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 SHADOW SELF 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 disturbed individual, Darkhalf means well, but its evil side compels it to commit horrifying atrocities that it comes to regret immediately afterward. Depending on which side it chooses to favor a given turn, Darkhalf either has immense defenses, or unstoppable attack power.
If encouraged to disassociate with each other, Darkhalf can evolve into Sinnertwin. Each turn they can decide which twin stands in front. If the rueful twin takes the lead, Sinnertwin becomes a long range fighter who favors Arcane attacks. If the cruel twin takes the lead, Sinnertwin become a close range fighter that prefers to beat foes senseless with its fists.
If the rueful twin of Sinnertwin fails to take the lead even once in four battles in a row, Sinnertwin can evolve into Meumbra. Now completely ruled by its evil impulses, Meumbra boasts insane attack stats across the board, but has left its host body so wracked with guilt and trauma that its defenses and health pool are both tragically low.
If encouraged to reflect on why its psyche is divided, Darkhalf can evolve into Pershadow. While no longer divided on its desires, Pershadow finds itself unsure of who it really is, becoming a jack of all trades and master of none.
If Pershadow’s speed is boosted above its other stats, it can evolve into Zonkin. Perpetually terrified, this Arky excels at running circles around its opponents, evading attacks with ease and dealing good damage with sneak attacks of its own.
If one of Pershadow’s attack stats is increased above its other stats, it can evolve into Trapmaster. Large and mighty, this dangerous Arky can rain ruin on its foes with a mix of brute force and dirty fighting tactics.
If Pershadow’s cunning is increased above its other stats, it can evolve into Jenki. Though still fairly average in terms of defense, health, and speed, this Arky’s cunning and arcane attacks are lethal, making it both an excellent Arcane attacker and a great leader for its team-mates.
If Pershadow’s charisma is increased above its other stats, it can evolve into Dangerprone. Luring enemies in with its apparent defenselessness, this Arky boasts great evasiveness and a large health pool, making it far harder to strike down than it appears. Worse, while it takes the field, other enemies are driven to focus on it, keeping them from dealing with more actively threatening targets.