Author Topic: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face  (Read 9122 times)

Cutthroat

  • Helper
  • Posts: 4372
Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« on: May 10, 2009, 01:54:01 PM »
The Challenges Leaders Face
A Handy Guide for Players of Leaders and Aspiring Leaders

Cutthroat, why the hell are you writing this?

I didn't play as long as many people around here have, but I've been around long enough to see all kinds of leaders in game, the good and bad ones, and have experienced leading myself a few times. I'd like to think that I have seen what makes a leader good or bad in an OOC manner for a while now and have seen what leaders have to deal or struggle with.

There also isn't an article like this yet, and I think it's important to have something that consolidates all of the thoughts scattered over the GDB into one thread.

Lastly, I think the ideas of special articles are cool and beneficial because of the ideas they have and discussions they spark afterward.

Introduction

This article is based loosely off of Taven's article, "How to get Involved in Plots", particularly the "Invovling Yourself in Your Clan" part, and the "Leaders" section. However, this article will go more in-depth, exploring what playing a leader in ArmageddonMUD is like, not just when dealing with plots, but all the time in clans.

That said, special thanks goes to Taven for doing articles like this and for inspiring me to take a crack at it myself, and Helix and Fathi for contributing to that particular part which I am loosely basing this article on.

This article goes more into the challenges created by the OOC expectations of what playing a leader is about - that is, enhancing RP in your clan and area, running plots, etc. - not the IC expectations of a leader, which can be very different, and varies between each character. You can play a totally inept leader ICly, who makes mistakes and errors in judgment, as long as it brings something to the game. Bringing something to the game is that OOC expectation.

It is the best played leaders that everyone remembers, even if they were not perfect characters. I could be a nostalgic sap and begin listing folks, but you probably have a good idea of who YOUR favorite leaders are if you've been playing a few months and in different places. Just look around.

Now, for some problems the players of leaders face.

Crap, I have no idea what I'm doing here.

Sometimes leaders are thrown into the place they currently are. Maybe his Sergeant died on the last contract and he was the veteran Trooper who tried to save her life. The totally unexpected turn of events can put a character (and sometimes its player) in a bad spot.
 
Trying out leadership can be a good experience, if you're willing to make it so. Even if you have no idea what you're doing at first, it's easy to develop a love and a skill for leading. It certainly helps to lead in game if you've ever led something in life. Naturally, some people will be better leaders than others, or more willing to take charge than others.

You can have no idea what you're doing and just give up on trying, or you can do your best and see what comes of it. What do you think will be most fun for you? For others?

I don't have any (or enough) minions.

A difficult part of leadership is recruiting. However, it is also something of a snowball effect. Once you recruit a few cool people, others will want to join. Getting those first people can be tough. Most leaders will recruit ICly by posting on their city's board, then remain contactable. This requires some logging in and sometimes even tavern-sitting. For clans that don't recruit ICly (like tribes) bumping a post on the Player Announcements forum is a good way to go. Remember that OOC recruitment on the GDB for clans that do recruiting ICly is just a quick way to Moderation.

Underrecruiting is bad because, obviously, you won't get your team of minions. Also, the few minions you have will likely be bored a lot of the time. A medium-sized group of minions ensures that people will get to interact with each other in different ways.

Stop recruiting when you have a crack team of minions to do your bidding. Overrecruitment is as bad as underrecruitment, because if you overrecruit for your clan you will be strangling other clans to death. A good mix of clanned folks in an area is a lot better than one clan dominating that area (well, except for Luir's Outpost). Think about if you really need a person, or if they would be a waste of resources.

Encourage the minions you recruit to spend time in taverns together. When an independent guy looking for employment sees 8 PCs at the Gaj, and 6 are from the T'zai Byn, while the other two are AoD, when there are 10 people in both clans, the T'zai Byn is going to look a lot more full and active than the AoD, especially if this distribution in the Gaj is consistent. Players of unemployed characters are generally attracted to active clans because it ensures a good place to play.

And make sure your recruiting makes sense! There are clans who accept any person with 300 coins, and there are the noble houses that are generally a lot more selective. Your character may have a specific philosophy on picking out some people. Generally, stick to what makes sense.

I have trouble finding things for my minions to do.

Every clan has a specific set of activities everyone can do. Sparring, hunting, guarding, patrolling, etc. Do them, and do them often. Keep everyone involved in work. Use 'who c' if your clan is blessed with this feature, or spam 'contact' on everyone you're clanned with and get them together so everyone can have fun. Set up schedules that will bring your minions to a certain place at a certain time and reveal themselves. Then plan out RPTs once in a while to do something really special. The idea is to keep everyone involved in some long-term, solid activities, so that there is something to fall back on when things aren't particularly interesting one day.

