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June 30, 1999: Yahoo Copyright Controversy

Angered over a recent change in the Yahoo! terms of service which appears to make Yahoo! the co-owner of all text and art placed on its "free" web pages at GeoCities, some (ex?) users of the service have announced a boycott of Yahoo! services. I'm not a lawyer, but I checked the Terms of Service page for Yahoo! and it does seem to say exactly what the boycott page says that it does -- and PERSONALLY, as someone who makes his living by writing, I would never agree to these terms.

Furthermore, there are several SJ Games fan pages on Geocities, some of which use SJ Games content under the terms of our online policy. The Yahoo! policy requires its users to "warrant that the owner of such Content has expressly granted" permission for Yahoo! to become a co-owner of content on their pages. Needless to say, SJ Games has not granted, and will not grant, any such permission.

It will be very interesting to see how this shakes out. I would not advise either panic or indignation just yet . . . give Yahoo! time to answer. The answer may very well be "Whoops, we didn't mean that, here's our new agreement." Let's hope so.
-- Steve Jackson

June 29, 1999: Online Communities for In Nomine

We have now officially launched our program for ORCs (Online Roleplaying Communities, heh, heh) for In Nomine.

You can read the details right here . . . for more info, contact Orc, the Angel of Networks, at
-- Steve Jackson

June 28, 1999: Harder Softcovers

From time to time, we get complaints that our book covers scuff too easily. This is because we use a relatively "soft" coating on the covers. It's called aqeous coating. Its advantage is that it's not too shiny and it doesn't curl.

The harder, shinier coating is called "film lamination." It's a bit more costly, but the big problem with it is that, at least in the past, it tended to curl or even come off, especially if the book was in a humid environment.

Our printers tell us that this problem has been solved, so we used it for GURPS Russia (with its white cover, it needed all the protection it could get). It seems to have worked all right. So for the upcoming reprint of Compendium I (no, we haven't run out, but we want to make sure we DON'T run out) we'll try the film lamination.
-- Steve Jackson

June 27, 1999: Welcome to TL8

The cloning has started. See the BBC story.
-- Steve Jackson

June 26, 1999: If you can't baffle them with brilliance...

Illuminated Site of the Week: ...befuddle them with the Postmodernism Generator. Andrew C. Bulhak's program uses the Dada Engine to randomly create an essay so confusing and oblique, even the most posturing professor will assume you're a genius.

-- Suggested by Patrick Anders and Phil Anderson

June 25, 1999: Off to Gargoyle Land

Which in this case is Dallas, at least for the weekend. Monica Stephens and I will be at The Gathering - the 1999 Gargoyles World Tour. This is a con for the animated "Gargoyles" TV show. What's the connection? The Illuminati, of course! Watch the show if you don't know what we mean.

This will also be the first con at which we have the Illuminati Y2K expansion set. I'm looking forward to seeing player reactions . . .
-- Steve Jackson

June 24, 1999: GURPS Rogues in Playtest!

Pssst! Looking for a REAL character assassin? The gal who stole your heart (along with your wallet)? Or maybe just a really good fiend for life? GURPS Rogues -- the third template book in a series that includes GURPS Wizards and GURPS Warriors -- is entering playtest now! So sit down, punch up the Pyramid site, grab a fresh mugshot of Joe (or whoever robbed you last week), and help us check out the files on these ne'er-do-wells . . .
-- Keith Johnson

June 23, 1999: The Jar-Jargonizer

Will turn either a Web page or e-mail in a vile Gungan accent. The longer the page, the better the effect, and there are a lot of current-events-related substitutions . . . try it on a news site. If you hate Jar Jar, you'll probably like this anyhow. Maybe.
-- Steve Jackson

June 22, 1999: When Hell Freezes Over, You'll Know

Yet another twisted work of genius from the folks at Brunching Shuttlecocks: the Weather Report for Hell. Updated daily, or so they claim. Furthermore, they supply HTML code so you can add it to your own site . . . we'll have to stick this on the In Nomine page . . . Thanks to John Karakash for alerting us to this valuable public service.
-- Steve Jackson

June 21, 1999: GURPS Diabolic Constructions in Playtest!

