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December 31, 1999: Give in to Our Marketing, Young Skywalker

Illuminated Site of the Week: You no longer have to accept the lesser of two evils. When one empire clashes with another, it just makes good economic sense to merge the two, and Microsith is your best - some might say only - choice for world domination.

-- Suggested by Joe Hacker

December 30, 1999: The Revolution Is Y2K Compliant

According to "Colombia's main leftist rebel group is taking precautions to make sure that Y2K-related computer glitches don't put a damper on its activities. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's largest rebel group, has updated its hardware and software to the latest generation, including getting an advance version of Windows 2000, according to a systems manager in Colombia's guerilla-controlled south."

December 29, 1999: King Arthur Goes Digital!

The British Library has announced that it will provide digitized images of its Arthurian collection to the Arthurian Heritage Trust. These include parchments with the 11th-century writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Sir Thomas Malory's Morte D'Arthur, published in the 15th century. The Trust, in turn, plans to distribute the material in CD form and, eventually, place it online. Check out the BBC story

December 28, 1999: Oh No! There Goes Tokyo!

Aquamothra? Godzillasaurus? Mu, The Super Mystery Magazine?

Jonathan Woodward, the author of the upcoming GURPS Ogre book, has written a GURPS Godzilla netbook. Source material includes everything from the original 1954 Godzilla movie to the upcoming "Bio-Godzilla". With adventure seeds, crossover information (Reign of Steel meets Godzilla?), and more giant monster writeups than you can shake a stick at, Game Masters now have plenty of tools for roleplaying in the Toho Universe!

I'll see you at the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center!
-- Keith Johnson

Legal fine print fnord: This is not a licensed GURPS supplement, nor is it, as far as we know, licensed from the Godzilla people. It's fan stuff, and it's neat.

December 27, 1999: What I Did On My Christmas Vacation

Actually, pre-Christmas vacation; I got back last week. Decided to beat the holiday rush this year. I spent an Illuminated few days in Indianapolis, consorting with the Indy cell and generally being up to no good. On the flight out of Austin, Delta served me a breakfast which included a "Bavarian's Cheese Danish." An excellent omen.

We went to see "Galaxy Quest." And there was much laughter. Yes, it's a bit predictable at times, but that's part of the humor. Trek fans will either love it or hate it, and I predict the majority will love it.

We played 25 Words Or Less. Excellent game; an interesting twist on Taboo. Basically, you have to get your teammates to guess 5 different words in only one minute; you are limited to no more than 25 words, TOTAL, for your clues. But at the beginning of each round, the clue-givers look at the word card and bid each other down . . . "I can get them to guess these with only 20 words of clues." "I can do it in 19!" "Fine, then, 18." "Okay, let's see you do it in 18." Way fun.

I read the "Harry Potter" books. Good stuff. They may be intended as "young adult" fare, but anybody who enjoys a silly take on Magic Realism is young enough for these. There are three out, and four more to come.

And I visited the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit in Columbus, Indiana. Beautiful, beautiful work; Chihuly is IMHO one of our greatest living artists. And remarkably, they allowed photography, so here are a couple of pictures I took with our new Mavica digital camera. Any inadequacies are the fault of the photographer, and not of the neat little camera or the beautiful glass.
-- Steve Jackson

December 26, 1999: Have a Cthulhoid Day After Christmas!

Had all the festivities you can stand? Did the Christmas carols drive you MAD? Well, give in to it! Clap your tentacles together and sing along with the Great Old Ones!

December 25, 1999: Perfect Stocking Stuffers!

The illuminated elves have been working overtime for your benefit, and now five new game aids are available to download!

Our first In Nomine game aid is the In Nomine Character Creator for Windows 95/98/2K, by Tim Converse.

Trying to Illuminate your website but your system administrator is thwarting you? Jim Lesko has created a shareware Java version of our Fnorder program for those webservers that do not allow CGI scripts.

