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October 31, 1999: Globetrotting

Well, continent trotting, anyway. The price of running a distributed company. Kelly just got back from a trip to Canada, to meet with Ross and Paul (yes, our sales and marketing is now in Canada; does that make us a multinational?). Alain visited here for a week before returning to Chicago (how can we have a managing editor who's normally a thousand miles away? Thank you, Internet). But still, there's nothing like a face-to-face meeting; we get some excellent scheming accomplished when we trot the globe. Which is the point, after all. We ought to be able to announce a 2000 schedule pretty soon!
-- Steve Jackson

October 30, 1999: We Should Have Shot Him When We Had The Chance

But the digital camera was out of commission when he visited the office, so no photograph.

At any rate, Philip Reed, who has been freelancing both layout and covers for us, has joined our staff; he won't actually be moving to Austin for a little while, but he's on the job already. The Net is wonderful.

Check out the cover of You Are Here for an example of Philip's work.
-- Steve Jackson

October 29, 1999: Here It Comes to Save the Day!

Illuminated Site of the Week: How are we supposed to build a better mousetrap when science keeps making better mice? Recent experiments by scientists are creating rodents that are smarter than ever before, as this news story will attest. Eventually, they may design animals that are too smart to let us experiment on them.

-- Suggested by Glenn Crawford

October 28, 1999: Flu Shot Time

Okay, just like last year, I have been to get my flu shot, and just like last year, I'm suggesting that you go to do the same. A shot in the arm beats the daylights out of a week sick in bed . . . not to mention the risk of passing it to your family and friends. And if enough people get immunized, a flu "epidemic" can't happen . . . not enough carriers!

Flu is not only a pain, but it kills kids, invalids and old folks every year. And it's almost completely preventable. So go get shot.
-- Steve Jackson

October 27, 1999: Don't Be A Pawn!

Illuminati Cloisonne Pins We all know we're part of the conspiracy. But what part? These "eye in the pyramid" pins, made of colorful cloisonne, will announce that you are not just an unwilling dupe. Proudly proclaim your membership as one of the world's [CENSORED]! Learn to recognize your illuminated colleagues -- red for [whatever], green for finance, purple for recruitment. You're not cleared for the rest. If you don't know or don't care what plans the Illuminati have in store for you, let us choose! And what could be more Illuminated than having more than one! Show the world you [FNORD]! Get an Illuminati membership pin today!
-- Keith Johnson

October 26, 1999: Shipping This Week

Here's what we're shipping this week:

[GURPS Alternate Earths 2] GURPS Alternate Earths 2

What if Imperial China had become an intercontinental power? Islam had supplanted the influence of Christianity? The Vikings had founded a world-spanning empire? England had suppressed the American Revolution? Monarchy hadn't gone out of fashion in Europe? GURPS Alternate Earths 2 presents six more alternate histories from the authors of GURPS Alternate Earths -- including the lowdown on GURPS Time Travel's sinister Centrum!

#6530, ISBN 1-55634-399-X. 128 pages. $19.95.


The Big Crash. The Bug. The end of technology - the end of humanity. In GURPS Y2K, ten of your favorite GURPS authors take a long look at these millennial fears, from computer crashes to global warming, from a nuclear apocalypse to the Biblical Apocalypse. Are you Y2K compliant?

#6090, ISBN 1-55634-406-6. 128 pages. $19.95.

Tile Chess

Chess breaks free of the board!

Tile Chess is a chess variant for up to 6 players, where the shape of the game changes with every move. The more players you conquer, the stronger you become. This very portable game can be played on any small table, even at the pub. So think outside the board!

#1330, ISBN 1-55634-404-X. $14.95.


-- Keith Johnson

October 25, 1999: Arizona School Narrowly Avoids Evil

Officials at Grand Canyon University, a Christian college in Phoenix, Arizona, announced Friday that a campus fund-raising game of "Assassin" (i.e., Killer) had been cancelled.

According to an Arizona Republic story, the school's "associate vice president of student life" called a press conference and read a prepared statement announcing the cancellation, usi ng the words "community," "understanding," "prayer," "discussion," "thought," "integrity," and "peace."

The prepared statement attributed the decision to the game's student organizers, but reporters were not allowed to ask questions afterward, and the school's "associate vice president for public relations" then told reporters not to attempt to interview an y students about the game.
-- Steve Jackson

October 24, 1999: Fnord

Either a computer glitch prevented anything from being posted today, or we wrote something so mind-bogglingly explosive that all evidence of it had to be expunged from history. Either way, this is all you get.

October 23, 1999: Are They Reading Our E-Mail?