Ever wonder who builds shark pits and fortified ski lodges for the Secret Masters? Where spies really get outré gadgets like cigarette rockets and tight leather jumpsuits? GURPS Diabolic Constructions reveals all! Diabolic Constructions is a compendium of deathtraps, gadgets, and secret bases for villains, spies, and other lunatics from all times, places, and genres. More than just an equipment list, it is the catalog of "Diabolic Constructions, Ltd." (DCL), an illuminated company that has been building customized equipment for villains throughout history.

Come on over to Pyramid and help us test our deathtraps!

-- Keith Johnson

June 20, 1999: New Game Aids

We've got three new game aids for you to play with:

Denis Serazin has created a shareware program called GURPS GURU (the "Generic Universal Roleplaying Utility"). It takes the pain out of character creation by doing all of the gruntwork for you. You'll still need to know the basics of character creation and understand the various aspects of the GURPS books that you are using when creating your characters.

Also, all of the updates and goodies that Denis writes for GURU are available for download here. Along with the downloads, complete instructions for how to import the new goodies are included on the page.

You can download a fully functional version of GURU, which will be good for a month from the time you download it. If you wish to continue using it after the evaluation period is up, you must purchase it from .RegSoft.

From the mind of Rob Prior comes GURPS Traveller Shipyard, a shareware program that allows you to do starship design for GURPS Traveller (or any other space campaign, really) with relative ease and simplicity. It even includes little reminders to tell you what you still need when designing your ship. The interface is user friendly and easy to follow. Plug in what you want and it does the calculations for you! You can download the demo version from the Game Aids page or the BITS site.

Beam Weapon Designer was created by Greg Henle. This ingenious, printable Java-script application does all of the calculations for you. You have the option of naming your custom made weapon, adding a description, telling it exactly what you're looking for, or using default settings. You don't really have to know anything about weapon design or construction to use this program.
-- Reese Harrell

June 19, 1999: GURPS Lite

The brand new and slightly improved version of GURPS Lite is now available free, in PDF format, over the web. You'll need the Acrobat reader to view the pdf file. To make GURPS Lite fit on a sheet of A4 paper, simply choose the "Shrink to Fit" option before choosing "Ok" in the Print window. This works for both Macs and PCs.

You can also now order a printed copy of GURPS Lite; we had 30,000 printed up. If you order it along with something else from Warehouse 23, it's free; if you order it by itself, there's a $2 charge for shipping.

June 18, 1999: Reply fnordy, ask again later

Illuminated Site of the Week: If you've ever wondered how the Illuminated Site of the Week is selected, shake up Erik Dewey's site and gaze through the smoky bottom. Our methods are similar, though not quite as scientific.

-- Suggested by Bud Kourik

June 17, 1999: Return Of The Bank Snoops

Remember the so-called "Know Your Customer" rule that the FDIC proposed last year?. If enacted, Know Your Customer would have required banks to monitor your checking and savings account, and report any "unusual transactions" to the federal government. Thanks to huge protests, largely triggered by Internet alerts (including one right here), the proposal was withdrawn.

But it's back.

The Federal Reserve's "Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Manual" pressures banks to develop spy policies similar to Know Your Customer . . . policies that over 88% of banks have begun to implement. After the heat dies down, the Federal Reserve Board plans to repackage Know Your Customer as "policy guidelines" instead of "regulations".

Congressman Ron Paul has introduced the Know Your Customer Sunset Act (HR 516) and the Bank Secrecy Sunset Act (HR 518) that together will repeal existing Know Your Customer reporting requirements, and prevent any new KYC rules from being implemented. Together, these two bills will guarantee that our financial privacy will be respected. But Congress needs to hear from the 250,000 angry citizens who blew the whistle on the original KYC proposal.

Read the updated Defend Your Privacy page to sign an online petition and see what else you can do.
-- Steve Jackson

June 16, 1999: GURPS Low-Tech Now In Playtest!

The TL0 chapter of GURPS Low-Tech is now available for Pyramid subscribers to playtest. The TL1, TL2, and TL3 chapters will follow over the next month or so. For those who missed all the earlier announcements, Low-Tech is a "prequel" to High- Tech and Ultra-Tech. From stone to steel, from caves to castles, it will chronicle the history of technology and human endeavor in the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Middle Ages.
-- Keith Johnson

June 15, 1999: Alliance Open House

Alliance is currently, by far, the largest distributor of adventure games. I spent the weekend at their "open house" in Fort Wayne, Indiana, talked to their management, met a lot of retailers and talked about what was coming up (and what THEY wanted to see), demonstrated some games . . . and even learned a couple. Busy weekend.

