With contributions from Alyssa, Billy, Brittany, Danielle, Jason, John, Liz, Nate, Nick, Ryan, and Tom
Part of what makes Fate such a compelling setting is that its specific premise doesn’t just stand on its own, but fuels the viewer/player’s imagination, inviting them to envision new additions to the world and the cast of characters. If you’re new to the series, it’s about a ritual conflict between a variety of heroes and villains from history, mythology, and fiction, all coming together to battle it out as Servants for the Masters who summoned them. The winning Master (theoretically) receives the world-altering power of the Holy Grail.
The Servants’ battles are based on rules, and each Servant has strengths and weaknesses. Part of the reason the Servants typically refer to themselves by their class (such as Saber or Archer), rather than by their names, is because their true identities can give their opponents clues as to what those strengths and weaknesses are. For that reason, Servants often disguise themselves, appearing as other ethnicities, genders, or even species than their original namesake. Each Servant can only be summoned through the use of a particular artifact, unique to that Servant’s history and personality.
All that got us thinking about what kind of Servants we’d pick for ourselves. We asked around the office, “If you could pick anyone, real, mythological, or fictional, from anywhere in time, to fight for you, who would it be, what would they look like, and what kind of powers would they have?” Here are everyone’s answers:
Servant: Don Quixote
Origin: Literary knight/madman, 1605
Artifact: The Golden Helmet of Mambrino (aka any brass shaving basin)
Appearance: Don Quixote appears as his author did in his youth, clean-shaven and a bit gangly, with the spark of adventure and a young man’s drive to save the world.
Strengths: Can create Reality Marbles at will, and often does so without even realizing it. These Reality Marbles, which depict Quixote’s imagined fantasy world, have the effect of hypnotizing anyone in them with a Mana rating of C or below, including Quixote himself, into temporarily believing that the fantasy is real. He is also proficient with his sword and lance, and while not a Rider, he can execute a (slow, awkward) charge from horseback.
Weaknesses: Quixote cannot always control when or how his Reality Marbles appear, and miniature Reality Marbles are constantly appearing and disappearing inside his head. As a result, he frequently mistakes inanimate objects for evil creatures, and has trouble distinguishing friend from foe.
Noble Phantasm: “Wild Winds of Fortune” — Quixote summons a row of giant windmills, which spin fast enough to create a tornado.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Servant: Steve Irwin
Origin: Naturalist, born in 1962
Artifact: His shirt
Appearance: A rugged Outback-dwelling wildman, riding a wild boar. (“Irwin” being derived from the Old English words for “wild boar” and “friend”)
Weapon: A Crocodile Dundee knife
Strengths: High endurance, can summon a variety of dangerous animals
Weaknesses: (Don’t say stingrays, don’t say stingrays…)
Noble Phantasm: “Irwinado” — Picture Gilgamesh’s NP, but with crocodiles and snakes.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Servant: Bartleby, the Scrivener
Class: Would prefer not to say
Origin: Fictional clerk from a Herman Melville story, 1853
Artifact: An empty quill stuck in a shallow square foot of wet cement
Appearance: A woman in her 30s or 40s with hair graying before her time, and a perpetual look of absolute doneness upon her face.
Strengths: Can efficiently calculate and execute strategy in short bursts
Weaknesses: Inevitably starts backing away from combat situations after a short while, just standing there and looking sad…sad enough that the enemies feel sympathy for her plight, as she stands and stares wistfully at the moon, proclaiming “I would prefer not to fight” whenever anyone comes at her with weapons drawn.
This is actually a strength, however, as no one would have the heart to hurt her, but they’d think about it for a second…and in that moment, they’d be distracted and vulnerable, which is when Tom would come in and smash them over the head with a vase or something.
Her other weakness is that her battles would all have to be fought in the same exact area, since Bartleby would eventually refuse to move from her spot for any reason whatsoever, even if compelled via Command Seal.
