Chain of Command: My boss's boss is my boss, right?


Rules Questions


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Okay so this question is a 2-parter:

1) Can cohorts gain the Leadership feat?

2) If yes, than are their cohort/followers under my command/leadership?


BigP4nda wrote:

Okay so this question is a 2-parter:

1) Can cohorts gain the Leadership feat?

2) If yes, than are their cohort/followers under my command/leadership?

1.) I don't see anything in the description limiting Leadership to PCs, so I think this is kosher by RAW. (But I haven't looked closely or checked for FAQs and rulings, so I could be wrong.)

2.) No. Their cohort and followers are loyal to them personally. Your cohort might tell his cohort and followers to generally do what you tell them to do, but they won't be nearly as receptive to your orders as they are to their leader's orders, and if there's ever a conflict they take their leader's side not yours. As a GM, I would also penalize your cohort's leadership score by at least as much as if he had a familiar or animal companion, and probably more due to the conflicted loyalties.

Think of Leadership as medieval fealty: The baron owed fealty to the duke and followed his orders. The knights owed fealty to the baron and followed his orders. When the duke went to war, the baron brought his knights and they all fought for the duke, but if the baron was killed, his knights were under no obligation to continue fighting for the duke.

Sovereign Court

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With respect to #2:

Welcome to the byzantine world of feudalism and vassals.

Your minion's minions are not loyal to you per se, just as Akerlof asserted. If your minion ends up betraying you, his minions will follow his lead and ignore your orders to seize the traitor.


Akerlof wrote:
Think of Leadership as medieval fealty: The baron owed fealty to the duke and followed his orders. The knights owed fealty to the baron and followed his orders. When the duke went to war, the baron brought his knights and they all fought for the duke, but if the baron was killed, his knights were under no obligation to continue fighting for the duke.

So as long as my cohort is alive and recognizes me as his leader, his followers will also listen to me?

Kinda like when your mom leaves and says "big brother's in charge now, so listen to him" or when your boss gets onto you when his boss is there because anything you do is gonna come back to him?

EDIT: this is automatically considering the fact that I wouldn't order them to do anything that would cause them harm


BigP4nda wrote:
Akerlof wrote:
Think of Leadership as medieval fealty: The baron owed fealty to the duke and followed his orders. The knights owed fealty to the baron and followed his orders. When the duke went to war, the baron brought his knights and they all fought for the duke, but if the baron was killed, his knights were under no obligation to continue fighting for the duke.
So as long as my cohort is alive and recognizes me as his leader, his followers will also listen to me?

Well.... if someone dominates your cohort, his followers will obey him, not you. And remember that your control over your cohort is not absolute -- depending upon what you tell the followers to do, he may overrule them if it's in his best interests (e.g., if you decide to send them on a suicidal charge to spare your own followers).


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Your cohort is more like someone that looks up to you. He is not just someone has no desires of his own and does whatever you say.


yeah to avoid this can O worms, myself and my GM and all have decided in our games Cohorts cannot take leadership as a feat..he has enough to do with 6 players..mounts, animal companions, hirelings..etc

But he does allow the higher level followers to slowly gain levels (we play in a Kingdom builder campaign that is going on 10 months RL play time :) )
So if placed in positions of authority or responsibility they will get better at it.
Plus..you can always hire people.


There is technically no rule against companions gained through leadership also taking leadership, except it's probably a good recommendation to not allow leadership in the first place, even more so for your companions. And if it is allowed it should have restrictions.

I am playing in a skull and shackles campaign, where we have been allowed to use leadership. However, the cohort is not allowed to be "on-screen". And by that I mean she is not allowed in combat. She is my first mate on my personal ship (at this point everyone in the party has their own ship [at least those who wanted one]) and serves in that capacity when I am not their. The followers crew my ship and serve in other support roles as needed. My cohort is allowed to provide to me spellcasting services free of charge, so I have buffs like greater magic weapon and magic vestment active on me. This enables me to spend gold on other equipment other than magically enhanced weapons and armor. These things are well worth the value of a single feat to me. Being able to spiral the party out of control with a overwhelming number of characters because cohort have cohorts and slowing the game to a crawl is just bad form. If you already have more than 4 player characters I don't think cohort should be allowed screen time anyways, you don't need the cohort to successfully complete the challenge. And if my players argued for having the cohort on stage, I would simply end up increasing the challenge of the encounter further to compensate for their presence.

