Chapter 3: Merits

By Chris Hoffmann


Merits and flaw are a way to allow a character to have greater individuality. In the other White Wolf Games, the merits and flaws were introduced in their respective player's guides. They were overlooked in The Street Fighter Player's Guide (probably due to space constraints, their are fifteen pages of Merits and flaws in the Vampire Player's Guide and only 102 pages total in the Street Fighter's Player's Guide.) Merits are advantages and are bought with freebie points while Flaws are penalties and give you freebie points. You may take as many flaws as you want, however, the maximum number of freebie points given by flaws is seven.

Merits/Flaws without descriptions are Identical to the ones found in the Vampire Player's Guide.

New or Modified Merits and Flaws

Glory Hound (2 pts.)

Constantly taunting your opponents is considered unseemly in a Street Fighter. While it is acceptable (and even applauded) if not done too often, it can cause honor or glory penalties (at the storyteller's discretion). Yet you somehow manage to pull it off. This Merit allows the fighter to get benefit from multiple taunts. With out this merit, only the first taunt gives the glory bonus. A fighter with this Merit may not take the flaw Arrogant

Quick Reflexes (2-4 pts.)

Regardless of your dexterity or athletics, your reflexes are very fast. This gives you a slight speed edge when in combat. A fighter with quick reflexes can break speed ties in their favor. If the fighter has the 2 pt. merit, when the fighters' maneuver speed, dexterity, AND Wits are tied, then instead of rolling to see who has the effective higher speed, the fighter with Quick Reflexes automatically wins. If the fighter has the 3 pt. merit, then only the Maneuver speed and the Dexterity need to be tied. Finally, if the fighter has the 4 pt. merit, then he wins the Maneuver speed tie. If both opponents have this merit, then ties go to the fighter with the higher rating of Quick Reflexes. If both characters have the same rating, then ties are resolved normally. Finally, if one fighter has Quick Reflexes and the other has Slow Reflexes, then the Character with Quick Reflexes automatically wins speed ties. A character with this Merit may not have the Flaw Slow Reflexes

Huge Size (5 pts.)

The Fighter is much larger than average, usually 7' and over 300 lb. This Merit gives you an extra health level when the character is created and allows you to buy one more health level than is normally allowed (22 health levels total). If a warrior with this merit uses a projectile, it will automatically miss a crouching opponent (Even one with Huge Size). This can be remedied by spending 1 power point per projectile to modify them to hit high or low. A character with this Merit may not take the Flaw Short

Code of Honor (1 pt.)

Your sense of ethics is particularly well defined. Even in your blackest rages you will try to follow your personal code. Normally you can not be persuaded/coerced to break your code. The following can override your Code: Mind Control (SS), Psychic Rage (SS), and any applicable Flaw or Merit. Even when influenced by these, the difficulty of your roll is reduced by two when you are in danger of breaking your code. This is a good merit to take if you are an Animal Hybrid and want to avoid the Frenzy. You must outline your code in as much detail as possible and it must be approved by the storyteller.

Fighter Jock (1 pt.)

Similar to Crack Driver, the Fighter Jock has great natural skill in piloting all kinds of aircraft. The Difficulty of all Drive Checks when operating an aircraft are two less than they would otherwise be.

Light Sleeper (1 pt.)

You can awaken instantly at any sign of trouble or danger, and do so without any sleepiness or hesitation. The cost was lowered by 1 pt. from the Vampire Player's Guide because a Vampire gets more benefits from it than a Martial Artist

Iron Will (3 pts.)

You have an unusually strong mental defenses. You can not be influenced psychically by Mind Control and the like unless your adversary has superhuman Focus. Even then, you can avoid the attack by spending a willpower point.

Eternal Clarity (3, 4 pts.)

Whether it's because your skull is made of granite or you're just lucky, you don't get dizzied nearly as often as another fighter. With the three point version, you must take twice your Stamina in one attack or dizzy combo before you are dizzied. With the four point version, you can not be dizzied.

Excellent Balance (5 pts.)

