Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Templar Mystery for Con of the North 2021

 I am excited to announce that I'll be running a special Treasure Hunter Adventures scenario for Con of the North 2021 (on February 12-14); it's called The Templar Mystery. Check out the website for more information, and I'll post more information about it as the date approaches. 

Con of the North 2021

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Unfinished Business

 Available today, this scenario takes the heroes to England for an auction in which the private collection of Egyptologist Mr. Douglass Murray finally comes to light. 


Unfinished Business

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Second Preview of Unfinished Business

 Here's another preview of Unfinished Business, the fourth full scenario for Treasure Hunter Adventures and the last one for 2020. It focuses on an auction at a remote English manor house, involving items from the personal collection of a Mr. Douglas Murray. What is the truth behind the story of "the American adventurer" who sold him the Death Mask of Hatshesput? 


Here's the official announcement for the auction. 

Here's the layout for the manor house. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Appendix N Update and Preview of Unfinished Business

Today's post serves two purposes. First, I've added a couple of books abut mythology to Appendix N, which is linked below. Second, one of those books--Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends--provides some background for the upcoming scenario Unfinished Business, with involves a collection of Egyptian antiquities along with the mystery of the American adventurer. 

Appendix N

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Appendix N for Treasure Hunter Adventures

One of the aspects of working on Treasure Hunter Adventures is that doing research for adventures and supplements helps me learn more about the world in which I live. Listed below are some of the books that I read to provide background for my recent projects. 


Title: Dungeon, Fire and Sword

Author: John J. Robinson

Publisher and Date: M. Evans and Company, Inc., 1991


This is a comprehensive history for the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, which starts with the First Crusade, which leads into the foundation of the Templars, and then follows their story all the way through to when they were disbanded, arrested, charged with all manner of heinous crimes, and—for many members—tortured and executed. Along the way, it takes side trips into the history of Islam as well as the Mongols. It is history that reads as well as, and perhaps better than, well-plotted fiction, and is vital to the scenario that I have written for Con of the North 2021. This book does not sugar-coat the events that it describes, but acknowledges the self-righteousness, brutality and greed that motivated many of the story's key participants.   

Title: A Popular History of the Catholic Church

Author: Philip Hughes

Publisher and Date: Image Books, 1954


True to its name, this book provided a pretty concise overview of nearly two millennia in the history of the Catholic Church. It focuses more on the important ideas (Great Schism and Reformation) than on dramatic events (such as the Crusades and the Age of Discovery), but is still useful for a frame of reference.  

Title: The Old North Trail

Author: Walter McClintock

Publisher and Date: Bison Books, 1999


In this book the author recounts his time spent among the Blackfoot people in Montana starting in 1886, a time when their lifestyles were changing but they still maintained many of their old traditions and beliefs. Originally part of a U.S. Forest Service expedition, he was eventually adopted by the a Blackfoot chief named Mad Wolf. It is a fascinating story, touched of course with sadness because the reader knows that the coming of white settlers is bringing such upheaval.


Title: Ancient Egyptian Myths & Legends

Author: Lewis Spence

Publisher and Date: Dover Publications, 1990


This book provides a good introduction to Egyptian mythology. It is definitely a product of its time, and uses the word race frequently, as reflects being written in the early 1900s. One nice thing is that it has plenty of pictures—something that was helpful as I was working on the scenario Unfinished Business, which involves the collection belonging to the late Mr. Douglass Murray and the mystery of the “American adventurer.” This book has the added benefit of being in the public domain, and so is available for free online, with color illustrations. 

Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends


Title: Gods and Myths of Northern Europe

Author: H.R. Ellis Davidson

Publisher and Date: Penguin Books, 1984


This is a slim paperback volume that fits nicely in one's pocket; it is also packed with information about Norse mythology. The details move beyond the familiar stories of Thor, Odin and Loki, digging into the older tales of Thunar and Wodan. There are insights into ritual practices, too—just the kinds of things that one might want to add into Treasure Hunter Adventures that take place in northern Europe.  