As to the 2nd, no, not really. This has already been adequately explained by the others.


It is quite possible a cohort's cohort would actively resent and dislike the original PC. After all, being devoted to someone who is devoted to someone else is often an unpleasant experience. In addition of course a PC quite often puts their cohorts into risky situations and takes advantage of them in various ways. Someone who cared deeply for them could well be troubled by this.

From a rules perspective, while leadership lets you attract a cohort, that cohort is explicitly an NPC and thus under the game masters control both for any actions it takes and what choices it makes as it levels. Many GMs cede this responsibility to the player with leadership, and that is fine, but technically having the leadership feat doesn't give you any control over what feats your cohort will select. It is also quite reasonable to imagine that few people who wanted to devote themselves to a more powerful leader would be the type to attract followers of their own.


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BigP4nda wrote:
Akerlof wrote:
Think of Leadership as medieval fealty: The baron owed fealty to the duke and followed his orders. The knights owed fealty to the baron and followed his orders. When the duke went to war, the baron brought his knights and they all fought for the duke, but if the baron was killed, his knights were under no obligation to continue fighting for the duke.

So as long as my cohort is alive and recognizes me as his leader, his followers will also listen to me?

Kinda like when your mom leaves and says "big brother's in charge now, so listen to him" or when your boss gets onto you when his boss is there because anything you do is gonna come back to him?

EDIT: this is automatically considering the fact that I wouldn't order them to do anything that would cause them harm

No, it's more like your mom walking up and telling your brother's friends to mow the yard. Your brother's friends recognize your mom as an authority figure important to your brother, so they probably won't tell her to get stuffed. But they're not going to hang around doing someone else's chores, either.


Akerlof wrote:

No, it's more like your mom walking up and telling your brother's friends to mow the yard. Your brother's friends recognize your mom as an authority figure important to your brother, so they probably won't tell her to get stuffed. But they're not going to hang around doing someone else's chores, either.

Good analogy there.


Akerlof wrote:
BigP4nda wrote:
Akerlof wrote:
Think of Leadership as medieval fealty: The baron owed fealty to the duke and followed his orders. The knights owed fealty to the baron and followed his orders. When the duke went to war, the baron brought his knights and they all fought for the duke, but if the baron was killed, his knights were under no obligation to continue fighting for the duke.

So as long as my cohort is alive and recognizes me as his leader, his followers will also listen to me?

Kinda like when your mom leaves and says "big brother's in charge now, so listen to him" or when your boss gets onto you when his boss is there because anything you do is gonna come back to him?

EDIT: this is automatically considering the fact that I wouldn't order them to do anything that would cause them harm

No, it's more like your mom walking up and telling your brother's friends to mow the yard. Your brother's friends recognize your mom as an authority figure important to your brother, so they probably won't tell her to get stuffed. But they're not going to hang around doing someone else's chores, either.

Except that they still wouldn't do it even if it was my brother who told them to. friends are not followers unless you are some kind of authority, in which case they still aren't your followers BECAUSE their your friends, they just happen to be both. I see what you're getting at but think of it in a militaristic standpoint, the captain of a squad (idk actual titles) orders his team to do one thing, then the captain's general tells them to do another, who will they listen to? most likely the highest authority.


BigP4nda wrote:
Akerlof wrote:
Think of Leadership as medieval fealty: The baron owed fealty to the duke and followed his orders. The knights owed fealty to the baron and followed his orders. When the duke went to war, the baron brought his knights and they all fought for the duke, but if the baron was killed, his knights were under no obligation to continue fighting for the duke.

So as long as my cohort is alive and recognizes me as his leader, his followers will also listen to me?

Kinda like when your mom leaves and says "big brother's in charge now, so listen to him" or when your boss gets onto you when his boss is there because anything you do is gonna come back to him?

EDIT: this is automatically considering the fact that I wouldn't order them to do anything that would cause them harm

So long as you and your cohort are never at odds (either because of differences in opinion or a wizard who was subtle and quick to anger), it's generally likely that the cohort's minions will listen to your commands. Presuming, at least, that they were told to do so.

However, they are under no strict obligation to do so. Even within the 'chain of command' structure, especially in more informal settings, it's far from uncommon for a person or group to respect their immediate superior more than their more distant ones. This was true in older times' militaries especially, when the next-highest authority figure could be very distant indeed (imagine a warship crew during the Age of Sail, for example). Even today it can be very visible-- I can see conflicts like that daily in my own workplace (and in fact fall into it myself. I have immediate contact with the three authority figures above me, and essentially refuse to recognize the middle of the three-- my direct boss's boss-- as any sort of real authority figure. I refer to them as my boss, my boss' assistant, and my boss).

