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Visual Novel / Demonheart

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Main character Bright and her love interests. From left to right: Raze, Bright, Brash and Ari.

"What would you do if you were all alone and you came face to face with a demonspawn?"
Orchid
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Demonheart is a dark fantasy romance visual novel by developer Rolling Crown. It started life as a series of Neverwinter Nights modules, with a prelude and two chapters made. Then the developer decided to rework elements of the released and unreleased plot into an Alternate Universe-styled telling.

Bright’s family has fallen on tough times in the small town of Feline as her father has lost his job and they have no other means of financial support. But luck comes to Bright with a letter from the town’s respected healer-witch Orchid, who offers her the chance to become her shop assistant. Bright gets the position and for a few months all is fine.

But Orchid is keeping secrets, and those secrets alter the course of Bright’s life forever… betrayed and framed, she gains a form of limited immortality and a demonic voice in her head that’s taken an interest in her. Then there’s a mysterious witch and a knight with an evil reputation…

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The visual novel was announced in June 2015 and the first chapter of five came out on March 24, 2017. The final chapter was released in June 2018, and Rolling Crown has expressed interest in creating a sequel. The game is available on Steam and itch.io. Rolling Crown's webpage is here.


Tropes:

  • Adaptational Consent: The original modules had an unavoidable scene where Brash rapes the heroine. In the visual novel, a scene plays out where he declares that Bright will be his before he hands her over to Rivera. Bright can fight him off, or if she submits he will instead back off before regretfully handing her over to Rivera.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Some characters are different in the visual novel from how they were in the modules.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The two men Bright can go for aren’t good ones. Raze is a demonspawn and fan of Murder Is the Best Solution, and Brash is a foulmouthed corrupt knight and rumored rapist. And according to Brash, his sister Chance has run into some problems thanks to her adherence to this trope.
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  • Bad Dreams: Bright has recurring nightmares of a tortured demon child begging her for help.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Raze was tortured to the point of becoming mentally deranged - both Razes. Brash only became a murderous beast after Rivera turned him into one of her demonheart experiments.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Fisher and Orchid.
  • Bi the Way: Bright can romance a man or a woman. Ari mentions she was attracted to Bright and Raze.
  • Bittersweet Ending: No matter what choices you make or what Bright’s alignment is, a demonspawn is still going to be locked up in the eternal torture device. And that’s not counting ending permutations such as Ari’s potential death at the impostor’s hands or Bright winding up alone, but free.
  • Bleached Underpants: Optional sexual encounters and an unavoidable rape in the modules were removed for the visual novel retelling.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: If a demonheart eats the heart of another of their kind, they also take their powers.
  • Character Alignment: Bright’s runs along two axes, Good/Evil and Tactful/Defiant.
  • Child by Rape: Orchid’s consensual encounter with a demon to have a child is treated as a bit unusual. Many demonspawn are the product of a union between a demon and an unwilling woman ‘prepared’ for the demon by unethical witches. The impostor Raze is one such child.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Rivera to Ari. Bright can be played as one to Raze or Brash.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: What two witches did to a demonspawn they named Dorius. Their findings frame it as a way to further knowledge of demonspawn, but considering they cut off his horns to make drinking glasses simple sadism clearly played a part.
  • Complete Immortality: A demonspawn will not age beyond a certain point and cannot be destroyed.
  • Consummate Liar: Plenty, as part of the crapsack setting. It’d be easier to make a list of characters that are honest. But out of all the cast, it’s the impostor Raze who probably stands out the most.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Brash and Raze each have their moments.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All of Bright’s love interests. Raze did not have a pleasant childhood. Brash is a demonheart experiment. Ari’s been trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship for years.
  • Death by Childbirth: All demonspawn inevitably kill their mothers in the process of being born.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It’s a dark fantasy medieval setting, so naturally there’s this.
  • Dirty Coward: Mark. He asks Bright to help him become a knight, and then abandons her when she is innocently sent to prison because she's bad for his reputation. When he is actually assigned to a military outpost, he whines about it.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Mark. Quite literally, if the player so chooses.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Brash likes to call Mark, "Target Practice."
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Raze, even if he never knew his mother. It’s just that his mother isn’t Orchid as he first leads Bright to believe.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Raze, as Bright can note in her journal.
  • Foreshadowing: There are a few clues that point to the fact that the Raze you’ve been talking to through the amulet is an impostor that killed Orchid before she was due to give birth, before The Reveal in chapter 5
    • The game's official plot summary on its store pages mentions love interests Brash and Ari by name, while referring to 'Raze' only as "a powerful demonic presence" and not by his supposed name.
    • If Bright read On the Demonspawn in chapter 1, then in a later chapter she can mention Dorius by name as a hypothetical example when asking 'Raze' if he was tortured during childhood. 'Raze' does not react well to the mention of his hated former name. His dislike for those two witches and knowledge of what happened with the demonspawn, including things not written down in the book, also hint at his identity.
    • Also in chapter 1, if Bright passes by the cat without giving it attention after Orchid's made her a demonheart, she’'ll notice it's hissing in the direction of the dining room and wonder if it’s at Orchid, since there wasn’t another person there… as far as she knew, that is.
    • The lack of knowledge about Bright’s dreams tips off that he's not the one sending them.
    • Some dialogue takes on new meaning after the final chapter, thanks to Exact Words and Sarcastic Confession. Such as Raze’s statement that Orchid was murdered by him, or that he’s not her son but a secret fan that stole all her possessions.
