Bullet Points: 2 Options for the Leadership Feat (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Rogue Genius Games
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Sometimes rules supplements read like the world-setting bible of frustrated novelists. Although solid world-building is a useful skill, you don’t always need four paragraphs of flavor text to tell you swords are cool, magic is power, shadows are scary, and orcs are savage. Sometimes a GM doesn’t have time to slog through a page of history for every magic weapon. Sometimes all that’s needed are a few cool ideas, with just enough information to use them in a game. Sometimes, all you need are bullet points.
#1 With A Bullet Point is a line of very short, cheap PDFs, and each one gives the bare bones of a set of related options. It might be five spells, six feats, eight magic weapon special abilities, or any other short set of related rules we can cram into about a page. Short and simple, these PDFs are for GMs and players who know how to integrate new ideas into their campaigns without any hand holding—they just need fresh ideas and the rules to support them. No in-character fiction setting the game world. No charts and tables. No sidebars of explanations and optional rules. Just one sentence of explanation for the High Concept of the PDF, then bullet points.
The High Concept: Two options for different ways to handle the Leadership feat, of use to groups who wish to shake things up, feel gaining the use of an entire additional character (a cohort) is unbalancingly powerful for one feat, or think seventy 1st level characters are more annoying than useful.
All right, you know the drill - 3 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page content - let's check it out!
Option 1: Allies & Associates - instead of adventuring companions/cohorts, you gain access to allies in a safe haven that work for you. These include an artificer, a healer and a sage and let them craft items for you, cast spells, gather intelligence etc. - all capped by your leadership score's height.
Option 2: Patron Country - Treat all your country as favored terrain, all opponents of your fatherland as favored enemies, travel faster and gain discounts.
Both options are very concisely presented and include info for player and GM.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, the pdf adheres to SGG's 3-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Genius. In this pdf, Owen K.C. Stephens takes a look at one of my favorite feats (in my current campaign 4 of 6 players have leadership) and modifies it in a brilliant way - Allies & Associates offers great rp opportunity, while patron country enables you to play secret agents in the queen's service (007, anyone?) as well as jingoistic bastards. The concepts are rock solid, smart and well worth the price of admission - this pdf is simply brilliant and among my favorite, if not the favorite BP so far - my final verdict will thus be 5 stars + seal of approval.
OK, am going to open with stating simply, I hate the leadership feat. No really, I do. The idea that a simple feat gives that much resource to a player really annoys me, and my players have learned over the years to wisely avoid it. Whereas I have never told them no, nor have I forbidden it at my gaming table, they have learned that a happy Gm is a more productive and fun GM. That being said, I was curious what this Bullet Point was going to bring to the table in regards of this extremely unbalanced feat.
What we are presented with are two very different approaches to how to handle the Leadership Feat, one granting the player a “pit crew”, the other mimicking the favored effects of the ranger class. Option one goes on the idea that anyone who can build up a crew of followers and cohorts probably has done just that, but they don't travel with them. Rather they are back at the crib, home base, the keep, that one ship where you are always welcome...or that proverbial bar. Point is, they are at a safe location to the player, they don't travel with them, but if the player can get to them, he can utilize them for cheap assistance. Information, healing, spells, items...all just waiting back at home base. Now, for a GM this takes away the additional NPC from combat rounds, which is one less “body” to keep track of while the group adventures.
Option two goes the route of simple numerical bonus. Player gains the equivalent of a favored terrain boost essentially when within the lands of a community/city etc. that they are a local hero to. This bonus applies to diplomacy checks, prices for services and goods, travel speeds and of course combat and checks vs. the lands favored enemies. A simpler more streamlined method of handling the feat, there is a measure of simplicity in how to handle this feat that may be a little to simple using this method, but that would be up to the individual GM's to decide.
Final thoughts on this one, I'm still not sold on this feat, but these two options do present alternatives to having a player sitting at your table with a small book next to them tracking their cohort and followers, and the logistical nightmare that manifests when said player begins utilizing them all, in every game session. Design wise, an inspired attempt to fix a broken feat, and one that I can see many GM's embracing and using, and well worth the price of admission. So, final rating on this one will be a 5, as it gives exactly what it states, and has me pondering this feats place in my campaign.....maybe.
I don't purchase a lot of 3PP stuff for a variety of reasons. This product is incredibly well done. It fits the budget on a product that is only a single page. It also takes a feat that can be a lot of work and puts it on par with the rest of the feats. I would be willing to split Leadership into two separate feats to accommodate this product. I can see both uses being a huge boon without being overly complex. Both versions can easily be used by different characters at the same time without giving one character an advantage over the other.
The only reason now to use the old version of Leadership is to get your fighter a mount :)
Depending on your group and GM, the Leadership feat can either be a great addition to the game or a nightmare that makes combat take forever, causes the GM headache, and makes the other members of the party want to "keep up" by doing the same thing, resulting in a party doubling in size.
This Bullet Points release gives two options that give significant benefits to the Leadership feat, but takes out much of the room for abuse it normally allows.
The concepts are actually very straightforward - you can either have "associates" or you can have a "favored country". The two options give distinctly different benefits, but they are benefits that make sense from a Leadership perspective.
I would definitely recommend these options as alternatives to Leadership, especially for GMs who are concerned about the ramifications of introducing cohorts and followers.
The Leadership feat. How many times have you seen a GM hand out a list of House Rules and seen at the top of the list, "The Leadership feat is not allowed?" This attitude takes away the last vestige of an old school class ability, gaining followers. I admit that this can get in the way & overwhelm a GM. that is why I really like this product. It gives a couple of options for Leadership, so that it is useful to have without scaring a GM to death. The purpose of both options is behind the scenes help, rather than a bunch of followers following you around.
Option 1: Allies and Associates
You gain a small support team of three skilled
characters (an artificer, a healer, and a sage).
Option 2: Patron Country
You're a hometown hero & get help accordingly.
Don't want to get too deep into it, but that is the basics. It gives you options for downtime help & support. Your own behind the scenes pit crew. Great for the struggling GM. Great for the traditional adventurer that has a "lair" to come back too.