D&D General Monsters of Spelljammer (part 2)

Volume II.png

Monsters of Spelljammer (part 2)

Monsters of Spelljammer is a three part series intended to provide an overview of the many strange and unusual creatures found in the Spelljammer setting. Part one covered aartuk to gonnlingdaah. Part two covers gossamer to pyroserpent. The goal is to inspire those who may not be too familiar with the setting and provide some idea of the types of beings that might be encountered while spacefaring. This document does not provide detailed stats for any of these monsters; for those please refer back to the original source material or search for a 5th Edition conversion. A list of primary sources is provided at the end of this article.


Gossamers are tiny space jellyfish. Although they have stinging tentacles that secrete a nauseating paralytic poison, gossamers flee from anything larger than they are. They cannot survive outside the weightlessness of space; gravity causes them to rapidly collapse into pools of foul-smelling goo. Of more interest are the gossamer nobles, colonies up to 250 feet in diameter, made up of specialised organisms. Nobles have masses of rope-like tentacles which they will readily use in a fight. Gossamer nobles are a natural enemy of gammaroids. Gossamers can be found in MC9 and on 1993#170.​


Goon Balloon
The goon balloon is one of the new 5e Spelljammer monsters from MCV1. Goon balloons look like five-foot-diameter beach balls with two clawed feet and a number of lidless eyes on their surfaces. When encountered, they appear playful and harmless, but they are actually evil creatures who delight in the suffering of others. Goon balloons can emit kaleidoscopic beams of light from their eyes which shred the minds of their targets. Even in death, a goon balloon causes harm, emitting a cloud of noxious gas. Goon balloons are capable of speech using an orifice on the lower part of their bodies.​


Short stocky humanoids who prefer to stay out of the way of other species, gravs have unusually dense bodies and the ability to manipulate gravity. They are proficient miners, targeting uninhabited asteroids and moons for their activities. Gravs can wield weapons, but they are not confrontational and prefer to use their gravity-manipulating powers to incapacitate enemies by causing them to float. They have a hierarchical society with well-dressed elites overseeing the work of the shabbier mining majority. Gravs are detailed in MC9 and on 1993#225.​


A gravislayer is a 6-foot-diameter orb with scarred and pitted skin, and only a single large mouth visible. Gravislayers can manipulate gravity, causing an object within 150’ to become a gravity source. This typically causes the target to be crushed by a sudden flurry of falling debris, and the gravislayer then picks out the organic remains to eat. In typical 2nd Edition fashion there is an overly complicated set of tables to determine the number of nearby objects and the amount of damage each one will inflict when it falls. There is an intriguing mention that gravislayers may have been created by enemies of the reigar called “nebulords”. The gravislayer appeared in MC7 and on 1992#614.​


Great Dreamer
Gargantuan cetaceans, 10-20 miles in length, the great dreamers (MC9) are said to be responsible for the presence of whales and similar creatures on planets and in space. They share the trilateral symmetry of delphinids. Great dreamers travel from sphere to sphere visiting cetacean communities, taking with them an entourage of leviathans and delphinids enclosed in a giant bubble of airy water. Great dreamers are defended by their entourage but can create giant waterspouts or even bite if they have to. Rarely is this necessary, since these benevolent creatures exude an aura which catches up those nearby in the sheer beauty of the dreamers’ existence.​


Great Old Master
When a neogi becomes old and senile, his fellow neogi may decide to turn him into a great old master. They do this by all poisoning him at once. This causes the elder neogi’s system to overload and it transforms into an immobile swollen body much larger than an ordinary neogi. After two months, it bursts, releasing a brood of several dozen young neogi who eat their way out of the corpse. Great old masters were first detailed in SAiS 2e and also appeared in MM 2e, LoM, and MM2 3e. They are mentioned in VgtM, without a stat block.​


These large (28-foot wingspan) swans are used as mounts by spacefaring elves. They have the same nasty tempers as ordinary swans, and can attack with a beak strike or a wing buffet. Greatswans have been bred to require little air, and can survive for a whole day on one lungful. They eat green plants, and large numbers of insects, even poisonous ones, to which they are immune. Greatswans have excellent senses, and can usually detect even an invisible intruder. The elves do not allow greatswans to be taken beyond elven lands. Greatswans are detailed in MC9.​


Until MC9, the grell was a solitary dungeon dweller. Spelljammer gave grell a society and a back-story as alien explorers of the spheres. They carry lightning lances, communicate telepathically with each other, have spell casting philosophers, and a leader that grafts itself to the colony’s ship. Grell do not spelljam, instead they travel underneath space using a bizarre dimensional passage generated by their leader. Grell can be found in many places, including FF 1e, MM 2e, MM2 3e, LoM, MM 4e and MM 5e.​


Intelligent apes with copper-red fur and a penchant for kimonos and gear strapped to their limbs, grommam are a close-knit people who travel Wildspace in ships decorated with bright colours and wild designs. Grommam are deeply religious, and their gods (or demigods, relatively speaking) live with the grommam as their rulers and advisors. These ape-people are anti-magical, so any attempt to use magic items has a chance to malfunction. Grommam are detailed in MC7 and CGR1. Encounters with grommam are infrequent, but they can be found in many spheres, including Krynnspace, where they inhabit the moon Solinari and the Stellar Islands.​


Appearing in flocks of up to a hundred, gullions are large gulls (3 feet high) adapted for space. Gullions steal food and are generally considered a pest. They hitch rides with spacefarers, sleeping in a ship’s gravity plane when not begging for food. Gullions aren’t usually aggressive, but a starving flock might attack the crew of a spelljamming craft. Gullions can have a wide variety of colours, sometimes quite bright. Large flocks on planets can become tourist attractions. Innkeepers sometimes keep gullions as trash-disposing pets. They are detailed in MC9.​

