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Make charisma limit npc followers

Some people can get NPC minions and have some commands for them, including follow. The number of people who will agree to follow you with these commands should be based on your cha. So you can always have 1, 2 you need to have some charisma, and maybe with a lot you could do 3 or something. Extra NPCs would just be like, 'Looks like you got your hands full there' if you tried leading them.

It'd make charisma directly useful in some combat situations which is neat.

Problem with this is that not everyone leads through charm. Many leaders especially among gangers lead by strength. And strength isn't always measured with the strength stat but with their actual prowess.
I think this would help round out the fixer role in the current ganger system nicely and find more use for charisma which is always good.
@Vera

This is a brilliant use of charisma as a combat mechanic!

@troist22

I disagree. Strength alone is not leadership. You can be the strongest baka in the dome, but if you can't get people to go along with what you're saying they won't do what you ask at that critical time.

Past that though, game mechanics trump realism. This is a real and tangible use for charisma and incentivises leaders to spend UE on it instead of ignoring it.

It was my understanding that there was pretty strict OOC rules about the number of NPC followers you're allowed to use within factions.

And depending on faction, three would be completely over the top, in my opinion.

I like having more varied approaches to the ganger role so I support rewarding charisma investment like this. There should definitely be room in gangs for the guy who isn't the most amazing fighter but knows how to rally the troops.
Charisma and faction rank could both be factors, it would certainly make sense to me.

So you could have N followers up to X if you have Y charisma, and an additional Z based on rank.

It's always gonna be gated behind a minimum faction rank because of the OOC trust involved with letting PCs boss around NPCs.
3 followers would be for characters who had absurd amounts of cha for the role. They'd be at a marked disadvantage in combat compared to their peers for the same amount of UE spent.

And leading through strength is fine, you can grab your best guy and go fight people with all your super stats and your one NPC friend or you can invest in charisma instead and lead with social skills.

This would only be for the actual 'follow me' command. Everything else involving faction NPCs would function as normal. So you could hang with your boys on the corner you just couldn't take a small army with you unless there were puppets involved.

But Vera, factional NPC's automatically defend their chums.

So the follow me command isn't all that different from the ability someone to tell their NPC chum to beat down JoeBaka. In fact, you can go with your factional NPC's, punch a granny crossing the street directly in the face, and because you automatically raise your fists when getting attacked, your gaggle of NPC buddies are going to instantly gangbang them.

I'd say that I'd be in more support of this idea if there was some level of parity between factional NPC's, but the spectrum ranges from barely useful in any circumstance to tactical nuclear warhead missile. Because some NPC's are so incredibly strong compared to other faction's equivalents, there's already a balance issue at stake with the current system of only allowing players to control X NPC's. I'd worry that allowing additional NPC's would only further exasperate the issue.

I guess my final issue with the suggestion is that like, there's not an absence of reasons and places for you to go and work as someone with a high charisma score, but if you want to be a career beat'em up guy, there's a pretty fixed path. Normally I'd be all for more inclusive and diverse characters in factions, but in my mind there's a reason people should be looking to logically progress out of certain careers onto bigger and badder things, and one of those things is the ability to be someone who specializes in data gathering, or someone who specializes in fixing, and that kind of thing. Example: if you're a TERRA agent who's a dirty 'cop' who dabbles on fixing on the side, and want to become a career fixer who also has good combat abilities, we have places for those characters to aspire to work towards.

I don't see factions with factional NPC's as being the place where we want to have a wide cast of diverse characters simply because we have specialized areas elsewhere and that's in a way, stealing the bread off their plate and breaking down distinct barriers that should, thematically exist between groups. I hope I'm making sense.

Non-combat characters are very, very underserved by almost all the factions. In my time playing I've only known one character who made it to an 'end game' factional role without being heavily combat-specced in addition to whatever else they did.

Something to even out that disparity would definitely make a ton of sense, especially when you consider that the best leaders are not going to be the best fighters, they're going to be the best leaders, but Sindome is very stacked against you if you can't personally go toe-to-toe.

If you're already a good leader OOC, there's not really a lot of advantage right now to represent that through your INT and CHA stats, compared to more combat-oriented pursuits.

I'm not saying this to be contrarian, I'm just sharing my personal experiences here.

I've played successful characters who've done basically nothing but talk and do nerdy non-combat things before. Arguably the majority of topside roles cater to that very character type, even if many people still choose to take up combat skills. We also have two entire corporations with about a half dozen or so different roles each in them that are expressly non-combat oriented. Again, a topsider thing, I know.

