For those who don't know, Damage is a illegal betting game where you bet not with money, but with Lives, who are people kept strapped to electric chairs. When a player lose a Life, this Life was electrocuted and killed.

Apparently, you can volunteer yourself to be one of the Lives for a particular player. There's even a recruiter that went around asking people if they wanted to be Lives. Why would anyone want to?

  • It might help to keep in mind the pure size of the populations which a rich, powerful entity in the universe could afford to sift through in search of the depressed or impressionable. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


When you dismiss the fact that people in any time period are suicidal (the book mentions that some Lives come from asylums), there are still a couple of reasons given or implied within the text. It is explicitly stated that

members of the Despondent sect could be persuaded to become Lives, either for free or for a donation to their cause.

There is an implication earlier in that paragraph that the Lives get some kind of share of any winnings, and might even be allowed out of prison sentences in order to participate:

...Players, like Kraiklyn, had the sweepings of prisons and asylums, and a few paid depressives who had willed their share of any proceeds to someone else.

Lastly, there are:

the moties: victims of the game's emotional fall-out; mind-junkies who only exist to lap at the crumbs of ecstasy and anguish falling from the lips of their heroes, the Players of the Game...

The closer you are to the Game, the more pronounced the effect of the emotional feedback you feel; it's not difficult to imagine from the portrayal of "moties" that some of them might have found the only way they could continue to get the "fix" was to get right into the game itself, as a Life.

  • I see. Makes sense if they actually get something out of it, like a share of the winnings or something.
    – liewl
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 19:49

I don't recall any official explanation. My take on it was it was a sign of the society the games existed in - people could have anything, do anything. It led to a boredom for some people, so they would gamble their lives on something as pedestrian as a (in essence) poker game.

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