Some people think so fnord, which is why they put stuff like NSA BOMB CLINTON KORESH DRUGS HACKER MOSSAD in their signature lines. The theory is that if somebody IS scanning the Net for subversive traffic, they'll choke on all this random badness. See the story in Wired.
-- Steve Jackson

October 22, 1999: Traffic is Hell Around the Holidays

Illuminated Site of the Week: The next time a friend complains about driving you to the airport, remind them how the Greys must feel. They have almost a dozen bases on Earth and that many more on Mars and the Moon. Alien Bases on Ear th saves Rand McNally the trouble of translating Andromedan maps by letting us know where the bases are, what they do and how many slaves the aliens can count on for a ride.

-- Suggested by Scott D. Raun

October 21, 1999: Cow Update

Yep, the cow story was true . . . but by the time it was posted, the Thought Police had already reversed field. A CBC News Online story quotes a Canadian official as saying "What we were trying to do originally was not offend people by naming cows with hu man names that could offend them . . . and it seemed that we did offend people by making that decision, so now we've decided we don't want to offend people anymore."

What that inoffensive statement boils down to is that cows can now be named Bessie again, rather than just, say, Spot. And the world sighs with relief . . .
-- Steve Jackson

October 20, 1999: What's In A Name?

I'd like to believe this story is a hoax, but people really can be this stupid . . .

According to a Boston Globe article, the Canadian bureaucracy has prohibited use of human names for cattle or other animals at the nation's Central Experimental Farm. The director of the National Museum of Science and Technology was quoted as expla ining "Some people are . . . sensitive to finding their name on an animal. I am, for example . . . "

Therefore, the director, Genevieve Ste-Marie, issued the directive requiring animals to have "non-people names." In case of questions about a particular name, government bureacrats will decide whether it's permissible.

If this all seems like an idiotic waste of Canadian taxes, consider: Isn't it for the best if someone like Ms. Ste-Marie occupies herself with judging the political correctness of names for cows? What kind of trouble could she get Canada into if she got h er hands on something important?
-- Steve Jackson

October 19, 1999: Just A Cuddly Little Angel

Not long ago, in Genevieve Cogman's In Nomine game, one of the PCs invented "Beanie Superiors." Philip J. Moyer went into illustration mode, and here it is . . .

His name is Jordan.
-- Steve Jackson

October 18, 1999: Legal Notice of the Day

The information transmitted herein is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance u pon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you received this in error, please contact the sender, delete the material, and gouge out your eyes.
-- Steve Jackson

October 17, 1999: Dinosaur Wildlife Documentaries

The BBC has a new approach to dinostuff . . . . . . the wildlife-documentary format. Their website is wonderful; now I have to get my hands on the actual video!
-- Steve Jackson

October 16, 1999: This Time, Australia Will Be Ready for It

Illuminated Site of the Week: No more getting smacked over the head by unexpected space debris. J-Track checks to see what's in orbit and where it is. A good way to know when the sky is falling. If there's an I nternet left at New Year's, this will be one busy site.

-- Suggested by Rob Knight

October 15, 1999: Auction Poll

Pyramid is setting up an auction feature; soon you'll be able to offer your game stuff at auction to other Pyramid readers (or anybody else who is interested). We are still hammering out the de tails, but the main features are expected to be:

With Pyramid at 3,000 subscribers and still growing, this ought to be a good community in which to sell game material. But tell us what you think . . . take our auction poll!

October 14, 1999: Vampire Hits The Big Time

The good news is that the roleplaying hobby has scored yet another inroad into popular culture; "Brunching Shuttlecocks" has a feature this week about Vampire: The Masquerade.

The bad news is, it's cruel mockery.

Funny, though.
-- Steve Jackson

October 13, 1999: Missing Persons

We've got a couple of missing authors, and we'd like to send them their royalty checks. Can anybody point us toward Greg Rose (GURPS Special Ops) or Lane Grate (GU RPS Blood Types)?
-- Steve Jackson

October 12, 1999: A Great Save on Art

A cover problem with our upcoming second edition of GURPS Japan was solved by teamwork. We no longer have the original art; we could not locate the transparency that should have been on file; we could not fin d the artist. It was looking bad . . . which was a shame, because that was a nice cover.

But former print buyer Monica was able to locate the old film color separation in a stack of old negatives. She knew about a company that can scan separation negatives, re-integrate the images, and return an electronic file; Jeremy suggested someone who c ould retouch the art to remove the text from the old cover; and Russell coordinated it all. Result . . . the cover will be saved!
-- Steve Jackson

October 11, 1999: New Staff

We have two new staff in Austin. Michel Weaver has taken over at the receptionist's desk, now that Deanna has moved to the business office. As you see, she is completely im mune to the effects of the Orbital Mind Control Lasers. Below is Richard Persky, our new computer guru. The network seems to like him, so far.