Title: Ludwig II of Bavaria: The Man and the Mystery

Author: Katerina von Burg

Publisher and Date: Windsor Publications, 1989


I picked up this book about fifteen years ago during a visit to Schloss Neuschwanstein, as a souvenir if nothing more. After reading the story of the late king, however, I knew that I wanted to write an adventure involving the many paintings of legendary tales on display in his castle. The book does a good job of telling the king's story, including his complicated relationship with Richard Wagner, and makes a strong case that he was betrayed by people in government around him and then murdered. In this way it reads almost like a whodunit, in addition to providing a glimpse into an interesting part of German history. 

The Royal Castle of Neuschwanstein

Author: Julius Desing, with photography by Klaus and Wilhelm Kienberger

Publisher and Date: Foto Studio Verlag Kienberger GmbH, 1998


This book is another souvenir from visiting the castle; it presents the history of its construction, and then gives an overview of artistic highlights. Those pictures include many of the paintings that present stories from legends, including two—Tannhäuser and St. George—that are featured in the scenario The Mad King's Secret. It was, of course, invaluable in writing that adventure. 

Title: The Vikings

Author: Else Roesdahl

Publisher and Date: Penguin Books, 1992


As one might expect, this book is a comprehensive overview of the Vikings, including how they lived, where and when they ruled, much of what they did, and how the Christianization of Europe brought this period to a close. There are maps and pictures, too, which help make for a thorough and detailed yet very readable text.

Title: The Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America

Author: Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Pálsson

Publisher and Date: Penguin Books, 1976


Although it is only a small and slim volume, this book provides two substantial and curious stories of Viking explorations in North America, involving Erik the Red, Leif Eriksson, and others. There is a lengthy introduction, but a reader can even skip that and then go back to it after reading the sagas themselves.

Title: Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

Author: Robert Kurson

Publisher and Date: Random House, 2015


This book tells the very interesting story of two real-life treasure hunters, John Chatterton and John Mattera, and their search for the lost pirate ship the Golden Fleece. It provides a detailed look at the process involved in searching for and recovering a wreck from the sea floor. The story does take side trips into the history and activities of pirates in the Caribbean area, which might seem like a distraction for a reader who is already familiar with that topic, but even so one is eager to continue with the primary narrative.

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.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

National Treasure: Book of Secrets—Using Downtime to Customize Adventures


The PDF Treasure Hunter Adventures 4: Mercenaries & Magic discusses the idea of Downtime, the time between adventures when the members of a party pursue their own activities, goals and dreams. Building on that, this article examines how the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets uses details from the characters' Downtime to add customized details and complications to an adventure scenario. Here are a few examples.

  • At the start of the film, Ben Gates and his dad learn that their ancestor, Thomas, is accused of being a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. This contradicts their tradition that he tried to expose the Knights of the Golden Circle, and creates a stain on their family's honor that they must work to expunge.

  • We also learn that Riley published a book, but still has run into financial difficulties. As he says, his accountant set up a “corporation” on an island that doesn't exist, because “that's what rich people do.” Somehow he has been penalized for more than he earned from the discovery in the previous adventure, and now is in debt. Also, he wants to establish his reputation.

  • It turns out that Ben and Abigail are having difficulties in their relationship, which adds a wrinkle to their interactions. Just how this affects the party depends on whether Abigail was a hero or NPC during the previous adventure(s). What is more, even thought this conflict does not seem to last long, it informs the roleplaying during this scenario. It also introduces a hopeful new boyfriend for her, who becomes important later.

  • In this case, the GM also uses NPCs from the previous adventure. Peter Sadusky and his FBI agents have been keeping tabs on Gates, and recognize that Mitch Wilkinson is a bad man with bad intentions, so they become active in the background. In this way, they provide a means for the GM to steer the heroes by revealing additional information when needed.

  • Like father, like son—Patrick Gates also has a complicated relationship with his ex-wife. They certainly respect each other, and of course have a long history as well as a connection because of their son. This again provides opportunities for roleplaying, and it's easy to imagine players earning bennies due to funny jibes or heartfelt moments.

  • Finally, there's a big plot hook introduced that sadly has not been explored—what is on page 47 of the President's secret book?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

National Treasure—One Way to Pace a Treasure Hunter Adventures Campaign

During the pandemic I've been watching a fair number of old movies, since there have been few opportunities to go out and see new ones. Since I've also been working on material for Treasure Hunter Adventures, this list has included National Treasure from 2004. I remember seeing that back when it was released, since I was working on similarly themed material for use with the d20 Modern RPG at that time. While watching it again, I realized that it could provide a good example of pacing in a Savage Worlds campaign. Here's how it would work.

