RE: Swamped
John Medic, perhaps? He's the only one that's been really nice to you, it'd be good if you know how not to get on his bad side.
RE: Swamped
Wait, do you know how to play Swamprats? D:
RE: Swamped

>"Tell me about yourself! :D"
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RE: Swamped
Quickly learn that the reason no one plays Swamprats with her anymore is she doesn't know the meaning of a friendly match and keeps raising the stakes.
~◕ w◕~
RE: Swamped
"Right. How do you play?"

She smirks a bit and deals out seven cards to each of you.

"So the way the game works is, you and I are swamprats. And each of us has this 'stash' of seven things. Now, you pick out one card, any card you like, and put it face-down, and then you put the rest of your stash face up."

She demonstrates with her cards. You arbitrarily put down the Two of Leaves and follow her lead.

"Now, the card you picked out is the food in your stash. And because we're hungry swamprats, we're not satisfied with our own food; we're trying to get at each others'. That means I'm trying to figure out what card you've got, and you're trying to figure out which card I've got."

"What are the other six for, then?"

"Betting. You draw a card, and then you can bet one card from your hand on if you think it has the same suit or rank as my food. If you're right, you get one of my cards; if you're wrong, I get one of yours. If you don't think it's either, you can pass and nothing happens. The round ends when one of us guesses or when one of us runs out of cards. Guess right and you win; guess wrong and you lose. And if you're out of cards, then you lose because the other swamprat's taken your whole stash. If we run out the deck, it's a draw, but that takes forever and it only really happens if nobody takes any bets. Which isn't too likely."

You think you understood that.

"There's some variants with other rules, but that's the basics. So, why don't I go first and you can ask me a question while I think about how to bet."

"What can you tell me about Sergeant Greenwoods?"

"Vera Greenwoods?" She pulls up a card and glances at it. "She's been here forever. She takes one day's leave a year and that's it; seems she feels more comfortable in the swamp than in the city. Can't imagine that, myself, but maybe she's just been here so long it feels like home. Anyhow, that's just the basics. Haven't heard anything specific about what she's up to lately. Other than training you, of course." She puts down her card, the Five of Leaves. "I bet my Three of Wings that your card matches the suit."

"Right," you say, a little surprised. "Does it matter what card I hand over?"

"If we get to more advanced rules it does, but for now, just send over whatever you please."

You pass along the Eight of Blades and muse.

"So what can you tell me about John the Medic?" you ask as you pull up the next card. It's a Four of Stones.

"Medic's perhaps the kindest soul I've seen in this place. It goes beyond just his job; he wants you to feel welcome here. I know more than a few folks who thought seriously about leaving, but a talk with Medic got them to stay. 'Course, if you really do want to leave, he tries to help with that as much as he can. Supposedly he's got a thing going with Sergeant Burgundy, hard to imagine as that is."

"I've never met Burgundy."

"You will, and then you'll see what I mean. There's a reason we send her out for negotiations. Now, are you going to make a bet?"

You glance at the Four of Stones in your hand. You've got no idea what card she has, but then, you're not going to find anything out if you don't make a guess.

So will you bet on suit or rank, or will you pass? And do you have any other questions for her?
RE: Swamped
This is a cute game.

Bet on rank!
~◕ w◕~
RE: Swamped
Bet on suit!

It will narrow down much more options immediately, and though you'll still basically need to guess as many times for rank in either case, getting it right earlier will give you more cards with which to bet with! assuming i understand the game right.

Ask her about herself!
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RE: Swamped
Ain't no way betting on rank ain't a suckers bet, but then any bet's really a suckers bet. Passing has the best expectation of not losing cards, but I suspect its not a very fun game if you just pass and she seems like she wants to have fun playing. Fun keeps the talking going.

Bet on Suit, and ask if there's anybody she hasn't mentioned that you should keep an eye out for
RE: Swamped
"Suit," you say.

She shakes her head. "Sorry, it's not Stones. That's another card you're down."

You hand over the Baron of Wings. That's just your luck, you suppose.

"We haven't introduced ourselves, have we," you note. as she reaches for her next card. "I'm Marshall, and as you've already heard, I'm the new recruit. I was raised on a farm, came to the city, and then signed up. What about you?"

"Lisa Black. As I mentioned, I'm on a repair squad. Before I signed up, I was apprenticed to a carpenter, but it wasn't for me. Of course, now I'm doing carpentry in a swamp. I make good choices, don't I?" She chuckles a little before turning up the Two of Blades.

You feel a little nervous as you see the Two, and as you see the smirk on her face, you realize it must be showing.

"Rank," she says. You nod.

