Times have been tough for Frederic ever since his father, Rael Bladeoath, was executed for alleged treason against the King. Frederic believes that his father must have been framed, but before he can find out the truth, he's ambushed and critically injured by Temonz, a member of a rival family. With his right arm torn off and bleeding to death, it looks like the end for Frederic...
...Except not, as he's approached by the demon Krotus and accepts his offer to be resurrected as a powerful lich in exchange for his Undying Loyalty to Krotus. After demonstrating to Temonz that he's no weakling anymore, he begins settling into his new unlife as Frederone, happily using his talents and newfound powers to further Krotus's goal of conquering the warring Northel and Southea lands.
All is not well for our Villain Protagonist, however, as aside from the obvious problem of being reviled by the human race he used to belong to, he also has to deal with the terminal illness of his childhood friend Rosetta who he still loves, the presence of Marliene if he fails to save Rosetta, and the scheming of various other servants to dispose of him and/or Krotus. And perhaps in the end, his own lingering conscience.
Will Frederone remain content in his undead life as Krotus's loyal servant, or will he decide to turn on Krotus out of ambition or guilt? Will he find love along the way, or will he decide that it's better to remain alone? And will he ever learn the truth behind his father's execution?
The official website for Winter Shard is here.
This game contains the following tropes:
- A God Am I: Frederone becomes this in the game's darkest route, with a cult worshipping him and performing human sacrifices in his name.
- Affably Evil: Krotus might be an undead conqueror, but his official goal is to end the long war between Northel and Southea and he treats Frederone better than most people ever did during his lifetime. The True ending even has him congratulate Frederone after he defeats him and give him one last smile before dying.
- An Arm and a Leg: Frederone gets a new right arm capable of tearing through flesh from Krotus to replace his lost one.
- Anti-Villain: Frederone, in some endings.
- Asshole Victim: Temonz is killed by the newly Frederic-turned-Frederone near the beginning of the game, but considering that he was the one who brutally mocked Frederic, tore off his right arm and left him for dead, you probably won't feel too sorry for him.
- Bastard Understudy: Frederone can choose to become this to Krotus.
- Bittersweet Ending: The True ending.
- Butt-Monkey: Frederic, before he's resurrected as Frederone.
- Came Back Wrong: This appears to occur with Rosetta if Frederone decides to resurrect her, but it turns out that it's simply Rosetta trying to make Frederone hate her before she commits suicide in accordance with her religious beliefs.
- Cessation of Existence: It's established that there's no afterlife for the undead. This becomes especially poignant in the True ending.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Frederone reunites with his childhood love Rosetta partway into the game. Of course, his new identity as the Frozen Lich, not to mention her terminal illness, complicates things between them.
- Dark Messiah: Krotus claims to only want to end the perpetual war between Northel and Southea by conquering one or both of them. Word of God reveals that this actually is probably true, as he was summoned by Frederone's father with the express purpose of giving both sides of the war a common enemy to unite against.
- Deal with the Devil: Although Frederone doesn't seem to regret it in the least.
- Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Marliene was literally created for this purpose, but Frederone can subvert it by refusing to accept her.
- Driven to Suicide: Rosetta will commit suicide some time after her resurrection if Frederone isn't there to prevent it. Marliene will also kill herself if Frederone coldly rebukes her advances.
- Evil Feels Good: Frederone pretty much becomes drunk on the Dark Side after his resurrection.
- The Evil Genius: Frederone's able to create the Nigh-Invulnerable dreadnaughts with his anatomy skills acquired from his past work in an apothecary.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: Krotus and Frederone are constantly associated with coldness, whereas Frederone's love interests Rosetta and Marliene are associated with warmth.
- Evil Overlord: Krotus, and Frederone in some endings.
- Eye Scream: Frederone completes his Humiliation Conga of Temonz by impaling his newly bony fingers with the eyes of his slain henchmen. Fortunately, we don't get to see an image of that ourselves.
- First Episode Resurrection
- Flower Motifs: Rosetta's association with roses is the most obvious, but Word of God says that the hair colors of Rosetta, Marliene and Metheus were based on the rose-related meanings for them: Rosetta's pink represents grace, Marliene's red love, and Metheus's yellow friendship.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Metheus gets himself killed while protecting Frederone from his new master, but Frederone is able to resurrect him afterwards. A more final one occurs in the True ending with Marliene, Metheus, and Frederone himself.
- 100% Completion: Getting all of the game's endings unlocks the Staff Room, which provides more backstory to the game and explanations for several questions left unanswered by the game.
- Ill Girl: Rosetta.
- Literally Shattered Lives: In the True ending, this happens to Frederone after he kills Krotus and his entire body starts crystallizing and breaking apart, complete with a Title Drop.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Krotus turns out to be Frederic's father.
- Morality Pet: Marliene becomes this to Frederone in the King and Queen ending, with Frederone ruling his portion of the world with an iron fist but not conquering the rest of the world like he does in the other dark endings because of Marliene's presence. Metheus also fulfills this role to an extent in the main game.
- Multiple Endings: Eight of them, mainly determined by whether Federone acts more like a villain or an Anti-Villain throughout the game and his actions with Rosetta and Marliene.
- No Canon for the Wicked: Getting the True ending requires Frederone to act as much like an Anti-Villain as possible.
- Non Standard Game Over: One of the game's eight endings feels more like this, as it comes from picking wrong on the very first choice of the game and results in an unglorious death for Frederone.
- Our Liches Are Different
- Pet the Dog: Frederone might be a dark lich, but he still genuinely cares about Rosetta and Metheus and he'll Pet The Dog even more regularly if you pick the more morally "light" choices for him.
- The Promise: Rosetta makes Frederone promise not to resurrect her after she dies. Frederone can choose to keep or break his promise, and his choice has a significant impact on the plot.
- Red Right Hand: Frederone's new right hand leeches the warmth out of any living (and undead) being it touches.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Temonz, which makes him ripe material for an Asshole Victim.
- Shout-Out: While Word of God says that any Star Wars parallels between Palpatine and Darth Vader and Krotus and Frederone were purely coincidental, the resemblance of the rose monster Frederone uses to keep Rosetta alive to the one in Castlevania was intentional.
- The Starscream: Several of Krotus's undead minions actively plot against him throughout the game, Jubeist being the most notable of them.
- Take Over the World: It's subverted in some endings, though.
- That Man Is Dead: A rare positive-ish example with Rosetta in the Eternal Bride ending; Frederone convinces her that even though the old Rosetta wouldn't have wanted to disown her god by becoming an undead creature, the new Rosetta is free to accept her new chance at life and her love for the undead Frederone.
- Undeath Always Ends: Averted in some endings, but played straight in others.
- Undying Loyalty: The Eternal Servitude ending. Also, Metheus to Frederone, and similarly Marliene to Frederone if he chooses to accept her.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Want to make Frederone as evil as possible, to the point of usurping Krotus as the new Evil Overlord? Go wild!
- Villain Protagonist: Frederone. Just how much of one he is depends on the choices the player makes.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: One ending reveals that Frederic felt insecure about lacking the fighting talent of his renowned father.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Word of God reveals that Frederone's father was this, and Krotus by extension.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Frederic's first act after being resurrected and gifted with a Red Right Hand by Krotus is to enact an extremely bloody revenge on the people who killed him and left him for dead.