Status of Bounty Hunters and Bounties

My character’s background is in bounty hunting and I wanted to be clear on the lore on it. The wiki went some way to explain however didn’t fully clarify things for me.

Are magistrates the only ones able to create and award bounties? and can they issue dead or alive style bounties?

Can private individuals create bounties for criminals? (example, a bounty placed on a murderer who killed a close friend) and if they can, can it be dead or alive?

Can private individuals create bounties for debt collection? (bad debtors, people who have failed to fulfil a promised delivery of goods but have received payment)

Can private bounty hunters carry out bounties or are they fully required to be members of the militia?

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“Potentially any citizen (including a member of the militia) may claim the reward for recapturing an absconder not just thief-takers. In practice the militia and those thief-takers who are on good terms with them are in the best position to to identify (and therefore catch) absconders.” --from https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Officers_of_the_Law

But more broadly, if you have read https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Imperial_law and the pages linked from that one, then no-one here can tell you anything more (except perhaps anecdotes or personal opinion/interpretation).

For more detail that’s definitive, email PD, or talk to a magistrate IC during the game.

Oh, but I’ll just add that my personal impression is that bounties are not issued often, so you probably won’t be able to have bounty-hunting as a major thing that your character spends time doing during the games.

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But having it as a down time source of income is fine. Take a look at orc the if takers and marcher beaters amd threshers. They may give you ideas.

I don’t think ‘dead or alive’ is possible as a bounty, as Imperial law sees any assault (even against a known criminal) as a crime. We’ve had instances of helpful bystanders in Anvil taking down fleeing criminals, only to then be charged with assault by the militia.

However, thief-takers are a thing. People who are found guilty of a crime are placed under oath to attend their trial; if they abscond a thief-taker is sent to hunt them down and bring them back (alive) for trial.

As ex-militia,

Magistrates normally place bounties if someone doesn’t turn up to trial. TBH if a player is dodging trial they tend to think they are going to get executed so they leave the field and start a new character. Bounties on NPC’s are plot and will generally be skirmishes, often aimed at the Militia.
So not very many official bounties around.

Magistrates are unlikely to put up a dead or alive bounty.

Private individuals can of course do what they want, but putting up a dead or alive bounty might attract murder charges if it ever came to light.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done, but I believe it’s perfectly IC legal for private individual to offer a bounty to someone aids the militia in legally catching a criminal.

Speaking OC as someone who has played on both sides of the law, I honestly cannot remember anyone actually using Thief takers/bounty hunters against me when I have refused/been late in paying, or offering their services to the militia when hunting convicted parties. There is probably some game there but it would take a fair amount of leg work, patience and investigation to both win the trust of the militia/magistrates and then to actually find the culprits and persuade them to pay up.