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Pyramid Goes Virtual

Pyramid, the role-playing magazine published by Steve Jackson Games (GURPS, In Nomine, INWO etc) has moved to the internet. Effectively immediately, Pyramid has ceased its traditional paper publication mode, which it used previously for all of its five years of existence, and is publishing as a netzine. Pyramid comes a close second behind Dragon, the biggest RPG magazine on the market, and as such, this move says much about the increasing viability of the internet as a publishing arena.

Editor of the magazine, Scott Haring said "[With the internet] we can deliver more content at a lower price, use the immediacy of the Internet for more timely industry news coverage, and use the multimedia capabilities of the web to do things you could never do on paper." These things that could never be done on paper include playtesting games the company is working on, chat rooms with the writers and designers and reader bulletin boards. There are also plans to include an archive of the many gaming magazines SJ Games have produced in both past and present, such as Space Gamer, Role-Player and AutoDuel Quarterly.

Of course, all this is going to cost money, with a yearly subscription coming to $15 (US) - about half of what a paper subscription would cost, and, of course, much, much cheaper for overseas readers of Pyramid. For this price, Pyramid states, subscribers will recieve more than twice the content each month than the paper version. Visitors and browsers are welcome as well, but will only have minimum access to each issue: the table of contents and the opening paragraphs of the articles.

Current subscribers will be refunded within 30 days of shipping the final issue (Apr 3). If you would like to subscribe, the new virtual Pyramid is located at http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid

WebRPG Version 2 Up

WebRPG is a website, which, besides hosting a magazine, reader forums and lots of other gaming links and information, allows players to play role-playing games on-line. Using IRC chat rooms and Java-scripted "virtual dice", players can play the equivalent of a table-top RPG with players from all over the world, via their modem. Earlier this month, WebRPG announced it had upgraded its original system for handling these games, to a faster and more powerful Version 2.

Alex Bratton, President of WebRPG, said the new version was a "significant milestone for WebRPG online". As well as removing the bugs from the previous version, Version 2 is packed with new features that will make role-playing online "far easier and more inviting". The map-making feature has been much improved, and now allows for imported miniatures to be easily placed on the maps, plus functions that allow zooming in and out, and hiding parts of the map from the players.

The new "Adventure Assistant", allowing GMs to prepare things like wandering monsters, graphics and "boxed text" ahead of time, and the streamlined Reference tools will both make the GMs life much easier. Also, new gaming systems, dice rolls and mechanics have been added, giving more and more flexibility to all players.

If you'd like to know more, the website is located at www.webrpg.com If you'd like to read a review of their system, here's one by Jeff Freeman.

Warhammer Writers Wanted

In an effort to give young, inexperienced writers the chance to get off the ground and be published for the first time, Hogshead Publishing, Ltd, is running a WFRP Writer's Contest. As well as the winners having the chance to be published, cash prizes will be awarded. Anyone can enter as long as their work has never been published before (excepting magazines or similar publications). For more details, check out this press release or email the contest manager, Anthony Ragan on irishspy@mindspring.com

New Games and Old

As for new gaming stuff on the market, the most exciting news is old games. West End Games has done a huge deal with DC Comics to write RPGs and supplements based on the DC universe. Ever heard of DC Heroes, boys? Of course, West End will probably do a much better job of it, so we can look forward to some great new stuff coming from them. Archangel Entertainment is going to re-publish Dark Conspiracy, a classically chilling RPG from the early nineties, which was making people paranoid well before Chris Carter even picked up his pen. And speaking of conspiracies, Chaosium (Call of Cthulhu) are releasing a whole stack of new stuff for their Delta Green setting, which moves the Lovecraftian Mythos terrors into the 90's and adds a few aliens and conspiracies to spice things up. Coming soon in this line is a novel called Alien Intelligence and an adventure sourcebook called Mortal Coils. They also have a new website, just for Delta Green stuff, here.

Plus there are two more general sourcebooks on the way for Cthulhu fans. Highly detailed and deeply researched, A Cthulhu Mythos Bibliography and Concordance and A Guide to the Cthulhu Cult will be two encyclopedias full of eldritch facts no Keeper should be without.

And lastly, we have news that the next Magic expansion set is on its way, if any one still cares out there. It'll be called Exodus, and covers more of the Weatherlight setting. With this expansion, Magic will be tweaking its card design slightly to make it easier for collectors to tell where each card fits in what edition. And speaking of Magic, this issue's award for the biggest load of self-promoting pompous tosh goes also to the Magic boys, who include this with their spams, presumably to calm the quickening hearts of all those mad American fundamentalist who worry too much:

The Magic: The Gathering trading card game promotes strategy, mathematics and critical thinking. The card game has become the intellectual sport of the '90s. Developed by a math professor, Magic contains elements similar to bridge or chess and is often played in a tournament setting, with amateur and professional Magic players competing throughout the year to earn rankings and win prizes.

Mathematics? Intellectual sport of the 90's? Similar to Bridge? Who the hell are they trying to kid?

More Stupid Games

Last issue, we found "Prime Directive", the pathetic unlicensed Star Trek hack job. This month, for the stupidest game of the issue, we've found "Guillotine". The premise of this non-collectible card game is that the players are executioners in the French Revolution. They have three days (rounds) to arrange the ordering of the executions (the cards) so that they cut the heads off more important nobles than their competitors. The one who chops the most amount of noble blood (or points) wins. Mmmm. My advice would be to buy yourself a normal pack of cards (also NON-collectible) and learn to play 500. The purveyor of this oddity: Wizards of the Coast.

And Now...A Late-Breaking News Flash: Microsoft Buys TSR!*

In a startling development today, software industry leader Microsoft purchased the Wisconsin based role-playing game company TSR, after it was floated on the market last Tuesday by its parent company, Wizards of the Coast.

When questioned by critics, Bill Gates had this to say: "Microsoft has been able to dominate the computer software industry now long enough to hold 90% of the computer geek population in thrall. Obviously if we are to keep from stagnating, Microsoft needs to move into other areas of commerce typically associated with nerds and geeks. Our acquisition of TSR at this time was most fortuitous."

The newly formed RPG Divison of Microsoft, headed by Boyur Gullibel, has big plans for TSR's main product, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, including "AD&D 98" which will feature a new interface. A beta of this product was available earlier this week at www.rpg.microsoft.com, until a bug in the product, discovered by a group of gamers at Cornell, was discovered. This bug, in the spell "Monster Summoning I," occassionally resulted in dangerous rifts in normal time and space. The beta was immediately recalled until a patch for this bug can be developed.


Well that's it for this issue. But if you've heard any hot news lately about the gaming industry, or know of a great new game that's coming out, don't hesitate to send us some info about it here.

*This is, of course, a joke. Just like everything else Microsoft says. ;-)


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