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May 31, 2000: The Safari Continues

Trip report, next installment:

The Safari Continues As you will recall from our last episode, I've been on the annual ConDuit safari (a thoroughly classy custom in which the convention's guests are treated to as much of the glory and beauty of outdoor Utah as they can survive). After leaving the Dance Floo r tracksite, we visited Bryce Canyon (pretty vertical rocks) and Kodachrome Basin (more pretty vertical rocks, only different). The photo shows Fairyland, one of the most impressive vistas at Bryce.

The next day we visited St. George, the Utah town where a land developer recently uncovered dino tracks while grading some near-downtown property. Escorted by Tracy Hickman (yes, Dragonlance fans, *that* Tracy Hickman, who is not only a gentleman and a scholar but also a dinosaur fan) we checked it out. These tracks are actually casts - that is, stone formed from the clay that filled the tracks. The detail is incredible. The property owners are doing their best to preserve the tracks while still allowing the publick to visit, and hope to get them into a museum. (No picture here, due to technical difficulties, i.e., Steve let the camera battery run down. So I bought a disposable and took some shots, but those ar en't developed yet. I love digital technology; the challenge is to be at least as smart as your equipment.)

In our next episode, we visit Missoula and go around in circles . . .
-- Steve Jackson

May 30, 2000: A Lego Machine-Gun?

No, not a Lego model of a machine-gun, but an actual device, constructed out of Lego, that shoots 2x4 Lego bricks, emptying a 17-brick magazine in less than 2 seconds. The power of the huma n mind is amazing.
-- Steve Jackson

May 29, 2000: Upcoming Pyramid Chats

Here's upcoming chats available for Pyramid subscribers this week:

James Earnest, the man responsible for Cheapass Games and creator of Kill Doctor Lucky, Give Me The Brain, and others, will chat on Tuesday, May 30th (7pm CDT) about where he gets his ideas and just how one goes about designing a game.

Then on Thursday, June 1st (7pm CDT), Gareth-Michael Skarka, operations manager for Synister Creative Systems and designer of the critically acclaimed Hong Kong Action Theatre! RPG, will be discussing his latest project, the UnderWorld RPG, which is due to be released at this year's GenCon.

-- Steven Marsh

May 28, 2000: GURPS Bestiary, 3rd Edition Now In Playtest!

Rule the animal kingdom with GURPS Bestiary! This new edition of the popular supplement includes animals both extant -- wild beasts, domestic animals, and vermin -- and not -- prehistoric, mythical, and s peculative creatures. There is also a section on using animals as PCs, with animal templates (and rules for making new ones), folklore, and new rules for shapeshifters.

GURPS Bestiary is now in playtest. Pyramid subscribers can access the playtest files. And if you're not already a subscriber, subscribe today!

-- Keith Johnson

May 27, 2000: History Comes Alive in Warehouse 23!

History is more fun when you're a part of it - join the fun with the GURPS Historical/Time Travel Mega Bundle, now available in Warehouse 23 Specials.

-- Brendon Rehm

May 26, 2000: "You now face -- the Cobalt Hillbilly!"

Illuminated Site of the Week: Or something disturbingly like it, but don't worry, the Happy Flower Chimp will end his reign of terror. Lee's (Useless) Super-Hero Generator provides the world with an endless supply of super- beings on both sides of the law. A few choices randomly determine your weapons, powers and equipment. Make single supers or whole teams. The only question: is it the heroes or the generator that's useless? The Cobalt Hillbilly certainly strikes fear in our hearts ...

-- Suggested by Dave Walsh

May 25, 2000: The Vibroknife Is Here

We think. It's a bit hard to make out exactly what this site is talking about, but see for yourself. Has another staple of science fiction become reality?
-- Steve Jackson

May 24, 2000: Tracking Dinosaurs

Tracking Dinosaurs Reporting in from Utah. ConDuit was fun, and Arrrrr! was indeed said a great deal. I'm now tracking dinosaurs in the wilds of Utah. We haven't seen any yet, but as the photo will attest, we seem to be getting close. This trackway comprises just a few of many hundreds of tracks on the "Dance Floor." These are t heropod tracks, and each one is about a foot long.
-- Steve Jackson

May 23, 2000: Ooo, What A Cute Little Ogre!

Or you can do very, very SMALL Lego Ogres . . . Here's Jeremy Sproat's Mk. V. And here are some armor un its to similar scale. I have GOT to try this. Looking forward to seeing other miniature designs from him . . .
-- Steve Jackson

May 22, 2000: GURPS Traveller Alien Races 4

The fourth volume in the GURPS Traveller Alien Races series will address the biology, home worlds, culture, and society of 17 minor races. These writeups will follow the format set out for minor races in Alien Races 1-3. As we did for GURPS Villians and the Who's Who series, we are inviting fans to take part in creating this book.