October 10, 1999: Render To Caesar What Is Caesar's

"When Hernando Cortes came to Mexico, he noted that people cleaned lice off themselves, put them in little bags, and gave them to the king."
-- Wendy Marston, in The Hypochondriac's Handbook

October 9, 1999: New in the Warehouse

NEW ARRIVALS! There are three new game lines on our ever-growing list of products in Warehouse 23. The first two are Legend of the 5 Rings and 7th Sea, both from Alderac Entertainment. L5R is a roleplaying game set in Rokugan, a world similar to feudal Japan. The newly released 7th Sea is a roleplaying game of tall ships, high seas, exotic ports, and swashbuckling adventure. Finally, we have added the hilarious board game Orcs at the Gates, which is based on the award-winning comic book Knights of the Dinner Table. Orcs at the Gates is published by Jolly Roger Games.

Keep an eye on Warehouse 23 in the next two weeks... the immensely popular gaming comics, Knights of the Dinner Table and Dork Tower will be here very soon. We will also be adding Mayfair Games' classic, Settlers of Catan (and all its expansions), the moment our stock arrives.
-- Paul Spenard

October 8, 1999: Another Man's Moccasins

Illuminated Site of the Week: They used to say the most interesting trip you can take is inside your own mind. That's no longer strictly true. Here's a new kind of vacation: JM Incorporated has exclusive access to a portal allowin g them to place your consciousness into another man's -- or woman's -- body. See what they see, hear what they hear. But like any vacation, you should make your reservations today. Hosts are subject to availability, and it's first come, first served.

-- Andy

October 7, 1999: The Secrets In Your Phone Number

What does your phone number spell out? Find out here.. And remember, 36673.
-- Steve Jackson

October 6, 1999: Wanted!

Steve Jackson Games needs an Art Director. If you are good at administration, as well as Quark, Photoshop, and Illustrator, and you are available to move to Austin, you might have a promising career in the game industry! See our job listings for more details.
-- Alain H. Dawson

October 5, 1999: Calling All Munchkins!

We are looking for excerpts from published dungeon material that exemplify the munchkin style of play; incredible excess, fiendish deviousness, or slavish adherence to the rules. These excerpts should be individual room, trap, or treasure it em descriptions of no more than 50 words (20-30 words is preferable). Please don't send us entire articles! We just want quotes that will make people think, "Hmm, munchkins were here . . ." But we do want to know where they came from! Send the quo te and the source to the Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming editor.
-- Alain H. Dawson

October 4, 1999: Congratulations to IO

Three cheers for Illuminati Online, which was just named Austin's best Internet service provider in the Austin Chronicle's tenth annual "Best of Austin" reader poll. IO also won in 1997 , but that was a tie with the University of Texas; this time the honors were unique!
-- Steve Jackson

October 3, 1999: Out the Door . . .

It's been Death March City here for the past few weeks, as various deadlines tripped over each other. We had several problems with manuscripts or art coming in late . . . which is bad enough when the material is perfect, and when it's not good enou gh to go as-is, we get an evil domino effect. Russell Godwin, our Production Manager, is earning his Purple Heart, as are our production artists Jack Elmy, Jeremy Zauder and Alex Fernandez, and freelance layoutmeister Phil Reed.

At any rate, Chez Geek has gone to the printers now, and Superiors I for In Nomine and GURPS Y2K will be following shortly after. As for GURPS In Nomine, it has been both a source and a victim of problems, but it's still inching along. I'm the editor, and it's in my court. In between reading the final pages on Y2K, the new edition of GURPS Swashbucklers, and GURPS Traveller: Starports, I'll get it all polished up and turned in. See, we've got lots of goodies coming for you . . . be patient as we get them right . . .
-- Steve Jackson

October 2, 1999: Superiors 2 Now In Playtest!

The Takers -- the lovers of humanity . . . Mmmm, humanity. Andrealphus, Kobal, Haagenti, and Nybbas are all fleshed out in the second of the Superiors books. What is it like to work for Lust, and why you should fear the smart Gluttons; pulling Pranks and getting everything on film. Enter the neon and haze of Shal-Mari, and the frantic script-rooms of Perdition. These expansions include all the material you need to design characters to serve these four Pri nces, as well as a full adventure which can be used for their Servitors.

Playtests are open to Pyramid subscribers only, so don't miss out - subscribe today!
-- Keith Johnson

October 1, 1999: You Can't Handle the Tooth!

Illuminated Site of the Week: The days of the Red Scare are over, so anyone who wants to claim there's something suspicious in our water is going to have to put their money where our mouths are. John N. Maguire III does that in his essay, Fluoride's Effect on Your Brain. Maguire examines in depth the uses, the myths and what the fluoridators are really trying to do.

-- Suggested by Bud Kourik

Past columns

Steve Jackson Games
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