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Scapino

Snipers in combat?

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Okay, so here’s the scenario: during the next session, my group will be going up against a rather large team of Stormtroopers, Deathtroopers, and an Imperial Inquisitor (and I’m thinking the Imperials might be outgunned; my players species heavily for combat). One of the surprises I have in store for them is a hidden sniper.

 

my question is this: what’s the best way to have a hidden combatant join the fray? I was thinking I’d secretly roll for initiative for her and then slip her into the order, revealing her when she takes a shot and hopefully hitting someone? Or is there a better way?

 

thanks!

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35 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

That sounds fine to me. You wanna really spice it up require a successful Perception check (Action) to even locate and shoot back at them.

You can even make it a gradually easier task: daunting at first, then with every shot the sniper makes 1 purple easier to spot

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2 hours ago, Scapino said:

Okay, so here’s the scenario: during the next session, my group will be going up against a rather large team of Stormtroopers, Deathtroopers, and an Imperial Inquisitor (and I’m thinking the Imperials might be outgunned; my players species heavily for combat). One of the surprises I have in store for them is a hidden sniper.

 

my question is this: what’s the best way to have a hidden combatant join the fray? I was thinking I’d secretly roll for initiative for her and then slip her into the order, revealing her when she takes a shot and hopefully hitting someone? Or is there a better way?

 

thanks!

Just roll the initiative with everyone else since the sniper can use any of the bad guy slots. Sure, the players might "know" someone else is out there, but that won't really matter as the sniper is going to pop a shot shortly into the encounter anyways. If the PCs want to metagame and waste actions looking for them while obvious opponents are blasting away at them, give them some Setback on the Perception and let them take those actions--they might just catch some extra blaster bolts for ignoring the immediate danger.

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5 hours ago, Paris Teta said:

Could you by RAW, mix them with a minion group? So they act as the minion group, just the sniper is further back?

I don't think this would work out so well, but I'll admit I haven't tried it.  Seems to me it would mean that either the minions go or the sniper. 

If your intent is to keep the sniper hidden, I like your idea of having a hidden initiative slot until such time as they act - or to ramp it up even more, keep it hidden!  But @HappyDaze is correct in saying that NPCs can use any slot just like PCs, so maybe it doesn't matter.  It would be a clever group of PCs to say, "hey, why are there more initiative slots than there are enemies?"

 

 

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Yep, all good so far.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the most powerful force multiplier that a sniper team employs is a radio.

They could coordinate the the ground game, directing forces, call in reinforcements, or call in air strikes (as is what happened to my players in their last session).

And yeah.  Occasionally they can slip in a long range well aimed shot to make a decisive impact into the current fray.

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On 12/19/2018 at 8:07 PM, Mark Caliber said:

Yep, all good so far.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the most powerful force multiplier that a sniper team employs is a radio.

They could coordinate the the ground game, directing forces, call in reinforcements, or call in air strikes (as is what happened to my players in their last session).

And yeah.  Occasionally they can slip in a long range well aimed shot to make a decisive impact into the current fray.

With this in mind, I need to set up an encounter where the opposition consists of just two well hidden minions at extreme range with a long range comlink and a pair of electrobinoculars. The players usually get annoyed enough when an unseen sniper starts taking potshots at the PCs. Someone calling in air/artillery strikes on them without the common decency to give away his position by taking the shots himself should drive them mad.

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I personally don't use snipers unless they're Rivals, that way I don't have to worry about managing minion groups. Plus, I always picture the sniper hiding out of sight to be more than just a grunt with a long rifle. That's just me, though.

In terms of how to find them, I make it perception opposed with stealth with bonuses being given for everything that would give away his position (I start the encounter off with a Vigilance check to set the baseline and give my Gang a chance to see the glint of his scope before he fires) so they eventually will pin point his position. Every time he fires a shot the check gets easier since lasers are fairly easy to trace.

I don't use snipers that often since everyone in my group is more close-medium range focused. I put one on my Thumper Squad to mess with them.

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I ran a session that was all about hunting a sniper that was devastating a Rebel force on a jungle planet. I gave the players a topographic map of the area, and they used that to help them triangulate the sniper’s position based on the holes his sniper rifle left in soldiers and equipment. They had a Rebel artillery team drop smoke rounds on the sniper and then they stormed his position and took him out in a hand to hand fight. Good time!

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

I agree with @evo454. A sniper should be a Rival at the very minimum, if not a Nemesis.

I see your point, but to me, it depends a bit on what I want the sniper(s) to do. If the focus of the encounters is going to be "Oh crap, a sniper is targeting us!", then sure, it more or less needs to be a Rival/Nemesis. But if you simply want to spice up a more traditional encounter, I think it'd be fine to throw in a two-minion sniper team or two as enemy fire support. They'd probably be more a nuisance than an outright threat, and even if you don't require the PCs to make a check locate them, just getting within range to deal with them can lead to interesting tactical dilemmas when dealing with more conventional opposition at the same time.

