If the party is hidden prior to attacking enemies, do they surprise the enemies and/or get advantage on their attacks?

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Our adroit heroes tracked the goblins back to a small camp in the woods. Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

The party attacks! Arrows rain down, spells are cast, and sword wielders rush in. Does our party:

  • attack with advantage because they are hidden?
  • only cause the unaware goblins to be surprised for the first round?
  • get both surprise and advantage?

What are scenarios in which each of the above would occur?

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  • 3

    You should keep in mind that there is no concept of a ‘surprise round’ in 5e; it might be clearer if your question doesn’t imply it to be the case.
    – Glen_b
    Nov 29 at 3:47

up vote
9
down vote

favorite

Our adroit heroes tracked the goblins back to a small camp in the woods. Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

The party attacks! Arrows rain down, spells are cast, and sword wielders rush in. Does our party:

  • attack with advantage because they are hidden?
  • only cause the unaware goblins to be surprised for the first round?
  • get both surprise and advantage?

What are scenarios in which each of the above would occur?

share|improve this question

  • 3

    You should keep in mind that there is no concept of a ‘surprise round’ in 5e; it might be clearer if your question doesn’t imply it to be the case.
    – Glen_b
    Nov 29 at 3:47

up vote
9
down vote

favorite

up vote
9
down vote

favorite

Our adroit heroes tracked the goblins back to a small camp in the woods. Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

The party attacks! Arrows rain down, spells are cast, and sword wielders rush in. Does our party:

  • attack with advantage because they are hidden?
  • only cause the unaware goblins to be surprised for the first round?
  • get both surprise and advantage?

What are scenarios in which each of the above would occur?

share|improve this question

Our adroit heroes tracked the goblins back to a small camp in the woods. Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

The party attacks! Arrows rain down, spells are cast, and sword wielders rush in. Does our party:

  • attack with advantage because they are hidden?
  • only cause the unaware goblins to be surprised for the first round?
  • get both surprise and advantage?

What are scenarios in which each of the above would occur?

dnd-5e stealth advantage surprise

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edited Nov 30 at 2:11

asked Nov 29 at 0:17

SeeDerekEngineer

1,0881932

1,0881932

  • 3

    You should keep in mind that there is no concept of a ‘surprise round’ in 5e; it might be clearer if your question doesn’t imply it to be the case.
    – Glen_b
    Nov 29 at 3:47

  • 3

    You should keep in mind that there is no concept of a ‘surprise round’ in 5e; it might be clearer if your question doesn’t imply it to be the case.
    – Glen_b
    Nov 29 at 3:47

3

3

You should keep in mind that there is no concept of a ‘surprise round’ in 5e; it might be clearer if your question doesn’t imply it to be the case.
– Glen_b
Nov 29 at 3:47

You should keep in mind that there is no concept of a ‘surprise round’ in 5e; it might be clearer if your question doesn’t imply it to be the case.
– Glen_b
Nov 29 at 3:47

1 Answer
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active

oldest

votes

up vote
19
down vote

accepted

It’s all in your description:

Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

You, the GM, have already determined that the goblins are completely unaware and that the adventurers are hidden. (Some GMs might have compared stealth vs. perception, some might let the fiction do the talking for them, you may have done neither; see DMG p. 237 for more on how to decide whether or not to require checks in this instance.)

  • That the goblins are completely unaware means they are surprised. From PHB p.189 at “Surprise”:

    Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised.

  • That the adventurers are hidden means that they attack at advantage. From PHB p.195 at “Unseen Attackers and Targets”:

    When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it.

    So as you describe it your archers and (presumably-ranged casters) would have advantage. Those sword-wielders, though… they lose their advantage as they come into sight and attack (presumably while visible) the goblins in melee.

share|improve this answer

  • But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden. For the enemy to be completely unaware the party must be hidden, no?
    – SeeDerekEngineer
    Nov 29 at 0:37

  • 9

    @SeeDerekEngineer the classic surprise scenario that doesn’t involve hidden attackers is when you and I can hear orcs in the next room, so we bust down the door swords-a-blazin’ and attack. We got the drop on them for surprise-purposes, but they can actually see us swinging and so our attacks aren’t advantaged. Another might be if we were negotiating with innocent do-gooders while intending to double-cross them the entire time. On your signal we both draw and stab–surprise! (Perhaps contingent on the result of a deception-insight contest.) But seen.
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 0:39

  • 1

    @SeeDerekEngineer this isn’t a line of computer code in a computer game. But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden
    – KorvinStarmast
    Nov 29 at 1:26

  • Don’t forget passive perception check to determine who is actually receives the “surprise” condition.
    – XAQT78
    Nov 29 at 13:01

  • @XAQT78 I’m not sure what you’re suggesting–isn’t that covered by the parenthetical in the first paragraph?
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 13:29

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1 Answer
1

active

oldest

votes

1 Answer
1

active

oldest

votes

active

oldest

votes

active

oldest

votes

up vote
19
down vote

accepted

It’s all in your description:

Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

You, the GM, have already determined that the goblins are completely unaware and that the adventurers are hidden. (Some GMs might have compared stealth vs. perception, some might let the fiction do the talking for them, you may have done neither; see DMG p. 237 for more on how to decide whether or not to require checks in this instance.)

