The PCs will enter a chamber in the dungeon and the doors will lock. A sleeping gas then fills the chamber, knocking the PC's out.. when they awake, they find themselves in a large sound proofed prison cell, bound and gagged in front of the head baddie without their weapons.
The head baddie tells them what is going on.
'Outside there 10 large chests. Each contains one set of your weapons. But don't be fooled by the pictures. They have been randomly placed.
I am going to let you out one at a time. While you are outside, you can look inside any 5 chests before my minions take you to the next cell. The chests will then be closed again for the next person.
You cannot touch the weapons or in anyway communicate what you find to the others. No marking the chests, no shouting, NOTHING! If each of you can find your own weapons, then I will fight you. Otherwise I am booting you back to the entrance of the dungeon with your stuff and you have to do this all over again.
You have three minutes to think about it before we begin.'
The baddie then exits the cell and locks the door.
HINTS: 'Do you think they will figure out the best way to do this?'
'I don't know. Will they?'
'Well if any of them are familiar with the Prisoner Box Riddle they should recognize this situation and that there is a method with a greater then 35% chance of success for the entire group.'
THE BEST METHOD TO SUCCESS: Everyone first open the chest with the picture of your weapons. If your weapons are inside, you're done. Otherwise, look at what's inside and then open the chest with that picture one it. Keep going this way until you found your weapons.
EXPLANATION AS TO WHY THIS WORKS: So if PC Amoz opens the chest to with the picture of the Blood Katana and Krysknife (his weapons) to find the Aurial Bow and Molag Arrows, then he will open that one to find the Volungbal Mace and Arce-Spear, and finally get his weapons in the next one.
Note that if he keeps going, it will take him back to the start. So this is a loop. By starting with the chest with the picture of his weapons, he restricts his search to the loop containing his weapons. And there are decent odds, at least 35% that the entire group as a whole will find what they need in only five guesses or less.
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? Responses (4)-3
I was very skeptical but I looked up that prisoners box challenge and there does seem to be some accuracy to the puzzle. However, the method of delivery of this feels... well, ridiculous.
So the boss baddie has captured the PCs. He has them bound, kneeling, broken before him, and with a murderous glint in his eye he... tells them to pick weapons out of boxes. Oh, and if they get their weapons, they can have all of his hard earned treasure. But if they don't get their weapons they can still fight him for the treasure.
I can see what you're going for, don't get me wrong - puzzles are absolutely great and this is just a way of explaining the puzzle into the game.
I just feel like the prisoners box riddle will be hard to convincingly place into a game without breaking flow or seeming realistic.
Also, the explanation of how it works is a bit lacking (I had to google it to wrap my head around it - I had thought there must be more that you'd forgotten to add).
Don't get me wrong - I think puzzles and statistical manipulations like this are great and I like that you're working them into playable scenarios!
(See the Monty Hall Problem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem)
(See also, the Birthday Problem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem)
It's just a matter of managing to slide them into a scene without it seeming odd.
Keep 'em coming! I want to see more from you, WAR10CK!
I revised the baddie's actions to be more reasonable.
Update: Revised this so that is sounds more reasonable.