Recently I was talking with a member of my old group about applying a more troupe-style game in our Pathfinder/D&D campaign. The idea was that at high-levels (9+) the PCs would delegate many of their missions to their followers, leaving time to concentrate on quests of a bigger scale (possibly affecting entire regions, kingdoms, guilds, temples etc.), that demanded more time and developed on a slower pace (like political intrigues and military moves). The players in these campaigns would play both with their original character and their respective followers. This structure is – obviously – inspired by Ars Magica and led me to search for other games like Reign and Shadow, Sword & Spell (I’m also going to take a look at the B/X Companion).
Anyway, these were the main reasons for me to tinker with the original Leadership feat and its Followers rule. My Pathfinder campaign is now beyond the 10th level and I noted that Followers rarely have a direct mechanical effect on game sessions. Sure, they are loyal members of the PCs’ group, but they can’t go with their masters in the adventures due to lethality of CR 10+ encounters.
My aim therefore is to create a simple and abstract mechanic (without much bookkeeping I hope) to represent the influence of Followers during combat encounters. Cohorts are already useful and remain unchanged. These rules are not meant to simulate mass combat, but only skirmishes (with a limited number of allies). In this approach, Followers work almost as a template over the PC with Leadership.
New Rules for Leadership
Followers can only be used in the context of these rules in adventures that take place in the wilderness (above or below ground) and dungeons, castles or cities that have enough space for a big group of adventurers (in game terms, I believe that areas with more than 10ft. of width are a good guideline).
Leadership Score and Leadership Points
Your Leadership Score now has a modifier, just like an Ability Score. For example, a Leadership Score of 20 has a +5 modifier.
Your Leadership Score also grants to you a Leadership Value (LV) and Leadership Points (LPs). These points represent special moments in the combat where the presence of your Followers causes a significant impact.
Your LV equal your Leadership modifier (if negative or 0, treat it as 1), plus 2. So, the minimum LV is 3. You have a permanent LV, determined solely by your Leadership Score, and a current LV, determined by losses, desertions and wounded among your Followers.
Your maximum LPs equal your current LV.
The Leader and his Entourage
The PC with the Leadership feat can at any moment declare that he’s assembling his Followers to go adventuring. When he does this, he becomes a Leader and is constantly surrounded by his Followers (usually a minimum of 5 followers or ¾ of the total, whichever is higher), called now his Entourage.
The Leader with an Entourage has a +2 bonus on attack rolls, AC, CMB rolls and CMD. Certain skills also receive a +2 bonus (like Intimidate). This generic bonus represents his Followers constantly aiding him (like in the Aid Another rule). These bonus are lost if your current LV is reduced to 0.
The Entourage is always at a minimum of 5 feet and a maximum of 10 feet aside or behind the Leader. If they’re somehow dispersed, the Leader loses his status (and remaining LPs) until he spends a full-round action (and usually a Diplomacy or Intimidate check) to rally his Entourage.
Using Leadership Points
LPs are used on an encounter basis. They refresh at the start of a combat encounter. A Leader can use 1 LP (usually as a immediate action) to:
Negate Flanking situation for 1 round.
Suffer ½ damage from one attack.
Receive cover from the Entourage (+4 AC, +2 Refl).
Gain 1 extra attack of opportunity.
Negate 1 attack of opportunity.
Concentrate attack: your Entourage focuses their attacks over one enemy, granting a bonus to the damage of your next attack. This bonus equals your current LV, in d6s. For example, if you total LPs is 6, you would cause 6d6 damage. It is considered physical damage, rolled separately from your damage roll and normally doesn’t ignore DR. This requires a swift action.
Help the Party: You can also spend 2 LPs to grant a +2 bonus to the attacks rolls, CMB rolls, AC and CMD of the entire party for 1 round. You can also grant any of the benefits above (if applicable) to any one party member adjacent to your Followers if you spend 3 LPs.
