Fragments From The Rim

20 September 2007 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Fragments From The RimAll my life I've loved the idea of the Star Wars universe. When I discovered that there was a Star Wars Roleplaying Game published by West End Games back in 1987 I was excited. But this won't be about how I got into RPGs, but the review of one of the best SWRPG supplements ever:

Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments From The Rim

Here is a list of why this supplement by Simon Smith and Eric Trautmann rocks:


The Return of SWAG

15 September 2007 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

SWAG bannerFive years ago today, a bunch of tabletop roleplayers and artists and web programmers who met by chance on SWRPGNetwork's Holonet Forums and shared a common dream (well, two really) finally launched the Star Wars Artists' Guild after months of planning. One of the founding members was me. The Guild was created in order to create Star Wars artwork for the RPG, whether it be D6 or d20 or even if you made GURPS or Wushu or Fate games out of the setting.

Today, in the hands of Kris Vanderwater, SWAG is relaunched (using Drupal replacing the old pMachine as its content management system) and all that's old is new again.

Thanks for your effort in relaunching the site, Kris, and Happy 5th SWAGDay. And also thanks to everyone from Bob Rogers, Chris Curtis, Derek Jones, Daniel Falconer and all the others who helped conceive and ran it initially on SWRPGNetwork until it had its own home on the net, to all its contributors and fans throughout the years that kept it alive.

Here's the new link to my SWAG Gallery.

A little secret: The reason why I always remember SWAG's Anniversary is that it's exactly a week ahead of Irfan's birthday! Yaaay!


Gary's Book Nominated for 3 Ennies

19 July 2007 | Hisham | | Friends, Role Playing Games

Children of the Horned Rat - Black IndustriesCongratulations to Gary Astleford for getting the book he co-wrote for Black Industries, Children of the Horned Rat nominated for 3 Ennie awards. The nominations are for Best Interior Art, Best Writing and Product of the Year.

Product of the Year is a hell of a big deal, of course, but I am very proud of him for the nomination for Best Writing. I seem to remember a conversation with Gary a long time ago. It was on how gaming products nowadays focus too much on rules, or intersperse rules with fluff on the campaign world... as opposed to try not breaking the fourth wall and write the book as if it was genuinely from that campaign universe. Then finally have all the custom rules for the book and such be an afterthought but easily accessible and indexed when required.

Now, going by the subtext of the Best Writing award, which is, "Awarded for the book containing the best prose and descriptive text (ie."cream" or "fluff")", I'd like to think Gary had a lot to do with it.

Congratulations, man.

Skavens are cool.

Was Brown Jenkins a skaven?


You Rolled Poorly

11 May 2007 | Hisham | | Humour, Role Playing Games

Some weeks ago I wrote an entry on role-playing game motivational posters. Last night I discovered a website that allows you create your own by uploading your own pictures and entering your own lines of text. (Doesn't even have to be about RPGs, even.) So here we are with my own RPG motivational poster.


A Noumenon Review at RPGNet

20 April 2007 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games

...single-handedly wins the prize for being the weirdest RPG in our hobby’s historyI rarely write for my supper, so when I see a good review for something which I participated in I get very elated. Noumenon, the RPG published by Abstract Nova, was reviewed by Jocelyn Robitaille at RPGNet on the 30th of March and I missed it... until just now.

For an idea of the RPG setting flavour, take a read at the reviewer's first couple of paragraphs, "Imagine J. J. Abrams’ Lost mixed with Alex Proyas’ Dark City and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but written by William S. Burroughs and with a pinch of Silent Hill thrown in for good measure. Now, picture a game that makes Nobilis look like D&D in terms of how easy it is to grasp. Combine those two pictures in your head. Are you there, yet? Good.

"You now have a rough idea of what Noumenon is like."

I am proud to have contributed to something described as such, even if just a couple of hundred words.

