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The idea that human beings can make contract with some kind of supernatural evil (or just supernatural, not necessarily evil) has been floating around for what seems to be the span of written history. However, what service could a human being offer in exchange for the benefit they receive?

"Their souls" would seem like a cop-out.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by AndreiROM, Bellerophon, Aify, Azuaron, DaaaahWhoosh Jan 9 '17 at 19:56

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Seems to me like you're not giving us any information to go on, which is also a cop-out. Are we supposed to make up what demons or supernatural entities exist and don't exist, figure out what drives them, then explain how human beings come into the picture for you? To try and bring this question within scope you should: 1) Outline which entities exist, and how they interact with one another. 2) Outline what powers they have, and how those powers can be used on our world 3) Tell us of any restrictions which exist on interactions between mortals and supernatural beings. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jan 9 '17 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ If you're talking about Christianity, then "their souls" is really the only answer. If you're not talking about Christianity, then you really need to specify what you are talking about. $\endgroup$ – Azuaron Jan 9 '17 at 19:28
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Their creativity

A common trait of deities and demons is that they are immortal. A downside to immortality - there's nothing to push you to develop new ideas, art, or technology. While a demon may not need such ideas, they may crave novelty but be unable to generate it themselves. Thus they set themselves up as patrons of arts and science, drinking in the new ideas of these brief and changeable mortals like wine.

Their service

Being immortal, these beings would have no problem setting in motion plans and schemes that play out over generations of human lives. They might value a mortal doing some apparently insignificant service for them, which will contribute to some grand scheme that has been building for generations.

Their perspective

This is more or less an expansion on their ideas, but a supernatural immortal entity might well find that conversation with a mortal shows them new ways of looking at things that they would never have come up with by themselves.

Their belief

It's a common trope in fantasy that some supernatural beings only exist and only have power if they're believed in. A demon or deity could well chose to grant boons to mortals simply as evidence of their existence and their power, to sway belief in their direction and grant them greater power and prestige.

Their slood

This is the great power source of creation, slightly easier to discover than fire, only slightly harder to discover than water. The Ds of course know about it, and mortals are just full of it, but the Ds can't drain it if the mortals find out about it and start using it themselves. Thus, they keep us busy and distracted with baubles like kingdoms and empires and antibiotics and stardrives to keep us from discovering slood.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for an excellent answer. Wish I could give you another +1 for the slood which is a great concept! $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Jan 9 '17 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ @HenryTaylor Thanks, but slood isn't my concept - it's Terry Pratchett's, though he never defined it in any more detail than "stuff that's easier to discover than fire, harder to discover than water". Slood. I should probably edit to reflect that, but I was in a hurry when I first posted :) $\endgroup$ – Werrf Jan 9 '17 at 18:30
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Possession of a corporeal body so that they can interact with our world and enjoy our sensations. Sometimes that possession doesn't require constant domination, just the human's willingness to have the entity ride along as an unseen observer. In other times, they will want to hold the reigns and make some or all of the human's life decisions for them. It all depends on what is being bargained for, and how good the human is at haggling.

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"Evulz". http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ForTheEvulz

They could simply enjoy it. Being an eternal being can be boring and they may just want to mess with us like a mischievous child with a magnifying glass burning insects. Simple sadism plus a desire to be entertained.

Along that line, they may make deals with humans to cause strife and feed from the negative emotions from all the hate and anguish that is stirred up. Think "psychic vampire" with a twist. They make deals, twist the intent to cause strife, then feed off of the strife.

Blood is life

Blood or human sacrifice enables them to become corporeal on earth. In echange for such a sacrifice, the Ds will reward their human agents with power. Of course, they may ultimately be rewarded in a was that a traitor deserves.....

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