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Chef Smallfry

Bounty Hunters in RPGs

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Chef Smallfry    122
Just wondering for a story I'm writing- There's a "tough guy" bounty hunter who secretly donates his bounties to an orphanage. He hears about the player's party, defying some evil empire and doing good across the land. Naturally, he goes for the bounty on the player's head. The players fight him at several points throughout the story, until the final encounter when he finally loses once and for all. Extremely cliche, or unbelievably cliche?

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TheShadow344    167
I would think that it would be a little cliche, but then again most broad personality archetypes could be considered cliche. Consider fleshing out the character a little more...

Why does he donate this money to the orphanage? Is it out of complete generousity (an extremely boring case) or is it because he is an orphan himself (cliche, but more exciting than the alternative)? Or maybe it's to ease the guilt of abandoning his own child / family. If this bounty hunter is going to appear in your story more than once and could be considered a main character, be sure to give him some depth to keep it interesting. Perhaps he admires the hero's quest and, after each encounter, gives him some solid advice for the journey ahead.

Just my two cents.

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TechnoGoth    2937
As is its extremely cliché. Try developing the character into more than a one dimensional antagonist.

Does he just show up to harass the main characters everyone know and again?
If so why?
Are there no easier Marks out there?
Or is money not the only reason he continually goes after a Mark that beats him time and time again.
Does he work alone or have a partner?
If so why?
Does he give his money to a particular orphanage?
If so why that one?
Has he always done this?
If not what changed?
What happens to the orphans if he dies?

The more you flesh out a character the more interesting they become and the less clichéd.

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Endar    668
Quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
As is its extremely cliché. Try developing the character into more than a one dimensional antagonist.

Does he just show up to harass the main characters everyone know and again?
If so why?
Are there no easier Marks out there?
Or is money not the only reason he continually goes after a Mark that beats him time and time again.
Does he work alone or have a partner?
If so why?
Does he give his money to a particular orphanage?
If so why that one?
Has he always done this?
If not what changed?
What happens to the orphans if he dies?

The more you flesh out a character the more interesting they become and the less clichéd.


Depending on your answers to the above, instead of having the bounty hunter losing at the last, you might want to have him give up and stop fighting the player at a point at which the end result would not be clear. Just so the player wouldn't always be "oh, he just gave up cause I was gonna woop him!".

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Adriac Veras    100
Yes, adding depth to a character definitely removes some of the cliche to it. It also makes the story more complex and exciting as you gradually unravel his purposes, past, his mistakes, who his family was, how he became a bounty hunter, why he keeps his donations secret, and many other things.

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LorenzoGatti    4449
An obvious question: who would put a bounty on the player's party and why does the bounty hunter decides to pursue it? Does he routinely accept bounties from the mentioned evil empire?
There can be plentiful bona fide criminals, monsters, psychopaths to feed a "good" bounty hunter, but the protagonists of the game should be clearly identified as enemies of the empire and not of the people; and if the bounty hunter accepts pro-empire jobs (revolutionaries, political leaders, etc.) either he is an earnest supporter of the empire and therefore an enemy (possibly a respectable one) or he is too evil and callous to be a believable supporter of an orphanage.
Perhaps he could be a misguided immature citizen, and getting to know and finally meeting the PCs could convince him of the need to overthrow the evil empire.

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Art_Sempai    180
Quote:
Original post by LorenzoGatti
An obvious question: who would put a bounty on the player's party and why does the bounty hunter decides to pursue it? Does he routinely accept bounties from the mentioned evil empire?
There can be plentiful bona fide criminals, monsters, psychopaths to feed a "good" bounty hunter, but the protagonists of the game should be clearly identified as enemies of the empire and not of the people; and if the bounty hunter accepts pro-empire jobs (revolutionaries, political leaders, etc.) either he is an earnest supporter of the empire and therefore an enemy (possibly a respectable one) or he is too evil and callous to be a believable supporter of an orphanage.
Perhaps he could be a misguided immature citizen, and getting to know and finally meeting the PCs could convince him of the need to overthrow the evil empire.


The bounty hunter could be neutral think of Tommy Lee Jones in the "Fugitive"
"I didn't kill my wife."says Kimble
"I don't care." Tommy Lee Jones replies. He's a Marshal, Kimble's a Fugitive nuff said.

Or the bounty hunter is a Law is the Law is the LAW character, they then to be flat personality wise though.

Sure, there can be plentiful bona fide criminals, monsters, psychopaths but they aren't worth what the hero is, the unbelievable bounty on them is a factor.
A one big job and I'm done scenario.

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LorenzoGatti    4449
Quote:
Original post by Art_Sempai


The bounty hunter could be neutral think of Tommy Lee Jones in the "Fugitive"
"I didn't kill my wife."says Kimble
"I don't care." Tommy Lee Jones replies. He's a Marshal, Kimble's a Fugitive nuff said.

Or the bounty hunter is a Law is the Law is the LAW character, they then to be flat personality wise though.

There is a significant difference between a U.S. Marshal and a bounty hunter; the first is a policeman that obeys the law and his orders, while the second is a professional who decides freely who he wants to arrest or not and who can change sides or let someone escape without answering to anyone.
Moreover, in your example the oblivious lawfulness of the officer is rational and morally acceptable because he simply forces a suspect to defend himself in a fair trial; consigning good heroes to the torturers and executioners of the evil empire is a very different act.
Maybe the bounty hunter can be partially independent, something like a consultant that is used to being assigned missions by the police but works alone.
Regarding character development, I have a strong preference for making him an honest, competent person that serves the evil empire because he really likes order and law and because from his limited point of view it isn't too bad; then meeting heroes and travelling will open his eyes and make him an ally of the characters.

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Funkymunky    1413
If you don't want it to be cliche try adding more twist to it

he has cancer and considers himself a sort of "angel of death," unattached to material things like money

he is a she, and she was abused by a man in her past and can no longer foster children; hence, she only bounty hunts males.

he is secretly also a child molester (a little sick and depraved)



when trying to avoid cliche, the writing itself for the character is often more important than the overall character design; for example, if you have a stereotypical dumb blonde, but give her the depth of actually being decently intelligent just with an airhead's voice, she will be more interesting than just a dumb blonde who fills a space in the flow of the story; she will be a character.

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erlend_sh    273
Ehm, I think there's one thing that really needs to be specified here.

Is this "bounty hunter"
A) A person who "arrests" people and bring them in alive for a reward?
or
B) An assassin/hitman, who kills and does prety much anything (depending on his/hers principles etc.) for money.

Because a bounty hunger by definition, is actually someone who has to follow a quite strict set of rules, and he/she can't just make up rules of his own. In the end, they too have to answer to the law. Not to mention the person(s) that are apprehended have certain rights as well.

Whereas an assassin is someone who works free from public laws, and is most commonly free from other rulesets as well. Usually commanded by one of the two:
1) An underground illegal company of sorts
2) "The state". - Basicly any kind of organ high up, that supposedly follows, and maybe even makes the laws.

Get those specifics down and I think it'll be easier for both you and us to come up with some good suggestions for your theme.

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Art_Sempai    180
Quote:
Original post by Sadr


Because a bounty hunger by definition, is actually someone who has to follow a quite strict set of rules, and he/she can't just make up rules of his own. In the end, they too have to answer to the law. Not to mention the person(s) that are apprehended have certain rights as well.


Quite right Sadr. The main differences between Marshals and Hunters are rules for arrest and searching.

Hmm...also how EVIL is the evil empire?
Is the conflict, opposing political views or demonic overlord VS. good guys?

Does the bounty hunger even know if he's consigning good heroes to the torturers and executioners or just jail time.

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