Students Take Centre Stage

26 November 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

Narrator: Previously on Hishgraphics Blog...

Yesterday, my theatre arts students completed their course. In conjunction with the final session, the students and I organised the inaugural Performance Day for the course.

Bokeh or something

We began at 2pm. Ain brought snacks and kuih for the students. Irfan was our videographer, using the department's camera.

Rehearsal hour begins

The students had prepared for two plays to be performed for the event. The first was "The Midnight Class" where a pair of students find themselves in a replacement Mandarin language class late at night. However, they soon realise that they are the only two students in the class who are... not dead.

The class is in a class

"The Midnight Class" had a total of 10 speaking roles. The roles were based on the character building exercise we had over the duration of the course.

Optics and all

Some lines made the audience chuckle, especially the punchline to the "Why do they call you Jenny?" line. Even the cameraman here was amused during rehearsal.

 

Mini Six: Rescue in the Rainforest

24 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

Mini Six: Doom Agents

03 Rescue in the Rainforest

The team gets rescued after a fashion

Title image

Last time on Doom Agents, four operatives sent to investigate the Eternitech factory deep in the South American rainforest located by the Amazon river had been captured by Eternitech's security forces led by Hideo Eguchi.

After an enemy flashbang grenade did its job in the store room where they were laying an ambush, the four agents found themselves each tied to a chair in the Eternitech factory floor, specifically on a conveyor belt that would lead to a shredding machine.

Nixon's list

Cast of characters

Dramatis Personae

  • Agent Trolala Zelimkhanov, a Chechen driver - Nasha and Nurul Ain
  • Agent Nancy Nassirian, an Iranian fixer - Athirah and Sabrina
  • Agent Adam Mbokota, a South African shooter - Syafiq and Weng Zun
  • Agent Adrien Nicolas, a French hacker - Malvinder and Asyraaf
  • Agent J. Johnson Jonathan, a Nepalese hitter - Alif
  • Agent Harry Wilson, a British talker - Azuwan
  • Doctor Zolila Okhunjonov, a Uzbek medic - Intan and Azmah

I Want To Break Free

"You think you can stop us from launching our plant?" Eguchi said, slightly gloating over the captives. "We know you are not from the UNEP. If you won't tell us where you're from, then you're useless to me." Then the Security Director of Eternitech pulled a lever and machines came to life. The conveyor belt began to move. So did the various robot arms and waldos. And so did the spinning set of shredding gears at the end of the conveyor belt! Eguchi smiled then exited through a door out of the factory floor.

Nassirian, Zelimkhanov, Mbokota and Nicolas struggled the best they could but they were unable to get free. If they could not free themselves then they would die. Their weapons and gear had been confiscated. They were about to surrender to their fates when Nassirian looked up and saw three figures dressed in black creeping along on a catwalk 7 meters above the floor. Nassirian gestured for the team.

The newcomers comprised of their teammates, Agents Jonathan, Wilson and Okhunjonov. The four were elated, but tried not to show their glee too early.

After quickly setting it up, Wilson's tactical training allowed him to slide down his 10-meter rope onto the floor. Wilson hit the ground running, his pistol trained at the door. The others descended swiftly. As Jonathon looked for a way to stop the machines, Dr. Okhunjonov leapt onto the conveyor belt. She picked out a surgical blade from her medical pack and cut the captive agents' cable ties that were holding their hands and feet to their chairs.

Classy.

Class Warfare

 

SWD6: The Battle of Corulag (Instance B)

16 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Teaching
 

SWD6: The Battle of Corulag

Instance B

This Star Wars RPG game session (D6 system) was the first of two that I ran today using the same scenario I quickly devised yesterday for my English language classes. It was to see how different two different groups of students would play through the same adventure in the same day and if I could cope with both. The scenario was also written so the students would be able to discuss compare and contrast essays however because I started the class with an hour of presenting the conventional syllabus, we only had 45 minutes before time was up, thus we were unable to complete the scenario.

