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The Hoser Report #8


The strategy newsletter for Duelmasters

#8 August 25 1987



To the Hoser

I’m sick of it. What I’m referring to, of course, is the complete dominant advantage of low size
warriors. I’ve had the misfortune of receiving among my 40+ roll-ups, an average warrior size
of almost 13.5. The lowest size I’ve ever laid eyes on was a 6. He was killed first turn. So you
see, I’ve never had the good luck to be able to take advantage of the system error that lets little
people win.

It’s true that the new rules have helped out Big Bashers and hindered Little Scum, but only barely.
Another problem that goes unanswered by this solution however, are the size 5 lungers and size 9
bashers that are now terrorizing around. Their small size does not hinder their attack ability, but
instead makes them faster and more endurane. They do less damage per blow, but land twice as
many blows and learn faster too. They take less damage, but never give the opponent a chance to
swing. The only thing that is to the disadvantage of these warriors is a higher mortality rate (big
(deal) Upon reaching AD however, this disadvantage disappears. ARRRRGH!!

I’m telling you this because I’m hoping you will write, in the Hoser Report, an article attacking
this problem and maybe incite people who are also sick of it to write to RSI and tell them to do
something. I have a few suggestions – maybe you have more.

1: TALLER WARRIORS HAVE A REACH ADVANTAGE, i.e. decisiveness bonus.

2: LET WARRIORS KILL EACH OTHER MORE, I know you’re in favor.

it is now, can still be frail with a 9 con, 19 size. Bullshit.

4: RAISE THE SIZE LIMIT ON SOME WEAPONS. LS takes a 9 size, halberd takes the same. Why? How
`bout that large shield? Not too large, is it? Evidently not, if a size 3 warrior has no trouble
hefting it around in front of enemy attacks.

Surely, the right balance of these and other ideas will make a size point just as valuble as any
other. That’s fair isn’t it? – Mark Nau

I think the solution is very simple, and does not involve a great deal of
modifications to the game. Instead modify the characters which exist as
datafiles and can be easily edited.

How? A change in character design rules. Size would not count as part of
your 84 point allowance. The allowance would be reduced to 72 points
(84/7), plus whatever size may be. Thus, every new character would
have the same number of points to build attributes and thererore skill areas.
The root cause of the old bias would be gone. A new bias? Yes. But, that is
the way of the real world, and Duelmasters is advertised as “realistic”. I
think the pitch was something like `the most intense and realistic`. Where’s
the beef?

The older characters? As with scum, many managers are heavily invested in
small characters and owe their success to It. Any type of point
reapportionment would be too political to be implemented. That doesn’t
mean that it shbuldn’t be done. Instead of taking from the runts, give to the
big guys. In theory. every point below 12 (average) is a bonus point the
small fighter recieved. So, give the manager of the big guy a bonus point for
every point he has above 12 (points that under the current system are a
liability) for allocation. A size 15 character would get 3 points. A size 21
character would get 9 points (kind of scary, eh?). No more than 6 to any one
attribute, nothing above 21; just like character design. Just like character

Even if this were to be done instantly, you wouldn’t see the effects quickly.
The current small fighters have had (in many cases) years to take advantage
of the loophole.

This issue features a mans style, the BAS. Here is what I have received:

              ST    CN   SZ    WT    WL   SP   DF  Hand
Original:     16    10   16    13    10   9    10  ?
Final:        17    11   16    15    11   10   11
Increases:    NEX Attack +5,ST to 17, WT to 15, DF to 11
              ST    CN   SZ    WT    WL   SP   DF  Hand
Original:     14    11   14    14    11   8    12  L
Final:        15    11   14    15    11   9    13
Increases:    NEX Attack +6, ST to 15, DF to 13, WT to 15
              ST    CN   SZ    WT    WL   SP   DF  Hand
Original:     11    10   15    14    12   11   11  R
Final:        11    11   15    15    12   11   11
Increases:    NEX Initiative +1, WT to 15
              ST    CN   SZ    WT    WL   SP   DF  Hand
Original:     11    6    14    17    9    16   11  R
Final:        11    7    14    17    9    17   11
Increases:    NEX Attack +4, NEX Decisiveness +4, NEX Initiative +2
              ST    CN   SZ    WT    WL   SP   DF  Hand
Original:     19    11   14    11    11   6    12  R
Final:        19    12   14    13    12   7    13
Increases     NEX Attack +7,WT to 13, DF to 13, NEX Dec +10, SP to 7, NEX
              Initiative +4,WT to I3.SP to 7, NEX Parry +8, DF to 13


Questions and Answers

Q: What is the exact meaning of achieving an expert or advanced expert
rating in some skill? For instance, say a warrior has an advanced expert
rating in initiative on his 12th skill. Suppose another warrior got his AE
rating in initiative on his 6th skill. Are they equally skilled? If yes, what if
they both gain 3 more initiative skills, are they still equally skilled?

