Leadership: What to do with followers?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Alright so Leadership is generally regarded as a fantastic feat. Getting a cohort to adventure with you and will obey you is fantastic. My question is, what does one do with the followers? None of them have PC levels so taking them into danger is ill-advised. All I can think of is having them cook, set up camp, carry your treasure, and taking care of your horses or something.

I'm sure there are a lot of things that one can do with followers, but they are all campaign specific. Lets here'em.


Assume they're NPC classed characters. Mostly experts. Have them craft weapons for your army TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Sell their goods for profit. Train all your followers in Perform: Dance and send them out into the world to perform for coin and return to you with all their hard-earned money.

Be creative!


I've used them to build forts and home bases for the most part. Typically they are my tie in to a specific area, or concept. Either a business consortium or a new martial order or arcane school.

Typically I assume the first level are the 'new members' and as they get to higher levels they aren't available for my direct usage because they are performing tasks the organization needs of them. My higher level followers are typically my retinue that I have for my position in the organization.


They usually end up costing my players a small fortune to maintain.

Its the downside of having the most broken Feat in the game.

The followers tend to be 'appropriate' to what the Leader is - if you are a fighter then expect a bunch of men-at-arms.

Also note that nowhere does it say a player gets to build either the Cohort stats nor that of the followers, however the cohort is usually given as a courtesy.


Ok I like these ideas. I've got a sorcerer and a rogue/master spy I'm probably gonna get Leadership with, but that won't be for a little while.

For the sorcerer: rediscover, learn, and revive Azlanti magics. Lots of adepts and experts.

For the rogue: lots of experts and some aristocrats too. Gonna take over a prominent thieve's guild.


That works for a rogue.

Why take over? Think big - create a guild and push the others off the block :)


Shifty is right that nothing specifically states you get to design or build the cohort or followers.

As a player what I have typically done is told the GM what I'm looking for in my cohort -- why the cohort is important to my character, why I think my character is important to my cohort, and the same about the followers.

I ask if I can build my cohort (generally this one is allowed) and then suggest sample NPCs from say the Gamemaster's guide to represent the followers. For the higher level followers I generally offer up ideas on names and alterations if needed (as well as justification for the alteration). Pending GM approval I keep copies of these with the character folder.

I find that GMs usually don't mind you doing the legwork for them as long as they know they can easily follow what has been done. Having a theme and a way to use them without limelight stealing of course helps wonders.


meatrace wrote:

Assume they're NPC classed characters. Mostly experts. Have them craft weapons for your army TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Sell their goods for profit. Train all your followers in Perform: Dance and send them out into the world to perform for coin and return to you with all their hard-earned money.

Be creative!

Adepts are NPC and spellcasters, extra spellcasters are always useful.


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Normally, you'd have them taking care of your PC's stronghold in his/her absence. If you don't have stronghold however then you get to be creative. How about:

• Setting up your followers as the members of a craft, service or merchant guild in the PCs' favoured urban centre. You can use them to produce/acquire equipment for the group or as a means to invest/sell the loot you collect while adventuring to turn a substantial profit.

• Organizing your followers into a traveling merchant caravan which follows along behind the group. They can transport commodities from one urban centre to the next for trade (turning a profit) while also supplying the group with additional aid (healing, lore, crafting) as required.

• Spread your followers out across the countryside to live normal lives. Have at least one in every city, major town fort or roadway in the land; keeping an ear to the ground and an eye open for whatever concerns you. Use them as a communication/spy network. Wherever the party travels, they'll always have a friendly local they can trust who can update them on important events, tell them about enemy activities in the region or introduce them to other locals. They can also pass messages and goods, through the network, wherever you need them to go.

That's just off the top of my head.


my thought was to have (i have 7 followers) 1 cleric for out of combat healing, 2 warriors (npc class) for intimidation factor and to keep the rabble off of my robe hem, 1 expert (npc class) for basic work and construction, and 3 commoners, each with a craft/profession: cook, weaponsmithing, armorsmithing. Basically those should cover all the bases i need. Oh and the cleric is like my Steward, handling the other followers, arranging my day to day things etc.

Sczarni

My GM never really kept track of the followers-- just the cohort. Typically in his campaigns the cohort has to be a previously-encountered NPC who we left on good terms.

If I were the GM, I'd let my player specify melee, archer, arcane, or divine (or possibly some other vague need-- nothing that would nail it down to one specific class) and then I'd build a character to do that for the cohort. The followers I never gave much thought to, but I like that they'd be thematically tied to their leader.

Dark Archive

I have a idea of a Bard that will take the Leadership feat.The bard will be the pimp, the cohort will be his muscle and the followers will be his stable of wh0res.


Consider this: Who is doing your cooking? Cleaning? Who watches the horses while you're in the dungeon? Who keeps your dwelling place in good repair while you're away? Who carries all the heavy, less-valuable loot back?


I had my followers be a group of handmaidens for my cohort who was a princess who had woken out of suspended animation. One of the other characters actually seduced the handmaidens with gifts of jewels found during our quests and then I exchanged them to a high priestess to regrow my cohort's husband (another PC)'s manhood (long story).

