The Player (プレイヤー?) is the seventh Master in the False Holy Grail War of Fate/strange Fake. Completely left to the "player" to "design" in the April Fools' Day game concept, Caubac Alcatraz picks Ayaka Sajyou as the Player of the full novelization.
« To subvert all that came about as a result of the Fifth War— To make everything into nothing once again—including all the sacrifices that were made— To achieve those goals, we will seize the false Holy Grail. »
|(Mysterious woman to the Player)|
The Player's identity is almost completely selectable within the context of the "game setting." Gender, ethnicity, and body build are able to be varied, their age can be from their late teens to early twenties, and it is possible for them to be a criminal, saint, or faker. They are a normal human rather than a magus who previously lived in Fuyuki, but arrived in America while fleeing something. Their aversion of elevators and visions of a bloodstained girl are reminiscent of Person A, a person told of in a ghost story in Fuyuki. They meet an unnamed woman with white hair, pale skin, and a noted uncommon beauty in Las Vegas. She forces them to accept the five Command Spells, and though it is unknown how much they understand about the situation, she leads them to Snowfield to begin their story.
The personality of the Player is left up to their own choices as a drifter who has wandered into the war. Utilizing trust, betrayal, ambushes, or abscondment, they can attempt to force a resolution where all participants are saved, or they can attempt to kill all those involved. They can try to stay away from conflict, or they can attempt to partner with others.
While they have control over most of their actions, there are four rules that constrain them:
- Rule: "You cannot enter buildings that contain elevators."
- Rule: "From time to time, you will have visions of a bloodstained girl."
- Rule: "Once upon a time, you lived in Fuyuki, Japan."
- Rule: "It seems that you were fleeing something when you came to America."
There is no Saber-class Servant in the ritual, so he instead is granted five Command Spells capable of summoning a Servant for each Command Spell for a limited duration of time. While described in the sense of a player character for a game, the story was written as an April Fools' Day prelude to a joke project that was never intended to be developed.
Fate/strange Fake (2008)
The role of the player in the "game" is described on the April Fools' Day Fake/states night website and a brief epilogue at the end of the novel. They arrive in Snowfield three days after their meeting with the woman looking for a cheap, single-story motel. They encounter a man with a mohawk working as a clerk in a drugstore, and friendlier than he appears, he tells of nearby motels and suggests nearby hotels with similar prices. They decline the idea of hotels, and he comments on their "slick tattoos", causing them to chuckle as they leave the store and ruminate on the Command Seals.
There are various paths available to them, with proper usage of their ability to summon Servants possibly granting them the Holy Grail in the end. They can encounter all of the various Servant and Master pairs. False Rider may entrap them in Tubaki Kuruoka's dream world, or the Orlando Reeve's squadron may capture them. Various alliances can be formed, such as with Flat Escardos and Berserker, who may or may not be trustworthy. The attributes of the summoned Servants, "Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic" and "Good, Neutral, and Evil", also play a role in alliances. They have different goals and personalities, and differing goals can lead to betrayal.
Encouraged to "make Caster moan", they are able to decide the fate of all the characters. Overcoming or not overcoming the obstacles set before them, they can follow a path where all die or use "underhanded tricks" to ensure that all live. It is possible that certain paths will not even allow them to be at the center of the plot, relegating them to the role of "Innocent Bystander A" while the Holy Grail War plays out. The only thing that cannot be done is to escape from the Command Spells, as it is ingrained knowledge within their body that running away will result in death.
They are free to utilize their Command Spells as they wish, even waiting the entire week without utilizing any of them. Summoning female Servants into the Snowfield hot springs is a possibility, though that could exhaust their allotted thirty minutes without accomplishing anything should they get too engrossed. There is also a path where they are able to convert to Assassin's religion and marry her.
Fate/strange Fake (2015)
Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg, observing the world of Fate/strange Fake, is seeking out means of manipulating the world to provide a satisfactory outcome for the Mage's Association, seeing other world lines such as one where Type Mercury awakens as well. Unsatisfied, he asks the intruding Caubac Alcatraz for assistance, and Caubac suggests selecting the world in which his observer is an "intruder" rather than a magus from the Association. Quickly manipulating Zelretch's book to look through various parameters of the person, it swaps between qualities such as race, gender, age, body type, clothing, personality, and occupation. Male or female, elderly or young, musclebound or obese, a saint or vicious murderer, a magus or a priest, all types of people are shown through the pages. Caubac, picking a future in the same way he deals with his labyrinths, settles upon Ayaka Sajyou. He picks a world where she wears glasses as a final touch, and Zelretch asks if such a quality is important. Caubac is unable to answer if it has any meaning, only saying that he arrived at the choice from back-calculating from the result. Letting the False Holy Grail War be observed by an outsider, Ayaka Sajyou is picked as the center, the player, of the world.
The Player has five Command Spells on their body granted by the mysterious woman, one on each hand, one on each shoulder, and one on their back. They have been made to fill the gap left by the missing Saber class, but they are not a trained magus. Granted the power of Heroic Spirits, each Command Spell is a one-use ability to temporarily summon a Servant for five minutes, with each use causing the loss of one Command Spell and all protection it offered. This results in being able to summon five different Servants for a total of thirty minutes allotted time before running out of Command Spells. The Command Spells are connected to around ten types of Servants, including Scathach, Perseus, Jason, the Hydra, Scylla, and Dong Bai.
As the Servants are unable to be summoned continuously, the Player must be careful in their usage of them. Though there are only thirty minutes available, each of the Heroic Spirits can stand on equal footing with the summoned Servants. They can be summoned separately for five minutes at a time, or all five can be summoned at once, such as against Gilgamesh while he is off guard to possibly obtain victory. Each action they take depletes energy, more so with Noble Phantasms, and while it replenishes over time, strenuous battle can deplete it before it can recover. They can resort to regaining energy by having Servants eat people, but a Command Spell is required on those without an Evil or Chaotic alignment. Though it is possible to retain Servants longer than the time limit by taking in enough energy, it can also force them to change alignments.
The overuse of Noble Phantasms can reduce the allotted time even more quickly should they not manage their magical energy properly. Though most Servants have one or two Noble Phantasms, Perseus has five Noble Phantasms, so strategy in which ones to utilize is important because using all five in within the time limit is not possible. The Player can also reduce the need to summon Servants by using items hidden around Snowfield. They include a puppet arm made by Touko Aozaki that can allow them to touch spiritual beings should they connect it to their body, and a Mana Compass with the name of its previous owner, "Rin Tohsaka", inscribed on the back, allowing them to sense hidden Servants by following as it points in the direction of the strongest magical energy.