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March 31, 1999: Two New GURPS Licenses

Steve Jackson Games has licensed Eden Studios to publish GURPS Conspiracy X.. This book will combine the rich background of mystery, horror and intrigue found in Eden's Conspiracy X with the popular and powerful Generic Universal RolePlaying System.

In Conspiracy X, players take the role of certain governmental officials, from FBI agents to CIA spies to NSA codebreakers to Army Rangers and many more. The bond between these professionals is a super-secret organization called Aegis, formed in the aftermath of the Roswell, NM alien sighting and dedicated to countering alien and supernatural menaces wherever they may arise.

While no firm release date has been set, the game book will be available from Eden sometime in 1999.

* * * * * fnord * * * * *

SJ Games has also licensed Hero Games to produce a GURPS version of its Creator character-building software. More details as they develop . . .

March 30, 1999: Off to Australia

And now I'm gone again . . . this time to Melbourne, Australia for ConQuest. More than 24 hours travel time each way, mostly wedged into a tourist-class seat. Ugh, but between the computer and a stack of books, I hope to remain blissfully unaware of my surroundings. To start off with, I'm going to read the whole Book of the New Sun tetralogy straight through, since it looks like GURPS New Sun is getting back onto the editorial track.

But once I get there . . . ahh, once I get there. This will be a great chance to check out gaming Down Under. In particular, ConQuest is big on LARP, which is a style of gaming that I haven't experienced nearly as much as I'd like. So it's a chance for me to play and learn . . . because I really do want to publish some LARPs of our own, before too much longer.

I hope Australian customs has a sense of humor, because I'm taking a footlocker full of Nerf weaponry for Kill Evil Stevie.

And my hosts at ConQuest are putting me up (and putting up with me) for several days after the con. I'm going to get to see a bit of the country, and visit a dinosaur dig. Mmmmmmmm . . . dinos.

I'll do my best to send an interim report or two.
-- Steve Jackson

March 29, 1999: Chat with Mike Stackpole

Subscribers to Pyramid will have the chance to talk with Mike Stackpole this Thursday at 8pm CST.

Out there in the real world, Mike is the NY Times-bestselling author of several Star Wars novels. Among gamers, he's remembered as one of the creative talents that made Flying Buffalo happen . . . and, later, as an author of Battletech novels and of supplements for many different systems.

He remains a keen observer (and incisive critic) of the gaming hobby. Here's an article he wrote for Comics Retailer, which was reprinted in Pyramid, on When I Own TSR. Check out his plans, and then come talk to him in the Pyramid chat room on Thursday, April 1, at 8pm.

If you aren't already a Pyramid subscriber, sign up now!

March 28, 1999: We're Number Three!

The game-store survey in the newest issue of Comics Retailer has GURPS as the number-three roleplaying system in January sales, behind AD&D and Vampire . . . and, not coincidentally, SJ Games as the number three roleplaying publisher, with a bit over 9% in sales, behind WotC/TSR and White Wolf. Wow.
-- Steve Jackson

March 27, 1999: Home Again, Momentarily

I'm back from the GDC/CoastCon/GAMA run. For another three days. It's great to be home, but I can't relax and enjoy it, because Tuesday I'm off to Melbourne for ConQuest. This is certainly my one and only chance to visit Australia in this millennium, and I'm looking forward to it. But woooooo, I hardly have time to unpack before packing.

GAMA was very good. The mood was upbeat all the way down the line, from manufacturers through distributors to retailers. Things really seem to be getting better for the hobby.
-- Steve Jackson

"Our Dumb Century" Update

Actually, it's already in the bookstores! So there.

March 26, 1999: Our Dumb Century

The Onion, one of the Web's most remarkable purveyors of news-like material, will release its first book soon. Unlike the webzine, it will be printed on genuine paper, made from dead trees and everything; far more convenient for bathroom reading or squashing cockroaches. Check out this page from Our Dumb Century to find out what really happened to Kennedy . . .
-- Steve Jackson

March 25, 1999: Traveller T-Shirts

We're now offering GURPS Traveller t-shirts. These black 100% cotton tees feature the classic Traveller sunburst on the front, and the Free Trader Beowulf mayday on the back. Sizes medium through 3XL are available; order now to ensure you get one from the first batch!

March 24, 1999: Now Shipping

These books shipped from SJ Games last week, and should be arriving in a store near you Real Soon Now...

