Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Train, v2

Three years ago I posted schematics for an Old West train, with descriptions and stats for crew and passengers. Although I liked the overall look of it, I was never quite satisfied with the dimensions of it. For that reason, I've retooled it to be slimmer and thus more realistic. Here is a link to the revised PDF, along with the new drawing itself. 


The Train v2

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.”

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Update to Appendix N: Thieves of Baghdad

It seems appropriate to post this update of my Appendix N for Treasure Hunter Adventures on this, the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. Among many other repercussions, those events led to the invasion of Iraq, which in turn contributed to looting at the national museum in Baghdad--and, thus, the efforts described in this book. 

Appendix N for Treasure Hunter Adventures


Title: Thieves of Baghdad

Author: Matthew Bogdanos, with William Patrick

Publisher and Date: Bloomsbury, 2006


This book tells the story of Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, USMC. He had retired from military service, and was working as a prosecutor in New York City; that put him close to Ground Zero when the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists on 9/11. As such he was recalled to active duty, serving first in Afghanistan before heading to Iraq to help investigate looting at the national museum in Baghdad. The bulk of the tale focuses on those efforts, and it is a very interesting story indeed.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Underwater Salvage—“Mowing the Lawn”

Recently I read an enjoyable book about a team of real-life treasure hunters and their search for the lost pirate ship Golden Fleece. I've added a review of it to Appendix N. 

Appendix N

I wish that I had read this book before writing THA3: Underwater Salvage, which I released one year ago. Even so, I've written up an important process involved in marine treasure hunting, something known as "mowing the lawn."

THA3: Underwater Salvage

Depicted above is an example of “mowing the lawn,” in which the captain of a treasure hunting vessel guides it through a grid-like pattern while dragging a magnetometer. Connected to a computer, that device registers metal objects on the sea floor below—each of which could be depicted by the GM with an X in the corresponding location on the map. That, in turn, shows the treasure hunters where to dive, so as to find artifacts from the wreck. Note, too, that the weather becomes quite important during this kind of undertaking, since stronger waves make it harder to maintain an accurate grid pattern. 

Pictured above is the Chinese pirate Chui Apoo, who led a fleet of more than 400 junks based near Hong Kong. He was eventually defeated at the Battle of Tysami by the British Royal Navy, and took his own life before being shipped off to a prison colony in Tazmania. The island above could be a secret landing that he maintained in the South China Sea.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Into the Shadows for Treasure Hunter Adventures

Now available for use with Treasure Hunter Adventures and the Savage Worlds RPG is this complete scenario, Into the Shadows


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Second Preview of Into the Shadows: Cenotes of Mexico

 Here's a good video about one cenote of Mexico, with underwater photography. 


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

First Preview of Into the Shadows: Two Maps

Here's the first preview of Into the Darkness, a scenario for Treasure Hunter Adventures that I plan to release on Saturday the 31st. It presents two maps which are important parts of that adventure. 


The first is a map of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, believed to have belonged to the American adventurer Roy Williams shortly after World War I. 

The second is one of the location from the scenario, a cenote.