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March 31, 1998: Back from El Paso

... where the wind was a blowin' mighty hard. A very windy weekend -- all the Vampire live-action players kept coming back in from their various secret meetings and feeding sessions with their hair all askew and looking decidedly un-suave. The rest of us had the good sense to stay inside and play games.

The Southwest Gamer's Fair was big fun. They had all sorts of games going on, including an outstanding recreation of the 1813 Battle of Leipzig in 15mm miniature that was played on a historically-accurate, painted felt map that was 30 feet square. It was awesome.

I ran some INWO, Car Wars and GURPS, ate a little El Paso Tex-Mex and bought a Gene Simmons action figure (another of my hidden pleasures revealed -- I believe that KISS was an extremely underrated band ...). Anyway, it was big fun, and I hope to go back next year.
-- Scott Haring

March 30, 1998: So Long, Micah

Last Friday was Micah Jackson's last day here. He has been with us about a year, serving as both Czar of New Media and Licensing Director. In his time at SJ Games, among many other accomplishments, he got the GURPS CD-ROM project off the ground, and negotiated two online GURPS deals and the Korean (!!) translation of the GURPS Basic Set.

He's following his heart to Chicago, but will continue to work with us on some licensing matters and will be joining me at the Computer Game Developer's Conference this May in Long Beach.

Yes, this leaves one, or possibly two posts, up in the air. No, we have not yet posted job descriptions.
-- Steve Jackson

More Pyramid News

Our Pyramid Chat server is now online; Pyramid subscribers can login via their favorite MUD client or our Java Chat page. We'll be scheduling regular chats with SJG staff soon!

Cool New Auction Lots

Now up in our auction: three identical lots of a single uncut sheet of the 100 INWO SubGenius cards. Hail "Bob"!

March 29, 1998: Pyramid Grand Opening!

Making its debut today is the new online version of Pyramid Magazine -- click on over and check it out!

This is the end of Pyramid as a paper publication -- Issue #30, going to the printer this week, will be the last one. Subscribers will be sent refund checks for the outstanding balance within 30 days.

Of course, we hope you'll reinvest those refunds in Pyramid's new incarnation. We think it's a much better deal -- you'll get more articles per year from us, plus better industry news coverage, access to playtest files and magazine archives, live chats and more, all for half of what an old subscription cost!

Everything you need to know is at the all-new online home of Pyramid Magazine -- see you there!
-- Scott Haring

March 28, 1998: Worldcon Gaming

Since I have so much free time that it is a constant burden on me, I've accepted the job of gaming czar (hmm, have to ask them what the real title is) for this year's World Science Fiction Convention, Bucconeer, to be held August 5-9 in Baltimore.

I will be depending heavily on my Eastern-seaboard MIBs for help; thanks in advance. We will be talking.

This will be an interesting gig. In the first place, it's the same weekend as GenCon, so the gaming-geek turnout may be smaller than usual. That means we have to pitch our presentation to people who are FANNISH, and game (or might game) OCCASIONALLY.

In the second place, it's a somewhat spread-out convention, and it is possible that our game space may not be right on the beaten path. We are working on that . . .

And in the third place, their dealer room is already SOLD OUT. If you don't have a table now, you can't expect to get one. That might change. Don't hold your breath unless you look good in blue.

But with all that, it's still thoroughly neat to have the opportunity to present gaming to the WorldCon attendees, and I'm looking forward to it. Feel free to correspond if you plan to come to the con and want to volunteer some time . . . or if your game publisher wants to run some demos or tournaments . . . or whatever.

We'll be creating a web page with more info about Worldcon gaming, when I have more info.
-- Steve Jackson

March 27, 1998: The Incident

Illuminated Site of the Week: You've heard the story over and over. Fellow finds a mysterious book; when he reads it, he's terrified; before he can finish studying it, his home is broken into and the book is taken. Happens all the time, right? But the creator of the website called The Incident just happened to scan some of the pages first, and here they are on the Web. If you recognize the people in the photographs, write and tell him; he seems to like mail.

-- Suggested by Sunflower

March 26, 1998: Off to I-Con

This weekend, I'll be at the State University of New York at Stony Brook for I-Con, the East Coast's largest SF/fantasy con. There's a lot of gaming, too, and the MIBs will be out in full force. If you're in the area, come by the con and see me . . .
-- Steve Jackson

March 25, 1998: Out in the West Texas Town of El Paso . . .