GURPS: Magic Items 1 GURPS Magic Items
Enchanted swords . . . marvelous rings . . . animated armor . . . wands and staffs of devastating power. Here is a catalog of hundreds of original and imaginative enchanted items for use in any campaign, from exotic trinkets to mighty artifacts. Categories include swords and weapons, armor, wizardly tools, thief's supplies, clothing, jewelry, healing tools, necromantic items, and curses, tricks, and traps.

GURPS Magic Items also describes the eldritch shops that sell these wonders, with a complete and realistic guide to the economics of enchantment in a medieval fantasy world, including profiles of the typical enchanter, enchanter's patron, and magical merchant.

This is a reprint; GURPS Magic Items has been unavailable for several years.

Stock #6038, ISBN 1-55634-190-3. $19.95.

GURPS Traveller: Far Trader GURPS Traveller: Far Trader
Next to the mercenary game, the "independent trader" campaign is the most popular among Traveller players. This new book is the complete support volume for the Trader campaign. You can:

Far Trader complements the GURPS Traveller volumes on Starports and Starbases, and on GURPS Traveller: Starships, (coming later in 1999). It is also fully compatible with GURPS Space, and a useful supplement for any science fiction campaign.

Stock #6606, ISBN 1-55634-373-6. $20.95.

GURPS: Psionics GURPS Psionics
Spies and police who can read your thoughts. New Age mysticism merged with ultra-technology. Psychic vampires. Mass minds of terrible power. Telepathic computers. Gifted children killed or kidnapped by a power-mad government. This is the world of GURPS Psionics.

This is the ultimate sourcebook for psi powers. It includes a complete world background - and the GM can use it as a resource for campaigns in any background.

This is a reprint; GURPS Psionics has been unavailable since May 1998.

Stock #6040, ISBN 1-55634-196-2. $19.95.


GURPS: Ultra Tech 2 GURPS Ultra-Tech 2 (reprint)
Tired of everyone carrying the same firepower and sneaky gadgets as you? Expand your arsenal with GURPS Ultra-Tech 2!

This sequel to the popular GURPS Ultra-Tech offers a wide variety of new science-fiction personal equipment, along with rules for building combined gadgets, variant-technology campaigns and more!

Stock #6525, ISBN 1-55634-337-X. $19.95.

March 23, 1999: Welcome, Keith!

Keith Johnson, formerly our GURPS online assistant editor, has joined SJ Games as assistant webmaster. He'll be helping with the general maintenance of the SJG website, freeing up Kira to work on larger projects on our site. Here's what Keith has to say about himself:

"Born and bred Californian, I first became hooked into roleplaying games in 1980. After surfing my way across the luckplane, I eventually graduated University of California at Davis. I graduated UCD with an English degree with a Religious Studies minor (or as my father called it an "unemployment degree"). After graduating, I got at job at UC Davis as the wageslave/webmaster of the Section of Plant Biology. My introduction to Steve Jackson Games was the old Pocket Box of Illuminati and Car Wars, and occasionally checking out the old BBS.

"I recently married my long time girlfriend and fellow gaming addict, Robin. Together, we are manipulated by two cats and Izzy, coolest dog in known space."

March 22, 1999: Sometimes This Is Too Much Fun

This was taken at a Dino Hunt demonstration we did at the Nature Company store in Baltimore. Clockwise from top: Seth Cohen, Susan Rati, Steve Jackson, T. Rex.

March 21, 1999: Net Taxation Rumbles

Enjoying your (mostly) tax-free net shopping? It may not last. CNN reports that the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have filed a class action suit to prevent any meetings by a new national panel created to recommend new rules for Internet taxation. These organization want to tax net transactions, and they feel Congress stacked the panel against them.

March 20, 1999: Report from GDC

That's the Game Developers Conference (formerly the Computer Game Developers Conference) in San Jose. I tell you, there are more geeks per square inch here than any place else on earth. I feel right at home.

I did a roundtable presentation yesterday on building fan communities, online and off; I'll repeat it today. I'm also looking for that Perfect Computer Game Partner so we can (finally) bring you digital versions of GURPS and Ogre and Car Wars and on and on . . .

And tomorrow morning, way too early, it's off to Biloxi for CoastCon.
-- Steve Jackson

March 19, 1999: Holy Chao, Batman!

Illuminated Site of the Week: The Sacred Chao Ranch is a typical Erisian page, full of fnord to stimulate your pineal gland. I especially like the banner ad for the Orbital Mind Control Lasers and Operation Mindfuck.

Go to the Apple Orchard and talk with other Illuminated beings.

