Worlds of Empire: A Sourcebook for Star Hero Review


A review of Worlds of Empire for Star Hero.

Worlds of Empire: A Sourcebook for Star Hero Review

Technical Details

World of Empire: A Sourcebook for Star Hero by Allen Thomas, Ben Seeman, Jason Walters, Steven S. Long, and Darren Watts. Softcover, 160 pages, $26.99.

Layout and Presentation

The book is presented in 4 chapters: Major Planets; Minor Planets; Beyond the Empire; and The GM's Vault. Each planetary description includes a map of the planet, physical characteristics and climate/weather information, history, and an assortment of relatively unique locations. The GM's vault includes adventure seeds for the planets in the first 3 chapters as well as a few more planets that are unknown to the Terran Empire. There are a few sidebars that are clearly titled relating to the information they contain.

The headers in the fourth chapter and the index are incorrect, but as I seldom reference headers, this isn't a big issue for me. There are some references to other HeroSystem books such as Alien Wars and Terran Empire but they are few and a clever GM could easily contrive the missing information if those books were not available.

Except for a handful of planets each includes a map and the map is usually on the first page of the write-up. What is missing, that I would expect, is a map of the empire placing these planets in relation to one another. Fortunately, one is available at There is also a reference chart with planet name, brief content note and page number, but the chart is on p56 between chapters 1 and 2, rather than in the just after the table of contents or just before the index. Of course a quick photocopy puts the information right on your GM screen.

Each planet, excepting the GM's vault planets, contains a planet-at-a-glance section showing the physical and social properties of the planet.


Chapter 1: Major Worlds includes information about 8 planets with major roles in the Terran Empire. Additionally, there is a nominal amount of information regarding other planets in the system. For instance, in the write-up of planet Emerald, it reveals the make-up of the other 7 planets in the system and why the named ones are called Onyx, Pearl, and Ruby. The individual write-ups also include places and people of interest.

Chapter 2: Minor Worlds is similar in layout and content to chapter one, but the worlds are of lesser importance to the empire. The reasons for the lesser status are diverse and creative. The world's themselves are no less interesting and might be of greater interest to parties wishing to avoid any imperial entanglements. Like Major Worlds, the write-ups include places and people of interest.

Chapter 3: Beyond the Empire explores several worlds not belonging to the Terran Empire but that are with reasonable reach of it. Most of the planets are visited and to some degree inhabited by humans but not run by them. The planetary descriptions are, again, very similar to the first 2 chapters.

Chapter 4: The GM's Vault is full of the things that I like in a settings book. Things like secrets and adventure seeds. The secrets include what's really behind the government or big businesses of the planets in the first 3 chapters, some hidden worlds just waiting for adventurer's to find them, and a mysterious cult. The adventure seeds for each planet are open enough for GM's to create the type of adventure his players prefer. There are 3 plots for each planet, some that work together, some that work against each other, and some sequential, but all creative and reasonably original.


Overall, I liked this book. I would recommend it as a must have for anyone running a Terran Empire Star Hero game, and would suggest it for anyone running their own galaxy in any game. The layout problems are trivial really and while I find the lack of a stellar map inconvenient, it is not an insurmountable obstacle and does allow a GM to customize a bit. There is very little system specific information in this book allowing it to be a resource for any system including d20, Gurps, or Tri-stat.

About the reviewer

I have been playing RPGs for 23 years and GMing for 20. I run primarily fantasy with occasional bursts of other genres. In general, I dislike space games; I play them, but will usually choose any other genre first. My game system of choice is GURPS and will say that my previous experiences with Hero were not good, but I am also willing to pass that blame onto the GMs that ran the games. I generally do not care for setting books. Two notable exceptions, for me, are Blue Planet, and GURPS Banestorm.

Excellent Review. Exactly the sort of information I need about the product and before I bought it. Keep these coming.

OK. I'm patting myself on the back here, but the comments are few lately and I want to know if it is because reviews aren't wanted HERE (becasue they are available elsewhere), or aren't WANTED at all. Or if they had value or no value.

Please, the contributors (or myself at a minimum) want to know your opinions of the articles. Not just good or bad but why good or why bad or if their just not your cup of tea. What do you want? What do you want never to happen again?


hey....good review, going over what in and what's missing and so forth.
Maybe mention a bit about the qualoty of writing?
Sorry about the ignoring the review, It's simply that I'm currently completely uninterested in this product :)

I'm reading. Afac, usually, I lurk.

Follow-up report: I received this book from Hero for the purpose of reviewing it. Yesterday, I passed it onto the GM of a Hero game at UCon (Michigans Largest Con) as a prize.