(The moral of this story: if you are a gamer and want to see more gaming at Worldcon, volunteer early and often.)
We're looking for a part-time assistant to help process Warehouse 23 orders and resolve customer service questions and problems. Computer literacy is required, and some knowledge of Filemaker Pro would be helpful. The job involves processing online and mail orders and maintaining records. Experience in retail or customer service is preferred, since an important part of the job is answering customer questions via phone, snail mail, and e-mail. The job will be 20-25 hours a week. The preferred schedule is 8am to noon, Monday through Friday, but we can be flexible for an otherwise strong applicant. This job is local to South Austin.
Interested applicants should fax a resume to 512-447-1144 or email a plain text resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A frequently asked question over the last few months has been "When will we see some brand-new units?" Here's one. This is the Combine LGEV, and I probably shouldn't tease you with it, because it's currently scheduled for a set that will ship in February. But it sure is pretty . . .
We're not far from an official announcement of the first few months' miniature schedule. Unofficially, the first three sets should ship in November:
GURPS Castle Falkenstein
Imagine a world very much like 19th-century Earth, but with wizards and swashbuckling heroes . . . and Dragons and Faerie! A world where Kabbalistic magic meets steam-powered technology against the backdrop of imperial intrigue, and where the writings of Doyle, Shelley, Verne, and their contemporaries are *fact.* A world of high fantasy and romance. This is the world of Castle Falkenstein.
This critically-acclaimed RPG setting was originally published by R. Talsorian Games. It found an enthusiastic fandom . . . gamers even showed up at conventions in elaborate Falkenstein court costumes. For its fans, there is no setting quite like "Falk," with its combination of courtly graces, 19th-century intrigue and steampunk. Now, Steve Jackson Games has acquired a license to adapt Castle Falkenstein to GURPS. The book will be released in mid-2000. GURPS Castle Falkenstein will be true to the original in style and substance, and will include full conversion notes so GMs of either system can use all the sourcebooks published for the other.
#6099, ISBN 1-55634-438-4. 160 pages. $22.95.
GURPS Imperial Rome, Second Edition
GURPS Imperial Rome takes you to a world of adventure and intrigue, gladiators and glory. The sprawling Roman Empire is full of campaign options, from orgies in the decadent Roman villas to battles with pirates off the coast of Sicily. As an adventurer in the Imperial Age of Rome, you can journey through the narrow streets of the greatest city in the world, fight gruesome battles as a slave gladiator in the Colosseum, visit exotic provinces like Greece, Egypt, and Asia, or march to war with the Roman legions.
#6048, ISBN 1-55634-446-5. 128 pages. $19.95.
The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming (reprint)
There are those who want to play, and those who want to WIN. The whiners who don't understand "power gaming" call these people "munchkins."
But what do we care?
In this outrageous satire, an experienced munchkin gleefully reveals the tricks of the trade: everything from re-rolling an unfavorable result to bribing the GM. Learn how to get the most out of character design, and why it doesn't really matter what your character's personality is as long as you get to FWACKOOM! the NPCs and grab their stuff. Munchkin GMs get their own chapter, of course: how to control the players, bend the rules, and up that body count!
Remember: If it's only a game, why do we keep score?
#3003, ISBN 1-55634-347-7. 128 pages. $19.95.
-- Keith Johnson
John Stringfellow is our new Computer Guru/Information Systems Administrator. He lives in North Austin with his wonderful wife, Shelley, his dog Laerel, and his two rats: Mystra and Spencer. When not working, he spends his time either with his wife and pets or gaming. John has been roleplaying for almost 10 years, and plays GURPS, In Nomine, AD&D, D&D, and many other games. He also spends a [classified] portion of his time inventing new [classified] and plotting to take over the world. Rumor has it that he is a charter member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.
Now the second issue is out, and once again, Steve Jackson has been honored. This time, they've placed him second on the list of the 20 best game designers of all time. As they said, "His abundant creativity prompted one well-known game designer to remark, 'Steve Jackson gets more good ideas before breakfast than most designers have in a whole year.'"
Thanks to the good people at
-- Andrew Hackard
Cell phones are everywhere. You think they have taken over in the US? Not by comparison. Something like 70% of the population has them in Finland. You literally cannot look at a sidewalk, bus or other crowd scene without seeing cell phones in use.
Pizza there is . . . different. For instance, I had a delicious combo of chicken, pineapple and blue cheese. Standard menu item . . .
The weather was beautiful. But I was warned that it gets really cold in the winters . . . and having seen huge space heaters in public buildings, I believe it. On the other hand, it never gets very hot. My hotel room - a very nice hotel room - had no air conditioning. It's so rarely needed, they didn't bother with it.
