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As mentioned in past questions, in my world, there is monsters-creatures mutated by Chaos Energy. My characters will be facing monsters, which is fine-so far, so good, right? No trouble there. However, problems automatically arise when in a world where magic plays by rules, just like the rest of nature, a monster inexplicably defies death or injury, taking on a different form to continue attacking the party.

Example of Different Forms: Let's say there are two adventurers (Bob and Alice) facing a group of Chompers (the lead of which is named Eggbert, which the adventurers are unaware of because they didn't think to ask). After Bob and Alice wipe out the rest of Eggbert's comrades, Bob lands a critical on Eggbert, which should have K'Od him, shattered his shell, and crushed his insides.

Instead, Eggbert transformed; somehow, drawing upon willpower and ambient magic, he managed to endure as two different beings: Shelly, a cloak-like monstrosity formed of his shattered shell and shell membrane, and Egolk, a gumdrop-shaped blob of translucent white with a toothless mouth, two suction cup-tipped tentacles (formerly Eggbert's legs), and a yellow core that serves as his stomach and who knows what else.

Now Alice and Bob are, to put it lightly, screwed. Shelly may be fragile, but he's also as slippery and quick as any snake, with razor-sharp reflexes and the capability to shred his enemies with the "scales" all over his exterior. Meanwhile, Egolk may be fleshy, but with his bouncy-ball-esque mobility, his ability to engulf edible items and creatures for extra HP (which Shelly shares), and his surprisingly powerful tentacle attacks, he's no pushover either. And to make it worse, if Alice and Bob don't keep them separated, they'll fuse into a stronger Eggbert.

Alice, as the party Assassin, is the fast one, so she tries to take on Shelly. Bob, as the Tank, elects to not only separate Egolk from Shelly but to smash him so he can't fuse, period. Alice tries to take Shelly down with her shuriken, but they fail to penetrate Shelly's scales. Alice then comes after Shelly with her dagger and ends up having to climb a tree, and while she's distracted, Shelly comes down and engulfs her head.

Bob notices this and goes to help, but then Egolk strikes from behind and engulfs Bob's head. The result? Total Party Kill. The concept isn't the problem, explaining it is. In a world that plays by natural laws, of magic or nature, instead of gaming conventions, this kind of thing seems to demand an explanation. So my question is, how could monsters shift forms during combat?

Additional Examples to Aid Answerers:

  1. When an insect monster is at max HP when struck by a Critical Blow, especially one in a cocoon or egg, a Hateful Husk may result; the shell, egg, or cocoon given a life of its own by the essence of its owner left inside it. Soulful Shells, the Dropped shell of an insect possessed by its lingering spirit, may occur when the insect was KOd in one hit.

  2. When a Crawling Eyeball is struck by a Critical blow, its eye may be destroyed, but there is a chance of it popping out and entering the battle as an Enduring Eyeball. Something similar can happen with Plops and their eyestalks.

  3. When a Rungi or Wild Anklebiter is beheaded, the result is either a Confused Cap or Forlorn Flower. In both cases, the monster's body will remain as a new monster, like a Seeking Speeder or Stained Stem. Other monsters do this as well, but those are the best known for doing this.

  4. Monsters that exhibit chimerism may split in combat, like a Lamia or Chimera. In the former's case, the result will be a Mesmerizing Maiden ( a Lamia's upper body but w/legs) and a Headless Horror (a headless snake with a leech-like mouth). In the latter's case, you'd get a Flailing Viper (the tail), a Gnashing Goat (the goat head w/body), and a Lost Lion (it looks lost because it's missing pieces of itself, which confuses it). Chompers do something similar in that they may split their essence between two different parts of their body when struck by a felling blow.

  5. In extreme (and rare) cases, monsters may marshall their will to stay on this plane; like a troll with full health, being dismembered only to reassemble and seek revenge, a giant cockroach losing its head only to replace it with another's, or a gargoyle somehow patching its broken body up with slime instead of dying.

I could go on, but basically these monsters, unlike other members of their kind, manage to endure on the battlefield. It's not understood why; usually, a monster is killed and only a Remnant, a magical shadow of its being, remains with its Drops. The injuries these monsters take before transforming should result in death of either the whole or part of them, yet somehow these monsters or monster parts anchor and stabilize themselves to endure and fight on. How is this possible?

Seriously, will alone cannot anchor the soul to this world, and while magic should, through its linking body and soul together, be able to do this, we don't understand how some monsters manage it while others don't, especially considering these monsters exhibit no extraordinary regenerative ability aside from this and that these same monsters are usually low on vitality, willpower, and mana-magical energy-before apparently expending it to transform in this way.