Noble Phantasm: “Ah, Bartleby! Ah, moe-ness!” — Bartleby stands rooted there, eternally staring upward, the glow of the moon burning itself into her corneas until her corneas simply burn away altogether. And yet, she still stares, endlessly, deeply, even through the pallid, useless orbs now adorning her face.
Alignment: True Neutral
Servant: Cao Cao
Class: Caster (Some believed him to be a sorcerer in life; turns out they were right)
Origin: Imperial Chancellor of the Han Dynasty, born in 155 AD
Artifact: The noose he used to hang Lu Bu
Appearance: He disguises himself as a bent old man with a cane and a long, wispy white beard
Weapon: Chinese-style sword
Strengths: Particularly adept in magic that is useful for statecraft, such as sowing discord among people or spying on others. One of his mysterious abilities derives from the real Chinese expression, “speak of Cao Cao, and Cao Cao arrives” (an equivalent to “speak of the Devil”). Cao Cao has the ability to be anywhere that his name is spoken, even in more than one place at once. (In Fate, this also applies to anyone who speaks the word “Caster.”)
Weaknesses: His weakness is his hubris. Zhuge Liang, who humiliated him at the Battle of the Red Cliffs, still inflames his temper easily. Lu Bu, whom he executed in life, wants to return the favor.
Noble Phantasm: Calls forth a cavalry charge, with his men driven forward both by rage against the enemy and fear of him.
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Nick (who went all-out with his description):
Servant: Nebuchadnezzar II
Origin: King of Babylon (and, by extension, the known world), born in 634 BC. The construction of the famous Ishtar Gate and the Hanging Gardens, noted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, are commonly attributed to him, and he’s also known for his appearance in the Bible, particularly in the book of Daniel.
Artifact: One of the lapis-glazed bricks of the Ishtar Gate, which exists today restored in a museum in Berlin
Appearance: I can see him dressed in a fine robe dyed the color of lapis (prized for its rich, blue hue by the royalty of the ancient world), embroidered with extravagant designs on the hems in golden thread. He’d have the look of a mystic – a sort of “sorcerer-king,” in my imagination. Still not sure about whether my ideal Neb appearance would keep the famous beard you see show up in a lot of statues from that time period, but I like the idea of a wavy, windswept head of black hair. Civil enough for the chambers of government, but with a touch of unkempt-ness befitting a battlefield.
Strengths: An adept Caster, Nebuchadnezzar can exert great influence on the astral plane, spinning his dreams into prophecies and divinations. He’s also capable of using his sovereignty to prod at weaknesses and loopholes in the power of Command Seals.
Weaknesses: Nebuchadnezzar, while wise and shrewd, is also a superstitious man who seeks the approval of the gods. He may hesitate to press an advantage if he doesn’t have a solid grasp of the risks involved.
Noble Phantasm: “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” — Either a floating palace with an orbital laser cannon, or an untouchable sanctuary in which Nebuchadnezzar and his Master rest and bide their time.
Notes: The kingdom of Uruk that once belonged to series-staple Gilgamesh would after many centuries go on to become the Babylon ruled over by Nebuchadnezzar, and during his reign, he presided over both great destruction and great creation. His armies subdued foreign kingdoms, bringing them into the Babylonian empire, but he also oversaw a massive slew of public works projects – everything from walls to bridges to temples. His was a gilded age for the kingdom. Within Fate lore, Nebuchadnezzar is already acknowledged to exist as a Heroic Spirit, though we’ve never seen him summoned before and so don’t know much about what Type-Moon’s take on him would be, or what class he’s most likely to be summoned into.
I can see him being a strategic type of caster – the type to factor in the placement of ley lines, fortify structures with wards, and favor spells that turned the environmental conditions of a fight to his favor. As a lover of great architecture, I think it fits him. But that said, his status as a conqueror means he wouldn’t shrink from direct battle, especially when he has aligned circumstances in his favor via his various enchantments.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Servant: Guan Yu
Origin: A mighty warrior from ancient China who could cleave a large army with ease. He was also known for having a well-kept beard. He was nicknamed “Beautiful Beard”. Born in the latter half of the second century AD.
