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November 30, 1999: Upcoming Pyramid Chats

John Kovalic will be chatting at 7pm on Pyramid this Friday, the 3rd; he'll certainly be talking about Dork Tower, and probably all kinds of other strange things fnord.

And next Tuesday, December 7, Gene Seabolt will talk about at least three new GURPS books -- GURPS New Sun, GURPS Myth and GURPS Traveller: Starports.

November 29, 1999: Automatic Dice Roller

Kira wrote a dice roller. Check it out! It will let you roll any number of dice with any sides (yes, even dice that don't exist) and give you all the individual results plus the total. The default is the standard 3d6.

It's now linked from the gaming resources section of our general info page.
-- Steve Jackson

November 28, 1999: Closing In On 2 Million

It looks like we have less than 2 months (at 2,500 hits/day) til we cross the 2 million hits mark on our home page. Of course, some days we get more or less hits, so that's just a rough guess. But let's see. We had a half million in November 97. One million in October 98. Two million in Jan 00? :) Definitely growing...
-- Kira

November 27, 1999: Megiddo

It has not escaped the notice of the FBI that various domestic crazies might decide to help Y2K along with a bit of judiciously applied sabotage or terrorism. Here's a PDF of their report on Project Megiddo. Interesting reading.
-- Steve Jackson

November 26, 1999: Location, Location, Location

Illuminated Site of the Week: The moon is for sale - parts of it, anyway. The same holds true for Mars, Venus and some other less fashionable properties. How? Well, the Lunar Embassy claimed it, so it's theirs. Simple, no? But they're reasonable people, and will happily resell any or all of these heavenly bodies to you, a bit at a time. And your title will then be every bit as good as theirs is . . .

-- Suggested by Mark A. Schmidt

November 25, 1999: Geek Toys

Warehouse 23 will soon be featuring a new category: geek toys. What do we mean by that? Well, if WE want to play with it, it's probably a geek toy. Perhaps a better definition will emerge.

In the meantime, if YOU know what I'm talking about and have any brilliant suggestions for (preferably unknown or underappreciated) geek toys for the Warehouse, let me know at Put GEEK TOYS in the header . . .
-- Steve Jackson

November 24, 1999: Freemasons Redux

First, thanks to everyone who pointed out the glitch in yesterday's Illuminator. I decided not to wake Jackie up and make her fix it at 3am . . . so we got it in the morning.

Second, those Freemasons have posted a clarification which in turn points to an interesting FAQ. Want to know if the Masons are really a secret society? Of course not. Most of their meeting halls are in the phone book . . .
-- Steve Jackson

November 23, 1999: Masonic Secrets Online

A Freemason group in England has decided to put its rituals on the web . . . down to live broadcasts of meetings. So much for secretive. (I can hear you all saying "It's a front! It's a front!" How cynical fnord.) Here's the Yahoo! story. And here's the URL they give for the site itself.
-- Steve Jackson

November 22, 1999: GenCon Moving To Indianapolis

Milwaukee convention officials have announced that 2002 will be GenCon's last year in the city. As earlier rumored, the convention will move to Indianapolis in 2003. Here's the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story. Look for more coverage soon in Pyramid.

November 21, 1999: Shipping This Week

Several new things are shipping this week:

Superiors 1: War and Honor (for In Nomine)

Seraphim and Malakim, aggressive or authoritarian . . . War, Stone, Judgment, and the Sword. These four Archangels are covered in depth in this book, with all the material a Game Master needs to understand their goals and psychology. And players will learn what it's like to serve these Words - not just powers and dissonance (though that's there too), but also what it feels like, what the subculture of the Word expects from its members, and how to deal with your Archangel. Adventure seeds are also provided, tailored to the types of problems and assignments faced by Servitors of these four Archangels.

#3320, ISBN 1-55634-409-0. 144 pages. $20.95.

[Game Master's Guide] Game Master's Guide (for In Nomine)

As an In Nomine game master, you not only play God, but Lucifer and all the other Superiors . . . Here's the book that will help you do all that, as well as choose how light or dark, gray or stark your campaign is. Fit real-world religion into your In Nomine universe. Discover the extent - and limitations - of the power of Superiors, and how to handle confrontations with them. Pick alternate rules that strengthen or weaken humanity, celestials, and ethereals. Tailor your game to be as serious, satirical, or downright silly as you want it to be! An invaluable In Nomine resource for inexperienced GMs and old hands both, the Game Master's Guide reveals the inner workings of the universe. (And players might like to sneak a peek at it too!)

