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July 31, 1998: We Can Clone You -- Tomorrow

Illuminated Site of the Week: Maybe Spot or Fluffy are getting a little long in the tooth? Never fear! Get a brand new puppy or kitten that is an exact duplicate! Clonaid® has a unique service to offer: they will clone you, your spouse, or your pet. Well, for legal reasons, they will start with pets. But once they get their lab built on some Caribbean island where human cloning isn't illegal, you too can be cloned for only $200,000.

This is a venture of The Raλlian Movement, a religion based on the idea that extraterrestrials (the Elohim of the Old Testament) genetically-engineered humans in the distant past.

Submitted by J. Campbell

July 30, 1998: We Now Return You To Walter's War with Wired

Which, it appears, is no longer with Wired. So much for alliteration.

His web page on the Formerly Known as Wired War, has been updated with the latest developments.
-- Steve Jackson

July 29, 1998: The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen

I have just had the privilege of seeing an advance proof of this new release from Hogshead Games, written (or so it would seem from the amusing credits) by James Wallis and edited (or something) by our own Derek Pearcy and the noted British game writer and raconteur, Michael Cule. I read it at one sitting (not a brutal task; it's all of 24 pages.)

This is not a review, for I have not played the game yet. This is just a "heads up." It was great fun to read; it looks like it might be fun to play, with the right crowd. Despite the light approach, I can tell that this will not be an easy game to play well. It is also, despite the Baron's claim (or, as he is sure to correct me, the claim of his publisher, for the Baron never lies) not a roleplaying game in any generally-understood sense; it's a game about making up stories and, in your turn, harassing other storytellers. Now, these are skills that are useful in roleplaying, too, but that doesn't make this an RPG.

No harm; I'd rather see something new (which this is) than Yet Another Set of Roleplaying Rules. If I can round up three or four congenial loonies who are willing to try it, I'll essay a game and write a review for Pyramid.
-- Steve Jackson

July 28, 1998: Worldcon Plans Change (sigh)

With a great deal of regret, I've stepped down as Gaming Czar for the upcoming Worldcon. There is just too much that has to be done here in Austin, what with our crowded release schedule and the (ahem) interesting state of the game business, for me to take a week off. Sigh, again.

Our East Coast MIBs have risen to the occasion. NE Regional Director Steve Fritz is taking charge, ably assisted by Baltimore cell leader Seth Cohen and Bronx/Manhattan cell leader Matt Lee, and various other henchmen, ne'er-do-wells and Suspicious Characters. Gaming will happen, there will be a convention booth complete with Worldcon specials and (knock on wood) GURPS Discworld.
-- Steve Jackson

July 27, 1998: A Game That Should Not Be Played

It's an occasional feature of Murphy's Rules, but we haven't done one in a while. "Games That Should Not Be Played" are, well, it's pretty self-explanatory. and now Mark Gelinas has found one on the web. With apologies to Games Workshop, you can see this classic by clicking here.
-- Scott Haring

PS: The "Altoids" link at the top of the above referenced page is naughty. If you are under 18 years old, you should be a responsible net user and not look at it. Just bookmark it until you reach the government-approved age for naughty. On the other hand, if you are 18 or over and of an experimental turn of mind, remember: Techniques gleaned from a humor site might not have the exact effect that the humorist led you to expect. In other words, this just might be another Game That Should Not Be Played. I don't think I want to be much more explicit.
-- Evil Stevie

July 26, 1998: Another Melissa!

pic Melissa Brunson has just joined us as Print Buyer. She recently graduated from SWT with a degree in commercial art.

Her hobbies include gaming (tabletop, LARP, or online) . . . though she comments, "I gave up on Call of Cthulhu years ago after I was ALWAYS the first to die or go insane." She also enjoys reading sci-fi/fantasy authors such as Anne McCaffrey and Madeline L'Engle, and writing her own short stories.

Melissa was a military brat; she's lived in Texas, Utah, Maryland and Labrador, Canada. She's also visited Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, and Washington.

As for Monica Stephens – she is leaving the print buying post, but not the company. A long-time convention buff, she is taking over as Convention Liaison and will serve as the new Control for our Men In Black.