"Not much point handing over a card if you know my rank and suit," you say, flipping it over.

"Not with two players, no. It can make a difference in a bigger game, where everyone's betting against everyone else."

"And can I bet with cards you give me? If I can, then running out of cards seems difficult. Unless I'm passing and you're guessing wrong. But you only need to guess right twice to win, even if the odds aren't amazing."

Lisa nods.

"Very true. The original rules were made by three Bogknights trying to wait out a rainstorm, so they were only concerned with whether it passed the time. It wasn't until the rain cleared up that anyone started looking at how it worked as a game. But we still teach the original rules, as a way to honor those knights and the ordeal they went through."

"I'd like to learn more about the new rules. Not sure I'm up for another hand just yet, though."

"I don't really have time to run through a more advanced hand, not if we're going to keep talking. If we're just playing, I think I can speed through. Do you have any more questions for me?"

"Well, I can't think of anyone else to ask about. Unless you know anyone I should be aware of? I've only really talked with Sergeant Greenwoods, the medic, the cook, and, well, you now."

"I already mentioned Sergeant Burgundy. You'll know her because she's scowling and doesn't look like she's ever stopped. You want to stay out of her way if you can." Lisa looks thoughtful. "The main other officer you should know about is Captain Long. He's technically in command of the whole base, but he doesn't usually issue orders. The sergeants keep things running, for the most part."

"What about non-officers?"

"Tom Eighth has a short fuse, especially about the rain, but other than that there's nobody I'd suggest watching out for. You'll get to know people as you work with them."

You remember the young knight who berated you for mentioning the rain. Maybe you've already met Tom Eighth. If you ever got introduced, you clearly weren't paying enough attention to register it.

You suddenly hear a bell ring, and Lisa grumbles.

"Damn, I've been here longer than I thought. No time for another hand, I'm afraid. Here, why don't you keep the cards, I've got another deck in my room."

She hands you the cards and run off. The other two knights pointedly glare at each other before they leave, too.

Come to think of it, as you recall that's your dinner bell. You head to the mess hall for your evening swamp mush.

"Leg okay?" Tom First asks as he hands you a bowl. You just nod quietly and eat your mush.

It's been quite the day. You have a lot to think about.


The next morning comes sooner than you think. This time, when you head to training, you meet some recruits not much older than you.

One of them is one of the knights you saw in the lounge yesterday. The other knight he was so upset with doesn't seem to be around, though.

Sergeant Greenwoods enters a little after you do, and points to the other knights.

"Good morning. Squad Fishbone, this is Marshall, our newest recruit, who you will most likely be working with. Because of this, it's been decided that you should do training sessions together. Most of these will just be one of you, sometimes two, but this morning I brought you all in to introduce yourselves. So, let's take turns to tell Marshall here your names and a little bit about yourselves."

You wait patiently to hear everyone's introductions.

RE: Swamped
their name is also marshall. their biggest point of pride is how frequently they blink
RE: Swamped
Tom Tenth, who really doesn't like to be called "Tom Tenth."

The knight from the lounge who is here is Mark Conchway. He thinks that Swamprats is a terrible game and would recommend you play this different game with him but Sergeant Greenwood wouldn't want that kind of chatting at this time.

Another knight named Stacy, she looks like she's about to doze off while standing and barely responds when its time to introduce herself
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RE: Swamped
Mary Baker, which she prefers over Mary Thirteenth, is not a baker. She's really good at throwing and catching, but never looks directly at who she's talking to.
RE: Swamped
Jackson. Word is he used to be a sailor-- if nothing else, he can do about a thousand different things with a length of rope. Uses a net and trident to fight.

Juliet Corser. She has a wide variety of artistic interests and evidently not inconsiderable talent, but her pieces always turn out looking a bit too gruesome to be enjoyable. Weapon of choice is a battleaxe.

Riley. Originally lived near a different swamp, the Saltmarshes, where they worked on a gatorlisk farm. Uses long knives to fight. They are a quick thinker with good intuition, but are difficult to get to know.
~◕ w◕~
RE: Swamped
"I'm Marshall," says the first, sneering. The sergeant glares at him.

"Don't play around, Tenth."

"Ugh, you and your damn numbers. Fine, I'm Tom Tenth and don't you dare call me that. I'm the fastest blinker in this whole damn swamp." He blinks more times than you can count just to drive the point home.

The next knight to speak wields a large battleaxe and is noticeably larger than her squadmates.

"Juliet Corser. I'm really more of an artist than a fighter; I came to the swamp for inspiration."

