Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [surprise]

Many RPGs have specific mechanics that govern the benefits of attacking by surprise. Surprise mechanics vary greatly across RPGs, which may include granting extra damage, extra time to act, special attack options, or even instantly-lethal effects.

36
votes
6answers
6k views

What to do when surprise and a high initiative roll conflict with the narrative?

Consider the following situation. Two creatures A and B sneak up on a creature X, successfully remaining unnoticed by it. Without signalling this to B in any way, A then throws a dagger at X from its ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Does a surprised creature obey the 1st-level spell Command?

The description of the Command spell says: You speak a one-word command to a creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or follow the command on its next ...
4
votes
1answer
302 views

Do surprised enemies take damage from the Flaming Sphere spell?

If one enemy is surprised, and the mage casts flaming sphere next to this surprised enemy, does it have to make the saving throw and take damage for being adjacent to the flaming sphere when the ...
11
votes
1answer
675 views

Can an Eldritch Knight use Action Surge and thus Arcane Charge even when surprised?

The Eldritch Knight fighter's Arcane Charge feature says: At 15th level, you gain the ability to teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see when you use your Action Surge. (PHB, p. ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a Fighter use their Action Surge while Surprised to get an Action?

I was reading Rules Answers: November 2015 | Dungeons & Dragons and in the Combat section and someone had asked "Does surprise happen outside the initiative order as a special surprise round?". ...
21
votes
5answers
22k views

At which moment does the 'Surprised' state disappear?

I am trying to figure out if the surprised state ends on a creature after the first attack of a surprise round, or if the surprised state (which I would then see almost as an unofficial condition) ...
34
votes
2answers
2k views

Can a surprised creature fall prone voluntarily on their turn?

Suppose someone might want their character to drop prone while they're surprised. The relevant text from Being Prone under "Movement and Position" states: You can drop prone without using any of ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

If an attack alerts someone to your presence, can their initiative save them from being surprised in time?

In D&D 5e "Surprise" is a condition that can affect a creature during the first round of combat, only until the end of their turn: [... T]he GM compares the Dexterity (Stealth) checks of anyone ...
8
votes
2answers
483 views

Does a surprised creature stop being surprised after its first turn, even if nothing happened? [duplicate]

Surprised creatures are no longer surprised after they took their first turn in combat. But it feels counter-intuitive to apply this to a situation like the one below. A group successfully sneaks up ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Does surprise arrest existing movement?

Do surprised creatures which were already moving prior to being surprised keep moving, or stop moving for a round? Some illustrative situations might be: A carriage drawn by four horses is heading ...
4
votes
2answers
266 views

In this scenario, how do I determine whether the enemies are surprised?

Being new to D&D and planning to do some DM'ing in the near future, I found myself struggling with "Surprise" in combat. To educate myself on this topic, I first want to understand the surprise ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Moving from one room/cave to another within the same dungeon

I am a new GM and new to D&D. Currently, I am running the Lost Mines of Phandelver (LMoP) D&D 5e starter campaign. My group have just finished the Cragmaw Hideout section, but as we ran it we ...
25
votes
5answers
4k views

Can a PC be surprised if he expects combat before the encounter?

In a Hunger Games-like fighting pit, a character knows he is fighting a rogue that will try to ambush him. This area is densely forested, but small, so the encounter will occur very soon. If he is ...
6
votes
1answer
333 views

Does the Bugbear’s “Surprise Attack” feature apply on its first round of combat or the players'?

The Bugbear's Surprise Attack feature reads: Surprise Attack: If the bugbear surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 7 (2d6) ...
7
votes
2answers
352 views

What happens when a character accidentally jumps on top of a creature, but neither is previously aware of the other?

I have a scenario where it may be possible for a character to jump over a crate behind which a giant rat is sleeping. What would happen in the situation where a character leaps directly on top of a ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Surprise, ready an action and bashing doors

I'm a bit confused about how "surprise" and "ready an action" interact in the following situation: Behind a door two ogres are having breakfast. One PC kicks the door, the others PCs says that they ...
10
votes
1answer
253 views

How does surprise work in Vampire combat?

