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While the Empire and Beethro Budkin would disagree on many aspects of life, the universe and everything... there is one thing on which they would both at least partially agree. Namely, the use of a sword. A Really Big One, or otherwise.
The formation of the Guards of the Poppy Brigade predated the first Slayer by several years, and their tactics are substantially different. They are not grown in vats, but recruited from the uncounted number of Empire citizens, and trained in pathfinding tactics and the use of a sword, engaging in weekly mock battles with each other until they are proficient at fighting both sworded and unsworded beings. They still suffer from a tendency to always keep their sword pointed towards an enemy at the expense of moving, which ironically enough makes them easier to be flanked. They lack the acute self-preservation and caution instincts of a Slayer, and are untrained in hand-to-hand combat, making them weaker when fought one-on-one and helpless if they cannot use their sword. However, while there are only a few hundred Slayers at any one time, there are many thousands of Poppies, often allowing them to overwhelm their opponent with sheer numbers.
They fulfill a vital role in controlling the non-human denizens of the Empire, if a roach infestation or a goblin is out of control, then a squadron of Poppies are sent in to slice up the problem. When off-duty, some patrol ceaselessly, looking for trouble, but most just relax and rest.
The phenomenon of Poppies, the Dugandy Royal Guards and historical Tuenan warriors being so similar in both uniform, tactics and outlook is still under investigation, and has lead to the formation of a new but small department, lead by 1st Coincidence Investigator
Detailed Behaviour Analysis
Guards follow the same movement rules as aumtlich, including their ability to side-step when needed and the need to be facing the right direction, but there are a few notable differences. Firstly, Guards always act brained, as long as there is a pathmap to the player, regardless of whether there is a brain in the room or not. If there is no path to the player, they act like unbrained aumtlich. Another difference is that they do not share the "side-stepping the player" behaviour described above and their movement is restricted by the fact that they will not make a move that causes their sword to strike another guard, a slayer or bomb. If the guard's sword is within 1 square of their target, they will make whatever possible move to get their sword on top of the target first, preferring to move rather than rotate if both are possible killing moves.