|Built By||Humans, illithids|
|Used Primarily By||Humans, illithids|
|Crew (Min/Max)||13/70 (total weapon crew: 18)|
|Man-Days of Fresh Air||8,400|
|Landing - Land||Yes|
|Landing - Water||No|
|Saves As||Thick wood|
|Power Type||Major helm|
|Ship's Rating||As per helmsmen|
|Standard Armament|| 2 Heavy Ballistas (crew: 4)
2 Heavy Catapults (crew: 5)
|Keel Length||100' (not including tentacles)|
|Source||Legend of Spelljammer, The|
A large ship reminiscent of the earthly cephalopod of the same name, the Octopus moves through the void in a manner similar to those creatures, its bulbous end first, trailing its armed tentacles. Originally designed as a convoy protector during the first Unhuman War, its weapon layout earned it the nickname "tailgunner" (although its turreted weapons actually have an excellent all-around field of fire).
The Octopus was the result of an unlikely alliance between a group of neutral humans and illithids. The resulting hybrid has many illithid design features, but was intended to be piloted by human mages, and crewed by a combination of humans and a few mind flayers.
During the first Unhuman War, the typical crew of an Octopus included 2-3 human spelljamming mages, a single captain (who might be human or illithid depending on the individual vessel), and 4-10 officers, about half of whom would usually be mind flayers. The remainder of the crew would be made up of normal humans. The total number of crew aboard such a ship was usually 40-45, which provided enough hands to operate the ship at full capacity, and man all of the weapons, while still providing a squad of marines for protection in the unlikely event that the Octopus was boarded. More frequently, these marines would be used as extra hands to replace any combat losses aboard either the Octopus or the ship(s) it was protecting. In modern times, the crew of an Octopus is typically made up of human pirates, and will usually number around 45-60 reavers. The organization of pirate crews varies greatly, while those vessels in the hands of adventurers have crews which vary even more greatly.
Convoy Escort: The Octopus was intended to guard convoys, and some of the ships are still used as escorts to this day in dangerous areas of space. During the first Unhuman Wars these ships proved their worth, since they were powerful and versatile. After the defeat of the goblinkin, the need for large groups of ships travelling in convoys for protection diminished, and the human/illithid alliance which created these ships quickly broke up. Most of these ships were retired at that time, and their equipment salvaged for use on smaller, more maneuverable vessels. Recently, however, an enterprising illithid discovered a forgotten depot with a number of Octopus ships. These ships have been refitted, and sold off to anyone who could afford them, and the ship has begun to ply the spacelanes again. In the current political climate in the spheres, the Octopus is once again useful, and new versions of the ship are being built at several shipyards.
Piracy: The majority of Octopus ships in modern times seem to have found their way into the hands of pirates. Such vessels tend to pound their targets into submission before boarding, rather than simply grappling at the earliest opportunity, but this may vary based upon the temperament of the pirates. The appeal of this vessel to pirates can be linked to her good cargo capacity, her good maneuverability for a ship her size, and her ability to operate with a low crew, thus allowing most pirates on board to either man the weapons, or serve as marines. Because so many of these rare ships are used by pirates and privateers, a strange Octopus is best approached cautiously.
Illithid Octopus: A small number of these craft have been sold to mind flayer houses, and refitted with pool helms. These ships are usually plated with additional armour, increasing AR to 6, but dropping MC to E. Since only the most powerful illithid houses can afford the pool helms which these ships use, an Octopus is seen as a status symbol. Unlike the even more expensive Dreadnought, an Illithid Octopus is usually used as a private yacht by very powerful mind flayers, and as such is usually richly appointed.
Heavy Frigate: Several of these ships have been modified to serve as heavy frigates. These ships have their bowsprits replaced with piercing rams, and have their hulls thickened and reinforced to withstand the stresses of ramming. The bridge is relocated to the crow's deck, while the former bridge becomes a muster area for boarding troops. In addition, the forward half of the steerage deck is transformed into a gunnery deck, mounting 2-4 medium ballistas behind hatches replacing the fore portals. The Heavy Frigate is AR 6, and has 20-24 tons of cargo, depending on the number of medium ballistas carried.
- Spelljammer reference: 1065XXX1903
- TSR reference: TSR 1065
- ISBN: 1-56076-134-2