The session I ran earlier in the day can be found here.

That's an old valley

Dramatis Personae

  • Sergeant Jadoo, Human male outlaw - Lutfi
  • Fetty, Human female bounty hunter - Pei Yong
  • Broboroi, Human male failed Jedi - Saiful
  • John, Male security droid - Fauzan
  • Bob, Human male ex-TIE fighter pilot - Kok Peng
  • Ryuz, Human male saboteur - Shah
  • "Baby", Human male 8 year-old kid - Swee How

The gray and blue YT-1300 light freighter Speed Hip slowly landed on the landing field at the southern outskirts of town of Oldvalley, a population hub in the agricultural fields of the planet Corulag. The Speed Hip's ramp descended and seven individuals were disgorged into the cool Oldvalley morning air.

Their orders were clear: make contact with their agent Wes Qualto at Firelight cafe in Oldvalley. Qualto would brief them on what he had learned about the secret Imperial weapons factory that was rumoured to have constructed in the area and if they were required to destroy it.

The former Imperial TIE fighter pilot Bob led the team into Oldvalley. Beside him was the armoured bounty hunter Fetty, who took her name from the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Bob: I was a pilot with a dark past and was now trying to make amends.

Jadoo took point in town, looking for a site that could be used as a temporary base. (Succeeding in a Streetwise roll,) Jadoo led the group to a small abandoned warehouse still connected to the power and data network grid. After an hour, they had converted it into a forward operating base.

Whiteboard notes

Then the team headed out for Firelight Cafe.

 

SWD6: The Battle of Corulag (Instance A)

13 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Teaching
 

SWD6: The Battle of Corulag

Instance A

This Star Wars RPG game session (D6 system) was the first of two that I ran today using the same scenario I quickly devised yesterday for my English language classes. It was to see how different two different groups of students would play through the same adventure in the same day and if I could cope with both. The scenario was also written so the students would be able to discuss compare and contrast essays however because I started the class with an hour of presenting the conventional syllabus, we only had 45 minutes before time was up, thus we were unable to complete the scenario.

The session I ran later in the day can be found here.

The crawl

Dramatis Personae

  • Paragas, Human male bounty hunter - Haziq
  • Vyruz Girl, Human female outlaw - Ganageswari
  • KC, Human male brash pilot - Ong
  • Kert, female security droid - Kertana
  • Lauren Ginger-Soup, Human male failed Jedi - Khairul

Paragas, Vyruz Girl, KC, Kert and Lauren disembarked from a C-ROC transport at the landing field on the southern outskirts of the agricultural community of Oldvalley on the planet Corulag. The five were Rebels, part of an Alliance Intelligence team assigned to gather information on a rumoured secret Imperial weapons factory constructed nearby, and destroy it if required.

Paragas wore leather and fur with a long cloak that hid his blaster rifle. Beside him was Vyruz who was tall wearing a long duster jacket and wide brimmed hat. KC wore a non-descript flight suit with many pockets that held everything from macrobinoculars to a comlink. Kert - being a manumitted KX-series Imperial security droid - strode taller and thinner than any of them. Lauren brought up the rear in his heavy hood and black cloak, his lightsaber deep within its folds away from prying eyes.

Oldvalley was located in one of the many agricultural regions of Corulag. Although the towns here were not as populated as the bigger cities there such as Curamelle, there was still a substantial Imperial presence here. Imperial stormtroopers patrolled the streets, harassing the local farmers and business owners looking for rebels.

GM screen even

Walking into town, the team decided to visit a local cantina to gather information about the secret weapons factory.

 

Force and Destiny: The Lost General

04 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Teaching
 

Force and Destiny:

The Lost General

As role-playing practice for my theatre class, I ran a FFG Star Wars RPG session for the students. If playing a space swashbuckling character which might also be an alien or a droid does NOT stimulate their acting chops, I have no idea what will!

