Leadership

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George Kelln
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Leadership

Postby George Kelln » Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:37 pm

I'm new to the game system, so goes easy on me. A question on Leadership.

1. When does a Traveller make a skill check?
2. How many times can a Traveller make a Leadership check? Is per round? Per combat engagement?
3. The effects number; is it a total number of Boons to be distributed individually? Or is it a total number each member of the Traveller's team receives?
4. Can the effects Boon be carried over from round to round? And can another Traveller accumulate these Boons?
5. Does the Traveller have issue these Boons all at once and immediately or at his/her leisure?

For example, a Traveller with Leadership 2 make a skill check and rolls a 11 +2 = +5 effects. How does this Traveller use them in his group of 3 other Travellers? Please explain the process.

Thank you.
Old School
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Re: Leadership

Postby Old School » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:48 pm

George, good questions. I've refereed a lot of Traveller, but I'll admit this doesn't come that often. My players have likely significantly underused this feature of the combat system.

First, combat is one of many circumstances that one could use a leadership skill check. That said, your questions pertain to combat, so here's how I would handle it. The rules don't actually specify any of this. If you read the rules literally, a Leadership check is just one more feature of combat that is on top of all the other actions. I think that would be taking the rules a little too literally, but this is just one referee's opinion. Traveller requires a lot of referee rulings on the fly.

Traveller combat allows for one significant action and one minor action, or three minor actions, per combat round. Then there are "free actions" and "reactions", that don't count towards these limits, and are only limited by referee discretion. I would rule that the leadership check can be made during the traveller's turn in combat (per the initiative rolls). Whether that leadership roll is a significant action, minor action, or free action depends on what the traveller is trying to accomplish. In other words, role play it. If its a quick word of encouragement ("Kill 'em all! Remember the Beowulf!") or instructions ("kill the psion first!"), then I would say that Leadership skill check is a minor action or free action. My ruling might depend on what the other minor action that traveller wants to do at the same time. If the player thinks its a free action, then ruling should be based on: can you attack (significant action), drop to a crouch (minor action), and do this Leadership check all at the same time? Because that's what a free action is. Remember that drawing a weapon counts as a minor action as well.

Could the leadership check be a reaction? I think so. Yelling ("cover Pookey!") after Pookey goes down from enemy fire I could see being a reaction, i.e. an action in response to the enemy's attack that round that doesn't count against the limits. Depending on the order of initiative, these boons might be used the current turn or the next. In other words, I wouldn't limit which traveller could use the boon based on who has already used their significant action that round.

If the player is trying to use boons for a bunch of different players in different positions, i.e. those at his side, a sniper on the hill, and the medic that needs to leave cover to treat someone, I'd rule that he/she is giving multiple commands and that counts for his/her significant action for that round.

The number of boons given has to be the total effect, not the effect X number of travellers. That would be way too much.

Can these boons, per your example of 5 boons and only three companions, be carried over to the next round? I would say yes in most cases, but I'd make the player dole them out right away (2 for you, 2 for you, sorry, only 1 for you) or dole them out myself as the ref. Can the leader really choose after the fact which companion was inspired for 6 seconds vs the one who was inspired for 12? I don't think so, so I'd let them carry over on these terms, but I wouldn't let the either player (the leaders or the boon recipient) just store a boon to be used in a tight spot 8 rounds later.

How often can the check be made? That's a tough one. Once per combat? Once every three rounds? I don't know. I could see an argument for the Leader directing combat and giving constant orders and encouragement (a very strong case can be made that this would be use of Tactics: Military rather than Leadership), but in such a circumstance I again count that leadership check as a significant action, meaning it takes the place of the Leader's own attack each round it is used.

One last thought: if someone tries to use leadership more than once while hiding behind hard cover themselves: nope. Can't see what's happening, can't lead.

Those answers are likely more ambiguous than you were hoping for, and I suspect others have radically different opinions, but I hope that helps.
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Re: Leadership

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:47 pm

George Kelln wrote: I'm new to the game system, so goes easy on me. A question on Leadership.
Welcome!

Just to give a slightly different opinion:

1) I would call it a Significant Action as per Miscellaneous, p71.
2) As a Significant Action, once per round.
3) Total number of Boons, not for each character.
4) Roleplay issue. The Boon should have something to do with the order given. If the order spans several rounds the Boon should be able to be used on any of the actions following from the order.
5) The leader distributes the Boons to specific skill checks, not just to characters to use at will.


As this is basically about role play, not mechanics, it's difficult to press into a single die roll. The rule does give a useful scale: a few Boons or Banes per order. As usual have the player describe what he is doing, and let the Referee decide what happens.

As I like combat to be quick, I would prefer the players give concise orders, to keep the action running. Since the characters, not the players, are supposed to have the skill, I would allow the players wide latitude giving (and following) orders, down to no order and just make a Leadership roll.
Garran
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Re: Leadership

Postby Garran » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:09 pm

It's very likely that any group that has worked together for any length of time will have tactical terms/code phrases ready for various situations, so it won't necessarily be a case of spelling out the exact action for each character each time.

That also has the benefit of making it harder for the opposition to counter your plans, since they won't know what the phrase actually means.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:25 pm

Leadership checks are easier to recognize in wargaming. Basically, you impose your will on a group of combatants to force them to acts they are resistant to, whether appeals to their character traits, like training and deference to authority, or emphasizing your own, such as said authority, charisma, submachinegun, and so on.

