Bar Logic

appeared in Dragon Magazine #281, March 2001
Mind Flayers #21, pg 72

"So there I was in this bar in Sigil," says your drinking companion, Feargal the All-Noxious. "You know, the City of Doors on the Concordant Opposition, the plane of true neutrality?"

You assure Feargal that yes, you do know.

"Anyhoo, so I'm drinking away when these four guys in dark hats and trench coats take up the table behind me. The barkeep comes over and gives them a round on the house, saying he's always happy when a deva, an eladrin, a devil, and a demon sit down together for a tasty beverage. Me, I'm trying to keep from turning around, because I've never seen a group made of beings who were, respectively, lawful good, chaotic good, lawful evil, and chaotic evil."

Get to the point, you urge Feargal.

"This barkeep, he tells his barmaid to get his friends Aznimul, Barathor, Codexun, and Dave some of the bar's finest blood and ambrosia. She comes over and asks each to explain a few things about himself.

"So Aznimul says, 'I'm lawful good, Barathor's evil, and Codexun's chaotic.'

"Barathor says, 'I'm lawful good, Codexun's evil, and Dave's chaotic.'

"Codexun says, 'I'm lawful good, Barathor lied at least once, and Aznimul shares the same good/evil axis as Dave.'

"And then Dave says, 'Well I'm not lawful good, Aznimul's evil, and Codexun's good.'

"Well I don't mind telling you that by this point I was hopelessly confused. The barkeep later told me that devas always tell the truth, demons always lie, tieflings tell the truth twice as often as they lie, and devils lie twice as often as they tell the truth. So given that all three of them each made three statements, I should know who was what. At least, that's what the barkeep said."

And the barkeep was right. Who was what?

Scroll down to find out…

appeared in Dragon Magazine #282, April 2001
Mind Flayers, pg. 70

Barathor's the lawful good deva, Aznimul's the chaotic good eladrin, Dave's the lawful evil devil, and Codexun's the chaotic evil demon. Here's why:

Since three of the drinkers make the claim that they're lawful good, you know that at least two of them are lying. And Dave can't be lawful good, because he says he isn't, and if he were lawful good he couldn't say he wasn't.

That leaves Aznimul, Barathor, and Codexun as potentially lawful good. If Codexun was lawful good, then it's true that Aznimul and Dave are both evil (since they both can't be good). Dave's definitely telling the truth that he's not lawful good, so he must be lawful evil. That means his other two statements must be lies. But in fact, they are both true: Aznimul is evil, and Codexun is good. And so Codexun cannot be lawful good.

That leaves Aznimul and Barathor as potentially lawful good. If Aznimul were lawful good, that means both Barathor and Codexun lie about being lawful good. Codexun says the true statement, then, that Barathor lied at least once. Dave also makes a true statement, that he's not lawful good. So that means that Barathor's the only one who lies all the time. If that's to be believed, then Dave is lawful – and because of Aznimul's purity, evil. So he lies that Aznimul's evil and that Codexun is good. But there's the problem. If Dave and Barathor are evil, Codexun must be good. And so Aznimul cannot be lawful good.

Therefore Barathor must be lawful good. This means Codexun is chaotic and Dave is evil. As the latter is true, his other two statements must be false. Therefore, Aznimul is good and Codexun is evil. So that means Codexun is chaotic evil, Dave is lawful evil, and Aznimul is chaotic good.

Note: We made this one extra-super touch by having a tiefling masquerade as an eladrin. Maybe bartenders lie twice as often as they tell the truth.