Follow TV Tropes


Franchise / Fate Series

Go To
A tale of heroes, desires, and destiny since 2004.
The Fifth Holy Grail War... that is, the story of carrying one's conviction.
The Fourth Holy Grail War... that is, the story of one questioning the meaning of justice.
The Moon's Holy Grail War... that is, the story of searching for oneself.
The Great Holy Grail War... that is, the story of one praying towards salvation.
The Grand Order... that is, the story of taking back the future.
Expanding throughout time, through innumerable text... that is, the greatest heroic tale of human history.

Fate is an Urban Fantasy action franchise, part of the greater Nasuverse created by Nasu Kinoko and Takeuchi Takashi. Originally just a series of self-contained material, the Fate franchise very quickly eclipsed the rest of Type-Moon's works and came into its own as a standalone series.

While concepts for the series came long before its debut in 2004 (including a literature version similar to Nasu's other works like the Garden of sinners and Angel Notes), its first installment, Fate/stay night, was released as an Eroge during Comic Market 67. Lack of official translations meant it would be relatively obscure outside Japan, if it weren't for fans translating the game and its respective 2006 anime being officially brought over. Interest in the series surged when the animated adaptation of prequel novel Fate/Zero released in 2011, sparking a revival in interest for the original game and a wave of spinoffs and re-releases. The third surge in popularity was Fate/Grand Order, which launched in 2015 and has pretty much made the franchise a pop culture landmark in Japan for the late New Tens. While official translations for its other installments still remain few and far between, the community is dedicated enough to keep up with every installment as it comes out.

Fate's claim to fame is its use of the Holy Grail War, a ritual performed by mages to create and use the titular vessel to have their greatest desire granted, no matter how twisted it may be. Closely related to this is the Servant system, the ability to summon famous individuals from folklore and history, who are then used as the War's combatants. Servants themselves function how Mons would in a similar series, with the prerequisite class advantages, Master/Servant dynamics, and (especially in later installments) plenty of Servants to choose from. So much so, when Type-Moon did a Self-Parody using Pokémon as the basis, the only thing that changed was that kids were the Masters and could use more than one Servant. Originally, however, the Servants were merely reflections of their Masters, while the latter group was the real meat of the story. Nowadays, the Servants are what everyone focuses on, and the narrative importance of Master and Servant is reversed.

Keep in mind that the franchise doesn't have a completely straight continuity; in fact, many titles are in their own separate continuity, held together by the basic concept of the Grail War, the mage system, and the Servant system. Fate/EXTRA, for example, takes place years after the first game's Holy Grail War, but the game itself only takes inspiration from its outcome while going off into a completely different direction. Others, like Fate/Apocrypha and Fate/Requiem, are straight up in an alternate universe.

Works in the franchise:

    open/close all folders 

     Visual Novels & Video Games 
  • Fate/stay night (2004) - The one that started it all. Covers the Fifth Holy Grail War, and its protagonist, Shirou Emiya, as he finds himself thrust into it by accident.
  • Fate/tiger colosseum (2007) - Fighting Game.
  • Fate/unlimited codes (2008) - Fighting Game.
  • Fate/EXTRA (2010) - JRPG, takes place in an alternate universe 20 Minutes into the Future, focusing on the students of Tsukumihara Academy as they fight in a digital Holy Grail War.
    • Fate/EXTRA CCC (2013) - A sequel to the first game. It essentially serves as a "third route" to the original, forking off the original game at a certain point and providing a much different experience, in a fashion very deliberately comparable to the "Heaven's Feel" route of the original F/SN.
    • Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (2017) - Features a Genre Shift to a Musou-style game.
    • Fate/Extella Link (2018)
    • Fate/EXTRA Record (TBD) - A remake of EXTRA to celebrate its tenth anniversary.
  • Fate/Grand Order (2015-present) - The Crisis Crossover of the franchise, a mobile gacha RPG featuring nearlynote  every Servant featured in the franchise thus far, in Chaldea's attempt to stop time anomalies from eventually destroying the world. Also largely the work that catapulted the series into true global superstardom.
    • Fate/Grand Order VR feat. Mash Kyrielight (2017) - A virtual reality game where the player interacts with Mash and Saber.
    • Fate/Grand Order Arcade (2018) - An arcade adaptation of the game with a graphical hop to 3D.
    • Fate/Grand Order Waltz in the MOONLIGHT/LOSTROOM (2020) - A Rhythm Game adaptation.
  • Everyday♪ Today's Menu for the Emiya Family (2021) - Cooking game adaptation of Today's Menu for the Emiya Family.
  • Fate/Samurai Remnant (2023) - Action RPG that takes place in historical Japan developed by Koei Tecmo's Omega Force.

  • Fate/Zero (2006-2007) - Prequel to stay night, following Shirou's adoptive father, Kiritsugu Emiya, and his exploits during the Fourth Holy Grail War.
  • Fate/Apocrypha (2012-2014) - Set in an alternate universe where the Great Holy Grail War takes place, which is structured as a fight between two factions rather than a free-for-all.
  • Fate/Prototype: Fragments of Sky Silver (2013-2017) - Prequel to Prototype, focusing on their universe's First Holy Grail War.
    • Fate/Labyrinth (2015): The official crossover between Prototype and stay night as Manaka is trapped in a labyrinth with the Saber of Fate/stay night.
  • Lord El-Melloi II Case Files (2014-2019) - Sequel to Fate/Zero featuring a now grown up Waver Velvet aka Lord El-Melloi II and his sidekick Gray solving magical mysteries.
    • The Adventures of Lord El-Melloi II (2020-present) - Sequel series focusing more on action than mysteries.
  • Garden of Avalon (2015) - Prequel that focuses on the original Saber's backstory.
  • Fate/strange Fake (2015-present) - Takes place about five years after stay night, with a group of mages in America fighting their own imitation version of a Holy Grail War.
  • Fate/Requiem (2018-present) - Takes place in the aftermath of a large war that results in everyone having a Servant with the exception of its protagonist.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: Side of Survivor (2019) - An epilogue to Apocrypha talking about what happened to the survivors of the Grail War.
  • Murder at the Kogetsukan and A Study at the Meihou Manor (2019) - Novelizations of Fate/Grand Order's mystery events.
  • Chaldea Case Files (2020-present) - A Fate/Grand Order mystery anthology series.
  • Fate:Lost Einherjar (2022-present) - A sequel to Apocrypha about Sigurd's and Brynhild's daughter Aslaug and her husband Ragnar Lodbrok, as well as a Sub-Grail War featuring the two.

  • Fate/stay night (2006-2012) - An adaptation of the original visual novel's Fate route. Illustrated by Datto Nishiwaki.
  • Fate/Zero (2010-2017) - An adaptation of the novel. Illustrated by Shinjirou.
  • Fate/EXTRA (2011-2014) - Adaptation of the game of the same name. Illustrated by Robi-na.
    • Fate/EXTRA CCC: Foxtail (2013-present) - It notably incorporates several characters that were originally cut from CCC into its narrative and later begins to diverge from the game's narrative to the point of becoming an Alternate Continuity. Illustrated by Seijin Takenoko.
    • Fate/EXTRA CCC (2015-present) - An adaptation of the game. Illustrated by Robi-na.
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia (2013-present) - An adaptation of the fan disc. Illustrated by Medori.
  • Fate/strange fake (2015-present) - An adaptation of the novel. Illustrated by Morii Shizuki, who also illustrates the novel.
  • Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel (2015-present) - An adaptation of the original visual novel's Heaven's Feel route. Illustrated by Task Ohna.
  • Fate/Apocrypha (2016-present) - An adaptation of the novel. Illustrated by Akira Ishida.
  • Fate/Grand Order -mortalis:stella- (2017-present) - Covers Chapters 2, 4, and 6 of the game's first arc. Josei manga. Illustrated by Shiramine.
  • Fate/Grand Order -turas:realta- (2017-present) - Covers Chapters 3, 5, and 7 of the game's first arc. Shounen manga. Illustrated by Takeshi Kawaguchi.
  • Lord El-Melloi II Case Files (2017-present) - An adaptation of the novel. Illustrated by Tō Azuma.
  • Fate/Grand Order -Epic of Remnant- Malignant Quarantined Devil's Realm Shinjuku: Shinjuku Phantom Incident (2019-ongoing) - Based on the first arc of Epic of Remnant. Illustrated by Shonen Sasaki.
    • Fate/Grand Order -Epic of Remnant- Deep Sea Cyber-Nirvana SE.RA.PH (2019-present) - Based on the Fate/Extra CCC crossover arc of Epic of Remnant. Illustrated by Nishide Kengoro.
    • Fate/Grand Order -Epic of Remnant- Pseudo Singularity II: Legendary Subterranean World Agartha: Women of Agartha (2019-2022) - Based on the second arc of Epic of Remnant. Illustrated by Hideo Takanaka.
    • Fate/Grand Order -Epic of Remnant- Seven Swordsmaster Spirit Duels (2019-present) - Based on the third arc of Epic of Remnant. Illustrated by Rei Wataru.
    • Fate/Grand Order -Epic of Remnant- Pseudo Singularity IV: Taboo Advent Salem: Heretical Salem (2019-present) - Based on the fourth arc of Epic of Remnant. Illustrated by Aoi Ohmori.
  • Fate/type Redline (2019-present) - A web manga adaptation of Koha-Ace GO's "Imperial Capital Holy Grail Strange Story" arc, though played dead serious this time around. Illustrated by Ryouji Hirano.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Holy Grail Front (2021) - A one-shot adaptation of Grand Order's "Dance Tournament in the Land of Shadows" event. Illustrated by Mugetsu.
  • Fate/Grand Order Saber Wars II ~Special Edition~ (2021) - An adaptation of Grand Order's "Saber Wars II" event. Illustrated by Daisuke Moriyama.
  • Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2021-present) - An adaptation of the original visual novel's Unlimited Blade Works route. Illustrated by Daisuke Moriyama.
  • Fate/Prototype: Fragments of Sky Silver (2023-present) - An adaptation of the novel. Illustrated by Tsuta Suzuki.
  • Fate/Samurai Remnant Prologue (2023) - A one-shot adaptation of the game's opening. Illustrated by Mugetsu.


