|Used Primarily By||Vodoni, humans|
|Crew (Min/Max)||10/60 (total weapon crew: 40)|
|Man-Days of Fresh Air||7,200|
|Landing - Land||Yes|
|Landing - Water||No|
|Power Type||Major helm|
|Ship's Rating||As helmsman|
|Standard Armament|| 2 medium ballistas* (crew: 4)
2 medium catapults* (crew: 6)
|Source||SJA4 Under The Dark Fist|
A less common ship than the Werewolf, the Hunter-Killer was intended to serve as a command vessel for Vodoni forces. Designed and built for the Vodoni by the enslaved Zalani, the Hunter-Killer appears as a twin-headed, smiling she-wolf with a huge wing-like swiveling sail. Because of the unusual design of the swiveling mast and sail, the Hunter-Killer cannot be effectively topped out, unless it is first given more conventional rigging in place of the swivel-mast (which would reduce MC to D and increase the minimum crew to 16 before any topping out).
The weapons of the Hunter-Killer are specially designed to have double the range of more conventional weapons. The ballistas, catapults, and jettisons use an unknown substance which is similar to sinew, but much stronger, to create additional torsion for extra power. The bombards are ruggedly-built and use double the regular load of smokepowder for extra power. In addition to these refinements, all of the weapons use specially designed ammunition (double normal cost) to help gain extra range. In all cases the ammunition is designed to gain extra spin before leaving the air envelope of the Hunter-Killer, thus allowing greater accuracy over longer ranges. If normal ammunition is substituted, the weapons are reduced to standard ranges (although crew requirements are unchanged). The additional complexity of these weapons cause them to require double the normal crew in order to operate. In addition, crew with the weapon loader or appropriate large weapon proficiencies will be unable to gain the benefits of these proficiencies when using these weapons until they have spent 2-4 weeks training with them.
Far fewer Hunter-Killers were captured during the fall of the Vodoni empire than Werewolves. This is partly because the ship was much less common than the Werewolf, and partly because those Hunter-Killers encountered were usually able to stay far enough away from their enemies to avoid capture. Most of those Hunter-Killers that were captured found their way into the hands of humans, for the same reasons that most captured Werewolves are now in the hands of humans.
A Hunter-Killer can be comfortably handled by a crew consisting of a captain, a spelljammer, and 8 sailors to work the swivel-mast. This efficiency in crewing is necessitated by the fact that fully 40 men are needed to man the ship's weapons. In the hands of Vodoni, the captain and spelljammer would be breeders (see the Werewolf for details), the rest of the crew and the weaponeers would be humans, and the ship would also carry 10 enforcers or, where possible, the more powerful conquerors to protect the ship from any enemy boarding parties. The breeders aboard a Hunter-Killer will usually be of high level, since the Hunter-Killer is usually a command ship. Human crews tend to be arranged along similar lines, and will employ Vodoni-trained weaponeers where possible.
Command Ship: The Hunter-Killer was intended to serve as a command ship, staying out of range of enemy weapons while coordinating other Vodoni ships and simultaneously pounding the enemy with its own weapons. As such, a Hunter-Killer would usually be found leading a small fleet of 1-4 Werewolves and often 1-2 Nightwolves. Those Hunter-Killers which have been captured are usually used in this manner as well, since it is a role to which the ship is very well suited.
Reaver: Since the fall of the Vodoni empire, the Hunter-Killers which have remained in Vodoni hands have turned to raiding to survive. Unfortunately for their crews, keeping a Hunter-Killer equipped with the specialized ammunition it requires is virtually impossible without organized supply lines. As a result, most reaver Hunter-Killers now use more standard ammunition. This means that their weapons now function in the same manner as standard weapons, except that they require additional crew to operate. Because of this, along with the fact that any crew attrition aboard a Hunter-Killer can cause a severe decrease in fighting capacity, most reaver Hunter-Killers have had short careers. Some of these ships have surrendered, while others have simply vanished. It is believed that those which have vanished have likely fled to backwater worlds where the crews can eke out an existence for themselves.
Conventional Weapons: Those Hunter-Killers which are unable to continue to obtain specialized ammunition for their long-range weapons often replace these weapons with more conventional versions. Usually this will simply mean replacing the weapons individually with their conventional counterparts, but some ships, attempting to maintain the long-range combat ability of the Hunter-Killer, have been equipped with all light weapons. Such a ship will usually have 4 light catapults, 4 light ballistas, and 2 bombards.
- Spelljammer reference: SJA4
- TSR reference: TSR 9325
- ISBN: 1-56076-131-8