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The Great Dwarven Axe

Click this picture for the printable fullsize ship card

Built by: Dwarves

Used by: Dwarves

Tons/Hull Points: 200/475

Crew: 24/220

Maneuverability Class: E

Landing - No

Armor rating: 3

Saves as: Iron {metal}

Power Type: Dwarven Forge/Psi-helm


Click this picture for the printable side view/rear card

Grappling Ram

2 Heavy Catapults, crew = 5 ea.

4 Heavy Ballista, crew = 5 ea.

2 Medium Catapults, crew  = 3 ea.

6 Medium Ballista, crew = 3 ea.

4 Light Catapults, crew = 1 ea.

10 Light Ballistas, crew = 1 ea.

6 Accelerators, crew = 1 ea.

Cargo capacity: 22 tons

Keel length: '

Beam: cabin ', max wingspan '

Gamer stats note: this ship was constructed using Leroy van Camp's new ship construction system as featured on his own Tarkas Brain labs site and referenced on the Beyond the Moon's website, the Official Spelljammer Fansite recognized by Wizards of the Coast. I highly recommend this system, both for its sensible ideas, but also to better understand some of the design inclusions, costs figuring, and the presence of both tonnage and hull points in the Ship's design card.

Other relavant added information from this construction system is found here:


Form design: Space

Frame: Metal {3000gp/ton}, Heavy {x2}

Ram: Grapple {2000 gp, 58% of space}

Hull: Metal {1250 gp/ton}

Deck type: partial enclosure {1/3 to weapons}

Rigging: standard {100 gp}

Armor Plating: Metal {4000 gp/ton, AR 3}


Crew space:  34 tons {3 tons for bunk beds only = 150 men, 31 tons for cramped crew quarters=206 men}

Suite: 2 tons Captain's quarters

Food & Dining, Mess Hall: 30 tons

Bridge: 3 tons {30 man limit}

Chart Room: 1 ton

Helm Rooms: 2 at 2 tons ea.

Advanced Basic Engineering room: 4 tons

Docking Bay {external, general}: 2 tons


Ship Management breakdown, minimum:

Sails: 20 crew

Command Crew: 5 crew

Helm crew: 2 crew {minimal}

Navigation: 1 crew

Weapons crew: 64

Minimum total: 92

This warship design is a new addition to the Tanu fleet. In actuality, the Great Dwarven Axe is currently one-of-a-kind, the brainchild of King Otar, the dwarven ruler of Mount Bluetop, the Krynnish Tanu colony.

Having been awarded the title as King of Bluetop by Andraxas himself at the Eight Grand Combat, Otar took several years to consolidate the security of his new kingdom, overseeing the patrols of spelljammer ships above the region while improving the value of the colony's herds of giant space hamster species and the crops grown in the meadows around the walled mountain.

Once satisfied that his fiefdom was both viable and well-secure, the dwarven king, a long-time spelljammer himself who had been present aboard the Squidship on the voyage which had founded the Bluetop colony, spent his spare time pursuing a long-time dream. That dream was the construction of a mighty warship of purely dwarven design.

Although he respected the huge size and battle-integrity of the typical dwarven citadel, he believed that simply tooling around space inside a mountain of rock was not the way to increase one's power and security in the perilous environment of the spaceways. Like his Tanu brethren, Otar desired a ship that would inspire fear and awe in his enemies at its very approach. He also understood the power of a ship's mobility while under sail, something the citadels sorely lack, as well as the value of highly trained weapons crews manning a large arsenal of weapons. Taking his own experiences among the warlike Tanu to heart, he spent many nights, in typical dwarvish fashion, secreted away in his chambers, drawing and redrawing, adding and removing, until at last, his dreamship took shape. Few, even among his most trusted comrades, knew the breadth of his designs until the very day the plans were unrolled in the Bluetop shipyard.

Still harking back to the style of the citadels, the Dwarven Axe is shaped to resemble a huge axe topped with a scowling dwarven face. The two eyes are actually vents, from the cookpits in the mess hall below, and when battle is in the offing, these are fired so that flames can be seen leaping angrily in them by enemy ships. The curved sides of the 'head' area add the the illusion of an axe-blade shape. The 'handle' is actually split in two, and is, in fact, the body of a huge grappling ram mechanism.

