Role Playing Games

Game Book Reviews

Worlds Of Empire

Book Line: Star HeroSKU: 304
Book Type: SettingFormats: Softcover, PDF
Author: Allen Thomas, Ben Seeman, Jason Walters, Steven S. Long, Darren WattsReleased: April, 2006
Cost: 26.99$ISBN: 1-58366-040-2
Page Count: 304Hero Designer: No
Common Abbreviations: WoEPrint Status: In Print

The Upside:

Worlds Of Empire is a supplement book for the Hero Games Terran Empire setting. It contains twenty-three detailed entries for planets in the game setting, as well as three more brief entries for the GM.

The book is organized into four chapters. Chapter 1 contains eight Major planets in the Terran Empire setting. Chapter 2 contains ten Minor planets in the Terran Empire. Chapter 3 contains six planets that are important to alien empires. Chapter 4 is the GMs Vault, it contains GM information on each planet as well as three plot seeds to get the characters involved the worlds. It also contains three more planet entries that are Hidden Worlds, as yet undiscovered planets for your players to discover.

The organization of the first three chapters is useful if you're using the Terran Empire (either as written or modified) for a setting. Otherwise the distinction of Major, Minor and Other worlds means little.

As for each entry itself, they are all well organized. They are all also diverse and unique, a definite plus I attribute to the fact that five sperate authors contributed to the book. Reading through the book I never once got the impression that someone was pressed for ideas or that ideas were being recycled with the serial numbers filed off.

There are enough diverse entries to make any Star Hero game more lively, from pleasure planets to junk planets. It's all in here. Several nice touches that make this source book stand out: Almost every planet entry comes with a global map of the planet.

Each entry contains at least the following information: Star System information (just in case you're looking for a hard science game); A general description of the planet and system; Places Of Note; History (though some entries are very brief); The People; Government and Economy. Most entries also contain Famous People which are simply brief entries of notable people to use as NPCs in your game.

If you're looking for a book to give you detailed information on a good number of Planets and Planetary Systems for your game this is an excellent resource.

The Downside:

One minor downside is that therer isn't very much artwork. This is mostly alleviated by the fact that all but a few entries each come with a globe map that takes half a page. Some of the artwork that does appear is simply recycled from previous books, which is too bad. A book about aliens can always use artwork with the aliens in it. However, considering how much Game information it contains I can easily overlook that lack of a bunch of artwork.

My biggest complaint actually goes to the last chapter. The GMs vault starts out strong giving almost each planet a page of behind the scenes entries and comments, with Plot Seeds (by far one of the coolest things about any Hero book are the plot seeds), but by the time you get to the last few entries the information has dwindled down significantly. One entry has no information beyond the Plot Seeds, which is too bad because some of the entries raise a lot of questions and mysteries I hoped would be given in the GMs vault to help flesh out the workings behind the Terran Empire setting.

Were I to have one wish to make this book even better would be to flesh out the GMs vault some more.

The Otherside:

Just because the book is set in the Terran Empire setting doesn't mean it has to stay there. Any Space/Sci-Fi game that needs a few exoctic or strange worlds to explore would do well to pick this book up, file off the serial numbers, change a few names and drop it into any game. In fact, the introduction mentions and encourages this.

This is a good solid book to get for any Space Game. and an excellent resource of information for a Terran Empire game.