Recent research into the lesser known ships of the goblin-kin fleets has revealed the existence of these ships of the ogre navies. Never numerous, these sturdy and well-built ships vanished completely during the Unhuman Wars, presumably destroyed by the might of the Elvish Fleet.
The Smilodon-class warship, also commonly called the Saber-Tooth Tiger, was probably used by the same ogre tribes that designed, borrowed, or stole the Mammoth ships. However, there were far fewer Smilodons than Mammoths, and most were unaccounted for at the end of the Unhuman Wars. Most of the missing ships held wandering tribes of ogres, likely at the fringe of wildspace when the fighting broke out. When news of the carnage of the Unhuman Wars reached the ears of these tribes, some chose to head back towards civilized space to join in the fighting. Others left for parts unknown, and are rumored to have been the ancestors of the legendary ogre kings that hold court at the edges of the Known Spheres. A rare few have returned as mercenaries in service of the scro, but it is supposed that many more exist beyond Known Space.
A Smilodon has the appearance of a great, snarling, saber-tooth tiger, crouched low and ready to pounce. The massive teeth, over 20' long, are merely decorative, but the cat's head serves as a deadly blunt ram. The large "hump" just behind the head is the ogre's main firing position, with all four of the heavy weapons located here. Aft, two medium ballista and a jettison are aimed at any ship that dares to approach a Smilodon from the rear. Below, the decks of a smilodon are built with ogres in mind. The ceilings soar to 13' above the floor, the stairs have a greater height in each step, and the walls are more solidly built than on human ships. Humans find flying an ogre Smilodon to be a very uncomfortable experience.
The head of the tiger is the bridge of the ship, with the main helm located here. The captain will command his ship from this position, bellowing out orders to the rest of the ship. Behind the bridge is the main deck, with quarters for the entire tribe, armories, and the rear jettison. Below the main deck is the slave deck, with the upper cargo hold, the mess hall, and the cells that the ogres keep their slaves. The lowest deck is the lower cargo hold.
Most ogre-run Smilodons were equipped with death helms or furnaces, powered by slaves or stolen magical items. Those rare ships that have been seized by other races replace the death helms with major helms.
A typical ogre Smilodon will have a single tribe aboard. Work will be divided based upon the gender, age, and race. Slaves are delegated the least desirable work, such as manning sails, cleanup duty, and fuel for the death helm. Females and children are assigned to man the weapons, particularly the rear ballista and jettison. Males have the most honorable positions, including manning the heavy weapons and leading boarding operations against enemy ships.
Ogre tribes have 16-20 adult male ogres, 2-12 adult females, and 2-8 children who fight as goblins or orcs, depending on their age. The crew will be led into battle by two sub-chiefs, typically the chief's sons or younger brothers, and will be stronger than typical ogres. They have 34-37 hit points, a +3 bonus to their damage rolls, and an armor class of 3 (chain armor). The captain of the craft will be an ogre chief, who is a 7 hit dice monster with 38-43 hit points, a +4 bonus to damage with his weapon (usually a great scimitar or great maul), and clad in chain armor for an armor class of 3. Almost all tribes will have a shaman of at least 3rd level, but a few manage to reach 5th level. The shaman is responsible for flying the craft and keeping the slave locked in the death helm. Slaves will usually be humans (25% chance), orcs (25% chance), goblins (25% chance), elves (10% chance), dwarves (10% chance), or halflings (5% chance). Slaves will be 10-40 in number.
Ship Uses Edit
Tribal Ship: Most Smilodons were owned by a single tribe of ogres. These tribes roamed wildspace alone, raiding isolated human settlements, elvish outposts, and lone goblin and kobold ships. They sought wealth, slaves, and magical devices they could use such as enchanted weapons, shields, and those items usable by the shaman. Most other magical items are either discarded or traded away, as the ogres distrust any magic that they did not easily understand. The crew of a tribal ship is described above.
Warship: Though not as common as a tribal ship, Smilodon warships are much more dangerous. Such ships are only used by powerful ogre kings, who load aboard it the adult males of two, three, or even four tribes. Thus, a warship will have 32 to 80 adult male ogres aboard, and usually only 20-30 slaves to power the death helm. The ogre king of such ships will be a 9 hit dice creature with 51-60 hit points, a +6 bonus to damage, and an armor class of 2 (chain armor and a shield). Ogre kings will usually (75% chance) have a magical weapon of at least +2 value. Smilodon warships are usually of the battlecat configuration.
Slaveship: This variant of the Smilodon was very rarely used. When configured to carry slaves, a Smilodon will strip away the heavy catapults and downgrade the heavy ballista to medium ballista in turrets. The space gained by such a move was used to carry slaves, many slaves. A typical ogre slave ship had a mere 30 adult male ogres and 100-300 slaves. Such ships were notoriously short ranged and had problems with air shortages. Conditions on slave ships were horrible at best, as the ogres took turns routinely beating their slaves and inflicting as much pain and suffering upon them as possible. On any given trip, at least 10-60% of a Smilodon's slave population died before they reached their destination due to ogre abuse and starvation. Thankfully, these ships were very rare before the Unhuman War and were completely destroyed during that war. No new Smilodon slave ships have been reported.
