Reigning Passions is a Romance Game Visual Novel by Voltage Entertainment USA, released through their Lovestruck app for iOS and Android devices. It debuted as a pilot in September 2019 with two available routes, and was confirmed for a full series in November.
The land of Lysende was ruled by a queen and her wife. They were benevolent rulers, and under them, the land knew an era of peace and prosperity. Together, the two had a daughter. But soon after the child's birth, there was an assassination attempt against the royal family. The queen consort escaped with the newborn princess in a magical snow. The remaining queen, in her despair, fell into a magical sleep, and the land entered an everlasting winter.
The four noble houses fought for the right to rule, resulting in war. Finally, they agreed to share power, and the capital, Altadellys, was divided into the four Seasons.
Generations later, a pointy-eared child is abandoned at a crossroads. She is raised as an orphan, and grows up to be a humble village barmaid. One day, she is summoned to the capital, where for one reason or another, she will find herself living the life of a lost princess. And it is here our story begins
Contains examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Ruelle and Quince's introductions in Sevastian's route have them tagged as "Alluring & Autumnal" and "Handsome Helper" respectively, and in Amara's route, Hazel is initially tagged as "Built Blacksmith" and Lady Vo as "Elegant Elder". In Xenia's route, Amara is initially tagged "Gorgeous Guardswoman", and on Lyris' route, Lyris himself is initially tagged "Beautiful Bard", Xenia as "Veiled Yet Vivid", Galen as "Maritime Mystery", Asa as "Winged Wonder", and one of Hortensia's servants is "Experienced and Exhausted".
- Affectionate Nickname:
- Hazel and the heroine call each other Hazey and Freckles, respectively.
- Lyris calls the heroine "Little Bird" and sometimes "rosebud".
- Lyris also occasionally refers to Piama as "petal", or more commonly in her own route "flower girl".
- Almost Kiss: Happens multiple times through Piama's second and third seasons, both before and after she and the heroine manage their first kiss together.
- Alternative Calendar: The setting uses "spans" instead of years. Amara's birthdate in her profile is "12th Night of the Wanderer", Sevastian's is "17th Night of the Betrayer", Xenia's is "9th Night of the Seeker", and Lyris' is "24th Night of the Martyr".
- Amazing Technicolor Population: In addition to a broad range of real-life human skin tones, the cast includes a number of major and minor characters with more exotic colorations. Xenia is grey-skinned, Lady Vo is bright pink, Pax is dark blue, Rosie (apparently an orc) is green, and Khath (a goblin) is purple.
- Anchored Ship: Though he and the heroine are clearly into each other, Lyris insists on them remaining Just Friends because there would be strong political and Hortensia-caused consequences if he were to tie himself romantically to someone.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Lyris only reveals he's fallen for the heroine after agreeing to marry Hortensia so she'll stop trying to get the heroine killed, at which point their relationship is impossible.
- Arranged Marriage:
- In Sevastian's route, the heroine finds herself in an arranged marriage with the Prince of Summer, Tristan.
- Piama's route begins with one, with the heroine getting engaged to her in the first episode.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: In Lyris season 2, when the heroine visits Xenia, who is locked up in the dungeons following the Oscen army invasion:Heroine: Are you doing okay?
Xenia: A foreign army has invaded the city and imprisoned me.
She leaves it at that, and honestly, right, I shouldn't even have asked.
- Bookcase Passage: Xenia has a secret passage into the palace's Tunnel Network in her room, hidden behind a bookcase. Sevastian has one in his room, hidden behind a wall mirror.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: In Xenia's route. In order to convince Tansy that she's on her side, Xenia pretends that she never cared for the heroine. She acts coldly dismissive to her, calling her nothing and feeding into her worst insecurities, all to sell Tansy on the act and convince her that the heroine isn't a threat so she'll be left alone.
- Cacophony Cover Up:
- A couple times the heroine needs to talk to someone without risk of anyone eavesdropping, so she takes them to Hazel's shop so that the noise of Hazel's hammer will drown out their conversation. She does this with Amara in her first season, and with Lyris in his first season.
- In Lyris' first season, after he and the heroine learn of some sensitive information, he takes her to his room to discuss it while playing music to cover up their conversation.
- Cast Full of Gay: The heroine and Xenia are bisexual; Sevastian, Lyris, and Piama are pansexual; Amara and Hazel are lesbians, and Galen is non-binary and queer.
- Caught Coming Home Late: In Xenia's first season, the heroine is ordered to stay put in Xenia's room, but sneaks out to try and learn more information. When she returns, Xenia is there waiting for her.
