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Varnir of the Dragon Star: Ecdysis of the Dragon (also officially known as Dragon Star Varnir) is an Action RPG co-developed by Compile Heart and Idea Factory. The game was released October 11, 2018, for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows.
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Zephy is a knight sworn to hunt down witches, accursed people that summon terrorizing dragons. However, when he nearly dies during a mission, he is saved by two mysterious witches feeding him dragon blood. Now granted magical powers, he must fight with the witches against not only other witches with ill intent, but also his former knight allies.


Tropes:

  • Ancient Conspiracy: Dragons and Witches used to be revered as holy beings and avatars of the Gods, and the "Star" of this world, "Varnir", is the one that provides life for everything on the planet. After an ill-fated Interspecies Romance between a high-ranking Bishop and a Witch, however, it ends with the latter being executed by her fellow sisters for daring to fall in love with a mortal, and the former being persecuted by the Emperor for his blasphemy. Angry and despairing, the two decide to murder the Emperor, burn down the temple and all records of the witches, leaving nothing but a forged letter by the Bishop supposedly revealing the witches' "evil" nature. With the world shattered and shaken by these events, the witches are forced into hiding, the Empire begins to persecute them, and the dragons begin to roam wild.
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  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Laponette ends up brainwashed by the Raven's dragon-controlling device and ends up trying to strangle Zephy to death. On a more general note, the Raven's secret weapon involves enslaving and controlling dragons, unknowingly so Ruby Eyes/Bendica can bring about the End of the World as We Know It.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: What initially begins as a Dark Fantasy about a persecuted band of fantastic minorities quickly turns into a very heavy, bleak story about a dying god, trying to avert the apocalypse by replacing him, and stop the Big Bad from ending everything.
  • Draconic Humanoid: By devouring dragon blood and meat, Zephy and his witch allies can get new skills, but too much consumption will transform them into draconic beings themselves. This is most apparent in their Draconic Transformations, where they physically become Draconic Humanoids.
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  • Earn Your Bad Ending: The "Madness End" can be achieved by making certain dialogue choices that have Zephyr be ruthless, uncaring, or just plain stress-inducing to the rest of the witches, alongside failing to manage the Little Sister's Horror Hunger and letting them go mad and transform into dragons. There is also a significant penalty for getting a Total Party Kill and choosing to continue than reloading a save instead. Aside from the second, you will most likely need a guide or intentionally play very poorly to get this.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Karikaro's attire upon transformation has various differences on the left and right side. She has a gauntlet on her left arm, a small glove on her right hand, etc.
  • Guide Dang It!: A walkthrough is useful for a variety of reasons.
    • The various responses you can make as Zephyr either raise or do not raise the witches' Madness level. If you're aiming for a specific ending, it's rather useful to know which they are.
    • The gifts for the Witches does not have an in-game codex recording their responses. You'll either have to keep your own records of what they like or consult a guide.
    • You will permanently miss The Sixth Ranger of the group if certain conditions are not met.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Witch dens act like this, being safe havens deep in the woods or other far-flung areas of the wilderness for witches to live and care for their young.
  • Horror Hunger:
    • All witches are affected by the Witch's Curse, where they have to devour dragon meat or drink dragon blood to maintain their sanity, but this will eventually cause them to transform into dragons themselves.
    • The three "Little Sister" witches dragon's blood or meat in exchange for assisting Zephyr and his allies with useful trinkets. Feeding a witch too little dragon parts will drive them mad, but too much dragon blood will transform them into a full dragon instead of maintaining their sanity.
  • Multiple Endings: There are a total of seven endings: a "Mad" End, a "Normal" end, and then one for each witch you can romance.
  • One-Gender Race: Witches are only female, all of them being born from the "Treasure of Life" rather than sexual reproduction as with normal humans. Zephy is the sole known exception.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Upon transforming into their extremely powerful Draconic Forms, some characters gain wings.
  • The Reveal: Several major plot-points completely change the story and how you look at certain characters and the story as a whole. To name some:
    • Dragons and witches used to be worshipped as divine, holy beings and their servants in olden times. It was only after a tragic romance and an Ancient Conspiracy did the humans begin to turn on them.
    • Zephy is a half-human Witch hybrid, so his being fed dragon's blood just awakened the magical powers already within him.
    • Charlotta is an aspect of Varnir, the dying dragon god for whom all of existence hinges upon, she is effectively immortal, and her goal is trying to find a replacement Dragon Star to prevent the End of the World as We Know It.
  • Underground Monkey: You will very, very quickly be seeing pallette swaps of the same enemy models throughout the game.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Witch of Hellfire AKA "Ruby Eyes" or "Bendica" decided to enact the Carnival of Death, slaughtering hundreds of witches and destroying their dens to try and stop the cycle of Witches being born to try and replace the world's god, the Dragon Star, before the current one dies, forcing them through discrimination, persecution, and losing their minds and destroying everyone they've ever loved if they don't meet the requirements to become a Dragon Star. In her mind, death was a better alternative than this cycle.
  • Science Fantasy: While mostly rooted as a medieval fantasy, with your characters explicitly using magic and conventional arms like swords, spears, and maces, the Ravens are explicitly noted to have mastered the art of Magitek, using dragon parts and the latent witch energy still inside them to craft things like flying devices that let them fight Witches and dragons on an even plane.
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