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The Basic Ripper

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     Why isn't one of basic's most entertaining styles, a style capable of beating all 
others, a common sight upon the sands?  The myth that rippers are difficult to run and 
inherently prone to dying is widely accepted.  True, the graveyard is full of rippers 
that began their careers running little numbers and the parry tactic.  This is no 
mystery given that very few rippers start with great defenses and the parry tactic 
destroys a young ripper's offense.  In their efforts to make better punching bags, 
many managers have turned to big constitutions and heavy armor.  A dose of sanity is 
long overdue.  If you would like to run some rippers who will survive and win, read 
on.
     DESIGN:  My approach is somewhat unorthodox.  I maintain an evolving list of 
physical requirements for each style, i.e., endurance, punishment, damage, and carry 
capacity.  If you don't have the means to accurately forecast these ratings, ask 
around.  If at all possible, I first max out a new rollup's WL at a value of 15, 17, 
or 21 and then compare the rollup's physical potential with each style's physical 
requirements.  Generally, the style that matches up best and requires me to add the 
least number of points to ST and CN is the one I want.  It isn't absolutely necessary 
for a fighter to be physically fit at the beginning of his career.  Plan ahead.  Will 
a few preselected attribute trains make him so?  Must points be added to the rollup's 
ST or CN so that he can make the grade with no more than two trains per attribute?  
Which weapons will he use?  With these questions answered, it's simply a matter of 
taking WT to the highest odd value possible (avoid 19) and then doing the same with 
DF.  Godlings are not born as a results of how many points you can pump into WT, WL, 
and DF; that's luck's job.
     Young rippers need to be able to go fast for two minutes without tiring.  If your 
ripper isn't physically fit, he will slow down.  If he slows down, you are gambling 
with his life.  The more frail the warrior, the greater the gamble.  That said, if 
your ripper can quickly meet the following criteria and learn reasonably well, you 
will get your money's worth.
     Endurance: Something in the neighborhood of 350 (that's {ST+CN}WL)
     Punishment: Anywhere from the high end of very frail to midrange normal
     Damage:  Normal
     Capacity: Cannot carry a lot (minimum ST/CN combos: 9/8, 10/7, 11/6, 12/5)

     ST: 9 +   Midgets need an 11 or better.
     CN: See Endurance, punishment, and capacity requirements
     SZ: Small (3-8) to medium (9-14)
     WT: 15+   If your ripper doesn't learn, he's toast.
     WL: 15+   See endurance and punishment requirements.
     SP: Though frequently unimportant, it helps to have points here if you're stuck 
with a few 15's in WT, WL, and DF.
     DF: 15+   13 will do if you're fortunate to have a big WT and/or WL.

Strats:        X    8    9    5    5    5    8
               X    8    5    3    3    3    10
               X    6    7    7    7    7    5
               ARM ------------------------- >
               HE -------------------------- >
               N --------------------------- >
               N ------------------------ >  R

     Why the missing numbers in the first minute?  You'll want to find what works for 
your new ripper and possibly change his numbers as he develops.  8-8-6 is probably the 
best opening minute for a young ripper.  If your youngster has a high speed, try 10-
10-6.  6-8-6 is a bit slow for my taste.  Nevertheless, this might be the way to go 
even if your ripper doesn't need to build up his endurance.  Something I call "the 
change" occurs when your ripper approaches his master in riposte, his AD Ex in parry, 
and Experts in attack, defense and initiative.  This is a moment of decision.  If your 
ripper takes normal punishment, this is when you can opt to slow him down.  I don't do 
this, but I have seen 5-7-5 and 5-5-5 parry work rather well.  It's probably wise for 
a slow-running ripper to run fast in desperation.  If your ripper continues to run 
fast after "the change," a first minute strat of 8-10-4 often works well.
     WEAPONS:  A scimitar or longsword belongs in your ripper's hand.  After he starts 
critting, check to see if the epee is his favorite.  I don't believe in heavy backups 
for youngsters; a dagger will do.  Most youngsters will benefit from an offhand dagger 
(preferred), hatchet, or shortsword.  After "the change," rippers who don't slow down 
can improve the quality of their attacks by getting rid of their off hand weapons.  
These guys will need a backup scimitar, longsword, or epee.  Rippers who do slow down 
should keep their offhand weapons.
     ARMOR:  Very frail rippers should debut in ASM/H.  After ten fights or so, it's 
probably best to go with APL/H.  Guys who cannot take a lot of punishment belong in 
ARM/H for their entire basic careers.  Put them in ALE/H if you're feeling gutsy.  
Rippers who take normal punishment can debut in APL/H, ARM/H, or ASM/H.  After ten 
fights or so, it's definitely time for APL/H.  If you decide to slow one of these guys 
down, you'd better put him back in ARM/H or ASM/H.
     CHALLENGES:  Scummers deserve numbers like 4-1-6; keep that big desperation, 
though.  If you know that an opponent is out to kick you when you're down, go with 5-
8-5 or 5-5-5 while he's playing dead and 8-8-5 and 9-5-7 when he's active.  Good aimed 
blows are a pain.  Still, like every other style, they can be beaten with standard 
strats.
     Many people have contributed indirectly to the content of this article.  Foremost 
in my mind are The Lunatic, Scrag, Voo-Doo, U-Star, Shark, Moriarty, and Wormtongue.  
Thanks.  If you have a bone to pick or a story to tell, you know where to find me.

                                                       Cadmus
                                                       Wild Oats (479)
                                                       Solven, DM 22
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