    • The answer to the anagram in chapter 4.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Brash has a sinister one across the left side of his face.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Rivera is controlling of Ari because of her possessive jealousy, which targeted even a wolf-like worg once. And Dorius is envious of the real Raze. So much so he schemed to try to kill him and then take what would have been his.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: All demonspawn are this.
  • Healing Factor: The kind of 'limited immortality' that demonhearts have. It doesn’t stop them from aging and can be overwhelmed with fire or acid. Demonspawn have one as well, as part of their Complete Immortality.
  • Hearing Voices: Thanks to her amulet, Bright can hear Raze’s voice in her head.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Hero is too strong a term for most of them but Bright, a redhead, has quite a few people interested in her romantically.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Pretty much everyone is corrupt in one way or another. The few that aren’t are seen as weak and powerless.
  • Immortality Inducer: Eating either demon flesh or the heart of a demonheart will transform a human into a demonheart. Bright encounters some trouble because of the latter option.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Humans who become demonhearts are rendered barren, and demonspawn are born naturally infertile. Although there is a prophecy, about the child of a demonspawn that will help to usher in the apocalypse.
  • Immortality Seeker: Many, such as Orchid, Fisher, Rivera. These people tend to be dangers to those who are demonhearts, looking to steal their limited immortality save for Orchid, who decided that true immortality for a human was impossible and she could at best only live on forever in the memory of an immortal son.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Dorius, in spades. When posing as Raze, he oozes confidence and a sense of smug superiority. Once exposed, he calls himself the ‘weakest of his kind’ and considers his potential development as a demonspawn lost beyond recovery thanks to his awful childhood. He also worries that Bright will think the real Raze, an untrained if potentially powerful child, to be a better ally than himself.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Brash is not a good man. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong when he tells Bright that there’s something suspicious about Fisher’s interest in her.
    • Raze has his own reasons for wanting Bright to be literally heartless. He’s not wrong that it will make it harder for someone to kill her and steal her Healing Factor.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Orchid. Bright can be played as one.
  • Lack of Empathy: Raze says he has no compassion as he introduces himself to Bright. He later notes the development of something like empathy for Bright as he observes her, though.
  • Lighter and Softer: Downplayed. Some of the more extreme content from the Neverwinter Nights version is absent, but the setting comes across as only a bit less hostile and deadly for it. Most of what made the modules dark seems to still be part of the setting, it simply is implied instead of outright shown. Notably though, the creator has stated that much of the adult content in the original modules was included primarily to stick to the tradition of projects like A Dance With Rogues and that in retrospective, certain things got too extreme even for her.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Raze, Rivera.
  • Meaningful Name: Brash is just that.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Bright calling Ari her only friend or saying she loves Ari does not go over well when the impostor Raze is holding Ari hostage, as he will kill the unconscious Ari by tossing her in a fire lake. For the latter, he is quick to say, “So I suppose… you are free to choose whom you love once more.”
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Ari, who is deeply fascinated by all things demonic and slightly bashful about this obsession.
  • One-Gender Race: Demons and demonspawn are always male.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The visual novel focuses less on actual demons (sometimes called Infernal Fathers) and more on their hybrid offspring with human women (demonspawn, or Infernal Sons).
  • Poisonous Friend: Raze wants to be Bright’s friend/ally. He also wants her to be evil to everyone but him, advocating that Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • Soul Jar: The heart of a demonheart must be consumed to gain their power. To protect against this, a skilled surgeon can remove the heart for safekeeping elsewhere. This has been done to Lord Mace, Sir Brash and eventually Bright.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: An optional case. In the NWN modules, it was actually possible to eat Brash's heart, destroying him for good.
  • Super Speed: Bright develops this ability as the result of becoming a demonheart.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Dorius to Orchid, obsessed as he was by the idea of a mother loving her demonspawn son.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Bright communicates with Raze as a child in her dreams, in a cross with Dreaming of Times Gone By. Or so it seems at first.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Bright can poison Mark's stew, netting the player an achievement for killing him.
  • The Promise: Orchid asks Bright to promise she will love and protect Orchid's unborn son. The player can either fulfill this promise or break it.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Raze or in actuality, the impostor posing as him. He doesn’t understand Orchid’s love for her cat or his developing feelings for Bright.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: A Fate Worse than Death version for Raze and Bright. Raze has humans, demons and other demonspawn that want to torture him and likely will try to for all eternity. Bright is used for her limited immortality and has hunters after her to steal her heart and take her Healing Factor for themselves.
    Raze: And some foolish humans still envy our eternal life… Does eternal suffering sound appealing to you?
  • Would Hurt a Child: The witches that experimented on the demonspawn they named Dorius. And Dorius himself.
  • You Must Be Cold: Brash can ask Bright if she’s cold as she’s going to bed. If she says yes, Brash will give her a shirt of his to sleep in.
  • Younger Than They Look: Raze has the body and mind of an adult man, but he’s only a few months old. Subverted, as it turns out he’s lying about his identity and is slightly older than Bright. Still, the real Raze, while obviously a child, looks far older than the few months he should be. Dorius notes it took him only five years to reach adulthood.
  • Yandere: The impostor Raze has his moments toward Bright, mostly near the novel’s end. There’s his attempt at holding Bright’s heart hostage to ensure she stays with him and his possible Murder the Hypotenuse of Ari, all of which is an escalation of his possessiveness of Bright throughout the game.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Ari’s hair is purple.

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