This is a dissection of the Functional Magic tropes used within the Nasuverse as well as a guide to all the terminologies and rules involved.
The Nasuverse is an example of one of the most extensive and liberal use of Magibabble by any fictional work. You have been warned.
Magecraft, also known as Thaumaturgy, is the Functional Magic within the Nasuverse, which covers several fundamental theories and concepts. The most basic theory behind it is a "reenactment" of the supernatural, or miracles.
In order for general magecraft to work, the magus has to utilise a magic system engraved into the world by practitioners of a school of magecraft. Schools of magecraft are discrete disciplines or styles of magecraft. Alchemy, Onmyoudou and Kabbalah are examples of schools of magecraft.
Fundamentally speaking, the magic system of a school of magecraft is a set of common rules copied from the Akashic Records. It is a sort of universal manual on something that is already there, unlike True Magic, which exists outside of the boundaries of the world. The magic system provides the framework for the school's magecraft to actualize. It is engraved into the world through a magic foundation, which is essentially a Greater Ritual managed by the respective school.
The magic system contains all of the school's magic formulae, which are the functions of the spells falling under the school's domain. Prana is channelled through the Magic Circuits of the spellcaster to the school's system and activates the specific magic formula inside, actualizing a mystery. This is the basic sequence of spellcasting.
Belief that the foundation 'exists' significantly affects the strength of the school's magecraft. If there is a general belief in the magic foundation, the World will permit its existence. In places where the school is not well-known, the power of its magecraft may deteriorate greatly. Thus, the teachings of the Church has one of the strongest magic systems, having been disseminated virtually everywhere. Personal brands of magecraft like the Emiya clan's Time Manipulation are different from the established magic systems of academia and religion and have the same level of robustness wherever the user goes.
Equivalent Exchange: Word-for-word, a fundamental theory of magecraft. To be able to cast a spell, or to create something, you must sacrifice something in return. True creation is the domain of the First Magic.
Prana: The basic magic force required to cast spells. Divided into two: mana, the energy in the surroundings, created by the world, and odic force, which is produced by living beings. There is no academic difference between the two except the available quantity.
Practically speaking, however, they have different properties. Od is easier for the body to process than mana but is lower in quantity, so magi normally use od to jump-start processes while mana is utilized more like a fuel.
Prana is a colorless force, which means it can be tainted by elemental alignments.
Magic Circuits: A very important factor in magecraft. It is one of the main reasons why muggles cannot perform magecraft, although some muggles may have a few latent circuits unknown to them. Magic Circuits can be thought to be a secondary nervous system akin to an electrical circuit although technically, it exists in the person's soul rather than his or her body. By infusing prana into the circuits, it allows power to flow freely and magecraft to occur.
Generally, the more circuits you have, the more energy you can channel, but there are also other factors to consider such as the quality of the circuits or the skill of the magus in channeling energy. Just like ordinary body organs, magic circuits as well as their quality are fixed from birth, although there are various, highly risky means of artifically implanting more.
It is one of the most important mark of a magus and inheritors of the family Crest are considered the successors of their family's lineage. Older crests, with the accumulated magecraft of generations of magi, have substantial utility and prestige value. However, since there can only be one in a family, bitter familial infightingand feuds often erupt over who should inherit it. The Edelfelt clan is a special case in that the family's Sorcery Trait allows them to pass on their Magic Crest to two descendants.
Generally, spells require a Magical Incantation (or aria) to be used. Magical Gestures are considered incantations as well. In the context of the theory of magic, the incantation is simply one of the steps in the sequence of spellcasting. At a personal level, however, the incantation also plays an important role of self-hypnosis, which enables better use of the magus's circuits.
Incantations are flexible constructions. It is normal for schools and individual magi to use different arrangements for the same spell to suit their style and needs. While there are general rules to be kept in an incantation such as a particular meaning or keyword, as long as these are followed, altering the finer details is a valid and useful practice.
Regular incantations are chanted to oneself, so personal variations can be said to reflect the nature of the user. Magi with big egos often employ long-winded incantations. However, changing the wording by itself is useless; it is the weight of meaning towards the spellcaster that matters. The greater the meaning of the incantation to the user, the better the self-hypnosis and the greater the effect of the spell.
