Dwarven Citadels are massive affairs, and the largest Citadel (such as that detailed here) that a forge can power is 700 tons in size. They can carry up to 700 dwarves comfortably, and many more if need be (since dwarves are size S, a 700 ton citadel could house 1,400 without straining the air envelope). They are festooned with heavy weapons, usually catapults, although other weapons are possible. The vessels are solidly built, a dwarven Citadel is not destroyed in battle, save by powerful magic or literally days of pounding. The Citadel might be taken, however, after a prolonged and bloody boarding action, or if the Citadel's air envelope can be somehow corrupted.
Architecturally Citadels greatly resemble dwarven strongholds built in mountains or hills on groundling worlds. The surface features include a strongly guarded gate, on Citadels this is usually next to a dock or landing strip for visitors. Other smaller, gates will dot the Citadel's surface, some obvious and equally well guarded, others hidden from view, and nigh impossible to detect from outside the Citadel itself. Other surface features include towers and barbicans for the ship's defensive armaments. These surface features will often be along only one side of a Citadel, the "topside". The bottom is usually devoid of such features, to make working among larger asteroids much easier.
On the inside, Citadels follow typical dwarven planning, with a plethora of traps and hidden passages. Guard animals and automatons are often available. Some Citadels favor smokepowder weapons, others prefer the more traditional torsion and counterweight siege weapons. In fact, Dungeon Masters with little time could easily convert a dwarven cavern complex from almost any TSR product into the deck plan for a dwarven citadel. The only major requirement, of course, are the facilities for the spelljamming forge, which resemble a normal dwarven forge.
Citadels are named in the same way dwarven strongholds are named (and thus often do not have names that sound proper for ships in Common), and typically have a dwarven name, which is translated into common for non-dwarves. This translation is usually not strictly accurate, but rather a nickname. For example, the Citadel "Maralajak" is usually called the "Golden Forge" in Common, though the correct translation is "Hold of the Golden Forge".
Most dwarven Citadels are the home of one clan specializing in one or two crafts. The breakdowns given in the Monstrous Manual provide a quick and dirty method of deciding how many citadel inhabitants are male, how many female, how many children, and providing a quick breakdown of their weapons and abilities. Every Citadel, however, must have 3d6 forge-priests to operate the Spelljamming Forge. On some Citadels these replace the other priests often found within dwarven clans, but most clans have other priesthoods as well. Most Citadels, like most dwarven clans, offer respect and reverence to the entire dwarven pantheon but specially revere a single patron deity. Moradin, Dugmaren Brightmantle, Vergedain, and Dumathoin are the most popular patron dwarven deities for Citadels, though among War Citadels Clanggeddin is usually the patron.
Only the largest Citadels (those 500 tons or larger in size) will carry more then one clan, unless a clan has been recently decimated by war, disease, or other misfortune and had to abandon its Citadel. These large Citadels will usually be led by a king, often called "King Within the Mountain", and are often the center of a dwarven nation. In wildspace, a dwarven nation will usually comprise 2-5 Citadels, with each Citadel holding 300-700 dwarves and being of the appropriate size. The single asteroid holding one clan is far more commonly encountered, though they might be part of a loose dwarven nation whose Citadels meet once every few years for council and feast days.
Most dwarven Citadels are very rich; the dwarves within will have access to the some of the finest weapons and armor available. It would not be unusual for the entire bodyguard of the dwarven king, for example, to have weapons and armor of exceptional (+1) quality. Dwarven magics, such as hammer chants or dwarven forged magical weapons, will also be much in evidence. Most Citadels carry smaller vessels for use as shuttles, scouts, and landing craft. These are often chosen according to local conditions. The Whitebeard clan of the Tears of Selune in Realmspace, for example, uses heavily modified galleons because they are often sent to the planet Toril to trade with locals, or transport ore from remote mining camps. The galleons appear to be standard Torillian vessels, and the fact that they can fly is hidden. In this way the Whitebeards make it less likely every disreputable adventurer or minor lord around will attack their landing vessels looking for an easily obtained flying ship.
Living Ship: More than any other type of ship, the dwarven Citadel is a permanent home for its people. These ships engage in long-term missions (trading, discovery) according to the wishes of the majority of the population. Dissenters (if of sufficient number) may secede to form a new colony. In general, such living ships prefer not to engage in battle if possible, since they are not only the vessels, but also the permanent homes of the dwarves within. Citadels will fight to the best of their considerable ability if needed, however, often using their large size to force opponents to crash into them. This maneuver will almost invariably leave the larger Citadel the victor. As a byproduct of their source of power, as well as their lifestyle, the inhabitants of a living Citadel will usually have a large number of finished goods available for trade. Since anything made from metal or stone can be easily built by the dwarves, the best goods to trade with them are those that they have difficulty producing in sufficient amounts, such as food and textiles.
Jihad Ship: Dwarves in space are linked by blood and faith, such that any attack on a dwarven ship may be taken as an attack on the entire dwarven race. Every so often a council of kings and priests of the combined dwarven pantheons will gather together and declare a crusade against a people, sphere, or race. An enemy is declared anathema, and their ships and people are attacked on sight. Currently the neogi are the object of a dwarven jihad, although many other races also attack the neogi on sight. When a jihad is declared, several Citadels usually choose to actively follow the crusade rather than simply fighting the enemy if encountered. Such a jihad ship will have a large contingent of forge-tenders (maximum SR for the ship's size), double the normal numbers of heavy weapons, and also a large number of heavily armed and well-trained soldiers under the command of a fighter of at least 6th level (8th-10th level is more common). Jihad ships actively seek out enemy vessels and outposts, strafe them, board them, and slaughter those aboard to a man.
Abandoned Citadels: The forges that power dwarven Citadels require a large amount of raw material to work properly. After a number of years (usually about 10-20 years per 100 tons of the ship), the Citadel's resources are exhausted and the people must find a new home. Once an asteroid of appropriate size is located, the forges are packed up and moved to their new home. Only then does construction begin on the new base. After one month per 100 tons of asteroid, the new Citadel has enough space to support the new population. At this point the old Citadel is abandoned. Abandoned Citadels are frequently used as bases and lairs by other spaceborne races and creatures. Former Citadels may be the home of pirates, monsters, smugglers, or any number of other creatures. Given the size of the largest Citadels, multiple monsters and groups can hold portions of a single Citadel, sometimes working together, and sometimes in conflict. Since Citadels are not always completely stripped before being abandoned, they usually attract adventurers like a magnet. If the Citadel's population is sufficiently large at the time of abandonment, more than one asteroid may be selected, with the ships forges and population being split between the two craft, allowing each side to pursue its own course. Similarly, dying kingdoms, torn by war or disease, may be swept up by groups in larger Citadels, leaving abandoned ships that are not fully exploited.
Gnomish Citadels: Gnomish Citadels are to dwarven Citadels what gnomish Sidewheelers are to normal ships - a bad satire. Abandoned dwarven Citadels are often taken over by gnomes, who simulate the effects of the forges with their various gizmos. In reality their devices add nothing to the final output of the system, causing the ship to drift as aimlessly as when it was abandoned. Gnomes usually come up with careful explanations that detail why they wanted to go in the direction they are drifting anyway. Gnomish Citadels are generally avoided, since more than one has been seen to explode dramatically following failed experiments.
- Spelljammer reference: Concordance of Arcane Space