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 ANIABOMINATION 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:
Committing obscene acts to gain power, Nowrong is a wretched being that believes the ends justify the means, no matter how horrid those means may be. Though not the sturdiest Arky around, Nowrong is versatile in both arcane and physical attacks, making it a dangerous opponent.
If its worst impulses are encouraged by its owner, Nowrong can evolve into Badtouch. This hideous creep fills other Arkies with revulsion at its mere presence, and its many tentacles are skilled striking and subduing foes from any range.
If asked what end could possibly justify its cruel behavior, Nowrong can evolve into Vermiel. Having decided that answering questions is for suckers, Vermiel wreaks untold destruction without ever once stopping to explain why.
If Vermiel’s owner continues to pester it with questions, it can evolve into Symboliel. Dazzling friend and foe alike with an array of visually spectacular attacks that seem to have some greater meaning behind them, this monster is a master of distraction and confusion that can simultaneous deal a lot of damage with each of is stunning attacks.
If Vermiel’s increasingly unexplainable behavior is not only taken without question but actively encouraged by its owner, it can evolve into Pepperiel. Completely abstract, this monster specializes in taking down cunning opponents, turning their intellect against them while gaining power from their vain attempts to find its weaknesses.
If given access to the internet, Nowrong can evolve into Digidethded. A cosmic terror brought into this world through technology, Digidethded is especially skilled at taking down opponents who rely on technology, turning mechanical devices against their owners and making cybernetic organisms run haywire.
If asked to remember its childhood innocence, Nowrong can evolve into Madooka. Though colorful and cartoonish in its outward appearance, Madooka is a cunning monster who lulls foes into a false sense of security before lashing out with terrific speed and force.
After killing four enemies in combat, Madooka can evolve into Goldemise. Emerging from cosmic portals, Goldemise is a master of stealth who cannot be harmed if all of its enemies on the field use damaging moves on their turn, and whose great speed allows it to evade most attacks anyway. This helps it compensate for its abysmally low health pool and weak defenses.