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Starship Traveller (book)

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Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
Outline
Location: Space
References: 343
Publication Details
Author(s): Steve Jackson
Illustrator(s): Peter Andrew Jones
Puffin
FF4 Original
Cover illustrator: Peter Andrew Jones
First published: September 1 1983
Number 4
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-031637-X
Previous Book: The Forest of Doom
Next Book: City of Thieves
Wizard (Series 1)
Starship
Cover illustrator: Chris Moore
First published: June 2 2005
Number 22
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-552-2
Previous Book: Eye of the Dragon
Next Book: Freeway Fighter
Wizard (Series 2)


Starship Traveller is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Steve Jackson, illustrated by Peter Andrew Jones and originally published in 1983 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2005. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 4th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-031637-X) and 22nd in the Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84046-552-2).

CreationEdit

Starship TravellerEdit

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?

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need for this adventure. YOU decide which planets to visit, which dangers to risk and which aliens to fight.
[1]

Starship Traveller is set in the distant future, with the player taking the role of a starship commander whose ship and crew are sucked through a black hole and into an unknown quadrant of space. The player's mission from this point is to find a means to return home, collecting clues from several different planets in pursuit of this goal.

Prepare for Your MissionEdit

The book in general follows the original rules set down in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (see Game System).

Unique RulesEdit

  • Starship Traveller employs weapons strength (1d6 + 6) and shields for the ship Traveller. It is also the first book in the series to include rules for gun combat.[2]
  • The player governs statistics for a variety of officers as well as their own character.[3]
  • stamina can only be restored when the text allows the player to do so, or when the team return to the Traveller at the end of visiting a planet. In this case each member of the visiting team may regain 2 stamina points. This only applies to the original version of the Science, Medical, Engineering, and Security officers. If they die and are replaced by junior officers in the course of the adventure then this two point restoration no longer holds true, as the junior officers cannot join away teams.[4]

Equipment ListEdit

No list of equipment is given for the start of the adventure.

Cover and IllustrationsEdit

Main article: Starship Traveller (illustrations)

Covers

The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Peter Andrew Jones.

When the book was republished by Wizard a new cover was designed and illustrated by Chris Moore that in many ways reflects the original cover of the Puffin Books publication.

Starship Traveller through the years
1983 1984 1987 1989 1990
FF4 Original FF4 Green FF4 Dragon Front & Spine FF4 Dragon No Number FF4 Dragon No Number
Colour Star Zig-Zag Banner Dragon Format Dragon No No. No. Spine Only
£1.501 £1.502 £2.253 £2.254 £?
1993 2002 2002
Starship
No Bronze-Foil Wizard "Special
Limited Edition"
Wizard
£3.995 £4.99 £4.99

NOTES

  1. Price of 1st~10th Impressions
  2. Price of 12th Impression
  3. Price of 16th Impression
  4. Price of 17th Impression
  5. Price of 20th Impression

Illustrations

The interior illustrations were by Peter Andrew Jones. There were 27 full page illustrations and 9 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 13, 28, 39, 53, 65, 79, 91, 105, 118, 132, 145, 157, 171, 182, 196, 209, 222, 236, 248, 261, 273, 288, 300, 314, 327, and 340.

For the first time the minor illustrations appear in the "How to Play" material prior to the start of the adventure proper.

Intertextual ReferencesEdit

Other MediaEdit

Main CharactersEdit

YOU: Hero of Starship Traveller

LocationsEdit

EncountersEdit

Further NotesEdit

  • 13 instant failures, 1 victory, plus death by Stamina loss or bad luck.
  • Starship Traveller deviates from the Fighting Fantasy norm in a number of ways. It was the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook to feature a science fiction setting, as opposed to the more traditional fantasy, and it was also the first to provide the player with multiple characters - the player is required to keep track of the relevant statistics for several crew members as well as the their own character, the captain. As the book featured extensive travel by starship, it also employed the first vehicle combat system in the series. However a reader can successfully complete the book without ever having to roll dice.
  • The main body of the adventure is made up of only 340 references rather than the usual 400. Three additional references provide the rules for the various types of combat available in the book. (341) deals with for ship-to-ship combat, (342) deals with hand-to-hand combat and (343) deals with phaser combat. Once combat is successfully concluded the player returns to the referring section.
  • The book contains many similarities to Star Trek: The Original Series. The crew uses transporter-like devices to visit planets and both they and the starship have weapons like those seen on Star Trek. The organization of the crew is also reminiscent of that used on the television series.
  • At the time of publication, a mild controversy arose when it was alleged that the book was intended as a "cash in" on the successful RPG system Traveller (a US-based system that nonetheless used the British spelling rather than the American English variant). Steve Jackson has stated in interviews that Traveller was one of his favourite role-playing games. Later Puffin Dragon Cover Format editions of the book carry the following on the copyright page:

TRAVELLER is a registered trademark of Game Designer's Workshop Inc.
This book is not part of the
Traveller series
  • Interestingly, the book has no "Background" section, moving straight from the instruction of gameplay to the opening paragraph.
  • Jackson dedicated the book to every single member of Games Workshop (at the time). Additionally, several of the staff were written into the adventure as characters whose names were based on Games Workshop people.[5] For example, the Dar-Villians are named for Peter Darvill-Evans. And a character named Shekou makes an appearance as a hunchback in Jackson's later gamebook House of Hell.

ErrorsEdit

  • The names Prax and Trax apparently refer to the same planet. In (194) it is rendered as Trax (twice), but this changes to Prax in (233).
  • (223) The outcomes for the dice-roll for the Medical Officer have been swapped so that the successful outcome occurs through rolling higher than her skill score.
  • (326) The outcomes for the dice-roll have been swapped so that the successful outcome occurs through rolling higher than your skill score.

DedicationEdit

To

Tony A, Terry A, Bryan A, Pete A, Clive B, Ian B, Pete B, Phil
B, Gary C, Mary C, Brian C, Peter D-E, Meryl D, Stuart D,
Kenneth E, Albie F, Anthony E, Vivienne G, Peter G, Trevor
H, Simon H, Claire H, Tony H, Gary H, David H, Karl H,
Neil J, Bill J, Jervis J, Lenny J, Shekou K, Gerrard K, Chrissie
L, Diane L, Lindsey O, Liz L, Steve L, Dawn L, Malcolm L,
Jackie M, Bob M, John M, Abenaa M, Alan M, Jackie M,
Laurence M, Rick N, Johnno, Timmo, Rick O, Andy P, Alan P,
Michael P, Heather P, Rick P, Colin R, Peter R, Sushma S,
Peggy S, Andy S, Keith T, Kathy T, Karl T, Clive T, Jamie T,
Ian T, Dom T, Ian W, Gaynor W, Ted W, Tim W, and David
W

... may they all live long and prosper

See AlsoEdit


ReviewsEdit

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Starship Traveller - Back Cover ("Golden Dragon" Edition)
  2. Starship Traveller - p.10
  3. Starship Traveller - p.11
  4. Starship Traveller - p.14
  5. 25th Anniversary Edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - p.225
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