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Old 03-31-2023, 07:42 AM   #11
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
[*]They're a point of status competition in the underworld. Souls are themselves without practical use, but acquiring them is prestigious.
It's possible that demons just want prestige for its own sake; they're egotistical. But another variant is that prestige itself is useful. It could just be the straight-up fuel for magical power. Or it might give a demon more sway with other demons -- think politicians -- or might let them acquire more "currency" of whatever form -- think luxury brands charging more simply because they're more prestigious. This makes souls indirectly valuable for a number of reasons suggested upthread. The souls per se might have no value, but having them leads to prestige, which in its turn is valuable.

If souls are tradeable between demons, then they become essentially currency. So it might be more interesting to decide that souls can't be swapped between demons. They have to personally earn each and every one they keep on their string. So at least some of the prestige comes from the metaphysical proof that a demon has been putting in the work, outsmarting mortals to get their souls. Other demons might want to learn from the masters to get better at reaping their own string of souls, or serve just for some reflected glory or gang identity.
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Old 03-31-2023, 12:12 PM   #12
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

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Originally Posted by LiamEvans210 View Post
Basically, what the title says.

In most game cosmologies it's pretty much a given that the denizens of the infernal planes are very interested in collecting the souls of mortals (whatever that means), but why?
Depends on the metaphysics of the setting.

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The whole trope comes (I assume) from stereotypical christian theology/mythology, where it is largely a matter of petty spite, the Devil wanting to hurt God the only way he can, by hurting mortals. That a a little bit of misery loves company.
That not quite what happened there in many Christian theologies.


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But in a world where demons and devils can be fought physically, there are multiple gods and they can be communicated with, and traveling to hell or the abyss or whatever to battle the forces of darkness is an option (at least for some), that reason doesn't seem like it really works.

So why? What do the extra planar powers gain by gathering souls?
Like I said it depends on the metaphysics. If one goes with the vaguely Christian view of demons and devils then we are talking about irrational beings who have spiritually maimed themselves to the point where they are incapable of doing good.

If one views demons and devils as Miltonian anti-heroes then the reasons stems from how magic works in the setting. In short there is a reason but it's exact nature is a result of the handwavium that underlies the supernatural and magical aspects of the setting.

In my take
https://www.batintheattic.com/downlo...20Servants.pdf

In my metaphysics, demons are what they are because they spiritually maimed themselves in pursuit of dominating creation. Their actions are the spiritual equivalent of putting your hand in a open flame and keeping it there despite knowing that something that you really shouldn't do normally.

The reason souls come to them is a result of doing evil acts maiming one's soul. Do this enough times without any type of healing (penance, seeking enlightenment, etc.) that upon death the individual soul naturally falls into the Abyss. Afterwhich the odds are likely that the newly arrived soul will be enslaved by a more powerful demon. For whatever demented reason the demon cooks up for itself.

As for interacting with mortals, demons are spiritually instance in my setting. They corrupt mortals because they can for whatever demented reason the individual demons cooks up for themself.

I am sharing this as an example of when there isn't an explicit advantage for demons to gain souls. Like souls being a magical resource or something similar.
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Old 03-31-2023, 02:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

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So I ask you all, what are some other options? What are some reasons why Demons and Devils (and the gods too) are interested in souls?
They don't know why they do it either, it's an instinctive thing like magpies and shiny things.
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Old 03-31-2023, 05:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

In my version, demons gain sustenance and power from tearing a soul apart. The actual collection method ran something like a multilevel marketing, with low level demons hoping to collect enough souls for the boss that they get moved up and a bigger share of the energy. Of course, being demons, they weren't above stabbing one another in the back, but that's risky when dealing with beings that aren't easy to permanently kill.
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Old 03-31-2023, 10:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

I'm reminded of the Lovecraftian joke "Jesus loves you, but Cthulhu thinks you taste like chicken".

Maybe some demons just like consuming them, much to the chagrin of those that are status conscious and into collecting souls etc
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Old 04-01-2023, 08:31 AM   #16
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

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I'm reminded of the Lovecraftian joke "Jesus loves you, but Cthulhu thinks you taste like chicken".

Maybe some demons just like consuming them, much to the chagrin of those that are status conscious and into collecting souls etc
Either of those opens the option of some souls being more desirable than others - either because they taste better or because they are more interestingly collectable. "And here is my prize possession, a 5th century BC priest of Hera who violated his king's hospitality to commit multiple adulteries...."
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Old 04-01-2023, 02:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

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either because they taste better or because they are more interestingly collectable
Or both, like a wine cellar full of bottles that are too rare and expensive to actually drink. (If they're even still good...)
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Old 04-01-2023, 05:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

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Maybe some demons just like consuming them, much to the chagrin of those that are status conscious and into collecting souls etc
Or it's basically the ultimate example of Conspicuous Consumption, as such demons are literally eating money. I think there was a similar effect in South America, where cacao beans were used as currency, and the upper crust outright consumed said currency as chocolate (typically drinking rather than eating, but the same effect). So lesser demons typically just use souls as currency, but the higher-ranked ones can afford to eat them as a delicacy.
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Old 04-02-2023, 06:44 AM   #19
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

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literally eating money. I think there was a similar effect in South America, where cacao beans were used as currency
Edible gold is a thing. Recently, it became popular in Japan back in the 80s, and they still like to decorate food that way. But it goes back at least to the ancient Egyptians.
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Old 04-02-2023, 12:30 PM   #20
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Default Re: Why do demons and devils want souls?

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Or it's basically the ultimate example of Conspicuous Consumption, as such demons are literally eating money. I think there was a similar effect in South America, where cacao beans were used as currency, and the upper crust outright consumed said currency as chocolate (typically drinking rather than eating, but the same effect). So lesser demons typically just use souls as currency, but the higher-ranked ones can afford to eat them as a delicacy.
Ah, so similar to the potlatch tradition around the Salish Sea region. When a tribe wanted to impress their neighbors, they'd invite the neighbors over for a huge feast, at which the hosting tribe would go on to burn large portions of their wealth to show off how much they could afford to lose. Some tribes impoverished themselves trying to prove how rich they were.
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