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 ROT AND ROLLER 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:
Armed with the devil’s music, Rockakilly leads its hapless victims astray with sick beats, then pierces their hearts with its drill-tipped axe as they dance in a hypnotic frenzy.
If encouraged to play more classic rock, Rockakilly can evolve into Elvillain. Oozing with charisma, Elvillain makes sure all eyes are on it when it takes the field, tanking through opponents’ hits and devastating them with Arcane attacks using the devil’s music.
After teaming up with an Arky from the Demon Family, Elvillain can evolve into Franch. Now truly aligned with the forces of Hell, Franch has channeled the powers of the devil’s music into its body, becoming a powerful physical fighter.
If told to play something a bit more modern, Rockakilly can evolve into Spoike. A boisterous punk, Spoike has abandoned the Devil’s Music in favor of good ol’ fashioned violence, beating foes with brass knuckles and assaulting them with raw shrieking from its powerful windpipe.
After killing four foes with nothing but physical attacks, Spoike can evolve into Dermisdome. Slow moving but sporting a big health pool, this enormous brute has to get in close to put the hurt on enemies, but once it does, it packs a hell of a whallop.
After killing four enemies with just its sonic shriek, Spoike can evolve into Waistbin. A sadist to the core, Waistbin’s attack stats increase whenever an Arky takes damage, be it an enemy, ally, or even Waistbin itself.
If asked to give peace a chance, Rockakilly can evolve into Helhippie. When it takes the field, Helhippie’s presence drives every other Arky into a murderous frenzy, forcing them to use solely offensive moves, with Arkies that lack any offensive attacks hurting themselves in their confusion.
After witnessing a battle between two teams of sixteen (or more) Arkies where every member dies save for it, Helhippie can evolve into Paradoom. With thoughts consumed by the grim spectacle of death, Paradoom is a versatile fighter who uses both Arcane and Physical attacks from both close and long range, with enough health to stay in play for a long time while instructing foes on the ways of death.