After almost two years in Perlis, there arose an opportunity to host a tabletop game exhibition here at the university. Gray and Ben both gamers I knew and interacted with online back in Kuala Lumpur were planning a KakiTabletop Northern Tour which would take them from KL to Taiping to Prai to Penang to Perlis and back down to Ipoh before returning to the Klang Valley.
We thought it would be great to hold a tabletop gaming exhibition to introduce tabletop games - boardgames, card games and role-playing games - to the students of this university and the local community. If you remember I even once ran Mini Six for one of my classes last semester as a speaking exercise.
We were assigned Seminar Room 1 of Tunku Abdul Rahman Residential College.
After proposing the event to the Centre for International Languages, we had the green light to go ahead. With the help of colleagues, we scheduled the Tabletop Games Expo at UniMAP to be held last Friday.
Ain, Irfan and Faezan helped to organise the seminar room before the KakiTabletop crew arrived.
Meanwhile, I prepped the laptop, projector and the presentation slides.
We also arrayed the exhibits on the table, like these Star Wars X-Wing Miniature Game pieces.
Here are my complementary copies of BareBones Fantasy and Covert Ops, both RPGs published in a digest-format by DWD Studios.
A range of RPG books and boardgames I brought. Not much, but regular blog readers might recognise a number of them.
Here are paper miniatures of characters created for my own various Star Wars RPG campaigns for your own use. There is space at their feet on one side of the paperminis to write their names on.
Time is the Hunter characters
L-R: Jax Hunt - human bounty hunter, Iris Helena - human amnesiac
Note: Iris Helena is based on Helena on Orphan Black.
Edged by the Empire characters
L-R: Giin Lawquane - human mercenary, Hondo Pash - human smuggler, Yuzy Pash - human kid, Numa - Twi'lek soldier
Note: Numa is the same Numa that appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and later (after her appearance in this campaign) popped up in Star Wars Rebels.
Modesty Blazing characters
L-R: John Tray'Essek - Trandoshan hired gun/marauder, Qillian Ryn - Trianii bounty hunter/assassin, VAX-11/750 - technician/slicer, Vendrik - Duros spy/infiltrator, Nora Romanova - human smuggler/scoundrel, Darter Kel - Zeltron explorer/scout
Note: VAX-11 body design is based on robots seen in the movie Elysium. Nora's clothes are based on costume from The Dirty Pair anime. All of Darter's weapons and gear are on him even if they are not visible.
Click here to download, print and assemble all of these character paperminis for free from Google Drive!
Please head on over to my Patreon site for more paper miniature downloads covering many genres. Lots of free PDFs for you to download, print and assemble!
Alan Tudyk made the role of K-2SO the reprogrammed Imperial security droid from Rogue One a memorable one. If you require paper miniatures of him or other KX-series droids for your Star Wars RPG campaign, download and assemble the one I made here.
Click here to download the free KX-series Imperial security droid PDF from Google Drive here.
Please check out my Patreon site for other non-Star Wars paper miniature downloads. Some free PDF sets are readily available too.
BB-8 the spherical rolling astromech unit belonging to Poe Dameron is quite the popular droid. Finally I had gotten around to making paper miniatures of its type of droid for your Star Wars RPG campaign.
Obviously the scale is wrong because a 20-30mm scale football sized figure would not be worth printing out and making into a papermini.
Click here to download the free PDF from Google Drive.
Please check out my Patreon site for more paper miniature downloads. Some free PDF sets are readily available too.
The other RPG campaign I played in more-or-less regularly with the Gamers of Kuala Lumpur crew is Night's Black Agents where we played an group of international freelance agents with contacts with various countries' espionage network who were embroiled in a plot to take over the world. With dogs. Who might be sentient vampires. Also, an infectious hemovirus pathogen.
Here are all the drawings I made for various actual play reports I wrote for the campaign on this blog.
These were our pets and early warning system, the two Abrahams.
The team was knee deep in it at Eurovision 2013.
The logo for the pharmaceutical multinational up to no good.
Sami Härkönen plays Street Fighter in a biker bar.
Sami and Zlatan on undercover surveillance at Titan Park, Bucharest.
The Inish R-Team opposition team, with hemovirus-enhanced operatives.
Nikolai safely escorts Vin Cesarescu to where Sami and Zlatan are having some shish kebab for lunch.
The Devil's Husband has an actual vampire for a wife.
The artist in question might not have been in his or her right mind, but in context this was true.
Over the years I drew pictures for the actual play reports of Eclipse Phase that I played with the GOKL crew, I have never collected all the artwork in a single post... until now.
