Virtually every combat scenario--and more than a few non-combat ones--traditionally ends when the heroes having beaten all the hit points out of their foes. Sometimes the players don't want to kill an opponent for one reason or other: it might be a guard just "doing his job", an innocent citizen acting under misinformation (or magical compulsion), or someone that they need information from but won't give it up without a fight. In past editions you'd have to taken a penalty for your troubles, but 4th Edition edition makes it as easy as declaring that you want to deal nonlethal damage.
The author makes it a point to restrict some of these methods for players with suitable powers and degrees of power, so don't expect fighters to turn defeated foes into toilets, or even low-level wizards to wipe all mention of the villain from history. Generally when my players decide to spare a villain, servant, or minion, they just kind of run him off or bring him to the authorities. On one occasion, they beat up some guards and then paid the other one to "take a week off". This article, if nothing else, should provide some inspiration to help players come up with more..."creative" methods.