Traveller: Jinkies! The Secret of the Ancients and the SS Mystery Machine

My wife and I have been binge-watching Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated recently, and it reminded me of the most fun I’ve ever had with Traveller.

One of my favorite x86-era PC games was MegaTraveller 2: Quest for the Ancients. It was based on The Traveller Adventure and Adventure 12: Secret of the Ancients by Game Designers Workshop, and was a pretty faithful depiction of the “Official Traveller Universe” of the time.

By accident, I also turned it into “Scooby Doo in Space.”

The story begins on the planet Rhylanor, where something within an Ancient site has been activated by an unknown party. No one knows what the site is or what exactly it’s doing, but the results are likely to render Rhylanor uninhabitable within several years. There’s no way to evacuate all of Rhylanor’s inhabitants in time, so the PCs are contracted to seek out other Ancient relics and find some way to shut the site down or at least mitigate the damage.

A groovy mystery, to be sure.

You control a party of five characters, of either Humans or Vargr. At the beginning of the game you can either create your own characters, or the game can create a party at random for you. After playing a couple of times, I started a new game with the random option – and it created a party with two men, two women and a Vargr.

I looked at the screen and said, “Fred, Daphne, Velma….”

“Scooby Doo in Space” is still the most fun I’ve had in either a Traveller game or a PC game. For the PC game, I set up the characters like this:

Freddy’s the group’s pilot, naturally. To have the best chance of the party getting a ship in the PC game, I made him a Scout, which also allows the SS Mystery Machine access to Scout bases (for much cheaper fuel than at the planet’s starport, and being able to leave the starport without having to go through planetary customs).

Daphne’s the money, so I made her a Noble. This ensures some good startup cash, and also has
the best chance of securing a Traveller’s Aid Society membership (which was very useful in completing side missions). For skills, I made her either the medic or navigator depending on the skill mix of the other characters and the available ship.

Velma’s the brains, so she was always the ship’s engineer and computer expert. Naval bases offered the same cheap fuel and ability to bypass customs that Scout bases did, so she was usually a former Naval officer.

That leaves Shaggy and Scooby, and to ensure they both have ready access to the galley, I made
them both Merchants to give them steward skill (I decided that was how they knew each other). I also gave them gunnery skills since each available ship in the PC game had one or two weapon turrets.

I admit it’s off the wall, but “Scooby Doo in Space” has been my favorite iteration of Traveller for many years, and I hope you enjoy it too. Have fun!