Bounty Hunters' Creed
Contrary to popular belief, even the roughest, the seediest, and the most dispassionate of hunters are far from being the unprincipled villains many would make them out to be. Most hunters adhere, to some degree, to an unwritten code of ethics which, when spoken of at all, is referred to as the "bounty hunter's creed." While the exact wording of these tenants varies from planet to planet, the gist of this creed is summarized below.
While the average Republican citizen may find the codes objectionable, and even morally offensive, they serve as a loosely defined set of enforceable principles by which hunters conduct their trade and live out their lives.
1) People Don't Have Bounties, Only Acquisitions
2) Capture By Design, Kill By Necessity.
3) No Hunter Shall Slay Another Hunter.
4) No Hunter Shall Interfere With Another's
5) In the Hunt One Captures Or Kills, Never
6) No Hunter Shall Refuse Aid To Another
While the creed is "commonly accepted", there continue to exist more than a few hunters who have little regard for the creed. There are, for example, recorded instances where one hunter has deliberately and openly defied custom and courtesy and acted to hinder a hunter in the pursuit of a given quarry. The bounty hunter creed remains, therefore, a reasonable attempt at regulating an often nasty business, one often far removed from the eyes of "civilized beings". It also remains a loose set of principles that can be, and often is, violated when no one is looking.
Like Imperial laws, any code of ethics is only as good as the means to enforce them. Enforcement of the hunter's creed is, in many ways, similar to procedures found aboard the interstellar pirate ships of the galactic frontier. Once the nature of an offense against the creed has been discovered, the charge is made known by a hunter who will then convene a "hunter's lodge".
The term, in this context, has no connection to a physical structure, but refers to the conclave of hunters assembled to hear the "lodgement" of accusation by the sponsoring hunter. The lodge is normally only used by independent hunters; guild houses have their own procedures for dealing with problem situations and Imperial hunters typically only answer to Imperial officials.
There are no hard and fast rules governing the actions or sentences enacted by a give lodge, but there are some "customary procedures" that are more or less in common usage.
Typically, the lodge must be convened within 30 standard days of the offense. Any number of hunters can attend, providing evidence for or against the accused, though only six hunters in attendance are required to enact summary justice. The accused may likewise attend lodgement a session, though no special guarantees of safety are implied should the decision go against the accused.
Alternatively, the accused may send a representative to plead on his behalf. Once the evidence has been presented (or manufactured), each of the assembled hunters casts a vote. In most cases, in the case of a tied vote, the sponsoring hunter may demand another vote to break the deadlock. If the majority decide against the accused, the result is the imposition of an immediate "ban". The ban is effectively an informal injunction which, once leveled against the given hunter, acts to deny that person aid and support from all other hunters. While the ban stops short of allowing a hunter to kill another hunter, if the accused finds himself under a ban, any number of individual "sanctions", the nature of which will vary from lodge to lodge, can be imposed at will. Bear in mind that there are no set standards as to how certain infractions are punished by individual lodges. Each lodgement outcome depends on the various personalities involved and the degree to which hunters are willing to use personal resentments to take the law into their own hands.
In extreme cases, it is not unusual to find the guilty party facing off against anonymous assassins from the "private sector" soon after the passage of a ban. Likewise, it is not unheard of for actual bounties to be issued against the accused after various law-abiding citizens of the Empire come forth with "evidence" shedding light on old infractions against Imperial Law.
Lodges may be convened against guild hunters, but this is rare and risky. Guilds protect their own, and do not take kindly to a "motley" assortment of criminals" singling out one of their members for death. Often, the guild will "forcibly dissuade" independents from attempting to enforce sanctions while taking care of the issue "internally".
According to Star Wars Galaxy Guide 10: Bounty Hunters (Publisher: West End Games; June 1993)
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