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What do you think about the Leadership rules?

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  • What do you think about the Leadership rules?

    Of the many systems introduced in 3e, the one that grabbed my attention for its simplicity and narrative potential was the Leadership system. Yet, after playing with 2 or 3 groups and discussing the game with other players, I discovered that no one knows or remembers reading the leadership rules. It seems that among all the new stuff introduced in the new edition, those 4 pages in the middle of the systems chapter passed without neither positive nor negative attention.

    Personally, I liked the system so much that I kept expanding on it, to the point that I now use it as a faction turn. A kind of mini-game that (usually) happens between sessions where the leaders/rulers of creation undertake their Projects. Then the players get to answer with their own Projects and also decide if certain events are important enough that they need to get involved, setting up the next session/s of play.

    So I was curious, did the leadership system catch your attention? Do you guys use it at all? What's your take on it?

  • #2
    The Leadership section is probably my least favorite part of Chapter 5.

    1) The worst offender here by a mile, is that it actively encourages taking the spotlight off the players, and their characters doing things. The best results are supposed to happen when you sit back and letter your Merits do all the work.

    2a) It's four pages of no actual systems, and puts all the work on the ST. I can sum up the whole thing without missing anything important: Leaders declare a project, and then the ST decides if it just works or not based on what the player is willing to commit to the project, and can add complications even if successful; esp. if the leader acts on their own instead of using Merits to address snags. Exalted puts enough stress on the ST as it is, if you're going to put 4 pages into a Leadership system... it should actually take some pressure off instead of just having everything come down to ST fiat over and over.

    2b) As there's no system, there's nothing for players to hook on to. If you want to make a character that's currently a nobody (at least as far as social standing in their society goes) but has the talent and aptitude to become a great political leader what Attributes and Skills should you buy? Who knows. Be good at social influence maybe, but even then nothing in the social influence system lets you tell which of your underlings is actually giving you the best suggestions, just who's giving the most convincing suggestions. So make sure your leader focused characters can fend off social influence from their personal underhanded manipulators so your character doesn't become a puppet... not exactly a great insight into what to do here as a player.

    3) Bureaucracy is, yet again, left in the cold despite being the obvious default Ability to hook into this sort of thing, and thus make it easier to structure Charms that interact with Projects.

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    • #3
      It’s fine for what it’s about but stands out for being less “Rules” and more “This would be in the ‘Storytelling’ chapter if there was one.”

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      • #4
        I didn't find it crunchy enough to be of much use. I made up a little expansion module to attach to the rules as written which offers some guidelines on what merits you might use, and how big and serious the complications should be, but I haven't had the chance to implement it in a real game so it might not work. What was printed was a good basis for them though.
        Last edited by DrLoveMonkey; 01-20-2021, 06:38 PM.

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        • #5
          I think they're so vague as to be unhelpful. Certainly, more could have been done with those 3.5 pages.

          There should probably be some more detailed guidelines for broad types of project, and a few examples. Enough crunch so that players have some idea what sort of traits a character needs to represent a capable leader, and so that Charms can be written for Exalted leaders to do stuff. (Or so that everyone clearly understands which existing Charms are relevant to leadership actions. Probably a little of both.)

          There was a thread a while back with some expanded leadership stuff, and some discussion about a year ago when I was trying to sort out how large-scale social influence (i.e. changing the beliefs of a society) should generally work.

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          • #6
            I really like it.

            I don't want a four page subsystem that makes me roll to collect office supplies. I want to go, "I want to buy a warship" then get a warship. That's exactly what this system does.

            If there's an interesting complication, I get to play out the complication instead of going "I roll Bureaucracy and Intelligence for 10 successes".

            It shifts the focus to the world around the players and is a system all about those Story Merits, incentivising folks to build up allies in play and see Resources as something other than a row of dots on their sheet which they never use.

            It is disgustingly overwritten though.

            1. Players declare what they want to do.
            2. ST declares an interesting complication (or series of complications) they have to play through to get what they want. (Optional)
            3. Players get what they wanted.

            That doesn't need four pages.

            Maybe, like, a half-page table like the Feats of Strength table with sample projects and the kinds of Merits needed to achieve them (less "Resources 2", more "Resources 1-3").

            That said, it would be nice to have some Bureaucracy rules - Bureaucracy could act like War in Strategic Warfare (it doesn't solve your complication but it gives you an advantage when you play out the scene).

            Social Influence is my favourite 3E mechanic (love Intimacies), then Leadership, then Combat (love the Withering/Decisive divide).


            Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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            • #7
              2b) As there's no system, there's nothing for players to hook on to.
              I didn't find it crunchy enough to be of much use.
              This is probably why everyone just ignores it, it feels more like advice than a system, as Sith_happens says above. Players just want to either, do it all themselves during the course of a session or just make some kind of roll and be done. I also noticed that some get the feeling of "we are just making shit up," which I have no problem with since I tend to like narrative, rules-lite games. But I get what they mean, it needs more substance.

              I made up a little expansion module to attack to the rules as written which offers some guidelines on what merits you might use, and how big and serious the complications should be, but I haven't had the chance to implement it in a real game so it might not work. What was printed was a good basis for them though.
              I did something similar, gave it some additional rules to make it into a downtime activity. Is there a way I can check your modifications?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jefepato View Post
                There was a thread a while back with some expanded leadership stuff
                Worth pointing out because it was unclear to some people in the thread, that system was designed with the idea that the leadership system was basically to be used as a way to generate adventures, not something to run in the background while other adventures were going on.

