Smough the Executioner leads you up to to the chopping block, set between two torches like lonely sentinels. A row of authorities and guards, with the king at the epicenter, sit shrouded in darkness behind the block. Your stomach churns. You live in a strange land where Lady Luck tries criminals in place of a jury, and your fate is still undecided. Smough takes an ornate vase from the block and places two slips of parchment within.

He speaks with a booming voice -- "CHOOSE, AND DECIDE YOUR FATE: LIFE, OR DEATH?"

The crowd shifts uncomfortably, excitedly. As you reach your hand inside and extract the slip, you realize too late that both papers read "DEATH"! Smough sees the awful realization on your face and grins menacingly. That fiend! He quickly retracts the vase and extends his hand to take the paper.


What do you do?


  • You can't overpower Smough, same as in Dark Souls (the vase is off-limits)
  • Everybody present trusts Smough more than you (they won't take your word over his without reason)
  • You cannot run away or anything stupid like that
  • You have nothing on your person but the clothes on your back (sorry, no concealed knife)
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    $\begingroup$ I think this version is better than the one it's a duplicate of. I would suggest closing the original and keeping this one. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2015 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


Swallow the parchment. But since you've already made your pick, your fate is decided, so you ask for the remaining parchment in the vase to be shown. Once it's revealed to have DEATH written on it, it would imply that the parchment you picked had LIFE on it.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Only to find out that Smough poisoned both parchments! $\endgroup$
    – Mark N
    Jul 10, 2015 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ You could also throw the parchment to the torch. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Jul 10, 2015 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ And what if you miss the flame and the parchment falls to the side. With your life on the line, it's better to be sure don't you think? $\endgroup$
    – CodeNewbie
    Jul 10, 2015 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ "All right, guys, guess we're going to have to wait for it to pass... Hopefully nobody has anywhere to be." In Deltora Quest, the protagonist faces a version of this puzzle, and he throws it into the fire ^_^ $\endgroup$
    – Curmudgeon
    Jul 10, 2015 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ Now that it is decided that the prisoner will pass the parchment to decide his fate, it's on to stage 2. To decide if you live longer or shorter, Smough brings forward another vase, with one laxative pill and one anti diarrheal. But as you draw one, you realize both are in fact laxatives as Smough's lips curl into another grin. What now? $\endgroup$
    – CodeNewbie
    Jul 10, 2015 at 13:50

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