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June 30, 1997: GURPS in Korean

Great news in the area of world trade and GURPS expansion. We have signed a new licensee, Dayspring Games, to produce the basic GURPS rules and supplements in the Korean language. If you are a Korean speaker, look for the Basic Set to be released sometime early next year. And as our Korean friends say: By the way, if you're interested in learning more about Korea, click here.
-- Micah Jackson

June 29, 1997: New Web Volunteers

Some time ago, we asked for volunteers to help with sections of our website. For various reasons, it took us a while to go through all the email and actually pick the new web volunteers, but we've finally done it, and here they are:

These are officially the "Online Assistant Editors" for their respective games; they handle adding new links to that game's website, updating news, suggest new features, and generally keep that section of the site up-to-date and running smoothly. If you have a page you'd like linked to that part of the site, send the URL to the Online Assistant Editor for the game in question.

Many thanks to EVERYONE who volunteered; even if you weren't picked this time, we're still keeping your info on hand, in case we need help again in the future.

June 28, 1997: Gary Gygax -- Online!

Got tipped by a friend about the new Gary Gygax website, and it is well worth visiting.

Quick history lesson for you newbies: Gary Gygax founded Tactical Studies Rules in 1973, a company that grew up to be TSR. He left the company in the mid 1980s, and he has been designing games and writing books ever since.

Features of the site include a FAQ where Gary tells his side of some of the industry's earliest, dirtiest fights; A virtual residence (which you need a Java-capable browser to go through); and an "alpha-test version" of his latest fantasy roleplaying game, Legendary Adventures.

For a taste of roleplaying history and a look at one of the founding fathers of the hobby -- warts and all -- this is a fascinating site.
-- Scott Haring

June 27, 1997: The Letterboxing Conspiracy

Illuminated Site of the Week Subtitled "Letterboxing: Vile Censorship of Movies on Tv and Video," this site exposes the conspiracy of "film makers, film critics, and their followers" to prevent you (yes, you) from enjoying movies on TV by blocking parts of the screen with black bars. Don't give in and accept this treatment! Fight for your right to watch cropped-down versions of big-screen hits! Join the anonymous author of this site in his/her crusade for cinematic integrity!

(Submitted by "D. Riff Millar")
-- Shig the Unmentionable

June 26, 1997: CDA Struck Down; WoTC Buys Five Rings Publishing

Free speech on the Internet just won a major battle: today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Communications Decency Act, which was passed into law last year as part of the telecommunications reform bill. The CDA made it a criminal act to post "indecent" material on the Internet where minors could view it. The Supreme Court ruled today that this part of the legislation infringed on First Amendment free speech rights, and that the law's definition of indecency was too vague.

For the full story, check out, or

When It Rains...

. . . the breaking news just pours. This also just in:

Wizards of the Coast Acquires Five Rings Publishing Group Inc.

Wizards of the Coast Inc. has bought Five Rings Publishing, publishers of the Legend of the Five Rings card game, the Star Trek: The Next Generation dice game and the soon-to-be-released Dune: Eye of the Storm card game. Alderac Entertainment Group, the parent company of Five Rings Publishing and themselves publishers of Shadis magazine and the just-released Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying game, is not affected by the sale and remains independent.

Wizards CEO Peter Adkison said in the press release, "Five Rings Publishing is a young, dynamic company that has created an impressive model for producing high-quality games over a short period of time. The company excels at combining strong property licenses with superb game play, and its expertise in the adventure game category greatly complements Wizards of the Coast's line of products."

Wizards, of course, just completed the purchase of TSR a couple of weeks ago. But if you read the Illuminator regularly, you knew that, didn't you?
-- Scott Haring

June 25, 1997: Toon Named Best Miscellaneous RPG

Inquest Magazine named Toon as their pick for "Best Miscellanous RPG" in their July 1997 issue. "Emphasizing slapstick violence and nonsense physics... Toon is pure anarchy, the funniest RPG ever." Thanks, guys!

June 24, 1997: Playing By Bill's Rules

Check out the new issue of THE ONION, which has the scoop on what Bill Gates is up to now . . .
-- Steve Jackson

June 23, 1997: New Graphics Artist

We welcome David Hanshaw, a part-time graphic artist who will help us out on the occasional book and the myriad little stuff that gets done around here.

