Heya Kait! Super happy to be helping you with this, bby! Your first times in the games can come with a lot of confusion and obstacles, especially when you're still rather new to the site, so I've gone ahead and made a really quick step-by-step guide of all the different things we have to do before and during the games.
Firstly, this thread either currently contains the information I'm about to share, or it will contain it soon. I make it a habit to check it daily for updates, just to refresh myself and make sure I haven't forgotten anything or missed anything.^^
PTS / Training Stations
Training Stations can be tricky. Over the years the list of them has grown considerably and made it a tad more difficult to decide which could greatest benefit your tribute, so I'll try to break it down in a way where the choice is still yours, but you have a more informed way of looking at it. You tribute has to eat every five days, and has to drink every three. If they don't, they receive additional damage which could likely cause them to be targeted by other alliances.
First Station: safety. My suggestion is to have either Edible/Medicinal Plants, or Firemaking. Or, if the arena seems particularly scarce of resources, Rationing. Having Edible plants ensures that your tribute will have something to eat without the risk of being poisoned, having firemaking means your tribute can boil their water if they don't have any iodine tablets, making it safe to drink. And rationing extends the amount of days a tribute can go without needing food or water.
Typically, people confer with their alliances to make sure they have a pretty equal balance of these stations between them.
Second Station: defense/offense. This comes down to what you feel your tribute needs more help with going into the games. All those stations listed at the top with the red x? This is where they come into play. Self Defense can seem like it isn't all that helpful, but trust me, that -1 damage can be really beneficial if you're worried your tribute will be a frequent target. Or, maybe you'd feel more comfortable causing as much damage as possible? Strength, Blades, Target Practice, and Hand-to-Hand can all help you do that.
Third Station: personalized. Unless you'd feel more comfortable divvying up your stations among those already mentioned, the third station can be where you really decide what makes your tribute a little bit different. Improvisational Weapons, Endurance, Camouflage, Light Step, Rationing, Thievery, Charisma, Rivalry, Mutt Tamer, Smuggling- this is your chance to have a station that makes your character's abilities more customized and interesting, if that's something you'd like to do.
Exemption: If there is a station (other than those listed with a red x,) that you feel your character already has a really good understanding of, and you can provide proof of it, you can apply for an exemption in it. If it is approved, you can use that station without it taking up one of your three slots, which can offer you a little more wriggle room to be creative.^^
For your character's Private Training Session, it's really up to your own creative freedom. It can be as long or short as you'd like, so long as you feel it gets the point across sufficiently. Your character can do practically anything that it makes sense for them to have prior knowledge of, and as long as it fits within a reasonable time frame. You can also structure it like any other post, meaning if you want to use a table you can, or if you just want to keep it simple that's also completely fine! When you feel like you're comfortable enough with the end result, just send it in a private message to all three of the gms, (in this case, greenbeads, frankel, and tristen.)
This is totally optional, and just added in for some in-character fun. If you are feeling pressed for time or if you feel like it didn't affect your character all that much and it would be better skimmed over in a later post, that's completely fine. Completely up to your discretion.^^
This is easily one of the most stressful parts of the games, although it has calmed down a lot in recent years. I'm probably going to make a fight for us in the jff board structured like the bloodbath so that you can get some hands on experience, but for now, I'm gonna try to explain this step by step so there's no confusion later on for you!
1) before the bloodbath, your item list will be posted. one post in the bloodbath = one item from your list, in descending order. Whether you post more times than your list has items or not is up to you, and only necessary if you/your alliance plans on going for the wealth.
2) if you are not a quick writer, I would suggest doing some prewrites. You can send them to yourself in your messages, or save them in a doc. Make sure to have at least three flee posts written, just in case your tribute's leg is broken or severed and they cannot immediately flee.
3) your first post in the bloodbath has to be an intro post with no attack, the second has to be an unarmed attack because you haven't picked up your weapon from your items list yet. Every post after that can be a weapon attack.
4) You have to wait ten minutes between posts. Any shorter and you'll get a rulebreak and your tribute will receive damage. It is good to use this time to set up your next post and talk to your allies about what your next move is going to be.
5) make sure you specify everything going on at the bottom of your post. If your tribute is attacking, say who they are attack (tribute, not writer,) and say what they are attacking them with. If your tribute is picking up one of their items, clarify that they picked up that item. If your tribute is fleeing, make sure to say they are fleeing; if you have to post several flees because of a leg injury, make sure to keep a count of the flees so the job of the gms is easier.
6) at the top of your post, include your tribute's name, what kind of post it is (intro/attack/flee) and what roll you got if you rolled to attack someone. Then, you want to quote that part of your post for your next post. This is to show the gms that you've waited the appropriate amount of time in between posts. Trust me, it sounds more confusing than it is. I'll show you this in the fight thread I'm gonna be making for us.
7) Try to keep a close eye here to monitor damages, as it'll be updated in real time and can help you keep order of everything.
At the end of every day, an anthem will be posted. It'll list all the tributes who've died, as well as things like the weather of the upcoming day. It'll also list all of the mandatory fights that must occur during the day, as well as where they must take place. Eventually, there'll be a posting initiative thread posted in Games Information to decide turn order, which will also be listed in the Anthem.
The combat system works relatively the same as the bloodbath, with the exception of hit limits. Each tribute may only be attacked twice per round. Anything more will be nullified and wasted. The attacks themselves will be structured as such (without the * ) :
Once your mandate is over, be sure to check Arena Item Locations for any items you may be able to pick up. List anything you pick up, as well as any items that have been sponsored to you at the bottom of the post. And include if you healed yourself or not, and what items you used to do so. It might look something like:
[bob collects firewood] [bob receives a pair of gloves from sponsorship] [bob uses first aid on himself] [bob uses 5 ft of bandages on ann]
Eventually, something called Tribute Maintence will be posted in Games Information. You have to update it every games day with your tribute's full inventory, how much damage they started with, and how much they ended with. Also be sure to include in the post if they ate or drank anything. If it isn't recorded, it doesn't count.
This is just a general guideline for you to follow, and I'm sure there'll be other questions along the way that I'll be happy to help you with when we get there. I hope this was helpful, and if you need any clarification, don't hesitate to reply here, or send me a personal message!
I'll be sending you the link to our fight thread in dm's once I have it up!^^