FanFic Discussion: Mad Enhancement
This isn’t going to be quite as long as the previous one. Really, I just had a thought – many people I’ve talked to find writing Fate/stay night or, more specifically, Holy Grail War fanfiction impossible. First because of the sheer number of characters involved and second, because it’s impossible to make a Berserker class servant with any kind of depth. The common assumption is that they’re always insane, all the time, but based on the information we have available, I think there is potential for a second option. Berserkers tend to have at least one or two speaking moments, usually just before their death to show that they have regained their sanity. This shows that Mad Enhancement is not a permanent state of being; not a fundamental change to the servant’s psyche, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to summon them into any other class, and without exception all of the Berserkers in the official works have attached comments indicating that they could be summoned as other classes. If Lancelot couldn’t have been summoned as a Saber class servant or a Rider I’ll eat my left thumb, and the character dictionary for Berserker says that Heracles had mastered enough skills in his life that he could be summoned into any of the classes, save those with special requirements (Caster and Assassin).
It’s also said in Fate/stay night that Ilya kept Berserker in a constant state of pain in order to keep him under control, implying that Mad Enhancement is continually active and that the insane Heracles would eventually turn on her if she didn’t. On the other hand, Fate/Zero implies that Lancelot willingly invoked the Mad Enhancement in order to drown the pain of his own betrayal. I find it a little ambiguous so my suggestion would be to, either as a unique property of that particular servant or a reinterpretation of Type-Moon canon, make Mad Enhancement an activated ability that can be “turned off” but only with the expenditure of large amounts of prana. Alternatively, you could have it be an ability that, once it is turned on, can never again be turned off and so it is only used in the most dire circumstances. This could potentially allow a Berserker servant to have moments of lucidity when not fighting but when the fighting starts it would become impossible for him to hold any kind of high-level debate, although still only at his base ability levels. Triggering the Mad Enhancement would boost his power levels but make him permanently insane as normal. It might make for a really tragic story, maybe the Master became good friends with his Servant during his more lucid moments, but those can never be brought back since the Servant will disappear once the war is won or they have died.
Again, just my thoughts. Hopefully they will have helped at least one person. If so, I am content.