#3317, ISBN 1-55634-415-5. 128 pages. $19.95.

[Chez Geek] Chez Geek

Beer. Nookie. Roommates. Just another Friday night at Chez Geek, the new card game that lets you set up house with your friends -- for as long as you can stand them. Party, hang out with friends, dodge losers, and play with the cats. You even get points for sleeping . . . just look out for the car alarm! Drink, buy toys, and sleep late as you pursue Slack points to win the game.

Just remember, when your roommate and his S.O. keep you up all night: You can't throw them out. They live here.

#1329, ISBN 1-55634-411-2. 110 cards. $19.95.

GURPS Japan (2nd Edition)

Adventure in Japan in the days of the Shogun. Experience the rigid etiquette of the Emperor's court and the demon-haunted wastes of the wilderness; the delicate beauty of the tea ceremony and the savage pleasure of viewing an enemy's severed head. You can adventure as sword-wielding samurai, cunning black-garbed ninja, or mystic priest of the Lord Buddha. You can stand on either side as the explorers from the West meet the ancient Empire of the Rising Sun. Magic, swordplay, power, poetry, beauty, and terror - all wait for you in GURPS Japan!

#6006, ISBN 1-55634-388-4. 128 pages. $19.95.

GURPS Who's Who 2

The second volume of 52 real-life characters for historical and time-travel games introduces an even more varied collection of personalities. Through brilliance or luck, charisma or courage or sheer lunacy, these are the people who stamped their very different images on history. When your players face them, in battlefield, court, or laboratory, they can change the world - or at least, come away with quite a story.

#6528, ISBN 1-55634-407-4. 128 pages. $19.95.

Deluxe Illuminati (reprint)
We ran out! We printed more! We're shipping them now! 106 full-color cards (plus four blanks) , dice, and money. You supply the backstabbing. (Don't confuse this with INWO . . . this is the original NON-collector game.)

Secret conspiracies are everywhere! The phone company is controlled by creatures from outer space. The Congressional Wives have taken over the Pentagon. And the Boy Sprouts are cashing in their secret Swiss bank account to smash the IRS! Two to six players compete to grab powerful groups and increase their wealth and power. No ploy is too devious, no stratagem too low, as you scheme your way to victory.

Stock #1305, ISBN 1-55634-384-1. $34.95.
Cloisonne Pins Illuminati Cloisonne Pins
We all know we're part of the conspiracy. But what part? These "eye in the pyramid" pins, made of colorful cloisonne, will announce that you are not just an unwilling dupe. Proudly proclaim your membership as one of the world's [CENSORED]! Learn to recognize your illuminated colleagues -- red for [whatever], green for finance, purple for recruitment. You're not cleared for the rest. If you don't know or don't care what plans the Illuminati have in store for you, let us choose! And what could be more Illuminated than having more than one! Show the world you [FNORD]! Get an Illuminati membership pin today!

Stock #9002. $3.50.

-- Keith Johnson

November 20, 1999: GURPS Traveller: Imperial Navy Now In Playtest!

There are more than 11,000 worlds in the Third Imperium, within a region 700 parsecs across. Each world is responsible for its own affairs, while the Imperial Navy polices the space between those worlds and guards the Imperial borders.

GURPS Traveller: Imperial Navy examines this pivotal military force in detail. It describes the roles the Navy must perform, the strategies and tactics it employs and the people who make up the Navy. It also contains 16 pages of deck plans, including the 400-ton Gazelle-class Close Escort.

Playtests are open to Pyramid subscribers only, so don't miss out - subscribe today!

  -- Keith Johnson

November 19, 1999: Ed Sullivan Would Have Loved It

Illuminated Site of the Week: Remember robofly, the microbot being developed at Berkeley? Cornell University reports that the next logical step has already been taken: they have a microguitar the size of a red blood cell. Now if we can engineer tiny beetles for those axes...