This weekend I'll be at the Southwest Gamers' Fair in El Paso, TX. The con is Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Airport Quality Inn.

I'll be running a GURPS event, an INWO tournament and some Car Wars mayhem, too.

If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by.
-- Scott Haring

March 24, 1998: More Distributor Closings

It continues to be an interesting year for game distributors. Berkeley Game Distributors, the second-largest distributor in the business, has been acquired by Top Line Distributing, a card distributor. The operations of the BGD Carson and TLD Martinez warehouses are to be be consolidated into the BGD North (Berkeley) location in April. The Berkeley South location is to remain open in a "streamlined" form.

Also, Adventure Distributing of Cohoes, NY is closing. Their inventory is being picked up by SyCo Distribution of Manassas Park, VA.

We can only wait to see what will happen next.
-- Loren Wiseman

March 23, 1998: Steel Cage Chess Death Match!

OK, it's not in a steel cage, and it's not to the death. But we did just recently get this really cool large chessboard with magnetic pieces (from our friends at Chessex Southwest -- thanks guys!), and the upstarts in our shipping department challenged the rest of us to a match.

Anyone who's interested can participate, which can lead to some complications when somebody walks by and makes a move for your side that the rest of us don't agree with . . . but it's not like we're playing for money or anything. Everyone Else has already beaten the Shipping Department once, and a second match is in progress. We'll keep doing this until we get tired of it. When this game ends, we'll let you know who won.

Coming next . . . Steel Cage Knightmare Chess Death Match!

-- Scott Haring

March 22, 1998: Vehicles 2nd Ed. Reprint

The reprint of GURPS Vehicles, 2nd Ed. has arrived . . . well, at least the advance copies. The rest are still on a truck somewhere.

We're happy to bring this important book in the GURPS line back into print. The new printing should be in game stores by mid-April.
-- Scott Haring

March 21, 1998: GURPS in Korean!

Those of you who are faithful fans of Steve Jackson Games and GURPS know that the Basic Set has been translated into eight foreign languages. The latest addition to this list is Korean. Dayspring Games, which has just sent us our file copies, did an excellent job. Now our Korean fans can play in their native language. Ask for it whever Korean games are sold.
-- Micah Jackson

March 20, 1998: Harleys of the Gods

Illuminated Site of the Week: An Illuminated motorcycle club (very Discordian, it appears), with some beautiful art on their pages! Visit the online turf of the Bavarian Illuminated Motorcycle Cabal. Are they real? Come on. Is ANYTHING real?

-- Suggested by Drakken

March 19, 1998: Pyramid #29 Back from the Printer

[ cover ] The advance copies of Pyramid #29 arrived this week, and they look just beautiful. The rest of them are on a truck somewhere, and when they get here (along with a couple of other items), we'll have some stuff to send out that should be in the stores by mid-April.

-- Scott Haring

March 18, 1998: South by Southwest

also known as SXSW, is the film/music/interactive festival that hits Austin about this time every year. It's worth a trip even if you're NOT already in town.

Micah and I both appeared on panels this year. He got to talk about multiplayer online games, which is a hot topic right now. I was on a panel with Gregory Kallenberg (who covers tech culture for Austin's daily paper, and isn't it great to live in a town that NEEDS a tech culture writer); Warren Spector, once of SJ Games but now in the stratosphere with Ion Storm; Ellen Guon Beeman, co-founder of Illusion Machines; and Tim Little of Charybdis. All of Austin. And the subject of the panel was basically "Austin is already a gaming center, though it's not up there with Silicon Valley yet. Why not? Well, we have the talent here, but the control and the money are in California."

For now, anyway. It was a very interesting panel.
-- Steve Jackson

March 17, 1998: The Wheel Turns . . .

Our Marketing Director, Cecilia Remus, has left us for health reasons. We wish her all the best.

Loren Earning a battlefield promotion to Marketing Director is Loren Wiseman, who will continue to work on the GURPS Traveller line, but must give up his Art Director position.

Alain Enter Alain Dawson, fresh from the drive down from Chicago. The original plan was to use Alain exclusively as a production artist and game editor, but what with this Art Director thing opening up . . . what the heck. Alain will continue her work on In Nomine as well (she's writing the adventure for The Final Trumpet).

Jack And as long as we had the digital camera out, here's a picture of Jack Elmy, the new production guy we hired about two months ago. What a good-looking crew!
-- Scott Haring

March 16, 1998: More Praise for Russia!

