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The novel-length prologue to an upcoming game, written by Ryohgo Narita, author of Baccano!, announced on April 1st, 2008... oh.Although the text (this incarnation instead titled Fake/states night) was taken down from Narita's site after only one day, the novel was later included as a bonus with the second issue of the Type-Moon Ace magazine, with an afterword by the author and illustrations by Shizuki Morii. Despite being a prologue, no continuation seems to have been planned, making the whole thing an introduction to a cast of characters who will likely never be seen again...until it was recently announced that Fate/Strange Fake would finally be officially published as a light novel series.The story centers around a Grail War faultily copied from the 3rd Grail War in Snowfield, a small town in California, ten years after Fate/Hollow Ataraxia. When the 3rd Grail War occurred two centuries ago, a group of mages separate from the London based Mage Association decided that they would copy the ritual. Okay, they were only able to steal parts of it, but they could fill in the blanks for the rest. (Yes. They're FUDGING a ritual that involves a hole in reality, the most legendary and bloody legends brought to life, and a fight where There Can Be Only One.) They completely lost the Saber template, the definition of "Hero" gets even more blurry, and the participants are less sane. And nobody paid attention to the clusterfark that was the 4thand 5th Grail Wars.This will end well.So the rebel mages infiltrated the the U.S. Government and for 200 years manipulated events in Snowfield, California (Just north of Las Vegas) to replicate the Sacred Land needed to generate a Grail.Master and Servant combos:
Archer: Gilgamesh. Yes, thatGilgamesh. If we're going by Nasu canon, this would be a second copy from the original in the Throne of Heroes and who shouldn't have any memories of the events of 4th and 5th Wars or Hollow Ataraxia. Still a colossal dick, and for the most part wanted nothing to do with the War; more so when, upon summoning Gilgamesh, his Master immediately gets assassinated by a young Magical Native American girl, Teene Cherke, who wants a prosperous, free nation for her people. Gil decides to stay in the War after hearing about Lancer and takes her on as his Master.
Lancer: Enkidu, the first sidekick. Gilgamesh's Best Friend; originally Enkidu's Master was going to use his Wolf Familiar as a sacrifice to summon Enkidu, but then the Wolf turned out to have a mind of its own and figured out how to summon Enkidu as its Servant. Enkidu has the "appearance of a woman." Whether this is Dude Looks Like a Lady or another Gender Flip the series is so fond of isn't known.
Berserker: Jack the Ripper. In this flawed copy, since Jack was already bloodthirsty, somehow turning him into The Berserker actually resulted in the opposite. He is now completely calm. Since nobody knew who Jack the Ripper was, Jack can shapeshift into any legend of Jack the Ripper he wants to be. His master is a doof, who used a toy knife to summon him. However, a Fake knife in a Fake Grail War worked just fine to summon a Fake Berserker from a Fake Hero.
Assassin: The Unspoken Hassan. Among the Hassan clan of Assassins, there was a woman who excelled at all of their techniques but was never allowed to become Hassan Sabbah. They became afraid of her, but their fear deified her as a legend and she may have surpassed them all. Assassin has decided that the Holy Grail is a falsehood to her faith whether it functions the way the mages want it to or not, and has committed to destroying it. Upon being summoned, she even rips out the heart of her Master; unfortunately, her Master is the Dead Apostle Jester Calture, known as the Six-Hearted Revolver. True to his nickname, he still has five more hearts, and bodies to match. Calture decides that his goal is to crush Assassin's faith.
Caster: Alexander Dumas. ...No, seriously. Having not actually been trained as a mage, Caster is the weakest Caster in record and possibly the weakest Servant; however, he can "write" items into reality. His master is the Police Chief of Snowfield, who has a very loyal cadre of deputies—all mages. He has Caster write them up a batch of Noble Phantasms, resulting in a special ops unit of magic-wielding cops armed with enchanted weapons.
Rider: There were a set of mages who looked at Zouken Matou's work on dark magical worms and thought to themselves..."We can do better than that." So they experimented on their child daughter Tsubaki Kuruoka, and came up with Black Magic bacteria and infected her with it. It put her into a coma, but made her into an exceptionally powerful Master. Apparently they were going to puppet their will into the Fake Grail War, and summon the First Emperor of China as their Servant. However, their Servant is eaten from the inside out by Tsubaki's true Servant, the Pale Rider—neither man nor woman, but a legendary entity embodying the concept of pestilence, including the infamous Spanish influenza and the Black Death that killed off most of Europe. The Pale Rider rides people and when done with them, imprisons them in Tsubaki's coma. The first people it possesses are Tsubaki's parents. The first thing they have to do in her dream world is buy her cake.
You: There is a hole in the ritual. There is no Saber class. But there is a Seventh Master. With no Servant to draw upon, you can draw upon the power of any Servant—but only five times. Each time is for a limited duration, depending on the power expended.
Badass Army: By the standards of a "war" that's supposed to involve fourteen people total, thirty cops equipped with Noble Phantasms by Caster easily qualify.
Blatant Lies: Caster's prone to outlandish bragging, especially about his luck with women.
Church Militant: The first thing we learn about Assassin is her deep faith. She even kills her summoner (not that it sticks) and sets off to destroy the Grail because she considers the idea heretical.
Evil Gloating: Invoked by Faldeus, who talks about his plans in front of the man he's about to have killed, knowing full well that he's speaking to a magic puppet and his words will be heard by the real mage far away.
Emotionless Girl: Tenee Cherke, which becomes slightly awkward when Archer orders her to rejoice.
Genius Ditz: Flatt Escardos is an incredible mage and an utter moron.
The Hedonist: Caster wants women and food as a reward for all his hard work.
It's All About Me: Archer's summoner, who didn't care for the lives of a son with no skill in magic or a wife who couldn't provide him with a magically-powerful heir.
The Mole: Faldeus, who spent some time acting as a member of the Association but really works for the US Government.
Muggles Do It Better: Played with. Faldeus has some non-mage subordinates shoot Rohngall, an Association investigator, full of holes and discusses how the right modern weaponry can overcome magic defenses such as a shield of mercury or the transmission of consciousness into insects. On the other hand, since Rohngall's "corpse" was actually a remotely-controlled doll, shooting it full of holes does little more than inconvenience him.