-- Suggested by Adam vanLangenberg

November 18, 1999: Free Online Samples in PDF

Beginning with the November releases, we will be replacing the text excerpts normally found on each book's Web page with a PDF (portable document file) of actual pages from that book. These PDFs will include the Table of Contents, the Introduction, and one or two random pages. You'll be able to see these pages exactly as they appear in the book. In fact, we already have the first one out. Check out the In Nomine Superiors 1's page and download the excerpt in its new format, then let us know what you think.

Acrobat Reader is freeware and is available for download at products/acrobat/readstep.html.

November 17, 1999: Warehouse 23 Adds Chaosium, Pinnacle, Dork Tower

The headline says it all . . . you can now get games from Chaosium and Pinnacle from Warehouse 23, as well as John Kovalic's Dork Tower. Check it out.

We have further plans for the Warehouse, so evil that we can't even hint at them here. So this is not a hint fnord. But keep watching.

November 16, 1999: More Evil Than Satan Himself

You've probably heard that entering the phrase "more evil than Satan himself" in Google or Netscape will bring you to the Microsoft home page. If you haven't heard that, here's a good writeup in PC World. Executive summary: It's true. A significant portion of the recent hits on Google have been from people trying it out!

So that's not news any more. There's a lot of discussion about WHY it works, though. The obvious answer is "Prank!" But Google steadfastly denies it, with a very Illuminated phrase invoking quantum physics.

So the next step is to test other phrases, both using similar words, and those using different words to get across a similar idea. So here are the fruits of an exhaustive 20 minutes of investigation . . .

"more Satan than evil himself," "himself satan than evil more," and so on, all pointed to Microsoft as well.

"more evil than Satan herself," on the other hand, points to a Bible page on AOL.

"more evil than anyone except Bill" pointed to

"the most evil man on Earth" -- Microsoft again!

"the most wicked man on Earth" brought up a collection of sermons in first place, and in second.

"the source of all evil" -- Microsoft again!

And finally: "the source of all bad code" yielded a gaming site in first place, and Microsoft in second . . .

I think it's pretty fnord obvious what's fnord going on here; someone is fnord having way too much fnord fun.
-- Steve Jackson

November 15, 1999: Neanderthals Online

If you've played and enjoyed Tribes, you'll want to visit the virtual museum exhibit hosted by Indiana State University: Neandertals: A Cyber Perspective. Give it time to load . .. there are a lot of pictures.
-- Steve Jackson

November 14, 1999: Fleen?

It's the Fairly Large Electronic Entertainment Network - It hosts several good online strips, including a couple that I find myself following: Waiting for Bob and Bobbins.
-- Steve Jackson

November 13, 1999: Now It Can Be Told

Well, actually, no, it can't. See this week's Onion for none of the horrifying details.

November 12, 1999: An Ounce of Vacation, a Compound to be Sure

Illuminated Site of the Week: We all know the Y2K bug is only end-of-the-millenium jitters, but just in case...

Y2k Paradise guarantees you, your friends and your family carefree living for the first three months of the year 2000. Scenic New Zealand, site of the inaugural sunrise of the new millenium, offers all the amenities and none of the hassles of vying for the last container of water at the supermarket. And how much does security cost? Let's talk.

-- Suggested by Micah Jackson

November 11, 1999: Looking for a Few Good Geeks

We are very excited about our newest card game, Chez Geek, and we want to get the word out to the broadest audience possible. We pretty much have the GAME angle covered . . . we are looking for advice on the geek/slacker/lifestyle angle. We would appreciate your suggestions of publications or organizations where we can send review copies. If you know of a specific person or department where we can send them, that would be VERY helpful. Please send information to Alain Dawson at, with the words GEEK REVIEW in the subject line.

November 10, 1999: Pyramid 3K!

Pyramid Magazine has just hit a big milestone . . . 3,000 subscribers! Now granted, this would be a drop in the bucket at a Hanson concert, but in the game biz, it qualifies as a crowd. If you haven't broken down and at least looked at Pyramid, please, give it a shot! That next milestone is a thousand gamers away, and we need you . . .