Another interesting concept is doing a normal clan activity with a similar, allied clan. The leaders of two clans can work together, letting their minions train with each other and such. It works out for everyone, and helps build interesting relationships.

There are some things your leader will simply not touch, perhaps to protect their reputation, or because they cannot do it, or whatever. A "Quest" for the purpose of this article is some mission or request for your minion to do something. Most quests involve collecting something, and bringing it back, whether it is a flower or a head. However, it's a waste of time if that thing doesn't go to good use. That is why the quest should tie into a larger plot. The quest will be boring for the minion if it isn't challenging, or if it seems like a suicide mission. Therefore, it should be set to a difficulty level appropriate to the minion's level of skill.

An awesome example of a quest where I was the minion, from over a year ago:

Leader tells minion to go sneak around (the difficult part)...
...and pull a lock of hair from a couple of people (the collection)...
...so that the hair might be used to curse the people (the larger plot).

Here's why it was awesome: it was difficult because I had to prepare a lot for it - not just getting better at sneak and hide, but preparing a proper ninja outfit, a safehouse to store said ninja outfit, an exit strategy after I grabbed the goods, and a way to change out of my ninja outfit into my normal gear without anyone being the wiser. The larger plot around it made the minion feel useful and good.

Also, everything fell together. Without any of those parts, the rest of the quest would have been boring and/or meaningless. You can even withhold the information about the larger plot until the minion has completed the collection.

Lastly, leaders and minions can find it very enjoyable to surpass or stay on top of other leaders, while protecting their minions from dangerous forces. Resolving a conflict comes in many forms: bribery, politicking, and sometimes, a murder (or a murderous rampage). Make enemies, and friends to assist in destroying or subjugating your enemies.

I have minions, but the players seem bored when I give their characters things to do.

First of all, are you sure they are bored? Randomly logging out often can be a sure sign of boredom, but sometimes there's just no time to play. Feel free to ask on the clan boards for their honest opinion on if players of minions are satisfied with what they get to do.

A forced approach to clan activity is not supposed to be applied 100% of the time. For maximum fun, give your minions some leeway to do things they like to do, or things that could be fun that is not along the grain of what the clan usually does for work.

You know how some familes get together on a Friday night to play Scrabble or something (at least on TV :()?

Replace families with clans. Friday with Detal. And Scrabble with Kruth.

Or anything, really. It just has to be fun (ideas: drinking, brawling, or just sitting around and chatting about something). And preferably, not anything having to do with what you normally do as a clan already (like sparring, patrolling, etc). This develops relationships between you and your minions, and between minions and other minions. It also helps minions to build a set of hobbies, so they are not just Soldier #6969 or Mercenary #420, but "the guy who won the last Kruth game", and "th' lass who ended up spendin' th' 'ole pot from tha' game on thongs".

Look at the games that Zalathans play that are listed on the main site, or make something up if you are feeling creative. Do competitions to see who is the best boxer/Kruth player/hunter and so on and so forth.

Also, you will be doing the players of your minions a big disservice and possibly bore them if you can never be found. While it certainly helps to have a lot of time to play, not everyone does. Playing regularly is far more important than playing often. Make sure you can be found at the days and times you post on a roll call thread in your clan forum. Even if you only play two hours a day, if you play during the same two hours each day, you're doing great.

Sometimes you can be online and uncontactable. Barrier is an obvious one. What I am really talking about is doing things that will make you extremely hard for your minions to find you, either accidentally or on purpose. That said, don't worry excessively about pleasing your clan. Obviously, every person needs their private time (for sleep, mudsex, drinking, mudsex, cuddling, mudsex, smoking, etc) but don't let your private time take up all your playing time. Spend some time in public or within sight or reach of your minions so you can do leadery things.

I have minions, but I'm bored when they are not logged in.

Be a character first. Then a (noble/sergeant/templar/agent/sorcerer-king) second.

"Well, duh," you say. "How does this help with my boredom?!"

If you are good at making personal goals for your character you are doing great. Now, as a leader, you have to make sure to not forget those while you are doing leadership things. It will help a lot in ensuring your role stays fresh even when ther are no minions logged in. Have something to focus on when things are slow in your clan. Some ideas:

A lover.
A(n) <item type> collection.
A hobby of some sort.
A focus.
A personal goal.
A secret desire (training to become the best warrior ever, eat babies, etc.)
Anything else a person would want!

It is these and your character traits that will keep your minions interested in you for more than your leadership, and it will (hopefully!) keep you interested as well when they are not around.

