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.



The Aartuk are nomadic vegetable creatures who organize into small tribes. They are star-shaped, with six branching appendages. These appendages are covered in thick, flexible bark, similar to spiked leather. Of the six appendages, one is the head, and the other five function as arms and legs, each having a suction cup on the end that can be used to cling to vertical or inverted surfaces. Each suction cup houses a cluster of three retractable pseudopods that can be used to handle small objects. The head stands on a six-foot-tall snake-like stalk that can coil in and out of the center of the star. The head is oblong in shape, with a hole on one end surrounded by three black lumps. These are the sensory organs of the Aartuk, which enable it to detect movement via vibration, smell, and infrared vision. The Aartuk cannot see visible light.[1]


A bionoid is a chitinous, bipedal humanoid insect with a glowing circular gem in the center of its 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.



First appearanceMonstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
TypeMagical Beast
AlignmentLawful Neutral

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".


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.[2]


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.[2]


First appearanceMonstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
AlignmentTrue Neutral

The Gammaroid is 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.


Resembling a snapping turtle that reaches a size of 2,500 feet in diameter, on land or in 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 ship's 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.[2]


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.[2]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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).[1]

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]

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


Monsters of Spelljammer
Giff image.jpg
3D image of a giff on a spelljamming ship
First appearanceSpelljammer (1989)
AlignmentLawful neutral

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".[3]

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).[4] The giff is detailed as a playable character race in the supplement Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (1992).[5] The giff also appears in an adventure in Dungeon #34 (March 1992).

The giff appears in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[6] 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).


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 are described throughout the Spelljammer books 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."[3]


Stellar dragon[edit]

Stellar dragon
First appearanceMonstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix II
Based onDragon
AlignmentTrue Neutral

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.[1]


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.[2]


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.[2]


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.[2]


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.[2]

Witchlight marauder[edit]

Witchlight Marauder
First appearanceMonstrous 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.[2]


Planet-bound marauders exist 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.

These 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.


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.[2]


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.[2]


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


  1. ^ a b c d e f Monstrous compendium : appendix. Breault, Mike., Grubb, Jeff. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR. 1990. ISBN 0880388714. OCLC 27688724.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Scott., Davis, (1991). Monstrous compendium. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR. ISBN 1560760710. OCLC 25793359.
  3. ^ a b Rolston, Ken (February 1990). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR (#154): 59–63.
  4. ^ Grubb, Jeff, Lorebook of the Void (TSR, 1989)
  5. ^ Young, Barbara G., ed. The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (TSR, 1992)
  6. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)