Attacking your Followers
You adversaries can attempt to attack your Followers instead of you. Treat your Followers as having an AC of 10 + your Leadership modifier.
Certain spells can also be used to hit both you and your Entourage (see trigger-events below).
A Leadership Check is made by rolling a 1d20 and adding your Leadership modifier. There two types of Leadership Check: status checks and trigger-events checks.
This check is made after a combat encounter to determine how your Followers are faring: if they’re particularly wounded, fatigued, with low morale or with few resources.
The base DC is 15 + the number of encounters that day that the Entourage has faced. Add a +10 bonus to your check if you spend an amount of magical healing equal to your Leadership modifier times your character level. Add +2 if you spent a number of rations and/or healing kits equal to your Leadership modifier.
Failing a Leadership Status Check reduce your current LV by 1. Failing by a margin of 5+ reduce your LV by 2. By 10+, 3. By 15+ your current LV is zeroed.
Certain situations require Leadership Check made on the spot. These rolls are called Trigger-events Checks. They’re usually done in the middle of an encounter.
The basic triggers for these Checks are:
Fear effect that affect multiple targets (usually more than your Leadership Score) or an area;
Area attacks or incapacitating effects, like a breath-weapon or mass charms;
Critical hits against the Leader;
An enemy uses a full-round action to attack specifically your Followers;
The base DC for this check is 15 + the number of encounters that day that the Entourage has faced + the number of LPs spent so far in the current encounter. For example: in the 3rd battle of the day, in which the Leader spent already 3 LPs, the DC would be 21 (15 + 3 encounters + 3 LPs spent in the current engagement). Paladins, due to their holy aura, receive a +4 bonus on checks triggered by fear.
Failing a Trigger-events Checks reduce your current LV and your current LPs by 1. Failing by a margin of 5+ reduce both stats by 2. By 10+, by 3. By 15+ your LV and current LPs are zeroed.
Recovering Leadership Points (LPs)
Your LPs represent battle prowess, fatigue, lesser wounds and low morale.
You recover LPs instantly after a combat encounter, as long as your Followers get a short rest of a few minutes. Fatigued, thirsty or hungry Entourages usually only recover LPs after a full night of rest with water and food.
Recovering your current Leadership Value (current LV)
Your current LV represent Followers wounded, killed or who had deserted. You have three basic opportunities to reorganize your Followers.
· Make a camp to rest for the remaining of the day (or the next 8 hours). Roll a Leadership Check with the last DC used (either from the status or trigger-event check). If you succeed you recover 1 LV, 2 if your margin was 5+. Add a +10 bonus to this check if you spent an amount of magical healing equal to your Leadership modifier times your character level. Add +2 if you spent a number of rations and/or healing kits equal to your Leadership modifier. A preliminary Heal check (DC 15 + your Leadership score) adds another +2. Instead of rolling Leadership, you can roll Survival, Profession (Soldier) or similar skill.
· You can spend 1d4 hours after the last encounter to attempt to rally missing or frightened deserters. Make a Leadership Check with the last DC used (either from the status or trigger-event check). If you succeed you recover 1 LV, 2 if your margin was 5+. A preliminary Survival check (DC 15 + your Leadership score) adds another +2. Instead of rolling Leadership, you can roll Diplomacy, Intimidate, Profession (Soldier) or use one round of Bard Music (if you’ve levels in this class).
· You can attempt to recruit more followers in the next village, city or populous area visited. Make a Leadership Check (DC 15) for each week spent on this place. If you succeed you recover 1 LV, 2 if your margin was 5+. You recover your entire LV, until your reach your permanent LV, if you succeed by 10+. Spending your Leadership modifier x 10 in gold pieces (minimum 10) adds +2. Instead of rolling Leadership, you can roll Diplomacy, Profession (Soldier) or spend five rounds of Bard Music (if you’ve levels in this class).
Anytime after gaining a new level, you can automatically restore your current LV (until it reaches your permanent LV) if you spend one week resting and/or recruiting. You can do this only once per level.