Session 1—Seeking the Charlotte

The movie begins with our treasure hunters seeking the wreck of a ship, the Charlotte. We're not told just how they tracked it to a location somewhere around the Arctic Circle, except that Ben learned about this business from his grandfather, and Riley seems to have created an algorithm for doing so. Whatever the case, this drops our heroes and NPCs into this adventure in media res. They break out some metal detectors, find the ship's bell, and start digging. That leads into exploring the wreck and finding the meerschaum pipe, which brings this session's activities to a head. Ian Howe decides to turn against Gates and Poole, there are tense moments and a big explosion, and then the heroes need to figure out how to make their way back to civilization. After all of this, they are definitely due for an Advance.

Session 2—Stealing the Declaration of Independence

This situation starts with some roleplaying scenes in which the heroes try to warn various government agents about the danger to the Declaration, culminating with a visit to Abigail Chase. When that effort fails, they decide to steal it for themselves. There is a good deal of research—which can be adjudicated through a number of skill checks—and then it's time to take action. While Riley works his technical wizardry, Gates goes to the party to steal Abigail's fingerprint and thus gain access to the document. While this plan is unfolding Ian and his goons arrive on the scene, causing a confrontation that leads into a great chase scene. Once again, by the end of the chase, the heroes have escaped and are due for another Advance.

Session 3—Following the Clues

To learn more about the treasure, the heroes take Abigail and the Declaration to visit Ben's dad. In addition to some good opportunities for roleplaying, they can examine the back of the Declaration and find more clues. That reveals an Attendorf cipher and leads a scene in which they employ a kid to retrieve words from the Silence Dogood letters, and what is nearly a confrontation with Ian. After a bit of thinking and shopping, they head for Independence Hall. They recover the special glasses, but are caught up in another chase scene. Ultimately this ends with Gates agreeing to meet Sadusky's people on the USS Independence, where Howe arranges an extraction. Here again there is time to recover, reflect and take a third Advance.

Session 4—Going Underground

The end of this business requires a visit to Trinity Church, where the characters find an entrance to an underground complex. There is a lot of activity as they utilize a complex, old elevator mechanism, and difficulties erupt while they use it. This leads to what seems like a dead end, and a false clue provided by Ben and his dad send Ian off on a wild goose chase. Next, the heroes solve one more puzzle related to the pipe and find the treasure chamber. After that it's just a matter of convincing the authorities not send anyone to prison, and leading to the arrest of Ian Howe and his associates. There's negotiation of a finders' fee and what to do with the treasure, after which the heroes can take their fourth Advance and thus become Seasoned characters.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Mad King's Secret

 Available today, this scenario sends the heroes to Neuschwanstein Castle in search of a long-lost secret. The Mad King's Secret is written for use with Treasure Hunter Adventures and the Savage Worlds RPG. 


The Mad King's Secret

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Second Preview of The Mad King's Secret

 Another tale depicted in the artwork of Castle Neuschwanstein is the legend of Tannhäuser, a medieval bard. Here's a link to a summary of that story. 


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Preview of The Mad King's Secret

Recently an agent of the Office of Strategic Services found an old telegram sent to that organization by an agent in the field; it read as follows. 

Go to the place that lies beyond the struggle; the one

who was rescued will show the way from there.

She believes that it has to do with one of the paintings located in Neuschwanstein Castle, particularly that which depicts the battle between St. George and the Dragon. It's up to the treasure hunters she's recruited to figure out just what it means, and where it could lead. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

THA4: Mercenaries & Magic

Available today, this supplement presents a mercenary company complete with character stats, a base of operations, and plot hooks; two new puzzles; three prizes; a shop that sells magical relics and lore, also with character stats and plot hooks; and suggestions for minor magical items as well as what heroes can be doing in their downtime.


THA4: Mercenaries & Magic

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Third Preview of Mercenaries & Magic: The Oriflamme

 Here's another preview of Treasure Hunter Adventures 4: Mercenaries & Magic. This one presents a new prize, the Oriflamme. 


