The fate of the Starship Traveller and her crew lies in YOUR hands! Sucked through the nightmare of the Seltsian Void, the starship Traveller emerges at the other side of the black hole into an unknown universe. YOU are the captain of the Traveller and her fate depends on YOU! Will you be able to discover the way back to Earth from the alien peoples and planets you encounter, or will the starship be doomed to roam uncharted space forever?
Well this one’s different. My initial experience with this book was suddenly realising that I was actually going to have to RTFM. The standard adventure sheet of the past three books was all but thrown out of the window in favour of a set-up that reflects the sci-fi staples that are ship and crew. Infact, courtesy of Gamebooks.org, here’s a scan.
But before I get ahead of myself, what’s this one about exactly? Eschewing the idea of having some sort of proper plot, Starship Traveller strips away so much fat, there is barely any space-bacon left. Infact, the little blurb at the start of this post is basically it. You’re the captain of a big starship, which travels, and have to find your way back home after being sucked into a black hole. Sucks to be you. So, the first thing you have to do is figure out your ships abilities, my Weapon Strength (1D6+6) was 10 and my Shields (1D6+12) was 18. Pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Good rolls continued as I determined my crew abilities, which ended up looking like this…
Captain – 10/18/12
Science Officer – 12/17
Medical Officer – 8/18
Engineering Officer – 11/21
Security Officer – 10/20
Security Guard 1 – 11/19
Security Guard 2 – 11/18
Skill reflects combat ability as well as the crew members ability at their job, although the non-combat crew suffer a -3 penalty if forced to fight. A number of other little rules presented themselves too, but I will cover them as and when they come into play. And so, by Ziltoid, let the adventure begin!
As I say, the story begins with the Traveller, despite the crews best efforts, being sucked into a black hole; big explosion and my whole crew was knocked unconscious, all on page 1. And I thought Faster Than Light was tough.
As we regain consciousness, the combined efforts of my highly Science & Engineering team come to the conclusion that we are completely lost. The engineers got my warp drive up and working and a glance at my long range scanners identified three nearby systems, two of which potentially were home to intelligent life. After quickly, and embarrassingly, Googling which of Port & Starboard were left & right, I decided to head for the Port-side system. I was totally going left.
Along the way, my sensors picked up a ship heading my way, a Class D Starcruiser (which could be good or bad for all I know) which soon hailed me on the ships video monitor. It was Commander M’k Tel of the Imperial Ganzig Confederation (which could be good or bad for all I know). Regardless, the dude informed me that I was in charge of an unregistered vessel and had wandered into Imperial territory, instead of stating my name and purpose as instructed, I decided to scan their ship.
Taking offense to my actions, the Starcruiser fired a volley of laser bolts at my ship, causing me to lose 2 Shields. Falling in line, I told him what had happened to my ship and crew, but skeptical of my story, M’k Tel instructed me to prepare for his First Officer to board to check things out. Agreeing, we soon had a brown reptilian thing on board, snarling and brandishing a weapon. Translators told me that he wanted to be taken to the computer room. Something didn’t seem right, so I took him on a bit of a detour through the lower decks. In this impromptu tour, we went through the animal behaviour labs where our visitor began shrieking at the sight of an eagle. Puzzled, I took a chance and released the bird which attacked the apparently terrified intruder. So, Eagle vs Alien in combat was my first battle. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see that one coming. The eagle managed to land a blow, but when the alien got a hit in, he cowered and pleaded for the bird to be called off. He explained that eagles were sacred creatures in his Ganzigian culture and he could not harm it. He was soon beamed back to his Starcruiser and the Traveller was left alone; by simply carrying an eagle on board we could not be harmed.
A scan of the area showed that there was a nearby solar system which became my next destination. Two planets were available to me, a red one and a blue one, I set a course for the latter and set down on the planet with my Science, Medical and Engineering officers.
This was where I realised that map taking is going to be a bit weird for this book! Mixing space decisions, movement and planet surface actions will be a pain, but I’ll try and make sense of it somehow! My current predicament saw me on what seemed to be some sort of road surrounded by small incomplete buildings, the road leading up to one big one. Walking into one of the smaller buildings I woke a bulky figure who jumped up to its single foot, shouting loudly in a language not picked up by my translator. Holding up our hands, my crew and I made out that we were friendly and the little guy soon relaxed. Oddly, my translator now seemed to work fine and I could understand every word he said. He was a Timol and this place was basically a refuge for aliens from all over the galaxy, seen as some sort of ‘promised land’, aliens came from far and wide to settle here. However, in some sort of communist movement, nobody was allowed to take charge, everyone was considered equal, resulting in total chaos. He did however suggest that the planet Culematter was very advanced and may be able to help me figure out what was going on, so I should head there.
Before I left, I decided to check out the larger building. This one was full of aliens of all shapes and sizes, one of which approached me and took me on a quick tour. My guide was named Fioral and he was really hammering home this equality thing they have going on. Apparently, some aliens enjoy attacking people and because of this equality, it is their right to do so, but so as to warn people, they wear guard uniforms. Of course, I was then promptly attacked by three men in guard uniforms who were soon seen off by me and my crew. Fioral didn’t seem too bothered by the attack and offered to show me some more of the place. The map room sounded like a good idea. In there I learned that I was in the Magnus solar system and the location of Culematter was also noted. Saying goodbye Fioral, I beamed back up and due to my original Medical officer being alive, all crew members healed 2 Stamina.
The other planet in this system, Trax, I learned in the map room had been devastated by war and so before heading off in search of Culematter, I set down on Trax. No radio communications could be made, by a system of roads seemed to focus on a settlement of some sort. My Science officer and Engineering officer were with me and indeed, the place was wrecked, empty streets and derelict buildings. But suddenly a shape appeared…
Gasp! See you next time, kids…