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The Hoser Report #3

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THE HOSER REPORT

The strategy newsletter for Duelmasters

#3 May 12 1987

$2.00

THE MANAGERS CORNER


The PRP must be a real popular style (maybe I’ve been missing something).
Lots of information has been sent in for publication. One of the best is the
following article from the manager of one of the higher rated PRP’s in AD.
This is the guy I turn to with questions on this style. I hope you find it
useful. If you are sending articles please send nothing longer than this,
unless you don’t mind it being edited and/or squashed.

BUILDING THE PERFECT BEAST, OR DESIGNING A GREAT PARRY-RIPOSTE


Ok, we have all had a chance to look at the new program changes, and ponder the meaning in terms
of what they will do to our established warriors, From what I have seen, it is my opinion that the
parry-riposte (PRP) style is going to benefit tremendously. Of course I admit I may be a little bit
biased due to favoritism to the style, so let me back up this claim.


Before you ever consider making a PRP, you have to consider how the style works. This style is
not an offensive style. Too many managers send their PRPs out at 8/9/10 lunge for the first two
minutes. If that is what you want, get a Pokei. The PRP style is an elegant defensive style that is
designed to make the most of your enemies mistakes. Very few parry-ripostes will do good
damage, they tend to use the slice and dice approach, which will build up lots of popularity. By the
time the tenth minute rolls around and the arenamaster starts checking his watch, if your PRP has
hit his opponent a half dozen times, and looked good doing it, you can guess who wins.. Another thing
to consider is only two styles conserve END better than a PRP, TPS and AIM. It is easy for a PRP
to be active for 10 minutes. This assumes you aren’t being knocked around the arena by that size
20 basher you used to laugh at.


Now lets look at stats. A PRP will live and die by his riposte ability. With the new changes
allowing a sustained offense to break apart a defense, the PRP’s ability to take away the offense
becomes very important. Wit and deftness are the two most important stats in this area. They
must be a minimum of 15 each in my opinion. You will also notice that this beefs up your attack
%. This is intentional. When you riposte your opponent, the idea is to hit him.


Despite the new changes in favor of big warriors, I will still advocate a small size. The reason is
that with a small size, your defensive skills are enhanced. This is a defensive style, remember?
The other reason is you need the points elsewhere. From the experiments I’ve done, I would
recommend between a 5 and an 11. This range seems to be the best trade off in terms of dodge and
absorbing damage.


Next is con. Face it guys, with the new changes, parry styles are going to get hit. So your PRP has
to take damage and bounce back. I would like to see him take normal damage, or be able to get it
with a stat raise. Think in terms of SZ and CN equaling 21. If your SZ Is 5, try a 15 if possible,
13 would be the lowest I’d start a SZ 5 with. If SZ is 11, try a 9 or 10. Notice that a smaller size
has a much better chance of getting good END. Once again, a small size bonus.


Strength comes next. The highest strength required to use PRP weapons is an 11. Start with a 9
or 10. Only a size 10 or 11 PRP will do good damage normally, and you need the points in other
areas, If you want to do damage, get a Pokei. There are plenty of PRP weapons you can use with a low
ST, and you will be able to raise it. Speed used to be a worthless stat. If your wit, will, and
deftness were high enough, your speed really didn’t matter. With the new changes concerning
sustained offense, that is changed. Your PRP has to be fast enough to get his riposte off. If your SZ
is low, your SP can be low due to your defensive bonuses. I would try to keep it between 8 and 11.
Any higher and you will take initiative away completely from your opponents. This is not a bad
thing after 20 fights, but do it against another parry style early on and you will be in trouble. A
riposte is quick return thrust off an opponent’s attack that hits before his defenses are up. Going
offensive against other parry styles is how you lose. Keeping your speed low prevents this.


Last comes will. So far you have spent about 70 points. Will is a stat that modifies everything,
defense, attack, stat raises, skill learns, etc, etc. Given a choice, I want a high a will as I can get.
But weighing the benefits of a high will vs. a high wit, for this style, I would rather pump wit up
two more points to a 17. This leaves 12 – 13 points for will. This stlll leaves your PRP with a
65% chance to raise stats once, and plenty of staying power.


With the above parameters, my best PRP will look like this:

ST

CN

SZ

WT

WL

SP

DF
10

15

5

17

13

9

15


You will start out very intelligent, possibly with good endurance, and have a good chance of
starting with an expert in riposte. You wlll have to raise ST once to get a normal carrying
capacity.


