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September 30, 2000: Stefan and the Pods

Slow Wave is a comic strip about dreams. People send their strange dreams to the author, and he illustrates them in comic format. It's neat and weird.

And this week's dream is from Stefan Jones, author of GURPS Unnight and GURPS Uplift. Looks like Stefan has been thinking about marketing too much . . .
-- Steve Jackson

September 29, 2000: The Ick Files

Illuminated Site of the Week: A little learning is a dangerous thing, but a lot of learning about Cthulhu and company is downright hysterical. The file cabinets are filled to overflowing with dossiers, gossip and green ooze at S-P-O-N-G-E. They'll only tell you what you need to know if you join, and by then it's too late.

-- Suggested by Mr. Hanzan

September 28, 2000: Now Shipping!

Several new things are shipping this week:

In Nomine Hardback
This book contains the core rules for the In Nomine roleplaying system. The setting is introduced by two short stories, A Bright Dream and A Dark Dream by author Derek Pearcy. Character creation concepts are discussed, along with the game mechanics, resource mechanics, essense, resonance, dissonance, and falling. In Nomine also describes each of the choirs of angels and bands of demons, introduces 13 Archangels and Demon Princes, and discusses soldiers of God (and Hell), ethereal spirits, celestial spirits, and the undead.

#3324, ISBN 1-55634-448-1. 208 pages. $26.95.

Superiors 4 (In Nomine)

From the ancient - Valefor (Theft) and Mammon (Greed) - to the modern - Vapula (Technology) and Fleurity (Drugs) - the most successful Demon Princes have preyed on man's hidden vices. (Especially Alaemon, Prince of Secrets.) Now In Nomine Game Masters can unleash these evils on their players.

In Superiors 4, discover what these Princes want - and why. GMs will get lots of adventure seeds to inflict on their players. Players will learn what it means to serve these Superiors - not just powers and dissonance (though that's there too), but what the subculture of each Word expects from its members, and how to stay under the Princes' radar . . . until the time is right to be noticed.

144 pages, #3323, ISBN 1-55634-442-2, $20.95.

Knightmare Chess 2nd Edition (reprint)
Chess will never be the same! Knightmare Chess is chess played with cards - and what cards! Each card breaks the rules in a wild and unpredictable way, giving the game more twists and turns than a roller coaster. A translation of the popular French game Tempete sur l'Echequier by Pierre Clequin and Bruno Faidutti, Knightmare Chess has 80 big, beautiful cards - each with an individual color painting by Brazilian artist Rogerio Vilela.

#1321, ISBN 1-55634-332-9. $14.95.

-- Keith Johnson

Warehouse 23 News: Beware the Habbalah!

Just in time for the reprint of the In Nomine hardcover rules, Java's Crypt has released the latest In Nomine jewelry: pins and pendants for the Habbalah Band.

-- Brendon

September 27, 2000: Unspeakable Bricks

It had to happen. Someone built Great Cthulhu out of Lego. Now, when will they offer this as a regular set?
-- Steve Jackson

September 26, 2000: Just a Hint

We're often asked if we're ever going to offer heavy-duty Car Wars support again.

Mmm-hmmm. One of these days.

Before too long.
-- Steve Jackson

September 25, 2000: The Heat Wave Breaks

It's raining. It's even sort of cold. Austin seems to be through, at least for the moment, with its string of 100-degree days. Which is good in general, because we might have had trouble making games for you if we were all dead. But specifically, it means that Richard's casting operation won't have to contend with metal-melting temperatures outside the pots. Things are coming along there . . . late last week, we saw our first usable minis. Lots of bugs still to be worked out, but it's really happening, and we are still hoping to ship our first sets in November.
-- Steve Jackson

September 24, 2000: Steve Jackson Games seeks Production Manager

Are you highly organized, computer literate, and good at managing people? Are you in, or interested in moving to Austin, Texas? Then you are the person we are looking for. Check out our job listing for more information.

