I'll say it again, leading is rough work.
I figured some PC leaders (and their followers) could use some insight into just what goes on in the role of a leader. Now I am simply speaking from experience and certainly not implying that my way is the 'right way' or the 'best way' by any means, but it has worked for me.
It starts when you log on, every day.
From the moment you log on, You feel a foreign presence contact your mind. Someone always needs something: a few moments of your time, a decision about a job, a question about House policies, informing you one of your men is in jail, wanting to quit the House, wanting to get paid, asking to join up with the House.
And that's in the first 10 minutes. If you collect all of these requests and add them together, you've just committed yourself (if you're lucky) to about 30 mins - 1 hour of simply handling other people's tasks. This goes on all day long, so be ready for it. There's no way around it, that is your job as the leader of the clan - a slave to your people.
I know that many people think that all you do is sit around in taverns, yucking it up with clients or nobles or smoking spice in a back den somewhere, but it's all part and partial to the leading gig. People have no idea how much work it involves micro-managing a clan of players whom all want to have fun and need -you- to provide it for them. While most leaders don't mind, the general populace should be aware at how time consuming dealing with it can be.
Keeping your followers active.
One of the main things you must do to have a happy clan is keep them active. Now, this doesn't mean you have to have an RPT every single day and create large-scale plots and events. It just means that your people need to have a sense of direction and purpose. They can only stand guard at a gate or by your side for so many hours without losing their minds and wondering what the hell they are doing when their friends are telling them on ICQ how they just escaped a horde of gith and found a cool ass cave in the desert.
Keep your men busy. Use anything that you can to give them purpose and even make up small jobs that really don't mean anything. If there are 3-5 of them around, have them go outside and do something, anything. They don't need to know why it's important, you're the boss. Tell them that we need five gith skulls. That ought to keep them busy. Have them run to Red Storm and pick up a few jugs of spiced ale for a future meeting or to head north to Luir's to see what's going on of late and continue developing relations with their people.
It does seem like a lot, but it's why players play the game. They want to build a story and have a good time. Help them reach that goal. They may die, yes, but if you are a high-level leader in your clan, I highly doubt that you're going anywhere soon and fresh meat pop up all the time in their stock leggings, pack and torch waiting for work.
Reward your followers with praise and coin.
If you want to be a clan leader for long, you'd better learn how to keep players happy. That is one of the single most important things about being a leader - knowing what players want and giving them enough to stay with you.
The best system I came up with is to reward them whenever you see them and they complete a task, in addition to a monthly wage. You may have the set the wage low if you have a lot of employees, but the fact that they will receive money in their pocket that DAY instead of waiting for some kind of monthly salary will have them logging in much more frequently for a chance at some coin.
If your guards are with you when you travel somewhere to make a little 'sid with some sales, gives them a small cut. Buy them some drinks when you're in the tavern. Allow them some time to look for 'cool eq' when you're riding through a village or town they rarely get to see. Reward them when they do things well and, in return, they will begin to look for ways to serve you instead of waiting for you to tell them.
Provide them with a good set of policies and rules that empower them to do more than spar, spar, spar all day long. Give them a schedule of things to do and guidelines with which to do them so that you're both comfortable they won't run willy nilly into the sands to their death. If you don't set up these guidelines, people WILL die. They'll do it even if you DO set up good policies - I used to call it Kohmar disease when I played Khann.
I'd JUST finish buying armor, weapons, food, water and clothing for my new hire. Went over the rules and everything and the first thing they do when I'm not around is walk straight out the damn gate and die to krath-knows-what out in the desert. Wasted MY time and MY money. That happens over and over and over and over to -any- employer. Those of you whom are employees wanting to know why you may be paid so slowly - these are exactly the type of bad apples that make we leaders wary of handing out much at all.
The burden, and responsibility, of command.
You are responsible for EVERYTHING. If a player isn't have fun. Your fault. If an Imm hasn't made that special order yet, your fault. If your employee decided that it'd be fun to storm into the Trader's Inn and slaughter the single most powerful noble lord in all of the city because they were bored and thought it be 'k00l' - guess what? It's all your fault and you may be executed or punished because of the actions of another player you had NO CONTROL OVER.
This can be the single most frustrating thing about being a leader is the dreaded contact from a noble, templar or other such authority figure demanding you come speak with them about the actions of one of your employees. I know that ICly they want to bring the matter to your attention and ask why it has occurred. Someone's head has to roll. It should NOT be that of the employer, however, as they have about as much control over the players and their ultimate decisions as you have over what shirt they're wearing in RL.
In addition to this, you are responsible when people don't get paid because they log in at odd times or infrequently. You are responsible when they aren't having as much fun as they thought they would or when they get bored or when they can't figure out for themselves how to have a good time. You are always responsible and it hangs like a weight over your head to provide these things to people in your clan.
Setting goals and planning.
So, you've recruited a group of people. They train themselves and a few of them have actually managed to stay alive for more than 2 RL weeks and you want to actually use them now. As a leader, you need to take a look at your position and see what you want, and can, accomplish. Take a large long-term goal and chop it up into little sections, then set your men and yourself in motion on a timeline you'd like to see. Email the Imm Staff on your project and what you plan to do so they can jump in and help/hinder you along the way as they see fit within the confines of the game world.
Goal: Free the dwarven slaves of the southern obsidian mines.
Step 1: Gather dwarves loyal to my cause. Train them. (ongoing)
Step 2: Establish a place of operations from which to train.
Step 3: Gather money to place bribes, hire men and get information.
Step 4: Case the mines, the guard rotations, the distance from the city.
Step 5: Meet with different nomadic tribes, asking for help.
Step 6: Meet with members of the target's enemies, asking for help.
Step 7: Meet with friends and neighbors, asking for help.
Step 8: Form a plan of attack that won't be reported to the enemy.
Step 9: Meet and gather the support of other dwarven tribes.
Step 10: Formalize the plan of attack and gather your forces.
Step 11: Set a date for the RPT, inform the Imm Staff.
Step 12: Let the RPT take its course.
Now, some of these steps may only take a few minutes while others will take RL months to handle properly. This will create a LOT of RP and direction toward a clan and its followers that gives it a drive and a reason for being. The men know the cause, they know what to do, they know why and the leader gives them the tasks they need to accomplish. You must also stay on top of everything and keep driven. Most importantly you must not DIE because if you do - almost all of your goals and planning fall apart as your employees die and leave the organization.
I could write all day about the trials and tribulations involved with being a clan leader, but I doubt anyone would want to spend the time.
Being a leader is DAMN hard work. You need to be online, attentive, diplomatic, considerate, understanding, firm, harsh, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, quick and fair all at the same time. It's not a job that anyone can do. Anything worthwhile takes time, so just put one foot in front of the other and keep things moving.
PS - AC, thanks for clarifying your point. I probably will write something up regarding clan and OOC leadership on the MUD. [/quote]