Just a double-check on how surprise rounds are earned.


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Had a game tonight in which the players tried to effect a ruse on a "troublesome" NPC (a barbarian who had killed a bunch of other NPCs). The players took this barbarian outside of a room and told him a story to keep him occupied while the other PCs in the room tried to salvage a bad situation.

The problem is this dumb barbarian got an amazing Sense Motive roll and saw through the bluff. He shouted at the PC distracting him and stomped back into the room. There, he saw the PCs freeing a prisoner. He shouted again and then a player said, "I cast Charm Person on him."

I said "Roll for initiative." They did, but the player casting said that he should get a surprise round. Note this text from the surprise rules:

Quote:
When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you’re surprised.

I said that the barbarian was VERY aware of the casting PC and bellowing angrily as they unlocked the prisoner. He absolutely is not "unaware."

The player argued that since he initiated, he took the barbarian by surprise.

My thought is that when 2 characters are aware of each other, it works like two gunslingers in a duel -- no surprise round, and whoever is fastest gets a shot first. So initiative order yes, surprise no. I have been assured that my interpretation is not by the rules. What do you guys think?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

At worst the barbarian would have need a sense motive or perception check to notice that the bard was starting an attack.

"Notice a visible creature" DC = 0, maybe with a +5 to the DC for distracting circumstances.

If the player has tried to get out of the barbarian sight, making a stealth check and then casting, it would be different, but when he do it in his face, in a tense situation, it is hard to call it surprising.


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All combats are initiated by someone. That doesn't mean all combats start with surprise rounds.


was combat already started? was the npc aware of the parties readiness to initiate combat?


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Last I checked, the fluff information for barbarians makes them suspicious of any magic being used in their vicinity. While the barbarian MIGHT wait to see if the spell is harmful, it could hardly be considered a surprise round if said barbarian could physically see him casting the spell.


I should also point out that I'm the only player my GM has ever had get a successful sneak attack off with a spell, including in 3.x. I intentionally used stealth and snuck off while the party was trying to "decide how to proceed."

The problem with getting a sneak attack off with a spell is that VERY few spells don't have both verbal and somatic components. If you're playing a barbarian, and someone starts gesticulating at you while speaking utter gibberish, ASSUME THEY'RE CASTING A SPELL. Why? Because you're a skrelling barbarian. They aren't friendly? Bury your great-axe shaft deep in their face. Why? Because you're a skrelling barbarian! That's what you do! It doesn't matter if you're a player or a GM. HIM POINT AND SAY MAGIC WORDS! ME KILLY!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

No surprise round. The barbarian was spoiling for a fight. While you waited until someone too an actual combat action (cast a spell) before asking for initiative, you could just as easily have called for initiative when the barbarian made their sense motive check.

You’re absolutely correct that awareness is what triggers surprise rounds, and the barbarian was very aware of the spellcaster, and already thinking of him as an opponent. It absolutely should use normal flat-footed and initiative rules (and the spellcaster might have got the charm off before the barbarian could react), but there’s no surprise.


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No surprise round. The barbarian was fully aware of the opponent prior to the action. It doesn't matter if he thought the spellcaster was friendly or an enemy.

You played it exactly right, it's like two gunfighters in a duel. Initiative yes, surprise no.


No surprise round. The barbarian was aware something was wrong with the situation.


Claxon wrote:
No surprise round. The barbarian was aware something was wrong with the situation.

The barbarian was aware of the caster's existence, that's all that mattered.


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Zhayne wrote:
Claxon wrote:
No surprise round. The barbarian was aware something was wrong with the situation.
The barbarian was aware of the caster's existence, that's all that mattered.

I disagree there. If the barbarian wasn't suspicious of the caster there should have been a surprise round. If the spell had been cast before the sense motive check, the barbarian would have had no reason to suspect the spell can going to be directed at him so he would be caught unaware as the party was on indifferent to friendly terms with him at that point.

Part of being "aware of your opponents" is being aware that they are your opponents.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One of the flaws of the cyclical initiative system (and I’m not trying to suggest there’s a better option) is that each turn represents a character’s actions over the same round as other characters. In “reality” the characters are all acting simultaneously and initiative represents an order in which character actions resolve. A surprise round represents a completely unexpected act wherein some characters aren’t able to effectively resolve any actions because they were, well, surprised.