Ultimately, these are people who you will have to win over and earn the respect of. If they respect you, not only because of your position but as a person in your own right, they are likely to internalize your authority and follow your commands. If not, be prepared to relay a lot of commands through your cohort and probably wind up losing the whole group one way or another (either your leadership score or your cohort's will plummet).


That's not how leadership works.

Leadership wrote:

You attract followers to your cause and a companion to join you on your adventures.

Prerequisite: Character level 7th.

Benefits: This feat enables you to attract a loyal cohort and a number of devoted subordinates who assist you. A cohort is generally an NPC with class levels, while followers are typically lower level NPCs. See Table: Leadership for what level of cohort and how many followers you can recruit.

Leadership Modifiers: Several factors can affect your Leadership score, causing it to vary from the base score (character level + Cha modifier). Your reputation (from the point of view of the cohort or follower you are trying to attract) raises or lowers your Leadership score:

These aren't slaves or soldiers, they're NPCs who, for some reason, decide to follow you. Your cohort's followers have decided to follow them, the only position you occupy for the other followers is "the person their boss looks up to".

I could see an extremely Lawful character organizing their followers along a military hierarchy but, again, that only works until you and your cohort disagree in some way, then their "unit" would break off with them and no longer be under your command.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigP4nda wrote:

Okay so this question is a 2-parter:

1) Can cohorts gain the Leadership feat?

2) If yes, than are their cohort/followers under my command/leadership?

If cohorts were the type of person to take the leadership feat, they wouldn't be cohorts, they'd be PC's.

I'd be like Gabrielle or Iolaus, or Samwise, taking cohorts of their own... it just doesn't pass the verisimilitude muster.

Dark Archive

BigP4nda wrote:

Okay so this question is a 2-parter:

1) Can cohorts gain the Leadership feat?

2) If yes, than are their cohort/followers under my command/leadership?

My question is "why?" The answer to 1 seems to be yes. The answe to 2 is "maybe". However no DM in his right mind will allow this so the question is academic at best.


BigP4nda wrote:
Akerlof wrote:
BigP4nda wrote:
Akerlof wrote:
Think of Leadership as medieval fealty: The baron owed fealty to the duke and followed his orders. The knights owed fealty to the baron and followed his orders. When the duke went to war, the baron brought his knights and they all fought for the duke, but if the baron was killed, his knights were under no obligation to continue fighting for the duke.

So as long as my cohort is alive and recognizes me as his leader, his followers will also listen to me?

Kinda like when your mom leaves and says "big brother's in charge now, so listen to him" or when your boss gets onto you when his boss is there because anything you do is gonna come back to him?

EDIT: this is automatically considering the fact that I wouldn't order them to do anything that would cause them harm

No, it's more like your mom walking up and telling your brother's friends to mow the yard. Your brother's friends recognize your mom as an authority figure important to your brother, so they probably won't tell her to get stuffed. But they're not going to hang around doing someone else's chores, either.
Except that they still wouldn't do it even if it was my brother who told them to. friends are not followers unless you are some kind of authority, in which case they still aren't your followers BECAUSE their your friends, they just happen to be both. I see what you're getting at but think of it in a militaristic standpoint, the captain of a squad (idk actual titles) orders his team to do one thing, then the captain's general tells them to do another, who will they listen to? most likely the highest authority.

but soldiers are not the followers of the captain they get paid to follow orders. that is nothing like the same.

And if tehy were followers that had enlistet to be with the captain i think they would follow his leed even if he him self startet out as a fanboy of the general.


But if you want a bigger band of followers convince your GM to use the downtime rules and hire some. It is cheap and dosent cost your cohort a feat.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

1. Sure.

2. No. Your cohort is your friend. Or best friend. (Or bestest friend, BFF, etc.) He has loyalty to you and usually follows you around and helps you out (because he "wants to," not because he "has to").

Your cohort's cohort is his friend, and usually follows him around and helps him out. Now, this friend could also be your friend (but not as friendly as your cohort), but he is your cohorts "best friend" (or BFF, etc.).

