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Lord Liaden

Terran Empire plus

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During the discussion on the thread, The Turakian Age is Seriously Underrated, it was brought to my attention that not only were many folks unfamiliar with that fantasy setting published by Hero Games, but the degree to which other books in the Fantasy Hero line were directly connected to it, providing supporting elaboration for various facets of its world. It occurred to me that Hero's signature sci-fi setting might also suffer from a similar misconception. Just as with the Turakian Age, most of Hero's science-fiction books use the Terran Empire as their default reference, in some cases even more than their fantasy books do for TA.

 

The centerpiece of the line is, or course, the Terran Empire source book. While the majority of the book details this future era when Humanity has forged a major interstellar empire from a human perspective, it also spends considerable time surveying the history, culture, and technology of other races of the galaxy, major and minor, including character templates. Not everyone has noticed that Steve Long co-wrote TE with sci-fi author and game designer, James Cambias, who brings his rich imagination and narrative style to the project.

 

Scourges Of The Galaxy, written by Jason Walters, provides extensive backgrounds and full games stats for a host of NPCs, solo or part of organizations, drawn directly from the galaxy of the TE era. In many cases they're elaborations of people or groups mentioned in Terran Empire. Another book, Worlds Of Empire, surveys nearly two dozen alien planets both within and outside the Empire. Quite a few of those are notably exotic compared to Earth. The environment and geography of each planet is laid out, including planetary Mercator projection maps. In a number of cases the planets have native inhabitants, whose history and culture are spelled out in even richer detail than in the core book. Spacers Toolkit provides descriptions, stats and, often, illustrations for even more weapons, equipment, and vehicles used during the Terran Empire era, both by humans and aliens.

 

Other Hero books, while not set in the TE era, build on precedents established for the Hero Universe's future. Alien Wars by Allen Thomas rolls the timeline back a few centuries, to the human race's protracted war for survival versus the horrific Xenovores. Besides providing a less "imperial" human society, the book adds even more alien races to the galaxy's population.

 

Shifting out of the Star Hero line, Champions Beyond elaborates the "space/cosmic" side of the company's present-day, superhero-dominated Earth, by infusing most of the aliens from their sci-fi books (adjusted for this earlier period in their history), and adding even more. Nearly eighty species are mentioned in that book, with details ranging from a couple of paragraphs up to multi-page chapters which include home world description comparable to what's in Worlds Of Empire, history, culture, technology, and representative individuals. CB also introduces such classic comic-book sci-fi features as super-advanced aliens, planet-eaters, and "cosmic entities."

 

For a "Legion of Superheroes" - type campaign, Galactic Champions moves the time line forward past the Terran Empire period, to when Mankind and other interstellar civilizations have formed a vast Galactic Federation. Various "superheroes" and "supervillains" are provided, again based on the history and races established throughout Hero's space books.

 

The Hero Games website used to host several free supplements to its Star Hero line, which can still be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Several forms for help creating and recording info about alien species, planets, and star sectors are linked to here. You can also download a simple application to randomly generate sectors of your own galaxy, based on the tables from the Star Hero genre book, from here. Finally, on this webpage you'll find links to free color "astropolitical" maps of the Milky Way galaxy at the time of the Terran Empire, in several sizes/resolutions.

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