What sort of little stuff? It would boggle the mind . . . business forms, retailer newsletter, ads for convention program books and magazines, graphics for product reviews in other magazines, convention signs, t-shirt designs, and lots more . . . it's amazing how much stuff we do around here. And now David is around to help. Welcome!
-- Scott Haring

June 22, 1997: Illuminated Deck Manager Coming Soon!

If you're one of those people who has too many INWO deck ideas for your short term memory, or if you've ever wondered "How many Gordo Remora cards do I have?" then you need the Illuminated Deck Manager, coming soon from InterLynx. The Deck Manager will know about all the cards from the original set and Assassins. You'll be able to search the card database, constuct a deck, and save it/print it. No more wasted ideas! Watch this space for more information about release dates and prices.
-- Micah Jackson

June 21, 1997: New Product Alerts

To keep our faithful and not-so-faithful readers informed of new product releases here at Steve Jackson Games, we have established a new products mailing list. To subscribe, send Email to with the message "subscribe newproducts". To subscribe a friend, tell your friend to do the same. But be forewarned, by subscribing to the list you will be subjected to subliminal messages including, but not limited to, sending all of your Halloween candy to us (in an unmarked package, please). 23candyfnord.
-- Gunner

June 20, 1997: The Cydonia Files

Illuminated Site of the Week When Richard C. Hoagland looked at Mars, he believed he saw a humanoid face looking back at him. Based on this compelling evidence, this respected scientist took a flying leap to the conclusion that the rock-and-shadow formation not only was constructed by intelligent beings, but also proves beyond all doubt that Creationism, not evolution, is the correct model. All we can say is, it's a good thing he didn't notice the gift shop and mini-golf course next to the giant face...

-- Shig the Unmentionable

June 19, 1997: GURPS in the Auction

The SJG Auction has moved back into GURPS territory; the two newest lots include copy #1 of GURPS Time Travel, signed by authors John M. Ford and Steve Jackson. And the GURPS Basic Set - Plaintiff's Exhibit P-1 - the copy that was our first exhibit in the Secret Service lawsuit, still with the exhibit sticker on the cover. Visit the auction for more info or to bid!

Also, if you missed it, we've set up an auction mailing list that sends out daily updates (once a day) to the auction. To subscribe, send email to with the message "subscribe auction".

June 18, 1997: Hong Kong Agents Needed

For the better part of a year we've been corresponding with the US rep for a Hong Kong firm which can - they insist - do plastic dice, metal casting, plastic/resin casting, you name it. The rough prices they quoted were seductive. But actually getting a BID out of them is like pulling teeth. I'm ready to deal with someone who answers questions with something beside yet another picture of a product they did for somebody else.

Troublesome though it is, offshore manufacturing may be the best way to get (for instance) Ogre miniatures back in the stores. Not the only way; I'm following up a new US contact even now. But . . .

Anybody out there have connections with a manufacturer in Hong Kong? Or Taiwan, or Mexico, or Korea? Sure, we could open up a directory and start calling. But a personal recommendation might save us some time. And "Bob" knows, I've been trying long enough.
-- Steve Jackson

June 17, 1997: In Nomine Relics Contest

Have you created a cool relic for your In Nomine campaign? Would you like to share it with others? Steve Jackson Games is now sponsoring a Relics Contest! Send in your best relic ideas, and if your submission is accepted, you'll get your name in print, along with a free copy of the supplement in which it will appear. We're especially looking for outstanding submissions from people that might like to write more for us in the future.

The Rules:

1. The preferred format for submitting relics is by e-mail; see contact information below. Snail mail submissions will also be accepted, but due to the short-term nature of the contest, are less likely to receive full consideration. If you do submit by regular mail, we prefer plain ASCII format on IBM-compatible 3.5" disks. The least preferable format is printed submissions on 8.5"x11" paper. (Printed entries must be typed. Handwritten entries will not be considered.) All entries must include your full name and mailing address.

2. The deadline is July 31, 1997. Entries received after that date will not be considered.

3. Winning entries will appear in SJ Games' upcoming In Nomine Relics supplement (tentatively titled The Librum Reliquarium, and scheduled for a late 1997 release). Winning contributors will be listed in the credits, and receive a free copy of the book.

4. All entries become the property of Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. Entries will not be returned.

What We're Looking For

* Primarily relics and reliquaries. If you have a truly original idea for a corporeal artifact or talisman, go ahead and send it in, but we're not collecting lists of ideas for these minor items.