The theme of every conversation I had (or overheard): Adventure game distributing is still in flux. WotC is making waves by going direct to some retailers with Pokemon. A few distributors are seeing real growth in the market; others are struggling to pay their bills. And the publishers remain frustrated at how poorly even their new product, let alone back stock, moves through the current retailer/distributor system. (One retailer happily picked Car Wars off my table and asked me "When did that come back?" His sales rep had been telling him it was out of print . . . )

So everyone – publisher, distributor, retailer and gamer – is unsatisfied and looking for new ideas. Some of it is just talk; some of it will turn into real action. Relationships are changing, and will continue to change. You can say a lot of things about the state of our hobby right now, but it's not boring.
-- Steve Jackson

June 14, 1999: Shipping This Week

The following products are shipping this week:

Illuminati Y2K Illuminati Y2K
Yet More Illumination! Deluxe Illuminati enters the new millennium with 109 more cards bringing the global conspiracies in synch with (or slightly ahead of...) the times. The set includes 26 new Specials, 76 new groups, 5 blanks to let you create your own groups - and two new Illuminati, Shangri-La and the Church of the SubGenius! This is a supplement to the recently re-released Deluxe Illuminati.

Stock #1325, ISBN 1-55634-374-4. $14.95.

Put the amazing flexibility and power of the GURPS roleplaying system at your fingertips with this fact-packed GM Screen. Two two-panel screens feature up-to-date charts, tables, and other essentials. Also included is a copy of GURPS Lite, the 32-page core of the GURPS rules designed to provide a simple introduction to the system. It's everything the enterprising GM needs in one compact package.

Stock #6414, ISBN 1-55634-397-3. $10.95.

Warehouse 23 GURPS Warehouse 23 (reprint)
The global power balance teeters on the brink of chaos. We touch too much too soon. We discover things we were never meant to comprehend: Relics created by the whim of mad genius, or aliens, or gods - or godlike DEMONS... substances so potent that a handful could destroy our world, computers so subtle that no network is secure from their manipulation, sorceries dark enough to annihilate the purest soul.

Somewhere, those with true Power have built a facility to imprison these forces... for proper study. For our own good. To insure order. Until THEY decide to unleash them. They know WE aren't yet ready for the contents of Warehouse 23. But are they?

Your players will be delighted. At first.

Stock #6523, ISBN 1-55634-328-0. $19.95.

-- Keith Johnson

June 13, 1999: Hexes and Hot Dogs

Our production artist Jeremy Zauder, who is perhaps TOO alert, has discovered that the foil wrappings from Sonic hot dogs have hex grids on the back! So if you need more map space, just run by Sonic, grab a few hot dogs, scrape off the melted cheese, and away you go . . .
-- Steve Jackson

June 12, 1999: Illuminati Y2K news

Illuminati Y2K came in from the printers yesterday, and it's going right back out to the distributors . .. you'll see it in the stores soon. Now here's a neat thing (thanks to Russell Godwin for pointing it out):

In the Deluxe Illuminati box, each stack of cards sits on a mini-platform. If you remove the platform, you can fit 2 stacks into each depression. Thus, Y2K can be easily placed in the Deluxe box without any adjustment. One would almost think we had planned that.
-- Steve Jackson

June 11, 1999: Phasers on fund-raising, Mr. Spock

Illuminated Site of the Week: American Inventor Eric Herr may have found his backer for an honest-to-goodness phaser in Britain's Ministry of Defense. The ministry wants to issue it to police and peacekeeping forces. The freeze ray, as they are calling it, would incapacitate criminals and rioters at 100 meters without injury by paralyzing the voluntary muscles. It's expected to cost $500,000 to make his patent prototype a reality. Any takers?

-- Suggested by Kira

June 10, 1999: New Triplanetary Counters

Okay, all you patient Triplanetary fans . . . Winchell Chung has created a new and improved counter set, which you can download as a GIF file. There are counters here for variant units as well as the classic ones.

