The Stew turns three today, and we’re celebrating with a contest: Guess how old the gnomes are — in days — and win a $103 gift certificate!

This contest is a way to say thank you to our readers, both old and new, and hopefully have a bit of fun at the same time. Without you, we’d be writing Gnome Stew articles for our cats and pet kobolds, probably in last week’s underwear, from our parents’ basements — thank you for reading the Stew and saving us from that fate!

How to Enter

To enter our third anniversary contest, you need to be a member of Gnome Stew (it’s free, we never spam you, and you can sign up here and post your guess in the comments on this article. That’s it!

Speculate About Our Decrepitude

So what are you guessing, exactly? You’re guessing how old the current 10 authors of Gnome Stew are, collectively, in days, as of May 12, 2011 (including May 12).

The commenter who comes the closest to the correct number without going over will win a $103 gift certificate, delivered via email.

If you just want to post a guess without puzzling over it, here’s a bit of information to go on:

We’re all over 25, there are 10 of us, and there are 365 days in non-leap years.

That means your guess should be at least 91,250 (which is a pretty frightening number of days!).

If you want to put some time into puzzling our a more accurate guess, we salute you! You’re welcome to use any information you have access to, including our Gnome Stew bios. Each gnome has also provided a clue below to get you started:

Don: Don didn’t provide a hint, so here’s one from his bio: “For nearly 30 years role-playing games have been a staple of Don’s life…” — Martin

John: “Ia Ia FHTAGN! Chaosium’s Call of Cthulu roleplaying game was released in John’s second year of life. This was a much more successful attempt than John’s 0th year attempt at influencing game design for his dark masters from the other side — The Creature That Ate Sheboygan.”

Kurt: “I was a senior in high school when Twilight:2000 was released.”

Martin: “I turned 16 in the year that the second edition of the timeless, magnificent masterpiece The World of Synnibarr was released.”

Matt: “Though I wouldn’t cut my teeth on it till 12 years and two revisions later, the DnD basic set and I were born the same year.”

Patrick: “The game Dread won gold for innovation when I was three decades and one year old.”

Phil: “I was a sophomore in college, when I bought the first edition of Vampire:The Masquerade to play with all my goth friends.”

Scott: “I was finally able to legally purchase alcohol the same year that White Wolf published the original Book of Madness. Do you think that mere coincidence?”

Troy: “I was denied entry trying to get into the R-rated “Conan: The Barbarian” motion picture when it was released.”

Walt: “I got married and turned 30 the same year that F.A.T.A.L., the most difficult, detailed, realistic and historically/mythically accurate role-playing game available, was released.”

The Lucky Winner

The reader whose guess is the closest to the actual number without going over will win the $103 gift certificate — the biggest prize we’ve ever offered in a contest!

We’ll contact you through the email address associated with your Gnome Stew account, so please make sure it’s a real email address. We’ll also announce the lucky winner here.

The Rules

You get one guess (although you’re welcome to comment more than once — only your first guess counts), and if multiple people guess the right number the first person to guess will win (IE, make your guess unique!).

This contest is open to any member of the Stew, but please note that the gift certificate will be for, Amazon’s U.S.-based store. If you hate Amazon, or live abroad and don’t want to use the U.S. site, we’re happy to offer a $103 gift certificate to DriveThruRPG as an alternative. (As always, the authors of Gnome Stew aren’t eligible to enter this contest.)

Please do not post any clues or other information about the gnomes in the comments here or elsewhere — don’t spoil the puzzle for anyone else!

This contest will run through 10:00 pm Mountain time on May 20, 2011, with the winner to be announced within a couple of days after that.

Good luck!