PRP weapons are as follows; ST 9 or less, SS,SH,EP,SC; ST 11, LO,LS. Never use a EP, SH, or
SC against any armor heavier than ring. Notice that there are very few weapons a PRP can use.
This makes it relatively easy to find your favorite weapon. When you find it, there is a big
difference in your fights.


When setting up your plot sheet, keep your PRP in light armor. Ring is good against offensive
styles, leather or padded against parry styles. Keep your offense down. I only go higher than a 5 if
I’m challenging a known quantity. With the new rule on calling a fight, you don’t really have to
worry about going 15 or 20 ininutes, so set your activity at a moderate level the first several
minutes, then slow down to a 3 maybe. Never go below a 2. I suspect alot of managers will be
upping the activity levels now, and I would not want to be caught with 1 activity. Kill desire is a
matter of personal choice. Just remeitber, a high kill desire, especially a 10, detracts from your
defense. Stay away from fast LUA, big BAS, and WST in your first 10 fights. Anyone else is pretty
much fair game. Especially go after the old slimers, the ones that are all con/will. Their
managers will probably try to make them fight rather than DA them, so there will be plenty of bad
attacks to riposte. It will be a turkey shoot for a few turns at least.


I hope that this article has given you some insights into what I consider a devastating style, when
run properly. Those of you who have fought Erin know what I mean. If you have any further
questIons on this style you can contact me thru the mail. Good luck, and good hunting. – Mark
Ferris, 663A W. 6th St., Tustin, CA 92680

I recieved a very interesting piece of information from RSI (Paul Brown &
Chuck Kraver). It is an addition to the SZ/height table last issue. Apparently
you will be able to increase SZ in AD.

SZ:

22

23

24

25

Height:

7’6″

7’9″

8′

8’3″

HOSE KNOWS

Questions and Answers

Q: Do you have any ideas on PST strategy?

A: I have always viewed the PST and the STA as similar to the PLU and
LUA, one gives up some of the attack ability for a more rounded character;
The STA was intended to be the most versatile style in the game (with the
possible exception of AIM). We know how that turned out!


Versatility means not only a wide choice of weaponry, but a reasonable
ability to use most offensive and defensive tactics. Successful use opens the
door to customizing strategies to opponents. For most styles, I feel that a
manager should find a workable “offense” strategy, and a similar strategy for
“defense”. Then, alternate minutes between the strategies favoring what
your fighter does best. With most styles you don’t normally fool around
outside the “optimum” offensive effort and activity level ranges.


In theory the STA (and the similar PST) should be able to utilize all the
weapons and all the tactics. Even though the fighter in question will still
have a favorite range, weapons and tactics options make straying outside
“normal limits” more viable. Thus a manager should have a much better
chance of developing a “customized” strategy to defeat a targeted opponent.
This idea may be thought of as “doing what it takes to beat a foe”, in contrast
to using the strategy of “doing what one does best”. I like the last idea best
instead of getting too fancy on the strategy sheet. Of course, your gladiators
strengths may not be effective vs. all opponents. Thus the value of
versatility (in theory anyway).


My ideas would be get who you want to fight, use a challenge strategy if
you’re up against a known opponent. As far as tactics, try them all.
Decisiveness and parry are the obvious choices, but try the offensive tactic
that matches weapon type. On defense, relying on the parry tactic for
extended periods of time is out (unless of course the PST has 15 or 20 parry
skills). Experiment with riposte and responsiveness. PST is not noted as a
mobile style, the dodge tactic is less attractive but may be useful.


Q: Any tips on BAS? Mine never gain initiative.

A: Why are you fighting faster opponents? Try decisiveness. Are you using
a slow weapon (HL, GS)? BAS have Very good options for weapons, try a QS
or a MA. Have you tried redudng weight? Test the new sustained attack
package on your favorite scum.


The style description of BAS suggests that the norm is a high aggressiveness,
with little movement. Maybe 10-4 or 6-3 or something like that. Using
everything helps greatly (especially if your BAS can end the fight quickly),
but most won’t have sufficient endurance remaining to continue the fight.
All or nothing. Not a very promising prospect when pitted against
inherently faster (or more skilled) opponents. If you’re caught in that
situation, try to parry. Not many people seem to realize that experienced
BAS get credible parry ability. An off-hand shield is highly recommended.
You’ll be hit but the idea is to survive the onslaught. By that time the
opponent should be exhausted (or at least slowed down to where your BAS
can handle the situation). Lots of interesting possibilities for the BAS now.


Q: Why is RSI so unresponsive to customer problems?

A: Obviously. I am not very close to the situation, but the subject has been
kicked around quite alot. I can offer my opinions, especially having been on
the other side of the fence.