And not just the minions will be interested in your character, if you can provide a good standard of RP for everyone to follow. If you're that Allanaki templar striking fear into the hearts of your Highlord's people, or the Tuluki noble who is the patron of bards and hirer of assassins, or the Kuraci agent making sure the people of the Labyrinth get their spice fix... you're bound to draw players to you, which means fun opportunities to roleplay for yourself and for others.

Being a leader is hard work and/or stressful, or it's generally boring.

Ah, but it doesn't have to be.

It takes a special (crazy? maybe) person to 'like' to lead a group of people, each with their own problems and needs. On top of that, you have to report in to staff about what you intend to do on a regular basis. It's just like a career in life - you can do something you enjoy doing, or you can do something you hate, yet feel obligated to do.

"But which one do I choose?"

Keep in mind that this is a game. If you hate doing something, guess what - you don't have to do it! You coordinate with your staff and other characters and store. But it is also a good idea to give leadership a fair shake if you think you don't like it, because you just may end up liking it after a while. All too often I see people who complain about leaders and leading something themselves, either on the GDB or just around, and I chuckle a little inside because most of the time, you are not forced to lead at all, ever. It is, however, possible to become better at leading and make leadership more enjoyable, if you desire.

If it's because of IG things or other players, then you can work to correct that IG. If it's because of staff, then you should prboably cue them in to more things you are planning, so they can help you out.

Feel free to post comments in this thread.

Riev

  • Posts: 5544
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2009, 02:08:09 PM »
Stop recruiting when you have a crack team of minions to do your bidding. Overrecruitment is as bad as underrecruitment, because if you overrecruit for your clan you will be strangling other clans to death. A good mix of clanned folks in an area is a lot better than one clan dominating that area (well, except for Luir's Outpost). Think about if you really need a person, or if they would be a waste of resources.

This is something I tend to see a lot of, during those sin wave populations for clans. Suddenly, that one house has -everyone- in the city, because it seems Oash is hiring a lot of people and paying good money. Well, that means that the person who joined Kadius doesn't have as many people to recruit from.


I don't get many chances to act like a leader, but I think the "Give the minions you DO have goals." is the best part here. Make your recruits recruit more people, instead of just you. Have a minion bring you six carru steaks, and don't tell them it is for their promotion party. Whatever it may be, they need to do SOMETHING. But as a leader, it isn't easy to think of goals another player wants to do. This is especially difficult if your minions are newbie players (as often the Byn is) and might not WANT to go out and spam list at the bazaar.

Using Clan Boards was also a good idea. Cutthroat, excellent post here, and I hope more people comment.
Masks are the Armageddon equivalent of Ed Hardy shirts.

Maso

  • Posts: 3772
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2009, 02:19:08 PM »
This is a good post, thank you. The biggest failing I have when playing a leadership role is keeping myself entertained above and beyond being a slave for my 'minions'. Either I have no minions and I'm bored out of my mind or I have a ton and I can't keep them all happy/entertained/busy. It's a hard balancing act but hopefully I will get it right one day. It's nice to have a good thread that compiles all the information that needs to be kept in mind.
Quote
emote pees into your eyes deeply

I don't always act superior... but when I do it's on the forums of a text-based game

Synthesis

  • Posts: 9813
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2009, 02:31:53 PM »
"When in doubt, take them out."

They might regret it, but hey, at least they won't be bored.
Quote from: WarriorPoet
I play this game to pretend to chop muthafuckaz up with bone swords.
Quote from: Smuz
I come to the GDB to roleplay being deep and wise.
Quote from: Vanth
Synthesis, you scare me a little bit.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 7997
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2009, 02:31:54 PM »
1. Not all clanned leadership roles "require" that you have clanned employees (some do). It helps keep the clan property populated and feeling more "alive" than if you're there by yourself. However, unless an IMM specifies it's required, there's nothing wrong with having "unclanned minions." You want to keep other players busy and involved. If that means clanning them, great. If it means having them be unclanned minions, also great.

2. If your role requires that you do things -in addition- to hiring people, bear in mind - the more people you hire, the less time you'll have to do those other things. OR...the more you do those other things, the less time you'll spend with your employees. Deligating is great, unless you don't have anyone competent enough to delegate things to yet. Then you're stuck doing it all and hoping your new hires don't all decide to ask you stupid questions or pull stupid pranks or lose unimportant things or question your authority, all at the same time, while you're trying to actually accomplish something.