Half-Ogre Reaver: Ogre tribes that mate with their orc, and rarely, human, slaves often produce half-breeds. Over the course of many generations, these half-breeds eventually replace the ogres as the dominant race aboard the ship as battle, old age, and infighting takes the lives of most of the true-blood ogres. When this happens, the half-ogres take over and usually seek a life of piracy. A half-ogre pirate ship is a very dangerous ship. The crew will be nearly as strong as ogres and be smarter than orcs, a dangerous combination indeed! A single company of orogs will run the ship, about 20-80 in number. Each of these monsters will have 3 hit dice and be armed with swords, flails, crossbows, or polearms. All will wear studded leather armor, often with poisonous spikes. They will be led by 2-4 half-ogre (human/ogre breed) veterans, each with 5+1 hit dice armed with a two-handed weapon. They are always clad in chain armor. The leader of the band will be a half-ogre leader with 6 hit dice or a great orog with 5+3 hit dice. In either case, the leader will have two or three weapons and plate armor. These tribes will have a shaman of at least 5th level on board and a half-orc priest of 4th level or higher. Such ships are most often equipped with a major helm if they can afford it. Fortunately, such ships are very rare; only two Smilodons were reportedly taken over by half-ogres. Both are reputed to now be in service of the scro.
Flagship: Very rarely, when an ogre tribe grows to be very large, an ogre king will arise to keep the tribe together. Since the Smilodon is too small for the whole tribe, the king will secure a number of other ships to house his growing tribe. When this happens, the ogres will most often seize or build "suitable" ships. The hobgoblin Worg was a primary ship that the ogres often built or stole, as was the orc Scorpion, the Tradesman, and the Wasp. A typical ogre king will be a 9 HD creature and command a fleet consisting of 3-10 vessels, with a Smilodon flagship. These fleets were the terror of wildspace until their decimation during the Unhuman Wars.
Other Configurations Edit
Battle Cat: Said to be personal warships of powerful ogre kings, the Battle Cats were Smilodons covered with metal plates. The hull was thickened to provide additional support and protection for the ship, resulting in it being one of the most heavily armored ship in space, with an armor rating of 2. This ship was a nightmare to fly, though, as its maneuvering class dropped to F and it was equipped with a death helm. The armament was increased to four heavy catapults and four heavy ballista each with an even arc of firing. These ships terrorized shipping lanes before the Unhuman Wars, when they vanished.
Hell Cat: Rumors abound about the legendary ogre kings holding court at the edge of Known Space. One of them speaks of the Hell Cat, a Smilodon specially equipped for one king's pyrotechnic tastes. The Hell Cat, if rumors are true, is rigged with a pair of wildfire projectors, four bombards, and four light ballistas for point defense. The hump is surmounted by a black, steel dome where the bombards are kept (likely an idea stolen from the Mastodon design). Armor plates cover the thickened hull, giving it an armor value of 2. The ship carries many charges of greek fire and smoke powder.
Black Cat: A few ogre tribes tried to gain speed and maneuverability with their Smilodons, and the Black Cat is the result of those attempts. The ogres added a pair of small, triangular sails to the top of the craft and downgraded the heavy ballista to mediums. The ship gained a maneuver class of D, but needed 10 more sailors to handle the sails. The death helm was most often replaced by a major helm and the ogres found an ogre magi to pilot it. A black paint job completed this ship, allowing it to better blend into the background of wildspace. Such variants were never common and usually encountered at the frontiers of wildspace.
Sphinx: An unusual design variant, the Sphinx was built by ogres who converted to the worship of Ptah centuries ago. The saber-tooth tiger's head is replaced by that of a dwarvish face with a large, elaborate head piece. This figure is said to have represented Ptah, the creator of the spheres. Golden plates (brass plates, actually) cover the whole ship, but they have no effect on the armor value of the ship. Otherwise, the ship remains identical to the standard design. The ogres became wandering agents for the church of Ptah, enforcing his will by destroying ships that offended the church. Though it hasn't been seen for the last two decades, the Sphinx is still said to be serving the church of Ptah.
Top Deck 1. Boarding Ramp 2. Main Weapon Pit 3. Aft Weapon Pit Main Deck 1. Bridge 2. Captain's Quarters 3. Chart Room 4. Spelljammer's Quarters 5. Armory 6. Ammunition Storage 7. Officers Quarters 8. Mustering Point 9. Armories 10. Warrior Quarters 11. Crew Quarters 12. Jettison Slave Deck 1. Upper Cargo Hold 2. Access to Cargo Deck 3. Guard Quarters 4. Pantry 5. Kitchen 6. Mess Hall 7. Slave Cells Cargo Deck 1. Lower Cargo Hold 2. Access to Slave Deck