PHILIP: love it! Morgan Blackhand: Remember that Bill Slaviscek and West EndGames got a ton of source documents directly from Lucasfilm.… sila: irfan’s next PC name should be buchbinder very nice! Whill: You have a blog! Awesome! Thanks for compiling these! I tried to read all of tweets about these bu… Korpil: Great to see your complete list in one place! I will make a fuss out of it! sila: awww looks like a really awesome time. Balik Pulau is always cool. i loved when we used to drive arou… zarin: awesome! terrer gila. she’s definitely improving leaps and bound. Well done Yaya! Hisham: Yeah. They’ve come back.
Hisham and Sila has been writing stuff down on this weblog since 2005. Sometimes they post photos of family, sometimes they talk about film, books and music, sometimes there is artwork and stuff about tabletop gaming.
...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.
It came to pass that Ain and Irfan went for vacation back in KL but I was not able to join them because of work. A side effect of given a new position at work after one has planned one's year end vacation and bought travel tickets.
So while I held the fort during exam season, the anak beranak spent their time with Ayah Cik, Cikma, Ciksu and Little Rania. Here are some of the photos of what happened during their away mission. Mouseover the images to read the captions.
They had a fun time there, visiting some folks including Zara and Aiman, and Irfan's former uztazah, our old neighbour back at the tenth floor. Hopefully I would be better at planning vacations next year after I have acclimatised better to my work schedule as a teacher.
I have uploaded a pair of new paper miniature releases for Patreon, but forgot to announce it here. So here are the two sets of freely downloadable PDFs usable as player characters (PC) or non-player characters (NPC) in any medieval fantasy roleplaying game campaigns.
Rangers of Sword Valley
Sword Valley was once the most dangerous regions of the wilderness and filled with deadly creatures and hideouts of murderous brigands. Until the Rangers appeared out of nowhere and cleansed the valley of evil and danger. Now the valorous services of the Rangers of Sword Valley are in demand throughout the land - even when there are whispers of a dire secret being kept by these skilled woodsmen.
In the arid, dry lands of the Dust Plains where death await even the most prepared adventurer, there live the hardy Wilderfolk who can survive the worst of droughts. When a Wilderfolk leave the Dust Plains to join travellers from other lands, there is certain to be an intriguing and astonishing story behind it.
After their rescue of the rebel agent known as "The Skywalker", who turned out to be a Togorian named Meow Skywalker, bounty hunter Jax Hunt (played by Irfan) and the amnesiac lady who then named herself Iris Helena (played by Ain) were taken aboart the VCX-100 frieghter Screeching Arrow to rendezvous with a Nebulon-B escort frigate at an unknown location in deep space.
The Star Wars Sourcebook hardcover made a great dice rolling platform.
After three days of being cooped up in the Arrow, Meow finally approached them with a mission.
"The mission is to travel to the Chandrila system in the Core Worlds, land at Nayli Spaceport, travel to Apartment 7C, Blackback Building to pick up a 10 year old girl named Wencie Kelauae, whose rebel sympathiser parents had been kiled by the Empire. The Empire is looking for her. Get to her before they do and bring her back here."
They accepted the mission.
Oh hey! Look! It's Jax Hunt's Relby-k23 blaster.
The Journey to Chandrila
Iris piloted the Screeching Arrow as Jax manned the navigator's console beside her. However Jax must have programmed the navicomputer badly because they flew too close to a hyperspace shadow of a black hole and something exploded, sending flames and sparks billowing in the main corridor behind the cockpit.
"Keep flying," yelled Jax as he headed aft. "I'll handle this." At the corridor, a wall of flame blocked him and the automatic fire suppression system was knocked out. He steeled himself and jumped over the fire, reaching for the damage control panel on the wall beyond it. He hit the manual button and the suppressor force field killed the flames.
"I wish we had an astromech droid," Jax said, studying the damage done by the overload explosion. He reported to Iris, "Our shields are dead. We'd better get them fixed before we get shot at."
In the meantime, Jax started cooking some eggs for a light meal while Iris fussed over him and told him he reminded her of someone, perhaps a son.
She could not really remember.
The Landing at Nayli Spaceport
Two hours later or so, they reverted back to realspace off Chandrila. The ship automatically greeted Chandrila's traffic control system and they were assigned Landing Bay 19 at Nayli Spaceport.
Iris guided the Arrow towards her berth. But 300 meters above it, the repulsorlift generators gave out and the ship plummeted downwards.
