The Babylon Project

"It was jet-black. A shade of black so deep, your eye just kind of slides off it. And it shimmered when you looked at it. A spider, big as death and twice as ugly. When it flies past, it's like you hear a scream in your mind."

Warren Keffer

The Shadow Vessel called Shadow Dreadnought by Sheridan (sometimes known as Battle Crab or The Ghost)[3][4] was the primary starship of the Shadows.


Easily distinguished by its spiny, almost spider-like shape and its constantly undulating black skin, Shadow vessels are known to have a deeply unsettling effect on sentients and can somehow project a scream-like noise into the mind of any that get near it as it goes by.[5]

Even inactive, a Shadow Vessel is extremely dangerous. Dr. Mary Kirkish reported that during the dig at Syria Planum in 2253, a worker who touched the skin of the buried craft with his bare hands was instantly killed, "as if the life was just sucked right out of him" while a telepath who tried scanning it was driven insane.[6][7]


An extremely powerful war machine, its primary beam weapon has an energy output on par with a controlled thermonuclear reaction and can effortlessly cut through even a four-mile-wide space station from a range of around a dozen miles.[2][8] A direct hit from this weapon is under normal circumstances sufficient to destroy almost any known ship and a fully operational Shadow Vessel never misses.[9]

The Shadow vessel also possesses a weapon capable of destabilizing jump points. When fired into an active hyperspace vortex it causes the formed jump point to quickly collapse, which leads to a massive shockwave that will destroy any ships caught in the blast radius.[2]

Auxiliary crafts[]

Aside from their role as front-line warships, Shadow Vessels also act as mother ships to a number of smaller craft including transports and a complement of fighters.[10] They have even been known to capture and take on board small non-Shadow craft such as an Earth Alliance Starfury.[11]

Operational systems[]

Like most Shadow Technology, these ships require a living component to operate. This take the form of a specially prepared sentient being that, once merged, acts as the ship's central processing unit. The only known weakness in this system is susceptibility to telepathic interference. A sufficiently strong telepath can effectively "jam" a ship's systems leaving it vulnerable to attack from conventional energy weapons.[12][13]


Like all First One ships, save the Vorlons and Lorien's Vessel, Shadow vessels have never been observed utilising normal Jump points and instead appear to "phase" between normal space and Hyperspace.[9][14]

They have however been observed operating in planetary atmospheres in temperatures exceeding 12,000 standard units and gravity wells well over 2 standard gravities before succumbing to the pressure.[6][15]


Canonbox default.png The following is based on The Mongoose Publishing RPG books and contradicts canon sources.
Canonbox default.png The following is based on The Agents of Gaming Strategic Game and contradicts canon sources.

The specifications of the Shadow Vessel in non-canon sources varies depending on the publisher and sourcebook.

Traveller RPG: Babylon 5: Warships of Babylon 5

  • Mass: 100,000 tons
  • Armor: Bio-lattice
  • Crew: 1
  • Weapons: 1 molecular slicer beam, 1 jump disruptor, 6 force field generators
  • Auxiliary Craft: 36 Shadow fighters, 2 cutters

Babylon 5: A Call to Arms's Fleet Lists

The Ancient Shadow Ship is fearless and unstoppable. There isn't a ship among the Younger Races that can stand against one in open combat. It's incredibly fast and agile, and armed with weapons of incredible destructive power.

  • Crew: 1
  • Weapons: 1 molecular slicer beam, 1 jump point disruptor
  • Defenses: self repair, shields
  • Auxiliary Craft - 36 Shadow fighters

The Young Shadow Ship is a newly constructed ship that uses an individual from the Younger Races as its central processor. It's not the equal of an Ancient Shadow Ship but still extremely lethal.

  • Crew: 1
  • Weapons: 1 molecular slicer beam
  • Defenses: self-repairing, shields
  • Auxiliary Craft: 12 Shadow fighters

Babylon 5 the Roleplaying Game's Ships of the Galaxy

  • Name: Shadow Cruiser
  • Crew: 1
  • Defenses: adaptive armor
  • Weapons: 1 molecular slicer Beam
  • Craft: 36 Shadow fighters

Babylon 5 the Roleplaying Game's Darkness and Light

  • Name: Shadow Cruiser
  • Crew: 1
  • Weapons: 1 turreted shadow energy beam
  • Defenses: adaptive armor
  • Auxiliary Craft: 8 Shadow fighters

Babylon 5 Wars's Ships of the Fleet

  • Name: Shadow Cruiser
  • Weapons: 1 molecular slicer beam, 1 vortex disruptor launcher
  • Defense: self-repairing, energy diffusers
  • Auxiliary Craft: 6 Shadow fighters

Behind the Scenes[]

The ship was created by Foundation Imaging Co-Founder Ron Thornton.[16]




Other Sources