The land of Dracori contains many magical creatures. One of these is the Firespline Landfish (also called a Terrakanthes).

The Terrakanthes looks like a chubby lizard, with a ridge of magical spikes along the backbone, and a crest of spikes at the back of the head. These are called firespines.

Firespines are made of solidified flame. They are red-hot and form on creatures with a lot of fire energy. The spines are durable but brittle. They tend to shatter when struck. Shattering like this can cause a magical reaction.

What are Reactions?

Forces of nature interact with each other, and so do the different kinds of magic. For example, when a Fireball meets a water spell, the water may boil or outright evaporate in what's called a Steam Reaction. Because Firespines are made of solid flame, creatures with Firespines cause A LOT of Reactions, all the time.

The only relevant Reactions here are nine in number; Steam, Burn, Melt, Purge, Thermal, Devastate, and Conduct.

Steam kicks in when a Terrakanthes is splashed or submerged. It causes clouds of steam to arise when in air, which telegraphs the unfortunate Terrakanthes' position, but in water it not only obscures their position but creates a protective bubble of searing water around them.

Burn is what happens when a Terrakanthes tries to move through forest environments, or when some idiot nature mage tries to use a plant spell like Crashing Chestnut (don't laugh, it's a powerful spell) and hits one of the spines.

Melt should be self-explanatory, but it's a little more complicated. This Reaction turns Ice and Ice spells into Water or Water equivalents, which if they hang around, will cause a Steam Reaction.

Purge is an interesting one. When Poison hits Fire magic, the Fire magic burns, or Purges, out the Poison, effectively neutralizing it. This Reaction is a very good way to make a poisonous monster have a very bad day, but given how powerful Fire monsters are already hot enough to cause Purge reactions on contact, this can't be why firespines have developed.

Thermal is less a one-time thing and more an ongoing process. Thanks to the magical principles of Balance and Flow, Firespines give out heat but also draw heat in, creating a feedback loop that keeps things nice and toasty around them, and this causes air to heat and rise around a Terrakanthes. This Reaction is also useful for making someone's Air spell fly up instead of into you.

Conduct is less a Reaction and more of a natural transfer; when Metal or Metal magic touches a Firespine, the metal Conducts the heat through itself, which can cause pretty heavy burns to wannabee knights who think a metal shield or armor will protect them, or to a monster hunter who's too careless with their weapon.

Finally, the best for last, the reason Firespines are so dubious. Devastate. Have you ever heard the phrase, "When two fires meet, they consume whatever feeds their fury?" Well, perhaps this principles is why when Fire meets Fire, there is a devastating explosion. This Reaction makes Firespines not only problematic but life-threatening to those monsters that possess them, because if a fire-wielding rival hits these spines, they'll explode and leave craters in that monster's body.

Our mages have been studying these things and have become utterly stumped, so now we ask you, the noble Explorer's Guild, to explain. If Firespines are such a liability, why do monsters have them?

What We've Already Figured Out:

  1. Fires generate heat, and so does Fire energy. Thus, Fire monsters naturally generate heat, which thanks to the principle of Balance, then diffuses. Then, thanks to the principle of Flow, drawn to the heat released, more heat and Fire energy rushes in. TL;DR: Firespines cannot be to supply Fire monsters with a power source.

  2. Fire monsters are also protected from fire, smoke, ash-being around or in fires just doesn't harm them. In fact, it seems to strengthen them, making them hit harder, move and heal faster, grow bigger.....does this sound like a contrast, like being in fire should cause a Devastate Reaction? Oh, no no no no. A fire monster entering fire won't cause an explosion. But, if said fire monster releases some of their Fire while in natural fire, there will indeed be a Devastate Reaction. We're not sure why this is, but we have lots of theories!

Anyway, this means firespines are unlikely to exist for the purpose of drawing fire away from a fire monster, to control where the Devastation occurs, especially considering their general locations.

  1. LocationFirespines are located generally along the spine (like a dragon's ridge), protruding from joints, along the limbs, along the tail, along the sides, and on the face, along the back of the head.....forming ridges, horns, and frills. This is automatically a problem, as if any of these Firespines got Devastated, it would cause serious or even fatal injury. This is the biggest problem with Firespines, and if they exist, there must be a reason for them. What is it?

