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