- Childhood Friends:
- The heroine, Hazel, and Rosie were friends growing up. Hazel moved to the capital to become a blacksmith, and the heroine's summon there gives the two the opportunity to reconnect.
- Sevastian and Lyris were friends when they were younger, but had a falling out. Hortensia was technically part of this as well, but it's implied that she was The Friend Nobody Likes.
- Confronting Your Imposter: In a scene during his third season, Sevastian disguises himself as Hortensia only for the ruse to nearly get blown when he and the heroine accidentally run into the real Hortensia.
- Contemplative Boss: In Sevastian season 3, Lord Ubel receives the heroine at the Winter estate. As she walks up to him, he waits at a long row of windows with his back turned.
- Crocodile Tears: In the heart scene for Lyris season 2 episode 3, Hortensia weeps to try and manipulate Lyris. When it doesn't work, her tears stop on the spot.Hortensia: Hmm. What a callous man you've become.
She catches a teardrop on the end of her fingernail, shaking it off.
Hortensia: I always thought pathos was the best method of persuading you, but I see you've evolved.
- Dead Animal Warning: Midway through Amara's first season, the heroine finds a dead hummingbird in her bed, along with a threatening note. Piama notes that since hummingbirds are considered sacred, whoever left it must have really meant it.
- Decadent Court: The capital and aristocracy are full of schemers and backstabbers.
- Discreet Drink Disposal: In Lyris' first season, he has drinks with Hortensia while discretely disposing of his own in order to get her drunk and have an excuse to send her home.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In their first season, Galen jokes about having the heroine dangled over shark-infested waters. Since she is their prisoner at the time, she is not the least bit amused and gives them a piece of her mind. They admit they crossed a line and make a promise to do better.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In Amara episode 10, Xenia is seen without her veil while lounging in the Winter Temple hot springs.note Xenia's first season, released later, establishes that she does not remove the veil even for the hot springs, and it's an important aspect of her characterization.
- Endless Winter:
- Ever since the breaking of the royal family, the lands outside Altadellys have been in an everlasting winter. For this reason, they are called the Winter Wilds.
- Within the capital itself, the Winter Quarter is perpetually cold and snowy.
- Engineered Heroics: In Sevastian's route. The heroine is attacked while in the Summer Temple one evening, but is rescued by Tristan. Later it's revealed that Summer had arranged the attack so that Tristan could rescue her and look like a hero.
- Enter Stage Window: In Lyris season 2, Galen makes their first appearance by climbing into Lyris' bedroom through the window, followed by Sevastian. They're using the window to avoid detection, since the city is in a state of war.
- The Fair Folk: The Fae are a magical, long-lived people who are ruled by a Queen in the Land of Faerie. They are dangerous to deal with — consuming their food or drink while in their land will trap you there, and there are tales of people entering faerie dances and being forced to dance for centuries.
- Fake Aristocrat: In her route, Xenia recruits the heroine to pose as a long-lost princess of Spring. It's a convenient cover story, since Spring is the largest house and discoveries of this sort are not uncommon with them. Indeed, most of the important people don't even bother showing up to the welcoming ceremony.
- Family Eye Resemblance: Sevastian and his family have gray eyes. In his third season, when the heroine first meets Hortensia, she quickly identifies her as a relative of Sevastian because of her eyes.
- First-Name Basis: In her route, Amara calls the heroine Your Highness at first. After some bonding and being told by her multiple times to call her by name, she eventually starts doing that. And then backslides in the second season after learning of her royal heritage.
- Fisher King: Lysende was prosperous under the queens, and when the royal family was broken and the remaining queen fell into a sleep of despair, it entered an Endless Winter.
- Floating Continent: Altadellys is a floating city.
- Freakiness Shame: The heroine has never met anyone else with pointy ears like her own, and is self-conscious about them. When Sevastian calls her ears adorable, she blushes.
- Friendship Denial: In Amara episode 11, the heroine thanks Piama for being a good friend. She claims in response that she only helped her for her own reputation, but the heroine points out that it couldn't have helped her reputation to associate with a Wildergirl princess.
- Gilded Cage: As the heroine stays in the palace, it soon becomes apparent that life there is very restrictive.
- Good Versus Good: Sevastian's second season has a conflict between him and Quince, who disagree on how to help the people of Lysende. Sevastian, as the Silver Dagger, goes outside the law to steal and redistribute wealth, while Quince sees this as shortsighted and thinks that substantial change can only come from the system.
