Addendum 4: Hive Ships

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<MBf.tyranid/hiveship/description/weapons >
<MBf:/Tyranid/Warpdisturbance/Propulsion >
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Authorization <ACCEPTED>

The physiology of destroyed bioships indicates that nearly all the common factors of their anatomy correspond with the terrestrial varieties. <REF.Mbf:/Tyranid/biology/Physiology/durability> One factor unexpected within the bioships is the proliferation of symbiotic life within the hulks/carcasses.  Within hours of the expiration, many cavities are filled to capacity with smaller life forms attempting to carry out some instinctive action without the direction of the host.  This would appear to be similar to involuntary muscular function within humans.   Also the smaller Tyranids encountered on planets are very often alive and well within the hulks for a substantial period of time and pose quite a danger.  One ship killed in a pursuit action was later vaporized when life signs for genestealers were detected some 37 days after the bioships' death.  The internal organs of the ships themselves deteriorate rapidly with much of the soft structure being consumed by various symbiotic life forms which then expire.  Studies are progressing steadily in an attempt to use these for weapon tests.

The sheer size of these creatures is nigh on inconceivable many single creatures are as large as escort class starships, and the unimaginable Norn-Queens are larger than the Imperium's largest flagships in terms of sheer mass.

This size makes it difficult to reach vital organs, neural synapse and ganglia, but given the high percentage of carapace and bone within the hiveships their durability is still ardently high. The need to withstand both the vacuum of space and the rigors of much different planetary gravity wells and atmospheres necessitates a high degree of adaptability.

HIVEMIND [gestalt consciousness]

The Hivemind < ref. Mbf/Tyranid/biology/thesis> itself is the weakest link in the swarms.  If the Norn-Queen is severely damaged the fleet will begin to act on instinct which makes them very predictable.  Every attempt should be made to disable the Norn-Queen hastily and exploit the programmed actions of the hiveships and drones.  However they are loath to enter combat directly skulking in the rear of the immense swarm directing the servants.   It has been noted that the catastrophic destruction of Tyranid bioships often causes a cascade effect on nearby ships, stunning and in some cases killing them as well.  Theory and Navigator reports indicate that the psychic backlash within the gestalt cause neural shutdown on the part of the nearby bioships.  This psychic “scream” is dangerous to imperial ships as well, driving crew insane, overloading shield capacitors, or killing crew outright,  but appears to have a greater effect on the hivemind linked ships.  Several navigators exposed to this phenomenon have never fully regained sanity <REF.MBf/neural-damage/Tyranid/psychic/navigator/lobotomy>.  AUTO LINK ACTIVE>>>>>

The higher within the gestalt the creature is the greater the effect of these “shock responses”.  The lethal effect seems to be directed down the hierarchy from queen to hive ship to drone, but not the reverse.

Note: reports indicate that some ships which appear to be dead in space have recovered.  This may be the ship reestablishing contact with the hivemind, or some redundant biological system kicking in.


<REF:MBf:/Tyranid/Warpdisturbance/Propulsion> In general the bioships of the Tyranids are durable, agile, and numerous.  While most lack the extensive firepower of the imperial fleet they outnumber us substantially.  Many of the ships exhibit specialized function and learning what the ship does is paramount to effectively fighting it.  To aid in this endeavor we have amassed photos of as many types of Tyranid bioships as possible.


Partial bilateral symmetry, four enormous armored spires radiate from around the tentacled front.  Spines of solid chitin larger than escorts erupt from the flanks and top circling the “egg clutch”.   The size of creatures is staggering, <REF:INr/losses/Vengeance/holovid><INACTIVE?FAILED LINK> in this record you can see the size in relation to the imperial Cruiser Vengeance which was lost in this engagement.  Norn-Queens produce the bioships of the fleet and carry clutches of “eggs” on the aft section.  This area is not heavily armored but attacks on the eggs cause little real damage to the ship.  However if the eggs are destroyed the area becomes very vulnerable to directed attack and will cause the bulk of the fleet to converge on the offending ship.

VIVISECTOR  [ Imperial Operational Equivalent: Torpedo Cruiser]

Primary hive ship with bilateral symmetry and forward battery of Corroder torpedo tubes. Characteristics of this type of ship are most notably the conical point which holds hoards of corroder torpedoes.  This area is very difficult to damage, thousands of feet thick bone and chitin often prevents any effective damage.

DISSECTOR  [Imperial Operational Equivalent: Lance Cruiser]

Primary hive ship with bilateral symmetry, two macro bio-cannon, similar to those found on Exocrine <REF:MBf/Tyranids/biology/thesis> Powerful and dangerous, shields are very important against these ships.  The volatile projectile from these ships causes significant damage, eating armor with ease the acids, viruses, and enzymes often cause secondary failures in adjacent systems and compartments.  Damage control teams will be put to the test when facing tyranid vessels.

EVISCERATOR [Imperial Operational Equivalent: NA]

Primary hive ship with bilateral symmetry, a breaching/boarding vessel which disgorges hundreds of tyranidic creatures into enemy ships.  One of the atypical ships within the swarm, we have no cruiser or escort class vessel with the primary purpose of  ramming and boarding, however the tyranids use this stratagem extensively.  These ships should be eliminated before they reach critical range, early encounters with Eviscerators earned them the name.  Gutting ships quickly, killing them from the inside, terrible are the tales from survivors of such attacks.