Initiative in the first round is the calculation of who resolves their actions first, even if they didn’t start acting first. Not to get too real world about it, but I suspect that if a normal person throws a punch at a trained martial artist who sees it coming, the martial artist will be able to act effectively first.

The spellcaster in this case isn’t actually asking for a surprise round, what he’s asking for is an “I throw the first punch regardless of initiative” round, just because he was the first person to declare an action. The game doesn’t work that way, and it shouldn’t.

I can see a case for a houserule system where every character gets to act three times in a round, swift, move, and standard, in whatever order the character wants, each character taking one action, then the second, then the third. But combat would take forever.


outshyn wrote:

Had a game tonight in which the players tried to effect a ruse on a "troublesome" NPC (a barbarian who had killed a bunch of other NPCs). The players took this barbarian outside of a room and told him a story to keep him occupied while the other PCs in the room tried to salvage a bad situation.

The problem is this dumb barbarian got an amazing Sense Motive roll and saw through the bluff. He shouted at the PC distracting him and stomped back into the room. There, he saw the PCs freeing a prisoner. He shouted again and then a player said, "I cast Charm Person on him."

I said "Roll for initiative." They did, but the player casting said that he should get a surprise round. Note this text from the surprise rules:

Quote:
When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you’re surprised.

I said that the barbarian was VERY aware of the casting PC and bellowing angrily as they unlocked the prisoner. He absolutely is not "unaware."

The player argued that since he initiated, he took the barbarian by surprise.

My thought is that when 2 characters are aware of each other, it works like two gunslingers in a duel -- no surprise round, and whoever is fastest gets a shot first. So initiative order yes, surprise no. I have been assured that my interpretation is not by the rules. What do you guys think?

If the player had tried to hide his spellcasting or maybe bluff that he was casting a harmless spell, then maybe there is a surprise round, but with the circumstances as described, no surprise - roll initiative. Ask the player, if the situation was reversed would the opponent get a surprise round?


Valandil Ancalime wrote:
outshyn wrote:

Had a game tonight in which the players tried to effect a ruse on a "troublesome" NPC (a barbarian who had killed a bunch of other NPCs). The players took this barbarian outside of a room and told him a story to keep him occupied while the other PCs in the room tried to salvage a bad situation.

The problem is this dumb barbarian got an amazing Sense Motive roll and saw through the bluff. He shouted at the PC distracting him and stomped back into the room. There, he saw the PCs freeing a prisoner. He shouted again and then a player said, "I cast Charm Person on him."

I said "Roll for initiative." They did, but the player casting said that he should get a surprise round. Note this text from the surprise rules:

Quote:
When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you’re surprised.

I said that the barbarian was VERY aware of the casting PC and bellowing angrily as they unlocked the prisoner. He absolutely is not "unaware."

The player argued that since he initiated, he took the barbarian by surprise.

My thought is that when 2 characters are aware of each other, it works like two gunslingers in a duel -- no surprise round, and whoever is fastest gets a shot first. So initiative order yes, surprise no. I have been assured that my interpretation is not by the rules. What do you guys think?

If the player had tried to hide his spellcasting or maybe bluff that he was casting a harmless spell, then maybe there is a surprise round, but with the circumstances as described, no surprise - roll initiative. Ask the player, if the situation was reversed would the opponent get a surprise round?

answer is yes, unless one is fully and completely expecting combat to start the 1st person to engage in combat gets the surprise round


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Expecting combat doesn't matter, it's about awareness Lady-J.

If you're aware of the opponent there is no surprise round.

That's what initiative represents, your ability to react and try to be the first to act in combat.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
outshyn wrote:


The player argued that since he initiated, he took the barbarian by surprise.

My thought is that when 2 characters are aware of each other, it works like two gunslingers in a duel -- no surprise round, and whoever is fastest gets a shot first. So initiative order yes, surprise no. I have been assured that my interpretation is not by the rules. What do you guys think?