RSI is running about 40 or so arenas every 10 business days. Thats a pretty
fair amount of work. I would imagine that most of the resources of RSI are
being used for Hyborian War (which I hear is a very good game). These
guys are busy, but that’s not a defense.


Personally I think they do a pretty good job. I expect my turns run on time,
and by an large they are. I expect accurate data input, and it is most of the
time. Only once has input error ever cost me a fight (I didn’t bother to
contest it). I don’t really ever have any questions or need to interact with
the moderators. Maybe I should expect more?


Players can make the situation better by realizing the difference between a
grievance and a gripe. Game results are the product of the factors of random
chance. “Bad luck” is not a good basis for a complaint. Error on the part of
the moderator is. Is that question you have so important that it requires an
instant answer?


That does not mean. there have not been problems. There have been. An
adversarial atmosphere has developed, and there is lots of ill-will out there.
However we all have a common reference point, that being we want to see
Duelmasters continue to improve & grow. It is the persisent problems that
are creatjng the impression of indifference. Much of the criticism is
deserved. Duelmasters players pay a premium price, and should get prompt
solutions. RSI is making efforts to serve us better, I’m sure everyone will be
watching the follow through.


Q: I’m a new manager, and some of your references (“unless the style is
AIM”, the odds are against AIM, STA, SLA, and the WST”) weren’t clear. Are
these generally poor long range styles, short term, or what?

A: What I was referring to was the overall effectiveness of each style.
Virtually any arena newsletter you can get your hands on will have these
styles ranked at the bottom of the style listing. The AIM and STK tend to
take lots of time (and money) to develop. Since you read the HOSER REPORT I
assume that you want to avoid fighters with 4-15 records. The SLA and
WST tend to have good early fights, but can’t compete on an advanced level.
Why? The parry tactic is the “natural” way to neutralize the slashing attack.
Little needs to be said about the dominance of party styles for the last 30 or
so months. The WST also suffers a very high END cost. Even though the
cards are stacked against them, there is always room for a good one.

PROGRAM CHANGES – ADVICE TO SCUMS

At first there was a question in my mind as to whether the mentioned
changes were just new text inserted in the program. After reviewing a few
dozen fights,there is no doubt in my mind that these are real changes. Will
they have a significant impact? I don’t think its going out on a limb to say
“yes”. In fact, I think that this will initiate an “arms race”, with the large
fighter (SZ 15 to 17) being the gladiator of choice. My advice to readers is to
start racing now. More program changes are rumored for May release.


Apparently fights running past 10 minutes (scum vs. scum) will be allowed
to continue. Many managers are heavily invested in scum, and they must
have been quite vocal. I don’t think that this concession will slow the
dropping W/L for scums.


If you are running parry styles, I offer these tips; Even if you can go several
minutes without a breach in the defense, END costs will add up. Trying to
hide behind a shield for more than 3 consecutive minutes (“scumming”) will
likely be unprofitable. Many TPS will have a fair amount of DEC skills,
you’re going to have to use them. Try to soften up your opponent in minutes
2 or 3, and think about ending the fight in minute 4 or 5.


Since the changes are aimed at reducing the END of scums, you may blunt
the effect by raising the stats affecting END (ST, CN, WL). Train skills for the
challenge and random match-ups, increase the attribute if you get
challenged. Why?


If you run a scum of any experience, there are probably managers who
“have your number”. They will be eager to test the new program changes at
your expense. This assumes that you will lose most of the times you are
challenged. Remember, getting pummeled and losing fights is not conducive
to learning skills. So write off the fight and get the attributes. Of course, if
you can challenge and get the people you want to fight your rival won’t get
the chance to nail you.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – THE NEW RECRUIT (PART 2)

Last issue we looked at which attributes contribute to the physical capacities
of a gladiator. So, that leaves the “skill” areas to look at, the abilities we
want the new recruit to excel in. Now we can get a better idea of which
attributes are worth more than others, From here on I will often refer to
averages. “Average” is 12 on the 3 to 21 scale (84 points/7 attributes).


First, I think most managers will accept the proposition that large SZ is
liability. You may have success with large gladiators now, but I can’t see
that the basic cause of the disparity has been corrected. SZ should be
independent of the point total. Bottom line: I want a couple of big guys in
my stable, but only a couple, Unfortunately SZ is the only attribute one can’t
alter. Warriors with unacceptable SZ are automatic DA candidates.


Looking at CN, we see that it helps no skill area whatsover. Given the low
mortality rate
, you’re nuts if you add any points during initial design.
Example: Team average natural CN for current Hose Machine is 9.46 with a
W/L of .682, Not counting the highest 3 of 15, the average CN is 7.50. Four
and one half points under average, points that can be used elsewhere. The
downside?