Your training has given you exceptional balance. When you would suffer a knock down from a non-grab maneuver, you roll your dexterity+athletics (dif. 6) to retain your balance. If you get as many successes as your opponent got for damage, then you stay on your feet.

Animal Hybrid (3, 5 pts.)

You are not entirely human, if at all. Whether a result of genetic mutation, contaminated ground water, or a meeting with the jungle spirits, your body has been forever changed into something neither human or animal.

Animal Hybrid characters are made much differently than other characters. Instead of assigning 7/5/3 to Physical/Social/Mental, you follow the chart below.


The Maximum is the highest rating you can start off with in an attribute. You can go higher than the Maximum by Spending Experience Points (Not Freebie Points) as shown on page 65 in SF:STG. You can get as high as eight in each attribute. You can still spend Freebie Points to raise your attributes up to their respective Maximums.

Example: I choose to make a three point Animal Hybrid and choose to be half Bear. Since Bears are Strong and very Tough, I put five points in Stamina, three points in Strength, and the last in Dexterity. Next I put one point in Charisma and another in Appearance, for no particular reason. Finally, since Bear was revered as a healer and has very sharp senses, I put three points in Intelligence and one point in Perception. My Final Attributes are: Strength 4, Dexterity 2, Stamina 6, Charisma 2, Manipulation 1, Appearance 2, Perception 2, Intelligence 4, Wits 1.

When choosing your abilities, you are restricted in what you can take. You are limited to one dot in Subterfuge, Drive, Streetwise, Security, Computer. You are limited to two in the following: Arena, Interrogation, Investigation. Freebie Points are not affected by this limitation.

Animal Hybrids get two free dots in Animal Companion and one dot in the Athletics Technique. In addition they get one free dot in a new technique, Animalism. This does not represent how animalistic you character looks (that's determined by buying the three or five point version of this merit), it is more like the Primal-Urge Talent in Werewolf the Apocalypse. It represents how well you've adjusted to your animal side. This Technique is used to calculate damage from Animal Hybrid Maneuvers. You get one point free in Animalism and can raise with Technique points (up to three), Freebie Points (up to five), and Experience Points (up to eight).

The Animalism Merit gives basic maneuvers just like other Techniques do. You get to choose two basic Animalism Maneuvers. Some sample basic maneuvers include:

Maneuver SpeedDamageMove

You can buy more basic maneuvers with power points. If you find that some of the above maneuvers don't apply to your animal, then you have two choices. You can create a totally new maneuver or you can make a variant on a given maneuver. A totally new maneuver for a half-Elk would be Charge Speed -2 Damage +1 Move +2. A variant would be like the three basic punches, small changes in the same maneuver. In this case, you would take the maneuver you're modifying and change the numbers a little bit. For Example: I want a Fierce Claw for my Bear character, I lower the Speed and raise the Damage by 1 giving me: Fierce Claw Speed -2 Damage +3 Move +0. In both cases, the total modifiers should add up to +1. In addition, the Speed and Move modifiers shouldn't be greater than +/-2 and the Damage modifier shouldn't be greater than +/-4. This is to prevent moves like this: Supreme Death Speed +200 Damage +601 Move -800.

Animal Hybrids automatically have the flaw Frenzy and this gives no Freebie Points to the character (but also doesn't count towards the 7 pt. Flaw Maximum).

Up until now, this has all been for the three point version of the merit. With the five point version you get the following in addition to the above: 1 more Animalism Basic Maneuver, an extra free point of Animalism Technique, and a special ability relating to the animal you character has been melded with. Some of the more 'common' ones are listed below.