Suggested by Hieronymus Jacobin

March 18, 1999: June Releases

Illuminati Y2K

Deluxe Illuminati enters the new millennium with 110 more cards bringing the global conspiracies in synch with (or slightly ahead of ...) the times. The set includes new Specials, new groups, more 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.

#1325, ISBN 1-55634-374-4. 110 cards. $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 will be a copy of GURPS Lite, the 32-page synthesis of the GURPS rules designed to provide a simple introduction to the system. It's everything the enterprising GM needs in one compact package.

#6403, ISBN 1-55634-397-3. 2 screens and 32-page booklet. $10.95.

-- Gene Seabolt

March 17, 1999: Pyramid Breaks 2,500!

Pyramid Magazine got its 2,500th subscriber last Thursday. Congratulations to editor Scott Haring and webmaster Jackie Hamilton, and to all the Pyramid contributors, for creating a zine that people clearly want to read! And thanks to the subscribers themselves, who are evidently spreading the word . . .
-- Steve Jackson

March 16, 1999: On The Road Again

The travel season is starting . . . This afternoon I'm headed for the Game Developers Conference in San Jose; I'll be running a couple of seminars, and talking (and listening) to people about computer games. From there, I fly to Biloxi for CoastCon, where I will be doing the guest thing and running the Pirate Game. And from there, it's to Vegas for GAMA. It'll be close to the end of the month before I see Austin again . . . so if you're going to be in any of these three places, say hi to a traveler, too far from home.
-- Steve Jackson

March 15, 1999: Monster Gun Update

According to crack correspondents Mike Ford and Keith Graham, that monster weapon is not actually a Nerf brand; it's the Mattel Ultimator. An online report claimed it had been discontinued because of a lawsuit; this is not confirmed. Two review pages called it grossly inaccurate. I don't know; the one I saw shot pretty darn straight.

There are a lot of online resources for Nerf fans (There are a lot of online resources for everything. Isn't the web great?) I'm adding links to the Killer page for two of them:

-- Steve Jackson

March 14, 1999: I Want This Gun

Here we see MIB John Sabean ready for action in the Kill Evil Stevie game at JohnCon. Despite the best efforts of my bodyguards, I died repeatedly, but it was fun.

But you see that gun? I want one. It's a Nerf weapon . . . it makes a very loud noise, and throws its huge foam projectile a good distance in a straight line. This is what all the Nerf imitators are trying for and not getting. And Nerf doesn't seem to make this one any more . . . or do they? Info would be appreciated.
-- Steve Jackson

March 13, 1999: Online Environments for In Nomine

Over the years, we've had many requests for permission to use the In Nomine background for MUSHs, IRC channels and other online environments. We've wanted to say yes, but been inhibited by trademark protection considerations (long, annoying story). At any rate, we have finally got a procedure set up that will let this kind of thing happen, protect our intellectual property, and (we hope) not make anyone crazy.

If you're interested, check out the draft procedures. It links to a draft license . . . look at that too, but don't fill it out yet. If you have comments, send them to me at In a week or so, we'll post the final versions.

We are also looking for a coordinator for this program. If you want to apply after reading the information online, let me know!
-- Steve Jackson

March 12, 1999: Charles (Fort) in Charge

Illuminated Site of the Week: The Fortean Times, the Journal of Strange Phenomena, has a nicely designed web site. This month's issue has an article on the conspiracy to conceal the location of Noah's Ark, and a profile of the Professor of Transcendental Magic, Eliphas Levi. They've archived articles as well: Did NASA Fake the Apollo Shots?, Bat-Winged Sex Dwarf, Is Santa Really Satan? and more. Lots to love here.
- Brett Slocum

March 11, 1999: JohnCon Pix

And here are some shots from JohnCon, weekend before last on the Johns Hopkins campus:

Below left: Lori Bossert and her "You're Not Cleared For That" cookies, complete with fnords. Can you taste the fnords?

Below right: Our littlest MIB, Megan Cowper. She took a turn as an assassin and slew John "Fuzzface" McMahon while he was being Evil Stevie. (Megan is quite adept at bringing down prey many times her size; she is a fully qualified Dino Hunt demonstrator.)

And, to the right, just some of the MIBs who made it to JohnCon!

March 10, 1999: I Am A Nerd In Denmark

Recently I was sent this translated article from the Danish gamers' webzine Xkapist Nyt:

What you didn't know about Steve Jackson.

Steve Jackson is a nerd. But did you know that he is a Lego-nerd? He is. Just take a look on his private website: (here), where you find data about all the different ships made in the Lego Pirate series. Steve Jackson has told Xkapist that he has been playing with Lego since he was a little boy. When he got too old to play, he called it a hobby.

