The expanding Fate universe is populated by a wide cast of interesting, multi-faceted characters. The mega-franchise was originally developed as a visual novel by Type-Moon. The series has attracted worldwide popularity for the engaging premise involving figures from history and fiction battling it out to seize the Holy Grail.
Throughout it’s run, the Fate franchise has adapted many figures from various, diverse backgrounds. Some whom you may remember from attending your high school history class. Or some you remember from those novels you had to read for that English assignment. But which servants are from history and which are fictional?
10 REAL: Berserker of Red
The Thracian gladiator, Spartacus. In life, Spartacus led the legendary slave uprising against the oppressive Roman Republic. While details of his life have been lost through history, he’ll forever be immortalized as a symbol of freedom against oppression. The mighty warrior returns in Fate/Apocrypha as the hulking Berserker of Red.
As a result of being a servant of the Berserker class, Spartacus’s physical attribute has been enhanced to superhuman levels. Spartacus is a rare case of a Berserker class servant who still retains some mental rationality. Albeit it’s only limited to him talking about rebellion.
9 FICTIONAL: Berserker of Black
This servant working under the Yggdmillennia family was based on the monster created by Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel. Mary Shelley wrote the monster as a hideously deformed, towering ( 8 foot tall), male abomination. As evident from the photo, Fate/Apocrypha’s Berserker of Black is the exact opposite of her literary counterpart.
Like with Berserker of Red, Berserker of Black isn’t entirely without reason, even when under the effects of the Mad Enhancement. While she only communicates through grunts and displays an animalistic nature, she’s far from being a mindless monster. Deep down Berserker of Black is fueled by her longing desire to find a mate, like the monster from the novel.
8 REAL: Rider (Fate/Zero)
Rider proved to be one of the most likable characters in the Fate series. He upholds honor, was courageous, adventurous, and a competent leader. But, really you wouldn’t expect less from Alexander the Great himself. Alexander the Great will be remembered throughout history for his unparalleled leadership skills.
Gen Urobachi clearly wanted to honor this mighty warrior and leader when adapting him for Fate/Zero. There’s isn’t a better example of this than in Rider’s Noble Phantasm, Ionioi Hetairoi. Rider’s trump card that teleports himself and opponent to a vast desert. There Rider is reunited with his army of loyal soldiers.
7 FICTIONAL: Lancer of Red
Here is one of the most powerful servants in Fate/Apocrypha. To be honest, when you’re an all-mighty demigod it’s kind of expected to possess this kind of power. Lancer of Red has admittedly the most obscure background of all on this list. Lancer of Red was born as Karna, the offspring of a princess and the sun god Surya. His roots are planted deep in Hindu mythology and culture.
Lancer of Red has three Noble Phantasms, but there is one that everyone must watch out for, his holy spear the Vasavi Shakti. Lancer of Red charges this powerful weapon using the energy from the sun and launches it at his opponent. If the spear makes contact with its target the effects are…catastrophic.
6 REAL: Lancer of Black
Lancer of Black was based on none other than Vlad Tepes or otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler himself. The same ruler of Wallachia that battled against the Ottoman Empire. He had a disturbing reputation that involves impaling his victims through long stakes. The Wallachian ruler would later serve as inspiration for Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s horror novel.
Lancer of Black’s second Noble Phantasm is called Legend of Dracula. As what its name implies, the Noble Phantasm transforms Lancer of Black into a vampiric monster driven by bloodlust. However, Lancer of Black refuses to use this ability, even if his life depends upon it. This is out of utter disdain for how much the Dracula mythos has tarnished his family’s legacy.
5 FICTIONAL: Caster (Fate/Stay Night)
Caster’s true identity is Medea, the princess from Greek mythology. Medea was the granddaughter of the sun god Helios and the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis. One day she met Jason of the Argonauts and feel deeply in love with him. Throughout her life, Medea has been labeled as a witch by countless people. Little do they know that she’ll be starting a new life as an actual witch.
During the Fifth Holy Grail war, Medea proved herself as a powerful participant. She even summoned her own servant.
4 REAL: Ruler
Ruler is actually the legendary heroine, Joan of Arc. Ruler is a special type of servant. She wasn’t summoned by the Holy Grail to participate in the war, but rather to oversee it. This is because of the large number of servants and masters participating. Even Ruler’s summoning process is unconventional for a servant. In order to remain in the physical world, Ruler has to possess the body of a french girl named Laeticia, who accepted to be Ruler’s vessel.
Fate/Apocrypha is actually Joan of Arc’s second appearance after her brief cameo in Fate/Zero.
3 FICTIONAL: Rider (Fate/Stay Night)
Caster isn’t the only character from Greek Mythology to be adapted for the Fate series. Rider’s true identity is the snake-haired gorgon herself, Medusa. The same monster who can turn anything into stone just with her gaze alone, except you wouldn’t think that at first glance. While Rider’s appearance nowhere near resembles the original gorgon, she still retains one crucial characteristic- her stone-cold stare.
If anyone gets caught in her gaze they’ll slowly petrify until their statues. For the Fifth Holy Grail War Rider serves under Shinji Matou.
2 REAL: Caster of Red
Wow, the cast in Fate/Apocrypha is so diverse it even has William Shakespeare of all people. Shakespeare’s inclusion is…odd at the very least. Ironically, despite being of the Caster class, he can’t perform any mage craft. He has no fighting experience whatsoever, so he’s utterly helpless to defend himself. Shakespeare’s only saving grace are his unique powers.
Shakespeare is equipped with two powerful abilities: Illusion Creation and Mind Manipulation. Their names alone are very self-explanatory, but there’s more. Shakespeare can subject his enemies to experiencing the most horrid moments from their lives. If the experience is too overwhelming, the victim’s mind will shatter.
1 FICTIONAL- Archer (Fate/Stay Night)
Archer is a very special case. He is not based on a historical figure nor a fictional character from another pre-existing source material. Instead, Archer is a wholly original character created specifically for the Fate series. In actuality, Archer is Shirou Emiya from an alternate timeline.
In the future, Shirou makes a contract that would enable him to continue on after death as a Heroic Spirit. Archer would soon cross paths with his younger self in the Fifth Holy Grail War.