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.