THE UNDERGROUND | adepts | avatars | rituals | artifacts | dukes | cabals | rumors | unexplained | unnatural | misc | scenarios | mods | fiction | THE OVERGROUND | news | forum | submit! | search | links | downloads | ua-ml | NEWEST SUBMISSIONS | Thin Black Line | Dance of the Red Spiral Part 2: Collateral Damage | Shrekomancy | Ablutomancy |
Its a place were the Occult Underground meets the Occult Mainstream for a breath of fresh air...
The Annual Traditional and Alternative Religions Conference
The ATARC is a yearly convention designed to bring around knowledge of all kinds of philosophies, practices, religions, mystical thought and beliefs. In keeping with altruism all religions are invited. The theme of ATARC is of benevolence and understanding. People are invited to not only discuss their beliefs and practices, but to explain the cultural climate that fosters and nourishes these same beliefs. The true spirit of ATARC is political correctness, that does not always trickle down to the conventioneers. Every year a particular belief is focused upon.
A small group called the Society of Ecumenical Development (SED), spearheaded by Diane Lawshaw, started the conference in 1992. ATARC has taken up all of what was SED. Most of the members of SED now work for the annual convention committee.
ATARC has always been held in the Bible Belt, in Louisiana and Georgia, with one in Flagstaff, Arizona. ATARC has long been given flack from various Fundamentalist and Conservative sources. It is believed that many opponents of ATARC have planted a subtle smear campaign with “eye-witness testimony” that it is in fact nothing less than a breeding ground and recruitment drive for dangerous and sometimes Satanist cults. These rumours are never substantiated as it gives many conservative fundamentalist types a great target to attack. Despite denials and offers of invitation to express their views on a panel every year, a few protesters picket outside. In a twisted way these attacks have been satirised on late night comedy and in gaudy Talk Shows creating a nation-wide slew of free publicity prior and after the convention.
For all the good intentions ATARC presents, there are always going to be dubious “wannabe” cult-leaders that feel ATARC is an ideal headhunting ground. In 1997 a noted discussion featured Jacob Sylvester, a motivational speaker and successful businessman. Immaculately groomed, bred and educated, Sylvester is the poster-boy for EMAM. Every year EMAM sets up a popular booth that attracts a great many clients.
Apart from EMAM, many strange and odd people have been able to obtain panels and forums to preach from a soapbox pulpit. SED still exists as a small fraternity that has distanced itself from ATARC, probably due to spite, considering how successful ATARC has proven to be, completely eclipsing SED. SED has moved offices to Florida. The handful of original members have shifted emphasis to deal only with mainstream religions, this includes Christianity, Islam, Judaism, the hodgepodge cluster of New Ageism, and the equally hodgepodge splinter, Neo Paganism.
Although basically harmless, ATARC attracts some nefarious sorts too. Agents are sent in to scope for talent, and others are there to test the waters for new competition or as a neutral no-man’s-land to check up on old feuds. ATARC has unknowingly become the marketplace-cum-stock exchange for the occult black-market investors and speculators. ATARC is neutral territory and the magicians follow the unwritten law: Don't shit where you eat.
Basically it is a place where the Occult Underground can relax a little and mingle with the Occult Mainstream without coming off as too bizarre. As said it’s a great place, a No Man’s Land to catch-up up on friendly talk, stock-up on a few drinks, supplies and cultists, get wind of what’s going on around town, and perhaps get laid with an occult groupie.
Occulties: The Occult Riffraff
These exist and are common for on thing two or more failed notches in the Unnatural and Self Gauges. These occult types - have generally been traumatised by the Unnatural - get turned on by the thrill of magic - either to get their sexual rocks off on it or their obsessed fan-types, fat with trivia. Here are a few examples...
These types often purely need the proximity of the prominent occult types to be satisfied. Others are so severe they need to be hurt by magic before being satisfied.
The groupie will need to experience a Rank-1 or Rank-2 effect to get the sexual trigger.
Once the groupies have had their fix they tend to leave. Just like a weekend-bender scoring his coke from the dealer, its not actually a lifestyle they actually want out of choice, they need it out of necessity.
The Occult Junkies
These guys have a collector’s obsession regarding the Occult Underground. They hoard bits and pieces of general rumours and stories. Essentially they exist in the same mental landscape as adepts but without the excuse of practising sorcery. They are obsessed about anything unnatural even if they act cool and suave. They usually have a mind full of stories that can easily provide decent leads. At least one actually could recite complete (but minor) ritual that he witnessed being performed. After being clued up he demanded money and was killed shortly afterwards by repeated diving down flights of stairs.
This Mind skill is called Occult Stuff and usually tags at about 15% to 60% depending on the age of the frother.
These twits are one rung better or worse than Junkies - they don’t pester the real occultists, but they aren’t honest about themselves too. They intentionally pretend to know something about magic. If you’re fucking lucky they have some sort of shitty, half-arsed magic ritual that makes dead insects twitch and dance for you. These types think they’re the shit ‘cause they found the secret spell in grandad’s “special library” - piled on top to hide his Hustler Gold Label collection.
Wannabees are very basic Old School Occultists. They have a Magic Ritual skill under 20%.