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July 31, 1999: The Show Must Go On

Improv actor Del Close died in March but will continue to appear on stage. See the Chicago Tribune story.

July 30, 1999: The Wave of the Future

Illuminated Site of the Week: Attention, would-be time travelers: Steven L. Gibbs is offering time machines at cut-rate prices. $360 puts you in the driver's seat of a Hyper-Dimensional Resonator, allowing you to mentally travel through time. (You can use it for physical travel only in areas where UFOs have been spotted.)

If the price is a little steep, you can score a number of books from the order form that will let you build your own time machines, time portals and Tesla-coil conversions. You can even learn the secrets of the Philadelphia Experiment, no naval destroyer required.

-- Suggested by Reid Simmons

July 29, 1999: Lego Ogre

Take a look at what Jonathan Woodward has been up to . . . he's creating a robotic Ogre Mark V out of Lego, using the Mindstorms system for the "intelligence" . . . here are his regular progress reports.
-- Steve Jackson

July 28, 1999: The Best of the Worst

Every year, the annual Bulwer-Lytton Writing Contest honors a few brave souls for creating truly bad, awful, terrible, purple prose . . . on purpose. This year's results are in . . . see the CNN story.

July 27, 1999: New Toys For Production

And there was much rejoicing . . .

The production department is ecstatic over the recent purchase of two spankin' new Macintosh G3 computers. We are currently playing musical computer as we phase out the oldest machines and get information swapped onto the new ones. The new computers will help us get through the next few months, as we gear up to bring you loads of neat stuff for the holiday season.
Alain Dawson

July 26, 1999: Uplift Has Started

If you enjoyed GURPS Uplift, visit this Sunday Times article. Great apes are being taught to talk, using computer equipment . . . and it's working.

July 25, 1999: Decipher To Acquire FASA

Yes, really. Those of you who read Pyramid already know about it. The rest of you might want to head over and check it out . . .
-- Steve Jackson

July 24, 1999: Just Shipped

The following products left our warehouse last week, headed for your local game store:

Alien Races 2 Alien Races II (for GURPS Traveller)
The second book in the GURPS Traveller Alien Races series, Alien Races 2: Aslan and K'kree addresses the biology, home worlds, culture, and society of the fierce Aslan, the centaurian K'kree, and two minor species. It details their historical involvement with the Imperium, from first contact to present, and presents racial templates, rules for playing alien characters, and examples of unique technologies and ship designs.

Stock #6607, ISBN 1-55634-392-2 . $20.95.

GURPS: Mecha GURPS Mecha (reprint)
From battlesuited space marines making an orbital drop to cinematic Japanese anime action featuring giant walking tanks piloted by beautiful alien princesses, GURPS Mecha covers the entire genre of mecha action! In the pages of Mecha you'll find an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to building mecha, special combat rules that emphasize the cinematic nature of mecha combat, and advanced rules with a plethora of options like transforming and combining machines that can turn into cycles or fighter planes, overload boosters, psionic mecha, energy battlesuits, giant swords and shields, even steam punk mecha!

Stock #6021, ISBN 1-55634-239-X . $19.95.

[GURPS Warriors] GURPS Warriors
Mighty barbarians hacking away with massive broadswords and battle-weary grunts with cordite-stung eyes come to life! GURPS Warriors expands upon the template system introduced by GURPS guru Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch in GURPS Wizards so you can get on with the game!

Inside you'll find 29 warrior archetypes, along with templates and design advice allowing you to quickly and efficiently recruit your new warrior.

Stock #6085, ISBN 1-55634-393-0 . $19.95.

-- Keith Johnson

July 23, 1999: The, Reptile Days of August

Illuminated Site of the Week: The royal family's ills are just beginning, it seems, and the results will drag us all down with them. According to Arizona Wilder, former human sacrificer, it's all prelude to August 11-13, when we will see the gates of hell opened at Giza. On the Day of Hecate, negative energy will infuse the world's ley lines, our collective third eyes will be closed, and...well, read about it for yourself at David Icke's site.
-- Suggested by Eduardo Cavazos

July 22, 1999: Pirate Pics from Marcon

Brian Spicer took a lot of photos of the Pirate Game at Marcon. And without further ado, here they are. Arrrrrrr!

The next appearance of the Pirate Game will be at Crescent City Con in New Orleans in early August.
-- Steve Jackson

July 21, 1999: Illuminated Support

We have just posted tournament rules for Illuminati, and updated the errata page as well. By the way, if you haven't seen Illuminati Y2K yet, check it out . . .
-- Steve Jackson

July 20, 1999: But It's For Science!

Physicists are reported to be concerned that a planned experiment might accidentally destroy the whole Earth in the twinkling of an eye. Read the Sunday Times story here.

July 19, 1999: IN Game Master's Guide Now In Playtest!

Now in playtest! The In Nomine Game Master's Guide contains information for both new and experienced GMs - tips, universal mechanics, unanswered (if not unanswerable) questions, and everything you need to build your campaign the way you want it!