-- Steve Jackson
I need it within the next few weeks. The slant is up to you, but it should discuss the current state and future trends of armor, anti-armor measures, and the computerized battlefield, and reach a conclusion about whether, and when, we might really see something like the Ogre. It should run 2,000 to 3,000 words.
Yes, we will pay for this - in new Ogre miniatures, or cold cash . . . E-mail me if you are interested, and tell me why you're the one to write it.
-- Steve Jackson
Visit the playtest page to access the Discworld Also files (Pyramid subscribers only), or click here to subscribe to Pyramid.
-- Keith Johnson
-- Suggested by Andy Fix
I've been an Apple user, and fan, and backer, for many years. A litmus test for any computer game proposal has been "Will they support Apple?" But in just a couple of days, Apple has burned through all that goodwill. I don't know if SJ Games will ever buy another Apple machine.
It started in Finland. My Powerbook G3 - with which I'd been very happy for over a year - quit booting up. So on return to the States, I called Apple's own repair service. Seemed like a good choice - for a flat fee, they promised to find and fix whatever the problem was. I made a point of telling them that I'd been out of the country and there was unbacked-up data on the drive, and that if they had to do anything involving the drive, *let me know.*
So Monday when I called to check, after a looooooong hold, I was told that it was on its way back to me. They said they'd replaced a circuit board and a cable, but the hard drive was OK.
Except that Tuesday when I opened the box and booted it up, my data wasn't there. In fact, my OS wasn't there! I was running OS 9. This was an empty drive with OS 8.something. Needless to say, I called their repair service in something of a panic. The panic got worse as I listened to music-on-hold for more than 20 minutes, as their program repeated over and over, featuring Kermit the Frog's "It's Not Easy Being Green." Finally a lady picked up the phone and identified herself as F-----. I explained that my drive was missing. She called up my case and replied "Well, your drive was making some noise, so we gave you a new one while we were working on it."
"Why didn't you call me like I asked? Or move the data over?"
"Sorry, there were no instructions for that in your case." (And, like every other Apple employee I've talked to since then, she told me that they are SUPPOSED to get a $50 credit card deposit BEFOREHAND if data needs to be saved. But they didn't ask for that when I phoned in the repair order. Apparently, though, the fact that they didn't do it makes the missing data my problem.)
Still, all was not lost. F----- assured me that replaced drives weren't disposed of right away. They'd find it for me. She said it had been readable when it was removed. So I breathed easier for a few hours.
But then the new story - from a different repair representative, M------ - was that no, the drive wasn't readable. And whether they had taken it out wrongly or not, and whether they had failed to contact me or not, and whether they had actually damaged it while removing it -- in fact, whether they had followed ANY of their own procedures or not - "Apple won't be responsible for your data." Now, they would be willing to loan me my own old drive back, so I could attempt to have the data recovered at my own expense. But they wouldn't deal with that themselves. In fact, they wouldn't send me the old drive back unless they had my credit card number, to make sure I didn't keep the drive. And I'd have to wait for a different person, R------, to call me to arrange that.
So the day went by and R------- didn't call. This morning I was back on the phone with M--------. He told me that R----- was still reading his mail, or something like that, but that certainly he'd call me today. I told M-------- that I'd like to talk to his supervisor. He engaged me in a long conversation about what I might say to his supervisor, but he wouldn't escalate it. I insisted, as much as you can "insist" when the other person has the power of petty bureaucracy. He flat refused to let me speak to a supervisor. In fact, after that, he wouldn't answer any other questions, either. He played games with me, tried to put words in my mouth, and stonewalled with things like "I don't think that's relevant and I am not going to answer irrelevant questions."
For a feeling of total desperate powerlessness, try talking with a self-righteous bureaucrat who controls your data and has the power of a big organization to back him up. I haven't felt this way since, hmm, 1990 . . . but then it was the Secret Service. (Believe it or not, the parallel only now occurs to me, consciously. But probably my subconscious has been worrying at it all day.)
At any rate, since the repair service was providing neither repairs nor service, I called Apple Customer Relations. Another 30-minute wait on hold (thank heaven for speaker phones), and more Kermit the Frog. Finally, B------ picked up. I explained the problem and how unhappy I was. And how did B------- deal with it? By transferring me back to the office I was complaining about. At least he managed to get the elusive R------ to talk to me. R------ didn't bring any special knowledge to the discussion or ask any new questions, but apparently only he could arrange to return a screwed-up hard drive to a screwed-over customer. M-------- doesn't do that, though he has lots of time for word games.
At any rate, I remember last week, when I really liked Apple. Last week we were talking about who in the office might get the first G4 cube. Now? Now I'm thinking Linux runs really well on those new Dell boxes.
Postscript 1: When we tried to restore my existing backups to the new drive, it failed in the middle of the restore. It won't even boot up now. So I drove to the airport this evening and sent it back to Apple.
Postscript 2: Our in-house tech, John, is of the strong opinion that the "noise" that the Apple techs heard in the original hard drive was in fact my CD-ROM drive.
Finally, here's somebody thinking the same way.
Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) and Nathan Myhrvold (until recently Microsoft's CTO) have given $12.5 million to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project and the University of California at Berkeley. The money will pay half the cost of the world's largest telescope specifically to search for intelligent signals from space. The project should be finished in 2005.
Thank you, gentlemen. Three cheers.
-- Steve Jackson
You'll need to be a Pyramid subscriber to attend. Subscribe today!
-- Suggested by Charles Oines
Once again, the kind people of Atlas Games have agreed to let us share their space, so please drop by the Atlas booth and say hi to these SJ Games folks!
Here's a shot of the INWO tournament. If the cards look a bit funny, they are. They brought out the old playtest cards that I left here last time I visited, in 1994!
Today we're going museum crawling; tonight is the dead dog party. Tomorrow we're going to cruise along the coast, and tomorrow night I'm scheduled to sit in the sauna with some techie types and talk about wireless gaming. Speaking of sauna: for those who remember the INWO card for Finland, no, I did not take my laptop into the sauna this time. A Palm device, yes . . .
Wednesday midmorning I get on the plane and head west, almost but not quite keeping up with the sun. Wednesday afternoon I'll be in Austin after a very long day of travel . . .
-- Steve Jackson
After a year, World Weavers In Nomine is growing steadily. We have three groups of angelic characters writing in the settings of Indianapolis, Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities), and Boston. A demonic unit set in Washington DC will open soon. We don't have any units set outside of the United States yet, but it's not for lack for trying :-).
Right now, we have a waiting list for demonic characters, so the best way to write a demon is to write an angel first to show us that you're competent and reliable enough to run your own WWIN demonic unit.
Collaborative fiction combines elements of traditional roleplaying games, fan fiction and the challenge of writing as part of a group. Members create and develop one or more characters, and cooperatively write the stories which advance the lives and careers of these characters.
If this interests you, take a look at the WWIN Website. You can read our posts from the archive there or on our newsgroup alt.shared-reality.sf-and-fantasy. For more information, send email to the WWIN archive account or World Weavers In Nomine World Admin Lynette R. F. Cowper.
-- Susan Rati, World Weavers
-- Suggested by Rus Hall
Can you tell what is being played in this area? Take as many guesses as you need.
This is T.J. Jensen's big 1/300 Ogre Miniatures layout, built with GeoHex.
We had a great miniatures schedule at Dragon*Con - between Ogre Miniatures in both 1/300 and Macroture scale, and Car Wars, and the Pirate Game, I could have stayed down there the whole convention.
-- Steve Jackson
For more than 20 years, the mighty Ogre cybertanks have terrorized boardgamers and miniature players around the world. Now the Ogres are coming to roleplaying.
Take the part of a GEV pilot, driving his craft at fighter-plane speeds a foot off the ground . . . a ragged partisan, armed only with determination and a nuclear bazooka . . . or a brand-new artificial intelligence, awakening to a world in which it is the most dangerous creature of all . . . the Ogre.
#6097, ISBN 1-55634-417-1. $19.95.
Rim of Fire: The Solomani Rim Sourebook (for GURPS Traveller)
The Solomani Rim sector lies at the rimward edge of the Third Imperium. It is an ancient, densely populated region. For six thousand years, the Solomani Rim has been a place of epic revolutions and wars. Today it remains a flashpoint for galactic conflict. The Third Imperium occupies hundreds of worlds, including Terra, the human homeworld. But much of the sector is under the control of the despotic Solomani Confederation.
The Solomani Rim has always been a place where the actions of individual heroes could change the course of history. Today there are still many challenges for the GURPS Traveller player within the Rim of Fire!
#6615, ISBN 1-55634-436-8. $20.95.
GURPS Old West, Second Edition
The American frontier was a legend, even as it was happening. Gunfighters, Indians. cowboys, miners, and mountain men . . . the "rust-eaters" who pushed the rails west . . . the Pony Express . . . the Texas Rangers and the outlaws they fought . . . the settlers battling fire, floods, stampedes, and sickness . . . their adventures made the nation what it is today!
Come west if you've got the guts for it. The weak die on the trail, and the cowards never leave home. Let's see what you're made of, pardner . . .
#6044, ISBN 1-55634-439-2. $19.95.
-- Keith Johnson
Congratulations to Loren Wiseman, JTAS editor, and to all the Traveller fans who've made this relaunch successful.
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