Monsters of Spelljammer

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The Spelljammer campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game includes numerous monsters not typically found in other settings.

Bionoid[edit]

Bionoid
Characteristics
Alignment Neutral Good
Type Humanoid (Construct / Shapechanger)
Publication history
Source books Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
First appearance Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II

Bionoids are chitinous, bipedal humanoid insects with a glowing circular gem in the center of their forehead. Though their appearance strikes fear in those who view them, their demeanor belies their looks. They originated as “Living Weapons” during the Unhuman Wars.

Description[edit]

In their combat form, also called their monster form, they are tall, muscular creatures with iridescent exoskeletons. Hard clawlike blades protrude from both forearms and the head. In addition to the standard pair of compound eyes, they possess four secondary eyes that can move independently like those of a chameleon. Pebbly, metallic-looking muscle fibers are visible at the joints.

In their humanoid form, bionoids are thin, well-muscled, and fairly tall. They have uniformly calm, even tempers, and are often contemplative. They move with great economy; useless gestures or movements are very rare.

Even bionoid reproduction is invasive. The eggs of mature bionoids are disc-shaped with a single crystalline “trigger” in the center. This crystal serves a multiple purpose: it is an attractant to potential victims since it makes the egg look like a magical item, and it is also the young bionoid’s eye. When a potential host touches the crystal eye, the host’s essence marks the egg. The egg bursts, attaches to the host, and grows as a symbiont, eventually separating and becoming a separate, nymph bionoid.

If an orc touches the egg, the egg explodes in a mass of corrosive filaments causing immediate death. If half-orcs survives this, the half-orc and the bionoid bind in symbiosis. Evil beings can fuse with the bionoid, but suffer the penalties of radical change to the bionoid’s good alignment.

If elves, humans or other humanoid races touch the egg, it infiltrates the victim, creating another adult bionoid. The new bionoid has the abilities described above, but appears only when danger threatens, whereupon the host “monsters out” into the bionoid monster form. But the host should only wear normal, easily replaceable clothing, due to the unpredictable nature of his malady.

The crystal eye is worth a lot of GP - but woe betide the buyer. In the crystal eye is the essence of the original owner. If presented with a living body, the crystal reduces and restructures that body in favor of its stored master, resulting in death (of a sort) for the purchaser.

Society[edit]

Although these bionoids were instilled with an instinctive urge for combat without quarter, they are essentially good beings who constantly strive to control the powers of their implanted nature. Though they travel nearly everywhere in wildspace, bionoids prefer to remain alone. Many work as crew members on spelljamming ships across the flow, or they reside in country manors or castles. Still others live as hermits on lonely asteroids far from the normal spelljamming trade routes. In some cases, elvish communities sympathetic to the bionoids’ situation have taken in individual bionoids.

Though rare, a bionoid family can comprise hundreds of members, always led by the individual who started the unit, either the original bionoid or its full-blooded descendants. Bionoid symbionts are welcome to join the unit, but must vow to avoid (and avoid infecting) residents of the outside world.

Though engineered for warfare, the family unit sustains itself primarily through farming. They practice battle skills primarily as a spiritual discipline. Most frontier cities and spelljamming outposts welcome bionoid communities.

History[edit]

Bionoids were originally tailored as troops in the Unhuman Wars. Volunteer elves gave themselves to be altered into organic fighting machines. After the Wars, they were cast out into the cosmos, to make their own way far from the sight of the elves. Years of ostracism, of living apart from the rest of elvish society like plague victims, has instilled in them a deep distrust of all other elven races.

Bionoids in other media[edit]

Bionoids also appear as characters in Cloakmaster Cycle series of novels.

Dralasite[edit]

Further information: Dralasite

Fal[edit]

Fal
Characteristics
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Type Magical Beast
Publication history
Source books Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
First appearance Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II

The Falmadaraatha (or “Fal” for short) are huge, slug-like creatures that dwell inside hollow, lifeless asteroids. They are among several races that share the title “scholars of wildspace.”

Description[edit]

The Fal have large, soft, pulpy bodies that change from light tan at birth to jet black at the end of life. At the fore end of their bodies, they have a pair of small sensory antennae, bulbous eyes, a massive mouth filled with sharp teeth ideal for burrowing, and a smaller mouth above it, used for speech.

These gentle, brilliant, inoffensive giants burrow through small planets that contain no sentient life and make their lairs inside. They speak their own tongue, as well as Common and most human, demi-human and humanoid languages.

