Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

ERRATA – GURPS Japan (First Edition) – Updated December 3, 1999

Copyright © by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.

P. 7. In Clan and Shogun, the sidebar reference should be changed from p. 5 to p. 6.

P. 7. Under Lower Government, replace "Each noble has a karo . . . matching the clan's efforts to the desires of the clan lord." with:

"Each clan lord has a karo, or chief retainer who is in charge of all the clan's samurai. Sometimes the clan lord was merely a hereditary figurehead, and everyone held the clan karo responsible for actually administering clan territory. The karo was like the chief executive officer of a company whose founder died many generations ago, and whose heirs may not take any particular interest in the family business except to take pride in its reputation and use its profits."

P. 8. Under Buddhist Temples, replace "The Shogun tends to distrust the temples, since they claim an ultimate source of authority that the Shogun cannot touch." with "The Shogun tends to distrust the temples since they have an independent income from donations and since many have their own troops."

P. 10. Under Honorable Suicides, delete the phrase "the offender goes to his ancestors." Prefix the sentence instead with "The dead man's willingness"

P. 10. Under Contemplating Suicide, replace the note that begins "Roleplay this . . ." with:

Roleplay this by having the character spend a while meditating on the illusions of life. During a crisis such as a war, this meditation might last a minute or two; otherwise it might take a few hours or even a whole day.

Make a Will Roll (IQ, minus Strong Will or plus Weak Will), minus Social Status level to see if PC does the right thing and succeeds in breaking his attachment to his former life. On a failed roll, the PC decides to go on living. He may rationalize this by saying that his Sense of Duty to clan, family, and so on requires that he (or she!) remain alive. Or the player may lower the character's Sense of Duty.

On a successful roll, the player must choose . . . An acceptable alternative is becoming a Buddhist priest. The character may continue in the campaign but will no longer be able to hold imperial or clan positions or to engage in a luxurious lifestyle. To be officially accepted as a priest, the character will have to be initiated by a priest and eventually make a pilgrimage to the head priest of the sect (p. 85).

P. 11. Under Divorce, replace the sentence that begins "To run away . . ." with "The only other alternative is giving up social respectability and becoming a companion to an outlaw or gambler or other outcast."

P. 18. Delete the sentence "Dragons and orochi are notorious gamblers, poor players, and terrible losers."

P. 27. Under Japanese Syllabary, the G line should read GA GI GU GE GO.

P. 28. In the Social Status advantage, the major clan head's reaction roll to the Emperor should be +4, not +3.

P. 28. Replace the Literacy entry with:

Literacy – see p. B21

Japanese uses three different sets of characters in its writing. The two simpler sets are syllabaries, in which each character represents a syllable. There are 46 characters in each syllabary, and with a few accent marks they can represent the range of syllables listed on p. 27. The third set of characters is the ideographs adopted from China in the eighth century. They have meaning as well as pronunciation associated with them, and each character may have multiple possible pronunciations. Roughly 2,000 of these ideographs are in common use, and another 3,000 sometimes appear in print. The actual count of all kanji (including those created by Emperors just because they could) may approach 50,000. Note also that there is no separate set of characters for numbers – they are represented by kanji as well.

Feudal Japan's norm is Semi-Literacy (see p. CI29), although here it means that a person can read and write katakana (the most common script, used on signs, informal letters, etc.) fairly well and hiragana (the other syllabary, used in more formal writing), but not kanji (except perhaps for the characters used for the numbers 1-10). Illiteracy is worth -5 points. Literacy, meaning the character is familiar with the 2,000 common ideographs, is worth 5 points. Knowledge of the remaining ideographs is a separate language skill, Chinese Ideographs (see p. 32). Characters with knowledge of a foreign language will know its script at their level of literacy for game purposes.

Male samurai and nobles are expected to be fully literate, although many rural samurai were not. A few commoners are also fully literate, but they are considered pretentious and may get a reaction penalty from some people.

P. 29. Age is -3/year over 50.

Pacifism is worth -50 (total non-violence); -35 (other), -30/-15 and an additional -20 each for the reaction penalty).

P. 31. Under Poetry, "wanka" should be "tanka".

Under Judo and Karate, replace "The Japanese did have unarmed combat skills of grappling and striking." with "Judo in this era allowed use of weapons and armor. So did Karate, which also allowed Thrusting Staff/Pole crushing attacks to do Stun damage."

P. 31. Not an erratum, but an addition: GURPS Martial Arts amplifies the Katana rules as follows.

Katana (Physical/Average) / Defaults to DX-5 or Broadsword-2
This is the skill of using the Japanese longsword, the katana. This weapon can be used either one-handed or two-handed. Style and stance are totally different from Western techniques. Swinging damage is increased by 1 when swinging the sword two-handed.

Parry when used one-handed is 1/2 skill. Used two-handed, and carrying no more than Light Encumbrance, Parry is 2/3 skill.

P. 31. Under Sumo Wrestling skill, the reference to page B99 should be to page B111 and the B100 reference should be changed to B106. The Sumo Wrestling skill can replace either ST or DX in a sumo match.

P. 32. Add the following skill to Language 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. 33. Under savings, delete the sentence "Pilgrims and amateur artists carry their savings with them, to pay for lodging and other expenses."