A: The meaning of expert and advanced expert is that the gladiator has
reached an arbitrary level (initiative percentage) that triggers the computer
to print notification on the bottom of the turnsheet.

In answer to your hypothetical situation, the warriors are equally skilled
when declared AE (if they reached on the same turn). What this means is
that they were very far from equal when they began their careers. And,
given a limit of 20 skills per skill area, it means that the one which required
6 skills to reach will max out at a higher level (6 skills higher). Again, the
huge importance of well designed characters. Well designed characters
reach expert in less skills. They finish higher. Everything else being equal,
they will always be superior to warriors with an equal number or fights but
lesser beginning skill level.

If they from that point gain 3 more initiative skills each, they are still equal
since the value of a skill is constant. It is also possible that the fighter that
required 12 initiative skills to reach could have learned them all before the
other fighter learned 1 initiative skill. Not too much mystery who will be
faster. How much faster? Treat yourseff to a beer if you said 6.

Q: I just got the following replacement character. What would you do with

 ST     CN     SZ     WT     WL      SP      DF
 5      12     9      9      6       13      16

I made him a PRP with ST 9, CN 12, SZ 9, WT 15, WL 9, SP 13, DF 17. What
do you think?

A: I don’t think I would keep him. But if I did, your design appears to
make the most out of him.

Q: …Also, since you claim to be the “expert” on PLU, why does this guy only
have a 2-5-1 record:

11 11(12) 5 16(17) 16 11 14

His fights went something like this:

l) Lost to WST, 4 more fights

2) Killed a PRP, 1 attack skill

3) Trashed on the bloodfeud by a PLU w/3 more fights, CN increase

4) Butchered by TPS, 3 parry skills

5) Butchered an incompetent STA, 1 parry skill

6) RSI screwed up and lost to a BAS. 1 decise skill

7) Butchered by a PST. WT increase

8) Butchered by a LUA, his 1st fight, 1 initiative skill

In the 1st, 4th, and 8th fights he fought in “classic” PLU style (parry first 3-4
min. then rip loose and lunge), in 2nd and 3rd fights he fought like a LUA.
He hasn’t gotten an expert in anything & I’m getting very depressed. His
favorite weapon is the LO fought 8-5-1O-L or around there.

A: From the looks of it you should have lost 3 of those fights (1,3, and 6),
so think of him as 2-2-1. Essentially, you started out with a 81 point roll-up.
The WT, WL, and DF breakpoints are missed. Might as well be 15, 15, and
13. But there is nothing seriously wrong with the character, he looks solid.

With a 17 WT the skills will come if your fights are longer than 1 minute
(and you win). Don’t fight like a lunger unless you are doing a stat raise
(which is independent of fight length). It looks like his favorite learn is
parry (not uncommon for a PLU), so while your primary defense (parry)
may be shaky now, it should improve quickly. I think that lots of managers
use a defensive minute for a PLU that looks like a TPS. Don’t. Think in
terms of a lunger, never less than moderate activity level, and never less
than a low offensive effort. The parry tactic works fine with activity levels
up to 7 (from my experience). If the activity level is any higher, you are
usually getting the initiative (because high activity level increases base
initiative percent). If you are attempting to defend (low offensive effort) at
this time your attacks recieve no bonus (from high offensive effort) and the
whole situation is very inefficient. Avoid it.

Q: What effect does kill desire have on decisiveness?

A: I’m not sure. The rules say that a low kill desire makes a gladiator
“tentative”, which doesn’t sound like the desired effect. A high kill desire
may make one “less controlled” and “lower overall defenses”. I think the
part about lower defenses is very true, but other effects are unclear or
minor in magnitude. A better question may be what effect does decisiveness
have on kill desire.

Since lungers are getting the most kills (as a style), there probably isn’t a
link worth worrying about.

Q: What effect does activity level have on decisiveness?

A: It appears to me that higher activity levels do increase decisiveness.
However, I would be careful about using an activity level appropriate to the
gladiator in question.


