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 Cosmic Horror, THE QUIET PLATEAU 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:
Pathetic yet deadly, the shambling monstrosity known as Fibfigure may move at a creeping pace, but when it reaches its opponent, it deals great damage.
If Fibfigure’s owner tells it that they think of it as a person, it can evolve into Nursey. A jack of all trades, Nursey has decent speed and attack stats, average health and defenses, and access to a number of healing skills.
After having an intense argument with its owner, Nursey can evolve into Triangnog. A lumbering brute, this hideous creature is a sadistic combatant, relishing in dealing crippling blows that leave its enemies helpless as it drags out their deaths as long as possible.
If Fibfigure’s owner tells it they think of it as an animal, it can evolve into Doggopupper. Unfailingly loyal to its master and vicious to others, this aggressive monster leaps into combat to tear enemies apart with its snapping jaws.
If encouraged to reach for its loftiest dreams, Doggopupper can evolve into Abirb. Though frail, this monster is incredibly hard to hit due to its great speed and small size, and compounds this by distracting foes with its obnoxious screeching.
If Doggopupper survives a battle with only one point of health remaining, it can evolve into Samsaracha. An almost cartoonish caricature of a real insect, this odious arthropod is extremely durable thanks to its high defenses and immunity to all status effects.
If Fibfigure’s owner tells it they think of it as a monster, it can evolve into Clublub. Gaining even more strength and health at the expense of even more speed and cunning, this creature is the pinnacle of dumb muscle.
If Clublub participates in four battles that end before it gets even a single hit in, it can evolve into Skinframe. Almost completely inert, this Arky specializes in ranged arcane attacks that psychically ravage its opponents, rending them into helpless agony without lifting a finger.