Fate Encounter: Pinned Sniper

I’d like to share an encounter I wrote in the hopes that it helps to inspire other Fate RPG GMs. Thematically this encounter is about the PCs taking out a trapped sniper; mechanically this is an encounter that consumes resources that the PCs could walk away from.

What is a Sniper? In the scenario that I ran, the sniper had a rifle in a Musketeer fantasy campaign. Your sniper can be anyone/thing who can shoot accurately across great distances—wizards, robots, whatever.

The Setup—Trapping the Sniper

The PCs are tasked with completing a mission in territory controlled by an advancing army and they have a limited time to complete that mission. Despite their efforts to go unseen, a scout (who is also a sniper) sees them. Not wanting the scout/sniper to get the word out about them, the PCs manage to route them into a dead-end valley, trapping them. If the PCs leave, the scout will report to the army what they’ve seen, complicating the PCs mission. If the PCs take their time to carefully take out the sniper, they may not have enough time to complete their mission. So the PCs have to go into the valley and approach an active sniper.

Approaching the Sniper as a Conflict

This needs to be tense. To achieve this we need to balance danger with a long approach. To that end, declare that it will take the PCs 3-6 rounds to get to the sniper. The precise length for this is the primary pacing mechanism for the scene.

Each round a player may choose to either proceed safely or unsafely. If they proceed safely, they can move closer and not be targeted by the sniper. If they move forward unsafely, they may move forward and take an action but open themselves up to the possibility of attack.

Sniper Build

Since I only wanted this encounter to be a moderate challenge, I set the sniper’s attack at the apex skill/approach level of the PCs and the sniper’s defensive skills at apex skill – 2.

How This Played Out

After trapping the sniper, half of the characters approached safely, as they weren’t built for combat at a distance. The other half charged in, one of them attacking and the other creating advantages. I had set the number of rounds for the approach to three and everything was done by the end of the fourth round.

Possible Modifications to the Encounter

  • Add another sniper.
  • Make moving forward a low Overcome roll to make progress.
  • Add complicating aspects on the scene that favor the sniper.