You're in luck, because there are only 2 basic things said about when someone is surprised, and both are in your favor.
The first one is:
The GM determines who might be surprised.
So yeah, you explicitly get to decide in the end. If you don't think it's reasonable for the enemy to be surprised, they aren't.
The other one is:
If neither side tries ...
In this scenario, your bandits were no doubt taken by surprise when one of them got shot. Unless there's some sort of telepathy or pre-planning involved, I would've ruled that the other PCs were also surprised.
In this case, for the first round all combatants bar your shifty PC are surprised (which is sometimes helpful to think of as a condition), meaning ...
If a creature doesn't notice a threat, it is surprised by it
As per the basic rules:
The DM determines who might be surprised. ... Any character or monster that doesn't notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter.
I'd interpret this to mean that if a creature regards you as nonthreatening and does not expect you to attack them, it is a ...
The caster continues casting the spell.
Taking the same quotes from @Xirema's answer, we have the following for casting spells with a long casting time:
Certain spells (including spells cast as rituals) require more time to
cast: minutes or even hours. When you cast a spell with a casting time
longer than a single action or reaction, you must spend ...
There are abilities/actions that use "reactions" that don't need to be prepared. Opportunity attacks are attacks that use your reaction, but don't have to be prepared before it is taken. You just get to decide if you want to use your reaction to make an opportunity attack when/if an enemy leaves themselves open for one.
There are also some spells (the 1st ...
If you read the following paragraph in the PHB after the section you mentioned on turn order (pg. 189) you'll see it says:
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.
On top of that, it's important to note that
A round represents about 6 seconds in the ...
If he sees the Rogue coming, he's not surprised. If he doesn't see the Rogue coming, he's surprised. From the PHB, page 189:
Any character or monster that doesn’t
notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter.
So it's not about readiness, it's about what you perceive. This is important, because players will often declare that they are on ...
You take your turn and can act as normal
The Weapon of Warning (DMG, p. 213) states:
[...] you and any of your companions within 30 feet of you can't be surprised, except when incapacitated by something other than nonmagical sleep. [...]
You have stated that your companions were all outside of the range for this effect, however that does not prevent it ...
I have always handled this by not having the one who starts the combat roll initiative.
After all, initiative rolls are for determining who goes when, but we already know who acts first in the round. Rolling initiative for that character only interferes with what we already know about the situation.
It's simple and seamless to just leave the attacker who ...
D&D5 - The bad guy should not be surprised.
PHB, p.189 - Surprise
A band of adventurers sneaks up on a bandit camp, springing from the trees to attack them. A gelatinous cube glides down a dungeon passage, unnoticed by the adventurers until the cube engulfs one of them. In these situations, one side of the battle gains surprise over the other.
The narration of the event seems strange to you because you are confusing the planned order of events with the actual order of events.
The plan was that the encounter begins when A throws their dagger. So if the characters had followed the plan then the order of events for round 1 would have been:
X does nothing because they don't know they are in an ...
The Spellcaster would lose the spell
This is relatively straightforward. The rules for spellcasting state unambiguously that a caster casting a spell with a long casting time must use their action each turn to cast it:
Certain spells (including spells cast as rituals) require more time to cast: minutes or even hours. When you cast a spell with a casting ...
It's neither the first attack nor the first round. As far as RAW is concerned, if you're surprised, you're surprised at least until the end of your first turn. From the Player's Basic Rules, page 69:
The DM determines who might be surprised. If
neither side tries to be stealthy, they automatically notice
each other. Otherwise, the DM compares the ...
No, critical hits must be linked with attack rolls.
I checked with Jeremy Crawford on Twitter and he says that critical hits must come from attack rolls:
@JeremeyECrawford No, since only attack rolls can score critical hits.
In response to @Kevinaskevin Can my Rogue's Assassinate cause my Wand of Magic Missile to crit against surprised creatures?