3. There will be days when you wonder, as a leader, "why do I bother?" And that's okay. Take the day off. Go garden, or ride your bike, or have sex, or watch TV, or read a book, or cuddle your baby daughter. If the world of Zalanthas blows up without you, then obviously you were doing something right and you can pat yourself on the back when you return. If it doesn't blow up without you, it means you got yourself a well deserved break for teaching your minions how to maintain your empire for a day.
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Cutthroat

  • Helper
  • Posts: 4372
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2009, 02:44:48 PM »
\Whatever it may be, they need to do SOMETHING. But as a leader, it isn't easy to think of goals another player wants to do. This is especially difficult if your minions are newbie players (as often the Byn is) and might not WANT to go out and spam list at the bazaar.

Yeah, it can be tough sometimes. I think the best idea is to give minions a variety of things to do so you can figure out what they can do best or in the most efficient way. This is usually the thing they have the most fun doing.

The biggest failing I have when playing a leadership role is keeping myself entertained above and beyond being a slave for my 'minions'. Either I have no minions and I'm bored out of my mind or I have a ton and I can't keep them all happy/entertained/busy. It's a hard balancing act but hopefully I will get it right one day.

It's definitely tough to manage, but I think it's a skill a person acquires over time. I don't even think I have it 100% right, but if you think you're capable of it eventually, then you probably are.

"When in doubt, take them out."

They might regret it, but hey, at least they won't be bored.

I'd see this as a last resort, but yeah, it's an option.

edit Oh, did you mean take them out as in kill them or take them out as in take them for a ride outside of the city? lol. If it's the latter I totally agree. *facepalms*

1. Not all clanned leadership roles "require" that you have clanned employees (some do). It helps keep the clan property populated and feeling more "alive" than if you're there by yourself. However, unless an IMM specifies it's required, there's nothing wrong with having "unclanned minions." You want to keep other players busy and involved. If that means clanning them, great. If it means having them be unclanned minions, also great.

2. If your role requires that you do things -in addition- to hiring people, bear in mind - the more people you hire, the less time you'll have to do those other things. OR...the more you do those other things, the less time you'll spend with your employees. Deligating is great, unless you don't have anyone competent enough to delegate things to yet. Then you're stuck doing it all and hoping your new hires don't all decide to ask you stupid questions or pull stupid pranks or lose unimportant things or question your authority, all at the same time, while you're trying to actually accomplish something.

3. There will be days when you wonder, as a leader, "why do I bother?" And that's okay. Take the day off. Go garden, or ride your bike, or have sex, or watch TV, or read a book, or cuddle your baby daughter. If the world of Zalanthas blows up without you, then obviously you were doing something right and you can pat yourself on the back when you return. If it doesn't blow up without you, it means you got yourself a well deserved break for teaching your minions how to maintain your empire for a day.

I agree with you everywhere.

1. Definitely true. The patron/partisan system is a good example of this. Buying crafts or grebbed supplies from independents or independent groups is also good.
2. Also true. It takes a while to build up to the point where you can ICly kick back and supervise.
3. Taking a break for some time can be refreshing and it gives the player-leader less to worry about.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 02:57:29 PM by Cutthroat »

Synthesis

  • Posts: 9813
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2009, 03:19:19 PM »

"When in doubt, take them out."

They might regret it, but hey, at least they won't be bored.

I'd see this as a last resort, but yeah, it's an option.

edit Oh, did you mean take them out as in kill them or take them out as in take them for a ride outside of the city? lol. If it's the latter I totally agree. *facepalms*

Ha, I meant the latter.  Of course, given the nature of Zalanthan nature...the latter can quickly turn into the former, hence the advisory about "regret."  :)
Quote from: WarriorPoet
I play this game to pretend to chop muthafuckaz up with bone swords.
Quote from: Smuz
I come to the GDB to roleplay being deep and wise.
Quote from: Vanth
Synthesis, you scare me a little bit.

Reiloth

  • Posts: 4543
    • Corpse Pose: B&W Film Photography
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2009, 04:53:56 PM »
I think another important aspect of being a "Big Dog Leader" is letting the little dogs have a crack at some parts of your leadership role as well.

One of my favorite characters, Olath, was made a 'surveryor' of new Recruits in the Legions under Sergeant Ferathule. It was awesome -- Because I had been around for a little while, but not long enough to be a Private. However -- I was in charge of reporting -everything- about new recruits and their activities to the Sergeant, as well as lead training exercises when no Privates were around. So -- It showed the Sergeant how capable I was of following orders, and giving orders as well.

Nobles would do well to give that choice, well-played minion PC a promotion, and let him / her be responsible for the lower minions. Then -- You will not feel like you need to entertain -everyone- in your clan. They will see a meeting with you in person as being a privelage, rather than a neccessity.
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

ibusoe

  • Posts: 519
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2009, 07:21:16 PM »
I liked this article.

RogueGunslinger

  • Posts: 19107
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2009, 01:16:53 AM »
How to be an bad, manipulative, and altogether despicable leader.

