Slashers are coming out big this season, and as it’s a style that I think requires a lot of study, I’d like to share my learnings and observations with those of you interested in this excellent offensive style. Too often I’ve heard experienced managers shrug off the slasher out of hand–why? Because they’ve never succeeded with the style themselves, and as such, hardly consider it worth noting. However, it’s a style that’s sneaking a lot into the limelight these days.
ST: 11-17–I would go as low as 7 or 9 depending on the warrior’s size; I do like at least a 9 for use of the scimitar. It’s nice to get them to at least normal damage, good, or better, because if they can’t inflict any damage, then they’re going to be in trouble.
CN: any–I like to give them some CN just so they can take a hit or two, but it’s not necessary. I have a couple of slashers who started with a 4 CN and made it to AD; bear in mind, however, that a slasher with a good design is as mortal as an aimed blow, and you can expect to lose them just as you’ve become attached to them.
SZ: 5-11–NO BIGGER. I don’t know why, but big slashers just don’t seem to make it. However, I am flexible here, and I’m currently attempting an experiment with gigantic slashers. If it works, I’ll update this. As of right now, I’ll stick with the smaller ones. Another good reason to have a good strength.
WT: 17-21–As with any style, the higher the better. I’ve had some success with WTs in the 13-17 range, and even 11, but I don’t expect him to ever be Primus level. If you can get 17 or 21, then do so.
WL: 11-21–Again, as with WT. A slasher with a good endurance will shock the hell out of a scum TP who goes out sure that a slasher is easily scummed–not so. 17 is a good number; if possible, go with it.
SP: 5-9–If someone tells you that a slasher needs speed, DO NOT LISTEN to them. It’s hooey. A slasher already gets a speed and init bonus, they don’t need any more help, and in the long run it will greatly hinder them. A high-speed slasher will end up Init-heavy with absolutely no other skills (and it’s really frustrating to have a fast little slasher who already has a Master Init and still isn’t learning any other skills)–there’s nothing to ’em. You want him well-rounded, then you keep that SP low; that’s the major drawback to the slasher (or any pure offense style), and I believe it’s the main thing that’s kept them from being more greatly respected.
DF: 13-21–Here’s where you make or break ’em. A good deftness makes up for the decise that might be lost in a low speed, and decise is more important than init. Any good aimed blow will also be an excellent slasher (and, to avoid the inevitable snorts of derision, yes, they’d be a better anything else. But I’m talking about slashers).
A good, generally perfect slasher looks so: 7-9-5-21-18-11-13 (it’s not ABSOLUTELY perfect, mind you; if I was designing him today I’d probably have gone with a 17 WL and 8 ST). These are the stats of what is perhaps my best all around slasher, skill-wise. This rollup started with these bases:
INIT: 90% RIP: 60% ATT: 70% PAR: 15% DEF: 65% DEC: 55%
As you can see, this slasher got lucky–more, perhaps, than some would, especially in the defense area. Some slashers will be frustratingly low in defense. Despite this skill base, he also started doing LITTLE damage–with this kind of problem, I definitely advocate raising ST to get rid of it. It WILL hurt his record, and, with my newest Stat/Skill chart, I see that raising from 7 to 10 hasn’t hurt this slasher’s learning at all, and now he does GOOD damage.
Of course, not all of my slashers have been this good skill wise. Often they do start with desperately frustratingly low parry/defense skills, therefore needing nothing more than to get that first hit. Many slashers, especially the high ST/WT/DF combo ones, need to get the first hit–’cause if they get hit first, it’s all over.
One of my favorite designs looks like this: 13-13-6-17-15-7-13. This slasher has been desperately unlucky in skills, favorites, and definitely so record-wise. I can also attribute my lackadasical managerial style to his lack of success, because I believe the numbers to be good.
Be that as it may, the slasher I’ve had the best success with looked like this: 10-14-9-18-16-8-9. He started with a negative 10% parry, and only a 20% defense. For those wishing to snigger at me, this is Billy the Kid. He doesn’t look like this now, of course; he has a 47-29-2 record with several stat raises and three Advanced Masters. So it’s up in the air, for me, as to whether a really awesome design or just dumb luck is what attributes to one’s managerial success.
But that’s neither here nor there. Once you HAVE your design, you want to know how to run them. I’ve heard some say that weapons selection is limited with slashers. Sure. Limited to the BEST WEAPONS IN THE GAME. A slasher can use hatchets (don’t laugh! My slashers can do devastating things with hatchets), scimitar, broadsword, battle axe, longsword, epee, or shortsword. The scimitar is the weapon I advocate as the best all around, but always try others. Every slasher has their own ideas and some are pretty picky about it. I don’t recommend using the epee in regular DM even if you have the stats for it, unless you use it only against armor classes 0-4 or so.
Armor: I dress them heavy, but mostly because I like them to LIVE. A slasher is generally so quick that even as heavy as scalemail won’t slow them down once they have that expert Decise (and often before). But in order to please those who think excessive armor is scummy, you can drop them down to ALE/L. Go without armor only if you’re sure you can get the first swing and drop your opponent with that first hit or it’s a super scum who WON’T hit you. Otherwise, if you want to live, I recommend some armor. But each manager can use this advice as they will.
Strategies: Early on, I run them fairly hard, 10-10-6 in minute one, dropping to 8-4-6 in minute two, and then to 6-1-5(6) thereafter. Some slashers are a little strange in that they don’t mind an “inverted strategy,” that is, a higher defensive effort (activity level) than offensive, i.e.: 8-10 or 6-8. The 6-1-6 usually means that they can last a good long time against parry styles, and usually come out on top. The styles to watch out for are high-kill, high-decise strikers and killer lungers. Most slashers can and will get the jump on lungers, but the strikers are tougher; both CAN be beaten. With a little clever fiddling, the good slasher can beat ALL styles. But watch out for him while he’s still young.
Tactics: Not necessary. The slash is nice, if they like it, but it CAN slow them down. Decise is better if you want to be first off the mark or they appear hesitant in the first minute, but only in minute one OR desperation (but not both). Use response against strikers using decise.
And that’s about it. If you have any comments, criticisms, complaints, new ideas, different ideas, etc., you can contact me via:
Excellent ‘Venture (13, 101, 103)
Tex’s Rangers (20, 51, 105, 104)
Texas Independence Co (57, 105)
Put Up Your Dukes (29, 101, 103)
or numerous others.