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ken-do-nim
2006-12-26, 01:58 PM
If a creature is ethereal (via ethereal jaunt supernatural ability) watching the party, can it come out of etherealness in their midst and get a surprise round? It's just unclear to me whether you'd roll initiative at that point or give it the free standard surprise action before doing so. Thanks in advance!

KIDS
2006-12-26, 02:25 PM
I think that the case you described would clearly fall into the cathegory "one side is aware, other is unaware". Thus, it seems reasonable to give the etheral creature a surprise round (unless they have means to detect it while it's etheral, of course).

ken-do-nim
2006-12-26, 02:28 PM
I think that the case you described would clearly fall into the cathegory "one side is aware, other is unaware". Thus, it seems reasonable to give the etheral creature a surprise round (unless they have means to detect it while it's etheral, of course).

I'm not sure it's so clear. If an arcane trickster dimension doors right next to an opponent (or maybe even behind him, but is spotted), does he automatically get a surprise sneak attack?

Edit: In either case, if we don't rule it's automatic surprise, it is still hard to imagine seeing the attacker flat-footed.

Marius
2006-12-26, 02:44 PM
I'm not sure it's so clear. If an arcane trickster dimension doors right next to an opponent (or maybe even behind him, but is spotted), does he automatically get a surprise sneak attack?

Edit: In either case, if we don't rule it's automatic surprise, it is still hard to imagine seeing the attacker flat-footed.

I would rule that if an arcane triscker dimension door and is spotted then you have to roll initiative since (unless his using a quickened dimension door in that case he gets to attack but he would centaly be spotted next round). He would still get the sneak attack if he wons initiative.

Renegade Paladin
2006-12-26, 03:13 PM
Dimension door ends your turn. Ethereal jaunt does not.

Emperor Tippy
2006-12-26, 03:19 PM
Actually DD ends your round whether its quickened or not. The only exceptions are use activated items (sometimes) and contingent DD's. Use activated because the item is using it and not you and contingent DD"s for the same reason.

If you want to act and DD in the same round what you do is act first and use a quickened DD to escape. Your turn is still over but it would be anyways.

Renegade Paladin
2006-12-26, 03:28 PM
Nothing in the contingency description makes an exception for dimension door's turn-ending effect.

NEO|Phyte
2006-12-26, 03:36 PM
Nothing in the contingency description makes an exception for dimension door's turn-ending effect.
But if the contingency goes off, odds are its not your turn anyway, so having to wait until your next turn to be able to take actions doesn't seem all that bad. Its not like you're making loads of AoOs all the time, right?

Amiria
2006-12-26, 03:36 PM
Nothing in the contingency description makes an exception for dimension door's turn-ending effect.

No, but you don't cast the DD when the Contingency goes off - the Contingency activates the DD. If the turn-ending effect of the DD ever happened in that case, it was when you cast that spell along/into the Contingency,

ken-do-nim
2006-12-26, 03:39 PM
Dimension door ends your turn. Ethereal jaunt does not.

Hmm... my point was that if the dimensional traveller (be it dimension door or ethereal jaunt) is in rounds, he uses a standard action to get where he wants to be (either by teleporting or by ending the jaunt). Certainly the opponent is surprised to see him, but either way he has to wait until his next standard action to make an attack. So the question is whether he gets that standard action as a surprise or has to wait for initiative.

danielf
2006-12-26, 03:49 PM
yes, i think you get a surprise round to attack

Deathcow
2006-12-26, 04:27 PM
You could have a surprise round, drop initiative until the actual combat rounds start, and then make your move.

You know, so you could get a full-round action in instead of a partial action from the surprise round.

Renegade Paladin
2006-12-26, 04:27 PM
No, but you don't cast the DD when the Contingency goes off - the Contingency activates the DD. If the turn-ending effect of the DD ever happened in that case, it was when you cast that spell along/into the Contingency,
In which case it isn't going to help you make any attacks, because 1.) the likelihood of a contingent dimension door placing you next to an enemy is almost nil and 2.) you don't get to act until your next turn anyway, thereby allowing for an initiative roll. The point stands.

ken-do-nim
2006-12-26, 04:32 PM
You could have a surprise round, drop initiative until the actual combat rounds start, and then make your move.

You know, so you could get a full-round action in instead of a partial action from the surprise round.

Drop initiative? I don't follow. AFAIK, when you ambush someone, you can't say "Instead of taking this standard action now, I'll automatically win initiative so that I can take a full round action before the enemy goes". Can you?

ken-do-nim
2007-01-02, 03:12 PM
I also finally got around to emailing Wizards about this one.

