5E Surprise Combat

Hello adventurers and DMs of all shapes and sizes! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the 2nd entry of our combat series. Today we’re going to be taking a look at d&d 5e combat surprise which is technically the first step in actually engaging in combat. It’s an interesting mechanic, i really like how it plays out. I think a lot of people misuse it at the very least misunderstand it, there’s a lot more to it than one might initially suspect one could say it’s surprising, so i couldn’t resist. Let’s take a look at what exactly is surprise.

What is 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 DM determines who might be surprised. If neither side tries to be stealthy, they automatically notice each other. Otherwise, the DM compares the Dexterity (Stealth) checks of anyone hiding with the passive Wisdom (Perception) score of each creature on the opposing side. Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter.

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. A member of a group can be surprised even if the other members aren’t.

“The surprising members get an extra round to act. Before the surprised members can take a turn.” Pretty simple in theory a lot of DMs generalize it but i’ll get into that in a little bit.

How is Surprise Determined?

“The key component to a surprise round is stealth. If neither party is trying to be stealthy they automatically notice each other, thus negating the surprise round.” That’s something that i’ve messed up on in a DM, as a DM a bunch of times. Do not miss this 5e what counts as an attack.

“If stealth is in play:  The dm compares the stealth roll of the hiding party, to the passive perception of the unsuspecting party. The characters or monsters who didn’t notice the threat are surprised.” And this applies the same rules as attackers so the stealth in party is technically considered attackers so if it’s a tie and the stealth and party is considered to win. Also read this how to make 5e combat more interesting.

So you can see why that happens more times than not. Of course this can be circumvented by actually making active perception checks, that’s a good way around this but it has to be stated. Monsters don’t get surprised just for the lawls, there has to be some mechanical stealth in play, otherwise they immediately notice each other that’s just how 5e works, you’re considered to have almost as 360 degree kind of view on the world, it’s really kind of funny how they did it, but it makes sense when you’re actually playing the game. Also read this 5e what can you do as a bonus action.

So just please bear that in mind and whoever gets the surprise gets basically a full round to act before the surprised members do. What’s also really interesting and this is what i meant with a lot of DMs i generalize just because a couple of pardons members failed the surprised check it doesn’t mean they all did. Don’t miss this article on can you hide in combat 5e.

So it’s possible to have a surprise round we’re only half of the surprised members can’t do anything. Which is really interesting i’ve never inherently played with that kind of game but technically by raw it’s the way it’s supposed to be done so just bear that in mind. That being said, let’s take a look at my thoughts on it. Also check out this do surprise rounds exist in 5e?.


So if you ask me do you get advantage on surprise 5e and what is the advantage of surprise 5e? here are my thoughts on it guys. I really love the surprise mechanic i think it’s one of the cooler ones in 5e. I know it’s been in previous editions as well but in 5e it’s my favorite part of DMing combat. At least in terms of the mechanical structuring of how combats ran. So i really like it, i take full advantage of it, even as a party i take full advantage of it. This is kind of the benefit of the rogue staying behind, making those passive perception checks or the bard or whatever has the highest passive perception. Check out this how does surprise attack work in d&d?.

There’s good ways to incorporate this in marching order as well. It’s also a good reason to kind of always state that you’re stealthy just so if you do run into a party of just trash mobs and usually more times than not get the jump on them and one free round that makes a huge difference especially if you’re a paladin and you’re gonna use a smutty or you’re an assassin there’s just a lot of really good ways to do this. Don’t miss this can you surprise a creature mid combat?.


That being said, thank you so much for checking out guys, if you have any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns regarding of dnd surprise condition 5e please let me know down in the comment section i really do appreciate it. I hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring. Would you like to check out this dnd 5e surprise mid combat.

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