The Laundry: The Man From Counter Possession

17 July 2016 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Irfan Plays, Role Playing Games
 

Title Card!

Far Afield: Episode 01

The Man From Counter Possession

On this slow lazy Sunday afternoon, after binge watching the new series Stranger Things which I had described elsewhere as "totally a Laundry RPG scenario set in America, where Black Chamber operatives in the Department of Energy attempt to contain their screw up in a small town in Ohio", I thought I would sit down with Irfan to generate a Laundry RPG character. And if I had the time, then I would run a short, simple scenario for him.

The Laundry RPG is based on Charles Stross's The Laundry Files novel series, which is a delightful mashup of unspeakable horror and droll British humour, where the world of espionage meets the Cthulhu Mythos. It uses the Basic Role Playing (BRP) system used by Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Pendragon and Stormbringer RPGs.

Irfan created a 25-year-old British grad student named Dustin Hopkins, a Capital Laundry Services operative from their Counter-possession Department, who is also a "thinker". Without a proper character sheet, we wrote everything with a pencil on a blank piece of paper, and will transfer the stats to a charsheet proper once I have one printed out.

The Taxi Ride to a Gate

Dusty Hopkins, a recently trained and appointed Laundry field agent, was travelling in a taxi near midnight when his Necronomiphone rang. He had been authorised to investigate a sudden burst of thaumic energy in the outskirts of London. He was given a GPS location on his phone.

Later, he was deposited by the cab several hundred metres away from a closed and locked gate. The gate was located along a fence that surrounded the grounds of a computer software company. A cargo container, converted into a security office, had been planted within the fenced area right beside the gate.

Hopkins drew his standard issue Glock-17 and made sure that the GPS had put him at the correct location. He sneaked up to the security office and peered into the windows facing him. It was dark within, and he could see nothing.

 

ACS Sitiawan Hari Raya Meet

07 July 2016 | Hisham | | ACS Memories
 

Before heading home, word circulated of a pot luck Hari Raya dinner at Iskandar's house on the first night of Aidilfitri.

I had not seen Iskandar since I was in school, so it felt like a great time to meet up with the entire crew, some I'd lost contact with when I transferred away from school when I was 16.

Some I've known since before I was 7

We brought the last of Ain's nasi dagang. The nasi lemak (contributed by the house) was delicious. Irfan, as per his modus operandi, attacked the pizza.

Just Firdaus, Shahmar and I

So we spent the night consuming organic matter and catching up while Irfan corralled and looked after the little children as he is wont to do.

Iskandar, Gnana, Nazri and I

The next day, Gnana and his eldest son came to visit and then we all went to Nazri's home where Iskandar had just arrived.

Ladies, children and one newborn

Apart from having some Hari Raya spaghetti which Irfan loved a little too much and a little too late, we were there to visit Nazri's newborn child. We would spend next Aidilfitri in Pasir Mas, so we might not see them altogether in Sitiawan next year.

 

A Coup Then Hari Raya

06 July 2016 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Family Pics
 

On the day of our arrival in Sitiawan, we played some Coup.

The ambassador is my friend

By the end of the session, we were quite evenly matched. It's Tyrion. The ambassador is Tyrion.

Ain is some sort of sorceror

The morning of Aidilfitri, Ain had her galaxy-famous nasi dagang prepared for eating and stuff.

It's the chair again

Yada, yada, yada... Maaf Zahir Batin.

Decapitated coconut tree

Atok and Opah pose for a photograph with their plants.

Needs moar Vin, Sila, Yaya and Adik

As usual, photographs such as this need more Adik, Yaya, Sila and Vin to make it complete.

 

Misty Drives To and From Pasir Mas

04 July 2016 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Early Saturday morning we got into the car and headed out into the darkness towards Kelantan to avoid the festive season interstate traffic jam.

As usual when even when the sun began to rise we were thick in the middle of mountain mist.

Baling mist

The roads after Baling had pockets of very thick water particles which we had to dive into.