Step 1: Forget your minions names. Give them your own, the more demeaning the better.

             Examples: Latrine slug, 'gicker licker, necker fecker.

Step 2: Send minions on random, meaningless missions to trust their trustworthiness.

             Examples: Steal Noble-fancypants underwear, fetch thirty rotten ginka fruits

Step 3: Never take advice from your minions, instead use their ideas as if you had thought of them yourself.

Step 4: Have anyone remotely suspected of treachery, killed, to serve as an example.

Step 5: Pay little, but promise fat rewards in the future, as well as better positions.

Step 6: Spend all money gained on booze and spice.

Step 7: ...

Taven

  • Helper
  • Posts: 2185
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2009, 08:56:37 PM »
This is an awesome article. Also, my article format is slowly taking over the GDB. Bwahahaa.

...Yeah, that's all I had to say. Carry on.
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Tuannon

  • Posts: 1338
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2009, 12:11:31 AM »
You forgot about cruel punishments for imagined offenses Gunslinger.

Not just execution for actual offenses.

Armaddict

  • Posts: 6192
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2009, 12:20:49 AM »
I'd say punishments altogether being appropriate for offenses.

I once had a character declanned and hunted down and killed despite being completely loyal, doing exactly as told, and contributing in any way possible...but he was a loner, and a smartass.  As a half-elf.  Go figure.
She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together. --J.D. Salinger

Sephiroto

  • Posts: 2830
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2009, 01:05:51 AM »
One challenge I faced as a leader was figuring out what the heck was actually going on between people.  This was particularly difficult when dealing with criminals and alleged criminals as a Templar.  I found that without omnipotent powers it was almost impossible to prove someone guilty of a crime.  Relying on intuition all the time would have been a poor choice...because a lot of innocent people would have been jailed/tortured/executed as a result.

The most guilt-ridden experience I had evolved from a situation that arose when a certain PC came to me after being mugged stating his friend had also been killed.  After questioning of this PC I was able to identify a suspect.  A few RL days later I got information from this same PC that he had seen the alleged subject break into an apartment and commit some theft or something like that.  After further investigation I learned a crime had in fact taken place and another PC had almost been killed.  That was the last straw.  I tracked down the suspect of the crimes, captured him, interrogated him, and made him go away.  I was relieved that the criminal was dealt with and was confident that I had rid the world of some small evil.

A few RL days later attacks and thefts on people around the earlier, said PC begin to happen again.  Long story short, this supposedly trustworthy PC was framing other PC's and the "suspect" that had been offed earlier wasn't quite as guilty as he appeared to have been.

Now, while this is an awesome example of Zalanthan murder, corruption, and batrayal.....I the player felt very guilty about offing an innocent PC even though I knew none the better.  From that point on it was a challenge to deal justice because holding the future of PCs in balance is a tough responsibility and making accurate decisions is a challenge.

a strange shadow

  • Posts: 3499
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2009, 01:19:24 AM »
While I can sympathize with the sentiment, the accurate decision is the one your character would make.

Innocent deaths are par for the course on Zalanthas.

Zoltan

  • Posts: 3496
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2009, 11:59:46 AM »
Recruit new clannies like a boss
Wrangle noobs like a boss
Dole out equipment like a boss
Manage finances like a boss
Negotiate contracts like a boss
Arrange RPTs like a boss
Hit on the runner like a boss
Get rejected like a boss
Gotta spar now like a boss
And drop some discipline like a boss
Go on contract like a boss
Replace dead clannies like a boss
Get burned out like a boss
Report to staff like a boss

There are some of the challenges a leader can face. I couldn't resist.

Good article, by the way.
Trunk
 hidden by 'body/torso'
 hides nipples

flurry

  • Posts: 3363
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2009, 12:48:57 PM »
Good article, good comments. I've always found the most challenging part of being a leader is having plots going that are going to keep people busy and motivated. When that's working, the rest seems to fall into place pretty well.
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." - Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

Semper

  • Posts: 1091
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2009, 01:14:13 PM »
...I've always found the most challenging part of being a leader is having plots going that are going to keep people busy and motivated...
"And all around is the desert; a corner of the mournful kingdom of sand."
   - Pierre Loti

Agent_137

  • Posts: 5532
    • a crapy clawn
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2009, 06:42:31 PM »
How to be an bad, manipulative, and altogether despicable leader.
Step 4: Have anyone remotely suspected of treachery, killed, to serve as an example.