You handled things correctly by the rules. Players make that kind of claim a lot, but it's bogus. Barring some kind of confirmed unawareness by the barbarian - such as a failed perception roll vs someone being stealthy or failed sense motive vs someone being deceptive - initiative rules the roost.


Chemlak wrote:
Initiative in the first round is the calculation of who resolves their actions first, even if they didn’t start acting first. Not to get too real world about it, but I suspect that if a normal person throws a punch at a trained martial artist who sees it coming, the martial artist will be able to act effectively first.

You are 100% correct here. Even with my somewhat limited training in the martial arts I'm generally harder to take unawares in a fight than most people (it's come up a couple of times in the past). My mate, on the other hand, has had extensive training in martial arts, and I can't even sneak up on him. This bard can swing first, but we're talking about a class that's highly suspicious of magic, is frequently flavored as a "fighting machine", aware of a potential threat, spoiling for a fight, noticing PCs freeing his prisoners. The damn barbarian probably wasn't even aware that his axe was swinging when he FINISHED his attack, nevermind when he started it.


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Zarius wrote:
Last I checked, the fluff information for barbarians makes them suspicious of any magic being used in their vicinity. While the barbarian MIGHT wait to see if the spell is harmful, it could hardly be considered a surprise round if said barbarian could physically see him casting the spell.

That fact that someone is using a standard action to cast a spell means a surprise round should have already been determined to have occurred or not. At this point in time the barbarian no longer has the option to see if the spell is 'harmful' or not.

Whether a surprise round is justified or not needs to be based on other factors than 'someone started casting a spell'.


Claxon wrote:

Expecting combat doesn't matter, it's about awareness Lady-J.

If you're aware of the opponent there is no surprise round.

That's what initiative represents, your ability to react and try to be the first to act in combat.

just because you are aware of some guy in the street doesn't negate his surprise round when he walks up to you and stabs you with a knife for no reason


Lady-J wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Expecting combat doesn't matter, it's about awareness Lady-J.

If you're aware of the opponent there is no surprise round.

That's what initiative represents, your ability to react and try to be the first to act in combat.

just because you are aware of some guy in the street doesn't negate his surprise round when he walks up to you and stabs you with a knife for no reason

You're trying to compare reality with the rules of a game. You're flat out wrong.

Core Rule Book, Combat Chapter wrote:


Surprise

When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you're surprised.

Sometimes all the combatants on a side are aware of their opponents, sometimes none are, and sometimes only some of them are. Sometimes a few combatants on each side are aware and the other combatants on each side are unaware.

Determining awareness may call for Perception checks or other checks.

The Surprise Round: If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens before regular rounds begin. In initiative order (highest to lowest), combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each take a standard or move action during the surprise round. You can also take free actions during the surprise round. If no one or everyone is surprised, no surprise round occurs.

Unaware Combatants: Combatants who are unaware at the start of battle don't get to act in the surprise round. Unaware combatants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.


Claxon wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Expecting combat doesn't matter, it's about awareness Lady-J.

If you're aware of the opponent there is no surprise round.

That's what initiative represents, your ability to react and try to be the first to act in combat.

just because you are aware of some guy in the street doesn't negate his surprise round when he walks up to you and stabs you with a knife for no reason

You're trying to compare reality with the rules of a game. You're flat out wrong.

Core Rule Book, Combat Chapter wrote:


Surprise

When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you're surprised.

Sometimes all the combatants on a side are aware of their opponents, sometimes none are, and sometimes only some of them are. Sometimes a few combatants on each side are aware and the other combatants on each side are unaware.

Determining awareness may call for Perception checks or other checks.

The Surprise Round: If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens before regular rounds begin. In initiative order (highest to lowest), combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each take a standard or move action during the surprise round. You can also take free actions during the surprise round. If no one or everyone is surprised, no surprise round occurs.

Unaware Combatants: Combatants who are unaware at the start of battle don't get to act in the surprise round. Unaware combatants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.

As I said above - Part of being "aware of your opponents" is being aware that they are your opponents.

