What is the origin of the Leadership concept in D&D?

In 3.5 D&D there is a Leadership Feat. It allows you to gain a cohort and some followers, a whole bunch of followers if your score is high enough.

But, what is the origin of this Leadership concept in D&D, where did this idea of leading a whole group of people come from, and why is this even an option given that most games seem to revolve around only the player characters rather than characters + groupies? That would be a whole lot of people to keep track of if every player character was a leader!

I would like to know about the background and history of this concept in D&D, or is it new to the 3.5 edition?

Do you have to pay the cohort and followers you get via the leadership feat?

I have been looking at the Leadership feat and there doesn’t seem to be anything that says whether you are supposed to pay your cohort. Torchbearer feats description implies that you are supposed to pay your followers under normal circumstances however it doesn’t mention anything definitive.

Unlike other hirelings, a torchbearer requires no compensation for her services as long as her employer has this feat; the opportunity to train under a hardened adventurer is reward enough for most torchbearers.

So do you have to pay your cohort/followers or do they just follow you around because of your extreme leadership skills?

What’s so broken about Leadership?

The Leadership feat is so widely accepted as game-breaking that I feel no need to even source it. However, upon rereading the feat’s description in the SRD, it’s not immediately obvious to me that it’s a game-breaker. It’s clearly powerful if optimized around, but it doesn’t seem obviously broken enough to earn its reputation. At face value, it barely appears to do anything until you’re approaching the mid/high levels. So what is it about the feat that earned its reputation as a game-breaker?

Note: The description of the feat in the SRD is rather complex. I suspect that a good answer will need to break down what the feat does before explaining either why that is in itself broken or how that can be broken.

How does Leadership work for a Vigilante?

I’m interested in playing a Vigilante character specializing in Leadership. The Vigilante class has the Dual Identity extraordinary ability, which gives them a social identity (Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, Clark Kent or Oliver Queen) and a vigilante identity (Batman, Spiderman, Superman or the Green Arrow, respectively). Amazingly, these two identities can have different (but not opposite) alignments and are often treated as entirely different people. But how would this work with Leadership?

Would a Vigilante have a single Leadership score (as implied by RAW by lack of a rule), or would the Vigilante have two separate Leadership scores (as implied thematically): one for the vigilante identity and one for the social identity?

IF the Vigilante’s identities have separate Leadership scores…:

  • …How would this depend on feats/traits that affect the Leadership score, such as certain variants of the Noble Scion feat, the Racial Ties (human) trait, and/or the Natural-Born Leader trait? Do these affect only the social identity, the Vigilante identity, or could they affect both?
  • …Could the factors influencing the Leadership score stack for characters (e.g. PCs, cohorts, followers) who know the Vigilante’s secret? In other words, if the social identity was a person of “great renown” (+2 to Leadership score) and the Vigilante had a stronghold (+2 to Leadership score), would the Vigilante have an effective Leadership score of +4 for people who knew both identities were the same person?

Obviously much of this is at my GM’s discretion, but as a GM myself, I’m curious how others would handle this.

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Architecting a distributed file processing system with leadership election

I’m in the planning phases of trying to build a distributed file processing system in Java and I’m looking for feedback and advice:

Problem : There are a large number of files continuously posted on an FTP server that we need to grab, process and pass on.

Solution Idea: A master node will look for new files on an FTP server, and assign processing work to child nodes. The master node will send a JMS message to the child telling them which file to process and the child will send a response back when it is done, and ask for more work.

If the master node goes down for some reason, one of the child nodes should presume the role of master. My idea for implementing this was to have a “lock” collection in a MongoDB that contains info about the master node, as well as a lock expiration time. Every 15 seconds or so the master node will refresh their lock and update the expiration time to 30 seconds in the future. If the child nodes sees the lock is expired, one of them will assign itself as the master node.

I’m looking for feedback on this design, and wondering if anyone has advice on improvements/java frameworks or tools that already exist that I can leverage for something like this.