Each entry should include:
* A physical description of the relic.
* A history of the relic. Is it unique, or a common artifact?
* Who uses it? Describe the owner (briefly) if it is a unique relic, or its present location.
* A mechanical write-up, including details of its use and performance, any Songs contained in the relic, Limitations, Essence requirements, whether the relic comes in different levels, and character point cost.
* Ideas for using the relic in a campaign.

You may create powers that do not correspond exactly to any Song in the rulebook, and you may create new Limitations as needed (but try to stay in line with those given in the rules.)

In general, use the examples on pages 70-71 of the In Nomine rulebook as your guide. Be more elaborate as necessary, but brevity is a virtue! We want to fit as many great ideas into the book as possible.

What We're Not Looking For:

* "Shotgun" submissions: five-page collections of every artifact you can think of. Please send only your very best ideas, not every idea you've got in the hopes that one of them will be accepted.

* Fifteen versions of the Holy Grail. (All right, if you think you have the definitive In Nomine write-up of the Holy Grail, or the Shroud of Turin, or Excalibur, go ahead and submit it, but you'll probably have lots of company . . .)

* Artifacts that will drastically unbalance the game. (Hint: anything that can kill a Superior, summon God, or permanently alter the universe is probably unbalancing.)

* New Songs, new Choirs & Bands, new Superiors, short stories, long lists of new Artifact Limitations, or anything except Relics. Brief descriptions of the character who uses a noteworthy artifact (such as, "This relic was last seen in the hands of a Calabite Knight of Baal named Balak", or "Laurence often gives these items to his favored Servitors") are fine, but we're not looking for full-length NPC write-ups.

* Poor writing. This includes both content and format. Use a spellchecker, and be concise. Anything that gives the contest administrator a headache will probably be thrown out.

Contact Information

E-mail submissions should be sent to: David Edelstein,

Snail Mail submissions should be sent to:
Relics Contest
c/o SJ Games
PO Box 18957
Austin, TX 78760

Questions about the contest may be directed to either of the above addresses. The contest administrator will not be able to comment on any submissions received, nor verify the receipt of each individual submission. Any further news or details about the contest will be distributed in the same manner as this announcement. Fnord.
-- Scott Haring

June 16, 1997: More Bodies for the Magazine Graveyard

Two new casualties to, sadly, report:

Future Publishing has announced that issue #20 of arcane will be their last. Future is a large publishing conglomerate with dozens of titles, and while arcane may have been considered a success by game magazine standards, it wasn't doing well enough to satisfy its corporate masters. Latest word is that they plan to continue to keep arcane alive at their website, though you'll have to do some navigating to find arcane among the rest of the stuff. Too bad -- arcane was one of the better mags, and shone brightly for the nearly two years it was around.

Around much longer (five years), but apparently just as dead, is Australian Realms, a nice little magazine that didn't get seen much in America, but was a mainstay of the Australian gaming scene. Their last issue was Number 30, published November 1996. Editor Nick Leaning said in the announcement, "The decision to close Australian Realms was not taken lightly. We know it will come as a great disappointment to our many loyal readers. Australian Realms proved that Australian RPG designers, writers and artists are the equal of any in the world. The magazine gained international recognition in its own right and on behalf of many of the Australian talents we showcased. By any artistic criteria the magazine was a great success that we can all be proud of."

Again, too bad. I have a soft spot in my heart for game magazines, and there seem to be damn few of us left. (Though my sources tell me that as a result of the Wizards of the Coast buyout of TSR, Dragon magazine will finally be back soon -- probably in time for GenCon.)
-- Scott Haring

June 15, 1997: The Clock is Ticking

It may not be a concern to you immortals, but the rest of us may be curious to find out just how much time we have left to play all those games that are sitting on our bookshelves. If you have been contemplating this lately, just ask Charon to escort you over to the Death Clock. It gives new perspective to lying about your age...
-- Gunner

June 14, 1997: Dan Smith Art Auction!

Anyone who's looked through just about anything we've published in the last, oh, five years or so might figure out that we're big fans of California artist Dan Smith. Dan has illustrated countless GURPS books, INWO cards and all of our first three In Nomine releases. Basically, he rocks.