The Oriflamme

Originally believed to have been carried by forces under the command of Emperor Charlemagne, this long red banner is sometimes described as having an image of the sun, possibly with rays of fire coming from it. It is believed to convey the message that no quarter will be asked or given in a battle, and is said to have been carried—and possibly lost—at numerous historic battles, including the Seventh Crusade, Poitiers and Agincourt. The Oriflamme is also mentioned in the epic poem Chanson de Roland.

Game Information

The Oriflamme has the following attributes.

  • Leadership Edges used by one whose forces carry this banner have a Command Range extending to all allies who can see it, at the GM's discretion.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Second Preview of Mercenaries & Magic--A Puzzle

Here's another preview of Treasure Hunter Adventures 4: Mercenaries & Magic; it presents one of the new puzzle types introduced in this supplement. 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Preview of THA4: Mercenaries and Magic

 Here's a short preview of the next supplement for Treasure Hunter Adventures. This one's called Mercenaries & Magic, and presents a mercenary camp and the shop for purveyors of occult relics and lore. 


Plot Hooks

Here are a few ways the Condottieri can be used in treasure hunting adventures and campaigns.

  • The mercenaries make good rivals because they are, after all, just doing their jobs. Should they have multiple run-ins with the heroes, however, they could become full-on recurring enemies.

  • As a bit of a twist, the heroes could start out as members of the mercenary company, but then face a moment of truth when a mission forces them to decide between loyalty and doing what they think is right.

  • If they wind up being captured by the mercenaries, then the heroes would need to stage a breakout.

  • Similarly, the heroes might need to raid the mercenaries' base in order to rescue a prisoner, recover a relic, or accomplish something similar.

  • Perhaps an even greater challenge is for the heroes to infiltrate the Condotierri, and thus to gain access to a site that they are protecting. This might require undergoing a rigorous training regimen.

  • To that end, the mercenaries are known to hire occultists as support for missions that require such expertise, since they don't count anyone with Arcane Backgrounds among their number.

  • Finally, if the stakes become high enough, then the mercenaries could face off against the heroes in a massive battle that uses the Mass Combat rules found in SWADE.

Plot Hooks

Here are some ways these purveyors can be used in treasure hunting adventures and campaigns.

  • This is, of course, a great place for the heroes to visit if they want to receive instruction or purchase an arcane text or minor magical item.

  • If they want to sell a text, or to find a buyer for a more expensive relic—for example, someone like Jennifer Flannery from page 11 of Treasure Hunter Adventures—then this is the place to do so.

  • It could happen that the heroes want or need to steal an item from the shop, either for their own gain or to keep it out of an enemy's hands.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Damnatio Memoriae for the Savage Worlds RPG and Treasure Hunter Adventures

 The second full scenario for Treasure Hunter Adventures and the Savage Worlds RPG is now available from; it is Damnatio Memoriae


Damnatio Memoriae

Thursday, September 3, 2020

An Interesting Video about Damnatio Memoriae

 Here's an interesting video about the concept of Damnatio Memoriae


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A Strange Message Found Inside the Death Mask of Hatshepsut

Recently a group of treasure hunters found the Death Mask of Hatshepsut, believed to have been lost when the RMS Titanic sank more than a hundred years ago. Curiously, hidden inside the false beard was a page torn from a book, with odd markings on it. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the story that an "American adventurer" had sent the mask from Cairo with Douglass Murray, before that Englishman--believing it was cursed--traded it away to a museum in American? 


Saturday, August 15, 2020

THA3: Underwater Salvage

 Available today on is Treasure Hunter Adventures 3: Underwater Salvage! This supplement includes details about lost ships and sunken cities around the world; deck plans for old sailing ships and a modern dive boat; crew stats; new gear, hazards, Edges and a Hindrance related to underwater exploration; and an example of using a ship's log as a puzzle.


THA3: Underwater Salvage

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Second Preview of THA3: Underwater Salvage--The Dive Boat

 Here's another preview of Treasure Hunter Adventures 3: Underwater Salvage. This one presents deck plans for the dive boat that could serve as a base of operations for the heroes, or their rivals or enemies. The PDF will also include location descriptions and stats for the crew. 


