In D&D 5e we have surprise round effective until it is ended. On that first round characters that are not surprised can act as in normal round. Those unaware of them (thus surprised) grant them advantage on attack rolls.

Then they become aware of the combatants? The case I was thinking of is when PCs are having surprise round, and their enemies (Monsters) are unaware of them (Stealth vs Perception). And PCs (all) have higher Initiative than all Monsters.

After first round, do Monsters stay Unaware of hat hit them until their first turn, or immediately become aware with a start of the second round, even though they will act after the PCs?

Does attack on the first (surprise) round break "unawareness" of the monster and it is aware of the PC on the second round even though it acts later due to lower initiative?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey Janusz, welcome to the site! This is a great first question, but I think it's already been covered by another question. If you disagree, please let us know how the linked question doesn't give you what you need. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Jan 18 '18 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ The answer might be a duplicate but I think a misunderstanding of the surprised state makes this a worthwhile question so it can be cleared up. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jan 18 '18 at 13:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey! I always try to look for possible available questions and answers first. I know duplicates are bad. I was looking for questions with "surprise round" and "unaware" keywords. Couldn't find any that would answer on what happens exactly on the second round. \$\endgroup\$ – Janusz Kamieński Jan 18 '18 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ And also what I mean here is (and maybe that should be the question actually): Does attack on the first (surprise) round break "unawareness" of the monster and it is aware of the PC on the second round even though it acts later due to lower initiative. \$\endgroup\$ – Janusz Kamieński Jan 18 '18 at 13:26
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Duplicates aren't necessarily bad, since two people can ask the same question in somewhat different ways. Once we figure out it's a dupe we end up with the two questions linked, so that way more ways of asking the same question get to a good answer. I edited in your last comment's "bottom line" in hopes that it clears up your question. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 18 '18 at 13:42

The way surprise works in 5e is the following:

  • When you attack someone who didn't expect you to (for example, because he didn't know you where there), that creature is surprised. This means that you roll initiative as normal, but the surprised creature is more or less "tagged" as surprised, which allows for example assassin rogue (not all rogues!) to get automatic crits - also, a surprised creature can't take reactions. Once they reach their initiative, they remove this tag, but can't do anything else during this turn. They can, however, now take reactions (such as opportunity attacks).
  • Getting advantage: You basically get advantage on the attack when the attacked creature didn't know you were there / didn't see you. So, if you lay an ambush and jump a group of goblins, they are surprised and you have advantage. If you are talking with someone and suddenly decide to stab them, though, you do NOT have advantage, even though the attacked creature might be surprised (depending on whether it expected you to attack it).

Note that not every enemy in a group has to be surprised, and neither do all your players have to be hidden to get advantage.
For example, if you attack an mage and some orcs, and the mage spots you but the orcs don't, then the orcs are surprised but the mage is not.
Similiar, if you are for example a heavily armored cleric with a terrible stealth roll who got spotted by both the orcs and the mage, your super-sneaky rogue might still be unseen and get advantage.

However, if an enemy is aware of any enemy, he can't be surprised. So, if the mage spots your cleric, but not your (assassin) rogue, the rogue will not get his auto-crit, since the mage is not surprised. He will still get advantage from being unseen, though. (Note that you reveal your location when making an attack, whether that hits or misses)

  • \$\begingroup\$ If the enemies are aware of any of your party then they would not be surprised, even if some characters are hidden. Note that if both groups are sneaking up on each other, you could have some on both sides surprised with others that are not. It's completely possible that your super sneaky rogue is hidden from all, but his perception is so low that he is surprised in the first round by the sneaky kobolds, while the cleric was easily spotted by the kobolds (so they are not surprised) but also had enough awareness to notice them as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Jan 18 '18 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ right, I messed that up. I'll correct it, I know what you mean, I just forgot to mention that :/ \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Jan 18 '18 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that not all Rogues auto-crit Surprised enemies. Only Assassins get that. And only if they hit. They still have to manage to not miss. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Jan 18 '18 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickBrown I know, I already mentioned that under the first bullet point. I emphasized it now, though, and also mentioned it in the last paragraph. It was pretty hidden after all ^^ \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Jan 19 '18 at 10:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Once they reach their initiative, they remove this tag" -- can you cite that? I cannot find it in the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Sep 26 '19 at 16:02

Being surprised doesn't give one's enemies advantage to attack rolls. See the rules on Player's Handbook, page 189:

If you're surprised, you can't move or take an action on your first turn of the combat, and you can't take a reaction until that turn ends.

A surprised character is essentially back to normal as soon as they finish their first turn in the combat, during which they can't do anything but free actions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, I know, but what about being Unaware. Does attack on the surprise round break "unawareness" of the monster and it is aware of the PC on the second round and does not grant advantage? Especially since it's initiative is lower than of the PC. \$\endgroup\$ – Janusz Kamieński Jan 18 '18 at 13:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's no rule/condition called "unaware", so you'll need to be more specific about what you mean. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jan 18 '18 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're thinking about hiding/stealth=unaware, then the first attack (hit or miss) should make all combatants aware. Anyone not expecting the combat (low perception normally) could have the Surprised condition (DM discretion). As kviiri points out, this wears off after their first turn. There is no "surprise round" in 5e but sometimes creatures are Surprised during the 1st round of combat. kviiri is also completely right that Surprised does not grant Advantage. Only creatures which remain hidden could get Advantage via Stealth rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Jan 18 '18 at 14:31

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