A classic is revisited! Robert Struble has created the Necromancer GameBox for Cyberboard. This game aid allows you to play Necromancer by e-mail with your friends. You still will need the original Necromancer to play.

Do you have the urge to create a solar system? The Solar System Constructor, by Marcus L. Hulings, is for Microsoft Excel and Corel Quattro Pro 9. It allows you to completely design solar systems down to the smallest detail using the GURPS Traveller: First In rules.

Lyman Lockwood has created the GURPS Automated Character Sheet for Excel. This workbook has lots of room for all of your GURPS characters, no matter the genre.

These game aids, and more, are available on our Game Aids web page.

Happy Holidays!

John Schmidt
Game Aid Coordinator

December 24, 1999: Fill in the Blank Has It in for Me

Illuminated Site of the Week: If you're not sure how all the illuminated pieces fit together...well, that's how it's supposed to be. But if your curiosity gets the better of you, enter the pawn in question into the conspire database and they'll put it in context for you. Just remember, it's as much as your life is worth.

-- Suggested by Timothy Long

December 23, 1999: General Frenetics

Look at all this cool Discordian stuff. Woooooo. In particular, check out the Erisian Klock . . .
-- Steve Jackson

December 22, 1999: Convention Manager Needed

Steve Jackson Games is hiring a new Convention Manager, who will also function as MIB "Control," overseeing our volunteers. We need someone who is con, computer, and people literate, as well as an organizer par excellence. If this describes you, you can find more details in our Convention Manager job posting. May the best agent win.
-- Alain Dawson

December 21, 1999: Staff Xmas Party

We had our annual SJG staff Christmas party on Friday. This year Kelly and his wife hosted the party in their new home, out in the middle of nowhere. (actually about 15 miles outside of Austin.) And a good time was had by all. Here are the obligatory p hotos...

Managing editor Alain Dawson, sporting a purple hairdo and a death grip on the dreaded Barney.

So, what does a gaming company do on their night off? Well, they game. (What, you didn't think we had time for such nonsense during work, did you?) Here we're playing Apples to Apples.

Pictured are SJ, Amy (Jeremy's gf), Alain , and Monica.

More gaming. Now we're playing Chez Geek. Pictured are Kira, SJ, Jeremy, Amy, and Alain.

Kelly, Monica, Scott, and Scott's wife Louise scheme about [you're not cleared for that].

Gamer-in-training Alex Singletary.

December 20, 1999: Stevie Got His Teevee

Finally. Thanks to everyone who, several months ago, sent suggestions and advice. It's a nice big Toshiba. Watched The Matrix on it last week, in association with elements of the subversive group known to the outside world as "The Creative Staff." That is one heckuva movie, by the way . . . Now I have a lot more films to catch up on.
-- Steve Jackson

December 19, 1999: Computer 2001

Jamais Cascio offers some interesting thoughts on the near-term future of computers, in PC Review.

December 18, 1999: Paranoia is Always in Season

Illuminated Site of the Week: Huey Freeman, star of The Boondocks, is dreaming of a black ops Christmas. Watch as he slowly puts together the pieces of Santa's conspiracy, starting with the December 6th installment in the Washington Post.

-- Suggested by a whole lot of people . . .

December 17, 1999: Where Does The Money Go?

If it's a dollar bill, you might be able to find out with Where's George?. This banner-supported site lets you input the serial numbers of dollar bills . . . if others have entered the same bill, or enter it in t he future, you get a report. This is probably not an Illuminated attempt to track the spending patterns of net users fnord.
-- Steve Jackson

December 16, 1999: Science! Fearless, Bearded Science!

Now here's a man who doesn't let anything stand in the way of fearless, comprehensive experimentation. Thanks to Dr. Memory for alerting us to this investigation. Somebody tell the AIR, okay?
-- Steve Jackson

December 15, 1999: Just Shipped

The following products left our warehouse last week, headed for your local game store:

Explore the world of the Fallen Lords and Soulblighter in this adaptation of the best-selling Myth computer games!