Heat/Cold Resistance:
The character is unaffected by extreme weather conditions of one sort or another. (Choose one).
Wall Climbing:
You are able to climb any vertical surface provided that hand and foot (and possibly other) holds are available at no move penalty.
While in the air, you can move a number of hexes equal to half your Athletics rounded up, and you can only remain in the air for a number of turns equal to your stamina. In addition, you can not block while flying.
The water is your second (maybe ever your first) home. You suffer no penalties to your basic maneuvers for being in the water and you can hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to twice your stamina. However, some special maneuvers may be affected.
Long Distance Running:
Your character may not be able to run like the wind, but he'll still be running long after others drop down exhausted. Your stamina is considered to be doubled for purposes of long distance running.
You can breath both air and water.
Your skin changes color with the back ground. You get an additional two dice for when you are hiding and not moving. In addition, your difficulty is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 1).
Your healing abilities are far greater than a normal human's. You recover one point of aggravated damage per hour. In addition, you can regrow lost limb within a week. This can be combined with the Maneuver Regeneration to great effect.
Cybernetics (4 pts.)

Part of your body has been replaced by unliving metal. This gives you great strength but destroys your love life.

Your character assigns his attribute priorities as normal, but moves one point from social into either Physical or Mental. Also, you do not have to pay the increased cost for buying superhuman Physical and Mental attributes.

Cyborgs get the following abilities free: Interrogation 1, Intimidation 2, Computer 1, and Medicine 1. You can still put three points in each of these (thus having abilities above three is possible). However, you can not put more than two dots in Investigation or Streetwise.

Cyborgs are not perceived as honorable opponents, therefor they loose two points of Permanent Honor Renown (this can go below zero). Also, the metal components of the cyborg body gives the fighter greater endurance and thus they gain two levels of health (although the max is still 20 or 22 with huge size).

The Power (6 pts.)

There are as many ways of calling forth the Power as there are facets of the Power itself. The Power is neither heat nor cold, light nor darkness, earthly nor spiritual. It embodies all these traits, and every other trait in existence; which trait it manifests depends upon the skill and natural inclinations of the caller. The Power encompasses all there is, and is therefore everything. It is a rare mortal indeed who has the potential to channel a single grain of the Power. Those who can usually do so by finding and reinforcing an affinity for one particular element. I do not speak of the meaningless "elements" that scientists like my younger brother blather about, but the true elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and the many derivatives thereof, such as Stone, Wind, Light...or Ice.

-- Sub-Zero, The Coming of Winter

This was the Elemental Background in the PG. Several World Warriors have this merit in one form or another, examples include Charlie, Dee Jay, Guile (Sound), Blanka (Lightning or Electricity), and Dhalsim (Fire). Virtually, anything naturally occurring in nature can be the focus of the Power. Some additional Examples include Magma, Poison, Darkness, Cold, Metal, Magnetism, Acid, Mud, Smoke, and anything else you or your players can come up with. The only things that should definitely be disallowed are Hard Radiation, Magic (If you use it), Psionics (If you use it), and Chi

Every Element has it's opposite, Water has Fire, Electricity has Magnetism, Magma has Ice, etc. However, not all of these have an obvious opposite. (Can anyone off the top of their heads tell me what the opposite of Diamond is?) In cases like this, and if your players are like mine you will encounter them, you must decide whether the power is matter of energy. If it's matter, then chances are you can relate it to one or two of the original four elements (Air, Earth, Fire, and Water). You then choose an appropriate component from it's opposite. For example: Diamonds are part of the earth. The Earth's opposite is air. I choose Clouds to be it's opposite). If the Element is Energy then you must choose another energy to be it's opposite. For Example: Sound is an energy, so I choose Gravity to be it's opposite. However, some elements don't apply to the following guidelines (Poison, for example). In cases like this, you can pick a random element to be it's opposite. It may not make sense, but as long as it's consistent it shouldn't affect game balance.

Fireball, Improved fireball, etc. are not the result of the Element Fire. They are blasts of pure Chi and are not true fire.

The Power gives partial immunity to your chosen element. When soaking damage from your element add your Focus Technique to your soak. However, you take additional damage from your opposite element. Subtract three successes from your soak roll. The Element chosen by the fighter will be evident when using any maneuver with a focus requirement, from the Flash Kick, to the Stunning Shout, to the Improved Fireball. Example: a Lightning fighter learns fireball maneuver, instead of throwing a Chi blast at his opponent, he throws Ball Lightning.