The party

Actors and role-players.

Although it was technically a Force and Destiny game, we had character types from Edge of the Empire too, thanks to the Legends of the Galaxy pregenerated character sheets. It was the same pregen sheets I had used in a class earlier in the year.

Dramatis Personae

  • Merick, female Zabrak Guardian/Armorer - Veronica and Siew Yee
  • Malea, female Human Warrior/Starfighter Ace - Haziqah and Syafikah
  • Koogik, female Rodian Explorer/Big Game Hunter - Syakirah
  • Byt, female Twilek Technician/Outlaw Tech - Nadhira
  • Kree, female Human Smuggler/Pilot - Amelia
  • Flames, female Droid Soldier/Commando - Siti Aisyah

Martial Law on Zaadja!

With the Empire clamping down hard on the remote system such as Zaadja, it became more and more difficult to travel in and out of the system. Meanwhile, a rebel general named Pella Vick had been trapped on Zaadja because of the martial law.

A group of six rebel operatives had been sent there to extract the trapped general whose last known location was the lidium mining town of Cumulus. 

The Star Wars crawl

Yes, the theme music was piped.

The team disembarked from the C-ROC Gozanti-class cruiser they had chartered to take them to Zaadja. As they walked out of the landing field, the C-ROC took off again to resume its scheduled cargo run in the Outer Rim Territories.

The mean-looking Zabrak named Merick led the group into the town centre. The air was frigid. Freezing winds blew in from the north. Tall, dark clouds laden with ice and snow rose above the horizon to the north east.

The town square was sparsely populated. One or two citizens could be seen briskly walking from shop to shop, their eyes on the cold, hard ground. In fact there were more Imperial stormtroopers than citizens in the Cumulus streets.

One stormtrooper spotted the group and approached them, and by default the person on point: Merick.

"Newcomers, eh?" the trooper said. "What is your business here?"

Merick answered by igniting her blue-bladed lightsaber and skewering the trooper's chest. (One Success on her Lightsaber skill check which took 10 Wound Points off the Imperial.) She quickly deactivated her weapon and caught the trooper before he fell to the ground, dead as a doorknob.

Everyone else in the team was horrified. There were other stormtroopers coming into view. They noticed that a trooper on the roof of a two-story building, a storefront, had turned his attention on them.

Zaadja

Zaadja, as drawn by Brandon Badeaux and Brad Anderson in Dark Horse Comics's Republic #67: Forever Young.

 

Mini Six: Debacle in the Amazon

02 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

This marks the first time students played a second game in a single campaign, although they all played new characters because of a TPK in their first session.

Mini Six: Doom Agents

02 Debacle in the Amazon

Dramatis Personae

  • Agent Trolala Zelimkhanov, a Chechen driver - Nasha and Nurul Ain
  • Agent Nancy Nassirian, an Iranian fixer - Syafiq and Weng Zun
  • Agent Adam Mbokota, a South African shooter - Athirah and Sabrina
  • Agent Adrien Nicolas, a French hacker - Malvinder and Asyraaf

A year after the incident in Fukushima, a fresh new group of agents were sent deep into the Amazon in South America. Command was suspicious of the construction of a manufacturing plant owned by the multi-national corporation Eternitech located by the Amazon river.

Title card

Boulders Are Falling On My Head

Trolala Zelimkhanov, the elegantly dressed agent, drove their pink Ford Ranger along the private road that would take them to the Eternitech factory. She had picked them up at the airport and was now driving them through the lush green Amazon rainforest. Because the road was wide and empty, she drove like a Fast and Furious stunt driver scaring the poop out of her colleagues.

They had been driving for over three hours when they passed through a valley, flanked by tall steep hills. Tall and skinny, the dark-skinner shooter Adam Mbokta was stretching at the back of the car when he saw something somewhat distressing: The top of the cliffs they were driving past was crumbling and tonnes of hard, rocky boulders were tumbling down the hill headed towards them!

