The tyrant ships are the most diverse class of ships in fantasy space. They look like walnut shells, huge eyeballs, shells carried by squid like tentacles - even huge beholders. The above stats apply to a "typical" tyrant ship, but there are commonly both larger and smaller tyrant ships in the spaceways.
The individuality of the tyrant ship reflects the individual nature of the beholder races. While all beholders share the same basic form and abilities, the creatures' genetic lines are plastic, such that small regional differences result in radically different looking creatures. The trouble is that all beholders have their own ideal as far as perfection, and they consider all other species of their race mutants, suitable only for elimination from the gene pool.
Each tyrant ship reflects the individuality and racial paranoia of its master. Each ship also is a reflection of its own subspecies. But all share the same basic structure: a concave "shell" indented with small pockets. These pockets are the resting place of the beholders, tentacles down. At the center of the bowl usually rests the eye mother, surrounded by a number of orbi.
Beholder ships usually lack weapons, but make up for it with one of the most terrifying weapons in space: The combined force of a large number of beholders in a single place. A "beholder circuit" of common beholder, orbus, and a queen can provide a beam of magical energy about 1,200 feet (8 hexes in tactical combat) in length and up to 300 feet across at the base.
This beam can do a number of things based on the beholder's natural magical ability:
: One target - if within range - per common beholder in the circuit. Targets do not need to be grouped together, though all must be within the area of effect. Any one target need only save once against this spell.
Charm Monster: As charm person.
: For each common beholder in the circuit, a target may be affected. The intensity or effect of the magical sleep is not increased, nor may one target be affected by multiple sleep spells.
: Add 300 lbs. to the normal spell's capacity for every additional common beholder in the circuit. As a rule of thumb, consider 300 lbs. about the weight of 1 ton of ship (this is simplification, since 1 ton of stone ship is very different from 1 ton of thin wooden ship).
Flesh to Stone
: One target for every common beholder in the circuit. Such targets must be within a 10-foot radius.
: Each common beholder in the after the first increases the area of effect of the spell as if an additional disintegrate was cast.
: One target can be affected for every common beholder in the circuit. These targets can be anywhere within the eye's area of effect, and may be chosen by the beholder. A target cannot be required to make more than one saving throw.
: One target can be affected for every common beholder in the circuit. If cast on the helmsman, he only gets a partial action if he fails his saving throw, with this partial action the mage can either move the ship (the ship only moves on the helmsman's movement action) or perform some other partial action.
Cause Serious Wounds
: One target can be affected for every common beholder in the circuit. Multiple attacks with this spell can be used on any target.
: One target can be affected for every common beholder in the circuit, but all such targets must be within a 10-foot radius.
: The most deadly of the beholder's arsenal of attacks in space, this ray affects everything within the target area. Should it strike the spelljammer helm, it will shut it down rendering the ship helpless. A ship's upper decks usually provide adequate cover from this ray but used in conjunction with the disintegrate attack, the ray can easily and quickly immobilize an opponent. Note that the antimagic ray can work against other antimagic rays as well.
The key to dealing with aggressive beholder ships is to stay out of the range, and use what maneuverability and speed is available to escape. Long-range attacks work best, but even causing a tyrant ship to break up poses its own problems: The surviving beholders will attempt to swarm over to the victorious ship, either to destroy it or capture it as a temporary home for their queen.
The magic that combines the effects of many beholders and produces a single, effective attack is within the hull of the tyrant ship. The arcane cannot deal in spelljamming helms to the orbus-using beholders instead provide a variety of unique shells for each subspecies, with the design registered as a unique "trademark" of that particular species.
There are three general types of beholders bred to the task of space travel. One is the common beholder of which most groundlings live in fear; the intelligent eye tyrant. These beholders are the only type that cans survive without the others, and it is believed that their presence on many planets is the result of crashed ships. The common beholder makes up the bulk of the tyrant ship's crew.
One to six orbi surround the central queen. These are the creatures that provide the ship's spelljamming power. They channel the energy of the other beholders into a motive force. An orbus can do this as long as the common beholder is in the circuit, but needs the queen to provide direction.
The term beholder queen is a misnomer. Beholders are sexless, but show personality traits that outsiders tend to interpret as male or female properties. The queen rests at the center of the shell, the ultimate captain, controlling the actions of all the crew. All the ship's energies pass through her massive central eye in attacks.
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