Dota 2

The Horror, Scavenger Demon (Artisan Submission)

Foreword and Other Media


This concept also has a dotaconcept.com page, which can be found here.

The basic idea behind the Horror is an older concept of mine, being a combination of one of my favorite themes and one of my favorite playstyles : As someone who loves the 'gotcha' part of Halloween-type scares and the cheese of global ganking builds in modes like Ability Draft, this hero concept epitomizes both in a way that is simultaneously unique but still 'DotA'.

This specific concept is a rework of an older version, changed around to streamline the Horror's role because playtesters had defaulted to simply farming with him and abusing one of his skills on the items farmed in a way I didn't really intend.

Yes, you read that right: Playtesters! The older version of the Horror was implemented in my old Arcade mod, DotA Resurgence, and was fully playable. If you want to try out the basic concepts behind Skulk and Jump Scare, those skills are relatively similar between versions, just pick Lifestealer and try out his Skulk and Terrify abilities. However, three major caveats:

  • Only the basic concepts remain the same for Skulk and Jump Scare, the numbers and thus gameplay are altered.

  • The other two abilities are completely different, having no relation to these new rework abilities.

  • I haven't updated that Arcade mode in like 4 years; the map is old (e.g., still has Shrines) and I am sure there are all manner of gamebreaking bugs haha

Please tell me what you think! Thank you for your time and feedback!


Overview

The Horror, Scavenger Demon
Hero Image, Ability Overview, and Ability Icons
Credit to alkogolik on deviantart!

Lore

There are many famous and powerful evils in the Seven Infernal Regions. The abominable Demon Lords rule over their domains in Hell, the insatiable general of the Abyssal Horde leads his campaigns against the overworld, the Marauder challenges them all. Lucifer, Nevermore, Vrogros, and others… each name is well known amongst mortals, whispered in fear during cautionary tales or campfire stores of yore.

Then there are the other denizens of Hell: Creatures of evil and malice to be feared, but without any legends or recognition to their names. Beings concerned not with amassing power or working towards some dark higher purpose, but instead merely devoting their existence to the simple pleasures of mortal suffering.

The Scavenger Demon is one such entity.

While a Demon Lord oversees a large and growing arcane cult, this entity watches through a mirror as a single child recites the name of some folk tale ghost three times in the darkness on a dare. While the Abyssal Horde lays waste to entire civilizations, this entity moves the planchette on a lettered board, pretending to be a deceased human communing with living loved ones when nothing could be further from the truth. Where names like Akasha and Terrorblade are etched into the annals of history, for this entity there are only mentions of mysterious cold spots, something in the corner of one’s eye, or an inexplicable feeling of dread; even those that know of the Scavenger Demon’s existence lack a proper name, referring to it only as ‘the Horror’.

In rare circumstances, however, the Horror will opportunistically target a being whose death would, under normal conditions, earn the demon a place in mythos and legend; a being such as a god, or an eldwurm. The Horror avoids even this fame, however, by virtue of what those ‘rare circumstances’ are: True to its name, when the Scavenger Demon attacks anything more powerful than a humble mortal, it is because that being was already on the brink of death before the Horror decided to toy with them and, eventually, finish them off.

Summary

The Horror slinks in the shadows, only coming into the light to pounce on unwary foes. Skulk grants the Horror extreme mobility, but only if that movement is completely out of sight of the enemy. Jump Scare builds up charges while out of sight, and when the Horror is seen any enemy around it is damaged based on the charges accumulated. The Horror's ultimate, Bump in the Night, globally obscures all vision for a moment to mitigate the limitations of the Horror's other abilities, while also briefly granting the Horror undetectable invisibility that if broken with an attack will Bash the victim. Finally, Ominous Presence is a toggled aura that can cripple and finish off foes in the Horror's vicinity so long as the Horror has the mana to sustain it. All in all, the Horror seeks to terrify others as effectively as possible, lurking around every dark corner to pick off enemy Heroes.

Role
Strength 25 + 1.1
Agility 15 + 1.8
Intelligence 20 + 2.5
Base Armor 5
Base Damage 58-62
Sight Range 1800 / 1800
Move Speed 320
Turn Rate 1.0
Attack Range 200
Missile Speed Instant
Base Attack Time 2.0
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Notes :

  • Total level 1 damage of 78-82, for an average of 80.

  • A 2.0 BAT is the worst in the game, tied with Hoodwink.

  • Attack animation is a spectral hand emerging from the Horror’s shadow, then swiping.

