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Wednesday 6 November 2013

Arkham Occult Societies: Second Update

Work continues at a good pace on the Arkham Occult Societies sourcebook for Raiders of R'lyeh.  As I mentioned before, this small sourcebook will detail some of the mainstream occult organizations and individuals in Arkham.  Most of these will not be "mythos cults" per se; though of course many will have been infiltrated or touched by the Mythos in some way.  But mainly it is an opportunity to produce a group of contacts, opponents, patrons, or allies for any group playing in Arkham, based on or similar to real groups and movements that were popular in the occult world in 1910.

In my last entry I mentioned Miskatonic River Lodge, Arkham's local masonic lodge.

Today, The Fraternal Brotherhood of Mahocs:  this organization is a 'mutual assistance order', one of hundreds that existed in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries; before Unions, labor laws, and the Welfare State, and before affordable insurance for the working class, these fraternal orders formed a vital role in society: allowing working class men to band together to give some security to each other in times of hardship. These orders, groups like the Oddfellows, the Knights of Columbus, the Grange, or the Improved Order of Red Men (the real-life order which Arkham's Mahocs are an offshoot of), put their affordable membership dues into an insurance fund that would provide for them in case of workplace injury, or that would provide for their widow and orphans in case of death.

These groups were a weird mix of a freemasonry-copycat, a proto-union, an insurance company, and often the ad hoc Neighborhood Watch for their lower-class neighborhoods.  By 1910, these organizations were beginning to compete with the Union movement (particularly after the creation of the International Workers of the World, aka the "Wobblies")and international socialism for the heart of the working classes.  And of course, some of these groups were more religious, mystical, or esoteric than others. 

In Arkham, the Mahocs are believed to be named after an obscure mispronunciation of the name of the Mohawk tribe; although their membership consists entirely of white men they "re-enact" (completely inaccurate) ceremonies and dress in the style of American Indians, though most of them don't take their ceremonies very seriously.  The current leadership of the Mahocs is mainly worried about an attempted infiltration and subversion of the brotherhood by "Wobbly" activists, but just under both groups' notice there might be a much more sinister subversion going on...


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