My Interview at Epic Level Artistry

28 February 2013 | Hisham | | Artwork, Star Wars

I gave an interview to Tristan Tarwater of Epic Level Artistry at the Troll in the Corner site.

Here is an excerpt:

Do you find yourself more drawn to drawing locations or people? Do you have them fleshed out before you bring pencil to paper (to use an old idiom) or do the ideas and the image kind of grow side by side?

Thanks to a lot of practice, I’ve done a lot of characters, but I also do a lot of creatures, gear, vehicles, robots as well as scenes. Sometimes I plan it out. Sometimes it just comes to life on paper – or screen – naturally without a lot of thought. More so of the latter when there’s capybara blood mixed with kumquat juice.

Click here to read the whole thing!


Vicious Crucible of the Villa Argentate

26 February 2013 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games

Here is part of a large panoramic artwork I made for Kallisti Press's The Vicious Crucible of the Villa Argentate RPG. A bunch of other stuff is occuring in this walled city where the river divides it into the unbelievably rich section, the working class section and the dirt poor section. Meanwhile, an army is camped outside its walls.

You can download for free the first Vicious Crucible game entitled The Vicious Crucible of Verdigris Valley here! (A thumbnail link can be found in the left column under "Complete Tabletop Games".)


55 Months

22 February 2013 | sila | | Family Pics

And so Yaya is now 55 months old. Five more months before her first half decade!

Let's make orange juice!

* Mouse over the pictures for captions


GOKL Escapes Mos Shuuta

18 February 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Modesty Blazing, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

I've already run Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG Beginner Game adventure for Irfan, so now I would see how it would fare with half a dozen experienced tabletop RPGers, namely the guys at GOKL.

From the available pregenerated characters in the adventure Escape from Mos Shuuta, Ivan played 41-VEX as a manumitted medical droid, Razzman played the Twi'lek bounty hunter Oskara, Macx played the Wookiee hired gun Lowhhrick and Doug tweaked Pash the smuggler into Nora Romanova. Darren and Kai jury-rig a character generation using the Beta rule notes found online and became, respectively, Qillian Ryn the Triannii assassin and Darter Kel the Zeltron scout and bush pilot. I might have screwed up the chargen a bit because of lack of complete rules.

The adventure's encounters are designed so GMs and players get the hang of the system. For example, the first encounter teaches us about options on hiding in a cantina. The second encounter takes us through combat with a drift of Gamorreans. The third forces players to interact with NPCs to acquire a gear important to the story.

However, GOKL players being GOKL players, things blew up and died in encounter one.

We're at Darren's place!

The Cantina

Nora, Oskara, Lowhhrick, 41-VEX and Qillian had crossed the local crime lord Teemo the Hutt, and Teemo's band of cudgel-bearing Gamorreans were now combing Mos Shuuta for them. The group ducked into the Devaronian's cantina to look for the pilot they hired beforehand, namely Darter, just before Gamorreans spotted them and chased in after them.

Oskara flipped a table. Nora jumped over the bar. Qillian slipped his knuckledusters on and crept into the shadows by the doorway. VEX orders a drink - a pitcher of motor oil. Darter, following the band of newcomers' example bounded to the dance stage where the Twi'lek dancer was dancing by a pole. He immediately tried to charm the pants off her.

As the pig guard burst in, the person with the keenest eye, fastest reflexes and swiftest hand moved first. It was VEX. He cooly downed his drink much to the bartender's slack-jawed surprise. However, the guards saw Oskara who was already behind the flipped table with her blaster rifle ready. She had the advantage and blew a hole in the lead Gamorrean. From the stage, Darter wriggled his butt, reached into his tight pants and a dart gun appeared was in his previously-bare hands. He took a firing stance and shot a dart at another Gamorrean, which sadly bounced off his thick bacon-smelling hide. Nora popped up from behind the bar and fire a wounding shot into his shoulder while Qillian snuck up from behind the Gamorreans and punched one with his knuckleduster, dazing the pig guard. All had fallen but one, who turned to the one who had shot him: Nora. But then VEX drew his blaster, spun and fired. The last thug fell.

Nora introduced Darter, their new pilot, to the group and the horrified Devaronian bartender yelled at them to get out of his bar. Darter explained that he too was in Teemo's bad books for seducing Teemo's daughter. The others would have lost their lunches at his story if they had eaten something for lunch.

Epic droid roleplaying going on...

Slugshark - With Stats!

16 February 2013 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

When Irfan showed me this clay creature he created, I thought I'd take a photo of it and make up some stats for it.

Created by Irfan

Star Wars D6

Slugshark, Amphibious reptilian predator

Scale: Character
Length: 150-200cm.
Brawl 3D+2
Constrict 3D+1
Sneak (only when swimming) 4D
Swimming 4D+2
Bite attack damage: 3D
Constrict damage: 1D increments per round (Round 1: 1D, round 2: 2D, etc)
Horn attack damage: Strength+1
Move: 10 (swim) / 8 (slither)

Star Wars Edge of the Empire

Slugshark [Minion]

Brawn 2
Agility 2
Cunning 1
Intellect 1
Presence 1
Willpower 1

Skill: Brawl 1, Coordination 1, Stealth 1
Talents: None
Soak/Defense: 1/1
Threshold: Wound 12
Abilities: Difficulty to see swimming slugshark Hard (♦ ♦ ♦ )
Silhouette: 1
Horns (Brawl, Damage 4, Crit 4, Range [Engaged])
Teeth (Brawl, Damage 5, Crit 4, Range [Engaged])
Constrict (Coordination, Damage 1 and +1 every round thereafter, Crit 3, Range [Engaged])

Oh hey, my first Edge of the Empire stats.