July 25, 1998: Warehouse Enlarges Again

No, not our own warehouse (don't I just wish). Warehouse 23 is about to dig another level. The total number of items in those mysterious crates will break 4,000 next week, if not this week. If you haven't visited lately, the Secret Masters have something special waiting there just for you.
-- Steve Jackson

July 24, 1998: GURPS Traveller To Press

By the skin of our teeth, GURPS Traveller made it out of here today, one day behind schedule. It was almost two days . . . I got in the FedEx door at 9:29:57 or so, just as they were closing it. Every time that happens, I say "Gotta QUIT this!"

So it will PROBABLY still make it to the stores by mid-September; we now need for the printer not to have any problems, because we have used up our slack. Watch this space for updates.

Big thanks to everybody who made this come out: print buyers Monica Stephens and Melissa Brunson pressed into service as proofreaders, copiers and indexers, Alain Dawson slamming the art in there, author Loren Wiseman tweaking (or adding) sidebars until the very last moment, and most of all Jack Elmy and Gene Seabolt, doing Quark layout with one side of the brain and editing with the other. We couldn't have done it without you. Shoot, we wouldn't be US without you . . .
-- Steve Jackson

July 23, 1998: Now Mauling a Mall Near You!

This Christmas season, The Discovery Channel/Nature Co. will feature Dino Hunt in its line of specialty stores.

We're very excited about the game being introduced to the shopping-mall retail environment. Check out your local The Nature Co. store in October.

-- Gene Seabolt

July 22, 1998: Return of This and That

[ GURPS Egypt ]

GURPS Egypt To Press

Egypt is finished and out the door. The cover is beautiful, and remarkable because this time yesterday it was merely a (very good) black-and-white drawing by Kurt Brugel. In the hands of Jack Elmy, 32nd-Degree Master of PhotoShop, it became a faded but still colorful painting on papyrus!

Now the GURPS Traveller death march can start in earnest . . .

Hardbacks Planned

There will be a limited-edition hardback version of GURPS Traveller, probably shipping about a month after the "regular" version (case-binding takes a while). It will be identical in all ways except the binding and the price. Neither the ship date nor the exact price has been settled; both depend on printer bids that have been slow coming.

And, since the GURPS Basic Set is up for reprint in a few months, we'll run some hardbacks of that one, too. Again, no details yet . . . this is just an early warning.

West End Announces DC Project Suspension

West End Games posted the following to AOL yesterday:

West End Games Press Release

For General Release


West End Games and DC Comics have jointly decided to suspend the DC Universe RPG project. We regret any disappointment this may cause the many fans of the DC line.

July 21, 1998: This and That

Just to bring y'all up to date:

Scott's Married!

The wedding was lovely (snif). He and Louise are honeymooning; he'll be away for another week or so.

GURPS Creatures of the Night

is back in print, briefly. In cleaning out our warehouse, we've found small quantities of a number of out-of-print books (look for them in direct mail, soon). But there were cartons and cartons of Creatures – enough so that we can offer it through the normal distribution chain. It will ship to stores in August, with GURPS Discworld and . . .


which goes to print tomorrow. It allllllmost made it out today. We actually still have a day of slack with that printer, but we need OUR desks cleared to finish up . . .

GURPS Traveller

which has to leave here Wednesday in order to make it to the stores in early September. So it's nose-to-the-grindstone time.
-- Steve Jackson

July 20, 1998: INWO Wallpaper

Al Koenig created these lovely INWO montages for use as desktop wallpaper. There's an 800x600 version as well as a 1024x768 version. Thanks, Al!

July 19, 1998: New Web Volunteers Wanted

About a year ago we enlisted the help of our first web volunteers, the Online Editors who help keep the various game-related pages on the SJ Games website up to date. There are eight of them, and they've done a wonderful job helping us.

Of course, invariably there's turnover - people move on, get too busy, etc. We recently had two new volunteers join us; Emily Dresner is the new In Nomine web editor, and Greg Henle is our new GURPS web editor.

