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 Atomic Horror, THE BIG BUGS 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:
Born from atomic fallout, the gargantuan Colossant proves that the meek truly shall inherit the earth. With the strength of its mundane counterparts magnified to match its new enormous size, this colossal ant is a physical powerhouse that gains strength the more allies it has backing it up.
If fed a jar full of flies, Colossant can evolve into Gargantula. Faster than its predecessor, this awesome arachnid may have less close range attacks at its disposal, but makes up for it with a stunning array of long range attacks and debuffs made from its silken spider threads.
After defeating an enemy in a subterranean cave, Gargantula can evolve into Scornoir. It trades the long range specialization of its predecessor for a devastating array of close range attacks and a deadly venomous sting.
If fed sweet honey, Colossant can evolve into Verdevespa. Something of a jack of all trades, it has average stats and can do well in both close and long range thanks to its (somewhat clumsy) wings and powerful limbs.
If Verdevespa slays four enemies in a frozen wasteland, it can evolve into Doomantis. This close range fighter can use its power of flight to quickly close the gap between it an its enemies, tearing them apart with its deadly claws.
If fed human brains, Colossant can evolve into Crabcorman. A deadly and fiendish crab person, this creature uses a mix of physical and arcane attacks, brainwashing its foes with telepathy before tearing them apart with its claws.
After defeating an enemy in the ocean, Crabcorman can evolve into Challensnail. Capable of draining health by drinking its enemies’ vital fluids and excreting a foul slime that poison them, this monster may lack raw attack power but remains a deadly threat from the array of status effects it can unleash and its sheer defensive power.
If fed a mysterious spice from outer space, Colossant can evolve into Snatchoid. This enormous worm-like invertebrate swims through dirt and sand as though they were water, traversing through any and all terrain with incredible ease. It specializes in sneak attacks, though it also boasts a pretty great set of defenses.