Wednesday, January 4, 2023

#CharacterCreationChallenge - Fighting Fantasy #4 - Steve Jackson's Starship Traveller

I know, I am playing fast and loose with the idea of "rules" and "characters", but this is one of my favorite gamebooks. You are the captain of the starship Traveller. You and your crew are swept into a black hole, flung across the universe. Good choices and leadership are needed to get you and the crew home. 

This book came out back in the 1980s as a part of a series. The initial offerings were fantasy based and have a different feel to this one. As the captain of the ship, you can make choices to bring particular characters along with you on this adventure. 

In case I forgot, 
It came with a special 80s sticker

This novel game takes place in a universe very much like Star Trek. Many of the plot devices feel like Trek and in a positive way. The "rules" are interesting as they are initially hidden from the reader until needed. You can melee, use phasers or engage in ship-to-ship combat. These rules are super easy to learn, but even so, they are collected together on a series of pages in the back of the book.  

I often wonder if the creators of Star Trek Voyager read this as a kid. It feels right. 

One of the other great features of this book is the plentiful and beautiful images. These are your basic black-and-white line art. I have to refrain from coloring them. They are remarkably consistent with a story which is quite the trick in a non-linearly formatted book.   

But the point of this challenge is the characters. And have to admit, the characters are needfully light as the intent is to read and work through the scenarios presented in a handful of paragraphs per entry. 

The first couple of pages of the book contains the character sheet.

We are so lucky to have pdfs, scanners, and photos nowadays. I would image that many children "ruined" this book on Christmas morning, writing in it.  

As you can see, there are 7 characters plus a sheet for the starship Traveller. As mentioned before, each character is super lite - just two statistics. For every stat, you roll usually one die and add it to a base amount to generate scores. Two statistics and a handful of rules are more than enough to immerse you in the story without drowning you with details. Due to the sparse stats, they get reused in a couple of different and ingenious ways. 

As you can see, I wrote in the stats on a copy of the pages. After I took the picture, I thought about naming each character. That is up to you, it doesn't affect anything in play. 

One great thing I notice is, these books are also available in electronic form. You can "play" them on your Android or iPhone. Several are free, but more than a few cost 2-3 bucks. The app bundles everything together so you don't end up with a mess of icons on your device. 


  1. I have vague memories of having one of these starship oriented choose your own adventure type game books, but for the life of me, I can't remember which one it was.

  2. There are quite a few of those around. War with the Evil Power Master and The Third Planet from Altair from the CYOA series. I think TSR also included a couple of Star Frontiers CYOA books.