As I recall they stack, and their penalties and bonuses don't stack, but you take the worst. So if you had a drawback -2 to defence and -3 to defence, then you take -3. And if you are taking -2 and then take lose your defence, then your defence is zero. And if you lose your defence from two different manoeuvres, then you can still do both, and your defence is still zero.

Is this right? Something I read seems to indicate otherwise.

One of my players is combining Spetsnaz Knife Fighting, Fencing, and Two Weapon Fighting (main gauche + rapier) and I'm seeing some rather crazy things, like 17 defence (by declaring dodge). and a free attack in retaliation each round.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good day. For clarity's sake, and so I can tag it properly, is this using the tabletop rules set, or the live-action one? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Dec 27, 2010 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ this is the Table to rules set, I'm finding having low privilege and not being able to create tags, annoying. also the lack of tags (since the site is new) Though table-top should be in there, so I'll retag thatl. EDIT: Ok, it isn't, nor is pen and paper \$\endgroup\$ Dec 28, 2010 at 4:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's all good; I added the proper tag with my initial edit. There's no "tabletop" or "pen and paper" tag, as this site is primarily dedicated to games like that; nearly every question could bear such a tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Dec 28, 2010 at 5:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...Maybe you should talk with your player about powergaming. If you feel that 17 dies is too much (heck it IS too much) speak with him about lowering it a bit. Remember that rules are more guidelines than stone-set divine mandates. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 17, 2012 at 19:20

3 Answers 3


On page 62 of Armory Reloaded, we find the following guidelines for combining Fighting Style maneuvers:

  1. Unless the text specifically notes otherwise, Fighting Style maneuvers don't stack. If multiple maneuvers provide the same benefit within the game system (a Defense bonus or dice bonus, for instance), your character only benefits from the best of the lot.

  2. When it comes to benefits that manipulate dice mechanics — like X-Again, rote actions or automatic successes — you may only pick one option.

  3. If you end up combining Fighting Style benefits that don't violate numbers 1 or 2, all the disadvantages apply simultaneously, and the worst of any static penalties apply.

So you're right about the penalties, but wrong about the maneuvers — the 17 defense is almost certainly in error.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a great answer, but is it the one the OP is looking for? I'm not 100% sure it's been tagged rightly. Might that be why this hasn't been accepted? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 3, 2012 at 11:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret Judging by the date, I'm guessing that it's because the person has migrated from RPG.SE. (The OP hasn't been back since February.) I am sure it's been tagged correctly -- the question references Fighting Styles, which are merits that were introduced in the nWoD core. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Jan 3, 2012 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ They existed as a concept in oWoD, but as specialty skills like Do and Kailindo, and the bizarre constructions in WoD: Combat. Mundane techniques rendered as 5-dot merit trees are an nWoD thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Jan 3, 2012 at 11:36
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually it was never accepted because I accidentally asked it in a new account I opened by mistake. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1, 2014 at 7:30

While @Jadasc's answer is correct (by RAW), my own personal ruling is slightly different. For sake of keeping things clear and simple, my house rule is:

Unless specifically allowed by the rules (Such as a combined fighting style), in a single round of combat, manoeuvres/bonuses from different fighting styles can not be used together.

Not only do they not stack, you can't use them together at all. Even mechanically unrelated abilities.

Ie you can not benefit from more than one fighting style in a single round.

So for example: If using Kung Fu 2 - Iron Skin which grants armour against bashing attacks, you can not also do Boxing - Duck and Weave which lets you use the hight of your wits/dex for defence. Similarly you also can not perform Boxing 1 - Body Blow which stuns targets if you do more damage then there size.

Why? Because the hard tense muscles of the Kung-Fu Iron Skin stance leaves you without the flexibility to duck and weave fast enough to benifit from the boxing stance. And unlike the Boxing stances, it is not designed to let you get enough power into a blow to stun a person with a Body Blow.

Basically these are serious martial arts. A trainer has spent decades mastering the skills, mostly in competitions and demonstation fights. Many trainers wouldn't dream of polluting their are form by working out how to combine it. There are exceptions, for things like Krav Maga, but those are specially developed combinations of techniques and are thus there own separate fighting style merits. (Which are still incompatible with the base techniques)


No you can't use a maneuver from one Fighting Style with one from another fighting style unless, like someone mentioned already, it's stated; here is an example of the Aikido Fighting Style.

Your character is a skilled practitioner of aikido (throwing), or another martial art that emphasizes throwing the opponent. She knows how to blend with the force of an attack and amplify it to send her enemy sprawling.

Dots purchased in this Merit provide access to special combat maneuvers. Each maneuver is a prerequisite for the next.


Each maneuver is a prerequisite for the next.

The makers of World of Darkness created these fighting styles to give player a list of pre-made attack combos or pre-made attack stacks for balance purposes. When you take stuff from one fighting style and then something from another you get all sorts of overpowered combos that take away from your game overall dramatically. Your characters can put together several attacks or passives from multiple fighting styles with as little as 3 dots invested in each style and have a very strong combo if allowed, this takes away from the game and puts strain on the GM to balance effectively.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Those keywords you bolded say that you have to buy each maneuver before buying the next. Ie No 3dots of Aikido, until you first have 2 dots of Aikido. \$\endgroup\$ May 14, 2015 at 3:19

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