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 OTHER VISITOR 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:
Though revered by unwitting mortals as a primeval nature god, Panhelen is actually something far stranger and more horrifying, a malevolent cosmic entity that transcends such puny ideas as time and space. Though its manifestation in our reality is limited, it can open the minds of allies and enemies to impossible possibilities, filling them with either renewed vigor or inescapable dread and anguish.
If asked to tone the evil alternate dimension invader schtick down a notch, Panhelen can evolve into Pennydred. Disguised as a silly clown, this eldritch Arky lowers enemies’ defenses when it takes the field, then either hits them hard with surprise attacks or lets its own monstrous allies finish the job.
After killing four enemies with no assistance from its allies, Pennydred can evolve into Dredlight. No longer fully disguised, this spider-like abomination stuns foes with its deadly lights, and is equally skilled at killing them with close-range physical attacks or long range arcane assaults.
After surviving a battle with only one health point left, Panhelen can evolve into Thang. This skittering little abomination can transform into any Arky it shares the field with, copying their appearance, attacks, and stats while retaining its Cosmic Horror affinity.
After copying the form of an Arky from each of the four horrors (Gothic, Atomic, Cosmic, and Slasher), Thang can evolve into Grimlybrimly. Now unveiled in its full might, this massive cosmic horror can shift its stats around mid-battle, though doing so takes a full turn.
After binge watching several 80’s horror movies, Panhelen can evolve into Demidusa. Capable of shifting in and out of our reality, this monster excels at dodging blows and dealing devastating sneak attacks.
After eating nothing but meat for several meals, Demidusa can evolve into Brainskinner. A shifting colossus of stolen flesh, this meaty monstrosity is a bulky physical attacker whose long limbs make it a threat at both close and long range.
After winning a battle in a woodsy environment, Panhelen can evolve into Jotoder. Now more connected to our plane of existence, this frightful giant can shift its organs around to change where its weak spots are, and boasts both great speed and physical might in battle.