If more information is needed, please let me know! I appreciate feedback!

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Less information is needed $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 6, 2022 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Daron: I see.....can you explain how you came to that conclusion and how the question could be improved? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 7, 2022 at 3:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You can improve the question by removing most of the words. I have done out everything up until the reactions, so you can see what I mean. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 7, 2022 at 13:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't know what the principles of Flow or Balance are. Also most of the reactions amount to a burst of heat. So there's no need to go through them each by name. Just say "There are many types of reactions, depending on what spell you cast on the fish. For example a burst of heat, lightning, cloud of steam, zone of antimagic, create centipedes, . . ." $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 7, 2022 at 13:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Currently you're asking for an open ended list of problems with your critter. As written any problem is a valid answer. Please remember that questions with many valid answers are too broad for this site. Also note that adding the word "biggest" just makes the question more subjective since you don't provide any objective criteria for determining what makes a problem bigger than another, leaving this assessment entirely up to the opinions of each answerer. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 7, 2022 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


In 2021, during the Scary Coveede epidemic which has led to the confinement of almost all Dracoririans in their multi-storied castles, the Municipal Transportation Society of Bucharest, for there is always a Bucharest, whatever it is called, in any realm of fantasy and reality, very quietly and surprisingly introduced a new and most convenient method of paying the fare for the travellers riding on the Underground Trains or on the multiple Surface Omnibuses, specifically by means of using Near Field Communication to make small transactions using bank Payment Cards, or their Telephonic equivalents.

Now by that time the Seagull population of Bucharest had increased to unprecedented levels, much to the surprise of many Bucharesters, which was of course understandable given that Bucharest, on Dracoriri as elsewhere, is a city on a vast dusty and windy plain, nowhere near the Sea. But those who studied the Ways of Odd Things knew that the Seagulls had moved in over decades and decades, attracted by the ever growing population of Landfish and Airfish; those kinds of tetrapod fishes initially taking over the role of the Community Dogs and Cats, which had been made almost completely extinct by a mercurial General Mayor and President, whose heroic struggles against Unruly Street Vendors and said Community Animals were the subject of many an ephemeral Television Newspiece or Newspaper Article, the memory of which has been lost in the mist of the Eldritch So-Called War, that nobody actually remembers either, mostly because it was not all that much eldritch and not really a war, but rather an insignificant brawl between the Boys Behind the Blocks of Saint Pantaleon and the upstart gang of the Crooked Rain Dancers, fakely amplified by the Big Media always in search of click bait.

Only later was the story of Mutative Radiation connected with the vague memory of the irreal Eldritch War, and by the same Big Media undoubtedly paid by the rapacious Big Telecoms who were pushing their ever increasing en-G, poisoning the land with the omnipresent Pulsed Electromagnetic Radiation spewed by their Antennas, stacked one on of top of the other. But that is another Story, which will be eventually be told elsewhere in the Fullness of Time.

Now the Landfish and the Airfish had sought to evade the attention of the All-Eating Seagulls by availing themselves of the Mass Transit services offered by the conveyances of the Municipal Transportation Society; and in this attempt their bane were the Ticket Comptrollers, a wicked Race of Ogres disguised as Ordinary Humans, who fined and disposed of any Landfish or Airfish they caught, for they were firmly of the chauvinist opinion that the Only Good Fish is a Waterfish, and any other Kind of Fish is naught but an abomination of the eyes of the Godhead, as it is written with fiery letters in the Bible, in the Book of the Second Law, and if it is not written there then it should have been.

The pullulating population of Landfish and Airfish, and even the Voidfish who had begun to mingle with them, Undocumented immigrants as they were, naturally gravitated to the lowest menial jobs in the service of the Underworld, and mostly into the employ of the infamous Doctor Few Men-Chew, of whom we know from the writings of that most trustworthy Chronicler of Eldritch Stuff, Sacks Rowmar, who devoted most of his Life to documenting the evil deeds of the Eastern Foe. As it happens, Few Men-Chew, as any self-respecting Leader of the Underworld, had a bank, and sought to incentivise his Fishy Minions to foil the clumsy Ticket Comptroller by the most ingenious device of actually paying the Transportation Fare by using Debit Cards provided by his Bank for an extortionate Fee.

