They came to Beacon because they followed the Signal. Across the galaxy, races sent ships to explore the stars, travelling for many years through the cold void of space before they first detected it. The powerful transmission can easily be traced by to it’s world of origin, and bears a simply encoded message- “Come”.
As the curious travellers approach the world of its origin signal grows in intensity until suddenly, on entering orbit, everything fails. Systems shut down, mechanisms fail, and their ships crash to the surface. Anyone who survives the crash finds that, strangely, they are unable to fix or use their machinery. They are stuck here.
They soon discover that, for better or worse, they are not the only ones here. The same fate has been suffered by many before them. This is their new world – an eclectic mix of races with different origins and a variety of weird and wonderful skills.
The time has come to take a stand. A camp named Dissonance has been established by the Philosophers on the edge of Veni territory. Here, the Philosophers have convened a great multitude of races to attempt to find a way to unite and eliminate the Karl threat once and for all. They must act quickly, lest the Karls discover their plans. And even if they succeed, what other dangers could this strange world be concealing?…
Foremost of the races are the Karls – a mighty militaristic race, with a strong code of honour. The Karls are either natives to this world, like the Veni, or the first race to arrive, depending on who you ask. The Karl’s mighty stone fortress of Ketal seems to many to be the source of the Signal, and so it is widely believed that the Karls are responsible for bringing races to Beacon.
The Karls have a very rigid hierarchy. Those who have managed to reach the top have fought their way there through strength and guile. They are loyal to those around them and dedicated to the survival and growth of their race. They often do this by enslaving “useful” members of other races, and brutally quash potential threats – destroying towns, blocking resources, or simply killing people on sight. The Karls are physically stronger than other races, and love to fight hand to hand and with melee weaponry. They distrust any form of “peaceful negotiation” and the use of technology to resolve conflict, though they have no problem with using technology for other means.
There is a small pocket of rebel Karls known as the Karl Resistance Force. They are actively hunted by their own race and evoke suspicion from other races. However, they are committed to the freedom of races within Beacon and they will do whatever they can to support this. (Karl players must have a reason for favouring the resistance.)
Aside from the Karls, there are three major races: the Veni, the Philosophers and the Lost. The Veni are the natives of Beacon, an insect-like race who currently control the thick jungles and swamps in the south of Beacon’s single continent. They are masters of their unusual environment, adept at creating potions and poisons to best suit their needs. Their bodies well-suited for survival, and they are able to produce a thick, gluey substance from glands on their hands which they can fashion into simple tools.
The Veni pay homage to many gods, but overall they worship ‘Transcience‘ the God of Change. They see chaos as a part of all things, and so believe that only by living chaotically can they hope to survive. This has made them anarchistic, and their tribes are in a constant state of flux. This has hindered any attempts to formulate a comprehensive resistance to the Karls, who have enslaved Veni, burned down areas of their jungle, and killed any who would attempt to encroach on Karl-occupied areas.
The Philosophers are masters of manipulating minds and emotions. They were forced to leave their home world after completely depleting its natural resources, and it was insatiable curiosity that led them this far into space. They have used their intellect to form strong, organised societies, often centred around what they would describe as ‘democratic governments’. The other races view this claim with suspicion- how democratic can a society formed around backstabbing and emotional manipulation be? Indeed, those who can manipulate emotions more skillfully tend to rise to the top of the pile. Those who can’t are still able to use their skills to become artisans and tinkerers.
Unfortunately, when it comes to conflict, the Philosophers are weak and unused to military affairs. Occasionally, the Karls will allow them to build their cities undisturbed… for as long as the Philosophers pay proper tribute. However, they can easily raze cities to the ground – and have done so several times in the past. The last city, Hexo, stood for several generations. Every Philosopher knows someone who died in the Great Hexo War, and it was after this that the Philosophers began to send representatives to other races in earnest, begging them to form a resistance against the Karls. Construction is currently underway on the next Philosopher city, Hepto. As a race, the Philosophers are unremarkable, tall and slim with pale, almost white skin and black hair.
The Lost are a race that were made, not born. Built as workers for another race, far from Beacon, they saw their creators as Gods. Eventually, as their Gods advanced further and further and grew more and more powerful, they were no longer needed, and were sent away in a great exodus. One of their ships was eventually drawn to Beacon. Unable to reproduce, but blessed (or cursed) with an extremely long lifespan, this dying race now desperately seeks new Gods to save them from their slow decline and grant them purpose once more. The Lost live in underground cities, the largest of which is Underwell, all maintained by the advanced technology they build. They are cybernetic creatures who view themselves as a perfect unity of flesh and metal. Thanks to this, they have retained more advanced technology than the other races, and are better at using it. Unfortunately, in a world so desperate for resources, scavenging parts from a dead Lost can be extremely lucrative (if rather grisly). As such, they find themselves ruthlessly hunted by the Karls, and even by the other races on occasion. A Lost can easily by identified by their technological augmentations.
The remainder of the races are known collectively as the Remnants – a large number of races with a variety of skills and backgrounds who, for whatever reason, have a far lower population on Beacon than the four main races. Many such races control only a single settlement, and there are too many races to list. The most recent to arrive are the Humans, who have created a settlement around their crashed ship and named it Carcass. All Remnants have one thing in common – their livelihoods have been ruined by the Karls. Members of their races have been killed or kidnapped, towns have been destroyed and, if they manage to avoid this, they are often desperately short of food and other resources. More than one race has been completely wiped out for daring to rebel against the Karls.
The front of the session room represents “The Bunker”. During larger encounters, “non-combat” characters and those not directly involved as a character will be asked to enter the bunker. This allows those players (as distinct from the characters) to crew for the duration of that encounter.
Tech Level (TL) / Tech Familiarity (TF)
Each item in Beacon has a Tech Level, and each player has a Tech Familiarity. If your Tech Familiarity is equal to or greater than the Tech Level of an item, you can use it – otherwise, you cannot.
Each item also has an associated race. If you are of that race, you may add one to your effective Tech Level with regards to that item.
Example: Alice is a human with TF 2. She has a plasma pistol (TL2) and a multi-tool (TL3 Human). She can use both of these items. She comes across a strange device in the woods (TL3 Lost). She cannot use this, and should roleplay not understanding what this item does.