I would guess my bit would have appeared in this part of the review:

The third chapter, “initiation”, presents the first floor of the Silhouette Rouge, called the Prima Materia. Imagine a big central room (the Grand Foyer), and three hallways leading to seven doors each. Initiation, the lengthiest chapter of the book by far, is dedicated to presenting each of the twenty-one rooms of the Prima Materia, which are supposed to form the basic alphabet of the Silhouette Rouge. The writing style for each room varies wildly, as does the content. Some deal with the story of the Lost One, others present ethical dilemmas, yet others allow the PCs to discover about their past life, some lead to epiphanies while other still are simply mysteries or physical challenges. Mind you, I’m still not exactly sure which room deal with which. Finally, the chapter shortly describes a spiralling stairway called the Conch that leads to the upper floor of the Silhouette Rouge.

One of those rooms should have been one of the two vignettes I submitted to the editor.

Click here to read the full review. Look at the Noumenon credit list on the right column, yo!

Click here for my previous entry on Noumenon's sample download.


Motivational Posters, But....

08 April 2007 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games

You've seen those motivational posters? The black bordered ones with the inspiring and or beautiful picture of nature, or a cute child or a kitten. Below the image is usually a word or a phrase of the facet of humanity requiring the motivation. Below that line, in smaller type, is a line of blissful and inspiring words as chicken soup for the soul...

Anyway, a bunch of nice people over at RPG.Net has come up with a thread in their forums to create more and more of these spirit-uplifting posters. And a kind person has collected these posters and put it in a gallery at his website which you can check out here.

Feel free to browse, absorb and digest some of the fantastic wisdom which, hopefully, can help you when you face bad times in your life.

Here are some choice posters for your preview:

Beautiful, they are....


Cracken's Collection of What?!?

25 January 2007 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Cracken's Collection of Crazed Crackpots Cover Clangs CowbellsIn the tradition of West End Games' series of sourcebooks such as Cracken's Rebel Field Guide, Cracken's Rebel Operatives and Cracken's Threat Dossier (all of which are books written in-universe by the fictional General Airen Cracken), I now bring you the non-official mini-sourcebook pdf for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game (D6 rules version)...

Cracken's Collection of Crazed Crackpots.

It's created 100% by open source software. The artwork was made with The Gimp, the layouts were done in Scribus, and some elements were saved in EPS and ported from Inkscape. And it's compressed into a zip file by Ubuntu's onboard archiver.

It's basically a book about some dangerous escapees from a nuthouse. Stats are included for D6 roleplaying goodness. Take it seriously at your own risk... and sanity. Apologies for not having the time to create a back page.

Oh, and Airen Cracken doesn't really appear until the end.

Right click and save at this here link. The zip filesze is 1.8 MB.


Giant Purple Dinosaur? Not Really

13 October 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

In the Jann Tosh / Mon Julpa story arc of the Droids series the heroes encounter a 3-metre tall monster called a durkii in a dungeon pit, not surprising since the durkii was apparently a pet of the evil Tammuz-an vizier Zatec-Cha.

It was large, purple and had an unpleasant demeanour, but had no stats.

I hope this entry rectifies that oversight. At least in D6 terms.


Really All It's Quacked Up To Be

27 September 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games

So what's one animal you can think of that's not a maneater, can't overrun the entire world and physically incapable of killing humans on this planet?

I'm thinking... ducks.

So it came to pass I started thinking of a silly RPG sourcebook which will be available for free download named The Apocalyptic Invasion of Flesh-eating Mutant Ducks RPG, which will employ West End Games' D6 game engine which was used for its old Star Wars RPG system.


Spending Nothing For RPGs

18 September 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games

The best things on the net are free!

Well, not exactly true but roaming the internet I did come across a list of 500 free role playing games. Some are dead links. Some are very lean. Some are PDF, some are HTML and some are Word files. Some are official free products from RPG companies.

I'm going through the entire list on my own t...