Although the Fal find combat offensive, considering it the final refuge of the incompetent, they are perfectly capable of defending themselves with a ferocious bite. The Fal does not swallow, until it tries to persuade the foe to surrender in a peaceful manner. Should the foe agree to surrender, then renege on its word, the Fal attacks with no quarter. To the Fal, a promise is sacred.

All Fal are telekinetic. A Fal can lift 1,000 pounds in this way and, if it acts first, tries to neutralize an opponent by simply lifting and holding it about 30 feet off the floor until the opponent stops fighting. A successful hit on the Fal breaks its concentration, and the victim falls hard.

Society[edit]

The Fal are solitary, though there is a chance of encountering a group of these massive beings inside one asteroid, chatting away about philosophy, metaphysics, or the state of the multiverse. As a rule, the Fal are peaceful, honest, hospitable geniuses. Despite this solitude, the Fal enjoy polite company, provided it does not visit often. (To a Fal, more than once a year is “often.“) Any alignment may visit, though the Fal are wary around chaotic evil and lawful good beings. The Fal consider these two alignments too extreme in their philosophies.

The Fal have a well-deserved reputation as some of the best sages in the multiverse. They answer questions in exchange for gifts worth more than 100 gp, anything from a bottle of fine wine to a book or a painting. Unlike normal sages, however, the Fal do not limit themselves to one or two subjects. This, they say, denies the opportunity to learn all the multiverse has to offer. Hence, any question asked of a Fal may be answered immediately, within several days, in several months, or several years - but, if answerable, it will be answered.

The Fal lair (called a tcha) is surprisingly comfortable. Most Fal decorate the tcha with accurate maps of planets and regions of space, massive bookshelves, and little trinkets that grateful visitors exchange for the answer to a question. Two types of plants usually grow inside a tcha: a phosphorescent fungus for illumination, and hardy greens that make up the Fal’s diet. Many Fal also enjoy fine wine and keep a well-stocked “cellar.” Predominant in the tcha are books-lots of books, old and new, in different languages. The Fal live at least 2088 years. To them, a year is like a day, so they take things slowly.

Many people mistakenly think the Fal stupid, since the slugs talk so slowly. They believe hasty words bring bad results. The Fal often associate with the Gonn (q.v.) for discourse and the Arcane for research material and books. The Fal are suspicious of Aperusa (q.v.), but they delight in tinker gnomes. The Fal venerate three gods above all others: Deneir, Thoth, and Oghma.

There is no romance in the Fal society. The Fal are hermaphroditic, each Fal responsible for creating a “pupil” at some point, tutoring it, and sending it on its way. No one has ever seen a Fal pupil, however. It is possible that the Fal do not take questions when they are training a pupil.

Gammaroid[edit]

Gammaroid
Characteristics
Alignment True Neutral
Type Animal
Publication history
Source books Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
First appearance Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II

A gargantuan variety of snapping turtle. Like its terrestrial cousin, it has a voracious appetite and rules the ecosystem it inhabits. Its unique breeding habits have become the stuff of legends and religious rites in many worlds.

Description[edit]

Resembling a snapping turtle that reaches a size of 2,500 feet in diameter. On land or space, the gammaroid is a fearsome opponent. In space, it masquerades as an asteroid and allows small objects to adhere to its body by gravitic attraction. When prey happens by, the head shoots out, smashing victims with its powerful jaws. The bony ridges of its beak can rip through a ships hull easily.

Its only natural prey is the gossamer noble, which it disables by cutting off the tentacles, then attacking with claws and enormous jaws. It may attack spelljamming ships during times of great hunger to get at the soft, tiny morsels inside. However, the metal-and-wood canisters that hold these small feasts do not settle well with the gammaroid’s palate. The lifespans of gammaroids are very long. Specimens with shell growth patterns indicating millennia of moults have been recorded. The shells of dead gammaroids are quite useful as spelljammer hulls, as the lightness and toughness of the shell combine to make a highly maneuverable armored vessel. They can fetch a king’s ransom.

It can also pursue fleeing prey by retracting all its appendages and rotating in its central axis giving it the ability to fly with spelljamming speeds. When this deadly missile hits a ship, the whirling serrated edges of its shell may cut the ship in half or utterly destroy it. In atmosphere, atmospheric friction from its rapid rotation creates an enveloping fireball that causes additional damage.