I thought that after eight issues of my ranting, assaultive style the average
manager would appreciate a fresh point of view. So, you get to be subjected
to the ravings of the one and only Dan Saltich, the Mr. Baseball of
Duelmasters. In as much as he owes me several large pizzas, I think you
may be seeing more of his ideas in the future.





(Mr. Duelmasters)

I suppose that before I start this article I should at last establish some credibility. I have been
playing Duelmasters since the very beginning (yes, I remember Gladiators). I have, during my
stint in this gome, done everything humanly possible regarding the game, including running every
style multiple times, graduated over a dozen warriors to AD, and even had a warrior win his first
22 fights. That isn’t bragging, I just want everyone to at least believe some of what I am going say.

Why am I writing this article? Well besides the fact that I admit to some friendship with the
Ultimate Hoser himself (which mostly ends up being alot of added costs on my phone bill), I also
wish to pass on some info that I believe in very strongly.

Well what is this mystical secret? It mostly adds up to being some things that all people know,
some things that people might not know, and some things I don’t think anyone knows. What it all
basically comes down to is my strategy for taking top team and staying there.

To start, lets assume you’ve recieved your characters and have designed each in a reasonable way
(I know, a big assumption for some people). My sample team has: 2 LUA, 1 PLU, 1 TPS, and 1
PST. Now for the first five fights I will treat my PLU as a LUA because he wont have sufficient
defense ability to do any diffrent. Now I have 3 LUA that will fight 10-10-10-L for the first two
minutes in their first five fights. Why? Well nothing (with a few mutated exceptions) is faster
than a stripped down (light or no armor) lunger going 10-10-10-L. And for my first pearl of
wisdom I will tell you that at 10-10-10-L a lunger gets an attack bonus for using that particular
strategy. Also, the LUA have no defense to speak of and if you wait around you’re going to get
wasted. LUA’s are there to attack, so do it; and if you run out of endurance well most LUA will get
the fight over before that because you will be fighting beginning characters and in the beginning
offense has a big advantage over defense.

Now the first thing my TPS is going to do is pick up a SH and a ME. Reasons? Simple, lightweight
and yet the best parrying combination around. My TPS (in following with my beliefs) is not going
to be a scum, but don’t be stupid; we have to use the parry tactic at least in the first couple of
minutes to stop those hordes of offensive characters. But lets come out in the late rounds and
attack; not only does parrying cost END, but coming out increases our chances of winning against
another TPS who may be scummier than us.

For simplicities sake, lets treat our PST like our TPS because beginning PST tend to resemble TPS
but lack some of the defense and aren’t usually well suited to high offensiveness. As a general rule
I agree with Hoserus Maximus on fighting strategies for the different styles, but what I have said
here may be a few exceptions.

There, now we have some basic strategies for our first turn. These strategies will, for the most
part, hold up for the first 5 turns. But we come to a part now that separates the men from the
boys (or the 15-3s from the 10-8’s).

Challenges! The first golden rule is that if your warrior is not challenging someone, you’re hosing
it big time!! Why would you not ever, if that was possible, fight on your own terms? After your
first turn, at minimum you’ll know what 5 other fighters look like, so right there are 5 potential
challenges. Now its time to get completely heartless (this is where i’m going to catch flak). But if
you beat a warrior, why on God’s earth not challenge him again? If he is stupid enough not to avoid
you or alter his strategy he deserves to be beaten again. This strategy can also be effective if you
barely lose to fighter and have things you can alter. This is why I also suggest you avoid people
you fought last. A popular misconception is that avoiding is saying you’re afraid, all it says to me
is that I want to fight who I want when I want.

In conjunction with challenging let me say something about killing, I’m all for deaths in the game
but you have to look at them as to how they will effect your W/L record. Hopefully the editor won’t
delete this, but don’t always try to kill. The worst thing you can do is kill a new warrior on an
experienced team because he now owns your warrior for the next 4 turns. However, on the flip
side of that, one of the best things you can do is kill a warrior one a new or worthless team. Also
try not to get into large feuds with more than one team, its all fun writing the personal ads and all
but the bottom line is that you want winning warriors. Save the taunting and teasing for when
your warriors become ultra-powerfull and fear no one (HA HA).

A couple of more tidbits on challenging and then I’ll go on (I could have written the whole article on
challenging alone). Remember, those 1-7 warriors are there for a reason. The more fights your
opponent has over you the better your skill learns will be. This is called the Thelonius Loner
syndrome named after a great scholar (but not warrior) in Mordent.

