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
At first Fantasy Flight Games released the Edge of the Empire rulebook which allowed players to be the scoundrels and smugglers of the galaxy. Then they released the Age of Rebellion rulebook for players to play soldiers and military spies. Finally, their final Star Wars role-playing game (RPG) rulebook is in my hands: Force and Destiny, where players are able to choose from a range of Jedi characters to play.
It had been released for almost two years now, but I was not able to get my hands on it. I was unable to grab it off Amazon because I possess no credit card. Nor was I able to use Paypal to order it from Book Depository because it has been "out of stock" for many months.
On a whim I offered to draw for the book and Erik Jensen on Google Plus accepted. So I drew this for him. And as payment I asked of him the Force and Destiny core rulebook. He sent me more than I bargained for.
I might review Keeping the Peace in a later blog post.
From a cursory flipthrough of the book, I believe I can run diverse campaigns, from Tales of the Jedi/The Old Republic era 4000 years ago to a Sith-only games. The setting section of the book mentions Tython, the Great Hyperspace Wars and the Ulic Qel-Droma shenanigans.
The rules are almost the same as the two books mentioned above, except for Dark Side rules with regards to using the Force Dice. I have not run this system for almost a year and this book is making me want to run it again. I wonder how would I intergrate Force users in the campaign I ran for Irfan, Edged by the Empire, presently on hiatus.
One thing is for sure: the artwork in this book is top notch.
Like the other books, there are six Careers available for players to choose from, all Force slingers, with three specialisations for each Career. Each Career sets a specific role for players and the specialisations allow for them to refine the characters more. The Careers are Consular (with the Healer, Niman Disciple and Sage specialisations), Guardian (Peacekeeper, Protector, Soresu Defender), Mystic (Advisor, Makashi Duelist, Seer), Seeker (Ataru Striker, Hunter, Pathfinder), Sentinel (Artisan, Shadow, Shien Expert) and Warrior (Aggressor, Shii-Cho Knight, Starfighter Ace).
I found it a nice touch that one specialisation in every career uses a term that had been invented earlier in other books.
Ebb and Folks commissioned a new cover for an upcoming ebook entitled Deep Space Squadron.
Deep Space Squadron
Originally I designed the cover artwork to show the single multi-kilometre long capital warship Resolution under attack by smaller corvettes or frigates, but then it was decided to have less clutter.
Thus, only the Resolution remains in the final artwork.
Remember: Port is red. Starboard is green.
Back in 2014 I made a cover for self-pubishing novelist Patrick F Murphy for his novel for young adult readers, entitled Attack of the Dinosaur Zombies. Earlier this year, I was commissioned to create an illustration for the sequel to that novel Howl of the Robot Werewolves.
You can not love books with those titles! Check them out at their links above.
Here are the covers I made for both novels.
Are they actually zombies? Or dinosaurs? I guess you'll just have to read and find out.
I kinda like how the reflection of the robot in the CRT screen turned out.
The Martian is a book written by Andy Weir.
It is also my graduation present from Ain, in lieu of flowers. A book, I thought, would not wilt after a couple of days. I spent the same number of days for flowers to wilt reading the whole book. It was very engaging.
Also, the book did not wilt. Yay.
The premise is simple, astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist - who looks like the guy who Tom Hanks had to rescue back in World War 2 - gets left behind on Mars in a freak accident while his fellow astronauts had to leave immediately because of a dust storm. What should have been a fatalistic "that's it no one knows I'm still alive and doesn't matter not enough food I'm dead anyway good bye everyone" 3- day short story becomes a full length novel for survival that extends for months and years as Watney uses his engineering and botanical skills to keep himself alive using material at hand, like spanners, nuts, bolts, potatoes, hydrogen gas, an RTG buried in the ground some kilometres away and the Mars Pathfinder probe a couple of hundred kilometres away.