- Hands-On Approach:
- In Amara's first season, she teaches the heroine how to handle a sword so she can better defend herself. This involves putting her hands on hers and standing very closely, making the heroine keenly aware of her proximity. A heart scene just prior to this plays up the tension more, with Amara physically guiding the heroine through warm-up exercises.
- In Lyris's route he teaches her a dance that involves rather a lot of close contact and shows her physically how to wield her sword. At this point, the mixed messages have gotten so severe the heroine forgets entirely their pact to become just friends and thinks he's genuinely flirting with her.
- Has Two Mommies: The princess in the backstory, with her two mothers.
- Hidden Elf Village: Sevastian and the heroine visit one in his fifth season. Its people, a race known as the Vaea, withdrew from the rest of the world into a magical sanctuary sometime in the distant past, and Queen Consort Edera took shelter there with her infant daughter after fleeing Altadellys.
- Holding Hands: Early in Piama's route she and the heroine would hold hands in public just so others would think they're a happy couple. As they grow closer it quickly becomes a gesture of comfort and support and they'll often hold hands even if no one's there to see.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs:
- The heroine uses wintry terms like "slush," "frost," and "frostbite" as curses, presumably customary in the Winter Wilds where these things would be familiar and unwelcome.
- In Amara's first season, Lyris tells the heroine, "No need to get your branches in a twist, Your Highness."
- I Kiss Your Hand:
- At the end of Amara's first season, she kneels before the heroine and makes as if to kiss her hand. However, since she has just learned about the heroine's heritage, she has walled herself off emotionally into the role of the dutiful knight. The gesture is one of pure formality — her lips never touch the heroine's hand.
- In Amara's fourth season, the heroine kneels to kiss Amara's hand as they go public with their relationship.
- In their route, Galen kisses the heroine's hand during their flirtatious first meeting, first pausing to ask permission.
- Impaled Palm: In Amara's first season, she stops an assassin's dagger by letting it impale her palm. This is how her Healing Factor is revealed to the heroine, as the wound is seen to have healed not long after.
- Incapable of Disobeying: Pax, as the "creation" of Gideon, is bound to his orders. If Gideon orders him to stand aside, Pax's body is pulled to the side as if by an invisible force.
- Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: The house of Winter is not permitted to participate in the tournament to determine which Season will rule for the next five spans, since they're blamed for the loss of the Queens. At the beginning of the tournament, a representative from Winter is required to formally hand over their crown in forfeit, just to rub it in. The heroine witnesses Sevastian subjected to this in his first season, illustrating why he's called the "Crownless Prince."
- Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: At various points in Amara's first season, the heroine asks Amara a rhetorical question to mean "yes" or "no", only for Amara to be unsure about the answer because it relies on Wilderperson common knowledge. Later in the season, Amara remembers one of the questions and uses it correctly in a response to the heroine, to the latter's delight.
- The Lady's Favour: In Lyris' third season, the heroine gives him a token for luck before his duel with Asa. In the non-hearts version of the scene, it's a kiss.
- Land of Faerie: The Fae live in a realm accessible only by their magic, where they are ruled by a Queen.
- Lessons in Sophistication: In Amara's first season, Piama and Lyris take it upon themselves to teach the heroine the complicated rules of court etiquette in preparation for the tournament.
- Licked by the Dog: In a heart scene in Xenia's first season, the heroine lets Xenia introduce her spiders to her. One of the spiders takes a liking to her, giving Xenia pause as she appears to mull this over.
- Lie Detector: In Sevastian's second season, the heroine receives an enchanted pocket mirror that heats up when someone is lying to her. It only works with outright lies — it does nothing for lies of omission.
- Look Behind You: Attempted by Sevastian in his first season. After having a chat with the heroine in her room, he acts as if surprised by something behind her, then tries to leave while her back is turned. However, she's wised up to his tricks by then, and quickly turns back to catch him.
- Mage Tower: Gideon has a laboratory in one of the palace towers, where he conducts magical experiments and keeps various contraptions. When the heroine is trying to find it in Sevastian season 2, a wool weaver gives a hint as to the location:Wool Weaver: If I had experiments to do and I didn't want to be bothered I'd put as many stairs between me and my visitors as possible.
- Magic Map: Xenia owns a magical map of the palace which tracks everyone's locations and shows information on their statuses.
- Marriage Before Romance: In Piama's route she and the heroine get married shortly after meeting, as per Lady Vo's last request. At first they mainly only act as a couple in public to keep up appearances, however it isn't long before they both start to genuinely care for each other.
