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Vulkan He''stan

Why does everyone want to make Melee characters only?

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In almost every 40k RPG game I've been in, I've tried to make Ranged characters either because he had to be built that way to do his job (my Voidmaster who was the ship's Master of Gunnery) or had no real business being there (an Adept I played in DH1).  However, I was rarely able to take advantage of any of it largely because my player group seems to be smitten with melee combat.  It was impossible to use a Heavy weapon or even go Full-Auto with an Autogun because there would always be a friendly body in my line of sight trying to stab any and all targets, even ones you have no business being in melee with like an Avatar of Khaine (yes, really).  So I have to ask, is a Melee build that much better overall than a Ranged build? 

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I thinks more of a "look how badass I am!" I always go ranged, to hell with the idiots closing to melee. Yeah, I carry a power katana, but that's so I can krump the fool who closes to melee with me when I'm laying down a storm of Amuptator shells fro. The autogun I happen to love so much.

Ahem

In all seriousness, I do think its really about just wanting to be awesome and krumpin' a fool with your chainsword. I have never found any real reason to specialize in melee (except for the World Eater I played, and that Blood Angel. Or that Feudal World regiment....)

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Melee weapons have infinite "ammo" and scale more aggressively than ranged weapons do. Swords, staves, and hammers all become more lethal with a higher Strength Bonus (which, in [Rogue Trader], can be multiplied). Power Fists even double-dip in that department. Guns, on the other hand, are fairly static; what is on the profile is what you get. From a mechanical standpoint, melee weapons are simply "stronger". That is the main argument I would offer at least.

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Melee weapons have infinite "ammo" and scale more aggressively than ranged weapons do. Swords, staves, and hammers all become more lethal with a higher Strength Bonus (which, in [Rogue Trader], can be multiplied). Power Fists even double-dip in that department. Guns, on the other hand, are fairly static; what is on the profile is what you get. From a mechanical standpoint, melee weapons are simply "stronger". That is the main argument I would offer at least.

 

Dudes,

 

An unmodified flashlight Lasgun (nope, not a hellgun) on fullauto will score way more damage with 3DoS (not that hard considering the +20 for shooting full auto IIRC) than most above-average non-primitive melee weaps.

 

On man, look at the aim bonus for snipers when coupled with spotters... Take a single headshot with the proper ammo and your RT rival is done n gone and no one even knows who did it.

 

In time my group has grown adept to hellguns for instance, 4/6 players have a **** hellgun with them everytime they go planetside. Only person specialized in melee for reals is the RT - and that's because she is of noble origin and need it for honor duels, usually just until first blood.

 

Your group loves melee and that annoys you? Study the rules for ranged, put some enemies that actually know what they are doing in front of them (some hard pinning test from enemy guardsmen coordinated fire + getting the ubber baddass AM on the critical damage table from sustained full-auto flashlight lasgun fire). In time they will know not to overestimate melee weapons and use these more sensibly.

 

Goddammit, someone have the eviscerator maniac in carapace armour get shot by a meltagun lascannon autocannon "simple" bolter on burst mode already.

 

Regards.

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The ammunition one is huge, especially in Dark Heresy. For Rogue Trader my players have eased up and gone around arming troops with Full Auto Lasguns to deal with their problems, but even then if you want that personal touch you need to stab someone. Especially since it's the only way to look into your enemy's eyes and see the life fade away when you've stabbed their heart out.

 

Also for most characters, it's easier to boost Parry than Dodge (Best Quality Balanced) at least initially

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I like to think it's IG/Tau syndrome; you KNOW that eventually, those Orks, or bomb-laden, suicidal Cultists are going to close with you, and make it into a melee, possibly taking away your use of the big guns, and if they get to your buddies, again, interfering with your aim, so if it is going to happen, anyway, you might as well be good with it. If you are Tau or IG, getting Assaulted can often make that little engagement a forgone conclusion; you die, you break and run, or you never get back out of it, to shoot your guns.

 

Of the characters for RT who I have fully statted out, Qel-Drake is a pirate-themed goofball, so he is very good with his sword, and will willingly push the barrel of an inferno pistol, of all things, into an opponent's chest, and then smoke them with it, but he carries a bolt pistol, or a plasma pistol, for those days he's keeping distance. Korvallus is an older man, and favors range, but he favors talking his way out of combat, and Asteira is a Navigator on one of his ships with a pretty face, so she favors Eldar-style cartwheels, dodges, and shooting from a long ways off; you might face the wrath of the third eye, should you try to close.