Detailed (but unfortunately not illustrated) in SJR4, gyres are huge avians, native to the earth world Bodi. The torso of a gyre is rarely more than six feet long, but it has a wingspan of twenty feet or more. Gyres have green plumage and a grey-blue underside which makes them hard to see against the sky. Their general appearance is similar to that of a condor, and they hunt with a similar swooping attack, raking with sharp-taloned feet and biting with curved beaks. Fortunately, gyres usually hunt creatures smaller than human-sized. They can induce a magical fear in their targets from as far as 500 feet away. This usually causes a gyre’s prey to flee, making it easier to see and thus catch.​


Hadozee (also known as a Deck Ape)
Hadozee are ape-like humanoids, standing slightly taller than a typical human. Dextrous and hard-working, hadozee are often hired as mercenary crews on spellamming craft. They have wing-like membranes of skin attached to their arms that they can use to glide, and they have mastered the use of a ship’s gravity plane to manoeuvre during ship-to-ship combat. The hadozee have been allies of the elves since the time of the Unhuman Wars. Hadozee appeared in MC7 and CGR1, on 1992#497 and in SW for 3e. In UA:TotM the hadozee are a playable race with the ability to glide, climb and use objects as a bonus action.​


When a follower of the elemental gods dies on the elemental Plane of Fire, a helian may be formed. The helian has none of the memories, but retains the knowledge and wisdom of its former life. Attached to a quasi-metallic bone structure is a muscled humanoid body made entirely of living flame. Helians fled persecution by efreeti on the Plane of Fire and now dwell in suns. Their history of persecution causes them to preemptively attack anyone who might threaten them, which they do using powerful fireballs, heated fists and fiery hugs. Helians are detailed in SJR2.​

Helots are mentioned in both the lakshu and reigar entries in MC7, but don’t get their own entry as a monster, leaving their nature somewhat mysterious. They are golem-like versions of other creatures that can be “called” by the lakshu and reigar. They lack any special abilities of their organic counterparts, but they have the same attacks and slightly more hit points. Helots are immune to sleep and charm spells. The text implies that helots can be humanoids, since they serve as crew on esthetics, alongside those who call them into existence.​


Hive Mother (also known as an Ultimate Tyrant or an Ultimate)
Twice the size of a normal beholder, and with eyes directly embedded in its skull rather than on eye stalks, a hive mother has all the powers of a normal beholder, but is also able to directly control up to twenty other beholders or beholder-kin using a form of telepathy. Hive mothers are also often the controllers of the beholders’ tyrant ships. Despite their name—initially given to them by a group of matriarchal elves—hive mothers are asexual like all beholders. Beholders call hive mothers kawahak kru which means “spawner-boss”. First appearing in SAiS 2e, hive mothers are also covered in MM 2e and IT. A 3e version appears in LoM.​


Found on the air planet Alabeth, these living dirigibles are so huge that the largest ones have colonies of Alabeth elves and other creatures living on their upper surfaces. A newly born holbag is 250 yards across and they can reach up to 10 miles in diameter. A holbag has a ring of long spines protruding from its widest portion, and a cluster of shorter tendrils dangling from its tapered end. They have no eyes but can sense pressure changes and possibly the electrical fields generated by living things. Holbags are nearly impossible to hurt, and regenerate any damage they do take, but they have one natural enemy in the form of sky scavvers. They defend themselves against these predators by firing powerful lightning bolts which unerringly strike their targets. Holbags move slowly, but are capable of ramming ships. They are found in SJR4.​

Hoo-hah Bird
Noisy, black birds that are not aggressive unless cornered or nesting, hoo-hah birds are named after their distinctive “Hoo-Hah! Hoo-Hah!” alarm shriek. They are found on Revular’s Island, a huge spelljamming asteroid operated by the syllix (Du71). This Island is currently pretending to be an island on a planet, and the hoo-hah birds signal loudly whenever anything not native to the island is detected. Hoo-haa bird meat is unpalatable to most humanoids. If they are forced to attack, hoo-hah birds tend to target the noses of their attackers.​


Mysterious, silent winged humanoids found in the asteroid belt of Greyspace (SJR6), horgs are aggressive and very dangerous foes. They have a ring of seven eyes, and an iris-like mouth on the top of their heads. Horgs attack using the long curved talons on their wingtips and by biting. They secrete a corrosive liquid which inflicts additional damage. Horgs have dry, dusty, black skin which builds up in layers to protect vital areas of their bodies. They can rapidly phase in and out of the Ethereal Plane and use this extremely effectively in combat. Horgs do not consume the creatures they kill. When a horg dies it phases out to an as-yet unknown plane, so almost nothing is known about their physiology.​


Six inches long, hummerflies are docile, friendly insects, useful as both a communications tool and as an air freshener, thanks to their vanilla-scented body odour. They consume sound waves, and store them temporarily while sleeping. Hummerflies don’t voluntarily move more than 100 yards from their nests. They are capable of teleporting an unlimited distance, but need to already be moving rapidly to do this. One taken from its home can thus be given a message and then released to take that message back to someone nearby its nest. Hummerflies can be found in SJQ1.​


Hurwaet (also known as a Wiggle)
The hurwaeti were once a great spacefaring people, but an ancient war reduced them to tribes of wanderers. Huwaeti have gnome-like faces and scaly, dark green, glossy hides. They have frog-like legs which make them excellent jumpers. Hurwaeti are able to summon a fog cloud once per day, making them invaluable crew on a ship where air is limited. They are relatively long-lived with lifespans of up to 300 years. Some hurwaeti have degenerated into subspecies known as swamp wiggles and salt wiggles. Swamp wiggles are tribal hunters who favour marshlands and bogs for their homes. Salt wiggles are a larger, more aggressive subspecies found in temperate oceans and coasts. Huwaeti are detailed in MC7 and CGR1.​


