Roberts' Rules of Order were created in 1919 by The Dread Pirate Roberts as a way to organize who got killed aboard his ship (but mostly because he was bored, and it lasted longer than the other game - "hit the mast and knock the lookout into the ocean." It was originally called "pong", and involved hitting a ball around with paddles. As with most pirate activities, it spread and evolved - first becoming a means of organizing parlays, then meetings in general, then even specifying how crews should be organized.
Today, it has gone beyond an organization method, and is now also used as a method of castration, a form of ritual torture, and a replacement for defenestration. It is also often used as a substitute for kitten huffing, as kittens are often unavailable during long voyages.
edit The Rules Themselves
edit Meeting Decorum
Objections must always be voiced. Stabbing, shooting, or any other action presenting the risk of bodily harm are not allowed without first being approved by a
majority vote of the crew
(USW amendment #243) a majority vote of all those who have guns at the ready.
(USW amendment #244) majority vote of those who have crossbows or throwing knives
(USW amendment #245) only those with weapons ready get to vote
(USW amendment #245) stabbing, shooting, and other forms of bodily harm are allowed against anyone who doesn't bring their weapons.
(USW amendment #246) This rule may be applied retroactively.
It is everyone's job to ensure that the meeting rules are obeyed. Be free in employing the famous “point of order” to deal with those who do not conform. Alternatively, the “hot lead of order,” “slicing edge of order,” or even “plank of order” may be applied. Make sure, however, that you apply the correct form of order. If a crewmate on a business trip to see Davey Jones, he won't be available later.
edit Gaining the floor (i.e. getting permission to talk)
This is a three step process:
- A member indicates his desire for the floor by taking a swig of rum and then spitting it through a torch at the president when no one else has the floor.
- The president then throws a knife at the head of anyone shooting fire at him to indicate that the member desiring to be heard has the floor.
- The member catches the knife and speaks – throwing it back at the president's head when he finishes.
edit Making a Motion
The main motions are, of course, stabbing, shanking, and slicing, but these are not governed here. In this case, we are talking about proposing ideas.
- Motions must begin with the phrase, I move that we... followed by a proposed action.
- Optionally, motions may be proceeded or followed by “arrr...”Once a motion is proposed, debate begins. Any and all weapons are allowed for the process of debate. All decisions are unanimous. Those who vote against the majority may, of course, change their vote during the debate. Those who persist in voting against the majority serve as an example when the motion is eventually decided, promoting unity even if it does mean you have to pick up more members when next you dock.
While not everyone has useful ideas that haven't been contributed, it is good form to contribute them anyway. After all, if one stab is good, well, two are better!
Is it any fun if everyone just agrees with all the good ideas and no one debates them? The meeting will be over too soon and no one will get killed.
For this reason, it is traditional that any unanimous decision be overturned by the president - generally by shooting whoever proposed the motion.
Always remember: the purpose of debate isn't really to accomplish anything. Everyone likes a good fight.
All officers are elected by unanimous decision during the debate phase. A term of office is normally for life. Any member may initiate his desire for candidacy by throwing a knife at the head of the current occupant of that office, after which there will be a period of debate to determine the most skilled candidate.
In a standard crew there are a total of six officers, and their jobs during meeting are also generally dictated by these rules.
President's perogative: Ultimately, the president's word is law. Doing a good job all day is no guarantee of safety – especially if you're not crucial to the running of the organization. Ensure that you learn everything as much as you can each day – building up immunity to poisons, fencing, and basically anything anyone will teach you, or you'll most likely get killed in the morning.
edit Vice President
The job of the vice-president is generally to ensure that the president performs his duties correctly and doesn't make any mistakes. Should he make a mistake, the vice-president is responsible for presenting the president with a point of order. He also holds the key to the grog tank.
Responsible for making sure that no one alive knows the location of the finances until after they are spent; keeper of the map. Most presidents use their prerogative to call a point of order on the treasurer and then assume this position for themselves.
Not an office per-se, just the most common occupation of most wenches kidnapped. The most spirited one is generally considered an officer. It's good form.
