Architect Mode (Traditional Sandbox Play)Edit
A 'Gang Leader' is a gang member who arrives as a legendary prisoner. The leader's role in the gang is to recruit new prisoners into the gang as soldiers and promote gang soldiers into lieutenants. They will not take part in any plays set by the lieutenants or try to protect their gang controlled territories when contested. In short leaders will generally try to stay out trouble unless they have the volatile or especially the extremely volatile reputation trait. If the Leader is put in solitary or lock-down, all other gang members (soldiers and lieutenants) will try to start a riot and fight anyone in sight, especially members of other gangs, therefore raising the overall danger level of your prison. *Note-it may be possible for a gang to form a leader when it has 10+ soldiers. They are shown under the 'Informants' tab under 'Gangs' and have 3 rings around them.
It is possible to make a prisoner that's in a gang into a leader by opening the save game file (using Notepad, Notepad++, or a similar program), finding the line that says Gang Rank, and deleting Soldier or Lieutenant and replacing it with Leader. Note that having more then one leader in a gang may cause your game to bug.
If a leader of a gang is somehow killed the entire gang will incite a riot. If there are more then ten gang members left including at least one lieutenant, a new leader will be randomly chosen after a while, or a new leader may arrive from future intakes. If less then 10 remain, or the last lieutenant dies or leaves your prison then the gang will cease to function properly and will not make plays anymore until more prisoners are brought in that are part of that gang to bring it back up to ten or more members and a new leader arrives, after which the gang will function normally once again.
In prisons that have gangs enabled there may be some instances where leader of a gang might approach your controlled prisoner and recruit him into their gang. If this happens the leader will go out of his way to find you and 'meet up' with your character. This will slow your movement greatly for a few seconds, after which your prisoner will have the same tattoos as the leader that recruited you. Currently as of Update 7 you cannot directly participate in plays or recruit others into the gang other then your own personal squad. (note that if you have multiple prisoners in your squad then any prisoners in your squad that are in a gang will automatically perform gang actions for their respective gang if not currently selected.) However, if you are attacked or start trouble other gang members might step in and assist you, and the reverse is true as well. If one or more gang members nearby are attacked or otherwise kickoff you will enter a forced fighting state in which you go topless revealing your body tattoos and fists or weapon if one is equipped. If this happens you'll either have to fight it out until the 'End Fight' option becomes available (once there are no guards, dogs, or armed guards around) or you can choose to 'Surrender' if guards are around. Members from other rival gangs will try to attack you during riots or during territory fights. If you attack a fellow gang member the rest of the gang may turn hostile and attack you usually until your unconscious, so be wary of this. Also, if you kill a member of the gang you are part of, you will be 'kicked' from the gang, lose your tattoos, and become a regular prisoner again. In addition any gang members that are nearby will try to attack you, this time however they will actually kill you completely unless you and or your squad end up defeat them first. If you survive the fight however, the gang will generally leave you alone from then on.
If you kill the leader of a particularly large gang, all members in that gang will incite a riot, as well as attack you and try to kill you if you are in their field of view regardless if you are in a gang or not. If more then ten members remain in the affected gang, then a new leader will be chosen after a while, typically one of the former lieutenants, or a new leader may arrive in a future intake. This will allow the gang to recruit new members once again. Before update 2 If a gang has less then 10 members, then they will cease to grow and function and will eventually wither and die out since no new prisoners were brought in after you first arrived to the prison. Starting with Update 2 new prisoners will continue to arrive to the prison (8 per day) provided there are enough cells, or beds available for them. Consequently gangs that drop below 10 members can now eventually regenerate and become functional again just like in Architect Mode (normal sandbox). A new leader, or even the previous leader that was killed might arrive as part of one of the intakes allowing the gang to recruit and perform plays again.