The next lot of followers turned up as goblin refugees as my character was a reincarnated goblin who faced off against the goblin god and "escaped" due to a clone being made before his death. My character has turned into a member of a lost ancient race of elves and is now using Polymorph Any Object spells to turn all the goblins into the same ancient elven race so that it exists again.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Did I miss something? I see nothing prohibiting followers from having PC class levels.

Shadow Lodge

Order them to build ramps out of their bodies for you to reach high places easily.


RD has a point. Is the idea that they must be an NPC class just a false assumption?


there is nothing against it but why bother? A level 1 char vs a cr 12 doesnt even force the cr12 to waste resources. I just made mine to add to fluff and take care of some side details


cdglantern wrote:
RD has a point. Is the idea that they must be an NPC class just a false assumption?

Well it's an assumption -- not a rule. Nothing actually states one way or another with followers (or cohorts actually). As such that's why I recommended choosing already built NPCs as a basis for your followers -- some have NPC class levels, some have PC class levels and some have both.


TOZ wrote:
Order them to build ramps out of their bodies for you to reach high places easily.

I like the way you think!

...peasant rail gun? :D


They crew the pirate ship.


cdglantern wrote:
RD has a point. Is the idea that they must be an NPC class just a false assumption?

Everything I've seen say they're "low level NPCs, similar to a cohort," but I've found nothing barring PC classes. That said, every time I've taken the leadership feat, my DM has designed my cohort and followers, and they've frequently come with their own baggage. I've heard the feat called broken many times, but IMO you might as well name it Kindergarten Teacher, the RPG.

In answer to the OP, I would at least hope for a traveling base camp with access to every skill as a class skill including as many aid another bonuses as your Dm will allow.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
...peasant rail gun? :D

Doesn't work. Peasant rapid delivery service?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
beej67 wrote:
They crew the pirate ship.

We've done this in our games! :D


TriOmegaZero wrote:
meatrace wrote:
...peasant rail gun? :D
Doesn't work. Peasant rapid delivery service?

Peasant arrow volley is totally legit though. Are you familiar with that one?

Shadow Lodge

?


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TOZ wrote:
?

Same principle really. Long line of level 1 commoners, or even a zig-zaggy line, and one +5 Holy Flaming Burst Keen (or whatever) longbow. Peasant 1 makes an attack with the weapon, then drops it as a free action. Peasant 2 picks it up with a move, fires it with a standard, drops it again. Rise, repeat ad nauseum. Not the best attack bonus, but with a +5 Holy wtf ever weapon there's bound to be some nat 20s in there.

Next round starts with the last shooter and zigzags back.
It's how wars SHOULD be fought. One really expensive weapon shared by a whole army.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
meatrace wrote:
TOZ wrote:
?

Same principle really. Long line of level 1 commoners, or even a zig-zaggy line, and one +5 Holy Flaming Burst Keen (or whatever) longbow. Peasant 1 makes an attack with the weapon, then drops it as a free action. Peasant 2 picks it up with a move, fires it with a standard, drops it again. Rise, repeat ad nauseum. Not the best attack bonus, but with a +5 Holy wtf ever weapon there's bound to be some nat 20s in there.

Next round starts with the last shooter and zigzags back.
It's how wars SHOULD be fought. One really expensive weapon shared by a whole army.

ROFLMAO!


I am dumbfounded that you've never heard that one, RD!
Now, I've never tried it, and I've never had a player try it, but I'd probably allow it just for giggle factor.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
meatrace wrote:

I am dumbfounded that you've never heard that one, RD!

Now, I've never tried it, and I've never had a player try it, but I'd probably allow it just for giggle factor.

I'm familiar with the peasant rail gun, but it never occurred to me to use something like a bow in the manner described. I'm as amused as I am ashamed (for not having come up with it myself).

Shadow Lodge

So totally munchkin.


I wish I could take credit for it. I'm fairly certain it wasn't one of my ideas, but it is extremely clever.

Maybe we should just hold a contest to abuse action economy the worst!


meatrace wrote:

I wish I could take credit for it. I'm fairly certain it wasn't one of my ideas, but it is extremely clever.

Maybe we should just hold a contest to abuse action economy the worst!

Well...there is the standard group of mages who all have magic missiles and allied spellcaster. Not as easy as the peasant line because you need them to be mages and take a feat, but it should do more damage because they don't need natural 20's.

edit: I think you could do it with adepts


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I had a game with 3 people who took leadership (half-dragon/half-giant paladin of Bahamut, Kobold Marshall, and a Woodling Catfolk Druid (monster campaign)). They had, between them, over 40 followers.

What they did was :

Set up an embassy in an allied kingdoms capital, and staff it with the Marshall's Followers.

Combine the Paladin's and Druid's followers into one group, and have them follow along about 4-5 days behind the group. When the group encountered something that needed to be done, but was time consuming (such as rebuilding a village that got sacked by orcs, or repairing salt sown farmland, or building a new bridge for the main waterway, or rebuilding an abandoned town as a place to settle), they'd send one of the cohorts back with orders for the followers, with whatever gold/items they needed, and let the followers work on the good deed projects while they explored/dealt with evil/etc.