You can think of your (real life) friends. They may all share interests with you and help you out in times of need (maybe even let you borrow money). You best friend may have other friends that you don't know, and those friends will help him out (but may only know you by name or description). They may even let your friend borrow money, but they'd probably look at you funny if you asked (or emailed, etc.).

I hope this helps

-Doomn


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

When you come right down to it, "leadership" simply shouldn't be a feat. It should involve three things:
1) Charisma
2) Great wads of cash
3) Roleplaying and or a concrete place in the world's social status hierarchy.

In the old days of D&D, sometime before the Earth's crust actually began to cool, we would pay 100gp to put an ad up on the wall of the inn, and the DM would make some secret rolls and present us with a choice of potential hirelings to interview. We would bargain for a signing bonus, and pay scale and a portion of a share of treasure. That system still works fine.

If your "cohort" is going to be your BFF, then you probably need to roleplay the situation with some NPC you meet during an adventure, and whose bacon you saved on one or more occasions, just to make the guy or gal suitably grateful.

If you've actually got some measure of social standing, like being some king's vassal (with or without the associated title) with your own castle, keep or outhouse, you might reasonably attract folks wanting to be your knights, underlings or bowlscrubbers. As long as you provide food, lodgings and some pittance of regular wages, they might be more or less loyal to you... though it's far better if your father, grandfather or other ancestor did that, and the lackeys' ancestors were already loyal to your ancestor, making sure it was bred into their blood.

But if you're asking can you, the PC, get minions through the leadership feat and have each of your minions also have leadership in order to create a great chain of cheesy followers, I doubt any DM in their right mind would allow that, except perhaps as a thought exercise in maximum cheese production. Then again I have known a certain number of DMs who were so far from being in their right minds (assuming such existed) that anything was possible, so hey, go for it.

I prefer roleplaying-based leadership-like situations.

YMMV.


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The Chain of Command is the chain I get and beat you with until you understand who is in ruttin command.


BigP4nda wrote:

So as long as my cohort is alive and recognizes me as his leader, his followers will also listen to me?

Kinda like when your mom leaves and says "big brother's in charge now, so listen to him" or when your boss gets onto you when his boss is there because anything you do is gonna come back to him?

Your vassal's followers would look to your vassal to see what they should do, and follow his cues. If his army was given to you to hold a captured town for instance, they might do so, but would be the first to desert if things look too dangerous.

Like you said, they might be willing to head towards likely harm for their own lord, but not for you. Similarly they wouldn't do anything they know to be contrary to your vassal's interests.


Wheldrake wrote:

When you come right down to it, "leadership" simply shouldn't be a feat. It should involve three things:

1) Charisma
2) Great wads of cash
3) Roleplaying and or a concrete place in the world's social status hierarchy.

In the old days of D&D, sometime before the Earth's crust actually began to cool, we would pay 100gp to put an ad up on the wall of the inn, and the DM would make some secret rolls and present us with a choice of potential hirelings to interview. We would bargain for a signing bonus, and pay scale and a portion of a share of treasure. That system still works fine.

If your "cohort" is going to be your BFF, then you probably need to roleplay the situation with some NPC you meet during an adventure, and whose bacon you saved on one or more occasions, just to make the guy or gal suitably grateful.

If you've actually got some measure of social standing, like being some king's vassal (with or without the associated title) with your own castle, keep or outhouse, you might reasonably attract folks wanting to be your knights, underlings or bowlscrubbers. As long as you provide food, lodgings and some pittance of regular wages, they might be more or less loyal to you... though it's far better if your father, grandfather or other ancestor did that, and the lackeys' ancestors were already loyal to your ancestor, making sure it was bred into their blood.

But if you're asking can you, the PC, get minions through the leadership feat and have each of your minions also have leadership in order to create a great chain of cheesy followers, I doubt any DM in their right mind would allow that, except perhaps as a thought exercise in maximum cheese production. Then again I have known a certain number of DMs who were so far from being in their right minds (assuming such existed) that anything was possible, so hey, go for it.

I prefer roleplaying-based leadership-like situations.

YMMV.

I dunno, I kinda like the original D&D concept where certain classes (the fighter) got followers and kingdoms built in as part of their class progression. I never played first edition, but the concept intrigues me. I think I'd rather play that kind of game where there is no feat option, but some classes have it built into their progression and you otherwise role play to get people to follow you and join your cause. I feel like if that was played out (instead of just being turned into a feat that represent that action) people would be a lot less prone to building optimized characters or faceless crafting bots or the other myriad of things that create problems for GMs.


