Fragment 2 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

Some Fragments don’t offer as much development as others, but that’s simply because the spotlight servant has been there long enough. At that point, it’s simply gauging how they are in their new environment and why they turned out like that. It’s best showcased through a day in their life, or an unusual occurrence that disrupts the routine.

 That’s the case for some later Fragments, and Nobunaga was a good candidate for this pathway. The original fragment was simply a shooting competition between her, Billy, and Drake. I’ve since upgraded it to give a little more personal investment from Nobunaga through pride and reputation. With the focus now on her, I was able to add some small background pieces that applied to her, including a reference to a famous battle with some mountain monks. It’s also been bolstered by a few snippets of her interacting with others, namely her two competitors and her next-door-neighbor Okita.

I have also tuned their personalities a little closer to what they should be. Nobunaga’s more haughty and doesn’t like the idea of being shown up in a competition. Billy’s more enthusiastic as his lines and background imply, but I also gave him a more noticeable Western twang. It irked me DW skipped out on the iconic American dialect. Drake was spot on already, but a few lines of tweaking helped make it more obvious.

The circumstances of the competition also created an opportunity to introduce two new mechanics that hadn’t been shown in Fragments: craft coins and ascension.

I decided on coins as opposed to cards so that Illya & Kuro could remain unique with their class cards. Coins also have a more symbolic meaning to the organization, since Marisbilly’s wish was centered on wealth and prosperity. In addition, the coins offer a durable, easy-to-carry material that can store prana to activate their abilities. 

Ascension was combined with leveling and skills for simplicity’s sake. It’s a broad stroke, but the idea is ascension process would automatically boost a servant’s saint graph to its next maximum amount, and increase their skill efficiency in the process. It’s sort of a mashup between Extella’s “Money is Power” system and Grand Order’s material requirements. Simply put, the quantum pieces are the real factor.

Fragment 1 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

It was technically Jeanne’s fragment to begin with, but it felt very lacking compared to my new standard of writing. This now sets the precedent for the other upgrades the early Fragments will receive.

The original was pretty much Jeanne getting to sing without any substantial background basis. Yes, she sung the hymns with Saint George to cleanse Siegfried in the French singularity, but that was it. So I decided to bolster it further by having Laeticia be a rather good singer herself. Also allowed me to create a nice new flashback scene where the driver is more inspired by Jeanne’s voice rather than just her conviction and abilities.

Generally an easy fill in for the beginning fragment: Not too many feels, and just the proper amount of surprise. Jeanne’s looking to tone down her seriousness a bit, and her friends are willing to help her with that. The singing also makes it easier to break the ice and find something fun she could do as a hobby. Very straight forward without complex themes to allow the new reader to jump in rather easily after the prologue.

In addition to showing Marie hanging around with Jeanne more, as well as the extent of their established friendship, I also introduced the start of her relations to Arturia and her friends. It was left out before, but the revision let me properly place the teases like I do in later fragments. There are also now significantly more name drops so other servants’ presences are shown. Chaldea doesn’t seem so void anymore.

Quantum Pieces are introduced, though not thoroughly explained. There are also name drops for Memorial Essences and Craft Coins, which will be explained at later times as well. This is on purpose so the beginning doesn’t drag on harder than it needs to. We’re all Fate fans, so I know how annoying listening to world points can get at times. I at least try to blend them in and make them interesting to learn about.

Last note to my French readers: You’re not alone in your slight irritation of calling “Le Chevalier d’Eon” just “d’Eon”. Grammatically it’s wrong, but Fate doesn’t use his real name of Charles… so it makes quite a quandary especially considering Sanson’s first name is Charles. I’ll just be using d’Eon, and it will remain as much of a small irk.

Writing Insight III: Setting the Scene

A look into Vacation Fragments

Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase Escalante, Utah

As many of you are aware, there’s a new entry type into the series called Vacation Fragments. Obviously, these take place completely outside Chaldea and are sparse due to how limited they make interactions. It does allow the bonds between a select few servants to blossom, but that’s only part of the draw. The real appeal is simple: What could be in a foreign land.

Travel is an exotic daydream to nearly all, an exciting yearly opportunity for many, and a livelihood for a select few. Regardless of where one stands, it never loses its appeal. An escapade into a distant land, in a language you don’t speak, with sights you’ve only seen in brochures, ads, or pictures. It’s very related to fictional works like stories, movies, and more: Because they take you out of your own life to temporarily embed yourself in something entirely different.

