Corefinder Design Digest #7: SURPRISE!!!

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In some encounters, one side may be aware of their opponents while not yet being detected themselves, or individual characters on one side may be aware while their compatriots are not. Much like the Alternative Initiative rule described in Design Digest #5, this generally can be determined by the result of a skill check, either an opposed skill check or a check vs. a specific DC.

Surprise Actions: If only some combatants are aware in a potential combat situation and others are not, the aware creatures can take a single move, standard, or use action (in addition to one swift or free action) as a bonus action at the beginning of combat. This action is considered to occur as part of that creature’s turn during the first round of combat and is not a separate round. The order in which creatures take their surprise actions is the same as the initiative order for the first round of combat. Once you return to the top of initiative order, creatures can then take their normal turns in order.

Surprise and Flat-Footed: A creature that takes a surprise action is no longer flat-footed. Creatures that are unaware of their opponents are considered flat-footed against all surprise actions.

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