  • That the goblins are completely unaware means they are surprised. From PHB p.189 at “Surprise”:

    Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised.

  • That the adventurers are hidden means that they attack at advantage. From PHB p.195 at “Unseen Attackers and Targets”:

    When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it.

    So as you describe it your archers and (presumably-ranged casters) would have advantage. Those sword-wielders, though… they lose their advantage as they come into sight and attack (presumably while visible) the goblins in melee.

share|improve this answer

  • But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden. For the enemy to be completely unaware the party must be hidden, no?
    – SeeDerekEngineer
    Nov 29 at 0:37

  • 9

    @SeeDerekEngineer the classic surprise scenario that doesn’t involve hidden attackers is when you and I can hear orcs in the next room, so we bust down the door swords-a-blazin’ and attack. We got the drop on them for surprise-purposes, but they can actually see us swinging and so our attacks aren’t advantaged. Another might be if we were negotiating with innocent do-gooders while intending to double-cross them the entire time. On your signal we both draw and stab–surprise! (Perhaps contingent on the result of a deception-insight contest.) But seen.
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 0:39

  • 1

    @SeeDerekEngineer this isn’t a line of computer code in a computer game. But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden
    – KorvinStarmast
    Nov 29 at 1:26

  • Don’t forget passive perception check to determine who is actually receives the “surprise” condition.
    – XAQT78
    Nov 29 at 13:01

  • @XAQT78 I’m not sure what you’re suggesting–isn’t that covered by the parenthetical in the first paragraph?
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 13:29

up vote
19
down vote

accepted

It’s all in your description:

Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

You, the GM, have already determined that the goblins are completely unaware and that the adventurers are hidden. (Some GMs might have compared stealth vs. perception, some might let the fiction do the talking for them, you may have done neither; see DMG p. 237 for more on how to decide whether or not to require checks in this instance.)

  • That the goblins are completely unaware means they are surprised. From PHB p.189 at “Surprise”:

    Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised.

  • That the adventurers are hidden means that they attack at advantage. From PHB p.195 at “Unseen Attackers and Targets”:

    When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it.

    So as you describe it your archers and (presumably-ranged casters) would have advantage. Those sword-wielders, though… they lose their advantage as they come into sight and attack (presumably while visible) the goblins in melee.

share|improve this answer

  • But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden. For the enemy to be completely unaware the party must be hidden, no?
    – SeeDerekEngineer
    Nov 29 at 0:37

  • 9

    @SeeDerekEngineer the classic surprise scenario that doesn’t involve hidden attackers is when you and I can hear orcs in the next room, so we bust down the door swords-a-blazin’ and attack. We got the drop on them for surprise-purposes, but they can actually see us swinging and so our attacks aren’t advantaged. Another might be if we were negotiating with innocent do-gooders while intending to double-cross them the entire time. On your signal we both draw and stab–surprise! (Perhaps contingent on the result of a deception-insight contest.) But seen.
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 0:39

  • 1

    @SeeDerekEngineer this isn’t a line of computer code in a computer game. But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden
    – KorvinStarmast
    Nov 29 at 1:26

  • Don’t forget passive perception check to determine who is actually receives the “surprise” condition.
    – XAQT78
    Nov 29 at 13:01

  • @XAQT78 I’m not sure what you’re suggesting–isn’t that covered by the parenthetical in the first paragraph?
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 13:29

up vote
19
down vote

accepted

up vote
19
down vote

accepted

It’s all in your description:

Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

You, the GM, have already determined that the goblins are completely unaware and that the adventurers are hidden. (Some GMs might have compared stealth vs. perception, some might let the fiction do the talking for them, you may have done neither; see DMG p. 237 for more on how to decide whether or not to require checks in this instance.)

  • That the goblins are completely unaware means they are surprised. From PHB p.189 at “Surprise”:

    Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised.

  • That the adventurers are hidden means that they attack at advantage. From PHB p.195 at “Unseen Attackers and Targets”:

    When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it.

    So as you describe it your archers and (presumably-ranged casters) would have advantage. Those sword-wielders, though… they lose their advantage as they come into sight and attack (presumably while visible) the goblins in melee.

share|improve this answer

It’s all in your description:

Completely unaware of the threat around them, the goblins sit around a fire, easy prey to the hidden band of adventurers lurking in the trees.

You, the GM, have already determined that the goblins are completely unaware and that the adventurers are hidden. (Some GMs might have compared stealth vs. perception, some might let the fiction do the talking for them, you may have done neither; see DMG p. 237 for more on how to decide whether or not to require checks in this instance.)

  • That the goblins are completely unaware means they are surprised. From PHB p.189 at “Surprise”:

    Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised.

