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Playing With / Deal with the Devil

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Basic Trope: A character sells their soul, independence or something extremely important to Satan (or a similarly 'evil' or 'trickster' mythological figure or a mundane powerful and corrupt slimeball) in exchange for something else.

  • Straight: Bob wants to be a millionaire and win the love of Alice, so he sells his soul to Satan to achieve this.
  • Exaggerated: Bob wants to be omnipotent ruler of the world, so he sells his soul and the souls of everyone he knows and loves to Satan.
  • Downplayed:
    • Bob rents his soul for trivial and short-term gains.
    • Bob makes a deal with a being who is while not actively malicious, has a Blue and Orange Morality and can be dangerous because of that.
    • Bob operates a restaurant and makes a deal with The Don to obtain funds for its expansion and to destroy the competition, in exchange for his allegiance.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
    • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?
    • Satan tries to sell human souls to Bob.
    • Bob instead decides to make a Bargain with Heaven, selling his soul to The Big Man Upstairs.
    • Satan tries to buy some much needed coal and pitchforks from Bob, but doesn't have any money on hand.
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    • Bob is the mightiest sorcerer in the lands, and coerces Satan into giving him his power in exchange for his aid.
    • Bob ends up making a deal with a demon named Alice. Instead of Bob getting corrupted or damned for eternity, Alice turns good and becomes an Ascended Demon, and decides to free all of the souls she has ever taken.
  • Subverted:
    • Satan offers Bob anything he wants in exchange for his soul. Bob decides it's not worth it and refuses.
    • Satan makes the offer to Bob, who goes through with it... But Satan is acting as an agent for God who has made this into a test for Bob, where what he does with his gifts matters, to see if he is worthy of having his soul at all.
    • Satan (or some sort of demon) makes a bargain with Bob, which turns out to be fairly benign in execution; say, Bob's soul only becomes Satan's post-death, giving Bob ample time to enjoy what he bargained for before the payment is due.
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    • Bob offers to sell Satan his soul in exchange for some favor, but Satan refuses on the grounds that he'll likely get Bob's soul anyway.
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied:
    • Satan and various other groups end up getting into a bidding war over Bob's soul.
    • Bob is an lawyer, and forces Satan into signing a legally binding contract, which ensures that it won't backfire on Bob in any way at all.
    • Bob sells his soul for something ridiculously trivial (such as a doughnut), which he probably could have just gotten cheaply or for free anyway. Even the buyer is appalled by his supreme lack of ambition/intelligence.
    • Bob and Satan make a deal, only for Satan to realize too late that Bob never had a soul to begin with, causing Satan to look for ways to get out of the deal so as not to get ripped off.
    • Bob sells his soul to Satan for a wish that he will make at a later date. Happy at getting Bob's soul, Satan goes to Las Vegas and gets a hangover, but is pleased nonetheless. At a later date, Bob eventually makes his wish, but Satan realizes that the wish is way bigger than he can handle. Due to the Vegas trip, Satan neither has Bob's soul to refund nor the resources to grant the wish, since he lost it all while gambling. Because of legal matters, Satan has to fix this mess; because otherwise he'll either become Bob's eternal slave, get himself fired by Hell's bureaucracy, or both. To fix it, Satan concocts a Zany Scheme which involves lots of cardboard, and ironically a Deal with Cthulhu.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob is presented with the chance to sell his soul to Good Ol' Mr. Lucy and chooses not to do it, only to succumb to temptation later and seek Professor Pitchfork out, but when it comes right down to it, Bob just can't go through with it after all.
  • Averted: Bob doesn't make a deal with Satan.
  • Enforced: "We need to show how Bob's ambition makes him a bad guy. Have him sell his soul."
  • Lampshaded: Satan produces 'the standard contract' and remarks that he's been able to fine-tune it over millennia.
  • Invoked: Satan has been using his influence to nudge Bob into a position where he is open to making a deal in exchange for his soul.
  • Exploited:
  • Defied:
    • Bob is devoutly religious and refuses to consider the possibility of dealing with Satan.
    • Satan refuses to make the deal, telling Bob that if he's willing to make a deal with the devil, he'll probably be going to hell anyways.
    • Bob is soulless so cant make deals with the devil
    • *punt* Santa! not Satan!"
  • Discussed: Satan remarks that there's been a drop-off in people approaching him to make deals for their souls.
  • Conversed: "You'd think that people would suspect that making a literal deal with the Devil is going to end badly and be a bit more hesitant, but nope..."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob is incredibly sympathetic, and sells his soul to save his dying wife Alice, despite knowing the cost to himself... but without a soul, he's a monster who kills her anyway.
    • Satan's obsession with pointlessly backstabbing everyone he deals with means that over time fewer and fewer people are willing to enter into deals with him, until he eventually runs out of the souls he needs.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Bob sells his soul to save his dying wife, Alice. Without a soul, Bob becomes a monster for a moment and attempts to strangle Alice. However, his soul's good nature wins through and fights it's way free of the devil's grip and back to him. This earns the Devil's ire, and Bob has to deal with a curse of some sort - but he's happy as long as Alice is alive.
    • Bob makes a deal with a demon of the Dark Is Not Evil persuasions; as such, the deal is more of the Bargain with Heaven variety despite its demonic nature. The demon provides whatever Bob requests at either a cost stipulated by Bob or a cost that is minimal for Bob to pay; his soul might even be a non-issue in the exchange, and the cost might be something else - say, a century of service as the cost when Bob's request is immortality. The end result is a great deal of costumer satisfaction, and a faustian bargain being portrayed as widely a positive thing, thus providing incentive for others to fellow suit.
    • The entire thing is a Secret Test of Character. That Bob wishes for unworthy things for the high prices the Devil asks for reveals his own short-sightedness. Once Bob realizes this and starts wishing for worthier things, the bargains turn out to be Worth It.
  • Played For Laughs: After the deal, Satan takes pleasure in ensuring that Bob's deal backfires in as humorous a fashion as possible.
  • Played For Drama: Bob is gradually corrupted by his deal with Satan, being reduced to ever more vile acts of depravity, and forcing Alice to find a way to try and void the contract with Satan.

Hey, you there. Want to get back to Deal with the Devil? Old Nick here will be happy to arrange it — for a price...

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