  • Fate/School Life (2006-present) - A comedic manga that gives the students of Homurahara Academy time to shine in the spotlight. Illustrated by Eiichirou Mashin.
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA (2007-present) - Magical Girl spinoff featuring Illyasviel von Einzbern as a little girl, and her quest to collect the seven Class Cards. Illustrated by Hiroshi Hiroyama.
  • Fate/Prototype Tribute Phantasm (2012) - An anthology of partially comedic stories starring the Fate/Prototype cast, each illustrated by a different artist.
  • Learning with Manga! FGO (2015-present) - A web manga all about teaching the players the basics of playing Grand Order... allegedly. Illustrated by Riyo.
  • Fate/mahjong night: Seihai Sensou (2015-present) - Yonkoma series about the servants of the Fifth Holy Grail War playing a deadly serious game of mahjong. Illustrated by Satei.
  • Sensha Otoko: A True Tank Story (2016) - A one-shot AU where all the characters live in a town and there are no supernatural elements. After Iskandar rescues Waver, who is Gender Flipped into a girl, from a mugging, he falls in love with her and tries to woo her with the questionable advice of his various otaku buddies. Illustrated by Tomoya Haruno.
  • Today's Menu for the Emiya Family (2016-present) - A Slice of Life spinoff focusing on the Fifth Holy Grail War participants... living peaceful lives and cooking good food. Illustrated by TAa.
  • Oshiete FGO! Ijin to Shinwa no Grand OrderTranslation  (2016-present) - A web manga about the FGO Servants' real-world backgrounds. Illustrated by Yuu Tsurusaki.
  • Fate/Ikustella (2018; on hiatus) - Yonkoma spinoff of Fate/Extella set in an alternate timeline where male and female Hakuno have become babies for some reason. Illustrated by Routo Usagi.
  • Fate/Grand Order Duel: YA Tokuiten: Misshitsu Yūgi Makyō Shibuya: Shibuya Kettō Jiken (2019-2020) - Based off of the Fate/Grand Order Duel -collection figure- board game. Illustrated by Eiichiro Masshin.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Eirei ShokubunrokuTranslation  (2019; on hiatus) - A web manga featuring the FGO Servants cooking food from their native times and places. Illustrated by Makoto Tokoma.
  • Fate/Grand Order: From Lostbelt (2019-present) - A web manga focusing on side stories about the Crypters and other Lostbelt characters. Illustrated by Nakatani.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Ritsuka Fujimaru Doesn't Get It (2020-present) - A web manga series about a dense Ritsuka Fujimaru in the Lostbelts. Illustrated by Tsuchida.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Ordú Beag (2020) - A one-shot featuring Scáthach. Illustrated by Akisato Nagi.

Studio DEEN adaptations
  • Fate/stay night (2006) - Covers the Fate route of the original visual novel, with some plot points taken from the other two routes (24 episodes).
  • Fate/stay night The Movie: Unlimited Blade Works (2010) - A film covering the Unlimited Blade Works route of the original visual novel.

ufotable adaptations

  • Fate/Zero (2011-2012) - An adaptation of the novel (25 episodes).
  • Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] (2014-2015) - Based off of the Unlimited Blade Works route of stay night (26 episodes + OVA).
  • Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel (2017-2020) - Based off of the Heaven's Feel route of stay night. Made into a movie trilogy.
    • I. presage flower (2017)
    • II. lost butterfly (2019)
    • III. spring song (2020)
  • Today's Menu for the Emiya Family (2018-2019) - Monthly adaptation of the manga of the same name (13 episodes).
  • Fate/Grand Order: Himuro's World ~The Seven Strongest Great Figures~ (2018): A crossover OVA between Grand Order and School Life.

Lerche adaptations

  • Fate/Prototype (2011) - OVA based on the original concept of stay night, with a male Saber and his female Master Ayaka. Included with the third season of Carnival Phantasm.
  • Fate/Grand Carnival (2021) - Two OVA 'seasons' of Carnival Phantasm-style comedy skits.

SILVER LINK. adaptations

  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA (2013-2016) - An adaptation of the manga (42 episodes [4 seasons] + 2 OVAs).
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Oath Under Snow (2017) - Based off of Miyu's brother's backstory. Theatrical release.
  • Prisma Phantasm (2019) - a lighthearted OVA funded with Kickstarter. Also saw a theatrical release.
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA Licht: Namae no Nai Shoujo (2021) - Covers the final major battle of 3rei. Theatrical release.

A-1 Pictures/Cloverworks adaptations

Other Studios

  • Fate/Extra Last Encore (2018) - an alternate take on EXTRA, following the male Hakuno Kishinami and Saber as they make their way through the Moon Cell thousands of years after his alleged death (10 episodes + two-hour finale). [Studio Shaft]
  • Fate/Grand Order adaptations:
  • Fate/Grand Order: Ritsuka Fujimaru Doesn't Get It (adapted as You've Lost Ritsuka Mujimaru) (2023) - A seven minute adaptation of the manga aired as a New Year's special, followed by a weekly series of shorts in 2023. [DLE]
  • Lord El-Melloi II Case Files: {Rail Zeppelin} Grace Note (2019) - Has both an adaptation of the Rail Zeppelin storyline from the fourth and fifth novels and original stories based on the series. Had a prelude episode air as a 2019 New Year's special and a double-length Special Episode air as a 2022 New Year's special (15 episodes). [Troyca]

  • Fate/Grand Order -The Stage-: Territory of the Holy Round Table - Camelot - Replica;Airgetlám (2017) - Musical stage adaptation of the sixth chapter of Observer on Timeless Temple.
  • Fate/Grand Order -The Stage-: Order VII - The Absolute Frontline in the War Against the Demonic Beasts - Babylonia (2019) - Musical stage adaptation of the seventh chapter of Observer on Timeless Temple.
  • Lord El-Melloi II Case Files -case: Castle of Separation Adra- (2019-2020) - Musical stage adaptation of the first novel in the series.
  • Fate/Grand Order -The Stage-: -Grand Temple of Time Solomon- (2020) - Musical stage adaptation of the final chapter of Observer on Timeless Temple.

  • All Around Type-Moon (2008-present) - Comedic crossover with Tsukihime and the Garden of sinners.
  • Carnival Phantasm (2011) - Comedic crossover with fellow Nasuverse franchise Tsukihime, comprising three OVA 'seasons'. Adapted from the manga Take Moon. [Lerche]
  • Koha-Ace (2011-present) - Comedic manga featured in the magazine Type-Moon ACE, grouping odd versions of Nasuverse characters together for fourth wall-breaking antics. Features Servant versions of Okita Souji and Oda Nobunaga with stay night's Rider along with other characters in the Fate-verse. One arc switched the plot to a farcial take on a Holy Grail War using mostly historical Japanese figures, which later became the basis of the comedic "GUDAGUDA" event series in Fate/Grand Order, and later on, Fate/type Redline.
  • Type-Moon Gakuen: Chibi-Chuki! (2013-present) - The official High School AU of the Nasuverse, including multiple Fate characters.
  • Melty Blood: Back Alley Alliance Nightmare (2015-2016) - Serious crossover with Melty Blood, also serving as its sequel manga.

Tropes found across the franchise:

