Looking for outside help to clear up a minor argument that's currently among my player group. Any references to your reasoning and statements is greatly appreciated.

Suggestions on how we should move forward are also welcomed.

It seems myself and my friend is at a disagreement in how to treat merits when it comes to "Fighting styles" at character creation.

He suggest that it is impossible to acquire a fighting style beyond level three as it could cost 6 of your 7 of your beginning merits to do so, suggesting that a "fighting style" merits level is treated separate from one another in payment because of the pre-requisite requirement to reach each higher level of the fighting style.

Example listed below of his reasoning on the spending of merits per fighting style level.

  1. Level 1 Fighting style merit would cost one merit.

  2. Level 2 would cost 2 separate individual merits for this level of fighting style.

  3. Level 3 would cost 3 additional Individual fighting style merits. (It would cost 6 starting merits total to do this at this point)

I argue against this. Stating that do to the wording in character creation "1st Edition Core page 34, under paragraph 7":

  1. Select Merits, representing character enhancements and background elements: Spend 7 dots on Merits. The fifth dot in any Merit costs two dots to purchase. Note that many Merits have prerequisites. For more information, see the sidebar and Chapter 5: Merits.

That it suggests that to get a level 5 merit, you must pay 2 addition points in merits. It states, that if you really want a level 5 merit, you must spend 6 of your character creation merits, suggesting that it IS POSSIBLE to start the game with a level 5 merit from the start without spending experience.

Furthermore... In no part in the book that i have read does it state that fighting style levels be treated as a separate individual merits from the fighting style. For example.

Page 65 1st edition Armory reloaded.

If you have "Combination blows" level 3 merit boxing. It would show on your character sheet as "Boxing •••" Which would imply that when you look under the boxing fighting style you get each level up to level threes powers. If that is true, then you could start character creating with "Boxing ••••" with three merit point to spare because by having the lower merits it automatically qualifies you for having the ability to acquire the higher forms of the fighting style merits.

They defend their point, by referencing (1st edition Core page 35, paragraph 3):

Note that when you spend experience points and want to go up more than one dot in a trait, you need to pay for all the intervening levels.That is, if you go from ••• to ••••• in an Attribute, it costs you 45 experience points (20 to go from 3 to 4, plus 25 to go from 4 to 5).

But I suggest that it does not apply in this context, because that is referencing a guide to leveling up merits using EXPERIENCE. You don't use or apply experience in the initial character creating using its guidelines under the character creation sheet, but instead. Apply experience afterwords if the game-master allows additional exp it. Therefore that line of reasoning does not apply in this context.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure if it makes a difference to the answer but which version of WoD exactly are you playing? \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 17:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Currently using what is considered 1st edition World of Darkness. Not Chronicles of darkness or... What is now considered 2nd edition. To clarify I am NOT using the most resent revisin of the core rulebook. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please choose: is this "New World of Darkness 1st Edition" - then this is CoD 1e and the world-of-darkness does not aply. Is it however "OLD WoD 1st Edition" then the chronicles-of-darkness-1e does not. I think it is case 1. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 12:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no 1st Edition WoD core, the pages don't match up with any page in any of the 1st edition core books and merits do not have multiple variants usually. As such, this must be CoD1 aka nwod. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Mar 30 at 9:01

2 Answers 2


You can start with 5 dots of any given Merit at character creation. However, as per your quoted rules, you have to spend two dots to acquire a 5-dot rating, which would mean spending six of your starting Merit dots.

Your friend's argument is non-existent: applying rules from character enhancement to character creation is irrational.

It sounds like your friend just doesn't want you (or the other players) to start as kung-fu masters. That's valid, believe me. Rather than desperate spouting of rules, he should just say "I don't want anyone taking 4+ dots in any Fighting Style". Let him know you get this and respect that by offering to knock your Merit choice down to a level he is comfortable with.


Yes, you can start with a level 5 fighting style (or level 5 anything else, basically). You spend one dot per level in character creation, not one dot per level per level. The rules quote you have quoted supports this, and there aren't any quotes that support the other position, because that position is incorrect. Character creation and leveling use entirely different systems that are not related and are not balanced with one another.


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