Sagoskatt and the two humans

Meanwhile, Rania and her parents got in front of us and reached Pasir Mas first. For two days, we played with her. She liked to hold conversations with us. I even babysat a couple of times her parents had to go downtown.

Jeli mist

Early Monday morning, we headed for Sitiawan. After sahur at Ayer Lanas, we stopped for Subuh at the last village after Jeli before the road went up the mountains again. The surau and its adjoining public restrooms seemed to be uninhabited and no other travellers stopped while we were there...

Mist Hunters

...except for some kitties.

Titiwangsa mist

At the top of the mountains, we took a photo of the surroundings. Although there was a gigantic prehistoric tree fern there, we failed to spot any spinosaurid theropods in the vicinity. Neither were there any squadrons of flying elephants.

Docked and deployed

All too soon, we had arrived in Sitiawan two days before Aidilfitri.

 

Selamat Hari Raya from the Department

30 June 2016 | Hisham | | Artwork, Recent News
 

Like last year I drew the workplace's Aidilfitri card again!

Click on the cropped picture below to see the full image:

Selamat Hari Raya

Thankfully I did not have to draw every single personnel like last year. Whew.

 

Grenadier Battle Droid

27 June 2016 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 

David Schwarz, a Star Wars D6 gamemaster and player, recently tweeted some homebrewed illustrations and stats of a droid he made before a game many, many years ago.

Homebrewed droid

This inspired me to draw a quick sketch of this ancient Mandalorian battle droid using GIMP.

Made with GIMP

Here are its stats:

Model: Grenadier 2A-1D
Type: Ancient Mandalorian battle droid
Dexterity: 3D+2
Mini missile ops: 7D+2 (damage: 7D+2)
Strength: 6D+2

 

SWD6: The Test of Truth Part 1

20 June 2016 | Hisham | | Artwork, Comics, Enteague Chronicles, Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 

Strikeforce Enteague

The fourth session of the campaign was run in 1989 but I drew a comic of it some time in the mid 1990s. Because of the references in the first page, I would say this was pencilled some time after I got Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments From The Rim. (Perhaps in 1994 or 1995.)

Besides the first page, which is my attempt to establish that stuff happens all over the Galactic Empire, everything else should have happened more or less according to the game. The script is, obviously, not 100% as spoken by the players.

Because the comic has 24 pages, it will be divided between two blog entries with 12 pages each entry to minimise bandwidth strain, because graphics or something.

Episode 04A The Test of Truth Part 1

Last time on Strikeforce Enteague, a number of handpicked fringer-type agents were assembled and then transferred to the moon Enteague Minor in the Enteague Sector. The former commando Drew Greyhelm intention to form his strikeforce was coming to pass.

Page 01: There are references to Noval Garaint and Elshandruu Pica from Galaxy Guide 9, and Wenny Boggs from the Star Wars Sourcebook on this page.

Page 02: Enteague Minor establishing shot and the first pic of the team (so to speak). This was before Aurebesh, so "FIREBIRD" is in Latin alphabet.

 

SWD6: Snow Job

19 June 2016 | Hisham | | Enteague Chronicles, Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 

Strikeforce Enteague

Episode 03 Snow Job

The adventures of the Strikefore Enteague continued as the team reloacated to the new Alliance outpost on the moon of Enteague Minor, to be commanded by rebel commando Drew Greyhelm, a native of the Sirsee system in the Enteague sector.

In their first official mission, pirate Phoenix Avalon, minor Jedi Ben One-Howel and the latest recruit outlaw Jon Dean, were assigned to scout the Engira system on the light freighter Parabolic Arc.

However, hyperdrive mishap caused their ship to crash into the frozen ice fields of the planet Kendell in the Kendell system, still within the sector. Salvaging supplies from the destroyed Parabolic Arc, they then trekked toward a know surveillance post nearby.

To speed up their movements, they hunt, corral and capture wild tauntauns (using the beast riding skills for the first time) to ride though the cold.

Made with Terragen a long time ago

Kendell scene created with Terragen.

They found the surveillance post a smoking rubble, apparently destroyed by the Empire! That meant bad news for the Alliance starfighter outpost which was a two-day ride away by tauntaun.

