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My understanding was that when improving a merit to the next level the player always buys one new dot, no matter how many dots they already have in that merit. Say, improving Resources from 2 dots to 3 dots would require paying for just this single new dot, as opposed to paying for three new dots. I also thought the same applies to style merits. A dot is a dot and costs like a single dot.

Now, I'm having some doubts, especially when it comes to styles.

So, which is correct?

A1) Improving a scaled merit (e.g. Resources) from 1 to 5 requires paying for four dots in total: one dot from 1 to 2, then one dot from 2 to 3, then one dot from 3 to 4, and finally one dot from 4 to 5. That's how I thought it works.

A2) Improving a scaled merit (e.g. Resources) from 1 to 5 requires paying for fourteen dots in total: two dots from 1 to 2, then three dots from 2 to 3, then four dots from 3 to 4, and finally five dots from 4 to 5. I don't think this is true.

B1) Improving a style merit (e.g. Fast-Talking) from 1 to 5 requires paying for four dots in total: one dot from 1 to 2, then one dot from 2 to 3, then one dot from 3 to 4, and finally one dot from 4 to 5. Effectively styles are no different from other scaled merits, they just provide additional complex effects at each level.

B2) Improving a style merit (e.g. Fast-Talking) from 1 to 5 requires paying for fourteen dots in total: two dots from 1 to 2, then three dots from 2 to 3, then four dots from 3 to 4, and finally five dots from 4 to 5. Effectively styles are collections of separate merits that need to be bought in order.

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    \$\begingroup\$ this has both first and 2nd edition tags, which edition(s) would you like answers for, experience changed significantly. \$\endgroup\$ – xenoterracide May 8 '15 at 5:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it matters. If I remember correctly, it's 1 experience point per dot in original rules, and 1 experience/5 beats in GMC. However, it's not a question of experience point costs, it's a questions of how many dots need to be purchased, before even considering their specific pricing. \$\endgroup\$ – frank May 8 '15 at 5:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, new dots x 2 in 1st edition. Which does make the question rather irrelevant outside GMC. \$\endgroup\$ – frank May 8 '15 at 21:32
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For first edition

For any kind of merit (scaled, style, any other) you pay only for the dots you get (A1, B1). For example, if you have Resources 1 and you want to up it to 3, you would pay 10 exp in total: 4 exp for second dot, 6 exp for the third.

NWoD core book page 35:

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).

For second edition (a.k.a. GMC)

Any merit dot (scaled, style, any other) costs 1 exp. For example, if you have Resources 1 and you want to up it to 3, you would pay 2 exp in total: 1 exp for second dot, 1exp for the third.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure the same applies to style merits? That was my automatic assumption, but there's a section on style merits that specifically mentions the requirement of purchasing three-dot version before accessing the four-dot. This emphasis makes me wonder. \$\endgroup\$ – frank May 8 '15 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @frank That's to stop people in 1e from buying a single style ability as a flat cost merit, which they might be tempted to do. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc May 9 '15 at 11:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ However, that rule I'm referring to is also explicitly spelled out in GMC rules. \$\endgroup\$ – frank May 9 '15 at 16:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @frank I know. I believe that to be a copy/paste artifact. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc May 10 '15 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @frank, could you refer us to where are you getting this idea, that you can buy single merit dots(only the 3rd dot for example). NWoD rules are consistent, and the exp table says, that new merit dots are x2 exp, new skill dots are x3 exp, and so on. I tried to scroll through the book, but I didn't found anything, that would even hint, that you're allowed to buy individual style merit dots. \$\endgroup\$ – Stralos May 11 '15 at 6:31
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This answer is for 2nd Edition only.

You only pay 1 experience for each dot when buying Merits. A few reasons that support this:

  • Per sanctity of Merits, when you lose a dot in one merit due to the story, you can reuse that dot to buy something else at end of chapter. This means dots in all merits have the same value and there aren't two different categories of merits respective to cost.

  • In GMC page 157, it reads, "One of these Experiences can be used to purchase one Merit dot or a Skill Specialty. Two of these buy one Skill dot. Four add an Attribute dot." As you see, it is pretty straightforward. If there were two different ways to buy Merits according to their type, it could have said so.

  • It would be nonsensical to pay 15 experiences to get Grappling (Style) from 0 dots to 5 dots. Each dot provides a small incremental benefit and often has a drawback or a limitation. A supernatural could get one of their powers from zero to almost 4 dots with that same XP. At that level of power, they can rewrite memories, bend wills, teleport, turn into monstrous tentacled beings, create gates to other planes of existence, become anyone they want, throw cars over their head, etc. It would mean that those supernaturals would never invest in a merit like Grappling (or any fighting style for that matter), since in comparison it would be almost useless.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The question isn't about how much a dot costs, it's about how many need to be bought. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 8 '15 at 23:59

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