The Great Dwarven Axe begins with an all-metal frame and hull armor plating. During its construction, the dwarves who would crew her took to calling her Dal'Donnar Nala, which translates as "Old Iron-Sides", rather than her true name in dwarven, Arau Norgrim Kuld, "Great Dwarven Axe" {For you Tolkien enthusiasts, it might be "Gabilbaruk Khazād"}. The abundance of iron ore on Krynn [so much so that some nations use steel as coinage] allows for such liberal use of such metal that most of the ship is built entirely of dwarven-forged iron and steel. Otar understood the strength such a base would allow, since Tanu ships are similarly built using Glass. While some inner structures are shaped or built up using wood [easy to acquire and work for in-space repairs] most interior bulkheads are also of iron. Another defensive design Otar implemented was that the deeper parts of the ship are tailored for dwarf-sized crewmen only; the corridors are cramped for anyone larger and lit for infravision to better hinder enemy movement and aid the dwarf crew, and the most vital parts of the ship, including the Bridge, Helm rooms and Chart Room are all deep inside a warren of low-ceiling hallways. Human-sized crew or visitors [including the tall Tanu] are confined by necessity to the outer areas of the ship's interior. Also thanks to dwarven style, there are several hidden doors [always for vital areas] and trap-rooms, as well as hallways containing crew-activated traps for invaders.

Another design feature the dwarven King decided upon was dedicated weapons crews. Aboard the Great Axe, each weapon emplacement crew has its own [granted, cramped and spartan] quarters situated either directly beside, or directly beneath, their assigned weapon turret. All shifts for each weapon share quarters, so the turrets have a crew ready to man them at all times. In game terms, any general alarm aboard the ship will result in weapons being manned and ready to fire in one round + minimum reload time. In addition, each crew will contain a crewman specialized in the weapon type to not only reduce reload times and improve accuracy, but to oversee repair of the weapon if it is required. Lastly, as can be seen by the ship's stats, the Great Axe fields a wide variety of weapons, 34 in total, making it a dedicated mobile weapons platform of formidable power and, with the included Tanu Accelerators, of maximum reach and the with ability to fire every round.

The Great Axe, being a space design, is intended to operate on its own for extended periods. To this aim, Otar included space aboard for an Advanced Basic Engineering room, a single huge mess hall, a room dedicated to Charts and navigation, and an external docking bay [1 Tanu Skate or room for similar small/tiny craft is in reserve in the cargo area at all times; if the captain desired, other Skates or similar small craft are simply lashed to the outer deck until needed]. There are two Helm rooms, one large and obvious near the Bridge holding the Dwarven Forge, and another secreted behind trapped secret doors deeper inside the craft. This room is where the Psionic Helm is mounted, to further foil takeover by hostile forces.  The psionic Helm also allows travel in the Phlo, something the forge-powered citadels cannot do.

A perusal of the construction stats shows more crew space than a ship of this size would normally have aboard. Under normal circumstances, the Great Axe carries a compliment of 220 {92 minimum for ship operation plus 118 marines and battle support}, but it is equipped for a full 356 men. While this would test both the ship's air and food/water capacity, it is intended only for troop/colonist transport or relatively short voyages where battle or invasion is expected. During normal operations the excess space is divided up for use as storage, thus dispersing the larder, weapons lockers, and such all over the ship so that a single hit to vital areas will not destroy all such supplies. Also, the mostly-dwarven crew do not take much with them in terms of personal effects, but do produce alot of stuff while the Forge Helm is in operation {and must stock raw materials as well for its use}. These dwarven works have to be put somewhere, so Otar allows the interior of his ship to become slowly adorned with all manner of baubles and artworks as the ship journeys through space. Sold off once the ship returns to port, the vessel essentially finances its own operation. One must also consider again that these are man-sized quarters, used by dwarves predominantly; dwarf and gnome crewmen consider them roomy. Only the Tanu and Humans aboard ever grumble about accomodations.

With the entire forward section of the Great Axe actually comprising the mechanisms for a huge grapple-ram, the true intent of King Otar's design becomes apparent; the vessel is actually a ship-taker. Although capable of blasting fleets of smaller ships to flinders in short order, the Great Axe is actually meant to increase Otar's fleet in Krynnspace through the grappling and capture of other ships. Whether he will be successful remains to be seen, as will whether or not the Elvish Outer Krynnspace fleet have anything to say about it.

As a space-design of this size, the Great Dwarven Axe is not intended to land; it is unable to land in water at all, and attempting to settle on land without the construction of a huge cradle first would be unwise. It is more likely that, if in need of damage or resupply, it would either send shuttlecraft, or dock at asteroid-like bases in space.