The general length of a spell's incantation is dependent on the complexity of the magic formula. Incantation time is measured in steps and bars. Speech and utterances are measured in bars. Non-verbal actions are measured in steps. A bar is one second long, regardless of how fast the magus recites it. Steps take less than one second. The fastest spells are single-action, taking one step to cast. Beyond ten bars, the spell is complex enough to be considered a simple ritual.
Skilled magi may employ high-speed aria to reduce the amount of bars and steps in their incantations. Individuals from the Age of Gods like Medea are on another level entirely and can cast large, complex spells nearly instantly due to their ability to use Divine Words, which does not make use of Magic Circuits. Spellcasting using Divine Words skip the lengthy spellcasting sequence of modern thaumaturgy altogether, actualizing the spell with a direct order simply through the power of words.
There are three forms; the first is a regular elemental alignment - water, earth, fire, air, sky/ether; or water, ground, fire, wood, metal. These are called the five great elements. There are also other more obscure elements outside of the five great ones, such as imaginary elements like demons and imaginary numbers.
Ether is rather unique - it is formless and colorless, but without it, magecraft itself wouldn't work, since it's the medium through which magecraft is performed (like the theory on how light travels through a medium called ether). It is thought that only divine beings can make full use of it, as well as humans during the Age of the Gods.
Usually, a magus will have one elemental alignment but it's also possible to have more than one, or a compound alignment. An alignment in all five great elements is very rare. Magi with such an alignment are called Average Ones and are valued by the Magic Association. A magus can only use elemental spells that he or she has the same elemental alignment with. Elemental alignment is determined from birth and artificially altering it is a highly dangerous and painful process.
The second form is affinity to magic attributes. Attributes are akin to spell effects. Reinforcement, flow and transfer, conversion and almighty are examples of attributes. Attributes increase the versatility of spells by imbuing meaning into them. To give a few very simple examples, adding the attribute of reinforcement to a fire spell may make it burn hotter while adding it to a water spell may increase flow momentum.
A magus's attribute affinity is generally determined by the type of research that his or her family has been conducting and as well as the kind of mysteries engraved in the family's Magic Crest. Unlike elemental alignment, a first-rate magus will usually have multiple attributes that he is good with. Also, a magus may perform spells that he does not have an attribute affinity in.
The third form is Sorcery Traits. Sorcery Traits are more like inherent special abilities than elemental powers. They are usually clan- or family-based although individual Sorcery Traits like Mystic Eyes also exist. They can be very powerful and are considered to have the same or even higher importance compared to the family's Magic Crest. Examples of Sorcery Traits include the Einzbern family's trait of Wish-Granting, which allows them to cast spells without requisite knowledge of the spell itself and the Fraga clan's trait of Gods Holder, which allows them to produce and wield the Noble Phantasm Fragarach.
Older Is Better; Super Prototype - The Nasuverse generally makes use of these ideas — older objects have more acquired history within them and thus are more powerful, and the original is always more powerful than the copies. The prototype aspect was Touko Aozaki's theory on how to reach the Origin - by producing the original template for human beings, she would be able to discover the Origin.
Forms of Magecraft:
"Noble Colors" or "Mystic Eyes": They are special eyes that one is born with, allowing them to affect the world around them. More akin to psychic abilities than actual magecraft. Mystic Eyes are something that one is born with, but there are some forms which can be acquired artificially. Within the current Mythos, they are several users of "Mystic Eyes" with various abilities, from charm (the standard), to immolation, to petrification.
Shiki Ryougi from Kara no Kyoukai possesses the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, the most powerful (and rarest) of them. This ability allows her to "see the concept of existence" of everything, which manifests as lines or dots. Cutting these lines/dots will allow her to instantly bring their lifespan to an end. The source of her power is being in contact with the Akashic Records after her near-death experience. She doesn't experience the same limitations as Shiki Tohno as she has the Akashic Records (the void) itself as her third personality, which extends her power to the logical conclusion — she can reshape reality itself by cutting through the lines.
Shiki Tohno of Tsukihime has the similar power as Ryougi, through it is in a limited state. This is due to his mind which does the processing of the lines. The headaches and some of the other health issues he has are a symptom of this, since the human mind is not tailored to understand the concept of the death of things. If the owner does not understand the concept of the existence of what he's trying to kill, he will not be able to see its existence. And unlike Ryougi, it is a constantly growing ability. He can't shut it down and it will eventually lead to his insanity and death. His glasses are a seal that slows this down.
