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Old 07-18-2021, 06:34 PM   #1
Malleable
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Default Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

Hi guys.
I recently started in a Monster Hunters campaign as a witch. So I already have a primary role of casting, but know that this campaign will require that everyone can defend themselves physically. I don't expect to be the best melee guy, but want to develop one particular melee combo that I can do effectively and consider my 'stick'.
The character is Japanese, has only put a single point into broadsword (katana), karate and judo - so I've not started down any one path. I have a 16 Int and 14 DX.
I am strongly thinking about getting Precognitive Parry so I can parry bullets.
From that I could either get Iron Hands DR2 or use my katana (or maybe both).
If I go the parry route, I'd like to use Counter Attack in my Combo.
Since my Int is high I'd like to develop Feint (Ruse).
Thats as far as I've gotten.
Using the katana for some kind of attack might be good, since decapitation kills most monsters. Maybe Targeted Attack (neck)?
Or I could go down the Judo route and do some kind of Arm Lock or Head Lock thing. I won't have the highest strength, so maybe I might not be effective against strong monsters with this type technique? I've never played a melee combatant in GURPS, so not sure about all the rules.
I guess I could go either Karate or Judo with Iron Hands using Precognitive Parry, but hand strikes from Karate don't seem like they would be effective to kill monsters (not magic or silver). Though taking down humans and not killing them might be a good thing.
Or develop the Lethal Eye Strike technique?
And does a Throw make it easier to Target Attack someone? Say I throw some guy in such a way that his face and mine are really close - and then I Breath Fire (Innate Attack).

Anyways, I am open to suggestions. What do you guys think might be a good combination? Probably Parry Counter Attack, Feint (Ruse) - unless this sounds like junk to you guys.

Thanks,
Mal
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Old 07-18-2021, 11:08 PM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleable View Post
Or I could go down the Judo route and do some kind of Arm Lock or Head Lock thing.
Mal
My favorite One Trick Pony thing in this area is to take the Judo style from Martial Arts. Make sure it is the variant that teached practical Judo as well as Judo Art/Sport.

Then (after you've spent enough pts to earn a Style Perk) take the Perk for Technique Mastery:Judo Throw. Then you max out that Technique. It's not hugely offensive (though 1D6 damge isn't bad for low ST types) but the good thing is that it interrupts the victims attack sequence and requires him to spend a Turn just on a Stand Up action possibly followed up by movement if you've thrown him somewhere incovenient.

As general advice get Martial Arts before you try to really get into this aspect. Watch out for available Technique Mastery Perks. They're a license to not play by the same rules as everyone else.
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:00 AM   #3
RGTraynor
 
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Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

Mm. The problem is that we don't know enough about the challenges your character will face. What does "defend myself physically" mean? Does it mean that you need to be able to take out monsters by yourself? (And how tough are those monsters likely to be?) Or does it mean that you just need to be able to stay alive long enough for the dedicated melee fighters to bail you out? If the latter, then anything that keeps your defense up is A Good Thing. Shields help a lot there.

(Never mind that if you're thinking along the lines of the former, AND you're the party caster, perhaps some lessons on basic tactics to the other players will serve well.)

If you're a casual melee fighter, one principle for the point-starved is that the more different ways to battle you know, the poorer you are in all of them. And if you think you have enough points for Iron Hands, and Precognitive Parry, and various techniques, and multiple skills ... for pity's sake do yourself a solid, bundle up all those points, and get an Ally: a dedicated bodyguard tasked for nothing else than keeping Bad Things from your throat.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:33 AM   #4
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

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Originally Posted by Malleable View Post
The character is Japanese, has only put a single point into broadsword (katana), karate and judo - so I've not started down any one path. I have a 16 Int and 14 DX.
Don't get too hung up on the skill names - if you opt not to develop your unarmed striking skill much, Brawling will work just fine, even if the character technically learned how to fight in his/her high school Karate club. Karate's primary purpose is getting further bonus damage (there are some special Techniques that are Karate-only, but such a build isn't really appropriate for a character where unarmed striking is a secondary/tertiary role). Unless you expect your character to frequently have his/her off hand occupied (or perhaps want to keep it open for Judo Parries/Throws, although note the latter would be penalized for one-handed use IIRC), you may want to opt for Two-Handed Sword over Broadsword - with low ST, every point of additional damage matters, plus a two-handed grip is much more common for the katana (both historically and in modern kendo and the like). There are also some optional rules in Martial Arts that make two-handed weapons better at Parrying multiple attacks in a round, in case you end up outnumbered or against a monster with Extra Attack or similar.

No complaints about Judo - personally, I feel it's the best grappling skill for the point investment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleable View Post
I am strongly thinking about getting Precognitive Parry so I can parry bullets.
How often do you expect to be up against firearms? I'm not terribly familiar with the Monster Hunters setting, but I always thought it was the hunters using firearms, not the monsters (although perhaps you're expecting to be up against monsters with lots of human soldiers under their sway?).