PLEASE DON'T. come up with more creative ways that hurt the PC and engender story and don't twink abuse your IC power for your own PK excitement. (i.e. torture, maiming, selling into slavery, turning into the opposite city state, ditching in the desert, sending on increasingly impossible missions until they DO rebel and -then- you can torture them)

the rest of the ways would be a lot of fun to experience as a player, if not a PC.

Aruven

  • Posts: 2522
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2009, 04:09:24 AM »
Recruit new clannies like a boss
Wrangle noobs like a boss
Dole out equipment like a boss
Manage finances like a boss
Negotiate contracts like a boss
Arrange RPTs like a boss
Hit on the runner like a boss
Get rejected like a boss
Gotta spar now like a boss
And drop some discipline like a boss
Go on contract like a boss
Replace dead clannies like a boss
Get burned out like a boss
Report to staff like a boss

There are some of the challenges a leader can face. I couldn't resist.

Good article, by the way.

I'm still the biggest boss that you've seen thus far.

...What's, leadership precious?...

I'm reluctant to actually take a leadership role IG, because in all instances, having a low scale leadership position, patrols and such don't normally cause problems but... this one time, in zalanthas, I finally felt bad for some of the lower level folk getting bored and led a patrol. And, this bahamet came trampling out of a nightmare and fucked some shit up. So, I work on trying to interact with the specific enviroment around my character in general, to keep other clan members amused in safe zones. (gambling, drinking nights, random super crack down on drills, coming up with competition and rivalries between myself and other members, be it personal or actual events)

I suppose I'll attack everyone from the minion point of view. I've never been really discontent with my leaders IC, well, there was this one clan that's estate got annihilated that I just sat in for like... four years and got pissed with but, that's another story entirely.

Its understandable that leaders can't always have something for you to do. They're players, and I think everyone struggles day to day with throwing out ideas for plots and roleplay. I'm content just seeing some interaction, and them coming to you for possible ideas when they're really drained. Long as minions know they aren't forgotten in all matters, we're pretty happy.



« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 04:12:44 AM by Aruven »

Cutthroat

  • Helper
  • Posts: 4372
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2009, 01:44:17 PM »
I'll take more suggestions and comments, but for now I'm going to start working the current suggestions into a second draft of the article.

Thank you!

Cutthroat

  • Helper
  • Posts: 4372
Re: Article: The Challenges Leaders Face
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2009, 08:37:45 AM »
This is version two. Keeping the original post rather than editing the post and replacing it with this one so people can compare/contrast. Sent!

Differences:
- Added Synthesis' suggestion about outdoors excursions in "I have trouble finding things for my minions to do" section.
- Added Lizzie's suggestions about unclanned minions, about the drawbacks of recruiting too many people and delegating and taking breaks.
- Added Reiloth's suggestions about delegating.
- Bolded some more things for emphasis.
- Took out a reference to 'who c'.

Credits:
Special thanks goes to Taven for doing articles like this and for inspiring me to take a crack at it myself, and Helix and Fathi for contributing to that particular part which I am loosely basing this article on. Synthesis, Lizzie, and Reiloth made suggestions that helped me make this article.

The Challenges Leaders Face
A Handy Guide for Players of Leaders and Aspiring Leaders

Cutthroat, why are you writing this?

I didn't play as long as many people around here have, but I've been around long enough to see all kinds of leaders in game, the good and bad ones, and have experienced leading myself a few times. I'd like to think that I have seen what makes a leader good or bad in an OOC manner for a while now and have seen what leaders have to deal or struggle with.

There also isn't an article like this yet, and I think it's important to have something that consolidates all of the thoughts scattered over the GDB into one thread.

Lastly, I think the ideas of special articles are cool and beneficial because of the ideas they have and discussions they spark afterward.

Introduction

This article is based loosely off of Taven's article, "How to get Involved in Plots", particularly the "Invovling Yourself in Your Clan" part, and the "Leaders" section. However, this article will go more in-depth, exploring what playing a leader in ArmageddonMUD is like, not just when dealing with plots, but all the time in clans.

This article goes more into the challenges created by the OOC expectations of what playing a leader is about - that is, enhancing RP in your clan and area, running plots, etc. - not the IC expectations of a leader, which can be very different, and varies between each character. You can play a totally inept leader ICly, who makes mistakes and errors in judgment, as long as it brings something to the game. Bringing something to the game is that OOC expectation.

It is the best played leaders that everyone remembers, even if they were not perfect characters. I could be a nostalgic sap and begin listing folks, but you probably have a good idea of who YOUR favorite leaders are if you've been playing a few months and in different places. Just look around.

Now, for some problems the players of leaders face.

I have no idea what I'm doing here.

Sometimes leaders are thrown into the place they currently are. Maybe his Sergeant died on the last contract and he was the veteran Trooper who tried to save her life. The totally unexpected turn of events can put a character (and sometimes its player) in a bad spot.
 
