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Surprised (Condition)

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Properties

Loses duration Loses duration: end of round

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Sources of Surprised

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Surprised Surprised is a special condition that can affect creatures during the first round of combat.

Overview[edit | edit source]

When one side of a combat encounter is unaware of the other side, they may be Surprised. A Surprised creature cannot take any Actions or Reactions for one combat round. Characters with the Alert Alert feat, the Feral Instinct Feral Instinct feature or specific items (such as the Elixir of Vigilance) cannot be Surprised.

Certain combat encounters, especially ones that occur after an in-game cutscene, are set to always Surprise Surprise the party. These can usually be countered by utilizing the aforementioned features or else conditions such as Invisible Invisible or hiding in heavily obscured areas with spells such as Darkness Darkness before triggering them.

How to Surprise Enemies[edit | edit source]

The key to surprising surprising enemies is line of sight: they must have a clear line of sight to the character surprising them. If they do not, then they will begin searching for that character and will NOT be surprised surprised once they find them and begin combat.

This can make it challenging and counter-intuitive to successfully surprise a group of enemies. Precautions such as the following may aid in the process:

  • 1) Use Hide Hide to put the ENTIRE party into stealth, including pets.
  • 2) Ungroup the party, including pets, then select one party member as the ambusher and move them into position to trigger the surprise.
  • 3) Keep the other party members and pets some distance away while the ambusher approaches the enemy from outside their vision cones. If they cross a vision cone in a Clear Area Clear Area then they will instantly be spotted, but if they are Lightly Obscured Lightly Obscured or Heavily Obscured Heavily Obscured then they must succeed a Stealth roll against the enemy's Perception check. On a successful roll the enemies will not notice the character, but on a failed roll they will initiate combat without being surprised surprised.
  • 4) The ambusher MUST initiate combat from within line of sight of the enemy. If they do, then the enemy should be surprised surprised. However, if they are out of line of sight then the enemies will begin searching for the party member and will NOT be surprised surprised once they find them and begin combat.
  • 5) Once the enemy is surprised surprised, the rest of the party can be moved into position to join the fight. They will be drawn into the fight once they either enter an enemy's vision cone or attack them.

If a character's Stealth is high enough then enemies will sometimes fail to notice them even as their allies are being attacked and killed from a distance. This can even work with Area of Effect spells such as Fireball Fireball as long as the party member casting it remains hidden. The enemies will run around in a desperate search for the party member but be unable to find them. This can be accomplished with a high Dexterity score, Proficiency and Expertise in stealth, Advantage Icon.png Advantage in dexterity or stealth checks, and certain spells and abilities such as Pass Without Trace Pass Without Trace.

Triggering Surprised from Invisibility[edit | edit source]

The most reliable way to surprise surprise an enemy is to become Invisible Invisible and attack them. This invisibility can come from any source (e.g Potion of Invisibility, Invisibility Invisibility, Greater Invisibility Greater Invisibility, or Shadow of Menzoberranzan). The Quasit and Imp pets will also work, as will Wild Shape: Panther Wild Shape: Panther.

List of Surprise encounters[edit | edit source]

Act 1[edit | edit source]

Act 2[edit | edit source]

  • In the Shadow-Cursed Lands, 3 separate encounters with Blights can Surprise Surprise the party if they get too close to them.
  • In Moonrise Towers, attacking the Mimic will always Surprise Surprise the party when interacting with them in their disguised form. Attacking them from range will start the battle without being surprised.

Act 3[edit | edit source]