The Unique Runes

These are typical sigils of traditional unique runes of the Fourth and Sixth Orders. Each unique rune’s sigil is distinct, but all contain similar parameters.

Unique Runes initiate participants into The Realm, giving them an identity and a place from which to engage in Rough Telepathy. Anyone participating in Rough Telepathy needs a Unique Rune. Unique Runes are distributed to participants by Fiefdoms, who in turn receive allocations of Unique Runes from one of five Regional Telepathy Registrars. There are two types of Unique Runes.

The Unique Rune of the Fourth Order is the original and formative Unique Rune, still commonly in use. All existing Unique Runes of the Fourth Order were created simultaneously in the late 1970’s by the Numberkeepers, at a time when Rough Telepathy was a small and speculative effort tightly affiliated with the Warring Kingdom of the United States. There were then and are now 4.3 billion Unique Runes of the Fourth Order, a number which cannot be increased. The early Numberkeepers believed 4.3 billion would be more than enough. However, this number is no longer sufficient to provision the masses hungry to never disengage from participation in Rough Telepathy, and the Merchants eager to harness Rough Telepathy as a “feature” in new and often unnecessary consumer products. This shortage has caused considerable headache among the Fiefdoms, the Regional Telepathy Registers, and the Coven.

The Unique Rune of the Sixth Order was created in the mid-1990’s, as a plentiful alternative to Unique Rune of the Fourth Order. There were then and there will forever be 340 undecillion Unique Runes of the Sixth Order (a magical number that doesn’t exist). This quantity allows near infinite participation, in theory. In practice, problems remain. The Numberkeepers created Unique Rune of the Sixth Order with a different shape, different behavior, and different assumptions than Unique Rune of the Fourth Order. To use Unique Rune of the Sixth Order in successful Rough Telepathy requires rewriting and reconfiguring many supporting spells originally written to conform with Unique Rune of the Fourth Order. Further, Unique Rune of the Sixth Order does not signal on the same plane as Unique Rune of the Fourth Order, meaning that without the aid of complex translation spells and alchemetric translation infrastructure, all participants in Rough Telepathy must use either of the Fourth Order or of the Sixth Order if they are to remain on the same Rough Telepathic plane. To date, the Coven and various Numberkeepers have relied on admonitions, scoldings, and entreaties appealing to honor and responsibility among Coven members as techniques to promote the switch to Unique Rune of the Sixth Order. This has worked slowly.