Each submission will address one race at a length of roughly 4,000 to 7,000 words. It will give concise accounts of their historical involvement with the Imperium, and will include racial templates. The author should be familiar not only with GUR PS Traveller, but also the original Classic Traveller source material and the basics of nonhuman species construction presented in GURPS Compendium I.

Six of the races in Alien Races 4 will be original creations by David Pulver or GURPS Traveller writeups of his canon races by Phil Masters. The remaining races, open for inquiry, include:

Ael Yael: a flying race from Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society No. 15.

Ahetaowa: sentient psionic plants from Challenge No. 56.

Bwaps: also known as Newts, found in JTAS No. 11.

Girug'kagh: subjects of the K'kree found in JTAS No. 21.

Hana Saka: lizard men from Challenge No. 52.

Hlanssai: bipeds found in Vargr space from JTAS No. 22.

J'aadje: from the Double Adventure Night of Conquest/Divine Intervention.

Shalli: amphibians from Traveller: the New Era that were only accepted as intelligent after the Rebellion. This will involve deciding their role in the GT timeline.

Shriekers: aliens with high-pitched voices from "Safari Ship."

Stalkers: long-necked, squat, xenophobic aliens of the Hinterworlds Sector from Challenge No. 39.

Virushi: aliens the size of a small rhino, from JTAS No. 12.

Contributors will be paid a flat rate for their work. Those interested should inquire with Loren Wiseman, as all races will be assigned rather than be subject to a general "best of" submissions process. Content will be d ue July 20, 2000.

-- Loren Wiseman

May 21, 2000: End of the Bronze Age

Java's Crypt, producer of fine jewelry for Warehouse 23, is going out of the bronze business. Therefore, all our bronze pendants, pins, and so forth just became limited -edition collector's items! Once we sell out of our current stock, these lovely pieces are gone forever. Hurry before they're all gone . . .

-- Brendon Rehm

May 20, 2000: The Gamer Finder Rules

There are now more than 900 entries in our Gamer Finder. Want to find somebody new to play with? Check it out! And the Store Finder (yes, on the same page) has just been updated with the newest version of our database. Thanks to all the stores who wrote in to update their information!

May 19, 2000: Meating of the Minds

Illuminated Site of the Week: Science marches on, right into the neighbor's yard where the stinkymeat team has left their science project: a plate of raw meat. Like a traffic accident from which you cannot turn away, the stinkymeat scientists p rovide a day-by-day account of the slow disintegration of the meat and their gag reflexes. Scarier than the Blair Witch Project, with pictures not for the faint of heart.

-- Suggested by Pete Knight

May 18, 2000: Now Shipping

Several new things are shipping this week:

GURPS Villains
The hero may be the star of his story, but it takes a prize villain to bring out the best in him! GURPS Villains is a compilation of dastardly foes from all ages, genres, and backgrounds. Crackpot spy-movie masterminds, backstabbing patricians, grim undead overlords, hard-bitten crime bosses . . . they're all here! Each villain is described both biographically and in game terms, and is accompanied by "bits" like fiendish plots, evil henchmen, devious deathtraps, and secret strongholds. GURPS Villains also includes a GM's guide to dramatic villain design and use. After all, everybody loves a "good" bad guy!

GMs can use this book for instant opponents, or choose a villain they like and build a whole campaign around him! There are over 50 villains (and villainous groups) with complete stats and writeups, including details of their "evil plans," in this survey of fiends and foes from all times and climes.

#6416, ISBN 1-55634-414-7, $19.95.

Alien Races 3 (for GURPS Traveller)
The third book in the Alien Races series describes two of the MOST alien races in the Traveller universe - the Droyne and the Hivers. The Droyne, which Imperial archaeologists are beginning to suspect are identical to the ancient race that scattered Humaniti and created the Vargr, are among the most pacific of all the inhabitants of the Imperium. But if they were once so powerful, why have they given up on the jump-drive and the other trappings of interstellar power? What did they learn that Humaniti will not?

And what about the Hivers, the strange six-limbed creatures who dominate dozens of other races within their Hive Federation? Why do they treat their offspring so strangely? Does their incredible intelligence translate to wisdom? Or does their lust to manipulate others represent a threat to the Imperium?

Special bonus! This book includes "gold" cardboard punch-out versions of the 36 Droyne coyns, and complete instructions for Droyne divination. Droyne characters can now "cast the coyns" to determine their future actions . . . and Human characters can wonder why it works . . .