Mbokota quickly warned Zelimkhanov, rousing the others. She, however, took a while to understand because of Mbokota's pronounciation. Only when Mbokota kicked the back of her seat and pointed to the rockslide did Zelimkhanov realise their peril.

Nicolas: A big boulder fell from the top of the mountain and rolled down towards us at high speed. Then, Trolala pushed the pedal to the end, increasing speed to be able to dodge the falling boulder.

She drove like a speed demon as a mass of destructive rocks came down upon them. (She rolled a successful Drive Vehicle check.) But she drive intelligently and in a blink of an eye was able to reach the safe zone before the avalanche swamped down, shredded the road into debris, cutting off their way back to civilisation. 

They were trapped, so they pressed forward towards Eternitech.

Will these players lose their team again?
 

The Second UUM Incursion

31 October 2017 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Teaching
 

I love tabletop games. I have started to incorporate more tabletop games into my teaching and learning. Suddenly, my friend Shanizan invited me to be a jury member for the Sintok International Games and Gamification Challenge 2017 at UUM. I just wish I was able to run games with friends in my free time.

Anyway...

After an formal invite had been sent to the workplace, I was now an official representative of the Centre for International Languages at the SIGGC 2017 event at UUM.

I have no idea what I'm doing

My colleague Yuzi was also invited to be a member of the jury. Shanizan greeted us when we arrived.

The briefing needed more dice rolls

After the jury briefing was complete, we went on out assignments: to grade the participants' games on display. The games ranged from standard tabletop snakes and ladders variants to mecha combat computer games.

A dart game

Yuzi and I brought the Thai interns from the workplace to join the fun.

I still have no idea what I'm doing

This school from Sungai Petani showed off their creation: a human-scale boardgame where the player moves from square to square with the throw of an oversized d6.

Ace of Math

Meanwhile, Shanizan also displayed one of his games, the card came Ace of Math. This was quite an interesting experience, and quite exhausting as we had to traverse the many corridors of the exhibits at the foyer of the UUM Library.

Perhaps in future events we could have role-playing game demos and talks. I am certain that with earlier notification, our friends from Kuala Lumpur would be able to come enliven future SIGGC.

 

The First UUM Incursion

29 October 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

Last month, all of the sudden, I was tasked with writing a script for a short play for an English Language Carnival to be held at UUM. Not just that, but I had to coach the actors, who were all students of our business school. The theme was "peace". So I wrote a script with 10 speaking roles (2 narrators included) entitled Requiem to War.

However the event was postponed on account of royal demise. Then we got word that a new date had been set.

Some sort of requiem

All the actors got back into gear. I attended their final rehearsal.

The lead actors tried to kill each other

I only handled the acting and staging part of the rehearsal. My colleague Yuzy did most of the heavy lifting with regards to costume, props and logistics for the troupe.

Varsity Mall food

Friday evening, Irfan, Ain and I drove to UUM to check out the site of the event. We had dinner at the mall there. I wish we had a mall here.

 

Mini Six: The Seaside Catastrophe

17 October 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

And so it came to pass that I was given the opportunity to present my ideas for tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) as a language learning tool to the workplace. During the workshop, I also ran a Mini Six session for the participants. For the first time ever, I gamemastered (GM) an RPG session for colleagues, which was something I never thought I would do.

The GM is in red

The GM has no idea what he's doing

This entry chronicles the epic events that transpired in-game during the session:

Mini Six: Agents of CIL

The Seaside Catastrophe

If this actual play report sounds familiar, then it is because it is the same scenario I ran for my class last month. This time though, the pregenerated player characters (PCs) consisted of a whole new mix of agents.