But it gets better. Because he promises on the same website that he will write rules for playing with the Lego-ships. So maybe you shouldn't give your Lego-bricks away to your seven year old cousin. Maybe you are going to use them in a tournament in the near future. Steve Jackson promises that the rules will be released on the web.

Xkapist is keeping a eye on this project and will tell the readers the second we anything happens. We are looking forward to the game. It is funnier than painting miniatures - isn't it?
-- Adam Bindslev

This is a neat-looking zine, too. I can't read it, but I like the graphics :-)
-- Steve Jackson

March 9, 1999: RadCon Pix

Scenes from Radcon, in Pasco, Washington, a couple of weeks ago:

Below left: Admiral Derek Schin explains his strategy in "Evil Stevie's Pirate Game."

Below right: Just a few of the Lego ships ready to go . . .

Right: It takes a lot of bookkeeping to run a pirate fleet. Monica Stephens, our Convention Manager, put in a 12-hour day as "Sutler" for the Pirate Game, handing out gold and dickering with the pirates as they came into port to sell their captured shrubberies. Yes, shrubberies. Don't ask.
-- Steve Jackson

March 8, 1999: The Nose Knows

The GURPS Space chemsniffer is about to become a reality. Nate Lewis, a Caltech researcher, is developing artificial noses that will be able to detect a huge variety of different chemicals in low concentration in the air (that's "smells" to you and me). His goal is to bring their price down so low that any device can include an odor detector "chip" . . . smoke, chemical leaks, human perspiration or breath . . . whatever it might need to spot. Tech Level 8, here we come!
-- Steve Jackson

March 7, 1999: More SV Tarot Awards

The Silicon Valley Tarot continues to gain recognition. After making the Netscape What's Cool site, SVT was named as Network Week's site of the week for March 3-10, and a USA Today Hot Site on March 3.

"Bank Spying" Plan Overturned

Federal bank regulators said March 4 they will withdraw their controversial "know your customer" rule after receiving over 140,000 citizen complaints. Thanks to everyone who saw the report here in the Illuminator and filled in the Libertarian Party web petition or wrote directly to their Senators or U.S. Representative.

March 6, 1999: The New And Improved Pyramid

We've redesigned the Pyramid cover page into an issue-based format; new "issues" will be posted each Friday, and each cover only includes the links for that week's articles. We've also revamped the archives; now you can browse past weeks' articles, as well as those from some print issues of Pyramid. (And every few weeks, another print Pyramid goes up . . . eventually, all the old issues will be online.)

Now In Playtest

GURPS Japan, 2nd. ed., is now in playtest; Pyramid subscribers can click here to download the playtest files.

March 5, 1999: Martha Stewart is a Goth!

Illuminated Site of the Week: The Gothic Martha Stewart site is a humorous take on the ultimate stylemaker of TV fame. It is filled with recipes (try Faux Absinthe), projects (how about Decorative Black Bedsheets), Home Decor Motifs (Cemetary Gothic, anyone?), wedding suggestions (Gothic Weddings on a Budget), and more.

It's a Goth Thing!
- Brett Slocum

March 4, 1999: It's Spring

It's spring in Austin. The iris are out, the bluebonnets are opening, and everything is turning green. The nights are getting warm, but the days are not yet hot. This is a nice place to live, but spring is the best time of all.

March 3, 1999: Tom Martin, Come On Down

Tom, for you The Price really Is Right , since you've already paid it. As one of the three winning bidders in our auction to be a GURPS Discworld wizard, you're awaiting one of the signed copies of the book, which recently returned from England.

If anyone else out there knows where Tom might be -- or can fax me the back-page newspaper clipping that shows he passed his expiration date, relocated to Vanuatu to take up hang-gliding, or disappeared one night in a flash of greenish light smelling of strawberry-scented Lysol -- then please let me know.
-- Gene Seabolt

March 2, 1999: The Templar Revelation

Check out the CNN review of this new book, whose authors believe they have deduced the true identity and agenda of Jesus Christ and uncovered a conspiracy more than 2,000 years old. The CNN reviewer, L.D. Meagher, says "Their theory makes the 'X-Files' look like 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'."

March 1, 1999: Silicon Valley Tarot Makes Netscape's Cool List

We wondered where all those hits were coming from . . .

Our Silicon Valley Tarot website was listed this weekend on Netscape Netcenter's "What's Cool" page, scoring high for both content and design. Hits on that page jumped to well over 1,000 a day over the last few days. It's good to be cool . . .

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