I got Other Worlds when it first came out, and love the way it is put together. By this I mena that I like the rules themsleves, but also I like the writing style, layout and art, all of which hit the right notes for me.
The only real disappointment was the lack of love and support the game attracted. So I was delighted to see this supplement appear in the run-up to Christmas.
So what do you get? Currently PDF only, the book weighs in at 146 pages.
The cover is full colour and is nicely done, with three characters (one female, one male and one alien against a backdrop of fast-moving spacecraft).
Inside you get an introduction to Space Opera, whcih sets up the intentions of the author straightaway, and also describes how the supplement can be used. It also gives a nod to the works that have inspired it.
Chapter 2 gives guidance on building your setting - how big you want it, how detailed etc - this varies from one planet to the whole galaxy, how many alien races you want, the fate of mankind, what the future looks like (eg 50s retro, 80s industrial, high gothic etc). It also gives guidance on what sort of FTL you want (if at all) as well as how to set your dials for other forms of superscience) and what sort of special powers you might want.
There follows a section on the team's focus, whcih is valuable in setting player expectation as well as guiding the development of the setting.
Chapter 3 is all about heroes and has a large number of templates available, starting with homeworlds (eg Agricultural World, City World, Desert World, Mining Colony and so on). Following this is a long list of professional templates ranging from Assassin through to Xenoarchaeologist via Pirate, Razorball Player etc. It would be hard to think of a trope that isn't covered here.
As you might expect there is a lengthy section on Trademarks inclduing alien artefacts, bionics, special roles such as Agent of Order, Bases (inclduing the vaguely familiar gas mining colony of Cyclone City...), vehicles including Mecha and of course Starships.
Chapter 4 deals with aliens, robots and other similar stuff and includes the obligatory templates. Fans of Flash Gordon will find Bridmen here, as well as "Aloof Supergenius" with abilities such as "Nerve Pinch", "Vocalise Observed Social Cues" and "Repressed" ..... there are also helpful hints on designing your own alien races, and detailed guidance on designing robots
Chapetr 5 deals with special powers and goes into detail in respect of Psionics (think Traveller or B5), The Lifeforce (Star Wars) and Techno-Sorcery (Warhammer 40K and Mutant Chronicles perhaps) together with more templates, guidance on what powers might "look like" etc. Templates include things like "Telepathic Cop", "Mystic Knight", Technomage Adept etc. Mutants are also given a nod here.
Chapter 6 is all about worlds, how to build them and so on. It includes Epoch template (Age of Expansion, Last Days of Mankind and so on), deals with trading and commerce (including a random cargo generator), superscience and the arms race (including random weapon generator), hovercars and spaceships, war machines (with random war machine trait generator - I like "Outrageous Spoiler" and "Smaller Vehicle Emerges From the Wreckage when Destroyed"). There is a similar table for ship traits and a random world generator and a section on Astrophenomena including a random Pocket Dimension table and a random space encounters table - I note nods to things like Star Wars, 2000 AD, Star Trek and Dr Who amongst others.
Then we move onto bizarre landscapes and templates to represent them ("corpse-Choked Seas"...) and a random city and wilderness generator. Of course there is guidance about creatures and templates and tables for those as well as some worked up examples. I like Titanicus Rex, whose traits include "Bat Away Aircraft"! NPCs follow with guidance for developng those and some further helpful random tables as well as full examples inclduing Lord SUlferus the Dark Mantis and The Brood Queen...
A section on Factiosn follows, with some examples such as The Imperial Authity and The Coalition, together with some of their assets (Hellcat Strike Fighter, Coalition Guerrilla) and some scary foe factions like The SKullbot Empire and Disciples of the Black Light.
Finally Appendix A contains a worked-up setting (The Merovinthian Sector) with detaisl and templates for a number of worlds, factions and NPCs
The book has an index (hooray!) and has a detailed table of contents at the start, and is bookmarked.
The art replicates that in the core rules in style (black and white but in a nice pencil-sketch style that I really like).
Overall this is a fantastic product - I would be hard pressed to think of any space opera setting that isn't covered at least in outline, and the templates are just great. A sterling job. Now if only I could have a Pulp sourcebook!