Built By Illithids
Used Primarily By Illithids
Cost 110,000 gp
Tonnage 100 tons
Hull Points 100
Crew (Min/Max) 20/100 (total weapon crew: 22)
Man-Days of Fresh Air 12,000
Maneuver Class E
Landing - Land No
Landing - Water Yes
Armour Rating 4
Saves As Thick wood
Power Type Pool helm
Ship's Rating 5
Standard Armament Piercing Ram

4 Medium Ballistas (crew: 2)
2 Heavy Catapults (crew: 5)
1 Heavy Jettison (crew: 4)

Cargo 50 tons
Keel Length 100'
Beam Length 90'
Source Legend of Spelljammer, The

The Dreadnought is a spelljamming ship built and used by illithids.


The newest and largest ship in the illithid fleets, the Dreadnought represents the full exploitation of the pool helm's ability to move ships larger than 50 tons. The Dreadnought looks like a great snail shell laid on its side, resting on two hulls. The hulls are similar to the forward section of a standard Nautiloid. One of the hulls is known as the command hull, and contains the officers' quarters, while the other is the battle hull, and is used for ramming (although the command hull could also be used for ramming if needed). Both hulls mount catapults for assaults. The interior of the shell is a single great vault, similar to the interior of a Nautiloid. Walkways around the perimeter provide access to the ballista stations and the various officers' posts. The vault is lit with red hues and dominated by the glowing pool that provides the motive force for spelljamming. The captain's post is on a catwalk over the pool.


One mind flayer is deadly. Twenty-five of them, the typical number found on a Dreadnought, are a disaster waiting to happen. Fewer illithids are not uncommon, but more are virtually unheard of. The leaders aboard ship consist of the captain and four staff officers. The duties of these staff officers are interchangeable. Each staff officer maintains his own group of supporters amongst the other mind flayers on the ship. Wise captains play one side off another to retain control of the ship in the face of ambitious staff officers. Despite this political intrigue aboard the Dreadnought, no officer would put the ship at risk merely to advance his own career (at least, not if he could get caught doing it). The remainder of the crew consists of slaves. The bulk of the slaves are humans, dwarves, elves, and other races captured from enemy ships and impressed into service. In addition, each officer and the captain maintains a personal slave who is treated much as a loyal pet. These personal servants, whose loyalty is ensured psionically, are counted on to pass on any information they get from the other slaves pertaining to the ship's political climate.

Ship UsesEdit

Diplomacy: Dreadnoughts have only appeared very recently, and have so far been primarily used in large-scale mind flayer activity, in particular in cases where the illithids want to drive a particular point home. Usually in such "diplomatic" missions, the Dreadnought will be escorted by 2-4 Nautiloids.

Exploration: Lone Dreadnoughts are beginning to be used as exploration craft, particularly in areas known to have active spelljamming races. A large, powerful ship, manned by mind flayers, tends to make a strong impression on newcomers to the spelljamming community. Illithids have used these impressive ships to open up very favourable trade agreements with several organizations already.

Other ConfigurationsEdit

Pirate Dreadnought: The first Dreadnoughts encountered in many spheres have not been actual representatives of the illithids, but various rogues, outlaws, and pirates who can use a great ship in their raids. It seems that these ships were not actually captured from the mind flayers, but rather the various shipyards building Dreadnoughts had no problem "losing" a ship or two, which then found its way into other hands. Pirate Dreadnoughts are powered by major helms, and are typically stripped to make them more maneuverable (MC raises to D, while AR drops to 6). They also tend to have additional breaches in the main shell, behind which are mounted up to 6 light ballistas.

Heavy Dreadnought: This experimental version has its hull both thickened and plated, giving the ship an impressive AR 2, but reducing MC to F. The clumsy ship also boasts significantly upgraded weaponry, carrying 4 heavy catapults and 8 heavy ballistas. The cargo capacity of this dangerous vessel is reduced to a mere 12 tons, making it a short-range combat vessel. The Heavy Dreadnought is intended as a defensive craft for the most important illithid bases. In such a role, the Heavy Dreadnought would be badly out-maneuvered by most attackers, and would have to be supported by several Nautiloids in order to make it effective, with the smaller craft herding attackers towards the Heavy Dreadnought. The practicality of this ship has yet to be tested in combat.


  • Spelljammer reference: 1065XXX1903
  • TSR reference: TSR 1065
  • ISBN: 1-56076-134-2