If you are randomly attacked by someone who you have no reason to suspect, then a surprise round is possible. It would be reasonable to allow for a passive sense motive check to avoid the surprise round, but just knowing someone is there is not the same thing as knowing they are your opponent.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Expecting combat doesn't matter, it's about awareness Lady-J.

If you're aware of the opponent there is no surprise round.

That's what initiative represents, your ability to react and try to be the first to act in combat.

just because you are aware of some guy in the street doesn't negate his surprise round when he walks up to you and stabs you with a knife for no reason

You're trying to compare reality with the rules of a game. You're flat out wrong.

Core Rule Book, Combat Chapter wrote:


Surprise

When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you're surprised.

Sometimes all the combatants on a side are aware of their opponents, sometimes none are, and sometimes only some of them are. Sometimes a few combatants on each side are aware and the other combatants on each side are unaware.

Determining awareness may call for Perception checks or other checks.

The Surprise Round: If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens before regular rounds begin. In initiative order (highest to lowest), combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each take a standard or move action during the surprise round. You can also take free actions during the surprise round. If no one or everyone is surprised, no surprise round occurs.

Unaware Combatants: Combatants who are unaware at the start of battle don't get to act in the surprise round. Unaware combatants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.

As I said above - Part of being "aware of your opponents" is being aware that they are your opponents.

If you are randomly attacked by someone who you have no reason to suspect, then a surprise round is possible. It would be reasonable to allow for a passive sense motive check to avoid the surprise round, but just knowing someone is there is not the same thing as knowing they are your opponent.

exactly if one has no reason to expect some one to be an opponent then they are surprised when combat starts


In social situations where it isn't obvious combat will begin, we roll Bluff vs Sense Motive to accrue a surprise round - some suspicion that your opponents are up to something rather than just being random people in a room.

Which sounds like exactly what happened in the OPs case. The Barbarian made his Sense Motive, realised it was an effort to distract him and something was afoot, and then storms into the room to confront the PCs. No surprise round needed.

And you desperately want to avoid the opinion that whoever starts the conflict automatically gets surprise rounds, as this merely encourages every interaction to boil down to "I attack him first" in an effort to avoid potential surprise.


Reverse wrote:

In social situations where it isn't obvious combat will begin, we roll Bluff vs Sense Motive to accrue a surprise round - some suspicion that your opponents are up to something rather than just being random people in a room.

Which sounds like exactly what happened in the OPs case. The Barbarian made his Sense Motive, realised it was an effort to distract him and something was afoot, and then storms into the room to confront the PCs. No surprise round needed.

And you desperately want to avoid the opinion that whoever starts the conflict automatically gets surprise rounds, as this merely encourages every interaction to boil down to "I attack him first" in an effort to avoid potential surprise.

the sense motive was only vs the person outside, not any of the people inside so the person on the outside would not have a surprise round but the rest of the party definitely could


Lady-J wrote:
Reverse wrote:

In social situations where it isn't obvious combat will begin, we roll Bluff vs Sense Motive to accrue a surprise round - some suspicion that your opponents are up to something rather than just being random people in a room.

Which sounds like exactly what happened in the OPs case. The Barbarian made his Sense Motive, realised it was an effort to distract him and something was afoot, and then storms into the room to confront the PCs. No surprise round needed.

And you desperately want to avoid the opinion that whoever starts the conflict automatically gets surprise rounds, as this merely encourages every interaction to boil down to "I attack him first" in an effort to avoid potential surprise.

the sense motive was only vs the person outside, not any of the people inside so the person on the outside would not have a surprise round but the rest of the party definitely could

If you charge in a room suspecting shenanigans and you find shenanigans, this is not a surprise.


I'm going to remind everyone here that the barbarian in question was ALREADY in the middle of killing people, and that he detected the rouse to try to distract him. He doesn't need to find out if the spell is harmful or not. They lured him out under false pretenses, and HE WAS KILLING PEOPLE WHEN THEY DID IT. He's a murder hobo, axing the spellcaster is COMPLETELY reasonable, given the info available.


I should clarify... Reasonable action for the character in question, not reasonable in general terms.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lady-J wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Expecting combat doesn't matter, it's about awareness Lady-J.