Also, remember as you rise to the top look around and see who your competition is and try to take
advantage of their weaknesses (if any). This only goes toward increasing your chances to take top
team. And once you have top team never feel obliged to give anyone a fight they want, continue to
use challenging strategies that max out your tallies in the W column.

In closing I want to make a few statements that are not relative to the previous article. First, a
couple of corrections on info Ive read in the HOSER REPORT. (1) Stat increases in AD go as
follows: 1st is at full chance, 2nd is at 1/2 chance, 3rd is at full chance, and 4th is at 1/2chance.
From there it is the same and I have this on very good authority. (2) Don’t go to the tourney
expecting to garner valuble info from the computer screen, you will be sadly surprised. I have
seen the on-screen output and there is nothing there of any use. Well I have more secrets but one
does have to protect ones own interests and besides its time for:


Well, no not really, but I would like to ask everyone a question. Are they happy with the decision
to shelve the obvious problem of AD when these are the managers favorite warriors and have had
large amounts of money put into them? RSI seems to be of the opinion that as long as the
turnsheets are being submitted there is no immediate problem. As patrons of the game we really
have only one weapon and that is our business that we give RSI. I want to throw out a suggestion
that has already been discusssd between other managers. Don’t everybody get scared but the word
is boycott. At this time I don’t want to organize anything I just want to get input from other
managers. The idea was a one turn hold out to signify unity and the extent of the unhappiness
among managers.

Your inputs, suggestions, or critiques are welcomed.

Dan Saltich
A1 Melniboneanon Maraudars
A4 Princes of Amber


Alan Yip asked about developing manager mailing lists for style specialties.
He didn’t even tell me it was ok to release his address. Hmmmmm. I am not
going to organize any list myself, but will publish manager names and
addresses unless the manager requests otherwise.

Good news from Mike LaPlante. Due to popular demand the Duelmasters
will be made available. Mike is selling them at cost, about $10
for 30+ pages. Updates will be available at a nominal cost (the Handbook is
spiral bound to make replacements/additions easy). I have spoken with
several managers (one of whom sent Mike 80 overviews), the Handbook is
getting high marks from all.

Mike’s overview database has swelled to over 230 characters. The more the
merrier. He could especially use overviews that have lots of extremes (3-7,
17-21). Next time you have to send a replacement to the DA, why not design
him with extremes and send the overview to Mike? I have just recieved the
last Handbook updates, you’ll be seeing selected items probably beginning
next issue. I think you’ll like it.

Did you know that you may fight a new recruit on the same turn you submit
the roll-up? Apparently some people were under the impression that you
had to recieve the overview before fighting. Not so. On the strategy sheet,
write “new” for the ID#.

I’ve been thinking more about disarming tactics. Sometimes the fight
doesn’t end when a gladiator drops a weapon. Given that possibility, I would
rather remove the opponents primary weapon than the off-hand one
(usually a shield). Given that 90% of the gladiators are right handed, this
means targeting right-to-right.

Time to begin working on the Tourney strategies. As you expect, I highly
recommend training skills. Reasons? You have absolutely no idea of who
you will get each round. There are a large number or fighters that can teach
you alot, particularly in the later rounds. If you need attributes, raise them
in the first 2 rounds while there are still cupcakes in the field.

Its too bad that the mail Tourney couldn’t be spread over a period of time.
Since it will all be run at once (apparently), you won’t get the suspense of
waiting for the pairings after each round.

The strategy sheet for the mail-in Tourney allows you to use a back-side
strategy for up to 5 styles. Not quite as good as knowing who your next
opponent is, but helpful.

My opinion of heavy armor (ASM and above) has never been very favorable,
but one of my recent AD fights might change my mind. My stable has been
after a certain character for quite some time. In response to my recent
challenges, the slasher in question increased armor from ALE/L to APA/F,
and weapons from SC/SH to SC/SC, ME. It worked for him. My great damage
lunger hit 9 times and couldn’t end the fight. Heavy armor has its place,
even in AD. Of course, the next turn I used a HL and crushed him like an
insect (he was very foolish to drop his avoids). The HL is a great option for
high ST lungers. You lose some initiative, but if your opponent is in plate
(particularly with multiple back-up weapons) it should’nt matter. He’s
dragging around an anchor.

Want to get your HOSER REPORT faster? Place your Zip-4 code on your next
letter to me. You can bet I won’t look it up for you. I understand it can take
a full day off of delivery. Mine is 1093.

Did this just happen to me, or are all arenas now being shipped without

Jeff Morgan

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