Gunplay in FATE

Here are some rules for modern firearms in FATE Core.

New actions

There are many ways to use guns beyond simple attack actions. The following actions are intended to represent various possibilities in a realistic or cinematic gunfight.

Aim (Create advantage)

A character may spend an action aiming. This is a regular create advantage action that creates a free boost which may be used by the end of the player’s next turn. The boost may be invoked to aid a shooting roll, but may also be compelled to prevent a character from acting if they know they are being held at gunpoint.

In some circumstances, This free boost may be given to another character. Representing calling out targets with a spotter scope. This could also be applied to represent things like calling in an artillery strike if such actions are appropriate to the situation.

This action does not actually require a working weapon. Using a deceit roll instead of a shooting roll, a character may convince another character that a laser pointer is a sniper, or that an empty weapon is still dangerous.

Suppressive fire (Create advantage)

A character may spend his scene shooting at a specific zone rather than any character in particular in order to discourage enemy movement and force them to keep their heads down. This is a create advantage action that creates the Suppressed aspect for a zone as a free boost. This aspect lasts until the end of the character’s next turn, and may be compelled to prevent movement, or invoked to aid a defense roll against anybody in the suppressed zone.

Cover (Defend)

Some groups may find using athletics to defend against firearms unrealistic. As an alternate rule, each zone could be marked with it’s own cover skill which applies to any characters inside it and is used as their defense skill. Characters who have moved in their previous action are not protected by cover, but they may move and take a full defense action. Cover only protects against shooting attacks, and does not defend against shooting attacks coming from within the same zone.

Full Auto (Attack)

A character wielding a weapon capable of automatic fire may declare they are firing full-auto. This gives them a +2 to an attack or a Suppressive fire action, but automatically tags them with the aspect Out of ammo. This aspect is free compelled to prevent them from making any more shooting or suppression fire actions, although they could conceivably make use of the aim action using deceit instead of shooting.

Reload (Overcome)

The Out of ammo aspect may be removed by spending a turn making a fair (+2) overcome action. Normal attacks do not require re-loading actions because the characters are assumed to conserve ammo, and make tactical reloads during natural pauses in the action. But after spending a turn spraying and praying, the weapon will not only be completely empty, but might also have jammed or overheated. Mechanically, making a full auto attack followed by a reload action is the same as creating an advantage and then attacking, only in reverse.

The character who is out of ammo does not have to be the one who makes the reload action. This action may be preformed on behalf of other characters in some situations. This can represent tossing a teammate a spare magazine, or a machine gun loader splicing in a new belt of ammunition so the gunner can fire continuously. Again, this is mechanically identical to a create advantage action, only in reverse.

If a character gains a success with style on their reload action. They may chose to immediately make another action rather than take a free boost.

Range and other modifiers

Different guns are effective at different ranges. Each weapon has a listed range, attacks within this range happen normally, but attacks closer or farther away than that suffer a -2 penalty. No firearm may attempt to shoot a target longer than one range category away from their listed range.


Attacks within the same zone. Only melee weapons have close range, all firearms will suffer at least a -2, although the lack of cover at this range makes up for it.


Attacks in an adjacent zone or within 10 meters. Most civilian gunfights happen at this range. pistols, SMGs, and shotguns are most effective here.


Attacks over the next few zones or within 100 meters. Although Afghanistan offers a notable exception, Most military engagements since WWII happen at this range. Most modern assault rifles are designed for this range.


Attacks over distances too large to represent on a battlemap, up to 1km. Modern Sniper rifles and high powered hunting rifles are effective at this range, as do many historical military rifles.


Attacks over ranges greater than 1km. No firearms have this range category, a sniper will most likely make use of aim actions and/or aspects to compensate for the penalty.

Other modifiers

The following other conditions may apply as zone aspects to be freely invoked by the defender.

  • Bad visibility
  • Windy
  • Defender in a moving vehicle
  • Attacker in a moving vehicle

The following may also be freely invoked by the attacker.

  • Large target
  • Stationary
  • Helpless
  • Unaware

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