Well, now some of that great Dan Smith artwork -- mostly original In Nomine pen-and-inks -- is available for you to own. The Dan Smith Auction page is up and running, with the first eight pieces now available. All the money goes to Dan. Bid early and often!
-- Scott Haring

June 13, 1997: Timothy Leary

Illuminated Site of the Week Saint or subversive? Messiah or madman? White wine, or red? Everyone who's heard of Timothy Leary has a different opinion about him; the truth, of course, is known only to us. All we can say, however, is that we categorically deny any and all involvement in his life and alleged death.

-- Shig the Unmentionable

June 12, 1997: "We Also Walk Dogs . . . "

Remember the short story by Robert Heinlein, about the company that could find absolutely anything, arrange absolutely any (legal) service, for its rich and demanding clientele? Well, it's true.

The real-life incarnation of Heinlein's "General Services" is called U S Assist. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, U S Assist specializes in doing the impossible for those who don't have to ask about price. They can get you tickets to sold-out shows, reservations in swank restaurants. They can look up obscure information to settle a bet or win a contract. They can find someone who will make a tuxedo for your dog, or locate 500 pairs of edible underwear.

And they're hiring. If you speak more than one language, have a good phone personality, and can keep a straight face, this might be a Truly Weird Job . . .
-- Steve Jackson

June 11, 1997: Night Music Goes To Press

Night Music, the first In Nomine book in the Revelations Cycle, goes to the printer today. This should give us a ship date of July 14, late but not disgustingly so . . . which means that if nothing breaks, you'll see this book at Origins.

This project let us shake down our In Nomine "studio" quite a bit . . . we learned many things about producing this sort of product. The following ones are already going better.

June 10, 1997: All of the Above Online

All of the Above is a long-running APA (Amateur Press Association), a fanzine of dedicated GURPS fans who swap adventure ideas, character write-ups, rules discussions, strange artwork and all sorts of other good stuff.

And now they're online. Current editor Robert Gilson has set up a web site that has some neat Dan Smith artwork (Dan's a member), information on back issues (coming soon) and even how to join up! Check it out.
-- Scott Haring

June 9, 1997: New Art Director Confirmed

A puff of white smoke was seen from the SJ Games chimney, and ...

Carol Burrell has been named Art Director of Steve Jackson Games. Carol came on board a few weeks ago to fill the hole left by the sudden departure of our last art director (Diana went to San Francisco to work for Survival Research Laboratories, the folks who build giant metal fire-breathing dinosaurs and such). Anyway, Carol's done a bang-up job, so we're making it official.

If you'd like to be considered for art assignments, just drop Carol a line. We're looking to expand our stable of illustrators, and if you've got what it takes, we'd love to have you.
-- Scott Haring

June 8, 1997: Got a Complaint?

Then check out the Automatic Complaint Generator web page. Just plug in a name and let the computer do the rest!

June 7, 1997: The Lost World Connection

Seen The Lost World yet? I haven't, but I will soon. I hear the plot and script is kinda, well, predictable. But the dinosaurs are so cool it doesn't matter.

Anyway, on to our connection. I was channel surfing the other night and saw one of those promotional "The Making of ..." shows on the E! Entertainment Network for The Lost World. In addition to the usual film clips and interviews with the stars and stuff, they spent a lot of time with the movie's lead technical advisor, Dr. Jack Horner, who talked about how scientifically accurate all the dino stuff was.

So what's the connection? This is the same Dr. Jack Horner who reviewed, approved and wrote the foreword for GURPS Dinosaurs. Small world, eh?
-- Scott Haring

June 6, 1997: Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims to the Paranormal

Illuminated Site of the Week CSICOP is one of our most surprising successes to date. Who would have thought that all it would take to discredit the possibility of "paranormal" abilities would be to replicate their effects using physical trickery? Telepathy and psychokinesis are complicated concepts, and the normals will take the simplest world view every time. Which is fine with us; the fewer unregistered telepaths we have to deal with, the better.

-- Shig the Unmentionable

June 5, 1997: GURPS Goblins Comes To Life!

We got this strange bit of e-mail the other day:

"...Anyway, like any good gaming club, the Strategic Games Club of Brookline High (MA), of which I am the Eternal Freshman, has in our archives about a 6' tall bookcase of GURPS books, and in one of them (GURPS Goblins) my predecessor discovered an interesting project. Upon further consideration and hard work, the SGC put on a production of The Abridged Macbeth With Just The Witches And The Fighting in front of the whole school last month (my legacy is a great one, no?). We managed to use an entire pint-and-a-half bottle of stage blood, and the production was a cosmic financial success (ish). I just wanted to let you guys know that the entire population of Brookline High School wishes to thank you people at SJG for allowing this kind of social refinement to easily reach the public. Oh, and please don't be annoying and sue us or something."

