Leadership: Feat or Roleplaying Consideration

As I mentioned in a previous post using E6 rules the leadership feat is essentially worthless, and in Pathfinder it turns out that PCs cannot take leadership until 7th level. I have always wondered if the leadership feat was really worth the investment of character resources and whether or not it makes a whole lot of sense from an in-world perspective. Essentially the feat gives you a sidekick who is at least one level lower than you plus a handfull of low level mooks. How then does the king command the loyalty of his army; is he simply level 99 with charisma oozing out his ears or is it just a result of being king?

I am a firm believer in rules parity across the board. That is options and abilities available to NPCs should generally be available to PCs, otherwise the world’s internal consistency breaks down and immersion is lost. Of course this is not to say that all PCs must be kings, but they should have the potential to become kings should they so choose. So if NPCs are able to gather large forces solely through behind the scenes “roleplaying” rather than by spending a feat on leadership then players should be able to gather a force by roleplaying as well.

Here is how I will likely be handing Leadership from now on: If you want some mooks to help you out, talk to some NPCs give them a compelling reason to follow. Now they won’t be unwaveringly loyal; you’ll have to maintain that relationship by treating them fairly, keeping them generally “safe,” paying attention to them from time to time and not just using them as cannon…er ballista fodder. The better you treat your mooks the better your reputation might well become and you may even gain additional followers. Happy mooks may even provide other benefits such as an improve starting dispositions in towns where they may have family, additional gear that they manage to find while sifting through some ruins, the possibilities are endless. In conclusion leadership is in my opinion much better handled through actual roleplaying than it is by a simple game mechanic.

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~ by katallos on January 29, 2010.

2 Responses to “Leadership: Feat or Roleplaying Consideration”

  1. Leadership, unless heavily regulated by the DM (to the point that it’s not fun anymore) is easily the most powerful individual feat. Unless you’re doing it wrong, you get a free (N)PC who’s marginally less powerful that the rest of the party. And the low-level followers can be used for all kinds of non-combat things too, like cure lights from clerics and having bards go talk you up in every tavern in town.

    As for the other problems: Yeah, it doesn’t make too much sense.

    I usually ban it for these reasons.

  2. I agree that the utility of leadership is pretty amazing. Having a group of minstrels singing of all those times you “bravely ran away away bravely ran away” is great for the story and is pretty comical at the table as well. Heck they could also carry, catalog, and sort all that heavy (50 coins/lb) treasure that you pick up; why should adventurers be their own accountants.

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