Society[edit]

Gammaroids spawn on planetary bodies of a certain size, usually larger than size A. They land near geologically unstable regions, homing in on areas where the heat is near the surface. The female digs until she reaches magma, then lays 2-8 eggs in the lava pit. When the egg laying is complete, she crawls from the hole, allowing it to collapse behind her. Within 50 years, the young hatch and tunnel upward, usually surfacing far away from the hatchery. This spawning causes great destruction to surface dwellings, and even the largest underground monsters are easy prey to the hungry hatchlings.

Gammaroids in other media[edit]

The creature seems to be based on the kaiju Gamera.

Giant space hamster[edit]

Giant space hamsters have achieved popularity among D&D fans due in part to their basis as such a humorous and ridiculous concept. They are brown-bear-sized rodents with thick fur.

Tinker gnomes have a strong connection with the giant space hamsters. Hamsters are domesticated, used as both pets and livestock, and are also used to power gnome sidewheelers, an inefficient form of space ship that is powered by a series of gigantic hamster wheels.

In combat, a giant space hamster will attack with its claws, and also attempt to swallow its opponents whole. They are, however, inclined to run away if given a chance.

Giant space hamsters were first discovered among the tinker gnomes, a race of highly technological creatures who primarily inhabit the world of Krynn. Tinker gnome civilizations are divided into guilds, who each research and develop a different technological field. It was the Animal Breeder's Guild that first bred the giant space hamster.

Characteristically, the tinker gnomes did not stop there, and continued to breed many forms of hamster, including the sabre-toothed giant space hamster, the carnivorous flying giant space hamster ("a regrettable if understandable line of inquiry"), the fire-breathing phase doppelganger giant space hamster, and the miniature giant space hamster (a dwarf variant, indistinguishable from ordinary hamsters).

The most infamous (and to gnomes, most feared) giant space hamster was "Wooly Rupert," the Tyrannohamstersaurus of Ill Omen.

Giant space hamsters in other media[edit]

In the Baldur's Gate role-playing video game, the NPC Minsc has a pet "miniature giant space hamster", which is the size of a normal hamster, called Boo.

Pop culture references[edit]

Mass Effect 2, another role-playing video game by BioWare, there is a buyable pet "Space Hamster." In Mass Effect 3 you can catch the "Space Hamster" running at the corridors of Normandy SR-2.

Giff[edit]

Monsters of Spelljammer
Giff image.jpg
3D image of a giff on a spelljamming ship
Characteristics
Alignment Lawful neutral
Type Humanoid
Stats [No Open Game License stats]
Publication history
First appearance Spelljammer (1989)

A giff is a cross between a human and a hippopotamus in appearance.

Ken Rolston describes the giff as "humanoid hippopotamus mercenaries with an enthusiasm for gunpowder weapons".[1]

Publication history[edit]

The giff was introduced to the game in the second edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The giff first appeared for the Spelljammer campaign setting in the Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space campaign setting box, in the Lorebook of the Void booklet (1989).[2] The giff is detailed as a playable character race in the supplement Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (1992).[3] The giff also appears in an adventure in Dungeon #34 (March 1992).

The giff appears in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[4] The giff is presented as a playable character race in Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The giff appears as a playable character race for the Spelljammer setting in Dragon #339 (January 2006).

Fictional creature description[edit]

A giff is usually lawful neutral in alignment. They are a disciplined, militaristic race who live as mercenaries in the strange culture of those who travel between stars and planets. They adore war and battle, and are particularly fascinated with firearms of all types - even in situations where such weapons can be potentially lethal to their users.

They are generally inferior to other races in intelligence, but are far stronger and more resilient. The only factors reducing their power to terrify others are their names (Algernon Kilburne and Ophelia Hadley being typical) and their dress sense, which tends towards extreme ornamentation; giff have been known to cover their armor in campaign ribbons, for example.

Neogi[edit]

Neogi are described[by whom?] as classic evil "bug-eyed monsters" who patrol the universe in the game as an intelligent race, usually acting as slavers.

Ken Rolston describes the neogi as "a nasty slaver race with the physical appearance of a cross between a wolf spider and a moray eel. Each neogi individual is guarded by his personal umber hulk slave."[1]

Publication history[edit]

The neogi was introduced to the D&D game in the second edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The neogi and the great old master neogi first appear for the Spelljammer campaign setting in the Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space campaign setting box, in the Lorebook of the Void booklet (1989). The neogi undead old master appears in the supplement Lost Ships (1990).

