Bushido Skills



An unarmed combat system using hand and foot blows to perform Strike attacks. Modern Karate is descended from this Bugei. The hands and feet are conditioned to great toughness and strike as do weapons. The character has the option of Striking with a hand and then performing a Second Strike with the other hand. Alternatively, he may perform a Strike with his foot; A Disabled leg will prevent the character from making any attack with his feet, Hands have Short Range while feet have Medium Range.


The technique of horsemanship. This. permits the character to control a mount when under difficult conditions, or if the animal is trying to bolt, throw him, etc., All BCS's for mounted combat are averaged with the BCS in Bajutsu. although this figure may never exceed the un-averaged value of the combat BCS in use.


The use of the staff in combat. This is much used by monks and pilgrims, who may be bound by their vows to shun more lethal weapons, and who are also seldom without their pilgrims' staves. A staff of down to 4' may be used. Both hands are required.


Fortification and siege strategy, Used by the commanders of armies such situations.


A technique for increasing one's movement factor in strategic movement; forced march technique, A character may increase his current Speed by the Effect Number of a successful BCS roll in this Skill, for purposes of calculating his daily movement in Strategic Timescale.


A technique for binding a foe so that he cannot escape. Also used defensively by the victim to impede the binding process and possibly to escape.


A technique for fast-drawing the sword and cutting at the foe in one movement. It permits the character to draw the weapon and make a Strike attack in the same Action Phase. It may be used when Engaged at no penalty. Both hands must be free to use this Bugei or a 50% penalty is applied to the Base BCS.


This combat form governs the use of the Jitte, a short iron truncheon used to club an opponent or make a Disarming attack.


The use of the Jo, a short (2-4') wooden staff in highly trained baton combat. It is usual for a Jojutsu user to study "Ni-Jo" (Two-Jo, a Two-weapon Skill) as his expertise in the single weapon form increased.


An unarmed combat system allowing the user to make Grapple, Throw, and Trip attacks. All forms are considered Short range weapons. This Bugei is the forbearer of modern Judo.


The use of the Kama, or sickle, as a weapon. A weapon form developed by the peasantry, turning tools into weapons to defend against bandits. marauding ronin. or rapacious samurai.


A Bugei enhancing the use of Climbing and Leaping Capabilities. Greater control and effectiveness in these actions is achieved by "lightening" the body through precise use of balance and muscular tension, permitting remarkable feats.


Swordsmanship, The most highly regarded of the Bugei: the principle martial technique of the Bushi. The character is drilled in the use of the Nodachi, Katana, and Wakizashi in combat as single weapon forms, Two-Sword technique is known as Ni-To-Kenjutsu, described below.


The use of an iron tobacco pipe (Kiseru), about 3' long, and often equipped with a tsuba (handguard) as a sword / truncheon type of weapon. Another weapon form developed by commoners in times when they were forbidden more formal arms.


This Bugei is used both by itself and as an averaging Skill in connection with certain handweapons, It governs combat using a weighted chain or rope, a "Kusari." This may be used alone to deliver a snapping whip like Strike, to Entangle, or to Trip an opponent. All Flexible Weapons are governed by Kusari-jutsu, The Bugei also governs the use of the Kawa-nawa, a rope with grapple attached, as a weapon. Ninja use this Bugei to employ the Kyo-tetsu-shoge, a rope equipped with a weight at one end and a razor sharp blade at the other, in all its attack forms at full value.


Archery Skill. Governs the use of all forms of Nipponese bows and arrows.


The use of the battle axe (Masa-kari). Most such weapons in Nippon are equipped with a thrusting spike, and using such a weapon with this Bugei permits a Second Strike option.


The use of the Naginata or Nagamaki, two forms of glaive like polearms.


Ni" = Two. "To" = Sword. "Ni-to" is thus two-sword style, permitting combat with a sword held in each hand, The score in Ni-to-kenjutsu may never exceed the score in the Bugei of the individual weapons used. In this case, the score may not exceed that held in Kenjutsu.


The use of the Nunchaku, two lengths of wood joined by a short length of rope or chain. It can be whirled by a skilled user a speeds up to 120 miles per hour, hitting with devastating force. There are several unique Okuden associated with the Nunchaku.


