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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default The Party Leader

    In every group I've been in, there is always a natural born leader. The player who steps up and makes decisions. For critical role fans I would say that's usually Vax and sometimes Vex or Tiberious.

    For those who don't know the show it's different than a pushy or obnoxious player, their leadership is critical and valuable. It might be a player who's good a strategy or speaking or is a leader in real life like a manager or supervisor.

    In my group we have three and they very rarely step on each other's toes, it depends on the character they play or the Dynamics of the mission or group.

    Recently we have had another member want to play the leader type, but he's soft spoken and not a very strong personality. He's a great guy, with a good heart and a valuable member of any team. He's got experience in our rule system and can provide valuable insight and strategy... But he just doesn't have "it", that natural born leadership. I'm trying to tell him how to be a better leader, but it seems like being a leader isn't just a character you play, it's something the player themselves has to embody.

    Does anyone have any tips I can give him?

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    In my experience, playing a leader begins with acting like one, and the first part of that is standing out.

    The following things are crutches I find helps me with this.

    The first one might sound counterproductive, but I'd suggest A Stupid Voice. Not a cool one, not an attractive one, not a badass one, but a voice exaggerated to the point of silliness. A truly outrageous accent.
    This lets me change out of my own speech patterns, and makes me less self conscious.
    I prefer to let my inner hick out, and get real folksy, but for a leader, a snooty aristocratic voice,(Think the voices of Hugh Lauries characters in the Blackadder series') might work better.


    Another thing that can let you play a character more socially open than yourself is Cartoonish Snobbishness.
    It's easier to get in there and take up space if your character can have an opinion on anything from accommodations, to food, to the clothes of the NPC's before you.

    One thing you should consider when taking on this affectation is that you shouldn't let this extend to your party members, at least not in a very big way, as it might be hard to maintain believable party cohesion if someone keeps ragging on their teammates.
    Let your snobbish character have respect and admiration for the rest of your party, and talk them up in front of NPC's. (After all, your character only associates with the best.)
    This can be the difference between a good leader, and an unbearable character.
    .................

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    I tend to do it by always having a plan. Spend time thinking about the situation the characters are in and what you want your next move to be. So when the other players are trying to decide what to do next you already have a suggestion you can push for.

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Everybody who has confidence enough can lead but that doesn't make them good leaders. The first step is the confidence to step up and take the lead, If he can't act confident or fake it till he makes it, then there are enough puplic speaking courses that could help him.
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Have you tried putting him in situations where he HAS to make the decision for the group? Like maybe they are talking with the local town-master and he assigns that player as head of an orc hunting party? Or maybe have a Bugbear boss capture a town resident and after getting himself into a hostage situation he only agress to talk with that player (seeing him as a "non-leader" type so maybe he can manipulate him) thus granting that player a change to step up to the plate. Just two ideas I had off the top of my head.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Thank you for all the ideas, yeah he's gotten the groups attention with his commanding presence buff, name may not be correct, but it's essentially an ability where his character gives an inspiring speech or a tactical strategy and everyone gets temporary HP for listening. But his speeches lack any sort of fire or passion, he gives good strategies and we sometimes follow them, but in the heat of battle his speech wasn't memorable enough to recall and we just end up doing our own thing. Then he gets upset we didn't stick to the plan. But he doesn't tell us in the moment he just kind of brings it up much later after the session. Everyone is like "oh, yeah, uh sorry but we honestly forgot".

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    He shouldn't need to make an inspiring speech out of character to make an inspiring speech in-character. There's a reason that D&D has intelligence, wisdom and charisma scores - you no more need to prove your speech-making skills out of character to make a speech in character than you need to arm-wrestle the DM to make a strength check.
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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    He shouldn't need to make an inspiring speech out of character to make an inspiring speech in-character. There's a reason that D&D has intelligence, wisdom and charisma scores - you no more need to prove your speech-making skills out of character to make a speech in character than you need to arm-wrestle the DM to make a strength check.
    That's technically true, but that doesn't change the fact that if you can't play a charismatic character, you can't play a charismatic character. There's loads of characters I couldn't play believably even if I wanted to.
    .................

