Mytholder (mytholder) wrote,

Strike Force JANUS, Episode 2

Iron Mountain
Japan, and four hours to go before disaster.

The situation: Hoshi Fushin is the former CEO of a major electronics corporation, and is now the leader of a doomsday cult. He and his fanatic followers are holed up inside the 'Iron Mountain', a bunker complex built during the Cold War. As the team fly to Japan, they're briefed on Fushin's background - an electronics genius, he built his company up from nothing. In the mid-90s, he approached the CIA and informed them that North Korea was trying to buy weapons components from him. Fushin and the CIA set up an elabourate sting operation, where his company obtained missile parts from all over the world with the aid of the US, with the intention of drawing out the Korean spies and weapon experts. Fushin then doublecrossed the CIA, took the weapons parts, and retreated to his mountain fortress with everything he needed to make an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Another JANUS team is on-site, and has located the missile silo. The characters are told to set up a distraction, so they prepare to attack one of the Iron Mountain's entrances. Meanwhile, the Point Team led by Dietrich Morgens will disable the missile. ('It's a trap', mutters Dirk Smiel, as he packs the harpoon gun from the Grigor Akevy into his guitar case.)

In the mountains, the team encounters a strange man, Raymond Cole, who tells them to look into the 'Yokohama Incursion'. They transmit a photo of Cole to the Erebus base, and discover that he was a former JANUS operative, but was killed in 1983. Attempts to read Cole's mind fail, and the team have to leave to attack the fortress instead of interrogating him.

The distraction, complete with LAW rockets and psychic puppetry, goes according to plan.
The attack on the rocket doesn't, and the other JANUS team are captured. The characters race into the base before the blast doors are shut.

Locked inside the Iron Mountain, the team contact Erebus base again and get the files on the Yokohama Incursion. Apparently, in the early 1970s, agents from anothe reality briefly invaded Yokohama before being driven back by JANUS. A civilian was intrumental in collapsing the gateway to the parallel reality - Fushin's father. Apparently, the cult leader has been nursing a grudge against Janus for thirty years. He was also exposed to the invading forces, who were apparently from somewhere codenamed the 'PSI-LORD EARTH'. The team's Erebus contact, Salis, reluctantly explains that there are several known parallel Earths, and that that one is ruled by powerful psychics. ('Quite right too', says Dr. Black.)

A combination of remote viewing, telepathy and telekinesis (of grenade pins) gets the team deep into the Iron Mountain base, and then they take the traditional approach of crawling through the air ducts. Fushin briefly appears on the JANUS frequency, ranting that he will soon destroy them all - he's using one of the 'JANUS box' communicators taken from the captured team.

The team discover that the missile isn't carrying a nuclear or biological warhead at all - its armed with some sort of disruptor device, aimed at collapsing the Erebus rift, or maybe even opening a portal to a parallel Earth! Fushin is using the captured communicators as a guidance system. The missile is going to home in on the JANUS base. The team find their way to the missile shaft, but there are two problems. Firstly, the platform around the missile is electrified, as the first JANUS team painfully discovered. Secondly, if they blow up the missile, then Fushin will just execute the captured team. They decide to sabotage the missile in such a way that Fushin will believe it's on course, at least for a while, giving them a brief window in which to rescue the other JANUS agents.

The Electrokinetic Dr. Black is the only one with the ability to endure the dangerous platform, and Jake Evans is the only one with the electronics expertise to disable the missile. The two psychics stay behind, while Le Blanc and Smiel go on a rescue mission.

Black fries the missile's guidance system, and is hauled out of the silo by Evans seconds before launch. Meanwhile, the other two find their way into Fushin's inner sanctum, where the cult leader is communing with a weird machine that resembles the Erebus rift. Taking the direct approach, they interrupt him with a rather accurate sniper shot and a brace of grenades.

As the explosion consumes the strange machine, the two catch a glimpse of something strange yet familiar in the artificial rift.

With Fushin dead and the missile falling blindly into the Pacific, the team re-unites, rescues the captives, and escapes the Iron Mountain.

Post-Game Analysis: I'm trying hard to keep it to 'one story per game night', and given we normally only play for two and a half hours, that means things are very tight. Poor Risu, the characters' liaison with the Japanese authorities never even gets mentioned in the write-up because I didn't have time to do anything with another NPC.

Cole's appearance wasn't exactly subtle, but he got to show up and be cryptic without getting tackled and pummelled by the characters, as happens to a lot of cryptic Cigarette-Smoking-Man-types. (The campaign set-up leads itself to overreaction - I've said that the world is at stake ever session, so the PCs can do almost anything they want if it will save the world, including kneecapping cryptic strangers to ensure they get all the information possible.)

The psychic rules were refined a little, but may still be a little overpowering. (Actually, the psychic stuff is fine, I just need to give the 'mundane' stuff more opportunity to shine.)

I skimped slightly on showy stuff - I never got a chance to find photos for Fushin or Cole, and I didn't set up all the bookmarks on GoogleEarth. I'm playing with the laptop on a nearby table, facing the players, and I've got a remote control to press the location bookmarks at the appropriate time. So, when the players were flying from Erebus to Japan, I was able to hit a key and show the world rotating from one place to another. It looks rather funky.

Next week - no game, 'cos I'll be in Edinburgh.
Tags: actual play, gaming, janus, runequest

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