All Night's Black Agents Artwork on the Blog

28 February 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Nights Black Agents, Role Playing Games
 

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.

Abraham Von Helsing and Abraham Lincoln the ovcharkas

These were our pets and early warning system, the two Abrahams.

Half Kingdom is the band name

The team was knee deep in it at Eurovision 2013.

The pharmaceutical industry has gone to the dogs!

The logo for the pharmaceutical multinational up to no good.

Sami Härkönen hard at work

Sami Härkönen plays Street Fighter in a biker bar.

It should read "Concealed Sidearm".

Sami and Zlatan on undercover surveillance at Titan Park, Bucharest.

Inish Medical's R-Team Operatives

The Inish R-Team opposition team, with hemovirus-enhanced operatives.

Needs more onions and capsicum

Nikolai safely escorts Vin Cesarescu to where Sami and Zlatan are having some shish kebab for lunch.

He spent the whole battle dressed like this, by the way.

The Devil's Husband has an actual vampire for a wife.

Snicker snicker snicker!

The artist in question might not have been in his or her right mind, but in context this was true.

 

All Eclipse Phase Artwork on the Blog

25 February 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, Role Playing Games
 

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.

With the automatic rail rifle and diamond axe.

Hokusai Tarnungshaut my neo-octopus player character

Three employees of Fastball Express Inc.

Hokusai, Bishop-Six and Billy Cable Jr in spacesuits

The crew of the Fastball Special

The original Fastball Express crew during their pre-Venus days

From Garfield and Friends

The covert, tiny Sheldon morph

Venereal disease investigations!

Welcome to Parvati Aerostat on Venus

Clockwise from left - Hokusai, Mr. Snuggles, Gretchen Ambelina, Danai/Ina and Hokusai's Pulser

Montage as the team form Gamera Security on Venus

Borders book store is on your left, Guardian pharmacy is on your right

Main Street, Cloud Nine

Sneaky bastards

DANAI/Ina and Hokusai posing for a selfie while sneaking into Yamaha-Pacifica

He'll never get a leg up on things

The Janet morph

I heard you was dead

Hokusai in the Slitheroid morph

God forgive me for what I am about to do

Christoph de Beers of the Jovian Republic

Gamera of KL.

The Gamera Security (GamSec) logo

This neotenic does not see dead people. Causes death in people maybe...

Billy Cable piloting an ultralight

It's Willem Dafoe

Karamojo Bell even has a pith helmet vacsuit

Sit Ubu sit. Good dog. Woof.

The six-in-one Flexbot that shredded Karamojo Bell into a bloody smear, but it's okay. His cortical stack survived intact

A geisha banker

The Maiko Clarimonda in the Jorōgumo morph

BOOM! Headshot!

Bye, Maiko Clarimonda, but it's okay. She'll be reinstated from a backup with no memory of having her head blown off

Wandering Ina, Cable, Hokusai and Danai

The GamSec team descends to the Lucifer aerostat. Check out Danai in the little Sheldon morph beside Hokusai

Polar bear meatsuit!

The team finally meet Mr. Snuggles the ursomorph of the Teddy Bear Roadside Picnic Company

High pressure professionals

Hokusai and Danai are resleeved in q-morphs

Someone's gonna get lucky.

How is Thomas Bangalter alive on the surface of Venus without any pressure suit and speaking to the team in their mind?

A banner year

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.

 

Luminous Shades of Blue

19 February 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork
 
It's all blue

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.

 

Local Freelancing is a Pain

18 February 2017 | Hisham | | Rants
 

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.

Until now.

 

A Homemade Gamemaster's Notebook

10 February 2017 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 
The printout

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.

The printout

Irfan stacked and folded some blank A4-sized papers for the interior pages.

The printout

He carefully measured where the staples were supposed to go on the spines.

The printout

Then he stapled the spine of the folded papers together carefully onto an eraser and bent the staple legs inward manually.

The printout

Here is the notebook almost done.

The printout

All that is needed to be done is to slice the extra piece of paper away for a flat edge.

The printout

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.

 

Bahasa Melayu X-Wing Connection

09 February 2017 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 

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

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

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.

Kuat

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?

Addendum

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!

 

Kangar Street Art Photos

04 February 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Recent News
 

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.