Eel ships were small and crudely designed spelljammer ships.[1][2]


The simple design of eel ships, thought to be an early version of the lamprey ship, granted them a dangerous appearance. They were mostly employed in planetary defense fleets, as escorts in attack missions, or as pirate vessels. Their size also made them attractive for stealth operations.[1] If rigged for aggressive missions, it was common for eel ships to be heavily armed, to the expense of crew comfort and landing capabilities.[2]

Early eel ships were powered by furnace helms, but by the mid‒14th century DR most had been replaced by minor or major spelljamming helms.[1][2]

An eel ship required a minimum crew of four to operate, but usually was held by a crew of 10 to 12. The maximum compliment it could hold without compromising its air supply was 20 individuals.[1][2]


In the mid‒14th century DR, the elven admiral Icarus commanded a large fleet of elven spacecraft that contained five eel ships, among other types of spelljammers. Icarus operated exclusively in Realmspace.[3]

Rumors & LegendsEdit

The origin of the eel ship design was unknown. It was rumored that they had been designed by an insectoid race such as the thri-kreen or intelligent giant wasps.[1] The reasoning behind these rumors was the existence of a low and narrow crawl tunnel that led to the stern of the ship, too small for humans to stand up inside.[2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Dale "slade" Henson (March 1992). “Ship Recognition Manual”. In Jon Pickens ed. War Captain's Companion (TSR, Inc.), p. 22. ISBN 1-56076-343-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Ed Greenwood (1990). Lost Ships. Edited by Paul Jaquays, Anne Brown. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 48–50. ISBN 0-88038-831-5.
  3. Dale "slade" Henson (March 1992). “War Captain's Guide”. In Jon Pickens ed. War Captain's Companion (TSR, Inc.), pp. 19–20. ISBN 1-56076-343-4.