Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Review of National Treasure: Edge of History

Two weeks ago we saw the season finale for National Treasure: Edge of History. It came at a busy time for me, just before consecutive weeks with a professional conference and a gaming convention. Now that those have passed, however, I've decided to share my thoughts on the series. 


Thoughts on Season 1 of National Treasure: Edge of History 

  • First and foremost, I enjoyed this show. 
  • Yes, it had a lot of early-twenty-something relationship drama. I remember what it was like to be in my early twenties, however, and there was certainly relationship drama happening in my life. We should remember, though that, if relationship drama is an element that the players want to explore, then the GM should let them do so. 
  • I like how the series used Agent Sadusky in Episode 1 to introduce the main plot elements. This connected it to the two movies, while giving it some room to follow its own path. 
  • In Episode 2 we find our young protagonists in over their heads, with one of their number captured. I like how that takes talented, but inexperienced, characters and throws them into the action. 
  • The scene at Graceland in Episode 3, with Liam playing guitar and singing, is a great example of how the GM should let the players be creative. You want to distract everyone with a song? Give me a Performance check!
  • Episode 4 introduce a couple of plot elements that expand the possibilities for the setting, with  Sadusky's treasure room--awesome--and the "board of directors for a mysterious organization. That is good campaign planning! 
  • The action at the Governor's ball in Episode 5 reminds me of times when the GM lets the players take the ball and run with it, which has allowed for interesting character development and created some memorable moments. 
  • Episode 6, then, puts Jess into a position where she is separated from her friends, and needs to work with her enemy. This would be hard to do in an RPG session, but is certainly intriguing. 
  • In Episode 7 we have a great moment that mirrors the movies. While Ben Gates made such dramatic statements as "I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence" and "I'm going to kidnap the president," Jess is given her own such moment.  
  • I am reminded that in Episode 8 we see more of the NPC, Agent Ross, who both helps and hinders the heroes. That seems like just the kind of element a GM would want to add to a campaign. 
  • Episode 9, as the session before the finale, does just what it should. There are discoveries and revelations, important decisions and betrayals. It sets up the finale, of course. 
  • Finally, Episode 10 is the finale. It provides some closure, while leaving open other plot hooks. This reminds of many RPG campaign finales, which are often a mixed bag. Sometimes they are epic and resolve all of the story, while at other times they leave me wanting more. The latter is the case here, where I want to see what more lies ahead for these characters. 

Campaign Pacing 

If I were running this as a Treasure Hunter Adventures campaign, then I think I would award four Advances throughout these adventures. One comes after the finale, of course, when the heroes become Seasoned characters; the others would happen after Episodes 3, 5 and 7. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

My Methodology: Convention Setup

This weekend I ran a couple of rounds for Treasure Hunter Adventures; they were Infernal Devices, a sequel to last year's The Templar Vessel. Here's a picture of the setup. 

The action opens as the Iconic Heroes are arriving for the gala opening of an exhibit featuring the Knights Templar, including relics they recovered in their previous two convention scenarios. It's a red carpet affair complete with media coverage, an exclusive guest list, and the like. Of course, something happens to introduce another adventure. 

Highlights from Con of the North 2022

Here are some of the highlights. 

  • In both sessions, the heroes jumped right into the opening chase, taking a car and tearing through the streets of London in pursuit of a speedboat on the River Thames. This was a good chance for Linh, the driver, to put her skills to the test. 
  • This led to opportunities for Vaughn, Gavin and even Magdalena to leap from the car onto the boat in a boarding action. 
  • The highest roll of the two days was a 21, an opposed Athletics test by Vaughn to pitch one of the thieves off of the speedboat. 
  • Players in the second session really got into the idea of a gala museum exhibit opening; their characters--Thaddeus and Magdalena--filled plates from the charcuterie boards and took glasses of champagne with them as they searched the museum after the bomb threat. 
  • The final fight with the thieves and their boss played out in different ways each time, which was fun to see. In one, Vaughn boarded the van and intentionally crashed it, while in the other Linh shot out its tires to stop the thieves' escape. 
  •  In the last session, once the gala opening resumed, it went long into the night, ending with improvised karaoke--and Vaungh's rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner

Saturday, February 18, 2023

The Meybohm Museum of World History: Visitor's Guide

Now available from, this supplement presents the Meybohm Museum of World History, a repository for relics and lore. It is designed for use with Treasure Hunter Adventures and the Savage Worlds RPG, and easily fits into various time periods or other RPGs. It includes floor plans, a history, character stats, and various plot hooks. 