  • Alchemy Is Magic: Alchemy can be used for all sorts of purposes — most commonly, creating homunculi with magical circuits embedded in them. Other usages include brewing elixirs to increase one's capabilities and cast unique spells.
  • Alleged Lookalikes: It's noted that Artoria Pendragon and Jeanne d'Arc are extremely similar-looking, to the point that Gilles de Rais thought they had to be the same person (though he is a bit of an unreliable source on the issue), and Jeanne is often lumped in with "Saberface" characters that share Artoria's design, such as Mordred, Nero, and alternate versions of Artoria. Thing is, other than that they're both blonde women drawn by a guy notable for Only Six Faces, the two don't actually bear that much resemblance to each other—they have different builds, different hair in color and style, different heights, different eye colors, and even their faces are noticeably different in structure.
  • The Artifact:
    • stay night emphasizes the fact that Anti-Heroes have been summoned as Servants when only good guys should be possible, which is eventually revealed to be caused by a God of Evil that hijacked the Fuyuki Grail. The next major installment, Fate/EXTRA, used this to establish a Contrasting Sequel Setting where all three playable Servants are Anti-Heroes. By Grand Order this stopped mattering completely, and several retcons would clarify that the Fuyuki Grail system is specifically very constrained compared to the ancient rituals it was based on.
    • When the series was in its infancy, it was established that The Berserker class's Mad Enhancement also made its user inarticulate, mindlessly violent, and unable to talk beyond grunting and growling. Understandably, past Fate/stay night, this turned out to be rather inconvenient for characterization when at least one member of your cast would inevitably be mute and mindless. This was downplayed to Berserkers indeed being able to talk and show distinct personalities, typically by using their strong will to power through the Mad Enhancement, by the Mad Enhancement manifesting in a different fashion such as obsessive love or Chronic Hero Syndrome, or by the Mad Enhancement itself having a low rank (though they remained violent and impulsive). Nonetheless, earlier Berserkers like Heracles, Lancelot, and Lu Bu who were established as mute tend to still be written as such, even though they're now the exception rather than the rule.
    • Sasaki Kojiro is stated to be a fake, who was only allowed to become an Assassin by virtue of Medea having screwed with the system, and therefore also one of the weakest Servants around (more of a human with some magical enhancements and moderate Charles Atlas Superpower). At the time, this was because it was canon that only members of an actual historical assassin order could be Assassins. Understandably, this was a bit limiting, so later installments tend to treat the qualification for being an Assassin as simply "is sneaky and killed someone", with only a handful since meeting the original benchmark. But Kojiro is still regarded as a relative weakling (he's a one-star in Fate/Grand Order, for instance, one out of only three in the Assassin class and of eleven in total), even though there now isn't much of a reason for him to be one. Ostensibly, this is because the historical record on Kojiro is vague enough that he was most likely fictional, but this is a bit of an odd place to draw the line when Fate normally takes the All Myths Are True approach with Servants—for comparison, fellow canonical Assassins have included Doctor Jekyll and The Phantom of the Opera. One storyline even featured an alternate universe involving his famous rival Miyamoto Musashi—there's a Kojiro in that universe, and he is exactly like the "fake" one. The Musashi from said storyline is playable and isn't remotely weak.
    • On the topic of Assassins, Hassan of the Cursed Arm has been listed as Lawful Evil since the days of the original visual novel and shows no signs of changing. In those days, it made a lot of sense, since he was mostly just a Punch-Clock Villain for the monstrously-cruel Zouken Matou and didn't show any redeeming qualities. But ever since then, especially when the Camelot singularity of Grand Order gave him an actual backstory and personality, he's never been a villainous character, and has consistently been shown as heroic, kind, and goodhearted. Nonetheless, his alignment has yet to be changed.
    • Jeanne d'Arc Alter, when introduced initially, was established as an Evil Doppelgänger to the real Jeanne, and in gameplay, her skillset was basically "Jeanne, but worse" (Jeanne is a five-star Ruler, Jeanne Alter a four-star). This informed a lot of her characterization, with her having a massive inferiority complex and considering herself a pale shadow of the original. But when Jalter became a Breakout Character and was Promoted to Playable, the designers took note of her popularity and raised her power considerably—going from four-star to five-star, switching class from Ruler to Avenger, being given an extraordinarily high rarity, and possessing the highest offensive stats in the game, to the point of having been a top-tier Servant at some points. Her inferiority complex now makes very little sense in gameplay terms, but it's such an important part of her character and her relationship with her "sister" that it's stuck around.
    • The original heroine of the franchise, Saber Artoria Pendragon, has fallen into this. She is the poster girl of the game, prominently featuring in just about every bit of promo material and even being its icon on any given app store. When the game had just launched, Artoria was still considered the "main heroine" of the franchise due to her prominence in Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero, so leading with her made sense, especially since Grand Order was seen as a side project then. However, Grand Order largely avoided developing Artoria (whether out of tentativeness with handling an iconic character or out of a sense that there wasn't much to be done with her after her many prior starring roles), instead focusing on characters from Apocrypha, EXTRA, its own Original Generation, or lesser lights from FSN and Zero. Ask a fan who the main or most popular heroine of Grand Order is, and Saber Artoria probably wouldn't even make the top twenty, and as Grand Order has increasingly become the franchise's cash cow, you could probably argue that those characters are more central to the franchise at this point. It's particularly funny because her iconic status has led to her getting tons of alternate versions or characters who share her design, some who exist only to poke fun at the franchise's overuse of her design, and nearly every single one of them has had more significant showings than her — even the gag Beach Episode variant! Nonetheless, the sheer inertia of her prior appearances means that she isn't going to be taken out of the middle of group shots anytime soon.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Several historical figures are revealed to have possessed all kinds of non-recorded abilities to justify their might as Heroic Spirits. Other than making magecraft real, they are members of magical bloodlines, a different gender than what historians say, or half-human. If not that, they went on unrecorded adventures involving gods or magical objects that granted them special abilities or are the cause of their Noble Phantasms.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Most Noble Phantasms must be called out in order to be used. This, along with high mana consumption, is the main reason why they are used with caution: an opponent may be able to deduce the Servant's identity through their Noble Phantasm, although some are most obvious than others. Exceptions are Noble Phantasms that are continously active, like Diarmuid Ua Duibhne's Gae Dearg and Gae Buidhe, Lancelot's Knight of Owner and For Someone's Glory, and Heracles' God Hand. Gilgamesh's ultimate weapon was Never Given a Name until he decided to name it Ea. However, when he attacks with it, he calls the attack "Enuma Elish", presumably in homage to his best friend Enkidu, whose own ultimate Noble Phantasm is called Enuma Elish.
  • Came Back Strong: Anyone summoned as a Servant for a Holy Grail War gains enhanced strength, speed, immunity to non-magical attacks, and special powers based on their legends that they may not have held in life. However, the Servant container has hard limits, so for big-name mythological heroes, it's a lot more common for them to come back weaker.
  • Central Theme: As a whole, the Nasuverse has an emphasis on the state of humanity, good and bad, and how it affects their spiritual "mother", Gaia. If humanity is strong, humanity will try to leave their cradle, and Gaia will go crazy from finding out that her kid is growing independent. From then, humanity will have to struggle with their utmost effort to be free, even if they have to kill their mother. If humanity is weak, Gaia with continue to baby them forever. However, her enforcers/babysitters are abusive and humanity's dependency would cause them to become no different than farm livestock said babysitters feed on. The "humanity is strong" route is the conception of the Fate Series.
  • Cloudcuckoolanguage: The Mental Pollution trait is explicitly described this way. Servants with the trait cannot be understood (or influenced) by anybody who does not relate perfectly to their disturbed worldview.
  • Colon Cancer: Anime adaptations include the following examples:
  • Combat Clairvoyance: The franchise has this codified in several different skills that a Servant can possess:
    • "Mind's Eye (False)" and "Mind's Eye (True)". Those who possess either skill have the ability to predict an opponent's moves and counter them with such speed that they appear clairvoyant. The difference between the two is that the "False" variant is an inherent trait, something the Servant was born with, while the "True" variant is something the Servant learned over a lifetime of battle experience.
    • "Instinct/Intuition" is referred to as the innate ability to always identify "the best possible course of action" in a fight, and at sufficiently high ranks it can even be used to "predict" what actions will best serve the owner in combat. It can even be used to predict the passage of projectiles through the air and counter surprise attacks.
    • Gilgamesh has Sha Naqbu Imuru, which gives him all-seeing clairvoyance. Certain factors like the cursed Grail Mud can block it. Other than that, it should theoretically make him unbeatable, but he usually only uses it for mundane purposes like cheating at chess and card games. In battle, he only uses it the first time he meets an opponent to assess what they can do and then turns it off so his fights don't become boring. Even so, his incredible arrogance means that he ignores seeing possibilities where he loses, believing it is impossible for him to lose, and since he doesn't use Sha Naqbu Imuru when he meets opponents again, he can get caught off guard if they managed to improve themselves in some way. This leads to his death against Saber in the Fate route, Shirou Emiya and Archer in the Unlimited Blade Works route, and Sakura Matou and the Shadow in the Heaven's Feel route.
    • Xiang Yu's "Future Prediction" is a ramped-up version of even the previously mentioned skills because it's explicitly stated to reach beyond simply reading the battle or an opponent's moves and reacting at superhuman speeds to compensate right into the realm of precognition.
  • Common Crossover: Any folklore/historical series you can think of has at least one crossover with the Fate franchise considering the sheer amount of Servants a given character can be paired with.
  • The Constant: The series actually justifies this with the Quantum Time-Lock system put in place by The World. As a limited amount of "water" exists to sustain so many worlds without the universe effectively overloading on the sheer weight of possibilities, Quantum Time-Locks happen every once a hundred years or so to ensure that Constants exist present in all other timelines (e.g. Camelot falling). Any other timelines that have anything different happen are purged altogether in a process known as 'pruning'. However, while there exists several Quantum Time-Locks across human history, the median of which these Time-Locks happen can be extraordinarily variant to a variety of possibilities; it's just that the Quantum Time-Locks are a means of ensuring the most prosperous timelines for humanity survive, and any that have grown past the point of being able to be changed are as a result pruned.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: The entire franchise runs on this. Seven (sometimes eight) mages summon replicas of famous heroes from history and make them fight each other. Even during the early stages when most identities are unknown and fighters are trying to keep secrets, we have such amazing moments as Alexander the Great breaking up a stand-off between King Arthur, Gilgamesh and a mysterious Black Knight (Sir Lancelot) in Zero. Which eventually escalates to Gilgamesh in an Ancient Sumerian/Indian spaceship dogfighting against said Black Knight possessing an F-15 fighter jet while at the same time, King Arthur and Alexander the Great are fighting Cthulhu. Stay Night's various routes offer their own share of badass confrontations, often revolving around "who can stand up to Berserker Hercules?" with "who can survive against Gilgamesh?" afterwards.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Servants in Holy Grail Wars go to lengths to conceal their true identities, because knowing an enemy Servant's identity allows one to determine what their fighting style, strengths, and weaknesses are. This especially means Servants and their Masters must be very wise about when to use the Servant's Noble Phantasm, as the Noble Phantasm is a very defining trait of the Servant's identity (such as Artoria's Excalibur and Cu Chulainn's Gae Bolg).
  • Cradling Your Kill: Defied. At the end of the Battle of Camlann, after Arturia/Saber strikes down Saber of Red/Mordred, Mordred uses her dying breath to ask her "father" to hug her. Arturia refuses, although this was because Arturia believed showing emotion was unbecoming of a proper king and likely feeling too guilty to embrace her own "son" that she just killed (given that in Fate/Zero, Arturia doesn't say anything while Berserker/Lancelot apologizes to her after she is forced to kill him because she didn't want to make him feel any worse) rather than Arturia hating Mordred.
  • Crazy Sane: In earlier works, the Madness Enhancement trait and the Berserker class represent insanity too severe to speak and be understood. In Fate/Grand Order, many of the new Berserker or Madness Enhanced characters can speak, and seem perfectly rational except on specific topics, either a Berserk Button or a fixation.
  • Crossover Cosmology: While most of the Heroic Spirits are historical (or at least theoretically historical), many of them are empowered by gods from a variety of pantheons, with no mention of any difficulties. In Fate/Grand Order, actual gods start appearing, from the Mesopotamian Ishtar and Ereshkigal to the South American Jaguar Spirit. It should be noted that the gods are far more powerful than Heroic Spirits, and have to limit themselves by borrowing the body of a human in order to participate in a Holy Grail War.
  • De-aged in Death: Heroic spirits, famous figures from history and legend, can be summoned as familiars called Servants. They almost always take the form they had during their "prime", generally whenever their most famous accomplishments occurred. For instance, if someone had some epic adventure in their twenties and then settled down till they died in their eighties, they'd be summoned in their twenties.
  • Demonization: The franchise has the metaphorical demonization of historical figures cause literal demonization with the “Innocent Monster” trait, with several spirits appearing as inhuman villains who may have no resemblance at all to the people they were in life because that was what public opinion imagined them to be.
