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Hell is the bottomless realm that devils occupy, which exists alongside the material world of humans. This realm is further broken up into infinite mini-realms, each with their own type of devils, as well as souls of damned humans that have descended to that particular realm corresponding to their sins. Living humans can make pacts with devils by summoning them from their realm to the material world. This is done through an ancient ritual involving transmutation circles, which serve as a "landing pad" for the devil to enter into. The creature cannot pass the barrier of the circle, which exists as a temporal pocket dimension within its own mini-reality, keeping the human safe from the devil on the other side. There, a human can bargain with the creature, asking for their heart's desire in exchange for services. This system of dealmaking has survived for many millennia, with mages and devils working together to fulfill basic wants and needs. The purpose of this for the denizens of hell is to make deals with humans in order to gain as many souls as possible for their particular realm. A consistent stream of souls to torture provides fuel and power for their realm, allowing those denizens to become stronger. Souls can also be used to barter with other realms as a form of currency. Therefore, devils are incentivized to spread their services far and wide as quickly as they can. Lately however, the system has ironically begun to cause many deficiencies to take root, hurting business overall.

This is mostly due to magic becoming more cosmopolitan in recent generations. In the old days, magic was localized and in the hands of relatively few mages, with only a handful willing to barter with devils. Thus, pacts were only made a few times a year. With the knowledge of magic being spread much more widely today, everyone and their mother wants to sell their soul to a devil in exchange for a luxurious lifestyle. Humans are covetous and greedy, desiring to gain money and power in the easiest and fastest way possible. Denizens of Wall Street, such as hedge fund managers and bankers, are frequent customers of pacts, making their souls some of the most prized among devils. This has led to an economic boom within hell, increasing output tenfold. However, the amount of business has led to a slowdown in response time, making it more difficult for devils to respond to a summoning. When the spell is activated, it can take years or even decades for a devil to cross the border into the material world to even take the request. By then, the original casters have long since died or have moved on, denying the devil the opportunity to make a pact and claim a soul.

With Wi-Fi, everyone in the vicinity can get access to the internet, with service potentially slowing down depending on the amount of people on a particular network at one particular moment. However, this shouldn't be a factor because hell is an infinite place with an infinite amount of denizens eager to be at a human's beck and call. Summonings are happening all across the world in different timezones, calling on devils in various realms. Certainly there should be no lag in service such as what is occurring now. How can this be the case?

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    $\begingroup$ How does WiFi suddenly play into this pact-making? And I take it you mean "deficiencies" instead of "efficiencies" (and "ten fold")? $\endgroup$
    – Joachim
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Joachim I was making An analogy. $\endgroup$
    – Incognito
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ On your deathbed, @Incognito, I hope you'll will over to me all your stories. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ It's your world you get to make up the reasons stuff happen. As written this looks like an open ended question where you're asking for us to brainstorm and generate ideas for you. Can you instead try to do the brainstorming yourself and ask us for help with any specific challenges you face. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings I gave up on getting Incognito to ask objective questions years ago. He/she is immune to the requests and punishments. If the Qs were less well developed and less interesting, I'd still be harping on the worldbuilder... but they're so dang interesting. Nevertheless, more power to you. Maybe he'll/she'll listen to you. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 21:07

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/ A consistent stream of souls to torture provides fuel and power for their realm/

Red tape

Red tape is an idiom referring to regulations or conformity to formal rules or standards which are claimed to be excessive, rigid or redundant, or to bureaucracy claimed to hinder or prevent action or decision-making. It is usually applied to governments, corporations, and other large organizations. Things often described as "red tape" include filling out paperwork, obtaining licenses, having multiple people or committees approve a decision and various low-level rules that make conducting one's affairs slower, more difficult, or both

Administrative and legislative bodies charged with overseeing Hell have in recent decades become very interested in summoning because of the benefits this can bring to the various sections and subsections of Hell. Regulations have been made to ensure individual entities do not benefit without contributing an appropriate share to the plane and also to administrative bodies and service providers associated with the plane and whose actions putatively benefit the entity involved in the summoning. Licenses are issued regulating which entities can participate, with whom and how often / to what end. Forms must be filled out in advance laying out exactly what sort of transactions will take place, with copies of these forms filed with each applicable administrative body. These forms are updated as established deals proceed. One must take care not to use an old version of one of the forms and only the most recent update. Certain types of summoning must take place from certain areas in Hell and so demonic entities interested in participating in such summonings must formally establish residence or work permit in the correct areas; a percentage of the proceeds also is due to the demonic entity's area of origin and also lesser percentages to other areas in which this entity holds permits which includes permits for the general type of summoning performed but also lesser percentages if there are permits for other activities involving humans and / or other sentient beings.

One might think that a multitiered and byzantine bureaucracy such as Hell maintains would be a setup for graft, paying a bribe to bypass the requirements and get on with it. Not at all. Probably in the Abyss they do it that way, or any slipshod ad hoc they can get away with. Hell has laws. The residents of Hell are expected to abide by them. They make things take longer.

/A consistent stream of souls to torture/ Not all of these souls are human. Torture comes in many flavors.

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Bottlenecks / Bandwidth

Whilst the Material Plane is large, and the Hells are infinite, there are a limited number of places where the passage between the realms is possible.

Previously this wasn't an issue, as only a few devils had to travel back and forth to serve the limited demands of mortal sorcerers.

However, as demand has skyrocketed, more and more devils are trying to pass into the mortal realm, causing massing bottleneck issues at the few places where passage is possible.

Perhaps there's even fighting/competition for the right to get through, either through other devils, or their angelic counterparts attempting to stem the tide.

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    $\begingroup$ Even Hell needs to invest more in public transit. $\endgroup$
    – Telastyn
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 18:57
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Mergers.

When the market first came into existence, it was open, with lots of competation. Savvy customers could get away with murder, write up deals with escape clauses or tedious waits for somebody to say "linger on, sweet moment, thou art so fair."

But like with social media or internet delivery, some firms got bigger than others. How one infinite firm can be bigger than another is something I should leave to the mathematicians, but at least their finite orders on Earth were different in size. And you know what that means...

  1. The big firms buy up their smaller competitors, so that:

  2. ...they can lay off most of the workers

  3. ...and jack up the price!

The remaining workers endure "hellish" conditions, and the customers have much longer waits to talk to a representative. You would think that would reduce business, but here's the thing: the number of souls they have to pay is hard to increase, so the customers have to make extra payment in kind by being enlisted for self-service. To even get to make a deal, they have to fill out the survey, update the company Wiki, perhaps strangle someone to fulfill someone else's deal, and of course, like the company on Facebook. So the customers still get their technical support from one another - it's just not from an official company source, so if something goes wrong, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

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Warping of time

Possibly space as well, but time is the major factor. The advent of demonic power on the mortal plane warps time so that it passes faster or slower or something. What the humans object to as lags are situations where it slows for them.

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Duplicate IP addresses

Humanity only knows a dozen distinct summoning spells. Nowadays chances are your spell will be identical with another spell on the other side of the Disc.

Two identical spells means any devil who answers the summons will have their essence torn in two. This means permanent death for a devil and is a closely guarded secret. As we all know any devil killed the old fashioned way eventually reforms in the Hells.

Perhaps the spell requires naming the Devil to be summoned and humanity knows only a dozen different names.

Perhaps there are Words of Power on the edge of the summoning circle that assign an IP address to the circle. If two circles with the same address exist they correspond to the same pocket universe. Only the universe now has two separate components and the summoning spells render the Devil into two separate components.

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Resource Constraints are Real

No matter the system, there are always resource constraints in our world. As the resource utilization closes in on 100%, the ability to allocate resources for the next request gets more difficult. This often shows up as a slow-down/traffic jam. Computers do that all the time. Traffic jams are another example.

Shortages Drive Up Prices

When there's more demand than there is supply, prices go up. What's a little market manipulation to a demon? Those that have a lot of souls have every reason to slow down the supply of new ones.

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