Firstoff, i want to repeat my thanks to all who have kindly answered the questions that i posed in my last entries.
Once again, a little question i would like to pose, in line with the discussion that tomorrow_devil initiated: How exactly if at all is a leader determined in your group? Are the decisions generally made in a democratic way, with everyone discussing what should be done and following what the majority thinks is the best idea, or is there one person who tends to make the decisions and take the reigns, or do you alternate between those methods or use entirely different ways of determining the course of action, and if so, how is determined which method to use?
If there is one designated leader – how is he determined? Is that a question of whose character has the highest attributes/skills/appropiate traits in leadership/charisma/etc. or is the personality of the player more important?
In our group, there are ultimately two different ways in which a leader can emerge: first, by simply buing the necessary advantages like military rank that will automatically earn the character this position, and secondly, if no character has chosen to expend the points to become leader by right, one of the characters tends to emerge and take the reigns. That is not to say that all decisions are made autocratically: occasionally there are extended and lengthy discussions on how to progress, exspecially if no one is really sure what course of action to follow, but there generally tends to be a person who does most talking and who makes most decisions for the others. It is my experience that such a person generally emerges in any group of people, and i also heard as much in the seminars that i visited, but i got scolded recently by tomorrow_devil that those are not entirely scientific, so i want to do some more research ere i repeat that. Regardless, fact is that despite changing constellations of the groups there was generally one leader (sometimes two who alternated temporally – once one got tired the other took over, since leading a group is tiring buisness, in a game as well as in reality).
In a recent session, i had to appoint an official leader for the group for plot reasons. No one volunteered – they either shunned the work and the responsibility that comes with being a leader (even though that position is normally not clearly designated in our group) or they deemed their character unsuitable of claiming the position. But since this was a military organisation, i had to appoint a leader, and i had little inclination to make that an npc and have the players follow orders through the entire adventure. So i used the old trick of simply killing the current commander in the field, and let the battle for succession ensue. When it became clear to me that this was still insufficient, since all that happened was half-hearted internal struggle, i used the last trump up my sleeve: i had the group be attacked. Suddenly, one of the characters started barking orders, and everyone else followed them.
Once again it showed that under pressure generally one and exactly one leader emerges. This is also why all military organisations (that i know of) these days are structured strictly hierachically yielding the power of decision-making to single persons: not because it is necessary the best way of decision-making, but because it is the simplest and quickest, which is of more importance in situations normally encountered in the field.
If you can find the time i think it would be highly interesting to discuss the different means by which the groups tend to distribute the decision-making.