Initiation of Enigmatic Wisdom

I could not seem to find a description of initiation of Enigmatic Wisdom in the Criamon chapter. Maybe I missed it but definitely not detailed down to the script level like everything else but not even really solidly described in a less mechanical manner. In the section on Enigmatic Wisdom it seems like it just sort of happens through riddling the apprentice. In the section on magi from other houses being initiated it talks about them going to The Cave of Twisting Shadows and learning for a year but beyond that is not described. Any thoughts on what an initiation into Enigmatic Wisdom looks like for apprentices in the house? I don't need it to be defined mechanically as an initiation script but something a little more juicy than riddles and, preferably, not requiring travel to The Cave of Twisting Shadows to do it, something that could be accomplished by an apprentice with their parens as guide (aka mystagogue).

Summoning @Timothy_Ferguson , I assume you've given this some thought as the Criamon chapter was, IIRC, your baby.

Does HoH:MC p.49 box Enigmatic Wisdom For Magi From Other Houses help you?

Magi from outside the house may study for a year with a magus, or one of the ghosts at the Cave of Twisting Shadows, and gain the Enigmatic Wisdom Ability, with a score of one.

Yes. I mentioned that. That it is merely described as a year of study but it is supposed to be an initiation. If it's just a year of study then there is no need to make it require actual initiation or grant the virtue to apprentices by any means other than the (paraphrase:) "after 10 seasons of learning from or working closely with their parens the apprentice gains the virtue" like with most other Houses (non-MC ones and many ex Misc lineages) as mentioned in the Apprentices book. But my reading of that is it is 3 seasons of study and a season of initiation, but the actual initiation is not described at all.

Going from the text in HoH:MC there is no formal initiation involved in learning Enigmatic Wisdom.
Nowhere in there is there any mention of an initiation of Enigmatic Wisdom.

Neo Mercurian also have
" to spend a year at the Temple learning through Initiation and study"
for the Virtue Mercurian Magic (TMRE 115)
So the 1 year don't see off, just that the actual initiation for the Criamon apparently missing in the text.

Technically you don't have to be initiated to get enigmatic wisdom, you do need to be initiated to have the Enigma. What you could do with enigmatic wisdom without the enigma is less than clear, but in theory it is possible.
It should also be noted that virtues can be taught, it is just very difficult unless it is done very early in the apprenticeship, also apprentices states "Initiation into the house's outer mystery takes a season" for both Criamon and Merinita, which seems to suggest that it at least replaces a single season of teaching.

Hmm. We have ArM5 p.92 The Enigma:

Characters may not learn Enigmatic Wisdom without being initiated into the mystery of the Enigma.

Putting that alongside HoH:MC p.49 box Enigmatic Wisdom For Magi From Other Houses it appears, that a year of purposeful study with a Criamon or Criamon ghost suffices to acquire The Enigma as well.

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In addition we have the second paragraph of the introduction of HoH:MC which, while it allows initiation of the outer mysteries of a house by an apprentice without learning the MC Lore of the house, states it requires an intitiation:

All of the Exoteric (that is, House) Mysteries are governed by a separate (House) Lore; thus there is a House Bjornaer Lore, a House Criamon Lore, a House Merinita Lore, and a House Verditius Lore. Initiates who have not been apprenticed to a member of the House need at least (House) Lore 1; the Mystagogue for any Initiate must also know the same Lore, but generally needs a high level if the Initiation is to succeed. To grant the Initiate a new mystery Virtue, the Mystagogue generates an Initiation Total, which determines the success or failure of the Initiation

The primary reason I see this passage is so characters created before HoH:MC came out do not need to be altered and since HoH:MC I always give MC magi some level of the MC Lore of their house. I also take this to mean the mentioned year “studying” includes a season of initiation or there is a 5th season after the mentioned year. Remember, Initiations take a whole season at least though more time as an Ordeal or Quest may also be required. Either of these options is fine but I think it is clear by RaW that a season spent initiating the virtue is required and, of course, this counts as a season training by the parens. I have no interest in arguing this point anymore. What I am still interested in is answers or suggestions to my actual question:
What might an initiation in Enigmatic Wisdom for an apprentice who is not taken to The Cave of Twisting Shadows look like?

Spending a year with a weirdo, and finding out at the end that he doesn't appear weird any more? :stuck_out_tongue:


I suppose the formal initiation, such as it is, for apprentices is the question before a group that they answer as sussinctly as possible. Which predates me (it's from Second Edition's OoH) and is a straight steal from zen monasticism.

The point of that though is only social recognition. You are an initiate when you see the world in a new way. It doesn't have a big ritual component because, much like the Zen it was based on, it's not particularly theatrical. Our take on mysteries is quite Western / sacramental, and the Criamon just don't do that.

So, sorry... initation into Wisdom just looks like being wise and knowing stuff you can't communicate to people through conventional communication. There's no reenactment of the slaying of the demon bull moment like in Mithranism, instead you just start seeing deeper meaning in things.

Your saga may vary of course. If you want them to go onto a mountain and be literally struck by inspirational lightning, you do you.


If I didn't want to discourage people from answering this I might have said that's the solution. :laughing:

Bummer. I don't hate it but it's harder to describe in my character's episodic backstory. I'll have to seek out that book in whichever box it is in.

OTOH, they do exactly what you say they don't with every other initiation in their chapter, the Avenues and Stations of the Paths, as well as it being mentioned somewhere they have a way of initiating Inscription Upon the Soul, though no script is given, just mentioned that some know a script for it... I think in the body modification section.

fundamentally the non-apprentice initiation is meet at a certain place (cave of shadows +3), mystagogues time (4 seasons of training +12 or +3) with a targe of 15- if we assume that the teaching time is only a +3 bonus then the spirits have Criamon lore+ presence at 9+.
For teaching an apprentice we already know it requires one season of the mystagogues time (+3 script bonus), and the mystagogue has a Criamon lore of 1, presence unknown, so presumably the remainder of the script varies with the instructor's presence and lore, and possibly which path they are exploring. Some form of travel would be an obvious thing to include since it is part of the initiation for non-apprentices, but there are a variety of spots that could be chosen, which may have certain auspicious days assigned to them. Making the apprentice work out a puzzle also seems especially apropos.

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