Abusing Leadership Feat


Advice

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TL;DR

Leadership is about like a Summoner. It's got a lot of complex moving parts, and it's easy to abuse.

If I really trust the player, I just tell them to make the cohort when they hit level 6, and I bring it in as an NPC and at 7, they become a cohort.

If I don't trust the player (either from lack of experience about the system, or they've had problems in the past with not interpreting rules correct making their characters, or because they've actively min/max'd their character six ways from sunday and tried to get RAGELANCEPOUNCESYNTHSUMMONERTIEFLINGHALFFIEND into my core races game), then I make the NPC catered to their desires (I would like someone to help with melee, we're weak on that, and maybe who's good at stealth).

And yes, I've read SKRs feelings. I respect SKR, but his views are not divine law. :) Until it makes it into the FAQ, it's just his personal view. And even if it was in the FAQ, I'd just house rule it.


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sigh why would I take a feat to gain a cohort and then let the DM create him? Seems like a waste then, since its probably not going to be what I wanted. Example: Currently we are level 13 (4 bard/1 cav/8 battle herald) and if any class was ever intended for leadership its the battle herald, heck the breastplate of command was built for this class too and affects leadership. My cohort? A sword and shield dwarven ranger. The story? Since we are doing kingmaker and spoiler(army fights) My battle herald found the dwarf on the littered battlefield and realized he wasnt dead. Healed him and now the dwarf owes a life debt even though he resents it. Now could my dm have made all this...well possibly, did I want to leave it for chance and get stuck with a wasted feat? Hell no. The problem isn't the leadership feat, its d-bags that abuse it. And to fix that? Oh your crafting-bot's house collapsed on him and he died and everything he was making is ruined. Teach players not to be abusive douches and everything works out.

My group has had Kobold Magus', and Orc Alchemists for its cohorts among players.

Edit: My dwarf cohort has a tiger animal companion, my Battle Herald's name was Siegfried...seemed appropriate to name the dwarf Roy


We've done the crafting wizard and healbot in a game (2 of the 5 party members took leadership). Half the rest of the party has a crafting feat as well, and we go shopping as often as using them.

Why?

Your NPC can make how much progress per day on a magic item? How much does a +3 acidic transformative longsword cost? How many party members who want equally expensive and absurd gear are there?

If your party has any sort of deadline ever this becomes a nonissue.


To unbreak the craftbot, give him a nice gambling addiction. "Wheres the +3 Sword Jimmy? Sorry boss, had to pay the loansharks". What self respecting cohort would subject themselves to being a factory slave?


With all the arguments against and for having the leadership in a game, I notice that the problem is usually a player trying to gain a slave or a mindless drone.

I think that no DM should allow an NPC to get treated that way, but if a player does not abuse a 'second' character, let the player manage the NPC, while still keeping a close eye out off course.

When creating a Cohort I'd like to let the player do the work with final approval of the GM with reasonable heads up (that's not: hey I just finished the cohort for the game tomorrow). I always insist in some background story for the character and expect the same for a cohort.

It's possible to reward the player making an NPC using the hero rules and threatening him/her with making one yourself using the NPC rules if he/she doesn't make a realistic character. It's likely that the player nerves his/her NPC more then you would in order to get the stronger character. I think it's vital to discuss in advance what type of cohort a player wants, so you can guide him/her in the right direction if needs be.

So in general, some extra work will come the GM's way with the Leadership feat. However if the GM can get the player to do most of the work while remaining an overview to keep things balanced, it could really work out.
And as always: the GM can refuse the use of the feat.


I am about to retrain this feat because my DM made the cohort for me and made him just like this one. the problem is he so skewed in that direction crafting, I can't even take him with me for him to gain xp with out huge risk of death. he level 7 and the only offense spell he knows is magic missile. The dm never has him memorize it. Overly strict control of the feat breaks it as much as no control. There needs to be a balance achieved in it. I setup a surge of 5% on every item the Cohort makes my self so that the cohort so that he makes some money for the work he is doing for me and the other party members. I wanted him to come with us and he could craft during free time, his odds of dying are way to high either way. we leaving him town he gets killed because he has no protection. I take him with he does cause can't properly defend him self. I was going to use him until i got high level enough to get a dragon cohort to use as mount. I am just going to retrain the feat and the mounted combat feats to Eldrich heritage feats and take infernal blood line, some wings and area effect ability sounds pretty nice the upper levels for my hell knight.