If you're aware of the opponent there is no surprise round.

That's what initiative represents, your ability to react and try to be the first to act in combat.

just because you are aware of some guy in the street doesn't negate his surprise round when he walks up to you and stabs you with a knife for no reason

As most of us aren't trained combatants, if someone draw a knife, run toward us and try to stab us, we will stand dumbfounded. Someone with the training of even a 1st level adventurer wouldn't.

The difference is that we see the guy doing that but aren't trained to react. We need to process the situation with our brains. On the other hand our characters can easily act by reflex.

The walk to you and stab you scenario is a different one from the one depicted by the OP, let's look it a second.

Normal looking guy walking, GAME SITUATION normal looking guy walking
Draw a knife when he is near you, you fail to notice that GAME SITUATION use sleight of hand to draw a knife unseen (you roll perception to notice that)
Stab you with a knife GAME SITUATION if you haven't noticed the knife, he get a surprise round and a sneak attack.


I am very grateful to all the responders here. It clarifies a LOT, so thank you. Now, the twist.

Zarius wrote:
I'm going to remind everyone here that the barbarian in question was ALREADY in the middle of killing people, and that he detected the rouse to try to distract him.

To clarify, the barbarian was not actively killing people at that moment. He HAD killed people and hung them from trees, but that was days prior. So now the PCs appear and get involved. The PCs and the barbarian initiate an interrogation of another NPC. The PCs realize they like the NPC and want her freed. So they use a ruse to get the barbarian out of the room while they free the NPC.

So, I doubt that makes a difference, but to be fair the barbarian had not killed anyone for a day or two. The PCs arrive, there is an interrogation, shenanigans happen, and the barbarian freaks out. To "calm" the roaring barbarian, the PC decides to cast enchantments on him.

Interestingly, what was at issue wasn't even the barbarian. It was the other players. ALL of them wanted a peaceful resolution, and they could see the barbarian was about to pop off. So when we went into initiative order, the PCs all shouted/grappled/jostled the caster to try to ruin the spell and calm the situation.

I think an argument could be made that since the caster hadn't yet had his turn, anyone ahead of him in initiative shouldn't have had anything to react to. First person in initiative hasn't really seen the casting start yet, right? So the most he/she could do would be to "ready an action to calm things if someone gets antagonistic." Or something like that. But maybe that would have been enough.

As it is, the party's fighter reacted first, and just shook the caster enough to cause a "violent motion" concentration check. Since he went first, I allowed him to do that during the spellcaster's turn when it came up, like a readied action, or like taking an AOO on someone when they cast.


So, the barbarian is only a RECENT murderer, not a CURRENT one. That still doesn't change the fact that you still were entirely correct. The barbarian detected a ruse by a PC, and reacted as one might expect a murder hobo to react. By trying to murder the bard casting a spell on him. This IS a reasonable reaction from the murder hobo school of "reacting to socially awkward situations." Hit it with an axe.

And someone else pointed it out (Chemlak): The fact that the bard STARTED going before the barbarian doesn't mean that the barbarian didn't react instinctively to someone that just tried to trick him casting a spell on him, and COMPLETE his action first. He's a murder hobo, this is what he does. He hits things that displease him. And casting spells on him displeases him.

NOW, if the bard had tossed out a QUICKENED Charm Person, or used Conceal Spell, or was a three-tailed Kitsune with Charm Person as an SLA, sure. I'd give him room on pulling it off before the barbarian had a chance to react. But just chucking a spell at, at BEST, an Unfriendly NPC? (And I'd hesitate to consider a murder hobo I'd just FAILED to B.S. anything but actively Hostile.)

NO. You LIED to him, you tried to TRICK him (and FAILED), and THEN you compounded your failure by trying to cast a spell on him. Bleep you, have an axe in the face, Mister PC.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So far, I’m applauding you for correctly handling the rules, and interpreting player decisions even when they don’t use rule terms.

As I mentioned before, initiative determines the order in which actions are resolved, it has nothing to do with when they start, so someone stepping in and jostling the spellcaster is perfectly reasonable (due to how turns work, though, the spellcaster 5-foot stepping and changing their standard action is also perfectly reasonable).