The neogi, the great old master neogi, and the neogi reaver appear in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[4] The neogi was detailed in Dragon #214 (February 1995), in the "Ecology of the Neogi".[5]

An extraplanar relative of the neogi, the tso, appears in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (1995).[6]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The neogi appears in the Monster Manual II (2002) for this edition, including the adult neogi, the great old master neogi, and the neogi spawn.[7]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The neogi receives its own chapter in the book Lords of Madness (2005). The adult neogi, the neogi defiler, the dwarf neogi, the neogi spawn, the great old master, the neogi slavemaster, and the neogi sorcerer appear in this book.[8]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The neogi receive a monster write-up in the 4th Edition rulebook Monster Manual 2 (2009).[9]

Description[edit]

Neogi are unusual creatures who usually look like a cross between a spider and an eel. They have a bloated body and eight limbs, two of which have simple claws, and are covered in light tan fur.

Neogi are slave traders and they consider everything either a slave or owner. All Neogi have several slaves, usually Umber Hulks, sometimes even other neogi. These neogi slaves have more slaves, leading to complex ownership hierarchy.

Stellar dragon[edit]

Stellar dragon
Characteristics
Alignment True Neutral
Type Dragon
Publication history
Source books Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
First appearance Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
Mythological origins Dragon

Stellar dragons were first introduced in Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II.

In the Spelljammer universe, the stellar dragon is probably the largest dragon species in existence. Big, peaceful and highly intelligent, these enormous philosophers of the phlogiston wander the flow in their quest for knowledge.

Description[edit]

Stellar dragons are described as being an iridescent deep purple color, with a chrome drop at the tip of each scale. Gems of different colors and sizes adorn the scales in random patterns, giving the dragon its name.

Two main fins, like the fins of a lionfish, adorn either side of the main trunk followed by four enormous lace-like wings which provide guidance and stability. Multiple fins of various sizes cover the rest of the dragon’s body. They have no visible arms or legs. A fully grown ancient wyrm ranges in size from 20,000 feet to an amazing 3,000,000 feet in length.

Information is the stellar dragon’s food and drink if anything is, and it is willing to trade in kind. (One rumor has it that the Greyhawk wizard Bigby learned his interposing hand and grasping hand spells from a stellar dragon in exchange for a juicy tidbit of information.) Stellar dragons literally consume their knowledge, transforming it into clear or milky gems of varying size. These gems of wisdom and pearls of knowledge push their way outward to rest embedded in the dragon’s scales. The number of gems and pearls studding its scales mark its status among other dragons. The encrustation also roughly indicates its age; younger dragons have few gems, whereas venerable stellar dragons are literally covered in jewels. The chief, or mikado, is another case entirely (see below).

Though not normally aggressive, the stellar dragon can easily defend itself. Its unique breath weapon is gravitic: rather than emitting breath, it draws things into the dragon’s internally generated sphere of annihilation. The stellar dragon has three other innate attacks. First, it can randomly teleport an attacker in any direction. Second, its titanic intellect lets it use any wizard spells in the Player's Handbook without error. It can also modify or create spells to suit its needs; for example, it could merge darkness and fireball to create a shadow flare spell. It can repeat spells as often as needed. Third, it can summon one denizen of another plane once per round for up to seven rounds. Summoned individuals serve the dragon slavishly before they snap back to their home continuum.

Alignment[edit]

Stellar dragons, unlike their smaller kin, the radiant dragons, are neutral. When they encounter humanoids, stellar dragons prefer to watch rather than involve themselves. However, if one has information previously unknown to the dragon, this may gain its interest and even useful knowledge in trade.

Society[edit]

The stellar dragons’ range covers the entire cosmos, so their exact numbers are unknown; parties encounter them only rarely. However, once every 500 years, the stellar dragons convene for their mating ceremony. In this ceremony, the most worthy stellar dragons are selected by their tribal head, called the mikado. There is only one mikado at any time. The mikado is distinguished by the single crystal horn on his forehead. Those dragons that the mikado selects as mates each produce a single offspring. This dragon, born fully sentient, leaves to make its own way among the stars.

Stellar dragon territories are vast, extending into other planes and dimensions. Individuals negotiate boundaries to prevent intrusion on each other's space. However, they haggle endlessly to obtain dynamic civilizations to monitor. The dragons deal with attackers handily. However, if a party approaches the dragon with respect and choice information, chances are even that the dragon deigns to talk. Chances are equally good that the dragon is thinking (that is, digesting) and dismisses the interlopers.

The stellar dragon’s ultimate goal is truth. It abhors dishonesty and misinformation. Though its information may be cryptic, it is never false. A lesser being’s misinterpretation is that being’s own fault. Misinformation causes a stellar dragon severe, painful indigestion. And as with its smaller kin, a dragon in pain is dangerous.