Hokusai Tarnungshaut my neo-octopus player character
Hokusai, Bishop-Six and Billy Cable Jr in spacesuits
The original Fastball Express crew during their pre-Venus days
The covert, tiny Sheldon morph
Welcome to Parvati Aerostat on Venus
Montage as the team form Gamera Security on Venus
Main Street, Cloud Nine
DANAI/Ina and Hokusai posing for a selfie while sneaking into Yamaha-Pacifica
The Janet morph
Hokusai in the Slitheroid morph
Christoph de Beers of the Jovian Republic
The Gamera Security (GamSec) logo
Billy Cable piloting an ultralight
Karamojo Bell even has a pith helmet vacsuit
The six-in-one Flexbot that shredded Karamojo Bell into a bloody smear, but it's okay. His cortical stack survived intact
The Maiko Clarimonda in the Jorōgumo morph
Bye, Maiko Clarimonda, but it's okay. She'll be reinstated from a backup with no memory of having her head blown off
The GamSec team descends to the Lucifer aerostat. Check out Danai in the little Sheldon morph beside Hokusai
The team finally meet Mr. Snuggles the ursomorph of the Teddy Bear Roadside Picnic Company
Hokusai and Danai are resleeved in q-morphs
How is Thomas Bangalter alive on the surface of Venus without any pressure suit and speaking to the team in their mind?
The campaign banner
So many other occurences that I did not during various earlier gmaing sessions before I started writing the play reports, such as...
- Cable tumbling down Olympus Mons for two sessions -- at least
- the team breaking Hokusai out of a sushi bar
- driving with neo-chimpanzee trucker BJ the Bear
- that time Bishop was sleeved in the neo-corvid morph (a.k.a the "chicken suit") for a reconnaissance mission at the 2309 Mr. Spock asteroid habitat in the Belt which turned into a one-man battle scenario while the others watched remotely from their ship
- and that one time the team travelled to a protected section at the centre of Mars, discovered a Pandora Gate there and accidentally activated an alien device that gave the red planet a brand new magnetosphere.
Sadly, these happened before I began writing actual play reports in earnest here, so many a detail has been lost into dim memory, like tears in the acid rain. Good times, good times.
I haven't had the opportunity to draw and paint anything for myself in the last several months. Maybe longer.
It ends today with this speedpainting I cooked up between various work-to-be-done-before-Monday.
When I started out freelancing - illustration freelancing - I had a mix of local and foreign customers. It would not be long before I decided to drop all local customers except one.
Local businesses, it seems to me, disregard freelancing work as non-serious work. One works at home at one's own time, I suppose, so why would we want take you seriously. If one was serious with work, then one should have studied to become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer... they probably figure.
The problem here is that whatever the case businesses need freelancers to work for them. But because of they regard freelance work, it would take many phone calls and many weeks to get paid after the job is done. The usual excuse would be because of company procedures and bureaucracy.
So many years have passed since I stopped taking local freelance commissions.
Irfan has now taken up bookbinding as a hobby so I thought I would commission from him a small gamemaster's notebook for me. I printed out the cover design at the print shop on blue paper and gave it to him. The cover was designed quickly using Inkscape and saved as a pdf.
Irfan stacked and folded some blank A4-sized papers for the interior pages.
He carefully measured where the staples were supposed to go on the spines.
Then he stapled the spine of the folded papers together carefully onto an eraser and bent the staple legs inward manually.
Here is the notebook almost done.
All that is needed to be done is to slice the extra piece of paper away for a flat edge.
The notebook is now ready for me to write in to continue our Time is the Hunter Star Wars RPG campaign that I am gamemastering. Perhaps I will follow up this blog entry with another when I have filled up the notebook with notes, stats and sketches in the future.
In West End Games' The Star Wars Sourcebook (1987) written by Bill Slavicsek there is a four-page technical write-up on the X-wing fighter. The text is an order of magnitude more detailed than any other write-up on the Incom T-65 X-wing ever written and filled with an abundance of elements that can be adapted and used by gamemasters for any Star Wars RPG scenario.
What has been vexing me for a quarter of a century are several "Star Wars-esque" non-English words used in the book for names of equipment make and manufacturers. Even if the spelling does not reflect it, when they appear to be transliterated words from my own native Malay language.
Tana Ire and Melihat
Tana Ire and Melihat are both flight sensor manufacturers who have developed sensory equipment for the X-wing fighter.
Malay: Tanah Air, (IPA:/tanah air/) literally "soil and water", meaning "motherland". The Tana Ire electro photoreceptor needs to scans water and land below the X-wing to be an effective terrain following sensor.
