A cousin of the common garden snail, the lab snail was discovered by an alchemist looking for a substitute for rats in magical experimentation. Rats, while intelligent, and possessing similar tolerances and blood types to that of humans, have little to no magical sense or resistance. For example, a simple healing spell that would work wonders on a human will as often turn a rat into a mushroom as actually heal it, it can’t detect a fire ward (before being incinerated that is), and a speed draft will cause it to fly apart in spectacular fashion. They may be good for many types of science, but on the whole rats are unfit for magical use.
One day, while out looking for magical ingredients an alchemist happened upon a snail atop a particularly potent magic mushroom. The snail had apparently been eating it, and yet despite having consumed an amount that would have turned a rat into a buttery, the snail was perfectly healthy. The common garden snail thrives in the misty, mossy, moon-lit environs that many other magical creatures favor, and apparently, through diet and evolution this breed of snails had built up a resistance to magic comparable to much larger creatures, even humans. The alchemist took some home, and after observing potion effects in the snails similar to those found in humans began breeding them for magical use.
Today lab snails are fairly common, with many sub-breeds and varieties both natural and a result of magical experimentation. The most common variant is the Psionically Reactive Snail or Psnail. It resembles a tailless snail, that constantly hovers a few inches above the surface below it. While this magical phenomena does not alter the creature’s speed , it has been found that when doped with the proper concoctions the life-field of the Psnail can be altered to mimic natural phenomena required for runic magic.
For example, a Psnail fed fireweed and nightshade can allow the etching of runes nearby that typically requre a summer solstice, and a full moon can be replicated with naught but a Psnail fed mint and honey.
Many older wizards argue that this violates the spirit of the thing, and that a sword “forged in fire and blood under the stars of winter, and graven with the icons of justice and fear” sounds much more poetic than a sword “forged in charcoal and oil on a Tuesday and etched with the icons of justice next to a snail in a bowl of allspice“. However, with magical swords in higher demand than ever, the schedule flexibility provided by the Psnails is often too tempting to pass up.
(Note: Snails aren’t for everyone. Please consult your wizard if you are considering using snails. Not all magics are compatible with snails including dark, holy, and blood magics. Do not use snails if you are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. Do not use Psnails if you are an elf. Do not use potions of speed on snails or store them near potions of alacrity, agility, or dexterity as side effects can occur. Side effects include, nausea, blurred vision, the impression of blurred vision, numbing of eyes and throat, fingernail sensitivity, Deja-vu, death, undeath, redeath, soullessness, soul engorgement, and fatigue. Please contact your wizard if you experience any of these side effects or have premonitions of the side effects occurring. Stop waiting for the stars to forge your mystical weapons, and you ask your wizard if snails are right for you!)