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November 30, 1997: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Wanna see my vacation pictures? I knew you did. Okay, this is a bit late. But I was sort of slow sending the film off to be developed, and kind of busy when the disks came back, and well, drone drone whine whine mumble.

Anyway, one of the high points was a visit to Dinosaur National Monument. Here's the building. The glass box to the right actually encloses the rock face where you can see the dinosaur bones still in the rock. To the left is their Stegosaurus . . . originally created by Sinclair as one of seven life-sized models for their pavilion at the World's Fair.

And here's a close-up of the Stegosaurus . . .

And here's the Allosaurus skeleton they have on exhibit. Smile! Say MEAT!
-- Steve Jackson

November 29, 1997: A Half-Million Visitors

Yes indeed. A couple of days ago, our visitors counter hit the half-million mark. We started counting as of August 1, 1995, so that's a bit less than a quarter-million a year. But the rate continues to increase - often, now, we get over a thousand a day. Good thing we got that new webserver - and thanks again to everyone who has bid in the auction.
-- Steve Jackson

November 28, 1997: The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less

Illuminated Site of the Week: This amazing distillation of everything you really need to know first appeared in the January/Febuary 1997 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. Since then, it has been translated into almost twenty languages, and researchers all over the world are working on further translations. If you can help translating it into a further language, please consider joining this noble effort!

-- Steve Jackson

November 27, 1997: Happy Thanksgiving!

Here at SJ Games, we'd like to share our joy with you. Unfortunately, not all of you are cleared to know what we're happy about. There's FNORD of course, and also not available at your level. And last but not least, well, you know . . .

Enjoy your turkey, mortals.
-- Steve Jackson

November 26, 1997: In That Case, WE Want One . . .

Our spies report that is advertising Hot Lead with the notation that it's "hard to find" and they might need 1 to 3 months to get it.

Our charitable Direct Mail Department will be discussing the matter with them and perhaps even sharing a clue.

Sigh . . . (And we are eagerly anticipating the "vaporware" article in an upcoming InQuest, which will drag the sad Hot Lead story out for everyone to enjoy one more time.)
-- Steve Jackson

November 25, 1997: Bio-Tech to the Printer!

Yes, indeedy. GURPS Bio-Tech went off to the printer today. Bio-Tech is chock-full (144 pages!) of ways to make your modern-day, near-future, cyberpunk and far-future characters different -- from gene splicing to nanotechnology. Why bolt clumsy machinery on to the meat when you can just change the meat directly?

GURPS Bio-Tech has the latest scientific information we could find, and that's part of the reason this book is later than originally planned. For example, author David Pulver had already written the chapter on cloning technology when -- to everyone's surprise -- those enterprising Scotsmen cloned that sheep. Scratch that chapter . . .

But it's done now, and will be on store shelves in January. Look for it.
-- Scott Haring

November 24, 1997: Help Wanted

With Gene Seabolt leaving the editorial department to work as Producer on the GURPS CD-ROM project, I have his big shoes to fill -- size 10-1/2, to be exact.

We're looking for someone with a variety of skills and talents, because we all do a little bit of everything around here. But the most important things are:

Graphic Design/Desktop Production. This is about 70% of the job. You must be a whiz on Quark XPress and Photoshop, capable of page design, graphic design, digital art manipulation and book layout. I'll want to see samples.

Editor. This is about 25% of the job. You must have a proofreader's eye for detail, a copy editor's ruthlessness with the English language and the ability to take charge of a project from conception through completion.

The other 5%? Could be anything, up to and including ad copywriting, game design, poster graphics, dealing with freelancers, going to conventions . . . the job, like most around here, can become what you make it.

Oh, yeah. We've had some success with telecommuting in the past, but not for this sort of work. This job is in Austin. If you're not willing to move here, don't contact us.

We offer medical and dental, holidays and vacations, some convention travel opportunities and a salary somewhat above the poverty line. If you think you can do the job, send a resume via e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you.
-- Scott Haring

November 23, 1997: Happy Birthday, Boris

Today is the 23rd of the month, and therefore sacred to High Weirdness. And on this day in 1887, Boris Karloff was born. Mwaaaa-haaa-haaaaa!

November 22, 1997: Metaverse Lives

but the relaunch is a bit delayed, mostly because Kira hasn't heard from many people who want to help with the project . . . If you code MOO and want to help us hack out the GURPS version, or if you'd just like to describe our sinister city, get in touch!
-- Steve Jackson

November 21, 1997: Tales of the Illuminati

Illuminated Site of the Week: He knows too much and he must be silenced. So before we get to him, visit "The Claw"'s Tales of the Illuminati page.
-- Steve Jackson

November 20, 1997: Sherpa

This is an interesting new entry in the "very simple RPG" genre. Steffan O'Sullivan, author of GURPS Bunnies & Burrows and GURPS Swashbucklers, has self-published these rules for playing a RPG while hiking. Instead of a die, you use your watch for a randomizer.

