Free the Suppressed Transmissions

Suppressed Transmission was a column written by Kenneth Hite for Pyramid, Steve Jackson Games’ role-playing magazine. For more than 300 columns, Hite frolicked through the fields of history — real and alternate — the occult, paranormal and high weirdness. It was time traveling reptoids one week, the six faces of Jack the Ripper the next. It was a little bit historical fact, a little bit delirium and conspiranoia. Plot seeds, characters, campaign frames, you name it, Hite made them out of the oddities of human civilization for your inspiration and role-playing pleasure. It went on like that for years. And it was most enjoyable. Then Pyramid‘s format changed, the column ended and — this is the important bit — the archives became unavailable as subscriptions ended.

You can still get a taste of Suppressed Transmission through the two collections sold through e23, including the previews available for both. The collections comprise about three dozen columns each from early in the run. The material is heavily annotated and cross-referenced, so those two books have a lot of value added in compared to the columns as they were originally published.

I bring this up because a little over a year ago, I and some other ardent fans of Suppressed Transmission — Chris Helton, Jürgen Hubert and Stéphane Gallay, among others — kicked around the prospect of a grassroots effort to convince Steve Jackson Games it would be worth their time and energy to collect and release the unpublished columns in some format or other.

Jürgen in particular began a “Where I Read” thread on RPG.net in which he read through and commented on theSuppressed Transmissioncorpus. He’s up to number 123 as of this writing. And that’s out of just over 300 columns. Skim that thread. Look at the panoply of madness those columns cover. If those ideas tickle your mind, just remember there are so many more to be uncovered in a full collection.

As is the nature of topics of conversation on the internet, the fate of Suppressed Transmission has come round again. The state of affairs hasn’t changed much. The publisher has to see that releasing the rest of the columns in some form is going to be a money-making proposition. For that to happen, there has to be a rise in sales of the existing collections — both in PDF, only the second still in print.

Rally round the flag and support the movement to show there’s a market for a complete Suppressed Transmission collection. Hop in forum threads, talk it up with your friends and most importantly, buy the books! At the very least, they make for entertaining reading and at the very best, they offer oodles of ideas to cram into your role-playing games.

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12 thoughts on “Free the Suppressed Transmissions

    • Absolutely, it’s ultimately up to whomever holds the rights.

      I hope that SJG’s success with Kickstarter for Ogre leads them to utilize it for more projects that wouldn’t necessarily be a smashing success. There’s been discussion on the GURPS forum about whether Kickstarter could be useful there.

      In the case of a Suppressed Transmission collection, I think it could be feasible. The money could go to hiring a layout artist, maybe someone to hyperlink cross-references or add footnotes, if the fundraising went especially well. That way, the demands on the existing staff would be reduced. Whether that would be enough only SJG could tell, of course.

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