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Flail snails were earth-based creatures that were highly sought out by hunters due to the fact that they produced a number of valuable resources. Their body parts and colorful shells could be used to produce several protective magical items.[1][4]


Flail snails had between four and six tentacles (typically five) that were kept in constant motion, swaying slowly if the creature was calm or fast if it was agitated.[3][4]

They possessed very colorful scintillating shells that had antimagic properties. These kept growing as the creature aged and could grow clockwise or counter-clockwise.[1][4]


Flail snails moved slowly, consuming everything in their path, including vegetation, rocks, sand, and dirt. They were particularly fond of crystal growths and mineral deposits and took their time to savor them. They were generally completely non-aggressive until threatened.[1][4]


The slow metabolism of flail snails rendered them immune to poison, while their thick shells and the wet mucus that covered their bodies rendered them immune to fire.[4][1]

This protective mucus was produced by a gland in front of a flail snail's foot. The mucus served as a protective layer for its skin and as a lubricant for its motion.[4] As it moved, the flail snail left a trail of this shimmering material that could be harvested to produce clear or opaque glass.[1]

Like any snails, they were somewhat vulnerable to salt, although their protective mucus provided an effective layer of resistance.[4]


Flail snails were hermaphrodites. They reproduced by going through a complex mating ritual with other flail snails that they met casually. They exchanged love darts in order to initiate the ritual, mated, and then went their separate ways. Later they laid about a dozen eggs.[4]


A flail snail's shell could emit an extremely bright, multicolored light that made it difficult for the creature to be physically targeted and that could potentially stun its enemies. The shell also rendered it extremely resistant to magic. If the creature was targeted by a magical attack, the shell could either reflect the attack back on the caster or convert the spell energy into a destructive blast of force.[1]


The club-like tentacles of flail snails had tips of hardened skin with several protrusions that could crush wood easily and were the creature's only form of attack.[4] If a tentacle was sufficiently damaged, it would die, but the snail would remain alive and could regrow lost tentacles after a few days, as long as at least one tentacle remained alive.[1]

If all tentacles were killed, the snail retracted into its shell and started crying out a loud wailing sound for several minutes until it died or had its tentacles restored, such as through a regenerate spell.[1] The cry of a dying flail snail could potentially attract other monsters to the site.[3]


Flail snails hibernated during winter, except in locations in which the seasons did not affect the availability of food, such as deep underground. They tended to flee from overly bright lights as an instinctual defense mechanism against desiccation by the sun.[4]


Beyond Toril, these creatures were known to exist on the planet of Oerth.[5]


An intact shell of a flail snail could sell for up to 5,000 gp, and could be used to produce shields that retained their anti-magic property for one month or more. When this effect faded, the shields could then be converted into spellguard shields. A shell could also be powdered and mixed into a dye in order to craft robes of scintillating colors.[1][4]

The stomach and liver of a flail snail could be used as ingredients for an elixir of health, which negated the effects of any ingested poison. Its skin and protective mucus could be ground and used as an ingredient to produce potions of fire resistance. The mucus could also be used as an alternative ingredient to produce potions of climbing, but it rendered the potions too thick to be ingested quickly.[4]

Some humanoids managed to make a living by trailing flail snails and collecting the shimmering lubricant left in their wake.[1]

Notable flail snails[]





  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 144. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  2. Chris Sims, Logan Bonner (2009). Fool's Grove. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 38. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 Johnathan M. Richards (April 1999). “The Ecology of the Flail Snail”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #258 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 58–63.
  5. Grant Boucher, William W. Connors, Steve Gilbert, Bruce Nesmith, Christopher Mortika, Skip Williams (April 1990). Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Adventures Appendix. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 50. ISBN 0-88038-836-6.
  6. Christopher Perkins, Will Doyle, Steve Winter (September 19, 2017). Tomb of Annihilation. Edited by Michele Carter, Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 256. ISBN 978-0-7869-6610-3.