Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Back in the Classroom with Professor Robert Langdon

The start of September brings me back into the classroom. While this will be my twentieth year as a teacher, it is notable because we spent most of last year in distance learning; some of the students who will be joining me next week haven't been in the school for nearly eighteen months. It will be an adventure for all of us.

Tomorrow (September 16th, to be precise) should also see the initial release of Peacock's new series The Lost Symbol, based on the novel by Dan Brown and featuring his character Professor Robert Langdon. I am intrigued by this series, in part because I didn't much like the novel when it was published as a follow-up to The Da Vinci Code. As such, I decided to start rereading the novels and looking at them from the perspective of a GM creating material for Treasure Hunter Adventures.

Angels & Demons Novel

Here are some of the thoughts that I had while reading this novel a second time.

  • Like, I would assume, a lot of other people, I read this novel after reading The Da Vinci Code.

  • Since it was published in the year 2000, it's interesting to consider the primary conflict: finding a container of anti-matter before it explodes, possibly destroying Vatican City. This was before the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, when the notion of such an attacked stopped seeming like a far-fetched story idea.

  • Additionally, the technology that has developed since then would affect some aspects of the story. Access to smartphones, Google Maps and Wikipedia would make it a whole lot easier to find information about previously obscure organizations like the Illuminati.

  • The action in this book is really cerebral. By page 274 of the paperback version, the heroes would make their first skills checks other than Notice and Knowledge—and that's a Vigor test to deal with low oxygen while making Research checks!

  • Eventually it does pick up, with a series of dramatic confrontations involving combat.

  • I did not love the fact that the mystery was finally solved using a video recording, rather than having one of the heroes witness actions that revealed the true culprit.

  • There are some intriguing references to secrets in the Pope's vault, especially the “third prophecy of Fatima.”

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