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[personal profile] jack
http://cartesiandaemon.livejournal.com/1030046.html

OK, I'm going to assume everyone who wanted to think about the original problem unspoiled has probably done so, and assume comments have rot26 spoilers from here on.

I was thinking if there was any way of solving the problem in one casting. I found Simon's argument in the last post persuasive that that there's no "natural" way to do it. That's not just because there's five bags and four possible responses; you can make do with four courses of action, "A, then E", "B, then E", "C, then E" and "D, then E", where either A, B, C or D has the treasure and your choose a course of action opening that one first, or E has the treasure and you choose a course of action opening an empty bag then E. But it sounds like there's no way to choose between those courses of action, taking into account that once you've opened a bag, it's too late to avoid "woe" or "weal" in the result.

My answer

However, thinking about it more, I did come up with a *possible* dodge. I agree in an actual game I would usually not be this literal about how the spell works.

So, either the spell takes into account "obvious" results of actions beyond 30 mins, or not.

If it does take probable events further into the future into account, I take that to mean, as long as you don't expect to be interrupted in the next 30 min, and the spell knows where the treasure really is, it can extrapolate the result of "over several days, cast enough augury to determine the answer uniquely, then encode the result as weal/woe/wealwoe/nothing as described below".

If it only takes 30 minutes into account, you can wait 29 minutes and 54 seconds, then, with the aid of some hirelings and some readied actions, open all the bags, and "grab treasure", "get stabbed", "grab treasure and get stabbed", "none of the above" based on which bag has the treasure (or if E has the treasure, which bag has nothing). Since killed-by-lich will hopefully happen after 30 minutes, it will not affect the result of the spell.

I agree that mightn't work in a real game, but opinions?

Relevant to the previous question of how to interpret the spell.

If the people who think you CAN condition your action based on unknown information are right, there's a much easier way.

If treasure is A (or A is nothing and treasure in E), open A and E (weal)
If treasure is B (or B is nothing and treasure in E), open all the other bags (woe)
If treasure in C (or C is nothing and treasure in E), open all give bags (weal and woe)
If treasure in D (or D is nothing and treasure in E), walk away (nothing)

Then based on the answer, open the appropriate bag (or that bag, then bag E)

That's the sort of thing I didn't think was possible. Does that sound plausible to people?