Two new GURPS books are covered in Out of the Box - the review column of Mania, the online site for All That Kind Of Stuff We Like. Kenneth Hite reviewed GURPS Russia and GURPS Bio-Tech, and liked them both.

Remember, GURPS Russia is available only by direct mail from SJ Games which means if you want it, you need to visit our web catalog. We thank you, the <>author thanks you, your nation thanks you . . .
-- Steve Jackson

March 15, 1998: It All Comes Together Now

We received this information anonymously . . . but we think its obvious erudition, comprehensiveness and authority speak for themselves. It certainly answers all our questions.

March 14, 1998: Infernal Player's Guide to the Printer

The Infernal Player's Guide for In Nomine went to the printer this week.

The IPG has expanded writeups on all seven major Demonic Bands, and tons of information for players and GMs alike on roleplaying all sorts of demons in all sorts of situations, incliding climbing the infernal ladder of power and influence; dealing with your Superior; demonic reproduction; imps, gremlins and demonlings; even Redemption.

Look for the Infernal Player's Guide in a store near you in the latter half of April.

-- Scott Haring

March 13, 1998: But Seriously, Folks . . .

Illuminated Site of the Week: We get a lot of requests for "true" information about the "real" Illuminati. And we laugh madly, because our part of the Conspiracy has nothing to do with straight answers. So if you want a digest of data about the historical Illuminati, IGNORE THIS PAGE FNORD and visit the Bavarian Illluminati FAQ of A-albionic Research. This is not even a regular web page (maybe if we asked nicely we could get permission to duplicate it here . . . ?) Read it anyway.

-- Steve Jackson

March 12, 1998: Players Sue Ultima Online

Origin Systems, publisher of the hugely popular multiplayer net-game Ultima Online, has been sued by a group of players who allege that the quality and availability of the game fails to live up to advertisements.

The current issue of GameSpot has a more detailed report.

March 11, 1998: RadCon Report Online

The Death Race Association of Washington has a complete report of the Car Wars event recently held at RadCon. The event was done in 3-D, at 3x or 4x scale, and the pictues are really cool.

Actually, the entire DRAW site is well worth visiting, with play-by-email games, arena maps, vehicle designs and lots of cool graphics. Check it out.
-- Scott Haring

March 10, 1998: The First Review . . .

. . . of GURPS Russia is already out, courtesy of those fine folks at RPGNet. Thanks, guys!

Click here to go directly to the review.
-- Scott Haring

March 9, 1998: Warehouse Level 4 Opens!

It's finished. You don't want to know what we did with the dirt. Visit the Warehouse and see the new toys . . .
-- Steve Jackson

March 8, 1998: My New Pet Rock

Isn't it pretty? The picture doesn't really show scale, but it's more than a foot across. This was carved by Dana Blankenship, who the Illuminati really, really like. Thank you! It's going home now, to increase the already-high level of Slack in my garden.

-- Steve Jackson

March 7, 1998: Water on the Moon!

Well, ice, anyway. LOTS of it.

Stefan Jones reports this coooooooool news from Lunar Prospector, via the NASA web site:

Ice. Between 10 million tons and 1.2 billion tons (depending on depth), spread over 15,000 km2 and 70,000 km2 at the North and South lunar poles. It's apparently a minor constituent of the polar moon-dirt it will have to be mined and purified but it's there.

Novelists, near-future game designers and dreamers, start revising your scenarios for Luna for the next century. The moon colony just became a LOT more feasible. (I'm already thinking about what this does to Triplanetary . . .)
-- Steve Jackson

Game Designers Hurt in Air Crash

Wargame designers Dean Essig and Dave Powell and friend Chris Volny were injured in the crash of a private airplane in Chapel Hill, NC. Essig owns and runs The Gamers, publishers of traditional wargames.

The three were flying to North Carolina on Feb. 25 for a miniature airplane meet. Essig, who was flying the 1949 Cessna from Illinois, overcorrected when he tried to abort a landing, according to a follow-up story in Wednesday's edition of the Chapel Hill News.

Essig underwent surgery to repair a badly broken ankle, and also suffered broken ribs, a broken nose and a fractured shoulder. Powell had his leg operated on, but seems to be in the best shape of the three. Essig and Powell are due to be released shortly. Volny is in intensive care after spinal surgery Monday.