  • Depending on the Writer: Nero presents herself as a cheerful, boisterous, battle-ready Emperor who is loved by all and drips with Awesome Ego. In some appearances, this is mostly a front for her massive Inferiority Superiority Complex, her deluded narcissism, and her guilt over her complete failure as a ruler. In others, it's taken at face value.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Generally averted by virtue of the Servants being Humanoid Abominations that are not only nigh impossible for modern humans to fight and defeat but human weaponry will flat out not work on them unless magically crafted or enchanted. Some humans, such as Shirou, however, are able to put up a decent fight against a couple of Servants, if only by exploiting their weaknesses and flaws — plus a generous serving of Plot Armor.
  • Divine Right of Kings: The franchise deals a lot with people from different eras, so there's a lot about how divine right works in a world where divine power is very real.
    • Gilgamesh was the half-divine king of ancient Uruk, born to rule the entire world. Gilgamesh was designed before his birth to connect humanity and the gods, as the gods were already fading as humanity rose. Gilgamesh was a rather terrible person but a decent king, and he grew into a Well-Intentioned Extremist who mostly kept his people safe. His treasure vault contained everything that existed at the time, and when he reappears in the modern world, due to the way magic works there is a strong argument to be made that he still owns everything. He is therefore almost always a villain whenever he appears, as he insists that it is his right to do absolutely whatever he wants, including killing off ninety percent of the population so that the survivors will be "worthy" of his rule.
    • King Arthur was the prophecized king of Britain, proven by pulling Caliburn from the stone. After Caliburn was shattered, Arthur was given Excalibur, an even more powerful weapon forged by fairies from the magical heart of the world itself, thus symbolizing that the world approves of Arthur's rule.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: As established since Fate/stay night, the contract between Master and Servant has for side effects that both sides can see the other's past in their dreams. Since Servants do not sleep, with the exception of Artoria, it's usually the Masters who are shown to have these dreams, which shed light on the past life of their Servant.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: When a Master is defeated but the Servant is still around for some reason — usually, they are in that little timespan between the Command Spells having been used up and the Servant disappearing, a different Master can bind them with their own Command Spells if both parties agree. Command Spells can also be transferred between Masters and, in some cases, even stolen.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Servants are called by their character classes to disguise their true identities (and thus, their legendary weapons, abilities, and (most importantly) weaknesses) from their opponents. Unless the Servant is too arrogant to worry about such things, as in the cases of Gilgamesh and the Fate/Zero Rider, Iskander.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: This is part of the world's natural law. As shown in Fate/Grand Order, the timeline naturally branches multiple times following the different possibilities of human history. However, there are only a finite amount of "water" (energy) to sustain so many different timelines at once, so every once in a while (around a century or so, usually during certain important historical events) the world would use something called a "Quantum Time-Lock", making everything that happened during its usage immutable. This has the side effect of Cutting Off the Branches that strayed too far from the "trunk of the history tree", especially if those timeline branches end with humanity becoming stagnant in one way or another and thus the energy would be wasted on them. The timelines that are "pruned" underwent Cessation of Existence, but as shown in the second saga of the game, they can be "resumed" by planting something called the "Tree of Emptiness" on them, creating a "Lostbelt" that are centered on where the trees are planted (e.g Russian Lostbelt shows an Alternate History of Russia). These trees are planted by the new villains and the resumed "defunct" timelines threaten to overwrite whole human history, so our heroes travel around the world to destroy them; however, they're faced with the dilemma of having to end the lives of the Lostbelt inhabitants, but they're encouraged by one of their Lostbelt allies to continue fighting for their world's future, no matter the cost.
  • Explosive Overclocking: A Servant can overload their Noble Phantasm with prana and transform it into a Broken Phantasm, causing them to take a massive power hike in exchange for being lost. Given that most Servants only have between one to three Noble Phantasms (which are artifacts such as Excalibur), and Noble Phantasms represent the solidified history of each Servant the very idea is unthinkable.
  • Exposition Beam: Whenever a Servant (a Heroic Spirit of a legendary figure) is summoned, the Holy Grail provides them with vital information like the native language and some basic knowledge of the modern world.
  • Expy Coexistence: While Waver Velvet didn't start off as a Sherlock Homage when introduced in Fate/Zero, he's acquired enough similarities to him by the time of Lord El-Melloi II Case Files to warrant occasional Lampshade Hanging. Naturally, with the franchise being the Fantasy Kitchen Sink that it is, Sherlock Holmes also exists and even becomes the Mission Control in Fate/Grand Order's second Myth Arc. Should you manage to summon both of them as playable Servants, Holmes will even ask to have a chat with Waver (with one piece of official art implying that said chat involved Holmes's stash of chemical assistance).
  • Fighting Spirit: The Heroic Spirits, who are mythological figures from across history, employ Noble Phantasms, which are aspects of their legend formed into tools for defense/offense. For instance, Gilgamesh, one of the earliest Heroes whose myth has him collect all the treasures of the world, has the Gate of Babylon, a vault that contains every weapon ever made.
  • Gender-Bent Alternate Universe: A staple of the franchise, seeing it features gender-bent versions of popular figures from history, folklore, and urban legend. Despite this, the trope is inverted with its signature character, Artoria Pendragon— our universe's "Arthur" is a female, but the male Arthur comes from a parallel world.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The franchise, which is notorious for gender-bending various male historical figures and characters, keeps the names of the people/characters, so in this series, male-looking names are absolutely no hint as to which sex the character is. The only, sole exception to this is Arturia, the iconic female King Arthur, with her male prototype design being named "Arthur" instead. As a result, you get a cast full of female characters named such things as Francis, Jack, Hassan, Mordred, or Nero, and people don't really question it. Though there's no shortage of actual male characters and female characters actually based on female historical figures/characters.
  • Gender Flip:
    • The series as it was released is gender-flipped compared to the scenario originally planned: Saber herself was originally going to be a male character and servant of a Meganekko who was the basis of Shirou and Rin. The original scenario was eventually turned into a 12-minute long OVA called Fate/Prototype and later expanded to the Fragments of Sky Silver novels.
    • In the parody manga Sensha Otoko: A True Tank Story, Waver Velvet is a girl and Iskandar's love interest. Enkidu, who in the canon is Ambiguous Gender but is usually referred to with male pronouns, is a girl and Gilgamesh's love interest.
  • Generational Trauma: Zoken is the centuries-old, patriarch of the Matou family. Throughout his life, his ideals become corrupted until he only cares about power. Unfortunately for him, the Matous' magic has been slowly dying out for decades. If you combine this with that in magus culture the strength and lineage of one's magical crests are everything, then you get an unforgiving, immoral grandfather who disdains and abuses his offspring —his son Byakuya and his grandson Shinji for having been born with crests too weak to be trained as magi. Byakuya tries to be a supportive, loving father, however, Zoken's insults are overwhelming enough that Shinji grows a bitter, arrogant, sexual abuser. To add salt in the wound, Zoken adopts the daughter of another family, Sakura, in the hopes of passing down the family magic to her. In Fate/stay night, Shinji shows no compunctions to venting out his frustrations on Sakura and letting his Servant drain people's souls. The Matous who have indeed strong crests aren't treated any better. Zoken disowns his other son, Kariya, after the latter rejects his family's traditions out of repulsion. Even then, Shinji and Kariya are similar in that they are possessive and abusive toward their Love Interests. As Fate/Zero shows, Kariya only accepts the magic to save his crush's daughter Sakura from being adopted by Zoken. Both of them are subjected to what amounts to rape by magical worms and become living hives for the wretched things in exchange for a powerful magic boost.
  • God Is Good: The Mesopotamian deities Ishtar and Ereshkigal are also summonable servants and quite nice girls in their own way. Neither wants humans to suffer and both help in their own way when Tiamat threatened Sumer. However, this may be subverted when looked through the whole franchise at large: that Ishtar and Ereshkigal could afford to be nice because they were inhabiting the bodies of Rin Tohsaka, thus allowing her good side to influence them. In Fate/strange Fake, we're given another version of Ishtar that does not possess the body of Rin, and as it turns out she is extremely malicious and stole the Grand Order's version of Bull of Heaven to attack Gilgamesh and Enkidu out of spite, without any care to the collateral damage.
  • Gratuitous English: Regardless of their nation of origin or the current language being spoken in-story, there are very good chances that a hero's Noble Phantasm, an armament or technique representing their legend, will have an English-language True Name. In Grand Order, at least one Servant is doing this on purpose, so maybe True Names aren't as foundational and immutable as you might assume.
  • The Hashshashin: One of the standard classes of Heroic Spirit is directly called Assassin, and in almost all of the Holy Grail Wars (at least originally), the Assassin figure was none other than Hassan-i Sabbah, one of the most famous leaders of the historical Hashshashin. More precisely, it was one of the leaders of the order who, in the Fate continuity, all bear the title of Hassan.
  • Healthy in Heaven: "Heroic Spirits" (notable souls of history, myth, or old fiction), when summoned as "Servants" (i.e "souls" given a body out of mana), tend to be taken from their prime, i.e relatively young and healthy. Okita Souji (a member of The Shinsengumi, class Saber), however, is a subversion — she's well known for being sickly (with tuberculosis) and dying young because of it that it becomes part of her "legend" and as such, even as a Heroic Spirit, she still has her sickness (it's even a skill called "Weak Constitution"), even if it won't kill her. Similarly, Nero Claudius still suffers from migraines and Benienma is still missing her tongue as Heroic Spirits because those traits were part of their legends. Professor James Moriarty frequently complains about being summoned as a middle-aged man with back problems.
  • Historical Domain Superperson: Historical figures can be summoned as magical beings called Servants to fight in the Holy Grail War. Servants are far more powerful than normal humans and their Noble Phantasms can leave areas in ruins (some are capable of wiping out entire cities). Some highlights include:
  • Historical Gender Flip: Gender-flipping famous historical and/or legendary figures has for better or worse become one of the series's hallmarks.
    • Saber's character is thoroughly explored in different ways in Fate/stay night and the prequel Fate/Zero. It should be noted that she is quite insistent on being called "king," and spent most of her life doing everything she could to ignore or hide her female gender. Due to sexism, she didn't have much choice. A relatively small core of her inner circle knew the truth, including Merlin, Lancelot, Gawain, Guinevere, and her older foster brother Kay. Certainly puts a different spin on Lancelot and Guinevere's affair, doesn't it?
    • Fate/EXTRA features a gender-flipped version of Nero as the playable Saber. It also has a female Francis Drake as the Pirate Girl Rider, originally implied to be Queen Elizabeth in disguise, though later games have dropped that interpretation. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, the spin-off, added a female version of Attila the Hun (who was more notably an alien superweapon).
    • In Fate/Apocrypha, Assassin of Black is gender-flipped Jack the Ripper (though justified as Jack's true identity is unknown, and while Assassin of Black killed prostitutes, she doesn't know for certain if she was Jack due to her vague memories) and Saber of Red is a gender-flipped Mordred (created through a bizarre set of circumstances involving sorcery who, like her "father," insists on not being treated as female). Non-historically, it also has a gender-flipped Frankenstein's Monster, because Victor Frankenstein always intended to make a pair (instead of being blackmailed by The Creature to make a mate) but just made "Eve" first and was turned off after seeing how she turned out with her wanting him to finish the job. Amusingly, it also features a subversion with Astolfo, who several characters in-universe originally mistake for being female due to both looks and personality, but he's still a guy, as Jeanne finds out first-hand when he comes out of the shower naked with his privates exposed. Worth noting is that Astolfo's existence as a gender neutral character is what lead to Modred being made female, so as to avoid having two amibigiously gendered characters.
    • Fate/strange Fake changes genders without flipping the male/female binary. Enkidu gets changed from being male to having No Biological Sex and an androgynous appearance (depending on the translation, they're given "he" or "they" pronouns). There's also another iteration of Jack the Ripper, this one a personification of Jack's legend; they have no fixed gender, and are able to take the form of anyone or anything that's been identified as Jack, including Assassin of Black.
    • Koha-Ace features a genderflipped Oda Nobunaga and Okita Souji. The rest of the cast retain their historical genders until the introduction of Nagao Kagetora. Since it's a gag series, it isn't treated particularly seriously, but Nobunaga has actually been fleshed out a bit more in later, more serious works, where she crushed all dissent through force and ruled openly as a woman, and her downfall came when one of her retainers, Akechi, who was in love with her and jealous of her seemingly favoring others, assassinated her out of mad jealousy. It also introduced well in advance the idea that Sun Wukong has the power to change his physical gender along with his shape.
