The Dragon #318 article "Oriental Adventures Update: Eastern Flavor" (32-48) altered the benefit of the Oriental Adventures feat Great Diplomat (63) to the following:

You gain a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks. Once you reach 6th level, you automatically attract a cohort (but not followers) as though you had taken the Leadership feat, and your Leadership score is increased by +2.

Is a creature with the feat Great Diplomat and the feat Leadership (PH 97) capable of attracting only one cohort or can such a creature attract two cohorts?

Rules as written preferred, but, in their absence, parallel examples, actual play experience, and brute-force analysis of both feats are acceptable.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Based on the other questions that use it, leader does not fit here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 13:31

3 Answers 3


Something to consider: not only is there actually no rule that prohibits having more than one cohort in conjunction with the Leadership Feat, there IS a rule that expressly relates to having multiple Cohorts. Dungeon Masters Guide I, page 106, under Cohorts, Paragraph 2. It says there is no limit to the amount of cohorts who can be employed. While at first this may seem like their refering to Hirelings, further on it talks about cohorts usually being payed a half share. This can be found on page 105 under Treasure.

Because this affects the treasure for the entire party, this might be the intended caveat. If a party is fine with having less gold, this works out but usually this won't be the case. They may even decide that the half share comes out of the Players pocket instead; thus the player only receives a half share after paying his cohort. If a player wants 2 cohorts, than they may have to pay their entire share for this.

As it also relates to shares, this also implies that a cohort usually is paid for actual work and not on retainer. This can mean a player could have 3 or even 10 cohorts but can only afford to bring 1 or 2 at a time.

I am unsure if Great Diplomat gives you an automatic second Cohort, but with this rule we can say, by RAW: A player can have more than 1 Cohort and there is no limit to how many he can have, but there may be a limit to the amount he can bring on an adventure.

I understand this doesn't answer the OP's question and I apologize for breaking the rules. My goal was to let the OP know that he doesn't need any more feats, prestige classes, etc. to gain a second cohort because RAW says you can, explains how payment works for a cohort, does not expressly say you cannot and it works within RAW's parameters.

Also, and this goes without saying of course, this only really applies if the DM allows a player to have more than 1 cohort.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour! I was hoping this idea'd be brought up—that the DMG places no actual limits on the number of cohorts a PC can have, instead just making the feat Leadership a pretty much guaranteed way to get a cohort—, so thank you for doing so. Also, enjoy your stay and thank you for helping strangers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 19:55

The text of Great Diplomat just references Leadership for the rules on what kind of cohort you get

You get two cohorts, one from each ability. Great Diplomat gives you a cohort, and Leadership gives you a cohort, and neither ability counts as the other or anything like that, so you can make use of both. Note that the +2 Leadership from Great Diplomat applies to the regular Leadership feat as well.

The following is all the text of the Leadership feat:

Character level 6th.

When taking Great Diplomat the Prerequisite doesn't matter, because Great Diplomat bypasses them. When taking Leadership, you must follow it like normal.

Benefits: Having this feat enables the character to attract loyal companions and devoted followers, subordinates who assist her. See the table below for what sort of cohort and how many followers the character can recruit.

This is fluff, basically.

Leadership Modifiers: Several factors can affect a character’s Leadership score, causing it to vary from the base score (character level + Cha modifier). A character’s reputation (from the point of view of the cohort or follower he is trying to attract) raises or lowers his Leadership score:

Your leadership score, which is a stat you have independent of either feat, is total level+Cha mod+modifiers


Great Diplomat is likely to fetch you the 'great renown' modifier, based on its fluff, in addition to its automatic +2 leadership.

Other modifiers may apply when the character tries to attract a cohort:


Of note is the fact that having a cohort does not reduce your leadership for additional cohorts.

Followers have different priorities from cohorts. When the character tries to attract a new follower, use any of the following modifiers that apply.


This is irrelevant for Great Diplomat, and pretty self explanatory for Leadership.

Leadership Score: A character’s base Leadership score equals his level plus any Charisma modifier. In order to take into account negative Charisma modifiers, this table allows for very low Leadership scores, but the character must still be 6th level or higher in order to gain the Leadership feat. Outside factors can affect a character’s Leadership score, as detailed above.

Cohort Level: The character can attract a cohort of up to this level. Regardless of a character’s Leadership score, he can only recruit a cohort who is two or more levels lower than himself. The cohort should be equipped with gear appropriate for its level. A character can try to attract a cohort of a particular race, class, and alignment. The cohort’s alignment may not be opposed to the leader’s alignment on either the law-vs-chaos or good-vs-evil axis, and the leader takes a Leadership penalty if he recruits a cohort of an alignment different from his own.

Cohorts earn XP as follows: The cohort does not count as a party member when determining the party’s XP. Divide the cohort’s level by the level of the PC with whom he or she is associated (the character with the Leadership feat who attracted the cohort). Multiply this result by the total XP awarded to the PC and add that number of experience points to the cohort’s total. If a cohort gains enough XP to bring it to a level one lower than the associated PC’s character level, the cohort does not gain the new level—its new XP total is 1 less than the amount needed attain the next level.

These two are the suites of rules which constitute most of what Great Diplomat needs to reference.

Number of Followers by Level: The character can lead up to the indicated number of characters of each level. Followers are similar to cohorts, except they’re generally low-level NPCs. Because they’re generally five or more levels behind the character they follow, they’re rarely effective in combat. Followers don’t earn experience and thus don’t gain levels. However, when a character with Leadership attains a new level, the player consults the table above to determine if she has acquired more followers, some of which may be higher level than the existing followers. (You don’t consult the table to see if your cohort gains levels, however, because cohorts earn experience on their own.)

The important thing here is "You don’t consult the table to see if your cohort gains levels, however, because cohorts earn experience on their own."

General table:


Also self explanatory. The cohort level, of course, is just the maximum level the cohort starts at; it may progress up to your level-2 via XP, and so it might be higher or lower than the table indicates for your first cohort when you gain your second.

and that's it. No prohibitions against gaining additional copies of the Leadership feat's effects, no special interactions, nothing like that. The only thing of particular note is that Great Diplomat will be effected by Epic Leadership under the popular interpretation that the latter alters Leadership rather than supplying an additional contingent of allies.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's possible I'm overcomplicating things, but it seems like there should be some kind of further interaction between automatically attracting a cohort as though one has the Leadership feat then actually attracting a cohort from the Leadership feat proper. Can you unpack this a bit more? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 19:40


This is, as many RAW problems are, a matter of looking into the meaning of words and the rules of language, rather than just applying the rules of the game.

Great Diplomat grants a feature "as though you had taken Leadership".

If you already have Leadership, the part of the two feats that gives you the cohort is basically the same thing said twice.
It is just like, say, being a dragon and using a spell that gives you the bite attack of a dragon your size.

Had Great Diplomat said "you get a cohort as for Leadership" or something on that line, you would have gained access to two cohorts.


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