The Rise of the Runelords Item Card contest is finally over, and before I launch into the lengthy explanation about question #4 from last week, I would like to show you the complete set list. This deck should be arriving in stores soon, so make sure to grab a copy from your favorite local retailer.
Question #4 Solution: This week's question was incredibly tough, but congratulations are due to Rob McCreary, who gave the correct answer of "7 pounds." Rob will receive a pair of Rise of the Runelords Item Card decks and a signed copy of the limited edition alternate cover version of Patherfinder #1.
To solve this riddle, you need to know a couple of things. First, you need to know that Pathfinder #3 contains a wandering monster chart for Varisia on page 71. Second, you need the overland movement charts from pages 162 and 164 of the PH. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to correctly answer this question, you need to remember that giants have a chance of carrying salt in their bags (MM page 120). Taking the information given, the journey there and back requires a total of 8 days in the mountains and 20 days on the plateau. With a 20% chance of encounter per hour (and not just while traveling, but more on this below), you would run into 38.4 encounters in the mountains and 96 while traversing the plateau. Of these encounters, 20% of the mountain encounters would be with giants, while only 10% of those in the plateau would be against these salt-carrying behemoths. If each encounter was against 4 giants, each with 5 items in its bag, you would gather a total of 345.6 items from their bags. Of these, 1 in 50 would be a 1-pound bag of salt. So, upon returning to Skull's Crossing you would have 6.912 pounds of salt, rounded up to 7. Due to the phrasing of the question, some of you assumed that encounters only occurred while traveling, which would cut the number of encounters by 2/3. Due to this confusion, I also decided to accept any answer of "2."
We received a total of 37 entries for this particular question, with a wide variety of numbers, from 0 to 68,000. What was more interesting, though, were the answers by those who assumed it was a trick question or just decided to submit a joke. The first answer we received was simply, "potato." We knew we had a good question when that one popped into the inbox. In the following days, we got answers such as "as much as you started with," "rock salt or sea salt?," and my personal favorite, "I would have zero pounds of salt on me, upon my return, since I'm trying to cut down on my intake." A hearty congratulations are due to all seven entrants who managed to get the correct answer on this one, and I think you can all look forward to more twisted puzzlers like this one in future contests.