An insidious invention of that theoalchemical mastermind Harv Gretborn, the snotgun is the finest example of applied biological warfare known to Ghyll. As implied by the name, the snotgun fires mucous missiles of incredible infectiousness. Very similar to the ingenious repeating musket recently seen in the hills surrounding the Sarfelogian Mountains, the snotgun fires its slimy slug, encased in a crunchy shell, with great velocity. The impact, though stinging, is generally only enough to rupture the casing which then exposes the target to the gruesome goober contained therein. And there lies the genius of the weapon! For what soldier of any stripe can resist sticking their finger in something alien and gooey! Once the poor front-line grunt has fallen for the lure, then the baneful bullet goes to work.
The really nasty thing about the snotgun is not the slimy slug itself, but the deadly diseases carried in the runny round. These are gathered by various low-wage workers in assorted zoological venues. Freshly made mucous is harvested from many different animals, including, but not limited to Aelfants, Burnflies, Dwarf Tree Aelfants, Eye Suckers, Phaelrosen, Pyxies, and Tree Eels. Of course, some of the potent projectiles are manufactured from the mucous drippings of the terrible Ebony-Headed Marrow-Sucker and, while few things are worse than a case of Burnfly Blight or The Pyxie Pukes, neither of these compare with Zygotic Dermatosis.
Most of the concoctions in these sickly slugs are very high military secrets, of course, and their effects are learned only after they have been used in battle. One such mysterious malady has been described by a doctor attached to the Tarkherk Corps in Doctoring Disease for Dimwitts:
"We once came across a strange new illness while fighting in the Xurient. We were quite surprised, of course, when we found ourselves assaulted with snotguns, seemingly to no effect. The inscrutible Xurientals simply fired, turned and ran. We chased them as far as we could, but they disappeared into the local countryside. The men, in celebration, kept the camp followers busy for a full fortnight. Alas, it was almost 20 days later that the first chancres began to appear. They manifested themselves as a single, painless papule that rapidly becomes eroded and indurated. The ulcer has a cartilaginous consistency at the edge and base. These chancres were to be found on the external genitalia of most of the men, but in a few they were found in the anal canal and/or mouth. These odd lesions were discrete, firm, mobile, and painless, without overlying skin changes, and healed spontaneously in 3-7 weeks.
"However, 4-10 weeks after the appearance of the primary lesions, the men began to report a host of symptoms, including malaise, fever, myalgias, and arthralgias with a generalized body rash and lymphadenopathy. The symptoms that were not immediately reported usually included a localized or diffuse mucocutaneous rash and generalized nontender lymphadenopathy. The exanthem may be macular, papular, pustular, or mixed. Typically these lesions were round, discrete, nonpruritic, and symmetric macules distributed on the trunk and proximal extremities. Red papular lesions also appeared on the palms, soles, face, and scalp and, in some cases, became necrotic. Patchy and nonpatchy alopecia occurred in some cases. In intertriginous areas, papules occasionally coalesced to form highly infectious lesions which I promptly dubbed "condylomata lata". It should also be noted that these mucous patches were superficial mucosal erosions, usually painless, and seemed to develop on the tongue, oral mucosa, lips, and genitalia.
"In the few cases where symptoms recurred a third time, they were associated with serious illness and disability; death was the result in approximately 20% of the patients.
"We found no cure."
Of course, the snotgun's inventor, Harv Gretborn, had hoped that such a contemptible creation would make war so horrific that Ghyllians would be obliged to cease making it upon each other.
--Doctor Phineas Crank 20:58, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)