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The Hoser Report #14

*The Hoser Report*
The strategy newsletter for Duelmasters
(c) 1988 Eudaemonic Enterprises
All rights reserved
#14 January 19, 1987


Dear Jeff: I have given careful thought to your comments concerning character roll-ups. I must admit, (I) can find no flaw in your reasoning for character optimization by characteristic. It certainly seems like a logical means of optimizing skills at the earliest possible moment and skills implies viotories and victories implies playing for free – a worthy goal.

But, there are some of us who are not concerned with the financial rewards of a successful team as much as with the challenge of developing each character to the limit of their potential and amassing data on a particular fighting style.

Many times I have heard the term “scumming” used to describe the Total Parry style – and many complaints that the Total Parry style dominates arenas. I humbly suggest that it is the fault of the managers of that arena that they allow these turtles to plague them. Why? Because the Aimed Blow style is not a popular style – yet my experience is that they are generally more than a match for Total Parrys. I even had one Aimed Blow specialist carve up a Total Parry in plate armor with a full helm using an epee! On the other hand, the Aimed Blow specialist seems to be quite vulnerable to the more decisive styles – at least in the early going.

Two of your roll-up characters from the #10 Hoser Report have characteristics which allow the manager to create a reasonable Aimed Blow specialist: numbers 3 and 4.

Number 3: Gotcha, Aimed Blow specialist

ST:  (6)         11     0-15       EP/HA 
CN:  (9)          9     16-23      SC/SH 
SZ:  10                 24 +       LO/ME 
WT:  (11)        15 
WL:  (9)          9     Armor: ALE/APL 
SP:  (11)        11     Helm: Any 
DF   (14)        19     Training CN, then SKILLS

The Aimed Blow specialist is an offensive style, consequently, the offensive effort should be generally high, 8 – 10. Activity level is a matter of situation. I have used from 3 to 10 with good effect. Kill desire is also a matter of situation (and choice). I have used from 3 to 10, but have only registered kills during minutes with a low kill desire (as low as 3!).

Initially, Gotcha could be run as a lunger ( 10-10-10-L) using the weapons suggested above and attacking the legs. Or, he could be left to his own devices ( 10-6-6, 9-3-6) aiming anywhere. With a deftness of 19, he would have little trouble in finding chinks in any armor ( I have found that the Aimed Blow specialist goes for perceived weak spots regardless of the attack location specified).

Number 4 The Nerd, Aimed Blow specialist

ST:  (12)      13      0-15      EP/HA 
CN:  (9)       9       16-23      SC/SH 
SZ:  11                24 +       LO/ME 
WT:  (21)      21 
WL:  (4)       10      Armor: ALE/APL 
SP   (4)        5      Helm: Any 
DF:  (9)       15      Training: CN, then SKILLS

The Nerd will probably have low endurance and low carrying capacity, so blast out (10-10-10-L) as a lunger and watch them fly. Or out-scum the world all dolled up in the latest plate armor if you find that El Nerdo cannot win in the first minute. Fingal, manager of the Fiends, Arkers arena

A Schmuck’s Rebuttal

This is just a short rebuttal to “The Managers Corner” in HR # 12.

I ) Profanity is never called for.

2) I never said it was great to have my best warrior killed. I simply said I liked being in a deadly arena (especially when my two closest allies and myself combine for 53 kills).
3) I hope you like the face of indifference mixed with the slightest hint of disappointment, that’s what you would have seen. No use crying over spilled milk.

Well, that’s about it. I thank you for your time. – Respectfully yours, Schmuck

Questions & Answers

Q: Any tips on the Aimed Blow fighter?

A: Many managers have written me to ask what the secret of the aimed blow style is. Had I known what it was earlier, I would have written about it. I believe I know now. Like most problems, once you see the answer you’re surprised at how easy it really is. I had a phone call from Fingal a few weeks ago, and he apparently has been having success fighting several aimed blow fighters. His reasoning (those of you with strikers might also find this interesting) is that this style has a wide range of weapons and tactics available. Therefore, he should be able to mimic most other styles. What is the most universally successful style? Treat yourself to a beer if you said lunging. He sets up his aimed blow fighters like lungers, and its working for him.