Dramatis Personae

  • Alex and Farahhein as Agent Mustonen the Finnish combat medic
  • Sareepa and Masturah as Agent Khoo the Malaysian sniper
  • Ivy and Angela as Agent Takeuchi the Japanese engineer
  • Syakira as Agent Petrovic the Bosnian driver
  • Yuzy as Agent Hussein the Yemeni linguist

A Peaceful Drive

It was March 2011.

The five Agents of Central Intelligence League (CIL) had been sent to Fukushima, Japan in 2011 by their Agency Director (who was at the time about to undergo a medical procedure) to investigate the disappearance of their colleague Agent Yamaguchi (which Agent Mustonen reminded was nicknamed Tamagotchi at the office). CIL was an independent international intelligence agency that helped governments to keep the peace worldwide.

Initiative list

Some whiteboard or something

Petrovic drove their car through the Japanese countryside towards the town of Ōkuma which was the last known location of Agent Yamaguchi. Everyone else was drowsy and lethargic except for the supermodel-by-day Agent Khoo who somehow (with a Perception roll) noticed that a car behind them was driving up towards them fast! Khoo noticed that the driver wore a completely black outfit and a cloth mask that covered his mouth and head.

Khoo alerted Petrovic who at the last moment (with a sucessful Drive Vehicle roll) swerved out of the way. At this point everyone was wide awake, jostled about by Petrovic's wild manoevre. As the car skidded past them, Mustonen drew his weapon - a big and shiny Magnum .45 - and fired at the driver of the attacking car. (The Shooting roll and its Damage score were both high.) The bullet hit the driver squarely in the face, causing his car to veer sideways and smash against a large tree.

Petrovic brought their car to a skidding halt approximately 50 metres away.

Agent Mustonen was sure that their attacked was dead. He jumped out of the car with his gun trained at the wreck ahead and approached carefully. Takeuchi accompanied him. When they both arrived at the car - which was wrapped around the tree - they discovered that there was no driver. There was no body. A pool and splatter of blood were the only proof that there was someone at the driver's seat. According to Takeuchi (with a Techonology roll) anyone involved in such a collision would be immediately killed. How was this possible?

Mustonen took a sample of the blood on the seat with a vial he had in his medical kit.

Mustonen

The Finnish agent

Meanwhile a police car stopped behind the agents' vehicle. A police officer approached them, asking, "What happened here? Why are there so many foreigners here?"

 

Teaching Without Power

14 October 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

This semester I have to help teach another English course to a class of professionals in another learning institution. Today, during my class in which I have prepared a ton to slides to be shown on the screen, the unthinkable happened.

There was a blackout.

I'm clearly in red

So I took the class outdoors. Luckily there was a cafe right outside the class, which was closed on a Saturday.

Forty's a crowd

The students helped me transport the whiteboard out to the corridor.

A matrix

I tried my best to think of an exercise they could do in groups which would compel them to do research, write then speak.

 

Theatre Was Suddenly In My Repertoire

07 October 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

Did I not join this university as a language translator?

How did I end up teaching English Theatre Arts as a co-curricular course?

It really matters not, because I am enjoying my role as an language educator here. More so because I love teaching enhancement of soft skills.

Tanah tumpahnya darah ku

So my course began this week. We began with the obligatori Negaraku anthem song.

Game over man

I tried getting the students to read part of the Aliens script - slightly modified - to get them to emote (with and without stage direction).

Randomisation of emotion

I dealt them this random lines exercise between two students to get them to emote better, but during the first week even "sadness" elicited an unstoppable wave of giggles.

ELCA 2017 script reading

During the second week I got the students to read the script that I wrote for students involved in another programme. Perhaps I need to write a blog post about that programme soon.

The students also watched an episode of the TV series Community to break down sections of plot. The show is fantastic in this regard as it sometimes comedically break down its own stories metatextually.

The class

Class will resume in a couple of weeks after the mid-semester tests and Deepavali break.

