Lead is the ability by which a Paladin inspires those around him to greater deeds in battle.
A paladin automatically gains the ability to lead at second circle, and it's utilized via the LEAD command. Lead grants everyone in the group the Paladin is leading a sizable bonus to their offensive and defensive skills. You must be at melee to activate the ability.
It gives a percentage boost to offense and defense of all those joined up to a maximum of ~20%, including the leader - the leader gets a bigger boost but has the same cap, while the Marshal Order spell can positively affect the boost followers get if the leader has it up. This percentage boost is to all three defenses, chance to hit (for both melee and missile weapons), and melee weapon damage.
The amount of the bonus is based on the Paladin's circle, soul state, Charisma, and the size of the group being lead (with a larger group providing a bigger bonus). Duration is based on the level and Charisma of the paladin and also whether or not Marshal Order is up (bigger MO = bigger boost to duration). It lasts at least 3 minutes, with something like 3 additional seconds per level or point in Charisma.
While those joined to the Paladin when he first leads receive the biggest bonus, a player can join the group after the lead begins and get a bonus that is a little lower than if they had been in the group at the start of a Lead if they stay in the group long enough.
- <Group member> looks to you for guidance.
- You draw yourself to full height, rallying your comrades with righteous confidence as you charge into battle like a star blazing through a midnight sky!
- You step forward and wade into battle, heartening your comrades by your gallant leadership example!
- <Paladin> draws himself to full height, rallying you with righteous confidence as he charges into battle like a star blazing through a midnight sky!
- You are roused by his fearless leadership!
- <Paladin> steps forward and wades into battle, boosting your confidence by his gallant leadership example!
- You feel motivated!
- <Paladin> meekly calls you to battle like a clueless squire.
- You are hardly inspired.
- You flinch as <Paladin> collapses, but vow he shall not have died in vain. Revenge!
- <Paladin> draws himself to full height, rallying his comrades with righteous confidence as he charges into battle like a star blazing through a midnight sky!
Joining a group after lead has begun
- As <Paladin>'s leadership stirs the fire of your courage, you face the battle with a stronger will.
- You feel encompassed by <Paladin>'s leadership and follow him boldly into the battle, pressing forward with a fierce determination.
Still later -- indicates you've received Lead bonus:
- <Paladin>'s leadership is infectious! You match his rallying cry with a shout of your own and burst forward, your bravery truly inspired!