Mark Watney is an interesting character. He is a man of the internet. Although he speaks English, he speaks it in the manner of a man who probably knows what 4chan is and are aware of ALL THE MEMES. This is a realistic build of an internet-wired 21st century character. I don't believe there has ever been such a character. No, not even Keanu Reeves in that mind-blowing, sensational cyberpunk movie that everyone knows him for... Johnny Mnemonic.
NASA is interesting. As a red tape bound organisation, there are quite the many problem solvers that put their career on the line to save Mark Watney. And more importantly, they are a multi-ethnic bunch of heroes that attempt to reflect the reality of a multi-ethnic nation and planet. I'm sure they'll find someone race-appropriate to play someone named "Kapoor" and "Park" in the movie.
Wait, the movie's out?
Anyway. Watney's life on Mars is like my life in Kuala Lumpur: One thing after another, where "thing" is usually some form of shit hitting some fan somewhere. He weathers all the problems well though, if you can count being blown up by a hydrogen explosion "well". He survives, probably because he looks like that guy from Elysium, and I'm not talking about Wikus.
Anyway. Anyway... this pain up my nasal cavity is bad and it's pushing into by jaw and eyeballs. And I don't think the meds are helping. So go read the book to see how Watney kills the Pathfinder probe. What did the probe ever do to you, huh? Damned amperage. How do they work?
The cover of Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fifth Planet was the first in the series that I drew for Ebb and Folks back in 2011.
There was a request for an enhancement of the cover. Originally painted in water colours, I employed GIMP to give it a digital upgrade by smoothing out roughness and applying digital paints where required.
For a look at the original painting, click here.
After creating the cover of David Leyman's debut entry of his science fiction story Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fifth Planet, followed by the covers of two subsequent entries, Ruthermore Heidigens and the Voices and Ruthermore Heidigens and the Nights at the Round Table, now comes the cover I made for the upcoming fourth installment of the series in Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fires of Avalon! Check out the dragon. He seems nice.
Keep an eye out for its ebook release on Amazon at David Leyman's website here!
Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fires of Avalon
One of the gifts given to me by Kai and the Gamers of KL crew on our trip back to Kuala Lumpur was Lords of Nal Hutta, the recently-released sourcebook for Hutts and Hutt Space for Star Wars Edge of the Empire roleplaying game by Fantasy Flight Games. Bonus: it was co-written by Gary Astleford.
It would certainly help my gamemaster (GM) the campaign I ran for GOKL, entitled "Modesty Blazing", because we were about to meet Sassatania the Hutt, Zeltron pilot Darter Kel's former fling and daughter of Teemo the Hutt.
An illustration of Sassatania can be found in this blog post. Coincidentally, several locations described in the book had been featured in two different Star Wars D6 campaigns I ran for GOKL. (Well, one campaign and one one-shot session.)
Sriluur of course showed up in A Bad Example in the Spacelanes campaign which was never finished.
Kwenn Station was where the player characters started in The Rancid Putrefaction of a Cosmic Caterwauling Cabal one-shot game.
So many other features in this book, from a list of Hutt kajidics, vehicles, weapons and Hutt Space systems from Kintan to Toydaria, that I will try to include in future Edge of the Empire games I run.
Especially ones that lead the players into wretched hives of scum and villainy.
Copies of roleplaying game books arrived today from DwD Studios, sent by Bill Logan!
As has been documented on the blog before, I've played BareBones Fantasy with Irfan the first time here, then during International TableTop Day here and finally here when he experienced his first player character (PC) death. The boy also gamemastered (GM) his first ever RPG with BareBones Fantasy last year!
I'm hoping he'll hone his GMing skills some more with the easy to play BareBones d00% lite system, and eventually play some contemporary spies in Covert Ops.This will help him develop his oratory, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Thanks, Bill! I will do just that!
When I was reading the Laundry RPG rulebook away from home in Lunas, I thought I'd take a photo of the "What is a Roleplaying Game" section of the book and post it on Google Plus and Twitter. Here's the link on G+. Over 130 reshares!
