Joined: Mar 16, 2006
Location: Northern California
Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:35 am
An important aspect of the game is understanding skill levels.
First off, skill rating titles are achieved when a warrior acquires a certain amount of skills in each respective skill area (e.g. if you learn 16 Decise skills, your turn sheet will announce that you have achieved an expert rating in Decise). If you ony have 14 Decise skills based on learns and what your original stats dictate, but are awarded an Expert rating, it means you were bonused +2 in that respective skill.
The most skill learns that has been documented in a single fight is 6 in basic and 12 in Primus.
To dig deeper into skills, the following is an example provided (i.e. stolen) and in some parts paraphrased from One Armed Bandit's insightful post on the topic:
To understand skills in terms of being bonused or hosed (see Dueltorial sticky), here is a sample warrior: 9-10-13-15-17-9-11 PL
First we plug that into Terrablood's warrior generator (www.terrablood.com/cgi-bin/dm_overview.cgi) and we get:
fights using the PARRY-LUNGE style
is RIGHT HANDED
Att: 10 Makes very clever attacks
Def: 6 Avoids blows well
If Normal endurance: He plans out every move he makes, seldom wasting any effort (low-order) - 6%
If Good endurance: Rarely wastes his endurance needlessly (high-order) - 45%
If Good endurance: He plans out every move he makes, seldom wasting any effort (low-order) - 54%
is SLIGHTLY UNCOORDINATED
(has NORMAL ENDURANCE) (91%)
has GOOD ENDURANCE (9%)
(NORMAL HIT POINTS)
CANNOT carry A LOT OF WEIGHT in weapons and armor
is VERY QUICK on his feet
(does NORMAL damage with each blow) (34%)
can do GOOD damage with a blow (52%)
does GREAT DAMAGE with every blow (14%)
What this is showing us, is what a completely normal version of this warrior would look like if you rolled him up.
He would start with 10 Attack skills, which means he would get his Expert in Attack after learning 6 more Attack skills (Ex is 16 skills) and his Advanced Expert after learning 10 total Attack skills (AdEx is 20 skills).
He will most likely start with Normal Endurance and Good damage.
However, every warriors is a bit different. They can get lucky rolls for endurance or damage. He could end up with Good endurance and Normal damage. Or Good endurance and Good damage. Or Normal endurance and Good damage. All this is signifying is what is most likely to happen.
In addition to getting luck or unlucky physicals, warriors can be Ambidextrous (giving them +1 to Attack base), or be anywhere from -4 to +4 in most skill areas. There are exceptions. For instance, Walls of Steel can only be hosed/bonused in Attack or Parry. Their other 4 skills areas are always exactly like Terrablood spits them out. Strikers are the reverse; they cannot be bonused in Attack or Parry, but can be bonused in the other 4 areas.
The wit statements and other clues on the rollup can tell you whether or not a warrior is bonused or hosed before he fights a single fight. In this warrior's case, if you rolled him up and he had the statement "Has an unusual fighting style that confuses many opponents" INSTEAD OF the predicted "Makes very clever attacks", it would indicated he only started with 7-9 Attack skills instead of 10, so you would know right away if he were -1 to -3 in Attack. Similarly, if you noticed a statement that read "With a very aggressive and clever fighting style", that would tell you this warrior had an Init base of 10-12. So you would know immediately that he was +2 to +4 in Initiative.
Once you learn a number of skills in each skill area, you will discover these things anyway, but the comments on the overview provide clues for figuring out ahead of time, which can help you decide whether to run a guy or send him to the Dark Arena for those borderline cases, or might even help you decide how to run him.
Another thing that might be confusing about the Wit statement chart are the blue numbers below:
high-order (10+ base)
21 Knows every weak and sensitive location to be struck on the human body
17 Uses an unusual fighting style, deadly to slower, less active foes
15 Makes very clever attacks
13 Landing blows on vital areas
8 He lands blows on less protected areas
The blue numbers do not relate to skills; it is the wit required for that specific statement.
The following was provided by Ichabod Frothingslosh:
For most skills, the only way to know ahead of time if the warrior is bonused or hosed is if he crosses one of those thresholds for a wit statement. So if you have a 17 wit warrior who should start with 8 attack but get "uses an unusual fighting style....", then you know he's at least +2 attack. You won't know the specifics until he gets his expert (or higher, if he gets multiple attack skills that turn).
However, if a warrior with a 21 wit gets "is always thinking of feints and ploys to be used in attacks", you know his starting attack is going to be 7, 8, or 9. It can't be lower than 7 or he wouldn't have a statement in attack at all, and it can't be higher than 9 or he'd have the high-order attack. If 21 wit warrior was -4 attack, then he'd have 3 base attack and wouldn't qualify for the statement at all. The X to Y base in the chart headers means that the base skill needs to be between X and Y, inclusive.
