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"Monster" is a general term for creatures made entirely of mana. There are many types of monsters with a variety of different appearances and abilities, but all are characterized by a mysterious aggression toward humans. They first appeared during the Cataclysm, and the threat they represent has played a large part in defining the shape of human society.

A monster with a high enough mana density becomes sapient; these are known as spirits.

a lineup of three monsters
Some examples of monsters. From left to right: a coastal bonebeast, a batfly, and a spiny slime. Image description


Monsters are made of mana, condensed into solid form. They don't need to eat or sleep, and even the ones that resemble animals lack common animal instincts. However, they do die; a monster that loses enough mana to destabilize its shape will dissolve back into the background mana field. They can be killed by straightforward attacks, or die from "old age" since they slowly leak mana back into the atmosphere even without outside interference.

Very little is known about the internal anatomy of monsters, since they are difficult to study. Dead monsters dissolve back into formless mana, while living ones are too aggressive to handle. Even if a living monster is subdued for vivisection, it's hard to make the necessary cuts without destabilizing the monster's form.

Occasionally, small parts of a monster will remain solid even after death; most existing knowledge of monster anatomy was gained by studying these. It seems that monsters have "organs" of sorts, or at least masses of differentiated mana, but their purpose and function are still unknown.


a cave whose walls are covered in various fungus-like growths. a human figure looks on from the entrance
The entrance of a cave dungeon, with monster seeds growing on the walls.

Monsters spontaneously come into existence in dungeons - places where the background mana field is particularly dense. Some monsters are born fully-formed, while others start out as monster seeds: sessile growths made of solidified mana that form on dungeon surfaces. Most seeds have a fleshy texture, like strangely animate fungus, but plantlike and even crystalline seeds have been observed in certain dungeons. Seeds slowly absorb mana from their surroundings, and eventually metamorphose into full-fledged, mobile monsters.

There seems to be some correlation between the makeup of a dungeon's background mana and the types of monsters it produces; for example, a dungeon primarily containing water mana might produce monsters with aquatic features like fins and tentacles. However, the details of this process are still poorly understood.

Since the birth of a monster is rarely witnessed by human eyes, there is still a great deal of mystery and superstition about what exactly monsters are, and where they come from. For example, since battlefield dungeons often produce warped, bony or rotten-looking monsters, one common belief is that they are the ghosts of soldiers slain in battle, come back for revenge upon the living.


The sentience of monsters is a subject of much debate. Some believe that monsters are equivalent to computers, and merely react to stimuli in pre-defined ways; others argue that monsters have minds, but alien ones that are not yet understood.

When left to their own devices, monsters exhibit repetitive, seemingly-meaningless behaviour; for example, patrolling in circles or snapping at the air. They continue to attempt these behaviours even in obviously wrong circumstances - a monster in a tunnel will attempt its usual behaviours even if there's obviously no room, and end up banging its head against the ceiling at regular intervals. They generally do not respond to the presence of animals or other monsters, either. However, they do seem to respond in complex ways if their routines are significantly interrupted - changing their route when a tree falls across it, for example, or retaliating when attacked.

Monsters under a summoner's control tend to exhibit more personality. Different individuals, even of the same species, might follow orders in different ways, and some are noticeably harder to work with than others. However, some argue that this is due to the presence and influence of the summoner's own mana, and thus does not constitute evidence for consciousness.


Regardless of type, all monsters attack living humans on sight with whatever physical abilities and magic they have at their disposal. Monsters with mouths will bite and consume human flesh, even though they can't digest physical matter; they simply regurgitate their meals a few hours later. Even seeds will strain and reach toward passing humans.

Over long periods of time, monsters drift away from their native dungeons and approach human settlements, seeking to breach the walls. Human settlements attract more monsters this way the larger they are, effectively imposing an upper limit on population.

Currently, the most widely accepted explanation is that monsters are attracted to mana, and attack humans in an attempt to absorb the mana stored inside their bodies. The fact that monsters will occasionally attack large magitech devices and other monsters supports this theory. The Church of Aether opposes this idea, claiming instead that monsters were created to punish humanity for their sins, and in recent years they have gained a fair amount of support.

Human Use

Although monsters are dangerous to common civilians, they're a huge source of profit for adventurers. Cities close to dungeons are in constant danger of being overrun, so they regularly pay adventurers to venture inside and clear them out before it can happen. Monster parts can be sold to anatomists, or cooked down into pure mana and used to power magitech or make potions.

Some people, called summoners, have the ability to control certain monsters. This is a common way of automating hard labour, especially in Wywick.