Info and data for fans of the play-by-mail games Duel II, Forgotten Realms, and Hyborian War from Reality Simulations, Inc

MORE ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS

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     Many essays dwell on style specifics.  This piece describes a playing philosophy.  
When you just want to WIN, create scum TPs and size 17 monsters with impunity.  Don't 
worry about getting these warriors into ADM!  YOU'RE concerned with winning those "Top 
Team" and "Team on the Move" awards.
     By comparison, managers with an excellent setup shouldn't be too concerned with 
the team win/loss record.  Their character must develop, gain every skill possible, in 
order to blossom into a deadly duelist.  THEIR goal is to advance this fighter into 
ADM, and eternal life.
     Here are some broad parameters for assessing a warrior's value, and a few 
representative samples:
Primus Bound:
     - WT, WL and DF total 49+.
     - 4 or more wit statements.
     - Start with Expert rating or gain it in one or two skills.
     - [13-5-5-21-13-10-17, 6-6-9-17-21-9-17, 11-7-9-17-17-6-17, etc.]
Basic/ADM Only:
     - WT, WL and DF total to 35+.
     - At least 3 wit statements.
     - Gain Expert rating in no more than five skills.
     - [17-9-10-17-9-9-13, 13-11-11-17-13-8-11, 9-13-10-15-21-5-11, etc.]
Dark Arena: [Any two of these qualify the character as "expendable"]
     - WT less than 13.
     - Less than 3 wit statements.
     - Is clumsy.
     - Has very little endurance.
     - [15-15-16-11-13-5-9, 7-18-13-17-5-13-11, 13-15-13-13-17-6-7, etc.]
     The Primus Bound setups are rare; they are coddled, protected and sometimes 
sandbagged for a year or so in order to build up a few Ad Experts to help them survive 
in the arena.
     The Basic/ADM Only fighters have mediocre to decent stats, and are going to be 
very dependent on their overview for that elusive "luck factor."  This class of 
warrior should be highly competitive.  Most of the fighters seen in the arena are in 
this category.
     Finally, the Dark Arena fighters: conceived from pitiful setups with little 
chance of being competitive.  However, these rollups might prove useful.  Don't fight 
the system; learn to use it to your advantage!  Many managers send fighters to the 
D.A. who might have provided them with a successful (if brief) career in Basic.
     Give BIG numskulls lots of ST and SP; these are your killer LUs and STs.  More WL 
= LU; Higher DF = ST. (I don't advise making Bashers unless you have a 17+ wit and 15+ 
points in WL.)  Give LITTLE morons a boost to WL, ST and CN; these are your TP scum.  
If they have absolutely no WT or WL, escort them to the Dark Arena.
     Of course, some fighters have good stats and decent overviews yet still lose most 
of their fights in the beginning of their career.  The "old" method of dealing with 
this phenomenon was to bump all stats by two or more.  Now, it's generally agreed that 
this increases performance at the cost of future skill learns.  This takes away from a 
duelist's competitive abilities in the higher levels of play.  Competitive fighters 
should be making as few stat raises as possible until they have "maxed out" in at 
least three of four skill areas. (Some managers advocate waiting until a character is 
completely "maxed out" before raising stats; this will take a long time for most 
warriors.)
     Some warriors (particularly the finesse styles: AB, PR, PL, PS) take a little 
longer to develop.  If they DON'T have the stats or the overview to raise visions of a 
Primus inductee, take a HARD look at their potential.  Will stat raises help?  Well 
they come easily?  Is the rest of the team strong?  How much money are you willing to 
invest in this character?
     ANYONE can create an awe-inspiring fighter by adding a couple of points to key 
stats.  It means the fighter may lose some of its long-term potential, but so what?  
Duelmaster, Most Popular Fighter, Best Win/Loss Record, etc. all equate into free 
fights and recognition.  If you don't have that Godling in your stable, what other 
goal might you have but to excel in your arena?!!
     I urge new managers to run EVERY setup at least once in the arena.  Look on 
rollups as a challenge; try to make the best killer or scum possible out of Dark Arena 
material.  There's a tremendous amount of experience to be gained by this.
     See what effect a high ST or DF has on specific styles; compare overviews to find 
what works and what doesn't; gain new insights on character design.  You will enjoy 
playing far more than you do now!  You might even come up with a better way of 
designing a character for a specific style, and write an article to share your views.
     The point is, DON'T wait around for the "right" rollup, or waste time and money 
(or sentiment) on characters who aren't doing anything for you.  Play the percentages.  
If a promising warrior is losing repeatedly, be patient.  Once a few AdExperts are 
gained he will probably turn things around.  If you Dark Arena Mutant loses a lot and 
his scumminess or killer-design aren't working, either bump a couple of stats or DA 
him.  If your scum/killer goes out there and wins a few, start paying attention to 
challenges/avoids (which you SHOULD be doing anyway).  Send that scum against a LU or 
ST; send that monster ST against a midget Parry-whatever.  Style vs. style matchups 
are crucial in the early careers of EVERY fighter.
     Generally, even lousy STs, LUs, BAs and TPs do well starting out.  Later the 
finesse styles--PL, PS, PR, AB--usually take over.  Summary: Recognize the difference 
between playing "to win" and playing "longterm."  Start noticing which teams have high 
win/loss percentages: what kind of warriors are they running?  Start sending diplos; 
don't be bashful.  You can bring that win/loss to a respectable level with careful 
play, short-term Mutant killers and scum, and the occasional stat-bump for those 
mediocre fighters whom you plan on retiring later.  Try it and see.  It gives the game 
more spice, you win more often, and you have more FUN!  And just remember... I told 
you so!

                         Diplo me with comments, questions, rebuke:
                              -- The Arcane Kid, of Astral Kin in Osksi (DM-3)
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