Arcueid Brunestud of Tsukihime possesses a different power through her Mystic Eyes as do pretty much all high-level vampire. Hers is more based around mental manipulation and deceit, presumably to make feeding easier. Unfortunately, when they impact the wrong people for the wrong reasons, it can go... badly. The use of Arcueid's Mystic Eyes on Shiki, for example, almost ends up with her getting raped due to the growing feelings of the two involved, as well as a very primal thought process at the time for Arcueid.
Also from Kara no Kyoukai is Asagami Fujino, who has a very specific form of Telekinesis that is activated through her eyes. Specific being that she can move things clockwise and counterclockwise — doing both at the same time allows her to bend objects.
The epilogue of Kara no Kyoukai, Mirai Fukuin ("Future Gospel"), introduces several different ways of seeing the future - while the villain could 'calculate' an absolute end result (which is how he is defeated - as the future is so solidified and "true" that Shiki could see and kill it), Akira Seo could occasionally catch a glimpse of 'fate'. The Mystic Eyes of Death Perception were also described as a form of seeing the future, as it can see 'the end of things'.
Also, the Shiki imposter from "Mystic Eyes Alliance" in Tsukihime Plus Disc has eyes that can see the past. Eventually, it sent him insane and he turned into a murderer.
Rider from Fate/stay night has the ability to petrify anyone (whose magical defence is below a certain level) in her line of sight but she has to wear a seal (a visor or glasses, depending on the moment), being unable to deactivate her mystic eyes (the seal is similar to Shiki's glasses). Those with a magical resistance of A and above are immune to the petrification, but they are affected by a "pressure" that decreases all their stats by one rank.
Ilya from Fate/stay night also has a form of mystic eyes, which she can use to hypnotize others or transfer information to someone else.
Meanwhile, Emiya Kiritsugu from Fate/Zero has an (unnamed) form of hypnosis that relies on eye contact. Crucial in keeping people out of the scene while he's attempting an assassination of Kayneth El-Melloi.
Ciel from Tsukihime can do something similar. She uses it to implant memories in people so that they think they already know her.
There are a number of other types of mystic eyes that are briefly mentioned in supplementary materials but not seen, such as Illusion, Flame, Contract, Compulsion, and Jinx. Brunestud of the Crimson Moon is mentioned as having mystic eyes that can "crush reality," and the Celtic god Balor had eyes that were a precursor to the mystic eyes of death perception, and could kill anyone just by looking at them.
Formalcraft: The ability to infuse elemental alignments into objects, or "elemental conversion".
Alchemy: Practiced by the Einzberns and the mages of Atlas. Alchemy deals with the conversion of matter into other forms, but the Atlas mages are researching into the conversion of phenomena.
Summon Magic: There's a form called "summoning" and "spiritual evocation" which are apparently two different things. The theurgy used in the Holy Grail War is on a completely different level, which already makes use of the Third Magic.
Items, artifacts, etc:
Magic Wand: Mystic Codes. It is something used to augment one's magic or support it. They are either a prana supplement or something that will enhance the effectiveness of one's spells.
Conceptual Weapons: They are weapons which aren't limited to physical damage, but also allows the "overwriting of concepts". For example, with a Conceptual Weapon with the property of "unaging", you can overwrite the concept of "limited existence".
Familiars: They are creatures which are miniature copies of a magus (usually hewn out of a corpse and a piece of a soul). They are attuned to the thoughts of the master, which allows orders to be transmitted to them. The perfect familiar is said to be one that will follow the master's orders without question. They also have No Ontological Inertia when the master dies.
Puppets: Touko Aozaki's specialty. Her theory on reaching the Origin was replicating the original template of the human body through puppets. Her masterpiece seems to be a perfect copy of herself which activates once she dies.
Heroic Spirits: The class in which Servants fall under. They are on a different level from familiars. They are essentially heroes who died and ascended to the Throne of Heroes by accomplishing great deeds in life.
Counter Guardians: A specific form of Heroic Spirit which is used by the world to exterminate factors which threaten the ruin of either itself (Gaia's counter force) or of humanity (Alaya's counter force). The latter is a mindless force commanded by the planet to exterminate anything and anyone that is perceived by as a threat to humans. As humans are known to tend towards self-destruction, these factors are usually humans themselves.