So far everything you’ve said has been correct by the rules, as far as I can tell.


Part of the problem you're going to run into is that a lot of players that play PFS play it because they want the power of the GM without the work of BEING the GM. ANYWHERE the rules are questionable, you are God. You are the idol to which a two liter and Party Size bag of Doritos is to be weekly sacrificed. Tell them to get over it or get out.


outshyn wrote:
I think an argument could be made that since the caster hadn't yet had his turn, anyone ahead of him in initiative shouldn't have had anything to react to.

That is sort of the weirdness with this scenario. If the spellcaster trying to cast Charm is the start of combat, what are the people who beat his initiative score reacting to?

And if as a hypothetical the spellcaster goes last and when his turn comes around decides that since he's surrounded by enemies he'll instead take the withdraw action to run away, then what started combat in the first place?

Not arguing with your interpretation, as it seems like you were pretty fair about the whole thing, but this scenario is just something the rules handle a little bit awkwardly. They expect traditional surprise rounds or fights to start neutrally.


outshyn wrote:
I think an argument could be made that since the caster hadn't yet had his turn, anyone ahead of him in initiative shouldn't have had anything to react to.

For game balance, we can't really rule this way. If an enemy casts 'Circle of Death' to initiate hostilities, they shouldn't get an automatic surprise round.

Imagine a pair of cowboys. If one of them decides to go for his gun, the other has a chance to see it coming and react fast enough to shoot him dead before he's even cleared the holster.

You can imagine spells similarly. The guy who is about to cast Charm Person has to focus his mind, raise a hand to make somatic gestures, clear his throat for the verbal components, reach towards his component pouch. All these are signals that he's up to something. If someone knocks him out immediately, he won't get to take the Standard Action to actually make use of the spell slot.

Another way to handle this is, when there are two semi-hostile factions, to go into initiative before combat has actually broken out.
"I ready an action to fire an arrow if one of the enemies casts a spell."
"I ready an action to intervene if one of my allies makes trouble."


Zarius wrote:
So, the barbarian is only a RECENT murderer, not a CURRENT one. That still doesn't change the fact that you still were entirely correct. The barbarian detected a ruse by a PC, and reacted as one might expect a murder hobo to react. By trying to murder the bard casting a spell on him.

not quite, he detected a ruse by a pc that wasn't the caster, he went into a room and as soon as they entered the room a pc casted a spell on them, with no indication from anyone that it would be happening, the caster gets the surprise round and every one else is surprised by the spell casting and thus cant do anything about it as they are all flat footed.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lady-J wrote:
Zarius wrote:
So, the barbarian is only a RECENT murderer, not a CURRENT one. That still doesn't change the fact that you still were entirely correct. The barbarian detected a ruse by a PC, and reacted as one might expect a murder hobo to react. By trying to murder the bard casting a spell on him.
not quite, he detected a ruse by a pc that wasn't the caster, he went into a room and as soon as they entered the room a pc casted a spell on them, with no indication from anyone that it would be happening, the caster gets the surprise round and every one else is surprised by the spell casting and thus cant do anything about it as they are all flat footed.

You have missed something. Second paragraph of the first post:

Quote:
The problem is this dumb barbarian got an amazing Sense Motive roll and saw through the bluff. He shouted at the PC distracting him and stomped back into the room. There, he saw the PCs freeing a prisoner. He shouted again and then a player said, "I cast Charm Person on him."

So he saw the PC freeing the prisoner, something that he didn't want, and started intervening, then he was attacked.

Using the same way of thinking as the player playing the caster, he would have been able to axe smash one of the PCs freeing the prisoner for free as a surprise round action.


realistically the roll for initiative probably should have been when the barbarian barged into the room and got angry.


Diego brings up a valid point. The previous points were still valid, but given the specific order of operations, the barbarian may, in fact, have gotten a surprise round. He was bellowing and, presumably, acting, already when the bard cast charm person on him.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Zarius wrote:
So, the barbarian is only a RECENT murderer, not a CURRENT one. That still doesn't change the fact that you still were entirely correct. The barbarian detected a ruse by a PC, and reacted as one might expect a murder hobo to react. By trying to murder the bard casting a spell on him.
not quite, he detected a ruse by a pc that wasn't the caster, he went into a room and as soon as they entered the room a pc casted a spell on them, with no indication from anyone that it would be happening, the caster gets the surprise round and every one else is surprised by the spell casting and thus cant do anything about it as they are all flat footed.

