All About Cohorts


Rules Questions


I've never been one to dip into Leadership as a feat, just because it felt like too much to micro-manage. However, I'm playing a Vigilante and the idea of a side-kick type character was too good to pass up. That said, I have questions I can't find the answers to.

1: Our GM is using milestones rather than EXP. When would my cohort level? As we can't funnel x-percent of a milestone level to him.

2: The rules state cohorts aren't party members so get special experience, how does their loot and equipment work? Do they take a share of party treasure for themself? Do they leech off the Leadership character? Leadership states they should be equipped for their level, do they just gain their own wealth in their "off-time" to keep them on the wealth per level chart?

3: Can you have multiple cohorts for different occasions? Story-wise, as a Vigilante I get Loyal Aids, as a Leader I have cohorts and followers, and as a member of the Pathfinder Society in Magnimar, I can purchase contacts or a scribe with my prestige. Ideally when we leave Magnimar I'd like to leave my sidekick behind to keep fighting crime in the city, with my followers and with the aid of my contacts. I'd want to have a new cohort for traveling on the road, maybe having one cohort ward in each of my Renown communities to keep them safe in my absence.

4: Can cohorts gain/use benefits the leader character is entitled to? For example, purchasing a contact, or using the Vigilante Gossip Collector as part of my gossip web. Are cohorts part of the character to be able to use those kinds of circumstancial bonuses?

Shadow Lodge

All your answers can be found in one place: Your GM.

No one else can answer these questions, because cohorts and followers fall into the 'they work exactly as the GM wants them to work, no more, no less' category.

Also, be aware that Leadership is probably the single most banned feat in the game, so all your questions might be moot if your GM just doesn't want you to take it.


In general he would level when you are capable of having a higher level cohort, which is basically when you level.

He starts with level appropriate npc gear and after that you equip him out of your wealth.

You can't have multiples.

He doesn't get your modifiers.

As Taja said, Leadership is almost always banned in games, and when it is not how it works is always debated.


1: When your Leadership score changes AKA level up or permanent charisma change (I would think players be smarter than "borrowing" Headband of Charisma from sorcerer for 1 day to bump a cohort, then giving it back since cohort cant "unlevel". I heard such things bring bad luck, like rocks falling on your cohort, or thieves stealing all of your money/items)

2: When you get them they are equipped appropriately, then you have to keep them at relevant equip level out of your own pocket (like you would animal companion).

3: This is not possible, only if your cohort turns into NPC, and then you get new one, that is largely up to your GM to decide, but only 1 can have "cohort" title/position.

4: Only abilities that explicitly say something like "you and any companions you travel with gain this benefit" or "anyone known to be affiliated with you also take this penalty", cant remember any from the top of my head but i think there was something.

This is my interpretation tho, managing cohorts is largely up to GM, some prefer play them like NPC, some like to give player control of them, some give control in combat only, ect.


My GM has been giving control of animal companions/summons to the caster, however I would need to ask. Maybe she'll want to make my cohort options, so yeah, asking will be a thing, and it will likely be a convo. But she generally rules for "cool wins". Kobold brawler side kick is cool, so I can see it flying.

However, this does answer at least the bit I was looking at. My Cha as an intimidate/unarmed Vigilante is gonna keep my leadership base at a point where cohort's level is always max cap. Just made a chart with how much gold should be funneled cohort's way on levels.

Multiple cohorts wasn't for multi-active, so I think that was answered okay. I dismiss them, the become and NPC, and I just get a new cohort somewhere else. It was more how coming back to an old cohort would go, but that is GM discussion it seems.

The last part is the tricky one. If they are say, my cohort and also my Magnimar contact, they grant a diplomacy bonus for gathering information. If they're my Loyal Aid, they'll do tasks for me within reason as a Vigilante, like covering for me. Continuing to protect the streets while I'm away, so once a week the Sczarni gangs thing Rovagurl might be back. And the followers would be their own gang like the League of Batmen in each of my areas of renown.

This is less a game-break and more really cool character concept. A Vigilante with prior cohorts in each of her active communities, upholding the legacy she fights for.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The "Loyal Aid" talent is about generally being able to call on favors, not specific NPCs that are loyal to you. It is "Loyal Aid" not "Loyal Aide." Your Cohort can't directly get this benefit anymore than one of the other PCs can. As far as using loyal aid to protect someplace while you weren't there, it could theoretically allow rumors that the Vigilante was still in town, but couldn't really do anything more as the task 'can never involve combat or danger'.

As for retiring and replacing Cohorts, the rules are completely silent on that. If I were the GM, I'd allow what you are talking about as long as you weren't trying to game the system (for example, not spending any money to equip a cohort, instead counting on new cohorts to get WBL and replacing them when you advanced a level.) Based purely on the rules for the leadership feat, you only have the power to attract a cohort of the appropriate level, not choose anything else about it, so in theory even if you 'released' a cohort to become a hero in their own place, when you go to attract a new one the GM could just have them decide to come back. Also, it entirely up to a GM what a cohorts attitude would be upon being retired and replaced, they could always decide that they hate you and want revenge now, giving you a brand new nemesis who knows many of your secrets.....