My question:
If an ethereal couatl watches its unsuspecting foes in the material plane, can it return to the prime material plane, appearing right in front of them, and gain a surprise standard action? Likewise, can anyone dimension door in front of unsuspecting foes and gain a surprise standard action? In both cases, a creature appears out of nowhere; the question is whether initiative should be rolled first or not.

Wizards response:
Thank you for contacting us.
Unfortunately the answer is, it is completely up to the DM. It stands to reason that if the PCs were previously unaware of the creature, and it pops in and attacks them, that they would be surprised. This is assuming that it can pop in and attack as a part of a standard action. If that isn't the case, then initiative should be rolled. In the specific instance of a couatl, they use an ability that is similar to ethereal jaunt. Ethereal jaunt doesn't say one way or the other that it counts as any kind of action to return to the Material Plane. So this is entirely possible.

Person_Man
2007-01-03, 10:59 AM
My opinion is that you should be smart enough to jaunt or DD directly behind your target. The targets would then be entitled to a Listen check to see if they participate in the suprise round.

When I DM I always require an opposed check of some type to see if you can participate in the suprise round (almost always Listen, Spot, or Sense Motive). There are just too many ways to kill an enemy with one standard action (Death Attack, no save spells, Quickened spell, Celerity spells). I don't want my players to feel "cheated" when I ambush them, and I don't want the players thinking that they can suprise a 20th level Scout if they just have access to the right combo.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-03, 11:44 AM
My opinion is that you should be smart enough to jaunt or DD directly behind your target. The targets would then be entitled to a Listen check to see if they participate in the suprise round.

When I DM I always require an opposed check of some type to see if you can participate in the suprise round (almost always Listen, Spot, or Sense Motive). There are just too many ways to kill an enemy with one standard action (Death Attack, no save spells, Quickened spell, Celerity spells). I don't want my players to feel "cheated" when I ambush them, and I don't want the players thinking that they can suprise a 20th level Scout if they just have access to the right combo.

Thanks - I'll use that.

Matthew
2007-01-04, 04:29 AM
Yeah, that's what I do as well.

Hallavast
2007-01-04, 04:36 AM
Hmm... Interesting... So if the Arcane Trickster teleports next to an enemy wizard for a good shanking, but the wizard saw him cast the spell and made his spellcraft check to identify the spell being cast, would he be all that surprised? I mean, he knows the Arcane Trickster is likely to pop up somewhere. Thus he still has his guard up and upon spotting his opponent, would have means to dodge a sneak attack, yes?

ken-do-nim
2007-01-04, 07:50 AM
Hmm... Interesting... So if the Arcane Trickster teleports next to an enemy wizard for a good shanking, but the wizard saw him cast the spell and made his spellcraft check to identify the spell being cast, would he be all that surprised? I mean, he knows the Arcane Trickster is likely to pop up somewhere. Thus he still has his guard up and upon spotting his opponent, would have means to dodge a sneak attack, yes?

We had a similar thread talking about if wizard A casts an illusion spell, if wizard B sees him and makes his spellcraft check, should he automatically disbelieve the illusion?

Hallavast
2007-01-04, 05:02 PM
We had a similar thread talking about if wizard A casts an illusion spell, if wizard B sees him and makes his spellcraft check, should he automatically disbelieve the illusion?
I would say no. Sometimes you have feelings despite logical reasoning. For example, have you ever been rather hungry a couple minutes after you've just eaten a meal? I have. There was no reason for it, and I shouldn't have been hungry, but my stomach was growling none the less. So, even if you know that phantasmal killer spell isn't real, it could still scare you to death. Even if you know that the wall in front of you is illusory, you might not have enough will power to convince your subconscious that it is so. Hence the will save.

MrNexx
2007-01-04, 05:09 PM
Anyone ever started when the Sand Person jumped up in front of Luke, even though they knew it was coming?

Glooble Glistencrist
2007-01-04, 05:13 PM
So how about a successful spellcraft check grants a +2 bonus to the will save (or the listen check to join the surprise round)? That seems reasonable to me.

Gamebird
2007-01-04, 05:19 PM
I'd give the same bonus to the Will save as if someone else told you it was an illusion.

On the popping-in-surprise thing, here's a version of it that has been troubling me for a while:

The party is fighting one or more incorporeal creatures. The creatures phase into the walls, floors and ceiling. They are now totally concealed. They remain that way for a period of time. At the end of that period, they attack (let's assume the PCs are still around to be attacked, or the creatures were able to move, unseen, along with the party). Do they get surprise?

Even if they don't get surprise, are the PCs able to counter attack without a readied action? Because the creatures don't have to move out of the rock walls. They can just attack blindly into the PC's square without ever leaving the protection of the wall.