Yes, That Description is RAW
That is the way mechanics happens in RAW. How you narrate that to make sense is up to you. Remember the rules have to be turn based to make it run and everything that happens in a round is happening inside 6 seconds and at roughly at the "same time".
Two Common Alternatives
There are two common alternatives I've seen:
No, a surprised character can't drop prone
As you posted, Surprise says:
If you're surprised, you can't move or take an action...
This "can't move" terminology is actually used a lot in the rules. A few other examples:
The creature is incapacitated (see the condition), can't move or speak, and is unaware of its surroundings.
A surprised monster who rolls a 20+ on initiative can use lair actions because they are able to take actions, and their turn has passed
As you've quoted, the rules on lair actions state:
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 actions. ...
The initiative rolls can be interpreted as a metaphor for other circumstances. So if the orc rolls high, imagine that as him turning his head ina lucky timeframe, just to see the attacker in the corner of his eye. But he is still surprised, so he does not get to act first.
To answer: the action that causes the surprise does count as a part of the round. The ...
See the DMG's section "Using Ability Scores" (p.237) which says, in part:
Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure.
When deciding whether to use a roll, ask yourself two questions:
Is a task so easy...?
Is a task so inappropriate or impossible...?
It's simply not true that a stealth vs. perception ...
No. You cannot move, attack, draw a weapon, or interact with an object while you are surprised.
First (for those more familiar with other editions), in 5e there is no surprise round. Instead, it is possible for some members of either side to be Surprised:
Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter......
They follow the command if they are able to
The surprised condition prevents a creature from taking an action, moving or using a reaction until the end of their turn. Any command that requires a creature to do one of these thing will count as the target not be able to follow the command. Therefore the spell will fail. Not all command options require an ...
You can activate Action Surge, but it would waste it
The rules on surprise state:
A surprised creature can’t move or take an action or a reaction until its first first turn ends (remember that being unable to take an action also means you can’t take a bonus action).
Since you can't take an action, that means any actions (even if you have 2) and a bonus, ...
There are two ways to interpret that sentence, and it hinges on a weirdness of how English uses the indefinite article.
Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised at the start of the counter.
The usual interpretation of "a threat" here is that it means "one threat". If that is the correct reading, your question is the result. Is ...
Your interpretation is accurate.
Though in many groups this is not exactly how it is played out (some tend to allow a surprise round to take place sort of out-of-order before rolling initiative for everyone else), the rules as written make it clear that at the beginning of a combat, all creatures should roll for initiative and have a place in the turn order,...
Short answer: yes, your citation from the PHB supports character initiative or action as the trigger from non-combat to combat.
It's not necessarily "another skill" that can set up surprise, but player actions, preparation, and decision.
Surprising Foes. If the adventurers encounter a hostile creature or group, the DM determines whether the ...
There is no mechanic to remove surprise. They're surprised til the end of their turn, and then can take reactions for the rest of the round. There's no way for a non-surprised person to get them out of surprise (especially, flavor-wise, given the immediacy of things, you can assume that an attempt to have them not be surprised, because of the rolls, is just ...
A Flat-Footed penalty will still apply.
According to Ability Scores:
A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty.
With this in mind, when looking for an ability bonus, only use a positive modifier.
Looking at Flat-Footed AC with a Dex of 9
According to Armor Class
Sometimes you can't use your ...
By strict reading of the text, Yes.
Although you are not rolling to hit, the spell itself says it automatically "Hits" and therefore fulfills the requirement of:
In addition, any "hit" you score against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit.
Critical hits with spells are double damage dice. Therefore, each missile you produce would deal double ...
From the PHB, page 195:
If you are hidden—both unseen and unheard—when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.
So, the first attack is rolled with Advantage, but it reveals the attacker's position, so all consecutive attacks lose the advantage.
Make note that the rule does not state that only the attacked creature ...
No, a character can't be surprised in the middle of combat.
Any character or monster that doesn’t
notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter.
This is the only method given in the rules for a creature to be surprised. The monster already noticed a threat, so it can't be surprised, and besides, it's not the start of the encounter.