By far the biggest advantage that the wielders of The Power have is their ability to adapt their power to rapidly changing circumstances. Masters of The Power can invent new maneuvers on the spot for one power point (four experience points).

Example: Dhalsim is outside of a burning building when he hears cries for help inside. After teleporting in, he sees ten people trapped by the flames. Realizing that he can't teleport so many people at once, he reaches inside himself and finds the fiery core of his life essence. He then reaches even deeper and finds the tiny core of negative energy with in his life force. He draws it out, shapes it and gives it strength, creating a path through the flames.

In game terms, Dhalsim's player spent 4 experience points to create a new maneuver, Suppress Flame.

Dual Power (10 pts.)

Same as The Power above, except that the fighter selects two different elements. The only additional restriction is that they can not be opposites.

Air Dominance (2, 3 pts.)

This is the same as Quick Reflexes Level three or four respectively, except both you and your opponent must be performing aerial maneuvers for this merit to apply.

Fast Healing (4 pts.)

Instead of healing all non-aggravated damage in 15 minutes, you can heal them in 10. In addition you heal 3 aggravated damage every 2 days. This merit may not be taken with the flaw Slow Healing.

Incredible Potential (4, 5 or 6 pts.)

Your potential in one area is unmatched. You may select one ability (for four points), one technique (for five points), or one attribute (for six points) and have the ability to raise it to nine through experience points. This does not give you more points at character creation, nor does it allow you to raise the affected score beyond five with freebie points. This merit may be taken no more than twice for the same score.


Higher Purpose (1 pt.)

Dual Nature (2 pts.)


Common Sense (1 pt.)

Concentration (1 pt.)

Lightning Calculator (1 pt.)

Time Sense (1 pt.)

Eidetic Memory (2 pts.)

Self-Confident (5 pts.)


Acute Hearing (1 pt.)

Acute Sense of Smell (1 pt.)

Acute Sense of Taste (1 pt.)

Acute Vision (1 pt.)


Ambidextrous (1 pt.)

Computer Aptitude (1 pt.)

Crack Driver (1 pt.)

Mechanical Aptitude (1 pt.)

Natural Linguist (2 pts.)

Daredevil (3 pts.)

Fast Learner (3 pts.)

Jack-Of-All-Trades (5 pts.)


Note: The Following are very optional. Many of these Traits are only useful in crossovers with other WOD Games. If the Storyteller decides not to allow you to have supernatural Traits, don't sulk. It's against the Warriors' Code to sulk.

True Love (1 pt.)

Medium (2 pts.)

Danger Sense (2 pts.)

Faerie Affinity (2 pts.)

Immortal Companion (3 pts.)

Same as Werewolf Companion except your companion is a Highlander style Immortal.

Vampire Companion (3 pts.)

Same as above except your companion is a Blood Sucking Vampire (law school education optional).

Mage Companion (3 pts.)

Same as above except your companion is a Mage (Most likely Akasic Brotherhood, but could be any tradition as long as the storyteller approves).

Changeling Companion (3 pts.)

This is getting tedious. If you've been reading along then you get the general idea.

Mummy Companion (3 pts.)

Scanner Companion (3 pts.)

Rom Companion (3 pts.)

Wraith Companion (3 pts.)

Magic Resistance (2 pts.)

Occult Library (2 pts.)

Spirit Mentor (3 pts.)

Unbondable (3 pts.)

Werewolf Companion (3 pts.)

Luck (3 pts.)

Destiny (4 pts.)

Charmed Existence (5 pts.)

True Faith (7 pts.)

Haunted (3 pts.)

Ties With the Fighting Community

Favor (1-3 pts.)

A higher ranked fighter owes you a favor because of something either you or your sensei once did for him. The extent of the boon owed to you depends on how many points you spend. One point would indicate a relatively minor favor, while three points would indicate that the Fighter probably owes you his life.

Prestigious Sensei (1 pt.)

