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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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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How many Critical Hits for Assassinate? [duplicate]

I am currently Playing a Monk 8/ Rogue 4 The Rogue is an Assassin. pg97 of the PHB says that for assassinate the move In addition, any hit you score against a creature that is surprised is a ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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) ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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Can a surprised creature contest a grappling attempt?

We know a suprised creature can't move or take an action on it's first turn of the combat, but can it actively try to contest a grappling attempt by making a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (...
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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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Stealth and passive Perception range

I'm a very fresh DM in 5e, having never played the game before, although I have played computer games based on DnD. Likewise, all of my friends are first time players so we're trying to teach each ...
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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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What happens with a surprise round in this situation?

Characters peek through a doorway and see 5 goblins fighting a giant badger. The rogue decides to sneak in around the goblins. The rest of the party wants to wait by the door, hidden and peeking in. ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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Can a Surprised character use powers triggered when initiative is rolled?

Certain powers are triggered when initiative is rolled, such as the power for the Casque of Tactics. Power (Daily): Free Action. Use this power when initiative is rolled. Swap initiative check ...
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How much can ambushers do before losing the advantage of surprise?

I am unsure of how the surprise round works when only the ambushing party is aware, but will need to actually move to get within melee distance of their ambush victims. For example: a group of orcs ...
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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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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'...
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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 ...
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Does Death Strike apply to unconscious creatures?

A 17th level Assassin Rogue has an ability called Death Strike (PHB, pg. 97) which applies when you attack and hit a surprised creature. An unconscious creature (PHB pg. 292, emphasis mine): is ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Would changing Surprise to just give Disadvantage on Initiative checks overlap with any existing sources of Disadvantage?

In an effort to make the game more interactive, I'm strongly considering house-ruling the Surprised condition to read "this creature has disadvantage on initiative rolls" instead of outright skipping ...
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How does the abstraction of AC make sense when flat-footed?

I am looking for a rule-wise explanation of the logic as to why your deflection bonus (e.g. a shield) is counted in your flat-footed AC. From what I understand, being flat-footed means you didn't see ...
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Readying an action for sneak attacks in surprise rounds

If a rogue gains a second action during a surprise round (through Haste, action surges, etc.), can he ready the second action to interrupt an enemy's turn while they are surprised? Or does there need ...
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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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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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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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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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What advantages does conceal weapon give?

I'm playing a backstabbing halfling rogue and I keep seeing Deft Palm, conceal weapon, Hide Blade, Underhanded etc. But I can't really see what benefits this gives besides hiding a blade from ...
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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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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 ...
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530 views

Using Total Cover after ranged attack to guarantee stealth check

Is it true that a I would auto-succeed any stealth check if I did the following each round: Starting from prone behind any object large enough to grant total cover against the enemies in front of me. ...
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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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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?
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Can you be surprised by an enemy you are aware of? [duplicate]

Consider the following scenario: Two groups are making discussion, and it seems hostilities are about to erupt. One side's Assassin rogue readies an action to throw a dagger as soon as that happens. ...
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How Does Surprise Work With Multiple Attackers? [duplicate]

I'm starting my own campaign this weekend and had questions about how the surprise aspects work in D&D 5e. I know this question has been asked before, but I have yet to see an answer describing ...
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Does the Rogue Talent Surprise Attack do +(½ level) damage per die or per roll?

So Surprise Attack says A rogue with this ability adds 1/2 her rogue level to her sneak attack damage rolls made during the surprise round. For a level 10 Rogue, having a sneak attack of +5d6, ...