There is no reason why a Cohort would not charge full book price on a crafted magic item. They are people and need money just like anyone else. The advantage of having a crafting Cohort is to have the undivided attention of a rare craftsman, which is frankly worth the feat.

The only time I would assume the Cohort charges half is if the magic item is a vital plot magguffin that affects the Cohort or if it is a item for the exclusive use of a cohort or a follower.


Good point. Remember that the cohort's magical gear is accounted for separately from the party, would probably go the other way around too.


Some feats are more powerful/useful than others and peoples opinions differ about which are more powerful. I personally love the leadership feat. It takes me back to the old days of eagerly waiting to become a lord or ranger lord so I could have some cool followers. Can it be abused...yes. Does it also have built in limitations (NPC, GM control and such)...yes. Is it super fun and full of possibility?...a big yes. For players and GM's that like world building together nothing does it like the leadership feat. Suddenly a player can have followers, lackeys, great friends, warriors, priests...the player can defend that stronghold or equip that temple or have contacts all over the city, etc.


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Something I've noticed is that, unlike 3.5, Pathfinder doesn't award cohorts treasure. Therefore, you have to spend your money to equip the cohort. This balances things in my opinion. As a DM I would consider not properly equipping a cohort to be "cruelty" and would a) reduce leadership score and b) encourage the cohort to leave the PC. Then the player would have a poor leadership score and couldn't attract another cohort or at least a low level cohort, and that would make the feat more useless than skill focus (climb).

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

The problem is that you're allowing the player to "make" a cohort. Nooooooooooooooooo~.

I allow Leadership but they have to find, inspire, negotiate, roleplay, pay for, and motivate their cohorts. Same with followers. The Half-Orc barbarian eventually became chieftain of a village and got them as followers - his cohort fought him to the death for the right to rule, at one point (him being forced to kill his loyal companion was one of the most dramatic roleplaying moments of the campaign).

Cohorts are not "PC Jr." They're NPCs like any other - they just happen to be the PC's employees.


The Morphling wrote:
The problem is that you're allowing the player to "make" a cohort. Nooooooooooooooooo~.

I've never had a problem with that. If the PC wants a pirate cohort with an eye patch, I see it as kind of a dick move on my part for me to say, "No, you get an elf like Legolas instead!"


the Character I am currently playing has a 26 leadership score and using the rules in the book I am generating something like 1.5 million gold a month and that is with the GM putting a limit on things....the one guy crafting items isn't that bad really.


That's one of the reasons I dislike the "wealth = magic items = power" paradigm inherent in 3.X. But that's a topic for another thread.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
The Morphling wrote:
The problem is that you're allowing the player to "make" a cohort. Nooooooooooooooooo~.
I've never had a problem with that. If the PC wants a pirate cohort with an eye patch, I see it as kind of a dick move on my part for me to say, "No, you get an elf like Legolas instead!"

or saying " you took Power attack so I am going to choose when you use it."

it is the players feat let them play it


The GM creates NPCs, the character chooses their cohort from among the NPCs who would be interested in following the character.

You don't get to custom make your cohort. You don't have to pick any particular cohort your GM foists on you. Of course, it's very helpful to give input to the GM about the sort of cohort you're looking for, to avoid an endless string of rejects.


Renvale987 wrote:

Okay, so here is my situation. I have a player who took the Leadership feat. After doing so, he made a cohort, who was a wizard with every single item creation feat. After doing so, they put her to work making them item after item after item for half price.

I believe this to be a broken use of Leadership.

The way I understand Leadership is that your cohort is an ally, who helps you when/if they can, but they are not mindless robots that are slaves to your will. They can willfully refuse to do something if it conflicts with their interests or they simply don't have the time due to personal commitments.

I have a problem with a player taking a single feat and then having access to 6-7 feats ALL THE TIME afterwards. This is wrong to me. She has no other feats then item creation and all her skill points are put into crafting skills.

What do you guys think? Am I wrong or is this clearly an abuse of a feat?

I think of the cohort as being a follower of the PC, I as the GM, will pick a random follower for the PC and I will assign half of feats that they will find useful. The Player can then assign the other half of the feats however they want whether it's item creation or otherwise.

I do not allow the PC to put the cohort on the sidelines to be a crafting machine only, the cohort didn't join the PC to be their slave, they joined to follow that PC into battle and earn some fame of their own.

I role-play as the cohort, meaning that they will follow the PC wherever, but they DO have a mind of their own and won't be the sacrificial lamb for no reason whatsoever.