#6608, ISBN 1-55634-431-7. $22.95.

Shockwave Shockwave
Shockwave is the first supplement for Ogre/GEV. It includes 224 counters for a variety of new units, a full-color map that fits on any side of the G.E.V. map, and 12 scenarios (four for Ogre, eight for G.E.V.).

New units in Shockwave include a devastating Cruise Missile (and a Laser Tower to shoot it down), three new types of GEV; and the Superheavy Tank!

#7201, ISBN 1-55634-435-X. $9.95.

-- Keith Johnson

May 17, 2000: Now Hiring

SJ Games is looking for a part-time Information System Administrator, more affectionately known as Computer Guru. The qualifications are expertise with user support for both Mac and PC hardware and applications, and with Ethernet networking. Familiarity with Unix, HTML, Filemaker Pro and our games is desirable. Must be an organized person, comfortable with record-keeping. Must be friendly and willing to patiently teach users who are not computer experts.

We are open to both an employee or contract labor relationship. We can work around a flexible schedule. If you are interested, please email your resume to

-- Kelly Singletary

May 16, 2000: Posting About Pi

"The story of pi reflects the most seminal, the most serious and sometimes the silliest aspects of mathematics. A surprising amount of the most important mathematics and a significant number of the most important mathematicians have contributed to its unf olding -- directly or otherwise."

-- from the introduction to "Pi: A Source Book" by L. Berggren, J. Borwein and P. Borwein

Simon Fraser University's The Pi Pages are full of information and links about this most fascinating of numbers. Math fans, rejoice!
-- Steve Jackson

May 15, 2000: Convention Travel And Piracy

Summer con season is now here with a vengeance . . . I'll be attending two cons in May, and DragonCon in June/July. I'll have the Pirate Game at all three of these. Arrrrrr! Feel free to show up at any of these and join. (And if you have any Pirate stuff to trade, or if you have ANY ancient Lego sitting around that you never use any more . . . hey, bring it and maybe we can do a deal.)


Salt Lake City, UT - May 19-21. It was at ConDuit in 1998 that the Pirate Game had its first public outing. We'll do it again this year; it turns out that an outdoor artificial-turf putting green is a great play surface. The game will be on Sunday.


Missoula, MT - May 26-28. This is a small convention that I've been attending, on and off, for several years. Lots of fun, lots of gaming. It's at the DoubleTree Hotel, 100 Madison, (406) 728-3100. There doesn't seem to be a website for the con, but you c ould mail for info.


Atlanta, GA - June 28 to July 2. This is a BIG convention - SF, fantasy, media, gaming, comics and more. Loren Wiseman and I are both going, and Pyramid editor Steven Marsh is planning to attend as well.

This will be the first time I've run the Pirate Game here . . . it happened because a few Legophiles really worked hard to get the attention the con (thanks, guys). So we'll see how it goes!
-- Steve Jackson

May 14, 2000: Too Much Time On Their Hands

And if you share that problem, by all means visit the site of the Traffic Cone Preservation Society.

On the other hand, excess leisure time alone cannot account for a project of this scope. Great madness is required, as well. Go, Tech House!

May 13, 2000: Cutter Submissions Needed!

We are planning a GURPS Traveller book devoted entirely to the 50-ton modular cutter, and we are soliciting outside designs. Got an interesting idea for a cutter module? Send it in. Contributions that are acc epted will earn individual credit (of course) and one or more copies of the book when it comes out (depending on the number of contributions). Interested? Go to the GURPS Traveller: Modular Cutter page to find out more.
-- Loren Wiseman

May 12, 2000: How to Succeed in Business

Illuminated Site of the Week: Heavy security is the price of doing business these days. Joining ICC Commercial Crime Services offers a number of perks and allays a multitude of fears. Training, counterfeit detection and cyber-protectio n are just a few of the many tools it uses to smooth your road to riches.

And for a really uneasy night's sleep, check out its weekly piracy report before going boating.

-- Suggested by John Macek

May 11, 2000: Don't Lose Your Head

I subscribe to "This is True," a news service for Weird Stuff. Recently they ran the story of Mike the Headless Chicken, complete with photos. So I'm sharing . . .
-- Steve Jackson

May 10, 2000: Lego Movies

Okay, I know that this is MY obsession, and y'all may not share it fully. Nevertheless, this is neat. Note also that the set is designed to support a Lego remake of "Jur assic Park" . . .
-- Steve Jackson

May 9, 2000: Name an Ogre

GURPS Ogre is coming up. Want to name one of the Ogres in the history or the vignettes? Two are up for grabs in the auction. . . win one and pick a name. Your choice must be a one-word name, or name a nd number combination, or otherwise, in SJ's biased opinion, sound like a good Ogre name. "Manticore 23" is good. "Elly Mae Smithers" is not. You get the idea. Name it after yourself, your school, or a friend who deserves to be an Ogre.

