Master Features Package
The following attributes are ‘Features’ that all Masters in the Grail War have. Because all masters have these Features, they are considered free for the purposes of character creation.
All Masters gain 3 Command Seals when they are chosen by the Grail System. The Seals appear on the back of one of the Master’s hands and are in the form of a red ideoglyph that can represent a variety of things to the Master. The Glyph has three portions, which fade to fuzzy bruises when used. Families who have participated in multiple Grail Wars have noted that there are similarities between their glyphs. Swords, circles and triangles are common themes, though wings, and other, less regular geometric configurations are also common.
Command Seals represent the contract between a Master and Servant, though they manifest before the summoning ritual in most cases. Once a Servant has been summoned, the contract is bound into the Command Seals and the Servant is honor-bound to help his or her Master attain the grail. It is worth noting that a Servant is not bound to obey every order their Master might give, and has significant leeway when it comes to fulfilling their end of the contract.
In the event that a Servant directly disobeys their Master, a Command Seal can be used to force the Servant to obey. By invoking the Command Seal, and giving a clear verbal order, the Servant will be bound to follow the command until it is fulfilled or the Servant perishes. One of the 3 portions of the Seal will be consumed in this process. The more specific the command, the more forceful the Command Seal effect. General or open-ended commands have little effect, so a command like, “Obey me” would be much less effective than, “Strike down Saber with your Noble Phantasm.” Remember that Servants are generally inclined to follow their Master’s orders unless those order conflict with the Servant’s ethics or ideals. This is most often a problem with the Knight classes.
Command Seals can also be used to assist a Servant in accomplishing a difficult task. They represent a large volume of condensed Prana, and can be used to call your Servant to your side from any distance, or to send them to a specific location. They can also be used to temporarily eliminate wounds, curses or other harmful effects, though this is a strictly palliative treatment and will not eliminate the underlying problem, merely suppress it.
Another use is giving a Servant access to an ability they would not normally have access too, or an ability that has been locked. For example, in the 4th Grail War, Matou Kariya used two command seals to suppress his Berserker’s Mad Enhancement long enough to use a disguise ability that required significant self-control. These effects are also temporary, and may only last long enough to execute one ability.
In a pinch, Masters can channel the Prana from a Command Seal into a spell, though this is an incredibly inefficient usage and fails to use the underlying structure of the Command Seal to its full potential.
Upon the use of the third Command Seal (and the completion of any order given with that Seal), the contract between Master and Servant is terminated and the Servant is no longer bound to follow the orders of the Master. What happens next is largely up to the Master and Servant. Those with good relations can maintain their bond until the end of the Grail War or until one is defeated. More evil Servants may turn on their Masters.
Because this is the first time this Grail System has been used, there are no methods for recovering or gaining additional Command Seals.
Masters are given mystical insight into the abilities and parameters of other Servants. By concentrating on an enemy Servant for a round, Masters can derive their Class, Parameters and Skill ranks as well as general areas of expertise. Some Servants possess abilities that interfere with or prevent this ability from functioning. Also, Masters without any training in Magecraft will not know how to make use of this skill. It should be noted that the Master’s Vision ability only functions when directly observing a Servant, and will not work through scrying, familiars or technological methods of observation. The exception to this rule is lenses, such as those in binoculars.
The Grail System ranks Servant abilities on a scale from E to A. This ranking applies to the four basic statistics: Strength, Endurance, Agility and Mana, as well as all Class Skills and most Personal Skills.
For Parameters, the ranking system designates how far above the human average the Servant is. An E Rank indicates a level ten times the human normal, meaning even the weakest Servant can outperform a human in every category. Ranks for Parameters are as follows.
E Rank – 10 times human average
D Rank – 20 times human average
C Rank – 30 times human average
B Rank – 40 times human average
A Rank – 50 times human average.
There is also a ‘+’ designation that can be added to ranks. A single plus indicates that under some circumstances, the Parameter may function at up to double the indicated rank. For example, a Saber with a B+ in Endurance will resist damage well all of the time, but be functionally invulnerable to attacks made while under a full moon. Note that it is possible for a C+ Ranked Servant to outperform an A Ranked Servant if the confrontation takes place on the first Servants terms.
Class Skills are always visible to Master’s Vision. These are abilities assigned by the Grail to Heroes summoned into classes, regardless of the actual skill possessed by the Heroic Spirit. Class skills are as follows:
Saber: Magic Resistance, Riding
Archer: Independent Action, Magic Resistance
Lancer: Magic Resistance, sometimes Riding
Berserker: Mad Enhancement
Caster: Territory Creation, Item Construction
Assassin: Presence Concealment
Sometimes a Servant can have Class Skills, such as Riding, while not being in a class that grants those skills. In these cases, the Class designation becomes Class/Personal.
Personal Skills represent the unique attributes of the Heroic Spirit that exists independently of the Class they are summoned in. Most Personal Skills are visible to the Master’s Vision ability, but some are not. These hidden personal skills typically represent some skill at deception.
Skills are rated E through A, like Parameters, but ranks of skills indicate competence rather than a comparison to a baseline Human. E rank would indicate a bare minimum of skill, while A would represent a grand master. The scaling of Class Skills will make itself known to masters, but it may be difficult to tell what abilities Personal Skills grant, as no explanation is provided.
As with Parameters, a ‘+’ designation exists for skills, again indicating that under some circumstances, the skill rank will function at up to double the normal ability value. There is also an EX Rank designation, indicating an exceptional ability. It applies only to Noble Phantasms and Skills. An EX rank indicates a skill level outside of the classification of the Grail System. This doesn’t always mean a raw power increase, but may also refer to abilities that break the rules of the Grail War, or Skills that don’t have a clear place within the sphere of combat.
This nebulous ability conveys a sense of a Servant’s strengths to the Master. It might useful, such as a sentence like “Excels at close combat, but is weak at range.” Or it might be incredibly cryptic, such as “Possesses untapped strengths.” Regardless, this information usually only has tactical value and is unhelpful in determining a Servant’s true identity.
Noble Phantasms –
While Master’s Vision will not reveal the nature of an enemy Servant’s Noble Phantasm, it can give information about Noble Phantasms that have been observed in action. Once a Phantasm has been seen while active and attacking, information about the ability is added to the mental database of the Servant. Noble Phantasms are ranked like skills, E through A with an EX designation. These ranks refer only to pure offensive power output, and may not give a true sense of the power of the ability. For example, a very precise C Rank Noble Phantasm might outperform an A Rank weapon with a much broader power output. A Noble Phantasm’s ideal targeting scale will also be revealed (Anti-Unit, Anti-Army… ect.) This information does not include the true name of the Noble Phantasm, though many Phantasms reveal their identity when used.
N.B. Servants are gifted with information about other Heroic Spirits by the Grail. They are naturally very good at figuring out how Noble Phantasm abilities work, as well as who wields which Noble Phantasms. That being said, they typically will not recognize other Heroic Spirits on sight unless they knew each other in life. Between the Master’s Vision and the Servant’s Grail-given information, enemy identities are normally fairly easy to deduce, once a Noble Phantasm has been used.
Master’s Vision has no applications outside of the analysis of Servants and cannot be used to ‘con’ other Masters.