S is for Suppressed Transmission

You know about the suppressed transmission, of course? No? Oh, well.

Consider the following list:

  • Hollow History
  • Emperor Norton
  • Airship sightings
  • Spring Heeled Jack
  • Le Comte de Saint-Germain
  • Chess
  • Conspiracy
  • The Tempest
  • Alternate Earths
  • The King of Cats
  • The Lamina
  • Captain Heinlein of the US Spaceforces

What do they all have in common?

They are part of the Suppressed Transmissions.

Suppressed Transmission was a weekly column by Kenneth Hite that ran in the online version of Pyramid Magazine for 300 columns. It covered a range of topics that Hite described in the first column as conspiracy, horror, secret history, and alternate history. Covering a wide variety of topics he mixed references to legend or odd facts with gaming interpretations in most columns. While there were plenty of references to GURPS, given the source, there wasn’t really any game specific materials. Some of his departures from the standard format were campaign reports on two different Unknown Armies campaigns, an annual analysis (in the aforementioned areas) of a Shakespeare play, and a couple of worked examples of applying the materials to a game.

While collecting weird has been something I’ve always done it was the Suppressed Transmissions that got me involving it in my gaming. At this point that usage has become a hallmark of my style. Much of the World After is directly influenced by material from columns and much of the rest is influenced by the style Ken Hite brought out in the columns.

Sadly, with the end of Pyramid Online access to the columns in no longer available. Those of us who still had subscriptions were able to download all the content although even then some Suppressed Transmissions are missing. Steve Jackson Games did produce two volumes collecting some columns. These volumes are excellent with extensive footnoting and cross referencing of the columns. Sadly, these volumes are still available in physical format. I say sadly because their poor sales have kept SJG from investing the time and effort needed to get more of the columns collected. There has been a Where I Read series of posts about them on RPG.net by someone who saved each column as it was written. One expressed purpose behind the series is to get the books sold out and the PDF version selling high enough to warrant more being done. Given the love of conspiracy porn these days I’m not sure a better effort isn’t getting the books read outside of the gaming community.

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