its first. With very few exceptions, Traveller had a larger selection of excellent adventures than almost any other RPG of which I can think, a terrific example of which is 1983's Murder on Arcturus Station by J. Andrew Keith.
As its title suggests, Murder on Arcturus Station is a murder mystery set on Station Three within the asteroid belt orbiting the star Arcturus. The murder victim is Ringiil Urshukaan, president of Lamarck Minerals, whom the adventure assumes has recently hired the PCs in order to discover the location of a missing ore carrier. The adventure takes as granted that the PCs succeeded in this prior mission, learning that the theft of the ore carrier was part of a plot by disgruntled employees of Urshukaan. As it turns out, there are quite a lot of disgruntled employees at Lamarck Minerals, thus laying the groundwork for the main adventure.
What sets Murder on Arcturus Station apart from other adventures of its kind is that it's actually a toolbox. Beyond the information noted in the previous paragraph, little else is set in the adventure. Instead, each referee is expected to decide for himself who killed Urshukaan, why they did it, and how they accomplished the murder. Consequently, the adventure is a little longer than most those published for Traveller -- 52 pages -- but those extra pages are put to good use, providing the referee with everything he needs to create his own unique murder mystery. Thus, there's a map of the station itself, along with details on 57th century forensic science, background on the victim and all nine suspects. Each of those nine suspects is given background of their own, as well as a possible motive, means, and alibi. This makes it possible for the referee to reuse this adventure many times, each with a different murderer, motive, and means.
Most intriguing of all is the fact that Murder on Arcturus Station allows for a tenth possible murderer, namely one of the player characters. It's an unusual possibility that I never had the opportunity to use back in the day and I regret that now. Naturally, such a possibility depends on planning beforehand between the referee and the player, but that's easily accomplished. The only real issue I have with this possibility is that, if the PCs are all pregenerated ones, the revelation that one of them is in fact a killer won't have very much impact, or at least it'll have far less impact than if it were a long-established PC who's revealed to be the perpetrator. On the other hand, I'll admit that the use of an established PC isn't very likely in my experience, not unless his player has either decided to retire the character in style or the referee intends to make another Traveller adventure, Prison Planet, the new centerpiece of his campaign.
Murder on Arcturus Station is a lot of fun for the referee. It does a lot of the heavy lifting in the creation of a murder mystery adventure while still providing enough options that the referee feels as if he's co-creating the situation he's presenting to his players. In addition, adventures like this are, I think, a big part of why Traveller succeeded so well. I don't mean the toolbox aspect of it, though that is indeed attractive. Rather, I mean that Traveller was never just about dogfights and shoot 'em ups with bug-eyed aliens. There was a depth and variety to its adventures, some of which offered up surprisingly complex issues as fodder for roleplaying. It's something I continue to admire about Traveller and that has continued to influence me as I write my own science fiction adventures.