Leadership and NPC allies

How I’m interpreting Leadership & allied NPCs: Players do not automatically get (or get to make) Followers or Cohorts, nor do they get to decide how said NPCs level up over the course of play – NPCs are the providence of the GM, and as such, will develop as the GM sees fit. When the potential for adding NPCs to a PC’s retinue comes up, the GM will let them know, and they can accept or decline an NPC’s service as they chose. Players (and their PCs) may make suggestions, but ultimately the GM has final say.

When selecting Leadership, a player must select one of three options (because there are three options, Leadership can perforce be taken up to three times, each time with a different specialty):

  1. Followers & Cohort: this option is pretty much as described in the Core book, where the PC has a retinue following them around on adventures. What they are not are Craft-bots to transform wealth into hand-picked gear – if a player wants Crafted Items, they can have their PC spend the feats and take the time to make their own, or take Option 2 (Allies & Associates) of the Leadership feat. Cohorts can only be recruited from NPCs met on friendly terms while the PCs are adventuring, while Followers are those who have heard of the PC by reputation in the city or town the PCs are passing through and have sought them out to take up service. If using the Caravan rules, Cohorts & Followers will work Jobs in the Caravan for free, but expect their monthly expenses to be payed for by their patron.
  1. Allies and Associates: Rather than gain a single cohort and a slew of followers who go adventuring with you, the Leadership feat gives you access to three skilled characters (an artificer, a healer, and a sage) who are willing allies and associates, but explicitly unable or
    unwilling to risk their lives on front-line adventuring. The character with Leadership is considered to have a small team of supporters supporting him from a safe location (be that a friendly city or a friendly caravan nearby). Access to these characters allows the character to have spells cast, magic items created, and research performed – but only when he can make it back to their safe location. When the character is at this safe location, he can gain any of the following benefits:
    • Information or services that can be obtained
      with any Intelligence-based skill (including all
      Knowledge skills) with a skill bonus equal to the
      character’s Leadership score (to a maximum of the
      character’s level +8). One skill check can be made
      each day.
    • The casting of any spell available to one divine
      and one arcane spellcasting class (normally a cleric
      and a wizard) of half the character’s Leadership
      score or less (to a maximum of half the character’s
      level), with a caster level equal to the character’s
      Leadership score (to a maximum of the character’s
      class level). While there is no cost for the
      spellcasting itself, the character does have to pay
      for any expensive material components required,
      and a maintenance fee equal to 2% of the cost of
      any expensive focus. A total number of spell levels
      equal to the character’s Leadership score may be
      cast each day.
    • The creation of magic items that could be created by
      one divine and one arcane character class (normally
      a cleric and a wizard) of a level equal to half the
      character’s Leadership score (to a maximum of
      half the character’s level). All item creation feats
      available to a spellcaster of this level are considered
      to be available. Such items must require a Spellcraft
      check with a DC of 10 + the character’s Leadership
      score or less to create. Items can be created for
      75% of the normal cost (allies give the character
      a discount, but they still must make some profit),
      but this must be paid in advance. Creation of
      such items takes the normal enchanting time, but
      enchanting can continue after the character leaves
      the safe location (and thus the item may be waiting
      for the character when he next returns). Only a
      single item can be on order at a time.
      If using the Caravan rules, Allies & Associates count as Passengers, and expect their monthly expenses to be payed for by their patron.
  1. Patron Country: You have a reputation as a hero of Ustalav, and citizens who have heard of you do their best to support and aid you. The character treats the entire country of Ustalav as favored terrain, and treats creatures he knows to be sworn enemies of the country (as defined by the GM) as favored enemies. In both cases these abilities work as the ranger abilities of the same name, except the bonus to appropriate checks and rolls is +1 bonus for every 5 points of his Leadership score. The character also gains this bonus to all Diplomacy checks made with creatures that are friendly or helpful to the country of Ustalav. The character also makes trips through Ustalav more quickly (add Leadership score as a percentile bonus to overland speeds), and buys goods and services more cheaply there (gain a percent discount to prices equal to half Leadership score). Though in theory this could be taken for other nationalities as well, given the focus of this campaign is on Ustalav such extra applications of this option would be meaningless.

What they are not:

  • Cannon-fodder or chumps – allied NPCs will do what they can to help, but will not accept disrespect or untenable behavior from PCs. If mistreated or forced to witness behavior unacceptable to them, they WILL leave or even actively seek to cause trouble for the PC/PCs in question. Don’t forget, an NPC will not willingly or knowingly serve a PC of an opposed alignment if that alignment conflicts with their own.

What they are:

  • Companions and supporters – Wither it be in preparing PCs food or running errands or mending clothes or actively joining to help in fights with not-unreasonable odds, such NPCs will do what is within their preview to make life easier for those they are loyal to.
  • Entertainment – NPCs are fun for rp and character development, and allow players new and distinct ways to express their characters above and beyond opportunities presented within the adventure or offered through interaction with their fellow PCs.

Credit where credit is due dept: the latter two options are taken from Super Genius Games #1 Bullet Point: Options for the Leadership Feat document.

Leadership and NPC allies

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