The use of the ono (poleaxe).


The Okinawan combat system using the Sai, an agricultural trident corresponding to the Japanese Jitte.


The deployment of forces in battle. Used by commanders in the field. Senjo-jutsu is described in the rules governing Battles.


Shinobi-jutsu is the technique of stealthy movement, permitting silent movement past guards, over or through areas which usually create noise. such as gravel walks, undergrowth, even the "Nightingale Floors," a set of floorboards designed to squeak loudly at any footfall.


Combat throwing technique for small missile weapons: shuriken. knives, the wakizashi, certain Ninja "Gimmicks," etc. Not used for javelins or large items (rocks. opponents. etc.).


The use of the two "capture" weapons: the Sodegarami, or "Sleeve Tangier," used to clutch and drag a prisoner by his clothes. and the Sasumata, a catchpole or pitchfork, used to fend off or pin a victim.


The use of various types of yari (spears).


Special techniques for swimming, enhancing the use of that Capability.


The forerunner of modern Sumo, this Bugei is a system of wrestling, that takes full advantage of mass and impetus, Sumai may be used to Strike with hand blows or to Grapple.


Knife fighting. Fast moving and agile combat with the Tanto or Aiguchi. When using this Bugei. a Second Strike is permitted with the knife, due to the dazzling speed with which the fighter moves his weapon.


The use of a steel or steel ribbed fan. the tessen as a striking weapon. A popular Okuden of this form teaches the use of a Tessen fitted with a blade catching tine. in the manner of a Jitte.


Another Okinawan incursion, using the Tonfa, a baton fitted with a handle at one end. to form a letter "L."

Two-Weapon Bugei

The use of any form of two weapon system in a Bugei is modelled on Ni-to-kenjutsu.


Literally. "the technique of arrow cutting." A special method of defending against missile attacks with hand weapons or even unarmed combat moves. This may be used in conjunction with any Bugei allowing a Strike attack. The practitioner may "cut." i.e.. deflect, small missiles Out of mid flight as they hurtle at him. The BCS in Yadomejutsu is averaged with the BCS in the Bugei used to parry the missile. but may not exceed the Yadomejutsu score in any case.


The technique for using the javelins of Nippon. The character may use this Bugei to Hurl the light javelin (Uchi-ne) or the heavy javelin (Yari-nage).


The Okuden is used to make a Disarm attack. With a weapon that does not normally have such an attack available, a Remove Weapon Disarm is allowed. If the weapon is fitted with a blade-catching tine, like the Jitte, a Break Weapon Disarm is allowed.

Fire and Stones

This Okuden is used with a Two-weapon Bugei. Both weapons are used offensively, though only one BCS die roll is made. In essence, the character using this Okuden entraps his opponent's weapon in a scissor-like blow, seeking to break it. The weapon has the same Armour Class as the character using it. This allows a Break Weapon Disarm.


This is used with Bugei for weapons that are not normally thrown: swords. the Yari. Sai. etc. Any pointed weapon may be thrown, doing its usual damage. Ranges are determined as with Shurikenjutsu.

Ignore Armour

This Okuden allow the Bugei to strike as if the target was unarmoured. It is the ability to find the week spots in someone's armour.

The Lightning Stroke

This Okuden can apply to any combat Bugei. If an attack misses, a second blow may immediately be made, at a Base BCS penalty of 50% applied to the BCS used for the first, unsuccessful attack. Use of this Okuden negates the character's ability to make a normal Second Strike, if the Omote permits one.

Precision Strike

Known as "Genkotsu-jutsu". this Okuden increases the damage of attacks made with the weapon by 1 Die Step.

Piercing Thrust

his is used with any Bugei allowing a Thrust attack. It allows full damage to be done by the attack. which likewise raises the chance of receiving Thrust Special Effects.

The Returning Hurl

The Okuden governs the throwing of the normally hand-held weapon attached to a chain or rope on a Flexible weapon, as described in Kusari-jutsu. The Hurl is under the rules for Shurikenjutsu but the maximum range is equal to the length of the chain. The thrown weapon may be retrieved by a sharp tug on the chain performed on any Available Action Phase following the Hurling option. Until retrieved, the chain can be grabbed by an opponent.

