A designation given to an individual, usually a Magus, who has formed a contract with a Ghost Liner called a Servant as their Familiar. The Master provides the Servant with Prana and a sort of "passport" into the modern era in return for the services of said Servant.
Traditionally, a Master is an individual who has formed a contract with a Ghost Liner type Familiar, for the purpose of acquiring the Holy Grail of Fuyuki City. There are no actual restrictions on how the contract is used, when it is made, or how long it lasts, but the Servant inevitably has goals of its own.
In order become a Master, a person must successfully summon a Servant through use of a specific Formal Craft ritual. Upon completion, the Master must formalize a contract with the Summoned Servant by acknowledging their respective roles. The process creates a link between the two, allowing the Master to support the Servant with their Prana or an external source.
In every known case, with one exception, Masters only occur through the power of the Great Grail of Fuyuki City. The Grail both selects prospective Masters according to their need and provides the majority of the energy needed to manifest and maintain the Servant. It also provides the Command Spells which grant limited control of the Servant to the Master.
The one exception to the rule is the case of Illyasviel von Einzbern, who successfully summoned Berserker without the aid of the Grail through the techniques of the Einzbern family. Her Command Spells were physically inscribed on her body with an unknown power source. The Grail recognized her as a legitimate Master, despite the abnormality, as she had the aptitude to become the vessel of the Lesser Grail.
Properties of a Master Edit
Under ordinary circumstances, a Master is always a spellcaster, usually a Magus with a Magic Circuit, who is selected by the Grail. It is possible for an ordinary person to become a Master, as in the case of Souichirou Kuzuki, as well as untrained individuals such as Ryuunosuke Uryuu, though this is rare.
A Master that is providing Prana to a Servant will "leak" magical energy in a volume that is easily detectable to most spellcasters. The leakage is distinctive, allowing a Magus to determine that the Master has a contract with a Servant.
An active Master will also possess a Command Spell as a visible proof of their contract.
A Master is always a Master, whether he currently has a Servant or not, as long as he still has the Command Spell. A Master without a Servant can make a pact with an unclaimed Servant at will, though having too many Servants is hazardous to the health of a Master due to Prana consumption. This also means that a Master can claim a new Servant regardless of the length of time since his last Servant.
There are several variations on the Master and Servant system.
When a Servant is summoned, it normally matches the personality of the summoner. This is a form of catalyst, in which the Master and Servant share similarities and naturally gravitate to one another. However, it is possible to summon a specific individual by using an object linked with that individual in the summoning. The more closely the item and person were associated, the higher the probability of obtaining that Servant. This allows targeted summoning of especially strong heroes, but with the risk that the summoned Servant will be ideologically/morally incompatible with its Master, thus lowering their efficiency in the Grail War. It is also possible, in rare cases, for the Servant to possess a catalyst associated with the summoning Master, allowing the process to work in reverse.
Non Spellcasting Master Edit
A Servant without a Master can form a contract with a normal person without a Magic Circuit through the sharing of Vitality in the same manner as certain types of other Familiars. The Master must still find a way to provide the Servant with Prana, however.
Book of False Attendent Edit
This is a Mystic Code that can allow someone to become a surrogate Master by passing a limited form of another Master's Command Seals into a specifically prepared receptacle. This device is not as efficient as a genuine Command Spell.
It is possible to intentionally summon a Berserker class Servant through the addition of a few lines in the Aria of the summoning ritual. This robs the Servant of sanity, but also grants them superior melee combat abilities.
It is possible to modify the summoning ritual in order to share the burden of a Servant. A case of this allowed the summoner to place the burden of providing Prana to the Servant on his wife, while he retained the Command Spells. The Yggdmillennia used homunculi to provide prana to their Servants.
An anomalous class that first appeared in the third Holy Grail War, the Avenger is described as an Anti-hero. It is only known to have happened twice in the history of the Grail War, but this Servant, and an eighth Master, do sometimes appear during the Grail War. The class was a special container created only for him, but he was extremely weak instead of something capable of slaughtering all other Masters and Servants. He was quickly killed and caused the corruption of the Grail system.
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