You can at least argue from the published rules, and if you have the time, check the Errata/FAQ to seee what is officially changed. Working from old drafts is a bad idea.
> >As a narrator I might allow a character to plead for mercy, initiating a
> >contest. I would not allow him to start a contest to run away.
> Why not?
Because you have been defeated in combat, and withdrawing from combat is no longer an option (combat is over). I'd allow pleading for mercy because: A) it is dramatically plausible and B) is not an extention of combat. It is a try to ameliorate the *consequences* of combat. In my mind, at least, it is a totally different thing.
The Arthurian stories are full of the scenes of knights taking off their defeated opponent's helmets in preparation of killing them. The opponent does not try to get away. Instead he pleads for mercy; is recognized as a brother or friend; is ransomed as a "good and worthy knight" and sent on a quest; or sometimes is killed.
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