Can mundanes learn Enigmatic Wisdom?

Apparently, being a Gorgiastic is a General, rather than a Hermetic Minor Virtue; so it would seem that even a mundane can learn Enigmatic Wisdom. And the Criamon did have an unGifted Primus in their history. Or am I missing something?

I don't see why not. While it uses the rules for skills, it seems to be more a way of looking at the world. That would also explain why you can "learn" Enigmatic Wisdom coming out of Twilight.

Hmmm... I hadn't caught that. Interesting... And what might that lead to with the Criamon paths?

I can't remember, what type of Ability is Enigmatic Wisdom? If it's supernatural, that still wouldn't restrict it to Gifted persons, but it would mean it couldn't be acquired with the same relative ease as other Abilities by non-Gifted persons. Even then I don't see why you couldn't Initiate a non-Gifted person relatively easily, just as some of the other books mention Initiating non-Gifted persons.


The core book just says it's a "knowledge", in the Mysteries Section of Chapter 7. Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults does not shed much further light, describing it as an "ability", and the "mindset" of Criamon magi. "Enigmatic Wisdom is life, riddled" says HoH:MC, p.49. However, any magus can learn it by studying for a year with a (Criamon) magus, or a ghost at the Cave of Twisting shadows. So I'd assume it does not behave a supernatural ability in terms of being learnable only by Gifted individuals whose Gift is still sufficiently "unmolded".

That sounds like a reasonable conclusion to me. Any thoughts on the paths? I'll have to look at that section again in MC. It's been quite a while since I read it.


I'd like to add that

You could thus interpret characters quite broadly as including non Magi.

However, as an SG, I would not allow it. It seems a bit unfair to me that an unGifted characters could learn Enigmatic Wisdom, whether they would not be allowed to learn the other (basic) Mysteries like Hearbeast, Faerie Magic and Verditius Magic. It tends to make Enigmatic Wisdom less special to me.

I also can't recalled any NPC with the ability except Magi.


I would agree with you, LimitedEdition, but Enigmatic Wisdom is something that can be forced on players. Page 89, Increased Knowledge. "A number of experience points in an Art, Magic Theory, or Enigmatic Wisdom, equal to twice the number of Warping Points gained.". So what's going on here? It would seem that "Initiated into the mystery of the Enigma" is by means of learning Enigmatic Wisdom, and you learn Enigmatic Wisdom by being "Initiated into the mystery of the Enigma". Circular logic, which seems rather apt, given the House we are talking about. Perhaps the first riddle of Criamon is outside the setting and in the core book.


I would guess the year with a Criamon or a ghost in the Cave of Twisting Shadows would include an Initiation. Certainly in other traditions non-Gifted persons can be Initiated, so we know Initiation isn't necessarily restricted to those who are Gifted, though some Initiations certainly do seem to require the Gift. So far I don't see why some non-Gifted person couldn't be Initiated. I just wonder under what conditions a magus would actually Initiate such a non-Gifted person.

Note that the page 89 Increased Knowledge quote doesn't imply you can first learn Enigmatic Wisdom via Twilight. An OR statement is true if any of its parts are true. So any magus who doesn't already know Enigmatic Wisdom could gain experience points in an Art or in Magic Theory and be following that statement. Meanwhile a magus who knows Enigmatic Wisdom could gain experience points in those or Enigmatic Wisdom.


PS: Oh, ya - nice circular logic statement! :laughing:

Just because an unGifted character learns the Ability, doesn't mean that they can do everything that a Gifted character can with the Ability. For example, unGifted characters don't experience Twilight, so even if they have an Enigmatic Wisdom Ability Score, they can't use Enigmatic Wisdom to comprehend Twilight.

Similarly, I would be fine with allowing, say, non-Gifted characters to learn the Faerie Magic Ability. This should (I think) be required for, say, a scribe to copy a spell text that uses Faerie Magic ranges without error. However, it doesn't mean that the scribe can actually cast the spells.

It used to be that Enigmatic Wisdom was considered the same as the mystical insight obtained by non-magi. I remember in 4th edition that the Criamon were studying with Sufis. I'm not sure how much of that has made it into AM5, with its strict division between Magic and Divine, but I liked the idea.

Perhaps, Callen, but you can have a twilight experience without having an Art score or a Magic Theory score. What happens then? No, I think that when it says you get experience in Enigmatic Wisdom, you get experience in it. It's not like there's an ordeal you missed, or you're getting a cost free perk. Enigmatic Wisdom is it's own ordeal, giving a permanent, increasing penalty to resisting twilight, and the House will teach it to anyone who asks, very odd in an age of "Knowledge is Power".

Hmmm... Can you? As a general rule, you cannot, but it may be that some other tradition allows Twilight and doesn't use Arts. Of what Tradition were you thinking? If any of the Traditions that were introduced later use Twilight and don't use Arts, I would suggest that those Traditions should have a comment about their Twilight Episodes stating the experience should go to certain Abilities instead of the Arts they don't have. Anyway, just let us know of which Tradition you were thinking; I can take a look.

Leaving that possibility out for the moment and remembering that most of the magi in a saga are Hermetic magi, as a general rule you cannot enter Twilight without an Art score. It is important to note that Art scores start at 0, making them distinctly different from Abilities with no experience. For example, Ignem 0 means you have a score in Ignem. When your Arts are opened to Hermetic magic you have scores of 0 in all 15 Hermetic Arts. Prior to having your Arts opened you don't have scores in your Arts. However, you also don't experience Twilight. The training shapes the way Warping affects you. Even Hermetic magi do not necessarily experience Twilight in cases where other training is dominant. For example, a Hermetic magus heavily invested in diabolism could experience Vituperation instead of Twilight.

Well, Magic Theory is just a regular, albeit not generally available, Ability. So there is no problem gaining experience in Magic Theory. As I mentioned above, you shouldn't have that issue with Arts.

I agree, but your quote doesn't say the first part of that at all. It says you get the experience in one of several things. It does not say you get experience in Enigmatic Wisdom. Meanwhile you have Nicolas's quote from page 92 that you can't learn Enigmatic Wisdom without having been Initiated. That leaves the rules pretty clear:

  1. if you have not been initiated into the Enigma, you get those points in an Art or Magic Theory, or
  2. if you have been initiated into the Enigma, you get those points in an Art, Magic Theory, or Enigmatic Wisdom.
    This is what ArM5 says.

If I remember correctly, there is an option 3 introduced in HoH:MC. That would be that even if you have Enigmatic Wisdom there may be some cap. I can't remember for sure if that cap only applies to study or if it applies to all sources of Enigmatic Wisdom.


Yes, Initiated into the Enigma. But What does that mean? Where is the script? What is the Sacrifice? There is no House Flaw for Criamon. Every other Mystery House has a house flaw. Lost of Familiar, Faire Warping, Casting Tools and Hubris. Their chapter talks about people out of house learning Enigmatic Wisdom. The rules are : go to them and they'll teach you. You would think a flaw would be mentioned in that section, but no. I think it's because the flaw is the virtue. The sacrifice and the virtue are one and the same, so you get Initiated into the Enigma by learning Enigmatic Wisdom, and learning Enigmatic Wisdom Initiates you into the Enigma. If you have seen a script for Initiating into the Enigma, let me know. I would love to see it. Doesn't seem to exist in Canon. I've looked. I love the idea of a Criamon/Verditius cross-over mage. Your art scores would suffer, but the treasures you could make!

Really? Are you saying you have to have Faerie Warping to learn Faerie Magic? I suggest you reread the rules on that. You must have a connection to the fae. Faerie Warping is the option used when there is nothing else available. There is no Fairie Warping house Flaw here.

What is the obsession with a Flaw? Ordeals are common in Initiations, but they are not necessary. Just look at example Initiations and you'll find plenty without Ordeals.


Can you give an example please, because I don't see how this is possible.

That is my understanding of the rules as well.

First, there's none for House Merenita if you have a Virtue of Flaw related to the fay.

Second, remember that Enigmatic Wisdom helps you comprehending Twilight but works against you to avoid it. I see that as a flaw.

Well, I could ask what your obsession is with "Initiated into the Enigma"? There is no example given, no example scripts. I looked for flaws so that I could Reverse Engineer a script but there is no flaw. There are scripts without flaws, yes, but nothing in the writings about Criamon seems to fill that niche. They don't have to travel to the Cave to learn Enigmatic Wisdom in canon. No vows are mentioned. No items sacrificed. No high holy day of obligation. None of the things used in Initiations instead of flaws. I take from this that "Initiated into the Enigma" is a throwaway line that accidentally gained new meaning as Mysteries were added to the game. In the current understanding of the rules, it is a "Hermetic skill", which each mage has at "zero", just like an art with no exp in it. That's what I think is going on. Your game may be different.

That it's actually written in the rules, perhaps? That would be in opposition to what you've been focusing on.

Really? Is not a teacher's and a student's time one of the things mentioned?

No, it is an Ability. Zero points in an Ability is not the same as zero points in an Art. It is much more like Penetration.


Well, LimitedEdition, the current edition does not require you to have an score in every Art. And it does not require that you have a Magic Theory score. Recommend? Yes. But Hermetic Wizards do not add Magic Theory to their casting rolls. It is added to the Lab score if you want to learn a spell, but not required. So, as an example, Sunny the Spontaneous has no Magic Theory, and no score in Creo or Imaginem. It's dark and he needs a light. He wants to make sure it goes off, because he's afraid of the dark. So he spends two points of Confidence. It's sure to go off! But, unknown to him, it's a holy aura of level seven! Not only does the spell fail, but he botches, and gets eight warping points. He does manage to understand the Twilight. Now, where do the exp go?

I agree. It is both flaw and virtue. That's kind of my point. Enigmatic Wisdom would seem to be the flaw you pick up to get the virtue Enigmatic Wisdom. Both Ordeal and Reward....

Except it's not written into the Rules, it's mentioned as flavor text. Of actual rules, there seem to none to be found. As to Penetration, I'm fine with that. Penetration doesn't require a teacher or and Initiation, just do it and you will (if you put exp into it) get the skill and get better at it.