Spirits and Ghosts: There are different levels and ranks of spirits. The most common ones are apparitions, which are formless spirits left behind after death. Ghosts in the common sense are known as "wraiths". Then there are entities unrelated to humans, such as Nature Spirits, Animal Spirits, and Elementals. The highest rank of spirits are Divine Spirits, which are beings that are both desired by the world and worshiped by humans.
Mythical/Phantasm Beasts: Creatures which have existed in the mythical period. Naturally, they are one of the most powerful creatures, since they are "originals" which have existed in the time of gods.
Bounded Fields are a specific form of magecraft which expands over an area and effects those caught within it. Prana is spread over an area and separates the area inside the field from the outside.
By definition, there are two other forms of this — Marble Phantasms and Reality Marbles.
These terms come from a metaphor involving differently colored marbles. If one has a jar filled with 99 black marbles and one white marble, a Marble Phantasm is akin to the ability to always pick the white marble no matter what. A Reality Marble is, metaphorically speaking, the ability to turn all the black marbles white - an ability which is unnatural without interference.
Marble Phantasms are a form of bounded field which allows one to interfere with nature and achieve a result while still abiding by the laws of nature. Arcueid's Marble Phantasm allows her to do such a thing.
Reality Marbles are closer to True Magic than to magecraft, since it's the unnatural ability to overwrite reality itself with one's Mental World. Following the World Egg theory, it allows for the birth of a new world constructed from one's own mind by switching the world inside the egg with the world outside.
The World itself will attempt to crush Reality Marbles, since they are unnatural existences. A person needs an incredible amount of prana just to keep a Reality Marble materialized even for a few minutes.
The Holy Grail War's Mechanism
The Holy Grail of Fuyuki is divided into two mechanisms - the Greater Grail and the Lesser Grail. The Greater Grail is a magic circle located beneath Mount Enzou, consisting of a series of seals surrounding Justica von Einzbern, the core of the Holy Grail.
The Greater Grail is a gate to the Akashic Records. The mechanism of the Greater Grail picks seven Heroic Spirits and seven Masters who desire the Holy Grail (one from the three families, Makiri, Tohsaka and Einzbern, and possibly at least one from the Mage's Association).
Once the system has been set up, the Grail War begins. Usually, once a Heroic Spirit dies, they become a piece of energy which vanishes back into the void. The Lesser Grail is a mechanism which traps the soul temporarily and materializes it as energy through the Third Magic. Once all the Servants are collected, the gate to Akasha can be opened (although six Servants is enough energy to grant a wish).
Like many other works of fiction involving magic, the Nasuverse has several esoteric organizations. This section gives a general overview of some of the major organizations, as well as an explanation of their inner workings.
The Magic Association is an organization of Western magi and one of the largest magical factions in the Nasuverse, alongside the Holy Church. Its main objective is ensuring the continued existence of magecraft. The Association's activities are primarily concerned with the research and development of magecraft as well as limiting the knowledge of magecraft from the general populace, as it believes that normal human society would threaten the existence of magecraft. It is split into three branches, the Clock Tower, Atlas and the Sea of Estray.
Main branch and current headquarters of the Magic Association. The Clock Tower, despite what you may expect, is actually located in the British Museum and not in that famous clock tower in London, or any other clock towers for that matter.
The Clock Tower has a veneer of civilness, but in reality, it is a veritable monument to the human vices of greed, pride and lust for power. The staggering amount of power struggles, backroom dealings, politicking and other shady activities among the internal factions is considered perfectly normal. Elitism and discrimination are also extremely common. While the research there is leading edge, magi in the Clock Tower are constantly competing for power and budget, and the results they obtain are rarely shared among each other.
The academia section of the Clock Tower consists of various research facilities and Wizarding Schools. Other than academia, the Clock Tower also involves itself in policing magi, enforcing its own laws and regulations, and hunting down those who may reveal the secret of magecraft to society. It is also responsible for the administration of magical patents. The wealth of families of magi such as the Tohsakas and the Matous come from royalties derived from such patents.
At the top of the pecking order is the Director, who has been the same person for the last two millennia, as well as ancient, aristocratic families of magi who wield considerable political power within the Clock Tower, and who have been perpetually plotting against each other since the ages long past.
