The bounty board system isn’t working.This is evident by a simple glance at it, as only 6 bounties have been posted in 2019. This is a problem because it inherently makes characters such as bounty hunters and assassins more difficult to play in their natural environment. Personally, I believe that having guys like vintage(Pre-Mandalore) Boba Fett, IG-88, Bossk, Aurra Sing, and late-career Asajj Ventress helps bring the flavor of “Star Wars” to the board, and are tales worth exploring. The bounty board has its faults, as does everything, but I argue the main issue can be boiled down to a few overarching problems. We'll call them Risk, Purpose, and Scale.
Issue 1: Risk
The first issue is the participation of the hunted. Now, I can’t say I blame them in honesty. Many bounties are posted “To the death”, with extra incentives for killing them. Even if a bounty is nonlethal it’s can still be a hard thing to accept having your character being imprisoned for a while. Some writers have gone so far to saying things such as “Good luck finding me, I just won’t join open threads” or “Please don’t make threads with me, just look for me in open threads” as a result of these potential consequences.
Issue 2: Purpose
The second issue is purpose. The majority of bounties posted aren’t really bounties in the traditional sense, but rather declarations of foreign policy or letters of marque. Instead of posting a bounty on a Dark Jedi that lead a raid on a facility, a mercenary team that stole medical supplies, or some sort of Minor faction most bounties can be summarized as "I'll pay billions of dollars for you to kill this extremely important figure. While these are by definition "bounties" they aren't really within the scope of the traditional bounty hunter. Therefore would-be-bounty hunters are caught between playing to their character or becoming a high-class political assassin.
Issue 3: Scale
The last issue is scale, or more specifically the scale of the rewards. Instead of the bounty board being a place for potential bounty hunter characters to find work, it often serves as a place to show off ones wealth. Looking through many of the Bounty Threads a lot of the replies end up being something akin to "Well, Faction X is paying 200K for Faction Y, but Faction Y is paying 250K for Faction X. Choices choices", or alternatively "You're only paying 10M for this Sith Lord? The Republic offered 50M back when it was a thing". While such discussion isn't necessarily a bad thing IC, most of these comments come from an OOC peanut gallery that don't further the purpose of the bounty board: to give bounty hunters a method and list of writers to create content with.
Issue 1 is fixed by changing the stakes. Put a "gentleman's agreement" of sorts as one of the categories in the Bounty Template. Something like "IC Consequences" or "IC Aftermath". Then the client can either pick from some pre-defined categories or just write something out that doesn't mean the end of a character or plotline. Some examples could be "We'll put you in a Supermax prison and you can break out", or "We'll start an open thread to get you to trial/prison and people can break you out", or if your of a more darkside persuasion something like "We'll prepare you for a public execution, during which you can escape/be rescued". A lot of bounties are made in good faith, with a "IC actions, IC consequences" perspective, and airing out some forms of consequences would put more writers at ease.
Issue 3 can be fixed by using systems similar to the way the Codex deals with population numbers. No one really has an idea of what 60 million credits means for your character, but by creating a scale we can give an idea of the wealth a bounty might bring in. Here's an example scale I like:
- Mass: This type of payment could supply a bounty hunter for anywhere between a week and a month or so. These are typically mass bounties given on a "Per Head" basis.
- Small: This type of bounty could supply a bounty hunter for a few months, or perhaps upgrade a piece of equipment. This is appropriate for smaller problems, for example a notable but small time drug dealer, or someone who owes a minor debt to the Hutts.
- Medium: A sizeable bounty that could supply a hunter for a long while, get a fancy new piece of equipment, or perhaps a loan on a ship or home. These jobs are where Bounty Hunters begin to gain notoriety and reputation in their craft. These are typically given for prey who are significant problems to organizations, or personal grudges to high-wealth individuals.
- Large: A lucrative bounty that bounty hunters point to as a lasting measure of achievement. This payment could be used to retire a while, buy a ship, or purchase exotic personal equipment. Many bounty hunters at this level begin teaming up with other professionals. This level bounty usually represents a large threat to a sizable organization like a high-tier company or Faction.
- Apex : This level bounty could set up multiple hunters up for retirement,allow a minor faction to buy volumes of military equipment, or give a major corporation a nice windfall. These bounties are normally used to attract the attention of major organizations rather than individual hunters, and almost always represent a Major Faction's "Public Enemy Number 1"
This scale would not only combat "One-upmanship" that happens at times, but also advertise "Hey, you can put a minor bounty on a minor thing that happens.", allowing for more interesting grunt work to occur. This helps with Issue 2, but Issue 2 can also be helped by limiting how many high level bounties an organization can put up. For example, let's try this table:
Level Individual Companies & Minor Faction Major Faction Mass As Reasonable As Reasonable As Reasonable Small 5 As Reasonable As Reasonable Medium 1 10 15 High 0 3 5 Apex 0 0 1
I'll admit I just kind of threw those numbers together, so they may not be right, but incorporating and acknowledgement of consequences, a general pay scale, and limiting the amount of top dollar bounties aroundwould make the Bounty Board leagues better than it is right now.
Edited by Gand, 02 May 2019 - 07:11 PM.