You have missed something. Second paragraph of the first post:

Quote:
The problem is this dumb barbarian got an amazing Sense Motive roll and saw through the bluff. He shouted at the PC distracting him and stomped back into the room. There, he saw the PCs freeing a prisoner. He shouted again and then a player said, "I cast Charm Person on him."

So he saw the PC freeing the prisoner, something that he didn't want, and started intervening, then he was attacked.

Using the same way of thinking as the player playing the caster, he would have been able to axe smash one of the PCs freeing the prisoner for free as a surprise round action.

yes they walked in and shouted, as soon as he did player cast a spell, npc didn't start doing anything all they did was enter the room and talk(shout) and as soon as he did so spell was thrown


Zarius wrote:
Diego brings up a valid point. The previous points were still valid, but given the specific order of operations, the barbarian may, in fact, have gotten a surprise round. He was bellowing and, presumably, acting, already when the bard cast charm person on him.

he spent his turn walking back into the building and yelling, no combat initiation has taken place yet, then a spell is thrown, combat can then start after the spell effect resolves at normal initiative order but only after the spell has been spent and the barbarian either passed or failed their save


No Lady-J, that is wrong. You start initiative on the declaration of intent to cast a spell not after it is cast.


dragonhunterq wrote:
No Lady-J, that is wrong. You start initiative on the declaration of intent to cast a spell not after it is cast.

you cast the spell, the spell goes off then every one gets to roll initiative, people don't get to react to things until the thing has actually taken place, much like how people aren't going to be taking reflex saves vs fireball if there is no fireball


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Lady-J wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
No Lady-J, that is wrong. You start initiative on the declaration of intent to cast a spell not after it is cast.
you cast the spell, the spell goes off then every one gets to roll initiative, people don't get to react to things until the thing has actually taken place, much like how people aren't going to be taking reflex saves vs fireball if there is no fireball

That is not how combat works. The declaration triggers combat and initiative rolls. You can't allow unilateral declaration of actions to just occur before calling for initiative or it just becomes a race to be first to say "I cast a spell" or "I hit them".

As soon as someone says "I want to cast a spell" you drop into initiative, If the circumstances call for it they may get a surprise round, but there is no way it is appropriate to do that outside of initiative.


dragonhunterq wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
No Lady-J, that is wrong. You start initiative on the declaration of intent to cast a spell not after it is cast.
you cast the spell, the spell goes off then every one gets to roll initiative, people don't get to react to things until the thing has actually taken place, much like how people aren't going to be taking reflex saves vs fireball if there is no fireball

That is not how combat works. The declaration triggers combat and initiative rolls. You can't allow unilateral declaration of actions to just occur before calling for initiative or it just becomes a race to be first to say "I cast a spell" or "I hit them".

As soon as someone says "I want to cast a spell" you drop into initiative, If the circumstances call for it they may get a surprise round, but there is no way it is appropriate to do that outside of initiative.

you don't get to have people react to things that haven't happend yet villagers don't flee in terror before i cast a fireball that incinerates a dozen of them they flee after, having people act against an action that hasn't taken place yet is meta gaming


Lady-J wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
No Lady-J, that is wrong. You start initiative on the declaration of intent to cast a spell not after it is cast.
you cast the spell, the spell goes off then every one gets to roll initiative, people don't get to react to things until the thing has actually taken place, much like how people aren't going to be taking reflex saves vs fireball if there is no fireball

That is not how combat works. The declaration triggers combat and initiative rolls. You can't allow unilateral declaration of actions to just occur before calling for initiative or it just becomes a race to be first to say "I cast a spell" or "I hit them".

