Would you give fate or persona?
Goal: Find the cloak
At the end of the session, all the real actual humans involved were pretty damn sure the halfling caught a glimpse of the cloak down 25’ past some very dangerous terrain. Because table chatter, meta knowledge, etc. But in game, the characters definitely didn’t know whether they’d seen the cloak they were after. I ruled that the goal had not been accomplished. It felt odd though because hey, even if jumping to conclusions, the players believed they found where I had put the cloak, and they were right, and next session I doubt anyone’s going to write “find the cloak” as a goal.
I just think “Find the cloak” is a poorly written goal that could either be, “learn the location of X” or “retrieve X” (either of which is a suitable goal). There should be no ambiguity about what the player is trying to accomplish.
“Working toward a Goal” 1 Fate.
Remember that, technically, the GM doesn’t get to rule on rewards. The group needs to agree whether a goal has been reached, and any player (including the GM) can of course withhold his consent. It’s not a majority vote, but you need to work this out in the group.
At our table, I’d probably have told the player in question “yeah, that was totally the cloak you glimpsed” and then we would have hashed out whether this counts as found or not. (I’d lean towards yes, unless there was another obstacle between the characters and the cloak or something.)
As DagaZ points out, the reward for working toward a goal sounds like a good compromise.
I would have raised my eyebrow, saying “if your character’s goal for the session was truly to catch a glimpse of something that might be the cloak, go ahead and take a Persona.”
Rereading the OP, covering 25’ of ”some very dangerous terrain” to actually pick up the thing does sound like a worthy goal to tackle next session.
To follow up my earlier post, I agree with DaGaz, this counts as working towards a goal. I would maybe push players to tighten their goals up at the top of the next session, and absolutely think that “retrieve the cloak” would be a goal that comes up. Torchbearer goals are all about those little victories that, when taken as a whole, add up to a huge accomplishment.