Reverse Cut

This allows the character to make attacks to the rear and side at no penalty for the "facing" He may strike in any direction freely.

Smashing Blow

Increases the chance of achieving a Bash with a blow. If the Bugei or weapon used already has a Bash effect. the chance of achieving a Bash is doubled (it is usually the damage done by the blow on 1D100). If the attack does not normally have a Bash effect. It has a standard chance of Bashing when used with this Okuden.
Fine Arts


"Monomane," the art of "imitating reality." seems the most generic term for the actor's art in Japanese. It is described as the basis of all theatrical art forms, whether highly stylized (Noh plays) or rough and very realistic as in some schools of the Kabuki.


"Yoroi-sei," the Art of armour making.


"Yumi-shi." or Arrow crafting. is the Art of making bows and arrows, and maintaining archery equipment. Repairing damaged bows, fletching or pointing arrows, or making new weapons or gear, all come under this Art.


"Shogaku," the "Classic of Calligraphy," is the general Art of forming one's script or ideographs with exquisite control and beauty. The character must be Fully Literate in an alphabet in order to use Calligraphy with it.

Chinese Classics

"Jugaku" covers the study of the Chinese classics which form the basis for Nippon's legal system and the tests used to rise in the governmental bureaucracy. Jugaku also is of great importance to those who would rise in the hierarchy of the older Buddhist sects, which retain a distinctly Chinese flavour.

Japanese Classics

"Kogaku," the native Literature of Nippon, is central to certain government posts. Shin'to clergy as they advance up the hierarchy, and certain Buddhist sects sprung from a more nationalistic base than the imported forms. It is Otherwise an Art very similar to Jugaku. The area covered by this Art includes such material as the chronicles (Nihonji and Kojiki). works telling of the divine origins and myth history of Nippon. Also included are the court works of the Heian, such as the famous Tale of Genji. Epic works, military romantic histories, like the Heike-monagatori, also fall within its purview.

Court Dance

"Kagaku," or Classical Dance. includes the dance forms of the nobility, dances proper to the court. In latter years, this repertoire was expanded by the military dances of the Buke, Lion Dances to show a warrior's fierceness and stamina, Sword Dances to show his courage and skill.

Popular Dance

Dengaku," or "Field Music," was actually a form of dance entertainment popular among the aristocracy that was based on peasant work songs and dances. But in BUSHIDO we will use the term to refer to the actual dance forms of the peasantry. Besides work music, other traditional dances for special festivals and occasions are covered by Dengaku.

Sacred Dance

"Kagura," or Sacred Dance, is a dance art used by both Buddhists and Shintoist to praise and invoke the Gods. Its use in certain rituals increases the chance of pleasing the deity and receiving a positive answer to one's prayers.


Called "Bokusen," this form of divination is based on the Chinese belief, imported to Nippon, that by properly analysing the time of some event's occurrence, a general insight into its nature could be obtained. It requires a score of at least 25 in Chinese Classics (Jugaku) to study this Art, as a goodly knowledge of the classic almanacs (the Ch'un Ch'iu) and the "Book of Changes" (the I-Ching), is necessary to achieve results. The character using the Skill may only apply it once to a given question.


How to behave in different social occasions and at the Imperial Court.


As chess was to the mediaeval knight, so Go is to the Buke. The two games bear no technical resemblance to each other, but the social niche occupied by the two is the same. All people of breeding were expected to be able to play.


Hawking is the Art used to train a hunting falcon. A well trained bird will attack on its master's command, striking at foes with its razor sharp talons to damage and distract. It may also be used to hunt.for food.


The Art governs the identification of "Mon," the heraldic symbols of the Samurai Clans. Each Clan possessed one or more such crests, which were worn on formal garments and armour by all members of the group. Mon usually are stylized pictures of some item taken as its symbol by the Clan founder. They could also be calligraphed characters or mottoes. stating some central philosophy of the Clan. A Heraldry BCS allows characters to identify Mon on sight, which tells them what Clan it belongs to where they come from. etc.


"Igaku" is the body of knowledge dealing with the treatment of wounds. recovery of lost Hit Points, restoring function to disabled limbs and impaired Attributes, curing disease, administering drugs. etc.


"Tenyaku" is the pharmaceutical science of Nippon. The herbalist can compound both poisons and cures, almost always from vegetable bases. Simpler drugs can be administered by anybody to good effect, while others must be given with proper use of Igaku or Tenyaku to have any effect.


"Gagaku" is. specifically. the Art of classical, court music.

Instrumental Skills

Each of the following performing Arts with musical instruments is a separate Skill. Characters can read music, play the instrument, improvise tunes, and evaluate performances on the instrument or specimens of the instrument itself. The instruments are: the Biwa (a wide bodied lute), the Fue (the bamboo flute), the Hichiriki (a double-reed similar to the oboe), the Koto (the Japanese zither), the Samisen (a banjo-like instrument); and the San-ko (the "Three Drums." The Dai-ko. Chu-ko, and Sho-ko).


his Art trains the voice to sing properly, no matter what style of music is being sung. It is averaged with the appropriate Art if used in connection with some other performing Skill.


"Za-zen," is the Art of Meditation. The Bushi used Za-zen to train his mind not to feel fear. The Budoka drove his body to the ultimate development by tapping the energies of the cosmos through meditation. The other heroes of Nippon also found keys to their inner powers through this Skill.


"Sumi-e." or Painting, refers specifically to the spare style of painting in ink. Other genres were "Ukiyo-e," the "Willow World" pictures of famous courtesans and their subculture, "Yamato-e," patriotic paintings of scenes from history and legend, "Kaiga-e." religious paintings which can have mystical power.


In BUSHIDO, we will concentrate on the Haiku as the principle form of poetry practiced in Nippon. Technically speaking, a Haiku is a short poem of 17 syllables. It was usually composed extempore. Longer forms did exist, but we will lump them together under the term Haiku for campaign purposes.


"Mongaku," the Classic of Rhetoric, is based on formal styles of written and spoken presentation in the Chinese literary tradition.

Tea Ceremony

The "Cha-no-yu," or Tea Ceremony. simply stated. is an austere social ritual built around the making and serving of a cup of tea. But every action is invested with a dignity that far transcends the brewing of a refreshing draught. Participants in the Cha-no-yu free their minds from the demands of the outside world. In the clean, bare confines of the "Cha-shitsu," a small pavilion or special room dedicated to the tea ceremony. the guests join in a special communion of spirit with their host. the Tea Master, leaving refreshed in body and mind.


This literally means. "Way of the Buddha." Since Buddhism teaches that all living things will one day emulate the Lord Gautama and achieve enlightenment, the term is exact, defining the path one follows to become a Buddha oneself.


This covers the teachings of Shin'to, "the Way of the Gods." The term "Shinten" actually refers to the sacred / historicalI legendary texts upon which Nippon's indigenous religion is founded. telling of creation of the universe, its divine inhabitants (the "kami"). and their creation, in turn, of Nippon. The history of the semi-divine founders of the Imperial Family and their exploits also form part of this cannon. Shinten confers knowledge of the various Kami, how to please. placate, and when needful to control them. Doctrinal and ritual material is also studied.




"Chokoku," large carvings in wood or stone.


"Netsuke," miniature sculpture in wood. ivory, etc.

Flower Cards

"Shogi," a popular card game among the Buke.

Flower Arrangement

"Ikebana," arranging flowers in a pleasing fashion.


"Niwakutsuri," designing artistically superior gardens.
Practical Arts


This was a Skill of the Heimin, being considered below the dignity of the Buke. the noble Samurai and once-noble Ronin. In fact. a Buke who engages in the use of this Art loses On equal to his Effect Number if successful and double that amount for a failure. The Gamesmaster may waive this penalty when characters are driven to bargaining by need. Buddhist Gakusho of whatever birth Caste are similarly restricted. since their thoughts were supposed to be turned away from material gain. But other social classes will gladly engage in a round of haggling with great enjoyment.


The Gamesmaster may here include any useful craft which a character wishes to learn. It is not possible to include rules for all the possible Skills available. Everything from Farming to Carpentry to Cooking. from making Ceramics to Sailing Ships can be included here.


The character is trained in techniques of fishing by net or line. from a boat or on the shore, with net or line.


By this Skill. falsified documents can be prepared ranging from the counterfeiting of a signature or "chop" (a personal seal) up to whole reports or merchant drafts. Its use by characters other than Yakuza or Ninja Should be monitored carefully by the Gamesmaster, to insure that dishonourable actions are penalized appropriately.


The character can increase his chances of winning at games of chance. either honestly or dishonestly. The two forms of gambling governed by this Skill are cards and dice. both existing in many forms in Nippon.


This Art is similar to Fishing. The Hunter uses snares. quickly improvised from rope or vines, to take small game. He catches food on the same basis as the Fisherman. It should be remembered that devout Buddhists refrain from eating animal meat. though fish is quite legitimate.


The character uses this Skill to spring open locks on doors. chests. etc., which he cannot or will not open by force (battering the door down).


"Shiatsu." or therapeutic massage. is a minor form of healing Art. Successfully applying it to a resting character increases the rate at which he recovers Hit Points lost to Subdual Damage.


Nippon had a wide variety of torments available. designed to impose lingering death or to elicit information. Executions were performed by skinning alive, boiling, burning, etc. But the Practical Art of Torture is of most interest as regards using duress to get information out of characters.


The character may follow a trail. whether through the wilderness or in a built up area. even indoors.
Ninja Bugei


This Bugei is similar to the normal Bugei "Shinobi-jutsu" (Stealth). but in addition, the Ninia may conceal himself visuallv as well as audibly. The Ninja using this Skill, becomes a Hidden Thing. The Wit ST of those who might see or otherwise detect his presence is reduced by his Effect Number for the roll. A negative Effect Number gives a bonus to the Wit ST of observers.


This Bugei trains the Ninja to great suppleness. He can actually dislocate his joints and contort his body to an amazing degree. By using Nawanuke-jutsu. the Ninja can escape from ropes, chains, fetters, etc., even when closely watched. He can also squeeze his body through the smallest possible gaps or hide for hours in cramped areas.

Silent Kill

A Bugei used when striking from concealment or attacking a victim whom the Ninja has approached without being detected. The victim must be surprised by the attack. The Ninja averages his BCS in Silent Kill with the Bugei he is using to attack. No modifiers are received for good position (e.g.. Strike From Side or Rear).


A Bugei similar to Silent Kill. The attack must be against a surprised victim. The Ninja uses a cord, rope, scarf, sash, chain. etc.


Fuki-buri-jutsu governs the use of the blowgun, either to shoot darts or to blow, powders upon an opponent.
Ninja Arts


This Art allows the Ninja all the abilities conferred by the Art of Herbalism (Tenyaku) as well as the ability to manufacture special Ninja compounds: poisons. explosives, etc.

Clan Language



This Art masters the "Five Ways of Going," the disguises favored by Ninja for open travel and infiltration. It is superior to Acting Skill (Monomane) for the Ninja's purposes.
Magical and Mystical Skills

School of Fire : Hi-do


School of Water : Mizu-do


School of Wood : Hyashi-do


School of Metal : Kane-do


School of Soil : Tsuchi-do



Yoga of Will and Destiny.


Yoga of Knowledge.


Yoga of the Body.


Yoga of Breath and Purification.


"Royal" Yoga. Yoga of Balance and Control.
Literacy Skills


This is the common script. used by the Heimin (commoners) for letters, contracts, signposts, etc. It is the first form of writing taught to children in Nippon and for Peasants, usually the only form learned.


This is a more refined alphabet, used for literary works that are suitable for Kanji. such as Shin'to documents. Haiku, the Japanese Classics, etc.


This alphabet is used for certain literary works. all official documents submitted to high officials for resolution, and the bulk of Buddhist scripture. Instead of the few score letters in the other two native systems. Kanji characters are the hieroglyphics of the Chinese alphabet. This alphabet contains hundreds of thousands of symbols, each representing a full word AND a sound.

Wu Chinese

Chinese Dialect.

Gan Chinese

Chinese Dialect.

Chinese Entrance Exam

Entrance Requirement for the University at Xi'an