November 9, 1999: In Nomine Hardbacks Up For Auction

We've just found three hardback copies of In Nomine, still in their wrappings, and dropped them into the auction . . . and while the lone black-cover edition is getting pricey, the two white (angelic) copies are still at a level affordable by mortals.

November 8, 1999: Fly Like a Fly

Engineers and biologists at the University of California at Berkeley are building little bitty robots, modeled on flies. Your tax dollars are footing the bill; the Office of Naval Research thinks they could be useful for rescue and yes, espionage. "Robofly" weighs 43 milligrams, and really flies like a fly, though it has four wings instead of two. Once the control problems are ironed out, though, I think the toy value will be immense . . . Read the story in the San Francisco Chronicle online.
-- Steve Jackson

November 7, 1999: Too Much Star Wars Fun

With Lego . . . lots and lots of Lego . . .

and with a pumpkin. Beware the Dark Gourd of the Sith!
-- Steve Jackson

November 6, 1999: One Abraham Lincoln Later. . .

Congratulations to Sam Hillaire for winning a tournament of Deluxe Illuminati in the most Illuminated way possible; he bribed his way to victory.

Sam played the UFOs, and tried to attack to control a SubGenius organization to win the game. After everyone had spent their megabucks, Sam only had to roll a 10 or less on two dice. He rolled an 11. After a short primal scream, Sam managed to convince the controller of the Network to play the Assassination special (which changes a die roll to 2) for a payment of five dollars. Sam forked out the money, the Network player used the card, and a winner was declared.
-- Keith Johnson

November 5, 1999: They're Reading Your Mail, Revisited

Remember the flap about Echelon, the (supposed) NSA system for reading everyone's e-mail (and faxes, and international phone calls)? The BBC thinks it's real. Or at least they think it made a good story fnord.
-- Steve Jackson

November 4, 1999: Road Trip to CONundrum

Our last convention attendance of the year is happening this weekend, Nov. 5-7, practically in our backyard -- San Antonio, TX. It's nice to go to a con we can drive to . . .

CONundrum will feature Loren Wiseman, our GURPS Traveller line editor, as Special Guest, so we expect to see lots of Traveller fanatics at the show. Attendees get the bonus of meeting our print buyer, Russell Godwin, as well; Russell is driving the van carrying Loren and our booth goods to the show, and can be seen dodging darts during the game of "Kill Evil Stevie" that our Men In Black will be running.

Gamers can also find several other SJ Games events at the show, including In Nomine, GURPS Y2K, and Illuminati - and don't forget to look for demos of our new chess variant, Tile Chess, and newest card game, Chez Geek! This is probably your first opportunity to get these games (Tile Chess just shipped, and we'll only have one cartonful of Chez Geek for this show!), along with GURPS Alternate Earths 2, GURPS Y2K, In Nomine Superiors 1, and the In Nomine Game Master's Guide ...

CONundrum is at the Ramada Inn Airport, 10811 IH-35 North, San Antonio, TX. Registration opens at 5:00 Friday, and things close down at 6:00 Sunday evening. In between, we expect non-stop fun to be had. See you there!
-- Monica Stephens - Convention Manager

November 3, 1999: Gary Gygax Chats on Pyramid Tonight!

Well-known game designer Gary Gygax will be on the Pyramid chat tonight to discuss his new Lejendary Adventure Game System. Join us at 6pm CST for the chat! (And if you're not already a Pyramid subscriber, what are you waiting for?)

November 2, 1999: Explore GURPS India!

Travel the mighty Ganges and climb the Himalayas. Help Rama rescue his wife from the demon Ravana. Face the dreaded war-elephants as part of Alexander's army. Fight to subdue the princes of Rajputana. And beware the fanatical practitioners of thuggee . . .

GURPS India covers the culture, history and geography of the Indian subcontinent,with a special focus on the magic, myth and spiritualism that make the setting attractive to many gamers. It focuses mainly on Hinduism and the empires of the Hindu classical age, but also describes Islamic, British and modern India.

Visit the playtest page to access the files (Pyramid subscribers only), or click here to subscribe to Pyramid.

-- Keith Johnson

November 1, 1999: Monkeybagels For Everyone!

Just read it. I'm not going to explain. I can't. Just read it.
-- Steve Jackson

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