    • Fate/Grand Order, having a huge cast compared to most other entries in the franchise, has naturally added many more examples, such as Minamoto-no-Raikou (Yorimitsu) and her descendant Ushiwakamaru (Yoshitsune). As early as the first event, the developers had already begun to parody the trope with Artemis, who originally pretends to be a gender-flipped Orion, and the cast buys it before the real Orion, whom she's trapped as a stuffed animal, starts to speak up. In fact, gender-flipping historical figures has gotten so common that the franchise has begun to try to be clever about it. Miyamoto Musashi is a woman, but she actually comes from an Alternate Timeline while the "main" Nasuverse's Miyamoto Musashi is explicitly referred to as male. Leonardo da Vinci appears as a woman, but is confirmed to have been male in life; his obsession with aesthetics and the Golden Rule (Beauty) skill altered his appearance and gender into that of the Mona Lisa (not that da Vinci seems to mind). And the original Katsushika Hokusai takes the form of a tiny octopus that floats near his daughter Oui (the "Servant Hokusai" is both of them, since Oui produced some of her own art under her father's name). Xu Fu is a woman and comments that some bureaucrats hated her seemingly for being a woman given the important task of discovering immortality for the emperor and thus wrote her as being a man just to spite her (her own androgynous looks combined with her clothing doesn't hurt either). Van Gogh claims to be a female Vincent van Gogh, but it is noted that the real one was male, with lots of evidence to counter her claim; she is eventually revealed to be an artificial mashup of Van Gogh's memories and the body and soul of Clytie, created by an Eldritch Abomination after the real Van Gogh refused to serve its plans to the point of killing himself. Meanwhile, Kiichi Hougen appears to be another genderbent servant, but it turns out that Hougen has the ability to shapeshift into different genders (in which their gender is listed as unknown instead). Lostbelt 6 introduces Gender Flip and Fairy versions of Lancelot, Gawain, and Tristan that serve Morgan le Fay. However, they are revealed by the Tristan from Proper Human History to actually be Fairies that have stolen the identities of the real knights. Russian folk-hero Dobrynya Nikitich appears as a woman rather than a male, though it's revealed that like Artemis with Orion, it is actually Dobrynya's wife Nastasia taking over his Spirit Graph when summoned. Don Quixote's squire Sancho Panza is a horsegirl, but rather than being gender-flipped, she's a composite of Don Quixote's supporting cast, including Sancho, Dulcinea, Altisidora, and his horse Rocinante.
    • While she was alluded to and had a voiced cameo prior to her official reveal, Fate/Grand Order Arcade introduces Merlin Prototype, who is a gender-flip of both her male counterpart Merlin from the main game, and also of the mythological figure Merlin who himself was an amalgamation of different historical and mythological figures; in her native universe, Arthur and Mordred are male, and she's the one who got gender-flipped. This is also a Casting Gag since as the Male Proto Arthur and Main Universe Merlin share the same voice actor, so too do Proto Merlin and Artoria. (Staff have joked this would also apply to a Proto Fou, since regular Fou also shares his actress with Artoria)
    • The mobile and arcade versions of Fate/Grand Order are basically Alternate Timelines, with one of the differences at first glance being that Jacques de Molay is a male Saber in Arcade and a female Foreigner in Mobile. However, Foreigner Jacques was a man in life, who changed genders post-mortem due to the influence of his patron Outer God, which would point to them actually being different classes of the same Heroic Spirit... if it weren't for the fact Foreigner Jacques asserts she wasn't strong enough to become a Heroic Spirit by herself, and dismisses the idea of her Saber counterpart's existence. What's actually going on with them is currently unknown.
    • The practice in Fate/Grand Order is Justified (and mocked) in the parody manga Learning with Manga! FGO, where the implied reason for the genderflips among the original Servants' ranks is due to the protagonist being a lesbian with a "no boys" policy. This is the origin of the Paul Bunyan servant in the game, who doesn't understand how on earth she became a small girl.
    • Fate/Requiem: Erice Utsumi ponders on the series' tendency to have men in history and myth actually be women, using Francis Drake as an example, as all of her contemporaries remember her as either male or female. Erice concludes that Drake's actual gender doesn't really matter, compared to the great feats achieved. So far, the Greek mathematician Euclid has been revealed as a woman.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The franchise uses this trope a lot, along with its counterpart, and justifies it, since the summoning of a Heroic Spirit draws its power from the legends surrounding the person and integrates them, so people who for some reason have acquired a popular reputation of being evil will be influenced by it. There is even a special attribute for it: "Innocent Monster".
  • Hollywood Board Games: On two occasions a modified chess board can be seen — 7x7 grid, Masters as the pawns, Servants as the other pieces, and a Holy Grail in the middle. Each time, its presence signifies different things. Although, in both cases, the Masters are the pawns not only because they are more plainly designed than the Servants but also because the power plays between the Servants have as much of an impact on the Wars' outcomes as the interactions between the Masters.
    • Fate/Zero: Gilgamesh is seen idly playing with a golden set of this board, although it appears to only have one side. That is golden is a nod to how Gilgamesh only owns the very best of everything because he considers himself king of everything. On the other hand, this also gives Chess Motifs to him in the sense of him being a massive Manipulative Bastard who treats people as pawns because it entertains him. Curiously enough, his class (Archer), is not positioned in the center. That position belongs to the Saber class. Plot-wise, this makes sense as Saber is The Protagonist and also the most powerful class.
    • Fate/Apocrypha: That it's Lord El-Melloi II, aka Waver, the one explaining the modified rules of the Great Holy Grail War to one of his students through the aforementioned board means two things primarily. One, he survived a previous war and not only emerged unscathed but also learned to be more patient and confident in his own strategies. Two, that he's a much more approachable Professor than Lord El-Melloi I was. About the student himself, he's very much a Keet and seems to learn better when he can see and interact with stuff. On a related note, this particular board has two sides (black and red), thus matching the special circumstances of this war.
  • Home Field Advantage:
    • The Unlimited Blade Works spell (and indeed any and all Reality Marbles) basically invokes this trope, turning the battlefield into one that's perfect for Archer or Shirou to battle in.
    • In fact, the power of a Servant varies depending of how much it's known and/or revered in their current location. For example, Word of God states that Lancer of "Black" (Vlad the Impaler) could completely destroy Berserker (Heracles/Hercules) and Saber (gender-flipped King Arthur) from Fate/stay night, two Servants whose identities are known world-wide, because he was summoned in his home country of Romania, close to his native city to boot, and has a Skill that lets him secure a certain amount of land as his own and boost his power as long as he remains within the bounds of that land (which fittingly enough, is at the headquarters of the Yggdmillennia). This dual-layer homefield advantage is enough he's able to fight toe-to-toe with Lancer of "Red" (Karna) when normally he would be completely crushed by his Gilgamesh-leveled opponent. This is what ends up happening when he is forced to sacrifice said advantage to fight on the enemy's home turf.
    • Caster Servants have a Skill called Territory Creation, which lets them designate an area as their "Workshop". Inside the Workshop, they are able to gather Mana from the environment (Servants normally need to get Mana from their Masters) and have some control over the surroundings.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation:
    • Inverted. Whereas the first few installments had a greater emphasis on the human Masters (the Fate/stay night saga, Lord El-Melloi II Case Files), many of the spin-offs will put focus on the Servants instead, with the Master either playing Supporting Protagonist or backup. Fate/Grand Order even plays around with this by taking alternate versions of previous Masters and turning them into Servants, either by posession or due to the feats they accomplished in their own timeline.
    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA is one of the few straighter instances of the trope, as the focus is on Magical Girl Warriors that primarily use Servants as powerups.
    • Capsule Servant is also primarily about the antics of the human Masters, as the Servants are reimagined into more traditional Mons in this universe.
    • The Servant Universe is a parody of the franchise's usual inversion, as it takes place in a timeline where only Servants exist. There used to be regular humans around, but that was generations before everyone figured out how to put Saint Graphs in their body.
  • I Know Your True Name:
    • When it comes to "Servants", they tend to have their true names hidden behind their class name, i.e "Saber", "Archer", etc. Downplayed in that it happens less for "magical" reasons and more for practical ones: Servants are (typically) historical/mythical people and thus are famous in one way or another; their abilities and weaknesses can be easily discerned just by learning their true names, so they make sure to not reveal them to anyone but their "Masters". In Fate/Zero, two Servants discard this advantage by openly announcing their true names, both purely out of ego. Alexander the Great (Rider) tries to recruit all the other Servants to abandon the Holy Grail War and become his generals to conquer the world, while Gilgamesh (Archer) simply thinks the other Servants and their Masters are so far beneath him that there's no point hiding his identity. It's played straighter with their "Noble Phantasms", an item/ability that is the "crystallized legend" of the respective Servants in question; they usually have to be invoked by saying its name if they want to use the greater extent of the Noble Phantasms' strength. Like the identities of the Servants, having other people learn of a Servant's Noble Phantasm's name can lead to them deducing the Servant's identity, so they tend to not be used until the right time.
    • The normal way to summon a Servant requires a catalyst, an item from their life (or at the very least intimately associated with their legend) to focus in on them and summon them. The exceptions are the True Assassins, the nineteen men and women who bore the name Hassan-i-Sabbah. Since they are the origin of the word "assassin," the class name itself is the catalyst. Other members of the Assassin class still need normal catalysts.
    • Servants with the Skill "Uncrowned Martial Arts" cause anyone they meet to underestimate them, and if someone looks at them through Stat-O-Vision, all of their stats will look one Rank weaker than they actually are. If someone learns the Servant's true name, the effect will not apply to them and they will see exactly how strong the Servant is.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The franchise has the infamous "Saber-face" phenomenon, whereby random female heroines will inexplicably have the exact same face as Saber Artoria Pendragon, whether they're from Britain (Artoria, her Alternate Universe counterparts, and her "son" Mordred), Rome (Emperor Nero), France (Jeanne d'Arc), Japan (Okita Souji) or India (Lakshmibai). The reason for this is the head character designer really, really likes Artoria's design and frequently re-uses it for new heroines. Later stories in the franchise begin to Lampshade this, up to and including a version of Artoria whose sole desire is to brutally murder all the other Saberfaces in the franchise for copying her looks, or various characters who had a fixation with one particular Saberface in life but cannot tell them apart as Servants.
  • Interspecies Romance: Most of the Servants used to be humans but, after passing away and being recruited by the Throne of the Heroes, they become Heroic Spirits — beings made of Mana with suprahuman abilities that can be summoned. The Masters, on the other hand, are human beings who more often than not are practitioners of magecraft. It's a staple of the franchise to have the Servants and the Masters engage in some sort of romantic relationship or, at least, feel attraction.
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: Shirou Emiya and his future counterpart Archer EMIYA have the Reality Marble Unlimited Blade Works. A Reality Marble is a Mental World that can create anything the user imagines and either draw people into it or pull their creations into the real world. While they cannot create divine constructs, it is easier and less energy-consuming for them to create weapons, especially swords, hence the name Unlimited Blade Works. If their hearts and minds falter, their creations become brittle. Chloe von Einzbern, who has a copy of Archer EMIYA's powers, can use it to create weapons, clothes, and a chair once.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Servants are spirits that don't age and can't die unless they run out of Mana or are killed via violence. They cannot have children with each other or with humans under normal circumstances.
  • Indecisive Parody: KOHA-ACE stars characters that intentionally invoke and parody common Servant types, and creates Servants that would either be Joke Characters (like Caster) or outright impossible to exist naturally (like Majin Saber). Its main heroines alone are foul-mouthed cute girl Historical Gender Flips; one of them is a Saberface just because, and she is both aware and angry about it. The characters spend their days getting on each others' nerves instead of doing anything cool, living with No Fourth Wall, and crossing over with other Type-Moon characters (Kohaku from Tsukihime being a favorite). Even its attempts at a coherent story arc are riddled with in-jokes and comedy, and some parts are called out in-universe as only getting serious in case games like Fate/Grand Order canonize them — yet the characters are treated sincerely enough to get completely serious elaborations,note  and its most famous story arc got a hotblooded, dramatic, very-much-straightforward-and-not-parodic-at-all remake in
  • Internal Homage: Saber's introduction to Shirou in Fate/stay night, where Shirou is on the ground mesmerised as Saber stands above him, asking "Are you my Master?", is repeated with main Master/Servant pairs all over the franchise.
  • Intra-Franchise Crossover:
    • Fate/Grand Order pulls from all over the Fate series, including its alternate universes (Prototype and the universe Musashi comes from, for starters), offshoot timelines (Hollow Ataraxia, EXTRA), and even its gag series (Koha-Ace and Learning with Manga!). Unfortunately, not everyone could make it to the game, as most of the cast of strange fake is on embargo until it wraps up.
    • Grand Order incorporates the greater Nasuverse even outside the Fate subseries; one of the first "collaboration" events of the game was with the Garden of sinners.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: There are plenty of examples, several of whom were actual knights of the Round Table.
  • Jackass Genie: After the Third Holy Grail War goes bonkers, the Grail is corrupted by an evil entity known as Angra Mainyu. As such, it will interpret every wish as a desire for destruction. One of the examples given is that a wish to be the wealthiest man in the world would kill everyone richer than you. Another is when a character wished for world peace, the Grail stated its intention to grant that wish by killing everyone on the planet except for him and his daughter (can't have conflict if everyone is dead).
  • Ludd Was Right: Inverted in Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero. This is how almost every magus views the situation, preferring to rely on magecraft and completely ignoring the technological side of things. 'As science moves towards the future, magic moves towards the past' is seen as the perfect summation, and that regressing and falling behind is perfectly okay. In Fate/Zero, Kiritsugu exploits the hell out of this because magi are so rooted in tradition.