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Preview of THA3: Underwater Salvage

 Here's the first preview of Treasure Hunter Adventures 3: Underwater Salvage, which is in the final stages of editing. This is a map of the world, marked with the locations of ten different lost ships or fleets, or sunken cities, for treasure hunters to pursue. 


Lost Ships and Sunken Cities

Over 70% of the Earth is covered by water, and countless sailing vessels have succumbed to the oceans' cold embrace during people's long history. What is more, numerous settlements have also been drowned by the seas' mercurial changes. Refer to the map above for estimated locations of the following lost ships and sunken cities.

1. Spanish Treasure Fleet

In 1523, following the conquest of the Aztec capital by forces led by Hernan Cortes, a trio of Spanish galleons set sail from the New World bound for Spain; they carried looted gold, silver, gems, and other valuables—including, it is believed, the weapon known as Xiuhcoatl, which had been taken from the Aztec ruler Moctezuma himself. Those vessels were attacked by a French corsair named Jean Fleury near the Azores, however, and at least one ship is believed to have been sunk during that battle.

2. Templar Treasure Fleet

3. Mongol Invasion Fleets

4. The Bonhomme Richard

5. La Santa Maria

6. Endurance

7. Port Royal

8. Thera

9. Alexandria

10. Yonaguni

Friday, July 24, 2020


This article provides stats and plot hooks for various types of criminals, for use with Savage Worlds and The Sixth Gun RPG. 


Crime Doesn't Pay?

Among the legends and stories that have come out of the American West, many of the most memorable tell of how men and women flaunted the law through acts of thievery, murder and the like, and then managed time and time again to escape capture by those who pursued them. Some eventually were caught and brought to justice, but others disappeared into the wilderness, never to be seen again.

Outlaw Archetypes

Presented below are archetypes for five different types of common criminal characters.


These rough and tough hombres use their fists to achieve their desired ends.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Athletics d8, Boating d4, Common Knowledge d4, Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Riding d6, Stealth d4

Pace: 6, Parry: 6, Toughness: 6

Edges: Brawny

Gear: Clothing, cudgel (Str+d4), knife (Damage Str+d4).


Fast hands and sharp eyes make this gunslinger especially dangerous.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Athletics d4, Common Knowledge d4, Fighting d4, Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Riding d6, Shooting d8, Stealth d6, Thievery d6

Pace: 6, Parry: 4, Toughness: 5

Edges: Quick

Gear: Clothing, Colt Navy pistol (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6, RoF 1).


This person earns illicit income by receiving stolen goods and then selling them to customers who may or may not know how they were obtained.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d4

Skills: Academics d8, Athletics d4, Common Knowledge d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d8, Research d6, Stealth d4

Pace: 6, Parry: 2, Toughness: 4

Edges: Connections

Gear: Clothing, books and writing materials, $500 in cash and coin, Derringer pistol (Range 5/10/20, Damage 2d6, RoF 1).


Some criminals make their living through deceiving others, such as con artists and snake oil sellers.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d4

Skills: Academics d6, Athletics d4, Common Knowledge d6, Fighting d4, Gambling d6, Language d4, Notice d4, Performance d4, Persuasion d8, Research d6, Stealth d4

Pace: 6, Parry: 4, Toughness: 4

Edges: Charismatic

Gear: Clothing, knife (Str+d4), Knuckleduster pistol (Range 5/10/20, Damage 2d6, RoF 1).


In some places, such as New York City or San Francisco, criminals form organizations with a distinct hierarchy and a powerful individual in a position of leadership.

Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Academics d4, Athletics d4, Common Knowledge d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d8, Research d8, Shooting d4, Stealth d4

Pace: 6, Parry: 2, Toughness: 5

Edges: Rich

Gear: Fancy clothing, luxury items such as fancy drinks and cigars, $5000, Knuckleduster pistol (Range 5/10/20, Damage 2d6, RoF 1).


While most cowboys guide herds assigned to them by the people who own the cattle, some seek wealth by stealing cows or horses from others.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Athletics d6, Boating d6, Common Knowledge d4, Fighting d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Survival d6

Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 5

Edges: Alertness

Gear: Clothing, knife (Damage Str+d4), Colt Navy pistol (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6, RoF 1), horse, saddle and tack, bedroll.