And on Twitter the picture achieved close to a phenomenal 1,100 retweets!
Here's the screencap I took when it hit a thousand retweets. Even Cubicle 7, the publisher of the Laundry RPG, mentioned it on their official website!
As usual I'm blaming the viral outbreak on the many-angled ones living at the bottom of the Mandelbrot Set.
After almost a month waiting, the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook from Fantasy Flight Games finally arrived. I went to the Pudu post office to pick it up right after a meeting elsewhere in Kuala Lumpur. The Edge of the Empire rulebook allowed us to play in fringe campaigns as smugglers, mercenaries, bounty hunters and the like. Age of Rebellion (below right) allows us to play as members of the Rebel Alliance in their struggle to topple the tyrannical Galactic Empire.
In Edge of the Empire your character has Obligation that would help or hinder the player in a Fringe campaign in terms of how he acts in it and how he is able to acquire resources. In Age of Rebellion, Obligation is replaced with Duty which helps freedom fighters to define why they are in the fight against Imperial forces. Obligation and Duty are compatible with each other, allowing characters from Edge of the Empire to be able to appear in an Age of Rebellion campaign.
Also, this book cover stole the laptop's wallpaper.
Careers you are able to play are Ace, Commander, Diplomat, Engineer, Soldier and Spy, each with three Specialisations. You're also able to mix and match Specialsations (even from Edge of the Empire Careers) to personalise your character.
Check out the new artwork for SpecForce Infiltrators. They look almost exactly like the ones on the cover of Rules of Engagement by West End Games from many years ago!
Here are some familiar starships for you to crash or crash into. Newer ships includes the Gozanti transport and the Consular-class Cruiser. Even Jeff's Corellian YV-969 armed freighter design makes an appearance in the ships section.
The Perlemian Haul, the introductory adventure ready to run for players and written by Gary looks intriguing with lots of plot hooks and ideas. I love the dapper Trandoshan Passk illustrated by Christopher Burdett there a concept resembling the dapper Gamorrean I once drew for Gary.
Finally a big thanks to Ryan for helping with the purchase of the book. I'd never be able to acquire it without his help. And for his help - for eldritch reasons - his own infamous player character Asok Yeesrim appears in the book
Can't wait to give this book a spin!
The bookcase was getting messier and messier. So Ain thought it was time for a bookcase cleaning. I helped, but I also took some photos.
All these books below were all over the place. I thought this cleanup would be a good time to put them all together on one shelf.Maybe I'll call it the Legends shelf. *snerk*
Here are more photos of the selection of novels we have on the shelves. Some of these books I bought myself, but more than 60% of these belongs to Sila, which she bought during or just after college. She brought back home loads for me to read. I have yet to read them all. Also, most of her books are back in our home library in Sitiawan and not with me.
This is a Vancian book, this is:
A package arrived the other day...
... from Brett Pisinski of Wicked North Games. It be the complimentary copy of Westward RPG! Westward is a game of steampunk western game setting on an human-colonized extrasolar planet after the colony ship Chrysalis drifted for decades and came to rest here.
Using the Cinema 6 system, players and gamemasters play and create adventures around humans whose ancestors were marooned on the planet Westward centuries ago. Lack of conventional power generation has created new technology that uses exotic local minerals and steam to build airships and steam-powered mech. Politics of the cities and settlements make for great conflict for players to embroil themselves in. And backstabbing politics, feral humans, deadly alien creatures and lethal hazards await adventurers in the waterless badlands of Westward.
Also in the package is a handy GM screen.
The image below is something I'd never thought would happen. On the left, my artwork. On the right, art made by Mike Vilardi, who has been my favourite Star Wars RPG artist for more than twenty years! I can't believe I'm published in the same game as Mike is! I'm still trying to be an official Star Wars artist myself.
Here are some of my location artwork created digitally!
Here are some of my creature artwork created traditionally! Actual inks and watercolours!
