The Daily Illuminator

November 16 through November 30, 1994

Nov. 30, 1994

What a nightmarish day! We got a large box of samples of INWO Starter Sets and checked them out. What do you know? NO starter set had any duplicate cards. This was very weird, so we called the printers and started cross-examining.
It was very quickly obvious that they had not followed our instructions on randomization of the cards. So we did the obvious, appropriate thing. We went ballistic.
And, grinding our teeth in agony, we told them to stop the assembly process.
It's now several hours later, and the situation actually doesn't look bad. Definitely, they did not follow instructions. Among other things, the extra randomization step we paid so much money for, just didn't happen. And we are not pleased about that. But they didn't really trash the game; details are in the INWO area (Not anymore - Webmaster, 95.11.17). Tomorrow we'll find out what this does to our schedule.
But we all chipped a lot of enamel off our teeth today.
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 29, 1994

Remember we were talking about GURPS in other languages? We just got a sales report from Devir Livraria, our Portuguese-language licensee. They're in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Anyway . . . over the last quarter, they've sold more than a thousand copies of the Basic Set per month. I'm impressed. I'll be going back to Brazil this summer for their national convention. Looks like I'll get to meet a lot of GURPS players . . .
In other news: We now have a first draft of GURPS Celtic (or whatever we wind up calling it) from Ken and Jo Walton in England. It came in by ftp - sometimes the net is really wonderful . . . No release date set for this one yet, but expect to see it in the playtest area before long.
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 28, 1994
The INWO cards are here!
Well, okay . . . not all of them. Only one Starter Set, in fact. But that was enough to bring work to a screeching halt . . . They look beautiful. The rulebook is nice, too. Big enough to read, and printed in two colors, with diagrams. But the cards, the cards, the cards. Gloat! We gloat in most unseemly fashion. And there was great glee and much slapping of hands and many foolish grins were exchanged.
We're debating whether we should auction this Set #1 over the net; it ought to bring enough for a nice office party. We sort of suspect that the printer made up this set specially, rather than pulling from a production run, because of the 110 cards in it, none of them are duplicates. That's theoretically possible in a randomly chosen pair of decks, but pretty darn unlikely.
So maybe we'll just keep this set and giggle to ourselves about it . . .
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 27, 1994
Some of you may wonder, "What is Steve doing at the office on Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend? Doesn't he have a life?" Well, to paraphrase Bones McCoy: "It's life, but not as you know it."
Actually, this is a very good time for some kinds of work. On a regular workday, if I'm not wandering around bugging people (Ahem! I mean, "checking up on progress.") then I'm answering questions, taking phone calls, or what-have-you. Evenings and weekends are the best change I get to (for instance) read over a new manuscript.
And as soon as I finish checking my mail, I'm going to dive into GURPS Voodoo, the new book from C.J. Carella. I'm only about three weeks overdue to comment on it . . . the editor and playtesters really like it, but I've got to look at it anyway. Part of the job, and really one of my favorite parts, if I can just get time to get around to it!
Right now, the book is scheduled to appear in early January, and it's going to have a Tim Bradstreet cover. It will also introduce a new magic system. Ought to be interesting. So I shall stop typing, and start reading . . .
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 26, 1994
We announced this in the INWO FAQ a few days ago, but just to make sure nobody misses it . . . we now have a confirmed printer ship date for Illuminati: New World Order.
It will ship from the printer on December 7 (two days after the planned date . . . we'll live). Distributors will be able to release the game to retailers on Friday, December 16. This means that motivated retailers will have it that same day, and the others will have it within a week.
For more information - and previews of the art, if you've got Mosaic - check out our INWO web page.
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 25, 1994
We are very happy to announce that GURPS will soon be appearing in yet another language. Our new Spanish licensee is La Factoria, of Madrid. They hope to release their edition of the Basic Set before Christmas, and we wish them the best of luck . . .
And, for those who haven't heard, the German edition of the Basic Set appeared last month. It was released at the Essen game fair by Spieletreff Pegasus, a new publisher. In hardback, yet!
This makes six languages for GURPS . . . English, Portuguese, Japanese, French, Italian, German and Spanish. And we had some other inquiries at the Essen fair . . .
We are GURPS. Resistance is at -6. You will be assimilated.
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 24, 1994
Happy Thanksgiving . . . It's a vacation day today at SJ Games. All the turkeys have gone home :-)

Nov. 23, 1994
Wondering what's in store for you with the new ratings system, "voluntarily" adopted by the video game industry with a Federal shotgun to their head? Here's a quote from the December 1994 issue of Harper's Magazine:
"The new system developed by the Recreational Software Advisory Council to rate computer-game software defines blood and gore as "depiction of a great quantity of a sentient being's blood or what a reasonable person would consider to be vital body fluids, or depiction of innards, organs, and or dismembered body parts. The depiction of blood or vital body fluids must be shown as flowing, spurting, flying, or collecting in large amount of pools. To be classified as Blood and Gore, there must be more than just simple dismemberment; the dismemberment must be accompanied by tendons, veins, bones, muscles, etc."
One of the examples cited from the actual rating system: "A sentient being is thrown in a tree chopper and is spewed out as hamburger."