Artifact: Green Dragon Crescent Blade
Appearance: Guan Yu’s appearance would be of a large, red-skinned centaur. His mane and beard are made of fire.
Strengths: Superior strength, endurance, and mobility
Weaknesses: Easily identified by his hooves and red hide
Noble Phantasm: “Red Hare” — Guan Yu charges forward, swinging his spear and dragging a wall of fire with him.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Servant: Björn Ironside
Origin: Legendary 9th century Viking commander
Artifact: The runic stone from his barrow
Appearance: Disguises himself as a sickly, dying man
Strengths: Ferocity, advantage of surprise
Weaknesses: Vulnerable to fire, particularly Greek fire
Noble Phantasm: “Jarn” — Björn discards his sickly disguise and turns his body to iron. Since Fate enjoys its share of pseudoscience, this Noble Phantasm would not only make him relatively invulnerable to any attack that isn’t ridiculously powerful, it would also increase his total weight, and therefore mass, substantially. If we assume that he’d still be able to move as quickly as he did before its use, then his overall combat abilities would increase as his hits now carry a greater force behind them.
Notes: The picture shown comes from his most famous moment, in which, while besieging a city, he pretended to be dying, convinced the clergy to take his coffin into the city to perform his last rites, and then jumped out of the coffin, rampaged his way to the city gates, and opened them for his army.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Alyssa (who also went all-out with her description):
Class: The most obvious classes that she would fall into would be Caster and Assassin, but one of the nifty things about Fate is that it isn’t always about the obvious, so perhaps Locusta would actually be in the Archer class.
Origin: Locusta was a prolific serial murderer in Ancient Rome, with poison being her weapon of choice. She was so well known that Agrippina the Younger, sister of Caligula and mother of Nero, supposedly hired her to poison her husband, Emperor Claudius, in AD 54. Locusta was convicted of poisoning another victim, but Emperor Nero swept in and rescued her from being executed…in exchange for poisoning someone else for him. In short, Locusta was kept in Nero’s back pocket for all of his poisoning needs, given some very nice land, and even began teaching others the illustrious ways of poison making. Of course, being part of Nero’s entourage did pose its dangers, and after his suicide, Locusta was sentenced to death and (most likely) publicly executed.
Artifact: One of her old glass vials, filled with one of her signature poisons.
Appearance: Well, she was quite famous, so I don’t think it would be anything subtle, that’s for sure. Since Emperor Claudius’ murder was committed via a poisoned dish of mushrooms, maybe a mushroom design would be incorporated in some way.
Strengths: Unpredictable, backstabby, all her attacks inflict poison status
Weaknesses: Vulnerable when caught alone in the open
Noble Phantasm: “Venenum in Nube” — A toxic cloud spreads out from Locusta’s hands and covers the area.
Notes: There are so many interesting characters in history and mythology that I think would be great additions to the already fantastic lineup of Fate Servants, so it was a really difficult decision to make (I’m sure almost all of my coworkers would say something similar!). I went through a lot of different options, but I kept drifting back to Locusta.
I think it would be interesting to see Locusta in Fate because of her ties to Nero and Caligula, two Servants already present in game. Would Locusta be angry at Nero, since her connection with him put a target on her back after he was dead? I mean, not that the poisoning people thing would have helped her out anyway… On the other hand, she would have been killed years prior, if he hadn’t interfered. So how would THAT play out in the Fate world? My mind spins.
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Servant: Harada Sanosuke
Origin: 10th Captain of the Shinsengumi
Artifact: The head of his spear
Appearance: A waifu version of himself
Strengths: Supernaturally long reach
Weaknesses: Quick to anger
Noble Phantasm: “Makoto no Tsuranuki” — Sanosuke uses his spear to pierce through dimensions and strike from all angles at once.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Liz (who even drew her own illustration):
Servant: Ilana (Alan) Turing
Origin: Computer scientist/mathematician, born in 1912
Artifact: A punch card from the Pilot ACE computer
Appearance: [See illustration]
Strengths: Mother of artificial intelligence, Turing controls legions of clockwork minions with algorithms ahead of her time. She can also crack open the secrets of the mind, and even occasionally take control.