Malay: Melihat, (IPA:/məlihat/) is translated as "seeing", with the me- prefix of the word lihat making it the present participle of the verb "see" - but not a gerund. Never a gerund. A sensor sees, you see.
Bertriak is a manufacturer of the "Screamer" sensor jammer. Malay: Berteriak (IPA:/bərtəriaʔ/) is a derivative verb from the work teriak, which means crying, or screaming. Is this not how jammers work anyway?
Taim & Bak
Taim & Bak is a manufacturer of ship-based weaponry, specifically the KX-9 on the X-wing and the IX-4 on the Y-wing. Malay: Tembak (IPA:/tembaʔ/) is literally "shoot". This corporation would have been literally named "shoot" if not for the ampersand between the two syllables.
Chepat - renamed Chempat in later sources for some reason - manufactured the "Defender" shield projectors. Malay: Cepat (IPA:/t͡ʃəpat/) is "quick" or "fast". Perhaps the Defender shieds are quickly deployed in battle - I dunno... I got nothing.
While cepat translates as "quick", another manufacturer elsewhere in the book translates as "strong", namely kuat, as in Kuat Drive Yards based in the Kuat system. Kuat is definitely a strong presence in the lore of Star Wars with many vehicles designed by it, including the Imperial Star Destroyers we see on screen.
Also, I ran a small RPG campaign in the Kuat system once.
I wonder if there are other Malay words hidden within the non-English proper names in the Star Wars Sourcebook, perhaps hidden by transliteration of the word. So now the question is: is all of this a coincidence, or did Bill Slavicsek have a Malay dictionary with him when he was writing the article up?
23 February 2017
After this article was published, I thought I should email a query to Bill Slavicsek with a link to the post. Shortly after, he graciously answered:
Turns out my co-author Curtis Smith traveled to Malaysia and other locations as a child with his missionary parents. He wrote the X-wing section and must have snuck in those words when I wasn't looking. I thought he just made them up! Even after all these years, I'm still learning new things about my Star Wars Sourcebook!
And there we have it. Thanks for the clarification, Bill Slavicsek!
I was busy all through to the end of 2016 that I was oblivious to stuff happening in Kangar. For example, I recently discovered an alley near the centre of town which had been adorned by colourful streetart apparently painted by schoolchildren from all over Malaysia.
I thought I would take a couple of photos for documentation's sake, because this must have been a really fun event for the attendees.
The title artwork as one enters the alley.
This one looks pretty lively.
It appears one of the artist is a student from Irfan's school.
Here is the 14th batch of RPG paper miniatures I created and released at my Patreon page. Call them mechanoids, drones, droids, bots, synths... they are useable for any science fiction RPG campaigns with droids.
There are mechs than walk, waddle, roll and climb which can be used as player characters or non-player characters at your gaming table. There is space to write their character names too.
Click here to go to Patreon and download the free Pioneer-class release. The Mariner-class release with enhanced colouring (like the ones in the photos above), and the Voyager-class release which also includes six full-sized printable character artwork, have also been released for patrons.
Thanks to my Patrons for the opportunity to make these paperminis!
After receiving it as an early birthday present from Ivan earlier, this month I discovered that DK Publishing's Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide (UVG) by Pablo Hidalgo which fills the Star Wars universe as seen in Rogue One with a multitude of world-building details, was also a treasure trove of lore which originated from West End Games.
West End Games (WEG) published the Star Wars roleplaying game series of books from 1987 until 1998 or thereabouts after which the licence went to Wizards of the Coast. In that decade or so, the game company had created and populated the Star Wars universe with hundreds (if not thousands) of worldbuilding details enough for gamemasters and players to play in the setting without having to create, for example, the Imperial DMV. Similarly, species, location and technology (and corporations that made these technologies) were named and fleshed out.
Which brings us to the Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide. Pablo Hidalgo was a freelance writer for West End Games and an experienced Star Wars RPG gamemaster. Instead of reinventing the wheel, a lot of minutae created by WEG have been included in the Rogue One UVG, which means that at one point or another, these details have been used by a multitude of Star Wars RPG gamemasters and players in their own campaigns. See the Chandrila section below for an example of my own.
Here is a (incomplete) list of items featured in the UVG and created earlier in various WEG rulebooks, sourcebooks and periodicals according to their appearances in the UVG from front to back.
The corporation that built the GX-8 condenser unit installed at the Lah'mu homestead also built the WPR-60 water purification system. Source: Galladinium's Fantastic Technology (1995).