Illithid (also known as a Mind Flayer)
Mind flayers are a major Spelljammer race, and their nautiloid ships are perhaps the most iconic of all spelljamming craft. Spacefaring illithids have replaced the urge to “hunt and dominate” with an urge to “trade and dominate”. Mind flayers who interact regularly with sentient races go to some effort to appear less threatening, for example by limiting their diets to the brains of their trading partners’ enemies. Mind flayers have appeared in the Monster Manual (or equivalent) in every edition, as well as in TI and LoM.​

Imbuls are one of many lizard residents of the earth world Falx (SJR4), also known as the “planet of the tarrasques”. An imbul is similar to an iguana, grey to dark brown in colour. It has a poisonous bite and a regurgitation attack that produces a cloud of noxious mist from the creature’s internal fluids. This attack harms the imbul, so it will only use it in an emergency. Imbuls are solitary predators but during mating season female imbuls become aggressive and will challenge anything that moves, including—usually fatally—one of the many tarrasques roaming the surface of the planet. Although they are omnivorous and capable of surviving on carpet mosses if they must, imbuls delight in preying on animals smaller than themselves.​


Shadowspace, as detailed in SJQ1 has an unusual configuration, including a pyramid-shaped sun with an entire world (Myyn) on the inside. The main inhabitants of this world are the inaii. Inaii are very similar to pegasi, but they are not as intelligent and are lazy, self-indulgent and naive. They are obsessed with cleanliness, and bathe in Myyn’s lakes for hours. They worship Utok (a deceased god), but are lazy about that too.​


Found on fire-based worlds or in volcanic vents, infernites are intelligent humanoids with fluid bodies made of fire, molten rock and metal. They have a rigid societal structure and usually only engage in combat in groups of at least five. They are able to use weapons made of high melting point metals, but can also use chunks of burning mass taken from their own bodies as missiles. A relatively high proportion of infernites (one in six) is a mage, and both mages and leaders are able to commandeer the infernites’ large metallic spelljamming craft. They reproduce using fission, usually every four months, but faster when there is a need. Infernites are found in Dr159.​


Infinity Vine
An infinity vine is a bright green plant which has occasional small blue flowers, but no leaves. It is considered a hazard because of its extremely rapid rate of growth. In most wildspace environments, it grows ten cubic feet per round, converting air into plant mass. Fire, acid, cold and darkness either destroy an infinity vine or restrict its growth. It also cannot survive on a planetary body larger than 100 miles in diameter and will quickly wither away entirely if taken to a high gravity environment. The infinity vine comes from MC7.​


The insectare are a race of manipulative humanoids, possibly the result of a magical interbreeding of elves and insects. They prefer to work behind the scenes to achieve their goals. They have slightly multifaceted eyes, green skin, a chitinous exoskeleton which serves as armour, and two long antennae which they can use as whip-like weapons as well as to communicate with each other. Insectare usually hide these features under a hooded robe and remain at a distance from others. Insectare society consists of priests, who generally remain on their insular homeworld, and wizards, who explore Wildspace, seeking magical knowledge and power that will benefit the insectare race. Originally detailed in MC9, the insectare appeared in Dr339 as a playable race for 3e.​


Faeriespace is a crystal sphere dominated by an immense tree that supports the system’s planets and suns on its branches (SJA3). The isopterites are a race of bipedal termite-like creatures, whose extensive tunnelling threatens this tree and the whole of Faeriespace. Isopterites have a hive mentality and a limited form of telepathy. Although they aren’t generally aggressive, isopterites will fight to defend their lair and their large, immobile, egg-laying queen. In combat, they are fast, attacking with their bony limbs and a powerful acid squirt that burns and blinds.​


Jade Spider
“Jade spider” is both a type of spelljamming ship constructed by the drow and a mechanical spider often found on board these craft. The mechanical spider is a 15-foot high creature carved out of stone and magically-treated jade. Jade spiders are fearless guardians, attacking with legs and mandibles. They are also found in drow cities, and were first printed in FOR2. They are mentioned in WCC. A 3e version can be found in CotSQ and a 5e version in OotA.​


Jammer Leech
Tiny leech spores float in the vacuum of space. They attach themselves to the hulls of passing craft, close to the spelljamming helm. The spores begin to grow shells of the same colour as the hull, making them hard to detect. The shell is attached by an incredibly strong purple-coloured glue. Eventually, the spores grow into jammer leeches. The leeches syphons off spells from whomever is powering the helm, and use these at random to defend themselves if attacked. The waterproof, fireproof glue produced by the leeches is highly prized. Jammer leeches are found in MC7 and on 1992#615.​


The k’r’r’r are a race of human-sized, sentient spiders that stand upright on their lower legs. They did not originate on a planet but developed in the void. This colours their thinking, and has given them a belief that they are superior to all groundling races, and that it is their right to colonise and exploit the rest of the universe. K’r’r’r build modular ships that they can link together to form much larger craft. They generally wield polearms and other piercing weapons. K’r’r’r priests worship the Wise Queen, a goddess with disturbing similarities to Lolth.. Although k’r’r’r are carnivorous they do not need to eat often. More information on the k’r’r’r can be found in LoS.​


The beholder equivalent of mummy rot creates creatures known as kasharin. Their eye stalks wither and decay, leaving them with only a functioning central eye. This eye acts as a powerful charm person spell to creatures susceptible to charm, and as an equally powerful death ray to those that are not. Kasharin are extremely contagious. Contact with another beholder always infects that beholder with the disease. Contact with any other creature is likely to infect that creature with a disfiguring rotting disease that is fatal within months. Kasharin are detailed in LoS, MM 2e, IT and on 1992#491.​


Kindori (also known as a Space Whale)
Gargantuan space whales, kindori are generally peaceful creatures, except during mating seasons when anything approaching the gathering herd will be battered to pieces by the kindori’s tails. Kindori absorb sunlight using white patches on their bellies, and store this energy. They can discharge some of it as a blinding ray if they need to defend themselves. Kindori can be domesticated, and races that have not yet gained spelljamming technologies will sometimes use them for short-range space travel. Kindori are from SAiS 2e.​


