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 CHARISMATIC SADIST 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:
Cunning to the extreme, Canihan‘s greatest weapon is its voice, as the sly murderer can convince enemies to undercut their own ambitions while helping allies figure out exactly how to defeat their foes with marvelous clarity.
After successfully convincing an enemy to destroy itself, Canihan can evolve into Cultie. Armed with convincing speeches about limitless power gained through devotion to idols of evil, this insidious killer drains strength from its victims and into itself the longer it is allowed to talk.
After killing an enemy that’s ten or more levels lower than it, Cultie can evolve into Krugore. After spending one turn focusing on an enemy, Crugore can figure out their greatest weakness and modify its next attack to exploit it, though said attack will still be a Slasher Horror aligned attack.
After entering battle with one health point and surviving the entire fight without ever healing, Cultie can evolve into Masokill. A deadly Arcane warrior, Masokill’s attack stats increase every time an enemy damages it, and its absurdly high health pool means they will have to attack it a lot.
If introduced to the joys of theater, Canihan can evolve into Thespiphibe. A lover of melodrama, Thespiphibe sports a variety of flashy physical and arcane attacks at its disposal, and is great at directing enemies’ attention to itself.
After binging some comic book movies, Thespiphibe can evolve into Yukyuk. A clown-themed murderer, this Arky delights in humiliating opponents, turning their might against them and increasing the chance of attacks ending in critical failures.
If Thespiphibe manages to damage twelve different enemies in the course of one battle, it can evolve into Chatenslash. Though frail of body, this Arky hits hard and quickly, slicing and dicing enemies in a shower of blood.
After dying four times in combat, Thespiphibe can evolve into Jusjef. Though lacking in health and defense, this Arky has the special ability to fill enemies with debilitating shame when it hits them, stunning them for four rounds. With its super high speed stat, it can paralyze an entire team if left unchecked.