Remember Bob the Wizard from this question? Well, Joe's annoyed him one too many times. However, he can't kill him the normal way, so he's decided he's going to hire a demon to kill him.

Bob knows all about demons, though, and he definitely doesn't want to meet one face-to-face. He's decided to talk with this demon over the magic-net. He still needs the demon to do some killing for him, but demons are Chaotic Evil creatures, and don't take kindly to bargains. Without meeting the demon face-to-face, he can't use a Binding spell to capture the demon, so how can Bob the Wizard convince a demon to do the killing for him?

Some clarifications:

  • The demon is evil, and its goal is to cause as much pain and suffering for the world as possible. This aligns with Bob's goals.
  • The demon doesn't care about materialistic or physical rewards, just causing suffering.
  • The demon cares about self-preservation.
  • Bob doesn't want the demon to kill anyone but Joe, and would prefer no collateral damage, although he can live with it.
  • Bob cannot harm the demon physically or magically.
  • Bob has no control over the demon except what he can muster through words & rewards.
  • $\begingroup$ A difficult question to answer without knowing the sort of control Bob has over the demon. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Dec 29, 2021 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ Why can't they harm the demon physically or magically? $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Dec 29, 2021 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ @NepeneNep Demons in my world are protected magically by a spell cast by various Abyssal Lords a few millenia back. $\endgroup$ Dec 29, 2021 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ Where does the demon come from - is it somewhere it can easily cause pain and suffering? Can Bob send it back, bind it there for good? (I guess that if the answer is yes then you've got your answer). We could do with more background details filled in else it's guesswork as to what might be a best answer. $\endgroup$ Dec 29, 2021 at 22:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is the Wizard practicing social distancing? $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2021 at 22:26

7 Answers 7


Trap Joe with the Demon

When summoning a demon, it is common to summon them into some manner of binding circle. These circles do not harm the demons, but they do put a magical safety net between you and the demon. While in this circle, a wizard would typically interact with the demon to try to gain control over it, bargain with it, etc. Once the wizard has control or has struct a deal, he can release the demon from the circle and hopefully the demon will do what he wants. However, Bob does not want to actually have to meet the demon he is summoning because you can never actually be sure that you have successfully dominated a demon until you let it out, and since they are Chaotic (not lawful), you can not really trust them to honor any deal you strike.

Instead, Bob decides to skip the whole gaining control part of the spell. So he buys a few extra kilos of summoner's salt an proceeds to draw a large summoning circle around Joe's entire home while he sleeps... yes a summoning circle this big is more expensive, but totally worth it. He then summons the demon into the circle... and just walks away. The chaotic evil nature of the demon alone is enough that once the demon finds Joe trapped with it, all alone and defenseless, the demon will surely kill him of its own free will.

Since Bob wants to eliminate collateral damage, he can of course not keep the demon trapped there forever since the first good rain would damage the circle; so, when he comes back a few hours later, he simply banishes the demon from behind the safety of his circle, and everyone (except Joe) is able to just go about their lives.


Gather information about the psychological hang ups of the locals.

You need bargaining information to help the demon cause more pain. The more you have the better.

You should also research the demon, so you can tailor the information to them.

Find an emergency to get everyone out of the village.

You need some reason that everyone could leave the village. You can use other spells or tricks to keep Joe in place. This will help minimize the damage.

Find the demon and rant to them.

The demon doesn't like to bargain, but they do like to maximize suffering. Tell them about Joe and the neighbors and how to best hurt them, and offer them a chance to hurt them.

Release the demon, and be ready to send monsters to disable them if they go far beyond the village.

Hopefully it works. What could go wrong?


Look, if there's one thing Covid's taught us... everyone hates video meetings. They're awful, somehow more so than the regular sort, and anyone who says otherwise is playing Minecraft with the video turned off and their microphone muted.

Demons are no different. It might even be that they are tortured in Hell with constant video meetings. (Side note: design experiment to test whether I'm actually in Hell.)

So, he's just gotta meet face to face. Good salesman will tell you that they do most of their business with a handshake. I'm not suggesting the wizard do that literally, but for a bargain of this magnitude it has to happen. They have to meet physically. No self-respecting demon is going to give Bob the time of day unless he's willing to sit down at a table (or stand at a crossroads) and make his pitch. It may be technically true that the demon is the one selling the service here, but like any good tradesman, the demon has more than enough customers, while Bob only has the one demon who will sell him this service (a classic monopoly). This wizard has to cater to the demon, not the other way around.

If you were selling something that's in-demand, so much that you have no free time, are you going to go out of your way for someone who places a telephone order?

It wouldn't be bad if they got to know each other. To appreciate what they have in common, their desire for the utter despair of the Abyss. Their soul-deadening diabolical nature, their yearning to crush all hope. To see that this is much more than just a business deal, but almost a favor from one friend to another. This is how deals were done in an earlier time. This is the sort of deal Bob needs to strive to make. He needs to put on his best clothes, head over to the desolate crossroads at the witching hour, and to make sure that he has a pen inked with his own blood ready to go (if you have to ask the other guy for his, are you even serious about the Faustian contract?!). He needs to look straight ahead with shoulders tall and straight, not shuffle to the meeting with eyes downcast.

Any Wall Street hedge fund manager will tell you this is how deals with devils. There are like at least a dozen books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble that lay it out in better detail than I can. Though, I thought this site was supposed to be about fiction questions.


Maybe not a direct answer to your question, but an alternative would be to

Use an intermediary

There might be an agency, or some individuals, who are willing to perform this dangerous task, in return for a (rather high) fee. It's not unlike the real world; high-level criminals almost never send orders to contract killers directly (but that's mainly because they fear being exposed).

  • $\begingroup$ You could double up on this - make Joe the intermediary to make a deal with a demon. Then just wait. $\endgroup$ May 14, 2022 at 3:42

Make a deal, demon are known for making deals. Offer him the soul of his first born and second born, and then never have kids. This way even if he doesn't like to deal he has incentive to keep him alive until he has children. Remember the demon wants to hurt and kill any ways. So he shouldnt be very demanding, since your essential paying him to do what he would normally do for free.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It isn't wise to enter a treat with a demon offering something that you are not intending to provide. $\endgroup$
    – Ángel
    Dec 30, 2021 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ Well it isn't wise to summon a demon at all, were way past wisdom might as well embrace recklessness. $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2022 at 13:06

Bob sends the following message to the demon:

"Greetings demon. Know that I, Joe the Good, defend [Joe's town] from evil with my trusty dagger, so stay away from our puppy orphanage. Signed, Joe."


Five Star Reviews

How do you know an unknown seller will meet the terms of an agreement? Just look online for a list of anonymous reviews. The demon Hor'Glabrethor the Blood Gobbler has 4.7 out of 5 stars.

That means Bob is confident the demon will meet the bargain. That is provided of course Bob offers a fitting sacrifice.

For a job like this, the standard sacrifice is the life of a child or loved one. Demons like these sorts of things because they cause suffering to the sacrificer. Sometimes they are happy for you to sacrifice your reputation or maybe just a limb or an eyeball.

The demon wants to keep the bargain because they get:

(a) The initial suffering of the sacrifice.

(b) The suffering to the victim and their family.

(c) Several more generations of suffering when Joe's family discover who done it, and the resulting murder feud between the two families.

(d) Positive reviews, which means most bargains in the future.


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