Today we’re covering one of the weirdest wildshape options available to druids. This is (somehow) a CR0 monster, meaning every single druid can turn into it so long as they encounter one. (And honestly, that’s probably the primary thing stopping you from using it. You’ll likely need to go on a special side-mission with your GM’s permission to find a specimen. I recommend the locate animals or plants spell after you’ve learned its rough habitat from research.)
We’re talking about the haungharassk. No, I don’t know how to pronounce it.
What the Shell?
The haungharassk is a giant snail originating from the Dungeon of the Mad Mage adventure. And when I say giant, I mean it; it’s classified as ‘huge’, the only huge CR0 beast in the game. With 52 hitpoints, it’s significantly more chonky than anything else you’ll find in that CR range. But the weirdness doesn’t end there. According to the description, its shell is gleaming gold, and anyone who touches it gains 6 temporary hitpoints and the benefits of remove curse. In addition, the haungharassk can climb walls and ceilings, but in exchange it doesn’t have any attacks. It also takes 1d6 acid damage if anyone throws salt on it.
Honestly, that bizarre bundle of abilities should be more than enough to make its own case for why this is the single weirdest beast in the druid’s menagerie. Druids should not be unlocking Huge forms that early, and this sheer bulk is where most of the haungharassk’s utility shines. You can literally just become your party’s cover, eating damage and giving out healing every time someone touches you. If you need to bust down a door, the haungharassk gets a whopping +5 to Strength checks! But with a movespeed of 10ft/round and no attacks, there are plenty of situations where the form is borderline unusable as well.
That being said, if speed isn’t an issue, you can make for a pretty fly party mount. You can fit nine medium-sized people on you, after all. If there’s a wall or ceiling y’all need to climb across, the haungharassk is your best friend. But I think the temporary HP and the curse-removing is probably the most unique ability the haungharassk brings to the table. That’s not a lot of healing, but it’s free, and druids have no other way to remove curses.
One concern I want to address is that some people argue the haungharassk in Dungeon of the Mad Mage has special abilities that ‘normal ones’ wouldn’t. The golden shell is specifically mentioned to be infused, so I can see the argument there. But the text doesn’t specifically state that the HP/curse-removing abilities aren’t inherent to the species. Since no other adventure includes any more, we only have this one specimen to go off of. (We do know they’re not just bogstandard giant snails, which have their own monster entry and completely different stats.) Yet even if your GM rules that those peculiar mechanics are off the table, I still think a Huge 20-Strength wall-climbing beast form is uniquely useful in certain situations. The healing bit, if allowed, is just gravy.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, the odds are pretty good you won’t ever be encountering one of these. My GM flatout refused to let me go on a quest to find one, and I can’t honestly fault her. But my goal with these druid guides is to showcase all the interesting options available to the class, and the haungharassk certainly is one.