The PC can control them in battle and roll for them, but again I'm not going to allow them to say something like, "I'm leaving the cohort to take on that ancient red dragon we stumbled upon while me and the others run off..."

The reasons are as you stated, if you allow a PC to dictate everything for a cohort they will abuse it, by doing it my way they don't get to abuse that poor cohort and make them into their own personal item creation slave.


The last time I took the leadership feat we had a ship, and I designed my cohort to have max ranks in Profession Sailor and spells to assist with controlling a ship. I made all my followers to be experts with, gasp-- max ranks in profession sailor so they could be the crew.

Then I took the cohort along for battle about half the time, and the other half left her to control the ship-- is this an abuse of leadership? Seems like doing things like this is what its there for. . .


@Nathanael - I wouldn't say so. You made good, sound, and tactical decisions regarding the cohort. You didn't make her your slave to sit around and make you things, you took her along on expeditions and you relied upon her (and her crew) to get you safely from point A to point B on the ship where you and your fellow PCs may have failed.


I'd think that the issue of a crafter cohort is covered in Ultimate Campaign, pg 173, section Adjusting Character Level by Wealth.

You've invested one feat in what is effectively a very flavoursome craft feat, you can use it to increase your character wealth by 25%. That 25% value to be spread across the whole party if you make stuff for others as well.

Of the course the value of crafting isn't so much in the wealth table but the ability to customise magic items to suit character needs, and having a specialist crafter does increase the ability to customise, but I'd still reckon a 25% increase in that players wealth spread over the party is a fair and reasonable way of balancing the feat.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Orcadorsala wrote:
I love the Leadership feat because it creates so many opportunities for role-playing.

Designing an NPC to be a Craft-Bot is not roleplaying by any stretch of the imagination. Roleplaying is going out there and actively recruiting someone to be your ally, cohort, minion, whatever. The leadership feat is banned in my campaigns, so the only way to get such allies IS by roleplaying.


Lightbulb wrote:
Renvale987 wrote:

Okay, so here is my situation. I have a player who took the Leadership feat. After doing so, he made a cohort, who was a wizard with every single item creation feat. After doing so, they put her to work making them item after item after item for half price.

I believe this to be a broken use of Leadership.

The way I understand Leadership is that your cohort is an ally, who helps you when/if they can, but they are not mindless robots that are slaves to your will. They can willfully refuse to do something if it conflicts with their interests or they simply don't have the time due to personal commitments.

I have a problem with a player taking a single feat and then having access to 6-7 feats ALL THE TIME afterwards. This is wrong to me. She has no other feats then item creation and all her skill points are put into crafting skills.

What do you guys think? Am I wrong or is this clearly an abuse of a feat?

You know rule 1 the GM is always right? But that's trumped by Rule 0 - everyone must have fun.

Rule 2 is ban Leadership.

---

Or the GM designs it. Or the GM designs and controls it.

Rule 3 is ban Item Creation feats.


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NPC's can have Leadership with craftbot cohorts, as well. Or, you know, max ranks in sunder...

Seriously, though. NPC's don't sell stuff at cost. Period. "Hey, I like what you're about, man. Can I follow you around, and subscribe to your newsletter?"

PC: "Sure thing, man. Will you sell me that fancy sword at half price?"

NPC: "Wow. No. I mean, I like you and all. But, business is business. You want me to hold that torch?"

PC: "What the heck, dude? I spent a feat on you!"

NPC: "Umm... I'm not sure what that means, but the sword is not negotiable. You want me to watch the horses?"

PC: "Listen, buddy. You're my cohort. You do what I say."

NPC: "Whoa! Hold up! This isn't going to work out. I think I'll take my business elsewhere. I appreciate you statting me up and all. Peace."

PC: "This is totally unfair! Why isn't this guy my abject slave?"


Renvale987 wrote:
[ . . . P]layer who took the Leadership feat[ . . . ]he made a cohort[ . . . ]a wizard with every single item creation feat. After doing so, they put her to work making them item after item after item for half price.

This is nice and all, except there is one VERY important problem, this character still needs to see combat to gain experience. She doesn't just level up with the PCs, she has her own XP.

Also, if the cohort dies then that is a PERMANENT -2 penalty to leadership, per cohort.

Crafting an item takes around a week, and making it magic takes longer. Not to mention it has to be master-crafted, and the cohort has to be making rolls not just "doing it".

If they have the cohort making items then do things that force them to draw away from the city. If they are not there to pick up their items then, oh well.

