Paying off a Starfield bounty is essential if you’ve committed a crime and want to avoid ongoing conflicts with authorities. In Starfield, having a bounty means that members of the faction you’ve offended will become aggressive and attack on sight. Navigating the game is far more convenient without the constant threat of being targeted by guards over your misdeeds.
However, resolving a Starfield bounty isn’t as simple as waiting for it to disappear. There are limited options to clear your name, primarily involving settling the bounty financially or serving a sentence. If you’re looking to eliminate your Starfield bounty, it’s important to understand the process, including the specific locations for payment and the implications of being captured and incarcerated.
Note: Attacking guards or other non-hostile NPCs will turn everyone hostile, rendering all these options unavailable. Make sure you save the game before doing so, because you’ll want to reload eventually.
The Starfield Bounty System Explained
In Starfield, engaging in illicit activities such as stealing, pickpocketing, assaulting NPCs, trespassing, or hacking can lead to serious consequences. The offended faction (United Colonies, The Freestar Collective, and even the Crismon Fleet) will issue a bounty on your head if caught in the act. The severity of your actions dictates the bounty amount, which escalates with each additional crime committed.
Once a faction places a bounty, entering settlements under their control becomes risky and will lead to guards restraining you on sight until you clear your bounty (more on this below). Furthermore, having an outstanding bounty on your head can lead to you starting or completing certain quests, such as Supra et Ultra and Deputized, as joining a faction’s forces requires a clean bounty slate.
How to Clear Your Bounty in Starfield: All Three Options
To resolve a bounty in Starfield, you have three primary options: paying the required fee, serving time in jail, or attempting to bribe the guards. These are the only effective methods, as bounties in this game do not fade over time.
Pay Out Your Bounty
If you’re navigating the Starfield universe and must clear a bounty discreetly before encountering any guards, your go-to solution is the Trackers Alliance Self-Service Bounty Clearance Kiosk. These kiosks are conveniently located in every major settlement, usually near ship landing zones or bars. The fee for clearing your bounty varies based on the crime’s severity.
Remember, you can’t use a kiosk to clear a faction-specific bounty in that airspace. For instance, if you’re wanted in Freestar Collective space, you must travel to a United Colonies-controlled planet to find a usable kiosk.
To clear your bounty, interact with the kiosk and choose “Clear Bounty.” The fee will be automatically deducted, ranging from 600 to 100,000 credits, and your bounty will be cleared.
Creating your own Self-Service Bounty Clearance item at any outpost is a viable alternative for those in hostile faction airspace. This option is available under the Miscellaneous tab in Build Mode.
Finally, you can pay the bounty directly if caught by a faction guard while carrying a bounty. This approach, however, means forfeiting any stolen items in your possession (which can be recovered by lockpicking the Stolen Goods Locker – Expert Security Level). Failure to settle the bounty on the spot requires choosing another clearance method.
Serve Jail Time
In Starfield, if you’re unable or unwilling to pay off a bounty, surrendering to the guards and serving jail time is an alternative. The duration of your incarceration depends on the severity of your crime. Opting for jail time entails a mandatory stay for a predetermined number of days. However, you won’t spend any game time in a jail cell, nor is there an escape-from-prison mechanic. The amount of days spent will cause you to lose EXP. However, rest assured that your XP will not drop below zero, and you won’t lose any levels during your sentence. Be aware that choosing jail also means forfeiting stolen items in your inventory.
Once again, if you wish to retrieve your confiscated stolen goods, they can be found in the jail’s storage box. However, this box is secured with an expert-level lock, making accessing its contents challenging.
Bribe the Guards (Not Available Initially)
Starfield offers the intriguing option of bribery to escape bounties in certain situations. To enable the bribery option, you must first unlock the Negotiation skill, a second-tier skill in the Social skill tree. This skill enables you to negotiate more effectively, reducing the cost of bribes as your skill rank increases. Achieving level four in Negotiation even allows you to occasionally clear bounties without cost.
Here are the Negotiation skill ranks, rank challenges, and rank effects:
|Spend a total of 4 Skill Points in the Social tree.
|You now have access to Bribery in speech challenges.
|Bribe 3 times through persuasion.
|Reduces bribery cost by 25%.
|Bribe 5 times through persuasion.
|Reduces bribery cost by 50%.
|Bribe 10 times through persuasion.
|Occasionally, bribery won’t cost any money.
However, if your bribe attempt fails, you will be arrested, and your Starfield bounty will increase as a penalty. Generally, bribing is not an option if the bounty exceeds 10,000 credits.
In the event of a successful bribe, the game’s mechanics will momentarily transport you to jail as a formality, but you’ll have the immediate option to leave, free from the bounty. You won’t have any of your stolen items or contraband confiscated.
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