Independence Games have been steadily increasing their portfolio of sourcebooks for their setting ‘Earth Sector’, following the success of the Clement Sector setting. So I’m going to take a look at two of these sourcebooks, Subsector Earth and Subsector Hecate. As these books are similarly formatted, I’m going to review the two together.
Sourcebook Earth is available from Drivethru RPG for $9.59 as a PDF or as a softback book including the PDF for $23.59 and contains 168 pages. Sourcebook Hecate is available as a PDF and as a softback book for the same price as the Earth sourcebook and contains 100 pages.
Style and Structure of the Books
Each book is presented in the following way; a table of contents lists all the systems in the book followed by a subsector map in the usual 8×10 hex grid format. Depending on how close the group of worlds are, a flag of the aligned country is displayed on the nearest hex. The next page displays a table with a summary of the hex reference, name, UWP, Trade Code, PBG, Sun(s) and Allegiance. From here, each book has a detailed description (with at least a paragraph worth) of each system broken down by the following headings:
System Details: star type, astronomical name (eg. Alpha Centauri, Groomgridge 34 etc), number of planets and distances in the star system.
Physical Data: size and physical make up of the world (or asteroid belt).
Atmospheric Details: what its like to breathe (or not) on the world.
Hydrographic Details: is there water to be found on the planet, or is it barren?
Geographic Details: descriptions of everything from super continents and their physical make up, from pole to pole or whether the planet is a ball of rock with patches of ice.
Population Details: what the make up of the permanent population is; human (and country of origin), altrants or uplifts.
Government Details: is there a world government or is it balkanised like on Earth? There may be no government at all, instead it may be a small mining operation in which case the government is the operating company.
Legal Details: what is legal or illegal, such as narcotics or alcohol; is travel restricted or do you need travel passes? How are firearms managed and what is the police force like?
Cultural Details: is there a predominant religion? What is the cuisine like and what is the calendar based on (ie. local rotation of the planet), where does the population live and what are the srarports like?
Depending on the importance of the world and how populated it is, there will be more text describing the background to the system. This varies quite a bit and can cover subjects such as specific cities and highports, manufacturing details, exports or anything else of significance. Each world also has a planetary map showing the most significant features (coties etc). Following this is a page with the system structure (scale in AU) and connecting Zimm points.
Sourcebook Earth Specifics
The Earth Sector sourcebook includes 26 distinct solar systems surrounding of course, Earth. Most of the worlds that have been occupied in the Earth Sector have been claimed by (significantly, in respect to multiple worlds) the Federal Republic of Germany, China, the United States, Russia, Japan, India and Nigeria. Brazil, Mexico, the Pan-Islamic Caliphate and New Zealand also have settled individual worlds in the same sector.
Of course it wouldn’t be an Earth Sector sourcebook without a reasonable page count devoted to the Sol system itself. The same system structure is followed as the rest of the book but particular reference is made to select cities on Earth. The moon (Luna) is also included, as is Mars as these were settled early in the human expansion into space. Both the Luna and Mars also receive maps identifying significant features.
Also of note is Neu Berlin (Epsilon Eridani) where the conduit terminal to the Clement was located. Neu Berlin is a very close Earthlike system comprising of six continents, with a substantial population in the hundreds of millions.
Sourcebook Hecate Specifics
The Hecate sourcebook includes (a lesser number compared to the Earth Subsector sourcebook) 15 distinct systems; if I was to give you an idea where the Hecate system is located when compared to the Earth Sector, I would say ‘to the top right’! The worlds in this subsector have been settled by the Union of Scandanavia, Iran, Portugal, Canada and India. As I mentioned before, there is plenty of narrative in the text of each part of the worlds description; though there are no specific scenarios or adventures included in each book, you can get plenty of game ideas from the descriptions. For example the world ‘Fuglesang’ (0102) which has a small mining colony owned by Sweden, sounds like an ideal location for a scenario based around the film ‘Outland’.
The system Enheduanna is ruled by (initially) a self-styled king and then his own government, the historian and philosopher Ibrahim Kazzar. His followers established the colony in 2331 after the conduit collapse as the original intention was to establish a colony in the Clement Sector. Altrants and uplifts are banned from visiting as the society believes that these are an ‘abomination of science’ and are likely to be jailed (or worse) if they are unlucky to end up on Enheduanna.
These sourcebooks aren’t a dry list of worlds with a list of specifications; the stats are all there, but they have been written with an engaging narrative and the background has been fleshed out using the statistics to build upon.
There is plenty of high quality colour artwork throughout both books, scenes provided by a number of artists and all the maps are in colour as well.
Both books offer a huge amount of reading material and resource for your Earth Sector campaigns; they could be used in any other SFRPG games simply for the source material and adventure ideas – both are highly recommended and provide excellent value for your gaming needs. I would like to thank John Watts at Independence Games for kindly sending me copies to review.
I would also like to note that at the time of writing (28th November), Independence Games is running a ‘Black Friday’ discount on both Drivethru RPG for their PDF products and on their webstore. Enter the code ‘THANKS’ at the webstore for a 40% discount on the whole order. This code is valid until the 3rd of December 2020. The webstore can be found at https://independencerpgs.com