It's 28 pages plus a cover, but the real essence of the rules can fit on a single 3 x 5 card . . . which won't weigh a hiker down too much.

Of course, it's not JUST for hikes. The idea is that this will allow you to "talk out" a RPG session any time you don't have access to books, pencil and paper, tables . . .

You can order it from Steffan for $7 in the US, $8 from elsewhere, including shipping) or see an earlier version for free on the web!
-- Steve Jackson

November 19, 1997: That Would Be A Problem, All Right

We just heard from Stefan Jones, author of GURPS Uplift and the Space adventure Unnight. He's got a new job and a new apartment, and reports:

As the apartment complex name suggests, I am on a
hillside in earthquake country. The landlady says
there's nothing to worry about as long as the
chickenwire fence 'round the Large Polished Spherical
Boulder Co. of America storage facility up the slope
from us doesn't break.

November 18, 1997: Harry Stine Dies

>                     Space Access Update #78  11/6/97
>                  Copyright 1997 by Space Access Society
> ________________________________________________________________________
>      Space Visionary, Rocket Pioneer G. Harry Stine Dies At 69
> It is with great sadness I report that G. Harry Stine died suddenly at
> his home the afternoon of Sunday, November 2nd, 1997.  Harry's wife
> Barbara came home Sunday evening and found him by his word processor.
> He had been fine the night before and when Barbara left for a horse show
> that morning; cause of death is believed to be a stroke or heart attack.
> Harry was a space visionary and a hard-headed rocket engineer too, the
> author of more than fifty books of science fact and fiction, a lifelong
> private pilot, "The Father of Model Rocketry", a kind cheerful and
> selfless gentleman who feared neither man nor bureaucrat, a loving
> husband and father of three, and a key figure in bringing the concept of
> radically cheaper space transportation to its current respectability.
> Harry had three books due out soon - a revised paperback version of last
> year's "Halfway To Anywhere", an updated version of his "Handbook For
> Space Colonists" now called "Living In Space" that's just hitting the
> stores, and an updated version of his seminal work on space development
> "The Third Industrial Revolution", just shipped off to his publisher.
> Services for Harry will be held Friday November 7th at 2 pm, at Grimshaw
> Bethany Chapel, 710 West Bethany Home Road in Phoenix.  Harry's family
> has asked that people not send flowers, but rather make donations to a
> scholarship fund that will be set up in his name.  Send checks to:
>      The G.Harry Stine Space Pioneers Memorial Fund
>      c/o Bill Stine
>      6012 E Hidden Valley Drive
>      Cave Creek AZ 85331

November 17, 1997: Returned from HorrorCon

Well, we're back, we're still in one piece, and we had a lot of fun at the convention. Exciting events included playing games of Groo and Give Me The Brain with Brian Snoddy and Sandy Peterson, and our big 4-table Ogre Miniatures Nuke-a-Thon. We also had the opportunity to debut our newly minted Illuminati Pins, which were very well-received.

-- Laz Zanger

November 16, 1997: New CompuServe Netrep

David Edelstein, a frequent In Nomine contributor and longtime net-head, is our new netrep on Compuserve.

Edelstein, better known on the RPGAMES forum as Amadan na Briona, will make sure that the latest SJ Games news gets posted on the appropriate forums, answer gamer questions and generally make CompuServe a friendly place for our fans. Thanks, David!
-- Scott Haring

November 15, 1997: Car Wars PBEM

They're playing a mean game of Car Wars these days -- right here on the Internet!

Players submit their moves by e-mail, and the results are posted on web pages. The current status of the latest duel can be seen by clicking on the link.

And if you want to join the fun, everything you need to know can be found by clicking here.
-- Scott Haring

November 14, 1997: The Amish Homepage

Illuminated Site of the Week: Do the Amish know something we don't? Clues can be found at the Amish Homepage. Read about the PooPets ('handmade, self-fertilizing 100% cow manure plant sculptures'), The Amish Experience Theater and all you ever wanted to know about Amish Buggy Safety.

November 13, 1997: The Illuminati attend HorrorCon

If you find yourself in the vicinity of San Antonio, TX, this weekend, you might consider attending HorrorCon. It's being held Friday through Sunday at the Seven Oaks Resort. Mr. Grey Mr. Powers and the UberMIB will be in attendance, and of course we'll have a booth set up to sell off all of those goodies you know you want and need. And with the help of the Austin and San Antonio MIB Cell Leaders EJ Zanger and Al Griego, there will be demos and games aplenty! Not to mention a day-long Ogre Miniatures Nuke-A-Thon and special sessions of the In Nomine adventure "Feast of Blades."

Dinosaurs in Austin

This is Steve, abusing my access to the Daily Illuminator to impose my dino-geekery on the innocent multitudes...

