Gambits

Fool me once... shame on you, fool me twice... I'm impressed.

A Bard known as the trickster lost all of his money in games of chance that were rigged against him. Instead of calling the authorities or leaving, he chose to wait.
He watched the man work from afar as he begged for money, driven to poverty by the criminals clever game. He practiced the motions as best as he could until one day he found the secret. The man used a coin under three wooden cups and would rearrange them with alarming speed and grace. It was easy to lose track of where the coin was. This was the point. The man would casually slip the cup with coin over his lap, allowing the coin to fall as the cup moved. The trickster grinned and waited for someone, anyone to gift him a coin for his revenge. One day, a fellow hard came to visit, a woman he was sweet on in his youth. She watched how he stared at the man and his art. Even she was enamored by his skill. She gave him a bag of gold knowing of his plan and he approached the man again. "I've brought a bag of coin, may I play again?" The man laghed and stared at The Trickster.
"Would you lose it all again?" He asked and The Trickster nodded, he placed the bag on the table and watched the man at work. Only this time he was prepared. The coin dropped to the mans lap. The trickster smiled and the man finished.
"Where is the coin?"
The Trickster leaned in close, too close for comfort. He whispered in the man's ear with a rage while palming a blade.
"In you're damn lap."
A Gambit is a game played among rogues and bards as well as those who practice Arcana Discordia. There are many examples of Gambit but no matter what game you are playing it is all a variation on the same concept. A gambit is a test of wits and skill often bearing the illusion of a game of chance. Two or more people will have a wager. They wager any amount of money that the other players cannot determine how a trick is done, beat them in a game of chance, or solve a riddle. The players will try to cheat and win while trying to catch the others doing the same. If you can catch a player in the act, that player loses and must wait until the next round to play again.

Rules

When the first gambits emerged, they did so with a set of standards that are followed to the letter. This is often due to good faith and fear of developing a bad reputation with peers.
• No Magic: Unless agreed upon by all players, no one may use magic during the game.
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• Transparency: Rules of specific gambits as well as the conditions of winning and losing must be made clear. Loopholes and technicalities are not allowed.
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• Honesty: it is expected to be upfront about whether you have been found out by another player.
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• Forms: gambits can be demonstrations such as illusions, competitive games involving cards or dice, or riddles, puzzles, and word games. Regardless of the gambit it should be made clear what form it takes.

The Oldest Trick in the Book

Three card switch The three card switch, or Three Card Monte is a wager involving 3 cards. The cards are diplayed flipped face down, and then are rearranged using a series of motions intended to confuse the observer. The observer must then pick where a previously chosen card ended up. Several variations on the game exist and some are much harder than others. One version uses a marble or seed instead of cards. The seed is placed under a cup with two cups on either side. The cups are rearranged and the observer must find the marble. This allows more complex sleight of hand to be used. If the observer can identify where the marble of chosen card is, even if its in the performers pocket, or identify what the performer did to cheat, the observer wins the wager

A Good Eye

The ethics of those who play these gambits usually restricts them to playing only with those who know what they are. Swindling the ignorant it's not the primary goal of the game but rather to better one's ability to spot trickery, and better ones ability to practice trickery themselves. For this reason there have been several methods used to identify those who are able to play the game and to induct those who wish to learn how.

Thieves cant

Thieves cant is a language created by thieves and adapted by the bards in the College of tricksters. It is a complex set of symbols, word combinations, hand signals, and even made up code words that one can use to communicate with and identify each other. Some times it as simple as a symbol on a market stall or a tavern bar. Other times it can be more exotic, like a combined language that takes words from several other languages to create an in depth lexicon.
Remember, the first performance is a trick. The second is a lesson.

Origins

Gambits teach others how to avoid being swindled by con artist. The bard named The Trickster dedicated his life to studying the ways of criminals and how they take advantage of others.

He built The College of Tricksters after studying under numerous criminal organizations and learning their many tricks of social engineering and misdirection. The concept of a gambit came about soon after the establishment of the college.

The college needed an effective way to spread information without making it obvious for others who would likely attempt to silence such a radical display of their secrets. The concept of a gambit is more than just making money by knowing more than your competition. It is also a method of getting to the point where you do know more than your competition.

This playful way of exchanging information as opposed to Simply teaching it at the college led many criminal organizations astray for some time.

A turn of events...

Nowadays, members of The Doves of Black and White and other criminal organizations frequent the college not to suppress, but to learn what even they couldn't teach one another. They learn the many tricks that they can use to improve their criminal craft. The tricksters welcome this exchange of information as they usually bring new skills themselves that can be given to the college in exchange.

Petals around the rose

The College of Tricksters developed a game to identify one another and to induct new members into the world of gambits. The game is a gambit in and if itself. It involves a number of 6 sidded dice where each number is counted in a set of pips pictured on each side of the cube. The performer then states the rules of the gambit.
1. The name of the game is petals around the rose.
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3. When rolling the dice, the answer will always be 0 or any other even number
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5. when rolling, the performers must always be honest abd upfront, stating the correct answer without being vague.