This sourcebook takes you beyond the battlefields of Myth, exploring the culture and psychology of the game's fascinating races, fleshing out the nature of the setting, and expanding upon the adventuring potential of this exciting fantasy realm.

It will also provide guidelines for merging traditional GURPS and the Myth game engine, using Myth II's editors to translate GURPS combat to real-time computer play!

#6095, ISBN 1-55634-413-9. 128 pages. $19.95.

[GURPS Swashbucklers, Third Edition] GURPS Swashbucklers, Third Edition

Come to the age of the Swashbuckler, when the world was wide and fortunes could be made in an afternoon of smoking cannons and bloody cutlasses! Swing from a chandelier into the fray, rapier in hand, dagger in teeth, and show the Cardinal's guards they can't insult the queen! Or wait on the quiet back roads of England on a moonless night, pistols and reins in your hands, and hope the Squire's coach isn't too well guarded...

Pirates, Musketeers and Highwaymen all come alive in this GURPS worldbook of romantic adventure from Elizabeth I to Napoleon. Rules and background given include: ship combat, black powder weapons, expanded fencing rules, cutlasses, chandeliers, codes of honor, duelling, compulsive gambling and all the other classic elements of a good swashbuckling time!

#6019, ISBN 1-55634-394-9. 128 pages. $19.95.

[GURPS New Sun] GURPS New Sun

Welcome to the End of History!

GURPS New Sun combines history with a fantastic future! Based on the award-winning science fiction of Gene Wolfe, GURPS New Sun melds fantasy and technology into a unique fusion of swords and lasers, treacherous beauties and starfaring rogues, monsters from history and monsters from outer space, professional torturers and nobles who duel with poisonous plants.

Join the young torturer Severian, naive servant of the byzantine and shadowy Autarch, as he winds through the crumbling metropolis of Nessus and slowly learns the truth behind his world -- or create your own stunning campaign based on the indelible imagery of the Book of the New Sun.

#6096, ISBN 1-55634-416-3. 128 pages. $19.95.

Tile Chess (Edition Française)

Dans le jeu Tile Chess, les pièces d'échecs conventionnelles se déplacent sur un « plateau » virtuel dont la forme et les dimensions sont en constante évolution. La stratégie se com-plexifie: chaque fois que vous terrassez un adversaire, vous vous emparez de ses pièces!

Afin de gagner, vous devrez faire abstraction des limites traditionnelles de l échiquier . . .

Tile Chess a été conçu pour un groupe de 2 à 6 joueurs. Il est encore plus portatif que les échecs: il n y a aucun plateau et les pièces ( imprimées sur des carreaux ( tiendront dans votre poche. Vous pouvez jouer sur une table, sur un comptoir, sur le sol . . . où bon vous semblera. Cette boîte contient six ensembles de 16 pièces chacun, de même que les règles du jeu. Le matériel est suffisant pour une grande partie, deux plus petites, ou bien trois parties à deux joueurs. Une connaissance des règles élémentaires des échecs est requise pour jouer à Tile Chess.

Vos repères ne vous auront jamais tant désorienté . . .

Stock #1332, 96 pieces, $14.95

-- Keith Johnson

December 14, 1999: Warehouse 23 Penetrates Canadian Border

The border between Canada and the United States has made life hard for the Canadian gamer. The higher cost of shipping, the longer shipping times, and costs and delays due to Canada Customs issues have made it hard for Canadians to order games from the United States. So hard, in fact, that many Canadians have no local game r etailers, because the cross-border issues make it too hard for a retailer to stay in business!

