Stories of the Covens

The Order of ICANN

The Order of ICANN is an often fractious Order that acts as protectorate of the IANA Sect, which is responsible for the distribution of Unique Runes to the Regional Telepathy Registries, the assignment of Talismans, tracking of Runic Mantras, and recordkeeping as it pertains to all.

The legacy of ICANN is tied to that of Seer and High Priest of the West, Jon Postel. In the early days of the dream of The Realm, Postel single handedly maintained a mapping of Unique Runes to Talismans (in a sacred scroll referred to as a HOSTS.TXT file). As The Realm grew, and the effort of mapping became greater, Postel convinced the Priests of the Wests to establish what would become IANA, a Sect that took over documentation and mapping ceremonies. Postel has been referred to as a God of the Realm, a title he rejects. He is known for his dedication to collaborative approaches of spellcasting, and for stridently rejecting hierarchy (when he recognized it) as well as Merchant interference.

In spite of Postel’s early inclinations, the Order of ICANN is one of those most frequently criticized among the Coven for its ties to both the Merchant class, and to the Warring Kingdom of the United States.

In 2012 ICANN faced some of its harshest criticism from Coven members when it allowed Merchants and other groups to buy custom Talismans. Expanding the number of existing Talismans is a serious, expensive, and highly bureaucratic process with no clear benefit to The Realm. However, Merchants (and others) were keen not to be left out, and so rushed to pay ICANN large sums of money for the privilege of establishing Talismans representing their brands, their ideas, and their consumer products. Through this process ICANN acquired a considerable sum of money, for purposes heretofore undefined. The most grounded criticism of this move came from the Guardians, who argued that creation of new Talismans was incompatible with standard spellcasting, and would put participants at risk of Intrusive Telepathy.

Date and Location of Creation: September 18, 1998, Van Nuys, California, USA. Sun in Virgo, Saturn in Taurus.

The IAB Order

The IAB Order was formed under the oversight of DARPA, the chief interface between the Warring Kingdom of the United States and the Coven during the days of early experimentation. During this time – the time when Rough Telepathy was a fragile dream – the IAB was formed as a locus of vision work, responsible for divining, imagining, and documenting the possible parameters and futures of Rough Telepathy. Steve Crocker, early Priest of the West, Seer, and founding member of the Order of IAB, is responsible for IAB’s most enduring legacy, the Request for Comments (RFC) spellcasting template, which is still in use today. The RFC is now most frequently associated with the Order of the IETF.

Date and Location of Creation: September 1984, Malvern, UK

The Regional Telepathy Registries Guild

See also the corresponding sigil of RIR cosmology.

The Regional Telepathy Registries Guild exists to allocate Unique Runes to Fiefdoms across five global member regions, and to track and set policies for such distribution. This commences under the watchful eye of IANA (and ICANN), who provide the guild with Unique Runes for allocation, and set general protocol.

With the shortage of Unique Runes of the Fourth Order, and the slow uptake in use of Unique Runes of the Sixth Order, the Regional Telepathy Guilds have come under pressure to revise processes to reflect the Fourth Order shortage. Emblematic of this tension is the slow rise of a Merchant subclass, which has emerged on the outskirts of the guild with the purpose of brokering the sale of Unique Runes of the Fourth Order between Fiefdoms with a surplus and Fiefdoms in need. This practice has been met with something between skepticism and outrage by many in the Coven, One of many cracks through which the declining power of the Coven in the face of the Merchant ascent can be viewed.

Names and Dates of Registry Creation:

RIPE: April 1992, Amsterdam, NL

AFRINIC: 22 February 2005 Ebene, Mauritius

APNIC: 13 January 1993 Honolulu, HI

ARIN: 18 April 1997 Chantilly, Virginia

LACNIC: 22 August 1999 Santiago, Chile

The Order of IETF

The Order of IETF does not exist. IETF members delight in saying this.

More accurately, the Order of ISOC shoulders the burden of material existence, doing the emotional and bureaucratic labor that allows the IETF to operate in the liminal realm of shadows, shifting in and out of existence and responsibility.

The IETF gathers and dispurses at regular Ritual Festivals where members of the Coven test, debate, and play out interpersonal complexity in relation to countless spells. RFC, the spellcasting template developed by Steve Crocker, is now kept by the IETF, whose members adhere to and protect it as if it were a spell itself.