 

Mini Six: A Day By The Sea

21 September 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

For the third time I ran a tabletop RPG session for my class using the Mini Six system, and this time I have integrated it with the English curriculum we had. The week's lesson theme was Natural Disaster and I also had to teach them about Descriptive Essays.

The RPG became a teaching tool in this situation, because students were able to interact verbally with each other in the context of the narrative. I did some research on the seaside towns in Fukushima, Japan to prepare for the session. During the game they also had to roll dice to determine that the action they declared succeeded or failed. And then had to write their game experiences as in-universe stories for homework using a structured set of questions I sent them via Google Forms.

Mini Six: Doom Agents

01 A Day by the Sea

Should have been 'Doomed Agents' instead

Dramatis Personae

  • Sabrina as Berry, the scientist
  • Athirah as Tirr, the engineer
  • Malvinder as Michale, the reporter
  • Nasha as Musk, the spy
  • Haqqi as Captain Lucci, the soldier
  • Lutfi as Naruto, the bodyguard

Here is the actual play report as taken from the students' written homework (with some paragraphs written by the GM) and edited for grammar, spelling, punctuation and clarity. A number of students who did not play listened in and submitted their homework as one of the characters being played:

Sabrina as Berry: Agent Berry was a nerdy scientist who wore round glasses and a white lab coat. One of its pockets was constantly filled with junk food such as chocolates or cookies to energise herself during work. She was a timid person but actually she had hidden skills that not everyone knew of.

Athirah as Tirr: Agent Tirr was a metallurgy engineer from Dubai who likes to research about new metals or minerals. She was constantly invited by well-known companies to join them in their team to handle big projects. However, she became a secret agent for her second career.

Malvinder as Michale: So basically I’'m reporter and my job is to update everyone what had happened and how it had happened. I came all the way from America and I'm a professional reporter.

Nasha as Musk: The six agents were sent to find a missing agent named Ishikawa in Japan. He disappeared near Okuma at the east coast of Honshu, Japan. The last messange that was received from him was that someone is trying to create "an evil thing".

Going into Fukushima

Gamemaster (GM): It was a lovely morning when the team drove a black Range Rover into town. Arriving at Okuma, they stopped at a takoyaki eatery. Agent Naruto showed the owner a photo of Agent Ishikawa and asked if he had seen him. (A successful Diplomacy roll occurred.) "I have seen him before. He loves my takoyaki. He said he was staying at the Sakura Hotel."

On the way to the hotel up the street, a pompous police officer by the name of Saito stopped them, asking why there were so many gaijin in a car. "Will you be making trouble here in Okuma?" Hot-headed Agent Naruto who was Japanese wanted to punch the cop, but the others held him back. Agent Michale managed to sweet talk the officer into letting them pass.

Malvinder as Michale: As the bodyguard was from Japan and we told the policeman that all of us had come to visit him.

Mini Six charsheets

GM: Before long they pulled up in front of the Sakura Hotel.

 

Symposium Gift Artwork

01 August 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Teaching
 

At the language symposium last week, besides the two assignments I wrote about I also had a third task: Which was to sketch some artwork to be printed and presented as gifts to the special guests of the event. The common theme for each drawing was Perlis.

I drew them all in Krita separately. Photographic references, of course, were used.

Pandora gate

The university main campus gate.

The best part of the cave is the gelatinous cube

We have seen this cave before on this blog.

The masjid over the sea

We have seen this masjid before on this blog.

Best thing about living here are the mangoes

I assure you the photographic reference for this drawing was of Perlis Harumanis mangoes.

MPK is the Kangar Municipal Council

Padang Besar needs more bookshops, is all.

 

My First Language Symposium

29 July 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

Another new experience I underwent was the language symposium I attended this weekend. The language symposium was an annual collaboration between three universities, two of them in southern Thailand.

Bazli contemplates the set up

I was also part of the organising committee, although my duties were by far the most unimportant and required the least time and effort compared to everyone else who did a fine job. My job (aided by Bazli who knew the ropes better than I did here) was to figure out and set up the opening ceremony gimmick.