Yet Fish have no pockets, and being Pocketless they cannot carry around Payment Cards or smart Telephones, and by way of consequence they could not take advance of the Most Convenient payment terminals providently installed in all Transportation Conveyances by the Municipal Transportation Society. They could not, that is, until a random mutation happed to produce the first Near Field Spines in a small population of Voidfishes somewhere in the slums of the Iron Hat Quarter.

It has been proven by Evolutionary Bionthologists that indeed the spectacular Fire Spines of Modern Landfish are indeed developments of the thin, bendy, flexible, wispy Near Field Spines which enabled the Voidfish to pay the Transportation Fare wirelessly, thus being able to use the Transportation Conveyances, mostly Surface Omnibuses, to avoid being eaten by the Seagulls, and at the same time becoming immune to the threat posed by the Ticket Comptrollers. This favorable mutation spread like wildfire, and in a very few generations, all the Unnatural Fishes, be they Voidfish, Airfish, or Landfish, had acquired Near Field Spines, often placed at several various parts of their unfishy bodies.

The multiplication of the Field Spines is explained by the advantage of being able to defer paying the Transportation Fare until a threatening Ticket Comptroller was actually detected; the Fish who did this successfully reduced the cost of Transportation, thus keeping more Lucre for themselves instead of giving it to the Bank of Few Men-Chew, and being able to provide more Food for their Fry.

From this point on the dual forces of Sexual Selection and the Invisible Hand of the Bazaar took over, and, as time passed and generation succeeded generation, the inconspicuous fluffy Field Spines gradually transformed into eye-catching Fire Spines of Solid Flame, mostly in Landfishes. Some particular races of Voidfishes still show Field Spines quite similar to the original development, although even in their case evolution is visible, as their Spines are now able to function as both Near and Far Field communication Antennas; as for Airfish, most of them display unbelievable Liquid Sparkspines, the study of which has led many a Bionthologist to Madness, as those Spines contradict all Known Physics, being nothing short of a Physical Paradox in themselves.

Nowadays, many a plucky Landfish uses the mastery of the Reactions of their Firespines to land the most lucrative jobs, either Lawful, or, reverting to the ways of their ancestors, Unlawful, as the case may be and depending on the peculiar Inclinations of that particular fish, or, more often, on the Traditions of their Fishy Families, because, as we all know, Landfishes are the most Inveterate Conservatives and Keepers of Traditions. This is why you will find Landfish who use the Steam Reaction to power Locomotives, and other Landfish who use it to steam off the pool of water under which Treasure is hidden, in order to steal it, with scant regard for the Law of Fisheries.

The long and short of it is that Fire Spines are developed from the Near Field Spines, which a long time ago in a fantastically imaginary Bucharest, Voidfish used for the purpose of paying the fare when they hopped on an Omnibus. They current Form, Shape and Properies are the result of pages upon pages of Sexual Selection and Bazaar Selection, the result of which is the ecstatic Solid Flame and Reactions that were to be explained.

  • $\begingroup$ Okay, this is incredibly detailed and very thought out, thank you! It will take a while to process this..... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 7, 2022 at 3:01

Lucy Lawless: "Whenever you notice something like that, a wizard did it"

They were invented by wizards to annoy other wizards.

Everyone knows a wizard's favourite activity on the weekend is to sneak behind the neighbor's house and release a Firespine Landfish into the rose garden.

Yes, the wizard's neighbor is also a wizard. They live in the wizard part of town you see.

This infuriates the neighbor wizard, because they cannot use their magic to remove the Landfish. Every spell in their book will react catastrophically with the firespines, and demolish the azaleas.

So they are forced to chase the landfish around the garden with a wet towel, like a Lvl 1 Commoner, trying to catch the landfish and bundle it up and toss it over the fence back where it came from.

This prank doesn't work on muggles by the way. Those guys might have a dog, and the dog will chase away the landfish easy peasy. Wizards don't have dogs. Or if they do, the dogs are magical with the same problem as above.

The neighbor in the meantime has invited her friends over for lemonade and hamburgers, and to peek over the fence and snigger. But they are still wearing their pointy hats and I CAN SEE YOU ALL BACK THERE!


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