  • The Horror has the same Day and Night vision, a trait shared with Slark.


Q – Skulk (Near)

Target Point ability. Instant Cast Time.

Can only be cast when the Horror is not in enemy vision. Instantly teleports the Horror to the closest location near the targeted point that is also not in enemy vision, taking longer to activate if Skulk has to search outside the initial search radius for a valid point. Shares leveling with Skulk (Far).

Cast Range : 800, 1000, 1200, 1400 units

Instant Search Radius : 350 units

Search Radius Expansion Rate : 3500 units per second

Maximum Search Time : 6 seconds

4

40 + 2 per 100 units moved

Terror lurks unseen around every corner.

Notes:

  • Leveled when Skulk (Far) is leveled, but does not share cooldowns with Skulk (Far).

  • Disjoints projectiles.

  • If a valid point cannot be found in the initial search radius, Skulk waits 0.1 seconds then tries again adding 350 units to the search radius and ignoring the area already searched. This repeats every 0.1 seconds, ending if a valid point is found or 6 seconds pass, whichever occurs first.

  • The Horror is considered to be Channeling while the spell searches for a valid point, and ending this Channeling for any reason cancels the spell. Mana and cooldown are nonetheless expended.

  • The Horror being seen while Skulk searches cancels the channeling, but does not expend the mana or cooldown in that case.

  • The mana cost considers the targeted location, not the final selected location.

  • If the Horror is invisible or Smoked, Skulk takes this into account when deciding whether a point is valid. e.g., a Smoked Horror can teleport into an area covered by an enemy Ward.

Comments :

  • Only a brief wisp of smoke serves as a visual indicator. A demonic, echoing chuckling can be heard with each teleport. However, enemies will never see or hear any effect, as the spell does not function if performed in their vision.

  • Costs 56/60/64/68 mana if targeting the furthest distance away (the mana cost does not rise with level, but the max distance does and the mana cost is based on distance traveled).


F – Skulk (Far)

Target Point ability. Instant Cast Time.

Can only be cast when the Horror is not in enemy vision and has not taken damage from an enemy Hero for 3 seconds. Instantly teleports the Horror to the closest location near the targeted point that is also not in enemy vision, taking longer to activate if Skulk has to search outside the initial search radius for a valid point. Shares leveling with Skulk (Near).

Cast Range : Global

Instant Search Radius : 350 units

Search Radius Expansion Rate : 3500 units per second

Maximum Search Time : 6 seconds

110, 80, 50, 20

40 + 2 per 100 units moved

There is no escape.

Aghanim’s Scepter Upgrade : Refreshes Skulk (Far) and the Horror’s items (except Refresher Orb) upon killing an enemy Hero. Also provides a retroactive 1% Spell Amplification per hero kill the Horror possesses.

Notes :

  • Leveled when Skulk (Near) is leveled, but does not share cooldowns with Skulk (Near).

  • This ability is put on a 3-second cooldown upon taking Hero-based damage, in the same way as Blink Dagger.

  • The Horror must be credited with the kill for the Aghanim’s Scepter Upgrade effect to activate; assists, shared bounties, Neutral kills, and denies do not trigger the effect.

  • Shares all other mechanics with Skulk (Near).

Comments :

  • Only a brief wisp of smoke serves as a visual indicator. A demonic, echoing chuckling can be heard with each teleport. However, enemies will never see or hear any effect, as the spell does not function if performed in their vision.

  • The Aghanim’s Scepter effect activating appears to be a red-colored version of the Refresher Orb’s visual effect.

  • Costs approximately 600 mana to travel the absolute furthest possible distance (e.g., the corner of one Fountain to the corner of the other Fountain). More realistically, costs approximately 300 mana to travel from one’s Fountain to the River.


W – Ominous Presence

Toggled ability. Cast Time of 0.3 seconds.

While toggled on, the Horror emits an aura that drastically reduces the Status Resistance of all nearby enemy units and will instantly kill any affected unit that drops below a percentage of their maximum health. Once per second, a stack is applied to all affected units, with each stack increasing the magnitude of the aura’s effects on that unit. Escaping the aura resets all accumulated stacks.

Aura Radius : 800 units

Maximum Stacks : 4

Starting Status Resistance Reduction : 20 %

Bonus Status Resistance Reduction per Stack : 5, 10, 15, 20 %

Starting Kill Threshold : 4, 7, 10, 13 %

Bonus Kill Threshold per Stack : 3 %

Toggle 1

60 per second

An unplaceable feeling of hopeless dread readies the Horror's victims for what comes next, just as a marinade readies meat for the coming fire.

