9
\$\begingroup\$

Our adroit heroes tracked the goblins back to a small camp in the woods. Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

The party attacks! Arrows rain down, spells are cast, and sword wielders rush in. Does our party:

  • attack with advantage because they are hidden?
  • only cause the unaware goblins to be surprised for the first round?
  • get both surprise and advantage?

What are scenarios in which each of the above would occur?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You should keep in mind that there is no concept of a 'surprise round' in 5e; it might be clearer if your question doesn't imply it to be the case. \$\endgroup\$ – Glen_b Nov 29 '18 at 3:47
19
\$\begingroup\$

It's all in your description:

Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

You, the GM, have already determined that the goblins are completely unaware and that the adventurers are hidden. (Some GMs might have compared stealth vs. perception, some might let the fiction do the talking for them, you may have done neither; see DMG p. 237 for more on how to decide whether or not to require checks in this instance.)

  • That the goblins are completely unaware means they are surprised. From PHB p.189 at "Surprise":

    Any character or monster that doesn't notice a threat is surprised.

  • That the adventurers are hidden means that they attack at advantage. From PHB p.195 at "Unseen Attackers and Targets":

    When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it.

    So as you describe it your archers and (presumably-ranged casters) would have advantage. Those sword-wielders, though... they lose their advantage as they come into sight and attack (presumably while visible) the goblins in melee.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden. For the enemy to be completely unaware the party must be hidden, no? \$\endgroup\$ – SeeDerekEngineer Nov 29 '18 at 0:37
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ @SeeDerekEngineer the classic surprise scenario that doesn't involve hidden attackers is when you and I can hear orcs in the next room, so we bust down the door swords-a-blazin' and attack. We got the drop on them for surprise-purposes, but they can actually see us swinging and so our attacks aren't advantaged. Another might be if we were negotiating with innocent do-gooders while intending to double-cross them the entire time. On your signal we both draw and stab--surprise! (Perhaps contingent on the result of a deception-insight contest.) But seen. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 29 '18 at 0:39
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @SeeDerekEngineer this isn't a line of computer code in a computer game. But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 29 '18 at 1:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don’t forget passive perception check to determine who is actually receives the “surprise” condition. \$\endgroup\$ – XAQT78 Nov 29 '18 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @XAQT78 I'm not sure what you're suggesting--isn't that covered by the parenthetical in the first paragraph? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 29 '18 at 13:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.