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I would like to make an encounter in a storage room which is full of barrels and chests. The room is, seemingly, only guarded by goblin archers. When a PC runs past certain barrels, I would like goblins to pop out and attack. I figure the goblins will have to roll stealth with full cover, so the that the players will have a chance to perceive them.

My question: Can the Goblins "Ready an Action" to spring out as the player is moving, and if so, would they get an opportunity attack? Would a character in this situation with high enough perception be able to adjust their movement after they've started moving?

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The mechanics:

  • Yes, your goblins need to roll stealth, they need to beat the PCs' passive perception scores to actually be hidden, that said, don't tell the PCs what is in the barrel, just that there is something in the barrel. The difference between them noticing and them not, is likely a surprise round.

  • No, they can't ready actions before combat starts. However, they can get an action in a surprise round if they do surprise the PCs.

  • Yes, they can take an opportunity attack and a readied action in the same turn. To take the readied action you spend your immediate action. But that doesn't do anything to your opportunity actions.

  • Yes, if the goblin's readied action goes off too soon they'd be able to move around them. Though readied actions have precise triggers, so likely they'd be in opportunity attack range depending on the type of attack.

This is a rather tough encounter type to pull off, simply because getting the drop on PCs is hard (as it should be). If it works, it could be awesome, even if it doesn't work, it will probably be a funny story anyways.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your detailed reply. Just for clarification: It isn't against any rules for the goblin to pop up and make an opportunity at the same time? \$\endgroup\$ – acbabis Sep 2 '14 at 5:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @acbabis no it's not. They are two different action types. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Sep 2 '14 at 9:57

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