 

If you ever feel that Rogue Trader is more like Pirates of the Caribbean in space, than Star Trek, or even closer to Star WARS than Trek, there's just a psychological desire in many to get some melee. Cade Skywalker and Kyle Katarn are among the few Jedi I can name immediately that focus on using blasters, and they often do it as much to hide, or deny, their Force heritage, rather than a real, tactical advantage. Pistols can run out, and reloading in melee is...iffy...;)

 

Honestly, I prefer ranged combat, if only because, like Wizard over Fighter, my Damage per Action SHOULD be higher, though here, my health doesn't have to inversely reflect that. Sometimes, though, you just want to be prepared. If you fight Orks, and the GM DOESN'T make them close with you, you might need to question if it's being done right. Yes, some occasional Orks can hit with ranged attacks, but let's be honest, if the only deaths we were counting on through the millennia that were losses to Orikind had to be inflicted by a ranged application of a ranged weapon, I might still have fingers left over to flip them the aquilla, and several might still be "he got pissed, and threw the Shoota at me!" Bolt weapons are nice, too, but I imagine many servants of Chaos wanting to prove their worth to their Dark Masters, either by shredding foes in combat, or dancing around death, not getting killed. That's all just me, of course. CSMs, if you get that cool in your opposition, are supposed to be line-breaking, assault troops.

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If you value your guardsmen, outfit them with monoswords and chainswords!

My PCs get more points in BS than WS, but I assure you - they always have a handy Balanced melee weapon ready in case that ork gets too close.

 

And if you plan on going full-melee AM. For closing distances have the decency of fetching a jetpack or a good refractor shield at least - sometimes I feel 9/10 RT players forget that these things exist.

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This is me hoping his "AM" was addressing a melee-focus Arms Master PC, and not his Astra Militarum force. A jetpack and/or refractor, fine, but a regiment's worth? Please no. I want jetpack Guardsmen in codex, but I've so often been told no.

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I can't explain it either, but I've witnessed it, too.  I joined a DW game that had only 1 ranged combat specialist....crazy, eh?  The RT I played had better WS than BS, that's nothing new, but he carried a stormbolter and that was the weapon he carried in ready position.  Scifi games are filled with ranged weapons.  I think it was Star Wars that changed that (another silly gripe to lay at George's door).

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Another point that most GM's also ignore is that if you've got Best Quality weapons you're constantly firing on Full Auto, you should be needing constant upkeep and maintenance tests for them, and if you can't maintain your wargear in best quality then your gun can jam and leave you screwed, whereas a Monosword is never going to jam on you. Or screw you over when people start throwing Haywire grenades or Blacklight projectors.

 

Also when running at your enemy, they are taking a -20 to hit you. Useful to remember.

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I am apparently run an odd game.  Only our Exploritor and Arch Militant are any good a Melee, and they both still prefer to use ranged weaponry.  Of course, I did raise the damage ratings on a lot of guns to get them closer to their TT or comparable-to-heavy-weapon value, that probably helped.  A lot.  

 

Yeah, in the base game, it's a lot easier to break the damage-ceiling with melee then it is with ranged weapons, particularly against a single target and without requiring an insane stat/roll.  (you just have to hit, not hit with 10 DoS.)

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Weird, I have the opposite problem in my games. Even the navigator, normally a melee-focused psyker type (what with the short, front line nature of lidless stare) goes for ranged attacks.

Edited by shadowclasper

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In my group, there's only really the Void-Master who is better than average at being shooty. The Explorator has okay BS, but he's built as a melee monster.

 

This came back to bite them hard when they ran into a Tyranid Warrior, and the Void-Master decided, for backstory reasons, to charge it.With a monosword.

 

Surprisingly, nobody died.