It is a wonder to see my niece's Alya's artistic skills develop, receiving updates from my sister. She is not only becoming quite the artist, but her skills in digital art using rudimentary art tools are now very impressive for her age!
Here are a couple of drawings Alya made that Sila emailed me over the last couple of weeks:
Here is a drawing of the Rowdy Ruff Boys, the male counterparts of the Power Puff Girls!
When Alya really wanted to go trick-or-treating for Halloween last month and she might have made her mother mad.
Alya also loves Steven Universe.
Here are both Alya and her little brother Rafiq in PPG style. Rafe a.k.a Adik is the onle with the long hair.
These are made freehand and with a mouse. I have also suggested they buy a graphics tablet for her and her brother to draw with. Perhaps they could use something more complicated than Paint; such as GIMP or Krita.
Usually car problems come not within a month or two of one another. For us. So far. Until now.
It was Friday afternoon just before Solat Jumaat when the car engine refused to start. After prayers, with the help of some colleagues, I got a nearby mechanic to see to our immobilised vehicle. It turned out that the battery - nearly two years old - was as flat as a paper miniature.
Saturday was the lull in the storm. Little did we know that our car troubles for the week were not done yet.
The car returned from a short jaunt to refill our potable water bottles and hissed at me. Since the thermometer was broken, we were unsure if it was the radiator. After it cooled down, I attempted to refill the radiator and reversed the car a metre or so, away from the puddle I made in my refill attempt.
A new unwanted puddle promptly appeared.
It was almost sundown on a Sunday. The car would have to be repaired the next day, and I had to cancel my morning class.
It took an entire Monday to fix the leak as it was leaking at a pipe that was connected to the engine. I also had to cancel my afternoon class.
At he end of the day, the coolant system was fixed.
But the mechanic pointed out that my front right tyre had a bulge. Frayed fibres were visible. It was the end of the day, so I could only replace the front tyres the next day.
I had a medical appointment first thing Tuesday morning. We wanted to have breakfast at the hospital but the cafeteria was shut down on account of their tender contract being lapsed. After the visit to the ENT clinic at the hospital, we looked for food before heading to the tyre shop. By lunch time, we had replaced both front tyres and the usable left tyre was made a spare, and all was right in the world.. until-
Upon our return from sending Irfan to school, the car scraped against a sharp jagged rock on the side of a small road near the back of the school... and tore a gash in it.
I had to cancel one of a replacement class from Monday. I thought I could replace the damaged tyre with the spare, but ultimately I could not - not without a missing metal bar I used as a lever to break the nuts' torque in the past.
So I walked to the nearby mechanic, who told me to walk even further to reach a tyre shop in Jejawi.
The mechanics drove me home, used their tools to break the nuts' torque and swapped the tyre for the spare so I could drive back to their workshop to buy a brand new undamaged tyre to replace the brand new severely damaged tyre.
I tried to get things done as quickly as possible so I could make the afternoon class at Sungai Chuchuh.
After five days, a truckload of worries and many hundreds of ringgit (most of which we had to ask for monetary aid) the car crises finally ceased by the time it was-
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.
Then it came to pass that I have to present a talk at the department's inaugural Basic Translation Workshop. Public speaking is not something that comes to me easily. Despite all the training afforded to be by over 25 years of gamemastering, it still affects me negatively as I was extremely introverted growing up. I did not know whether it felt more harrowing about to give a talk to strangers... or to people I know, such as my fellow workmates here in this case.
After several days burning the midnight oil producing the slides and rehearsing, it was time for me to dive into the deep end of the pool. I was creating new slides less than 30 minutes before the talk was scheduled to begin! And I would not have be able to do it without the help, suggestions and support of my colleagues in our Translation and Language Service Unit.
Naturally because I was the one on point, the presentation just had to involve a couple of Star Wars and Star Trek references as I talked, organised exercises and brief group competitions. After over two hours on my feet - actually another two hours even before we started - I was done! I hoped the participants were able to absorb some of the theories and anecdotes that I shared to help them understand the intricacies of translation between Bahasa Malaysia and English.
I suppose I can do this presentation this again... and give a talk to scary strangers next.
Erik Jensen commissioned a drawing of his wife - who is a huge Star Wars fan - as a purple lightsabre swinging Jedi who also happens to be an X-wing fighter pilot. Also included is the astromech droid designated BB-2.
