This campaign is loosely based on the Fate series. For those not familiar with the Holy Grail Wars, a glossary of concepts can be found below.
The Holy Grail War (聖杯戦争, Seihai Sensō?) is a competition that decides the ownership of the Holy Grail through intense battle royale. While there have been many conflicts over supposed Holy Grails in the past, this term refers to those specifically based around Masters, usually proficient magi, summoning Servants, Heroic Spirits brought forth as familiars, and meeting in battle until only one pair is left to claim the Holy Grail.
The Holy Grail (聖杯, Seihai?) is the Christian holy relic that received the blood of Christ, considered to be a Noble Phantasm.1 There have been many claims of its existence, 726 of which were investigated by the Church, and many conflicts for such artifacts have happened around the world throughout history. The name is utilized in the various Holy Grail Wars as the name of an artifact purportedly capable granting any wish to whomever comes to claim it rather than the real artifact, though the Church often gets involved simply because of that reason. Its advent is the ultimate goal of the various Holy Grail Wars.
Noble Phantasms ( 宝具ノウブル・ファンタズム , HōguNouburu Fantazumu ?, Precious Tools) are “crystallized mysteries”, powerful armaments made using the imagination of humans as their core, and weapons or abilities owned by Heroic Spirits. They are the embodiment of the ultimate mysteries of a hero that symbolizes one’s existence through historical facts and anecdotes. They can be physical weapons, such as swords, lances, and bows, or support items, such as rings and crowns.1 They can also be abstract concepts, like unique abilities, unique means of attacks, curses, and changes to the environment and its physical properties. When summoned as Servants in the Holy Grail War, they are the trump cards of the heroes that allow them to overcome others in battle.
Master (マスター, Masutā?) is a designation given to an individual, usually a magus, who has become one of the formal participants of the Holy Grail War by obtaining Command Spells and forming a contract with a Servant.
The Command Spells (令呪, Reiju?, also romanized as “Command Seals”) are three claims of absolute obedience, the crystallization of a great magic, that a Master has over a Servant in the Holy Grail War system. Unable to normally be controlled by humans, they are burdened by the “absolute condition for materialization”, the authority of the Command Spell carved into them at the moment of summoning. They are holy marks signifying a magi’s status as a Master, a system that was created by Zouken Makiri after the failure of the First Holy Grail War.
The term Three Founding Families (始まりの御三家, Hajimari no Gosanke?) refers to the three families who created a Holy Grail War system. The creators of the Fuyuki Holy Grail War are:
Magus (魔術師, Majutsushi?, plural Magi) is the term for a human practitioner of Magecraft, the magical science, as opposed to a Magician, who is capable of bringing forth true miracles that are impossible to be reenacted at the current scientific stage. In ancient times, the term magus was used for both the users of Thaumaturgy and Magic, but with the advancement of science that made past miracles possible and the decline of the overall power of Magecraft, the differences between the two became clearer. At the modern age, there are only five Magicians left. A wizard, just like a magus, has a long life. If one uses life-prolonging magic, it wouldn’t be impossible to live a few hundred, a few thousand years either.
Magi frequently, but not necessarily, descend from old magical families, as affinity to magecraft is something transmitted through blood relations.1
More than just a name, the term “Magus” defines a whole set of beliefs and lifestyle, the first of which is the desire to reach the “truth”. A magus dedicates himself to the study and refinement of Thaumaturgy while driving himself apart of the values of common people in the process. He searches for the greater truths of the universe not to answer existential questions, but just for the sake of knowing. Ideally, a magus would render his own self transparent while still retaining his ego. In reality however, most magi, especially those of the Mage’s Association, are often caught up on petty power struggles.
Servants (サーヴァント, Sāvanto?) are Heroic Spirits and Divine Spirits summoned by the Holy Grail for the purpose of competing under Masters in the Holy Grail War.1
Heroic Spirits (英霊, Eirei?, localized as “Legendary Souls”) are spirits of heroes who achieved great deeds in life, having become objects of worship after their deaths.1
Heroic Spirits are beings of a higher existence, becoming categorically closer to Elementals than wraiths. Differing from how Elementals are “power” granted form using human imagination as a container, they are entirely woven from the ideals of people all throughout.1 They are freed from the constraints of time itself and removed from the ring of reincarnation, moved to the Throne of Heroes (英霊の座, Eirei no Za?), a place existing outside of both the World and the time axis.2 The Throne of Heroes is also occasionally referred to as the Ring of Deterrence (抑止の輪, Yokushi no Wa?), referring to how it is mainly used by the Counter Force. Those that become closer to the planet do not mix well with people, so they fall into the categories of Divine Spirits and Elementals.3
They can be classified into five primary categories, referred to as Hidden Attributes (隠し属性, Kakushi Zokusei?), when summoned as Servants.
Heaven (天, Ten?) – Heroes who are related to the gods, whether they are Divine Spirits ranked down to becoming Heroic Spirits, children of gods, or incarnations of legends about gods.
Earth (地, Chi?) – Heroes who are known as the heroes of the land, known through mythologies and legends of a particular region. Fairies and Magical Beasts are included in this category.
Human (人, Jin?) – Heroes belonging to this category are those recognized through common knowledge as great people who contributed to humanity and were regarded as heroes for their actions since the start of the Common Era. They are generally heroes who were deified by the masses after death, but there are those who were truly superhuman in life.
Star (星, Sei?) – Heroes of this category, belonging to none of the previous three, are the “hope of mankind” and a “symbol of overcoming hardships.” Although close in nature to the Pioneer of the Stars Skill that is given to heroes who became “turning points” in human history, it is an attribute fundamentally given to those that have left behind a great hope in the history of humanity. Simply achieving such exploits is not enough as they also have to be a “shining bright star” among the figures of mankind. It is an omnipotent attribute that possesses no minus towards any other categories.
Beast (獣, Jū?) – Rivaling the seemingly all-powerful Star, they are the Evils of Man that represents the Seven Sins of Humanity, beings that encompasses all of humanity.5