The Dragonfly, along with the Tradesman, is one of the workhorses of space. Its size and maneuverability make it ideal for transporting small groups, important persons, and small packages. These features also make the Dragonfly an ideal ship for smuggling and exploration.
The Dragonfly is also a good choice for a wizard's ship. A mage can load a significant number of supplies on board and turn the Dragonfly into a mobile laboratory and workshop, placing himself literally millions of miles from nowhere. There he can work in relative peace. A large number of Dragonfly hulks found in various systems were once used for this purpose, abandoned when their masters moved on or died as a result of their experiments.
The Dragonfly is capable of being handled by a single man, although the maneuverability of the craft suffers greatly, and it is better operated with a three-man crew. The captain is usually also the quartermaster and navigator, while the first officer is usually also the helmsman. Other positions are filled as needed by whatever crew is available. The crew of a wizard's ship is usually made up of the wizard owner, along with a small number of trusted servants, which are frequently magical in nature (golems and other constructs are popular, as are undead and sometimes summoned creatures).
Smuggling: The "light package" trade is a favorable one for spacefarers. Those who wish to send items such as magical tomes, artifacts, magical items, or other valuables to other planets or spheres without passing through the various planes of existence find black market traders very helpful. Smuggling ships are often stripped down for maneuverability and powered by a high-level wizard for speed. The stripped-down Dragonfly has MC B, but its AR is reduced to a very fragile 10.
Free Adventuring: The Dragonfly is an ideal small exploration ship for adventurers who are looking to land on a planet, scout around, and leave at will. Although it cannot land on water like the Mosquito, it does have an advantage in this usage over the Mosquito - being slightly larger it can carry larger amounts of treasure away (although it is still too small to carry large objects), and can carry slightly larger parties.
Wizard's Ship: Such Dragonflies are usually gutted and redesigned from within to suit the needs of the wizard. Wizards who do not frequently venture into the phlogiston will often create extradimensional spaces aboard their ships to provide extra storage space. A wizard's ship will often carry no large weapons, as the wizard himself is usually the most dangerous weapon on board.
Ship's Boat: A Dragonfly may be stripped of its helm in favour of a more conventional power source, and used as a "ship's boat" by a larger vessel (although the Mosquito is usually considered a better choice for this function). Sometimes such a ship will retain its helm and will also serve as a scout and light fighter.
Firefly: This version of the Dragonfly is used in desperate naval actions. The Firefly is nothing more than a large bomb, as the ship will be armed with either a bombard or greek fire projector and packed to the gills with ammunition and other flammables. The idea is for the ship to be piloted into the heart of an enemy armada and detonated by crashing into a larger ship. The pilot and any crew will sometimes be provided with a lifeboat or dimensional escape device.
Heavy Dragonfly: Occasionally, more armour is added to the Dragonfly, improving AR to 7, but reducing MC to D. Most individuals seeking a better protected ship will instead look to the second-generation Damselfly craft instead.
Fighterfly: Some Dragonflies have been used as light combat craft. These ships sacrifice most of their cargo space to mount a total of 4 light weapons (usually catapults), and harass enemy ships at long range. These ships are usually topped-out for increased maneuverability, and will operate in support of larger craft. The Imperial Elven Navy is particularly fond of this configuration, often using it in support of their Armadas and Men-o-War in fleet actions.
- Spelljammer reference: Concordance of Arcane Space