French Adventurers Restore Priceless Works of Art

From Wired: The New French Hacker-Artist Underground:

UX’s most sensational caper (to be revealed so far, at least) was completed in 2006. A cadre spent months infiltrating the Pantheon, the grand structure in Paris that houses the remains of France’s most cherished citizens. Eight restorers built their own secret workshop in a storeroom, which they wired for electricity and Internet access and outfitted with armchairs, tools, a fridge, and a hot plate. During the course of a year, they painstakingly restored the Pantheon’s 19th- century clock, which had not chimed since the 1960s.

It reads like something out of a Dungeons & Dragons adventure. Small groups of brave young men explore the tunnels underneath the city and break into museums to steal valuable works of art. The only difference is that instead of selling the artworks for gold coins, these real-world rogues restore artworks that museums have forgotten.

UX is a kind of adventurers’ guild who specialize in restoring objects of cultural importance. The monsters they fight are incompetent museum security and lazy officials who don’t care about the artworks they protect.

The story provides real-world tested answers to questions of realism in D&D that are normally fobbed off with mundane gameplay-based reasons. Why isn’t every dungeon door locked for security? The game designer says “because lockpicking can be boring”, but now the French urban explorer can tell you “because whoever owns the site now doesn’t expect anyone to penetrate their first layer of security.”