For parry and defense, you can also look at the activity statement (www.terrablood.com/dm/Activity.htm), while for init and riposte together, you can look at the quickness statement (www.terrablood.com/dm/Quickness.htm).
Criticals are an obvious measure of performance, but other than that, reading fights can be an acquired skill. Criticals are those really descriptive statements about what a warrior did. For example:
Ichabod ducks low, SCIMITAR slicing suddenly upwards! - critical attack
SwineTiger's body is a blur of motion as he leaps away from the attack! - critical dodge
SwineTiger pivots, steps one way, then jumps to the other side of his opponent! - critical riposte
SwineTiger launches a wickedly angled lunge with his LONGSWORD! - tactic indicator
Ichabod's SCIMITAR rings as he makes a brilliant and masterful parry! - critical parry
SwineTiger curses as his LONGSWORD is broken by the blow! - ruh roh
SwineTiger is too hotly engaged to draw his backup LONGSWORD!
Ichabod leaps to his left! - decise check
Ichabod leaps into the air, taking a furious slash! - another crit
SwineTiger is struck on the RIGHT ARM!
Spectators cringe at the horrific power of the blow! - massive damage
These indicate a skilled attack rather than a normal one. You make more crits with the following:
- A higher attack rating
- More experience
- Using your favorite weapon (see Faves in the Dueltorial)
- Using your favorite offensive effort, and if your opponent has poor defenses
In basic, you'll see quite a bit fewer crits when facing, say, a TP, than when swinging at a basher. When managers talk about "crits", they're almost always referring to these.
Critical attacks are harder to defend against than normal, and have restrictions on how they can be avoided: a warrior can only either critically dodge an attack or stop it with a normal parry. Critical attacks can actually get around parries, a change introduced a long time ago to stop the then-dominance of TP's in the game. Slash crits twist around parries, lunge crits slip past them, and bashing crits smash through them. Crtical attacks can also break the parrying weapon. For this reason, parry is considered vastly inferior to defense at the ADM level.
As mentioned above, crits can be slashing, lunging, or bashing. The type of damage on that particular attack does NOT need to match the way the crit reads - a leap into an incredible flesh-splitting lunge with a longsword can be a slashing crit, and hacking at your enemy with your broadsword may smash through their parry. What these damage types do, however, is generate a secondary effect: slashing crits do bonus (often massive) damage, lunging crits have a chance of knockdown. Bashing crits aren't so obvious - the suggestion for their effect is that they ignore the effects of armor on damage done. They also seem more likely to throw the defender around if parried. Anyway, these secondary effects are why the scimitar and longsword are typically considered the best weapons in the game - the scimitar has a MASSIVE bonus to damage done on slash crits and can sometimes lunge, while the longsword seems to have about a 50/50 split on slash and lunge crits.
These happen more often with higher defense skill, more experience, and when your guy is on his favorite activity level. They are the only way to dodge a critical attack.
These I'm not sure on the exact effect, so other folks may chime in with corrections. My understanding is they give a greater than normal bonus to your initiative and possibly attack for the following attack, and possibly lessen the likelihood of a decise check allowing the other guy to retain the initiative.
If a warrior uses the lunge, slash, or bash tactics, that can be indicated in the fight itself. If you ever see someone launch a wickedly angled lunge with a longsword or make a menacing underthrust with their short spear, for example, then they're using the lunge tactic. If your guy is using decise, but is just standing around, then your opponent is using responsiveness. The rest of the tactics don't have indicators that I'm aware of. Sorry, but I don't know every indicator, nor do I know of an existing list of them.
Like critical dodges, these happen more with higher skill, more experience, and when using the favorite activity level. Also note that high activity lends itself to preferring to dodge, while low tends to lead to more parrying. Also, it's possible that you'll parry better while using your favorite weapon. You will never get a critical parry when parrying a critical attack. A critical parry has a chance of breaking the attacking weapon.
This just means the guy got hit really hard. Slashing crits tend to result in these, and so does fighting a guy with high strength or large size. Guys who are large, strong, and throw lots of slash crits don't typically need many hits to win.
This means your guy used a decisiveness roll to take the initiative. You see it most commonly at the start of the fight, but it can also be used to counter a riposte attempt. You'll even see that sometimes after the other warrior made an attack or two.
So those are what the obvious statements mean. If a strat change results in a lot of criticals of any type, it's possible you nailed something right. It's also possible that it just happened to work because of the opponent's strategy - no one fight indicates anything. Just watch for your guy to do well in response to strategy changes, and that's really an acquired skill. Don't be afraid to do odd stuff, either - the most common example of an 'odd' approach that actually works is the offensive total parry. These guys are expected to stand there and wear you down, and instead they're swinging back and doing everything they can to drop you in the first minute.
Thanks to all who contribute to these sections. Minor touch ups are made throughout, so please PM me with any edits or additions.