-- Alain H. Dawson, Managing Editor

September 23, 2000: In Nomine Hardback

We just got our sample copies of the In Nomine hardback. Looks very, very nice . . . here's the cover art by Christopher Shy, who you'll be seeing a LOT more of soon. And look at the graphic treatment that Phil Reed did on the back, too.

Important note: This is NOT a new edition. We fixed a few glitches and made a few minor updates, but if you have the In Nomine core rules already, you don't NEED this. Unless you missed out on getting a hardback the first time around, and you've worn out your softback . . . or unless you just love the cover :-)

The really neat thing is, this one is cheaper than the last hardback edition.

-- Steve Jackson

September 22, 2000: Discounts for Patrons Over 30

Illuminated Site of the Week: Applied Digital Solutions is watching your back -- and holding your hand. Their Digital Angel may soon be implanted in citizens everywhere, carrying all their vital information in a whole new kind of "palm" pilot. Imagine: Your health, your safety, your finances, all in the palm of your hand. And you in the palm of theirs...
-- Suggested by Robert Schulz

September 21, 2000: Trojan MP3s

Canadian band Barenaked Ladies employ an unconventional strategy in combating the sharing of their songs online. The band adds tongue-in-cheek commentary to snippets of songs disguised as the real deal, while still giving fans a free sample of the tracks. Says manager Terry McBride: "we knew the tracks were going to end up on Napster, so why not have some fun with it?". Other bands have taken to releasing entire albums on MP3, forgoing major record labels.

September 20, 2000: The Mouse Report

I really didn't mean to make a continuing story out of the mouse stuff, but I got almost as much mail about it as I did about Apple . . .

Thanks to everyone who sent suggestions. A cat is right out for me - I'm quite allergic to them. One correspondent did offer some ferret droppings, to terrorize them by smell - we'll give that a try.

Glue traps *ought* to work, but so far have merely annoyed one of them. He got out. I know, that's supposed to be impossible. These are BIG mice; the last one I got measured 13.5" nose to tail, and more than 6" nose to rump. And no, he wasn't a rat. I know the difference . . . These are just atomic horror midnight movie mice.

So I bought some rat-sized glue traps, and we'll see what happens.

And yes, I'm asking myself if there is a game in this, and if so, from whose viewpoint!
-- Steve Jackson

September 19, 2000: New Playtests!

We have started playtesting on GURPS Deadlands, an adaptation of the hit game from Pinnacle Entertainment Group, and on GURPS Planet of Adventure, our adaptation of the Jack Vance "Tschai" tetralogy. Also, the playtest on GURPS Low-Tech has restarted, so if you missed your chance to comment the first time, don't miss it again!

All our playtesting is done via the Web, and it's only open to Pyramid subscribers - for four cents a day, you can't afford not to help us polish our games. Subscribe to Pyramid today!
-- Keith Johnson

September 18, 2000: Under the Sea

. . . they're finding some incredible things. Scientists have recently confirmed that the Black Sea was once a freshwater lake - until some 7,500 years ago, when it was catastrophically flooded and enlarged by salt water from the Mediterranean. Was this Noah's Flood? Now remotely operated mini-subs are finding building remains, even tools, preserved since 5,500 BC. And they're just getting started. Read the National Geographic article.

September 17, 2000: A Conspiracy For Everyone

Check out the cool wallpaper that Modesty made . . .

September 16, 2000: Space Elevator Music

So now NASA's thinking about space elevators for real. Read the ABC News story.

Our challenge now: to come up with an appropriate soundtrack for the day-long ride into orbit. We have only 50 years; there's no time to waste.
-- Steve Jackson

September 15, 2000: The Second Coming...and the Third...and the Fourth...

Illuminated Site of the Week: In this day and age of cloning, Judgment Day is tailor-made. Since Christ was so careless with his body and blood, The Second Coming Project is taking the DNA wherever they can find it and cranking out a savior. You can contribute - or find out more about the Biblical basis for these plans - at their site.

-- From multiple submissions

September 14, 2000: Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?

I hope not. Because I'm pondering what to do about mice.

Yes, my garage and attic are plagued by Pinky's little cousins. A couple of them fell victim to the old reliable spring traps, but the survivors are definitely wiser . . . this morning I found their leavings right between two traps. I sense an editorial comment.

