While not a missile weapon as it were, Combusting Shrews still fall under the missile category because of their peculiar usage.
The Combusting Shrew is a small, pudgy rodent of the shrew family, roughly 7-8 inches in diameter and weighing about 5-10 pounds. Its diet consists of grain and/or the seeds of various plants, most of them common weeds that are inedible by humans. Their short fur is often a reddish-brown in colour, and some have black or dark-brown patches.
The truly strange quirk in the Combusting Shrew’s nature is its ability to burst violently into flames, due to the creation and secretion of a natural, combustible oil in a special gland at the back of the shrew’s throat. When the creature’s large front teeth strike together hard enough, sparks are created which cause the oil present in its mouth to ignite. This sometimes causes the mammal to explode, but invariably leads to an oil-fed blaze that spreads quickly and is quite difficult to put out.
Since this odd feature does not seem to serve as any practical advantage to the animal itself, it is largely thought that the small mammal’s genetic structure was tampered with at one point, most likely by magic.
In battle, Combusting Shrews are deployed by being loaded into catapults or large slings and fired at the enemy, igniting when they come into contact with their targets. Of course, there is a chance that the shrews do not catch fire, but this is greatly limited if the creatures are catapulted hard enough.
In addition to their abilities of combustion, the shrews serve as a demoralizing force towards the enemy. The idea of being repulsed with a fusillade of little rodents is a bit of a disheartening concept to many.
Several theories exist as to the shrew’s origins. The Circle of Magi denies any part in the creation of the creatures, abhorring the loss of animal life needed to effectively use them. An independantly operating wizard might have invented them, but the Circle denies the existence of these hedge-wizards and -witches as well.
Oddly enough, the Holy Church of Our Champion actually sanctions the use of the creatures, however, refusing to believe that it has been magically altered, and saying that such a useful beast must have been created by Our Holy Champion for just such a purpose. Although magic is frowned upon by the Church, exceptions have been made in the past, and the Combusting Shrew may have been one of them.
Another feasible origin might have been as a result of experimentation by the Royal Academy of Scientology. Although such a drastic change in the genetics of a creature is supposedly beyond the limits of modern science, the High Scholars of the Academy have never been entirely forthcoming about scientific breakthroughs, preferring to keep the knowledge to themselves.
The most useful aspect of the shrew is simply its ability to reproduce in enormous quantities, and to grow in a very short period of time, making it a regenerating supply of ammunition, so long as a breeding pair remains. In addition, feeding is rarely an issue since the mammals feed on the seeds of common weeds which human beings cannot digest.
The only thing which prevents some armies from utilizing the shrew as a missile is their conscience. Hundreds of shrews screeching from a battlefield as they are consumed by flames is a moral step that some simply refuse to take - ironic in a morbid way, since the very act of war is filled with mindless killing anyway.