Monday, May 9, 2016

The Burden of being the Party Leader

Douglas Cole recently had a pretty gnarly experience in the Aeon Supers campaign being run by Christopher Rice. From what I've read, Cole is kicking himself a lot for the lack of planning that very nearly resulted in disaster.

I can understand why Cole is frustrated. Cole is playing The Commander. That's not just his character's name, I'm certain it's also his role within the team itself in character.

Many players (wisely) avoid playing characters who are leaders. This is because playing a character who is a leader almost without exception means being a party leader among players as well.

Wring your hands all you want, but the two are largely inseparable.

Mavrick, the guy who plays Sam in Prohibition Mobsters, resisted Sam becoming leader for the first couple of months of the campaign. I've never really asked if it was fear of the responsibility, an attempt to give the other players a bite at the apple if they wanted it, or what.

Now, with Mobsters, my guys plan consistently and constantly. Their tactical planning is overall weaker than their strategic (battle plans vs. plans for taking over the city), but for the most part they're savvy as hell. I should probably investigate allowing Tony a little more oomph for the points he's spent on tactics, natural war leader, and the like.

They're had only a couple of really bad moments of clearly not taking a moment to think throughout the campaign. (Tony's player leads the charge, having had his first PC die session 1 of the campaign and getting Isaac captured much more recently.)

Within the Mob group, there's a lot of group discussion, and Mavrick isn't usually strictly calling the shots. There's a good amount of flex out of character. In character, Sam has things locked down, and is starting to become someone with a decent level of authority over the other PCs and their organization as a whole.

Seriously, pull rank. You spent the points.


That said, if things ever did come down to a serious disagreement about how to proceed, both the decision and the resulting consequences lay at the feet of the leader. Sam's got the high rank, so by extension Mavrick gets to be primus inter pares.

I'm sure the AEON group will figure it out, and I suspect defining the role of leader both in and out of character will provide a useful lever for everyone involved to become a well-oiled machine of great justice.

After all, someone's going to be digging through their trash really soon looking for conspiracies to uncover. Would be unfortunate if they were to uncover incompetence among the ranks.

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