    There is some justification for their viewpoint. In the Nasuverse's backstory, the modern age was preceded by an "Age of the Gods" when sorcery was commonplace and magicians could do just about anything. In the modern age, that type of all-powerful sorcery is essentially a lost art, and the magecraft used by modern magi is a pale imitation limited by numerous rules. (The corollary to that is that human beings hadn't come up with any of that stuff themselves; it was all a gift of the gods.) One of those rules is that magecraft cannot accomplish anything that normal humans can't accomplish without magecraft, but that rule also works in reverse; new applications of magecraft become possible as technology advances, and given enough time and technological advancement magecraft could eventually replace the old art of sorcery.
  • The Magic Goes Away: As modern science develops more and more, magi gradually lose their powers. Fate/stay night's Caster can canonically take on every living magi in the modern world and win because she's from the age of gods and miracles, and science hasn't nerfed her magic. This is also why the three known true magics are so powerful: they are beyond modern science and so haven't been hit by this effect at all. Given what happens in one of the possible "The End of the World as We Know It"s, in which magic dies out completely, this could be construed as not the best of courses for humanity (although whether it was avoidable is another matter). In another timeline, magic went away but was replaced by Sufficiently Advanced Technology from an alien civilization.
  • Made of Indestructium: The weapons Excalibur, Arondight, and Durandal are said to be unbreakable in their respective myths. In Excalibur's case, it's also because of its status as the sword that reflects the light of the world — essentially, a sword so over-powered, it can drive aliens away.
  • Mental Time Travel: Physical time travel is one of the few abilities that is considered to be impossible unless it's in very specific conditions or part of a special ability wielded by a select few. However, sending back mental information is an achievable task for people to accomplish with the catch being that it's usually a one-way trip from the present/future to the past and will undo the original timeline from where they were sent.
  • Modernized God: Throughought the Fate multiverse, many characters of mythology and old history are summoned into the modern world as "Servants". Some of them adapt to the new world just fine (such as Arturia or Gilgamesh), wearing modern clothing and indulging in present-day food and entertainment; a few of them even use modern weapons in fights, such as Lancelot.
  • Mons Series: Servants are summoned by the Holy Grail in order to serve under one Master each, so they can all fight to obtain a wish. Servants are Mana constructs of sufficiently famous historical or fictional figures. They are way more powerful than a regular human and are bound by Command Spells to obey their Masters. In some installments, it's possible for a Master to have more than one Servant active and in their repertoire. In a small twist, the Masters are often mages, so they can partake in the action as well — against other Masters, that is, because fighting a Servant is basically suicide by proxy.
  • Multiple-Choice Future: As shown in Fate/Grand Order and Fate/Extella, history naturally "branches" into multiple timelines as it goes, following the different decisions and events in each part of history. However, the world - which is a supernatural, sentient being in this franchise - regularly cut off those branching timelines with something called "Quantum Time-Lock", which occurs every hundred years or so. The branches that are cut are those that strayed too far away from the "trunk of the history tree", i.e the correct history.
  • Musical Nod: Works handled by the original composer for Fate/stay night will frequently slip in references to his old music with each new instalment:
    • Fate/EXTRA:
      • Caster's theme, "Caster ~ An Extra Life With Anyone She Wants", is lifted from a menu theme from stay night, originally titled "Extra"
      • "Last Piece" from Fate/hollow ataraxia was remixed into "PIECE" and "Last Piece Again" for key emotional beats in CCC.
    • Fate/Grand Order:
      • Fuyuki's map theme is a remix of "Into the Night" from Fate/stay night, as an indication that the protagonist, like Shirou Emiya, has just stepped into something much bigger when rayshifted to Fuyuki. It gets a Dark Reprise as Andromalius' battle theme, since that Demon Pillar represents Fuyuki for the final battle.
      • "Olden Capital" contains a reference to Gilgamesh's theme, "Golden King", to represent that the protagonists have been exploring his domain in 2655 BC.
      • "Spinal Swan Coaster" is a Triumphant Reprise of "spinal coaster" from Fate/Extra CCC as a an accompaniment to Meltryllis defeating Kiara once and for all in SE.RA.PH.
      • "The Sun in the Abyss" is a gentler version of Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star's main theme, which appropriately plays in a story featuring Altera lending out a helping hand to Ereshkigal.
      • "Lost Piece" is a melancholic rearrangement of "last piece" from Fate/Hollow Ataraxia.
      • The Olympus map music is an intense remix of the music for Mare Carcer from Extella as a subtle nod to the Olympians' connection to the Extra continuity.
      • The Beast of Taming has four different boss themes, each being a Boss Remix of a Lostbelt map theme with a common bassline; and fittingly, said bassline is the one from "Caster ~ An Extra Life With Anyone She Wants".
      • Morgan and Faerie Knight Gawain's boss themes lift several bars from stay night Saber's theme, "Sword of Promised Victory".
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: Eastern and western styles of magic are considered incompatible with one another (for starters, Continental Asian Magecraft uses a completely different system of accessing spell formulas via Philosophy Foundation that Westerners don't use) so mages of either style tend to keep to themselves. The only reason mages from the Clock Tower even consider coming over to Fuyuki, Japan, which is otherwise considered the magical boonies for them, is because it was the chosen place for the Holy Grail War.
  • Named After First Installment: The franchise is titled after the visual novel that began it, Fate/stay night. When other stories were released to expand on the universe, the Fate/ part of the title stayed as a prefix, while the text after the slash indicated its theme.
  • Navel Outline:
    • Medusa in her typical attire from the sometimes has this Depending on the Artist. Her final ascension in Fate/Grand Order, which is embarrassingly revealing to her, always sports this.
    • Scáthach plays this straight as a result of her Sensual Spandex.
    • Altera's first ascension sports this, while her usual attire and other ascensions bare her midriff outright.
    • Ushiwakamaru and BB in the non-bikini variations of their summer variants play this straight.
    • Miyu Edelfelt in her second ascension, reflecting her Magical Girl attire from her main series.
  • Neutral in Name Only: The Holy Church is supposed to be a neutral party to help maintain the rules of the Holy Grail War, but we never see them actually do that. More often than not, they are allied with one of the Masters or be themselves Masters in the Grail Wars.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot:
    • Due to the way the Throne of Heroes works, Heroic Spirits can be summoned as biker gorgons, Magic Knights with beam swords, or even time travelling magic mercenaries from the future. And those are just from the first installment alone.
    • Fate/EXTRA CCC introduced "High Servants", which are Heroic Spirits that are made up of more than one mythological figure. The Sakura Five are all made up of a part of B.B. and at least three godesses each. Sitonai of Fate/Grand Order goes even further, as she's both this and a Pseudo-Servant (meaning she's 3 different divine characters Sharing a Body). Oh, and the host body is a homunculus.
    • In addition to the abilities Heroic Spirits already have, there can be alternate selves with several further modifiers: Alter,note  Lily,note  Santa,note , Pseudo-Servantnote , and Demi-Servantnote  to name a few.
    • Parodied with Jeanne D'Arc Alter Santa Lily, who is the idealized younger self of a Santa self of an Evil Knockoff. Her introductory event had the world trying to figure out how she's even alive, as Jeanne Alter never had a younger self to be idealized since she was Born as an Adult.
  • No Body Left Behind: Servants dissolve into energy when they die because they are summons made of and fueled by Mana.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The definitions and qualifications of the Servant classes are actually quite loose, to the point of Memetic Mutation.
    • The Saber class is usually made up of sword users, which would be what you'd expect... Except that you have folks like Saber Karna who uses Good Old Fisticuffs, and Rama who states his sword is a throwing weapon. And then there's the fact that most of those Sabers can shoot Sword Beams, which technically makes them ranged fighters. Which in turn would qualify them for...
    • The Archer class, which is not actually just archers but anyone who "fights from range". This includes people who use guns and crossbows, like Billy the Kid and William Tell, but also has some completely absurd members like Summer Artoria Pendragon (who uses a squirt gun), Nikola Tesla (who shoots lightning), Asagami Fujino (who can twist things - that's not even throwing anything!), and Summer Jeanne (who throws dolphins. Yes, you read that right). And then there are the folks who can use a bow and arrow but choose not to, like the above mentioned FSN Archers and Chiron, who uses Pankration. The game itself pokes a lot of fun with this, but the grand prize has to go to Caster Merlin, who says that "even though his sword shoots beams, he's not an Archer."
    • The definition of Lancer is a horse-riding knight or similar wielding a lance. The definition of Lancer in FGO is anyone who wields a spear, which includes lances, spears, naginatas, scythes, etc. And then there's the Grand Lancer, who isn't wielding anything. He IS the spear, and he fights by shooting energy from his hands. This was questioned by a LOT of people.
    • Rider sounds quite self-evident compared to the others... until Medb tells you that the only reason she qualifies for it is because she's skilled at riding men. Yes, you can ride anything in this class. Except dragons, demonic beasts, or other kinds of magical entities. Then you need a special skill to actually ride them. Not to mention as well that Riding in particular has been shown in other Fate works to also be a skill that a Servant of any other class can have without being a Rider; Artoria Pendragon and Mordred, both Sabers, have it at a decently high rank, and in fact four of the currently nine Servants to have it at its maximum level aren't even Riders.
    • You'd think Caster would just contain wizards. It doesn't. Other than magic users, this is the go-to class for scientists, inventors, craftsmen, and artists. This is why Thomas Edison and Hans Christian Andersen are here. It should also be noted Muramasa —a swordsmith— is annoyed that he's a Saber as he would normally be in this class, and he even has the otherwise-Caster-exclusive Territory Creation skill.
    • A good chunk of the Assassin class failed to assassinate their targets. Grand Assassin is a swordsman, which is Lampshaded the second he shows up. And why is Dr. Henry Jekyll here?
    • You'd think that the Berserker class is made up of people with Unstoppable Rage. Sure, there's no shortage of them, but that's not the actual qualification. Berserkers are those who are inflicted with Madness Enhancement, which makes their behaviour erratic even if it previously wasn't. While there are plenty of natural Berserkers who had a few screws loose to begin with, you also end up with folks like Florence Nightingale (who wasn't like this at all in real life), and Beowulf who isn't acting any crazy at all. Oh and by the way, there are some people out of the Berserker class who have Madness Enhancement.
    • The Ruler class, introduced in Fate/Apocrypha, sounds like a class where you'd find a lot of kings. No. It's a class for people who do not wish for the Holy Grail, and they're supposed to act as regulators for the other Servants... Except that Amakusa Shirou Tosikada didn't get the memo, because he sure wants that cup. And there are a whole bunch of people in other classes who are not interested in the grail either.
  • Not the Intended Use: Fate/stay night, the first game in the series, is about seven magi summoning ancient heroes to fight each other for the Holy Grail. Most other entries are variants of this theme. Fate/Grand Order reveals that the entire Servant system was actually designed to fight the impossibly powerful Beasts as a team. This is also why the classes seem so unbalanced; it's using a Player Versus Environment system as a Player Versus Player system, so the classes that were designed for direct combat have an advantage when fighting the classes that were supposed to stay in the back and support them.
  • Obvious Crossover Method: The entire concept of Servants means that it's easy to summon a crossover character as a Servant. There are even canonical examples of fictional characters being summoned, so they don't even need to be established as previously existing in the same universe. Likewise, characters from other settings starting their own Grail Wars.
  • Off the Rails: The horrible, horrible events of the Third Holy Grail War shape many of the awful circumstances that would later haunt the protagonists of the Fourth and Fifth. The Edelfelt sisters cheated using their Ore Scales ability to summon two Sabers. It ended with the sisters defeated, one of them running away from Japan. Darnic Prestone attempted to steal the Greater Grail with Nazi help. It ended with the Imperial Army duking it out with the Nazis in Fuyuki. The Einzberns tried to cheat by summoning a God of Evil. It ends up tainting the Grail with All the World's Evils. And in all the hoopla, the Lesser Grail was destroyed.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • The nature of the Servant class system means there are several characters throughout the franchise who bear the same titles, so when, for example, someone mentions the character Rider they may have to be more specific as to which Rider. It doesn't help that there's a strong practical reason to not easily reveal the Servant's true name — that would give away their weaknesses and abilities. In some installments, Servants have different, alternate, playable versions such as when they are summoned in a different class or when they have a Darker and Edgier Alter.
    • The Biblical king David is a Servant, but there's also the normal person David Bluebook running around in the game's second storyline, whom the game frequently flashes back to at the start of story chapters.
  • Open Secret: In the Clock Tower, it's obvious to anyone who cares to look at the evidence that the Tohsakas and the Edefelts are recently related, something both families will vehemently deny. The story behind that started when the twin Edefelt sisters went to Japan to participate in the Third Holy Grail War, only to lose. Because only one of them would be allowed to inherit the Edefelt's magic crest, the two were expected to fight to the death so that only the stronger of the two would return. The older sister returned, but with only half of her magic crest, claiming her sister's half had been destroyed in their battle. In reality, the younger sister was rescued by the Tohsaka heir, who later married her, and added her half of the magic crest to the Tohsaka's magic crest, granting her son and granddaughter the jewel magecraft that the Edefelts were well-known for. In the modern day, Rin and Luvia resemble reach other and use almost identical magecraft, yet maintain the history that Rin's grandmother was an unknown European woman, and that Luvia's grandmother survived the Third Grail War while her younger sister didn't.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Subverted. In real life Arthurian legend, Mordred is the illegitimate son of King Arthur, made through the intervention of Morgan le Fey (exactly what she did varies depending on the legend). In Fate/stay night, one of the first major reveals is that King Arthur is actually female. Many fans assumed that Mordred would therefore be an Opposite-Sex Clone. In Fate/Apocrypha, we find out that Mordred is indeed an Opposite-Sex Clone... except she's still female. Specifically, Artoria was temporarily transformed into a pseudo-male by Merlin, and Artoria's sister Morgan le Fey used the opportunity to get a DNA sample. She then used that to grow a homunculus of the opposite gender, meaning Mordred came out female. Word of God explained some of this before Apocrypha came out.
  • Overused Copycat Character: ** Many characters in the franchise share a physical resemblance to Saber/Artoria Pendragon, who besides having variants of the original (and one literal clone in Mordred) also has several unrelated characters who share the same face. Referenced in Fate/Grand Order with characters having a hidden attribute called "Saberface", that causes some enemies to react differently to them. Then there's Mysterious Heroine X, who is definitely not Artoria hunting down her clones.
  • Prestigious Player Title: Fate/EXTRA and Fate/Grand Order revolve around the idea that the player themselves is one of many Masters from the franchise, a mage capable of commanding Heroic Spirits, mythological and historical figures who are incarnated as Servants, and refer to the main character who serves as the player's stand-in as said Master.
  • Privileged Rival: Rin Tohsaka used to be rich but was orphaned and her guardian, Kirei Kotomine, squandered her money. This hurts her because her main form of Magecraft requires gemstones as ingredients. Rin's main rival is Luvia Edelfelt, who uses most of the same Magecraft as Rin, but is absurdly wealthy and can afford pretty much anything, including nearly unlimited gemstones. Luvia constantly flaunts her wealth and mocks Rin for being poor.
  • Public Domain Character: Starting with Fate/stay night, the series revolves around humans summoning "Heroic Spirits" to act as a type of super-powered Familiar known as "Servants." Sources range from Arthurian Legend (such as King Arthur and Mordred), to Celtic/classical/Aztec/etc. Mythology (such as Cú Chulainn, and Heracles), to characters from more modern fiction (such as Dr. Jekyll and the Phantom of the Opera).
  • Pure Magic Being: "Servants" are the consciousness of famous mythical/historical figures (called "Heroic Spirits") being summoned into a body made of pure mana of the summoner (usually called "Master"). They require constant supply of mana from their masters to stay alive, and using their supernatural abilities may exhaust the Master's mana if they're used too much. Killing a Servant would require either being killed by other Servants (or other supernatural beings), or having their mana supply cut off in some way, usually by affecting their Master.
  • Purpose-Driven Immortality: Faeries function like this in the Sixth Lostbelt as they neither age nor require sustenance, simply born with a function to fulfill and as long as they stay true to this purpose, they can remain immortal. Faeries that forget their purpose eventually suffer thorough Loss of Identity since it's core to who they are and will decay into Mors. Faeries that remember their purpose but cannot actively fulfill it will drive themselves mad and mutate into a Nightcall. Unfortunately in certain cases, a faerie's purpose can be any kind of goal and they will stoop to horrifying lows to fulfill like Aurora, whose purpose is to be the most brilliant and beautiful faerie. This has led to a centuries-long obsession with being admired and has her mastermind the deaths of various characters because she cannot stand them outshining her and capturing the attention of others.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: The EX rank in general, as the rank indicates the weapon/ability cannot be properly measured. Ea is this by virtue of being incredibly powerful, but other EX abilities approach the trope from different angles. For example, A rank magic resistance grants incredible resilience to a spell, EX magic resistance makes spells simply miss the person entirely. A rank Mad Enhancement renders its user absurdly powerful, but completely incoherent; EX madness can be anything from "in full control of their faculties, except in this one circumstance, where they go full crazy with stats to match" to "so crazed literally nothing gets into their thick skulls, and so insane their speech goes back to being coherent".
  • Recurring Element: Most novel spinoffs will have a Servant or some kind of threat show up at the midpoint of the story that is so absurdly strong and/or dangerous compared to everyone else that they mutually agree to put aside their differences and the Holy Grail War because it's more pragmatic to get rid of said threat before it endangers them all.
  • Red Baron: Some Servants have nicknames such as "The King of Conquerors" (Alexander the Great), "The King of Knights" (King Arthur), or "The King of Heroes" (Gilgamesh).
  • Rubber-Band History: There are multiple timelines in the verse, and the history in each naturally branches based on decisions/different happenstances that may occur. The "rubber band" here exists in the name of "Quantum Time-Lock" —a phenomenon where the world (which is a sentient being in this verse) decides that things that happen in a particular time and/or in a particular place are immutable. One can theoretically change the past events that led to the event that was secured by Quantum Time-Lock, but that past will inevitably be "corrected" so that it will fit the secured event in some way.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The franchise tends to change myths around a lot, but these are usually intentional creative modifications. Examples range from simply gender-bending historical figures to making their myths real (with wacky magic and mythological creatures) to outright changing the experiences they lived into something more fantastic.
  • Sailor Earth:
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • Gilgamesh said and does this word by word during Carnival Phantasm while stabbing Lancer with hundreds of blades with Gate of Babylon.
    • Nero Claudius possesses the ability "Imperial Privilege EX", which basically lets her say "I am the Emperor, so I decide what I am able to do!" It's what allows her to be a good fighter when historically Nero was no such thing (even in the Nasuverse): she decides she should be a good fighter, so she is. Skills she gains this way are only temporary though, and she will quickly forget them when they're not in use.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • Just how many Servants can you fit in a Grail War? Fate/stay night and its prequel keeps it at about 7 (Gilgamesh and True Assassin notwithstanding). Then it's revealed in the original version of Prototype that Saber would've had to fight the previous War's six Servants on top of the threats he already faces. Fate/Apocrypha tops that by having two teams of 7 and a supervisor in the form of Ruler, two of them, in fact. Fate/EXTRA (CCC) has 128 Masters all fighting (though gameplay and story limitations means the player gets to see about 15 of the actual participants) for the Grail. Fate/Grand Order allows you to use all those Servants and then some, even allowing you to swing by other eras' Grail Wars with all of their Servants. Fate/Requiem trumps them all with everybody on the planet but the protagonist getting Servants as a result of an unspecified war.