Like jammer leeches, krajen start life as spores and progress to barnacles. They absorb nutrients from whatever surface they are attached to, and eventually detach and grow into their multi-tentacled adult forms. Reaching forty feet or more in length, krajen attack anything they can reach with their huge central tentacle, and use their smaller ring of tentacles to paralyse targets. There are rumours of a race of barbaric humans who use krajen tamed with alchemical mixtures to menace shipping. Krajen first appeared in SAiS 2e.​


The lakshu are a race of muscular, green-haired warriors who serve as bodyguards and shock troops for the reigar. They reproduce by pathogenesis, so all have a nearly identical appearance. However, they are fond of tattoos and body paint, which distinguish individuals. Lakshu are skilled warriors, each proficient in their weapon of choice. Like the reigar, they use shaktis, magical statuettes that can transform into either a mode of transport or a suit of armour and a weapon. Lakshu featured in MC7, on 1993#171 and in the adventure An Artist’s Errand in Du45.​


Made from living, semi-molten rock, lavaworms are usually five feet long, but can grow to thirty feet. They are dull brown or red in colour with large mouths at either end. Both maws are lined with sharp, needle-like teeth and have an accompanying pair of eyes. Lavaworms attack any creatures cooler than they are with their incredibly hot bites. They can also release occasional clouds of sulphuric gas. When the time comes for lavaworms to lay eggs, they do so on other hot creatures; the hatchlings then burrow into and consume their host. Lavaworms are found in SJR2.​


Certainly one of the most unusual of the beholder-kin variants, a lensman has a single eye and toothy mouth in the middle of a starfish-shaped, simian body. It has a prehensile tentacle attached to the top of its body, and four other limbs with clawed hands. Lensmen have low intelligence and serve as shock troops and lackeys for other beholders. They use tools and weapons (usually polearms) stored in a webbing worn as clothing. A lensman’s central eye has a single power, which varies between individuals. Lensman appeared in MC7, MM 2e and IT.​


Lhee are winged canines with humanoid hands in place of front paws. They enjoy many of the same things as dogs, such as racing vehicles, eating almost anything, and chewing wizards’ staves and other stick-like objects. Lhee are inveterate pranksters, and can cast a small number of spells to facilitate their jokes. The smallest type of lhee are also the most aggressive and their pranks are often violent. Larger lhee tend to play more innocent tricks, while the largest are also the most friendly, playing with others as often as playing tricks on others. Lhee are covered in MC9.​


The first spacefaring lizardfolk were likely slaves of other races, but over time, spaceborn lizardfolk became independent and more civilised than their ground-dwelling ancestors. The lizardfolk of the Spelljammer setting believe that their improved intelligence is a result of being born closer to the sun, and their society is dedicated to this goal. Incubator ships exist specifically to transport lizardfolk eggs to more beneficial hatching locations. Lizardfolk can be found in the Monster Manuals (or equivalent) of all editions. SAiS 2e and CGR1 provide information on how spacefarers differ. The accompanying illustration is of Staan of the Way from 1993#321.​


These gargantuan creatures are found only in the flow, and their cells are filled with phlogiston. They seek out portals to crystal spheres and cover them with their sheet-like bodies. Any ships using these portals pass through the lumineaux, who feed on the memories of the crews. This feeding causes the targets to lose levels, but this is a temporary loss, with the memories gradually returning over the next few days. Although they are not dangerous unless attacked, limineaux sometimes attract scavengers seeking to prey on those they have drained. Lumineaux are found in MC7.​


Lutum (also known as a Mud-Woman)
In their natural form, lutum are amorphous blobs of pale brown clay. They can sculpt themselves into other forms, and particularly enjoy taking on the form of humanoid females. They frequently pretend to be spellcasters to better mask their own spell-like abilities. Lutums are greedy, seeking to gather magic and wealth. If it becomes necessary to attack someone, a common tactic is to try to take a target by surprise and then smother or pummel them to death. Lutums eat rocks and minerals, and occasionally reproduce asexually by splitting in half. They can be found in MC7.​


When a crystal sphere has “stars” on its inside surface, a few of these stars may be MagiStars, gargantuan masses of raw magical energy. There can be no more than one MagiStar per school of magic in any one sphere, and each one can cast spells from, and has a personality based on, a single school; MagiStars can create magical flares that push away unwanted visitors. They can function as portals into the phlogiston from a sphere, and may be telepathically bargained with to provide safe passage. They are detailed in P55.​


Mercane (also known as an Arcane)
These tall, lanky, blue-skinned humanoids have elongated faces and long fingers with extra joints. They are consummate traders of spelljamming equipment and other magic items. Mercane can communicate telepathically and become invisible or cast dimension door as a defensive mechanism. They are nomadic, and prefer opulent accommodation wherever they settle down to trade, usually accompanied by hired bodyguards. Little is known about mercane culture and history and no young mercane have ever been sighted, so their method of reproduction is a mystery. They can be found in SAiS 2e, MM 2e and PMCA2 (as Arcane), and in MotP 3e and ELH (as Mercane).​


Mercurial Slime
A mercurial slime looks like a large blob of mercury hanging in space. Sometimes several will be encountered together. Mindless creatures, but attracted by light and sound, they seek to dissolve and absorb whatever they touch. Once a slime has absorbed enough, it splits into two. The surface of a slime reflects starlight in mesmerising patterns that can hypnotise an observer. The slime also absorbs some starlight and converts this into motile energy. Fortunately, mercurial slimes cannot land on planets; since gravity dissipates them into a mist. They first appeared in MC9.​


