On the Ecology of the Flailsnail

Art by Zak Sabbath

"Bwaak!" - An mage who thought it would be a good idea to polymorph a flailsnail

Nomenclature: Flailsnail, Conchlias tribualis, Conch Hydra

Description: terrestrial pulmonate gastropod molluscs tri'bula caput

Things that are known:

  • What sorcery is this!
  • They are 8' tall on average and have a lifespan of about 2 decades
  • Their shells are covered in kaleidoscopic colors
  • The shell also reflects magical spells
  • They eat lichen and algae using a radula
  • They are immune to fire and poison
  • In spite of their abilities, they are essentially blind

Rumors and other whispers in the dark:

  • The shell not only reflects magic but can distort it
  • The shell can also completely nullify the use of arcane energy
  • Whatever the case, it is a very useful property to have in a shield or suit of armor
  • They didn't exist, until a strange energy surge caused all those doodles in the margins of old manuscripts where knights cowered from snails to come to life. Now they wander seeking truly honorable and chivalrous opponents
  • They go through estivation where they seal themselves into their shells, protected by a hardened plug of mucus.
  • They don't like light
  • Salt is as effective as it is against any gastropod. However at 8 feet high, an attack with 20 lbs. of salt is equivalent to a oil flask
  • Like all snails, they have 'love darts'. It is as it sounds
  • The 'heads' (which are actually just appendages) can smash through wooden shields
  • They are completely non-aggressive because they are actually the sensory apparatus of a cacogenic god
Scrap Princess, Go Buy Something!
  • They are an ancient war-machine of the elves, long fallen into disuse. The toughness, the protection of the shell, the resistance versus magic, and the ability to engage multiple opponents were all used to fight underground
  • There were only 12 survivors of a great demon purging of elves and they were flailsnails. The ancestors of all living flailsnails today
  • The snail itself is just a 'ride' extruded from an extra-dimensional portal inside the shell. While the extra-dimensional travelers explore, the flailsnail attacking people is simply an autonomic defense.
  • Sometimes they are left 'idling', free to roam with no rider
  • It is a fleshcrafted masterpiece, representing war. It is big, resists being ended or affected by magic, crushes all in its path and moves in unexpected ways
  • All flailsnails are the result of a wish for a perfect mount by a goblin paladin (or whatever passes for one these days)
  • Myconids routinely alter giants snails this way as protection from malicious kobolds.
  • They are a crossbreed between a giant snail and a very unhappy cleric
  • They are the result of magical pollution. This is why we can't have nice things
  • There are rumors of a rudimentary civilization of flailsnails underground, aping the culture above in a crude attempt to worship their creators
  • This city is said to be ruled by a shelled flumph, worshiped as a flying god
  • It is the result of a wish from a greedy fighter. ("I want to have five attacks a round, magic resistance, immortality, the ability to walk on walls or ceilings, an-" "That's quite enough for one wish, mortal")
  • Diseased doppelgangers degenerate quickly. The nerve disorder strikes without warning, so they craft a magic shell that prolongs their painful existence
  • They are automated organic repair drones. What do they repair? Dimensional rifts. It's not like the gods have time to do so
  • Their mucus repairs dimensional rifts and can be useful as a protective ointment in many ways
  • They are designed by wizards to be protections for giants. They attach to the giants back and provide protection from magic and attack anything that approaches the flank or rear
  • Once worshiped by primitives, the modern design of the mace or morning star is inspired to this day by their appendages
  • They appendages are nature's way of saying "Do not touch." They are clearly labeled and easily avoided
  • Wizard pirates entered a contest for 'fanciest and most functional ship figurehead". Flailsnail won
  • They are pests, optimized to devour whatever is available. Novice adventurers are in great availability
  • They were originally an engineered slave species called 'scrubsnails' aboard starships of titanic proportion, working to clean the waste overflow from the engines
  • The engines of these ships were mutagenic reactors running off the raw energies of chaos, because that's the best way to power an intergalactic starship
  • This caused an infestation of mutant microbia, rat to dog sized pests. The scrubsnails were modified with weapon appendages to combat this threat
  • This combination of weaponized snails, mutagenic 'God Engine' reactors and mutant microbes was a perfect storm of safety and performance improvement
  • The resulting damage to the star ship caused it to seek planetfall for repair. Many of the weaponized snails went missing at this point. This information was recovered from the records of the Omnipus Unity ST-D :: 13-4321
  • The flailsnails are scavengers happily scooshing slowly round dungeons and caves scraping crud and slime from the floor. This includes slimes, oozes, jellies, and puddings. This is the source of the snails immunity to those creatures and where it gets the weird energy for their shells
  • They crawl giddily, seeking desperately to catch a hidden moment or secret glimpse as vengeful peeping toms
  • The shells don't reflect magic, they focus it. But the prisms necessary have been long lost. The shells are nearly impossible to be created naturally, so growing them via biological organism is the quickest choice
  • As an added bonus, wizards who use them to focus magic have found they double as a food processor
  • They are actually vat created sex toys gone rogue and mutated. Six protrusions, slick ooze, shell for kung-fu grip
  • They can assign various properties to their mucus and slime at will. It can be sticky or slick, flammable or acidic, or even have more rare properties besides. But never more than one property at a time.
  • They write great epics in their slime trails
  • A great wizard having deciphered the slime trails learned that it is no epics, but simply the names of those people they once knew when they walked the earth as men
  • The flails aren't actually bludgeoning weapons. Much like the sundew, they are sticky paralyzing tentacles that begin to digest prey. Once struck, the snail can withdraw into its shell, drawing the victim inside
  • They don't actually eat algae. They like to knock their targets prone and then saw them to pieces with their radula


  1. "They crawl giddily, seeking desperately to catch a hidden moment or secret glimpse as vengeful peeping toms"

    That one made me choke on my cocoa LOL. Well done!

    1. I experienced the same with my tea reading the fighter's wish part :D

      Excellent post!

  2. Are you going to eventually collect these ecologies into a PDF? Also I dig the new header.

  3. G+ Source


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