Cohorts don't work for free, they WANT to go out and adventure with the party! They want the fame, the fortune, the women, and if the Player just wants them to sit at home crafting then they are going to have problems.

One idea is to have the cohort decide, on his own, that he is going to go join the heroes on their quest weather they like it or not! He joins them as a cloaked figure, never revealing his scarved and hooded face until he is injured or the quest if done and they are headding back.


Renvale987 wrote:


What do you guys think? Am I wrong or is this clearly an abuse of a feat?

Pretty much every line of text in the rulebook can be abused in an RPG. That's why we have GMs, to decide when the rulebook is actually wrong and overrule accordingly.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Kirth Gersen wrote:
The Morphling wrote:
The problem is that you're allowing the player to "make" a cohort. Nooooooooooooooooo~.
I've never had a problem with that. If the PC wants a pirate cohort with an eye patch, I see it as kind of a dick move on my part for me to say, "No, you get an elf like Legolas instead!"

Oh, I wouldn't do that. I'd give him the most glorious pirate bodyguard he can find. It just wouldn't be a selfless pirate with six item creation feats, no desire for payment, and an obsessive desire to scribe scrolls for free for eighty weeks.


I must be the only player who built up to it and isn't trying to exploit the rules. I only took it because in game my characters ultimate goal is to own a successful restaurant when she retires. Plus my DM allowed me to make my cohort and Ironically he asked why I wasn't tweaking her out. <Gunslinger: Bolt Ace 12>. I gave him this look like, "are you kidding man?". I only took the feat to help my character build up our adventuring organisation within the campaign because we are using the Ultimate Campaign Guide so I could delegate some of my at base responsibilities to underlings so I can go off and adventure for longer periods of time rather then a few months. I couldn't believe I had to point out to my own Dungeon Master that doing more then a basic built for a cohort was exploiting and abusing the system. Heck I even used most of my other slots for NPC's to stick NPC's that were friendly to the party in and my DM made a 1st level Otyugh Cleric for my congregation of Pharasma Worshiping Trash monsters. <Ugh long story don't get me started.> So it can manage things for me while I'm away.

Contributor

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Renvale987 wrote:

Okay, so here is my situation. I have a player who took the Leadership feat. After doing so, he made a cohort, who was a wizard with every single item creation feat. After doing so, they put her to work making them item after item after item for half price.

I believe this to be a broken use of Leadership.

Not particularly. Typical market value for any treasure that your party finds is 50%. So if they find a magic staff worth 100,000 gp and they choose to sell it, they get 50,000 gp back. So magic items that the cohort makes may be half off, but you're only getting half the usual value for the big-ticket treasures anyway.

Quote:
The way I understand Leadership is that your cohort is an ally, who helps you when/if they can, but they are not mindless robots that are slaves to your will. They can willfully refuse to do something if it conflicts with their interests or they simply don't have the time due to personal commitments.

Working eight hours a day, the length of a typical, American job, is not being a "mindless robot who is a slave to your will." He's got an easy eight hours left in his day to do whatever he wants.

Quote:
I have a problem with a player taking a single feat and then having access to 6-7 feats ALL THE TIME afterwards. This is wrong to me. She has no other feats then item creation and all her skill points are put into crafting skills.

People hyper specialize in the real world too. A character like this wouldn't be uncommon and honestly, grabbing a crafting character is a very non-intrusive way to use Leadership. Your player could have built a death NPC and effectively upped the strength of the party significantly.

Quote:
What do you guys think? Am I wrong or is this clearly an abuse of a feat?

Personally, I think you're wrong. You charged your PC a feat (a very hefty investment) to grab a cohort and he put that cohort to work helping his party. A crafting cohort is one of the best party-friendly uses for a cohort that a character can grab, and from a realistic perspective, seeking out a famous artist or crafter or whatever is exactly what a party of heroes SHOULD do. It is very realistic to patron someone. It simply sounds like you're not requiring your PCs to patron this cohort.

If I was in your shoes and I was bothered by this, here's what I would do:
— Grab a copy of Ultimate Campaign.

— Implement the Downtime System's rules.

— First, require the PC party to build some sort of base of operations for the cohort to dwell in. According to the Downtime Rules, gp production for an organization is reduced by half if it doesn't have a headquarters to base itself out of, so you could easily state that the cohort takes twice as long to craft anything because he doesn't have a place to work for you. (Historically, patrons would build homes for their artists, composers, and crafters.)