In the early weeks of planning (when we had thought of setting up the symposium in Pulau Pinang) I envisioned using a drone for the gimmick. However, it would be much more economical and easier for everyone to just book the use of a gong from the university's recreation unit:

The magic gong

At the end of the set up and rehearsal night the day before the symposium, the gong looked as per the photo above on stage. When we all arrived 6.45 AM the next morning the stage (and the gong) looked ten times more presentable:

The stage is all dolled up

That gong is all prettied up and looking smug in the middle of the stage.

No relation to Yuzy Pash

The event kicked off early in the morning with guests from a number of South East Asian countries with Yuzy taking point at the podium as the daytime emcee.

The honoured guests

The gong hitting ceremony went without a hitch. They hit the gong three times. The gong did not complain. Then the keynote speakers, heads (or acting heads) of three universities and our language centre director took a group photo at the end of the opening ceremony.

 

Enhancement Workshop at Langkawi

24 July 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

If you had asked me 10 years ago or so, I would say my new experiences will be declining gradually the older I grew. There would be less chances for me to do new things. I am pleased to report that I was wrong.

In the last year or so I have been involved in a number of things I never thought I would be involved in with regards to my professional life.

At the ferry terminal with Bazli

Last weekend I accompanied the entire language department for an Enhancement Workshop.

The workshop was held at a hotel on Langkawi Island. It had been some time since I was at Langkawi and we have not been there since moving to Perlis.

The Kuah Ferry Terminal

The ferry ride took an hour and they played a Jackie Chan movie on the cabin screens. I think there was a lion in a sports car or something? I fell asleep en route as the movie was playing.

I pretended the islands were large asteroids

I had forgotten how breathtaking the islands were as we come in to dock. Photos do not do the view justice when the ferry moved between them.

Everyone's TOO happy

The hotel was located at Cenang Beach. A bus was chartered to transport us from the town of Kuah to Cenang Beach.

 

Force and Destiny: Jungle in the Sky

17 May 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Teaching
 

I was finally able to run another role-playing game session for my students for an English Language speaking exercise, the first for this semester. Probably no other games will be run because it is already quite late in the semester for other sessions. Students will be concentrating on their finals.

Although it was technically a Force and Destiny game, we had character types from Edge of the Empire too, thanks to the Legends of the Galaxy pregenerated character sheets.

Blue and red title card?

Force and Destiny:

Jungle in the Sky

The GALACTIC CIVIL WAR rages
across the Empire! Thousands of
suspected rebel agents have been
rounded up and imprisoned by
the IMPERIAL SECURITY BUREAU in
secret prisons across the galaxy.

        Many innocent citizens have disappeared
because of the Empire's evil wrath,
including SENATOR GAR LODOS
from the DURO system.

With little time to spare,
the REBEL ALLIANCE has sent
an extraction team to the
south pole of the planet CANTO BIGHT
to rescue the senator...

 

Bobo Inbound

A Lambda-class T4 shuttle dropped out of hyperspace and an asteroid the size of a mountain stood in its path. The pilot Malea - a Jedi Warrior/Starfighter Ace - was able to swiftly dodge out of its way (thanks to Enhance power that boosted Piloting - Space skill with a Force die). Her passengers, Byt the Twi'lek Technician/Outlaw Tech, Koogik the Rodian Explorer/Big Game Hunter, Merick the Zabrak Jedi Guardian/Armorer, Salporan the Wookiee Technician/Outlaw Tech and Vonnick the Gand Bounty Hunter/Survivalist were nonplussed by the event and went back to whatever they were doing.

Meanwhile the planet Canto Bight shone like a beacon beneath them.

The projector is busted though. Everything is yellow.

There was a Star Wars crawl, but no music because of technical difficulties.