Perhaps the oldest form of crime is when light-fingered individuals take things from others.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Athletics d6, Boating d4, Common Knowledge d6, Fighting d6, Notice d6, Riding d4, Stealth d8, Thievery d8

Pace: 8, Parry: 5, Toughness: 5

Edges: Fleet-Footed

Gear: Clothing, knife (Str+d4).

Related Material

The following articles present content related to outlaws and their activities.

The Hideout

A bandit camp on the frontier might be made from natural caverns that have been worked a little to make them more inhabitable. From the entrance (1) it opens up into a broad main cavern (2), which has a firepit along with chests and trunks the provide seating. From here, side tunnels lead to a small pool of water (3), a cave with sleeping pallets (4) and a midden pit (5).

The Long Arm of the Law

There are numerous individuals tasked with upholding the law on the frontier, including the following.

  • Cities hire their own police, who are mainly active within or close to their own boundaries.

  • County sheriffs, then, have a broader range of jurisdiction.

  • The United States Marshal covers even more ground, possibly including a whole state.

  • Texas has its own organization for upholding the law, the Texas Rangers.

Cattle Brands and Rustlers

While gold and silver receive the most attention when it comes to act of thievery, horses and cattle are also a valuable—and mobile—asset. For that reason, rustling is not uncommon, and particularly despised. This is why ranchers brand their animals with a distinguishing mark, so that they can be told apart from one another. The picture above lists some especially complicated marks, but rustlers are always devising means of circumventing such efforts.

Plot Hooks

Here are just a few ways in which outlaws can be part of adventures and campaigns set in the world of The Sixth Gun.

  • Perhaps the most classic type of heist is the train robbery, for which thieves mounted on horses ride alongside a train and then climb aboard to steal any valuable cargo it carries along with the possessions of passengers.

  • A variation on this is when the thieves dynamite or otherwise destroy a section of track, thereby forcing the train to stop so that they can stage their theft.

  • Thieves who are faced with capture might resort to burying their loot, hoping to reclaim it if they can avoid conviction or after they serve short sentences.

  • Once they are captured, outlaws sometimes must be transported between jurisdictions, usually by train, thus providing a chance for allies to rescue them. This is also the case when a public execution, such as a hanging, takes place.

  • It is common for notable brigands to take or be given flashy nicknames, such as Billy the Kid, Black Bart and Rose of the Cimarron. Some work to cultivate their own notoriety, such as by leaving letters for their victims, while others acquire their monikers from newspaper columns or even dime novels.

  • The same goes even more so for games who establish a reputation, such as the James-Younger Gang and the Wild Bunch.

  • Occasionally outlaws even become involved in territory disputes; for example, a rancher who wishes to chase settlers off of valuable land might hire thugs to do the dirty work, hoping to keep one's name clean by doing so.

  • This can even lead to so-called “County Wars,” such as the one that took place in Lincoln County, New Mexico. In this instance, cattle ranchers and other businessmen recruited small armies to fight for their competing interests.

  • Elections can be another time for such coordinated activities, when one candidate tries to skew the process by keeping an opponent's supporters away from the polls.

  • In some locations criminal activity is an organized business, one run by a group with powerful and dangerous leadership. An example of this is the various Tongs active in the Chinese neighborhoods of San Francisco and other cities.

  • Law-abiding citizens could be recruited to join a posse, or even deputized by the local sheriff.


How quickly and effectively the powers that be can respond to criminal activity is greatly influenced by the speed of communication on the frontier. Word of mouth is likely the first means employed, but is of course limited; sending dispatch riders is faster. Cities and important settlements connected by telegraph lines provide for fast, but short, messages. Finally, a legendary outlaw makes headlines in the local newspapers, and may even be the subject of dime novels written by authors from back east.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

THA2: Prizes, Puzzles and Perils

Available today on is Treasure Hunter Adventures 2: Prizes, Puzzles and PerilsIt presents seven new prizes, four suggestions for puzzles, rules for traps, four organizations and two maps.  

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Relics for Treasure Hunter Adventures

Here's another preview of Treasure Hunter Adventures 2: Prizes, Puzzles & Perils; this one presents one of the treasure items detailed in the supplement, the weapon known as Xiuhcoatl.