 

SWD6: Rebel Breakout

18 June 2016 | Hisham | | Enteague Chronicles, Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 

Strikeforce Enteague

After the first solo session that introduced Bounty Hunter Shanna Toarinar into the campaign, I ran a session for a larger group of players using the adventure included in West End Games' Star Wars The Roleplaying Game rule book, entitled Rebel Breakout.

I thought it amazing that the group consisted of players from my class as well as players a year and two years younger from different classes from school. Everyone was new at RPGs!

Episode 02 Rebel Breakout

First edition adventure on Bothan's Planet!

A group consisting of Phoenix Avalon the pirate, Ace Browning Crossfire the bounty hunter, Phix an alien student of the Force (retroactively considered to be of Revwien species), Yoat Den the mercenary and Ben One-Howel an minor Jedi rendezvous at Mesa 291, an abandoned lidium mine on Bothan's Planet, to meet with Tiree, a rebel recruitment agent.

Click to expand thumbnailHowever, Tiree was nowhere to be found, but they discovered the droid R2-D0 a.k.a. "Deo" who claimed that Tiree had been injured in an Imperial ambush on the other side of the mine where their ships awaited.

Deo led them to some supplies, allowing them to gear up with weapons and equipment.

As Deo guided them through the abandoned and dangerous mine, they learned that Tiree had been shot by an Imperial Security Bureau Agent Mar Barezz who was leading a platoon of stormtroopers to capture Tiree and his recruitees.

The team braved cave ins, mynock attacks, an ambush by stormtroopers armed with a repeating blaster and the plasma fires of the abandoned mine as they used a winch to rappel down to deeper levels of the mine where their escape crafts were parked.

They were being taunted by Mar Barezz as they did this.

On the other side of the mine, they had a stand off with Mar Barezz, who thanks to overconfidence, was seriously injured in the firefight.

The far side of the mine, it appeared, was an enormous cavern where three Koensayr BTL-S3 Y-wing fighters were parked. Tiree was unconscious but alive, slumped over in the rear seat of one of the ships.

Mesa 291's mall map

Then the rest of the stormtrooper platoon rushed into the cavern, peppering the Y-wings with blaster bolts as the rebel recruits got into the ship's cockpits (2 pilots per ship including Deo) and quickly shut the canopy. Deo was lowered into an astromech socket.

Outside the cave, a phalanx of AT-AT walkers were advancing toward them, their forward cannons trained at the large cave entrance. The recruits engaged their fighters' repulsorlifts and swiftly slid out of the cave. The AT-ATs opened up. Red bolts missed their mark as the Y-wings soared into the sky and into space.

Deo linked the fighters' navicomputers and input a set of calculations he was preloaded with.

The ships jumped into hyperspace in a sudden blur.

Epilogue

The Y-wings arrived at the rebel outpost in the Tierfon system where Tiree was given medical aid. Phoenix, Ace and Ben were met by a commando who invited them to join the strikeforce he was building which would be based in the Enteague Sector. The team was then transported to the moon of Enteague Minor.

To be continued.

Notes:

  • Yeah, this pretty much went by the numbers. Gimme a break. It was only the second ever (and first published) game I'd even ran.
  • Also, the photos above are recent. Like a couple-of-hours-before-publishing-of-entry-recent.
  • Players of Phoenix, Ace and Ben became regulars in my games.
  • The Epilogue - or any reference to the forming of the Strikeforce - is a retcon after I had run maybe 10 sessions later. I don't remember exactly when I retconned all the single episodes to be part of the Strikeforce Enteague campaign proper.
 

Paperminis: Rogue One Troopers

15 June 2016 | Hisham | | Paper Minis, Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 

Rogue One, the first of the Star Wars anthology movies, will be released in six months. New stormtrooper types which will make their debut in the film have been introduced by Lucasfilm a couple of weeks ago.

New types of stormtrooper classes for the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps

The shoretroopers and the death troopers (I think I got the spaces right.)