I'm not going to poison them; poison gets where you don't want it, and I sure don't want mice crawling into my walls to die. Gotta trap them, chase them away, or recruit them into the MIBs. Squeak.
-- Steve Jackson

September 13, 2000: Miniatures Info

Our casting division is forging ahead. So to speak. We've created the beginning of what, we hope, will someday be a massive and spiffy miniatures section of the web page . . . right here. There's not a whol e lot to see yet, except a progress report from Richard every few days, but if you're interested in the development of our casting plant and our minis line, bookmark it and see what Richard has to say . . .
-- Steve Jackson

September 12, 2000: Good News From The Apple Front

First, my thanks to everybody who wrote to me about this, even (or especially) those who just said "Chin up and keep trying." I'd also like to acknowledge the many tech-support folks who wrote to apologize on behalf of their profession. Hey, you di dn't do it. But it's clear that there are a lot of techies out there who really want to take care of their customers. And that's good, folks, because we need you.

But sometimes there's a happy ending. I have now spoken with R--------, who is the supervisor of W---------. In fact, she called me. The bottom line: she had finally seen my whole file and she was calling to say "Yes, there was a problem her e, how can I make it right?" So we talked . . .

She tells me that no, the technical employee who refused even to let me speak to his supervisor about the problem was NOT following Apple policy. That's a relief :-\

And she agreed to deal with the data-recovery issue. I am now crossing my fingers that it CAN be recovered.

I won't pretend to be pleased at the amount of difficulty it took to get to somebody with this attitude. But at least there WAS somebody with that attitude. So I won't give up on Apple.

Thanks again to everyone who wrote. Moral: Be polite, persistent, persistent and persistent.
-- Steve Jackson

September 11, 2000: Roundworm

Those of you who enjoy filk music might want to check out the new Bob Kanefsky CD, Roundworm. It's an example of a very rarefied genre: parodies of other filksongs. But I liked some of these a great deal. So, obviously, did the artists parod ied. For instance, Kanefsky's evil Trekkie riff on Ookla the Mok's Home is performed on this album by . . . Ookla the Mok. And By The Time I Get To . . . is a takeoff on a song I have not heard, Julia Eckl ar's Phoenix - likewise performed by the original artist - and the parody chokes me up enough I'm almost afraid to listen to the original. But I'm going to.

Check out Bob's website, Songworm, for more info, lyrics, sample cuts . . .

There are also lyrics and samples at the site.
-- Steve Jackson

September 10, 2000: Cute Toys

So there's this candy-with-toy-inside that they sell in Australia, called "Yowie." And they're sponsoring a big Australian Museum exhibit called "Lost Kingdoms," about Australia's prehistoric animals. And the Yowies will contain 50 different prehistoric a nimal toys. Not all dinosaurs, either . . . there are interesting and less-known beasties from both before and after the Mesozoic, and the last two in the series are today's koala and platypus.

You can see all the toys - multicolored, very cool - on this Yowie page. #23, of course, is the Killer Kangaroo. They got pretty wild with some of the names they gave the creatures, culminating in the Demon Duck of Doom, but there's real paleontology behind the silly names. Not that I have a problem with silly names. Au contraire, mes amis . . .
-- Steve Jackson

September 9, 2000: Lego! Dinosaur! Lego Dinosaur!

Those who have ever seen my e-mail sig know that two of my mad enthusiasms are Lego and dinosaurs. Well, here's somebody who clearly shares both passions . . . and my, look at what he's done. Here's Henry Lim's Stegosaurus. Be awed.
-- Steve Jackson

September 8, 2000: Dignity for Sale, Going Cheap

Illuminated Site of the Week: On-line auctions are all the rage, and disturbingauctions has all the outrage. No reasonable offer is refused for some of the travesties listed on this site, mostly because any offer is generous indeed.

