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.

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166 views

Can you use Sleight of Hand to draw a firearm during a surprise round to get the initiative boost?

Can you use Sleight of Hand to draw a firearm during a surprise round to get the initiative boost? How you implement it since it's vs yourself? A Spot Hidden vs Sleight of Hand? or Sleight of Hand vs ...
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Can Alert prevent Surprise if you don't know the enemy exists?

Here's the situation: In a large dark temple, a player character with the Alert feat has darkvision out to 60 feet. However, 100 feet away, there is an enemy with 120 feet of truesight within the area ...
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Can an NPC rogue (who pretended to be allied) use Sneak Attack against a character, even without advantage or another hostile creature nearby?

Our DM had an NPC who essentially "joined our party", but was actually an enemy rogue. In the middle of combat, the NPC ran up and attacked a party member (i.e. a player character); the DM ...
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1answer
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Does the Doppelganger apply the bonus damage from its Surprise Attack trait to both of its attacks?

The Doppelganger's Surprise Attack trait lets it do extra damage if it surprises an enemy and hits it: If the doppelganger surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of ...
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Does a single PC who is stealthy get to surprise monsters when the rest of the group is not?

The rules for a surprise round, seem to be focused on the people being surprised. (They lose a turn) rather than being focused on the people doing the surprising (They get an extra turn) The rules ...
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1answer
137 views

Can Alert prevent Surprise if you don't know combat is occurring yet? [duplicate]

If part of the party enters combat with enemies but the rest of the party is not aware of the threat or aware there is combat happening yet, does a player with the Alert feat who rolls highest on ...
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Can I avoid surprise through my familiar?

You might have seen a more complicated variant of this question going on about different types of speed but a comment by Szega made me realize that a much simpler question would probably suffice and ...
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Does casting a Subtle Spell count as surprising a target if target does not know you are caster?

I understand you can't Sneak Attack with spells, something to do that both abilities scale thus game breaking. So that takes away one aspect of my predicament. However the Assassinate ability still ...
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Interaction between Subtle Spell, Initiative and Alert Feat

I'm running a game and I'm trying to gank a few of my players with an NPC Sorcerer with Subtle Metamagic. However, one of the players has the Alert feat which states he cannot be surprised. Can I cast ...
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How does the Gloom Stalker ranger's Dread Ambusher feature interact with Surprise?

In D&D 5e, if a Gloom Stalker Ranger uses their Dread Ambusher feature's secondary attack on a creature during a surprise round (whether on the same target or a different one), is that creature ...
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What happens when initiative allows a player to act before the player that started the combat?

This example is a somewhat simplified version of what happened during the last game I DMed for a bunch of friends. A party of PCs was trudging through the woods when they happened upon a very small ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What happens if a caster is surprised while casting a spell with a long casting time?

Casting a spell with a long casting time requires the caster to use their action each turn casting the spell: you must spend your action each turn casting the spell However, what would happen if ...
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Are there any magic items in 5e that will cast Pass Without Trace?

I've been looking for a way for my Assassin Rogue 12/War Domain Cleric 2 character to be able to cast Pass Without Trace, so they can more easily not abandon the party and still get surprise. Getting ...
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1answer
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Can a PC with the Alert feat alert his friends?

Assume the following situation: The party has been surprised by an ambush. Every PC is surprised except PC Bob because he has the Alert feat. Thanks to his high initiative bonus Bob gets to go first. ...
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1answer
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Does a Barbarian's Feral Instinct prevent him from being surprised?

At 7th level, a Barbarian gains Feral Instinct: Feral Instinct ... If you are surprised at the beginning of combat and aren't incapacitated, you can act normally on your first turn, but only ...
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Can Nerveskitter be cast during a surprise round, let's say directly when you realize that you are being ambushed?

Let's say my group is ambushed and no one is aware, the ennemies then have a surprise round against us. As soon as I am aware of the attack (they could jump/charge in front of us, shoot an arrow AND ...
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Which of these surprise mechanics is correct?

I've been reading information about the surprise mechanic and still confused on which to use. There are 3 methods of Surprise that I see all over the internet. First: Group Surprise Check To make a ...
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What happens if the party is noticed while attempting to surprise this character in the LMoP adventure?

In Lost Mine of Phandelver (the Starter Set adventure), you have the opportunity to What happens if Will he be able to escape? Since you are blocking the door for his escape, does he fight you now (...
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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 ...
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How does surprise work when both sides of an encounter are attempting to surprise the other?