Warehouse 23 is now shipping directly to Canadian customers from within Canada, offering the same selection at the SAME PRICES. Shipments are sent via Canada Post's Xpresspost. Shipping and handling charges will be in U.S. dollars:

Orders under $50 (US): S&H is 10% of your order, with a $3.00 minimum.
Orders from $50.01 to $80: S&H is a flat $2.50.
Orders above $80.00: NO FEE for shipping and handling.

Warehouse 23 will cover all costs of importing the games into Canada, and will NOT pass these expenses on to the customer. Canadians pay only the regular U.S. retail in U.S. dollars, the shipping and handling fees above, and GST. All you have to do is enter a Canadian address, and the software does the rest.

Warehouse 23 now carries 14 game companies, including SJ Games, Chaosium, Atlas and Cheapass, and more are being added each month. New releases from each company are available as soon as possible!

Rah! We're bi-national! This concludes our Canadian commercial announcement fnord.

December 13, 1999: The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming

Coming in January:


There are those who want to play, and those who want to WIN. The whiners who don't understand "power gaming" call these people "munchkins." But what do we care?

In this outrageous satire, an experienced munchkin gleefully reveals the tricks of the trade: everything from re-rolling an unfavorable result to bribing the GM. Learn how to get the most out of character design, and why it doesn't really matter what your character's personality is as long as you get to FWACKOOM! the NPCs and grab their stuff. Munchkin GMs get their own chapter, of course: how to control the players, bend the rules, and up that body count!

Remember: If it's only a game, why do we keep score?

Stock #3003 * ISBN 1-55634-347-7 * 128 pages
Suggested Retail Price: $19.95

December 12, 1999: Superiors 3 Now In Playtest!

Blandine, defender of dreams; Gabriel, who burns with prophecy; Khalid, friend of the faithful; and Yves, keeper of destiny. The four mystics of the Seraphim Council are covered in depth in the third of the Superiors books. Like the first two in the series, it will help Game Masters to understand their goals and motivations. It will also help players to understand what it's like to be servitors of these Words -- not just powers and dissonance (though that's there too), but also what it feels like to serve Dreams, Fire, Faith, or Destiny, and what each Archangel's organization expects of its members. Adventure seeds are also provided, tailored to the types of problems and assignments faced by Servitors of these four Archangels.

Superiors 3 is now in playtest. Pyramid subscribers can access the playtest files. And if you're not already a subscriber, subscribe today!

-- Keith Johnson

December 11, 1999: GURPS Castle Falkenstein

To confirm the rumor -- yes, we will be doing this project. We've signed the license with R. Talsorian Games. But we have not sorted out exactly when GURPS Castle Falkenstein will come out (someti me in 2000, but when?). Look for a more detailed announcement -- naming the writers! -- soon. By then, we'll have a page up for the project . . .
-- Steve Jackson

December 10, 1999: It's Not Nice to Spam the Secret Masters

Illuminated Site of the Week: We have all of us at one time or another wished all manner of misery on spammers. Leave it to the Grand Overseers to take the cruelest route: public humiliation. The MMF Hall of Humiliation picks apart spam and ridicules th e authors mercilessly. They even keep score, the fiends.

-- Suggested by J. Adams

December 9, 1999: Beat the Rush Before It Beats You

Thinking about giving a Warehouse 23 gift? The best time to order is NOW! UPS has warned us that between December 12 and 25, their volume will be so high that they can't guarantee a delivery date.

If you place an order after December 12 we will get it shipped and into UPS' hands that same day. But there is no guarantee you will get it before Christmas. If you absolutely cannot order early and really need Christmas delivery, you can pay BIG BUCKS fo r UPS Next Day Air. This is the only service that UPS can guarantee during the holiday season. We can ship your order UPS Next Day Air for you, but you'll have to pay the charges, even if the order is over the normal free shipping amount ($80).

Also, UPS will be closed (no pickups or deliveries) on December 25, 1999 and January 1, 2000. Nevertheless, our dedicated, hard-working, really not mind-controlled Warehouse 23 staff will be filling orders between the holidays, from December 27 to Decembe r 30.

