Beyond the Veil
This is a campaign using the EABA 2.01 rules. Pre-gen characters are available and I have no problems with teaching the system to a whole crowd of people who’ve never used the system before.
When a satanic cult targets a researcher from the Hoffman Institute for the Advancement of Humanity, a group of innocents are caught in the crossfire. Some of them will rise to the occasion. Having been pushed back behind the veil of truth, they will be exposed to a larger world – a world of secrets and lies, magic and science, and betrayal.
Dark*Matter is a paranormal conspiracy setting, closer to the X-Files than Call of Cthulhu. Magic exists, and several systems have been established that can control it – not that anyone will have any at the start of the game. Psionics (‘mindwalking,’ in Alternity and therefore Dark*Matter parlance) also exist. Aliens have visited us in the past, and may still walk among us today. So may monsters – it may take intelligence to cross the sea of stars, but an ant can walk through a doorway, even a Doorway between dimensions.
As for the system: EABA is a generic RPG engine that’s designed to be very simple to use. There are a few hurdles to start with, but I know where they are so I can help you get over them. For basic play, all you need to know is that you have a certain number of dice for each attribute, a certain number of dice for each skill, any time you get +3 you drop that down to an additional die, and you take the sum of the three dice. Combat can be fast and brutal, but the longer the combat, the longer each turn is – so a non-combat character may spend the first few rounds crawling deeper into cover, but then he can run to the car, start it, and drive in for an emergency pick-up. (A combat character, on the other hand, can empty and then reload his pistol multiple times in a single turn.)
My plan is to start the characters through the Dark*Matter introductory mission (that whole ‘bystanders get caught up’ thing), then do a quick time-skip to after they’ve gone through the Hoffman Institute recruitment process. So don’t worry about not knowing about lack of setting familiarity – your characters aren’t that familiar with it, either. (Also, if you decide to grab a copy of the EABA rules and make a character, don’t stress about gear, either. You’ll have what you have on a road trip.)
After that, because one potential player asked, the mission structure will generally be something like this. The players will get a briefing about some phenomenon that the Institute wants to know more about. They’ll get sent (presumably under some kind of cover; researchers and journalists are both popular) to the area to find out what’s causing it. It could be a hoax. If so they’ll report back. It could be aliens. It could be a young telekinetic just coming into his powers who doesn’t know how to control them. It could be a rogue telepath who doesn’t WANT to control them. It could be a hoax created by Aquarius to lure out members of the Hidden Order of St. Gregory to snatch them to further their plans to subvert the U.S. Constitution and advance their goal of a New World Order. Huh. Wonder what would happen if a bunch of Hoffman guys showed up instead of the priests?
The truth is out there. And who knows, maybe you can stop it!