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Covered in Weasels

Melee characters with no Finesse

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When I hear friends discuss melee-focused character builds, they usually suggest a dual-wielding approach. Using Ambidextrous, Two-weapon Wielder, and Swift/Lightning Attack, they turn their character into a walking Cuisinart; they then build up Dodge and Parry to keep out of harm's way. This is certainly a powerful strategy, but it requires a heavy investment into both Finesse and Offence advances.

However, there is another option for players who prefer a more "direct" approach. For the players who don't want to dance around the battlefield and would rather hit heretics in the face with a giant hammer, who will not suffer the unclean to live, there is a build for you too. DISCLAIMER: I have not tried this yet, but it looks like so much fun that I'll have to use it for my next character.

The build hinges on the Inescapable Attack and Devastating Assault talents. The former gives enemies a -10 penalty to Evade your attacks for each DoS you score on a single attack. This includes All-Out Attacks, and if you hit a target with your first strike Devastating Assault will grant you a second one with all the same bonuses! Those bonuses are substantial: assuming a starting WS of 40 and no other modifiers, your target number on the attack roll is 70! As you stack up more WS advances and better gear, you can eventually reach the point where a hit is almost guaranteed.

You have basically all the essentials at this point, but extra talents will improve your effectiveness. Since you won't be dodging very often while in melee, defensive talents like Iron Jaw and Sound Constitution will keep you healthy, while True Grit will keep you alive. Crushing Blow and Hammer Blow increase your deadliness in combat, and Frenzy and Hatred will help you land that all-important initial strike.

For starting equipment, some strong armor and a powerful melee weapon are essential. Great weapons are good choices because of their high damage output, while warhammers or shock mauls let you disable your targets even if you don't kill them. Subskin armor is helpful if available, and armor like full plate or Enforcer carapace will keep you safe while you punch Death right in his smug little face.

What do you think? Does this sound like a build you would try, or does giving up your evade reaction sound too dangerous? I know I'll give it a try as soon as I can, because I enjoy high-risk situations and think that this particular avenue has not been explored to its fullest.

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I've got a Sister of Battle built around this; she also uses an Eviscerator.  No augmetics, just Sororitas Power Armour.  Her damage is...  6 Damage Strength Bonus, 1 Extra Damage Frenzy, 1 Damage Power Armor, 4 Damage Crushing Blow (yay Frenzy), 4 Pen Hammer Blow (Frenzy and power armour factored in).  That's 12 damage 4 penetration before factoring in the weapon, not including the Concussive (2).  She effectively ignores Flak Armour and by rolling a 1 she kills normal human mooks.  Whether she uses an Eviscerator, chain blade, or her bare hands, people die horrible, painful deaths.  Now, being unable to dodge is what the Power Armour and Rosarius is for.  

Edited by MijRai

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I've tried a build like this and I've found it's a bit of a mixed bag. Heavy hits are perfect against tougher single targets however the lack of dodging means you should almost always try for the alpha strike. Tearing weapons or weapons with 2d10 damage are also ideal as your high likelihood of many DoS can help give you a nice flat damage reliability when going all out. Against multiple enemies you better hope you have high Toughness/Armour because you are likely to take a beating. The Hardy talent is almost necessary considering you're likely to burn through wounds in a fight.

 

Don't get me wrong, this heavy bruiser was fun as all hell but you're going to get laid on your arse a lot. A trick I found was that you can get a Ballistic Mechadendrite to take advantage of the reaction you weren't going to use anyway. Sure your BS is likely to be terrible as a melee fighter but it's better than nothing.

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Pairing up a force field & decent armour helps a lot.

 

Certainly it's a workable build - and whilst you'll land less hits, landing one hit that actually hurts an opponent is worth a lot more than four or five that don't! An All-Out Attack based character can also afford to take a two-handed weapon (although that's a lot harder to 'sneak' around with!) which gives you a good base damage, and as noted, don't forget your ability to substitute one D10's roll for the DoS on your attack roll.....

 

The other one thing to note - whilst you don't need agility for defense if not using evasion (dodge or parry) to protect yourself, you will want it for movement speed; to allow you to reach the enemy quickly....

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I can imagine building a fun character who uses a thunder hammer (daemonhammer, if the GM has lost it, or the game actually calls for/allows it), or a power fist, but I still think I'd always start with a gun, a pistol of some kind, or an arm-mounted, ranged weapon, again, if things allowed for it. Soften up the foe(s) with ranged fire, as you close, and then switch to the melee, as you close, hopefully either picking if the sole straggler, your firing caused, or having wounded enough of the enemy that you can fell them, more quickly than their multiple attacks can fell you. I know that, even in a galaxy filled with guns, many character do want a melee option, even if they are hoping they won't need it. and sometimes you'll actively try to close with the enemy, and force them to fight you, in melee, but I don't see a good reason to forgo ranged, all together. Note, I'm not claiming the above says this; I'm just tossing in my two thrones, and sometimes switching between holding the gun, and then having to holster it, so you can two-handed your thunder hammer, for instance, can start to bite into your action economy, but I'd risk it. Having played 40K TT, I know that one of the worst things can be "dedicated assault units"; if they can't avoid getting shot up, before they can assault, no amount of being good at it will help their depleted numbers. If you can shoot, as you close, all the better.

 

Also, remember to take into account WHAT you are melee fighting. If it looks like a Genestealer, a Carnifex, or a Meganob, I might just want to hold back with the biggest guns I have, and shoot, shoot, shoot. If you are going to melee it up, yep to armor, preferably a field, if you can. Two-handed isn't bad, but a shield wouldn't hurt, either. A power fist hits almost as hard, and a  storm shield is still viable, I think.

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Yeah, I believe that the build around Devestating Assault works as long as you don't face more than one opponent.

I tried using it but I didn't realise that you have to "all in".

Like Venkelos suggested, you still need to have a ranged option as well. For when the enemies are outnumbering you. Combat Master will take away their bonuses but they can still hit you. I have been dependent on good armor and found out the hard way : one good damage roll and you might be facing critical damage.

So surely include Hardy and True Grit and a ton of hitpoints ;-)

To counter a blob of enemies, I have picked Whirlwind of Death. I prefer the safety of a re-roll and chose Blademaster for it. Even if you you get your chance to hit high up, you will still be able to miss that crucial attack.

I do like your idea for a build but I wouldn't ignore reactions completely. Parry makes good use of the high WS you want anyway to hit reliable.

Being a one-trick-pony makes your character rather easy to counter and then you have no alternative.

I do applaud you for coming up with this idea, it needs just a little refinement.

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