Traffic control contacted them and Salporan answered them in his native Shryiwook language, telling them that the shuttle Bobo requested permission to land at the southern region of the planet. (For some reason, even with the Setback dice the Deception worked.)

Arrival at Ketri Hill

The Bobo flew toward a small with a landing field called Ketri Hill. The shuttle landed and the team disembarked into the frigid morning air, their breaths billowing visibly and blown away by a light wind.

A stormtrooper approached them as they were about to leave the landing field. He said, "Halt! Civillians are not usually allowed to land here. What is your business here?"

Merick stepped forward and told him that they were expected and invited by the Governor here. (Another successful Deceit check with Setback die!) The armoured trooper stepped aside and told them, "Welcome to Ketri Hill. Enjoy your stay."

After they were alone, they considered their first move, which Vonnick immediately insisted to be looking for food. He quickly took the lead and led the team on a merry chase throughout Ketri Hill streets. He came to a stop at a Gand street vendor and started digging in. (Success in Streetwise with...) However the food was inedible for non-Gands, toxic even (...some Threats).

Amani as Byt, Faeezah as Koogik, Nailah as Malea, Adha as Merick, Saiful as Vonnick, Ridzuan as Salporin

The students with their character sheets wonder what in the world is their teacher up to.

"Sorry, guys," said Vonnick as he slurped his soup through a hole in his mask.

 

Tabletop Games Expo at UniMAP

15 April 2017 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

After almost two years in Perlis, there arose an opportunity to host a tabletop game exhibition here at the university. Gray and Ben both gamers I knew and interacted with online back in Kuala Lumpur were planning a KakiTabletop Northern Tour which would take them from KL to Taiping to Prai to Penang to Perlis and back down to Ipoh before returning to the Klang Valley.

We thought it would be great to hold a tabletop gaming exhibition to introduce tabletop games - boardgames, card games and role-playing games - to the students of this university and the local community. If you remember I even once ran Mini Six for one of my classes last semester as a speaking exercise.

Welcome to the PFI1 college

We were assigned Seminar Room 1 of Tunku Abdul Rahman Residential College.

After proposing the event to the Centre for International Languages, we had the green light to go ahead. With the help of colleagues, we scheduled the Tabletop Games Expo at UniMAP to be held last Friday.

First on the scene

Ain, Irfan and Faezan helped to organise the seminar room before the KakiTabletop crew arrived.

LibreOffice Impress

Meanwhile, I prepped the laptop, projector and the presentation slides.

Darren's ships

We also arrayed the exhibits on the table, like these Star Wars X-Wing Miniature Game pieces.

High fantasy and espionage

Here are my complementary copies of BareBones Fantasy and Covert Ops, both RPGs published in a digest-format by DWD Studios.

Most of what I brung?

A range of RPG books and boardgames I brought. Not much, but regular blog readers might recognise a number of them.

 

Some Sort of Translation Workshop

28 October 2016 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

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.

The title font is Faktos

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.

I have no idea what I'm doing

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.

 

Mini Six: Shadows Through The Mist

13 October 2016 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

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 players at the table

The horror begins!

The Setup

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.

Shadows Through the Mist

Episode 1

 

At The End of the First Week

09 September 2016 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

And now the first week of teaching is over.

Before the storm.

What do I have to report?

The students are well-behaved (so far) and are very disciplined, most wearing their dark engineering jacket uniforms. They adhere to procedure quite well to, even if registering for classes seemed to be a haphazard affair. They spent little time appointing a class representative among themselves. And the class reps were easy to communicate with via smartphone messaging apps.

I was quite apprehensive of presenting the module to the students, especially in trying to get the lessons delivered relevant to each class's course as each class belonged to a different engineering or business course, and I had to customise the delivery and how I presented examples to each class. And my gamemastering experience also helped, I believe.

Ultimately I discovered that the key to a good lesson presentation is to brush up one's stand up comedy skills.