    • How specialized can a Servant class get? The Assassins initially were ranked from the 19 members of the Hassan clan (that changed), while the Rulers were initially servants of God (also changed). Fate/EXTRA introduced the concept of special classes that only one Servant can have, like Saver (Buddha) and Funny Vamp/Temptress (a possible class for Arcueid Brunestud). As of Fate/Grand Order, we have the Moon Cancer class, which consists of B.B. and for the longest time only B.B. (until Ganesha/Jinako showed up, turning it into generally Moon Cell-only).
  • Series Mascot: Saber (specifically the one from Fate/stay night) is single-handedly the most iconic Servant due to her historical gender flip and her status as a main character, which guaranteed she was given a lot of development. Proof of this is that she appears in several other installments, either as a major player or in a secondary role. And, when not, some Servant that shares her exact same model (aka, all of the Saber faces) is.
  • Signature Mon: Within the Nasuverse, most Masters can only summon one Servant, but are able to make contracts with other Servants that have already been summoned. In reverse, Servants who have been serving more than one Master can also have their own Signature Master. This depends on the duration of the Master-Servant contract and how compelling their dynamic is.
  • The Sleepless: As long as a Servant has a steady supply of Mana, they don't have to sleep.
  • Soul Eating:
    • Servants can do this to replenish their Mana, though the more wholesome ones are understandably quite averse to it. In Fate/Apocrypha, the Assassin Servant —a Chaotic Evil Anti-Villain— expresses a preference for evil souls because their foulness makes them that much tastier, and souls of similar alignment are easier to digest.
    • It's not commented on often, but other kinds of magical creatures are able to do this since a soul is a pretty nifty source of Mana and can even be used to extend one's lifespan, and even mages can get in on this. However, it's often looked down upon in modern magical society since, moral issues aside, plenty of things can go wrong in the process, and even if successful, prolonged usage will cause Death of Personality even in the best case scenario.
  • Specifically Numbered Group: There exist seven classes that can be summoned in Holy Grail Wars. The founding members of the Great Three Houses needed more Masters to participate in the ritual, thus the number of the main classes was fixed at seven. The seven classes are further divided into two categories: the Three Knights and the Four Cavalries. The Extra Classes are considered irregular.
  • The Speechless:
    • This was originally suggested to be a trait common to all of The Berserker-class Servants since their insanity has robbed them of their ability to speak. The Berserker of Fate/Zero (Sir Lancelot) also cannot speak and only vocalizes screams and growls. The one in Fate/stay night, Herakles, growls and roars a lot, but never talks. In fact, he's quite talkative after you kill him. In Fate/EXTRA, Lu Bu Fengxian likewise cannot speak. Fate/Grand Order did away with this convention, since a character who cannot speak is a very boring one to write for, and most of the Berserkers featured in it can speak, aside from those mentioned above.
    • Avenger of Shinjuku does not speak at all which is justified as it's the Headless Horseman who lacks a head to communicate verbally with and his partner is a wolf who has no means of speaking, magical or otherwise.
  • Spell My Name With An S: When it comes to Saber's real name, most works use the name "Artoria", a feminine equivalent to the name "Artorius", while Fate/Grand Order specifically uses the name "Altria". In Japanese, both names are pronounced as "A-ru-to-ri-a", but in English, there's a rather big difference in how they're pronounced.
  • Square Race, Round Class: Many Servants possess qualities that make them candidates for classes other than their main one — e.g., a Lancer that also learned Magecraft in life could be a Caster too. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that they are actually good at their secondary classes. The reason for this is that the Fuyuki summoning system dictates that only seven Servants can be summoned and that their classes are based on their best role. For example; if two Servants in a single Holy Grail War can be a Saber class, the best one will be summoned as a Saber while the other will be summoned as something else.
  • Summon Binding: A Servant - a Heroic Spirit which can be summoned as a familiar - is bound to their Master by Command Seals. These are three magical seals that, when used, force the Servant to obey a specific order no matter what.
  • Summon Magic: The Servants in Fate/stay night, the prequel, and the pseudo-sequel are copies of Heroic Spirits, heroes or other major figures from history and myth stored in the Throne of Heroes, an interdimensional realm where these figures go after death. A Magus prepares a magic circle, usually made of blood. Optionally, he/she can add a relic of that hero or specify them as a Berserker (provided that someone else hasn't summoned their Servant as a Berserker yet) in order to get a specific hero. If no relic is used, the Servant summoned will be a random one who has a compatible personality to the Master. Between the two is using a "generalist" relic that can potentially summon a pool of Heroic Spirits tied to it but will end up with the one most compatible with the Master. Then they show up, the Master makes a contract for a week or two throughout the Grail War. The Servant stays until either they are defeated or the Grail War ends, at which point the Grail stops helping the Master supply them with Prana and their copies disappear and merge with their original versions in the Throne of Heroes. Except for Gilgamesh, who did not return to the Throne of Heroes after the end of the Fourth Holy Grail War. In addition, due to making a deal with the Earth, Saber/Arturia has chosen not to join the Throne of Heroes until she wins a Holy Grail War and gets her wish, so instead, she returns to her original moment of death every time she dies in a Holy Grail War (which is what happens offscreen at the end of Fate/Zero, and the cycle ends in the main ending of the Fate route of Fate/stay night, where she accepts being Killed Off for Real). Saber and Rider/Medusa also stay in the present with their Masters in two of the endings of Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel respectively. Oh, and the magus who summons them generally has an absolutely 0% chance of ever being able to beat their Servant in combat, though there are a few exceptions. Among the Servants themselves, a few have the ability to cast their own Summon Magic. Fate/Zero's Caster, for instance, instead of fighting the others directly, only ever uses his Tome of Eldritch Lore to bring in monsters that fight on his behalf.
  • Super-Strength: All Servants are notably stronger than humans — in fact, an E Rank in Strength means you're technically 10x stronger than the strongest living human.
  • Sword Beam: A Drama CD jokes about the overuse of this trope with Saber-class Servants by declaring that Sabers must be able to shoot beams from their swords. In actuality though, there are about as many Sabers who don't shoot beams as there are that do.
  • Take It to the Bridge: Fuyuki City has a red bridge (based on the Kobe Ohashi) as a prominent backdrop for several scenes, including Rider's last stand against Gilgamesh in Fate/Zero and Saber's long-distance battle with Archer in Fate/hollow ataraxia.
  • They Would Cut You Up: The Magi Association "awards" Magi with inimitable abilities with the Sealing Designation, which means they are to be vivisected and taken apart for study. One of the known Magi "awarded" with such an honor is Kiritsugu's father. For that reason, Tokiomi feared that keeping Rin and Sakura, two children born with rare magical powers, would've gotten them on this list.
  • The Time of Myths: Gods used to roam the Earth as the dominant species. But (as told in Fate/Extella), around 12000 BC, an extraterrestrial being called "Sefar" came to Earth, then killed some of those gods and caused major devastation until it was taken down by the wielder of "the holy sword that projects the light of the Earth" (highly implied to be Excalibur). It marks the first decline of the "Age of Gods". Other points where Age of Gods is said to decline is when Gilgamesh rebelled against the gods and when King Solomon, the "King of Magic" died, with the age's end (and the start of "Age of Man") being the rise and spread of Christianity (0 AD).
  • Translator Microbes: Servants, being spirits of mythical heroes summoned in the modern day, are supplied with all the knowledge they need to function in the modern-day upon their summoning so that they won't suffer from things like culture shock. Amongst this knowledge is the ability to speak any human language, allowing Servants to communicate with their Masters as well as other Servants no matter the language spoken (most often Japanese, because the Holy Grail War takes place in a Japanese city).
  • Unconventional Alignment: All Servants have one specific alignment of the regular axis, with the exception of The Berserker Class, which exchanges the sanity of the Servant for a Stat Boost, overriding the Morality Axis for the simple "Mad" label, and for example Lancelot, the Berserker of the Fourth Holy Grail War was "Lawful Mad" while Herakles, the Berserker of the Fifth Holy Grail was "Chaotic Mad". Within the franchise, every Berserker introduced after them does not have the Mad alignment, though. With the exception of a gag character named Mori Nagayoshi. Grand Order introduces Summer Servants, who are reclassed and wearing swimwear (Artoria is an Archer with a Squirt Gun for example), and for some instead of a Good/Evil alignment have "Summer". And then there's Nero Bride (An alternate Nero based on a costume from CCC), who has the alignment of Chaotic Bride.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: All Servants are supposed to have superhuman combat skills except for The Berserker class, whose gimmick is that they lose their fighting skills in exchange for massive power boosts and madness.
  • Weak Boss, Strong Underlings: Usually, Masters are human mages of variable magical prowess, although there have been cases of normal people being able to summon Servants. However, no matter how strong the Master is, their Servants will always be stronger by virtue of being a suprahuman Heroic Spirit. Pretty much any Servant can butcher the Squishy Wizards that the Masters are. Masters only control their Servants because of the contract both parties signed at the moment of the summon, which grants Masters Command Spells to force the Servants into doing their bidding.


Irisviel Wants Grandkids

The Emiya bloodline must continue.

How well does it match the trope?

4.42 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShipperOnDeck

Media sources: