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Dread

Gender: Technically genderless, but host is Male

Species: Black Life (w/ mutated Overlander Human host)

Height: typically 160cm (variable, depending on form)

Weight: unknown (variable, depending on form)

Age: 2 (host is 23)

Faction Ties: Self-proclaimed overlord of the Hive Mind.

Role in Game: Antagonist. Dread seeks vengeance for the way the Black Life species has been abused for their regenerative qualites, and seeks to spread their kind's control all about the world and claim it as their own. He successfully manages to build a large army by turning a city population into Hive Mind puppets, but a small group of heroes including Psi, Mimic, Kit and Techron stop the spread of Black Life further by defeating Dread and stopping the invasion at its source. In spite of this, Dread leaves a lasting impression of individuality that the Hive Mind had absolutely no concept of beforehand, and thanks to his influence, the species starts forming colonies based on different hosts as opposed to the single train of thought they used to consist of, and eventually manage to fit in with the society of other intelligent beings, albiet loosely.

Abilities

Being a spawn of liquid Black Life in possession of a host, Dread has all the token abilities of the species - regeneration and curing of living matter, ability to take over other living things and control them against their will, and self-reproduction via the hosts they control. Dread in particular is a special case, and has controlled its host for so long that it has been permanently disfigured and mutated to work in perfect harmony with the parasitic liquid, not only giving Dread a combined sum of most of the Hive Mind's unique talents but also giving his host the ability to melt into pure Black Life liquid and back again, not only gaining the advantages of liquid movement but even giving him the ability to mutate into even greater abominations if given the incentive. Because his host's body houses a Gem of Chaos inside it, most of Dread's abilities are influenced by Chaos Control, and consequently, his passion towards his actions as well as the chaotic aura of the local area.

Personality

Dread's species doesn't have a discernable personality on its own - however, Dread was given one as a result of his possession by the Avatar of Unity, lending him a persona that acts almost exclusively for the benefit of his species, irregardless of whether others suffer for it. Dread doesn't have a fluent understanding of the English language and tends to mutter in strange tounges and accents a lot of the time, but he clearly hates anything that isn't his pawn, showing uncharacteristc aggression for his species that extends to deliberately wounding and maiming potential pawns to prevent them from escaping (whereas the rest of the Hive Mind wouldn't dream of inflicting physical harm deliberately even though they can heal it). Even though Dread believes he is helping the Black Life out, he commands them in such facist ways that most of them hate him for it, even if they are powerless to disobey.

Summarization of Fighting Style

Dread's attacks do relatively little damage on their own - however, nearly all of them cause "exposure damage" that gradually wears the victim out as the Black Life attempts to take control, translating to further damage done even after attacks make contact as well as slowing the victim down in the process. As such, the majority of Dread's potential lies in stacking exposure damage until it's enough to take the victim out, then stalling them until it finishes them off. Dread also regenerates lost health slowly if he isn't attacked for a certain amount of time, lending additional incentive and benefit to his stalling game for skilled players. Finally, if a mook is taken down by exposure damage, they come back to life and ally themselves with Dread as a Hive Mind mook, which can rapidly lead to chain reactions of consuming a whole level's population if fortune smiles apon the player.

Primary Attack

Black Melee. Dread attacks with slow, almost zombie-like undisciplined swings, usually requiring the player to anticipate movements and act defensively to catch enemies out. They deal relatively little direct damage which is made up for with constant exposure damage after impact, which slows the enemy down and makes it easier to land subsequent attacks and combos.

Secondary Attack

Exotic Techniques. These are the more bizarre moves in Dread's arsenal which make use of his liquid Black Life properties. While there are a lot of variations in these moves, they essentially all fall under the same mindset that they are fast, best used defensively and in extrodinary contexts, and that they deal no direct damage but lots of exposure damage. A Dread veteran is best used by starting a fight out with Exotic moves to initiate exposure damage effects, then further weakening them with Black Melee when the ensuing slowdown makes them less likely to resist.

Special 1

Bloblet. Dread summons a small amount of Black Life and hurls it towards the cursor, dealing exposure damage if it hits an enemy directly. However, if it misses, the bloblet continues crawling along surfaces and actively hunting down the nearest victim, dealing exposure damage anyway if it touches someone. This is a great way to soften up a victim early to get in closer with more damaging melee attacks, and can act as an area denial attack to limit the victim's options. The bloblets don't last forever, however, and gradually fade away if they fail to touch anybody after an extended period of time.

Special 2

Tendril. Dread hurls a long, elastic line of Black Life towards the cursor. If it hits an enemy, it tethers them and Dread together and gradually drags them closer to each other, dealing minor exposure damage in the process. If it hits a solid surface, however, it drags Dread over to it and adheres him to the surface, allowing him to stick to it and even climb along it as he pleases. Dread cannot attack whilst doing this however, and has to detach himself if he needs to engage an enemy along the way.

Climax Mode

Black Armour. Dread develops a Black Life coat that covers his entire body. While it doesn't necessarily protect himself from damage, it deals forced exposure damage to anybody who attacks him in close range, as well as subtly powering up the exposure damage of his existing moves in the process. Dread also regenerates health in this state irregardless of whether or not he is being attacked, which gives the opponent a troublesome tradeoff of whether to preserve health and avoid Dread, or risk well-being to make sure he doesn't get health back.

Climax Attack 1

Black Rain. Dread summons a black cloud which hovers upward into the air a fixed distance, then aligns itself horizontally with the nearest enemy as it rains Black Life from below, dealing persistent exposure damage to anything caught in the downpour. Avoiding damage entirely from this move usually requires some fancy movement skills, and damage caused can be greatly increased if the player can hold the victim in the downpour through various means.

Climax Attack 2

Liquid Tackle. Dread dives a short distance ahead, transforming into liquid Black Life in the process. If it connects with an enemy, it deals heavy, unblockable exposure damage to a single target before reforming Dread on the other side of the victim. Missing completely, however, leaves Dread greatly vulnerable to counterattack afterwards while he reforms.

Climax Finisher

Call of the Horde. A massive amount of Hive Mind mooks flood onto the screen at once, all looking to grab onto the nearest victim. When a peon successfully grabs onto a victim, it slows them down, and multiple peons can grab the same victim, stacking the effect until it outright stops them and pins them in their tracks, unable to retaliate and taking constant exposure damage in the process. While this can be good for attacking multiple enemies at once, Dread can deal massive exposure damage to a single enemy by performing a close-range grab attack while the horde has the victim immobilized - chokeholding the victim for moderate direct damage before throwing them away, at which point the entire horde directs their attention towards that specific target, mobbing and juggling them for a period of time. Eventually the frenzy stops and most of the horde runs away, but some stick around to continue the fight as per their standard behaviour until defeated.

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