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November 30, 1998: Kerry Thornley R.I.P.

Kerry Thornley, also known as Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst and Ho Chi Zen, co-author of the Principia Discordia, died Saturday. He went into cardiac arrest after an extended illness at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Services will be private. (Our thanks to his friend Sondra London for posting this sad news to Thornley's web site, which she maintains.)

Visiting with friends not long before the end, he said he felt "like a tired child home from a very wild circus," alluding to his favorite passage from the Principia, penned by his co-author, Malaclypse the Younger, Greg Hill:

"And so it is that we, as men, do not exist until we do; and then it is that we play with our world of existent things, and order and disorder them, and so it shall be that Non-existence shall take us back from Existence, and that nameless Spirituality shall return to Void, like a tired child home from a very wild circus."

His web site will continue to be maintained, and will soon include the text of his newest book, Confession to Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK.

Goodbye, Kerry. Thanks for everything.
-- Steve Jackson


November 29, 1998: End of the Thanksgiving Weekend . . .

All our US readers are slowly recovering from their digestive torpor; everyone else is wondering what the point is of a holiday directed toward overeating. Hey, guys, you have to admit it's very American.

But the four-day weekend is letting us accomplish wonderful things around here. For instance, I'm . . . wait for it . . . I'm going to mop my kitchen floor! Maybe even wax it. Oh, I tell you, the bachelor life brings new excitement every day.

And I'm also writing many words, many, many words, building up to a massively neat computer implementation of the Silicon Valley Tarot.. We're not quite ready to announce the details of the deal, but it won't be long.
-- Steve Jackson


November 28, 1998: Awards Page

For years we've been saying we needed to collect our "bragging rights" information in one place . . . so here it is: a listing of the most significant awards we've won.

We are also very proud of our Origins nominations . . . only one game can win, so just getting a nomination is an honor. However, data on Origins nominations doesn't seem to have been recorded reliably . . . not by us, and not by GAMA, either. We're missing nomination information for Origins 1984, 1987, 1988 and 1989. One of these days we'll manage to dig that up and add it. (If you can fill in any of the blanks, or remind us of anything else that we have not listed, we'd be very grateful.)



November 27, 1998: The O'Hair Conspiracy

This is a big deal in Austin, where she lived, and moderately interesting elsewhere. Prominent atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair dropped out of sight in late 1995, along with two members of her family and a half-million dollars in gold coins. Naturally, conspiracy theories abound: is she on a beach in Tahiti, or stuffed into three different jars in a sub-basement of the Vatican?

The Austin Chronicle recently ran a story recapping the O'Hair affair . . . read it on their website.


November 26, 1998: So What Are We Thankful For?

Well, as a company, we're thankful for faithful fans like you. We appreciate the support. Without you, we couldn't do the things we love . . . and what would be the point, even if we could? And we're VERY thankful that the year is ending better than it began, not just for SJ Games but apparently for the hobby as a whole.

And personally, I'm thankful for our staff here. I don't say it to their faces often enough . . . but this is a team effort, and I'm really glad for the team I've got. So thanks, folks.
-- Steve Jackson


November 25, 1998: The More Things Change ...

For those of you who don't keep up with the editor's position at Pyramid, we're excited about something old becoming something new again here at Steve Jackson Games. Specifically, former Pyramid Editor Scott Haring is now current Pyramid Editor Scott Haring. Scott returns to a post ably filled for a few months by S. John Ross, who will be concentrating on others of the thousand-and-one jobs around here.

We're delighted to have Scott back in the saddle and contributing his years of experience in the game industry and editing once again. Drop by Pyramid and check out his work.
-- Gene Seabolt


November 24, 1998: Pyramid Hits 2,000 Subscribers!

Actually, it was at 2,010 as of the end of last week. Looks like a milestone to me . . . and we seem to average about five new subscribers a day, so that's great. Scott Haring is back on board as Pyramid editor, and we're going to start adding more CCG coverage (without diminishing the amount of roleplaying or boardgame articles) . . . so stay tuned!
-- Steve Jackson


November 23, 1998: Evil Stevie's Lego Want List

As I continue to work on the Pirate Game, I find myself needing more and more specific random bits of Lego. So I've hung a Lego want list off of my home page. If you've got some to swap, check it out.

Speaking of the Pirate Game: No, I'm not ready yet to post a copy. Yes, I'm still working on it . . . in between everything else. And the next scheduled outing of the Game is at Radcon 2C in Washington, Feb. 12-14. Be there. Arrrrrrr.
-- Steve Jackson


November 22, 1998: Brett Slocum's GURPS Campaign Generator

This must be seen to be believed. Pick three random GURPS books and create a campaign background . . . name it, and leave your notes for posterity!

November 21, 1998: The Tarot Ball Keeps Rolling!

We're also on the last page of the December issue of MacAddict:

"Should you buy a PowerBook or an iMac? Is Jobs a genius or just insane? Is Bill Gates really out to get you? The next time your magic 8 Ball breaks down and your Ouija board locks up, head to the Silicon Valley Tarot . . ."

Help Us Test . . .