These ideas are what I am trying to ensure in every vacation fragment: to instill wanderlust.

I do what I can to take the reader to the location through sensory information and more, so you feel like you’re there. I usually do it with my photography, but writing makes it a fun an interesting challenge. I know I’m hardly known for my brevity (read: lack thereof), but it’s a fun challenge of keeping these sprawling landscapes and environments contained within so many words; That’s in addition to the main draw, the Chaldean servants.

Their experiences would differ, but they’d share many of the exhilarated thoughts as ours. They wanted to be there, and now they’re letting a new world envelop them without the chance of serious hostility. They’ve fought for a long time, and though they have their breaks in Chaldea, these vacations are like huge rewards they can redeem as they please. They may not be as out of place since they know the language, but they’ll certainly feel out of place.

So we come to immersion, but for the servants and yourselves, as readers. I’ve had some practice writing different locales with the supplements, but those were fictional. This is now reality, and I intend to portray it as such whenever it’s a locale that’s not created in the Nasuverse: I’m detailing Locations you can physically visit.

Ginza yon-chome is real. Antelope Canyon is real. The Grand Canyon is obvious… And that’s what I wanted to depict truthfully. Not stuff like Fuyuki, which are based on real areas but aren’t actual places. Instead, I opted for full immersion by trying to target locales you can actually feel for yourselves. It may also give the reader something extra to appreciate and envision while they’re there. Who knows?

That’s where my career actually proves itself extra handy for my hobby. Researching locales I’ve never been to is a staple planning measure. It’s easy to get through, so for Shiki’s fragment, it made the prep work a breeze. All that was left was using pictures and video to try and replicate the atmosphere with words. More of a challenge for me, but I was satisfied it came out well.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Then there’s ones like Geronimo’s fragment where I can really fire on all cylinders: Places I’ve personally explored and visited. The sensory information for nearly every locale in that area feels more natural. In addition, I’m more accurately able to depict the attitudes of the people you meet, both for tourists and behind the scenes. I’m able to paint the subtler colors most will miss if they’re not there to purposefully understand a world of its many aspects.

It also means I’ll be able to bend experiences to better fit the servants’ presence. I can also tailor vacations to offer experiences they need, just like Geronimo’s fragment did. But for me, the best part is it means far less time spent on research and more on writing. Geronimo’s fragment practically flew onto the document.

So that’s how future Vacation Fragments will feel and be designed. There will definitely be more from locations I’ve personally travelled to, and others that I haven’t. Regardless, the end goal will remain the same: To make the location equal parts meaningful/personal for the servants, and beautiful to read about.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

The NSFW tumblr prune bot doesn’t do a very good job. Thanks to it chopping random insight pages on the tumblr (like Asterios’ final ascension art), it has become apparent Fragments of Chaldea needs a better home.

Warning: You may not want to subscribe to newsletters and such just yet. You’re likely going to get bombarded by 20+ emails on some days while all the insights are being reuploaded.

And so it shall be…
…As soon as BB stops screwing with the CSS and helps reupload stuff.

Fragment 89 Insight

This is the first new insight posted to the Fragments of Chaldea homepage, mostly because Artemis’ final ascension art would’ve likely been smacked by the tumblr bot.

Wonky NSFW bots aside, we’ve arrived at another dual servant. As shown with Jekyll and Hyde, both play a part in the fragment, but one takes the spotlight. This means I can feasibly use them again if I focused on Orion next time, but with the growing number of servants, it might be put off until later. Working with my personally-limited one time spotlight rule can be quite the jigsaw puzzle, so it pays to have extra pieces.

So Artemis takes the reins for this one, and pursues a mission gods and goddesses are well known for: Watching and judging others. In this case, it’s because of Achilles’ growing success with winning over Atalanta. The goddess isn’t about to let her devotee do that without her own permission, bringing about a callback to how the Greek pantheon often threw their own say and hand to spin fate as they pleased. Some things just don’t change.

It also allowed me to portray the relationship between the two in more interesting lights. Orion’s not always looking to flirt with other women, but he still does. Artemis isn’t always an airhead, but she still is. I simply painted the lesser known sides of them to give them depth through various scenarios and situations like the tense air being near Lobo or the comical attempt to hide herself when having dinner with Chiron.

