Fixing the 'Rebirth from Hell' Situation

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Proposal Type: Bylaw Revision
Opened: 10-Jun-2016 12:55AM EDT
Closing: 17-Jun-2016 1:00AM EDT

Recently, Council (and many, many players around the org) have been hearing/commenting about dead player-characters who have been given resurrections outside of the Resurrection Bylaws (OWbN Character Bylaws, Section 10.e.iv.) normally requiring a Council Vote. The Demon Coordinator believed their office had the power to grant such Resurrections and the following proposal explains how this mistake occurred as well as details how we move forward both fixing the Bylaw "fragment" and setting the entire situation right, with transparency.
The Bylaw in contention is the following:
  • OWbN Character Bylaws, Section Rebirth from Hell of a PC. - PC: Coordinator Approval - NPC: Coordinator Approval - Coordinator: Demon
I am proposing the removal of this Bylaw with some simple resolutions detailed at the end of this prop. I don't care about drama or laying blame - I am simply seeking an acceptable resolution.
When the original (meaning, the very first one) Infernal Packet by Jason Jahr was proposed to Council, it contained an OWbN Custom Investment for Infernalists to purchase called Rebirth. A second revision shortly after added the line to the packet that a Notification was required when characters utilized the Investment (so it wasn't in the Bylaws yet). The text of that Investment was as follows:
Rebirth (Rank 10 Investment)
So desperate is the Infernalist who asks of this Investment, does she permanently sacrifice a portion of her own life to Hell forever.  Once taken, the Infernalist gains the chance to cheat death... once.  If at any time the Infernalist is slain, her soul is indeed claimed by Hell but for only thirteen days, which may as well be an eternity.  However after her thirteen days are up, her soul is spat forth from Hell back to the very spot of her death, reforming amongst the remnants of her scattered ashes.  She of course is reborn naked, as Hell has no interest in protecting her possessions.  Once she is reborn, she permanently loses three Health levels off the top, which can never, ever be regained.  She also gains two Negative Scarred Traits, as the marks of Hell's torments run across her body in a quite visible fashion, forever burning with flames, marking her as property of Hell itself.  Finally she takes on a permanent Derangement based upon the Infernalist's personal vision of Hell, the most common Derangement being of course, Paranoia.  Whatever the Derangement may be, it is always active.
Each time Rebirth is purchased and/or used by a PC requires Council Notification.
In February 2009, Jenn Bahrs as Head Coord proposed to add the actual requirement of Notification to the OWbN R&U Bylaws, thereby solidifying in Bylaw what the Packet required. Also note how the Investment name is quoted when originally added to indicate it is an Investment. That proposal passed Council and was titled: [Administrative Proposal] R&U Bylaw Addition: Infernalism Groupings. It read as follows (I cut the rest of it off after Coord Approval):
Per the recommendations of the Infernalism Subcoordinator, we would like to add the items in the Council-Approved Infernalism packet that are regulated by R&U regulations into the R&U Bylaws.
I hereby propose the following be added to the R&U Bylaws:
The following two items will be added to the R&U list of Unusual:
  • "Rebirth" from Hell of a PC
  • Demonic Interaction
  • NPC Characters Seeking Infernalism 
  • NPC Characters with Dark Thaumaturgy or other Infernal Investments
  • Use of the Infernalist Power "Forsaken"
The following items will be added to the R&U list of Coordinator Approval:
  • PC Characters Seeking Infernalism 
  • PC Characters with Dark Thaumaturgy or other Infernal Investments
  • PCs with Infernal Ranking
In September 2009, the Demon Coord became an appointed position no longer under the Sabbat Coord (and would later go on in Feburary 2012 to become an Elected position).
In January 2011, Rob's first major revision to the Infernal packet passed Council. This document was titled: "Genre Document Infernalism Packet 2011 [autopass]" and included no Bylaw updates. This packet went up without grandfathering. No Bylaw edits, however, were made, and in October 2013, the following vote ( basically moved everything Investment-related to Coord Approval without really going into any detail about Rebirth at all (apologies for non-Council Members who might not be able to see that).
The latest revision of the Infernal doc was the one I helped write a fairly comprehensive list of Bylaw edits for. If you go look back at the original prop in December 2014, you'll note that "Rebirth" from Hell of a PC was left in black text and not in Red. This was because the intent was to change as little as possible and just re-order what was there that did not get touched by the proposed packet. In hindsight, this was a mistake and had I really analyzed what was there, maybe I would have caught this hold-over from the first Infernal Packet and been able to eliminate it. 
However, mistake or not, somewhere in the past 8 years, someone decided to start interpreting this Bylaw entry as an alternate method of character Resurrection - which it clearly is not and NEVER was.
The Bylaw entry "Rebirth from Hell" was originally put into the Bylaws to indicate the need for Notification to Council when an Infernalist utilized an Investment. In order to utilize an Investment, an Infernalist character must first purchase the Investment. You cannot, after death, acquire a power/Investment, let alone become infernal. Any such attempt would require a Vote of the OWbN Council.
As an individual who has been on Council when all of the above events took place, the "meaning" of this Bylaw is very clear to me and I hope from reading all this, it is now clear to everybody. It was never intended to be a loophole, nor was the original meaning ever changed with a proposal.
I am proposing the following:
  1. The OWbN Character Bylaw, Section (Rebirth from Hell of a PC) be completely removed.
    1. If the Demon Coordinator requires the power to resurrect dead PCs as a Genre Proposal or with Coord Approval, we can turn that into a vote after this closes and weigh the merits of that topic separately
  2. Each PC resurrected under the "Rebirth from Hell" Bylaw who wishes to remain in game-play may be proposed to Council for Resurrection (Character Bylaw 10.e.iv) by their Storytellers with a comment from the Demon Coordinator; this must be done within 30 days of this proposal closing.
  3. No disciplinary action will be sought for any of the players, storytellers, or Coordinators involved in this situation. I am giving the absolute benefit of the doubt to all the individuals involved that they were operating along OWbN Bylaws as they understood and knew.
I would also like to request that this proposal be shared publicly, so that the fact that we are seeking a resolution to this issue can be transparent.
Thank you,
- Brian Orlando
  Tampa's HST & CM

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