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Occult as Academic Discipline

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  • Occult as Academic Discipline

    In my latest game, one of PCs is ex-exorcists, that now is lecturer in one of New England's collages. We just do not know how to nicely call his courses.

    Question is simple - What could be official Academic Discipline ( that character can lecture ) based on Occult Skill and it's various Specialties?
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-08-2016, 05:38 AM.


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  • #2
    History or Athropology I'd guess. Mind you, you'd probably still need academic skills to get by, or else some good contacts/allies.


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    • #3
      There is not any Discipline connected to myths or symbols? History does not sound as working with Occult Skill...


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      • #4
        Not exactly. It depends what you're teaching. A person teaching the history of Western Esotericism is going to come under History. A person teaching about contemporary myths and symbolism is going to be anthropology. A person who teaches the literature of mythology is going to come under what ever language they are studying in (So if you research medieval French mythology, you could come under French as a discipline.).

        You could use Folklore Studies I guess. I gather there are departments of it.

        Or you could just copy Dan Brown and make up a Symbolism discipline.


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        • #5
          Hmm, maybe Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology? It does sounds as "study of myths to understand society"...


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          • #6
            Not really. That's a school of anthropology rather than a discipline in itself.

            Mind you, are your players likely to notice?


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            • #7
              Probably not, but I would like to strive to the proper discipline - someday, I may come to play with someone how will see the difference.

              But I think that Anthropology, as general, could have Occult-like sub-discipline, so all Occultist are, in nominal, Anthropologists.


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              • #8
                Actually there are some highly specific classes in criminal psychology dedicated to the interpretation of religious and Occult symbols and references in a serial killer's communications or in a criminal gang using cult-like trappings, and so on.


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                • #9
                  Let's not forget good old Theology, the study of religion.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 2ptTakrill View Post
                    Let's not forget good old Theology, the study of religion.
                    But does Theology goes in to areas as myths or epics? Does is not more limited to ones particular faith and not the whole of wierd myths and legends around that Occult is more dedicated to?

                    Occult - as Skill is "a character’s knowledge of myth, folktales, and urban legends about the strange things that exist in the dark corners of the world."

                    Also, what the CoD corebook give us:

                    Originally posted by CoD on Occult Skill
                    Occult can help a character separate fiction and myth from fact and determine which stories are likely to be actual supernatural events and which are just rumors. That said, there are a lot of strange things out there, and many of them defy easy categorization. The Occult Skill doesn’t necessarily give a character a line on the absolute “truth” about what’s going on, but instead represents an array of knowledge about encounters and theories that others have had, and the ability to build on those theories herself.
                    When reading now I see the CoD solves mine problem itself:

                    Originally posted by CoD on Occult Skill
                    Sample contacts: Anthropology Professor, Neo-Pagan Author, Weird Hermit Down the Street
                    So Anthropology is surely an answer - But can we make other Academic Discipline in to Occult Skill?
                    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 09-22-2018, 04:35 AM.


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                    • #11
                      Modern religion still often contains shadows of past superstition and most modern sources (like Hollywood) are written by people looking at it from the perspective of modern beliefs.
                      I would define the Occult​ skill not so much as knowledge of superstition, that would be covered by Academics: Folklore, but as knowing the 'truth' in the nwod. It's made a separate skill because it is so important in game.

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                      • #12
                        Another factor is what exactly he's teaching. 'Occult' covers a lot of ground; as do 'myths and epics'.

                        But can we make other Academic Discipline in to Occult Skill?
                        History. I mean, when I was at uni, I took a course on Roman religion and magic.


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                        • #13
                          Topic necromancy, as I thinking about Byzantine times NPCs. All Byzantine Romans where assumed to be well-read and by this, versed in theology about Bible, Old and New Testament. I suspect that this 'mass theology' for general population is more Academics Skill - but I'm not sure, maybe it can be Occult. What is your opinion on the matter?


                          My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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                          LGBT+ in CoD games

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                            Topic necromancy, as I thinking about Byzantine times NPCs. All Byzantine Romans where assumed to be well-read and by this, versed in theology about Bible, Old and New Testament. I suspect that this 'mass theology' for general population is more Academics Skill - but I'm not sure, maybe it can be Occult. What is your opinion on the matter?
                            The Bible is alone not a fantastic source of occult lore and knowhow, as could be discerned by spending ten minutes thumbing through any normal copy, and Christian theology is mostly concerned with the social and moral aspects of the religion, being an academic discipline dealing with a social construct.

                            Occult is going to draw more on folk beliefs, esoteric texts, and the practical impact of the supernatural than it is the average Byzantine Roman's ability to defend and examine facets of Byzantine Christianity.


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                            • #15
                              I second the use of Academics for religious knowledge and theology. Religion, Christianity and/or Theology works as good Specialities for Academics.
                              If someone still hangs on to the old mystery cults of olden days (I don't know how realistic that is, but in the setting of CofD cults crop up and hang on like weeds), they would most certainly have a dot of Occult or two.

                              Alternatively you could have a Religion Skill. It's not one of the alternate Skills from Dark Eras, but I know I've seen it used somewhere. It might've been a house rule, though.


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