This ancient ship was a development of the Eel Ship, intended specifically as a fighting craft. The Lamprey is larger than the Eel, and mounts more weaponry. The cone ram functions as a piercing ram with a few modifications. Once the Lamprey has successfully rammed another ship, the cone ram's 4 'jaw-grapples' can be tightened, causing an additional 1-2 hull points of damage and locking the ships together as a grappling ram. If the jaw-grapples are not tightened, the design of the ram makes it impossible for the Lamprey to get stuck in the rammed ship, unlike a normal piercing ram. In addition, the cone is hollow, and mounts a modified medium ballista. This ballista can be fired into the rammed ship (if it is aimed at crew make a normal THAC0 roll, otherwise it will automatically hit and damage the ship) to great effect. This apparently-brilliant design does have some major drawbacks. The interior ballista and its crew are exposed to attack and debris damage (in a ramming attack each crewman must save vs. poison or be knocked cold for 1d4 rounds by debris from the impact). Despite the reinforcement of the hollow bow, its very design makes it more fragile than a normal ram, so that the ship suffers 1-2 hull points of damage each time a successful ram attack is made. This cannot be countered by adding extra armour and reinforcement, since this area is already reinforced as much as possible. More importantly, the ballista's firing 'mouth' and access tunnel create a funnel that can send fiery attacks into the ship's interior. In fact, a lucky ballista bolt into the cone ram has a very good chance of traveling straight into the helm after skewering the crew of the cone ballista.
The usual fighting crew of a Lamprey was 16. Although the ship is capable of supporting larger crews, like the Eel, the Lamprey is a relatively spartan and uncomfortable ship, so larger crews are not common.
Ship Uses Edit
Raider: In this role the Lamprey is usually unmodified. The Lamprey was best heavy combat craft of its day, and still packs enough of a punch to be a popular attack ship in its size class. The crew of a raider Lamprey is usually a full 23, despite the uncomfortable living quarters. This allows a squad of boarding troops to be carried. In addition to the more common human crews of these ships, a number have been siezed by orcs and hobgoblins who use the ship in this role. In fact, it is suspected that there is a hidden hobgoblin shipyard somewhere producing these ships, however this is unproven.
Other Configurations Edit
War Boat: This version of the Lamprey replaces the controversial cone ram and ballista with either a blunt or piercing ram, and mounts a turretted medium catapult on the underside. Cargo space in this configuration drops to 3 tons, making it suitable only for relatively short range uses, however the replacement of the cone ram allows war boat Lampreys to land on water without sinking.
Fastboat: This variety replaces the ram with a piercing ram (allowing it to land on water), and drops all other armament aside from a single ballista. The ship is stripped to raise maneuverability class to A, although AR is reduced to 6, while the ship is now able to carry 10 tons of cargo. This version usually serves as a fast shuttle in dangerous areas of space.
Shuttle: This 'runner' Lamprey is commonly seen making runs between worlds in the same sphere. The cone-ram is replaced with a simple up-swept bow, and outrigger pontoons are added, giving the ship good stability for water landings. Only one medium ballista is retained, increasing cargo space to 12 tons.