We have no idea what the functions of these new stormtroopers are right now. If I were to guess, the shoretroopers are made of clones of Pauly Shore and the death troopers die immediately after wearing the uniform.

Shore Leave Troopers

Do they even carry E-11s? I don't know.

 

SWD6: The Privilege of Choice

12 June 2016 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Irfan Plays, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Time is the Hunter
 

Episode 4

Time is the Hunter

Episode 04: The Privilege of Choice

A 1500th post special!

Last time on Star Wars Time is the Hunter, Jax Hunt finds himself being forcibly inducted into a bounty hunter posse bent on killing his mark, known only as The Skywalker in the abandoned structures deep beneath Spaceport Tower 214 in the Byblos system. Jax recently learned that The Skywalker was also helping to save young orphans of victims of the tyrannical Galactic Empire.

An actual crawl was played on TV

With the John Williams theme and all!

Surrounded by a colourful group of nearly 20 bounty hunters consisting of a variety of species, Jax Hunt faced their prune-faced Dressellian leader who wore a DL-44 blaster at his hip.

The leader barked with a smile, "My name is Kozener. And I lead this crew to claim the bounty on The Skywalker. But we will kill this Skywalker and claim 20 times the reward of the one posted through your House Benelex. Stick with us, and we will all be rich."

It took all Jax had to keep any hint of emotion off his face.

"Are you with us, Jax Hunt?" Kozener asked, his smile turning a dull shade of malice. Jax noticed that all the other hunters hands were hovering over their holsters.

"Yes," Jax carefully said, "I am."

"Excellent!" Kozener grinned as the others eased their hands off their weapons. "We'll need to work as a team as this Skywalker easily defeats anyone who approaches him solo. A five-man team reported that they succeeded in shooting him a few days ago, but soon after we lost contact with that team. You are to assist these two, the Rodian twins Dragillo and Dave. They will be taking the high position and wait for the attack signal."

Then Dragillo was dragging Jax down the corridor, exclaiming in Basic, "Let's go, rookie!"

In Splendid Company

The two Rodians and Jax left the main group and travelled down badly-lit, grimy hallways with exposed floor plates oxidizing in the musky air. Soon they were at a stairwell, Dragillo pointed upwards, "Go."

Jax complied, and several heartbeats later the twins followed up. From below, Jax heard Dave sneer, "It'd be a shame, eh, if you got shot in the back for accidental reasons. I suppose we both will have to share your portion of the bounty."

They cackled evilly.

 

Old Sketches for Star Wars Adventures

26 May 2016 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 

I would very much like to say that these are some of the oldest illustrations I have drawn to be used for Star Wars RPG (to be precise the Strikeforce Enteague campaign), but they are not. These were drawn in the mid-90s when I was running the "second season" of the campaign, so to speak, after I returned from my studies.

Regarding these illustrations: it occurred to me that I could fold a single A4 piece of paper into 8 sections and draw characters, scenes and computer displayes that I have planned to appear in the session. Note that not all of these were ultimately used in a session.

Click on each thumbnail to view the full image.

Ancient Staff of Power

This was the first session I ran upon coming home. I was lounging around at home when a bunch of youngsters - still in lower secondary school - accosted me at my door asking me to run the Star Wars RPG for them.

Ithorian and Sullustan scouts tell the player characters - a New Republic commando team - an Imperial Star Galleon in New Republic space. The Star Galleon lands at Elzethu Island in the Kinyen System. The group has to capture the crew, but the Imperial fugitives have taken an entire school hostage. Unbeknownst to the group, Captain Braxen possesses the powerful Staff of Qell Barakhbur.

I put the brakes on this group and storyline because the players were playing chaotic evil for some reason (Well, the reason was that they were young and have been playing D&D too long) and they held up a New Republic armory on Coruscant before the mission, then returned to Coruscant like a hundred New Republic Security Force would not be waiting for them to throw them into jail.

The Hunt for Ham Slacker

An Imperial Admiral was out for blood. Literally, a Ham Slacker's blood was required to activate Old Dead Palpatine's old exotic tech cache, something known as a X'thakk Capacitor Crystal. They are greeted by the Admiral graciously at his base on the prison planet Graynor.

