What does Leadership do?

I’ve been working on a CAG move analogous to Leadership, used to control the squadrons, and something is coming into focus. I don’t understand what the Leadership move does.

I get pack alpha. Getting your gang to behave is tough, they’re going to fight you, this how you put them down.

But, if your gang is under control, why isn’t the character in charge of them, any character just making basic moves?

  • Need your gang to stay sentry and watch out for intruders trying to sneak in? Read a sitch.
  • Need them to put the hurt on someone and get them to pay their debts? Go aggro.
  • Need them to stay the fuck out of site while you lure your enemies into an ambush? Act under fire.

It just seems to me that Leadership is superfluous unless you need it to control your gang, and that’s not exactly what leadership does. Sure, on a miss, you lose control, but on a hit you get things like “make a hard advance”. What is that? Is it going aggro? Is it seizing by force? If so why not just roll those? If not, what does it do.

In the book Vincent suggests spending hold along with using moves (his example is making hard advance and seizing by force to take a wall). But again I ask what does the Leadership part of this doing? Why couldn’t the Hardholder just roll seize be force to take the wall?

He also mentions using the gang as weapons (p.253) but that also just looks like you do basic moves with them.

What am I missing?

Also, if I’m not missing anything, what about a move like this. Strong Hands on the Rein: You can use your Military Unit (my name for gang) to perform all the basic moves. Add these to all moves. On a 7-9, you’ve got to discipline one of your soldiers after the encounter for something they did or didn’t do. On a miss, your MU has broken formation, been routed, or otherwise leaves you exposed to your enemy.

13 thoughts on “What does Leadership do?”

  1. My read was that Leadership allowed you to do things that one dude can’t do. I “make a hard advance” to take control of a refinery from its skeleton crew of guards. That’s not something that I, by myself, can seize by force.

    1. Right, but in the “uses gangs as a weapon” section of the rules it says you can use your gangs to do. Actually the example on page 255 has the Hardholder doing just that. He uses his gang to take a bunker, so he rolls seize by force.

      What the Leadership move does do, in that case, is stamp out resistance from his own gang, much like Pack Alpha does. But, ughhh, why so many rule and options to say “they do what you want” now roll to see if it works?

      Maybe this is to show that a Hardholder’s gang can only do certain things for him? Like, you want to take a wall? Sure they can do that. You want them to go hunting for some punk that owes you money? Nope, sorry that isn’t their thing.

  2. I read Leadership as a kind of combination between a super-Pack Alpha and the morale mechanic in old D&D.

    Pack Alpha comes out if/when the gang is unruly and pretty much giving you flak. With Leadership, the commands supercede any unruliness.

    I have my Hardholders roll Leadership before a battle, and in the absence of the Hardholder’s specific directions (either on the field or remotely), the gang will perform the stated action(s).

    Like a Hardholder might Seize by Force by using his gang as a weapon to take definitely hold of a bunker, but he spends a Leadership hold to say “Show mercy” even if the gang is savage.

    Or if the Hardholder picks “Stand strong against”, I will not have his gang members talk back or break ranks.

  3. The existence of a move implies that those are things that you can’t do without that move. In this case, the leadership move says to me “sure you can do these things, but it will take a series of moves, and a series of chances to fuck up or you can roll this move and do these things easily”.

    The way Colin plays it, your gang is never really under your control unless you take Leadership.

  4. I haven’t played a session yet, but from my reading, a gang is basically a weapon for causing harm, and Leadership allows you to do 1 or 3 other cool tactical things with them besides simple harm, at the risk of possible rebelliousness.

    1. Hmm. Yeah, but something doesn’t add up. So, normally with gangs you can cause harm. How do you do that? By using one of the basic moves (go aggro, seize by force, or maybe even act under fire). So then, why not just use the other basic moves to have them do other things? Want them to stand on guard duty and watch for infiltrators? Have them read a sitch. Want them to put some pressure on Joe’s Girl to give you access to her well, have them manipulate.

      So then I think, yeah but what about “other” options? Maybe leadership lets you do special thing. But besides show mercy to a fallen enemy, most of them just look like things you could do with seize by force. So, I’m still very meh on that move.

      1. If I understand it correctly, without Leadership, your only option with a gang is to go aggro. You otherwise CAN’T ask the gang to do any of those other maneuvers on their own. They aren’t, in the situations you mention, a separate pool of NPCs with their own actions, so much as an abstract representation of the PC’s influence, magnified by a gang. Sure, AW is all about making the NPCs individualized and messed up, but as a gang, they seem to have a limited scope of action. That is my reading of the rules.

        1. Cool, I’ll reread the gangs section to see. That might be it, that the moves you can do with gangs is fundementally limited. Which then makes me think, what can a cag do (specifically) with Vipers/Raptors:

          * Defend the fleet
          * Blast Cylons
          * Jam signals
          * Buy time

          And crap they get from their pilots are recklessness, insubordination, challenging their authority, etc. Stuff to throw in with a miss.

      2. Even with this reading, you’re overlooking a powerful benefit: Leadership always rolls +Hard. This means I can do all that “gang stuff” with my (presumably high) Hard score, and not have to worry about my other, lesser, stats getting magnified by the gang into huge fuck-ups.

        1. But does it? I mean, lets say you roll +hard for Leadership and spend a hold to make a hard advance.

          That advance includes running your men across a raging river, so the MC says okay, spend the hold and the guys will try it, now roll to act under fire (the fire is them getting dragged down the river) to see if they can cross it.

          In this case you’re still rolling +cool. So yeah, Hard got them to fight their base instincts and try to cross, but you’re flubbed cool roll can still mess things up big time.

          1. Not necessarily. I wouldn’t have the player roll for his guys. I would just have a bunch of them die in the crossing.

            Isn’t Apocalypse World about what _you’re_ doing? _You_ give the order. _You_ don’t control what happens after that. The MC gets to tell you what happens to all of those guys with targets on their heads that you just sent off into a dangerous situation. If you want it done right, do it yourself.

            Maybe this is Colin brain damage speaking; but I like it, dammit!

          2. Huh, I don’t think that’s Vincent’s intent. There isn’t much in the book on gangs but the examples that are in there have Keeler using Go Aggro to have her gang jump III (p. 254).

            In the next example Keeper has to use the Leadership move to make her men do a job that looks bad for them, but when they actually do it, she rolls seize by force. (p.255).

            That said, at the bottom it says “To sum up: gangs work pretty much exactly like a weapon and armor, but has it’s NPC’s personalities, and they’re the ones that suffer the harm.”

            So, maybe I’ve just misunderstood/misread. Gangs, provided they agree with you, can be used as weapons (for Go Aggro and Seize By Force). To have them do anything else (like threaten someone to manipulate them), or to make them fight against their will, you need a “Leadership” move, and it to say they can do that.

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