-- Suggested by Rev. Karl Musser

September 7, 2000: Back from Worldcon

And back into the swing of things. I'm doing a chat for Pyramid tonight at 7, talking about Ogre (miniatures and otherwise) and generally taking questions.
-- Steve Jackson

September 6, 2000: Robocop

Well, we've read about the meat-eating robots, and the replicating robots. So what's next? How about armed robot guards...

(Soon they'll be hunting us for food...)

Warehouse 23 News: Uncle Al Visits Warehouse 23

Uncle Albert From Hell We have a limited supply of Uncle Albert's Catalog from Hell, the classic Car Wars supplement. Get them while they last!

-- Brendon

September 5, 2000: Evolutionary Robots

As if meat-eating robots weren't scary enough, now we've got a computer that designs and builds robots. Cool, but disturbing....

-- Shig the Unmentionable

September 4, 2000: When Egyptian Eyes Are Smiling

The Pyramids cast a long shadow. A new book would have us believe the Irish are descendants of the ancient Egyptians -- nobility, in fact. Come March, that's going to be one odd pa rade. Foxnews has the story.

September 3, 2000: Well, Maybe Just a Little Cloning

After all, it's only embryos. Britain is slowly warming up to the idea of cloning people. It's not like they're gearing up to clone a w hole human being.


September 2, 2000: Worldcon Report

Okay, here we are at Worldcon. Monica, Alain and I have hooked up with GURPSwriter Ken Hite, [fnord] Micah Jackson, MIBs Susan Rati and Steve Brinich, and other ne'er-do-wells, and we're doing the convention. Initial impressions:

The nametags are written in very large type. Yea! I can READ them!

There's no Coke in the con suite. Pepsi products only. Feh.

There *is* a last-minute attempt being made to organize gaming programming. The problem now is that the relationship between what they phoned in to the con newsletter (while Alain and I were listening) and what the newsletter actually published was . . . well, there WAS no relationship. Thus, today's industry panel crashed and burned. Hey, I have done Worldcon newsletters; accidents can happen, but one of the rules is you don't deliberately screw around with people's news. So if you're by any chanc e reading this from Worldcon, plan on getting your gaming schedule info from the gaming division itself. (Steve said grumpily.)

On the other hand, the con's Internet facilities are wonderful. I'm typing this from one of fifty net-connected Macs that are here 24 hours a day for fans to check their mail and keep in touch - and there are another dozen ports for laptop connecti ons. Well done.
-- Steve Jackson

September 1, 2000: Wormy Apple Update

I haven't posted an update because progress has been slow. My computer came back for the second time - this time they switched out a logic board (they didn't say which one) and it accepted the restored files. It hiccups occasionally, but it works well eno ugh to take to Chicago.

As to Apple's Customer Service: I have been handed up to W-------, in the "Executive Relations" department. W------- is very polite, once we finally quit playing phone tag (W------ WON'T TALK TO ME by e-mail; she tells me that Apple's policy is to handle customer complaints like this by voice. [Welcome to the early 20th century !!!!!!!] On repeated requests, she gave me her fax number, and I gave her all the data in a long fax.)

Wormy Apple Update W-------- has offered to cover half the cost of data recovery on the drive they yanked. I'd say we're about halfway toward a fair solution. Oh, here's a picture of the drive as it was returned to me. Is it normal for a technician to bend the pins every wh ich way when a drive is removed from a machine?

W-------- also won't comment on the way I was treated initially. She acknowledges that I'm dissatisfied with my experience, and she says she is willing to apologize (which is almost up there with a real apology). But she refuses to comment on whether M--- -----, in particular, was following Apple policy. She'll send a note to his supervisor, but will it recommend execution or promotion? She's not saying. As I told W--------, this really bothers me. When one of my employees fails to follow policy and injure s somebody, I *tell the customer* that that was not our policy. (And if they DO follow policy and the policy was bad, the customer gets an apology and an acknowledgement that the policy is broken and will be fixed.) What's so hard about that? Grrrrr.
-- Steve Jackson

Warehouse 23 News: Gesundheit!

We have two new geek toys in today, Space Mucus and Angel Snot! Two handfuls of clean, non-toxic, and disgust ing fun!

-- Brendon

Past columns

Steve Jackson Games
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