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BigP4nda wrote:


Except that they still wouldn't do it even if it was my brother who told them to. friends are not followers unless you are some kind of authority, in which case they still aren't your followers BECAUSE their your friends, they just happen to be both.

Then your brother isn't a very good leader.

Followers are followers because they want to do what you want them to do.... not because they're part of a formal organization.

Quote:


I see what you're getting at but think of it in a militaristic standpoint, the captain of a squad (idk actual titles) orders his team to do one thing, then the captain's general tells them to do another, who will they listen to? most likely the highest authority.

Actually, no. You get courtmartialed for this. If the general tells you to do something, but your immediate superior overrules him, you obey your immediate superior (who will probably get court-martialed himself, but that's his lookout).

But the military metaphor is not a good one in the first place, precisely because the military is for people who do not have the equivalent of the leadership feat. In the military, you serve the office or the uniform, not the person (you are responsible to the commander of 2nd Battalion regardless of whether or not you like him). The leadership feat instead represents soft power where there a bunch of people who want to help you out and are willing to "assist you."

The person who has no problem getting his friends together to help him move from one apartment to the next? That's Leadership. The person who has no problem getting his friends together to help his mother move from one house to the next? That's Leadership. But his mom won't be able to get those friends together.


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LazarX wrote:

If cohorts were the type of person to take the leadership feat, they wouldn't be cohorts, they'd be PC's.

I'd be like Gabrielle or Iolaus, or Samwise, taking cohorts of their own... it just doesn't pass the verisimilitude muster.

That's a common opinion. It also happens to be entirely wrong; think of any mid-level politician for a good example.

Politicians naturally gravitate to the (real-world equivalent of the) Leadership feat, because they need people to help them do the legwork, both to get elected and to do the informal work they were elected to do. (This is different from an administrative politician's staff, who may do the formal work -- but the "followers" are the people who, for example, help talk to potential donors, and so forth.) But every mid-level politician is also happy to be part of a larger power structure. So if the governor of East Dakota needs a favor, he may call upon the mayor of Springfield to help him out. But the mayor of Springfield has his own collection of followers around the town.

On a more personal level,... there's a particular veep in my organization that would probably count me among his "followers"; we work well together, and I provide a lot of informal help to him because, among other things, I think he's got a better vision for the organization than anyone else at the VP level, and I'm willing to do stuff to make sure what he wants happens as opposed to what some of the other suits want. But I also have a crew of my own, who help me make sure what I want to happen, will happen, because they want it to happen, too.


kestral287 wrote:


Ultimately, these are people who you will have to win over and earn the respect of. If they respect you, not only because of your position but as a person in your own right, they are likely to internalize your authority and follow your commands. If not, be prepared to relay a lot of commands through your cohort and probably wind up losing the whole group one way or another (either your leadership score or your cohort's will plummet).

That's a key point that is missed in the military metaphor. Leadership, the feat, is about people doing what you want because they respect you. Not because they respect your office, and certainly not because the Articles of War say that you will have them beaten with a cat'o'nine-tails if they don't.

When Captain Hornblower retired from command of the Sutherland, his coxwain opted to retire as well to become his valet. When Hornblower was recalled to duty as Commodore, Commander Bush pulled strings to get assigned to Hornblower's flotilla. _That_ is the Leadership feat, in a military context. Not obeying the commodore because you're only a commander, but obeying Hornblower because he's Hornblower... even if he's only a simple country squire now.


LazarX wrote:
BigP4nda wrote:

Okay so this question is a 2-parter:

1) Can cohorts gain the Leadership feat?

2) If yes, than are their cohort/followers under my command/leadership?

If cohorts were the type of person to take the leadership feat, they wouldn't be cohorts, they'd be PC's.

I'd be like Gabrielle or Iolaus, or Samwise, taking cohorts of their own... it just doesn't pass the verisimilitude muster.

Meh. I disagree.

There was an entire book written in 3.5 with the idea of cohorts taking Leadership (and their cohorts taking Leadership, and so on). (Power of Faerun, for those who were wondering.)

It was awesome. We continue to use it heavily.


Okay so it seems like these are the guidelines for cohort followers:
1) they are loyal to my cohort only, not me
2) if my cohort tells them to listen to me, they will unless they disagree with my orders/demands/reasons
3) I cannot make them do anything that would cause them harm or distress of any degree
4) as long as my cohort is still loyal to me, i am still respected by his followers, just not highly regarded.

