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Old 01-15-2016, 08:10 PM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

Leadership is the IQ/A social skill of leading and coordinating groups of people and getting them to attempt difficult and dangerous things. Leadership defaults to IQ-5, and no skills default to it, although it is a prerequisite for all specialisations of Shiphandling. Leadership appeared at GURPS 1e, where the default was ST-5, because "if nobody has leadership training, the strongest usually leads." I might use ST as a tiebreaker among people who were all operating at default.

There are plenty of modifiers: Cultural Familiarity penalties apply, Charisma bonuses, -3 for Low Empathy, penalties for Shyness, -5 for NPCs who have never been in action with you before, and -5 if you're sending them into danger but not going yourself. There are significant bonuses for NPC loyalty: automatic success for Excellent loyalty, +10 for Very Good, or +5 for Good.

While this skill is very much associated with the military, because it's the defining skill for officers and NCOs, it's useful in any context where lots of people have to be organised. On a success, you can lead NPCs into dangerous or stressful situation, though PCs get to decide for themselves if they'll follow.

Leadership can be used in supervising long tasks done by teams, where motivation matters more than organisation: a supervisor can give everyone on his team +1 on a success, or +2 on critical success, if he does nothing else for a whole work shift. It can also be used to lead a march, with skill 12+, allowing a group to roll as a whole against their average Hiking skill, rather than having to roll individually. Much the same can be done in leading a convoy of vehicles.

You can also use Leadership during combat: if you spend a turn doing nothing except giving orders and encouraging the people on your side, then the ones who can hear you get +1 to morale rolls, combat-related Fright Checks, and self-control rolls for disadvantages that would reduce combat efficiency. Critical success increases the bonus to +2. The effects only last until your next turn, but you can keep on doing it. However, only one leader can do this at a time for a group: if two try at once, they both automatically fail.

Leadership is a very common optional skill on templates for military, police or mob types. Action 2 makes it a planning skill, if you're leading a force of NPCs; Action 4 points out that it's useful in business, as well as adventuring. DF14 has the Coordinator psi power-up, which is very effective for this skill, and also applies to Tactics and Strategy; DF16 makes Leadership valuable in getting a party to recover from mental stunning caused by surprise in an ambush. Fantasy makes Leadership valuable in getting a community organised after a disaster, and Magic has an elixir that boosts it, along with Strategy and Tactics. Mass Combat has lots of uses for Leadership. Power-Ups volumes 3, 6 and 7 have examples for this skill. Powers has boosts for it via Telesend, and super-heroic teamwork rules, and Psionic Powers has the Aspect power, a different style of boost.

Social Engineering naturally has a lot about Leadership, from standard adventuring applications and use as an Influence skill to con games, requests for help, speaking without amplification, impersonation, picketing, group Intimidation, and calming a potential mob; Back to School covers the skill's uses in organising teaching and managing student motivation, and Pulling Rank also has applications for it. Spaceships has a rule for successful Leadership increasing the Spacer skill of subordinates, which should generalise to other Crewman skills; Spaceships 3 adds a rule for squadron commanders doing this to increase their captains' Tactics skill. Thaumatology: Urban Magics can use Leadership in mass ceremonial magic.

If a group of berserkers had a leader, I'd allow him to give them +1 to attempts to deliberately go berserk. The accounts of WWI trench combat I've read stressed the role (in the British Army) of corporals and sergeants in encouraging the men of their squads or platoons in combat: that's clearly a job for the squad leader, and it seems reasonable to let the platoon sergeant or the platoon officer do that if the squad leader is not available.

While I've played quite a bit of GURPS in settings where the PCs are an organised group, I've rarely played the leader, so haven't used Leadership much. A diplomat character of mine used it occasionally, typically to take control of the kind of situation where everyone knows someone needs to take charge, and it's thus fairly easy.

What have you done with Leadership in a game?
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:06 PM   #2
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

Some possibilities include letting reputation add or subtract to leadership to reflect what his followers think of him. If Captain X has reputation(skillful and lucky captain) that will get him a lot of points.

For instance Wellington was hardly an affable personality to say the least. But he won battles at tolerable cost and his men knew it. On the other hand Napoleon had flamboyant theatrics and managed to get a pseudoerotic loyalty. As it happened he was also a competent commander. But if he hadn't had the stuff to back up his theatrics it would not have been enough.
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

Lots of PCs have Leadership, in many genres. Lots of players like to lead.

