4 Horror War: The Body Horror Arkies

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 BODY HORROR 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:

A crazed man with a piece of rebar penetrating its skull, Rebarney has a lot of health and high defense, allowing it to endure tons of punishment while dishing out a fair deal of damage with its meaty fists.

If it shares the field with the same three ally arkies for four battles in a row, Rebarney can evolve into Tumortwin. A vicious little brute growing out of a miserable dork, Tumortwin can use its host’s body to endure lethal damage up to four times per battle.

If Rebarney’s owner agrees to try to pull the piece of rebar out of its head, Rebarney can evolve into Rawface. Even meatier than its predecessor, this Arky renders enemies speechless on the first turn it takes the field, and can further stymie them with its hideous screams of pain.

If kept on the team but not allowed to take the field for four battles in a row, Rawface can evolve into Blankstare. Though not as viscerally grotesque as its previous form, there is something disquieting about this Arky, and its unsettling presence lowers the speed and attack stats of all other Arkies when it takes the field.

If kept on the field from the first turn to the last without dying while facing an enemy team with eight or more Arkies on it, Rawface can evolve into Skinnybritch. No longer ashamed of its exposed viscera, this monster boldly marches into battle without a care in the world, clinging on to life after being dealt a killing blow long enough to deal one last attack of its own.

After killing four other humanoid Arkies, Skinnybritch can evolve into Gigantitan. A colossal juggernaut, this monster begins each fight as a slow moving engine of destruction, but gains a great deal of speed and a small bit of attack power every time it slays a humanoid foe on the field of battle.

If left in the hot sun too long, Rawface can evolve into Meltie. A seeping pile of liquifying human flesh, Meltie can fling its own dissolving meat at foes from any range, and these attacks only grow deadlier the more damage it takes.

Evolving from Rebarney when introduced to the world of silent film, Belscissor is a fairly durable Arky whose bladed fingers can cut opponents apart with tremendous ease.

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