Or do you? In addition to “proving” the USA had been on the moon since the 1950s in the film Slacker, Suppressed Transmission was an on-going column by Kenneth Hite in Pyramid that veritably romped through the fields of conspiracy theory, occultism, alternate history and any other bit of general weirdness that caught the author’s eye. Every column was literally jam-packed with plot seeds, campaign frameworks and non-player character ideas. They’re a GM’s delight, as the content is all eminently usable in any number of role-playing genres. Any time your game has a call for secrets, curious artifacts of unknown provenance and inexplicable happenings, you’ll find something interesting. I drew on Suppressed Transmission for my Mage: The Ascension campaign, going so far as to name the game after it. I still flip through columns regularly for adventure hooks and inspiration.
In addition to their utility as role-playing inspiration, the Suppressed Transmission columns make fascinating reading in their own right. Hite freely mixes and matches science fiction with history, conjuring up conspiracies and secret origins of the oddities of history: the mystical significance of Coca-Cola, the meaning of the Voynich Manuscript and six alternate time lines of the Roswell UFO incident, to name a few. Suppressed Transmission tickles the “what if?” spot of the brain of anyone into general purpose weirdness. The columns are free of role-playing rules or numbers. It’s all prose that you can read for sheer entertainment even if you’re not a role-player.
Why am I shilling so hard for someone else’s product? While there are two collections of Suppressed Transmission, wonderfully annotated and cross-referenced, currently available in print and PDF, there are many more columns’ worth of material not available. Pyramid volume 2 is no longer available as it once was. When the topic of the unavailable columns came up in a discussion forum, the answer from Steve Jackson Games came down to: there needs to be a significant increase in sales of the Suppressed Transmission material available for sale to prove spending the time on the Pyramid archives is worthwhile.
In a world where people are willing to pledge money to Nathan Fillion to buy Firefly, it doesn’t seem too unreasonable to raise some grassroots awareness about something as awesomely entertaining as Kenneth Hite’s work on Suppressed Transmission. I love the two collections I currently own. I would dearly like to be able to read the rest. The PDF version of volume one is eight bucks. That’s less than a quarter per column, plus a bibliography!
Check it out, won’t you? And if you need more of a taste than the preview PDFs offer, check out Jürgen Hubert’s “Where I Read” thread on RPG.net.
What are other people saying about Suppressed Transmission?
- Stéphane Gallay broached the topic to the French role-playing world and his desire for future broadcasts.
- Chris Helton admits getting his copy of The First Broadcast autographed was his biggest geek moment as a gamer.