Fate discussion: being the sniper.

This comes up pretty often: how do I simulate a sniper shot? An expert, well placed, with a powerful weapon, and a carefully chosen target? With all that going for them the actual shot should be pretty much a given, right? So do we stack advantageous aspects until I can guarantee enough damage?

You could. But now Fate has enough tools to do it better, and do it without my first iteration's tool -- the Diaspora social combat system.

Let's use these tools: success at cost, risk (per +Rob Donoghue and explicitly laid out in Elysium Flare), and clocks from Blades in the Dark.

Sniping is not about the shot. When everything is in place, the shot is a gimme. It's a fraction of a second's action with an almost certain outcome. Sniping is about the set-up and the aftermath. Stephen Hunter writes great bad action novels about sniping, and Point of Impact is a great place to start getting a feel for it.

So let's have a clock. Give it, say, four segments. Now have the sniper and their team (snipers usually have at least one other person in their team and probably more within radio contact) solve the actual problem by filling the clock. When the clock is filled, the target is dead and any risks carried forward are resolved.

Narrate how you are reconnoitering the location. Some skill check with a risk of an unpleasant reveal. Fail and you learn something bad about the target area. Succeed and fill a clock box. Succeed with cost and you fill a box, but after the shot something about your failed recon turns into a new conflict to resolve.

Narrate how you are ensuring you and the target will wind up in the same place. Some skill check with a risk of delay. Fail and you are delayed according to the time ladder. Succeed and fill a clock box. Succeed with cost and you fill a box, but you take your shot too early or too late and have to deal with the repercussions of that in an exit scene.

Narrate how you will keep yourself secret after the shot. You maybe build a blind or invest in stealth weapon technology. Check that with risk of spillover: fail and you don't get a box and you're just not that secret, but you'll deal with that some other way. Succeed and fill a box. Succeed with cost and you fill a box but you are forced to manage your exit with covering fire from yourself and your friends. Several people other than the target are impacted.

Narrate how you plan your escape. A skill check or maybe several with your compatriots with a risk of confusion. Fail and you have no clear escape path but maybe you can cope. Succeed and fill a box. Succeed with cost and you fill a box but your crappy escape route means a fight or chase scene.

...and so on.

Every effort is a delay -- maybe limit the number of check scenes before you have to call off the shot. If you fill the clock, the target dies and you start resolving any residual risks from succeed-at-cost results.

Edit to add: put a risk on the clock itself. If you don't fill it in time, trigger the risk. Just failing the shot is lame. How about shooting the wrong target? Or getting injured in the counter-sniper artillery barrage while also failing to hit your target? Push those risks.
Shared publiclyView activity