Assuming the PCs stand around with readied actions, how long can they stay alert like that? Do they have to designate where the attack is coming from, or can they just say "I ready an attack against any incorporeal attack from any direction, on me or my allies?"

Hallavast
2007-01-04, 07:28 PM
Assuming the PCs stand around with readied actions, how long can they stay alert like that? Do they have to designate where the attack is coming from, or can they just say "I ready an attack against any incorporeal attack from any direction, on me or my allies?"

This is exactly what happened to my group the other night. There was a dread wraith swooping in and out of the walls in a corridor we were in, so I readied a magic missile for when he came into view. After a few rounds of waiting, the DM ruled that combat had ended and the wraith used a surprise round to charge us. I didn't get my spell off until after the wraith hit me... jerk.

Thrawn183
2007-01-04, 08:40 PM
Well, I think I have an answer to that. If a wraith is in the ground... it can't actually see your character. My DM basically uses the ability to "walk" through walls to move around without provoking attacks of opportunity. The dread wraiths I fought still phased into the open before attacking.

Gamebird
2007-01-04, 09:10 PM
The dread wraiths I fought still phased into the open before attacking.

Yes, but they don't have to. They can stay in the wall. Just as you can't attack an ogre's arms as they reach out to slap around a human, an incorporeal creature doesn't have to come out of an object. Yes - they'll be attacking you blind, but I don't think you can counter attack it at all, unless you can affect it in the stone.

The DMG is very clear on this in the Conditions section (or a section next to it in the back of the book).

ken-do-nim
2007-01-04, 09:14 PM
Yes, but they don't have to. They can stay in the wall. Just as you can't attack an ogre's arms as they reach out to slap around a human, an incorporeal creature doesn't have to come out of an object. Yes - they'll be attacking you blind, but I don't think you can counter attack it at all, unless you can affect it in the stone.

The DMG is very clear on this in the Conditions section (or a section next to it in the back of the book).

Here's the rule in question:



An incorporeal creature can enter or pass through solid objects, but must remain adjacent to the objectís exterior, and so cannot pass entirely through an object whose space is larger than its own. It can sense the presence of creatures or objects within a square adjacent to its current location, but enemies have total concealment (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatModifiers.htm#totalConcealment) (50% miss chance) from an incorporeal creature that is inside an object. In order to see farther from the object it is in and attack normally, the incorporeal creature must emerge. An incorporeal creature inside an object has total cover (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatModifiers.htm#totalCover), but when it attacks a creature outside the object it only has cover (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatModifiers.htm#cover), so a creature outside with a readied action could strike at it as it attacks. An incorporeal creature cannot pass through a force effect.


I've bolded the critical section.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-04, 09:16 PM
This is exactly what happened to my group the other night. There was a dread wraith swooping in and out of the walls in a corridor we were in, so I readied a magic missile for when he came into view. After a few rounds of waiting, the DM ruled that combat had ended and the wraith used a surprise round to charge us. I didn't get my spell off until after the wraith hit me... jerk.

Jerk indeed! I would have at least given you a concentration check to maintain your readied action.

Collin152
2007-01-04, 09:37 PM
Well, consider the ninja. A ninja can (eventually) turn Ethereal mommentarily to take advantage of it's Sudden Strike ability. Now,that would mean that it leaves your foes flatfooted when you use it, right? That sounds like a surprise-round-thing to me. Except... not really, but you get my point.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-01-04, 09:46 PM
Wait, it seriously works that way?

I am totally making a suit of ethereal armor now.

Hallavast
2007-01-04, 10:59 PM
Well whenever your opponent can't see you, they are denied their dex to ac. What's up for debate is if you can get sneak attacks if you appear suddenly from somewhere unexpectedly.

By the way, wraiths have life sense, so it knew where we were.

Collin152
2007-01-05, 12:56 AM
Wait, it seriously works that way?

I am totally making a suit of ethereal armor now.
Problem is making your attacks. Need to materialize. Etherial magic items usually dont work so efficiently. Ninja's do it better.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-05, 10:57 AM
We've been talking about the monk ability "ethereal body" on another thread. This is really cheesy folks, but it seems the answer to the surprise question is:

If you have to use a standard action to return to the prime plane, you don't get a surprise attack. If however the spell/power runs out on its own, you do get one. So if an arcane trickster with 16th level casting uses ethereal jaunt, he can shadow his unsuspecting foe until the spell runs out, then he gets an automatic sneak attack.

Gamebird
2007-01-05, 02:15 PM
Seems like it would fall into the same category as Teleport-surprise. The way I've run that is the person who cast Teleport has taken their action - they're done. But anyone they bring along with them can ready an action to go off as soon as the teleport is done, which functions pretty much as a surprise round action. After the readied actions are done, both sides roll initiative.