Hunter’s Creed: Bounty Hunters follow a code of ethics called The Hunter’s Creed, sometimes just referred to as The Creed. The Hunter’s Creed is a series of beliefs set forth by the first Bounty Hunters, and it is still followed to this day. The Bounty Hunter must follow The Creed at all times (see Ex-Bounty Hunters below).
- People Don’t Have Bounties, Only Quarries Have Bounties: This single, cardinal rule, more than any other, defines the way in which Bounty Hunters approach their chosen profession. It reflects the idea that sapient beings, to some degree, must be accorded respect. If, however, an individual has a bounty placed on them, he or she ceases to be an individual with rights. No longer a member of the community, the “quarry” becomes fair game. Tears should never be shed over the fate of someone who is, after all… “Only a quarry.”
- Capture By Design, Kill By Necessity: In keeping with the loosely defined hunter code of ethics, killing is sometimes necessary. That’s business, pure and simple. However, unnecessary killing is still murder. The Bounty Hunter, unless otherwise directed by those leveling the bounty, must attempt to deliver the quarry alive. Often, those leveling the bounty have a vested interest in a live target — and the target might be better off trying to get themselves killed by the Bounty Hunter.
- No Hunter Shall Slay Another Hunter: Simply put, no matter their origin, Bounty Hunters see themselves as a special breed. They take their lives (and those of others) into their hands each time they hunt. One may agree with another hunter’s motives, or damn him for the manner in which they carry out their hunts, but no Bounty Hunter may ever knowingly kill a fellow Bounty Hunter. This law applies only to hunters who themselves still follow the creed. Those who have broken the creed, or those that have a bounty posted on their heads, are merely quarries. In such cases, the ex-hunter is no longer seen as a member of the common fellowship and old scores can now be settled with impunity. The hunter has become the hunted.
- No Hunter Shall Interfere With Another’s Hunt: While it is not unheard of for Bounty Hunters to work together as a team, the hunt for a given quarry is most often viewed as a form of personal duel between two sapient creatures. In such a duel, the hunter matches skills, wit, and courage against all the resources that one’s opponent can bring to bear. If the hunter wins, it is a personal triumph denoting superior skill and intellect, not simply a question of luck. To interfere in another’s hunt, unless first invited, is to leave the question of “who is better” open and, perhaps forever, unresolved. Of course, competition between hunters is often fierce and there is often a very thin line between “competition” and “interference.” This being true, while a Bounty Hunter is constrained from taking direct action against another hunter, there is nothing to constrain a Bounty Hunter from hiring others to do the dirty work. Of course, if such an action, successful or not, can be traced back to the original perpetrator, serious consequences inevitably follow.
- In The Hunt, One Captures Or Kills, Never Both: In the case where the quarry has been taken alive, that “choice” cannot be altered. To kill a quarry in the course of the hunt is one thing, which is fine. But to purposely kill an unarmed, helpless being already subdued and unable to resist is seen as simple slaughter and wanton butchery.
- No Hunter Shall Refuse Aid To Another Hunter: While no hunter has the right to interfere in another’s hunt, there comes times when even the best among master Bounty Hunters require assistance. In extreme cases, any hunter may ask and expect to receive aid and assistance from another hunter, even if it means the latter must temporarily suspend his or her own hunt in the meantime to render such aid. Whatever personal grievances or animosities may be involved between the two parties, it is known and understood that Bounty Hunters take care of their own. Of course, such assistance is not without a price tag, and the arbitration of payment after the fact can often put a substantial dent in the requesting Bounty Hunter’s expected profit.