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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2016

    Default Surprise attack or round?

    As a rogue, can you get a surprise attack on an opponent, even if he isnt surprised. As long as the rogue successfully sneaks unseen around the backside and gets close enough?

    For example:
    A party encounters an enemy camp. The camp memebers hear and notice a threat but havent noticed the whole party yet. Can the party engage in combat and the rogue sneaks around and gets a surprise attack from behind because he hasnt been seen or heard yet?

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Tampa, FL
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    Default Re: Surprise attack or round?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowbane13 View Post
    As a rogue, can you get a surprise attack on an opponent, even if he isnt surprised. As long as the rogue successfully sneaks unseen around the backside and gets close enough?

    For example:
    A party encounters an enemy camp. The camp memebers hear and notice a threat but havent noticed the whole party yet. Can the party engage in combat and the rogue sneaks around and gets a surprise attack from behind because he hasnt been seen or heard yet?
    If an enemy notices any threat, they are not surprised.

    However, the rogue would still qualify for Sneak Attack (by having advantage by being unseen), but would break stealth.

    There is no such thing as a surprise attack. Or a surprise round, for that matter. There is only the Surprised pseudo-condition, which removes the ability to take actions or move.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Aug 2018
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    Default Re: Surprise attack or round?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowbane13 View Post
    As a rogue, can you get a surprise attack on an opponent, even if he isnt surprised. As long as the rogue successfully sneaks unseen around the backside and gets close enough?

    For example:
    A party encounters an enemy camp. The camp memebers hear and notice a threat but havent noticed the whole party yet. Can the party engage in combat and the rogue sneaks around and gets a surprise attack from behind because he hasnt been seen or heard yet?
    So..surprise is kinda...weird.

    It's not an "Attack". It's not a "Round". It's best represented as a Condition. A Condition on specific enemies, that states:
    • "When surprised, you cannot take Actions or Reactions. You lose this condition at the end of your turn".


    And it only really occurs when enemies aren't suspecting a threat. Good rule of thumb: if they're holding weapons and aren't bored, they probably can't be surprised.

    To answer your question, Yes. You can Surprise an individual enemy (assuming he's CAN be surprised), but it'd probably be best to treat it as its own little "mini" encounter, with just the Rogue and the target (unless the target is able to raise the alarm).

    Keep in mind, though, RAW, you would only make your Attack with Advantage if you were hidden while attacking, and that might not be enough to guarantee a kill (unless you're an Assassin).
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-05-22 at 12:14 PM.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Mar 2016
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    Default Re: Surprise attack or round?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowbane13 View Post
    As a rogue, can you get a surprise attack on an opponent, even if he isnt surprised. As long as the rogue successfully sneaks unseen around the backside and gets close enough?

    For example:
    A party encounters an enemy camp. The camp memebers hear and notice a threat but havent noticed the whole party yet. Can the party engage in combat and the rogue sneaks around and gets a surprise attack from behind because he hasnt been seen or heard yet?
    Here's how I'd run the whole encounter assuming the party is traveling stealthily:

    1. Tell the players that they found the encampment of orcs or whatever they were looking for (or happened across. I'm going to assume that the camp is an obviously hostile force).

    2. Have the players roll Dexterity (Stealth) checks against the enemies' passive Perception scores. (Assuming there are bushes and trees to hide behind, or darkness if against non-darkvision enemies). If there are any enemies actively hiding, do the same for them against the PCs' passive Perception scores. If the party isn't traveling stealthily, skip this step; the PCs have made their presence known.

    3. Any PC that beat the passive Perception of an enemy is hidden from and unnoticed by that enemy. If an enemy doesn't notice any PCs, that enemy is surprised until the end of their first turn. If no enemies notice any of the PCs, don't roll initiative until the PCs make their presence known; the instant a PC is noticed or a player declares they do something noticeable (such as attacking) roll initiative (the player that declared the action doesn't automatically go first -- this is a personal preference of mine of how to handle these things since it's not covered explicitly in the rules).

    4. Go in initiative order. Characters that are hidden from certain enemies have advantage on attack rolls against those enemies as per the rules for the hidden condition. Characters that are surprised can't take actions or reactions until after their first turn.

    5. If there are still bushes, trees, boxes, tents, or darkness to hide behind or in, characters can take the Hide action and gain the hidden condition against all applicable enemies by making a Dexterity (Stealth) check against passive Perception scores. Any character trying to find a hidden foe can take the Search action by making a Wisdom (Perception) check against the hidden character's stealth result.

    TL;DR: rogues can hide as an action (and if 2nd level or higher, as a bonus action). While hidden, enemies don't know where you are or may not even know that you exist if they haven't noticed you at all before. Being hidden from an enemy grants you advantage which grants you sneak attack. If the question is about the assassin's special ability that depends on surprise, unfortunately no. A surprised character is one that hasn't noticed any threats at all.
    Last edited by Puh Laden; 2019-05-22 at 03:27 PM.

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