Ooo, lookit... the out-of-print Time Lord RPG. Be right back.


A Colonial Viper Pilot in d20

07 September 2006 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Role Playing Games

d20My friend Shane Welin is now in a d20 game with a difference. The rules might be powered by the run-of-the-mill d20 Modern / Future engine but I believe this is the first time I know of a campaign set in the world of Battlestar Galactica whose third season will be aired this next month.

His player character stats is listed below, but I'll see about getting stats for Vipers (Mark IIs and Mark VIIs), Raptors and Raiders up here as well.

Anyway, here's Shane's Hal Rogero (still no callsign) in d20:


BU-77, Advanced Recon Clone

03 September 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Here are the stats and capsule for BU-77, the ARC trooper I played with Team Sabredart on IRC. The game was run by Simon Taylor using the old West End Games' D6 system. I had a ball playing this character, as you can see by the actual ad lib quotes which was spoken (or typed in) during course the game sessions.

Too bad we didn't play out the character until the Order 66 massacre. It would have been interesting to see what he would do to Raeree Giin, their Jedi team leader.

He used to have a DC-15A blaster rifle, which for the D6 stats I used the official stats of the BlasTech T-21 light repeating blaster, but it was confiscated when they were all arrested for insubordination.


Galaxy Games Online Files For Download

27 August 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

After Phil "Grimace" Hatfield introduced me to Galaxy Games Online, I've long thought of customising some .ggo files for use with the old West End Games' Star Wars RPG.

Galaxy Games Online is a program that allows you to run and play pen and paper type role playing games over the internet using a chat window and a dice roller. One feature available on the program allows us to create our own .ggo files, which can be customised player character sheets, dice rollers and even a virtual book where we can write down our house rules, all readable from the main program. You can even create your own random name generator, which is easily adaptable to other uses such as random encounters or random locations.

Intro Screen

Here for your download are four .ggo files compressed neatly in a zip file.

  • SWD6 Template - An empty player character template with a tab for each attribute and a text field for each skill.
  • SWD6 Template Lite - A truncated version of the above file where you put all your skills into one text field.
  • SWD6 Daye Azur-Jamin - An NPC created by Kathy Tyers which appeared in Star Wars Adventure Journal #10.
  • SWD6 Dice Roller - A collection of macros that allows you to roll D6 dice and view the results in the chat window within the range of 1D to 13D+2.
SWD6 Dice Roller

So, what you have to do is download the .zip file here (right click and Save File As... , Size: 16KB), unzip and put all files in Program Files > Galaxy Games > Galaxy Games Online > samples.

Of course it would help if you had the program installed and were using it to game online.


Newspaper Snippet Generator

11 May 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Trawling The Net
Here's a great tool I discovered by way of Midnight Flights:

A Newspaper Snippet Generator.

Just fill in the fields with some words and letters. Stretch your brain a bit to come up with some interesting text.

And voila:
I made this!

You could either play with this for hours coming up with weird newspaper stories for no particular reason, or for role playing gamers who play in contemporary or near-contemporary settings (d20 Modern / various GURPS / Call of Cthulhu / World of Darkness, among others)... you now have a tool to create awesome, authentic-looking images of newspapers as visual game aid.

Noumenon Sample Download

09 May 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games
Within the Silhouette Rouge

A free sample (see final paragraph for download link) of the Noumenon RPG from Abstract Nova is online with some intriguing write-up of the Sarcophagi and the Silhouette Rouge, a primer into the Noumenon game millieux, as well as the rudimentaries of the game mechanics which of all things involves dominoes!

And no, none of the vignettes which I wrote are in here. (I wasn't involved in the illustrations at all.)

Here's a sample text from the free download:


The Sarcophagi are creatures born of mystery and devoid of past. They have been resurrected from flawed and meaningless lives into a new existence. Memory and history are lost to them; their old lives cast aside like a cocoon that has been outgrown. Once the Sarcophagi were human, but now they are something else. Their compound eyes see the world differently. Their four arms manipulate reality in new ways. A chitinous exoskeleton protects their fragile souls.