The Texas Memorial Museum in Austin is now hosting the only North American appearance of the original skull material for the ancient Argentine dinosaurs Herrerrasaurus and Eoraptor. Have I been to see them yet? No, but believe me, I'm going to . . .
-- Steve Jackson

November 12, 1997: GURPS Wizards in Playtest

Just in and on the web for playtest is GURPS Wizards, a compilation of ready-to-use magic-using characters from Tech Level 0 to 10, spanning genres from fantasy to science fiction to horror to cyberpunk. Check it out.
-- Scott Haring

November 11, 1997: Welcome, Cecilia Remus

We're very happy to announce the appointment of Cecilia Remus, formerly of Chessex Southwest, as our Marketing Director.

She came in for her second interview yesterday; we made the decision in the evening and she started work this morning. May everything go so smoothly for her forever after!
-- Steve Jackson

November 10, 1997: The Truth About Barney

One of our secret operatives sent us this:

1) Start with the given:
2) Change all U's to V's (which is proper Latin anyway): CVTE PVRPLE DINOSAVR
3) Extract all Roman Numerals: C V V L D I V
4) Convert into Arabic values: 100 5 5 50 500 1 5
5) Add all the numbers: 666
Thus, Barney is Satan.

November 9, 1997: GURPS Traveller Update

Just to let you know how things are going, author Loren Wiseman says he'll have a first draft of the first GURPS Traveller book to us sometime in the next six to eight weeks. We'll put it up for playtest right away, of course.

After that, it's the usual process -- editing, re-writing, re-editing, art, art corrections, proofreading, more editing, and so on. Look for the book in early spring of next year.
-- Scott Haring

November 8, 1997: SS TV, ja wohl

We had a film crew in the office yesterday (Friday) for an interview about the Secret Service affair. Those of you who are reading this from Germany or, I think, Switzerland will be able to see it . . . it is scheduled to air Jan. 3. The show is NZZ's Format.
-- Steve Jackson

November 7, 1997: CTKA

Illuminated Site of the Week: Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination is a self proclaimed political action group lobbying for full disclosure of all records relating to the assassination of JFK. Conspiracy Theorists, Paranoids or Responsible Citizens concerned about democratic integrity? Tapes, transcripts, videos, links etc. What do you believe - Oswald as the crazed lone assassin, or spooky goings-on atop the Grassy Knoll? See how you can help in the search for the truth.

--Number 2, Illuminated Sitekeeper

November 6, 1997: Games GAMES !!GAMES!! in Austin

The Austin Men In Black are proud to announce a day full of games and demonstrations at King's Hobby at 8810 North Lamar, Austin TX. Events will run Saturday (Nov. 8th) from noon until 5 p.m. and will include continuous games of Knightmare Chess, Dino Hunt, GURPSFantasy, and Car Wars. If you need more information, you can contact the Austin Cell Leader LadyMIB Liz.

Laz Zanger

November 5, 1997: Gaming Intelligence

Gaming Intelligence is a free weekly newsletter sent out by email and archived on the Web. It focuses on the gaming industry, specifically roleplaying, card games, miniatures/wargaming, play by mail, live action, and related games. Every Monday, GI is sent out with the latest gaming news, product releases, feature articles, columns, and reviews.

To subscribe, send the message "join gi" to or visit their Web site at

Contact for more information.

November 4, 1997: Pearlcorder(s) Found!

Thanks to everyone who sent leads in my search for a replacement mini-tape recorder. I have one now, and I am about to get a backup as well. With any luck at all, that will see me through until digital technology can build a decent replacement. And the Illuminati are arranging the appropriate rewards for those who led me to the ones I obtained...
-- Steve Jackson

November 3, 1997: Mania!

Since I haven't plugged it in a while, I'll direct you to the Mania! web site, which has lots of great coverage of TV and movies, comics, and games. Kenneth Hite, who wrote GURPS Alternate Earths is a regular contributor.

This week, they've put up a page that is a brief introduction to In Nomine and has several nice things to say about it. Thanks, guys.

Oh, to actually see the page, just click here.
-- Scott Haring

November 2, 1997: Illuminated Stuff

We've gotten some early samples of the new Illuminati Pins (the small enameled cloisonne pins we used to carry), and will be getting more in Real Soon Now. We've gone ahead and put the first pins into the catalog, if you just can't wait.

Also, we've gotten more Illuminati T-Shirts in stock! The shirts are black, with the red and yellow "Illuminati" logo on the front. They're available in Large, XL, and XXL. These are also available through our catalog.

November 1, 1997: Car Wars in The Onion

In case you didn't know, The Onion is probably the best purveyor of satire in America today. They have a regular magazine, and a great online presence.

Anyway, we mention it here because a recent article mentions Car Wars and GenCon. Hey, any excuse to plug a cool site . . .
-- Scott Haring

Past columns

Steve Jackson Games
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