Regardless, you're a Witch. Consider a ritual (probably in Charm form) that makes firearms less of an issue, such as DR that only works against ranged attacks (perhaps Semi-Ablative to save on energy; I know there's an example in GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic that is fully Ablative, but that actually bounces bullets back at the shooter), or similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleable View Post
From that I could either get Iron Hands DR2 or use my katana (or maybe both).
Unarmed combat really calls for dedication - it's good to put a few points in as a backup, but there are very good reasons why humans developed weapons. I'd strongly suggest you focus on the katana.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleable View Post
If I go the parry route, I'd like to use Counter Attack in my Combo.
Since my Int is high I'd like to develop Feint (Ruse).
I think you need to define exactly what you mean by "Combo." Are you talking about Combinations from Martial Arts, where you basically predefine a Rapid Strike and then buy off the penalty? Or are you meaning something more like a particular attack your character favors using?

That aside, Counterattack is a pretty good option, provided you buy off the penalty. Do note that reliance on it calls for a reliable defense - you may want to use All Out Defense (Improved Parry) a lot in combat, then once you successfully defend follow that up with an Attack (or even Defensive Attack, depending on how resilient your foe is) using the Counterattack Technique.

Ruse can be worthwhile when you have higher IQ than DX, but do note that it's problematic against certain foes, as it can be resisted by IQ, Per, or Tactics, in addition to DX. I believe it also requires you to use a social skill rather than a striking skill, so it's not a great option if your character doesn't also have "Face" skills. I suspect you'd be better off just buying up Feint.

For someone that has "melee combatant" as a secondary role in the party, I think you want to go with either Counterattack or Feint, not both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleable View Post
Using the katana for some kind of attack might be good, since decapitation kills most monsters. Maybe Targeted Attack (neck)?
Again, that's really more the role of a primary combatant. I think you'll want to focus on being able to avoid getting hit and being able to hit back when needed (to dissuade the enemy from continuing to attack you), not so much on heroically one-shotting the monster. Plus, even for monsters who require decapitation to kill, you can often incapacitate them with easier strikes (such as slashes against the torso), then decapitate them easily once they're down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleable View Post
Or I could go down the Judo route and do some kind of Arm Lock or Head Lock thing. I won't have the highest strength, so maybe I might not be effective against strong monsters with this type technique? I've never played a melee combatant in GURPS, so not sure about all the rules.
I think for Judo you want to use it defensively, like Counterattack above. Once you do a Parry, you'll want to throw rather than grapple - most monsters are going to outclass you too much in strength (a dedicated judoka can make up for that with skill, but you're a Witch, not a Wrestler), but technically you can Judo Throw an elephant after a Parry (while typically a sane GM will disallow that particular sort of ridiculousness, so long as the monster isn't extremely heavy you should be fine).
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Last edited by Varyon; 07-19-2021 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:36 AM   #5
Malleable
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

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Originally Posted by RGTraynor View Post
for pity's sake do yourself a solid, bundle up all those points, and get an Ally: a dedicated bodyguard tasked for nothing else than keeping Bad Things from your throat.
Jeeze, this could be the best thing point-wise. I was thinking of having a sidekick 'Kato' that would protect me. Its definitely cheaper.

I'm not sure if I would enjoy it as much. I agree there is a ton of points being invested for Precognitive Parry, boosting it, and then developing a combo to do damage.

My experience so far is that each character will have to be able to take care of himself and not expect the more melee type characters to save them. We are often outnumbered, not to mention firearm targets are usually random generated (so not necessarily the melee guys) and we don't have access to flak jackets or armor.

So precognitive parry is my best bet for defense. And if I'm gonna parry, I may as well counter attack. And if I'm counter attacking I may as well work that into a combo. And my int is high, so I should probably Feint (Ruse).
I know - slippery slope.
And while an Ally would be cheaper point-wise, I think while he might be able to prevent a single target from damaging me, if we are outnumbered I still need to defend myself, and random gun fire would kill me guy easy enough.

Varyon,
Thanks for the post. You provided a lot of useful information. This post was written at the same time you posted, so I missed your comments until after sending it.
I probably will have to deal with melee myself. While we have two guys that are more melee centric, what we have faced so far has use being outnumbered often and each party member can have one or more mobs on us at at time. So I think I have to develop melee at least enough to defend myself. So parry and either attack or judo throw. Both have their certain positives. I'll have to think more on it.