Constructed from any of a variety of metals, a metagolem is much more intelligent than most golems. A metagolem speaks and can be an amiable companion and even join adventuring parties, but it remains constantly committed to whatever primary objective was instilled by its creator, so it will turn on its companions when its instructions conflict with the group’s goals. A metagolem can cast a limited range of spells, but generally prefers to rely on its fists. A metagolem needs to recharge from time to time by absorbing lightning. Metagolems appeared in Dr159, Du36 and MCA1.​


In the Spelljammer setting, meteors (or at least some of them) are created by meteorspawn, globes at least a hundred feet in diameter. Meteorspawn eat rocks and minerals using a large central mouth, crush them using high pressures the equivalent of disintegration and then expel the undigested remnants at high speed through two smaller side orifices, creating meteors. A meteorspawn is unintelligent and unaggressive, but is capable of defending itself with its high velocity excrement if necessary. More information on meteorspawn can be found in MC9.​


These unusual entities exist in different dimensions to other creatures. This makes them hard to detect and entirely immune to anything except magic. Misi can be seen on rare occasions as rainbow-coloured scintillations, usually in the vicinity of spelljammer ships, where they feed on magical emanations. They have no physical attacks, but interfere with spell casting and spelljamming activities. The more misi are present, the more likely it is that their interference will be fatal, either killing the spellcaster or causing a ship to explode. They are detailed in MC7.​


Mithril Dragon
These dragons appear to be unique to the world of Radole (SJR4), where they spend all of their time soaring in thermals emanating from the semi-molten surface of the planet. As far as anyone can tell, mithril dragons spend their entire lives in the air, possibly even mating and carrying their eggs aloft. They have a sense of humour and love wordplay and puns. Mithril dragons are not aggressive and will attack with their spells and breath weapons only if their mates or eggs are threatened. They have a unique breath weapon: a beam of radiation against which no immunities offer protection. Mithril dragons have reflective scales, similar in colour to the metal which gives them their name.​


Depending on where they are encountered, monitors (from MC9) have two different forms. In the phlogiston they are silver-skinned pegasi with blue eyes and manes, and a cone of cold breath weapon. Elsewhere they manifest as gold-skinned, winged centaurs wielding flame tongue swords. Monitors are lawful good in the extreme and seek to enforce their code of behaviour on all other beings. Good races tolerate their extreme views only because they fight evil. When a monitor dies, it gives off a final distress call which signals all other monitors in the same crystal sphere.​


Moon Dragon
Moon dragons vary in colour from brilliant white to jet black during the course of a month, mirroring the phases of a moon. When white, they can trigger a change in lycanthropes, who will then obey them as if charmed. They are arrogant and elitist, and always evil, but vary between chaotic evil and lawful evil depending on their colour. A moon dragon doesn’t like lowering itself to combat, and prefers to use its spells or breath weapon, a cone of black ice that damages and encases opponents. They are only found inhabiting caves on moons. Moon dragons appear in MC9 and on 1992#531.​


Capable of burrowing through wood and rock as if it were soil, mortiss are worms from two inches to six feet in size. They absorb light to gain their magical burrowing ability. Mortiss convert the materials they consume while burrowing into complex coral-like structures. These stone-like tubules are often the first sign that a ship has a mortiss infestation. Mortiss have a ring of feathery tendrils, a poisonous stinger and a pair of bloodsucking jaws. A sting from the head spines can cause severe delusions for several hours. Mortiss cannot survive for more than a month in the gravity planes of moons or planets. They are featured in MC7 and in The Mortiss Ship in SJR8.​


Murderoid (also known as Murder Comets)
These aggressive rock creatures are gargantuan in size, usually at least 100 miles in length. Murderoids live to eat and roam wildspace hunting for anything smaller than themselves to consume. They wear the remnants of ships they have destroyed on their surfaces as trophies. Murderoids communicate with each other by changing the colours of their skins. A murderoid uses a version of hallucinatory terrain to make its surface look appealing to passers by, and then uses stone shape to trap its victims before opening up a mouth on its surface to gobble them up. Murderiods are found in MC7.​


These strange creatures (from MC7) are unintelligent, huge, floating stomachs primarily found in the phlogiston but occasionally within crystal spheres. Anything they encounter that is small enough to fit in their maw is swallowed. This swallowing process isn’t harmful but attempts to escape from inside a nay-churr can be. Attacking the inside of the stomach causes the creature to convulse violently and doing enough damage to kill the nay-churr causes it to explode forcefully. The best way to rescue a swallowed companion is to strike the nay-churr on its sensitive maw, which causes it to vomit.​


Arachnids with eel-like heads, the neogi are mind-controlling slavers who use umber hulks as servants. They are the race that everyone loves to hate. Neogi have no allies among the spacefaring races; even the other evil races despise them. SAiS 2e specifies that the neogi are solely a spacefaring race and that they have no viable colonies on any planets, yet no Spelljammer creature has gained more traction as a general D&D monster. The neogi later appeared in MM2 3e, MM2 4e, and most recently in MotM. It received a whole chapter in LoM and it is one of only a handful of monsters to get two different Ecology articles in Dragon magazine, eighteen years apart in Dr214 and Dr427.​


Nightmare Beast
The nightmare beast was an unexpected inclusion in MCV1. While it had previously appeared in MC2 3e it was not originally a Spelljammer creature but instead comes from MC12, a Dark Sun accessory. It is a gargantuan quadruped with long, curved tusks. Nightmare beasts have purple skin and red eyes. They are created by powerful spellcasters to serve as living siege engines. A nightmare beast destroys anything in its path using its claws, tusks and deadly disintegration gaze. It is also capable of teleporting twice per day. The beast had a much wider array of psionic and/or spell-like powers in its original 2e and later 3e versions.​