"You don't want to see her art. Trust me," Tom interjects. Juliet just ignores him, and the knight you recognize from yesterday speaks up next.

"Mark Conchway. And I've got better taste in games than your new friend, rookie. I should show you..." He pauses just long enough to notice the sergeant's disapproving glare. "...when we next have time free, of course." He steps back and starts muttering under his breath. "Not that I have as much thanks to this training nonsense..."

Another knight with a pair of gloves similar to your own is the next to talk, though she doesn't look at you as she speaks.

"Mary Baker. Sometimes they call me Thirteenth, but Baker's my actual surname and I prefer it."

"Lucky," Tom Tenth grumbles. "Why do you people get two names?"

She turns towards Tom to glare at him as she continues. "And I see you've got Flame's gloves. I have a pair of Northwinds. They're designed to enhance throwing, though not as much as yours, but they make it easier to catch things as well. I imagine we'll do a lot of throwing practice together."

The next knight is carrying a net and trident.

"Jackson's the name. I learned my way around a boat, and frankly the swamp barge runs more smoothly. I've got a number of useful tricks to teach you with a rope, though I don't know if that's going to make it into the training."

The next knight doesn't say anything until the sergeant clears her throat a few times.

"Oh. Uh. I'm Stacy. Hi."

Stacy yawns and doesn't say anything more, so the last knight speaks up.

"Riley." They hold up their long knives. "Knife fighter. Grew up in a swamp, though a safer one than this. We raised tame gatorlisks to sell their meat. Not much demand, but we got by." Riley then sheathes their knives, and their pose suggests they're done with their introduction.

That seems to be all of them.

"It's nice to meet you all," you say. You try to shake hands with everyone, but only Mary, Jackson, and Juliet accept. Tom Tenth seems too upset about being Tom Tenth, Mark doesn't seem to care what's going on, Stacy doesn't seem to notice your hand even when you wave it in front of your face, and Riley just mumbles something and turns away.

"Right, then. Now that's taken care of, it's time for actual training. We're going to start with swimming, as usual, so that means it's time for the best swimmer among you to help out. And that would be..."
RE: Swamped
Despite what you might think, turns out it's Stacy!
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RE: Swamped
Too bad she can't be assed to go in the water today
RE: Swamped
Yes Stacy
RE: Swamped

All eyes turn to Stacy. Except Mary's, which seem to be fixated on the ceiling.

"Huh?" Stacy blinks a few times, before continuing on to "Oh. Right. Yeah, okay." and nodding repeatedly.

Sergeant Greenwoods sighs and rolls her eyes.

"Right. Since I doubt Stacy has actually been paying attention, I'll repeat myself. Marshall and Stacy, you're coming with me to the training pond. The rest of you are dismissed, for now. Of course, you'll all be working with Marshall at some point this week, so don't forget that."

Everyone except Stacy filters out, some more quietly than others. You follow the sergeant into the swimming room once again, pulling Stacy along.

Is she really the best swimmer on that squad?

"Right, then. Both of you, masks on and into the pond. Marshall, try to stay in for five minutes this time. Stacy, help out Marshall if need be. Got it?"

You put your mask on. Stacy, much to your surprise, does the same. In fact, she's in the water before you are. You follow her in and try to hold your position.

You manage nearly three minutes before Stacy has to catch you and guides you back into place. You only need help another two times before the sergeant calls the time.

"Excellent progress, Marshall. It takes a good deal of practice to manage five minutes unaided, but you're getting there. Now, get yourself cleaned up. Stacy, I believe you've got a patrol after this anyhow, so you're fine as you are. Don't forget your pole this time."

You both climb out, and Stacy runs off. Sergeant Greenwoods laughs a little.

"Honestly, that girl seems more at home in the water than on land. Now, get yourself cleaned up. That should give us time to prepare the next training class. Now let me double-check what we had you scheduled for, and who your partner's going to be..."
RE: Swamped
Throwing practice with mary baker!
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RE: Swamped
Weapons training! With Mary, of course.

Bonus rounds:
Hostile Birds and How to Avoid Them
Not Starting Fires: It's More Difficult Than You Might Think
How to Apply Leeches and Other Extreme First Aid Techniques
Identifying Beasts from Quite a Long Way Away
~◕ w◕~
RE: Swamped
"Ah, yes. Your first proper combat session. Mary Thirteenth uses throwing gloves as well, so we thought she would have insights that might be useful to you. So head back to the combat training room when you've cleaned up."

You thank her and head to the showers, clean your clothes, and about twenty minutes later you're wandering the halls towards your training session.

On the way, you see John Medic and two knights you don't recognize escorting the prisoner. The exchange must be happening soon. You're curious about that, but you doubt you can get out of training to watch it.