As mentioned above, this item was last wielded by the Aztec Emperor Montezuma. It had been passed down to him from Huitzilopochtli, who had led the Aztecs to their homeland at a place where he saw an eagle alight atop a cactus, with a serpent on the ground beneath it. When Hernan Cortes led the Spanish conquest of Mexico starting in 1519, it was taken as part of the loot sent back to King Charles V, but was lost in a pirate attack.

Game Information
Xiuhcoatl has the following attributes.
  • In combat, the atlatl provides +1 to Throwing attacks and inflicts +2 damage.
  • Additionally, it can be used to invoke the Bolt power by calling upon the wrath of the ancestor Huitzilopochtli.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Organizations for Treasure Hunter Adventures

Here's a preview of Treasure Hunter Adventures 2: Prizes, Puzzles and Perils. Presented here is one of the four organizations detailed in that supplement, the Office of Strategic Services.


Office of Strategic Services
Established during the build-up to World War II, this group's ostensible purpose was to coordinate intelligence activities for American forces—giving rise to the nickname “Oh So Secret.” Due to the Nazi interest in the occult, however, they soon began studying that subject as well. While their primary mission was to prevent the Nazis from using relics that they'd recovered, by locking them away in a secure facility, some operatives actually tried wielding magic in the war effort. Officially disbanded by order of President Truman in 1945, when it was replaced by the Central Intelligence Agency, the O.S.S. continued to pursue occult investigations. It initially had branches in Europe, North Africa and East Asia, but eventually spread out from there. To this day it is still active, answering only to the President of the United States, in pursuing relics and lore and thus ensuring that they are not used to harm American interests.

Plot Hooks
Here are a few ways the O.S.S. can be used in treasure hunting adventures and campaigns.
  • The heroes could, of course, be agents of this organization.
  • Alternately, during a hunt they could find that a rival is an O.S.S. operative, and thus face the decision of working with or against that person.
  • Given the secrecy under which this group works, such interactions could mean that the heroes would face background checks and stringent questioning, and be required to sign non-disclosure agreements to continue working together.
  • Political leanings could lead to conflict within the organization.
  • If the O.S.S. were infiltrated by another group, then it would become a major thorn in the side of the heroes—especially if that group thus gained access to the relics that are kept in its warehouse.
  • Finally, the heroes might need to break into that facility themselves in order to steal a particular item, or to find clues as part of a hunt.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Death Mask of Hatshepsut for Savage Worlds RPG

Now available for purchase on is the first full scenario for use with Treasure Hunter Adventures and the Savage Worlds RPG.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Preview--The Death Mask of Hatshepsut

Here's a preview of the first full scenario for Treasure Hunter Adventures using the Savage Worlds RPG; it is called The Death Mask of Hatshepsut.


The Legend
According to tales, a British Egyptologist by the name of Douglass Murray was approached in Cairo by an American adventurer who was looking to sell some artifacts recently recovered from a tomb. One of these was the death mask of the Queen Hatshepsut, a pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty who some thought might have had divine blood. Although Murray decided to purchase the mask, the American never profited from the sale—he died only three days later. Shortly after that, before returning to Britain, Murray lost his hand when the rifle that he was firing exploded. The wound turned gangrenous and as a result he had to have his arm amputated at the elbow.

Murray’s fortunes improved little even after returning home. Upon arrival he was informed that two of his servants and two other close associates had died abruptly and from mysterious causes. Beginning to fear that the mask might have been the cause of these incidents, he decided to leave the item at the residence of his girlfriend. She had taken an interest in the relic, but soon regretted it—she began to suffer from a wasting disease that nearly killed her. By then Murray simply wanted the mask out of his life, and arranged a trade with an American museum for some Montana dinosaur bones. The mask was packed up and shipped off to the United States, sailing aboard the RMS Titanic. According to all accounts,when that vessel struck an iceberg and sank it was lost forever... 

Until now. 

Recently an aspiring treasure hunter found what he believes is a clue to the mask's location, and he's recruiting others to help him find it.

Egyptian Sojourn
I sit and ponder the Great Secret
In the shadow of the monument
To Anthony’s mistress,
Under the watchful eye of Ra
In his ultimate strength.

It is my turn now to face judgment in the Hall of Truth, and the weighing of my heart. To lighten my load, I leave behind the burden I saved from frigid death, and my Egyptian Sojourn shows the way to claiming it.”