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 CosmicHorror, THE AFTERMEN 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:
Descended from humans who adapted to live in an artic environment, Greason is a pitiable brute of low intelligence and high physical strength.
Even dumber and stronger than its predecessor, Veganodan can evolve from a Greason that is fed an all vegetarian diet. Though slow of both body and mind, it boasts higher defenses than its previous form.
After enduring four battles without losing a single point of health, Veganodan can evolve into Pachydorm. Even slower than before, this massive brute has an enormous pool of health and massive defenses, while its mighty limbs can pack a mean punch (well, stomp I suppose) if it manages to get within range of its foes.
After spending time in the water, Greason can evolve into Slippiboi. Returning to the sea where its fish ancestors emerged from so many millions of years ago, this aquatic post-human being is a slimy and flabby creature capable of great bursts of speed.
After eating a great deal of sushi, Slippiboi can evolve into Wailwhale. Fast despite its enormous size, it makes up for its low defenses by having a high pool of health, and can deal devastating attacks with its crushing jaws.
After dying four times in combat, Greason can evolve into Degradedman. A miserable wretch, this slug-like post-human being has a devastating sonic scream and deals psychic damage to enemies every turn it remains in combat.
After surviving four battles without once unleashing its sonic scream, Degradedman can evolve into Nomouth. A gelatinous blob of protoplasm whose very existence is an excruciating punishment from a hateful god, Nomouth has high defenses and a vast pool of health, and deals powerful arcane damage through its psychic attacks.
If taken to outer space, Greason can evolve into Starman. Though frail of body, this master of cosmic secrets boasts immense arcane attack power and a variety of support skills that can keep it and its allies alive through countless assaults by its enemies.