Most players I know don't enjoy following orders, though, so PC parties tend to be egalitarian collectives rather than hierarchies. (There are games where some of the PCs get to order the others around due to military rank or one PC hiring another PC or whatever, but I think that's pretty rare compared to games where all the PCs are equal.) So Leadership typically only gets used on other PCs if there's a direct game benefit, usually resisting some disadvantage (like Berserk) or mind control effect (like a Fear spell) that's making the other PC do something his player would rather not. At all other times the players I know try to persuade the player in real life rather than trying to persuade the PC using skills.

It's useful on NPCs, though. If the party wants to hire some minions, putting the PC with the best Leadership skill in charge of them seems smart.
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Old 01-16-2016, 12:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

Quote:
Originally Posted by dripton View Post
It's useful on NPCs, though. If the party wants to hire some minions, putting the PC with the best Leadership skill in charge of them seems smart.
Yeah, back in the old AD&D days, when doing a dungeon delve with hirelings was pretty common, Leadership skill would have been really handy from time to time.
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Old 01-16-2016, 12:50 PM   #5
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

I like the concept of Motivational Orders from the Spycraft RPG. A character who has that ability can give orders to his team mates. The team mates are under no compulsion to obey, but if they do obey they get a bonus to the most pertinent roll involved in carrying out the order. And the orders have to be fairly specific.

Implementing the ability to do that in an RPG system without character classes is non-trivial, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
Some possibilities include letting reputation add or subtract to leadership to reflect what his followers think of him. If Captain X has reputation(skillful and lucky captain) that will get him a lot of points.
If that's too powerful, and I suspect that it will turn out to be, you could also allow 10+Reputation as a Complementary Skill Roll to Leadership.
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Old 01-16-2016, 03:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

There is also the article Team Up! in Pyramid 3/65 which offers several ideas.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:05 AM   #7
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

Quote:
Originally Posted by dripton View Post
Lots of PCs have Leadership, in many genres. Lots of players like to lead.
Hum, we seem to have a difference here. Most players I know don't like the idea of being in charge, because it raises the ghastly possibility of being held responsible for other players' actions.
Quote:
Most players I know don't enjoy following orders, though, so PC parties tend to be egalitarian collectives rather than hierarchies.
IME it's a bit more fluid than that.
Quote:
There are games where some of the PCs get to order the others around due to military rank or one PC hiring another PC or whatever, but I think that's pretty rare compared to games where all the PCs are equal.
Quite a lot of the time we have someone who's "driving" the party of characters, but who that is tends to fluctuate depending on what's going on. In our military campaign, where there is a notional hierarchy of rank, the characters with higher rank don't tend to be assertive about it, and listen to whoever has what seem to be the best ideas.
Quote:
It's useful on NPCs, though. If the party wants to hire some minions, putting the PC with the best Leadership skill in charge of them seems smart.
Does the need for minions happen often for you? It's really rare for games I've played: we might acquire them for assistance with a search, for example, but almost never for combat.
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:42 AM   #8
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Hum, we seem to have a difference here. Most players I know don't like the idea of being in charge, because it raises the ghastly possibility of being held responsible for other players' actions.

IME it's a bit more fluid than that.

Quite a lot of the time we have someone who's "driving" the party of characters, but who that is tends to fluctuate depending on what's going on. In our military campaign, where there is a notional hierarchy of rank, the characters with higher rank don't tend to be assertive about it, and listen to whoever has what seem to be the best ideas.

Does the need for minions happen often for you? It's really rare for games I've played: we might acquire them for assistance with a search, for example, but almost never for combat.
IME players are reluctant to be leaders because leading other players tends to be compared to herding cats. So many prefer not to even bother.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:04 AM   #9
dripton
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Does the need for minions happen often for you? It's really rare for games I've played: we might acquire them for assistance with a search, for example, but almost never for combat.
I think it mostly depends on the number of players. In traditional fantasy games I think 5+ PCs mean you probably have all the important roles covered, 4 can cover everything if the characters are carefully designed to work together, and 3 or fewer means there will be capability gaps (unless the PCs are unusually multi-talented).

Of course, if the GM designs the adventure with the current PCs in mind, then it doesn't matter. If not having anyone with Traps skill means the GM doesn't place any traps, and the players know this, then there's no need to hire a trap finder.

The next time I run a game for only 2-3 players, I may just go the Ars Magica route and tell everyone to make both a primary PC and a low-points Ally. Then let them run each other's Allies.
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Old 01-17-2016, 11:10 AM   #10
Michael Cule
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Leadership

My players know full well that the person in nominal command of a PC group has responsibility without power.

But Leadership is damned useful when you say to the NPCs "Right you chaps! Follow me!"

If you have military or pseudo-military (medieval knights and so on) rank, then you need it.
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