Our influence is everywhere . . .
-- Scott Haring

June 4, 1997: The Executive Summary

Because if I wrote up everything that happened on my trip, it would be Real Long. Because the TRIP was Real Long. And very much fun, but I'm glad to be back.


Per my earlier report: this Salt Lake City con has to be one of the best kept secrets in the world of SF and gaming. A good committee, good guests, nice city. At least 700 people attending. Why had I never heard of ConDuit before last year? These people are too modest. I want to go back.

After the con, a couple of committee members were good enough to guide me on a four-day marathon drive/hike through Utah, looking at dinosaur sites - everything from Dinosaur National Monument to a remote hike-an-hour-around-the-reservoir-and-see-if-the-tracks-are-above-water site. (Some of them were. Three-toed theropod tracks. Way cool.)


This is the Nth time I've been to this Missoula convention. It's my main point of contact with Northwestern fandom. And I *like* Northwestern fandom. It's a SF/gaming con, but I kept plenty busy on the gaming side. Among other things, I ran a game of Darwinopoly. One of these days we HAVE to publish that game for real...

The Museum Store Show

I finished up May, and my trip, by meeting Woody and Micah in Chicago for the Museum Store Association show. One guess what we were plugging. Yep, Dino Hunt. And they liked it! We got some good comments, some intelligent questions, some "Please do the Prehistoric Mammals supplement RIGHT NOW," and actual on-the-spot ORDERS from a dozen museums! And much fun was had by all.

Then I came home and fell down.
-- Steve Jackson

June 3, 1997: It's Official -- WotC Buys TSR!

The following press release was posted today on the Wizards of the Coast website:

Wizards of the Coast Completes Acquisition of TSR Inc.

June 3, 1997 (Renton, Wash.)--Wizards of the Coast Inc. today announced the completion of its acquisition of TSR Inc., finalizing a transaction that began in April when the two leaders of the adventure gaming industry announced the signing of a letter of intent. Both companies are privately held, and financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. A product and employee integration plan is currently being developed and details will be announced at a later date.

Wizards of the Coast is the publisher of the world's best-selling trading card game, Magic: The Gathering. Lake Geneva, Wis.-based TSR is the publisher of the world-renowned adventure game Dungeons & Dragons.

Peter Adkison, president and CEO of Wizards of the Coast, commented, "I am personally and professionally thrilled with the finalization of this agreement. The Dungeons & Dragons legacy has dominated the adventure roleplaying game category for more than 22 years, and we are thrilled to be new providers to its enormous worldwide audience."

-- end quoted material --

The word from inside TSR is that at today's announcement to the employees, they were told that TSR operations would be moved to Seattle later this summer, through GenCon at the latest, and that most if not all of them would be asked to stay on. And by all accounts, GenCon is still very much a go. Given that GenCon is now only two months away, should make for an interesting con. Among other interesting things.
-- Scott Haring

June 2, 1997: This Will Not Change Your Life

A recommendation from John Karakash, who clearly has WAY too much spare time on his hands: check out the Stick Figure Death Theater. You'll need a browser that can handle animated gifs.

June 1, 1997: In Nomine Survey Update

As you may recall, we put up an In Nomine Survey a little while back to find out just who was playing what. The page is still up and available for you to participate, but as of the end of May, here's what we've got:

Of the 373 surveyed so far, angel characters outnumber demons by a greater than 4-to-1 margin, 301 to 72.

Of the Angelic Choirs, the most popular by a long shot is the Malakim (81), followed by the Seraphim (42) and the Mercurians (40). Most popular Demonic Bands are Impudites (18) and Lilim (16), though there are four more Bands just a few behind those two.

Most popular Angelic Superiors: Michael (55), Eli (41), Yves (38) and Gabriel (37). Everyone's favorite Demon Prince is Kobal (17), with only Saminga (12) also even making double digits.

What to make of this? Some of our In Nomine writers seem genuinely pleased that most of the players have decided to play the "good guys," while others worry that the lack of demon players just means that we haven't adequately explained the moral ambiguity of the game world that makes playing the damned so appealing. Me, I haven't made up my mind yet...
-- Scott Haring

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