Original Post Date: September 20th, 2017
I was waiting until Anishka’s promotion to upload this piece. Now that it’s live, it’s time to delve into another core concept for the Fragments Series.
Original Characters, or Original Creations depending, are a coin toss for many readers. Just like the real characters of a canon work, people can love or hate them depending on design. I am also aware the readers are mainly here because they want to see servants in a Slice of Life premise interacting with each other; This is obvious.
However, OCs are an important foundation block of this work, and I place them only as necessary.
Since the beginning, I’ve been painting the world I’ve created one brush stroke at a time. While some might like certain additions, others might find different ones appealing. Occasionally, these brush strokes are coupled with OC tints, or may be an OC tint entirely. This is necessary to help paint the staff’s point of view, since the series isn’t entirely about the servants: It’s called Fragments of Chaldea not Fragments of Servants. The world they all live in is painted accordingly to showcase a much larger picture when brought together, and the OCs are just another pillar of the community.
Remember the article about keys that unlock doors? Often enough, an interaction with an OC is the only plausible way to shed a different angle of light on a subject. In a Slice of Life, the entire system is roughly driven by individuals doing fairly mundane things one would expect from living an average (as can be for servants) life. To do it without any of the staff getting close to servants in such a confined environment would not only be unrealistic, but asinine. They’re there to help make the world feel alive and help ‘normalize’ Chaldea.
To do so, the OCs need to be designed correctly and efficiently. Overlapping among them is alright to an extent, but too many that feel the same would be just adding superfluous names and creating additional character bloat; There’s already over a hundred servants, so I’ll cut OC costs where I can. Which is why there’s a bunch of minor OCs that are just “usually there doing something mundane”, and then there’s the designed ones that fulfill their own purposes.
However, I’m careful in ensuring they’re roughly average with unique quirks that shine in given situations. They’re not going to hold their own in a fight against… well, anything really, but that was never the point of their design. I personally dislike reading about overpowered creations, especially when I’m writing a series that’s filled with canonically strong beings: Why do my OCs need to be super strong and are able to influence the canon lore conflict?
They’re not masters and don’t need to, therefore they remain average. This is a Slice of Life, not the actual storyline. There’s a reason they don’t really appear save for a few mentions in the supplements; Because they’re part of the servants’ daily lives where they belong. They’re their to make different groups of servants feel welcome and alive again. It helps humanize them further to make the world more curious and vibrant.
Take Naomi, who wound up making Medea and Vlad feel a sense of home and companionship by accident. They, who have been nothing but treated with suspicion and judgement by many, found a small sanctuary next to a tailor who just wanted to knit in her free time. Suddenly they don’t look like the evil demons so many believed them to be: They’re reminded the servants are humans with emotions too.
Then we have Tyler for instance: The most laidback staff member in Chaldea. All he does is work genuinely hard at work while looking forward to free time to play games. He treats servants like potential buddies because he’s grown accustomed to all their presences, much like the rest of the staff. He’s someone many servants come to like or dislike because of his informal attitude and relaxed state of mind.
All fill certain niches and designs, and I only introduce one when something needs to be covered in the future. There’s only a handful unless you count the masters, so the bloat was avoided. By the extensive feedback and compliments I’ve received on each of the main ones, I’m also confident to say they’ve been implemented properly. They fill their niches and provide a sense of normalized anchors to specific activities that need to be fulfilled.
“So why can’t the masters fulfill these rolls,” you might ask.
That’s the thing: They’re masters. They hold command seals and have to work with the servants to save humanity. There’s no reason a staff member needs to bond with a servant since they have no contractual obligation besides sharing the same roof. That makes the attachment that much more meaningful because it was done by choice rather than perceived necessity or proximity.
So what does the future hold in terms of OCs?
I can reassure you it will remain the same. I’ve got most of my niches covered, so the addition of any future OCs is a distant possibility; It will not be happening in Season 3. If they are introduced, they’ll likely be a minor one since I only have one more design niche for a major OC; Again, this is not coming anytime soon.
As for their own safety, I have nothing to say about that. I will simply remind all of you that the Slice of Life premise will always come first, so anything that happens in a supplement will not throw a hammer through that glass house.
Finally, the decision to make one of them a master. I knew this would probably be controversial, but thus far the feedback has been swinging far more positive than I initially thought. As stated before, everything is done with future intent, and by that I mean anywhere from next fragment to 30 or more entries down the line. Getting a new master was mentioned in Fragment 42, yet it took an entire supplement and 8 additional entries to finally occur (roughly 240,000 words). It’s far too early to judge the new master’s role, but by her previous design you can make some estimates.
That being said, don’t expect even more future masters in droves or such.
Strategic necessity and common knowledge aside, there doesn’t need to be that many masters, just like OCs. Each master, like an OC, needs a purpose and design only they can fulfill. Anishka has hers, and it will contrast with Gudao and Gabrielle’s as it’s revealed over time, just like theirs was. It all falls down to the same reply I keep having to give: Just be patient as things unfold. Rome wasn’t built in a day (unless you’re playing Civ).