- Mathematician's Answer: In Amara season 2, if asking Ruelle what she enjoys:Ruelle: A good fight.
Heroine: One that you're a part of or that you're watching?
- Mistaken for Prostitute: Inverted in Xenia's first episode. When she tells the heroine that she needs her to "play a role for [her]" (posing as a princess, as she is soon to clarify), the heroine thinks she's being solicited.Heroine: [turning red] I don't know who you think I am, but this is not a brothel, and you can't just—
- Noodle Incident:
- In Amara's first season, as Piama and Lyris coach the heroine in the proper formalities for the tournament, Lyris proposes teaching her "the important banquet grape-throwing rules," only for Piama to shoot down the idea, citing some past incident which is left to the imagination.Piama: Let's skip the grape throwing altogether. What if [Heroine] accidentally hits Princess Ellebaire?
Lyris: Excellent point. We don't need to be blamed for a banquet disaster similar to the last time something like that happened.
Heroine: A disaster due to...grapes?
Lyris: Yes. Do try to keep up.
- Sevastian's third season drops a couple of references to "Princess Yalena's pastoral ball" two spans ago, which was apparently an expensive debacle involving live sheep loose in the palace.
- In Amara's first season, as Piama and Lyris coach the heroine in the proper formalities for the tournament, Lyris proposes teaching her "the important banquet grape-throwing rules," only for Piama to shoot down the idea, citing some past incident which is left to the imagination.
- Off with His Head!: In the backstory, the house of Winter was blamed for the attack on the Queens, and the Winter Prince punished with decapitation. In Sevastian's season 2 finale, he is exposed as the Silver Dagger and sentenced to death by decapitation; the final CG of the season depicts him kneeling as Pax prepares to deliver the killing blow with a massive sword.
- Once Upon a Time: The prologue starts with this phrase, adding to the storybook feel.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: In Amara's first episode, if offering to get her a drink:Heroine: Can I get you a glass of the village's best ale?
Amara: What makes it the best?
Heroine: It's the village's only ale. So... default.
- A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: Sevastian is known for throwing wild parties, where it's not uncommon to find people getting physical with each other in plain view.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: While Piama and the heroine have a rocky start, they do grow to care for each other. Unfortunately deconstructed at the end of Piama's third season, after the two find out their marriage was arranged as part of a political scheme to cover a dark family secret. While they recognize their genuine feelings for each other, Piama isn't comfortable having a marriage built on lies and violence, so she and the heroine have it annulled.
- Playing Drunk: In Sevastian's episode 2 heart scene, the heroine plays cards with him, and is on the verge of winning when Lyris sprawls over the table and ruins the game. He appears to be drunk, but upon looking into his eyes, the heroine realizes that he's sober.
- Precision F-Strike: The series mostly uses its own invented curses, such as "slush and frostbite," but an especially fraught moment in Sevastian's fourth season has him throwing down an s-bomb to make it extra clear how serious matters are.
- Public Execution: In Sevastian's route. At the end of season 2, he is exposed as the Silver Dagger and sentenced to public execution by decapitation.
- Restraining Bolt: Some prisoners have magical marks placed on them to prevent them from leaving the city. If they wander too far, the mark will painfully burn them until they die or return to city limits. Attempts to cut away at the mark with a blade will destroy the blade.
- RevengeSVP: In Lyris' route, the Fae Queen is offended over not being invited to the royal coronation and sends a fetch to stir up trouble.
- Rightful King Returns: In the first season of each route, it's revealed that the heroine is the descendant of the Last Queens and the rightful heir to the throne of Lysende. The plot then turns, entirely or in part, to the process of getting the heir onto the throne against resistance from various factions who stand to lose power as a result.
- Royalty Super Power: Those of the royal bloodline are the only ones who can safely eat the Red Queen fruit — to everyone else, it is fatally poisonous. Consequentially the fruit is used to test if someone is of Royal Blood.
- Ruling Family Massacre: In the backstory, this was attempted by the attackers, who tried to kill the Queens and Princess.
- Sarcastic Clapping: Sevastian interrupts the squabbling at a council meeting in his third season with slow, mocking applause before verbally tearing into them for their hypocrisy.
- Save the Villain: In Lyris' second season, during the heroine's fight with Hortensia, the latter almost falls through a window, but the heroine catches her by the jacket. However, Hortensia knocks her hands off and falls anyway.
