Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

ERRATA – GURPS China – Updated November 11, 1999

Copyright © by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.

P. 1. Mike Naylor should have been credited for the maps.

Pp. 3 and 25. In the illustration on these two pages, the magistrate is shown writing with a quill pen. Of course, he should be using a brush!

P. 30. Replace the Literacy entry with:

Literacy: see p. B21

The Chinese script contains many thousands of characters. Scholars keep it hard to learn on purpose, to maintain their monopoly on learning. Furthermore, early China had many different scripts, and a scholar needed several. Emperor Shih-Huang eliminated all but one. Variant scripts appeared again after his death, but they were not as difficult. Therefore, literacy has different costs and permutations in different ages. One can always learn an earlier form of writing as a separate skill for interpreting ancient manuscripts.

Up to the early 1900s, Literacy is a 10 point advantage, although many people will have 5-point Semi-Literacy, which the GM can consider as full Literacy within one's linguistic region (see the Dialects of China map, p. 32). Full Literacy allows one to read clearly written things from anywhere in the Empire, although more arcane tracts remain illegible.

After 1930 or so, China becomes a Semi-Literate society (p. CI29), making full Literacy a 5 point advantage and Illiteracy a -5 point disadvantage.

To handle scholarly and arcane materials, a separate M/A language skill, Chinese Ideographs, is required. The Civil Service examination requires a Chinese Ideographs skill level of at least 12.

A literate character can scrawl ideographs, but those who wish to write gracefully must learn the Calligraphy skill. Characters with a knowledge of a foreign language, such as Buddhist monks who know Sanskrit, will know its script at their level of literacy for game purposes.

P. 33. Change Writing (Mental/Varies) to "Calligraphy (Physical/Average) see p. B47". The various script skills become familiarities.

Add the following under New Skills:

Chinese Ideographs (M/A) – Defaults to Language (Japanese, Korean, Okinawan or any Chinese)-3
Prerequisite: Literacy

This is the knowledge of the kanji beyond those encountered in day-to-day writing. Old manuscripts, academic texts, flowery literature and scrolls of secret knowledge might require the use of this skill for full comprehension and appreciation. If this skill exceeds the appropriate language skill, it is even possible to discern the meaning of a text without being able to read it aloud (although many ideographs include a pronunciation cue). This will also enable communication between, say, a Japanese speaker and a Mandarin speaker if they can trace the characters on the ground, for instance.

P. 111. The prerequisites for the I Ching Divination spell are Literacy and two spells from each of the four elements.