Artemis is an extremely bubbly goddess, so that left the gates open for many friendships to show. That aid, time is limited, and the plot-like theme demanded focus. So I was forced to only infer some of her other friendships she usually has in favor of the ones that will matter for pushing Achilles’ subplot further. Though there was a pretty heavy focus on Achilles’ development and depth as well, it worked out fine because Artemis’ reactions and planning showcased her own thoughts and beliefs just as profoundly. Win, win.

So by the end of it, the reader should be leaving feeling satisfied from a very straightforward fragment with little twists and spins. It was my intention to sneak this one out by Christmas since it would fit the feel good mood pleasantly. Merry Christmas, and happy holidays everyone! I’ll return in the new year with something a little more laidback.

Teaser: Even if she had mad enhancement, her reasoning was absolute. Her thoughts were still crystal clear, but the compulsions were worse. It was truly troubling at times, but Chaldea was so accepting. They always welcomed her, and her beautiful children treat her so well. It gave her so much time to think, but she often got lost in those brooding thoughts and headaches. If only she could finally grasp what she’d often only dreamed about.

Original Characters: Design to Implementation

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).

Memorial Essences: The Synopsis

Original Post Date: August 19th, 2017

Edit 1: Adjusted slightly for typos and additional clarity.

Edit 2: Added a blurb about transforming Noble Phantasms.

I wasn’t expecting to have to deal with this so openly, but it’s apparent this needs to be addressed. I laid out all the framework over the 800k words that generally show what the memorial essences actually do, but I left it for the readers to see what influences they had. Some have come to a different conclusion, so I’ll clear that up immediately to set the record straight.

We’ll start with the entire premise of the memorial essence. By default in any grail war, only a piece of the original heroic spirit is summoned from the throne: You never get the real, complete one. Arturia was a different story because she was still alive at the time. That aside, this is where the memorial essence idea comes into play.

First, a memorial essence only becomes possible if a servant with the same hero base is summoned. If there’s too many differences (gender counts as a big one), they will manifest as a different spirit instead.  This is why Arthur broke the rule. If they’re not even a possibility, but an entirely new existence based off of someone’s perception of a legend (Jeanne Alter), then they also manifest separately. These exceptions are few and far between.

Second, the Fate System summons servants from the throne and records their saint graph. If a servant answers the call again, it has the chance of getting a different slice of the actual hero. This is completely and specifically explained at the beginning of Kiritsugu’s Fragment (16).

The memorial essence allows that hero to gain memories and possibly a new noble phantasm. That’s it.

There is no direct or total personality change as a result of just receiving it. There are no regrown/redecided parameters. The original Saint Graph does not change. They get memories of another timeline and an accompanying noble phantasm of the proper class they may freely wield. Invoking the noble phantasm will activate it on a rank-down if they are in the wrong class, however. Additionally, any noble phantasm that requires a physical transformation will requirethe correct class, material body, and saint graph to invoke.

That’s it. I’ve ensured this was stable time and time again with every example I’ve shown.

Where readers are likely getting confused is why some act differently after receiving the memorial essence. This isn’t because they invoke any of the things above I said they don’t. Your answer is in a question. What else do memories come with? Emotions. The most vivid memories are driven by emotions, and that is what can influence the original servant present in Chaldea. Their perception and outlook can shift, but they will still be based off of the original’s disposition. 

An outward attitude and perception can still be affected by the emotions contained within the memories. It has been shown that servants can have direct conflict with the memories received, but do come to accept them in some manner. After comparing them with their own, they can then choose in what manner they interpret it. It all boils down to how willing the original is to let these memorial essences influence their outlook, but a direct and sweeping overhaul does not happen.

I will now go over in detail the various examples of memorial essences.

EMIYA: This is a clear example of its use, but I can see where some may have drawn the wrong conclusion. The distinct personality differences between EMIYA and Shirou are there, but the written lines are specific. He has gotten used to these memories from Fate Route Shirou and has even accepted them. They’re so close to how he was, that only a bit of time was needed. The new emotions influenced his feelings towards Arturia, making the relationship possible again.