  • That the adventurers are hidden means that they attack at advantage. From PHB p.195 at “Unseen Attackers and Targets”:

    When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it.

    So as you describe it your archers and (presumably-ranged casters) would have advantage. Those sword-wielders, though… they lose their advantage as they come into sight and attack (presumably while visible) the goblins in melee.

share|improve this answer

share|improve this answer

share|improve this answer

edited Nov 29 at 0:44

answered Nov 29 at 0:31

nitsua60

72k13298420

72k13298420

  • But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden. For the enemy to be completely unaware the party must be hidden, no?
    – SeeDerekEngineer
    Nov 29 at 0:37

  • 9

    @SeeDerekEngineer the classic surprise scenario that doesn’t involve hidden attackers is when you and I can hear orcs in the next room, so we bust down the door swords-a-blazin’ and attack. We got the drop on them for surprise-purposes, but they can actually see us swinging and so our attacks aren’t advantaged. Another might be if we were negotiating with innocent do-gooders while intending to double-cross them the entire time. On your signal we both draw and stab–surprise! (Perhaps contingent on the result of a deception-insight contest.) But seen.
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 0:39

  • 1

    @SeeDerekEngineer this isn’t a line of computer code in a computer game. But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden
    – KorvinStarmast
    Nov 29 at 1:26

  • Don’t forget passive perception check to determine who is actually receives the “surprise” condition.
    – XAQT78
    Nov 29 at 13:01

  • @XAQT78 I’m not sure what you’re suggesting–isn’t that covered by the parenthetical in the first paragraph?
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 13:29

  • But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden. For the enemy to be completely unaware the party must be hidden, no?
    – SeeDerekEngineer
    Nov 29 at 0:37

  • 9

    @SeeDerekEngineer the classic surprise scenario that doesn’t involve hidden attackers is when you and I can hear orcs in the next room, so we bust down the door swords-a-blazin’ and attack. We got the drop on them for surprise-purposes, but they can actually see us swinging and so our attacks aren’t advantaged. Another might be if we were negotiating with innocent do-gooders while intending to double-cross them the entire time. On your signal we both draw and stab–surprise! (Perhaps contingent on the result of a deception-insight contest.) But seen.
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 0:39

  • 1

    @SeeDerekEngineer this isn’t a line of computer code in a computer game. But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden
    – KorvinStarmast
    Nov 29 at 1:26

  • Don’t forget passive perception check to determine who is actually receives the “surprise” condition.
    – XAQT78
    Nov 29 at 13:01

  • @XAQT78 I’m not sure what you’re suggesting–isn’t that covered by the parenthetical in the first paragraph?
    – nitsua60
    Nov 29 at 13:29

But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden. For the enemy to be completely unaware the party must be hidden, no?
– SeeDerekEngineer
Nov 29 at 0:37

But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden. For the enemy to be completely unaware the party must be hidden, no?
– SeeDerekEngineer
Nov 29 at 0:37

9

9

@SeeDerekEngineer the classic surprise scenario that doesn’t involve hidden attackers is when you and I can hear orcs in the next room, so we bust down the door swords-a-blazin’ and attack. We got the drop on them for surprise-purposes, but they can actually see us swinging and so our attacks aren’t advantaged. Another might be if we were negotiating with innocent do-gooders while intending to double-cross them the entire time. On your signal we both draw and stab–surprise! (Perhaps contingent on the result of a deception-insight contest.) But seen.
– nitsua60
Nov 29 at 0:39

@SeeDerekEngineer the classic surprise scenario that doesn’t involve hidden attackers is when you and I can hear orcs in the next room, so we bust down the door swords-a-blazin’ and attack. We got the drop on them for surprise-purposes, but they can actually see us swinging and so our attacks aren’t advantaged. Another might be if we were negotiating with innocent do-gooders while intending to double-cross them the entire time. On your signal we both draw and stab–surprise! (Perhaps contingent on the result of a deception-insight contest.) But seen.
– nitsua60
Nov 29 at 0:39

1

1

@SeeDerekEngineer this isn’t a line of computer code in a computer game. But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden
– KorvinStarmast
Nov 29 at 1:26

@SeeDerekEngineer this isn’t a line of computer code in a computer game. But wouldnt every Instance of surprise entail the party be hidden
– KorvinStarmast
Nov 29 at 1:26

Don’t forget passive perception check to determine who is actually receives the “surprise” condition.
– XAQT78
Nov 29 at 13:01

Don’t forget passive perception check to determine who is actually receives the “surprise” condition.
– XAQT78
Nov 29 at 13:01

@XAQT78 I’m not sure what you’re suggesting–isn’t that covered by the parenthetical in the first paragraph?
– nitsua60
Nov 29 at 13:29

@XAQT78 I’m not sure what you’re suggesting–isn’t that covered by the parenthetical in the first paragraph?
– nitsua60
Nov 29 at 13:29

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