Generally doesn't attend meetings, but rather is normally kept in a small cell in the hold most of the time because of his tendency to debate too frequently and not stay on task. He is often released during conventions to debate with other organizations. The many points of order he calls on other convention-goers make it easier once the organization arrives, though it is often difficult to get him back in the cell
edit Sixth Member
Doesn't have much of a function. Generally of the avian persuasion. He sits on the president's shoulder and interjects useful comments into board meetings on what can happen with the organization as a whole, such as “polly want a cracker”, “dead men tell no tales,” or “the Member-at-Large somehow escaped and got hold of a knife and now we're all going to die.”
edit Phases of Meetings
Originally, there were no phases of meetings. But, all things evolve traditions and ritual, and pirates are no different - first adding Phase Two and eventually evolving a complex meeting chronology. It should be noted, that all of the parts of the previous sections - i.e. making a motion, debating, etc are part of all phases of meetings. For example, debating during a meeting of the pirate group Black Scourge of the Sea What Ain't Good at Hand-to-Hand Combat resulted in a 100% meeting fatality during the call to order.
edit Call to Order
While pirates are, in general, pastafarians, most also believe that there is a magical Oompah Loompah who presides over meetings, and if you don't tell him when you're about to have one, he'll mess you up bad. So bad that even pirates think its bad. Thats so bad that if I told you what he does, your head would likely explode. So out of courtesy I won't.
They believe that the Oompah Loompah is named, Orderesticiquenomcchickensandwich - "order" for short. While other phases are sometimes skipped, this one never is. Remember, even pirates think its bad.
edit Reading the minutes
The Keeper of Chronicles (a.k.a. The guy who was the least drunk at the last meeting.) intones the phrase "Behold the words of the keeper, all ye who come unto this meeting, and hear the words from the past." Then he lists off all the people who didn't survive the last meeting (pirates who have died are officially known as "minutes"). As an added bonus, if the Keeper of the Chronicles reads everything off right, he has a much higher likelihood of surviving the through the whole meeting.
edit Officer's Reports
During this phase, each officer is given a moment to inform the rest of the crew what will happen to them if they attempt to run for office themselves. While more imaginative threats are generally more effective, the majority will generally go for Roberts' traditional threat: "Any o' you what tries to take my ship gets his gizzard ripped out by the sixth member and then fed to the member-at-large."
edit Old Business
As I'm sure most people will guess, "business" is a euphemism (lie). This is where they pull out some old poop and smell it. Simian members of the crew may even toss it around. Occasionally this sort of behavior results in debates, so obviously this is encouraged.
edit New BusinessWhile this phase is generally favored by those crewmembers with prehensile tails, it is generally looked on more favorably than the previous phase due to a little known fact of pirate anatomy. Due to a strange quirk caused by general pirate ancestry and a diet consisting primarily of rum, grog, 7-up, and twinkies, pirate poo smells almost exactly like warm, fresh cinnamon rolls.
WARNING: It does NOT taste like warm, fresh cinnamon rolls. NEVER EAT PIRATE POOP!
edit Full Moon
This is probably the worst phase of all, and is usually avoided, if possible. For no matter how drunk, no matter how many wooden appendages or eyepatches - any pirates that have been bitten by a ninja will turn into one under the light of a full moon. This is the only phase for which the member-at-large is generally helpful other than inter-organizational debate.
edit Closing the meeting
Meetings generally end when there's a unanimous decision that everybody is bored with the meeting - occasionally, this happens before even the call to order is done. What happens afterwards is generally straightforward - loot any bodies left-over from the meetings, toss 'em over the side, sing "A Pirates Life For Me," and then have some nice Chamomile Tea with Crumpets (Pirates love their tea & crumpets). Pirate life generally continues on as normal until the next meeting.
edit Things not to Do at Meetings
These breeches of etiquette may result in someone calling a point of order on you
- Staring at someone's eyepatch
- (USW Amendment #373) or staring at them funny. This rule may be applied retroactively.
- (USW Amendment #378) or thinking about staring at them funny. Whether they were doing this or not may be decided after the point has been called using debate; this rule may be applied retroactively.
- (USW Amendment #387) or not looking the way that the president likes. This rule may be applied retroactively.
- Throwing knives at the president
- Spitting flames at the president
- Huffing the president's kittens.
- Releasing the Member-at-Large. This is probably a point of order against the whole organization.