How should I handle starting combat that starts from a sucker punch?

a punch made without warning, allowing no time for preparation or defense on the part of the recipient.

This happened in a previous session, but the defender resulted in a higher initiative when we rolled for that. It makes no sense to me that the defender would get to go first, as the attack wouldn't have happened. Does this kind of fight count as starting with a stealth attack? or have I missed/forgotten some other rules regarding who starts the fight?


1 Answer 1


If the Storyteller believes the attack would genuinely surprise the opponent, then the target should roll Wits + Composure, perhaps with a penalty related to the distraction (maybe a Manipulation + Expression or some such roll from the attacker or an ally?).

Only if the Wits + Composure roll succeeds, the target rolls Initiative, otherwise handle it as a surprise attack and the target doesn't get to apply Defense on the first round.

If the target notices or expects the attack, Initiatives are rolled normally. If the defender rolls higher, the defender notices the punch is coming and has time to react. Perhaps you notice how he clenches his fist and starts to raise it, or goes to draw a hidden weapon. You see this in movies all the time, when an attacker's intention to hit first quickly gets countered by their perceptive and faster enemies.

Of course, remember that story should always trump rules. Consider using the Quick and Dirty combat rule and simply describe what happens according to the result.


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