This really makes a lot of sense. The only problem I see is that most aimed blow fighters are not designed with endurance in mind. Fingal’s strategies use the maximum amount of endurance. If it doesn’t work for you in minute one, you’re in big trouble. On the other hand, this style has the lowest endurance cost. If you manage an aimed blow fighter, its certainly worth a try (the masochists who run this style have probably tried everything else).

NEX Updates

As promised, here are the characters sent to me thus far. This should keep you database junkies busy until March. We’ve seen quite a few of these now, and the enterprising manager should soon be able to work backwards (for the major styles) to style modifications and initial character percentages using techniques outlined in earlier issues. My own analysis for the intellectually lazy and/or confused will be coming in the near future. As you analyze these stats, take note of these factors:

1) The influence of stat raises. In some cases, they were raised after the expert status was reached. In others they do not affect a skill area until extremes are reached (15, 17, or higher; see tables on following pages), or at all.

2) Look at characters of the same style, but slightly different stats. For example if you are looking at attack skills for a parry-lunge look at the attributes that contribute to that skill area (ST/WT/WL/DF) if in doubt consult HR #2 & #3 or the Duelmasters Handbook. Then, look at the number of break points difference.

3) Look at warriors with very similar stats, but different styles. This will point out the different weights (skill area modifications) that the game designer has used.

4) Note there are two identical WST fighters. They are managed by the same individual, yet have different NEX. I called this manager to see if there was not a record keeping error involved. There apparently was not. This little item is another bit of evidence supporting the mysterious luck factor. Good luck.

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #1
11     11     6      11     15     19     11          SLA 
Exp. Decisiveness of roll-up

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #2
17     15/13  7      12/10  16/15  7      17/15       WST
NEX Attack = +4, WT to 11, DF to 17; NEX Parry = +5, WT to 11, DF to 17 

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #3
10     9      21     13     10     9      12          LUA 
NEX Initiative = +1

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #4
11/10  10     8      15     15     11     15          PRP
NEX Riposte = +2 

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #5
17/16  11/10  16     15/13  11/10  10/9   11/10       BAS
NEX Attack = +6, ST to 17, WT to 15, DF to 11; NEX Decisiveness = +8, WT to 15; NEX
Initiative = +4, WT to 15, DF to 11 

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #6
13     10     15     15     5      15     11          BAS
NEX Initiative = +2 

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #7
12/10  15/14  8      13/10  19/18  14/13  13/11       PST 

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #8
11     10     11     15/13  13     13     14/13       PST 

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #9
9      12     9      15     9      13     17          PRP 

ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL     SP     DF          Style          #10
9      3      15     11     12     17     17          SLA 
Exp. Initiative on roll-up

(up to #42, removed for brevity by Terrablood. I don't want to type them in.)

And if that is not Enough…

The following are all I have received to date for skills vs. attributes. Notice that this is not very complete. Compiling this information takes lots of time, even with many managers contributing. These figures were obtained using the Golden Rule of 4, if you have missed earlier issues. I have made a few guesses which are clearly shown, as are “semi-confirmed” results. For example, we can never know what an attribute of 3 does, since you can’t increase a stat to 3. However, there does appear to be a fair amount of symmetry present so when I see a result for a 21 1 assume that 3 has the same effect in the opposite direction. And, when reading these you include each bonus/penalty before it. So if you have a ST 17 you have a total bonus of 10%, or an additional 5% above ST 15.


      3     5     7    9    11   13   15   17   19   21 
Att.  -10?  -10?  -5   -5   0    0?   +5   +5   +10  +10 
Par.                   -5   0?   0?   +5   +5


      3     5     7    9    11   13   15   17   19   21 
Att.              -5?  -5   +5?  +5   +5   +5   +5   +5?
Dec.                                       +5
Dod.                             +5
Ini.                             +5
Par.                             0
Rip.                                  +5   +5


      3     5     7    9    11   13   15   17   19   21 
Att.  -5?         -5   -5   0    0    +5   +5   +5   +5
Par.                   -5   0?        +5   +5


      3     5     7    9    11   13   15   17   19   21 
Att.                   -5   +5   +5
Ini.                                       +5
Par.                                       +5

Odds & Ends

Many people have asked about the questions that Ed Schoonover has offered to field. Sorry, I dropped the ball on this one. But I have now sent Ed 10 questions, so for those who have been asking, it shouldn’t be too much longer now.

