The Hand Occult is an inner sect of elite Wael priests, authors and scribes writing under pseudonyms who attempt to control the flow of esoteric knowledge. Most scholars don't take them too seriously, seeing them as bizarre and silly. However, some academics believe there is a more sinister side to the Hand Occult.
The Hand are primarily a coalition of scribes and writers who circulate information through popular books and periodicals—most notably Almanac of the Eastern Reach—For Colonists, Explorers, and Curiosity-Seekers. While they go to great lengths to distribute the written word from their publication houses, they put as much effort toward buying out or intimidating competitors into silence. The Hand has even gone as far as sabotaging technology that could mass produce knowledge, such as the printing press.
By their own history they were founded in part by Weyc Heldr. Following leaders have been known as "the weyc". Little is known of their inner workings, however they appear to work in decentralized cells, much like the Leaden Key.
Although they possess no true central location, The Halls Obscured is an important place to them. Librarians and scribes that devote themselves to the Hand at the Halls lose their identity overtime.
As evidenced by their works in the The Halls Obscured, the Hand Occult has successfully obfuscated and manipulated history. Beyond changing the written word, the Halls contain items and living subjects that the Hand believes should be "redacted" from Eora.
Two of the most extreme examples are the erasure of the archmage Fyonlecg and capture of the mage Bekarna. None of the members of The Circle of Archmagi recall Fyonlecg, and none of the spells he created bear his name anymore. Bekarna's knowledge of astronomy revealed a river of essence, knowledge that Wael wished to keep hidden. The Hand kidnapped her and kept her in The Enclosures.
The group may be a reference to the irrelevant phrase "as if an occult hand had...", which is an inside joke used by a group of journalists that call themselves "Order of the Occult Hand."
- Pillars of Eternity Guidebook
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Q&A | April 2nd, 2018: "The Hand Occult, they—and we do elaborate on this in a few minor sort of side areas—the Hand Occult, not only do they edit the historical records of Eora, they also actively work to sabotage the creation of movable type printing presses. There's nothing particularly fancy about a movable type printing press, but somehow every time someone gets close to making one they trip and fall into a fire."
- The Mask of the Weyc
- Fyonlecg in The Forgotten Sanctum: "All knew us! For the spells that bore our name if nothing else! Fyonlecg's Wall of Flames. Fyonlecg's Wall of Many Colors. Fyonlecg's Pristine Barrier." and "They appointed me weyc. The high magician, seer, and arcanist. That's when we - when I - uncovered the truth."
- Aloth in The Forgotten Sanctum: "They operate in decentralized cells, then. Not unlike the Leaden Key."
- From the Head Librarian in The Forgotten Sanctum: "A womb, perhaps, but not the fetus. The Hand Occult no more possesses a center than Wael does." and "The individual in question's record has been expunged. He no longer exists." and "the wings contain those things redacted from the world above" and "The Archives contain the sum whole of the historical record of Eora. Both the original drafts and the edits. Further, they contain a number of unusual and interesting artifacts."
- The placard on Bekarna's enclosure: "Wizard Habitat. Subject K-1121. Name: Bekarna. Infraction: prohibited revelation, hazardous inquiry."
- Wasting Minds
- Arkemyr: "It would seem she arrived at one of our conclusions. A river of soul energy flows through the Deadfire."