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Outl wrote:Surely this is a GM issue rather than a rules issue. I’m certain that if we encountered this situation with my regular GM, and neither group was trying to get off the road, he would allow the fireball and then have us roll initiative. At worst he’d have a semi-simultaneous spell attack from the opposing party that coincides with the fireball
Ex3: Not just hazards, it seems that all monsters ALWAYS get to decide when to "start" combat. The party has no effect on this, even standard exploration activities such as Scout and Search have no effect. Even in an ambush, the monsters decide how close to get before the ambush is triggered. For instance: Two groups see eachother coming on a long straight road while still 3 miles away. The wizard prepares to fireball as soon as they get in range (500 feet). The enemies can decide to be within 40 feet before initiative is rolled.
It's definitely a weak point in the rules though.
I don't think there's any "monsters always decide" rule. Not even sure where that's coming from. (I'm now imagining some monster just sauntering right past the PCs who want to kill him, but can't because he's not dumb enough to "start" combat.
In that specific case, I'd probably say "roll initiative" when the wizard wanted to cast. Just because he starts first, doesn't mean it goes off before they can act. No more than if the groups were facing off and one decided to start the fight. They don't get a free attack out of it. Even against unaware enemies, there's no surprise round anymore.
What I've actually had trouble with is Avoid Notice if you don't actually want to go straight into a fight.