The Hero Universe is the "official" setting for the line of role-playing games published by Hero Games. All setting books published by the company (with, to date, the sole exception of Psychic Wars) are a part of this timeline. The company's own PDF file (a free download) describing the universe gives a full description of the nature and timeline, the latter stretching from 100,000 BC to beyond AD 3000.
The major genre-based settings — that is, those whose setting books are supported by additional volumes — include (listed chronologically within the timeline) The Turakian Age for Fantasy Hero, Champions Universe for Champions, Hudson City for Dark Champions, and Terran Empire for Star Hero. Other settings for these and other adventure genres are also available (including The Valdorian Age and Tuala Morn for Fantasy Hero, Alien Wars for Star Hero, and others), and more are in various stages of planning.
The setting of the Hero Universe which contains modern-day superheroes is contained in the Champions Universe book. This setting includes Millennium City, Vibora Bay, and other cities and areas spanning the globe.
The Hero Universe has several "standby" characters who have endured since the beginning of Champions and the Hero System. Others, more recently created, have an influence over more than one period of its history (past, present, and/or future) and are worth noting in that context. The most noteworthy of these individuals are:
- The Champions, a premier group of heroes (with a long history of disbanding and re-forming a generation later).
- Doctor Destroyer, a dangerous and powerful megalomaniac.
- Foxbat, a gadget-using lunatic who thinks he's a comic book character.
- Kal-Turak the Destroyer, known as Takofanes in modern day, a powerful lich from centuries past.
- Mechanon, a sentient robot determined to wipe out all organic life.
- The Slug, a member of the Elder Worm alien species (below) who wants to turn all Humanity into his own kind.
Long-standing organizations include:
- UNTIL, the United Nations Tribunal on International Law, an international agency for fighting supervillains.
- VIPER, an international criminal and terrorist organization.
- Eurostar, a European supervillain team
In the Hero Universe, Humanity is exposed to many alien species during its history. Most are known only in the twentieth and later centuries, though a few have contact with Humans before then. In all, nearly a hundred species are at least mentioned in published books; some of the more significant include:
- Ackálians, a large species of humanoid insects with a highly competitive, matriarchal society. They are fierce rivals of the Mon'dabi as early as the twentieth century, and like Humans continue to expand their territory until they reach something to stop them. The Ackálian Empire thrives as a sovereign political entity at least into the 31st century.
- Catavalans, hairless four-armed humanoids from Cataval, a planet located directly opposite the Galactic Core from Earth. They are members of the Velarian Confederation throughout its existence, and form their own Catavalan Union when the Confederation falls. They are noted for their painfully slow bureaucracy and preference for using older technology even when newer systems would seem more efficient.
- Elder Worm, slug-like creatures from a planet just beyond the Galactic Rim. 100,000 years ago they ruled half the galaxy (including Earth), and warred against the Malvans, who ruled the other half. During Humanity's rise the Elder Worm are nearly extinct, though the supervillain known as the Slug is an advanced member. Most of their "technology" involves magic, granted to them by incredibly powerful extradimensional beings known as the Kings of Edom.
- Gadroon, a repto-amphibian humanoid race of green-skinned aliens resembling stout, bipedal frogmen. After an experiment accidentally destroyed their homeworld, Gadro, the Gadroon wandered throughout the galaxy looking for a new world to claim as their own. Due to this, the Gadroon have attacked Earth on several occasions during the 20th and 21st centuries with the intent of conquering and terraforming the planet to serve as their new homeworld. The Gadroon are armed with powerful and highly advanced physics-defying gravitic technology, which proved to be formidable during their early invasions of Earth, the first of which is still considered the worst alien invasion that Earth had to endure. As of the 25th and 26th centuries, the Gadroon are all but extinct, with very few remaining members of the race scattered throughout the galaxy.
- Hzeel, humanoids with some internal characteristics of insects though they look like small, gnarled, blue humanoids. Their Empire is at its height during Earth's 20th century, but after several attempts to invade Earth (as a beachhead against their rivals, the Perseids) several superheroes travel to Zeel, their homeworld, and lay waste to it; the Perseids take over their former territory. The next time they're seen (the 25th or 26th centuries) they are a backward species of traders, many of them involved with a criminal organization called the Hzeel Outfit.