In order to become a member of the Clock Tower, one has to pass a series of tests on the subjects of magecraft. As one may have already guessed, however, it is possible to be admitted into the Clock Tower simply by having connections to influential figures within or if one comes from a highly-regarded family of magi, and one may even receive special treatment and benefits from such connections.
Atlas, or The Giant's Pit, is a highly secretive institution of alchemists located in the mountains of Egypt. Unlike traditional alchemists, who are concerned primarily with material subjects, the alchemists of Atlas are more interested in phenomena and the workings of the universe.
Members of Atlas utilize a method of predicting the future using the concept of Laplace's demon. Since its first director predicted the theoretical end of the world, the organization has focused its efforts on developing measures to avoid the supposed apocalypse.
While it is still considered a branch of the Magic Association, it behaves almost like a separate organization, with its own goals and relationships with other magical organizations. It is on bad terms with the other branches of the Magic Association because of its deviant practices and independence.
Sea of Estray
The Sea of Estray, also known as the The Wandering Tomb, is a group of minor European magical organizations. It, along with Atlas, made up the original Magic Association, and the founders of the Clock Tower were their exiles. Its base, nicknamed the Moving Stone Coffin, is a moving mountain range wandering the waters of Northern Europe, occasionally making stops on dry land.
The Sea of Estray is said to be researching body alterations, but not much else is known about it. Known organizations in the Sea of Estray include the Prague Association, an organization of traditional alchemists, Sponheim Abbey, a group with strong ties to the Clock Tower and the Thule Society, a society of rune magecraft researchers.
Sealing Designations and Enforcers
A sealing designation is a somewhat bizarre 'title of greatest honor' awarded by the Magic Association to magi of particular genius. Sealing designated magi are considered precious samples of special thaumaturgical quality, and the Association will expend considerable resources to 'preserve' them. What this usually means is surveillance and monitoring of the designated in the hopes of obtaining the fruits of their labor or in more severe cases, incarceration at the bottom of the Clock Tower as a specimen for study. Magi who are exceptionally gifted or threaten the secrecy of magecraft through excessive and unrestrained research are normally incarcerated.
Of course, any magus would strongly resist the Sealing Designation, so the Association sends highly-trained agents called Enforcers after the designated to capture them and retrieve their works. There are currently about 30 Enforcers working for the Association.
The Holy Church, or simply just the Church, is a powerful religious organization with influence rivaling that of the Magic Association in the Nasuverse. It is styled after the real-world Roman Catholic Church. While it considers magecraft to be heretical, it tolerates the Association for the most part and even cooperates if it is within their interests to do so, such as in the Holy Grail War.
Assembly of the Eighth Sacrament
The lowest of the Church's special agencies, the Assembly of the Eight Sacrament is a group of clerics in charge of managing holy relics around the world. The Eighth Sacrament is a grace outside of the original seven sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony, granting followers the permission to break the rules of Christianity, such as by employing the heretical arts of magecraft, in the name of achieving the goals of the Church.
While the Assembly knows that the Fuyuki Grail is not the real one and thus does not fall under its jurisdiction of holy relics, it still interferes in the war as the Grail, being an omnipotent wish-granting device, is an item of great power which may affect the existence of its faith.
Highly-trained agents who exist for the sole purpose of killing heretical beings, whether they be human or supernatural. They are the Church's equivalent of Enforcers in the Magic Association, but they differ in that the Executor's mission is to destroy heretics while the Enforcer's mission is to capture them. Executors follow the Eight Sacrament as well, which means that they are themselves heretics and are allowed to use magecraft.
A powerful and influential group of elite Executors. The Burial Agency goes beyond even the Eight Sacrament - anyone, whether they be outsiders, magi, disbelievers and whatnot, may join if they have the will to destroy heretics and the combat skill befitting the highest-ranked Executors. It is made up of six members plus the leader and a reserve.
The Akasha, or the Root, is the location of the Akashic Records, which serves as a repository of all information within existence. The Akashic Records are fundamentally the source of all magecraft within the Nasuverse and encompasses the following phenomena as well:
Magical Eye: The Mystic Eyes of Death Perception of Shiki Ryougi derives its power from knowing the perceived "death" of an object, manifesting itself in the form of lines and dots. By cutting through those lines and dots, Shiki can actualize the death of any object. Extending this, Shiki's third personality's connection to the Akashic Records allows her to actually reshape the world by cutting through its lines.
