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Old 10-03-2019, 02:08 PM   #1
Dalin
 
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Default Power Blow

I was recently helping a friend optimize his martial artist a bit. I was impressed with Power Blow. You need to dump enough points into it to get to at least every-other-turn (at -5), but that's doable on a starting budget. With even a moderate strength score, you can dish out some impressive damage. His ST 13 martial artist is kicking for 2d+11. That includes his boots, Karate, Unarmed Master, and Seven Secret Kicks (in addition to Power Blow 17). Once he invests nine points into Mantis Strike, he'll be at 3d+13.

Has anyone here played a martial artist for long enough to bump Power Blow over 21 to triple strength? It would cost a bloody fortune to get up high enough to swallow a -20 for an every-turn strike, but that would be pretty insane (in a good way).

I must admit that I thought MAs were a bit underpowered, but now that I've read through the abilities more carefully, it seems like they can stay competitive with the other melee types.
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Power Blow

Power Blow can be really good, but keep in mind the 1FP cost per attack: FP are a finite resource (particularly early in a delver's career).
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Power Blow

Bear in mind that power blow is for a single attack; it doesn't combine with rapid strike or extra attacks.

Yes, 2d+11 crushing on a kick is pretty good, but note that he spent 30 points on trained by a master, 7 points on seven secret kicks, 25 points on unarmed master, and probably 20 points on power blow (to get a 17). If he'd spend those same 82 points on something like weapon master (broadsword), ST +4, Striking ST +2, he'd have a Swing of 3d+1, which would increase to 3d+8 cutting using a broadsword. Which can be used every turn and even multiple times per turn.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:33 AM   #4
Dalin
 
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Default Re: Power Blow

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Yes, 2d+11 crushing on a kick is pretty good, but note that he spent 30 points on trained by a master, 7 points on seven secret kicks, 25 points on unarmed master, and probably 20 points on power blow (to get a 17). If he'd spend those same 82 points on something like weapon master (broadsword), ST +4, Striking ST +2, he'd have a Swing of 3d+1, which would increase to 3d+8 cutting using a broadsword. Which can be used every turn and even multiple times per turn.
Yeah... that's a good point.

So, how have others found martial artists in their groups? Underpowered for the points? If so, how do you compensate?

It's hard to measure the relative utility of not needing a weapon. A hands-and-feet martial artist can't be disarmed the way a knight can, but at the same time they lack the reach of many weapons and are vulnerable against creatures that might injure them on contact.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Power Blow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
Yeah... that's a good point.

So, how have others found martial artists in their groups? Underpowered for the points? If so, how do you compensate?

It's hard to measure the relative utility of not needing a weapon. A hands-and-feet martial artist can't be disarmed the way a knight can, but at the same time they lack the reach of many weapons and are vulnerable against creatures that might injure them on contact.
I have heard it said that playing a martial artist can be summed up as "Playing the DFRPG on 'hard' mode." It requires no small amount of system mastery, and you have to be judicious about how and who you engage.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Power Blow

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Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
I have heard it said that playing a martial artist can be summed up as "Playing the DFRPG on 'hard' mode." It requires no small amount of system mastery, and you have to be judicious about how and who you engage.
However... if the GM is onboard and not deliberately bent on running in such a manner as to nullify the Martial Artist, they are incredible skirmish fighters and are the masters at dungeon parkour. They also have surprising utility outside of combat for a 'fighter class'. Honestly, absent a few specific thievery skills and ranged combat (and outdoors skills), they make excellent 'Thieves' and 'Scouts'.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Power Blow

I've got a character who's multi-classed (for lack of a better term) into martial arts. My thoughts are more or less this:

1) Being unarmed is very much hard mode and can be a major mistake if the bulk of the monsters have 3-5 DR. Lacking swing is going to set you back for a long time compared with knight, barbarian or even holy warrior.
2) Chi abilities can be great or another trap. If you specialize in kiai and push, you can be an interesting crowd controller, power blow takes so much investment to only work sometimes that I think it is a trap in the early game but a huge tool with some solid cp under your belt. That said, mantis strike and dragon skin go a long way to close some gaps.
3) if you really want to shine without weapons, consider the wrestler from Pyramid.
4) seriously consider spending all your discretionary points on ST. It's the stat that keeps on giving for melee combatants.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:46 PM   #8
corwyn
 
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Default Re: Power Blow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
I was recently helping a friend optimize his martial artist a bit. I was impressed with Power Blow. You need to dump enough points into it to get to at least every-other-turn (at -5), but that's doable on a starting budget. With even a moderate strength score, you can dish out some impressive damage. His ST 13 martial artist is kicking for 2d+11. That includes his boots, Karate, Unarmed Master, and Seven Secret Kicks (in addition to Power Blow 17). Once he invests nine points into Mantis Strike, he'll be at 3d+13.

Has anyone here played a martial artist for long enough to bump Power Blow over 21 to triple strength? It would cost a bloody fortune to get up high enough to swallow a -20 for an every-turn strike, but that would be pretty insane (in a good way).
I did, but not in a DF game. It was a '30s pulp game, kinda like Action but no templates. I was playing a Shang-chi like character, even down to being Fu-Manchu's son. I did it by pouring a lot of points into will, so it doubled for a lot of stuff like Intimidation and I needed to resist a lot of will-based powers. Also we were about 400 points by the end of the game.

I mostly used it for breaking down doors and walls, which it was very good at; much too slow for combat. But I used it for double ST at least every other round, usually for Feint and Attack.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Power Blow

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
However... if the GM is onboard and not deliberately bent on running in such a manner as to nullify the Martial Artist, they are incredible skirmish fighters and are the masters at dungeon parkour. They also have surprising utility outside of combat for a 'fighter class'. Honestly, absent a few specific thievery skills and ranged combat (and outdoors skills), they make excellent 'Thieves' and 'Scouts'.
My game has a martial artist in it and she does fine. We had no Thief or Scout for the longest time and her Stealth and Wall Walking covered scouting duties to great effect. Because we had no real tank (a Barbarian and a Wrestler (it's a Nordlond campaign) - high HP but moderate DR) I didn't have a lot of heavy hitter bad guys and we have a good Cleric so when non-fodder actually got a hit past her 16 parry, it wasn't the end of the world.

Also uses a staff, so that helps.

If I had someone wanting an unarmed MA, I'd probably allow a Vow against using weapons to ignore Disad max.
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