DarkPhoenixx wrote:
1: When your Leadership score changes AKA level up or permanent charisma change (I would think players be smarter than "borrowing" Headband of Charisma from sorcerer for 1 day to bump a cohort, then giving it back since cohort cant "unlevel". I heard such things bring bad luck, like rocks falling on your cohort, or thieves stealing all of your money/items)

Why would this matter? As I understood it, a character's leadership score only matters when attracting a cohort. After that, the only limitation on cohort leveling is the experience they get and the "PC level minus 2" hard cap.


blahpers wrote:
DarkPhoenixx wrote:
1: When your Leadership score changes AKA level up or permanent charisma change (I would think players be smarter than "borrowing" Headband of Charisma from sorcerer for 1 day to bump a cohort, then giving it back since cohort cant "unlevel". I heard such things bring bad luck, like rocks falling on your cohort, or thieves stealing all of your money/items)
Why would this matter? As I understood it, a character's leadership score only matters when attracting a cohort. After that, the only limitation on cohort leveling is the experience they get and the "PC level minus 2" hard cap.

There is another cap to their level based on your leadership score. 24-25+ has the level limit of 17, so even at level 20, a cohort can't be level 18. It's cap based on leadership, plus cap based on your level.


As I mentioned, your leadership score only limits the level of cohort you can attract, not what level your cohort can attain once recruited.


Dave Justus wrote:
Also, it entirely up to a GM what a cohorts attitude would be upon being retired and replaced, they could always decide that they hate you and want revenge now, giving you a brand new nemesis who knows many of your secrets.....

Le-gasp! I love this idea! Or like, they're following the Vigilante's creed and twisting it into an authoritative regime. Then you return and they mucked it up large.

And yeah, that makes sense. I just have four separate sources of companions. Loyal Aids to cover for me without danger, Pathfinder Society Contacts for regional information, Cohorts who would be the sidekick, or if I kept them active away from the party (looking after Magnimar) an NPC I may be able to pick up again, Followers who are just mobs of helpful low level NPCs, and a potential Pathfinder Society Scribe.

I do find it odd though. You are right, there's nothing saying you can decide anything about the cohort. There's not even GM cohorts to offer, where PFS Scribe has a guy and the book encourages players to edit his skills to fill in gaps. I made an ex-Slayers' Guild Kobold Brawler who admires the Vigilante's work. He gets recruited when she finds him battling gangs in her name, though she doesn't agree that he kills. She then takes him under her wing, and he goes from TWG assassin to leveling almost pure Combat Maneuvers.

She's a Nightmare Fist, Boar Style intimidate drow Vigilante, and he's a tripping Two-Weapon Grace, Combat Maneuvers, Moonlight Stalker kobold Brawler. Weird synergy on two on-paper bad characters. XD


Isaac Zephyr wrote:

I've never been one to dip into Leadership as a feat, just because it felt like too much to micro-manage. However, I'm playing a Vigilante and the idea of a side-kick type character was too good to pass up. That said, I have questions I can't find the answers to.

1: Our GM is using milestones rather than EXP. When would my cohort level? As we can't funnel x-percent of a milestone level to him.

Cohort don't really gain XPs like PC, their level increase according to the table in the Leadership feat description, so usually it's when you take a level.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
2: The rules state cohorts aren't party members so get special experience, how does their loot and equipment work? Do they take a share of party treasure for themself? Do they leech off the Leadership character? Leadership states they should be equipped for their level, do they just gain their own wealth in their "off-time" to keep them on the wealth per level chart?

A cohort should be equipped as a NPC when she joins you. Then it will often depend on the party. In most of the games I play, if the cohort is only caring about her leader, then it's up to this PC to give her appropriate stuff ; if the cohort is working for the party (as filling a role noone can do), then she gets a share of the treasure (maybe not as much as a PC, but she is rewarded appropriately).

Isaac Zephyr wrote:


3: Can you have multiple cohorts for different occasions? Story-wise, as a Vigilante I get Loyal Aids, as a Leader I have cohorts and followers, and as a member of the Pathfinder Society in Magnimar, I can purchase contacts or a scribe with my prestige. Ideally when we leave Magnimar I'd like to leave my sidekick behind to keep fighting crime in the city, with my followers and with the aid of my contacts. I'd want to have a new cohort for traveling on the road, maybe having one cohort ward in each of my Renown communities to keep them safe in my absence.

You can change cohorts during your carrer, as a cohort can die, or simply leave you if they don't want to follow you anymore (or yo udon't want them to follow you). To get multiple cohorts, then you should look at another feat (Recruits IIRC) which gives you several cohorts (weaker than Leadership), you can only have 1 cohort at a time but you can switch between your different cohorts when you want.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:


4: Can cohorts gain/use benefits the leader character is entitled to? For example, purchasing a contact, or using the Vigilante Gossip Collector as part of my gossip web. Are cohorts part of the character to be able to use those kinds of circumstancial bonuses?

I don't know the Vigilante class, but a cohort is limited to the ability of her own class, if you ahve an ability that only works for your PC, then it shouldn't apply to the cohort as it is consider another character ...


Noir le Lotus wrote:
Cohort don't really gain XPs like PC, their level increase according to the table in the Leadership feat description, so usually it's when you take a level.

This is incorrect.

Leadership wrote:

A cohort does not count as a party member when determining the party's XP. Instead, divide the cohort's level by your level. Multiply this result by the total XP awarded to you, then add that number of experience points to the cohort's total.

If a cohort gains enough XP to bring it to a level one lower than your level, the cohort does not gain the new level—its new XP total is 1 less than the amount needed to attain the next level.

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