Sgt. Janus (Icons Writeup)

Sgt. Roman Janussgtjanus
aka The Spirit-Breaker
Copyright Jim Beard

Prowess 5
Coordination 5
Strength 4
Intellect 4
Awareness 5
Willpower 6

Stamina 10

Powers
*Gadgets 6 (Typical examples: religious symbols, holy water, enchanted weapons)

Specialties
Athletics (+1 bonus), Investigation (Expert +2 bonus), Mental Resistance (Expert +2 bonus), Military (Expert +2 bonus), Occult (Master +3 bonus), Sleight of Hand (+1 bonus), Weapons – Military Issue (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
The Mysteries of Janus House
Military Bearing
A Hunter of Ghosts

Background

Situated in the rural back country of Edwardian England is an old, mysterious house whose unique owner earns his living as a Spirit-Breaker, a hunter of ghosts. A former military veteran, Sgt.Roman Janus has devoted his life to aid those haunted, both emotionally and physically by obsessive wraiths whose spirits are still anchored to our world. Part detective, part occultist, Janus is himself a man of mystery whose own past is shrouded and the motivations behind his calling kept hidden.

Note that every Sgt. Janus adventure uses a different narrator (his clients are required to write up reports about their cases) so everything we see of Janus is filtered through their viewpoints.

Created by author Jim Beard, Sgt. Janus can fill that “Dr. Thirteen” type role in your campaigns – the mysterious, capable ghost hunter that is called upon for a special case or who inserts himself into the proceedings without any request from your heroes.

New Pulp Characters That I’d Like To Borrow

I’ve done a number of team-ups and crossovers but there are still a few that I’d like to get my grubby little hands on.

Brother Bones – I think having Lazarus Gray visit the undead avenger would be a lot of fun. At first, I thought about The Rook & Bones… but for some reason, I think a Lazarus team-up with be more fun. Brother Bones was created by Ron Fortier. EDITED: This one will actually be happening, as Brother Bones will guest-star in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five!

Dillon – People have been asking for a Dillon/The Rook team-up for years. Given the longevity of The Rook’s career, I think it would be easy to pull off. Dillon was created by Derrick Ferguson.

Sgt. Janus – I’d want to pair Gravedigger with this character… and for those of you who haven’t read the Gravedigger debut novel yet, you’re probably wondering why I think they’d be perfect together. But trust me… if you have read it, you’ll all be going “Oh my, yes, that would be perfect!” Janus was created by Jim Beard.

Elisa Hill – This modern day Myth Hunter would be fun to pair up with Fiona Chapman (from my Rabbit Heart novel). While Elisa’s adventures aren’t the gore & sex-fests that Fiona’s are, both are kick-ass young women with a penchant for getting into occult adventures. Having Elisa uncover the existence of the Furious Host would be quite interesting, I think. Elisa was created by Percival Constantine.

There are certainly other characters out there that I’d enjoy writing (and two of them, Fortune McCall and Doc Daye, I should get to, eventually) but those four are the ones that I can see crossing over my characters with most easily. What do you guys think?

New Pulp Recommendation: Sgt. Janus Returns

Sgt._Janus_ReturnsEvery now and then I focus on a New Pulp work that I think merits your attention. Sometimes it will be something that’s brand new, other times I’ll look at something that’s a few years old. This week, I’m encouraging you to check out Sgt. Janus Returns by Jim Beard.

Before we talk about the book itself, let’s see how the publisher describes it:

Jim Beard’s original occult investigator, Sgt. Roman Janus, returns in a second all-new collection of suspenseful adventures. Or does he? At the end of the first book, SGT. JANUS – SPIRIT BREAKER, our intrepid hero mysteriously vanished into another realm never to be seen again. Now, almost a full year later, a dark haired beauty, with no memory of her own identity, suddenly appears and begins assuming Janus’ role in seeking out troublesome poltergeist and laying them to rest. Aided by a young clerk named Joshua, this mysterious Lady Janus possesses personal knowledge known only to the missing occultist. Who is this strange, daring woman? Is she Janus reincarnated? Or is she something even more sinister? Once again writer Jim Beard turns the entire occult genre upside down as he delivers another eight stories filled with mystery, horror and non-stop action—all driving to a startling finale pulp fans of the weird dare not miss.

Before we get too deep into the review, let me say this: the first book in this series was a solidly plotted and well-constructed homage to the old Victorian-style ghost breakers. It was a fantastic read.

But this book blows it out of the water.

