UnGifted Hermetic Mages


Is there any reason why the Order doesn't create Initiation Scripts for unGifted characters for each of the arts, similar to what some hedge traditions have (like the folk witches and learned magicians) ?

Yes, but it's somewhat arbitrary out-of-game.

Hermetic magic requires The Gift to function and thus the various techniques and forms, while discrete, don't really exist independently as virtues and can only be accessed by opening the arts of a Gifted individual (similar to the vitkar, or the traditions in Rival Magic).

That said, there's no reason a magus couldn't try to do so through Original Research (though the time investment would probably require that such a project be multigenerational).

Yes. Hermetic Magic was made by the Gifted for the Gifted. So there is no reason why its concepts should work for unGifted people at all, and why scripts initiating the unGifted into Hermetic Arts should be even possible.
The Abilities of Folk Witches, Learned Magicians and most other hedge wizards are close to Supernatural Abilities. These traditions originated so as to include both Gifted and unGifted practitioners.
But just as for Hermetic magic, one needs the Gift to learn the magic of Vitkir and the traditions from RM. Changing this in a saga should be discussed and decided by the entire troupe.

Faeries (see RoP:M p.118f Homunculi Wizards and LoH) and demons (see RoP:TI p.81 and p.88f False Powers, and p.124f False Magic) provide substitutes for the Gift, which are hard to distinguish from the original.


consider that there are a few virtues which use the arts in more limited fashions. There I a greater virtue (touched by magic) which allows access to two forms and using any technique with them, in a manner far more limited than what a magus can do. If you 'opened' all the forms with this technique for an ungifted person they would be required to take at minimum 5 minor flaws with the opening.
More likely is that it would follow the form and technique rules for educated mages, where each form is a minor virtue, and each technique a major. Even with requiring 1 minor flaw for initiating each of these, that would be 15 minor flaws they would need to acquire, or else simply choose a smaller range of virtues and flaws.

The Order of Suleiman initiate all their ungifted mages, and doing so is listed as a possible Hermetic breakthrough from studying the sahir's magic.

So presumably it would require hermetic research first, then you could start creating initiation scrips.

Indeedie - that being said, it would require 15 separate initiations to get through the whole thing; I would imagine that the in-game ramifications of that would be somewhat debilitating, to say the least. While it's certainly true that TECHNICALLY you don't need to gain a major Flaw for each major Virtue you gain, it's certainly a lot easier for the script-writer if they include it. And as each TeFo is considered a Major - yeah. Probably wouldn't be learning the entire system.

Perhaps I'm missing something. Is there some reason the Gift cannot itself be Initiated though Mystery rites, other than the issue of undermining the exclusivity of Hermetic magic?

Initiate the Gift, and the Arts are open for study.

You would need to invent a rules mechanism to do so from scratch, as TMRE p.8ff Entering the Mysteries does not cater for initiating Free Virtues. And you should reread ArM5 p.36 The Gift with your troupe before suggesting this. In brief, the Gift is from the start completely outside the system of the other Virtues and Flaws.

If somebody in Mythic Europe really makes noise about initiating the Gift, he might actually offer the False Gift (RoP:TI p.124).


The Gift is a 10-point Virtue if we compare to Mythic Companion. Initiation Target Level seems to be 12 + 3 * VirtuePoint, or 42 in that case. I guess there's your Answer. :wink:

An unGifted person wouldn't ever get all 15; they'd get 2-3 and make the best possible use out of them.

There is, however, a VERY good reason Hermetic Magi would not want to do this; competition for vis. Unless every mundane practitioner had CrVi, which would probably wreck most Magical Auras in a hurry, there's not enough vis to go around (YSMV).

You appear to refer to the Hermetic Breakthrough TC&tC p.45 Hermetic Realm Initiation. It's potential to initiate the unGifted into Hermetic Arts is only hinted at, without hashing out the rules details:

(Underscore mine.) So this is an option for a saga's outcome, if the troupe wishes to pursue it.


The reason I asked this, is that such unGifted mages, while never the equal to Gifted mages, would make good agents for the Order as they don't have the social penalties of the Gift.

I imagine some well placed people with Intellego Mentem or Rego Mentem among the mundanes would improve the political power of the Order. Arguably if such an agent would go rogue and harm the order, the mage who would had done the initiation and taught the arts would have been in breach of the code, so maybe that's why nobody would do it.

The 1220 Order, its Houses and factions have enough reliable - as magi go - members with the Gentle Gift, to work in times of need as high powered agents in mundane society. These have sworn the Oath of Hermes, and are personally responsible to their sodales for upholding it.
As magi usually have other things to do in their labs and covenants, most agents of magi among the mundane are far less powerful, though: see HoH:S p.140ff Agencies.


If your campaign could use agents of the Order able to cast a few select spells, and you do not wish to give them the enchanted items for it: in RoP:M p.44 there are the Major Supernatural Virtues Focus Power and Greater Power just for that purpose.

Initiating them does not require shenanigans like initiating Arts. Either you decide that iyc there is already a suitable mystery cult doing this for select spells, or your characters can follow the rules in TMRE p.19ff Inventing Your Own Cult and found that cult themselves.


Yep. Hence the "...Probably wouldn't be learning the entire system." comment.

Well, not 'learning the entire system' could mean learning half or more, where really the vast majority of mundanes would learn probably two. You're making specialists, not full blown magi. Someone with 2-3 Techniques and 3-4 Forms half the system and almost as effective as a full blown magus, but you'd almost always be better off grabbing a Gifted apprentice.

assuming the pattern of forms and techniques followed from educated magicians, each technique would be a major virtue, each form a minor. 2 techniques and 3 forms would 9 points of virtues. I'm thinking it would have to be less than this. Maybe 1 technique and 2 forms. Which is certainly specialized...

There is a Mercurian Ritual in Mythic Locations which if adapted successfully would grant the Gift.
It is suggested that part of the reason the Cult of Mercury began to decline is that this ritual stopped working.

Yes. It could mean that. In fact, "Not learning the whole system" could mean learning anything from 0, 1, 2, or up to 14 out of 15 TeFo's. I am glad we are in agreement on this.

Moving on.

Serf's Parma, but pretty sure the Integration rules for Solomnic magic explicitly state that they're all Major Virtues. Which, I do agree, seems kind of pricy. But them's the RAW, currently.

Salvete Sodales!

Just to povide some wisdom from the ancient past: https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/the-initiation-of-ungifted-people-into-single-hermetic-arts/3469/1

Alexios ex Miscellanea