-- Scott Haring

March 6, 1998: The First Church of Shatnerology

Illuminated Site of the Week: Hallelujah! Praise the Toupee! Here's your chance to get in on the ground floor of a lunatic millennium cult - with a difference! Point your browser to The First Church of Shatnerology and bask in the awe and majesty of all things Shatner.

-- Number 2, Illuminated Sitekeeper. Site suggested by Jeff Hitchin.

Jumping the Gun, Part Deux

Well, I have had quite a few responses to yesterday's Illuminator, but let me just add this followup: If you aren't willing to give me the name, city and phone number of your store, or the store where you saw the product early, don't bother contacting me. Breaking release dates is a serious problem. Stores suffer greatly because of it. We rely on their business, and don't WANT them to suffer. But my hands are tied if noone is willing to stand and be counted. Again, if you've seen Liber Reliquarum on the shelves before March 4, or are a store that was solicited for delivery before that date, and are willing to back it up, contact me and I'll take care of you.
-- Woody Eblom

March 5, 1998: Did someone jump the gun on Liber?

All our new releases have "release-by" dates. The distributors are not allowed to ship them before this date. The intent, of course, is to let us ship out our books early enough that everyone can get them on time, without offering an unfair advantage to those distributors who are closer to us.

We have reason to fear that one distributor ignored the release date and shipped Liber Reliquarum early. It should have shipped FROM the distributors YESTERDAY. So if you saw it in a store before TODAY, March 5, there's a problem. (If you see it in a store today, that's still probably a problem.

If you saw Liber in a store on or before today, March 5, please drop e-mail to Woody Eblom ( This does not create trouble for the retailer; retailers have no way of knowing they were shipped early. But if a distributor really jumped the gun, we want to know, and we want to have a talk with them, in fairness to the other distributors.
-- Steve Jackson

March 4, 1998: Now Shipping!

Now on the way to distributors everywhere

Liber Reliquarum is the latest supplement for In Nomine. Lots of cool and frightening relics, reliquaries, artifacts and talismans for your campaign, and enough adventure ideas to keep a campaign going until Armageddon (coming to you later this year . . . what, you don't read the newspapers?).

Also at the distributors are the reprints of GURPS Grimoire and GURPS Alternate Earths. Depending on how tight your local retailer is with his distributor, these books could even be on the shelves by the time you read this.
-- Scott Haring

March 3, 1998: A Visit from Rev. Stang

[pic of SJ (left) and Stang] The Most Illuminated, Slack-ful and Wholly-Something-Or-Other Rev. Ivan Stang has been our guest the past few days in the SJ Games offices. Rev. Stang, the Sacred Scribe of the Church of the SubGenius, has been here helping with the final tweaks on the production of INWO SubGenius. Art is being refined, cards fine-tuned, box covers slathered in slack . . . it's a beautiful, and somewhat strange, thing.

The results of all this will be apparent to you all sometime in April, when INWO SubGenius hits the stores. Ask for it by name!

-- Scott Haring

March 2, 1998: Return of the Traveller News Service

Traveller fans will remember that one of the best features of the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society was the Traveller News Service. Written in the form of a newswire, it reported the ongoing events of the official Traveller universe.

Well, it's back.

Loren Wiseman has hit the ground running, and the first GURPS Traveller material will be posted for playtest soon. And he's also picked up TNS where it left off in 1987, when GDW ended the "classic" Traveller continuity and moved into the Rebellion Era of MegaTraveller.

Since GURPS Traveller is set in the official alternate history where the Imperium didn't fall, we're restarting TNS. As it did for almost 20 years, it will tell the ongoing story of the universe of Strephon's Imperium.

But now it's on the web. Loren Wiseman will be updating it regularly, and you can check out current events any time.

It sent a chill down my spine when I read Loren's first new TNS dispatch (which you can find under "Previous Trasmissions" at the TNS site).

I hope you enjoy this revival of one of gaming's classics as much as I do.
-- Steve Jackson

March 1, 1998: As Seen on Tee Vee!

Alert agent Stan Bundy reports:

In the special presentation "Beyond T-Rex" on the Discovery Channel, a kid goes into the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, goes into the museum shop, and buys a plastic T-Rex. However, for the entire scene in the shop, a display box of Dino Hunt is prominently shown on the opposite end of the the small register counter from the register itself. I wonder which of the secret masters were responsible for it being the only commercial dinosaur product so displayed in the entire show...

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