1) HP will be low. Generally speaking, good warriors don’t get hit very
often.

2) END will suffer. This can be offset by adding to ST and/or WL.

3) ENC will be lower. Yes, but it is partially offset by adding to ST, and
heavy armor is of questionable effectiveness later.

4) Permanent wounds. Lots of talk here, but no action yet.

5) My warrior will die. Maybe so. Thats life in the food chain. Expect to
lose a few, but the ones who make it will take you far.


SP is the last attribute I feel can be neglected by most gladiators. The table
from HR#2 shows that speed contributes to everything but attack. Note the
“?” by doage and parry. My lowest SP characters are not lacking in either
skill area. In fact, my best TPS (Engwar in AD) has a natural SP of 5.
Compare your high SP characters to your low SP characters. How quickly
does each reach expert in parry or dodge? Has raising SP ever caused you to
reach expert in these skill areas?


The exceptions would be PST, STA, and PRP. These styles are heavily reliant
on decisiveness and riposte. I would say minimum SP of 11 for these styles,
maximum of 9 for all others. Many managers might disagree, that is their
perogative. I maintain that no character with 21 SP will ever be a dominant
character, Duelmaster or otherwise. Good maybe, but not truly great.


The first thing I look at on a new roll-up is these three attributes. Ideally
they will total 30 or less. Using this system, the best character I have to
date is a character with a 17. Since 12 * 3 is 36, that character recieved a
“bonus” of 36 – 17 – 19 points. Where should you put them?


WT is the most important attribute for any fighter that hopes to be viable in
the long run. High WT fighters tend to require less skills to reach expert
status. WT adds to every skill area. The question mark under decisevness is
to indicate that this only seems to be effected by a very high WT. WT may
also have some effect on END. It takes a very long time to reach AD on 1
skill per turn. Never accept less than a natural 11 (11 can become 15).


WL adds only 2 skills (attack and parry), but is important in many other
ways. When the computer decides to check for morale, that 21 WL keeps a
gladiator going for a long while. It increases END and HP. I actually had a
character raise to a 22 WL (in AD) and he reached expert in decisiveness. I
doubt that there are too many truly great characters with a WL of 10 or less.


DF is probably more of a priority than WL to some managers, but if your
man is small and fragile, WL should come first. Checking the chart, DF
increases attack, parry, dodge, and riposte. Weapon problems begin occuring
rather frequently with 10 or less DF. No fighter can have a DF too high.


ST will be fairly important for the same reason as WL, they cover your
deficiencies in CN. With a 9 you can use a good slashing weapon (SC) and a
good lunging weapon (SS). The lightest bashing weapon is the QS (11 ST). ST
will also be more important the smaller the fightet is. SZ seems to have a
much larger effect (positive or negative) on damage than ST does.


Now is when you should determine style. Usually it is clear before you add
any points that some stytes will be out of the question due to such factors as
SZ, damage, endurance, etc. That serves to narrow the field. Well designed
characters usually have a choice between two or three possibilities.

ODDS & ENDS

The backlog of material for publication continues, but don’t let that hold you
back. One of the things I feel is important to the HOSER REPORT and its
readers is exclusivity. You may have noticed announcements once again in
your arena newsletters, these will be probably be the last.


Do you suppose now that R&D on Hyborian War is complete Duelmasters
players will get a price roll-back?


I have heard that the 4th Grand Tournament will be held over the Labor Day
weekend. If you can only take one major trip this summer, this is the one.
Not only do you get a chance to gain experience while your rivals are idle,
but its a fun weekend. You meet other managers face to face, lots of politics.
My favorite part (next to killing someones entry) is the announcement of
each rounds pairings. Talk about suspense. Then comes the frantic rush to
cut deals for information (or mercy), and fill out your turnsheets in the
alloted time.


Then comes the wait for results. The first two rounds can take several hours
each. After the first elimination things speed up quite a bit. Then there are
the upset victories, the cinderella stories, usually a prominent death, and the
pain of elimination. If you still have warriors advancing, things get intense.
The chances of matching up with a cupcake are slim, chances are better that
you’ll match with the type of opponent that always gives you trouble. You
really feel great when you still have entries in the 6th, 7th, and 8th rounds.
And you’ve done a good job. My bet is the Mordant warriors will once again
be standing tall when the dust settles.


Some of the newer managers have asked me to clarify earlier references.
After this issues article on the new recruit, I will back-track to a basic game
philosophy that may give readers better insights on how to view this game.
Good luck.


Jeff Morgan

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