Am I on the right track?
seems to me like their should be something that clears up this ambiguous leadership structure...


I can see a lot of problems arising from this if it isn't managed...

"I take leadership, then my cohort takes leadership, then My cohort's cohort takes leadership and so on and so forth until the cohort's cohort something or other can't take the feat and starts getting torchbearer or squire feats...."

Though I guess doing something like this would be kinda ridiculous and no way allowed (probably) by a gm.... I wouldn't allow it at least. It would be really funny, game breaking, and not to mention time consuming if you did though.

Heck... Go for it if you think you can manage it and keep the game fun, but that seems like a lot of work.


Arnwyn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
BigP4nda wrote:

Okay so this question is a 2-parter:

1) Can cohorts gain the Leadership feat?

2) If yes, than are their cohort/followers under my command/leadership?

If cohorts were the type of person to take the leadership feat, they wouldn't be cohorts, they'd be PC's.

I'd be like Gabrielle or Iolaus, or Samwise, taking cohorts of their own... it just doesn't pass the verisimilitude muster.

Meh. I disagree.

There was an entire book written in 3.5 with the idea of cohorts taking Leadership (and their cohorts taking Leadership, and so on). (Power of Faerun, for those who were wondering.)

It was awesome. We continue to use it heavily.

I'm addition, it completely ignores a huge portion of military culture: being able to lead and follow at the same time. And U.S. military law is explicitly based on it: follow orders and think for yourself at the same time (this is what removes the "just following orders" defense).

He's also saying that's it is impossible for PCs to serve a king or even a god, as those are characters who serve another out of personal choice and loyalty (just like the leadership feat) - and even they can have followers of their own.


BigP4nda wrote:

Okay so it seems like these are the guidelines for cohort followers:

1) they are loyal to my cohort only, not me
2) if my cohort tells them to listen to me, they will unless they disagree with my orders/demands/reasons
3) I cannot make them do anything that would cause them harm or distress of any degree
4) as long as my cohort is still loyal to me, i am still respected by his followers, just not highly regarded.

Am I on the right track?
seems to me like their should be something that clears up this ambiguous leadership structure...

If you have a GM this is things for him to decide at the same time he decides who make and play the cohort. If you spring it on him after he let you make your own cohort expect your PC to die. :)


BigP4nda wrote:

Okay so it seems like these are the guidelines for cohort followers:

1) they are loyal to my cohort only, not me
2) if my cohort tells them to listen to me, they will unless they disagree with my orders/demands/reasons
3) I cannot make them do anything that would cause them harm or distress of any degree
4) as long as my cohort is still loyal to me, i am still respected by his followers, just not highly regarded.

Am I on the right track?
seems to me like their should be something that clears up this ambiguous leadership structure...

The problems of the leadership feat have persisted since at least D&D 3.0. They are unlikely to be resolved soon.

The feeling about the feat is most likely summed up as:
"F*!* it, let their GM sort it out."
and
"If he's stupid enough to allow it, then he gets what he gets."

Most GMs simply don't allow the feat, or allow it only with restrictions.


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BigP4nda wrote:


seems to me like their should be something that clears up this ambiguous leadership structure...

What's ambiguous? Your followers are personally loyal to you. Ted's followers are personally loyal to Ted. Are you Ted? Then they're not personally loyal to you, even if Ted is.

That doesn't mean they won't do what you tell them to.... hell, a bartender will do that, one whose name I don't even know. "Give me a pint of IPA," I say, and I get a pint of IPA. But that's not loyalty, and it's certainly not Leadership, it's simply a job. And if you're paying Ted's followers, they'll probably do what you tell them to do, even if they're not "personally loyal" to you.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
LazarX wrote:


If cohorts were the type of person to take the leadership feat, they wouldn't be cohorts, they'd be PC's.

I'd be like Gabrielle or Iolaus, or Samwise, taking cohorts of their own... it just doesn't pass the verisimilitude muster.

For some cohorts, like the ones you mention, it would be weird for them to have cohorts of their own. Sam's relationship with Frodo is like the relationship between the servant and gentleman officer. But that's not what all initial cohort relationships need to be like. Imagine, instead, a general with a loyal captain. His captain, in turn, has his own loyalist sergeant. Or a pirate lord with subcaptains with favored officers.

Or, to draw on comics, the fact that Batman leads Robin doesn't mean that Robin can't also have leadership skills (perhaps even better ones than his own mentor as we see in the Teen Titans).