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Consider a Groxwhip, one weapon I hold in high regard. Its basic profile is (3m Range; 1d10+3+SB R; 0 Pen; Flexible, Primitive, Tearing). Flexible already elevates the Groxwhip to pseudo-gun status (as the whip is ranged and cannot be Parried) and the [Mono] upgrade trades Primitive for 2 Pen. A Mono Groxwhip gives even Bolt weapons a run for their money starting at 4 SB, which is fairly low for any serious melee character:

 

Assumption: Maximum Damage = Roll of 10, add Pen to Damage

 

Mono Groxwhip: 1d10+3+SB R, 2 Pen = 15+SB Damage

Bolt Pistol/Gun: 1d10+5 X, 4 Pen = 19 Damage

 

Common Attributes:

+Cannot be Parried

+Tearing

+Multiple hits with proper attack method

 

Groxwhip:

+ Damage scales with Strength

+ 3m Range

o Reasonably easy to acquire

- Puts user at risk due to relatively short range

 

Bolt Pistol/Gun:

+ Great Range

o Damage is high but static

- Uses ammunition

- Rare gun/ammunition

- Only Pistols can be used in melee

 

Granted, the Groxwhip is not a "normal" melee weapon. However, the Flexible quality alone makes it a viable endgame weapon when opponents have higher Parrying abilities. The Power Fist is another endgame weapon that eclipses most guns through its sheer damage output. I would think that true melee characters would gravitate to either a Flexible weapon or a weapon with SBx2 scaling simply because of their growth potential. Intrinsically, most melee weapons do not need to be upgraded (as things like character advances, gear, and talents do the work instead). Guns often do not have the same scalability, or have significant tradeoffs if they do (rare upgrades, unusual ammunition, etc).

 

My head is mostly in DH2 these days, so my thinking may be somewhat skewed. From memory, I believe melee weapons have more support than guns do, via Talents, Gear, or what have you. Melee weapons' largest boon is naturally Unnatural Strength thanks to the devils of multiplication. Barring dealbreakers like the [MIU Weapon Interface], I find that the strongest asset of ranged weapons is their Range/Area of Effect. Outside of that arena, and especially during protracted engagements, melee weapons tend to excel.

 

As a side note, a melee-oriented character may be disadvantaged by a loss of a weapon, but is seldom crippled in such circumstances. While a lead pipe is not a power sword, Unnatural Strength makes such improvised weapons lethal regardless. On the other hand, a ranged character without an appropriate weapon or ammo has few cards left to play.

 

Thus ends my half-asleep rant.

Edited by Asymptomatic

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@Sebastian Yorke: You nailed it for me.  

 

I have no inherent problem with melee.  It's just that with the way my group has been playing the various 40k games, it frustrates me for two reasons because they often charged into melee in spite of all common sense.  Our brave Rogue Trader charging into a pit with Chaos goo possibly forming a portal and already had three Daemonettes in it.  This was despite the fact that we had a ship in orbit that could purge it with a 'Sanctified' Lance strike as well as an armed shuttle flying around, piloted by my Void-Master.  There's also the aforementioned Avatar of Khaine, where my Explorator could never use either his Best-Quality Ryza Plasma Gun or Heavy Bolter armed Servitor because there was always at least one friendly body in any Line of Sight my character could draw, the Avatar of Khaine being the worst example.  "Guys...why are you charging the flaming statue of death with a sword big enough to chop a tank in half?" All those people getting in my way in spite of common sense? That certainly would leave anyone who likes using a gun with a bit of lingering animus.

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By looking at some people's post, I realized that some "Melee is bettah!" opinions are either trolls orks or people that doesn't realize almost any respectable ranged weapon has a full-auto or burst mode. Including Lasguns, which btw have a neglectible upkeep.

 

PCs in RT normally won't note the difference, because differently from a simple guardsman they will have stuff like shields, full carapace or power armor, etc... But please, just don't say a whip is generally more combat effective than a lasgun.

 

And my comments on how melee-focused chars should use jetpacks and refractor shields, was for RT PCs and not their troopers (again, just give these fellas lasguns with mono bayonets, pls)

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I agree with you Yorke, to an extent.  Ranged weaponry is going to almost always be better for NPCs like houseguard, armsmen, guardsmen, etc.  If you don't have a lot of exceptional equipment, talents and stats guns give you more bang for your buck, so to speak.  In addition, the larger scale engagement these NPCs often find themselves in often start at longer ranges, giving more advantage to Rifles.

 

That, however, is not the complaint in the OP, the complaint was that other players were running into melee.  Its significantly easier in this system to 'break' Melee then it is to 'break' ranged combat through a mixture of talents, traits and equipment.