Order now so your Christmas gifts don't arrive after New Year's!

December 8, 1999: Dork Tower Holiday Gift Tags

John Kovalic, creator of the popular Dork Tower and Murphy's Rules comics for Pyramid, has created a set of Dork Tower holiday gift tags. You can view them on the web here, and do wnload a printable PDF version here.

Thanks, John!

Big Layoff at Hasbro

In other news, Hasbro (new parent company of Wizards of the Coast) has announced a large layoff. A WotC spokesman said that company would probably not be affected. Pyramid subscribers knew this yesterday, of course . . . (shameless plug mode off)

December 7, 1999: Decipher-FASA Deal Is Off

Decipher Inc. and FASA Corporation have jointly announced that they have ended their negotiations for Decipher's planned acquisition of FASA. Pyramid ran the press release yesterday, and if any more details surface, that's where the y'll be . . .

Insiders (okay, outsiders too) have speculated that this means Decipher will not be doing the new Star Wars RPG after all, but there is no confirmation; at this point, it's just an interesting guess.
-- Steve Jackson

December 6, 1999: The Mars Petition and the Mars Society have set up an online petition to support the concept of a human expedition to Mars. Their goal is 1,000,000 signatures by November 2000. The petition will then be presented to Congress and the President.

Note that filling in this form will sign you up for three different newsletters unless you blank out the checkboxes. I don't care for negative checkoffs even in a good cause, hence this warning . . . but it IS a good cause in my not-so-humble opinion.
-- Steve Jackson

December 5, 1999: Just Which TL Are We Entering?

TL 7 is supposed to be winding down in a few weeks (yes, yes, we know, where are the big laser guns?) but it appears that, in medicine at least, the next level may be even more advanced than we thought. Check out this LA Times story on gene testing . . . and this one on eeensy teensy computers.

December 4, 1999: Updated Game Aids Now Available!

The latest versions of three popular game aids are now available from our download page.

First. we have version 1.1.6 of Mike Joseph's GURPS Vehicle Designer.

The second is Alan Atkinson's GURPS Vehicle design spreadsheet version 5.1 for MS Works 4.0.

Finally for the Mac user, we have version 2.0 of Richard Wilkes' GURPS Character Sheet for PowerPC and MacOS 8.5.
-- John Schmidt
Game Aid Coordinator

December 3, 1999: Illuminated Site of the Week: ZenMOO

Illuminated Site of the Week: Every so often, someone on the Pyramid MOO complains of all the idling, and accuses us of being a Zen MOO. Well, maybe, but we don't hold a candle to the real Zen MOO. Zen MOO is one of the oldest MOOs online (it officially opened Feb. 14, 1993), and is still going strong. It's obviously an Illuminated sort of place, too. The goal is not to talk or explore, but simply to meditate. Where else can you be rewarded for idling?

You can use your favorite MUD client to login to Zen MOO at 7777.

-- Kira

December 2, 1999: The End Is Coming

The end of the year, that is. Y2K problems notwithstanding, the end of the year means one thing to a lot of businesses - inventory time!

We will be no different; we will ship product to distributors through December 17, and then the Shipping Department will spend the rest of the year counting products and sending goodies ordered from Warehouse 23. In fact, the Direct Mail folks will probably feel pretty lonely here the last week of the year; most other employees will be able to take some t ime off.

So don't worry that you won't be able to spend that money from Grandma after Christmas - we'll be quite happy to help you with that. But try to order and ask any questions online, to give the guy who will fill your order a break from answering the phone!

And if you are planning to place an order before the holidays, remember to leave plenty of time for whatever problems might come up this time of year . . .

December 1, 1999: Don't Buy A Computer

I really enjoy Jamais Cascio's articles in various online publications. This one struck a nerve, though. Don't buy a computer, indeed.
-- Steve Jackson

Past columns

Steve Jackson Games
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