I want to address several issues:
- There is currently no way for me to receive credit for doing my job of dealing with wanted individuals.
- When I do take someone down it doesn't really matter because most players aren't phased by death. They just depart.
- PvP in this fashion is unrestrained since it is pretty much just a toggle between "I leave you alone" to "I'm going to kill you repeatedly" as single deaths have no real penalty.
- It makes Outriders stray too close to Claw in that their job is killing people and you could argue the only difference is who they take ordres from.
- It puts Templar and other less ruthless characters in a real bind since they may want to get involved but don't want to murder people.
That handles people getting credit for their work, but there's an important caveat: The person has to be alive. Towns aren't satisfied with people bringing in dead bodies because everyone knows that the Undying just dust themselves off and go right back to raising hell. The town wants justice. This means that when a person is captured and turned in for a bounty they are stripped of their possessions and sit in a jail cell for a period of time determined by their crimes. Afterwards they are released and can pay a fine to get their stuff back. It is my understanding that this is how the current justice system works which is why players run rather than turn themselves in. Sitting in jail and paying a fine is a real penalty for people who aren't phased by death which is why towns insist on live bounties.
One thing Rias and I discussed while talking about Outriders and the justice system is the possibility for executions for people who are permanently exiled. That means that after the condemned sit in their jail cell for however long, they are taken outside and hanged then their bodies are dumped outside of town. They remain banished from town and can't get their stuff back. I don't know how the Twilight Eye would respond to registered items seized in this manner, but the loss of assets hits people where it hurts. So don't do something so heinous that the town wants to execute you.
So how do you capture someone and bring them in to collect the bounty? I see three possibilities:
- Manacles or shackles can be purchased from jails and used by anyone to "bind" or "shackle" an unconscious target.
- Rope can be used to "bind" an unconscious target
- People with special training can use lassos to "rope" a conscious target. It may require being mounted in order to dally the rope around the saddle horn to get enough pull to yank the target to the ground where they can then be fully bound.
I also think that people should also be able to "surrender" and automatically fail their roll against the next person trying to bind them. Or they can surrender after being bound to remove the dragging roundtime as they are no longer being unwillingly hauled to their fate but resignedly walking along.
I don't know if we want to create new "rope use" and "escape" skills just for binding. A tidy solution might be to make them perception versus stealth checks with the reasoning that a perceptive individual is more likely to notice if the ropes are slack and a stealthy individual has picked up some tricks for making it look like the ropes are tight when they really aren't. Or that a perceptive person might notice when someone is trying to escape while a stealthy person knows how to work the ropes loose without being detected. Manacles or other specialty restraints might give a bonus to the binding checks.
So how do you render a target unconscious in order to bind them? I propose that unarmed attacks and specialty weapons do nonlethal damage to render targets unconscious. The simplest way to do this, in my mind, is to cap the amount of location damage that unarmed attacks or nonlethal weapons do.
All attacks, as far as I can tell, do two kinds of damage: There's the damage applied to the target's body part hit by the attack, and there is the damage done to the target's energy pool. Most kills come from reducing a vital body part to zero health, but I think we've all seen or experienced a time when someone's energy pool was drained to the point of falling unconscious. From there it can still take several rounds of combat to kill someone through energy loss if a vital body part isn't destroyed, but if they're left alone they eventually recover enough energy to stand back up. By capping location damage at moderate, you can continue to attack someone to deplete their energy pool without accidentally killing them. If you continue attacking someone who is already unconscious, either the cap is removed or you just drain their energy pool until they die.
For a more concrete example, most of a player's body parts can take 100 points of damage while eyes can take 50. Using unarmed strikes or a nonlethal weapon, you can deal 59 points of damage to most of their body. When you try to deal that 60th point of damage, no further damage is applied to that body part but they continue to receive energy damage as usual. This reflects the fact that they just got the stuffing beaten out of them, but not so much that they're bleeding heavily enough to be at risk of bleeding out. You can keep beating them until they pass out and at that point you can bind them. If someone else hits them with a regular weapon, they take damage as usual. If you keep hitting them once they pass out, you start dealing lethal damage as usual.
To facilitate this, I think the 'battle' command should automatically switch targets once someone passes out and stop if there are no more viable targets. If someone wants to coup de grace an unconscious opponent, they should use the kill command. And as a nice side effect, we can finally have bar fights without killing everyone.
There's the entire system: People can render targets unconscious using unarmed strikes, nonlethal weapons, or special abilities like Metabolic Englaciation, then use rope or manacles to bind them. They then drag these people to the jail that issued the bounty and turn them in for riln and sometimes guild credit. The fugitive then serves out their sentence and pays their fine or is executed as usual. Once that is done, the bounty drops off the board and they're free to go about their business though they may remain banished from town.
How does this address the issues identified at the start of this post?
- Turning in live bounties guarantees you got the right person and there is a riln and guild point payout.
- Criminals have to serve their jail time and pay a fine or lose their stuff. That's a real consequence unlike death.
- For people who care, PvP is restrained to reasonable limits because proper targets are those with bounties on them and once the bounty is collected they are no longer a target. I actually don't want to kill the same person ad nauseam to make a point.
- It fundamentally changes the feel of the Outriders from people who aggressively gun-down troublemakers to people who try to take bounties alive - but will still gun them down if they're too much trouble.
- It really helps Templar or other characters who want an option besides "kill everyone" when dealing with problems, and it even creates a solution to the highwayman task: Grab a baton and some rope.