student's attempt to hold her to a similar contract because what she signed with wasn't her actual signature, and was in fact a disguised 'Hell No'.
*** Note that Carmilla's was actually the related 'DealWithTheDevil' trope, and it's repeatedly pointed out that Jobe should have gotten someone else to look over the contract. It's stated he got LUCKY in regards to dealing with a demon.
** Sorcerers' contracts can be formed by literally just shaking hands, and can be verbal.
** There is also the Fool's Circle: a magical circle which traps you inside it if you willingly enter. You do not have to agree to what is going to happen to you: you might do so because the magician is lying about the spell they will cast, or you might enter with a friend held at gunpoint. It doesn't matter. You voluntarily entered, case closed. Which is why students who learn about magic are told of the dangers.
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'', [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-2221 SCP-2221 ("A Friendly Agreement")]]. SCP-2221 is a EULA (End User License Agreement) that causes people who agree to it to become religious extremists. It does not affect anyone who is legally unable to form a contract (young children, mentally incompetent, slaves and D-Class personnel).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'': [[Series/PerryMason Fairy]] [[PunnyName Mason]] helps Timmy make [[GenieInABottle Norm the Genie]] sign one so he'll grant Timmy's last wish without any loopholes.
-->'''Norm''': [[BeatThemAtTheirOwnGame I hate being outjerked!]]
** Flappy Bob signs a contract with the Pixies to restore the Learn-a-torium and make the world dull and boring while the Pixies take over Fairy World. When Flappy learns the Pixies were manipulating him all along, he exploits a loophole in the contract to make everything back to normal. The contract states that Earth should be safe and happy "as defined by Flappy Bob," so Flappy changes his definition to "everything being the way it's supposed to be". The Pixies then have no choice but to remove the boredom from everywhere in Dimmsdale (except the school) and return Fairy World to fairy control.
** All fairies are also magically bound by ''Da Rules'' -- a huge, Federal Code-sized book of, as its titles says, rules that fairies (ex. can only grant wishes to kids) and their kids (ex. lose your godparents if you ever tell anyone about them) must follow. Fairies are incapable of granting any wish forbidden by Da Rules, such as [[ThouShaltNotKill killing someone]], [[ThePowerOfLove making someone fall in love with you]], or free money (because stealing and counterfeiting are crimes) -- if they try, their wands sputter out. If a wish ever screws the world up badly enough, a new rule against granting such a wish can be created. On the flip side, unless it violated Da Rules, fairies are also bound to do ''anything'' their kid prefaces with the words "I wish," no matter how ill-advised.