Starship Traveller Solution
By Lafe Travis
With this Fighting Fantasy adventure I suspect Steve Jackson was inspired by the Traveller role playing game, which was fairly popular in 1983. This adventure has the feel of “Lost in Space” and “Star Trek”.
This is definitely not one of my favourite Fighting Fantasy books, and I suspect many others feel likewise.
For one, it’s in a different genre from the previous books. It diverged from the fantasy setting to a science fiction one. But other science fiction Fighting Fantasy books, like “Space Assassin” are engaging, and have more of an exciting plot leading up to a final confrontation.
Like the Traveller role playing game, Starship Traveller is told in a dull scientific manner. You often face the same choice of whether to beam down to a planet or to continue onwards. The passages had little characterization of the crew members, something which made Star Trek so successful.
The artwork was also dull. Its simplicity may have been aiming for a futuristic look, but it only detracted from the excitement.
The adventure introduced a new set of complicated rules. On the adventure sheet, you now had to keep ability scores for seven crew members, and scores for your starship’s weapons and shields.
There are also rules for three different types of combat. If you engage in any of those combats, you need to make a note of where you are in the book, because you must go the end of the book and consult the appropriate rules.
There are only 340 references in this adventure instead of the 400 in the others. (#13 Freeway Fighter has less too.) Though it doesn’t make the adventure any easier to solve.
Starship Traveller is very difficult to solve. It states: “It is unlikely that you will find your way back to Earth on your first adventure.” How very true if you’re playing this adventure for the first time; or even after many tries. You are not given any hints what choices you should be making, so it’s easy make the wrong ones and suffer horrible deaths, or have you missing the opportunities to collect what you need to complete the adventure.
The solution I’ve devised only requires 41 correct choices to get to the end. I haven’t found a more efficient path. Before I present the step-by-step solution, here are some hints. You may wish to use only these hints and solve it on your own.
Although interesting, most of them are deadly and offer nothing useful. I’ve gone through every set of choices, making detailed notes. Without the knowledge, a person will probably beam down to most of the planets out of curiosity.
To successfully return to your own star system, you need the proper Space and Time coordinates of the black hole which will return you.
There are several planets which offer Sectors and Stardates, but only two of them are correct, and they lie near the end of your travels. So no matter what routes you choose in the first half of the adventure, you’ll still be put on the proper track if you can make it as far as halfway.
The proper Space coordinates are on the blue planet Jolsen-3, but getting there is tricky. Only if you’ve beamed down to the small grey planet with the poisonous atmosphere, will you be given a choice afterwards to go to Jolsen-3 (11). This means infecting the ship with the poisonous gas, and a very risky skill roll for your medical officer (337). This is the only dice roll you’ll make in the entire solution.
On Jolsen-3 at reference 222, you can accept or refuse the food, but eating the drugged food is the quickest way to the portal lab. If you’d prefer not to be drugged, you can get to the portal lab by refusing the food (144), accepting his offer (158), and stepping through the portal (53). Once through the portal, you’ll be faced with a confusing maze of pathways, with only two safe ways out and many deadly paths; so make notes.
This solution does not have you gathering incorrect Sector and Stardate information.
The planet with the correct Stardate information is the green-grey Terryal. More than one path leads there – simply head for the small black planet after the starport instead of the space wheel.
It is questionable if you should offer the Terryals information about your weapons and ship in exchange for the Stardate to get home. But perhaps the Starship Traveller does not have a prime directive.
One trick used in the book, will be to have a different set of choices on where to go next if you beam down to a planet, compared to the choices you’d be given if you ignore the planet. Most of the time, you’ll have more destinations to choose from if you’ve beamed down to the planet. I suppose it’s a sort of reward for the dangers you’ve endured on the planet.
So now I present to you my walkthrough of “Starship Traveller”! Read no further if you’d like to have another go at solving it yourself. For those reading this solution, I encourage you to follow along with your book.
STARCHART OF YOUR TRAVELS
(1) You are pulled into the Seltsian Void, a known black hole! (256) You awaken in uncharted space (86) Press on towards the life-bearing system ahead (321) Avoid the dull blue planet and continue onwards (44) Avoid the next planet in the purple star system (250) Ignore the last civilized planet and leave the system (34) You warp 2.2 lightyears to the next star system (203) Ignore the medium-sized blue-green planet (126) Warp 3.3 light years to the large red planet (261) Head for the small grey planet and beam down (66) Tell the landing party to return to the ship (18) Seal off the docking bay - it stops the deaths (337) Get the Medical Officer to search for an antidote (223) You must roll the dice above her kill score (46) The antidote works! (2) Head for the blue planet (222) Beam down alone to Jolsen-3 to meet I-Abail (98) Accept his offer of food and drink (127) You"re drugged and taken to the portal lab! (53) You are forced to enter the portal into a strange dimension (293) Take the left-hand fork (322) Again, take the left-hand fork (214) Take the right fork this time (318) Take the left-hand fork (232) Step off the path into space (41) The experiment worked! [SECTOR 159 is given] (253) Continue into deep space (109) You don"t need to visit the spaceport (320) Enter hyperspace for the small black planet (104) Ignore this planet and proceed to another one (118) Beam down to the greeny-grey planet (4) Follow the Terryal child named Luff (148) Accept Luff"s offer for information about how to get home (229) [STARDATE 21 is given] You honour your agreement with Luff (191) They collect the information about your ship and weapons (120) You leave Terryal and return to the bridge (296) You"ve run out of life-supporting planets to visit (324) Have you learned any Space and Time coordinates? (216) Sector 159 - Stardate 21 = ??? (138) You arrive at a black hole and are pulled into it... (340) You"ve made it back to your own universe!!
There are three Space and three Time Coordinates in the adventure:
(055) Sector 288
(232) Sector 159 (correct)
(280) Sector 083
(074) Stardate 77
(148) Stardate 21 (correct)
(325) Stardate 45
There are 8 possible combinations of Space and Time Coordinates, but only one of them will get you back to Earth (Sector 159 and Stardate 21). The rest of them will have your ship lost in space for the rest of your life. The combination of Sector 288 and Stardate 45 is not possible, because you’ll either learn one or the other on the planet Fioral.
On the planet Cliba reference 83 (not visited in this solution), you are told Warp Speed 3 is needed to effectively enter the black hole. This information is not required to get home safely.
After fully exploring every part, my opinion of this book has somewhat improved. I”ve derived some enjoyment from playing through the possibilities. Seeing overall how it was written gave me a new appreciation for this book in the Fighting Fantasy series.