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Concrete View Post
    That's technically true, but that doesn't change the fact that if you can't play a charismatic character, you can't play a charismatic character. There's loads of characters I couldn't play believably even if I wanted to.
    The trick is not to give what they say in direct quotation.

    "I give the troops a rousing speech about defending their homeland and casting out the Orc menace."
    "Okay, make a perform (oratory) check."

    Is way better than...

    *Player makes unconfident speech because player's charisma is literally half the character's.*
    "You fail."
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Drache64 View Post
    Does anyone have any tips I can give him?
    I know this phenomenon very well. Have seen it in many groups. However there is no easy solution to substituste or change outgame personalities.

    I had some success with :

    - leader players being a bit more diciplined and careful and not starting a conversation with NPCs even when they usually would, not providing strategy suggestions even if that means that the group behaves suboptimal and so on.

    - not punishing the group for having bad leadership. Yes, that can mean easy mode. But if the good leaders make an effort to step back, that must not hurt ingame. Also players should not complain about the resulting weak speaches or poor judgements.

    - give the weak leader player some in character authority over the rest of the group. So that NPCs obviously adress this character and not the others. And that the other PCs have a really good reason to follow stupid orders without feeling stupid themselfs


    Quote Originally Posted by Landon_Guss View Post
    Have you tried putting him in situations where he HAS to make the decision for the group? Like maybe they are talking with the local town-master and he assigns that player as head of an orc hunting party? Or maybe have a Bugbear boss capture a town resident and after getting himself into a hostage situation he only agress to talk with that player (seeing him as a "non-leader" type so maybe he can manipulate him) thus granting that player a change to step up to the plate. Just two ideas I had off the top of my head.
    Occassionally tried that and i am not a fan. The typical result is that the player then panics and the already poor leadership gets only worse Someone in a leadership position with poor skills who knows that already feels a lot of pressure. No need to make it extra uncomfortable to make his decisions even more important and apply additional time constraints.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    The trick is not to give what they say in direct quotation.

    "I give the troops a rousing speech about defending their homeland and casting out the Orc menace."
    "Okay, make a perform (oratory) check."

    Is way better than...

    *Player makes unconfident speech because player's charisma is literally half the character's.*
    "You fail."
    That's largely what he does, and the ability goes off and the mechanics of the game work. But the players still don't listen to him or yield authority. And most of them don't mean to act that way, but the meek player just won't assert himself.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I know this phenomenon very well. Have seen it in many groups. However there is no easy solution to substituste or change outgame personalities.

    I had some success with :

    - leader players being a bit more diciplined and careful and not starting a conversation with NPCs even when they usually would, not providing strategy suggestions even if that means that the group behaves suboptimal and so on.

    - not punishing the group for having bad leadership. Yes, that can mean easy mode. But if the good leaders make an effort to step back, that must not hurt ingame. Also players should not complain about the resulting weak speaches or poor judgements.

    - give the weak leader player some in character authority over the rest of the group. So that NPCs obviously adress this character and not the others. And that the other PCs have a really good reason to follow stupid orders without feeling stupid themselfs


    Occassionally tried that and i am not a fan. The typical result is that the player then panics and the already poor leadership gets only worse Someone in a leadership position with poor skills who knows that already feels a lot of pressure. No need to make it extra uncomfortable to make his decisions even more important and apply additional time constraints.
    I agree that this will probably take a whole party effort... Which is why this is so complicated.

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Drache64 View Post
    That's largely what he does, and the ability goes off and the mechanics of the game work. But the players still don't listen to him or yield authority. And most of them don't mean to act that way, but the meek player just won't assert himself.
    To be quite frank, that's their fault. He, at least, is expressing what his character realistically would do in that situation. They, on the other hand, are reacting to what's happening OOC, not what's happening IC. If you must, give out tactics cards to remind everyone of the battle plan, or even nudge players with "You realise that that would go against the battle plan. Of course, you can still do it, but..."