Residents of the comets that occur naturally in crystal spheres, the oortlings once had an advanced culture capable of constructing great ice palaces on the cometary homes. Unfortunately, their evolution was interrupted by mind flayers, who have utterly dominated them and now farm them as cattle. Physically, oortlings have overdeveloped brains. Their brain fluid is reputed to be a useful component for magic items dealing with telepathy, but oortlings themselves display no special mental abilities. The oortling first appeared in P55 and was reprinted in SJR2.​


An orbus is a specialised form of beholder that serves as a living spelljamming helm, funnelling the magical energies of other beholders into motive force. It was likely genetically bred by its beholder relatives, but could also be a stunted, immature form of beholder. An orbus is unintelligent, and its eyestalks do not function. Its central eye still has anti-magic properties, but it is milky white in colour, as is the beholder’s skin. Other than this central eye, the orbus is completely defenceless. The orbus is described in SAiS 2e and MM 2e.​


In the hierarchy of beholder races, overseers are second only to hive mothers. They have a unique appearance, resembling a fifteen-foot high, fleshy tree with thirteen limbs, each of which ends in an eye. Three mouths surround a central spine and eight additional vine-like tentacles are used to grip objects. In addition to a variety of powerful eye powers, overseers can use their viney limbs to wield weapons. Overseers cannot levitate but can move slowly using small “roots” when they need to. They grow a furry fungus on their bodies which changes colour as the overseer desires. First appearing in MC7, overseers are also described in MM 2e, IT and were updated to 3e in LoM. According to these later sources, an overseer can control a number of other beholders, much like a hive mother does.​


Phlog-crawlers are voracious, mindless clouds seemingly made of phlogiston. They are found in both the phlogiston and Wildspace and have eight writhing appendages which give them a spider-like appearance. They attack anything they encounter and feed by draining life energy. This manifests as a gradual loss of strength until the target dies. Phlog-crawlers cannot be harmed by normal weapons, and even magical weapons do minimal damage. Fire destroys them in a blast that also harms others in the vicinity. Spells can harm a phlog-crawler but also affect anyone that it is currently in contact with. Phlog-crawlers appeared in MC7 and in A Breath of Fresh Air in SJR8.​

These passive animals look like furry, two-foot tall kangaroos with pig faces. Pigalopes are found on Revular’s Island, a huge spelljamming asteroid operated by the syllix, but the pigalopes did not originate there. They eat underbrush and roots, and can be farmed for their turkey-like meat and tough, wiry hides. If attacked, they squeal loudly and try to flee. Pigalopes are described in the Wildspawn adventure in Du71.​


Pirate of Gith
A lesser known branch of the race that spawned the githyanki and the githzerai, the pirates of Gith fled to arcane space once they were freed from the slavery of the illithids. Tall and emaciated to the point of appearing skeletal, pirates of Gith are usually encountered as a group of 20-40 crewing a ship. Such crews constantly quest for better ships, in particular elven-made craft. All pirates of Gith are able to use the spells astral plane, plane shift and ESP three times per day. A Gith pirate at the helm of an elven-made ship can use these abilities to move the entire ship to the Astral Plane! Pirates of Gith are found in MC7, MM 2e, on 1993#291 and in Pirates of the Shattered Forge in SJR8.​


Small humanoids supposedly related to imps or gremlins, the plainsjan are native to deserts of Anadia in Realmspace (SJR2). Some specimens have reportedly been seen in the deserts of Toril. Plainsjan always hunt in numbers and primarily consume Anadian umber hulks. They attack with a toxic bite that temporarily drains strength, dexterity, wisdom and intelligence, and sharp claws which inflict wounds that continue to bleed. For some reason, the offspring of plainjan are always twins or sets of twins. Each pair of twins remains together throughout their lives.​


Standing twice as tall as a human, plasmen are tormented constructs conjured from the elemental Planes Fire and Earth. An intense heat burns from within a plasman. It is humanoid in shape with a skin of white-hot coals. Its dual nature gives it an inner turmoil that makes it furiously destructive, attacking anything, including its deranged creator, with flaming fists and blasts of intense heat. Although they usually burn out within a few days of being created, plasmen who reach a fire-based world can survive indefinitely. Plasmen appeared in MC7 and on 1992#616.​


When they first appeared in MC7, the plasmoids were split into three types: DeGleash, DelNoric and Ontalak. A DelNoric plasmoid has a stiff leathery hide, while an Ontalak is a much larger, ship-sized organism. The 5e playable race in UA:TotM is closest to the 2e DeGleash plasmoid. Medium-sized, amorphous beings, plasmoids can manipulate weapons and tools and can stiffen their outer shells in order to wear clothes. They don’t have internal organs, and consume food through osmosis, and oxygen through pores. They speak by forcing air out of tubular cavities. Plasmoids do need sleep; when they sleep, they lose their structure and spread out in a shapeless blob.​


Portons are unique to the skies of the air world Gnibile in Greyspace (SJR6). As much a phenomenon as it is a creature, a porton is a disk of shimmering light some 100 feet in diameter. It cannot be harmed by physical attacks or spells that cause physical damage. It can be damaged using energy spells, but it has some magic resistance even to those. Portons have some connection to the negative energy planes. They can shoot damaging beams of impenetrably dark “lightning” and anything coming into direct contact with one is immediately gated to a random negative quasi-elemental plane.​


Inside spheres of swirling colours, gnome-like humanoids known as pristatics sit, floating through the phlogiston, absorbing the innate magic of the flow as sustenance. Pristatics are averse to combat but can defend themselves by activating the coloured layers of their spheres much like a prismatic sphere spell. One origin story for the pristatic is that the first one was the hapless gnome apprentice of a mage attempting (and failing) to mix teleport and prismatic sphere spells. Another theory is that the pristatic is a being native to the phlogiston. The pristatic first appeared in MC9.​


The puffer (from MC7) has an unusual life-cycle. For most of its life, it is a large featureless balloon, floating through space. It moves by exhaling small amounts of air, until it eventually manages to land on an asteroid or a ship. The balloon then immediately transforms into a crocodile with a scorpion tail. It is now a lethal killer, with a terrifying bite and a sting that delivers an oft fatal poison. It lays eggs in the bodies of those it kills before returning to space to die. Small puffers hatch, consume the bodies and hunt for a fresh meal. Once they have eaten, the puffers gradually inflate themselves into balloon form and float off into space. These odd creatures can be found in MC7.​


Puppeteer Parasite
Tiny aberrations capable of hovering in the air, puppeteer parasites are rubbery amoeba-shaped creatures the size of a dinner plate. Puppeteers are lined with bony hooks on one side. Once one comes into contact with a humanoid, it latches on and uses a psionic suggestion to control its new host. The puppeteer is able to drain life from its thrall to heal itself. It can communicate with nearby creatures using telepathy. The 5e puppeteer parasite is from MCV1, based on the 3e version found in PsiH and EPH. The original puppeteer was smaller, and much squishier. It had a greater degree of control over its host, often playing a role as a hidden master.​


Flocks of up to a dozen fifteen-foot long serpents float through the phlogiston with scales that mimic the rainbow colours of the flow. A pyroserpent (from SJA3) can release spores when it bites. The spores grow inside a living host, gradually absorbing constitution and strength until the host dies and young serpents emerge. Pyroserpents burst into flame when they die, usually igniting the phlogiston. If removed from the phlogiston, a pyroserpent soon perishes. The skin and blood of a pyrosepent are of interest to alchemists and their bodies to connoisseurs of exotic meats.​

Monsters of Spelljammer (part 3) will continue with Q’nidar

1991 Trading Cards​
1992 Trading Cards​
1993 Trading Cards​
Astromundi Cluster, The​
Secrets of the Lamp​
Complete Spacefarer’s Handbook, The​
City of the Spider Queen​
Dragon #159​
Dragon #214​
Dragon #339​
Dragon #350​
Dragon #427​
Dungeon #34​
Dungeon #36​
Dungeon #45​
Dungeon #63​
Dungeon #71​
Dungeon #155​
Epic Level Handbook​
Expanded Psionics Handbook​
Fiend Folio (1e)​
Drow of the Underdark, The (2e)​
Monstrous Arcana: I, Tyrant​
Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations​
Legend of Spelljammer, The​
Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix​
Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix II​
Monstrous Compendium Dark Sun Appendix: Terrors of the Desert​
Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One​
Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Four​
Monstrous Compendium Volume One: Spelljammer Creatures​
MM 1e​
Monster Manual (1st Edition)​
MM 2e​
Monstrous Manual​
MM 3e​
Monster Manual (3rd or 3.5 Edition)​
MM 4e​
Monster Manual (4th Edition)​
MM 5e​
Monster Manual (5th Edition)​
MM2 1e​
Monster Manual II (1st Edition)​
MM2 3e​
Monster Manual II (3rd Edition)​
MM2 4e​
Monster Manual 2 (4th Edition)​
Monsters of Faerûn​
Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse​
MotP 3e​
Manual of the Planes (3rd Edition)​
Out of the Abyss​
Polyhedron #55​
Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II​
Player’s Option: Skills and Powers​
Psionics Handbook​
SAiS 2e​
Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space​
SAiS 5e​
Spelljammer: Adventures in Space​
Skull & Crossbow​
Crystal Spheres​
Under the Dark Fist​
Heart of the Enemy​
Lost Ships​
Practical Planetology​
Space Lairs​
Goblin's Return​
Savage Species​
Stormwrack: Mastering the Perils of Wind and Wave​
Monstrous Arcana: The Illithiad​
Unearthed Arcana: Travelers of the Multiverse​
Volo’s Guide to Monsters​
War Captain’s Companion​
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad


I suspect the Goon Balloon may be an update of the Gorbel, but I can't prove it.

It might be interesting to tie the Helian in with the Azer (especially considering the Azer's 4E lore as transformed dwarves).

There's something wonderfully wrong about the Lensman.

Moon dragons being able to control lycanthropes is an unexpected and neat twist.

Nay-churr somehow make me think of Dune's sandworms.

I don't know why, but I always thought the Plasman was especially cool.


Man that's a lot of beholders. With my love for the grumpy eyeball weirdos, I'm surprised that I never played Spelljammer back in the day.

The lakshu are a race of muscular, green-haired warriors who serve as bodyguards and shock troops for the reigar. They reproduce by pathogenesis, so all have a nearly identical appearance. However, they are fond of tattoos and body paint, which distinguish individuals. Lakshu are skilled warriors, each proficient in their weapon of choice. Like the reigar, they use shaktis, magical statuettes that can transform into either a mode of transport or a suit of armour and a weapon. Lakshu featured in MC7, on 1993#171 and in the adventure An Artist’s Errand in Du45.
The Lakshu and Reigar win for the simple fact that the Shaktis can simply let you have this in your Spelljammer/DND sessions.



Shirokinukatsukami fan
I suspect the Goon Balloon may be an update of the Gorbel, but I can't prove it.
Goon Balloons are the alien creature from Dark Star.
I did take a look at the gorbel, and while it also has a spherical body filled with floating gas, the gorbel is filled with explosive rather than poisonous gas, it has eye stalks stalks rather than inset eyes, and quite different behaviour. If the goon balloon was inspired by the gorbel, which is quite possible, I'd love to see someone from WotC mentioning that somewhere.

The goon balloon looks much more like that (seemingly nameless?) Dark Star alien. I'm not familiar with that movie. What does the alien do, does its behaviour match that of the goon balloon?


  • Gorbel.jpg
    91.2 KB · Views: 12
  • Dark Star alien.jpg
    Dark Star alien.jpg
    5.7 KB · Views: 12


Great Old One- I wonder if we will see a rewrite, here. Typically when a group of organisms stab an organism for the purpose of reproduction, that fluid isn't... poison. Either that, or it has some rather lurid implications for PC's poisoned by neogi...