Detonite and Baradium
Detonites are the plastic explosives of the Star Wars universe and baradium gives you more bang to the buck in thermal detonators. Sources: top - Imperial Sourcebook (1989), bottom - The Star Wars Sourcebook (1987).
Crozo Industrial Products
It is important to note that Crozo doesn not solely manufacture hand comlinks, but also a host of computer and cybernetic products in the galaxy. Source: Cracken's Rebel Field Guide (1991).
Class One & Class Two Imperial Penal References (ImPeRe)
Jyn Erso had two high level Imperial Penal Reference Classes slapped on her which would explain her incarceration in an Imperial Penal Colony. I wonder what her cellmate's Oolin Musters ImPeRe violations were. Source: Galaxy Guide 6 Tramp Freighters (1990).
Wetyin and Starloft Continents at Yavin
Scout Lile Gorsek mapped the fourth moon of Yavin and named the continents Koos, Swivven, Wetyin and Starloft. Source: Galaxy Guide 2 Yavin and Bespin (1989).
Cantham House Meetings
The Cantham House Meetings involving Mothma and Organa have been part of the origin of the Rebel Alliance lore since nearly the beginning of West End Games. Source: Rebel Alliance Sourcebook (1990).
Not only has Chandrila been identified as Mon Mothma's homeworld by West End Games in their first roleplaying sourcebook, but I also ran a game session back in the late 80s where my rebel agents manage to avert a bioweapon attack there. Also time of writing, my current players (okay, just Ain and Irfan) are stuck in a cliffhanger and a deadly standoff there in an ongoing Star Wars D6 campaign. Source: The Star Wars Sourcebook (1987).
The Telaris System appears to be a secret location where the Alliance fleet especially Mon Calamari capital combat starships go to for planning and repairs. Source: Rebel Alliance Sourcebook (1990).
General Draven and Kolor Delan are compatriots from the same planet. Source: Wanted by Cracken (1993).
Alliance Rank Badges
And So It Begins
The vacation began when Ivan came a-visiting from Petaling Jaya via the ERL. I picked him up at the Arau station and he gave me an early birthday present: the Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide, which will eventually be its own blog post.
Because of work, I had to spend the first day of vacation grading papers. But we did take Ivan out by the sea where we had some grilled lok chin and laksa.
With me on call for the grading work, we managed to take a trip to Gua Kelam. It was a work day so there were not many people at the park. Here are Ain and Irfan at the mouth into the dark tunnel of the shadowy realm.
Once we got to the park grounds on the far side of the cave, Ain identified the spot where Irfan, Ayah Cik, Cikma and Ciksu once had a cranial massage thanks to the fast-flowing stream.
Ain also sat and swung on the thick, ropy stalk of a beluru tree (also known as a sintok tree). Mouseover the photo above for its scientific name.
Returning to the themes of transhumanism for the Hishgraphics paper miniature releases on Patreon, here are some uplifted animals to be used in your campaign. There are two designs each of crow uplifts, octopus uplifts and chimp uplifts perfect for your science fiction campaign.
Genetic modifications in the future allow for some animals to possess human-level thoughts and consciousness.
Click here to download the free Uplifts of Space PDF file on Patreon.
I drew the General a couple of days ago with a pencil. Then I took a photo of it.
"Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it, and eventually the confidence will follow." - Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher died earlier today. She was 60.
I did not think it would, but it did hit me harder than I ever thought it could. Because I am unsure why because I did not believe she affected me much as a child despite my being a Star Wars fan. For me it was always about the universe first. The characters, who had their own great story in that universe, came second.
So what did she imprint onto me at that pubescent age when I first saw Star Wars? It was probably something like this: if there was an older girl playing on the playground, I would want her to be like Princess Leia. If the boys run out of ideas, grab a gun and blast a hole in the wall. If I had an older sister, I would definitely want her to be like Princess Leia. So, unlike a lot of stories from many fans I had read, I never fell in love with Princess Leia, nor Carrie Fisher.
But I had a younger sister. And I believe subconsciously, I pushed her into becoming someone who I would love to play with on the playground. If assholes talk you down, look them in the eye in defiance.
I think - I believe - my sister Sila did grow up to be like this idealised version of her which I had in my mind.
It was only fairly recent that I learnt that the Carrie Fisher herself was as fiesty as her character Princess Leia. I marvelled at her acerbic wit and sharp tongue during interviews. I discovered how opened was about being bipolar. If anything, I wish I had been paying attention to her when I needed it. I think if I did I would have bounced back from the edge quicker.
Thanks, Carrie Fisher, for being an inspiration on many a level. Rewatching the films will never be quite the same from today.
