A thread on the forums made me break out Excel again so I can look at the “optimum” one-one-one level of deceptive attack for all combinations of DA and defense level.
The answer is darn complicated, turns out.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
This is the example Cadmus faces when he’s got his Righteous Fury on and is swinging with Axe/Mace-24. You can see that how much Deceptive Attack he throws – after accounting for lots of other choices like targeting foe’s important bits – depends hugely on his enemy’s skill level. Note that the formatting lies a bit – if your net skill is better than 16 and your foe sucks, by all means drop it to 16. You have nothing to lose.
That “go to 16” plan looks good (within 5% of the best choice, or itself the best choice) up to the point where my foe is sporting a defense roll of about 16 or more. Of course, that’s a shield, a retreat, and Dodge-11 (+2 shield and +3 retreating dodge) or Parry-13 (+3 for a medium shield and a +1 retreat). That’s Skill-20 for my foe, so he’s a real champ – Cadmus’ level.
Point is, “how much do I DA” is actually a non-trivial question in many cases. Well, not for the case of skill 14 or less, for which the answer is simple: don’t do it.
Note that I included my spreadsheet for download if you want to poke.