There's also a good number of roles that aren't bartender/stripper that exist in the mix that don't involve combat in any way and sometimes sit open for months on end. And these are good, high-paying jobs with frankly AMAZING benefits. There's way more combat kind of things available in the mix, sure, but that's not at the expense of the techy things that exist. If you want to play a character that's smart, technically capable, or charismatic but also maybe has some combat skills, these roles are totally perfect for you. And obviously, those roles aren't roles where your job duty is literally smashing heads for lunch money.

Finally, regarding the leadership IC/OOC thing. When I've taken leadership roles ICly in the past, I've had staff tell me either 1) You're not qualified to be a leader based on your stats or 2) You need to heavily invest in these very not-combat oriented things to retain this role you do have. In a very direct, easily understandable way. This might not be the case for everyone, but I've certainly experienced the stat sheet check on a handful of occasions, and in my experiences, you're not seeing characters running around who are purely combat monsters in those roles without appropriate UE expenditure into 'leadership' qualities and statistics. YMMV.

Talon:

Without saying too much, the ability to lead NPCs to whatever trouble you're getting into is incredibly powerful and is VERY DIFFERENT from trouble coming to you and the gang (or whatever) jumping in to defend their territory. The first example is you creating and advancing plot, the second example is just the world being alive.

The Knife Street Serpents will defend Knife Street. They don't need convincing. It's in the job description. If you want to lead the Knife Street Serpents into the sewers to fight rats, you should probably have the stats required to convince them to come.

Making the minimum be one follower would maintain current functionality for leader characters. Gating a second or even a third follower behind a charisma requirement would allow leader characters to lead better if they had the stats for it.

I hate to double post but there's a couple of things I wanna say here:

The distinction between "combat" and "support" characters is kind of nonsensical. Many of the strongest fighters around are also very good at other things, and the idea that there's only one career track for a "combat" character or that all of these should be cookie-cutter bruisers with no other skills is also false. It doesn't reflect past or present reality and factional roles always have room to branch out of the few skills you see on the archetypes page.

Maybe I misunderstood your premise.

If you're saying that we should cut back the number of NPC's you can direct around as it is today, and only give them back based on some non-trivial stat investment, I'd wholeheartedly agree.

I'd really like to see a policy change whereby using coded NPC's to do redtext with was proportionally inversely related to the number of people in your faction.

Let's just run with the existing TERRA example. If there's a population limit of 4 people in TERRA as a organization, then when TERRA has 4 players in the faction (regardless of if they're online or not- roles filled vs. empty) you get exactly zero NPC followers. If you're the lone cowboy wearing a star on your chest (sleeve?) then sure, you get 3 NPCs to fill your faction. Maybe having that second or third takes some level of stat investment, I'd be totally okay with that.

I don't think you should be strolling around three or four people deep with a bunch of NPC's in tow though. It totally skews any combat balance favoring long-term characters to just throw a disposable army of automatically geared NPC's away in skirmishes, doubly so when that same gear literally cannot be removed from them, unlike how a player would be faring having lost all their gear. There's no winners then, even in a 'win' scenario.

If you're saying that we should cut back the number of NPC's you can direct around as it is today, and only give them back based on some non-trivial stat investment, I'd wholeheartedly agree.

This is what I was saying. Everything else is way overcomplicating shit. This would only affect the 'follow' command. NPCs would otherwise remain as they are.

I like the idea in general but I think that there are a lot of factors to consider.

Not all factions are the same. Gangers react to attacks differently than TERRA Agents and both react differently than Judges. Not all factions function the same when it comes to NPC support. I don't think you really can't apply the same standards to them all.

Beyond that different factions have different IC circumstances. Their NPCs are stated and geared differently. Their culture is different. Some lean more towards a militant org and members are expected to follow orders even if the one giving them is ugly and easy to dislike. Others lean more towards image and rep and tend to have members that are very independent who need to be convinced.

How much weight they have to throw around varies. I don't ever want to see all the factions being made equal. I prefer the more organic variety we have. I don't want Sindome to stop being an RP game and become a team based PvP combat simulator.

Also, a GM once told me that part of the reason for the current OOC limits on NPC gangers being taken off turf has to do with the backup system. If you get two huge groups of NPCs fighting each other and all shouting for backup it can literally bring the moo to it's knees. This was after I witnessed such a scenario. If I misunderstood this, I apologize but that was my takeaway from the conversation.