Trying out leadership can be a good experience, if you're willing to make it so. Even if you have no idea what you're doing at first, it's easy to develop a love and a skill for leading. It certainly helps to lead in game if you've ever led something in life. Naturally, some people will be better leaders than others, or more willing to take charge than others.

You can have no idea what you're doing and just give up on trying, or you can do your best and see what comes of it. What do you think will be most fun for you? For others?

I don't have any (or enough) minions.

A difficult part of leadership is recruiting. However, it is also something of a snowball effect. Once you recruit a few cool people, others will want to join. Getting those first people can be tough. Most leaders will recruit ICly by posting on their city's board, then remain contactable. This requires some logging in and sometimes even tavern-sitting. For clans that don't recruit ICly (like tribes) bumping a post on the Player Announcements forum is a good way to go. Remember that OOC recruitment on the GDB for clans that do recruiting ICly is just a quick way to Moderation.

Underrecruiting is bad because, obviously, you won't get your team of minions. Also, the few minions you have will likely be bored a lot of the time. A medium-sized group of minions ensures that people will get to interact with each other in different ways.

Stop recruiting when you have a crack team of minions to do your bidding. Overrecruitment is as bad as underrecruitment, because if you overrecruit for your clan you will be strangling other clans to death. Another effect of overrecruiting is that they will all keep you busy unless you have an underling boss to take care of them. A good mix of clanned folks in an area is a lot better than one clan dominating that area (well, except for Luir's Outpost). Think about if you really need a person, or if they would be a waste of resources.

Encourage the minions you recruit to spend time in taverns together and take part in the recruitment process if they're competent enough. When an independent guy looking for employment sees 8 PCs at the Gaj, and 6 are from the T'zai Byn, while the other two are AoD, when there are 10 people in both clans, the T'zai Byn is going to look a lot more full and active than the AoD, especially if this distribution in the Gaj is consistent. Players of unemployed characters are generally attracted to active clans because it ensures a good place to play.

And make sure your recruiting makes sense! There are clans who accept any person with 300 coins, and there are the noble houses that are generally a lot more selective. Your character may have a specific philosophy on picking out some people. Generally, stick to what makes sense.
 
Lastly, hiring on independent mercenary-types is a good way to get loyal people to work for you as well as keep them free for others to use. Your minions don't necessarily have to be clanned. A good example of this is a Tuluki patronage, but hiring able people to complete tasks is possible anywhere and everywhere.

I have trouble finding things for my minions to do.

Every clan has a specific set of activities everyone can do. Sparring, hunting, guarding, patrolling, etc. Do them, and do them often. Keep everyone involved in work. Spam 'contact' on everyone you're clanned with and get them together so everyone can have fun. Set up schedules that will bring your minions to a certain place at a certain time and reveal themselves. Then plan out RPTs once in a while to do something really special. The idea is to keep everyone involved in some long-term, solid activities, so that there is something to fall back on when things aren't particularly interesting one day.
 
A very easy activity if your clan allows for it is a ride outside of the city or camp. It can be a patrol, a hunting party, or whatever else makes sense for your clan, and it's easy to organize on a whim.

Another interesting concept is doing a normal clan activity with a similar, allied clan. The leaders of two clans can work together, letting their minions train with each other and such. It works out for everyone, and helps build interesting relationships.

There are some things your leader will simply not touch, perhaps to protect their reputation, or because they cannot do it, or whatever. A "Quest" for the purpose of this article is some mission or request for your minion to do something. Most quests involve collecting something, and bringing it back, whether it is a flower or a head. However, it's a waste of time if that thing doesn't go to good use. That is why the quest should tie into a larger plot. The quest will be boring for the minion if it isn't challenging, or if it seems like a suicide mission. Therefore, it should be set to a difficulty level appropriate to the minion's level of skill.

An awesome example of a quest where I was the minion, from over a year ago:

Leader tells minion to go sneak around (the difficult part)...
...and pull a lock of hair from a couple of people (the collection)...
...so that the hair might be used to curse the people (the larger plot).

Here's why it was awesome: it was difficult because I had to prepare a lot for it - not just getting better at sneak and hide, but preparing a proper ninja outfit, a safehouse to store said ninja outfit, an exit strategy after I grabbed the goods, and a way to change out of my ninja outfit into my normal gear without anyone being the wiser. The larger plot around it made the minion feel useful and good.

Also, everything fell together. Without any of those parts, the rest of the quest would have been boring and/or meaningless. You can even withhold the information about the larger plot until the minion has completed the collection.