The Sarcophagi are insects that walk as men.

The Sarcophagi are explorers. They wander the Silhouette Rouge, seeking to divine its truths. Only by doing so, can they escape this place and progress to whatever destiny awaits them.


The Sarcophagi are not alone. Strange, wayward souls haunt the Silhouette Rouge. Known simply as the Others, each of these entities is unique. Some understand the mystery of the Silhouette Rouge, while some are as unknowing as the Sarcophagi.

The Others have been here for a very long time.

I really hope I'll be able to run this someday, when I get the old crew back together... or muster a new crew somehow. Watch out for the full release of Noumenon in June.

Right click and save here (720 MB) to download the freebie in PDF format.

Comp Copy Number 1

03 May 2006 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Role Playing Games

The Game Mechanics
The complimentary copy came in the mail today, the first RPG book in which I had a hand in creating: Future Player's Companion published by The Game Mechanics and Green Ronin Publishing. Thanks to Gary again for recommending me for this gig and everyone at TGM (Stan!, Marc and JD) for giving me a chance illustrating part of the book.

The feeling of holding the book in hand and flipping through the pages is great, although going through my artwork in the book I would like to say the first batch of pictures for the first PDF I drew looks embarassingly bad. The final batch, even with its shortcomings, are the ones I'm satisfied with.


More Word of Noumenon

22 April 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games

Abstract Nova website has been updated with more tidbits on the upcoming Noumenon RPG, where one of the two vignettes I wrote will be published. The book will be released in June, but the month before that a character sheet and a sampler will available for download. also has a news report on Noumenon:

There is a place outside of normal existence called the Silhouette Rouge, a place where the conscious and subconscious merge, where the real and unreal are one in the same. The Sarcophagi, creatures lacking memory and identity, are imprisoned within this place. They walk the Silhouette Rouge hoping to divine its secrets for only revelation and enlightenment can grant them release.

Noumenon is a role-playing game of mystery and abstraction. Players assume the roles of the Sarcophagi, strange insect-like creatures trapped within the Silhouette Rouge. During their adventures, players will encounter bizarre entities and explore strange locations. The Silhouette Rouge, Noumenon’s setting, is detailed enough to spark the imagination yet open enough to allow customization. In Noumenon, player cooperation is key. Noumenon uses a domino-based task resolution system that enables player to build upon each other’s successes.

Bizarre, indeed. And intriguing enough for me to wait eagerly for a comp copy of the book to arrive some time next month, or June.

And if I'm really lucky, I'll even be able to run it some time. *sigh*


Noumenon is Coming

21 March 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games
According to the powers that be at Abstract Nova, the book which I contributed some writing for is currently in print. Although one of the two pieces I submitted didn't make the book, the one left out will be featured in a download in May. The book itself will be launched in June.

Hopefully a comp copy will be in my hands within the month.

Its name is Noumenon, and its preview cover art is displayed right below.


SWAG is back!

15 March 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

The Star Wars Artists' Guild hath return'd, thanks to the hard labour of Kris "Eclipse" Vanderwater. Festivities are held here. A short and concise explanation of the site's disappearance was given by Derek "Nafai" Jones right here.

So if you're a GM or a player of SWRPG, whether you're on D6, d20 or homebrewed... or if you just want to browse through some good SW art... go there and comb through the site for excellent Star Wars artwork for free your gaming use.


What D&D Character Are You?

28 February 2006 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Trawling The Net

Check out what Dungeons and Dragons character you are. Are you a...

Fighter? Monk? Rogue? Wizard? Ranger?

Good? Neutral? Evil?

Lawful? Chaotic?

Human? Dwarf? Elf? Halfling?

Click on this link to find out, then read on here to find out what Hisham is in D&D.