Arcane Trickster Tricky Spells and Surprise Rounds


Rules Questions


Hi! I've gone deep into a rabbit hole figuring out how to make a fun Arcane Trickster for PFS play. I've already got most of what I want to know figured out beforehand, but hit one key question. At Arcane Trickster Level 5, you gain access to Tricky Spells (which basically function as free silent+still spells on casting with no strings attached). My question is this: If an Arcane Trickster casts a tricky spell to attack a character while not already in combat, does that spell qualify for sneak attack damage? This is assuming it qualifies for the other requirements (making a attack roll that will result in damage on the target. We'll assume it's a ranged touch attack being made within 30 feet). What matters is if the target is flat-footed or not.


A target is flat-footed or not depending on whether their perception beats your stealth (&/or you win initiative), generally. I'd give a bonus for using a spell without any components, but there's nothing RAW which says that's the case.

Also note that there was a change a few years back which made spells have some sort of manifestation - floating runes or whatever - even if they are silent and stilled. FAQ. Tricky spells doesn't negate this.


If the target failed their Perception check to act in the surprise round (or they succeeded but rolled a later initiative than the caster), then they're flat-footed and susceptible to sneak attack. Tricky spells usually has nothing to do with it.

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