    Alternatively, of course, you can give him a class feature that gives allies additional buffs for following the plan. I find that that gets them to follow the plan better than anything else could.
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    There's two things going on here:
    1) You can make the flavor whatever you want, but the stuff that players remember and are impressed by is going to be the stuff that actually interests/impresses them. And I think that's all you can really expect, considering that they're not professional actors.

    2) Leadership doesn't have to, and almost always shouldn't, mean micromanaging to the level where you're telling the other players what to do on their turn and then getting mad if they didn't do it. I've played plenty of games where someone was in-fiction the absolute leader, and it worked fine. But that was with the OOC agreement that the leader would give orders loose enough that other players would still be getting to make decisions themselves. A plan is only going to happen to the extent that the other real people at the table want to follow it, and that's how it should be.

    Advice - give them some NPCs to boss around. Assuming that the leadership is acknowledged by the other PCs IC, then:
    Add some torchbearers, mercenaries, assistants, or whatever to the party, that the leader character is naturally in charge of.
    Have external NPCs interface with the leader first. Even if ultimately what happens is discussing the matter with the whole party.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2018-01-01 at 06:36 PM.

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    As the literal opposite maybe I can share some insight. I feel like people look to me for guidance which I cannot provide. My characters happily 'lead' by example rather than oratory perfection. I have had two extremes in characters.

    A Cha 6 Tiefling Alchemist who I literally played as a sociophobic recluse. It went well, even with the crunch as I was planning my next potions for half of the sessions with my books. Little did I realize the other players wanted something like "Beverly Hills 90210": D&D edition. Alas, I felt my Cha 6 was on point.

    In another campaign I played a Halfling. First he was a standard knight with the typical jolly demeanor. He had diplomacy and charisma and I quickly changed my levels for paladin levels. He never did rousing speeches. He just embodied a paladin's qualities. He was merciful. He was determined. He went 100% into the pursuit of good. He threw himself more than once into the face of danger, I even made a few terribly untactical choices for the sake of RP. These could have easily killed me then and there.

    Charisma and leadership is so muchg more than an inspiring speech. It can be portrayed by literally no speech whatsoever: Many heroes in modern fiction have many followers despite not speaking much or at all. Conan, Mad Max, Link, Gordon Freeman.

    But then the DM has to set the "mood" with a few set pieces. Such as describing the hero to fly into battle despite the odds. Such as respecting the heroes' charisma even if the player is mostly silent. In return a charismatic player that plays "Klutz, the Slime-barian" has to be cut down every once in a while by reminding everyone how uncharismatic he is (and maybe how wise or strong or dexterous he is).
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    Imp

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    This guy isn't the one that needs the tips, it's the other, "natural leader" players. If everyone else takes a step back, into a more advisory and support role, the player that wants to try being a leader gets the opportunity to do so. They need to suppress their instinctive leadership and let the other guy...well, lead. Otherwise, no amount of advice will get this player what he wants.
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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    It sounds like the player just wants to be "the leader", without any other reason for it. That doesn't make any sense to me. In my experience, the player/character that cares the most about the issues and situations in the game, tends to make the decisions for the group and evolves into the leader role. If the rest have no stake in the decision, then they will follow. If everyone want to make decisions, no one wants to be a follower and will not accept someone else claiming to be their leader anyways.

    Leadership doesn't require Cha, or Cha shouldn't prescribe the leader role, though it helps for being "the face".

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Something that might work as a stepping stone. Be the advisor instead. If it is the "taking charge" part that is proving problematic than have someone else take charge and then turn to the character for advice. But yes, "A leader without followers is just going for a walk." so if the other players aren't willing to support the image of that person the leader, it is not going to work. So even if it has their character's being more inspired than they are, you really need their buy in.

    Personally, I am of the opinion that while being load and confident might help you look like a leader, it doesn't help you do a good job there. So if the character (hopefully by the player) can come up with the plans that other characters/players will follow, that should be enough. They just have to stop forgetting about them.

