They had decided to hunt the sun.
The hunt itself proved mostly uneventful, save for Allister's Salted Dream that left him feeling groggy when he awoke. The dream had left his eyes imprinted with the flash of glowing teeth and a vision of an entity sculpting in white ash that would spark brilliantly in the center of his vision whenever he blinked.
Before Allister's vision had time to clear, they found their quarry.
A light brighter than any lantern surrounded the strange, tentacled monster. The shine seemed to come from everywhere all at once, beaming from one direction one moment only to appear to come from another direction the next. Strange shadows flickered across the ground, moving as if alive. The shadows cast weren't merely dark, but a deep, intentional darkness that stood as stark against the scenery and surrounding gloom as the piercing light.
Without warning, tentacles of shadow burst forth from the nearest pool of dark, snaking and slashing at Erza.
Certain that the attack had come from their enemy, Zachary dashed forward, striking the Sunstalker with the weight of his momentum behind his Zanbato. Rather than a splash of blood, a gout of iridescent, rainbow colored vomit sprayed from the monster's gaping mouth, coating Zachary's body and legs with caustic digestive juices. Despite the incredible burning pain, Zachary was overwhelmed with a freezing chill, as if his blood had suddenly turned to black ice in his veins.
The multicolored light faded from view as the vomit soaked into the earth, but the beautiful, terrifying display left Erza, Lucy, and Allister feeling cautious. They approached the beast, but none moved within striking distance.
With chromatic bile still dripping from its teeth, the monster belched out a Verdigris Bubble that floated above the survivors' heads, delicately swirling in the light, innumerable colors dancing across its surface. Zachary took his eyes off the beast to trail the bubble as it gained altitude, and paid heavily for his lapse in concentration. The beast smashed its tentacles across Zachary's waist, effortlessly knocking him away.
Shaken, Erza halfheartedly swung her axe at the monster but missed entirely. Lucy fired her sole Claw Headed Arrow, which struck one of the writhing tentacles, but the arrow failed to find purchase.
Allister dove into the monster's shadow, hoping to take the beast by surprise. Stepping into the deep darkness made Allister feel invigorated, and he slashed his sword across the Sunstalker's chest.
The wound seemed to not only effect the monster, but the light pulsed, brighter than ever, enervating the survivors. Lucy and Erza turned to face the light, which had grown bright enough to sear their eyes, while Allister and Zachary hid their faces. Both men lost their footing, terrified of the light.
Erza shouted encouragement to Allister before striking perfectly with her Counterweighted Axe. Allister followed her lead, encouraging Zachary to regain his feet. Allister swiped his sword across the monster's snout, but the monster avoided the cut, smashing Allister across the waist and body.
Meanwhile, Lucy dashed into the darkness cast by a fallen pillar. She took aim with her bow and fired two arrows at her target. The first passed harmlessly through a mirage. Somehow the light had deceived her eyes, and she'd fired the arrow at a projection of the beast. The second arrow hit home, surprising the monster, who turned to face Lucy. The two locked eyes, and in the Sunstalker's gaze Lucy's mind was blasted with incomprehensible images. She couldn't process what she saw, and her entire consciousness gave way to a frenzied inner rage.
Zachary tried to take advantage of the beast's focus on Lucy, but he still couldn't seem to strike true.
Switching its attention to Erza, the Sunstalker focused a Viscous UV Beam that scorched her torso.
Allister struck the monster soundly, but, like Zachary before him, was met with a powerful spray of rainbow vomit, severely injuring his body, blackening his blood.
Zachary smashed his weapon into the horror while Lucy supported his attack with shots from her bow. As her arrow struck, light bent around the shaft, and the monster somehow shifted its momentum, slamming Allister away from its body while Erza struck another perfect blow.
Shadow Tentacles shot from the monster again as the survivors continued to cut, shoot, and stab at their foe, moving into the shifting darkness, even as the light continued to move and shift around the battlefield.
The Sunstalker seemed to swim through the air towards Lucy before bashing her across the side of the head with a tentacle. In response, she raised her bow and fired into the monster's mouth at point-blank range. Mid-flight, the arrow disappeared in another gout of swirling, impossibly colorful puke which struck her full force in the face, melting her flesh and bone alike.
As her body slumped to the floor, her blood, black as the deepest shadow, began to coalesce. From the pool of twitching flesh, sinew, and gore rose a shadow, shaped like Lucy, but twisted, its face a mask of pure malevolence.
Terrified, Zachary thrust his Zanbato directly into the Sunstalker's mouth, detonating some powerful, alien organ inside the creature, showering him with iridescent gore and broken teeth.
The Sunstalker is an amazing quarry monster, and a must-have expansion for Kingdom Death: Monster. What really makes the fight against the Sunstalker interesting is that it introduces new mechanics that make the players think more tactically about their positioning in relation to the direction of light, and whether they are standing in that light or in shadow. The play between light and shadow, and the many different factors to consider during the fight, make the Sunstalker one of my all-time favorite monsters in Kingdom Death: Monster.
This expansion also introduces Minions, which are self-contained enemies that can spawn during the fight. In the Sunstalker's case, Shades can be spawned, like the one that spawned when Lucy died in the fight above, that have behaviors of their own. The Sunstalker was defeated in this fight before the Shade could do anything, but there can be times where a large number of Shades are present during the showdown, and they can cause real problems for the survivors if they aren't dealt with.
The Sunstalker shows up at Lantern Year 8 when added to the game, but on top of being a ridiculously fun mid-level quarry monster with an awesome array of weapons and armor, the Sunstalker expansion contains an entirely new campaign for the game, with an unique timeline that changes the game fundamentally. Even without the new campaign, the Sunstalker would be a must-have expansion, but with the campaign it adds to Kingdom Death: Monster's already staggering amount of replayability.
The plastic included in the box is on par with everything else Kingdom Death, meaning that it is top notch. Like other Kingdom Death products, they require assembly. I haven't put together any armor kits from this set yet, but here are a few pics of my assembled and painted Sunstalker.
The copy of the Sunstalker expansion used for this article was purchased by the author.
Have you picked up any of the Kingdom Death: Monster expansions yet? If so, let us know what you think the must-haves are in the comments below.