May 8, 2000: The Web Page Mangler

It has long been known (at least by those of us who like this kind of stuff) that translating material into another language, and back again, will yield obnoxious results. "Hydraulic ram," for instance, becomes "water sheep." Well, now it's been automated by the good folks at . . . hmm, it doesn't seem to be signed, but here's their page. It makes cruel and unusual use of the engine. When I tried it on the Illuminator page and it turned "Ground Forces" into "the Strengths of the Soil," I was hooked.
-- Steve Jackson

May 7, 2000: More Cloning Around

The extinct Tasmanian tiger, a 5-foot-long marsupial predator, may be resurrected someday . . . scientists have found a very-well-preserved specimen in a museum collection, and they speculate that the DNA may be in good enough condition to read. Check out the BBC News story.
-- Steve Jackson

May 6, 2000: Interview with Warren Spector

Warren Spector (former Managing Editor at SJ Games, developer of Toon, and currently spearheading the Deus Ex project at computer game company Ion Storm) is interviewed in the current GameSpy, and has some comments about paper RPGs and their influence on the digital arena.

May 5, 2000: Five Minutes, Mr. Noone

Illuminated Site of the Week: Today's the day, so if you're reading this while sitting hip-deep in water, you know Richard W. Noone knew what he was talking about in his famous book 5/5/2000 - Ice: The Ultimate Disaster. Since the mid-80s, Noone has been warning us of the planetary alignment that will destroy the polar ice caps. You've had 14 years worth of heads-up, and it's time to pay the piper.

-- Andy

May 4, 2000: Discworld Captured on Warehouse 23 Security Cameras!

Recently, a spatial vortex opened in a back room of Warehouse 23, and the Wyrd Sisters of Discworld cavorted around for quite a while before they returned whence they came. Fortunately, our always-efficient security team was watching, and managed to capture their antics for posterity. As a warning to others, we're making the events of that evening public, via our Warehouse 23 store.

"Discworld: Wyrd Sisters" is available in VHS and DVD formats.

-- Brendon Rehm

May 3, 2000: Arrrrrrrr!!!

Arrgghhh!!! I'm currently buried in GURPS In Nomine stuff; specifically, the page-reference checking and final proofing. Beth McCoy and Walter Milliken have done an incredible job on this book, and I'm very proud of it . . . but right now I have read it as many times as I want to in one week, and I'm not quite through. But it goes to print this week.

All of which is by way of explaining why I have not yet posted the pictures I took last week, or reported on what I did after Fastaval ended . . .

I went to Legoland. For those who haven't heard of it, it's the Lego theme park, in Billund, Denmark. (There are now two others -- one in England and one in California -- but I started with the original.) Now, this is both serious fun and a holy pilgrimag e, if you're a Lego geek, and I am. This was the offer that made the Fastaval invitation irresistible, even on short notice. (One thing about having my weaknesses known to all . . . nobody has any trouble figuring out how to bribe me). And not only was th e convention fantastic, but Legoland was everything I had expected.

I will do a longer report before long, and post the rest of the pictures that I took . . . but this one is just too good to wait. Here we see the live version of the Lego pirate captain, and the Lego version of the Lego parrot.
-- Steve Jackson

May 2, 2000: Live Goats Roleplaying

Drew Johnson has created the Goats Live Action Role Playing Game (GARP for short), or Stein's Eye Theater if you're going to get cute. This is a real set of rules, based on the characters and setting o f the Goats comic strip, which is itself based on beer and madness. Looks like fun, provided you can get at least a half-dozen Goats fans into one room. Some quotes:

"Remember that unlike in many LARPs, intrigue is about as common in Goats as the Pope praying in the direction of Mecca."

"We're here to have fun, not to be the Dark Prince of Muncie, Indiana and hold control of the World Of Darkness."

"Remember, she who controls the beer controls the universe."
-- Steve Jackson

May 1, 2000: Steampunks Take Note!

Charles Babbage's fully mechanical "computer," the 3-ton Difference Engine, was finally built in 1991, and worked. Now the printer (at a mere 2.5 tons) is done, and it works too. Both are on display a t the Science Museum in London. See the BBC story.
-- Steve Jackson

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