If the observer can successfully gather the method in which the answers are determined, then they are officially capable of joining the college and playing gambits.

Why?

The primary purpose of a Gambit is to exchange information and skills between others who are initiated. It is also a way for two bars who are initiated to operate in the same space without offending one another. Should 2 bards walk into the same Tavern with the intent of making some money, they can play off of each other's performance and in doing so make twice as much as they would hope to gain, especially when those who are watching such a rare spectacle can pay extra to learn their tricks. Those who play gambits are always willing to part with their knowledge in exchange for something of value. Although they will likely force you to solve the petals around the rose first, a cost of entry, so to speak.
An example of a Gambit       Serenity entered the tavern defeated, another day wasted. No progress was made on her layers projects, nor did a single lead on her fathers legacy bear fruit. She sat on a mildly uncomfortable stool and the barkeep recognized her immediately. No surprise, her face was well known to most. She asked for a glass of whatever was strongest and the woman chuckled, poured a glass of glistening red whiskey, and waited as the bard took a sip. The drink was indeed string, but not a disgrace to the tongue. The flavors of spice and pepper hunted with a bright and fruity finish littered her pallet. It was beautifully crafted.
"What is this, its fantastic." She asked with eyes wide, the words rushing from her mouth as she took another sip.
"My father's own private recipe, m'lady."
She was interrupted by a hand on her shoulder. She was afraid of this, she was in no mood to perform, but when she turned to try and talk the would be patron down, she was surprised to see a fellow bard.
"I'm not here to steal your thunder, brother." She said, raising her hands to illustrate her words.
"No? I was more inclinded to play a bit of a game."
"A Gambit?" She whispered. The man nodded.
"I hear your quite a talented trickster, care to test that?" She smiled and the man gathered the attention of the tavern. She suddenly realized that it was packed full with thirsty patrons.     "Gather everyone, I have issued a challenge, one I'm likely to regret I'm sure." The crowed laughed and he pulled out 3 cups. An odd choice but a decent opener. The man sat art aa table and she sat across from him. The were surrounded by spectators in moments. He placed a ball under a cup and began shuffling the cups around. He asked a patron to pick where the ball ended up. The oatron pointed to the cup on the far right, the bard lifted it and no ball was found beneath it. He gestures toward Serenity and she smiled a knowing smile.   She leaned forward, knocking the other two cups over, revealing that the ball was no where to be found. She then reached into the mans coat and found the secret pocket the bard stashed it in. The crowd roared with laughter and applause and the man bowed his head.
"Your move, m'lady."     She pondered a moment and then reached into her satchel. She pulled out a small deck of numbered cards, a standard 52 card deck. She then pulled out a small sheet of parchment. "Pick a card." She commanded, and the bard obeyed. "Reveal it to all but me, and place it on top." He did so, and she began working the cards, making several complete cuts. She gestured to him, holding out the deck to make sure he was satisfied. He shook his head and she explained the next step of the trick. "I want you to write you name, love." She said passing the sheet of paper to a lovely woman watching the two compete. The woman did so, and Serenity began flipping the cards face up. She passed the card the man had chosen and continued numerous times before stopping. The man smiled, believing she had made a mistake.
"Good sir, would it be impressive to you if the next card I flip was yours?" The man laughed and responded.
"It would indeed." She placed the deck down, and pulled the mans card from the pile of revealed cards, and the crowd applauded once again. The man bowed his head once more, more than happy to lose to his idol.   It was his turn once again, and he chose to make a wager. He began collecting bets based on a simple concept. He placed a pint glass on the table and took bets on whether the height of the glass was more than the diameter. In one pile, the patrons tossed coined for the diameter, Serenity chose the same. The man then stacked his own deck of playing cars under the glass.
",and now?" The patrons began moving their beta to the second pile and even more did so after adding a second deck, and finally with Serenity's. In the end she was the only one who wagered that the diameter was still more than the height. To the crowds amazement, the bard took a handkerchief and wrapped it around the glass, taking care to be as accurate as possible. He then compared the measurement to the height and it was indeed a fraction of an inch higher than the height. True crowded applauded and Serenity left half the bets on the table for her oponant for using an old favorite.   "I dare say you've won, m'lady, but what of the parchment?"
"Ah," she laughed, picking up the paper. "Have her pick a card." He did so and she drew the 7 of diamonds, placed it on top of the deck, and the bard gave it to Serenity, who cut the deck many times.
She then stopped, and took the paper in her hands, and lit it on a nearby candle. She gathered the ashes in her hand, rolled up a sleeve and slapped her arm. The ashes scattered at the blow but not before leaving a mark: the number seven, and a diamond were displayed on her arm in full view. Even the bard was confounded and applauded.
"Id give all my earnings for that one." She smiled and shook her head. "How about a drink?" The man nodded and the barkeep poured another glass, took the pay, and returned to work as the patrons left them be. She pulled out a small stick of beeswax and laid it on the table.
"Force the card, you got that one I'm sure, and quickly trace it on your arm with this." She smiled and took a sip. "That trick does itself."

Cover image: by anotherdamian