- Malvans, ancient humanoids who once ruled the half of the Milky Way Galaxy opposite Earth. 100,000 years ago they were at war with the Elder Worm, and though they won the war the Worm cast a magical curse on them before going into hiding. Since then they've become lazy and decadent, dependent on their super-advanced technology to maintain and repair itself. Though few if any Malvans know how to build or maintain their technology by Humanity's rise, their devices — especially their dreaded super-starships, the Ultra-Dreadnaughts — are still of legendary status even by the 31st century.
- Mandaarians, a humanoid species with psychic powers and advanced technology second only to the Malvans. They have an advanced empire by Humanity's first awareness of them in Earth's 20th century, and coexist with Humanity until the middle 26th century when the bulk of the species makes a sudden and unexplained exodus in the direction of the Magellanic Clouds. They return in the 29th century to warn the Milky Way of the approaching Nibu Gemani. During their absence their territory is claimed by Humans and Ackálians.
- Mon'dabi, a species of humanoid reptilians with tails. They are a highly competitive people, not even forming a planetary government (let alone an interstellar confederation) until meeting the Ackálians. They form the Mon'dabi Union (later Confederation) as a safeguard first against them and later against the Xenovores. In the twenty-eighth century Mon'dabi Federation becomes part of the Galactic Federation.
- Nibu Gemani, a hive-minded fungoid species from beyond the galaxy. They come to the Milky Way in the 29th century from the Magellanic Clouds, though their origin may be further away than that. They're capable of interstellar travel without spaceships, and thrive only to eat whatever they find. Their arrival brings the Velarian Confederation to an end, and devastates much of the rest of the galaxy; afterward most states require people to destroy Nibu Gemani on sight.
- Perseids, a humanoid species somewhat more advanced than Humans though the latter species eventually overtakes them in the 27th and 28th centuries. Physically they are different from Humans mainly by a series of ridges on the forehead. They are a mostly peaceful people, though with a strong sense of tradition and a Noblesse Oblige attitude toward "lesser" species. In the 20th century they are bitter rivals of the Hzeel, and take over former Hzeel territory after superheroes from Earth devastate the Hzeel homeworld.
- Roin'esh, a species of shape-shifting humanoids from a distant corner of the galaxy. Though they have an interstellar empire of sorts, their existence is not known to the rest of the galaxy until they are first encountered by the Ackálians during Earth's 28th century.
- Se'ecra, an insectoid species and founders of the Conjoined Civilizations Republic (CCR). While the CCR is designed as a republic of equal species, the Se'ecra continue to be the most influential species even centuries after its founding. Though mute, they communicate with speaking species with the help of translator boxes.
- Varanyi, a species of telepathic humanoids who rule the Varanyi Empire. They are the primary rivals of the Velarian Confederation and, later, the Catavalan Union. Their society is based on castes determined by psionic powers, as indicated by how many crests one has on top of one's head. Varanyi with seven crests are of the Imperial Family, while those with none at all have no psychic powers and are limited to menial jobs. They consider non-psychic species inferior.
- Velarians, a species of blue-skinned psychics of less power than their rivals the Varanyi. To guard against that species, they organize the Velarian Confederation with the Catavalans and several other species in their region of space. Their belief in peace and freedom keeps the Confederation very loose in its organization, a factor that leads to their downfall when the Nibu Gemani arrive.
- Xenovores, a voracious species with the ability to digest any protein. Looking like a horrific humanoid cross between flies and scorpions, they possess impressive natural weaponry, organic technology, and arguably more advanced genetic engineering methods than any other species in the galaxy. After they achieve interstellar travel they expand mercilessly, eating everything in sight until they encounter Humanity in the early twenty-fourth century. The two species spend nearly the entire century at war, and by the time it's over the Terran Union has collapsed — but the Xenovores are left as little more than a nuisance on the galactic stage.