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The morality of taking on bounties?


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In Deadfire, there's a good number of bounties put on targets that are not blatantly outlaws. Factions are especially fond of putting a bounty on members of an opposing group, like the VTC on Rautai ships. You don't have the option to ask for further details, nor can you talk to any of the targets before fighting with them.

 

Companions aren't too helpful either in this regard - in one instance, a bounty giver asks a companion if they're okay with taking down a ship from their own faction, to which their response is something akin to, "if they can be defeated by this group, they deserve what's coming".

 

I don't actually know if any/many of the bounty targets are innocent, so I'm wondering if anyone else does.

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It's definitely Privateering when you're doing ship bounties, which is when you'd basically get a writ from a government to kill their enemies more or less. It's basically just like piracy, but you've got the RDC or Valians or Huana or the Principi behind you in theory. Pirates you can aim at the enemy. The morality of bounties is the same as killing people for money in theory, but in practice my crew just has a very strange captain with a sixth sense on whose head to cut off and carry with them for the next several months. Personally I wish they had given us a magic artifact, and let us sync it with the bounty boards of the Deadfire basically. It would hum when you were near a bounty or something, then there'd be a reason I got out of Port Maje and went on a voyage collecting the heads of certain of my foes. They're all hostile, none try to talk, so it isn't like if you blunder into their camp it's not self defense. The morality of it is a bit muddied that way I guess.

Edited by Clawdius_Talonious
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It's definitely Privateering when you're doing ship bounties, which is when you'd basically get a writ from a government to kill their enemies more or less.

 

Not quite. Privateering was a legal concept involving salvage and port of call. During the Age of Sail, if you got caught in port with a captured ship and/or stolen cargo, you were in a hell of a lot of trouble, and at the very least you weren't going to get to keep any of your ill-gotten gains. A Letter of Marque guaranteed that the local admiralty court wouldn't prosecute you, so long as the captured vessel/salvage came from a country that your port of call was at war with, and that you would get at least a percentage on the salvage's value. AFAIK, taking letters of marque from multiple parties at war with each other was a great way to end up dead in a ditch somewhere. In general, governments take a pretty dim view of piracy, and it's only by operating in areas of political instability, hiring out as faux-mercenaries, or targeting vessels affiliated with weaker polities that pirates could get away with what they did.

 

Of course, if you had ports unwilling or unable to enforce piracy laws (generally only possible in areas of tremendous instability), you didn't need a Letter of Marque, which seems to be the situation in Deadfire. It's made slightly more plausible given that you scuttle any vessel you defeat, rather than hauling it back into port, so I think we just have to presume that the factions can't track you down by salvage sales. I guess it's easier to get away with assassinations that conventional piracy?

Edited by gkathellar
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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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It's just one of the elements thrown in to keep the sea traveling bit from getting too dull. It wasn't meant to be any deep moral dilemma. As such, there isn't much point in contemplating about it. It's little more than killing for money, a mercenary kind of job. From the role-playing PoV, you take the job if your character is the type that doesn't really care who lives or who dies as long as you make some profit. You don't do it if you're not that type. From the gameplay PoV, OF COURSE you do it cause why the hell not.

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Not all of them are. A troll or drake pillaging/terrorizing the coast is most certainly not a trade ship or friendly party. I've no problem tracking them down...for the right price!

Edited by Big-Ben

Yes! We have no bananas.

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From what I know, these bounties are for people (or animals) that are terrorizing parts of the deadfire and killing people in those areas.

 

Different parts belong to different factions but murder is murder. You shouldn’t think about this too much like Batman. Sure, you become a murderer when you kill another murder, but kill all the murderers and number of murderers drastically decreases

Edited by anathanielh
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From what I know, these bounties are for people (or animals) that are terrorizing parts of the deadfire and killing people in those areas.

 

Different parts belong to different factions but murder is murder. You shouldn’t think about this too much like Batman. Sure, you become a murderer when you kill another murder, but kill all the murderers and number of murderers drastically decreases

Well, that /this whole conversation opens a can of worms on what's ethical and general philosophy. Like if people were dedicated, this thread could be a big as that BG2 one. ;)

 

If you think snuffing* out a life is wrong, including with or especially with pay involved, then yes, bounties are a huge ethical problem. You're seeking out people and creatures that are inconvenient to powerful groups and people and killing them for cash.