Vlad III: Likely the biggest culprit for confusion. Berserker and Lancer Vlad (Apoc) do act very differently canonically. While the berserker version is more impulsive due to being influenced directly by the legend of Dracula, his lancer side opposes it. By granting the berserker the memories of his lancer counterpart, he was given all the negative emotions against being a vampire. Those harsh beliefs alone would do much to stabilize him.

But why hasn’t he tried for the class shift like Lancelot? That will be revealed in his fragment when the time comes.

Lancelot: This one was very clear, yet also convoluted. His Mad Enhancement was released, allowing him to act like the remorseful yet determined knight seeking redemption. He found all of it in Their Guiding Light, and even gained a daughter. This led him to be the first servant in Chaldea to undergo the class change. Long after, Mata Hari stated in Ishtar’s Fragment, “He has become flirtier with his class change.”

The Class change is what influences a personality slightly because it directly changes the saint graph. The saint graph is the determining core and parameters of the servant, so by manipulating that, the chances of shifting the personality directly are higher. Simply getting a memorial essence of the same or different class (that grants a different noble phantasm) can not shift it alone: The saint graph itself needs to be directly adjusted.

The Child Servants (Fragments 27, 28, 29): Remember what Gilgamesh’s youth potion did? Besides revert the king back to his childlike self, it shifts the personality to that time as well. That explains the shift in personality for everyone. This is not a memorial essence example, though it did allow Arturia to actually feel like her happier, younger self (which she did get in TGL).

Kiritsugu and Irisiviel: Through them, I was able to show a willingness to change how they act based on the very different emotions they feel. Their memorial essences granted them the same thing the FGO variants never felt before: genuine love for a significant other and child. Love is a powerful as hell emotion, which cannot be denied. It leads people to do very different things. It led both of them, who had never even met before, to become a couple based on the emotions in their counterparts’ cherished memories. A stark personality change, yes, but how long did it take Kiritsugu and Irisviel to accept them? It wasn’t instant, and it was after much internal conflict, debate, and deliberation.

Altera: She seemed a lot happier around Nero after her memorial essence, but knowing what you do now, could you blame her? The normally stoic and warrior-driven hero just received her memories from Fate/Extella True Path. It is assumed she was greatly loved and appreciated by Nero, as shown in her original fragment. With these memories in full clarity, of course she’s going to be absolutely ecstatic that her adoptive sister never turned her back on her.

This might have been confused as a personality change, but it wasn’t. It was an overall mood disposition shift. The personality adaptation came with her time and experiences in Chaldea.

Arturia: This is where I put the nail in the coffin. She received her Lily essence at the end of Their Guiding Light. This had absolutely no outward influence on her in such a short period of time (hours) after receiving it. Even if Lily is overly chipper, they’re just fond memories for Arturia. While not as conclusive as the next point, they showcased that it’s just a bundle of memories with emotions (plus noble phantasm in this case).

As shown in Redemption from Sin, she has received the memorial essence for Arturia Lancer. However, her personality remained the same after the events of Their Guiding Light and the fragments. There is no discernible personality change or issue. She has simply come to accept the memories, and the newfound weapon’s power.

Speaking of which, it also displayed the issues of using a different noble phantasm in the wrong class: The unleashed attack suffers a rank down. This is just to ensure that “changing a class” does actually have certain benefits. It’s also to prevent someone like Arturia from just getting all these noble phantasms and throwing them around like it’s nothing. That brings us to the final, concerning member of memorial essences.

Gilgamesh: He’s received the lost memories of him as a child. During Iskandar’s fragment, he’s more agitated than usual. There’s no clear personality change in the king anywhere. It can be argued that the king’s disposition is immoveable due to how self-aware he is, but then Redemption from Sin happens.

Suddenly he’s a touch more attentive and lenient at the behest of his memorial essence, but that’s not the whole truth. Do not forget, Gilgamesh has gone through a lot of bullshit (from his POV) upon arriving in Babylonia. His friend tried to kill him, his counterpart is disappointed in him, and his citizens are scared as hell. All of these are making an impact on him and opening the window. Combined with the memories of his childhood, which show the exact opposite, he’s going to be more curious and open, even if only a touch. Never forget the conditions and influences of a setting.

There’s a few other minor ones like Elizabeth, but I think it’s all self explanatory at this point.