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    PirateWench

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    I find it interesting that in situations like these, focus is always on "person X can't be an assertive/charismatic/whatever leader", with the follow-up conclusion of how to make said person a better leader.

    Another question I find a lot better to focus on is how to make the other players good followers. What constitutes a leader is basically the simple fact that people follow them. If the other players can portray good followers the situation is resolved. Which, if there is an OOC agreement that this character should be the party leader is exactly what they should do.

    I also find that simply following a person or pretending they are good leaders is a lot easier than trying to get someone with low charisma to act with high charisma. My suggestion then is to solve the problem in the simplest way; which would then be to get the other players to simple be good followers.
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorsa View Post
    Another question I find a lot better to focus on is how to make the other players good followers. What constitutes a leader is basically the simple fact that people follow them. If the other players can portray good followers the situation is resolved. Which, if there is an OOC agreement that this character should be the party leader is exactly what they should do.
    While this is indeed probably easier, making the leader better will improve the play experience a lot more. RPGs are like a potluck. It doesn't make you unworthy of participating if you bring a bland dish, but wouldn't improving that dish be better than telling everyone else to pretend they enjoy it?

    Also, it's not clear from the OP what level of buy-in the group has on the character in question being the leader. There's playing a character that has abilities with a "leader" flavor, and there's actually being the IC party leader - the latter requires group buy-in.

    Then there's being the OOC leader, which is a whole other level. That one can't be forced by the character's Cha score, nor does it need to be - many groups just don't have one.

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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorsa View Post
    Another question I find a lot better to focus on is how to make the other players good followers. What constitutes a leader is basically the simple fact that people follow them. If the other players can portray good followers the situation is resolved. Which, if there is an OOC agreement that this character should be the party leader is exactly what they should do.
    Yes, this. Absolutely. I've played party leaders, (yes, really. Stop laughing.) and most of them were not made with any intention of being leaders. It was more that the other players started paying attention to their ideas and going along with their plans.

    As for advice for would-be party leaders, I'd say be flexible. Sometimes your plans will go awry, but if you can improvise you can mitigate the damage, and maybe even turn things around.
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    Default Re: The Party Leader

    if i may, i rarely play the leader in my games. not because i can't, but because of team dynamics. we don't need "a" party leader. we are all good at what we do and have a knack for deferring to superior skills. if i'm playing sniper or scout, my word is law on the layout of the battlefield or the way to go. i may have a soldier and a commanding officer in my game, since my character is the ground-reader, they follow me. the face is the leader of the team in social interactions, etc... it might have something to do with playing with post-bachelor's uni students from different specialties (seriously, except for astrophysics, we run the gamut of all sciences, both social and hard), and just like in real life, when we don't know, we let the person who knows best give their opinion. maybe you could try that at your table?

    in my rogue trader game, i'm the guy who knows about imperial society. i've been playing the wargame longer than even the dm, and he's really great at what he does. unfortunately, i'm playing the arch-militant, a very no-nonsense soldier's soldier archetype. the pilot, the techpriest, and the seneschal all defer to me because they don't know the game's lore as well as i do. i schemed with the dm to allow me to be the leader only in fights, and i subtly guide the others into playing their role better (for those who know 40k, think of gaunt's role in the book his last command). so far, the seneschal (the typical face role in rogue trader) has grown from a total shy newbie playing his first face into the guy who's gotten us for free twice over what our influence score should have let us have if we'd spent it. there's also team synergy (i've lost count how many times my character has dragged out of a firefight the seneschal... he's repaid me by doing a side-quest and getting my old regimental pin and beret. true character bonding) and player synergy: we talk, we laugh, and we get to know each other and our roles. when everything is ok, the seneschal now calls the shots. when the flak is flying, i say "duck", and even the dm obeys. a team should play to their characters' specialties.

    caveat: i'm sort of a charismatic sort. when people think highly of me, i'm called "the eccentric that everyone likes". it's about knowing yourself and not letting your ego take over. when your group hears a good idea, they should encourage it and not quash it because it didn't come from one of them.

    really hope this helps.
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