Ritual and tradition are deeply and increasingly important to the IETF, a sign of its struggle in the face of waning power. The tradition of humming is one such precious incantation: those convened at an IETF Ritual Festival hum to approve or disapprove of a given spell or a specific change to the same. The tone and strength of the hum is taken as an indicator of the veracity the spell under consideration, and based on such it is approved or debate continues.

Date and Location of Creation: January 16, 1986, Chicago

The Order of W3C

The Order of W3C is dedicated to HTML, a single and critical spell foundational to The Realm. HTML works to turn telepathic signals into visions displayed on common srying mirrors, which in turn enables the enchantment of the masses, who enact their participation in Rough Telepathy through and in relation to these visions.

This grimoire, for instance, uses HTML to display this vision to you.

While the W3C exists for the primary purpose of maintaining and shaping HTML, the Merchants have had far greater influence on how HTML works today than has W3C, whose collective imaginations veered for a time into arcane cult magic known as Semantic Web. While this cult magic has many valuable features, it did not attend to the needs of the Merchants, who worked to develop HTML to reliably display their complex visions to customers.

Date and Location of Creation: 1 October 1994, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Alchemist Guild

See also the corresponding sigil of the Alchemists.

The Alchemist Guild creates the material foundation of The Realm. Spells would not work, The Unique Runes would be useless, and Rough Telepathy would become once again an idle fantasy without the Alchemists Guild.

The Alchemists engage in the transmutations of base earth materials into the material infrastructure on which the Realm relies. Such infrastructure includes instruments of number-keeping, scrying mirrors and other visioning devices, instruments for divination, sacred crystals, and silicon amulets etched with low-level spells.

The alchemists are ambivalent figures within The Realm, their allegiances vacillating between the Coven, the Merchants, and the Warring Kingdoms. Like the Coven and the Realm itself, the history of and impetus for their artistry is deeply intertwined with the desires and fears of the Warring Kingdoms, who first sought the Alchemist’s magical expertise in the production of instruments of war.

The work of alchemical production spans the planet, from mines in the Warring Kingdoms of South America to factories in Shenzen, in the Warring Kingdom of China. Much of the fundamental knowledge that undergirds much of their practice was established through what the Merchants of the Past Age called “R&D,” a methods of subsidizing occult practices in pursuit of potential mercantile applications. It is important to note that while the Alchemists oversee the knowledge and design of foundational material infrastructure, much of the actual labor of procuring and assembling the materials for these occult instruments is performed in highly dangerous conditions by serfs and slaves, who are kept out of site and rarely if ever have access to the benefits and complexity of Rough Telepathy.

The Timekeepers Sect

See also the corresponding sigil of the Timekeepers.

The Timekeepers Sect is a rough group formed out of The Priests of The West and dedicated to documenting and maintaining the Network Time Protocol (NTP), one of the core spells responsible for binding the Realm in coherence. NTP synchronizes time, creating a web of shared reality across the Realm. This is the essential condition for trust and communication among participants of Rough Telepathy. Without NTP (or its equivalent functional spell) fear, fractiousness, and dissolution of the Realm would be inevitable.

NTP is a supplicant spell, relying on an external source of ground truth for its basic functioning. To establish time, NTP consults the Temporal Oracles, which govern the truth of the time. NTP is responsible for spreading knowledge of exact Oracular time, without alteration, to all participants in The Realm.

The Merchants and the Warring Kingdoms rely on The Realm are particularly reliant on NTP, as a shared reality and the trust this enables is a necessary condition for any transaction.

While essential, NTP is a worryingly rough and waning spell. As incanted colloquially, it cannot affirm the correctness of the time it asserts, nor can it affirm the trustworthiness of its source. The average NTP incantation can divine only that its source claims to be connected at some or another distance to a Temporal Oracle. But it does not know this for sure. (While The Guardian’s have created cryptographic spells for divining both correctness and confirming the trustworthiness of a sources, these spells are complex and difficult to coordinate, and thus are rarely used in practice.)

David Mills, founder of the Timekeepers Sect, debuted NTP as a functional spell at The National Computer Conference (an early Ritual Festival) June 4, 1979.

The Numberkeepers Sect

See also the corresponding Sigils of Unique Runes

The Numberkeepers Sect is responsible for the maintenance of the Unique Runes. A unique rune is the necessary condition for participation in Rough Telepathy.

The Guardians Sect

The Guardians Sect formed to protect The Realm from Invasive Telepathy by developing cryptographic spellcasting. Invasive Telepathy is a method that uses Rough Telepathy to spy on the tender intimacies of subjects. While Rough Telepathy was not designed to enable Invasive Telepathy, it was not designed to prevent it, either.