Schnells | The Obsidian Roadsnail


Jul 31, 2020
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Appearing no different from a vaguely snail-shaped mass consisting almost entirely of molten rock—the very body of this snail itself a red-hot being of pure magma, its shell a massive, layered thing of gunk and obsidian—the schnell was an unintentionally fearsome foe that made mortals pale upon seeing its massive size. While a snail may excrete mucus to protect themselves and prevent desiccation, a schnell, as large as a wyvern when fully grown, instead excreted lava from its molten form. Dribbling and bubbling and scorching lava—a substance that oozed from and behind the schnell as it moved, melting and hardening upon the path behind it as it traversed its habitats.

Oddly, still appearing no different from the common snail when it came to basic anatomy, a schnell bore four tentacles on its face: two upper tentacles and two lower tentacles, the two upper tentacles of which bore the schnell’s eyes, and the two lower tentacles of which grew near the schnell’s mouth. A clearly magical creature nonetheless, the shell of a schnell in particular was a curious part of their form. A mess of layered igneous rock, though mostly made up of obsidian, the shells of younger schnells that had yet to build up as much crust as their ancient counterparts could be seen with spiraling patterns on their dark shells, while aged and older schnells bore shells too burdened with rock and leaking magma to make out the spiraling patterns that once marked them.

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As a result, though the surest way of telling a schnell’s age was its size, the shell of a schnell was but another indication of how long one had lived, much like with counting the rings of a tree. To note, while fully grown schnells could grow to become as large as wyverns, the large majority of schnells—juveniles—were usually only as large as wagons, then varying wildly in size between themselves and their elders.

Three hundred to five hundred years depending on environmental factors.

RARITY ● 7 / 10
While difficult to find anywhere else outside of the Burning Realm and the Deep Roads, schnells were relatively common in the former but only found in deep chambers of magma in the latter. Usually found in groups within and around broiling pockets of molten rock, ancient and fully grown schnells were markedly more difficult to find than their younger ilk.

Simple creatures, schnells gravitated to places of warmth, bathing in pools of magma deep beneath the earth—or in other realms entirely—as they’d enter comatose states akin to hibernation within them. Hiding away inside of their massive shells of obsidian as they’d then feed off of the heat radiated from the magma, subsisting to grow larger in turn, few creatures could ever truly consider the schnell its prey as a result of the intense environments they roamed. With a schnell being too hot to even approach without caution, the very air around them broiling with heat, it was clear to see why most creatures—in the Deep Roads at least—left the schnell well enough alone.

With generations of schnells usually all sticking around the same chamber of magma though, a schnell could go its whole life living within a single cavern without reason to leave. It was only in particular circumstances, like in the drying up of a magma chamber, or the overpopulation of such, that a schnell would then migrate to find another source of warmth to feed on. Traversing the caverns of the Deep Roads as one might expect a snail to then—very slowly—a schnell would slither its way through the depths until eventually coming upon a new place to settle and call home.

In doing so, emerging from a pool of magma, the residual flows of lava coating them and their shells would then harden to form new layers of obsidian and other igneous rocks upon them. After repeating this process several times over, it was for this reason that the oldest of schnells could grow to become as large as wyverns, their shells almost cultivated in a way to grow to such a point.

Still, it wasn’t as if the schnell was entirely immune to threat. An exotic escargot snack for omralaks, and preyed upon by the greater species of the Deep Roads that were immune to heat—usually those made up of stone, or other magma-dwelling creatures of the Underdeep—a schnell outside of its habitat was particularly more susceptible to harm, much cooler if not having recently bathed in magma. In particular, a schnell was at its most vulnerable when in a state of migration; it was in its home turf of being submerged in magma, after all, that allowed for a schnell to be considered so deadly with its presence alone.

Not particularly aggressive otherwise, schnells were rather passive in simply ignoring most other forms of Deep Roads life. One account from the Age of Stone describes a dwarven smith of whom had once found his forge becoming the home for a large schnell. Letting it be, and it in turn, the schnell did little but hibernate within his smeltery as he continued with his work day-by-day, up until he closed down his smithy and the schnell simply continued on its way with the intent of finding a new source of warmth to occupy.

With abilities focusing almost entirely on defense, the schnell was little more than a sitting duck with its slow speed in mind. Only capable of moving one to three blocks per action depending on its size, a schnell came with various defense mechanisms to ward off its attackers as a result, its greatest shield—its shell—also its greatest spear with its primary make of obsidian in mind. That said, as a creature native to the Burning Realm, the schnell was rather susceptible to attacks of water and ice—so long as they could find purchase against the intense heat a schnell radiated.

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Surprisingly tough for its make of obsidian, the shell of a schnell was often coated with layer upon layer of igneous rock as durable as iron plate. Resistant to bladed forms of weaponry, and only truly capable of being chipped away with picks and hammers, attacking a schnell’s shell could often backfire for the attacker. If one wasn’t careful, striking at the shell of a schnell could send sharp shards of obsidian into the attacker’s flesh, and could even cause small fragments of obsidian and obsidian dust to enter their lungs, cutting them from the inside.

When in places of intense heat, such as their natural habitat, schnells were capable of radiating incredible warmth from their forms; so hot that they broiled the very air around them, repelling lesser creatures who weren’t immune to heat as a result, this ability of theirs effectively cooked anyone who stayed within a five block radius of a schnell for more than an action. Even capable of granting the schnell a resistance against lesser attacks of water and ice while active, this cloak made it rather difficult for those limited to melee weaponry to strike at a schnell.

Much like the salamander, another denizen of the Burning Realm, schnells exploded into a fiery blaze upon their death, leaving not much behind but the remnants of their obsidian shells. Though the radius of this explosion was generally up to Event Team jurisdiction, and could vary wildly depending on a schnell’s size and environment, bigger schnells and warmer environments generally led to larger and more potent explosions. With a delay of one action upon the death of a schnell before it exploded, it seemed one had to be especially cautious when attempting to fight a schnell.

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Though a schnell exploded upon its death, leaving not much behind save for its shell and some magical essence, the shell of a schnell was something to be prized by craftsmen. Containing a special form of obsidian un-inventively called schnellsidian, the sparse amount of schnellsidian provided by a schnell’s shell was often reworked into fine weapons for melee combat.

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A magically-enhanced form of obsidian, schnellsidian was as its name implied—obsidian harvested from the shell of a schnell. Though bearing all the same properties as standard obsidian, if not perhaps with a dimly-lit glow resembling the embers in an hearth gone cold in its make, the obsidian of a schnell’s shell was as durable as iron, more akin to enchanted ice then in terms of how the material could be worked into new creations.

Condensed bits of magical flame that were perhaps a bit heavier than those left behind by salamanders and other fire elementals; able to be collected simply with an elven-glass bottle and warm to the touch, fire essence had its uses as a magical reagent to some. If nothing else though, the way these magical flames danced in darkness was a captivating sight.

Well, it’s the smelly shell of a deep-dwelling schnell. Given not all of the igneous rock that made up a schnell’s shell was comprised of prized schnellsidian, some could still harvest the standard obsidian that made up its various layers for lesser creations. Oddly, the shell had a bit of a weird, spicy smell to its innards.

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Post art by Mocaran M, found following:
Post art by Roboto-kun, found following:

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Jul 23, 2020
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Kine Lidomast
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