Checks should only need to be made when you encounter resistance, possibly due to friction; possibly, you need to go over the top with a bayonet charge, or it's clear your squad is surrounded and called to surrender.

With the player characters, unless there's an external factor, only internal ones would invoke the need to apply leadership, such as one member (or all of them) being anarchists.

Identify the primary skill or attribute to use to impose your will, and add additional ones that would contribute to a favourable outcome as boons.

Or banes, such as the squad hate your bloody guts.
Garran
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Re: Leadership

Postby Garran » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:33 pm

There's no question that Leadership would be used in those situations, but Traveller uses it more broadly than that, effectively making it an alternate for Tactics/Military or Tactics/Naval when giving orders or carrying out a plan where everyone involved is fully ready/willing.
Last edited by Garran on Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Condottiere
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Re: Leadership

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:46 pm

Image
Varulv
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Re: Leadership

Postby Varulv » Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:16 am

Our house rule, which works well for our group, is that a leadership check is a significant action, but it can be hasted to a minor action with DM -2. All boons must be distributed immediately, but the actual skill check when the boon is used can be in later combat rounds (i.e. when the order is executed).

However, I find the player’s quite reluctant to use the leadership skill since the risk for banes are so high.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Old School » Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:51 pm

Varulv wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:16 am
Our house rule, which works well for our group, is that a leadership check is a significant action, but it can be hasted to a minor action with DM -2. All boons must be distributed immediately, but the actual skill check when the boon is used can be in later combat rounds (i.e. when the order is executed).

However, I find the player’s quite reluctant to use the leadership skill since the risk for banes are so high.
I like that, although I agree that -2 DM (or give up your attack that round) is a bit scary. If I were the player I’d probably just blast away unless we really needed those boons.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Linwood » Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:59 pm

It does play into a possibly mythical story about military leadership. Back in the day before the Army phased out the M1911 (.45 pistol) in favor of 9mm, there were rumors that one of the reasons some of the Army leadership were fighting the change was they thought the new 9mm pistols were too accurate! Supposedly the reasoning was that if junior officers knew they had an accurate and reliable sidearm they’d be more inclined to play the hero rather than concentrating on actually leading the unit.

Supposedly. I have no idea if the story was true. Maybe one of our other military vets can comment. But the core thought - that there’s a difference between leading the charge on an enemy’s position and planning a unit assault by a company of Marines - is worth considering. It does make Vaulv’s house rule sound a lot more reasonable.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:06 pm

Seems unlikely, as pistols are meant for deterrence, or real close quarters gun fu.

Thirty centuries later, gaussing one up changes the equation in terms of range, hit probability, damage, and ammunition supply.
Old School
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Re: Leadership

Postby Old School » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:43 pm

Officers in combat units get a rifle too, so that doesn’t make sense.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Condottiere » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:25 pm

Anything that differentiates you, makes you a target for snipers and sharpshooters.

That seems to be one reason to integrate carbine, rifle, and squad support light machine gun into one platform.
George Kelln
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Re: Leadership

Postby George Kelln » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:17 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:25 pm
Anything that differentiates you, makes you a target for snipers and sharpshooters.

That seems to be one reason to integrate carbine, rifle, and squad support light machine gun into one platform.
Combining 3 weapons each with a specific role only gets you a weapon that average in all the roles, rather than 3 individual weapons that are designed for a specific role that is each is very good at.

Carbine - shorter barrelled weapon used by troop working in tight spots; vehicle crews, howitzer/gun crews, etc., engineers and specialists, a lighter weapon
Squad LMG - longer, heavier barrel allowing engagement at longer distance and a higher sustained rate of fire, a bipod for a stabilizer base of fire, belt fed for long rate of fire; a heavier weapon overall; and
Rifle - somewhere between the previous two, large enough calibre for stopping power, long enough barrel for an effective range, robust and simple construction for the troops using it will less educated and smash it about when using it.

All Leaders have been and always will be targets for snipers, be they Company Commanders (Majors), Platoon Commanders (Lieutenants), or Section Commanders (Sergeants); but not every troop with a rifle mounting a scope is a sniper.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:29 pm

Which is one reason rank tabs have been disguised.

The standard issue infantry rifle has degenerated into a carbine, and ammunition commonality would indicate that at least the squad automatic weapon uses the same calibre of bullets, and possibly, magazine.

So the automatic gunner is going to stand out, if not necessarily the leadership.

If an intermediate intermediate bullet is adopted, the larger new rifle could be used in the automatic fire support role, really tanking the odds for whoever is the grenadier.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Linwood » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:58 pm

Don’t know about modern-day doctrine. But the Army at one time used to preach that the automatic gunners should stay silent at the start of a firefight until high-value targets were identified. Once an LMG team opens up they tend to draw a lot of unwelcome attention.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:48 pm

Could be a reversion back to the mad minute.

I think it becomes circumstantial: well trained troops can function without leadership, militia less so, and it's probably clear who's in charge there. Then, if artillery or air support is an issue, maybe first take out the guy holding the radio, and then the one holding the rocket propelled grenade launcher.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Linwood » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:09 pm

You could make a case for saying the most powerful weapon to the present-day infantry squad is the radio....
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Re: Leadership

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:23 pm

Cyber aspect where you jam the airwaves.

Cyberpunk would have the ambushers infiltrate the squad's network.
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Re: Leadership

Postby Linwood » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:19 pm

GNSS jamming is scarier in some ways. Suddenly Unit Toto isn't in Kansas any more....

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