Mal

Last edited by Malleable; 07-19-2021 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:04 AM   #6
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

I missed that this was for a campaign that had already started. In that case, what sort of enemies are you typically up against, and what are your character's Path skills? At least for now, your best bet is to try to figure out what will help you that you already have - chances are good there are some rituals you could use (again, likely in Charm - or at least Conditional - form) to help you out right now, or at least once you've had a chance to prepare them.
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:34 AM   #7
Malleable
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

My highest Paths are Mind, Chance, Crossroads and Magic. Another witch in the party has Body, Energy and Matter. We have been making charms to protect the party. Ghost Shirt and some others. So we have most the stuff covered, and my Magery and Int are high enough that I can fill my role pretty well; and my co-witch can fill hers.
We started off at 400 points, so I feel that while we just started I have my spell casting responsibilities pretty much covered and don't feel too much pressure to raise more casting paths or int.
So future points will going towards combat related skills seems appropriate.


Mal
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:01 AM   #8
GarenLiLorian
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

Alternately, use magic to be a better fighter. A few rituals that might be useful:

Champions
A spell for melee battle. Each individual in the area of effect designates a single melee weapon skill to gain skill in.
Strengthen body x3: 9
Sense Mind: 2
Control Magic: 5
Area of Effect, 3 yards: 2
Bestows a bonus
+3 to all uses of a single melee skill (moderate): 8
+2 to all active defenses (broad): 10
Altered Traits: High Pain Threshold (greater): 10
Duration, 10 minutes: 1
Subject Weight, 300lbs: 3
150 Energy

Iron Fist
Kinetically charges the casterís fist, to deliver a crushing blow. Delivered via Brawling skill.
Create Energy: 5
Damage: Direct External 7d: 14
Greater Effect: x3
57 Energy

Stoneskin
Toughens the subjectís skin to roughly the consistency of concrete. This is a visible and obvious transformation that will stack with armor and forcefield DR, but not other natural DR sources.
Transform body: 8
Control magic: 5
Subject weight, 300lbs: 3
Duration, 1 hour: 3
Altered Traits
Tough skin DR = to Ĺ subjectís HT score (max 10) 30
Greater Effect: x3
147 Energy (as a charm or conditional ritual)

Speed of the Pack
Draws on the spirit of a pack of predators to enhance communication and teamwork in a squad.
Strengthen body x1: 3
Strengthen mind x3: 9
Control Magic: 5
Duration, 12 hours: 6
Area Effect, 3 yards: 1
Subject Weight, 1000 lbs: 4
Bestows a Bonus: +1.00 to basic speed (broad): 5
Altered Traits:
Teamwork (other subjects): 1
Special Rapport, caster: 5
Danger Sense (Greater): 15
Greater Effects: x3
162 Energy

In my experience, getting into Melee as a ST 11 human against ST 35 monsters is a losing proposition, and unless you're exclusively fighting other humans, your primary objective when being in a melee should be to get out of the melee. To this end Judo is great, as are spells that keep you alive long enough to retreat to a safe blasting distance.

If you're worried about guns, DR is the least effective way to protect yourself: instead, try Control or Destroy Matter to render gunpowder inert, Control Body to give trigger finger cramps, Strengthen Chance to make it more likely someone will miss or, if you do get shot, heal yourself with the awesome power of RPM healing. Or spend a destiny point. Ghost Shirt is a neat ritual, very flavorful, but incredibly expensive for what it does.

If your vision for the character is to be a spellsword, GISH, etc., then flavoring your charms to fit that vision could include delivering your charms via your blade (maybe they're runes that you carve into it, or prayer scrolls wrapped around the handle). But if you're just looking for some mundane survivability (and it's a TL 8 game like normal MH), grab a concealable vest and a shotgun for those rare times when you can't or don't want to rely on magic.
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Old 07-19-2021, 02:05 PM   #9
johndallman
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Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleable View Post
I recently started in a Monster Hunters campaign as a witch. So I already have a primary role of casting, but know that this campaign will require that everyone can defend themselves physically. I don't expect to be the best melee guy, but want to develop one particular melee combo that I can do effectively and consider my 'schtick'.
I found a way to do this as a Witch that worked quite well, which was to literally concentrate on defence, and take advantage of the +2 to parry you get with a quarterstaff. That let me get away with DX 12, Staff-14 [8], and get a parry of 13 with Combat Reflexes. When in melee, I usually did All-Out Defence, and the GM let me do multiple parries at -2, as per pp. 123 & 222 of Martial Arts.

The only times I actually did damage with the staff was parrying unarmed attacks, but that was fairly useful vs zombies.
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Old 07-19-2021, 02:22 PM   #10
Malleable
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Default Re: Combo Suggestions for point starved Witch wanting to be effective in melee?

Yeah, I will use my magic to become a better fighter. Out of combat I use mind/crossroads/chance alot for influence and information. Was hoping chance would give me some bonuses in combat when I need it.
For combat me and the other witch prepare charms.
Still debating on sword or judo for counter parry...
All the prereqs for Precognitive Parry are useful.
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