The author does something that’s so bold with this book — I don’t want to spoil all the details — but to do a volume in which the main character functions almost as a secondary figure is something that you don’t see all the time. Even more interesting is the fact that the “replacement” characters who take center stage were just as fascinating as Sgt. Janus himself. To be honest, I would have been fine seeing Lady Janus and Joshua continue on for the rest of the series! Their interplay was very well done and I love how it was allowed to slowly deepen over the course of the book.

As with the first volume, this one contains multiple stories. The conceit of the first one was that each was narrated by a different person. Here, we get a consistent voice — Joshua — and I think that while the first book was an excellent example of its type, I found myself pleased to have the same narrator from story to story in this one. It allowed for us to get a strong connection to the character and to see Lady Janus through his eyes.

The cover… when I first saw it, I honestly didn’t care for it. Something about it just didn’t seem right for the ambiance I felt the author was going for. But the interior pieces were fantastic and by the end of the book, I’d gotten so used to the artist’s portrayal of Lady Janus and Joshua that I felt like I was looking at the cover with new eyes. It’s hard for me to imagine these characters looking like anything else, to be honest.

This book is one of the best New Pulp adventures I have ever read. High praise? It’s well deserved. I’ve enjoyed the author’s past works but I really feel that he’s elevated his game with this one. I simply can’t recommend it high enough!

From the Vault: New Pulp Characters That I’d Like To… Borrow

I’ve done a number of team-ups and crossovers but there are still a few that I’d like to get my grubby little hands on.

Brother Bones – I think having Lazarus Gray visit the undead avenger would be a lot of fun. At first, I thought about The Rook & Bones… but for some reason, I think a Lazarus team-up with be more fun. Brother Bones was created by Ron Fortier. EDITED: This one will actually be happening, as Brother Bones will guest-star in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five!

Dillon – People have been asking for a Dillon/The Rook team-up for years. Given the longevity of The Rook’s career, I think it would be easy to pull off. Dillon was created by Derrick Ferguson.

Sgt. Janus – I’d want to pair Gravedigger with this character… and for those of you who haven’t read the Gravedigger debut novel yet, you’re probably wondering why I think they’d be perfect together. But trust me… if you have read it, you’ll all be going “Oh my, yes, that would be perfect!” Janus was created by Jim Beard.

Elisa Hill – This modern day Myth Hunter would be fun to pair up with Fiona Chapman (from my Rabbit Heart novel). While Elisa’s adventures aren’t the gore & sex-fests that Fiona’s are, both are kick-ass young women with a penchant for getting into occult adventures. Having Elisa uncover the existence of the Furious Host would be quite interesting, I think. Elisa was created by Percival Constantine.

There are certainly other characters out there that I’d enjoy writing (and two of them, Fortune McCall and Doc Daye, I should get to, eventually) but those four are the ones that I can see crossing over my characters with most easily. What do you guys think?

New Pulp Characters That I’d Like To… Borrow.

The most recent Lazarus Gray story that I wrote (which will appear in Volume Four) teamed up Lazarus Gray with Thunder Jim Wade. I’ve done a  number of team-ups and crossovers but there are still a few that I’d like to get my grubby little hands on.

Brother Bones – I think having Lazarus Gray visit the undead avenger would be a lot of fun. At first, I thought about The Rook & Bones… but for some reason, I think a Lazarus team-up with be more fun. Brother Bones was created by Ron Fortier.

Dillon – People have been asking for a Dillon/The Rook team-up for years. Given the longevity of The Rook’s career, I think it would be easy to pull off. Dillon was created by Derrick Ferguson.

Sgt. Janus – I’d want to pair Gravedigger with this character… and I know that none of you have read the Gravedigger debut story yet, so you’re probably wondering why I think they’d be perfect together. But trust me… after you read the first Gravedigger book, you’ll all be going “Oh my, yes, that would be perfect!” Janus was created by Jim Beard.

Elisa Hill – This modern day Myth Hunter would be fun to pair up with Fiona Chapman (from my Rabbit Heart novel). While Elisa’s adventures aren’t the gore & sex-fests that Fiona’s are, both are kick-ass young women with a penchant for getting into occult adventures. Having Elisa uncover the existence of the Furious Host would be quite interesting, I think. Elisa was created by Percival Constantine.

There are certainly other characters out there that I’d enjoy writing (and two of them, Fortune McCall and Doc Daye, I should get to, eventually) but those four are the ones that I can see crossing over my characters with most easily. What do you guys think?