The Evil Grand Vizier sighed… yet ANOTHER group of rebel adventurers had been ambushing the troops, the tax payments were being plundered by thieves, the peasants had been squeezed dry, and revolt was in the very air. Normally he would have been plotting to exploit the chaos – but when you served a Dark Lord, plotters tended to have a short life expectancy! Best at the moment to actually offer useful advice…
Dread Lord Davian? The problem is twofold; hiring minions is expensive – and as those pesky rebel-adventurers defeat them, they’ll gain experience for doing so, and will become an ever greater threat to you, your Dark Lordship! Fortunately, there IS a solution… Study the arts of Leadership! That will give you everything you need – and since whatever you invest in is a part of your power, just as if you had summoned creatures, defeating THEM will not provide those pests with any precious experience points at all! Instead, your followers will become an outer layer of your personal defenses, and so they will gain nothing unless they can somehow reach and defeat YOU directly!
And the Dark Lord looked upon the Evil Grand Vizier’s advice, and it was good.
So the Dark Lord had his Evil Grand Vizier assassinated for being too unwholesomely clever by half, and took Leadership, and set to work.
Leadership gets you “followers” – potentially very exotic ones. After all, in Eclipse pretty much anything with a Challenge Rating is eligible – and Eclipse explicitly permits variants on abilities anyway.
- Do you want a lair filled with deadly traps, but lack an endless stream of gold? At least in the Dungeon Master’s Guide traps cost a FORTUNE! Well, traps have Challenge Ratings – and so you can take Leadership and fill the your lair with traps and dangerous terrain on the cheap. If you opt to specialize it and make it an immobile location, you can either take it more cheaply or get more powerful traps. If you don’t make it immobile, you can emulate the Roman Legions (who were not big on unnecessary expenses) and set up a few traps and barriers around your campsite each night. There really is no reason why a covered pit a foot deep with some pieces of sharpened wood at the bottom, a few bear traps, or some sharpened stakes stuck into the ground pointing outwards, should cost thousands of gold pieces.
- Do you want horrific undead guardians for your vaults and (eventual) tomb? Go ahead and take Leadership for those undead minions – and Specialize it (they can only be set to guarding your vaults and tomb deep underground) for double effect. That will give those cunning rogues and annoying adventurers some real trouble (and, as a plus, if they kill you any of them who can will get out to ravage the countryside… If you have to lose, at least you can make them pay!). Do you prefer other kinds of monsters, or just want to fill your cathedral (no matter what the faith) with a mass of guards, sub-priests, and aides? Leadership again, and (once again) you can Specialize it if you can’t drag your staff around with you.
- Do you wish to be a Mentor, and see your children, and perhaps your friends children, starting off as something better than an all-too-likely-to-die first level type with little or no training? Take Leadership and go ahead and give them some levels. If you can start a tradition of mentoring and get the kids to work on picking up a few levels after leaving your care you might even be able to produce a relatively stable dynasty.
- Do you want to have some intelligent items without having to worry about them arguing with you or each other? Go ahead, take Leadership and get your items imbued with some helpful spirits. Do you want a castle that can take care of itself at least a little bit while you’re away? Get a Colossal (or larger!) animated structure and perhaps some animated siege engines and minions with mending spells to defend it; the challenge ratings for animated objects are rather low. Go ahead; garrison the place with giant scorpions while you’re at it. I won’t tell.
Of course, you can use Specialized and/or Corrupted versions of Leadership to represent many other things; are you using long-term summonings to get your followers from other dimensions? Corrupted/your minions are vulnerable to banishments and the like. Are they fairly mindless? Do they have a more-or-less serious set of shared weaknesses? Are they not as loyal as they might be? Are there some spies among them or are they just prone to gossip? Specialization or Corruption again.
Don’t leave Leadership to those ungrateful player-characters, or let them ascend to ultimate power strapped to an experience-point rocket. Make them work for it by defeating your minions first! After all, if it wasn’t for the villains and monsters they’d all still be first level peons!
- Rising to the Challenge (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- D20 Failure Modes VI: Suffering Peasantry Batman! (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- d20 Failure Modes VIII – The Apollo Mission and the Old School (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- d20 Failure Modes VII – Optimus Crime (ruscumag.wordpress.com)