To many, the Bounty Hunters Guild is some sort of motely collection of scum, villains and other vermin. To many, we are kidnappers, thieves, murderers, and assassins. But what is a bounty hunter, truly?
A bounty hunter is someone tasked with the most difficult job in the galaxy. We hunt down the most dangerous thieves, kidnappers, murderers, and assassins in the galaxy. And we succeed where others have failed and will face challenges few dare to imagine. The work is thankless; but ours is a necessary job. While governments squabble in inaction, we do what needs to be done.
But what exactly "needs to be done?" And how does it all work?
Let me explain it this way. A crime is committed. Someone—the Republic, regional or local governments, large corporations, or an individual with substantial interest—issues a notification to the Bounty Hunters' Guild. Usually, this notification indicates the target, the stipulation (dead or alive), and an award. The entity that issues the notification is known as the originator. The target, usually a criminal, is known as the acquisition. The reward, naturally, then, is known as the bounty.
From there, a Guild contractor will notify a hunter (who is traditionally a member of the Guild themselves) to pursue the contract. Hunters may also choose to use the Bounty Board to select a bounty for themselves from a variety of sources. Upon completion, the bounty is typically paid in credits (though other forms of rewards exist). Sounds easy, right? Wrong. But, nevertheless, it's the job.
So what sets the guild apart from the average vigilante? Let's address some of the misconceptions about hunters to answer that question:
Do bounty hunters kill for money? Yes, but not indiscriminately, and not merely for personal gain.
Are bounty hunters murderers? No. Murderers kill unlawfully.
Are bounty hunters assassins? No. Assassins target specific individuals for political or religious reasons and do not always get compensated for the killings.
Do bounty hunters kill innocent people? Never intentionally, and not without consequences.
Are bounty hunters lawbreakers? No. We abide by the laws of whichever government employs us. In a sense, we are law-enforcement officers and there are consequences when we break the law.
Are bounty hunters mercenaries? Absolutely not. Bounty hunters have little regard for anyone whose allegiance is for sale.
Are all bounty hunters members of the Guild? No. Some choose to work for independent employers.
People Don't Have Bounties, Only Acquisitions Have Bounties
Capture By Design, Kill By Necessity.
No Hunter Shall Slay Another Hunter.
In the Hunt, One Captures or Kills, Never Both.
The Guild, its rules, and its membership is governed by Guild Council. The Council sets the policy for the Guild and mediates disputes between members. It is also the final authority on punishment, when members violate its policies. Finally, the Council will convene to vote on membership—whether to confirm or deny a hunter's membership into the Guild. The Council is led by a Guild Master, elected for life from among its members.
In total, the Council was composed of five members, with the Guild Master (the sixth), acting as a tie-breaker whenever necessary.
Types of Bounties
The following are the types of bounties the Guild frequently deals in:
Government bounties: Bounties handed down by galactic, regional, or local governments. These usually involve hunting down criminals that governmental law enforcement cannot dedicate resources towards capturing and/or executing.
Private bounties: These bounties are posted by private (usually wealthy) civilians. Difficulty ranges and hunters must be cautious not to get caught up in the personal vendettas of of the originators. Only take these bounties if a serious crime is provable on the account of the acquisition.
Underworld bounties: These bounties usually originate with the less reputable members of society. Rarely will a contractor contact a hunter about such bounties, but they can be frequently found on the Bounty Board.
Bounties also fall into a number of categories:
"Most Wanted" — These are usually government bounties on the worst criminals within their jurisdiction. Traditionally, those who make this ranking are guilty of conspiracy, sedition, treason, or mass murder. Hunters should always be prepared, for these targets are usually armed and extremely dangerous. "Most Wanted" bounties are a sub-classification of "Galactic" bounties.
"Galactic" — These type of bounties are frequently posted by governments. Those that make this ranking are frequently accused of aggression against government officials, bribery, or widespread piracy. These missions can be extremely dangerous.
"Regional" — Those branded with this ranking tend to be accused of murder of important persons, forgery, operating illegal vehicles, and organized crimes. Hunters can expect danger-level to be moderate.
"Sector" — These types of bounties are posted against those who have participated in crimes on multiple worlds. Often those with this type of bounty are ring-leaders of gangs infesting multiple planets in a sector or small time crime lords with repeated history of crimes. The danger-level of these bounties is moderate.
"System" — Also known as local bounties, these are typically a type of government bounty. Those branded with this ranking are frequently guilty of aiding and abetting criminal activity, murder, kidnapping, violation of customs laws, possession of illegal weapons, and smuggling. These jobs are by far the least dangerous.
Types of Rewards
While bounties are usually rewarded in credit sums, there are a number of other ways that a hunter can be paid, depending on who is placing the bounty:
Rights of Salvage: The hunter is permitted to keep whatever possessions the acquisition had on their person. Typically their weapons, armor, technology, etc. Regardless of the type of payment, hunters are typically allowed the Right of Salvage for any target they capture.
Land Grants, Mining Permits, Water Rights: Most might think this an odd form of payment, but for those bounty hunters living on the frontier worlds of the galaxy, these rewards can be the key to their very survival, and are often difficult or tedious to secure through other means.
Precious Goods: Rare artifacts and expensive materials and/or technology usually fall into this category. Next to credits, this is the most commonplace reward given to hunters who complete their assignments.
In addition: Completed bounties by Guild affiliates are deeds weighted more heavily for reputation than non-affiliates.
The Guild does not possess much in the way of assets. Any ships, weaponry, or supplies affiliated with the Guild typically belong to the bounty hunters that make up its membership and are, therefore, not Guild property.
The Guild does, however, maintain a base-of-operations on Trandosha. This guild hall is where the Guild Council assembles and where all governing of the organization happens. Additionally, one other guild hall is known to exist on Florrum, though it is mostly a cantina and a gathering place for bounty hunters looking to exchange stories, take on new bounties, or search for assistance in their hunts.
Ranks & Membership
The Guild has a small membership, and a simple ranking structure which is as follows (from bottom to top):
Initiate: Those who have completed their first bounty for the Guild and have secured their place fall into this category. Typically an unknown entity within the Guild, every member once started at this rank.
Tracker: Hunters at this level have proven that they know how to track a target and are beginning to make a name for themselves within the Guild. They have tracked targets for the Guild successfully on multiple occasions and are generally counted upon to get the job done.
Hunter: “Old reliable” would be a phrase used to describe Hunters. They are well known throughout the Guild and have a reputation of success on their hunts. When a Hunter pursues a target, it is only a matter of time until the target is brought in.
Master Hunter: The ultimate bounty hunters, the Master Hunter always gets his man. These individuals are known by everyone in the Guild and are able to quickly track and capture even the most difficult of acquisitions. If they’re on the hunt, the target’s days of freedom are numbered.
Most of this write up has come from @Malon last TL which in turn came from the Bounty Hunter Code