— Second, have the cohort charge the PC / his party a minor gold fee for his services. I would treat the cohort like a manager and have the cohort charge 5 gp for each day he works, plus he charges 5% of an item's cost for his services. For example, if an item costs 10,000 gp to craft (price 20,000 gp), the cohort will ask for 11,000 gp and keep the extra 1,000 gp for himself. This way, you can have the cohort saving up his own money and as the PCs return to their new base of operations to check on their crafting buddy, maybe they'll see new changes to the cohort's person to reflect his new finances.

— Third, I would have the cohort negotiate his work week. According to the Downtime system, a typical work week for most characters is five days, with two days off in between. (Usually a holy day and a day of rest.) In this manner, using the cohort to craft is a little bit slower than having the PC craft by himself because the cohort is an "artist" and is no particular hurry. If the PCs try to force the cohort to work on his days off, well obviously they're going to have to pay the cohort overtime (either time and a half [7.5 gp] or double time [10 gp]).

Together, this will give your PCs the sense of being important enough to have to go through all of the little details of patroning another character. And in my experience, implementing Downtime is a GREAT way to get your players interested in spending gp on other things. Once you tell them that they have a base of operations, well, they're going to want to make their quarters nice. And then after you have the BBEG attack their base, they're going to start spending ridiculous amounts of money trying to bolster its defenses. Maybe they'll decide to hire some assistants to help make more money. Maybe they'll expand into other professions. Maybe they'll end up being the largest business juggernaut that your world has ever known!

Downtime is awesome.


Alienfreak wrote:
loaba wrote:
Alienfreak wrote:
But surely if the level 8 sorcerer Cohort of the Ranger (he has an AC, dumped charisma, travels alot and stuff...) is supposed to make a Brooch of Shielding for the 18th level Wizard, while he is hanging out in the fanciest place he has ever been in, he has no self esteem and will not do this.

The cohort would surely make that item, for the right amount of cash (which isn't half-off.) Why would the Ranger's cohort give preferential pricing to someone who isn't his Master? I mean, is he just stupid or something? The Master's party companion is already getting the advantage of having access to a skilled magical craftsman (the cohort) who takes custom orders. But that's not enough for you, oh no. You want more! It needs to be half-off or you're just being a mean DM who doesn't respect RAW!

Kinda funny, really.

Why does the Wizard make an item for the Ranger's Animal Companion who is no party member!?

He must be STUPID!!!!1111

Actually, I personally believe that any wizard, party member or otherwise, who makes magic items for anyone (party member or otherwise) without some sort of markup is, frankly, "STUPID!!!!1111"

Why?

Because every minute he's making items for his party members or someone else (like an animal companion) is a minute he's not able to devote to his own pursuits. Those are minutes he's not able to use to copy spells from his newly captured spell book, do research on his favorite topic, make magical items for his own use, or anything else he might want to do.

When I run a character with item creation feats, I charge my party members 75% of list. That way, we both win. I get extra money to pay for my time, and the rest of the party gets a 25% discount.

Can't really understand why a cohort would do it at cost when he could do the same thing elsewhere and make a killing, unless he was some sort of religious fanatic or something.

PS:

"A Cohort is somebody that devotes his life to me. Works for me for free. Fights for me for free. Dies for me for free.
He gives up everything he knows. Family. Friends. Maybe his Girlfriend. Just to be with me and help me with my adventures. For free."

I'm curious where this is coming from. It's not mentioned in the Leadership feat. The definition of "cohort" doesn't mean anything of the sort. A "cohort" by definition is merely ": a friend or companion"

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cohort


Saldiven wrote:
I AM A POWERFUL NECROMANCER! Mwahahaha!

Its a necromancer! GET HIM! Grab your torches and pitchforks! The tar and the feathers!


Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
Its a necromancer! GET HIM! Grab your torches and pitchforks! The tar and the feathers!

Watch out! This thread has been necro'd twice. That means there might be two necromancers in here...and one of them is a cohort of the other one!

Dark Archive

Honestly leadership is easy. Especially in this situation. They are separate people, not tools. If you try and turn them into a crafting slave then he can just leave, and lower your players leadership score for cruelty or something. While the player should control the npc to make things faster, they shouldn’t be abused. Same with followers, they can all leave just as easy as they came..... that being said I started an assassins guild with mine at one point as well as a mercenary force using the cohort as my second in command. And occasionally adventuring with him or as him leaving my character behind if he was working on something

Dark Archive

But don’t abuse the dm decision by just randomly going after him unless it happens to be story driven.


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