This post is being written from my phone while I'm waiting around a doctor's office, so I apologise in advance if my formatting is terrible. I'll try to fix any autocorrect disasters or broken links as soon as I get home.
The other day, my friend Lianca penned this post explaining a bit about the Chaotic faction. It made me realise that while I discuss my varying organisations with frequency, I haven't really given much insight into them. Since the Occultists have occupied the majority of my concerns, lately, I suppose I will begin there.
The Occultists are one of the Great Houses of Achaea - organisations that function essentially like a guild in any other MMO, with its members united under a common ethos and working toward a common goal. The Occultists, and by proxy the Occultist class, have one of the richest histories of any House within the game. Their story begins long before Achaea's modern era. Originally practised in small, isolated cabals, in virtually every settlement upon Sapience, the art of Occultism was nearly rendered extinct by a crusade spearheaded by the Holy Church during an era known as the Burning Times. The Occultists were forced underground to avoid persecution, taken in by the Carnivalis family (the precursors of the modern Carnivalis Institute of Jestering), as well as by some of Ashtan's necromantic aristocracy. While the Carnivalis family proved themselves to be true allies, Ashtan's nobility victimised the Occultists even more brutally than the Church, murdering those who refused to give up Occultism to practise the dark arts. For over a millennium, thanks to a failed experiment and necromantic coercion, all knowledge of Chaotic magic was wiped from Achaea.
The Occultists as a collective emerged from this tragedy, founded by the survivors under the leadership of one of their necromantic oppressors circa one thousand years before the fall of the Seleucarian Empire. The horrors of the Burning Times taught the Occultists the value of discretion. Rogue occultists - those who practise the Chaotic arts outside of the House's jurisdiction - are condemned and vilified. Secrecy is the Occultists' number-one tenet. All new members, to this day, swear an Oath ensuring that secrecy, as well as their fidelity to the House. Occultists are commanded to put the interests of the House first and foremost in all of their endeavours. Failure to abide by this commitment results in immediate expulsion, execution, and the complete ruination of the traitor's reputation in Achaea.
Early on, the Occultists were forced to rely upon Necromancy as a substitute for their lost Occultism. Nonetheless, they played a considerable role in the rise of Seleucar and the war against the Black Wave, two major events in the history of Achaea. This success continued through into the modern era, where the successes of individual Occultists became well-publicised, cementing the House's influence and reputation. One Occultist ascended to Divinity, a ritual performed by a small group restored the lost art of Occultism, and, more recently, a group of Occultists working under the leadership of Flair Ze'Dekiah managed to release long-lost Babel, the original God of Chaos, from his centuries-long imprisonment.
The way the Occultists have been roleplayed has changed, somewhat, over time. As Lianca cited in her article, things were much different a decade ago. Before the return of Babel, Discordianism, the religion of the Goddess called Eris, prevailed. It was much like its real-life counterpart, with anarchy and frivolity taking daily precedence, and Chaos itself being touted as a harmless and largely creative force. This perspective began to shift with the founding of the Revolutionaries of Chaos, and the long-awaited return of Babel ushered in a new era. The true nature of Chaos was revealed - that creative energy is tempered by a darker, more insidious side, heralding the eventual end of all things, mortal and Divine, in Achaea.
This "new" perspective of Chaos - really the original perspective, bearing in mind the game's canon - has been described as more "Lovecraftian" in its imagery and attitude. The Occultists have, thus, evolved accordingly. Roleplay is strictly enforced on all House channels and in all public interactions. We have the highest standards of behaviour and decorum of any House based in the city of Ashtan - arguably, out of any House in the whole of Achaea. Many people, especially newcomers, find these standards very difficult to maintain, preferring, instead, to treat Achaea like a text-based World of Warcraft. The Occultists don't suffer that sort of player. When we log into Achaea, we play our role - that of a chic, opportunistic, intriguing intelligentsia whose powerful rituals and clandestine machinations strive toward an eventual apocalypse.
As soon as I get home, I'll make a second post for those of you who are interested, going into further detail about some of the "do's" and "don'ts" of roleplay, both in the Occultists and in Achaea in general. They're bound to be useful in any of the Iron Realms games, in the case that Achaea itself doesn't really suit your fancy.