The Nothing After Death: Once a person dies, their soul is returned to the Origin to be recycled as "raw materials".
Genetic Memory: The Origin is a "chaotic impulse" which drives the force of one's existence, nothing more than the basest instinct of a living being. This chaotic impulse accumulates through several reincarnations, existing as an instinct inherent to the person's soul, but it's not necessarily something to be followed.
By being awakened to one's Origin, the person becomes overtaken by this chaotic impulse, causing the person to constantly follow this Origin. This also causes the person to gain powers close to their own Origin. Lio Shirazumi of Kara no Kyoukai is an example of this — after being awakened to his Origin of "consumption", he gains a weak Healing Factor and gives him skills that only a predator can have.
Gaia's Vengeance, Sentient Cosmic Force: The Counter Force. Of course, something as powerful as the Akashic Records needs something to protect it. This also encompasses the Throne of Heroes where all legendary heroes are stored once they die in order for them to return when humanity needs them. The Counter Force swings in alignment to two forces: "Gaia", the will of the planet, and "Alaya", the collective will of humanity. If either one is threatened, the Counter Force will attempt to destroy anything which does not conform to this.
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: A person can make a contract with The World to become a Counter Guardian, essentially allowing one to ascend to the Throne of Heroes in order to be able to protect humanity. This isn't as pretty as it sounds, as evidenced by Archer and Saber in Fate/stay night, since this involves being called into all instances where humanity and/or the world is close to destruction, and essentially destroying all forces involved with the destruction, including humans themselves.
The Akashic Records itself is a MacGuffin for all magi. It is the goal which all magi seek. Some have actually reached and even touched it, but are overtaken by the void itself and absorbed into it. There are various ways of reaching the Origin; most of them involving the concept of Aristotle's hierarchy of things, being that a person can reach the "entelechy (end goal)" by moving higher up the hierarchy.
It is said that one can acquire the ability to use True Magic by reaching Akasha. However, even if the same route or theory and the same method were used to arrive at the Root, one has to be the "richest" in order to to receive Magic. The first person who uncovers a route usually becomes the only one to gain True Magic from it. A route once used becomes closed, or the unknown once known becomes established. In other words, the less mysterious a route to Akasha becomes, the more it becomes unusable. While this makes the use of True Magic rather exclusive, it is possible to pass down the ability to use True Magic to a descendant; in a manner of speaking, the inheritance would be the route itself.
In the Age of Gods, True Magic was commonplace. However, as the ancient magi researched and inquired further, more and more paths to Akasha became closed off, resulting in the eventual decline of True Magic. In the modern day, there are only five remaining users of True Magic.
The Nasuverse differentiates between the regular magecraft and "true" Magic or Sorcery. The former is what is essentially producing miracles which can be achieved through natural processes - bending the rules of the world in order to achieve results which are normally possible. True Magic is close to warping reality itself, allowing a person to achieve the impossible. As science advances, more and more miracles are possible without resorting to magecraft, which essentially destroys much of the capabilities of magecraft. True Magic on the other hand, encompasses the impossible; knowledge of true magic will theoretically allow impossibilities such as resurrection (the third and fifth magic), time travel (the fifth magic), creation (the first magic), etc.
Only five forms of the True Magic currently exist. According to the (user of the) First Magic, there are five forms of True Magic today because there are five tasks left for humanity to accomplish. True Magic in the Nasuverse encompasses the following:
The First Magic - <Uncertain, said to be related to "Denial of Nothingness">: This seemingly means the creation of objects from nothing. The user of the First Magic is long dead, so there is little to be said. However, the heir apparent of the First Magic user is still alive somewhere, so in the eyes of the Magic Association, the First Magic has not yet disappeared from the world.
The Third Magic - Materialization of the Soul: The Third Magic is the one we know most about, as we see it in action in Fate/stay night, specifically in Heaven's Feel. The Holy Grail itself uses parts of the Third Magic in order to operate.