Weaknesses: Delights in exposing others’ secrets, but despairs if her own are ever revealed
Noble Phantasm: “Enigma” — Her Noble Phantasm will trap the mind in an artificial reality almost impossible to distinguish from our own world, leaving those affected catatonic and vulnerable to suggestion and manipulation.
Alignment: True Neutral (In the end, she really just wants more toys to play with)
Servant: The Kool-Aid Man
Origin: Drink mascot, debuted in 1954
Artifact: A copy of the Kool-Aid Man 2600 game
Appearance: Cleverly disguised as a ketchup bottle
Strengths: Can build up momentum for powerful charging attacks, can appear wherever kids are thirsty, can cause an excess of Vitamin C in large doses
Weaknesses: Low defense and agility
Noble Phantasm: “Oh Yeah!” — Summons an enormous wall, then breaks through it, scattering bricks for miles
Alignment: Chaotic Good (He causes property damage, but gives free drinks to kids)
Servant: Ryan Seacrest
Class: Caster (because he helps CAST people, get it?)
Origin: TV host, born in 1974
Artifact: His microphone
Appearance: Nicki Minaj
Weapon: His microphone
Strengths: Can shout to stun enemies
Weaknesses: Must follow the will of crowds/armies
Noble Phantasm: “And the Winner Is…” — When first summoned, Seacrest hands his new Master an envelope, which contains the name of the winner of the Holy Grail War. This envelope cannot be opened, torn, cut, burned, made transparent, scryed, or otherwise accessed until the Holy Grail War is over, at which point Seacrest, if still alive, takes it back, opens it, and reads off the name. In the meantime, clever Masters may find ways to use the indestructible envelope as a tool or a weapon.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Class: Rider (Spaceship)
Origin: TV alien, debuted in 1986
Artifact: A vinyl copy of “Melmac Rock”
Appearance: ALF, but in a wig, Hawaiian shirt, and shades
Weapon: A long salami
Strengths: Encyclopedic knowledge of engineering and Earth pop culture
Weaknesses: Uncontrollable appetite, vulnerable to Earth diseases and poisons
Noble Phantasm: “You’re the One Who’s Out of This World”: Alf traps his opponent in an ‘80s music video, which bombards him or her with a sonic assault.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Servant: Santa Claus
Origin: Amalgamation of pan-European folklore across the centuries
Artifact: Snow from the North Pole
Appearance: A Nordic female forest ranger in red
Weapon: A Red Rider BB Gun
Strengths: Youthful vigor combined with the experience of old age, ability to slow time to a crawl, can call on various old-timey unsafe toys to assist in combat
Weaknesses: Her powers only work if enough children believe in her
Noble Phantasm: “And to All a Good Night”: Time stops while Santa scoops up his or her opponent, flies into the night sky, and drops him or her down a chimney into a blazing fire.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Servant: The Big Lebowski
(Painting by Heather Buchanan https://www.etsy.com/listing/263598399/the-dude-acrylic-portrait-painting-print )
Origin: Film protagonist, debuted in 1998
Summoning Artifact: A threadbare rug (it really held the room together)
Appearance: Jeff Bridges in plaid shorts, flip-flops, a t-shirt, and a beat-up old sweatshirt. Basically, a Southern Californian hippie. He doesn’t bother hiding who he is.
Weapon: Bowling ball. Like…a very shiny bowling ball, man.
Strengths: Ability to remain unfazed by all manner of chaotic happenings; extreme passivity means he can stay materialized by his Mage for a very small mana upkeep
Weaknesses: White Russians, work
Noble Phantasm: “The Dude Abides” — Shifts reality to create a zone in which aggression shall not stand, reducing the hostility of even an attacking Servant to zero. It might just be drugs, but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
Alignment: True Neutral
…And okay, we should probably get back to work. Enjoy the game when it comes out next week, and if you think up any more Servants, leave them in the comments below!