This is not an official announcement. You don't see this. But if we WERE going to do a version of the Tarot on disk, and if it WAS going to include interactive prediction routines, we just MIGHT have a page up at www.svtarot.com/spread/ to help us test the . . . Test the market, that's right. Sure, this is just market testing. Be sure to actually input a QUESTION, rather than just looking at a random spread, because laying out the cards without asking a question is meaningless.
-- Steve Jackson


November 20, 1998: Scully! I Need You!

Illuminated Site of the Week: The folks at Alien Ice Picktures have produced new episodes of our favorite FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, complete with X-Files Action Figures of our intrepid heroes and Guest Monster Action Figures.

See Dana do an Alien Autopsy! Watch Mulder drop his cel-phone! Cheer as they kick alien butt!

Submitted by Scott Haring


November 19, 1998: Off to EarthGate!

I'm flying off at noon Thursday to EarthGate in Lexington, Kentucky, where, aided by no less than seven MIBs, I will be (among other things)

Whatever else you can say about this life, it's not boring.


November 18, 1998: SVT in Newsweek!

The Silicon Valley Tarot is featured in the new issue of Newsweek see the Cyberscope section on page 10. Or read it online.

November 17, 1998: SVT Prototypes In

We got our prototype Silicon Valley Tarot cards today, and they look thoroughly spiffy. Copies are now going out to various interested parties. Like Newsweek . . . cross your fingers . . .

November 16, 1998: Good-Bye, FedEx

Effective immediately, we are changing our shipper from Federal Express to UPS. FedEx quadrupled our rates . . . and then recommended that if we wanted to pay less, we just switch to their subsidiary RPS, which is still cheap . . . but we queried our distributors, and they HATE RPS. So UPS gets the business.

This shouldn't affect the gamers unless they are buying by direct mail, and even then, all it means is that your stuff will come in a brown truck rather than a white one. Just letting you know.


November 15, 1998: Evil Stevie Must Die

No, that's not our new personnel policy. That's the name of the Killer scenario that I'll be running at EarthGate. Lots of dart guns. Lots of assassins. Only one target: me.

I admit it: I've been told that I'm completely insane to run this game at a convention sponsored by a brewery. Free beer and Killer? Hey, you only live once. Besides, I'll have my faithful Men In Black as bodyguards, with BIGGER dart guns. What could go wrong?

Assuming that my nerves are not completely shot by Sunday, they've also warned me that I'm going to be tapped for a game of Celebrity Laser Tag. Woo hoo.
-- Steve Jackson


November 14, 1998: The Highly Contagious Ape Suit Meme

Looks like the "ape suit" thing appealed to Silly People everywhere. I must have gotten a couple of dozen versions of it in the mail . . . and on Saturday the Austin paper ran a front-page story about the phenomenon, illustrated with a shot from Planet of the Apes.

If you want my two cents worth (and I realize you didn't ask) . . . it's extremely cool that so many people like/respect/admire Glenn enough that the idea of pranking him is this contagious. I think the reason we all think it's so funny is that we expect Glenn will laugh too. And it's been a loooooong time since anybody associated a sense of humor with NASA.
-- Steve Jackson


November 13, 1998: On a Lighter Note: Sluggy Freelance

Illuminated Site of the Week: Sluggy Freelance is a daily net.comic, including such things as Satan and an Archangel in a Quake death match; Bun-bun, the evil, talking mini-lop rabbit; and rather more dimensional travel than is healthy for Our Heroes..

To start at the beginning, go to the Sluggy Viewer's Guide.

- Submitted by Dan Sugalski


November 12, 1998: Free Subscriptions! Gift Subscriptions!

As part of our continuing plot to spread Pyramid throughout the known Net, here are two New Deals . . .

Free Subscriptions!

On our last survey, 93% of our Pyramid subscribers said they would recommend Pyramid to their friends. So not only are we taking you up on the offer . . . we'll bribe you. Is this a great country, or what?

Specifially . . . every time a new subscriber to Pyramid lists you as the person who referred him, you'll get an extra month added to your own subscription! No limit. New subscribers only, natch. (But if you give a new subscriber a gift subscription, that counts as a referral, so you get a month free.)

To get your free month, send your friends to http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/subscribe/. Tell them to put your username in the referral box. The computer (Praise the Computer!) will do the rest. Naturally, you have to be a subscriber yourself for this to work.

You can also get referral bonuses by advertising us on your website! If it's good enough for amazon.com, it's good enough for us. Put up one of our ad banners along with the miraculous Kira Kookie Kode (not tm), and if somebody follows your banner and subscribes, you get the credit!

So . . . thanks for supporting us, and please spread the word!

Gift Subscriptions!

You can also give Pyramid as a gift! Just go here and fill in the form . . . and send a year of Pyramid to somebody you think really NEEDS a little illumination fnord. They'll be notified by e-mail, with any message you choose to add.

And yes . . . this counts as a referral, so if YOU are already a subscriber, you get a free month on your own sub.

Ho ho ho . . .
-- Steve Jackson


November 11, 1998: Murphy's Rules and Tribes to Press

Once again, games have gone out to the printers with no actual deaths on the part of SJ Games staffers. Though the plague has been wracking our office for the last couple of weeks . . .

Darn, this is frustrating. There are a couple of announcements that I would really like to make, and they are both a bit premature. So I guess I will have to satisfy myself with teasing unmercifully.

Watch this space . . .
-- Steve Jackson


November 10, 1998: See You At EarthGate!

I'll be at EarthGate in Lexington, Kentucky weekend after next (November 20-22) . . . along with INWO line editor Lynette Cowper and three or four GM-type MIBs. And we are going to have FUN.

The centerpiece event is going to be a BIG game of Tribes. How big? Well, we will have 5 or 6 refs there. At one table each, that could be six tribes . . . 48 players. LOTS of interactions. We will also be running INWO, several kinds of GURPS (including some of the new books) and various other games.

We will not have a sales table set up . . . but a local retailer, the Rusty Scabbard, promises to have our complete line (and we'll make sure they get the November releases).

But, since there is a charity auction, we will be donating a lot of interesting goodies, including INWO stuff signed by both Lynette and me, and copy #1 of Tribes.

This con, incidentally, is sponsored by Kentucky Hemp Beer. Verrrry interesting . . .
-- Steve Jackson


November 9, 1998: Star Mercs Playtest

Pyramid subscribers should check out the playtest for Star Mercs, the upcoming GURPS Traveller supplement about military and mercenary units in the Traveller universe.

November 8, 1998: January Releases

Shipping January 18:

In Nomine: Liber Castellorum

This is the "Book of Tethers" . . . the hidden places sacred to the Archangels and their infernal rivals, the Demon Princes. Many different Tethers are described, along with guidelines for creating new Tethers, destroying old ones, and running Tether-based campaigns.

Stock #3313, ISBN 1-55634-365-5. $19.95.

GURPS Traveller: Star Mercs (A Sourcebook for Military/Mercenary Operations in the Far Future)

Everything you need for a military-oriented campaign in the universe of Traveller! This book covers combat (and a soldier's life) in the 57th century; how to recruit, organize, and equip a mercenary unit; and the Imperial rules of war. There are descriptions of how armies are organized and equipped for Tech Levels from 5 to 12, discussions of strategy and tactics, and a comprehensive rundown on weapons and the other tools of the soldier's trade.

Star Mercs also includes templates for military and mercenary soldier characters, sample missions, and a variety of units and NPC personalities your mercenary group might encounter, including the famed and feared Imperial Marines.

Stock #6604, ISBN 1-55634-364-7. $19.95.


November 7, 1998: Veddy Upper-Crust

A highly-placed agent reports that Esdevium (our largest UK distributor) has scored what might very well be a prestigious first for any roleplaying publisher:

GURPS Discworld is being sold in Harrod's department store.

Now, have we arrived, or have we arrived?
-- Steve Jackson


November 6, 1998: The Shadow Government is Here!

Illuminated Site of the Week: The Shadow Government site is clearly run by the Illuminati, except for the fact that the Illuminati would never be so public with their plans. Unless, of course, they really want us to believe that this organization is merely posing as the Illuminati. I can't tell.

The first two days of their "First 100 Days" plan certainly opens your eyes to their view of reality.

- Brett Slocum


November 5, 1998: Zines!

If you're looking for gaming fanzines, here are two places to start.

Masters of Role-Playing deals with all kinds of RPGs. It is bi-monthly, put out by gaming fans for gaming fans. You can buy it at some gaming stores (so ask your retailer for it!) or through their website.

Redline is a Car Wars fanzine put out by Alan Hume. To get it, send a dollar and an A-4 envelope SASE to Redline, c/o Alan Hume, 45 Ashley Drive, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH11 1RP.



November 4, 1998: Global Prank

This just in from Mark Frauenfelder at Wired, courtesy of [not available at your clearance]:

Please distribute this to everyone (on Earth, that is) that you know.

When John Glenn returns from space, everybody dress in ape suits.

We have 9 days in which to bury the Statue of Liberty up to her head.


-- Steve Jackson


November 3, 1998: Curse of the Shadow Beasts

Christine Morgan, a long-time GURPS fan, has written a fantasy novel, Curse of the Shadow Beasts. There's an intro by Your Humble Servant. If you like fantasy/romance, this one is worth a look and you can order it direct from the author's web site. If it does well enough, Christine will someday publish the rest of the trilogy, which would be fine with me . . .
-- Steve Jackson


November 2, 1998: Educational Advice Wanted

We're looking for a few teachers, principals, and concerned parents to advise us about what kind of educational games just aren't out there but should be. We have a few ideas of our own, starting with foreign language editions of our existing games, but we need some feedback. If you'd like to participate, please contact Reese Harrell.

November 1, 1998: SJ on Gametalk 2000

Gametalk 2000 is an "Internet radio" talk show dedicated to the gaming hobby. They just did an interview with Evil Stevie . . . check it out. After you download the audio files, you'll need RealPlayer 5.0 or better.

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