Some playable character template artwork beautifully done by Ryan Rhodes. There are a lot of interesting character templates you can play in the Westward setting.
Gennifer Bone did a ton of tech designs from hand equipment to weapons to trains to steamechs to airships!
Here's her one of her drawing of a steamech. There are more in the book!
I will need to digest all the information of the setting from the book, but I will give this game a try some time in the future. Lots of mysteries to be solved in the arid badlands of Westward. Meanwhile, download a pay-what-you-want low resolution version here or download a Premium version of the PDF here.
You can also order the physical book from Paizo.com here.
It was great to have the opportunity to collaborate with Brett, Jeremy Streeter, Ryan, Gennifer, all the writers and artists like Wayne Humfleet, Peter Schweighofer, Deborah Teramis Christian, Rob Chope, Alex Gustafson, Rich Woodall and others for this project!
David Leyman commissioned a cover recently for his new novella entitled My Name is Not a Number. I read it so I could do art direction for the cover myself and I thought this was his best work yet.
My Name is Not a Number
And the cover turned out well too I think.
After illustrating the cover of David Leyman's first "Ruthermore Heidigens" science fiction novella, Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fifth Planet, here are two more cover artwork from two other stories in the series, Ruthermore Heidigens and the Voices and Ruthermore Heidigens and the Nights at the Round Table - the former of which I made over a year ago but forgot to post here since.
Ruthermore Heidigens and the Voices
Ruthermore Heidigens and the Nights at the Round Table
Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopaedia
Tsing visited with a gift: The Old Repubic Encyclopaedia, with material from the Star Wars MMO game set 3600 years before the movies and more than 300 years after the Knights of the Old Republic / Dark Lords of the Sith comic series. It's a great treasure trove of information not just for the game, which I do not play. It also has a ton of stuff I can mine for Star Wars RPG sessions set in the present.
New ships! Not much but PCs might come across some of these vessels in deep storage for thousands of years, just ready to be explored or to be used as their vehicles. Just make sure there are unknown dangers aboard after being dormant for millennia.
Strangely enough, my current desktop wallpaper is of an XS light freighter berthed in a landing bay.
Upon arriving home from Pasir Mas after an overnight drive via Jeli, Gerik and Kuala Kangsar, I discovered this note from the post office right outside the door of the house.
So Irfan and I went to pick it up. It was a box and I was ecstatic at the size, shape and weight of it. Even if I was cautious about it. With my luck, it could have easily been some court summons because I'd accidentally strangled some duck to death 15 years ago or some weird thing like that.
Here is another cover commissioned by Ebb and Folks. Five's The End is a novella by David Leyman that completes the trilogy that begins with Three's Company and continues with Four of a Kind (the second artwork in this post). The style of digital inks and colours (instead of a painterly look) of the cover for all three novellas is an editorial decision.
Irfan received a gift over the mail from Ryan Rhodes.
There is a great sketch of Irfan with the octopus plushie at Wan Chor's house in the inner cover! Here's hoping Irfan will never stop dreaming. (Although he has been dreaming of zombie attacks these days...)
It's a Calvin and Hobbes collection - which in my opinion is tied with Bloom County as the best newspaper comic ever.
Irfan says, "Thanks for the book, Uncle Ryan."
I am in school. Second year plus change. Which means I am eligible for the RM200 book voucher giveaway for university students.
With voucher in hand, the boy and I quickly dropped by Kinokuniya Sunday morning before the overwhelming weekend herd shambled in. Without consciously deciding to purchase only horror books, we ended up with them anyway!
Irfan wanted the Hellboy and The Walking Dead books. I checked out the storylines online before deciding he was old enough for them. I also bought for him Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I grabbed for myself Charlie Stross' The Atrocity Archives because one day I want to play the Laundry RPG.
You'd think two hundred is a high number and could buy a dozen books, wouldn't you. Sigh.
Well, I suppose four is better than nothing!