That aside, you can now see the circumstances and specifics of the memorial essences, meaning these next two questions have been answered:

image

I’m certain you can determine the answers to these now that I laid everything out next to each other.

Upon receiving a memorial essence from either Rin or Ishtar, only her mood, outlook, and possible list of friends/enemies will change. Upon her summoning and merging with Rin, Ishtar’s dominant personality had already been solidified with the saint graph as stated in Babylonia canon; There is no “granting control” if the identity has been combined permanently. I’ve been over this before, but FGO’s depiction of Ishtar was the exact opposite of the pseudo-combination of Waver/Zhuge Liang. Only Rin’s subtle quirks and influences on the goddess’ personality will appear. The class change makes it a possibility, but that’s if Ishtar decided to go through with it.

As for Saber Alter, this is fairly obvious as well. She’s far too close to Arturia to manifest as her own servant if she was summoned to Chaldea. If she did arrive as a memorial essence, there would be no full personality shift or split. This isn’t like Gilles De Rais, who has that duality issue to begin with. Him receiving a memorial essence would only further agitate and bolster the voices due to the memories. Arturia would just be frustrated with dealing with rather disconcerting memories.

Sorry to say, Saber Alter’s fans, but her chances of actually being summoned in fragments are slim, but do not forget there are supplements and minor singularities. There’s always the possibility to make something happen and I catch everyone off guard in some way. I shall leave the random speculation to you, but don’t come looking for answers. You just have to be patient, because I didexpress the intention to have every servant featured in some manner.

Writing Insight II: The Keys that Unlock Doors

Original Post Date: February 16th, 2017

I often mention “I’m building towards something”, but some don’t know what I mean by that since this is a collection of one shots. Allow me to explain my building blocks techniques.

Building blocks are necessary for every story, but even more so for a series of loosely connected one shots. Since every piece is new, but can build off concepts introduced in a previous one, the greater the number of pieces I have to use is directly proportional to my freedom of creation.

The collection has long since grown a path, though each one shot remains a rough standalone. Reading them all connected is significantly more rewarding than just reading your favorite servant’s by itself. The reason for this is the world building I’ve developed over the first few fragments. The collection has started relatively slowly because of it, but they were necessary to make the later ones plausible. Though some have begun picking up on my intricacies, it is always advisable to scan a new (or old) fragment for building blocks that might be used later.

Some just wind up as noodle incidents just to keep some guessing though, but the real ones can be rather easily identified.

The best way to view these building blocks is like keys to doors. As an example, in Fragment 1, I introduced Jeanne, Marie, the Salon, and several other servants. I also introduced the design concepts for the Furniture Department, Clothing Department, Quantum Pieces, and more. Finally, there’s the servant developments like Mozart working as the pianist in the Salon or Jeanne being a very capable singer. All of these can be seen as keys I can now use to open a new door in a following fragment.

As an example, let’s take the Kiritsugu Fragment that comes much later. The end goal was to reunite the Emiya family by introducing Illya and Kuro to Chaldea, but that was not possible to do earlier. Based on what appeared in the fragment, the following keys needed to be introduced (But are not limited to these).

  • Irisviel
  • Kiritsugu
  • Irisviel / Kiritsugu
  • Memorial Essence
  • Shooting Range
  • EMIYA

These keys can all be established during the fragment itself, and some are. However, shoe-horning pieces into one fragment to make it work is shoddy writing when done often. Placing them in previous fragments that complement their host while teasing something else coming up is significantly more powerful. As such, I’m constantly building keys in preparation for later fragments. It makes the door swing open much easier.

These doors themselves can be as simple as a Servant’s Personal Fragment, or more direct like a concept. One concept example is OC/Servant, and something like the requires much stronger build up. Introducing it flat out would lead to a lot of tomatoes considering what it is, but it was a key I was very interested in unlocking early for potential use later. Thanks to Naomi and Tyler’s efforts in previous Fragments, it had already been heavily established servants and employees can get along. It was simply a matter of using the correct combination to open the door at this point, with that number combo being Anton’s design (Engineer Division OC Key) and Frankenstein (Servant who wishes to be seen, and loved, as a person).

Just like the rest that came before it, establishing that meant a new key I can use to talk about others things for potential use. A main example is the employee who tries to hit on Mordred (encouraged by Anton succeeding) and fails epically. This acts as the initial fuse for Beowulf to start a food fight, sending the potential chaos into another direction to save the employee from a beating and show Dantes ‘fun mischief’.

Now, how can this work to help you predict a possible appearance/concept coming up? 

The trick is to view little snippets that appear within recent fragments that may be alluding to something more later on. The frequency of which they appear is also a solid indicator. Whether or not you’re right or wrong is anyone’s guess since I do throw curve balls. But as not to discourage you, let me give a solid example:

When Ozymandias was walking around Chaldea trying to break his new groove in, he ran into the Hassans with their newest member, Serenity. The next time she was seen was in the medical wing for an appointment, being careful not to touch anything while being fairly nervous. The last time you saw her was Christmas Day, when it was revealed she mostly stayed within her room because she was overly worried something might happen to a Chaldean resident if she wandered too often. The small, personal party the masters threw just for her was hardly compensation for all of the trouble she had.

Does that mean Serenity’s fragment, and possible solution, may be approaching? They keys are all there for the door, so in this case, the answer is yes. Serenity’s Fragment will be number 32. There’s your free teaser for what’s coming up as a reward for reading this writing insight!

The Difficulty of Writing an FGO Fanfic

Original Post Date: Nov 9th, 2016

No rant here. I’m just making a post to give some insight into the ludicrous nature of writing a Fate/Grand Order fanfic. I placed myself in this position though, so I’m cool with it and accept the potential pitfall.

The biggest thing for me is always the characters. It’s what everyone reads it for, no? You like characters and you want to see more of them when there’s not. That makes it paramount to get characters spot on so there’s no jarring transition. Can you imagine if Saber hated eating food? It’d be jarring, right?

So I do my best to get them as spot on as possible, but that’s where the problem with Fate/Grand Order comes into play: It’s constantly being updated, in a language I do not understand, with potentially lore breaking reveals.

Example: Fate/Grand Order has established servants remember their past experiences, completely opposite of what was established in prior works.

Example: Mages hate technology yet Chaldea has cryo vats.

Example: The Mages are huge on secrecy yet Marlisbilly informed the UNITED NATIONS of all things about Chaldea. Probably for extra funding. Or maybe they found out?

Constantly being updated makes it difficult enough. Now we have the issue of Slice of Life. You have all these servants in one place interacting. But they’re supposed to stay in character. Something has to give to keep the Slice of Life feel, and not make it your standard, cliché bloodbath that Fate/ often ends in. So I bend characters in a conceivable way so you can believe they’ve had to adapt to a new environment and experiences. 

But in order to figure out how they would adapt and fit in, I literally go through every piece I can get my hands on. The amount of background research I’ve been doing for these stories is a little absurd and I STILL don’t think I’m a fate expert. So many cross checks in Apocrypha, Fate/Stay Night and others to figure out characters and what they would/would not be against. Even worse if they’re Grand Order only with limited translation, ouch.

=====

Example: I’ve done my research on Emiya simply by watching the anime, playing the Realta Nua visual novel, checking his FGO my room & interludes for updates/differences, etc. and have placed the collective knowledge into a brainstorm sheet. I then figure how to make him find his niche in Chaldea.

In Unlimited Bladeworks’ ending, he promised Rin and Emiya have a talk that pretty much ends with him agreeing to try to like himself. “I’ll try my best from now on too.”

Normally this would be a moot, tragic point since servants can not remember the past. Low and behold, Grand Order kicks that thought out the window (part of the reason I assume some Die hard Fans hate Grand Order). This means Emiya remembers and will try to like himself. Go back to the basics? He’s a great cook. He’ll do chores. Hero of Justice stuff. Just sprinkled with the experiences of Archer’s cynicism so he’s not naive, rather battle hardened and a logical thinker. But that little bit of Shirou can now shine through again.

But he’s from UBW route, so how does he remember his romance with Arturia? He loved Rin in that route. Throw in my own piece of fanfiction, the Memorial Essence. As described, it let’s servants remember forgotten timelines to help power up their abilities using those memories. Suddenly he remembers his romance with Arturia at a higher clarity. 

=====

If X servant can change Y amount in what is pretty much a fourteen day Grail War, what will months do? I believe a lot, especially since they’re in close proximity and have to work together.

Unless you just want me to summon a servant to have them fight Chaldea’s residents and wind up being a wasted chapter. Summon Brynhildr with Siegfried in the building. Lots can go wrong there.

Side note to all Brynhildr fans: I’m seriously trying to figure a way to make something work for you guys without massive amounts of forced crack intake.

But that’s where the next problem arises: Everyone would like to see their favorite servants appear, and I don’t blame them. I want to include every servant at some point and in some way. From a lore stand point, that is 100% impossible without very serious consequences. But I’m going to try and do it even if it’s a singularity cameo.

Finally, as if I didn’t dig my grave deep enough, comes the issue with including OCs in order to make the staff relate able. They’re there so you have someone you’re more likely to relate with, cause I highly doubt most people can say something around the lines of, “Ah yea, I know how rough it is being a Roman Emperor trying to earn more praise from my citizens.” And so I include OCs that are carefully written, developed, and chosen in order to fit properly without breaking cohesion.

Bonus! Self-introduced, non-canon mechanics to make sense of things without explanation. Why do servants power up their NPs with multiple copies of themselves? The Memorial Essence gives them the memories upon ‘summoning’ another self. How do you explain multiple servants being possible? They’re in the throne still, but only one can be summoned by Chaldea. With enough Memorial essences, they can shift to another class if plausible. The potential for these getting smashed by real lore introductions is very real, and a high risk.

So then what does that leave us with?

Simple.

What is essentially a minefield of possibly Mary Sues, interpreted wish fulfillment, OOC characters, breakable mechanics, and lore contradictions. The amount of things people can jump on me for is astronomical, especially considering the sheer number of servants I have to deal with. It’s honestly a fun challenge and I don’t mind the mines!

So honestly, I’m surprised not many have left a critic remark. We’ve had one that made me double check, but everyone else who replied says the characters are relatively fine and have had believable development. Some slight signs of wish fulfillment in order to make Slice of Life work but no lore contradictions or broken mechanics yet. So I guess I’m doing a good job? I don’t like patting myself on the back, but I’ll make an exception here since it appears I’m hitting that thin as hell sweet spot.

But for all those who keep reading and like what they’ve found, I’m glad I’ve done good by you all, and I will continue to tread down this minefield and hopefully not tear my legs off. I’ve got a lot planned for Fragments once this singularity is complete, and a lot of fan favorites and not-so-favorites to make their debut.

Elsa Santini

Chaldean Wellness Specialist

Debut: Fragment 77
Affiliation: Quality of Life Division
Education: Doctorate in Psychology (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)

Heritage: Italian, Born and Raised
Age: 28
Height: 173cm 
Hair: Light Brown
Eyes: Greenish Blue

Likes: Children, Family, Catholicism
Dislikes: Internet and Media Toxicity, War
Fears: Anything bad happening to her son
Favorite Color: Blue

Key Personality Traits: Motherly, Caring, occasionally fearful
Specialty: Mental and Emotional Therapy
Hobbies: Knitting, Helping at the Church

Key Personality Traits: Altruistic, Respectful, Religious, Reverent, Kind
Specialties: Calm/controlled in the worst situations, Incredible Focus
Hobbies: Jet Skiing, Free Diving, Swimming, Sailing

Closest Companions (Bond 6+ for servants) 

Bond 10Nightingale, Raikou
Bond 9Martha, Medea, Boudica
Bond 8Vlad, Amakusa, Jeanne, George
Bond 7Mata Hari, Irisviel, Atalanta, Da Vinci
Bond 6 Romulus, Nero, Cleopatra, Caesar, Caligula
OCsNaomi, Delaqua, Anishka

After being invited by Da Vinci at her uncle Leandre’s insistence, Elsa dared to be one of the first new employees to travel all the way to Antarctica for a job. Her circumstances remain mysterious, but most understand she was running away from financial problems. Due to her friendly and helpful personality, plus her adorable baby, Giovanni, she was quickly considered a Chaldean Celebrity.

They say no one has a heart of gold like mothers, but Elsa stands taller above the rest. Often doing too much to help out those she’s come to like, she’s known for often forgetting her own wellbeing. Even so, any little trouble with her baby has her running to his side immediately in panic. Some call it a mother’s true love, but some feel there’s more to that fear she isn’t revealing.