Making this a separate question from this VTM question which was too broad One side in a fight has achieved Surprise (p300). Call them Janet & John. The rules say that they make the surprise ...
9
votes
1answer
528 views

If the party is hidden prior to attacking enemies, do they surprise the enemies and/or get advantage on their attacks?

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 ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

Should players get a surprise attack by interrupting a villain's speech?

Just before confrontations with the "boss" of a dungeon or adventure, I often like to ham it up a bit and let the BBEG-of-the-week gloat a bit about how brilliant their plan is, or what a thorn in the ...
5
votes
2answers
395 views

Does the UA alternative ranger's Ambuscade affect his possible surprise on the opponent?

This question is about this UA alternative ranger. Ambuscade, by its meaning, is basically an ambush. If two characters, Alice and Bob, are interacting peacefully, and Alice suddenly attacks Bob, Bob ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

Does a Troll benefit from its Regeneration trait if it is surprised?

The rules of surprise in D&D 5e state: 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 troll has ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

How does surprise affect AC?

Under wrestling rules, the Grindhouse rulebook tells that everyone involved in wrestling is attacked as though they were surprised. Under Encounters, in the surprise section, there is info on how to ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Can an Arcane Archer fighter use a Banishing Arrow to effectively get two surprise rounds?

The Arcane Archer fighter (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 28-30) gets a number of Arcane Shot options, allowing them to unleash special magical effects when they fire a longbow/shortbow. One of ...
3
votes
3answers
491 views

If a hidden creature fails to surprise a character, is the creature still hidden?

If a hidden creature fails to surprise a character, is the creature still hidden? For example, a goblin is hiding in some bushes, and a PC walks by. To determine surprise, the DM rolls for the goblin'...
4
votes
3answers
665 views

Is there any need to roll for surprise when the enemy has no way to detect you?

Supposing my wizard has an owl familiar (120ft darkvision) and spots a band of enemies 120 feet away at night. If my wizard engages from a distance that they cannot possibly detect her from, is a ...
3
votes
2answers
296 views

Could I use surprise on the group even if they hear the monster coming?

So in my campaign, the group are about to enter a grove where they hand an Elven prisoner over to some Dwarves. A Treant notices the exchange and enraged by what he sees uproots himself and charges in ...
26
votes
3answers
4k views

Can you get a surprise attack by distracting an enemy who is aware of you?

I'm currently playing as a halfling monk who is very fond of a drink. Let's say I encountered some enemies sitting around a campfire. Through means of deception or otherwise I ingratiate myself with ...
6
votes
4answers
206 views

How do stealth and surprise interact for full-round actions?

This is something of a clarification question off of Is it really impossible to surprise someone with a full-round action? Suppose we have the following situation: A sorcerer is stalking an unaware ...
3
votes
2answers
223 views

Is it really impossible to surprise someone with a full-round action?

Is it true that not even the person/creature/thing doing the initial action that starts a combat is able to use a full-round action? According to all sources I can find, the initial attack already is ...
18
votes
7answers
2k views

Is this alternative initiative house-rule balanced?

As a fairly new DM, one thing that has commonly occurred in my sessions so far is my PC's starting combat outside of initiative. For example after a telepathic conversation with a Nothic was going ...
15
votes
10answers
2k views

Can you pass an entire surprise round?

Looking at this question about sniping, in this situation: Example 3 A wields a loaded crossbow and waits on on a cliff overlooking a valley for B to walk by. A is unobserved and has a low ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

When exactly does combat start and surprise take effect?

So say I'm going to ambush an orc. I successfully sneak up on him and I attack. The DM determines that the orc is surprised. The orc happens to get an initiative roll of 19, while I get a 10. How ...
29
votes
5answers
5k views

How does combat start when one PC is not seen as a threat?