Your Sensei had or has great Status in the Fighting Community, and this has accorded you a peculiar honor. Most treat you respectfully as a result, while some have only contempt, believing you to be nothing compared to them. This prestige could greatly aid you when dealing with fighters acquainted with your sensei. Indeed, your sensei's contacts may actually approach you at some point offering aid. Though your sensei may no longer have contact with you, the simple fact of your training has marked you forever.

Special Gift (1-3 pts.)

Your sensei gave you a valuable gift after your training. The Storyteller should create something suitable or choose one item from the Mystical Items list (when I make one) to give to you (though you can 'suggest' something). The Storyteller will decide how much a particular item is worth.

Reputation (2 pts.)

You have a good reputation among the Fighting Community. This may be your own reputation, or it may be derived from your sensei. Add three dice to all Dice Pools for social dealings with the Fighting Community. A character with this Merit may not take the Flaw of Notoriety

Style Friendship (3 pts.)

For any number of different reasons - appearance, bearing, background or demeanor - something about you appeals to students of a style other than your own (your choice). The difficulties of all rolls related to social dealings with members of this style are two less. This can be a two-edged sword; you are also marked by others as a sympathizer with that style, whether you like it (or deny it!) or not.

'Normal' Society

Judicial Ties (2 pts.)

You have both influence over and contacts in the justice system. You know most of the judges as well as the lawyers in the prosecutor's department, and can affect the progress of various cases and trials with limited difficulty. Though it is difficult to intervene in a case, you can influence it in one direction or another. These ties can also make it easy to acquire search warrants.

Media Ties (2 pts.)

You have both influence over and contacts in the local media. You can suppress and create news stories (though not always with 100 percent efficiency; journalists are an unruly bunch) and you have access to the files and gossips of the staffs of newspapers and TV stations.

Bar (2 pts.)

You own a moderate-sized bar, perhaps one of the hottest spots in town. The bar brings in enough money to support you in moderate luxury ($1000 a month, and it can grow), but more important than the money is the prestige. You may use the bar as your home, or you may simply hang out there. The name of the bar, it's style, design and it's regular patrons are all up to you. Variations on this theme could include: a restaurant, theater, comedy club, sports arena, nightclub, opera house, or a retail store.

Church Ties (2 pts.)

You have influence and contacts in some local churches, and have the means to create protest rallies and raise money.

Corporate Ties (3 pts.)

You have both influence over and contacts in the local corporate community. You understand the dynamics of money in the city and have links with all the major players. In times of need, you can cause all sorts of financial mayhem, and can raise considerable amounts of money (in the form of loans) in a very short period of time.

Police Ties (3 pts.)

You have both influence over and contacts in the local police department. You can, with a single phone call, cause an APB to be issued. However, the more often you use your ties with the police department, the weaker they become, and the more attention you draw to yourself. Your influence is not solid, and can let you down at times. Still this merit is nearly a necessity for fighters who own their own arena and wish to avoid police harassment. Remember, in the United States, Street Fighting is illegal.

Political Ties (3 pts.)

You have both influence over and contacts among the politicians and bureaucrats of a city. In times of need, you can shut off the power and water to a building or a neighborhood, and can unleash many different means of harassment against your enemies. The more you use your political ties, the weaker they become. Total control can only be achieved through game play.

Underworld Ties (3 pts.)

You have both influence over and contacts in the local Mafia and organized street gangs (not Shadoloo). This provides you with limited access to large numbers of "soldiers," as well as extensive links to the world of crime. The more often you use your ties, with the criminal element, the weaker they grow.

Corporation CEO (5 pts.)

You have a particular influence and sway over a major corporation and associated companies, just as if you were it's chief executive officer. Indeed, you may indeed be the CEO, or you may operate behind the shadows. Through this corporation, you know much that takes place in the corporate community, and have the means to wage economic warfare. This Merit provides you with some informal Contacts and Resources, the exact extent of which are determined by the Storyteller.


Double Jointed (2 pts.)

You are unusually supple. Reduce the difficulty of any Dexterity roll involving body flexibility by two. When escaping from holds, reduce the difficulty by two as well. Squeezing through a tiny space is one example of a use for this Merit.

I hope you enjoy---
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