Allowing your upper-level minions to take part in leading the lower-level minions and doing some of your tasks means more ideas will be thrown around about what can be done, and it means you can do more important things.

Lastly, leaders and minions can find it very enjoyable to surpass or stay on top of other leaders, while protecting their minions from dangerous forces. Resolving a conflict comes in many forms: bribery, politicking, and sometimes, a murder (or a murderous rampage). Make enemies, and friends to assist in destroying or subjugating your enemies.

I have minions, but the players seem bored when I give their characters things to do.

First of all, are you sure they are bored? Randomly logging out often can be a sure sign of boredom, but sometimes there's just no time to play. Feel free to ask on the clan boards for their honest opinion on if players of minions are satisfied with what they get to do.

A forced approach to clan activity is not supposed to be applied 100% of the time. For maximum fun, give your minions some leeway to do things they like to do, or things that could be fun that is not along the grain of what the clan usually does for work.

You know how some familes get together on a Friday night to play Scrabble or something (at least on TV :()?

Replace families with clans. Friday with Detal. And Scrabble with Kruth.

Or anything, really. It just has to be fun (ideas: drinking, brawling, or just sitting around and chatting about something). And preferably, not anything having to do with what you normally do as a clan already (like sparring, patrolling, etc). This develops relationships between you and your minions, and between minions and other minions. It also helps minions to build a set of hobbies, so they are not just Soldier #6969 or Mercenary #420, but "the guy who won the last Kruth game", and "th' lass who ended up spendin' th' 'ole pot from tha' game on thongs".

Look at the games that Zalathans play that are listed on the main site, or make something up if you are feeling creative. Do competitions to see who is the best boxer/Kruth player/hunter and so on and so forth.

Also, you will be doing the players of your minions a big disservice and possibly bore them if you can never be found. While it certainly helps to have a lot of time to play, not everyone does. Playing regularly is far more important than playing often. Make sure you can be found at the days and times you post on a roll call thread in your clan forum. Even if you only play two hours a day, if you play during the same two hours each day, you're doing great.

Sometimes you can be online and uncontactable. Barrier is an obvious one. What I am really talking about is doing things that will make you extremely hard for your minions to find you, either accidentally or on purpose. That said, don't worry excessively about pleasing your clan. Obviously, every person needs their private time (for sleep, mudsex, drinking, mudsex, cuddling, mudsex, smoking, etc) but don't let your private time take up all your playing time. Spend some time in public or within sight or reach of your minions so you can do leadery things.

I have minions, but I'm bored when they are not logged in.

Be a character first. Then a (noble/sergeant/templar/agent/sorcerer-king) second.

"Well, duh," you say. "How does this help with my boredom?!"

If you are good at making personal goals for your character you are doing great. Now, as a leader, you have to make sure to not forget those while you are doing leadership things. It will help a lot in ensuring your role stays fresh even when ther are no minions logged in. Have something to focus on when things are slow in your clan. Some ideas:

A lover.
A(n) <item type> collection.
A hobby of some sort.
A focus.
A personal goal.
A secret desire (training to become the best warrior ever, eat babies, etc.)
Anything else a person would want!

It is these and your character traits that will keep your minions interested in you for more than your leadership, and it will (hopefully!) keep you interested as well when they are not around.

And not just the minions will be interested in your character, if you can provide a good standard of RP for everyone to follow. If you're that Allanaki templar striking fear into the hearts of your Highlord's people, or the Tuluki noble who is the patron of bards and hirer of assassins, or the Kuraci agent making sure the people of the Labyrinth get their spice fix... you're bound to draw players to you, which means fun opportunities to roleplay for yourself and for others.

Being a leader is hard work and/or stressful, or it's generally boring.

Ah, but it doesn't have to be.

It takes a special (crazy? maybe) person to 'like' to lead a group of people, each with their own problems and needs. On top of that, you have to report in to staff about what you intend to do on a regular basis. It's just like a career in life - you can do something you enjoy doing, or you can do something you hate, yet feel obligated to do.

"But which one do I choose?"

Keep in mind that this is a game. If you hate doing something, guess what - you don't have to do it! You take a short break to do something else and see if that helps, or you coordinate with your staff and other characters and store. But it is also a good idea to give leadership a fair shake if you think you don't like it, because you just may end up liking it after a while. All too often I see people who complain about leaders and leading something themselves, either on the GDB or just in life, and I chuckle a little inside because most of the time, you are not forced to lead at all, ever. It is, however, possible to become better at leading and make leadership more enjoyable, if you desire.

If it's because of IG things or other players, then you can work to correct that IG. If it's because of staff, then you should prboably cue them in to more things you are planning, so they can help you out.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2009, 04:06:12 PM by Cutthroat »