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–the how to and why–

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     Greetings, fellow managers.  This article will deal with the design and 
successful running of the parry riposte, henceforth referred to as ripper.  A well 
designed ripper will have both enough offense to satisfy those lunger maniacs, and 
defense to make the most parry-XYZ fanatic happy.  The most gratifying quality of the 
ripper is, of course, his legendary riposte ability.  The trick?  Finding out how to 
make him do just that.  It requires a well-balanced mix of good design, diligent 
studying of his fights, and a sound strategy.  Let's do this step by step:

          DESIGN
          ST: 7-11
          CN: 9 or less
          SZ: 7-9
          WT: 15-21
          WL: 13-17
          SP: 5-13
          DF: 17-21

          EXPLANATION:

     ST:  I like to have an 11 ST for using the longsword, a ripper's best weapon vs. 
the heavy armor.  When designing one, unless the strength was 6 or less, I probably 
wouldn't add.  Why?  He needs points elsewhere more importantly.
     CN:  Never add points.  It's a waste and gets you no skills, which are a highly 
valuable commodity you need.
     SZ:  Smaller IS better.  Why?  Again, you need those almighty points elsewhere 
and who cares if you don't have the initiative?  You'll steal it with your riposte!
     WT:  Honestly, I'd like to never start below 17, but the Rollup Gods make that 
quite hard at times.  Therefore I settle for a rock bottom 15, allowing you to use the 
epee and still learn at a respectable pace.
     WL:  I've run with a 13 will and experienced no ill effects.  As a rule, though, 
if you have extra points and just can't figure out what to do with them... slap them 
on will.  Will is important when considering your warrior's long term potential and 
the ability to raise attributes once skills are maxed out through learning.
     SP:  This and deftness are the two main ingredients for riposte.  Nevertheless, I 
place the importance of speed right above con.  It really isn't necessary and quite 
frankly, I'd never add points to it because you won't have any left once maxing out 
wit, deftness, and will.
     DF:  I place this as the second most important attribute for a ripper.  You need 
to be able to hit where you aim and make your shots count.  When you come up against 
that dreaded TP wearing APA/F & ME/ME, 100 hit points-plus, scumming for all he's 
worth, you have to be able to hit those low hit point areas to win that fight.  The 
arms are my favorite attack location.  I've run up against one of these things and by 
minute 7 he dropped his ME, went desperate and gave up.  If you get a design that 
makes you say, "Wow, this could be a good aimed blow," chances are he'd make one 
helluva ripper.

ARMOR:
     Since the mortality rate of young rippers is alarmingly high, I recommend that 
you never go below ARM/H until that rating in defense and parry come your way.  Once 
that happens, and you'll already be on your way to Advanced Expert riposte by this 
time, if not higher, go ahead and put him in ALE, if you want.  Always keep that helm, 
though!  Never forget that your beginning ripper is going to take some hits, and since 
we hate to waste points on con, we depend on the armor to protect us until our 
defenses come on line.

WEAPONS:
     I've had good luck with the LO/DA combo.  The EP/HA works well, also.  As always, 
though, find his FAVORITE!  Others like going with the small shield as the off-hand 
parrying weapon, but since I've never tried that I can't comment on it.  Experiment, 
that's the only way to find out.

EXAMPLES:
     1) 13-9-7-15-13-8-19
     2) 9-13-8-19-15-5-15
     3) 9-7-7-21-13-6-21

     1) This is actually a warrior.  He is running at 75% and doing quite well.  In 
half his fights he has drawn first blood.  Not only having the initiative, but by 
parrying the blow and counter-striking.
     2) This was a ripper also, until ripper #1 killed him.  Lots of potential.
     3) This would be my "perfect" ripper.

     The Reader's Digest version of design is this:  Wit, deftness, and will, in that 
order.  Remember, when designing a warrior, take into consideration the breakpoints 
and place your points accordingly.

STRATEGY:
     This is a general strategy that has worked wonderfully for me.  No two rippers 
are likely to be the same so this is just a good framework to start with.  A highly 
important detail is to thoroughly read your fights and find out what activity level he 
likes to riposte at.  I have also found that the old standby kill desire of 2 more 
often than not made him pass up attack, via riposte, opportunities left and right.  By 
having it at 5, he increased his counterstrikes considerably.

     3    3    6    6    6    5    3
     4    4    4    4    4    3    5
     5    5    5    5    5    5    2
     LA -------------------------- >
     BD -------------------------- >
     N --------------------------- >
     P    P    N    N    N    N    P

     You will notice that when he goes "offensive" in minute three, I don't force 
anything with a tactic modification.  I've found them to hinder a ripper more than 
help.  Some may laugh at this minute three offensive strategy, but he HAS killed in 
minute three.  Against defensive styled warriors, he looked like an offensive lunatic.  
Against offensive warriors, he ripostes 2-3 times per attack thrown at him.

FINAL NOTES:
     Always remember that a ripper will make a corresponding amount of attacks using 
lower numbers as an offensive warrior going ballistic with high numbers.  Don't push 
your ripper, but slowly move his numbers up and down and find out where HE likes to 
run.  Your warrior overview can give you a clue to this.  Don't worry about him making 
a lot of wild attacks at first, as this is normal for rippers.  They get robbed on 
their attack percentage due to their style, but it will come around in time.
     In closing, if this article can help just one person struggling with the ripping 
style, I'll be happy.  I also encourage feedback, whether it be in agreement or 
constructive criticizing.  I base my conclusions from talking to other managers and my 
own experience, which has been best with rippers.  Good luck to all in the battle 
and....

                                        May the Almighty One guide your blade.
                                   Blackhawk, mgr. Knight Rangers (arena 22)
                                        and Knight Rangers (arena 20)
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