- Scarpia Ultimatum: In Lyris' route, Hortensia threatens to reveal the heroine's royal identity unless Lyris marries her.
- Serious Business: In Lyris' third season, he is offended at the notion that he would perform juggling for a crowd, seeing it as an affront to his image.
- Sick Captive Scam: In Lyris season 3, a guard is convinced to bring a brazier closer to a cell to keep the heroine from falling ill of cold. Said captive takes the chance to drop Lyris' feather in the fire to try and signal him.
- Significant Birth Date: The love interests' birth signs reflect things about their characters. Amara (the Wanderer) has been going aimlessly through life. Sevastian (the Betrayer) is weighed upon by the supposed betrayal of his ancestor. Xenia (the Seeker) is a spymaster. Lyris (the Martyr) has a tendency for self-sacrifice.
- Slouch of Villainy: In Lyris' second season, he and the heroine enter the throne room to find Hortensia casually lounging on the throne, legs "carelessly thrown over it." And as they soon discover, this is after she sold out the fleeing council members to the Oscen invaders to avoid imprisonment.
- Something Only They Would Say: In Sevastian's route, he and the heroine soon develop an in-joke of sorts — the retort "just a hair." In his third season, he approaches the heroine in disguise and indicates his identity through the use of this phrase.
- Spiteful Spit: Early in Sevastian's third season, when Lord Ubel demands that he and the heroine accept his help, Sevastian spits in his father's face. The heroine can compliment him on his technique.
- Spotting the Thread: In Lyris season 3, the heroine realizes she's looking at an imposter when she notices "Lyris's" eye colors are swapped.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Sevastian often pulls a disappearing act on the heroine when she turns his back to him.
- Storybook Opening: A promotional video released in advance of the game presents the game's prologue in the form of a storybook.
- Story Branch Favoritism: Some scenes in Sevastian's first season assume that the player has chosen certain heart options. A scene in episode 3 (the heroine finds a playing card in her room left there by Sevastian) assumes the episode 2 heart option (playing cards) was taken, the card-playing scene in episode 7 echoes the episode 2 card-playing heart scene, the episode 7 heart scene (cooking with Sevastian) references the events of the episode 3 heart scene (spending time with Sevastian in the Winter Quarter), and episode 11 references the episode 3 heart scene when the heroine reflects on what she's seen of Sevastian's character.
- Strip Poker: In a premium scene in Sevastian's second season, he and he heroine play a game of strip poker. Both of them lose a lot of clothing by the time the game is over.
- Taken for Granite: The Last Queen is in a magical stasis which has her turned into a marble statue.
- Technicolor Eyes: Many characters have impossible eye colors such as gold or orange. Eye colors such as gray and green also occur with higher frequency and in more shades than in real life.
- Thieves' Guild: Sevastian's third season references the existence of guilds for thieves and highwaymen, with their own strictly-enforced codes of conduct. Khath is a member of such a guild.
- Tunnel Network: There's a secret network of tunnels throughout the palace. It's useful for moving around or getting in and out of the palace covertly, or for spying on people. It's also the only way to get to certain places, such as the resting place of the Last Queen, or a secret cove.
- Wall Pin of Love:
- In her first season, Xenia backs the heroine against a wall, boxing her in with three arms. They are being spied on by Danilo in this moment, and Xenia wants to him to think that they're having some sort of tryst.
- An intimidation version is done in Lyris season 1 as Hortensia obliquely reveals her knowledge of Lyris and the heroine's hookup, backing the heroine up against a wall and placing a hand next to her head for emphasis.
- "Wanted!" Poster: There are posters of the Silver Dagger stating that he's wanted dead or alive and listing a reward.
- We Need a Distraction: In Sevastian's third season, he and the heroine need to get past some guards, so Piama creates a distraction — she screams to draw them away and claims to have been threatened by the Silver Dagger, pointing them in the direction he supposedly went. One guard goes off in that direction; when the remaining one is about to go back to their post, Lyris gets in on the act too, and the two plead with the guard to stay with them and keep them safe, while the heroine and Sevastian take the opportunity to sneak past.
- Zip Me Up:
- In Amara's episode 2 heart scene, the heroine puts on some new clothes to go out exploring the city, but needs a hand doing up the clasps on the back. Halfway through season 3, the heroine asks her to help her dress down for bed, but they barely get anywhere before the moment is killed by a guard knocking on the door to deliver some urgent news.
- In Xenia's episode 3 of her first season she helps the heroine with a zipper on the back of her dress.