Have you been looking for a better way to keep track of the accomplishments of your gladiators? If you run a few teams, you very quickly reach the point of having to search through several hundred pounds of paper to find what you want. What you really want is information, not wood pulp. To that end, Edward Fuchs has designed the Duelmasters Character Development Sheet. This nifty sheet allows one to track the lifetime achievements of each gladiator (20 fights per sheet), it is spacious and well laid (!). it may not contain everything you track, but if you made it a two-sided sheet you would need nothing else for record keeping. If you do hang on to old fights, this will very quickly reference each fight for you. It will be the last page of the next issue if you would like to make a (gasp!) photocopy of it. Also in the next issue: the latest encumbrance table, a look at damage using a 400 character database, managing the Parry Lunge (the first of ten articles on each style), and who knows what else.

The rash (statistically speaking) of errors that had been appearing in my turns have vanished as quickly as they cropped up. I am very happy to see this. To RSl’s credit, it had been many months (maybe a year) since the last input error on my turns. Unfortunately for RSI many other people have taken notice of problems, including Paper Mayhem. In a recent piece on customer service problems in the industry, RSI was mentioned prominently.

Speaking of Paper Mayhem, there was a review of the game back in issue 26 by Jim Townsend. In the review, he gives the following formula for endurance: E = (ST + CN) * WL/10. This reviewer supposedly just began playing, he described his new team in issue 25. That strikes me as a pretty big leap for a rookie manager to make. Whats the catch? This person is a GAME REVIEWER.

If you don’t think that PBM companies work at developing good relationships with these people, you’re NUTS. They of course want the most favorable reviews possible. If your game reviewer gets crushed like an insect because he didn’t have a few hundred fights experience to figure things out… My point is that this probably came from an RSI employee. It may not be exactly correct but close enough to help the guy along (then again, it could be it).

Let’s forget the source and look at the formula. It says that the relationship between ST and CN is 1:1. WL being equal, a character with a very high ST and low CN (say, 21 & 3) should have the same endurance as a character with 12 ST and 12 CN. The implication for character design is that you can offset low CN by adding to ST (for endurance). For attribute increases, it makes no difference which you raise if endurance is your concern. The real big news here is WL. Because it is a multiplier, adding 3 or 4 points here can have an enormous effect. If this is indeed the case, it would nicely explain why characters with 9 or less WL are always short winded. By the way I called Database La Plante with this. He didn’t like it.

And getting to databases, Mike has offered to share his with anyone who could make use of it. Just send me (or him, we both have hard copies) a SASE (39¢). It currently has about 400 characters (unidentified of course) in it. Mike has 200 more to add but has memory problems with his computer so I will be putting it all together. If you have access to a Macintosh you can send me a 3.5″ disk (400 or 800K) and I will return it with the file plus a few goodies.

The new Handbook is out for those of you interested. Have you noticed that some tables in the Handbook are slightly off? I’ve noticed it also. I started managing a 5 DF basher (heresy!) knowing I could use a ML. Surprise, that now requires 7 DF. Perhaps I’m being obtuse, but I don’t see how this particular change is an improvement in the game. The people I know who are dropping the game are not dropping because they know the weapon requirements.

It would seem that the powers that be have been up to a little monkey business. Of course they are fully within their rights to do so. One would hope that these same people would ask themselves if record keeping players (i.e. everyone) figuring out these requirements is the Worst Problem they had. Sometimes RSI makes no sense at all.

Of course you can count on seeing the changes in the Hoser Report, this will give me a little something to do for next time (by the way, the Handbook has caught some of them). This sudden change in what we all felt was a constant illustrates the value of a newsletter like this when everyone contributes. I would be most appreciative if you would drop me a card or call (NOT during football or basketball games!) when you see these things happen. Thanks.

Jeff Morgan

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