Karen Friesen, our Dino Hunt web editor, and Sam Falco, our Knightmare Chess web editor, have had to step down, and now we're seeking volunteers to help with those sites. If you're interested, check out the Online Editors page to see what you're getting into, and send mail to Kira.

July 18, 1998: Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age

Mike Godwin, who was a key figure in the Secret Service affair and subsequently became one of the Net's leading free-speech advocates, has written a book in which he discusses that experience and others – notably the debunking of Time Magazine's infamous "Cyberporn" cover story. Mike has come a very long way since he and I sparred at 300 baud in the prehistoric Austin BBS scene, and he's left his mark on the Net. And he shows no signs of slowing down.

An online review of Cyber Rights is currently viewable at Salon Magazine – drop by and read for yourself!
-- Steve Jackson

July 17, 1998: Book Publishers for the Conspiracy

Illuminated Site of the Week: Is there anything that your conspiracy needs? Well, Loompanics, Unlimited probably has a book to tell you how to get it, how to do it, how to make sure no one sees you do it, and if they do see you what to do about it. They publish and sell an enormous variety of books on such topics as fake identification, the underground economy, revenge, home weapon and bomb manufacture, torture, Anarchism, drug manufacture, lockpicking, surveillance, prison survival, and Big Brother.

Hmmm, is there anything I'm missing? Oh, yes. Reality Creation.

– Brett Slocum

July 16, 1998: Return of Killer!

It was the first live roleplaying game. It's still the evillest.

After too many years out of print, Killer will be reprinted for a September release. I'm deciding now what to add to the new printing. Comments, anyone? If you've added your own weapons, scenarios, or whatever to Killer, how about telling me about them?
-- Steve Jackson

July 15, 1998: Walter's War with Wired - The Followup

Yes, indeed, it's still going on. A couple of readers noted that the last update of Walter Jon Williams' page was a year old, and asked if the dispute really hadn't been settled. It hasn't. Walter informs us that, due to the breakup of the Wired empire, he now has a different set of lawyers to deal with.

He promises an update to his page Real Soon Now. Good luck, Walter . . .

Christopher Weuve also points out "It might also be worth noting that WJW is a former game designer himself, with FGU's Privateers and Gentlemen and its companion, the Hearts of Oak miniatures rules, to his credit."
-- Steve Jackson

July 14, 1998: Walter's War with Wired

Walter Jon Williams is a very talented SF writer (and also, in person, one of the Good Guys). Among other things, he was one of the group that created the Wild Cards series. More than a decade ago, Walter wrote Hardwired, one of the definitive "cyberpunk" novels. We wanted to do a GURPS Hardwired worldbook, but R. Talsorian beat us to the license, and their Hardwired supplement was a fine piece of work.

At any rate, Walter has been having a little trouble (okay, a LOT of trouble) with Wired Magazine. As he tells it, they killed a computer game deal for Hardwired by sending a legal threat to the company that was going to publish it. Recently, he set up a web page to tell the story. Apparently this got the attention of the magazine's lawyers in a way that no earlier negotiations had achieved :-)

Cheers for Walter. I'm a firm believer in going public when you can't settle a problem in private. Governments and big corporations don't LIKE having their dirty laundry dragged out. They think it's horribly unfair that they can't push people around in a dark, quiet place of their own choosing. Well, welcome to the Nineties. Welcome to the Web. Word gets out . . .

I have enjoyed Wired for years, and, ironically, they were part of the newsblitz that dragged the Secret Service out into the light. But it really seems that something has gone wrong there . . . somebody at Wired may be having just a little too much fun being a Big Rich Company. Walter wrote Hardwired (and licensed it in the game biz) YEARS before Wired magazine appeared, and if anybody has a pre-emptive trademark right here, it's not the magazine . . .

So check out Walter's page and see what YOU think. If you support him, tell him . . . and tell Wired, too. They read their e-mail.

-- Steve Jackson

July 13, 1998: Signs of the Apocalypse

If the Y2K problem, the release of Armageddon, and the predictions of the Church of the SubGenius weren't enough spice for your Millenium Fever, this might satisfy.

