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T4 - Marc Miller's Traveller Discussion of T4 - Marc Miller's Traveller from Imperium Games and the Milieu 0 setting.

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Old October 1st, 2015, 12:41 PM
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Default QSDS from a 2015 view

I used QSDS back in the day, and have since abandoned it. There are things to love, and things to detest about it. I've decided to take a look at it after a long time of letting it lay dormant, and see if I can think about it with a cool head.

I am reading from QSDS 1.5e, available here: In fact, I will attach it to this post, unless someone tells me I shouldn't.


There's a spartan utility to QSDS, mixed in with a perplexing number of decimal places. It is usable, has several places that can be streamlined, and produces ships that are clearly Traveller starships. However, its rough edges rob the joy from the system, and the overall effect is rather lifeless. It shows promise, though that promise is largely unrealized. Much like the rest of T4.

Page 1

The first thing I note is the unusually steep discount for ships designed using QSDS. I think that perhaps they are throwing QSDS a bone because it has less room for optimization than SSDS. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Is a 25% discount sufficient? Does it yet go too far? If it is sufficient, are SSDS ships really that superior, and if so, why? Couldn't they select parts which provided on average a "no bonus / no penalty" solution? Apparently, no.

But really there is a way to get partway there with no effort, and in fact with a simplification: only keep two significant digits (maximum) in the component costs. It may result in less math, and easier.

My old prejudice is apparently unchanged: starship design for T4 was created by Traveller players who didn't use simple systems, but rather enjoyed using Fire, Fusion, and Steel. More power to them, but FFS scares off most Traveller players. In QSDS we are then left with a joyless system, rather than a simplified system.

Wow, so much for "less heat and more light". Well, pressing on.

Page 2

The design sequence, together with the ship form on the bottom of page 1, seems fine, with a pedigree from both High Guard and Book 2. Some details appear to be unused in the game -- volume in cubic meters, components rated in megawatts -- and are probably better left off.


A great help in selecting the hull is that life support, controls, airlocks, cargo hatches, antigrav, inertial compensation and lifters are included in the hull. This fits the level of gameplay.

Page 3

One thing I do like about the Standard Hull Configurations table: the hull Length. I like having length pre-computed here for me.

Other entries, however, are a mess. Just eyeballing them doesn't tell me whether or not the values are reasonable, let alone correct.

One solution? Truncate to one significant digit in as many places as possible, and two significant digits everywhere else. If you don't believe me, try it and see. There is no meaningful change in resolution from 54.5 MW and 50 MW.

Another solution? Drop the volume penalty for Hull Configuration. Again, no meaningful change is created by having it.

Pages 4-9

How can I argue against High Guard/MT-style drive rules? Only one nit: keep values to two significant digits. MCr 1008.0? If you want to discount QSDS ships, here's where you do it: drop the MCr 8.

Page 10 - Avionics

No issues here, except where there are more than two significant digits. Yes I'm that hung-up on it.

Page 11 - Sensor Suites

Quite practical. One suggestion: instead of a flat table, a pair of multiplexed but simpler tables might be just as fast but more interesting.

Page 11 / 12 - Comms

Exact same comment as for Sensors -- which makes sense since Communicators could be classed as a kind of sensor.

Pages 12 - 16 - Weapons and Defenses

I don't prefer the TNE way of doing weapons, but that's neither here nor there. What I do not like is the strange division between "Civilian" and "Military" weapons. Once again this feels contrived, but in fact doesn't really feel like "Traveller". Maybe it's a TNE-ism.

Significant digits once again are a source of mild headache.

Page 17 - Equipment

These are always fun and appreciated. There of course are more items that can be added to the rather small list of 4 entries. Capture tanks. Barracks. And so on.

The grapples table looks a bit too busy to understand easily. It should probably be broken up, or else simplified.

Page 18 - Fuel Purifiers

Once again, the flat table is not really helping. Break it into a basic table and then have simple TL modifiers.

Page 19 - Power

Previous comments on numeric precision and TL modifications apply.

Pages 19 - 20 - Crew & Bridge

Overall OK. The problem with workstations is that they don't show up in the Ship Description form. Why bother with them then?

Ah, because they define the bridge. Well why didn't you say so?

I think the bridge rules are fine.

Page 21 - Quarters, Cargo Space, Calculations

Quarters seem fine, although I think anything which requires 0.0005 MW power should round down to zero and just run off of batteries.
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