Ranged attacks in Fate

Hello all!
I’m struggling a bit that Fate doesn’t seem to have any built in penalties for attacking at range. (Although I know the general goal is to avoid penalties.) With guns and with magic evocations (we are playing DFRPG), the range is essentially “Line of sight”, and it is just as difficult to hit a target in the same zone as one that is 10 or 100 zones away (so long as you can see them.) To me that seems a bit implausible… am I missing something?

I don’t want to push anything out of balance but I am considering a couple options:

(Option 1) Ranged Attacks Guns, weapons, evocations have a 1 shift penalty (-1 “to hit”) per zone away they are from the target.

  • Stunt: Stead shot For uses of guns/discipline/weapons over a long range, reduce the range penalty by 2.

(Option 2) * Ranged Attacks In situations where someone has a target three or more zones away, the situation by default has the aspect “Long range”

  • Stunt: Steady shot Ignore compels related to “Long range”

I usually handle this as a GM by saying “that opponent is too far away for you to shoot”. My Zone sizes vary in physical size from football field to a single ladder, sometimes all in the same scene.

I understand the desire to make a long distance shot (or magical bolt) more dramatic. You could tell the player that the distance is too great without an Aspect that justifies making the shot.

My two cents.

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That’s an elegant solution!
So in that situation I assume would you have them invoke an existing Aspect (e.g., “Laser-sight”), pay a Fate Point, then take the shot? Or potentially, create an aspect with a maneuver (e.g., “Lining-up my shot”), then use the free invoke?

You could simply rely on narrative permission to allow or not allow the shot. In Fate, narrative rules. If you’re conventionally attacking Superman without using Kryptonite, the attack just fails because the narrative fails. It’s like trying to think hard to extinguish the sun. I don’t care how high you roll, unless you’re a god-level psychic, that’s just not going to work.

In your scenario, without a laser sight (or something similar), you would never be able to make the shot, because it would be implausible in the narrative if it were too far away. If you had that, then yes, and Create an Advantage to get a free invoke with it if you spend a turn aiming.

I should also add that simply imposing a penalty based on range would not get any pushback from normal players.


That makes sense! Thanks for the insights!

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If you have 10 zones in one scene, that’s probably too many. I usually have 4 or fewer, and sometimes just one. If the scene is in a bar, and everyone in the bar can see each other, walk over and talk to and/or punch each other, you don’t need more than one zone. No need for ranges, a knife and a sniper rifle are equally deadly in that situation.

If the zones are huge or blocked from each other in some way, like Far from Island, Around Island, On Island, and Inside Bunker, I usually say you can’t attack a zone unless you’re in it or in an adjacent zone.