Shifty wrote:

That works for a rogue.

Why take over? Think big - create a guild and push the others off the block :)

See I'd do that, but my rogue is dating one of the higher ups. We certainly could usurp the other guild leaders, but there's the BBEG to take care of first. My plan is to gather the nobility and the thieve's guild together, unite the people of the city, rebel against the BBEG, then rule as king and CG mafia don.


give them all guns!!!


dragonfire8974 wrote:
give them all guns!!!

Nonono, just ONE +5 gun!


meatrace wrote:
dragonfire8974 wrote:
give them all guns!!!
Nonono, just ONE +5 gun!

you need to walk the balancing act between crits and consistent damage

even with the non-proficient penalty it is worth it. put a far-scope on em (i don't really remember what the item is called but it allows you to take a full round action to take a shot at max distance with it still being a touch attack), and just watch, every other round a volley with some crits and some not, but lots of hits

Sczarni

Train the followers in disguise and make them your body doubles! Or do the Queen Amidala trick and have one of them dress up as you while you dress like a follower...


We used them to man ships we had. uhm.. liberated.. from their former owners.

Had the cohort be the admiral of the small fleet where the highest level guys below him were the captains of each ship and the lower guys than that were running the rest of the ships as per their level and abilities.

Since they were acquired for that purpose the DM just made 'em all experts with sailor levels and such for the true peons, the others may have been rogues or such (dunno that they ever statted out the bazillion peons, tbh).

-S


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Give them all bows. Walla, you have an entire unit of archers ready to blot out the sun with their arrows.

You shall fight in the shade.


meatrace wrote:
TOZ wrote:
?

Same principle really. Long line of level 1 commoners, or even a zig-zaggy line, and one +5 Holy Flaming Burst Keen (or whatever) longbow. Peasant 1 makes an attack with the weapon, then drops it as a free action. Peasant 2 picks it up with a move, fires it with a standard, drops it again. Rise, repeat ad nauseum. Not the best attack bonus, but with a +5 Holy wtf ever weapon there's bound to be some nat 20s in there.

Next round starts with the last shooter and zigzags back.
It's how wars SHOULD be fought. One really expensive weapon shared by a whole army.

A bunch of low level sorcerers/wizards doing this trick with a wand of magic missiles produces a steady stream of damage against most targets as long as the charges last.


Ravingdork wrote:
beej67 wrote:
They crew the pirate ship.
We've done this in our games! :D

Owning and maintaining a ship is essential in our game world, because it's the only way to get between regions. (teleport got an intentional nerf to promote world continuity)

So yeah, followers are amazingly useful because we presume you don't have to pay them like regular hirelings. Paying 50 guys to row your viking longboat for a month adds up.


beej67 wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
beej67 wrote:
They crew the pirate ship.
We've done this in our games! :D

Owning and maintaining a ship is essential in our game world, because it's the only way to get between regions. (teleport got an intentional nerf to promote world continuity)

So yeah, followers are amazingly useful because we presume you don't have to pay them like regular hirelings. Paying 50 guys to row your viking longboat for a month adds up.

Definitely does. Just feeding that many people adds up too.


Usually I define what I'm the leader of, and then discuss my expectations of what followers are appropriate for the purpose. If the GM will let me, I'll stat them out, but usually GMs would rather do it themselves.

So, if I said that my leadership feat was me founding a college of magic, I expect at least half of the followers to have some level of spell casting.

If I say that my leadership feat is me founding a mercenary company, I expect a few healers, a good bit of infantry, a sapper or two, and (if I'm lucky) a magic user of some sort.


Do a Sir Robin, the cohort is you squire, and the followers are the bards that sing about you heroic deed!

Sir Robin
Also useful as emergency provisions, and there was much rejoicement!

On a more serious note, followers are in effect non-combatants, but useful for civil support.


My followers are employees in my hotel chain that spans Golarion. 5 silver a night, meals included.


If you read any of the King Arthur tales, each knight had an entourage that traveled with him. In combat, he gave them pikes or bows and were quite effective en masse. Out of combat, they just took care of the knight's possessions and did all kinds of services for him or his guests.

Sczarni

One of the members of my party in Carrion Crown took leadership, hired all adepts with Crafting feats, and has them do Aid Another to crank out items.

He also set them up with Expedition Pavilions and a Cauldron of Plenty, so they can follow him on his adventures. As the GM, I allowed it since he had sunk so much wealth into their upkeep.

He's a Kitsune bard from Minkai, just a resourceful commoner, but he poses as a wandering prince.


Trinite wrote:

One of the members of my party in Carrion Crown took leadership, hired all adepts with Crafting feats, and has them do Aid Another to crank out items.

He also set them up with Expedition Pavilions and a Cauldron of Plenty, so they can follow him on his adventures. As the GM, I allowed it since he had sunk so much wealth into their upkeep.

He's a Kitsune bard from Minkai, just a resourceful commoner, but he poses as a wandering prince.

don't forget to get cooperative crafting and the helpful trait for this use fo followers

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