Ghillie Suit
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Basic Information

A ghillie suit is the generic name for a form of whole body camouflage clothing worn by snipers and similar stealth and concealment specialists. Any given suit is generally hand made by the user - or at least heavily modified - and will normally be customised every time he changes biome (or season) for better concealment. Depending on the school of sniping from which he graduated, the sniper will base his suit on either a cape, a one-piece overall or a two piece suit. The overall or suit will normally be extensively padded (for comfort when prone for extended periods) and usually designed to allow the sniper to perform bodily functions when lying down with as much ease as possible. Normally the base clothing will be either an appropriate camouflage pattern or some other suitable neutral colour. Onto this the sniper then sews hundreds - sometimes thousands - of strips of coloured cloth, roughly shaped from a variety of different shades that all more or less match his intended operating environment so that the overall effect is of a formless mass of the same colour as the terrain around it. This immediately deals with the "shape" and "surface" and should also adsorb "shine" by default (leaving shadow, silhoutte, spacing and speed to the sniper's fieldcraft). Further terrain matching can be achieved by adding local foliage or, or urban work, pieces of litter1. Properly adapted and used the suit should allow the wearer to be moderately comfortable and very hard to spot, even at close range2, and yet will not interfere with the sniper's use of his rifle. The suit will also typically be accompanied by a hood or hat of the same design, with a face veil and some kind of camouflage jacket for the rifle.

Naturally, these things are also available via mail-order as generics, but these should be expected to be less effective than hand made ones.

The name of the suit derives from the Scots word "gillie" (also ghillie) and marks their evolution from less elaborate camouflage worn to stalk deer in the Scottish highlands (although, to be fair, other nations have a fair claim to more or less simultaneous development … it's more of a "first to patent" type thing). The military ghillie suit appears in the Boer War - worn, appropriately enough, by the Scottish Lovat Scouts. Prominence was to arrive with WW1 and the rise of the "empty battlefield".


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • One of these things should give a significant boost to appropriate concealment skills - but might need a significant skill check to make, fit and adapt properly first. Off the shelf commercial versions should be proportionately less effective.
  • For someone unfamiliar with snipers, the sight of someone in this sort of outfit might also be quite intimidating.
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