When a player's character is in charge! - Page 2 - Myth-Weavers

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When a player's character is in charge!

I think it depends a lot on the kind of groups you get. Online, you're dealing with people who are essentially strangers. In all my years of playing online and PbP games, I can count the number of people on one hand who have become actual friends that I spend time with outside the confines of the games we play in together.

This makes the whole process of finding a leader within a group really difficult. I'm an A-type personality, so I like being in charge. I tend to gravitate towards that role unless I make a special effort to avoid it. In my live games it's actually easier to take a back-seat because we're all friends. They know what I'm like, I know what they're like. But it also means a certain amount of planning goes into our character creation. If I say I want to play a character that isn't much of a leader, other people step up. But with PbP, especially in this vein of people applying to play in a game that a GM advertises, that kind of style becomes hard to do.

It's genuinely difficult in PbP to have lasting group dynamics, especially with how flaky players can be. But I'd absolutely advocate for someone within the cast of players to take charge.

Originally Posted by Michael Silverbane View Post
This is another thing that I think works quite differently in FtF vs PbP games. In FtF games, a leader will often naturally emerge, usually within just a few minutes of play, as stronger personalities are pushed to the forefront.
Yes, but usually it's not going to be a named leader, unless it's also the player who has the most social traction OOC as well. Otherwise, it's just going to be someone the others look up to for advice, usually.
YMMV, of course, but I think leaders work better than bosses in this area!

Usually my PCs have no problems taking orders, nor giving orders. Then again, make sure you're in the right "chain of command", which depends on the setting.
A knight or cleric issuing orders to my mercenary in 15th century CoC historical game wasn't a problem, because the society back then was really that stratified.
In a Traveller game, make sure you're from my branch and outrank me, or make sure I see your leadership as desirable.
Also, some players and even Referees simply forget that even in the most highly stratified societies, there are conditions where people might refuse to take an order they see as wrong, and usually there are ways to do so as well!

Originally Posted by TheRoot View Post
The only game I'm in with an appointed leader is a game where my character was voted to be the leader of the group. I hope I am doing a good job of not being a bossy micromanager, but that is for the other players in the game to judge. I try to be a positive motivator, and to encourage input from everyone. After I collect the input I make a decision for the GM to move forward with and advance the story. My perception is that it has been positive so far. That's not to say there hasn't been some minor disagreements, again, that is a microcosm of life.

In summary, I think a leader of the group can be very helpful as long as it's the right person to do it and the rest of the group are on board with it.
As one playing in that game, I think I can say that our game would not be as smooth-sailing if you were not the leader. I don't know that the game would grind to a halt necessarily, but I sense we're better in-step because of it.

Generally speaking, I think having a designated party leader isn't always essential, but it can certainly help (if done right). Otherwise, I think a DM needs to be willing to (tactfully) railroad the game at times, perhaps often so.

Edit: The AD&D 2nd Edition players handbook has a cheesy tabletop example in it, two fighters a cleric and a DM. One of the fighters having specifically been designated the "leader." So seems it was probably intended to be a real thing from the game's beginning.

As others have mentioned, one challenge with leadership is that it's something a person needs some real-life knowledge and experience in to pull off in-game well unlike say physical strength (you can just say "my character lifts a horse") or raw knowledge (look it up online, reference a book, etc). Leadership is also one of those things that has many definitions whether it's treated as innate traits, learn-able skills, certain behaviors, servant leadership, transformative leadership, combinations of the above, etc.

Also as mentioned before though is though your group struggled, it sounds like everyone learned a bit about what leadership can be and how it played out in different situations.

From experience, I've seen characters "taking the lead" as opposed to "being the leader" work a bit better. What I mean by this is that when there is a moment whether mechanically and story-wise that is central to a character, they can step up and make the call. For a superhero setting I can see this being decided by whose arch-nemesis it is being confronted, or which set of powers/skill the situation demands.

Originally Posted by guitarist View Post
As one playing in that game, I think I can say that our game would not be as smooth-sailing if you were not the leader. I don't know that the game would grind to a halt necessarily, but I sense we're better in-step because of it.
Thanks for that Guitarist, I hope my cleric is serving the party well!

I remembered another game I was in for a year. Our rogue was the party face and the leader. She recruited the group during the pre game phase and it worked quite well. Percevil was the player and he did a terrific job of leading our party.

In my experience, the players that make PCs who excel at leadership mechanically are usually terrible at actual leadership. It's usually a warning bell.

Good leaders are gold.


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