If additional clarification is needed, please let me know, I appreciate feedback! You may find these helpful:

Impact of Chaos Sense How Can a Creature With Focus Come to Exist?

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    $\begingroup$ It is important that you understand the problem with questions like this. You've created a wonderful magical effect without creating any of the rules. Now you want us to create the rules of your magic system for you - and you want those rules to be "natural" in the same way that life is "natural." That's beyond opinion-based because you've not explained a thing about the rules of your magic system. Frankly, this is the basic problem behind high concept questions. $\endgroup$ Sep 28 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ @JoinJBHonCodidact to be honest, he did provide quite some rules in the last 2 links. Maybe the problem is that it is too much to read? I think it would be a good idea to add in the question a summary of the magic rules so far, so reading all the previous questions (and guessing how those problems were chosen to be solved) is not necessary. $\endgroup$ Sep 29 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ It is important to note that not everything needs to be explained, or have a solid reason behind it. Having things not explained gives some mystery and can keep focus on a story. In addition, you need to think of that explaining everything can be tiring and lead to inconsistencies. Eventually it's easier to hang a shelve level with a flat Eart in mind than a round Earth. It'll look and feel consistent with not too much explaining and less chance to be called out for inconsistencies. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Sep 29 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ @JoinJBHonCodidact he provides enough. As an example the Force: it isnt explicitly explained how it works or the specific physics it obeys, but we can know from its usage how it functions. Ignoring the lore-breaking sequels we see the force lift immense amounts of weight like an X-wing, yet we never see someone levitate themselves. The best we see is Yoda who manages to change direction a few times in the air, everything else is boosted jumps. We also see that simply lifting others off the ground doesnt happen. We can infer that there is some dampening effect on using the force that way. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 29 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Demigan has convinced me that this question should be closed. Per the help center, questions "must be specific and answerable." Yes, this is a long and painful to read question, but when you boil it down, it's neither specific nor answerable without guessing your intent. Just because Demigan thinks it's OK to guess your intent doesn't make it compliant with the rules. $\endgroup$ Sep 29 at 19:07
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As per your explanation in the link, upon "death" the creature unleashes a bunch of chaotic energies. This changes the properties of the weapon that killed it and also partially disassembles the creature into lootable parts.

However, clinical death isnt really complete death. Just like we can still harvest some organs long after the body is clinically dead the creatures basically rupture their chaotic energy when they are almost dead.

I suspect that most of the time a transformation happens to a unique individual creature. And just like mages they might have gained some control over the chaotic energies that flow through them. Normally most of it is latent inside their bodies and inaccesible but in that fraction of a moment before death its all unleashed. But often the brain is still in the process of dying, and the creature might be able to take control of the energies released.

When they do, they have the opportunity to create even more monstrous forms than their initial move through the chaos realm caused. This has no guarantees since its a dying body with a being that has varying control of these energies.

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  • $\begingroup$ So magic mixed with biology? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 29 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ You can go even further. The monster is like an avatar of that particular chaotic energy. It is part of that energy taken solid shape. This means when separated, they are still the same entity behind it with the same mind and HP. When due to damage the solid form or chaotic energy to support the avatar(s) run out, the creature dies. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Sep 29 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, simple but brilliant! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 29 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Sphennings biology is part of chemistry which is part of physics. Since magic is essentially another layer of physics it makes sense that magic will be incorporated as part of the body. If you read the OP's links you'll notice that is exactly what is happening: beings that are altered when crossing the chaos void become monsters infused with magic. Giant spiders exist because of this, letting us know that the magic alters something which allows the giant spider to reduce the effects of the Square Cube law on its skeleton/muscles. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 29 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ Very useful, thank you! I'll definitely use this logic in my story, right alongside ProjectApex's great ideas on how Chaos Magic would work. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Oct 15 at 14:30
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your chaos energy and the marker signal have a lot in common.

As far as your monster concepts have gone through, chaos magic is a very dangerous and volatile thing. Thanks to it, a chomper that eats enough can become either a living egg-shaped acid shooting tank on legs or an armored dire bear on steroids. That's not a little thing that would normally happen to Living things, especially not when it comes to a smaller weaker thing becoming a behemoth modern weapons would have a hard time damaging.