I an a total noob in D&D and just started LMoP (the Starter Set adventure). We are now in a room before Klarg's cave (the Twin Pools, I think). One goblin escaped to tell Klarg that there's an ...
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How often does a bugbear's Surprise Attack trait trigger?

Bugbears have the Surprise Attack trait: 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 ...
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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. ...
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How does ambushing / surprise work?

I have perused the Core rulebook to figure out how to handle an ambush. What I found seems very underpowered, and I am not sure if I have missed something or this is intentional and all there is to it....
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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) ...
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How many times can I benefit from Advantage if I attack multiple times while not seen?

A hidden ranger with Extra Attack attacks a surprised creature. Do both attacks benefit from Advantage, or just the first one? If the ranger used Horde Breaker on another creature, would this attack ...
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Can “Get Away” be used to hide?

Can the second tier Stealth flavour ability Get Away (p. 51) be used to hide, such as to allow a character to do a surprise attack each round? The text of the ability is: Get Away (2 Speed points): ...
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Does Assassinate come into play whenever the Rogue catches the target off guard?

The Assassinate ability under the Assassin subclass of Rogue states: Starting at 3rd level, you are at your deadliest when you get the drop on your enemies. You have advantage on attack rolls ...
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What definition of the noun “threat” do the rule books use when it affects gameplay mechanics?

I have recently asked a question about Surprise where the unclear interpretation of the word "threat" in the sentence "Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised at the start ...
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1answer
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Can a creature be surprised if it is aware of possible danger, but does not perceive an immediate threat?

From the section on Surprise in the PHB: The GM determines who might be surprised. If neither side tries to be stealthy, they automatically notice each other. Otherwise, the GM compares the ...
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1answer
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Can a surprised monster use lair actions if they roll an initiative above 20?

The rules for lair actions say: On initiative count 20 (losing all initiative ties), it can use one of its lair action options. It can’t do so while incapacitated or otherwise unable to take ...
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3answers
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Is it possible for both sides of an encounter to be surprised?

Is it possible for both sides of an encounter to be surprised and if so what would happen? This is a hypothetical idea I just came up with but it made me wonder what would happen. Would the surprise ...
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How to handle “I attack” during a peaceful narrative [duplicate]

Abdullah, Ben, and Caroline are talking to a Drow that they know may prove hostile. Abdullah and Ben are fine with seeing how the conversation goes, but Caroline doesn't want to risk it. As the ...
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1answer
256 views

When a creature runs away from combat, when can it trigger surprise again?

I understand how surprise works, but one thing I’m curious about is clarification on when combat “ends”, if it doesn’t resolve in the defeat of either side. This might make a little more sense with ...
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False Appearance, Movement, Surprise, and the Unseen Attacker bonus

Related to How should I implement False Appearance? but that does not answer my questions about surprise and movement... A Darkmantle has the "False Appearance" property which allows it to be ...
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2answers
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Can you be given a disadvantage on a saving throw if you are surprised?

I have an odd inquiry, this happened during a D&D 5e session. We were travelling in a cavern hunting a necromancer, as myself and a party member parted to a path further exploring away from the ...
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1answer
101 views

If an encounter is already underway, can an enemy who joins combat surprise existing combatants?

If an encounter is already underway, can an enemy who joins combat surprise existing combatants? Suppose the party is fighting some gnolls a few rounds in. A stealthy lizardman sees the fight and ...
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2answers
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How does burrowing interact with surprise and attacks from hiding?

I'm running a campaign that the players are about to encounter several burrowing creatures. The creatures in question do have Tremorsense so they'll be able to tell where the players are and with ...
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1answer
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Does flanking a creature make it a surprise attack, meeting the requirement for the Assassin rogue's Assassinate feature?

The optional rule on flanking (DMG, p. 251) says: Flanking on Squares. When a creature and at least one of its allies are adjacent to an enemy and on opposite sides or corners of the enemy's space, ...
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Is there a surprise round?

Our party disguised ourselves as merchants, but when the enemy appeared and we attacked them, the DM just said, "Roll for initiative." Is there a surprise round in D&D 5e like there was in ...
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What happens when your group is victim of a surprise attack but you can't be surprised?

My character was unaware of a group of bandits, but my character cannot be surprised (I have a Weapon of warning) but the rest of my group is out of the range of my weapon of warning, do I get to ...
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1answer
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How does the oracle's Temporal Celerity revelation work when there otherwise wouldn't be a surprise round?

An oracle with the time mystery can choose the Temporal Celerity revelation: Temporal Celerity (Su): Whenever you roll for initiative, you can roll twice and take either result. At 7th level, you ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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?". ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...