Friday, June 26, 2015

Discussion: How do you determine Party Leader?

After two sessions talking about heavy and weighty gaming material, I thought it might be good to lighten things up a bit. Every group has a different way of determining party leader. Some groups don't even recognize that they do in fact have a party leader - even if there is a player providing guidance and leadership to the group's direction every session. When it is done officially how do you do it?

Do you talk about it Out Of Character around the table, comparing characters and deciding who would be the best to take the lead? Do you let it fall out naturally? Is there a player who regularly just steps into the leadership role because it is where they naturally fit - or where their characters tend to naturally fall?

I'm currently in too many groups to give one way, but I think my favorite determination came from one of the Star Wars games I'm in. The decision was reached in character, and without the consent of the player/character who was determined to be the leader. The reason for the decision was because that character is in a very real way the glue that is holding the group together. Now, no one in the group actively dislikes each other, but it has formed various cliques. My bounty hunter spends most of his time with the bodyguard droid character and the mechanic because that is where his interests lie. The droid spends his time with my bounty hunter and the defacto party lead - as he is her bodyguard. The mechanic spends time with no one except maybe my bounty hunter and occasionally the party lead. Same for the doctor. Same for the Bothan. It is possible the group would work without our party lead, but just as likely the characters would split off with the mechanic, the bothan, and the doctor going their own way while the Bounty Hunter and Combat Droid partnered up. However, with that party lead the group sticks together and is forming into a wonderful team.

How about your groups? Have a favorite way party lead was selected? Even if it just came from seniority because you were the only character still alive who knew where the quest rewards would come from.


  1. I tried to start a discussion about who the party leader was/would be twice. Each time the group unanimously agreed with the person who would turn out to take on leadership that there shouldn't be a party leader. First time it happened I had instigated the question because the group was drifting a bit aimlessly and I was getting a bit sick of railroading and it was just one of the things I discussed with my party. The second time was when a new group was formed with some new members and a few from the old group, and a different person turned out to become the new leader.

  2. I like the idea of a party lead, but the group hasn't ever officially named one on their own & I haven't pushed in that direction in a long time.

    The campaign is Dark Heresy, so what I want to do at some appropriate point, is to have their boss (Inquisitor) assign them a mission and tell them who is going to be the "Prime" for it. The character chosen will have some association with the mission, whether it takes place on their home planet, requires their skill set, etc. That PC will be held especially accountable for the mission's success.

  3. Generally, I like to see it emerging from play. Though in my current L5R game, one of the characters was assigned as leader of the team and that is working well so far.