PIERCER Drone [Imperial Operational Equivalent: Lance Escort]

Vaguely teardrop shaped, ribbed edges and a ribbed crest, mandibles at the front.  This creature emits a powerful bio-electric/psychic blast which causes intense havoc with ships crew and systems.  The psychic power of this blast is substantial but pales in comparison tot he energies utilized by the hive fleet in moving through warp space. <REF:MBf:/Tyranid/Warpdisturbance/Propulsion>  Shields are effective in blocking the emission but they are numerous and quite capable of quickly overloading defensive systems. These creatures cause additional concern because the energies employed are purely psychic, the effects of exposure are noted elsewhere.

IMPAILER DRONE [Imperial Operational Equivalent: Torpedo Escort]

Oval with two protruding horned ridges and bundles of spines in the front.  These missile ships carry a dangerous cargo of Corroder torpedoes.  They should be treated as torpedo escorts and dealt with accordingly. A much larger version of this craft has been reported but no data exists at this time.  Presumed presently to be the VIVISECTOR.

CLEAVER DRONE [Imperial Operational Equivalent: NA]

Vaguely square nearly solid carapace with 4 protruding scythe like blades.  A numerous creature within the swarms which is thought to strip the soil from planets conquered by the Tyranids.  It has powerful psychically charged claws which can cut the solid rock to reach petro-chem deposits. They are capable of similar feats upon imperial vessels. These drones are a severe threat to any weakened vessels they are able to reach. They lack any ranged weapons so their actions will be fairly predictable. Similar to the EVISERATOR these creatures are fairly small but dangerous none the less.  Noted for a propensity to borrow into ships until it reaches the reactor core.  The ship itself is a <seemingly> single living creature, it doesn't disgorge smaller creatures which can be repelled by crew but enters the ship itself.  Explosive decompression or intervention of adjacent ships is typically required to escape their insidious caresses.

RASP POD [Imperial Operational Equivalent: Assault boat]

Small oval ribbed carapace with two large protruding mantis claws, these creatures latch onto the hulls of imperial ships.  They then disgorge hoards of rippers, hull grinders and other small larvae into the bowels of the ship wreaking havoc.  There are effective in defense and attack, having exhibited the ability to deal with equal numbers of fighters and overpower most bombers and assault boats.   The should be considered a threat on par with  assault boats while on the field.

STINGER POD [Imperial Operational Equivalent: fighter/Bomber]

Smallest of the tyranid "ships" capable of destroying enemy ordnance and inflicting some damage on enemy ships the stinger is a threat to be dealt with whenever it enters gun range.  Lance batteries are the preferred method.  Little more than a huge flying gun, it is thought they are similar to or versions of the harridans.


Immense versions of those encountered in conjunction with terrestrial forces.  These living bombs explode with such devastating effect that it is though they use thermonuclear power.  Capable of crippling the largest imperial battleship they should be cleared away before strike operations against the fleet progress.

Biological Weapon Systems of the Harbinger Hive Fleet

Corroder Torpedoes

These are living creatures are grown within the various hiveships and when mature make their way into firing ports.  They actively seek out targets and are thus extremely dangerous especially when encountered in staggered waves.  Capable of breaching the heaviest Imperial armor they release a concentrated aerosol of enzymes, pheromones, viruses and corrosives into the target causing considerable damage.  Moreover these munitions continue to damage ship systems for some time after introduction into the system.

Psychic Lance

 The effects of this weapons are deeply troubling to commanders.  A ship subjected to an unshielded blast from a Psychic Lance can expect to suffer heavy casualties to the crew within the sections struck.  Moreover it seems some crewmen are actually CONTROLLED or driven mad by the exposure causing them to attack their compatriots or damage critical ships mechanisms.  Complete psychoanalysis should be performed on all survivors exposed to ensure sanity.  Primarily found on the Piercer class drone.

NOTE: Vague reports from other encounters  indicate that the Norn-queens sometimes are able to make use of a much more powerful version of this weapon system.  If any hard data is obtained on this we will submit it to these records<MB:Salk>


A version of the armament encountered by Titan forces on Exocrine within the terrestrial tyranidic hoards.  The outer shell of this projectile is heavy chitin, within is a thick lipid layer which protects the outer case from the viral cocktail and acidic enzymes within.  Upon impact of any significant nature the inner lipid layer disintegrates and the inner components explosively react with the outer husk creating a catastrophic explosion of chitin shrapnel, acidic gases and viral agents.

Concentric muscle bundles and innate psychic warp field manipulation fire the projectile a staggering speeds approaching the speed of light. Exactly how this is performed without damaging the fragile inner lipid coating is unknown.

Frag Spines

perform functions similar to turrets on imperial ships, with spasms of muscle bundles sending the explosive spines out in a defensive barrage against incoming ordnance.  Similar traits are exhibited by assault spawn.

Spore Launchers

Hive Queens or Norn Queens have huge batteries of Spore Launchers on their flanks, these act in a manner consistent with weapons batteries and launch highly explosive Mycodic spores, smaller than but similar to the spore mines.  Energy fields will trigger the explosion thus rendering shields effective against these weapons.