Of course, you can always go the sadistic route and engage the PCs with a close ranged Nemesis who's supported by a hidden sniper nemesis. If the PCs gang up on the close ranged one, they will have a hard time spotting or perhaps even taking cover from the sniper, and if some of the PCs split off to deal with the sniper, there are fewer to deal with the close range threat.

Another idea that struck me regarding the "lone, hidden nemesis sniper" approach would be to use a little bit of misdirection by using the squad rules. Have the nemesis sniper form up with a single minion (a spotter) and get access to some useful "formations", all of which are easily explained as the assistance of a competent spotter. Should the PCs locate the sniper and return fire you can simply let them kill the spotter minion, allowing the nemesis to cut their losses and slither away. Upon closer inspection, the PCs may find the body of the spotter and, depending how well they succeeded and/or spent their advantages when spotting the sniper (team),  may mistake the spotter for the sniper and be completely unaware that there was ever anyone else there. Repeat this and you have a recurring villain while the players scratch their heads and wonder how many elite, glass cannon snipers the enemy has to send after them... ;)

 

Edited by penpenpen

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10 hours ago, Cael said:

I ran a session that was all about hunting a sniper that was devastating a Rebel force on a jungle planet. I gave the players a topographic map of the area, and they used that to help them triangulate the sniper’s position based on the holes his sniper rifle left in soldiers and equipment. They had a Rebel artillery team drop smoke rounds on the sniper and then they stormed his position and took him out in a hand to hand fight. Good time!

Why was your sniper remaining in place after taking their shot(s)?

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14 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Why was your sniper remaining in place after taking their shot(s)?

Pretty much so that the players could locate him 🙂 He had a prepared position that kept him tough to find. The session was based on the famous Billy Singh duel from WWI, well worth a google if you’re not familiar 

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On 1/1/2019 at 9:41 AM, Tramp Graphics said:

I agree with @evo454. A sniper should be a Rival at the very minimum, if not a Nemesis.

I did in fact have a sniper that was a Nemesis.  The PCs never did catch him!  They caught a glimpse of him only twice.

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On 1/2/2019 at 9:20 AM, penpenpen said:

I see your point, but to me, it depends a bit on what I want the sniper(s) to do. If the focus of the encounters is going to be "Oh crap, a sniper is targeting us!", then sure, it more or less needs to be a Rival/Nemesis. But if you simply want to spice up a more traditional encounter, I think it'd be fine to throw in a two-minion sniper team or two as enemy fire support. They'd probably be more a nuisance than an outright threat, and even if you don't require the PCs to make a check locate them, just getting within range to deal with them can lead to interesting tactical dilemmas when dealing with more conventional opposition at the same time.

Of course, you can always go the sadistic route and engage the PCs with a close ranged Nemesis who's supported by a hidden sniper nemesis. If the PCs gang up on the close ranged one, they will have a hard time spotting or perhaps even taking cover from the sniper, and if some of the PCs split off to deal with the sniper, there are fewer to deal with the close range threat.

Another idea that struck me regarding the "lone, hidden nemesis sniper" approach would be to use a little bit of misdirection by using the squad rules. Have the nemesis sniper form up with a single minion (a spotter) and get access to some useful "formations", all of which are easily explained as the assistance of a competent spotter. Should the PCs locate the sniper and return fire you can simply let them kill the spotter minion, allowing the nemesis to cut their losses and slither away. Upon closer inspection, the PCs may find the body of the spotter and, depending how well they succeeded and/or spent their advantages when spotting the sniper (team),  may mistake the spotter for the sniper and be completely unaware that there was ever anyone else there. Repeat this and you have a recurring villain while the players scratch their heads and wonder how many elite, glass cannon snipers the enemy has to send after them... ;)

 

A sniper needs to be a Rival at minimum because he needs to be relatively highly skilled in marksmanship as a single individual. As such, he can't rely on the "Minion Group skill pool" where the skill ranks are dependent upon the number of members in the group. 

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22 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

A sniper needs to be a Rival at minimum because he needs to be relatively highly skilled in marksmanship as a single individual. As such, he can't rely on the "Minion Group skill pool" where the skill ranks are dependent upon the number of members in the group. 

Only if it's a good sniper. ;)

Technically, anyone who sneaks around with a rifle can be called a sniper. Not everyone needs to be a special forces-trained elite marksman.

That said, make it a group of two minions (shooter and spotter) and that's a skill rank right there. With an accurate rifle and aiming, that should make a passably accurate shooter. If you want to go further, make it a sniper minion with a rank of true aim or two. Talents are an excellent way of representing skilled minions without fiddling around with how minions and skills work.

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12 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

Only if it's a good sniper. ;)

Technically, anyone who sneaks around with a rifle can be called a sniper. Not everyone needs to be a special forces-trained elite marksman.