                For example, the circle wants to revamp the city's water supply system because right now it's pulling up horrible disease infected water and making everyone sick. You need to acquire or commit the relevant dots, which is good for players who bought those dots on chargen. You need Resources 3-4 for that depending on the size of the settlement, or 2-3 if you have focused merits relating to constructing a water system, and then 2-3 problems arise from things like a group of underground dwelling elementals, government red tape, and a supply shortfall due to actions of a rival nation. BAM, two or three session story arc right there.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Embustero View Post
                  I did something similar, gave it some additional rules to make it into a downtime activity. Is there a way I can check your modifications?
                  It was linked already but here it is again for convenience.

                  http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...ing-leadership

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thx for the links, it is the kind of stuff I was looking for.

                    I don't want a four page subsystem that makes me roll to collect office supplies. I want to go, "I want to buy a warship" then get a warship. That's exactly what this system does.
                    It is also very unique to this particular system. In all the RPG's that I know that have a system of the sort, it always works something like this: you want to take a cool, meaningful action? First gather resources for 4 turns, then 2 turns building it, then roll. Almost like a RTS game.

                    That said, it would be nice to have some Bureaucracy rules - Bureaucracy could act like War in Strategic Warfare (it doesn't solve your complication but it gives you an advantage when you play out the scene).
                    On my first read through the rules I remember thinking, there is a clear and missed connection between Strategic Warfare and Leadership. Name it Political Moves or something and you have a system for leaders to face each other that is not social combat or warfare. Strategic Warfare rules could work perfectly in the political arena as they are, too.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                      Worth pointing out because it was unclear to some people in the thread, that system was designed with the idea that the leadership system was basically to be used as a way to generate adventures, not something to run in the background while other adventures were going on.

                      For example, the circle wants to revamp the city's water supply system because right now it's pulling up horrible disease infected water and making everyone sick. You need to acquire or commit the relevant dots, which is good for players who bought those dots on chargen. You need Resources 3-4 for that depending on the size of the settlement, or 2-3 if you have focused merits relating to constructing a water system, and then 2-3 problems arise from things like a group of underground dwelling elementals, government red tape, and a supply shortfall due to actions of a rival nation. BAM, two or three session story arc right there.
                      I feel like this is worth reiterating.

                      You're letting the players drive the narrative by setting their own goals in the story, then taking the pressure off the ST by having the players engage with their Story Merits.

                      It's not a subsystem, it's an adventure generator.


                      Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                        I feel like this is worth reiterating.

                        You're letting the players drive the narrative by setting their own goals in the story, then taking the pressure off the ST by having the players engage with their Story Merits.

                        It's not a subsystem, it's an adventure generator.
                        I feel like it also relieves another pressure from the ST which is giving permission to introduce problems. You really don’t want to be a dick or unfair to the players, but without guidance I find a lot of STs err much too far on the side of too light. Which understandably so but it would still be better to not do that.

                        Kind of the same deal with the jam packed days thing. Yes, do six scenes in a row, seriously, no not four, six, maybe even nine. Also, yes, have three days in a row like that, back to back, no days off. Do that kind of crisis, that is the kind of crisis Solars can and should be facing. Likewise if you’re trying to make cult 5 you don’t just do one scene of you addressing the city in the main square telling everybody your cult is awesome and instantly have cult 5. If you want to make a cult that big you need to work small and build up to it, and expect at least a half dozen problems to crop up along the way.

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                        • #13
                          Not really sure where to put this but I’d rather not necro a dead thread. Somebody PMed me and suggested that rough system might be a good addition or partial replacement for the craft system.

                          Basically it would stop you from needing ridiculous rolls, but because it requires adventures to complete you couldn’t just crank out infinite artifact NAs.

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                          • #14
                            Heavy Arms put my problems with the Leadership system in better words than I can. It really kind of just feels like a waste of wordcount since it all boils down to "The players tell the ST they want to do something and now the ST just gets to figure everything else out."

                            Edit: I will say that if it had been expanded into a full ST guidance section or something it might be worthwhile, but that's a whole new discussion. Also changed wording to be a bit less... spiteful towards the book.
                            Last edited by Yamajin; 01-21-2021, 07:32 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Rules? What rules? "Just wing it bro" isn't rules, that's bloody freeform. I couldn't tell if Holden and Morke thought it was the best way or they couldn't be arsed to make a bureaucracy system. It really annoys me as we had a functional bureaucracy system at the end of Ex2's lifespan. I mean it wasn't perfect by any means, but leagues better than what came before (and as of to date, after). The ability that screams like a forgotten child to be noticed is utterly snubbed by the "system", probably only a handful of charms useful in it. Maybe the spite Holden and Morke had for Neph is what caused them to axe it, but either way it was a stupid decision. We basically need to carve out what we'll have in Essence to make a new one (Or me having to make another bloody subsystem I really ought not to be making).

                              Not only that, Exalted itself is a crunchy system. The fact that we have rules clearly laying out things for other actions only for it to turn around and say "Just wing this" utterly baffles me. Hell, even Fate has more interesting macro-scale movement than Exalted does. (Macro-Scale taking actions at the wider, broader level. Such as directing a kingdom).

                              I also don't think it needs to be used for everything. If you're a well-off Kingdom then acquiring a single boat isn't going to be a problem, but if you're a much smaller organization then that can very well be a real challenge. Or if you're a Kingdom in need of building an entire fleet of ships then it also becomes interesting.

                              There are many things that sour me on Ex3. The fact that I have to make an entire subsystem and charmset makes me want to put my fist through the book. I mean yea I made one already, and after feedback I'm ready to make some changes to it. But right now I'm enjoying my downtime.
                              Last edited by Sandact6; 01-22-2021, 02:36 AM.


                              Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
                              Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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