The Harbor

Stranded on the shore here are the remains of nearly a hundred ships. As you stare in wonder at the haunting sight, rough hands grab you from behind. Before you can say “I’ve been captured by pirates!”, you’ve been captured by pirates.

“Haw!” They cackle. “Another victim for the sacrifice to Jolly Roger, Lord of Pirates! With this many dead in his honor, he’ll surely lead us off of this accursed isle.”

You are carried along and thrown into the dank (and escape-proof) hold of a three-masted galley. With you are nearly 30 other unfortunate Islandians bound in manacles. As you are chained in, you consider your fellow captives. Many seem already dead.

“At least things can’t get worse,” you decide.

“Actually,” comes a voice from the darkness, “These are cannibal pirates. They’ll roast you alive instead of just killing you quickly.”

“I had to ask,” you grumble. “Who are you guys, anyway?”

“We are but humble scholars and priests,” replies the same one who spoke earlier. “Still, we have one hope: It is the custom of these pirates to slaughter half of their victims in the morning, feast upon them, and then kill the remainder at night.”

“Yeah, that’s encouraging.”

“Wait. We have some learning of the Qabala and have cast a hex. Fifteen of the 29 people you see here are actually golems, artificial creatures. If the pirates kill only golems for breakfast, they will die from the poison inside. Then we will be free.”

“So how do we arrange that?” you ask.

“Generally, these cannibals select their victims by putting all the prisoners into a circle and taking every ninth one out to be killed (beginning from the person who stands due north). All we must do is figure out how to put 15 golems and 15 humans into a circle so that only golems will be picked out. But we are so exhausted from casting our hex that none of us can think straight. It is up to you to save us.”

How do you arrange the humans and golems? Submit your solution

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