That said, make it a group of two minions (shooter and spotter) and that's a skill rank right there. With an accurate rifle and aiming, that should make a passably accurate shooter. If you want to go further, make it a sniper minion with a rank of true aim or two. Talents are an excellent way of representing skilled minions without fiddling around with how minions and skills work.

I disagree. As someone who served in the Army, I can tell you with some certainty that it takes someone highly skilled to be a qualified Sniper, rather than just a basic marksman. In other words, they need to be qualified as an "Expert" in that weapon. Minions only gain skill ranks in groups of 2 or more. A sniper needs to be able to work alone, or at most, with a single spotter. Even then, the spotter isn't shooting. He uses a completely different set of skills. 

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1 minute ago, Tramp Graphics said:

I disagree. As someone who served in the Army, I can tell you with some certainty that it takes someone highly skilled to be a qualified Sniper, rather than just a basic marksman. In other words, they need to be qualified as an "Expert" in that weapon. Minions only gain skill ranks in groups of 2 or more. A sniper needs to be able to work alone, or at most, with a single spotter. Even then, the spotter isn't shooting. He uses a completely different set of skills. 

Ok, Trampy? You are being overly literal and narrow-minded again.

If hide in the bushes and shoot at people, eg snipe at them, I am a sniper. Of course, in the army I wouldn't be called a sniper, because they use it as an official term and thus add additional meaning to the word, as in "someone we have recognized as fulfilling our skill requirements for the job of being a sniper". Then again, if I hide in the bushes and shoot at the army, you know what they're going to shout?

"Take cover! It's a sniper!"

I've been the army too (well, an army) and learned one of the most important lessons of all; what something means in the military is not always what it means in the real world. 

And just so you don't have to bother:

Quote

snipe

 verb
sniped; sniping

Definition of snipe (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1: to shoot at exposed individuals (as of an enemy's forces) from a usually concealed point of vantage

2: to aim a carping or snide attack

 

 

Other Words from snipe

Verb

sniper noun

I know you love your dictionary definitions.

And that's not getting into you completely neglecting my point about giving minions talents in lieu of skills, if you want a skilled sniper minion, but hey, that's par for the course, so I'm not mad. Nor surprised.

...

Also, didn't you bring up your experience from the Air Force to prove you were a qualified expert on nap-of-the-earth-flying a while back? You were an Army sniper too? I didn't think it'd be possible to find the time with all the low-level flying. That's impressive, man.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

Ok, Trampy? You are being overly literal and narrow-minded again.

If hide in the bushes and shoot at people, eg snipe at them, I am a sniper. Of course, in the army I wouldn't be called a sniper, because they use it as an official term and thus add additional meaning to the word, as in "someone we have recognized as fulfilling our skill requirements for the job of being a sniper". Then again, if I hide in the bushes and shoot at the army, you know what they're going to shout?

"Take cover! It's a sniper!"

I've been the army too (well, an army) and learned one of the most important lessons of all; what something means in the military is not always what it means in the real world. 

And just so you don't have to bother:

I know you love your dictionary definitions.

And that's not getting into you completely neglecting my point about giving minions talents in lieu of skills, if you want a skilled sniper minion, but hey, that's par for the course, so I'm not mad. Nor surprised.

...

Also, didn't you bring up your experience from the Air Force to prove you were a qualified expert on nap-of-the-earth-flying a while back? You were an Army sniper too? I didn't think it'd be possible to find the time with all the low-level flying. That's impressive, man.

I was Army Communications, Radio Teletype to be specific. But that’s besides the point.

Minions simply don’t have the raw attributes nor skill ranks to function as snipers. Without enough ranks in Stealth the “sniper” would be spotted easily. Without enough ranks in the appropriate firearm, he’s never going to hit his target. One or two talents is not going to change that basic fact. Not only that, but hardly any Minions have even a single talent listed. In the F&D core book, for example, I found only one Minion, the Analysis Droid, That has any talents at all: Technical Aptitude. That’s it. 

Edited by Tramp Graphics

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It's realworld, so take it or leave it, but my experience with sniper teams (not a sniper, but supervise some) is they deploy as a group of 2. In game terms, I wouldn't make this a minion group. Both are snipers. One shoots while the other observes. They each have a rifle and can switch back and forth due to fatigue since they are often asked to sit somewhere (yes in one hidden place without moving) for hours.

In game mechanics? Not minions. Give the Observer a Perception roll that gives the Sniper a Bonus or two if successful. The Observer can also handle communications as suggested above. Since it's a game, you could ignore the swapping Sniper-Observer roles and give the Observer a normal Blaster Carbine to provide security for the Sniper (watch his back) in case the players attempt to close in on their position. Since this is Star Wars with an increased level of technology, you could also replace the Observer completely with gear that gives bonuses and hence does the same thing.

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Posted (edited)

sdm-r-1.jpg?quality=85

Latest weapon being tested for squad designated marksman in US infantry squads. 

There's no right or wrong adversary class to put behind a long range weapon and no reason any GM should feel pigeonholed. 

Edited by 2P51

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