P. 35. The Hermit Mage (Poor Jobs) should have required skills of Meditation 10+ and Magery 1+.

P. 35. For an Ascetic Buddhist Priest (Struggling Jobs), the living expenses should be 1/8 normal.

P. 35. For Diviner, Exorcist and Medium (Average Jobs), the required skill is Magery 1.

P. 35. A Masseur must have the Professional skill of Massage at 11+, and the Success Roll should be PR (not 10).

P. 35. The cost of living given for the Imperal Noble is correct; his personal expenses are low because he is subsidized by the imperial government.

P. 37. In the third and fifth paragraphs under Taro the Tiger replace "Appreciate Art" with "Appreciate Beauty". Also in the third paragraph, his skill at Musical Instrument (Flute) is 10, not 11.

P. 40. Under Special Weapons, the Kusari uses the Kusari skill (p. CI134).

P. 41. The Jitte uses the Jitte/Sai skill (p. CI134).

Delete the last sentence in the fourth paragraph of the sidebar.

P. 42. Under Arrows, "yebira" should be "ebira".

Under Readying Carried Weapons, swords were not tied up, but rather carried scabbarded in boxes. Untying the box would take one turn followed by drawing the sword.

Under Readying Bows, drawing a stronger bow is not possible, except perhaps as a cinematic optional rule.

P. 43. In the second full paragraph, change the parenthical date reference to "(1543)".

In the Armor sidebar:

P. 50. The Casualty Table was omitted. It should be:

-19 or less(12 + 60)% 1,  2(4d+5)%
-17, -18(11 + 55)% 3,  4(4d)%
-15, -16(10 + 50)% 5,  6(3d)%
-13, -14(9 + 45)% 7,  8(2d+2)%
-11, -12(8 + 40)% 9, 10(2d)%
 -9, -10(7 + 35)%11, 12(1d+2)%
 -7,  -8(6 + 30)%13, 14(1d)%
 -5,  -6(5 + 25)%15, 162%
 -3,  -4(4 + 20)%17, 181%
 -1,  -2(4 + 15)%19 or moreno losses
  0(4 + 10)%

P. 51. In the Hand Weapons table, the katana should have only a reach of 1 for all attacks; the yari should have a reach of 1,2, not a range of 1,2. The damage given for the knives is too high; it should match the equivalent knives in the Basic Set. The tessen should be called the "gumbai". Add an entry for tessen as follows:

DX, Brawling or Karate
Weapon Type Damage Reach Cost Weight Min ST Special Notes
Tessen (combat fan) cut thr-2 C $40 1 none Max. damage 1d-1.
Uses Karate or DX-2
  cr thr C,1   Receives Karate bonuses.

P. 53. The armor-piercing arrow for the han-kyu gives -2 to DR.

P. 53. For a complete table of Japan weapons using Third Edition rules, see below.

P. 56. Under Inflatable Shoes, blowing up one shoe takes (20-HT) × 6 seconds (minimum 6) of uninterrupted effort.

P. 58. Under Poisons, it's "Masuizai powder," not Masuizaki powder.

Pp. 60-61. Add the heading "The Taira and Minamoto Rivalry" before the fourth paragraph under Chinese Influence. Delete the sentence "[Yoritomo] also assassinated other relatives, blamed it on the Fujiwara clan, and used that as an excuse to break the remaining power of the Fujiwara."

P. 61. In the first full paragraph, the battle of Dan no Ura took place in 1185.

P. 62. Replace "[The Ashikaga Shogun] could not afford the network of loyal samurai that the Kamakura Shogun had used to support their rule. Instead the Asihkaga Shogun depended on the support of local landholders, the daimyo, who were supreme and sovereign in their own territories." with "Like the Kamakura Shogun, the Ashikaga depended on the support of allied daimyo as well as on their own clan samurai. Each daimyo was supreme in his own territory, as long as he didn't defy the Shogun."

P. 84. Under The Seven Kami of Good Luck, it's "Fukurokuju" not "Fukurokujin".

P. 85. Rushana is misspelled Russhana.

P. 89. In the second sentence of the second paragraph under Learning and Using Magic, delete "only tengu know Create Fire, and".

P. 90. Under Elemental Magic, the reference to nushi should be to p. 81.

P. 93. In the third paragraph under Summon Japanese Ghost, Samurai are status 2, so in the example the bonus would be +2.

P. 99. Under Kappa, delete the sentences "They like to tempt impetuous swordsmen to slice off an arm or leg, then put it back on. They think the human reaction is hilarious."

P. 100. The tengu are skilled in Katana, not Two-Handed Sword.

P. 107. Under Old Japan Hand, replace the first two paragraphs with:

The foreigner's guide might be a local teenager who asks to be taken on as a servant, to learn the foreigner's business. He may have a family in the same line of business who's interested in knowing how to make the foreign wares. Or perhaps he can't get a job in town, because he's known to be a gambler or thief, or because he's an Eta. Or perhaps he's a secret Christian who wants to meet others of his faith. Or he could be the offspring of a foreign merchant whose father left him behind when he returned home. The European equivalent is a young sailor with no business interests of his own.

P. 108. Under Westerners and the Japanese Language, the GM may not want to let the players listen to their translator's version of their speech.


Table of Japan weapons using Third Edition rules.