Notes :

  • Stack application timing depends on the Ominous Presence aura (every second), not exposure time; e.g., entering the aura right when a stack is applied will give a stack, even if one has not been in the aura for a full second.

  • Does not apply a stack immediately upon being toggled on, instead waiting 1 second then every second after that.

  • All effects, including the addition of new stacks, are fully blocked by Spell Immunity.

  • The stacks can be dispelled by any dispel.

  • Costs 60 mana immediately when toggled on, then once per second afterward.

  • The aura still affects units the Horror cannot see.

  • Affects all enemy units, not just Heroes. However, Ancient Creeps and Roshan are not affected by the kill threshold.

  • The aura effects only linger for 0.1 seconds upon exiting the radius, and losing the effects resets all accumulated stacks.

  • Stacks are visible to the enemy as a debuff similar to Curse of Avernus stack numbers, for a maximum of 4.

  • Similarly to Presence of the Dark Lord, however, no visuals can be seen if the Horror cannot be seen.

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Comments :

  • Appears as a dark aura with red highlights around the outer rim, with pulses each time a stack is applied. The sound effects are demonic whispering, and a heartbeat in time with the stack application per second.

  • Stacks are visually similar to the numerical indicator of Abaddon’s Curse of Avernus stacks, though with a red/black color scheme instead of blue/grey.

  • Again, none of the above effects can be seen if the Horror cannot be seen.

  • Units killed by the kill threshold cause a red ghostly echo of their model to briefly rise from their corpse, and a ghostly moan is briefly heard. These effects can be seen even if the Horror cannot be seen.

  • The maximum values after 4 stacks at each level are 40/60/80/100% Status Resistance Reduction and 16/19/22/25% kill threshold. With the Level 20 Right Talent, the maximum values for the kill threshold become 24/27/30/33%.


E – Jump Scare

Passive ability.

Passively accumulates charges while the Horror is not in enemy vision. When the Horror is seen, the charges are expended to damage any nearby enemy units after a brief delay.

Maximum Charges : 10

Charge Restore Time : 0.8, 0.7, 0.6, 0.5 seconds

Base Radius : 300 units

Radius added per Charge : 50 units

Damage per Charge : 13, 22, 31, 40 magical damage

It turns out that one can, in fact, die of fright.

Aghanim’s Shard Upgrade : Passively provides True Sight vision of any enemy Hero that is below a certain percentage of their maximum health. The health threshold is 2.5% per Jump Scare charge the Horror currently possesses.

Notes :

  • Expends the charges when seen regardless of whether there are any enemy units in range to damage.

  • There is a delay of 0.3 seconds between the passive being triggered and the damage being dealt to any enemy units in the radius when it was triggered. Units in the radius when the charges were expended are 'tagged' to be damaged, and damage is dealt regardless of whether affected units are still in the radius after the delay. Units only entering the radius after the delay began are not tagged and thus not affected.

  • The damage is fully blocked by Spell Immunity.

  • The damage still affects units the Horror cannot see.

  • The vision provided by the Shard upgrade cannot be dispelled and fully pierces Spell Immunity. It lingers for 0.1 seconds.

  • There is no icon/indicator of the Shard upgrade vision being in effect for enemies, unlike Thirst.

  • Starts with 0 charges upon being leveled.

  • Charges do recover while dead.

  • Illusions do not possess this ability.

Comments :

  • Affected units briefly go into their ‘flailing’ animation during the delay between activation and damage being dealt, while the Horror will raise both arms in a ‘boo’ gesture. This animation does not actually interrupt the affected units. The Horror will not go through its animation if no units are hit.

  • A randomized sound of either a scream, piano clash, or violin shriek is also played at a volume depending on charges expended. No sound is played if no units are hit.

  • Takes 8/7/6/5 seconds of being out of sight to have the full 10 charges, dealing 130/220/310/400 magical damage over an 800 unit radius with full charges. The Level 10 Right Talent increases damage dealt to 230/320/410/500 magical damage. The Level 15 Right Talent reduces the time needed to acquire full charges to 5/4/3/2 seconds.

  • The Level 25 Right Talent increases maximum charges to 25, meaning it would take 20.0/17.5/15.0/12.5 seconds of being out of sight to have full charges, or 12.5/10.0/7.5/5.0 seconds with the Level 15 Right Talent. The radius with full charges would be 1550 units. The damage with full charges would be 325/550/775/1000 magical damage, or 575/800/1025/1250 magical damage with the Level 10 Right Talent.

