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tetnak

Engaged in Melee

17 posts in this topic

Are two characters Engaged in Melee when they are adjacent and one targets the other with a melee weapon?  Or, are the Engaged in Melee when they are adjacent and one targets the other with ANY attack (BS/WS/Powers?).

 

The book just says:

 

If an attacking character is adjacent to his target, both the character and his target are considered to be engaged in melee.

 

Which doesn't specify.  

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I agree, Rule as Written seems to suggest that, but it does not seem to make sense to me.

Sometimes, RAW is a terrible, terrible thing. Argue with your GM, because the only thing that makes sense to me is if either side has engaged you in melee in order to.. well.. count as Engaged in Melee.

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I agree, Rule as Written seems to suggest that, but it does not seem to make sense to me.

Well, if your opponent has a Las-cannon, is next to you, and is aiming at you, are you most like to try and dodge a barrel that could smack you in the face, or are you going to instead try and knock the weapon away, or otherwise bind him up so he can't shoot you?

 

It's not so much what his attack is, it's what your options for response are; if you are next to someone and they attack you, well having melee options would make sense, right?

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You're in melee when you are adjacent to the enemy and either you or the enemy has already attempted a melee attack.

 

Being 1 meter from someone who is shooting at you does not put you in melee.

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You're in melee when you are adjacent to the enemy and either you or the enemy has already attempted a melee attack.

 

Being 1 meter from someone who is shooting at you does not put you in melee.

 

What if it's a pistol, which specifically is usable in melee combat?

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I've always considered being engaged in melee to mean "standing next to someone else who wants to engage you in melee or whom you want to engage".

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But if you haven't attacked or been attacked in melee, are you "in melee" at all?  Or are you just standing close to one another?

 

Answer should be fairly obvious.  I had no idea this was a debate that people actually had.

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@Traejun

In my opinion, yes, if you or the other guy want to be in melee, you are. As Bore pointed out: Why would you be able to shoot someone who is right next to you with your lasgun but suddenly be unable to do so if you stabbed him with the bayonet beforehand? If you guard a captive with a drawn weapon and he starts running away when combat breaks out without using Withdraw, can't you give him a parting whack if you haven't attacked him before?

Yes, from a pure semantics point of view, being "in melee" works best when there's already a melee going on. However, from what the rule intends to accomplish (punish users of long weapons in melee and those who run away without caring about enemy blows) my interpretation seems to fit better. Considering you can strike a Hammer Blow without a hammer and become a Blade Dancer without either dancing or wielding a blade, I usually weigh the intention of a rule more heavily than its name.

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that's why I've house-ruled around a lot of the RaW stupidity - such as allowing penalized shots with basic weapons in melee, but offering bonuses to dodge and allowing parry of said weapons.

 

Nonetheless, there is not margin for interpretation of the phrase "in melee."  Plain meaning should always trump any terribly skewed concept of game mechanics.

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I've always considered being engaged in melee to mean "standing next to someone else who wants to engage you in melee or whom you want to engage".

I've always considered being engaged in melee to mean "your opponent can melee attack you, regardless of where he is standing".

 

I'll only note this difference because some weapons are pretty large or have reach and would otherwise allow you to choose melee options against an opponent who is further away than "next to you".

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Let's pretend you're standing next to me, and I've got a lasgun.  I decide I want to shoot you, and you object (understandably). You're probably not going to let me aim the lasgun at your belly, and might try to slap the barrel away.

 

Let's pretend you're a psyker.  While I'm trying to jam the barrel of my gun into your belly and you're trying to slap it away, you decide to blow up my brain.  I object to this (also understandably, I think) and redouble my efforts to jab the barrel of my gun into your soft bits and pull the trigger.

 

Any time you're right next to your opponent in a firefight (or any other kind of fight, really), things are going to get a little frantic.  Go watch the movie Equilibrium for examples of firearms used whilst engaged in melee- I think he uses a rifle at one point, not just pistols, so hopefully it illustrates the point that taking actions in melee that may not be melee attacks still necessitate a degree of physical contact- whether it's a rasslin' match or you trying to take someone's head off with a lasgun while he tries to do the same to you with a pike.

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The fact that you could melee attack does/should not immediately put you and any available targets "in melee."  It makes not logical sense, nor does that meet the spirit of the rule.  Until you or an enemy has attacked with a melee attack, you are not in melee.

 

However, I do understand the logical issue with treating someone 1-2 feet away from you the same as someone 20 meters away from you the same for purposes of resolving ballistic attacks.  Thus, my house rule as always been that shots performed in melee or at someone in an adjacent hex can be parried with a +10 or +20.

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Melee combat is too messy to be so cleanly segregated.  My illustration was to demonstrate that there are no 'I just shoot him' actions in melee range, just like a single attack action could actually be several maneuvers.  I'll allow players to take any action they want, but at melee range a stock smash may be a better tactical option than a full auto burst- unless he moves into melee range as part of that burst, or bursts as part of a surprise action or something.

 

The parry rule does make sense, don't get me wrong.  I just think that the 'engaged in melee' tag should be applied intelligently and flexibly, and that trying to establish a hard and fast rule, one way or the other, will never grant perfect verisimilitude.

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