 

*That said,* if you want to avoid doing that, your only option is to completely avoid multiple areas. Because people with bounties aggro immediately, whether or not you know about them. It's not 100% practical to do (though definitely doable).

 

Edit : To more directly answer your question OP, I think you can sometimes ask what they did. That will tell you whether they are or not. But I don't think the game mechanically cares. They're there as side content to flesh out the world a bit and offer extra side coin.

Edited by Tick
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From what I know, these bounties are for people (or animals) that are terrorizing parts of the deadfire and killing people in those areas.

 

Different parts belong to different factions but murder is murder. You shouldn’t think about this too much like Batman. Sure, you become a murderer when you kill another murder, but kill all the murderers and number of murderers drastically decreases

Well, that /this whole conversation opens a can of worms on what's ethical and general philosophy. Like if people were dedicated, this thread could be a big as that BG2 one. ;)

 

If you think snuffing* out a life is wrong, including with or especially with pay involved, then yes, bounties are a huge ethical problem. You're seeking out people and creatures that are inconvenient to powerful groups and people and killing them for cash.

 

*That said,* if you want to avoid doing that, your only option is to completely avoid multiple areas. Because people with bounties aggro immediately, whether or not you know about them. It's not 100% practical to do (though definitely doable).

 

Edit : To more directly answer your question OP, I think you can sometimes ask what they did. That will tell you whether they are or not. But I don't think the game mechanically cares. They're there as side content to flesh out the world a bit and offer extra side coin.

You bring up a good point, but I’m cold and lonely, so I say kill em.

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I tend to do them but so far there's been good reason, usually. For the first character I had, a Priest of Berath, the Huana guy sending me 'prayer bounties' and the natural inclination to move things toward their next stages, meant that my character saw the opportunity to take a bounty in similar way as the Huana individual. An offered bounty was a quiet call to send them through their next doorway.

 

My next character will be working for Rauatai but left there for the Dyrwood after his artisan master refused him, so there's not a lot of loyalty there beyond a general agreeableness toward being aggressive. However his stronger  general mercenary nature, means he's not above taking some money for some heads. I might stop at certain bounties, and its a bit of a bummer you can't get the full list and then pick and choose but have to go tier by tier, but its not like they're necessary.

The next character will probably be way more restricted on them so I'm not super looking forward to hitting him, and the final character may just end up wiping the Deadfire of all life for the ****s and giggles because its less likely the Gods will off their yes-man. But he's a psychotic ****, so getting paid to do it is just gravy.

Edited by Rheios
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Taking bounties and running missions for all parties at the same time should have been restricted, or at least force you to be stealthy or outright lie to your other employers. Make it so sinking RDC ships for the VTC and sinking VTC for the RDC makes them both go after you unless you can frame a scapegoat (Huana?) or something. Would have gave a lot more immersion to the factions. As it is it reminds me of the factions in Fallout 4 which isn't a good thing.

 

Double dealing the factions should have been a source for great skullduggery and role play instead of just another reason to kill whatever crosses your path.

 

Concerning the collecting of certain heads for turning in bounties, my character collects EVERY head from the slaughtered. He carries hundreds of them around in his bag of holding and pulls them out to see which are valuable and which are not. You need something to hang from all those masts :) 

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From what I know, these bounties are for people (or animals) that are terrorizing parts of the deadfire and killing people in those areas.

 

Different parts belong to different factions but murder is murder. You shouldn’t think about this too much like Batman. Sure, you become a murderer when you kill another murder, but kill all the murderers and number of murderers drastically decreases

 

This should only be a problem for my benevolent characters. But they usually consider that killing a murderer is not as bad as being a murderer. Apparently it makes no sense, right? But the idea is that the murderer will very likely kill more innocent people in the future if nobody stops him, while my character will only murder more murderers. ;)

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