As soon as someone says "I want to cast a spell" you drop into initiative, If the circumstances call for it they may get a surprise round, but there is no way it is appropriate to do that outside of initiative.

you don't get to have people react to things that haven't happend yet villagers don't flee in terror before i cast a fireball that incinerates a dozen of them they flee after, having people act against an action that hasn't taken place yet is meta gaming

By that logic, how do you explain readied actions? By the game's rules a triggering action starts initiative and those that catch enemies unaware get a surprise round. This is generally adjudicated via sense motive or perception checks against bluff or stealth.

If an enemy you are aware of starts to cast a spell then you roll for initiative and that decides the order of actions.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
No Lady-J, that is wrong. You start initiative on the declaration of intent to cast a spell not after it is cast.
you cast the spell, the spell goes off then every one gets to roll initiative, people don't get to react to things until the thing has actually taken place, much like how people aren't going to be taking reflex saves vs fireball if there is no fireball

That is not how combat works. The declaration triggers combat and initiative rolls. You can't allow unilateral declaration of actions to just occur before calling for initiative or it just becomes a race to be first to say "I cast a spell" or "I hit them".

As soon as someone says "I want to cast a spell" you drop into initiative, If the circumstances call for it they may get a surprise round, but there is no way it is appropriate to do that outside of initiative.

you don't get to have people react to things that haven't happend yet villagers don't flee in terror before i cast a fireball that incinerates a dozen of them they flee after, having people act against an action that hasn't taken place yet is meta gaming

By that logic, how do you explain readied actions? By the game's rules a triggering action starts initiative and those that catch enemies unaware get a surprise round. This is generally adjudicated via sense motive or perception checks against bluff or stealth.

If an enemy you are aware of starts to cast a spell then you roll for initiative and that decides the order of actions.

readied actions are preping for a thing you think might happen but isn't necessarily going to happen its different then knowing out of character some one will do something because their player said that was their action then actively taking steps in game to counter act the action that hasn't taken place yet just because some one stated their intent to do a thing


Lady-J wrote:
readied actions are preping for a thing you think might happen but isn't necessarily going to happen its different then knowing out of character some one will do something because their player said that was their action then actively taking steps in game to counter act the action that hasn't taken place yet just because some one stated their intent to do a thing

So your assertion here is that the only thing you need to do to earn a surprise round in Pathfinder is to declare an action before anyone else does?


swoosh wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
readied actions are preping for a thing you think might happen but isn't necessarily going to happen its different then knowing out of character some one will do something because their player said that was their action then actively taking steps in game to counter act the action that hasn't taken place yet just because some one stated their intent to do a thing
So your assertion here is that the only thing you need to do to earn a surprise round in Pathfinder is to declare an action before anyone else does?

as long as they are un aware of your intent to start combat yes, having your character walk up and stab some one surprise round, having your character walk up and yell i'm going to stab you then stabs the person no surprise round, two warring groups about to clash together no surprise round

Grand Lodge

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Lady-J wrote:
you cast the spell, the spell goes off then every one gets to roll initiative

Incorrect. Initiative happens first, surprise round or not. Then the spell goes off.

How Combat Works wrote:

Combat is cyclical; everybody acts in turn in a regular cycle of rounds. Combat follows this sequence:

1. When combat begins, all combatants roll initiative.

2. Determine which characters are aware of their opponents. These characters can act during a surprise round. If all the characters are aware of their opponents, proceed with normal rounds. See the surprise section for more information.

3. After the surprise round (if any), all combatants are ready to being the first normal round of combat.

4. Combatants act in initiative order (highest to lowest).

5. When everyone has had a turn, the next round begins with the combatant with the highest initiative, and steps 4 and 5 repeat until combat ends.

Surprise round is second on the list. Initiative happens even before you figure out who is surprised.


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I feel like this thread requires the general reminder that Lady-J seems to play a vastly different type of game which resembles Pathfinder, but one where their gaming experience does not seem to line up with the average gaming experiences of people or understanding of the rules and how they should be applied.

I would caution anyone from using using Lady-J's (or anyone's) interpretations of the rules without first discussing them with your GM if you think there is anything to be questioned. If you are a GM trying to understand the rules, I would advise you to go with a majority interpretation as a majority consensus is usually a reasonable way to interpret and run things.

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