This is one of the rare instances where I draw an original Star Wars character which is not involved in any RPG campaigns.
Tonight is our sixteenth year together as husband and wife, so we took it upon ourselves to go celebrate with a dinner at a eaterie known as MaiCafe. As far as anniversaries were concerned it quite an enjoyable dinner and our second here in Perlis.
I have said it once and I will say it again: I am blessed to have Ain beside me as a partner for 16 years. Though we began four years earlier, so this is acutally our 20th anniversary together as a couple.
Also, where would we all be without the presence of one Irfan Shafiq who is old enough to earn the Legion Flight Ring.
I have always stated that tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) can be amazing teaching tools, not only for language purposes but to develop critical thinking skills, social skills and general knowledge. Yesterday, I finally ran a game in an English for General Purposes class to see the students could be engaged enough for them to communicate with each other and me without being shy.
The horror begins!
Seeing that polyhedral dice were rare in these here parts, I thought I would run a game that used the ubiquitous six-sided dice. Thus, AntiPaladin Games' Mini Six was chosen. Besides, the system is based on West End Games' D6 system which runs the Star Wars RPG which I have been familiar with for the last 26 years.
The previous week the students and I had agreed to participate after briefly explaining to them what the game is, how it would be played and what my intentions were. Six of them volunteered to be Player Characters (PCs) while the rest would be able to observe and give suggestions to them as they played. I would become the gamemaster (GM) and pregenerated characters would be provided to the players.
I thought I would create a setting riffing off The Mist and Silent Hill because I had no idea how familiar the students were with genre tropes. A mystery setting with lethal monsters might provide enough motivation for the players.
I also played the video above that I quickly made with OpenShot Video Editor.
I thought I would get the ubiquitous Republic clone troopers from the Clone Wars out of the way before we get swept up by Rogue One fever in the coming months.
These are just standard Phase II armour without any armour decorations. There are ten clone troopers and two clone commanders on the PDF. Everyone has one DC-15 blaster. Here is what you can do: Customise these troopers! Decorate it yourself with coloured markers, and write their name in the box.
In the past I have posted an blog article of us having an early dinner along the road by the sea at dusk in Kuala Perlis before. Again, it was raining but this time there was a spectacular sunset on display for us to view.
Click on the image above to view the full image. The sun was about to set, although at first thick clouds over Langkawi Island blocked our view of it. Meanwhile the rain fell sporadically in fine droplets that we easily ignored.
Ain ordered the laksa, which was delicious but apparently not as delicious and rich as Mak Nyang's laksa, a story for another time.
Irfan and I ordered the lok ching, which is various seafood and sausages on a stick, roasted over an open fire and dipped in various sauces.
Again, use these for any spy games from Top Secret S.I. to Covert Ops. It is highly possible that you could use these even for modern Lovecraftian games with secret agents such as Delta Green or The Laundry.
Irfan's fourteenth birthday came and went. So did Irfan's grandparents from Perak.
It would be easy to say "I can't believe how tall and how far he'd come" but the truth is that I am not surprised. With the opportunities and facilities available to him here - as opposed to the Klang Valley where he would have to fight with the sheer number of students in school for available teaching and learning resources - Irfan is surely and gradually turning into a young man with the powers and abilities of a teenager.
What would be best for us to celebrate a fourteenth birthday? I have no idea, so we decided on going our for pizza!
When the pizza arrived it looked appealing and it was quite delicious. My personal criteria for "delicious" was fulfilled thanks to onions.
One Saturday, our driveway became an apam balik station. Many visitors came to obtain free apam balik as dessert to go with their meal.
The driveway had been converted because of the wedding feast held by our neighbour to commemorate the wedding between his son and daughter-in-law, and his daughter and son-in-law.
The previous day both Ain and I helped out with the preparing of the food. I helped cut up the beef into small pieces while Ain had her fingertips chemically seared off when she attempted to remove the skin out of a million metric tonnes (or so it seemed) of garlic.
Apparently deskinning a large amount of garlic can be painful to your fingers.
There was a meeting some weeks back and we had given them permission to set up the apam balik station here.
Across the street where the food was being served, an ais batu campur station had also been set up. But we are here today to talk about the apam balik station.
Despite this photo, Irfan was not as enthusiastic about consuming the apam balik as Yong and I were and we both enjoyed the little things greatly.
During the feast, our friends from the nearby who were invited to the wedding also visited our house. It was a pleasant day for everyone.