Also in playtest is the first of the long-awaited Superiors books, containing not just the existing expanded write-ups of David, Dominic, Laurence, and Michael, but also all-new material on what it's like to be a Servitor of those Words.

All you need is a Pyramid subscription . . .

-- Keith Johnson

July 18, 1999: The Auction Returns . . .

after a brief break. It won't look any different to users, but Kira has rewritten and SQLized the code to make it easier to maintain.

GURPS fans will find the three new lots interesting. We have three copies of the [beautiful!!] new hardback edition of the GURPS Basic Set, with mint condition dustjacket and ad ribbon, signed by both Steve Jackson and the Japanese translator, Hitoshi Yasuda.

We very much appreciate the support you've given the auction. Not only does it give us a way to get Neat Stuff into appreciative hands, but it's also financed the hardware that keeps this website growing and smoking. Thanks!
-- Steve Jackson

July 17, 1999: When "Mostly Harmless" Just Won't Do

Illuminated Site of the Week: This ambitious site is trying to make Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy a reality. There are limits, of course - book-sized computers that can hold it all don't exist yet, and most of the entries will be pretty Earthcentric - but we do have towels, and you can even take part in the Guide's development. They take submissions for any subject, large or small, you care to pontificate on.

-- Suggested by Denis Sarrazin

July 16, 1999: GURPS Lite Translated . . .

There is now a German edition of GURPS Lite, and there was discussion of an Italian translation, though the magazine that wanted to do it doesn't have the budget to hire a translator at the moment. Recently I got a request to translate it into Russian. The little wheels start to turn . . .

I can think of no reason not to make GURPS Lite available in LOTS of languages. If you're interested in working on this, contact me. We're not offering to HIRE translators for two dozen languages (sorry, guys) . . . but if you volunteer for your language, we'll post the results in PDF files for everybody to download and copy for free, and the translators will get their names on the finished work. We may also find that game magazines in the various languages want to publish it!

Ideally I'd like to see committees form for each language, since it's harder to do these things alone; these committees might or might not be (or become) MIB cells. Fnord.

July 15, 1999: IN Superiors 1 now in playtest!

Seraphim and Malakim, aggressive or authoritarian . . . War, Stone, Judgment, and the Sword. These four Archangels are covered in depth in Superiors 1, with all the material a Game Master needs to understand their goals and psychology, as well as everything a player needs to understand what it's like to be a member of their organization. Adventure seeds are also provided, tailored to the types of problems and assignments of these four Archangels.

The Superiors 1 playtest files are now available to Pyramid subscribers!

-- Keith Johnson

July 14, 1999: Splat!

Last Saturday our staff got together for a battle slightly less cerebral than our usual ones. Paintball.

Ten people braved the Texas summer heat and the flying paint pellets. Entirely too much fun was had. For those who have never tried: Getting hit doesn't hurt . . . if the pellet breaks. If it doesn't break, you get a truly livid long-distance hickey. Of course, if the pellet doesn't break, you're not dead; this is some consolation.

Afterwards, we went over to Alain's apartment pool, had a picnic lunch, swam, and told war stories. This was fun; we'll have to do it again someday. Hmm . . . maybe a challenge match with the Illuminati Online folks?
-- Steve Jackson

July 13, 1999: Dragon*Con '99

Dragon*Con '99 was held in Atlanta Georgia from July 1st to the 4th, and SJ Games (in the form of my humble self and a crew of MiBs) was there!. I got to meet some old friends and made a few new ones. Our booth was located directly opposite a place that runs a haunted house in Atlanta, and there were almost always several costumed creatures patrolling the aisle, to the excitement and chagrin of children of all ages.

The two seminars I gave were well-attended, and sales were good -- we ran out of Deluxe Illuminati on Friday, and had to have more shipped in to satisfy the ravenous crowds. We reserved our space for next year, and I plan on returning.

Loren and the MIBs MIBs at the con/booth workers: (L to R) Lee Walker, Loren Wiseman, Matt Lee, Steve Fritz and Bill Sides. I don't know who took the picture, but fortunately, they didn't take the camera!

SJG Booth Loren Wiseman in the SJ Games booth before the crowds were admitted Friday morning. Bill Sides took the picture.

-- Loren Wiseman

July 12, 1999: The Death Clock

Wonder how long you've got? Check the Death Clock. It told me I had 27 years left. That's several thousand less than I want . . . fooey. Then the Pessimistic setting gave me only ten years, and the Sadistic setting said I'd been dead since 1990.

I assume this is just using raw actuarial averages, since it doesn't ask any lifestyle questions at all. It's still fun. Kind of . . .
-- Steve Jackson

July 11, 1999: Writers' Coding Guide Updated

The Coding Guide has just been updated and posted to the Writers Guidelines page in General Information. Anyone who is writing or editing for SJ Games, or who might in the future, please review the changes that have been made. It is very important that the codes are correct, because they affect playtest files as well as the Quark layout. The URL is
-- Alain H. Dawson, Managing Editor

July 10, 1999: The End Of The Yahoo! Affair

Yahoo! has now reworked its GeoCities agreement yet again; this time it really does appear to claim only the rights they need to have in order to legally back up, mirror and promote their sites. The new terms of service explicitly terminate their rights when your site is removed from GeoCities. For details, see the main boycott site.