At the beginning of August, I'll be arriving in Austin, to take a staff position here at Steve Jackson Games. Working with Gene Seabolt, I'll be part of the New Media Department. My primary job will be production work on the eagerly awaited GURPS CD-ROM, with planned sidelines including some much-needed archiving, and work with the many shareware and freeware authors who've created programs for use with our games. The upshot of all of this will be more cool toys for your computer, both from us and from the fans!

Outside the office, I'll still be writing games, including GURPS, of course: GURPS Black Magic is on my plate even now . . . Watch this space, and my own site (The Blue Room), for details.

-- S. John Ross

July 12, 1998: GURPS Discworld to the Printer!

It wasn't easy, but GURPS Discworld went to the printer this weekend. Special thanks to all who put in extra hours to get the project done -- Celeste Hollister, Monica Stephens, Gene Seabolt, Steve Jackson and especially Jack "King of the All-Nighters" Elmy.

It's been a while since I've been this proud of one of our books. Discworld absolutely rocks, with great writing from Phil Masters, Mike Ford and Terry Pratchett himself, and tons of amazing art from Paul Kidby. This is a big book, too -- 240 pages, including a complete copy of GURPS Lite in the back -- making GURPS Discworld a complete, stand-alone roleplaying game!

GURPS Discworld will ship to distributors in mid-August, and will be available shortly thereafter in stores everywhere.

-- Scott Haring

July 11, 1998: Behind the Claw Playtest Begins!

The first draft of Behind the Claw: the Spinward Marches Sourcebook (the first supplemental product for GURPS Traveller) is now in playtest. Pyramid subscribers can access the playtest files here. If you're not already a subscriber, join today!

Let the playtest commence!

-- Loren Wiseman

July 10, 1998: Fight the Illuminati/Grey Conspiracy

Illuminated Site of the Week: EagleNet: Citizens Against the New World Order – that's the title of this mega-mall of conspiracy sites. Illuminati, Area 51, Earthquake Projectors, Clinton murders, alien abductions, the Gathering of Zion, solar engineering, faces on Mars; just about any modern conspiracy you want. They also have a mailing list for the latest breaking conspiracy news. Lots of pictures, lots of content, lots of conspiracies.

"We believe that this [New World Order] agenda, which seeks the overthrow of the U.S. CONSTITUTION, the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and the BILL OF RIGHTS is being carried out by a collaborative alien-human military force based in the Neu Schwabia region of Antarctica." – from the EagleNet web page.

– Submitted by SeanMike Whipkey

July 9, 1998: GURPS Arabian Nights to the Printer

We're bringing an old favorite back into print . . . GURPS Arabian Nights went to the printer a few days ago and will be out by the end of July.

Kudos to Monica Stephens for fixing all the errata and spiffing up the graphic design the old-fashioned way -- with a waxer, light table and X-Acto knife! Sometimes we depend too heavily on modern technology . . .

-- Scott Haring

July 8, 1998: So Why Are We Still Here?

Like most of us, you were probably ready for the world to end on July 5th, as predicted by the Church of the SubGenius. And indeed, the most faithful of the Church gathered together in upstate New York, in time-honored cult fashion, to await the Armageddon that never came. A loud time was had by all, but no Pleasure Saucers were sighted, and the official word from the Church is that there has been a small misunderstanding . . . we can't actually expect them for another 4,000 years or so.

See the Wired story on what did and didn't happen.

You can buy our INWO SubGenius game anyway. It still works. And I still have MY slack, thanks to "Bob"! Fnord.
-- Steve Jackson

July 7, 1998: A New GURPS Lite!

The introductory GURPS version, our 32-page GURPS Lite, is the one GURPS item that we don't publish errata for. When something needs fixing or updating, we just create a whole new PDF file and post it on the web. As indeed we have just done. GURPS Lite is free . . . download it, copy it, give it to your friends with our blessing.
-- Steve Jackson

July 6, 1998: In Nomine Wins An Origins Award

The Origins Awards were announced Friday night, and we were pleased to be honored by the voters and the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design in several categories.

In Nomine was honored as the Best Graphic Presentation of a Roleplaying Game, Adventure, or Supplement of 1997. Congratulations to Derek Pearcy, Jeff Koke and Dan Smith for their excellent work.

