A.D&D.Sci May 2021: Interdimensional Monster Carcass Auction

You are the most successful butcher in your tiny, snow-swept village. You’re just about to close up shop when a man appears from an interdimensional portal and offers to sell you carcasses from a distant timeline.

You’d be more perturbed, but you live and work in a village frequented by Adventurers; this is maybe the second- or third-weirdest thing you’ve had to deal with this month. Instead of panicking, you calmly and logically inquire as to how you could possibly evaluate the value of such oddities.

The stranger smiles, tells you you always say that, and offers you a record (written in what is unmistakably your handwriting) telling you how much money your parallel-universe doppelgangers made when he sold them a batch of dead things.

Finding this to be in order, you prepare to begin negotiations. The man smiles again, confesses he’s found himself to be a much worse salesman than you are a haggler, and instead proposes a sealed-bid auction, like the ones you remember from your apprenticeship. When you accept, he conjures three versions of you from neighbouring timelines and tells you all to get bidding.

(In case the subtext isn’t clear: yes, this challenge will be pitting you against your fellow LessWrongers.)

The available lots are as follows:

Lot NumberSpeciesDays Since Death
#1Red Dragon1
#2Jungle Mammoth1
#3Mild Boar5
#4Jungle Mammoth5
#5Mild Boar1
#6Green Dragon2
#7Mild Boar2
#8Mild Boar5
#9Mild Boar8
#10Mild Boar6
#11Mild Boar8
#12Blue Dragon8
#13Jewel Beetle1
#14Mild Boar1
#15Jungle Mammoth4
#16Jungle Mammoth2
#17Mild Boar5
#18Red Dragon6
#19Mild Boar5
#20Jungle Mammoth1

You have 300 silver pieces to hand. So does the competition. How will you bid?


  • Payments are collected in lot order; if you’re unable to pay your bid by the time a given lot comes up, you lose your claim to that lot but incur no penalty.

  • Matching bids will be resolved randomly.

  • One entry per player, please.

  • If I get more than four entries, I’ll split the game into multiple universes; and if I get a number of entries not divisible by four, I’ll fill the empty spots with NPCs: no matter what happens, you’ll definitely be bidding against three opponents.

  • As a prize, the player who makes the most profit gets to specify one non-ridiculous thing about July’s D&D.Sci challenge. (Note that by my standards, “it must centre on a talking penguin called Steve” is much less ridiculous than “it must not involve any selection bias”.)

Once you’ve made your decisions, DM me (if for some reason you’re averse to having a LessWrong account, my email is abstraction dot application at protonmail dot com). The deadline for submissions is midnight Sunday BST.

I’ll be posting who won, along with an explanation of how I generated the dataset, sometime next Monday. I’m giving you a week, but the task shouldn’t take more than a few hours; use Excel, R, Python, Post-Metarationality, or whatever other tools you think are appropriate. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the scenario. (You probably shouldn’t use the comments for anything else, unless you feel like tipping your hand to potential opponents)