We can all look forward to the day when the Federal Department of Taste and Morals starts rating newscasts, church sermons and, yes, roleplaying games.
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 22, 1994
Mikael Hansson, an Illuminati from Sweden, sends the following:
One of our districts asked me to deliver a message, and I think you going to like it.
In the election to the local church-council the nice little party "ungdomspartiet Illuminaterna" (translated it would be something like, youthparty the Illuminated) got one seat, to their and everybody elses surprise. They had only one big question in their program and that was the local church shouldn't toll the bell so early in sunday mornings. It is a student neighbourhood, so enough people wanted to sleep on sunday mornings. That is at least the twenty two people who voted in their favor (only about ten percent of the people allowed to vote actually does it). So they give credits for the name to you and send their greetings, next year shall they try to get two seats and have a more wellworked program. Today the church-council tomorrow the world....

Nov. 21, 1994
Not long ago, we received a couple of issues of the fanzine CONTACT. What's unusual about that? Only one thing, really . . . it comes from Lithuania.
In all other ways, it's a normal zine: reviews, discussions of conventions past and future, a bit of politics, some art. It's in English, since most fans and gamers in Eastern Europe speak the language.
We've been providing games to the Vilnius SF club, DORADO, for a couple of years. So have other companies, including Games Workshop, TSR, West End and Flying Buffalo. Slowly but surely, in the newly free countries, the gaming community is developing!
If you want to write to the zine - or send a donation of games or other material to the club - you can reach them c/o Romualdas Buivydas, SF Club DORADO, Antakalnio 91-16, Vilnius 2040, Lithuania.
Drop them a line.
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 20, 1994
I wonder how many of these daily columns will start off with, "Well, . . ." This one will:
Well, we've put the most recent issue of Pyramid -- issue 11, the INWO issue -- in the Airborne overnight box out at the airport. Waves of relief shudder down my spinal column. A special thanks to Eric Kunze for making the Saturday evening airport run for me so I could make it to the Austin Lyric Opera's production of Faust -- an appropriate way to begin the first evening back to work on In Nomine.
The rest of our weekend has been surprisingly calm. After much cold and rain this morning, the clouds parted and we had a lovely autumn afternoon. And on such a lovely day, what did the Pyramid staff (joined by Print Buyer and bane of paper clips Andrew Hartsock) do? We sat in a refrigerated theater surrounded by Star Fleet Academy flag wavers, solely to see Stewart out-act Shatner in the newest Star Trek opus, Generations. We were not disappointed by the spectacle, nor were we particularly impressed.
But, wastes of time aside, work proceeds on In Nomine. Jeff Koke finished putting the cover graphics together earlier this week, and his design muse has filled him with enough layout ideas to keep him busy until the actual text is ready, Real Soon Now. Expect weekly updates on starting Friday -- and if you have any other comments about it in the meantime, I'm Try me.
-- Derek Pearcy

Nov. 19, 1994
Still no phone access to speak of! We can now call out, most of the time, but nobody can call in. At last count, there were seven trucks and four little tents around the cable repair site.
Today's factoid: In 1994, SJ Games supported more than 120 conventions, donating more than $25,000 in prizes and prize certificates. And we will happily send loot to your convention, if you're holding an event featuring GURPS, Car Wars, Ogre, Illuminati, Toon or any of our other games. For details, send e-mail to
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 18, 1994
Well, here we sit, still with almost no phone access. The IO guys took one of the modem lines and attached it to a spare phone, so we can call out when we have to. But we can't send faxes, and nobody can call in . . . Instant Dark Ages. Apparently SWB cut a REALLY BIG cable a few blocks away.
INWO update: Still looks like we will hit the December 5 ship date. This means that it will appear in US and Canadian stores around December 12 to 14, and in most overseas stores around the 21st or 22nd, unless the distributors paid for the air freight to get it there faster.
We have given up on the idea of increasing the print run of the Limited Edition. We originally scheduled a print run to meet our pre-orders. So many of our distributors later wanted to increase their orders that we spent a lot of time and effort trying to increase the print run to match. Alas, it is not to be . . . There will probably be some overage from the first press run, enough to package up some extra Booster Packs, but not nearly as many as the distributors want to order. Too bad. We would not have minded those extra sales, but 23 million cards is enough - we're not complaining too loud.
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 17, 1994
Thanks to Jonathan Woodward for suggesting the new name for this column; if you have a better idea, feel free to try your Affect SJ's Whim roll.
At the moment, I'm sitting here thinking evil thoughts about Southwestern Bell, because all the phones in the building are dead. The modems still work, so IO is going great guns. But nobody can get a voice connection in or out. This does not make a lot of sense. Jim McCoy called SWB, and they said "Somebody will be out tomorrow." Big help, guys.
Other than that, the Pyramid crew is finishing up issue #11, which will go to the printers tonight if the phone problem doesn't get in the way. And Jeff just showed me a really evil ad for GURPS CthulhuPunk - maybe we can get a GIF on the web for everybody to see.
-- Steve Jackson

Nov. 16, 1994
Welcome To . . . What Are We Calling This, Anyway?
Welcome to the first segment of a new feature here at Illuminati Online. The first thing we need, of course, is a great title. Title for what? Title for this.
This is going to be a daily news/chat/update column from SJ Games. The writer will change from day to day . . . whoever has something to say will grab the keyboard. If something fantastic and important happens, we'll let you know. If nothing fantastic and important happens, we'll probably make something up fnord.
And if you have suggestions for this "column," just send a note to

Enough of the administrivia. Today we DO have something fantastic and important to report . . . we got the proof sheets for the last 100- card "form" of INWO cards. This is the one with the Illuminati themselves on it . . . and it looks great. Now we can start playing with real cards!
As far as we know, the game is still on track for a December 5 ship. The printers were rumbling about a possible week's delay; that seems not to be a problem any more. Cross your fingers!
-- Steve Jackson