Star Hero is a comprehensive sourcebook on the science fiction genre for the Hero System (6th edition) weighing in at almost 400-pages, it looks at science fiction from a variety of angles and provides a wide range of tools for Game Masters and players alike. Most of the book is system neutral and useful for anyone planning a science fiction game though its high price is a barrier for non-Hero System gamers.
Star Hero is filled with information on science fiction, all nicely bookmarked and with a comprehensive index. It covers multiple subgenres from cyberpunk to space opera, hard science fiction to planetary romances, time travel, alternate history and psionics all get treatments in the rules. Additional, notes on mixing genres such as including mysteries or humor or mixing SF with the superheroic of Champions are included.
Templates for aliens and profession are provided to aid in character building as are modification notes needed for some of the rules. An extensive set of random tables for the generation of star and planetary systems, alien worlds and more for the aspiring universe builder. Our own solar system in examined in detail (even given its own chapter).
Aliens and Technology get looked at in detail with solid advice for using both in a campaign (as well as some game statistics to get things started). A discussion of spaceships and the effects of various sorts of travel both faster and slower than light. Useful genre advice for game masters, environmental effects, a collection of NPCs and a wide variety of recommended media. Also included are the authors’ top five science fiction books, short stories and movies, which gives some nice insight into their preferences in the genre.
For anyone planning to use the Hero System for a science fiction game, this would seem to be an excellent reference. And even for the non-Hero Games player it is very useful reference. For a point-based game, it is surprisingly (to me) filled with random tables to spur inspiration. Though I think my favorite is the random ray gun table which generates what the guns’ rays look like and their color.
Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.