Built By Scro
Used Primarily By Scro
Cost 175,000 gp
Tonnage 50 tons
Hull Points 100
Crew (Min/Max) 12/50 (total weapon crew: 15)
Man-Days of Fresh Air 6,000
Maneuver Class C
Landing - Land Yes
Landing - Water Yes
Armour Rating 4
Saves As Metal
Power Type Major or minor helm
Ship's Rating As per helmsmen
Standard Armament 2 Grasping Rams (crew: 3)

Razor Back
2 Razor Runners
2 Medium Ballistas (crew: 2)
1 Heavy Catapult (crew: 5)

Cargo 20 tons
Keel Length 150'
Beam Length 30'
Source SJS1 Goblins' Return

The Mantis is a spelljamming ship built and used by scro.


The Mantis was specifically designed to combat the Imperial Elven Navy. Its grasping rams are designed to both grapple an enemy ship in the manner of a normal grappling ram, and cause hull damage at the same time. Only one of the grasping rams needs to hit (THAC0 14) in order to grapple with the enemy ship. Each grasping ram causes 1-4 hull points of damage per hit. The Mantis also has a huge metal blade on its back, known as a razor back. This blade can cause 1-4 hull points of damage in a successful shearing attack, in addition to normal shearing damage. Two of the runners on the underside of the Mantis have the same usage, although both can be used simultaneously if the enemy ship is underneath the Mantis. The third runner is not as heavily-constructed, but can be used for normal shearing attacks. All of these weapons are designed specifically to be used against the wings that exist on most elven ships, robbing them of their vaunted maneuverability.

The arms of the Mantis can be lowered to allow a better view from the forward portals, but the must be raised in order to land or attack. The Mantis can land on solid surfaces balanced on its three runners. The ship is watertight, but it rarely lands on water since its cargo doors are so low.

Once a Mantis ship grapples another ship, a boarding party waiting in the sally room shoots down a slide mounted in the mouth of the Mantis. As many as 12 scro per round can board a grappled ship in this manner. The first 6 arrive in time to fight that round, but the others must wait for the next round. The slide is so slick that it is extremely difficult to climb it in order to board the Mantis. The mouth of the ship can be pulled shut, with 2 crewmen required to work the winches that open and close it.

Since the scro consider personal combat to be an art form, the Mantis is not nearly as heavily-armed with ship-to-ship weapons as it could be. There is plenty of room on the top deck for more weaponry, but the scro prefer to cut and slice the enemy ship a few times before sending in a boarding party.

The exterior of the Mantis is heavily plated with metal in order to protect it. This metal is maintained sufficiently to keep the armour at peak effectiveness, but the scro are unconcerned with aesthetics so the paint on the metal is frequently chipped off over large portions of the hull. The functional parts of the ship (the tips of the grasping rams, the razor back, etc.) are all kept in excellent condition, and are burnished and buffed regularly.

It is suspected that the design of the Mantis was inspired by the orc Scorpion, and by the smaller human vessel also called the Mantis.


A typical Mantis will be captained by a 6 HD captain (or, in the case of a Mantis serving as a command ship, by a 8 HD Almighty Leader), assisted by 4 other 6 HD officers, and 13 4 HD sergeants. In many ways, however, the true authority aboard a Mantis will be the 5 war-priests found on board, each of whom is a 5th level cleric/mage. The war priests serve as spelljammers, navigators, combat support, and spiritual leaders. The remaining 52 scro on board will be standard 3 HD marines. This standard crew numbers 75 scro, a full 50% more than the tonnage can safely support for air considerations. The scro are unconcerned by this, however, since their war priests regularly cast Fog Cloud spells in order to refresh the air envelope.

Ship UsesEdit

Warship: The Mantis is intended for only one purpose: warfare resulting in the total destruction of the elves. These ships have formed the backbone of the humanoid forces in the second Unhuman War. While not as common as some other ship designs, the deadly efficiency of the scro and their ship has made the Mantis the craft which has accounted for more enemy ships destroyed or captured than any other.

Command Ship: The preferred command ship for scro fleets may be the Battlewagon, but such ships are exceedingly rare, and are reserved for only the most powerful fleets in the most strategically important theatres. Many scro Almighty Leaders unable to acquire a Battlewagon prefer other similarly-large and powerful vessels, such as ogre Mammoths or Smilodons, but just as many prefer to use the Mantis because, although less powerful in many ways, it is designed by the scro specifically for their needs. A Mantis operating as a command ship will typically carry 2-6 Blades equipped with boat helms to serve as messengers.

Other ConfigurationsEdit

Firespitter: Some Mantis ships have greek fire projectors mounted in the slide in the ships' mouths. Such a Firespitter will grapple with an enemy ship, fire the greek fire projector (hitting a grappled ship automatically), and then disengage quickly before the fire can possibly spread to the Mantis.


  • Spelljammer reference: SJS1
  • TSR reference: TSR 9343
  • ISBN: 1-56076-149-0