That should end that particular tempest . . .
-- Steve Jackson

July 9, 1999: Miracles of Modern Technology

Illuminated Site of the Week: Whatever your involvement with computers, we all rely on the same tool when working with this temperamental medium: prayer. If you've ever lost a file, the Daioh Temple of Daioh Mountain can sympathize. As technology increases and information of all kinds becomes ever more digital, they have decided to hold an annual Buddhist prayer for lost information.

The site also offers insights into Buddhist philosophy and is available in Japanese.

-- Suggested by Jeff Wilson

July 8, 1999: GURPS Space, Third Edition in Playtest

The Origins Award-winning GURPS Space is now entering its third edition! Revised by GURPS author extraordinaire David Pulver, this new and greatly expanded edition will not only fix errata and update scientific data, but will also include new starship construction and space combat systems compatible with GURPS Vehicles. We have only a limited time available for this playtest, so interested Pyramid subscribers should act now!

-- Keith Johnson

July 7, 1999: New Game Aids Coordinator

John Schmidt, leader of the Columbia cell of our Men In Black, has just taken over the job of Game Aids Coordinator (replacing Reese Harrell, who is now working full-time as our Retail Sales Manager). John will be aided by the rest of his cell and certain fnord others. You may reach him at

Note, please: if you have a game aid under evaluation, or a currently unanswered question, there is no need to write John right now to say "What's the status?" The status is, he has a lot of mail to go through, and about 3 dozen files to get up to speed on, and duplicate inquiries won't make his job any easier . . . If you haven't heard anything from him in, say, three weeks, THEN you might want to make sure nothing has fallen through the cracks.
-- Steve Jackson

July 6, 1999: Hot Lead from an Alternate World

(For those who don't know: Hot Lead was a miniatures system that I planned to publish years ago, but it was never released.)

However, has a page for Hot Lead, with a note saying "out of print." This is one of literally dozens of errors in their listings of our products (which is why we don't point to them) . . . and we've warned amazon about their errors before, but they don't seem to get fixed.

The funny thing, though, is that now somebody has hoaxed them by posting a (glowing) review of this nonexistent book. See for yourself . . .
-- Steve Jackson

July 5, 1999: Hex Paper and Other Delights

Marcus Rowland has just alerted us to a French site, hidden under the harmless-seeming code name of Clinical Chemistry Software, that has several freeware scientific programs . . . including a graph paper design program, downloadable in several languages including English. It prints lots of odd formats including beehive (hex), music, and polar coordinates. The applications should be obvious . . .

July 4, 1999: We'll Not See His Like Again

David Sutch, better known as Screaming Lord Sutch, is dead. His loss will leave a gap in British politics that will be hard -- nay, impossible -- to fill.

As the founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party, Sutch never won an election in more than 30 years (though a member of his party WAS once elected mayor of a small English town). But he did shake up the British political scene with questions like "Why is there only one Monopolies Commission?"

Perhaps, in his trademark top hat and gold lame suit, he took some satisfaction in Jesse Ventura's election. Who knows? A few more candidates like Sutch, and politics could become respectable again.
-- Steve Jackson

July 3, 1999: Conventions This Weekend

Conventions love to schedule around three-day holiday weekends, and the Fourth of July is no exception (in fact, it's one of the most popular dates for cons). This weekend, we have major representation at four (!) conventions:

Steve is at InConJunction in Indianapolis, as he mentioned in Thursday's Daily Illuminator. Our Indy Men In Black will be running our booth there, and lots of our games will be played.

GURPS Traveller line editor Loren Wiseman is at Dragon-Con in Atlanta. Loren is a guest of Dragon-Con, but will be helping our Men In Black run the booth, as well.

To make our coverage even, we also have a booth at Westercon, the annual western region's SF convention held this year in Spokane. We're being represented there entirely by our west-coast MIBs.

And last but definitely not least is Origins! SJ Games products are being carried at Origins by Adventure Retail Ltd. (I may be ambitious, but I'm not completely insane!), and many games will be run, not least of which is the annual Car Wars World Racing Championship! I expect a large number of our Men In Black as well as regular fans will be running as many games as they have hit points for . . .

So if you haven't made other plans for this weekend yet, and are near one of these shows, you should drop by, at least for a day. Much fun will be had by all!

-- Monica Stephens, Convention Manager

July 2, 1999: Dave's Web of Lies

Illuminated Site of the Week: The Internet is full of hoaxes and scams, and Dave's Web of Lies tries to nail them all. They make every effort to ensure not one word they post has a shred of truth to it, but everyone makes mistakes, so feel free to submit your own fables, falsehoods and prevarications.

-- Suggested by Mark Bassett

July 1, 1999: InConJunction

I'll be spending the July 4 weekend at this Indianapolis SF con. I visited InConJunction last year and had a very good time . . . lots of gaming, good panels and a SubGenius Devival. If you're anywhere near Indy, come see me . . .
-- Steve Jackson

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