The Hunt for Ham Slacker

Of course it's a trap. The team discovers a number of exsanguinated corpses and a list with Ham's name the only one not stricken. They have to rescue Ham on the frozen world of Kendell back in the Enteague Sector. The Admiral succeeds in raising the colossal crystal from beneath the ice. But there is a snag. The crystal only work on the extinct X'thakks.

Escalation

The first generation of player characters return to discover that their grandparents had fought Vurnase Gregh, a marauding Dark Side disciple.

Escalation

It turns out that Vurnase Gregh was about to unleash the powerful Dark Side spirit Herroth Rax and their grandparents died to stop him. Meanwhile, Herroth Rax was about to be released from his pocket universe that he was banished to and the team now had to find a way into that universe to kill him while he was depowered.

The Return of Genya Brock

Genya Brock, an Outlaw, is listed as Wanted: Dead by a criminal organization that ruled an entire planet. Also trying to capture him is Cragus 12 the bounty hunter from Star Wars Adventure Journal 01. They travel to the Oseon system to investigate.

The Return of Genya Brock

While the crime lord and his lieutenants scheme in the shadows, the team meets Platt Okeefe and Tru'ebb Cholakk of the Black Curs commando team. Boddu Bocck from Star Wars Adventure Journal 02 drops by to bag Genya. Of course he fails.

???

I have no recollection of when and for what I drew the above.

 

Finally, Furniture and then Ice Cream

23 May 2016 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

After eighteen months of sitting on the floor watching television, we finally got enough cash this month to purchase a sofa set! Atok and Opah were visiting, so we thought it was great that they could have something soft to sit on in the living room.

There's even a coffee table!

There's also a bookshelf.

Star Wars RPG!

As you can see the Star Wars RPG books have made themselves comfortable on the new bookshelf.

Opah and Atok with ice cream

To celebrate, we headed for Changlun where there was an excellent coconut icecream stall.

Ya can't beat that!

It was made of vanilla ice cream scoops in a coconut husk with coconut flesh, nuts, crouton, pulut and some other stuff.

 

Nasi Kerabu: A Bus Ride Follow Up

13 May 2016 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

During our bus trip over the mountains the other week, Ain made friends with a fellow traveller, a Kelantanese who lived in Perlis. She had a nasi kerabu restaurant in Kangar.

That only meant one thing: we had to check it out.

Where is Irfan's eyeline headed, anyway?

They only open in the mornings.

Better than any McDonald's

When we were in Kelantan we were disappointed were unable to visit our favourite nasi kerabu restaurant there. It was a stroke of luck that we discovered one here in Perlis that sells delicious nasi kerabu comparable to the restaurant in Kelantan!

We foresee many weekend breakfasts at this place.

 

SWD6: Deeper Undercity

05 May 2016 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Irfan Plays, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Time is the Hunter
 

Episode 3

Time is the Hunter

Episode 03: Deeper Undercity

Last time on Star Wars Time is the Hunter, a gunfight between bounty hunters accidentally activated a trio of Separatist BX commando droids from the Clone Wars. Malfunctioning, they began hunting for targets deep in the bowels of Spaceport Tower 214 on level Brown-212 in the Byblos system.

The three rusty droids fanned out with vibroswords drawn, their joints sparked when they moved jerkily. "Kill all Republic clone troopers." "Roger roger!"

Jax Hunt hugged the debris-strewn floor behind the engine of a Y-wing fighter. Beside him, a fellow bounty hunter - the Nimbanel named Tulon Tash - lay injured and semi-conscious after being shot by a rival hunter. Meanwhile the furnace behind both bounty hunters illuminated the chamber of scrap metal and discarded technology with angry colours.

Jax considered throwing one of the two grenades he was authorised to carry, but the droids were too far apart for it to be effective.

Continuing from last episode

Flat in front of the furnace.

Then he had an idea. He grabbed the nearest piece of scrap he was able to - a keyboard from a control panel that was broken in half - and hurled it up above their heads and down the corridor to the right where it clattered out of sight.

The three droids jerked their head in that direction. "Probable clone trooper." "Investigate and destroy." "Roger roger." And then they were gone.

Jax searched Tulon for a medpac but found an unmarked datacard instead. He pocketed it for later inspection. It was imperative they leave quickly before the droids wandered back.

"Come on, Tulon." Jax supported the Nimbanel as they hustled toward the elevator doors down the left end of the corridor. Jax noticed comm jammers stuck to the wall of the corridor. They appeared freshly fitted. He studied the closest jammer but could not figure out how to turn it off (with a Technical skill failure 11/12).

Jax and Tulon were several metres from the closed doors when a mechanical voice behind them boomed, "Republic clone trooper! Destroy! Kill!"

One of the BX droids had doubled back.

Behind the GM screen

I actually referred to the tables more than once this session.

 

The New Cousin Celebration

03 May 2016 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

I haven't met Baby Rania since she was born, so after that bus trip over the spine of Malaysia we finally arrived in Pasir Mas for her aqiqah ceremony where I finally got to meet her.

vcnb

She is quite a photogenic lady, she is.

 

Bus Ride to Pasir Mas

02 May 2016 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

We had an inaugural journey from here to Pasir Mas by bus. This meant I did not have to focus on driving over a long distance for the first time in a thousand years.

This also meant I was free to take photos out the window as we trundled along the roads. It was a great experience. I have never taken an interstate bus since the nineties, in the days when I travelled from Terengganu to Sitiawan (or Kuala Lumpur) by bus every five or six days.

As the vehicle barreled southward from the bus station, I was amazed by the ameneties available in the double decked transport vehicle. The seats were much more comfortable compared to the bus seats of old. Leg room were aplenty. And even better, we could recharge our phones at the power sockets.

But enough about the bus, on to the pictures.

We're in the bus

There were numerous signposts along the way. Presumably they help drivers find their way around the country without driving over a canyon and into a swift-running river.

After picking up passengers in Jitra

Sometimes, airplanes fail to heed warning and attempt to drive on roads, perhaps because land travel appear exciting to them because grass on the other side and all that.

Needs moar submersibles

I try to spy on cars that appear to drive backwards in relation to my window. This old couple appear to be quiet the attentive drivers. I can determine no way to jump onto this vehicle to attempt to infiltrate it.

Peeking next door

Amanjaya Mall looks nice. But I have never been inside it. Upon request, the WELCOME TO SUNGAI PETANI signpost sidled up to us to pose for a photo. It did not even ask for money.

It's not a mall if it doesn't have MPH or Kino

We then turned from our southbound course and headed east towards the mountains. But there were still many, many miles to go before we come close to the mountains. One of our waypoints en route, is Kuala Ketil - a town which is a nexus for the road network of the area.

 

Paper Minis: Royal Guards and a Sheev

29 April 2016 | Hisham | | Paper Minis, Role Playing Games, Star Wars
 

It's been a while since I posted Star Wars RPG paper miniatures. So here is something that would break the silence: Imperial Royal Guards! The red armoured guards which was first introduced in Return of the Jedi.

Are those guards wearing underwear under those robes?

As a bonus, I've included Palpatine the nice and helpful former Senator from Naboo in the pack. He is such a pleasant fellow. I might have printed the ones in the photo wrong somehow. They came out too dark instead of bright red.

Paper minis with BACKS!
 

Worn Joints Are Worn

28 April 2016 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

It started as a sore right toe, specifically its joints.

So I went to the doctor. After some questions, the doctor said, "WELCOME TO THE CLUB!" The doctor has the gout. So now I have the gout.

Nothing to do but to consume the meds and control my diet to decrease the pain.

Which I think might be a whole lot better than watching Showgirls.

 

Cover for Deep Space Squadron

10 April 2016 | Hisham | | Artwork, Books
 

Ebb and Folks commissioned a new cover for an upcoming ebook entitled Deep Space Squadron.

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.