The Third Magic encompasses the ability to prevent souls from dispersing once a person dies. Although incomplete, the Holy Grail uses this system in order to materialize Servants during the Grail War. The core of the Grail uses the "Dress of Heaven" to achieve materialization of the soul even if it's only for several seconds, while a "container" prevents the Servant from returning to the Throne of Heroes, pooling the energy of six Servants until the Grail can use the pooled energy to grant a wish. Upon the entry of the seventh Servant, there will be enough energy to open the gate to Akasha. This was Einzbern's theory on how to reach Akasha.
Note the resemblance of the Third Magic's theory to alchemical concepts. The Einzberns themselves are alchemists, which explains why they use homunculi to reach the Root.
The Fourth Magic - <Uncertain, no information about it exists>: Details about the Fourth Magic are almost completely unknown except that there is "certainly" an existent user of it. It appears to have hidden itself.
The Fifth Magic - <Uncertain, possibly related to time>: Aoko Aozaki is the only known user of the Fifth Magic. Details are sparse, but it is said to be able to perform Time Travel.
In addition, there exists magecraft and other properties which come close to True Magic, but aren't, since they are still bound to the laws of the world (i.e, the Counter Force will actively prevent its materialization, since it's an "impossibility").
The original vampire, and the Ultimate One of the moon (see above). Long ago, humans have been determined by Gaia to be a threat to her existence, and so she made a plea to the other heavenly bodies to defend her from the humans. The Ultimate One of the Moon answered her call; in exchange for being able to live on Earth, Crimson Moon will protect Gaia from the humans.
With this, he created the True Ancestors in the humans' image, with the reasoning that the humans' protectors should look like humans themselves. Their structures, however, are fundamentally copies of Crimson Moon himself.
As previously mentioned, True Ancestors are structurally identical to the Crimson Moon, but physically and mentally resemble human beings. However, having been based on the template of Crimson Moon, they are detached from human society and have inherited the basic vampiric impulse from Type-Moon, or the impulse to suck the blood of humans.
The vampiric impulse is incurable, which is why the True Ancestors are made to sleep through childhood until they are mature enough to control their impulses. But since they accumulate over time, the vampiric impulse will eventually become too strong to control, so they will either fall into a deep slumber, or give in to the vampiric impulse and become Demon Lords - completely unhinged, but also completely unrestrained with their powers.
True Ancestors possess Marble Phantasms which will cause Crimson Moon to manifest once they attain power close to the original. More "perfect" versions of Crimson Moon were created - Arcueid and Altrouge Brunestud - who are closest to manifesting Crimson Moon himself. Arcueid possesses the Marble Phantasm "Millennium Castle Brunestud", which manifests the lair of Crimson Moon, while Altrouge is said to be able to manifest Crimson Moon himself. They are considered royalty among the True Ancestors.
Humans which have had their blood sucked by True Ancestors become "Dead Apostles".
These are humans which have become vampires either by being converted by True Ancestors (or in some cases, other Dead Apostles), or through the use of artificial means such as magecraft.
Originally, they were a sort of counter measure in case a True Ancestor fell into their bloodlust. In exchange for losing their will, they gain abilities and longevity similar to the True Ancestors, but they still need the blood of humans to survive. The servants of the True Ancestors eventually rebelled and became the Dead Apostles.
They have a complex society, ruled by the Twenty-Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors, consisted by those who were part of the original rebellion from the True Ancestors. However, most of them had already been killed or hunted down, and as such some seats are left empty or are filled with replacements.
The Twenty-Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
Primate Murder: the Beast of Gaia; a Magical Beast under Altrouge Brunestud's control. One of the most powerful beings on the planet, born with the sole purpose of killing humans. Requires seven Counter Guardians to restrain. Not actually a vampire, but has copied the mannerisms of them by having developed a taste for human blood.
the dark six: A Dead Apostle Ancestor which is currently regenerating and is supposed to bring all the Dead Apostles together. Not actually a vampire, but a ritual which will bring all the Dead Apostles together.
Crimson Moon Brunestud himself, due to being the original.
Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg, the one who defeated Crimson Moon long ago using the Second Magic. He was turned into a Dead Apostle in the process of defeating him.
ORT/Type-Mercury: Currently the most powerful being in the entire Nasuverse. He is on this spot after the Dead Apostle Ancestor who previously had the spot foolishly fought it, with predictable results. Currently in South America, being surrounded by his Reality Marble which produces an Eldritch Location.