  • The Aghanim’s Shard reveals enemy Heroes with 25% of their maximum health or less if the Horror has the full 10 charges. The Level 25 Right Talent makes the full charges 25 instead, meaning it would reveal enemy Heroes with 62.5% of their maximum health or less if the Horror has the full 25 charges.


R – Bump in the Night

No Target ability. Cast Time of 0.7 seconds.

Globally obscures all enemy vision for a fleeting but terrifying moment. The Horror is also rendered invisible and immune to True Sight for a brief time afterwards. Attacking or using items ends the invisibility duration early, though abilities can be used. Attacking out of this invisibility inflicts a Bash and lowers the victim’s Magic Resistance for the duration of the Bash.

Vision Denial Duration : 1 second

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True Sight Immune Invisibility Duration : 5 seconds

Bash Stun Duration : 1 second

Bash Bonus Damage : 50, 75, 100 magical damage

Bash Magic Resistance Reduction : 33, 39, 45 %

160, 140, 120

250, 275, 300

An unnatural chill and impenetrable darkness creeps over those soon to be visited by the Horror.

Notes :

  • Fully pierces Spell Immunity.

  • The Bash and accompanying Magic Resistance Reduction are only dispellable by Hard Dispels.

  • The Magic Resistance Reduction ends when the Bash stun duration ends, regardless of what that duration is.

  • Attacking and using items breaks the invisibility, but abilities do not.

  • Vision provided by enemy abilities or items that are used 1) after Bump in the Night is cast but 2) take effect during its Vision Denial Duration still do not provide vision during said Vision Denial Duration.

  • All vision effects resume normal operation after the Vision Denial Duration expires.

Comments :

  • Has a startup animation and 'whooshing' sound during the 0.7 second cast time.

  • Darkens the entire map in a thick shadow ambiance for the brief Vision Denial Duration. A horror-movie-music-like rising crescendo is played over the course of the full invisibility duration, ending when the invisibility ends (even if the invisibility is broken prematurely by the Horror) with a loud note.

  • To be clear, during the vision denial duration affected enemies can only see the actual models of allies and buildings; literally everything else appears to be in Fog (out of vision).


Talents

Level Left Talent Right Talent
25 Permanent Smoke With 0.3s Fade Time OR +15 Jump Scare Max Charges
20 +1s Bump in the Night Vision Denial OR +2% Ominous Presence Stack Kill Threshold
15 Item Debuffs Affect One Other Enemy OR -0.3s Jump Scare Charge Restore Time
10 +1s Bump in the Night Bash OR +10 Jump Scare Charge Damage

Notes :

  • The Level 15 Left Talent only applies to single-target items with debuffs that have a duration, such as Medallion of Courage, Abyssal Blade, Scythe of Vyse, etc. and not instant debuffs like Dagon, Hand of Midas, and so on. The Talent will replicate the debuff on the next-closest enemy in the cast range, with a buffer range of 600 units. For example, Abyssal Blade will stun both the target and the next-closest enemy within 750 units (150 cast range + 600 buffer). Heroes are not prioritized, it operates merely by proximity to the main target. Standard Linken's Sphere, Lotus Orb, Spell Immunity, etc. rules apply to the replicated debuff.

  • The Level 25 Left Talent permanent Smoke effect is broken under all the usual Smoke break conditions, and reapplies after 0.3 seconds if and only if able.

Comments :

  • The Talents are loosely organized by the idea of 'utility on the left, damage on the right'.

  • The Level 15 Left Talent is intended primarily as an Ominous Presence Talent, as Ominous Presence amplifies debuff duration.

  • The Level 25 Left Talent is intended primarily as a Skulk Talent, allowing the Horror to teleport under Wards and closer to buildings during the day, though it obviously has utility beyond that function, especially for Jump Scare.


Analysis and Commentary

Here is my write-up on how I think the Horror's gameplay would go.

The TL;DR is that the Horror would either be a mid-lane global ganker that is absurdly powerful in the mid-game but falls off if one does not snowball hard, or a side-line support focused on harassment and item-based disables that remains a gimmicky but situationally viable position 4 throughout the game.

Here is my initial dissertation the balance of the Horror.

The TL;DR is that the vision mechanics of Skulk and Jump Scare make them much more difficult to use than one might theorycraft, and there are several things holding Ominous Presence back, not the least of which is its exorbitant mana cost. Only Bump in the Night is as powerful as it appears, and that comes with a matching cooldown length.

What do you think? Thank you for your time and feedback!

Source

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