Across secret campfires, Workers discuss forbidden lore, speaking words which the ruling Priests of Syrinx forbid. The Workers tell of the history of your twin-mooned New Earth, which some 2112 years ago was a bright world of new hope as colonies across the Stellar Federation found new places of promise in the wake of the 5th World War on the legendary Old Earth.
The came the Dreadfall.
Strange monsters appeared, as if from nowhere. The creatures were called Dread; their appearance was known as the Dreadfall. Communication with the other colonies was lost. New Earth was left alone to face the stygian creatures of the darkness. Humanity would have been eradicated were it not for the Overlord, a leader who claimed a revelation from a cosmic entity known as the ‘Three and a Half Gods’. The Overlord indoctrinated a legion of priests, and together they wielded powers over the Dread, driving the monsters into the darkness where they still lurk to this day, waiting for opportunity to strike again against the remnants of humanity.
Two millennia passed.
Today, the Priests of Syrinx rule everything from their pyramid temples. Everything you know of the world comes from the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx. The Priests—relying on an elaborate set of great computers—micromanage every aspect of Federation life: They proclaim, “We’ve taken care of everything—the words you read and the songs you sing. … never need to wonder how or why”, while preaching a universal Brotherhood of Man. The Overlord still reigns. He is rumored to be some sort of demi-god. Heretic attempts to overthrow his rule failed — though the Overlord has been stabbed, shot, burned and even beheaded, he continues to survive, the eldritch powers of the mysterious Three and a Half Gods sustaining him as an invincible immortal.
Most of New Earth is jungles filled with predators. Some say Dread even still crawl in the darkness, making the city walls which surround the five Citystates and the outlying plantations vastly important.
A class system has evolved — a wealthy elite called Citizens inhabiting the rich citystates which wield post-tech devices. You are not so lucky. You are a Worker on a plantation, allowed only low-tech such as steam engines and simple weapons, lorded over by Watchers who, though not citizens, at least can carry primitive firearms and enjoy a life slightly better that the heavy labor of the Workers.
You do have one source of hope though. You have recently taken an aptitude test, and await the results. Those who score best on the test are allowed to leave the squalor of the plantation life and enter one of the five citystates as a knowledge worker, maybe even one day becoming a full citizen.
Will you pass the test? If you do, what sort of life awaits? And regardless, the repulsors on your plantation walls are starting to fail. Will the rumored Dread return to destroy you?
(GM Note: the technology level of workers is essentially late 1800’s, whereas the citystates have technology equivalent to Firefly, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Battlestar Galatica and Aliens. Names are like those of the late 1800s, like in Firefly).