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Arcanic Drake wrote:
I can see a lot of problems arising from this if it isn't managed...

Well, yes. You can get degrees in this field. They're called "degrees in management."

This is actually how large organizations are supposed to work. You supervise a group of people who are personally loyal to you, and you, in turn, are personally loyal to your immediate supervisor, who in turn, is personally loyal to.... all the way up to the big boss who sets the vision for the entire corporation. And, yes, that's why they have classes on "leadership" in these "management" degree courses, along with exercises on "team building," "creating loyal employees," and similar buzzword-laden nonsense.

But, yes, this is how Microsoft, or BMW AG, or Sumitomo Bank, or Alcatel-Lucent are supposed to work. It's also how the Army is supposed to work, how Harvard University is supposed to work, how the Ministry of Sidewalks is supposed to work, and indeed how any project too large for you-and-your-immediate-circle-of-friends is supposed to work.

I think the big issue that the Panda is missing is that this kind of setup is best managed by NOT managing it. In practical terms, you have enough work to do managing your own cohort and followers, and if you try to tell your cohort's cohort what to do, you're spreading yourself too thin. Once you start getting into layers of management, the only way to be effective is to delegate, to tell your cohort what you want him to accomplish and then let him figure out what the best way for his cohort to help him is. In game terms, you simply give him a bigger task and let him solve it with the help of his group -- this relieves the burden on the game master but also relieves the burden on you.

There's an old story from military training. This version is from Sandhurst: "The candidate is the officer in charge of a small unit consisting of a sergeant, a corporal and 'X' number of soldiers. There is equipment consisting of one standard two-piece flagpole, digging implements, various lengths of rope and bags of concrete. The proto-officer is informed that the task assigned is to erect a flagpole on that very spot, and asked what orders he would give to effectuate this."

The correct answer, of course, is "I say, `Sergeant, get that flagpole up.'"

If you care whether or not your cohort has the leadership feat, you have just failed the Flagpole Test.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:


But the military metaphor is not a good one in the first place, precisely because the military is for people who do not have the equivalent of the leadership feat. In the military, you serve the office or the uniform, not the person (you are responsible to the commander of 2nd Battalion regardless of whether or not you like him). The leadership feat instead represents soft power where there a bunch of people who want to help you out and are willing to "assist you."

Whether or not the military metaphor is a good one will depend a lot on the military. The late Roman Republic era highlights how personal loyalty ended up being.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Claxon wrote:


Most GMs simply don't allow the feat, or allow it only with restrictions.

You know, I've heard this many times before, but never actually SEEN or HEARD anyone I know do or experience this.

I once ran a campaign where 2 characters had the Leadership feat, and one of those NPC cohorts had the feat as well. The players had a great time, I got to kill all three of those cohorts in the campaign's final showdown, one by getting Bull Rushed into lava...good fun, and scared the crap out of the players.

It's a feat, it works fine,your cohort's cohort is like 4 levels lower than you and could be in some pretty deep poop if he went along with the party all the time. This could certainly cause loyalty issues along the chain.

I've seen a cohort work to attempt to kill his boss due to some of the extreme changes that the PC went through - that was entertaining too.

A DM can choose to disallow ANY feat that offends him or creates too much work for him - a player should respect that DMs call.


the Lorax wrote:
Claxon wrote:


Most GMs simply don't allow the feat, or allow it only with restrictions.
You know, I've heard this many times before, but never actually SEEN or HEARD anyone I know do or experience this.

I can vouch for the existence of such GM's, and in fact am sometimes (not always) such a GM myself.

To start with, I don't allow off-stage crafting shenanigans. But beyond that, too many figures on the board will slow things down, and too many figures in the hands of the wrong player (e.g., inexperienced or indecisive) are worse. The best followers are people who have a well-defined role within the party, can be dealt with simply and effectively in terms of the action economy, and make the game more fun.


the Lorax wrote:
Claxon wrote:


Most GMs simply don't allow the feat, or allow it only with restrictions.

You know, I've heard this many times before, but never actually SEEN or HEARD anyone I know do or experience this.

I once ran a campaign where 2 characters had the Leadership feat, and one of those NPC cohorts had the feat as well. The players had a great time, I got to kill all three of those cohorts in the campaign's final showdown, one by getting Bull Rushed into lava...good fun, and scared the crap out of the players.