"You don't need to watch me that closely," the prisoner grumbles. "I'm about to be a free man again, or at least as free as one can be in this miserable swamp. Couldn't you take off the cuffs, at least?"

One of the knights shoves him forward. She doesn't seem amused.

"And give you a chance to run off before we have our man back? No thanks. You're staying right where I can see you."

"You'll be released in less than an hour if all goes well," John Medic chimes in. "You can show a little patience, I should think."

"Easy for you to say. You didn't just spend two and a half days in a cell."

"I spent five last year," grumbles the other knight. "And you didn't see me complaining when they finally let me out."

"Yeah, but your base is way nicer than the Marsh Fortress. I just want to be able to actually enjoy that for a few minutes."

"Get a move on!"

They walk off, taking no apparent notice of you. You suddenly realize that you've just been standing here listening to them talk; you've only got two minutes left to get to the training room.

Assuming you don't do something foolish like following them, of course.
RE: Swamped
Go to class!!!!
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RE: Swamped
Follow them for a little bit, at least. See if something interesting happens. You can say you got lost on the way back to the training room!
~◕ w◕~
RE: Swamped
Follow them.
RE: Swamped
You decide to follow them, just for a bit. The way things have been going with you lately, nobody will be surprised if you say you got lost.

You catch some snippets of conversation, but none of it is all that different from what you heard before. The group walks towards a door you remember as leading to the docks. They're probably taking him on the barge.

Which means you can't really follow them any further, unless you want to sneak on board. And that would get you in considerably more trouble than being a few minutes late to training.

You suppose you may as well head back. You aren't sure what you were hoping to find, but you probably didn't use this time very well.

Just as you turn around, though, you find yourself facing the other knight from the lounge yesterday. He seems annoyed with you, or perhaps just annoyed in general.

"Don't you have training?" he asks accusingly. "I don't recall any of the training rooms being near here."

"Ah, well, I got a little lost..."

He grabs your arm.

"Where are you training? I'll take you there myself."

"Combat," you say meekly as he pulls you along. "Er, if I may ask, you seemed upset with that Mark Conchway fellow in the lounge yesterday?"

"I can't see how that's any of your business."

"Just, um, just wondering what's going on. And, well, I'll be training with him, so if there's anything I should know..."

"He's a fool."

He doesn't say anything more, and stops abruptly when you reach the training room.

"This is the place. Don't make a habit of being late."

He leaves before you can even thank him, however insincerely. You decide to just slip in and apologize to the sergeant for being late.

"It's Mary you need to apologize to," Sergeant Greenwoods says. "I've got light duties while I'm on training, so I can be a little flexible. But the other trainees have had their schedules adjusted, and that means if you're late, making up for it means Mary has less free time. Keep that in mind, Marshall - you're part of a team, and that means you have to start thinking about your teammates."

"It's all right," Mary says, tossing a ball from one hand to the other. "I got some warm-up time in while we were waiting. And I didn't have anything planned for today anyhow."

She puts the ball down.

"So, let's get started. Toss me your skyslicer. Throw it like you mean it."

You do, and she catches it promptly.

"You've got the basic technique, but against an experienced catcher, you've got no chance. At most you might distract them. But if you've only got one thing to throw, it's a problem if you don't get it back, isn't it?"

"So, I should carry a spare?"

"That helps, but it's even more useful if you don't get your slicer caught in the first place. Now, in fairness, you're not that likely to face someone with Northwinds, but a well-trained catcher doesn't even need the gloves."

"So, what should I be doing differently?"

"For starters, don't look where you're throwing. Half the trick to a good catch is predicting where the throw will go, so you can't go giving that away." She hands you the slicer and steps back again. "Now try again, but look somewhere else."

You look up at the ceiling and throw. You then hear a loud knocking sound, and look to see the Skyslicer hitting the wall.

"Sorry," you say sheepishly. "I don't think I threw that very well."

"Well, yeah. It's hard to judge a throw you can't see. But it's also hard to catch. Unless you're skilled enough to throw blind, you want to look in the general direction, just not directly at your target. It's a matter of learning to use your peripheral vision to work out your throws. So we're going to practice that now."

You spend the rest of the session - including the overtime from being late - learning to do that. By the time you finish, you've managed to hit Mary once without her catching the slicer. You've also hit the wall four times and Sergeant Greenwoods twice.

"Perhaps I should stand outside the room next session," the sergeant chuckles as she leads you to the next room. "Mary seems to have the teaching side of things down, anyhow. Now, your next lesson for the day is..."