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I agree with you Yorke, to an extent.  Ranged weaponry is going to almost always be better for NPCs like houseguard, armsmen, guardsmen, etc.  If you don't have a lot of exceptional equipment, talents and stats guns give you more bang for your buck, so to speak.  In addition, the larger scale engagement these NPCs often find themselves in often start at longer ranges, giving more advantage to Rifles.

 

That, however, is not the complaint in the OP, the complaint was that other players were running into melee.  Its significantly easier in this system to 'break' Melee then it is to 'break' ranged combat through a mixture of talents, traits and equipment.

 

Storm Bolter (Mars-Pattern) + laser sight

1d10+5X RoF:1/2/4 Storm Tearing

On full-auto (success on -10 for 4DoS): 8x 1d10+5 pen 4

 

A couple talents and you can shoot 2 at the same time.

If you like hereteking, you can shoot 2 twin-linked storm bolters. for 32x 1d10+5 pen 4 (at -20)

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Laser sight is single shot, I believe you want Motion Predictor.  And I acquiesce that that is, indeed, a well broken shooting attack, thanks to the Storm Quality.  Though against a target with significant soak, it still may not perform as well as the 2-3 hits at 2d10+25ish that comes from melee.

 

Also, there is unequal annoyance opportunity.  It only takes a single melee guy rushing in to get in the way of allied shooters.  Allied shooters never get in the way of the melee guy.

Edited by Quicksilver

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If ranged combat is, indeed, so much more damaging, then I might again seek melee combat, if only to prevent the enemy from using that superior capacity. It is rather difficult, some of the time, to rend me, and my teammates, with your storm bolters, if I'm hacking at you in melee. Certainly not a perfect fix, and you might have the right stuff to just brush me off, and keep on shooting, but if cover is hard to come by, and the area is a bit tight, it might pay well to risk gumming up your works by forcing you into melee, if it appears it will hamper your kill count.

 

Again, in my head, I see two frequent scenarios: in one, you are fighting thugs, either street level nobodies, or maybe the elite house guard of a rival, and in this, I see the advantages of keeping it ranged, but in the second, the all to common fight with Orks, my mind just doesn't figure a decent encounter where they won't get into melee, with a combination of durability, numbers, and just being to **** stupid to understand dying. There guns are glorified clubs with noise-makers on the end, for the amount of ranged hits they'll make (again, I'm stereotyping more than is fair, but that's my image of Orks; can't shoot crap), and they like close combat. At that point, you don't want to be caught out, against an already superior physical foe. It's good to have some melee options, then. Since melee might need more talents and all to do as much damage as guns, I'm more apt to take them, and then I'm already on that road, so it's easier to let the guns fall to the wayside, intelligent, or not.

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No problem, it isn't necessary intuitive:

 

Ork Warboss

T: 50

Unnatural Toughness

Heavy Armor (AP 6)

 

Soak to each bolt after penetration: 12

Must roll 8, 9 or 10 on one of the dice to deal damage

~50% chance to deal 0 damage.

Rest average ~2 damage

Assuming 16 hits (talents but no heretek), that's 16 damage total.  Perhaps a few more from Righteous Fury.

 

the Two melee hits will always deal some damage, and will average 26 damage (11+25-10 pen 6+) each, or 52 damage total.

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No problem, it isn't necessary intuitive:

 

Ork Warboss

T: 50

Unnatural Toughness

Heavy Armor (AP 6)

 

Soak to each bolt after penetration: 12

Must roll 8, 9 or 10 on one of the dice to deal damage

~50% chance to deal 0 damage.

Rest average ~2 damage

Assuming 16 hits (talents but no heretek), that's 16 damage total.  Perhaps a few more from Righteous Fury.

 

the Two melee hits will always deal some damage, and will average 26 damage (11+25-10 pen 6+) each, or 52 damage total.

I think he was asking as to how you manage to get 2d10+25 from a melee attack.

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Thunder hammer

2d10+4E   Pen:8 (1 str multiplier)

 

Best Craftsmanship synthetic muscle grafts +1 Str (1 str multiplier)

 

Crushing blow talent (+2 melee damage)

 

50 base str.

 

2d10+24E pen:8

 

I think he was mostly interested in the ranged weapon calculations though. 

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