It's a feat, it works fine,your cohort's cohort is like 4 levels lower than you and could be in some pretty deep poop if he went along with the party all the time. This could certainly cause loyalty issues along the chain.

I've seen a cohort work to attempt to kill his boss due to some of the extreme changes that the PC went through - that was entertaining too.

A DM can choose to disallow ANY feat that offends him or creates too much work for him - a player should respect that DMs call.

I think you will find, in general, the majority experience of this board is different from your experience. Not to say that there aren't GMs who do allow it as written, but most have restrictions in place.

In the group I GM for I do not allow the feat, and in the group I play with we are only allowed the feat to use the characters out side of combat and they are not allowed to craft either (although crafting is forbidden in general except for scrolls and wands). Two of the biggest reasons are attempting to use the chohort to subvert wealth by level and making turns last far too long by adding in extra creatures actions. If you have to few players I can understand the use of Leadership, but when you have 5+ there isn't a need.

Unfortunately I know of no want to actually put a poll on the website site here, but I'm failry confidant that if we did we would find a greater number of people who disallow the feat or allow it only with restricitons than those who run it unrestricted.


Bill Dunn wrote:
LazarX wrote:


If cohorts were the type of person to take the leadership feat, they wouldn't be cohorts, they'd be PC's.

I'd be like Gabrielle or Iolaus, or Samwise, taking cohorts of their own... it just doesn't pass the verisimilitude muster.

For some cohorts, like the ones you mention, it would be weird for them to have cohorts of their own. Sam's relationship with Frodo is like the relationship between the servant and gentleman officer. But that's not what all initial cohort relationships need to be like. Imagine, instead, a general with a loyal captain. His captain, in turn, has his own loyalist sergeant. Or a pirate lord with subcaptains with favored officers.

Or, to draw on comics, the fact that Batman leads Robin doesn't mean that Robin can't also have leadership skills (perhaps even better ones than his own mentor as we see in the Teen Titans).

Also looking at Lord of the Rings. Saruman could be seen as Sauron's cohort and Wormtongue as Saruman's.

Sovereign Court

From the Gm's perspective, the power of infinite chaining cohorts with leadership feats is easy to tamp down.

1) Cohorts are NPCs, and the GM's bailiwick. They won't have leadership if you don't give it to them.

2) Even if you do have a pyramid of cohorts, you can have the PC's direct subordinate look down at the rest of the pyramid, and begin to wonder why he settles for having the PC as a boss when he could instead BE that boss by removing the PC...


Two other things to keep in mind:

First, your cohort generally has to be 2 levels lower than you (or 1 level lower with certain feats). And you have to be level 7 to take Leadership. So at some point your sub-sub-sub-cohort is going to be too low-level to take Leadership. Not an infinite progression.

Secondly, stuff that's moderately dangerous to you will insta-gib your sub-sub-sub-cohorts. So you need to find other things to do with them than just have them 10' away from you doing stuff. Organizations need to branch out and do other things.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
tonyz wrote:
...stuff that's moderately dangerous to you will insta-gib your sub-sub-sub-cohorts.

That's certainly something I was pointing out.

Treating your sub-cohort so poorly as to throw him too deep into the pool is likely to have a negative impact on your leadership score.

I just haven't experienced the abuse that seems to have soured people on it. There are feats that I find a lot more irksome than Leadership.
Heck all the lackeys have caused almost as much problems as they have solved.
I had one player take Leadership, and introduced 3 NPCs to the group.
The player didn't know which one of the NPCs was his cohort (this was partially with the blessing of the player, he said "just gimme a cohort that is appropriate for the campaign...")
I have discouraged it as a selection when it wasn't appropriate for the campaign, but never forbidden it. I think the players are voting for what kind of campaign they want to see when they select feats and skills point allotments. I try to run games where their votes count.
If someone wants Leadership - then I give them nice juicy off-screen things that need to be taken care of.

But I totally support any DM who decides that something like the Leadership feat is off limits or is done through RP, different DMs have different tolerance for different things. Do what you need to do to keep yourself from hating to run.


another take or angle of attack on leadership and tabletop dynamics...
The group I currently play a Kingdom builder campaign with settled upon a procedure where another player runs and RPs the Cohort of the owning player.
Makes for better RP and less exploitation, but we have some very solid RPers that multitask well...and it encourages people to make cohorts that another player may actually enjoy representing.

All in all it has made the leadership feat quite a bit more palatable for the GM..
But no cohort taking leadership feats.lol

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