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I was walking around near one of the dwarven ruins when a wanted criminal came up to me, gave me some gauntlets, and said not to lose them and he would be back. Can I drop them or sell without penalty?

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This is the Fugitive random encounter. After giving you an item, another NPC will approach you and ask you if you've seen the fugitive that stole his item. Your choices are then to give back the item for a single coin, keep the item and give away the fugitive's location, or keep the item and lie about not having seen any fugitive. Despite what the fugitive says, he will never ask for the item back, and it can't be returned to him.

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    Also, after your dialog, you can choose to kill the fugitive and guards nearby will not attack you. (Apparently, they know he's a criminal, and yet don't arrest him on sight... go figure.) Unfortunately, the scripts for the other NPC don't account for this, and there's no special dialog in this case. Apr 14, 2020 at 13:45
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    Something tells me that this scripted event was never finished properly. Given how often Skyrim was released by now, I sure hope Bethesda will get around to fixing it before releasing it again.
    – MechMK1
    Apr 15, 2020 at 8:51
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    @MechMK1 I guess you're not familiar with how Bethesda works. Unfinished, buggy games are their specialty. Apr 15, 2020 at 9:03
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    @OlivierDulac "Beyond the Beef" is a quest in Fallout: New Vegas, notorious for being so bug-ridden that normal completion of the quest requires console commands to fix broken dialogue trees, missing progression, etc.. This is because the engine treats quests as linear progression, giving each quest a "progress" between 1 and 100. However, "Beyond the Beef" has several different "entry points" and "exit points", making it actually 3 different quests in one, that never overlap. As a result, the code is a mess and doesn't work properly. Console players usually skip this quest.
    – MechMK1
    Apr 15, 2020 at 10:30
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    @MechMK1 reminds me of playing Fallout 3 on my 360 long ago. I finished Operation Anchorage and when I got back it also finished some quest I had never even started. Some ghoul in a suit kept getting angry at me for screwing him over or something. Really wished I could fix it with console commands but I was on a console so couldn't (ironic). Apr 15, 2020 at 19:10

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