However, in every single one of your questions about evolved forms of monsters, lest my memory is failing me, there was always one important thing that needed to be achieved by the creature: it had to reach a certain size or eat enough (sometimes enough of "something") to begin the transformation. Someone who eats enough of a chomper gains armor, enough of a plop gains a malleable body, a monster that increases its biomass enough turns into a stronger monster etc. This leads me to believe chaos magic relies on one key component to work: organic matter with some amount of chaos energy infused.

Chaos magic is essentially a form of semi-intelligent energy, and seems to be dispersed all around your world. Monsters, particularly those capable of evolving, can harness this energy through gaining enough biomass (because like anything in the world, too much chaos magic is actively harmful, meaning they need more biomass in them before being able to harness the amount of chaos magic in the environment necessary to transform). However, since they're alive and well, the chaos energy works within the limits of their normal anatomy, meaning they don't absorb it like a sponge without being able to handle it and it only changes them up to a certain limit. Sure the "dire bear on steroids" doesn't look all that much like an egg on 2 legs, but when you look closely you can still see in it many of the traits from the creature it once was. Same with plops. The monster being alive and well means they can still somewhat control the flow of chaos energy that's becoming a part of them, allowing for a more controlled transformation. If you want a real world comparison, think of how a the cellulose wall of plant cell limits the amount of water that can get in, even if it's in a hypotonic substance.

However, once the creature takes a killing blow, especially if it's chopped in half, it's systems aren't working properly anymore, the wall is broken and the creature is no longer in a state to limit how the chaos energy affects it, and since chaos energy seems to be mostly about making things deadlier, it's mutation time! The chaos energy enters their bodies at full speed, doing what it can with the available biomass like the markers from dead space twisted the bodies of the dead. Ultimately, the effect is the same: the piece of would-be dead tissue is now more alive than one would like, very functional and incredibly willing to kill you.

Furthermore, since the chaos magic also mutated the body parts to be capable of handling the amount of energy soaking it, if they rearrange back into the thing they once were, we'll have the same creature with a critical difference: the mutation its undergone has made it naturally more tolerant to higher amounts of chaos energy. It's body parts adapted to function on their own are now one thing again, muscles made to be stronger, shells made more durable, all of it is back where it should be, and thus the reformed creature is stronger than it originally was, and its higher tolerance likely means any future transformations will also be stronger than the normal.

Chaos magic is all about war and effectiveness in combat. Without something to limit its effects, it will twist whatever it can seep into in ways it deems most suitable to achieve its objective: altering the thing its affecting in ways that will make it better at killing. However, since there's a remnant of the being in the parts and an entire chomper is by default stronger than half of one, they'll seek to reattach and become whole again.

Of course, since I'm proposing the chaos magic to work as a form of energy that twists the flesh of anything that once had chaos energy in it (I'll call these husks for now), this opens up a few horrifying possibilities: how strong is the husk's desire to become what it was? Is it well defined or animalistic? Does it matter it the other husks its fusing with were once parts of the same being or not? Depending on the answers, we can get a best case situation in which we just need to worry about a husk not finding its significant half (or halves depending on how many pieces the original thing was smashed into) and a worst case scenario in which every time there's a monster massacre you have to burn everything quickly or they'll just judge strength in size as better than strength in numbers (especially since, you know, it didn't work the first time) and fuse into a monstrosity made out of various monster parts fused into one, which becomes more stable and more powerful the longer Its allowed to exist.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I love your insightful perspective. Yes, Chaos magic is all about mutation; it's really just raw potential, disorganized energy, so it can't do much unless it has living tissue to give it direction-and to work upon. I really appreciate your ideas on mutation, especially as they concern making stronger potential monsters, so thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 29 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ If I could have accepted two answers, yours would have been the others. Thanks for your answer, it was very helpful! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Oct 15 at 14:30
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Hateness only in mind.

demon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OiMOHRDs14

Lady Eboshi uses toxic cannon ammunition and Jigo's tracker uses the poison, too. The poison weakens the flesh, which affects the mind of its host. Then the victim loses control of itself and turns into a demon with hateness only in mind. As the victim goes mad, demons and the worms are created.

https://ghibli.fandom.com/wiki/Demon

Having watched Princess Mononoke several many times, I think there might be something more. These greiviously injured, dying creatures do become demons and do have hearts full of hate, but I think there is an outside entity that takes advantage of the situation to possess their bodies.

This is where the new energy comes from. It is an unnatural, hateful energy not completely arising in the creature. In the movie I think it was a force of Nature, which was being defeated by the forces of human artifice.

Creatures which come back in this way are viewed as monsters by their own kind as well, and rightly so.