In addition, two products with SJ Games connections were named to the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame. Illuminati Play-by-Mail, designed by Draper Kauffman and based on our Illuminati, made the Hall, and so did the wargame magazine Fire & Movement, which we published back in the '80s and was subsequently published by several other companies.

You can read the complete list of winners in this Pyramid news story.

-- Scott Haring

July 5, 1998: World Ends Today! Film at 11!

Well, actually, probably not. By 11, the total breakdown of technological society will probably have progressed to the point where all you can do with a TV is throw it out the window to hear the BLAM! when the tube explodes.

I refer, of course, to the apocalyptic predictions of the Church of the SubGenius, which teaches us quite clearly that the world will be invaded and destroyed by aliens on July 5, 1998. Now, personally, I have enough faith in "Bob" that I think he just might be able to cut some kind of last-minute deal with the Powers that Be to give us a little bit more time. But I'm no fool; my Church membership card is safely in my wallet, where it will act as a beacon to the Pleasure Saucers that will be picking up the faithful of the Church and carrying them to unimaginable hedonistic bliss just ahead of the holocaust.

If you want a quick rant which may or may not explain a bit more about the Church of the SubGenius, be my guest . . .
-- Steve Jackson

July 4, 1998: West End Games, R.I.P.

Pyramid magazine has learned that West End Games has fired all its employees, ceased all operations and will file for bankruptcy early next week.

Read all the details in the Pyramid news story, if you're a subscriber, that is.

-- Scott Haring

Welcome Melissa!

Reinforcing the overworked staff in our warehouse is Melissa Dotson, who will split time between Shipping and our Direct Mail department.

If Melissa's name, face or voice seems familiar to you, it's because she comes to us after a long tenure over at Illuminati Online. Welcome aboard!

-- Scott Haring

July 3, 1998: Jacques de Molay, We Miss You

Illuminated Site of the Week: The Knights Templar are mentioned in almost as many conspiracies as the Illuminati. What was their relationship to the Masons? Did they worship Satan in the form of the demon Baphomet? Why was their order destroyed by Philip the Fair? Or maybe you just want to know what their nifty uniforms looked like for your next SCA persona. These questions and many more are answered at the History And Mythos Of The Knights Templar site.
– Brett Slocum

July 2, 1998: Back from Houston, Off to Indianapolis

I don't like doing conventions on back-to-back weekends. It tends to, err, ahhh, KILL me. But sometimes it can't be avoided. I just got back from "I Think, Therefore I Con" (also known as ITTI-Con) in Houston. Fun. E. Gary Gygax was one of my fellow guests . . .

I had a great time. With the help of the Houston and Austin cells of the Men In Black, I ran the Pirate Game (Still no pirate game page to link to. Soon, though, I promise.) Got to hear the Sinister Sirens play. Got to watch a very unusual martial arts demo. Good convention. They've asked me back, and if next year's dates don't conflict with anything, I just might go. So if you're anywhere near Houston, watch for it.

So now I'm back. And now I'm gone again. Off to Indianapolis, to InConJunction.. This is a big, old, general interest SF con with a strong gaming track. The featured guests are Mike Resnick and Vincent DiFate! (Guess I'd better take some things to get autographed . . . ) I'm going to be running a 6-hour multiplayer Ogre game Friday night. Sunday, of couse, is the end of the world according to the Church of the SubGenius, so if you're anywhere nearby, come by and see me . . . in case it's your last chance!
-- Steve Jackson

July 1, 1998: Fall of the Malakim to the Printer!

Let the trumpets blow! (But not all of them . . .) Book IV of The Revelations Cycle, Fall of the Malakim has gone to the printer.

Fall of the Malakim takes place in Los Angeles (and includes tons of adventure ideas for your own campaign that can be played out in the mis-named City of Angels). A Malakite of David has earned his wrath, and to teach him a lesson, David has sent him to demon-dominated L.A. with instructions to observe and report only -- not to attack, not to destroy. It's against his nature, but the pain caused will be a useful lesson . . . besides, David figures, Malakim can't Fall, so there's no real danger, right?


Fall of the Malakim will be in stores in late July.

-- Scott Haring

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