The Meybohm Museum of World History: Visitor's Guide

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Second Preview of the Meybohm Museum: Plot Elements

Here's a second preview of the upcoming supplement Meybohm Museum of World History: Visitor's Guide; it presents some of the plot elements that are included in that supplement. I think it ties pretty well into this year's theme for the Fast! Furious! February! Creator Jam, which is "Love & Death."



Fast! Furious! February!

First is a suggestion for treating a museum heist as a dramatic task. 

Second, here are the plot hooks included in the supplement. 

Third, this is the letter that Louisa Meybohm sent back to London from Indonesia; it was the last communication ever received from her. 

Con of the North 2023

Finally, I'm excited to mention that I'll be using the museum as the setting for my scenarios at Con of the North this weekend. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

First Preview of the Meybohm Museum: Maps

Here is the first preview of the forthcoming supplement Meybohm Museum of World History: Visitor's Guide, for use with Treasure Hunter Adventures and the Savage Worlds RPG. This preview presents two maps of the building. 


Ground Level

Lower Level

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Watching Again: The National Treasure Movies

While I've been waiting for each episode of National Treasure: Edge of History--which I've been enjoying, but that is for another post--I've also been watching the two films again. I previously posted about how they could serve as examples of pacing for a Treasure Hunter Adventures campaign,  and how to use downtime between adventures during a campaign, but here are a few thoughts that struck me this time around. 

One Way to Pace a Treasure Hunter Adventures Campaign

Book of Secrets—Using Downtime to Customize Adventures


Watching Again: The National Treasure Movies

Here are my thoughts.

  1. Just as happens with the characters in the film, too many puzzles can become frustrating for everyone involved. As a GM, I need to keep that in mind.

  2. With that in mind, knowledge truly is power for these scenarios. If the Player Characters themselves are not skilled in that way, then they need to have an ally who can assist them. In fact, that provides a good opportunity

  3. Give the NPCs—even minor ones—some personality. Sean, one of Ian's enforcers, is a good example of that. When Ben kisses Abigail before a dangerous moment, Sean asks, “Why doesn't that ever happen to me?”

  4. The premise for these scenarios is preposterous, but fun. The scope and scale of the adventure is set when Ben announces, “I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence.”

  5. Once Gates and his allies start planning their heist, and Ian does the same with his henchmen, we have a good example of how to approach a problem in different ways. Gates takes a more subtle approach, and the making of a duplicate fingerprint is inspired. A good GM would hear that suggestion and say, “Okay, here are the skill checks I need you to make.” Ian, on the other hand, resorts to good old-fashioned smash-and-grab, and that works for that group, too.

  6. A good set-piece for an encounter can be a lot of fun. This includes the wooden stairs and lift mechanism from the first movie, and the stone mechanism—including the balancing platform—from the second. I should think more about creating such situation in my scenarios.

  7. On the subject of Cibola, we have a good reminder that there should be multiple paths for the heroes to follow while exploring locations. When Emily and Patrick become separated from the rest of the party, they can follow a whole different route and still meet up with the others.

  8. There's also a good example of how one scenario can introduce plot hooks for future ones. Just what is on page 47 of the President's Book?

  9. Finally, both of these films reflect the play style that I prefer for Treasure Hunter Adventures. The heroes can handle themselves in a fight, but that is not their first instinct or primary tactic. The NPCs present a legitimate danger, and there isn't the expectation—typical for other RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons—that they should always be able to handle combat.