Black Knight Strout: One of Altrouge Brunestud's bodyguards and one of the oldest Ancestors. Cursed with immortality through a time curse.
Forest of Einnashe: A living forest and an Eldritch Location created when Arcueid killed a Dead Apostle in a forest, spilling their blood into a bloodsucking tree and transforming the entire forest into a Phantasmal Beast.
White Knight Svelten: One of Altrouge Brunestud's bodyguards.
Altrouge Brunestud: Princess of the Dead Apostles and sister to Arcueid. A Dead Apostle-True Ancestor hybrid and also the other True Ancestor closest to manifesting Crimson Moon himself.
Nrvnqsr Chaos: A magus/alchemist who had attained the Dead Apostle status by merging himself with other creatures and became a collective being. Replaced by "Louvre", a Dead Apostle in Norway.
Stanrobe Calhin: The first Wraith. He still exists as a ghostly being after being destroyed by the Church. He still hasn't completely dissipated and still possesses powers from when he was still alive. It's said that it will take 200 years for him to completely dissipate.
The Night of Wallachia/TATARI: A Dead Apostle whose nature is more of a phenomenon made real. He has the ability to manifest the fears of all those around him. The torrent of information created allows him to absorb blood in large quantities. Replaced by "The Dust of Osiris", a descendant of Wallachia who was successfully cured of their vampirism.
Valery Fernand Vandelstam: One of the oldest Dead Apostles, and a Puppet Master who prefers being human to vampirism. Owns a casino.
Rita Rozay-en: A high-class vampire who shares a special relationship with Sumire which involves a pact of killing each other.
Gransurg Blackmore: A magus from Austria whose research involved the sanctification of birds. He pledged obedience to Crimson Moon after having nearly been defeated by the Ultimate One. Has a rivalry with Merem Solomon, though they are willing to work together against Altrouge and her faction.
Trhvmn Ortenrosse: A four-thousand year old Ancestor and the formal King of the Dead Apostles. His faction is a rival to that of Princess Altrouge's.
Knight of Vengeance: A Dead Apostle Ancestor stripped of his rank soon after attaining it. His mission is to assassinate all the other Dead Apostles.
Merem Solomon: A child revived by Crimson Moon as a Dead Apostle after he was killed from the strain of trying to materialize a beast that can defeat Crimson Moon. A rival to Gransurg Blackmore. He is the fifth member of the Church's Burial Agency, though he only joined them for access to the Church's treasures.
Sumire: A vampire who has overcome the weakness of not being able to cross water, but in exchange is weaker on land. Known to be a drunkard. Shares a special relationship with Rita Rozay-en which involves a pact of killing each other.
El Nahat: A Dead Apostle currently imprisoned by the Church. His stomach has been turned by the Church into a weapon which kills other Dead Apostles.
Caubac Alcatraz: A magus who became a vampire through his research and is friends with Zelretch. Currently trapped inside one of his own created labyrinths by accident and hasn't emerged for over a century.
Unnumbered - Michael Roa Valdamjong, the Serpent of Akasha: A heretic among Dead Apostles, and thus is unnumbered. Attained immortality through a form of reincarnation which transfers his soul into a host body that he selects in advance.
Their society is based on the elimination of boredom, which is the natural enemy of those who have attained immortality. Their form of amusement is either expanding their own territory by creating as many minions as possible, or hunting down other True Ancestors or Dead Apostles. They, however, deem it important that vampires are to be kept a secret to preserve the balance of society.
Vampires have a growth process in order to become Dead Apostles:
If a human doesn't initially die after their blood has been sucked, they become The Dead, mindless undead familiars. If they possess an above-average potential, i.e., strong Magic Circuits, they instead become Ghouls.
Humans whose brains are unable to fully die, allowing them to exist as corpse-eating demons. They will eat the flesh of other corpses in order to fully reconstruct their own body.
Ghouls which have fully reconstructed their body. They possess little intellect and are weaker than The Dead, but are generally better than just being mere puppets. They can restore their intellect by sucking the blood of humans.
A blood-sucking demon; a Living Dead which has fully regained its intellect. Once they have killed their Dead Apostle master, they ascend to the level of a Dead Apostle. Rarely, there are those who skip the previous steps entirely and ascend to the level of vampirism.