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    $\begingroup$ So flavored magic? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 29 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings: we are pretty clearly at the magic restaurant here. Calculating enthalpies is out of place. Magic is on the menu. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Sep 29 at 14:02
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Tissues that don't belong to the monster are animated by chaos energy.

I absolutely love your egg-themed monster as well as the rest. The artist in me wants to see concept art of the things. Ahem... anyway.

Eggbert gets killed like the other chompers, but unlike the others there's something different inside it. The actual monster wasn't the egg itself but the embryo inside it, like a little brain piloting an egg body. What gets killed when Bob struck it was the embryo. After it dies the chaos energy that animated it leaks out. The egg tissues absorb the chaos energy and form Shelly and Egolk respectively. What happens to the embryo though? I guess it gets digested by Egolk... there's the other thing the stomach does.

Here's the logic behind it: when a monster dies the magic leaks out, it doesn't come back to life. We know the magic mutates things. So tissues that don't belong to the original monster, like the contents of the egg for example, get mutated and form new monsters.

What determines which cells are part of the monsters and which are not? It may have to do with cell differentiation. Certain cells are distinct enough from the rest to get mutated and become the monster, while others did not and are ready to be mutated as well.

I hope this was useful.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting idea, I'd like to use this mechanic, as it'd be great for reanimating monsters in combat! Well-thought-out, very nice, thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 29 at 15:09
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Magic magic magic Magic MAGIC.

You are talking about a fantasy world where monsters are created via Chaos MAGIC. That's all the explanation you need. Plenty of well received fantasy worlds get away with far less explanation. It's a genre convention of fantasy worlds that there are fantastic monsters with fantastic abilities. Even when there are explanations for the fantastic critters abilities they tend to be fantastic in nature. Things along the lines of "The fey king of love and beauty was so besotted by the critter that she granted them a magic boon allowing them to shift form in combat", or "The squints in sub-basement 3 of HQ just issued a new quantum-nano widget that lets us shift forms in combat. With this we'll show those capitalists bastards!".

To look at it from the other side. In a world where things are possible by magic every other explanation is the more complicated explanation. This is why strong evidence for things not being created as if by magic has been considered so threatening to the church. To believe in evolution was in essence to believe that there was no simpler explanation.

Because you haven't put any bounds on your magic any explanation will work.

  • The soilrunes of the dirtgod only activate to those who fought valiantly against the forces of cleanliness.
  • Only in those in perfect balanced harmony with the 4 elements can a great warrior fight beyond injuries that would fell a lesser man.
  • Only in those with an overabundance of the choleric humor can a great monster fight beyond injuries that would fell a lesser foe.
  • Chaos magic acts chaotically and sometimes things just happen man.

You can pick any one of these, or the emotional or biological based magic, answers that have also been provided, or wait for more answers (that will also provide a magical explanation), or make up your own.

So to recap, your chaos magic infused critters, do whatever you want them to, because they're infused with chaos magic.


More generally in ANY world where you have a magic or advanced technology, the simplest explanation of any thing will be said magic, unless you explicitly place bounds on what your magic, or technology can and more importantly cannot do.

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    $\begingroup$ I was about to write the very same answer. +1 $\endgroup$ Sep 28 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ @JoinJBHonCodidact I was getting tired of people asking questions of the form "In a world where I ignore the laws of physics, how do I explain x without violating the laws of physics?" $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 28 at 23:31
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    $\begingroup$ The problem here is that the magic is used as another set of physical laws that can influence the rest. If you cast a fireball with X mana, you'll never throw an ice shard. JUST BECAUSE MAGIC EXISTS DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN THROW AWAY ALL CONSISTENCY AND CONVENTIONS YOU ALREADY MADE. I absolutely hate this kind of thinking. All stories where magic is used as a "screw you I'll just rewrite all the rules my reader understood so far to continue with my story" suck balls. Look at the latest Star Wars films, the biggest problem is that they used all magical elements exactly like that and it sucked. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 29 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @Demigan: the asker has provided background and bits of how the specific magic of their world works, so this answer just ignores that. "Just handwave it!" shouldn't be a valid answer when a set of rules for magic is in play. The handwaving must adjust and obey that set of rules. That is precisely the goal of the question: how to adjust this mechanism to the existing set of rules. $\endgroup$ Sep 29 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Demigan You are correct that just because some rules are broken doesn't mean that you are willing to break others. However there is an unbounded magic in OP's world so the simplest explanation is and always will be magic. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 29 at 11:56

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