Andi Gutierrez interviews Carrie and Gary Fisher during Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016.
- Amri as Grabow, male Wookiee doctor
- Ijam as Matwe, male human smuggler pilot
- Fazrie as Lumpy, male Wookiee mercenary soldier
Just as it was more than 20 years ago in Sitiawan when a bunch of unfamiliar people asked if I could run Star Wars RPG for them, here I am in the same situation in Sitiawan where online friends I have never met before asked me to run a Star Wars RPG session for them! No big deal to me: it is a great way to make lasting friends!
Unfamiliar with any form of Star Wars RPG, I brought the Edge of the Empire and Force and Destiny rulebooks along with some sourcebooks, the FFG narrative dice set, Force tokens and my trusty homemade paperminis. I forgot to bring the percentile dice so I used the phone dice roller app. I thought I would give the scenario some recognisable Star Wars elements by first starting out the game on Naboo. Then, soon after the Empire could make its presence known...
Human smuggler Matwe, Wookiee doctor Grabow and Wookiee mercenary soldier Lumpy (no relation to Lumpawarrump son of Chewbacca), the crew of the Corellian YT-2400 light freighter Seagate. arrived at the city of Theed on Naboo to look for trader Zo Arkon who was looking for tramp freighter services.
Arrival at Theed
Upon setting the Seagate down in Hangar 14 on the side of the cliff face, the crew debarked, paid their 50 credit service tax to the port officer and headed for the cantina built into the side of the large cavernous hangar. A series of large windows and automatic sliding doors adorned the facade of the Piledriver Cantina. As the crew approached, the doors slid apart and two Imperial stormtroopers strode out.
The troopers suddenly stopped the crew and addressed Matwe: Did he have permit for the two Wookiee slaves?
As Grabow and Lumpy rolled their eyes Matwe quickly convinced that the Wookiees were from offworld and just arrived as crew on a light freighter for a transport job pickup on Naboo. Thankfully (thanks to a Success in Matwe's Charm roll) the stormtroopers were easily persuaded by Matwe's fast talking.
It was the truth anyway.
Soon after the droid bartender directed them to Zo Arkon who having lunch in a booth at the back of the cantina. Zo Arkon treated them to some bantha steak for lunch while the Matwe authorised Arkon's droids to load the Seagate with the cargo: a regular looking cargo container. Before the crew left the cantina, Arkon paid them 500 credits, with another 2500 credits to be paid by their contact Milo Renn upon arrival at their destination: the south polar town of Bamboo River on Takodana.
As the trio traipsed back to their YT-2400 freighter, they noticed something peculiar. There was a puddle of dark lubricant on the deck not far from their ship. There was also a set of smudged tracks that ran from the puddle toward the underside of the Seagate where it then disappeeared. Did someone sneak aboard the ship somehow?
...Sitiawan! We drove from Pasir Mas to where I grew up and where nothing now looks familiar, except for the old house.
Because I was not able to go to Kuala Lumpur for vacation earlier, I figured we should visit Atok and Opah in Sitiawan during Maulud Nabi. Of course Irfan was glued to his grandparents desktop computer for hours, even late into the night.
So he was pretty tired in the mornings.
It was a chore to wake him up in my old bedroom.
We mostly chilled out and relaxed in Sitiawan. We wanted to visit my cousin, but they were not in town. Irfan's Atok and Opah also took us to dinner, before I went to GM a Star Wars RPG session. Wait what?
The pasembor and rojak place under the rubber trees had quite the tasty food, even if there was quite a swarm of flies in the area. I wished Vin, Sila, Yaya and Rafiq were there with us.
Soon it was time to go. We bade my parents and Sitiawan farewell as we headed back to where class revisions and final exams of my students awaited me.
For the first time ever, Tok Bah and Tok Ma in Pasir Mas got the opportunity to go on an Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca. We drove to Kelantan to see them off. En route, we got to see a herd of elephants, pale and monolithic, at about three a.m. along the Grik-Jeli highway over the mountains. They must have just crossed the road as their butts were to us. No, we did not stop the car to take photos.
Tok Bah and Tok Ma would join a group of pilgrims from Terengganu and be escorted by Ain's cousin and her husband in their journey. Many came from Pondok Lubuk Tapah and other places to see them off at the Kota Bharu airport.
Yes, Ain shed tears at the airport.
Irfan should get to know his cousins a bit more. Though I think his extraordinary height (and his somewhat introverted demeanour around unfamiliar people) might make them nervous around him.
All of us before they left.
All of us plus Irfan before they left.
After they departed, we headed back to Pondok Lubuk Tapah to get our gear and then begin our drive to...