June 9, 1999: More Darths

This Brunching Shuttlecocks feature may hurt your brain very badly.

June 8, 1999: Give Me the Brain!

. . . And while you're at it, give me one dead Dr. Lucky, a copy of Lord of the Fries, a couple of Button Men, and a Devil Bunny to go with it.

What are we talking about? Cheapass Games from Warehouse 23! Yes, Kill Dr. Lucky and all of the rest of the Cheapass line are now available for you to order straight from us, including the newest of the Button Men: Hannah and Kublai!

June 7, 1999: Ross Jepson Joins SJ Games

Ross Jepson is the new sales and marketing contact for Steve Jackson Games. For the past 19 years, Ross owned and operated TD Imports, one of Canada's largest game distributors. He knows exactly what kinds of problems our distributors face. He's also a long-time gamer, so he understands the customer's viewpoint as well.

Ross comments: "The three-tier system is not broken – it is just being manipulated by the whims of a few large manufacturers. Steve Jackson Games is committed to its distributors."

Ross will be working from his home in Alberta (yes, thanks to the net, our staff is getting more and more widespread). He can be reached at

June 6, 1999: Warehouse 23 Specials!

Our Warehouse 23 specials are now up and running . . . check them out. The W23 catalog supports two kinds of specials: a limited-time special (this price good for just X days) and a limited-quantity special (when they're gone, they're gone). We're looking forward to seeing what sort of Weird Stuff we can find and drop into the Specials queue . . . and we welcome your suggestions.

June 5, 1999: Dork Tower Goes Weekly!

Starting now, John Kovalic's wildly popular Dork Tower comic strip will appear every week in Pyramid magazine! These additional strips will be smaller than the usual Dork Towers (the man is only human . . . ); think of them as the "daily" strips in your local newspaper. The full-blown, full-color "Sunday" version of Dork Tower will still appear the first Friday of every month.

And what about Murphy's Rules? Not to worry -- Murphy's will appear *every week* in Pyramid as well, including the first Friday of the month!

June 4, 1999: Illumismurfed Site of the Smurf

Illuminated Site of the Week: Their little blue faces have haunted your dreams since you were a tyke. The wounds may have faded, but the scars are all over your browser when you plug a URL into The Incredible Smurfalizer. The diabolical Smurfalizer alters that page so it mimicks the Smurfs' infuriating speech patterns.

Obviously a Gnomish plot. Fnsmurf.

-- Suggested by Anders Gabrielsson

(And see the Rinkworks site for several more of these filters.)

June 3, 1999: The Spam Recycling Center

Junk e-mail is now under the legislative gun in some states . . . but it's a long way from dead. The Spam Recycling Center is a private initiative that offers you a way to rat out spammers without directly harassing their ISP or (big mistake!) replying to the spammers' "to be removed from this list..." bait. It's run by, but you don't have to join CYM to use the Spam Recycling Center.

It's sponsored by CDNow (which is offering $5-off e-mail certificates at the Spam Recycling Center site). Worth a look!

June 2, 1999: SJ Games Announces GURPS Myth

Steve Jackson Games and Bungie Software proudly announce GURPS Myth - a sourcebook for tabletop roleplaying in the world of Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soulblighter!

GURPS Myth will flesh out the fantasy world of Myth, where the forces of Light must face cyclic outbreaks of Dark hordes in mortal combat. It will explore the many fascinating races, storylines, and characters of Myth, and the possibilities of combining the best of tabletop and computer roleplaying.

Myth and Myth II are the award-winning fantasy-combat games produced by Bungie Software. GURPS Myth will be produced by Steve Jackson Games under license.

-- Gene Seabolt

June 1, 1999: Wanted: Pirate Standies

By "standie," I mean those life-sized cardboard figures that stand up. By "pirate," I mean "Arrrrr!"

I want to get at least one of these – maybe more than one – as stage dressing for the Pirate Game. There's a good one from Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum, and my spies tell me that a standie was also made of Tim Curry as Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island. And who knows what else might be out there?

Send me e-mail if you've got one of these, or can (arrrr!) lay your piratical hands on one, and we'll discuss an appropriate bribe.
-- Steve Jackson

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