Another standard human ship of space, the Hammership is large and powerful, capable of withstanding large amounts of punishment, and dealing out a significant amount with its blunt ram and heavy weapons. If the Squid Ship is the medium warship of space, this is the heavy galleon. Hammerships are found, with minor modifications to their design, throughout known space. The Hammership's design has been relatively unchanged, such that hulks hundreds of years old resemble those under construction in modern dry docks. Even the illithids and the elves, with their own distinctive ships, use the Hammership design for workhorse and supply situations.
The "brains" of the Hammership are in the heavily protected forward section. Both the helm and the bridge are located in this section, behind the massive bulwarks and the blunt ram. Often this area is plated with heavy metals, ivory, or bone to provide extra strength. The lenses of the Hammership's "eyes" are often made of paneless glass, but in some (more expensive) versions are constructed of glassteel. The captain usually operates from a base behind these windows, commanding both the ship and the forward weapons placements, while the first officer is usually stationed at the rear catapult.
Trading: A Hammership requires a larger crew than the more common Squid Ships or Tradesmen, but it can carry more cargo, and is a daunting vessel for a pirate to attack. This makes it ideal for carrying large bulk cargos. Such ships frequently run on a minimum crew, unless they are passing through a contested area of space, in which case the captain will usually take on a full crew, including whatever battle wizards and priests he can hire. Some mind flayers use Hammerships as free traders, unaligned to any illithid faction or house. This is particularly common in those areas of space where Nautiloids are frequently fired-upon on sight. The eyes of Hammerships controlled by mind flayers are usually covered over with steel plates.
Piracy: Though not commonly used as a pirate vessel, the Hammership is the favorite craft of some of the most stylish and brazen pirates and privateers in known space, including the legendary Bloodjack of Realmspace. His Hammership is dyed in shades of red, supposedly representing the the blood he and his ship, the Lucky Victory, have spilled over a career spanning a decade. The size of a Hammership makes it ideal for prolonged battles - just the sort of conflict Bloodjack seems to revel in. Most pirates and privateers, however, prefer smaller swifter ships which will allow them to board an enemy as quickly as possible, thus avoiding a long space battle.
Military: The Hammership is a common armada craft, capable of hauling many men across space, and returning with supplies to support an invasion. For intra-sphere uses, such craft frequently carry up to 200 soldiers (including the crew), although this is obviously not possible for longer voyages unless magic is used to keep the air envelope fresh and the crew provisioned. Hammerships can be considered to be the standard heavy warship of most human nations.
Elven Support Ship: Hammerships are sometimes used by the Imperial Elven Navy, primarily as supply and troop ships. The Hammership's bulk and heavy handling (compared to most elven craft) make it unsuitable for the elven style of space combat, relegating it to the role of support ship. Hammerships which the elves believe may see combat may be stripped, reducing AR to 8 but increasing MC to C. Topping out is not a popular option, since the elves prefer to operate their Hammerships with as few trained sailors as possible, instead sending such trained elves to the more important Men-o-War and Armadas which make up the main elven battle line. Troop ships, however, may be topped out.
Multiple Turrets: Some versions of the Hammership mount extra turrets for large weapons (ballistas or catapults depending on the tastes of the owner). A typical configuration will include two extra turrets on the main deck. Some versions will remove the overhead hatch of the cargo hold in order to place a third turret, instead using newly-built side hatches for access to the cargo bay. This makes the ship leaky and dangerous to land on water. Such ships may even place one or more turrets on the underside of the ship, making a landing of any sort impossible. These heavily-armed vessels are typically only used by military forces for relatively short-range work, since they are extremely deadly, but cargo space drops dramatically (as well as operational flexibility for those no longer able to land safely).
Lizard Man Vessels: Hammerships operated by lizard men will typically have the ship's central deck flooded to provide a relaxation area for the crew. This also serves as a fire-control mechanism for the ship, which will frequently see bombards used in place of the catapults, and a greek fire projector in place of the ballista. Unfortunately for the lizard men, this fire control mechanism is frequently unsuccessful, since any powder stores must be kept dry to remain useful, and if a spark ignites nearby, there is often not enough time to fetch water from the central deck before the stores explode.
- Spelljammer reference: Concordance of Arcane Space