Imagine a party of four - three honest characters standing face to face against three evil bandits, one sly, backstabbing type some 30 ft behind the bandits' backs; the bandits may know he's there, ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

What’s the point of Surprise preventing reactions?

If a PC is 'surprised,' (PHB p 189) he/she cannot take a reaction until the turn ends. Given that Surprise is determined at the start of combat, i.e. before any turns have happened, how could you ...
24
votes
2answers
3k views

How much can a surprised character do?

When a character is surprised, they can't move or take actions (including bonus actions) on their first turn, and they can't use a reaction until the end of their first turn. Well and good. But can ...
6
votes
1answer
734 views

What actions can a surprised PC with the Alert feat take against Hidden opponents?

A PC with the Alert feat cannot be surprised by Hidden opponents. According to "When does a hidden opponent become visible when attacking?" - opponents only become visible on their turn in the round ...
12
votes
2answers
944 views

Is there any way to remove Surprise?

At the beginning of an encounter, the DM determines which participants are surprised, then participants roll initiative. A feat like Alert allows a character to never be surprised while conscious. ...
32
votes
2answers
4k views

How to resolve surprise and “instant actioning” initiating combat

DMed for the first time yesterday and one of the things I feel I need to sort out, among other comments, improvements, and similar, is how combat itself is actually initiated. The main example I ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Can I use Moment of Perfect Mind in response to a surprise attack?

Say I want to use the Tome of Battle maneuver Moment of Perfect Mind, a maneuver that replaces my Will save with the equivalent Concentration Check. Out of combat, my warblade and an enemy wizard ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Holding an NPC at knifepoint vs quick draw

Suppose a PC walks into a room to find Evil Guy #1 holding Good Guy #1 with a knife to his throat. EG immediately says, "Don't move at all, or I kill him!" The player of the PC then tells me, the DM, "...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

How does the Alert feat change the first turn of the battle?

One of my players has the Alert feat, according to which: [...] You can’t be surprised while you are conscious. Now, does this mean that a hidden enemy is automatically spotted? Let me provide a ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

When being Unaware ends after surprise round? [duplicate]

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
223 views

Does Dexterity Really Affect the Chance of Being Surprised in Gamma World 2e

In the Basic Rule Book for Gamma World 2e on page 6 it says the following about Dexterity: DEXTERITY: A character's Dexterity Score is a measure of the speed at which he functions, his reaction ...
5
votes
2answers
565 views

Can one enemy in a group get a surprise attack before battle?

So my group and i are right at the entrance of a big room where there are a bunch of enemies. We were talking to one of the enemies, everybody's alert getting ready for initiative. While we're talking ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How often does a bugbear's Surprise Attack trait trigger?

Surprise Attack. If the bugbear surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 7 (2d6) damage from the attack. Does it deal extra ...
31
votes
3answers
6k views

Does rogue's Assassinate + surprise allow critting with Magic Missile?

My 5e group just finished playing through the 5e Starter Set. I am currently a level 4 rogue that has specialized at level 3 as an Assassin. In the starter set I was able to pick up a Wand of Magic ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

An initial stealthy/surprise attack with subsequent adventurers entering combat afterwards?

A group wants to maximise the potential for surprise attacks using their stealthy members. They don't want their less stealthy members to blow a surprise attack. A party of four; two stealthy, two ...
1
vote
1answer
313 views

What happens if an encounter starts with both sides being stealthy? [closed]

At the beginning of an encounter, what happens if both sides are being stealthy?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Does surprise begin during the planning of an ambush?

From the rules in 5e, I understand that a combat encounter starts with the DM determining surprise, then setting starting positions, and rolling initiative. Then round 1 starts. Surprised participants ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How often during combat can you be Surprised?

Looking at the rules for Surprise on page 189 of the 5e PHB. It says that a creature is surprised if the enemy's stealth check beats their passive perception. It then goes on to say: Any creature ...