Mercane- I have always known them as Arcane until my current GM introduced them into his game as Mercane. I thought it was his own pet name for the race, which is much better than Arcane, IMO.

Isopterite- Don't you look so cute in your Halloween costume!


Autistic DM (he/him)
Great Old One- I wonder if we will see a rewrite, here. Typically when a group of organisms stab an organism for the purpose of reproduction, that fluid isn't... poison. Either that, or it has some rather lurid implications for PC's poisoned by neogi...
The lore is the same in 5e. This is from Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse:
A neogi lives about a century. When an individual is rendered weak by advanced age, the other neogi in the group overpower it and inject it with a special poison. The toxin transforms the old neogi into a bloated mass of flesh. Younger neogi lay their eggs atop it, and when the hatchlings emerge, they devour the old neogi and one another until only a few of the strongest newborns are left. The surviving neogi hatchlings begin their lives under the control of adult neogi. They must learn about their society and earn a place in it, and each one starts its training by gaining mastery over an umber hulk.
They're aberrations, so their reproductive cycle being different from Earth animals is justified. Especially when there are parasitic creatures in the real world that act similarly.

Even though I know which ones they are, I feel that if a Spelljammer monster has it's origins in Star Frontiers it should probably be pointed out. That covers Hadozee/Yazirians, Rastipedes/Vrusks, Plasmoids/Dralasites and Syllix/Sathar.
Also relevant is that the Hadozee appeared in Dragonlance before Spelljammer, where they are known as the Shadowpeople. It was a bold yet subtle artistic decision to include a Star Frontiers creature in a romantic fantasy world which otherwise had no sci-fi elements.


The lore is the same in 5e. This is from Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse:
I note some slight differences, though. The eggs are produced by the Great Old Master in the original, making it something like an insect queen. In MOM, The old neogi is turned into a "bloated mass of flesh" and eggs are laid on top of it, which is later consumed by the newborn Neogi.

The lore is the same in 5e. This is from Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse:

They're aberrations, so their reproductive cycle being different from Earth animals is justified. Especially when there are parasitic creatures in the real world that act similarly.


It's also worth mentioning that just because a parasite causes disease in an organism doesn't mean it can reproduce using that organism as a host--there are lots of pathogenic parasites where the human (or other animal) is a dead-end host. Sort of a lose-lose situation. That might be what's happening with PCs affected by neogi poison.

Or, maybe you need a neogi soul to breed neogi. Nobody says biology works the same way in D&D-land.


Shirokinukatsukami fan
Also relevant is that the Hadozee appeared in Dragonlance before Spelljammer, where they are known as the Shadowpeople. It was a bold yet subtle artistic decision to include a Star Frontiers creature in a romantic fantasy world which otherwise had no sci-fi elements.
Neat. Until now, I hadn't noticed that shadowpeople were the same as hadozee! Do you maybe have a specific citation for them being imported from Star Frontiers into DL9: Dragons of Deceit, or are you just (quite reasonably) assuming that because they are physically identical in appearance?

Neat. Until now, I hadn't noticed that shadowpeople were the same as hadozee! Do you maybe have a specific citation for them being imported from Star Frontiers into DL9: Dragons of Deceit, or are you just (quite reasonably) assuming that because they are physically identical in appearance?
Its by Doug Niles, which makes a sci fi easter egg seem more likely than if it had been Hickman.

Neat. Until now, I hadn't noticed that shadowpeople were the same as hadozee! Do you maybe have a specific citation for them being imported from Star Frontiers into DL9: Dragons of Deceit, or are you just (quite reasonably) assuming that because they are physically identical in appearance?
I don’t have citation off hand, but I remember reading about it years ago. I don’t remember if it was an official source or amateur explanation. Maybe the Dragonlance Nexus folks would know, or Dragonlance Piazza.



Goon Balloon
The goon balloon is one of the new 5e Spelljammer monsters from MCV1. Goon balloons look like five-foot-diameter beach balls with two clawed feet and a number of lidless eyes on their surfaces. When encountered, they appear playful and harmless, but they are actually evil creatures who delight in the suffering of others. Goon balloons can emit kaleidoscopic beams of light from their eyes which shred the minds of their targets. Even in death, a goon balloon causes harm, emitting a cloud of noxious gas. Goon balloons are capable of speech using an orifice on the lower part of their bodies.​

It's nice to see 5E is continuing the Spelljammer tradition of ripping off homaging creatures from other media, or is it my imagination that this monster has a certain resemblance to the alien from Dark Star?

Well at least it isn't a blatantly obvious copycat like the Gammaroid.

EDIT: and reading the comments I see I'm not the first to have remarked on the similarities.

The goon balloon looks much more like that (seemingly nameless?) Dark Star alien. I'm not familiar with that movie. What does the alien do, does its behaviour match that of the goon balloon?

To answer the above. The Dark Star alien only makes a chattering sound and it might not be fully sentient, but does exhibit some degree of intelligence.

After being picked up from it's home planet, it eventually escapes from the room it was shut in when it tricked a crewmember by hiding when they came to feed it and running out the door.

The crewmember then chased it, and it led the poor sap on a merry chase until they both ended up in a lift shaft, where the guy was clinging desperately to a inches-wide ledge and then hanging from the underside of a descending elevator.

During this, the alien made rather mocking sounding noises and then leapt upon his back and started mercilessly tickling him with its feet as he tried to avoid falling to his death.

It eventually runs away, and after further misadventures the crewman managed to escape, armed himself with a tranquiliser dart pistol, and tracked down the alien.

However, when he shot it the beast wasn't sedated, but deflated like a popped beach ball and died.

Considering the "alien" literally was made from a coloured beach ball and a couple of gloves it's not surprising it was vulnerable to piercing damage! Still, for a tiny budget SF movie it was surprisingly well done.
Last edited:

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement