Effects of unGifted Intitation Integration

In hedge magic some traditions have the ability to initiate unGifted members with a portion of there traditions power. Rather then getting the full spread of arts and/or supernatural abilities like an Opening of the Gift ritual, the initiate gets one art or ability per initiation.

So lets say a hermetic mage discovers this, and with a little Mystery Lore experimentation, figures out a few initiation rituals that can bestow singular hermetic arts upon anyone he chooses. Once a Magus learns the new mystery lore they can attempt to create a script for any of their arts. For a script to work on an unGifted it must include an Ordeal either adding a flaw or subtracting a virtue.

With these arts the Initiates can...
Assist in any lab activity that uses one of their arts (even as just a prereq). The bonus they provide is cut in half if they do not posses all arts being used in the leading Magi's lab total.

They can engage in any lab activity on there own that incorporates only the arts known to them, for these purposes transfering vis requires ReVi opening an item for enchantment is CrVi.

Learn and cast spells that incorporate only the arts they have been intiated with

Initiated unGifted cannot cast spells spontaneously. Though there might be a separate initiation that could provide a virtue for it. Similarly a separate initiation would be required to engage in certamen with any arts they know.

So effects on the order?
Extra lumps in your oatmeal for ideas more creative then Magi crap their robes and the order either destroys the knowledge or falls into chaos.

Actually knowledge of hermetic magic is irrelevant in the lab. You must have MT and BE GIFTED. No Gift, no lab assistance. Familiars are the exception here.

Then comes the supplements and introduce a plethora of potential lab assistants that are unGifted, but the RAW is quite unequivocal here. You need to have the Gift in order to be a lab assistant.

Well this would be a change in those rules.

I guess this would have a much bigger impact than "cheap lab assistants!". Basically you will start to blurry the extremely clear cut distinction between Hermetic magi and mundanes. And IMO this is something that most hermetics will not like at all. They stop being so special and suddenly there is a bunch of "gentle gifted dudes" that can easily be as powerful as a hermetic magus in their area of specialization. Lab assistants or potential Masters of the Order and Europe?

Building a saga around that could be really cool if you like inner politics :slight_smile:


So RAW says there are a bunch of ways to assist in the lab without being Gifted and yet RAW unequivocally (leaving no doubt, unambiguously) says you need the Gift? That is contradictory. Even going only by ArM5 core rules familiars are not the only exception.

More precisely, you need the Gift or need to be closely tied to the Gift (used to have it but lost most of it, bound to it as a familiar) to assist in the lab. You can also help out even if not a technical lab assistant (forge-companions, slaves, servants) in other ways.

As for balance issues and the like, it should be noted that Leadership is already one of the most powerful things to have in the lab. This would make it even more so. Only the egos of magi keep it in check, but when you get to specific magi that can start to break down.


Being able to initiate even a limited form of the Gift... Now that would be a BIG gamechanger indeed.

Hmm, could have the Flaws taken in exchange be suitable to the Art... Fiery temper for Ignem, magical air for Vim, a tendency for destructiveness(either by choice or by "oops") for Perdo, being creative with the truth for Creo, severe curiousity for Intellego etc etc... :mrgreen:

More hierarchy. With "true" magi on top, then hedgies then these initiated ones with reduced rights.
I would very much prefer them to be able to cast Spontaneous as well, to avoid getting forced into being labslaves (their masters could then make sure they never learn any spells they could use to rebel or run away) as this could create a very nasty version of the order.

As long as it doesnt go "overboard" in that direction, i think the effect will be somewhat limited, simply because there wont be enough magi around who wants to take the time to initiate people.
I guess the order might go up in size by 50-100% or something though, which will probably be beneficial overall.

I think it likely that some magi or covenants would use it to make "special grogs", ranging anywhere from the mad scientist style to others simply offering a few reliable grogs "an upgrade".

"Grog, if you harvest those vis sources, I'll upgrade you to Grog 2.0 to show my gratitude" say the magus
Grog run for his life.

Grog to master: "Master, forgive my curiosity but if it's only a minor inconvenience why do you always pronounce the word ordeal as if it was spelled with a capital O?"

What are these plethora of potential lab assistants from the supplements?

I can't say it's a plethora, but here are the non-Gifted persons/animals bonuses of which I'm aware. The first three are clear exceptions, while the later ones are similar but not exactly "assistants" in the lab.

ArM5 - Familiars, Failed Apprentice
HoH:MC - Becoming (you've lost the Gift but can still do lab work), Forge-Companions
Covenants - Menagerie, Slaves, Servant, Lesser Horde, Greater Horde, working on the laboratory


Failed apprentice statement is not necessarely an exception: if your failed apprentice has 3 major supernatural virtues and 1 minor, he may be failed because the parens didn't open him.
He still have the gift.

There are IMO two kind of failed apprentice:

  • those without the gift (but magical air, for example), which canno't help ("may help" => may not, too)
  • those with the gift => they can help.


I have, since the original 4th ed Mysteries came out, run sagas where is was possible to intitiate The Gift.

In my sagas, we generally conceived it as created an unoffical heirarchy between Gifted and Initiated magi... mostly because the Ordeals required to become an Initiated magus usually involved gain a lot of Hermetic flaws. The Initiaited were thus considered magically inferior to the Gifted. Also, Initiated magi typically started their apprenticeships later in life and were older in a mundane sense, but much younger in a hermetic sense.

Depending on the saga, I've tossed back and forth on how this plays out within the Order.

In one saga, such initations have been know for a long time and Initiated magi outnumber Gifted magi in the Order. Generally, the initiated are drawn from the educated classes and are clerks, scribes and/or university students before they are intitated and start their hermetic apprenticeship. Gifted magi are seen as prodgedies, rare and remarkably talented... but often lacking the basic social and academic skills of their initiated sodales.

In another saga, Gifted magi were the norm and Initated magi were considered a bare step up from hedge wizards, crippled by the ordeals needed to awaken their Gift and socially stimatized within the Order. Initaites were usually talented or "valued" in some other way, prompting the initiation. We had a couple of magi who initiated their own children, out of love and desire to pass on their skills.

But that is a house rule/interpretation in complete contradiction to the RAW. You are welcome to play that way, but such a house rule should not show up in this kind of debate. Here are the two answers to the relevant questions:

Can a Failed Apprentice have The Gift?

Clearly you cannot have The Gift. Second, note that having a not completely destroyed Gift is relevant for Supernatural Abilities, not being an assistant.

Can a Failed Apprentice be a lab assistant?

The "not completely destroyed" statement is entirely divorced from this sentence. All Failed Apprentices may be lab assistants.


If your gift is not destroyed, you have it, otherwise you don't have it, and it can't be destroyed.

I see nothing against my interpretion, therefore your's is not RAW :wink:.
And it's "you may not" and not "you can not"...

And it's not the case, because this is the debate point: if you have the gift, thus maybe you are a failed apprentice, you can help in lab.

It's all a matter of interpretation: which rules take preseance.

If it's the gift requirement, then the failed apprentice piece of text is correct only for those who "have a not completly destroyed gift (and who may have some supernatural abilities)" and not the others.

If it's the apprentice failed virtue, then the requirement of the gift is not necessarly.

I see rules about magic higher than specifics of virtues.

Yes, that means "you are not allowed to" when written in such a way. (Note all the "may" and "may not" statements before and after it.) Note the exception to it, which shows this as well. The exception is "not completely destroyed." ("Completely serves and important purpose here, specifying what is meant by "destroyed.") Also this fits the earlier description, suggesting your problem completing your studies had to do with a partial or lost Gift. Finally, this is exactly how statements disallowing virtues and flaws are written on page 37.

Additionally, "grogs can never have The Gift,... companions should only have The Gift if they are intended to become magi." (p.36) Failed Apprentice violates this if the Failed Apprentice has the Gift.


Ooh, interesting. I just double-checked, and there is no requirement to have The Gift to work as a lab assistant. It seems many of us have forgotten what we read and have been using the converse of the actual statement. But a statement does not imply its converse. The actual statement on page 102 says that if you have The Gift and Magic Theory then you can assist in the lab. That section leaves it open about whether or not there are others who can assist you. So Familiars and Apprentices are not even exceptions to this rule, they're just also allowed.



A magus, before being a magus is a companion because he is expected to be gifted, which is not allowed for grogs.

But the whole "grogs/companions/magi" distinction is purely artificial and metagaming, I wouldn't use that as argument for the "in game" mechanism of magic.

But that would not be a Failed Apprentice. Failed Apprentice is only an option for non-magi who will not become magi (except perhaps in the Ungifted Redcap fashion I suppose). Thus it falls under the group that statement generally prohibits from having The Gift.

I'm not relying on it at all to present my argument, which is why I separated the comment. I've presented and extremely solid argument without it. But it does help indicate intentions of the Virtues & Flaws chapter. The intentions seems to be that Failed Apprentice will not provide The Gift. That then adds unneeded weight to the argument.