Two More SWAG Pickups

14 February 2013 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Two more Star Wars Artists' Guild player character art pickups. I love picking up these requests once in a while for a warm-up sketch before work begins in the morning.

Badji Hida is a Devaronian scoundrel requested for oexto's Edge of the Empire game. He wields a DL-18 blaster pistol, presumably with aplomb.

Mano Vector is a human Special Agent of the Senate Bureau of Intelligence (before it eventually evolves into Imperial Intelligence, shudder). He was requested by one Agent M.


Happenings at the Beginnings of the Year of the Snake

12 February 2013 | Hisham | | Family Pics

Meanwhile, the three-night balik kampung back to Sitiawan for Chinese New Year was somewhat enjoyable. The traffic was not too bad, and no one lost their sanity. We left the city early, during the time where no one is sure they're awake or they're dreaming, and often, you'd wish for the other. Fortunately there was no sign of Mi-Go shadowing us from above. Nor of any Shantak. Also, I prepared awesome tunes for the return trip. Well, awesome to me, that is.

On the first night we ate out with Atok and Opah. We tried out a new restaurant which had some tasty Thai food. It was not made of Thai people. 

Let's eat out

On Sunday morning, the Sitiawan contigent, made up of Atok, Opah, Ain, Irfan and I had a Skype chat with the Ohio contigent which consisted of Ayah Cik, Cik Dik, Yaya and Little Adik Rafe. Rafe, now foot mobile, waved to everyone on screen, as well as prematurely shut off Skype all by himself. Yaya was excited seeing her cousin Irfan onscreen and they had a short chat before Cik Dik adjusted the laptop webcam for us to see Rafe chase Yaya throughout the house.

Everyone in the immediate family (except me) is in this shot

Schoolmates From A Thousand Generations Ago

11 February 2013 | Hisham | | ACS Memories, Friends

Nowadays when I return to Sitiawan for Chinese New Year, I rarely get to meet old ACS classmates. It's because either they're away at the in-laws, or their family has moved elsewhere, or I don't communicate to anyone my balik kampung. This year I had two meet ups!

The first was with Teck Chee and Cheong Lee at the new mall, Aeon Sri Manjung. They were a year younger than me at school. We had a great time talking about old friends and where they are now.

Year Minus one group

Later that night I met my former classmate Sathya. I met him right at this white wall where I had some sort of coffee and Star Wars talk ensued, as they are wont to be when Sathya is around. Gnana was also present but also via Sathya's iPhone. And initial plans were made for a class reunion in the near future. Who wants in?

Nothing but Star Wars talk

Then we said goodbye to the white wall.


Night's Black Agents: The Little Prince Job Ends

04 February 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Nights Black Agents, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

The second part of Night's Black Agents game run by Kai continued two weeks later with everyone present, namely Shiina "Misha" Mikado the Japanese grifter and heavy hitter, Jacob Novazembla the Dutch hacker, Sami Härkönen the Finnish grunt and Zlatan Kljujic the Bosnian driver! The spy stuff adventure in London continues from the last episode.

Ivan's charsheet

I did not have the time to produce a play report in my own words, so here's Kai's diligently written report (with bonus GM's Commentary in italics.)


The Lawless

03 February 2013 | Hisham | | Star Wars, TV

The Star Wars The Clone Wars episode "The Lawless". Best Star Wars since The Empire Strikes Back? Hyperbole?

Guest starring Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan

No spoilers here.

At about minute 9, I was stunned at how the story went. The entire series and the tone it started with in the beginning was a feint. Despite some pretty juvenile episodes, most of the series has been an exercise in solid storytelling in the Star Wars universe. We expect the filmmakers to pull their punches because of several issues: this series is on Cartoon Network, and the prequel movies had Jar Jar Binks.

However, it has shown us violence that provided emotional release at some parts, like when Commander Jet's troops burned dozens of Geonosians alive... onscreen... and we see the Geonosian aflame and shrieking in agony; we've seen innocents shot with blaster burning right through their torsos; we've seen Ahsoka leap, spin and decapitate four Mandalorians.

We've never seen the emotional rollercoaster brought on by "The Lawless". If what happened in the episode not at the same emotional level as "No. I am your father..." then it should be pretty close, based on what has come before beginning with the introduction of Mandalore and Death Watch in season two, and the return of Darth Maul in season four.

As a bonus cherry on top, we get the best choreographed lightsabre fight ever on the series, Darth Sidious versus Maul and Savage Opress.

Let me say that if there is no executive network meddling and the such, I am confident that Supervising Director Dave Filoni will not disappoint us when he ends this series and segue into Revenge of the Sith. I really don't expect the story of Ahsoka Tano to end well.

Check out the first official Star Wars The Clone Wars Google Hangout that took place right after the first airing of the episode, featuring Filoni and some of the voice cast of the series.


Cousin Zara Naps On Irfan

01 February 2013 | Hisham | | Family Pics

Zara Arissa is back home in the Klang Valley for the first time in her life. We went to visit her to see how she was adapting to new environment. She seems to be doing pretty well.

Let's all crowd the baby shall we?

She had a fun time with her brother Aiman and her cousin Irfan. But she was unable to go out to the playground with the boys, what with her still not foot mobile yet. Irfan returned with a very soild baju melayu (he had one on since Friday prayers at noon), so he had to borrow Ayah Long's shirt and kain pelekat for the evening.

This seems comfortable. Stop fidgeting, boy!

Zara thought she'd hang out on Irfan's lap.