Here's some bit of funk from my Runequest 6 game...essentially built around the toils of the DIY scene. Enjoy it for what it's worth. I'll try and post more shit in upcoming days and weeks.
The Book of Fundaments
Mythos and History
It is said amongst certain scholars, that mankind and possibly all sentient life began amidst the Garden of Ulfire. At some point, man rebelled against the prime architect for he wished to perceive himself perfected. Alas, nothing perfect could tolerate separation. Only in unity was the 'one' realised. The primal colour, Ulfire, became many and these new colours and the newly born perceptions which governed them exploded outwards, creating the multiverse and all things.
St Marten was the wise man that first codified this knowledge in a coherent form. Like many Hermetics, he sought the truth behind the universe. He rejected the quasi-gnosticism of the worshipers of Thassaidon as self aggrandising. He laughed off the studies of the Silent Voice as being a decadent exercise in daemonism. Instead, he found wisdom amongst the cult of Metronon with their invisible god and its sacramental knowledge of the prime building matter of the multiverse (the Cube of Metronon, the unifying particle ).
However, where that cult was concerned with the glorification of Metronon and creation as it stood, St Marten considered reality to be 'unnatural'. The multiverse was in a state of malaise brought upon by self perception. Only by returning to the conditions at the beginning, to resurrect the Garden of Ulfire, could any kind of truth be found.
St Marten traveled the length and breadth of the world...from Vornheim to Jukai...from Macmóhrda to Yoon Suin, observing different practices and distilling their wisdom into a grimoire...the Book of Fundaments. In it, he gathered together the sum total of knowledge regarding the fusing of matter, spirit, time and space.
Naturally, St Marten gathered about him others of a learned and fervent persuasion. A lodge was built in Vornheim, declaring itself to be 'The Hermetic Order of the Infinite Thought', though it did little other than study in seculsion and donate heavily to the coffers of various institutions, not least the Lord's Treasury and the Eminent Cathedral. At any rate, the generosity of the Order ensured it was left alone.
St Marten left the Order he had accidentally founded, after some 15 years. He announced to his brethren and to his fellow Hermeticists, that the calculations and formulae within the Book of Fundaments were 'overly complex', its obsession with theurgy a distraction and overall a 'muddying of wisdom'. Meditation and inward contemplation were the way back towards Ulfire, not an attempt to manipulate the outer cosmos. With a small core of loyal students, he went south and was never seen again. However, the Order which he created and the grimoire about which it was founded would go from strength to strength.
The Order of the Infinite Thought organises itself along classic Heremtic lines, recognising apprentices, adepts, practicioners, magi and a single arch-magi. Since St Marten abandoned the Order, its leaders have taken a more active role in society, acting as advisors to local aristocrats and sorcerous troubleshooters with whom favour can be found through the promise of future boons.
In recent times, following the Church of Metronon's lurch into fundamentalsim and their subsequent crack down on Witch Craft and Blood Magic (Folk magic in my campaign), the Order has found a new niche, styling itself as 'White Wizards', willing and able to assist the Church in rooting out as many witches, demons, necromancers and diabolists as it is able. The cynical suggest that the Order is targetting its enemies and suggest that it will not be long before they turn the fury of the Metronon cult upon the other Hermetic orders. Others whisper that the Order are playing a dangerous game that may end with them being cast upon the very pyres they profess to feed.
One must pass a series of tests designed to shake the applicant's faith in the reality they cherish and know. This is usually accomplished by showing them visions of their own demise and demonstrating how little the world notices or cares. Hallucinogenic mushrooms are consumed and applicants attempt to free themselves from a maze constructed of memories. Only through philosophical unity with their own past may they escape the maze and be accepted into the Order. Philosphers are valued over artists or scientists...especially those who hold abstract, objective, nihilistic or absurdists ideas to be the bedrock of their being.
The grimoire is only accessible to Practicioners and above. Thus one requires a master and apprentice realtionship to progress. If one were to lay one's hands upon the grimoire, it would be discovered to be quite accessible. St Marten was essentially writing a text book or instruction manual. It was written to be understood. Since then, the magi in control of the work have occluded its lore via a series of invented lingual cyphers. Their premeinence depends upon not allowing others free access to the grimoire. The original, concise, uncoded original is kept within an adamant vault beneath the Lodge, guarded by a monstrous space goat. If one were to find it, they would be surprised at its clean, unassuming appearance; red leather with vellum pages, adorned with a simple ring, cast in copper.
Lore (Customs of Unifaction), Lore (Theurgic Laws of Attraction), Invoke (Book of Fundaments), Shaping, Willpower.
Interestingly, since the book is something of a grand anthropological study and it is on hand, its oberved nuance can be used to forge a philosophical mystic link to foreign cultures and individuals one encounters. Within its pages are reams of text on the factors that ruminate upon the factors that link all things to the self or 'the one'. In game terms, given 1d4 days of study, a sorcerer can construct a dialectical theorem. This theorem allows the sorcerer to cast spells upon a given individual or group and ignore Shaping restrictions and cost on Range (treat as if the target has been afflicted with a Mark spell of infinite range, with an intensity equal to the spell spell being cast). When the Book of Fundaments is utilised in this way, it levitates half a foot above the surface it initially rested upon and the copper ring on its cover emits primal Ulfire light (David Lindsay in 'A Voyage to Arcturus', describes Ulfire as being 'wild and painful').
The above is not generally known. Indeed, only the original grimoire possesses this potent capabilty (latter encoded copies have been shorn of much of St Martens rambling notes on culture and philosophy, the magi responsible mistakingly believing these scribblings to be tangenital to the true meat of the spells contained therein).
Folk Magic: Glue
Sorcery: Mark (Symbol of Connection), Portal (Spatial Unity), Summon (Instantaneous Presence), Loxodromic Phasing (See Monster Island), Attract-Creatures/Magic/Spirits (Infallible Oneness), Transmogrify (Come Together) *
*The version of Transmogrify within the Grimoire is a powerful, yet limited variant. In essence, the target can be transformed into any substance, so long as that substance is touching the targets unadorned surface or bare skin.
Meditiating on 'oneness', the true student of the Book attains a kind of primordial insight. He may immediately trade in his Invocation and Shaping for Meditation and Mysticism resepctively. This takes approximately 1d3+5 weeks of study and a successful Invocation (Book of Fundaments) roll.
The Ulfire Path has been followed only by a select few, including St Marten. Its details remain hidden for now...
Allies and Enemies: Currently, the Order of Infinite Thought counts the Church of Metronon (or whatever monotheistic, invisible arsehole god your setting enjoys) as allies. It enthusiastically courts its witch finders and crusading priesthood, though as mentioned above, this is a tenuous and opportunistic relationship.
It counts both the Hermetic Order of the Silent Voice and the Hermetic Order of the 66 Archons as enemies. They see the adherents of the Infinite Thought as unpredictable backstabbers engaged in a Faustian pact with forces that threaten to destroy them all.
Credit to Zak S. for his inspirational 'Vornheim', Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess for 'Fire on the Velvet Horizon' and Noisms for 'Yoon Suin '. All OSR stuff, but also amazing for Runequest.