I also think that people need to consider that ganger RP with backup, as it is now, acts as a kind of leveler. Midbie Bob could easily trash Lowbie Sam one on one. But if each has two NPCs of similar ability helping them then the fight becomes a lot more even. Midbie still has an advantage but not to the same degree as before. If we make the number of NPCs available for backup UE dependent then we lose this leveling mechanism to some degree. Maybe that's a good thing and desired but I'd want it to be carefully considered.

Another important factor, in my opinion, is that the opposition a PC faces varies from faction to faction and this even varies depending on the character base. Gangers tend to be fairly safe on turf but more vulnerable off turf. Mixers tend to respect them unless they are in a rival gang. TERRA Agents tend to be in a constant state of danger that is, in my opinion, ever worse than a ganger being off turf. So limiting their access to NPCs further would make the role already way harder to play in a way that is anything but hiding in your apartment and collecting checks than it already is. Maybe good and maybe bad but worth thinking about.

Lastly, I am a huge fan of variety within a faction. A gang should have dips and thugs and leader types. Maybe even a medic or a decker. I've always tried to encourage this in any faction I've been a part of. I am for sure open to changes that encourage such diversity though I would also say that there are already benefits to building up a team with varied skills.

Regarding the number faction NPCs around being linked to the number of PCs in that faction as described... Not a fan of this in such a mechanical way. Not all factions are equal and I don't think they ever should be. Also, as far as I have seen and been told, it already is a factor though not in such a drastic way. When discussing the number of NPCs in various factions with a GM I was informed that there is already a limit in place and that a PC being fully in a faction counts toward that limit.

And that last part is important. How do you decide which players should be considered 'a part of the faction'. Taking gangs as an example you'd think it would be easy to define but it's really not. Sure, there are the blooded members but what about the retired members that tend to throw favors their way? What about those blooded members lovers who have decided to fully support them in everything?

It's very possible for a gang with one blooded member at midbie level to be far more powerful than three blooded members of the same levels because of all the PC support they gain from their harem or past PC members or whatever else. So determining how much PC strength any given faction has is not something I think you can easily do in a coded manner.

I don't think my idea warrants all of that. It's just a charisma check to see how many NPCs you can have following you via the automated system.
I like Vera's idea.
Again, this feel like an automation for something that is already as mentioned previously already limited in an OOC way.

I would support this if it wasn't factional, like recruiting random mixers at a rally to then ride the lev and ransack Topside or corpies going on safari. But again, its a complementary mechanic for combat and I can smell the min-max already.

I don't know, it just doesn't seem necessary.

At the same time I've never liked the faction system in its current iteration, for reasons I can't explain but as it works and how things are now, its not great.

Maybe CHA could influence it in a more direct manner like you are suggesting and provide some functionality. I feel faction could use some tweaks.

Factions could absolutely benefit from a balancing pass, but that's probably a whole other discussion in and of itself.
I think Grey0 sums up the complexities much better than I can and I agree with the take.

The truth is that not every faction is created equal, isn't filled equally and aren't expected to respond the same. Adding a charisma check to this for certain factions wouldn't make any sense.

If there's concerns about abuse or misuse, I think sticking with an xhelp/noting system to report it or have the people involved trained better from an OOC perspective would continue to work.

I do agree that certain factions need more to balance them out against their peers. There are balancing factors you can't see but it's clear that one or two are well ahead of the others in many respects and could use some love.
If we can set aside the discussion of how being able to order around # from Faction A will ultimately destroy leading # from Faction B....

I agree with @Vera that a Charisma requirement for more than one follower (N+1) is an excellent idea.

But back to the Faction A > Faction B dynamic...

Perhaps admins could limit the number of followers that the stronger faction can control for a few months (or more) until some semelance of balance and symbiosis is achieved.

I think that balance is partially something that can and should be pursued IC. A very skilled and ambitious character in a faction could help it out with plot. That goes for everything - corps, gangs, even small player-organized groups. The guys who are in a good position now are that way partly because of the contributions of notable PCs past and present.
I like the idea of Charisma playing a bigger role in things, personally. There was a Star Wars mud I used to play that had a 'reinforcements' command, and depending on your leadership level it would allow you to call in different types of reinforcements. Everyone could call in a messenger drone, while at top level leader could call in like five or six types of reinforcements, ranging from the messenger drone to elite soldiers.

I'm not saying that should be implemented here, but it definitely made the leader type characters feel like they had some clout when they could call in more elite npcs than everyone else. The number of npcs allowed to follow a person could be Sindome's version of that.