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new player pistol adept build question (5e)

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Ronin42

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« on: <10-05-21/1229:36> »
Hello,
 I am not new to gaming but new-ish to shadowrun. By new-ish I mean I ran a pre-built character in a one-shot 20 years ago.  My friends and I are all new to the game and we are looking to get a game going using the 5e SRB only.  We will likely expand from there once we have a better grasp on the game.

 I am building an adept focused on using pistols.  I am going for the gunslinger vibe along with skills like sneak, lockpick, tracking, perception, assensing.    My questions are focused on if there would be value in having a melee option.    I gave the character 4 str to handle recoil so I can burst fire with the ares preditor v without issue.   So I guess the first question would be is it worth it for a physAd that has 17 or 18 dice to throw out of the gate with his pistol to have a melee option?  If so what is the optimal form of melee options weapon or unarmed?  If I pick up skill in one of those forms what is the minimum skill level required to be effective?
My thoughts right now are as follows
Melee weapon
Pros:   It seams that you can get better damage with a combat knife than unarmed.  You can also get a weapon focus. 
Cons: you can be disarmed

Unarmed combat
Pros: harder to be disarmed.    Can use shock gloves to give better damage, albeit stun damage
Cons: Less damage unless using shock gloves. Shock gloves only have 10 charges.

Combat in astral space.
if I go with a melee weapon is a weapon focus worth it for fighting something that is purely astral?    I plan on taking astral perception and assensing  so I could potentially fight in that arena.   Would I be outclassed in that arena and would be better served not trying to fight in it and shut myself off to astral if needed?
Killing hands is another option for combat in astral too.    If you have killing hands can your hands be treated as a weapon focus? 

Anyways any advice on good direction to take would be appreciated.   

Tecumseh

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« Reply #1 on: <10-08-21/2020:29> »
The good news is that you have accurately summed up the situation, including the pros and cons.

The short answer is that melee is very difficult for low Strength characters, and for the purposes of this discussion Strength 4 is low. The slightly longer answer is that melee characters often need dedicated builds to make them work well.

The best way around this for an adept is Nerve Strike, but that's from Street Grimoire and isn't available to someone only using the core rulebook. (As an aside, using only the core book I can make a street samurai that I'm 90% happy with, but trying to make an adept without Street Grimoire drives me crazy.)

First thing to ask yourself is why you want melee at all. Is it to never be defenseless? Then take Unarmed. Is it to murderize people without a gun? Then take Blades or Clubs and get a weapon focus. Is it to be stealthy and/or knock people out? Then take Unarmed and get a shock glove. Do you just want kick spirits in the nuts because no one else on your team can? Then a weapon focus will do better damage than Killing Hands. (To answer your question, yes, Killing Hands essentially turns your hands into a weapon focus in the sense that they can injure spirits (physical or astral) and bypass Immunity to Normal Weapons.)

If you're trying to cover Pistols, Sneaking, Locksmith, Tracking, Perception, and Assensing then your skill points are going to be in high demand. If I were you, I'd probably put 1 point into Unarmed (probably purchased with 2 karma), get a shock glove, and then rely on your presumably-high Agility to be okay. The shock glove provides more damage than other options at Strength 4, has better AP, and can also be used non-lethally. It also has the advantage of discharging on a tie (see Grazing Hits on p. 173) and getting a +2 to attack since you only need a touch-only attack. That will help add some dice to what might be a modest dice pool.

Good luck, and let us know what option you go with.