History[edit]

The stellar dragon understands the underpinnings of the multiverse. These primeval watchers have seen the rise and fall of many civilizations. Such is the power of this knowledge that according to some texts, the power of artifacts and relics comes from the gems that encrust them. The crystallized everlasting knowledge of thousands of beings, say these legends, provides the power that runs these wonderful objects. How these gems were wrested from the stellar dragons remains unsaid. Gems of wisdom and pearls of knowledge are valuable almost beyond calculation. The information they contain can be liberated and used to gain enormous profit. Sages and wizards do nearly anything to gain one.

Witchlight marauder[edit]

Witchlight Marauder
Characteristics
Alignment Varies
Type Aberration
Publication history
Source books Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
First appearance Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II

Within the Spelljammer universe, witchlight marauders are creatures that were used as weapons of mass destruction, introduced by the orcs during the first Unhuman War. Thought to be completely destroyed by the elves, before these living weapons could be used, rumors and legends persist that several primary marauders were preserved.

Description[edit]

Planet-bound marauders exists in three forms; the fourth one is capable of space travel. The three common forms are the primary, secondary and tertiary marauders.

  • Primaries, the largest land marauder, are 500+ foot slug-like creatures with multiple mouths that can virtually eat anything and produce a miasma of poisonous gas and secondary marauders.
  • Secondaries are 20-foot tall humanoids with metallic talons, steel teeth and a sweeping tail with stump-like, multi-toed feet. They appear headless since their faces are situated on their chest. They have the ability to spit acid. They could range the countryside, covering many miles, destroying survivors of the primaries attack.
  • Tertiaries are small humanoids about 4 feet tall but have arms each ending in a sword-like blade. They sprout a mass of tentacles from where a neck should be. Uncanny strength and agility make them fearsome combatants.

This land marauders reach the targeted planet by means of a still larger creature, the space marauder. This 1,000+ foot reptilian monster travel wildspace on sails spun by special organs from their bodies. The sails could also be used to focus energy and fire beam weapons. Like their smaller kin, space marauders could virtually eat anything from ships, asteroids and even small moons to produce projectiles and primaries.

  • Space marauders sport a multi-eyed crocodilian head filled with thousands of large, sharp teeth. Surrounding the central head were six flexible necks ending in eyeless heads capable of smashing ships. The necks are then connected to a trunk-like central body that ended in a pulsating mass of writhing tentacles. At the center of this squirming nest are three umbilicals, each connected to a primary.
  • In addition to primaries, space marauders can give birth to remote marauders, 25-foot flying gullets that engulf matter, digest it and returns to the space marauder to give it additional nourishment.

Society[edit]

After a week of foraging a primary burrows underground and establishes a lair. A couple of weeks later, while being guarded by secondaries, it splits into two identical primaries. This cycle continues until the marauders run out of food, whereupon they turn on and destroy each other.

Reproduction is initiated by eating a certain amount of food then ejecting either poisonous gas or secondaries for the primary marauder or tertiaries from the secondary marauder.

History[edit]

It is an alien creature created by orcish shamans as a means of countering ruthless elven aggression. Marauders are shock-troops, organic first-strike weapons, meant to devastate whole planets. It does this by consuming all organic matter and even precious minerals leaving nothing behind but a poisonous chunk of rock. Left by itself, it accomplishes this in a few years time.

Supposedly, all specimens were destroyed by the elves, but there is a possibility that some may have survived, held by time-stop fields in some planet or wandering a forgotten quadrant in wildspace.

Novels[edit]

The witchlight marauder made an appearance in the fourth book of the Cloakmaster Cycle series of novels.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rolston, Ken (February 1990). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR) (#154): 59–63. 
  2. ^ Grubb, Jeff, Lorebook of the Void (TSR, 1989)
  3. ^ Young, Barbara G., ed. The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (TSR, 1992)
  4. ^ a b Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  5. ^ Winter, Jon. "The Ecology of the Neogi." Dragon #214 (TSR, 1995)
  6. ^ Baker, L. Richard III, Tim Beach, Wolfgang Baur, Michele Carter, Colin McComb. Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (TSR, 1995)
  7. ^ Bonny, Ed, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter. Monster Manual II (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  8. ^ Baker, Rich, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter. Lords of Madness (Wizards of the Coast, 2005)
  9. ^ Monster Manual 2 (Wizards of the Coast, 2009)

References[edit]