To celebrate Horror Flora‘s four year anniversary, I’ve prepared a special treat for you: a bestiary for a non-existent monster catching game inspired by this website’s Iconic Characters of Horror Fiction essay series. Welcome to 4 Horror War, where people raise different Archetypal Fears – “Arkies” for short – into powerful monsters, and then battle each other to prove the superiority of their chosen fears. I’ll be posting a different Arky family each day from now through Halloween – today’s Arky family of the day belongs to Slasher Horror, THE ANONYMOUS MURDERER FAMILY!
Now, before we dive in to the gritty details, an explanation/reminder of how this non-existent mons game works. Unlike Pokemon, evolution is not necessarily an upgrade – in other words, the first stage of a given family is generally on par with the most “advanced” stage. Evolution reshuffles stats rather than straight-up improving them, allowing the Arky to function differently on the team.
In addition to giving you alternate options/strategies for a given Arky, the family tree of each Archetypal Fear is sort of a huge meta-reference to how actual horror archetypes have, well, evolved in fiction. Though I’ve had to stretch now and then with the families to make every monster I wanted to make fit, the meta commentary is more or less accurate enough to make my inner horror nerd happy.
Ok, enough pre-amble, let’s dive in:
A fairly straightforward Arky, Maniaxe has no complex strategy in mind. It sees an enemy, it kills them with an axe. Simple, but effective.
If asked to have more dramatic flair, Maniaxe can evolve into Formyer. Though perhaps a little dated by modern sensibilities, this knife wielding murderer has an undeniably groovy style, and the theme music it plays while slicing enemies up is positively shagadelic.
If Formyer manages to deal 666 points of damage or more with one attack, it can evolve into Sloppijo. A sweating hunk of meat, this muderous Arky can attack with surprising speed and range, tearing foes into ragged chunks with its mighty chainsaw.
If asked to stop making references to an oversaturated 90’s James Bond parody movie, Formyer can evolve into Vorson. Now a silent brute, this freakishly durable murderer may move slow, but when it hits, it kills.
After dying in combat four times, Vorson can evolve into Copykill. This masked murderer can transform into any Arky on the field, copying their appearance, attacks, and stats, while retaining its Slasher Horror affinity.
If given a voice changer to hold, Formyer can evolve into Shriscree. Though frail by the standards of its family, this speedy and stealthy killer is a master of deception, subverting the expectations of its enemies and hitting them when they least suspect it.
If it is kept on the team but off the field for four battles in a row, Maniaxe can evolve into Hookhand. The most mysterious of all the Anonymous Killer Arkies, Hookhand sneaks around the field, deflecting attention to its allies while it sneaks up on enemies to gut them with its hook.
If given a flotation device while traveling through a body of water, Maniaxe can evolve into Deadive. Protected by a sturdy metal helmet and wielding a big drill, this monster can kill effectively in even the most hostile of environments.