- Chosen by mutual consent or election by the players when the game starts.
- Not a dictator, but the liaison to the DM if it's unclear where the party as a whole goes next.
- Similar to the chairman of a committee: responsible for determining and reporting the party consensus (sometimes by calling for and counting a vote).
- Analogous to a union representative, or a construction foreman; point-man for negotiating with the higher power.
- Inoculation against a random dominant personality taking over in the middle of a game; front-loads the conversation about how decisions will be made, and gets explicit agreement/buy-in to follow someone diplomatic & supportive of the whole group.
- Keeps the game from getting bogged down by in-character squabbling and indecision.
- Relief from the tendency in a large group for someone to always have one more idea for something to do/question/search/look at before moving on from an area.
- Generally important in exploratory mode, and takes a back seat in encounter mode (where we quickly go around the table for each individual's action).
- More important the more people you have (e.g., as in the earliest games with 10+ players).
- Insurance against splitting the party.
Monday, May 25, 2015
Callers (or party leaders) are mentioned throughout the earliest D&D materials, but it's a mechanism that's fallen by the wayside in most playgroups. I'm the only DM I know of that always requests designation of a party caller at the start of every game. I actually get more and more convinced of this element as time goes by. So: a compilation of thoughts on the party caller. Callers are: