5E Does Surprise round give you advantage to attacks?

Maybe beating a dead horse here, but a player was asking and we started looking for direct quotes and I could find nothing.
They were curious if some or all attacks in the surprise round were at advantage if the opponent was surprised. My assumption was you got advantage for the round.

Then I looked up surprise:

"Any character or monster that doesn’t notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter. If you’re surprised, you can’t move or take an action on your first turn of the combat, and you can’t take a reaction until that turn ends. A member of a group can be surprised even if the other members aren’t." PHB 173

No mention of advantage.

Assassin Archetype gets advantage but not because of surprise, but because it's their ability to get advantage on anyone who doesn't act before them. Surprise doesn't let you act in the first round, so they'd get advantage and double damage. But this is a function of their assassin power, and not Surprise.

I looked up hiding:

"In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the Dungeon Master might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack before you are seen."

Is the character considered sufficiently 'distracted' in the surprise round to warrant advantage? They didn 't detect the threat and, as a result are surprised and lose an action but as soon as swords start flying, the attackers are no longer 'unperceived'.

So, my final call, if I were to dm, would be 'it depends on the situation' and not allow every attack to be with advantage but probably some might be with advantage, mostly likely, the first attack, for sure.

Did I miss a quote somewhere or is this the consensus?
 
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Esker

Abventuree
In order to gain surprise, it first needs to be plausible that the party could approach unnoticed (i.e., there is some cover, or the enemy is sufficiently distracted/off their guard that they might not notice an approaching threat). Then, the whole party rolls stealth. Anyone on the other side whose passive perception is below the worst stealth roll is surprised, and can't act in the first round, and can't react until their first (skipped) turn comes up.

It is possible that some or all of the ambushers are hidden in addition to catching the enemy off guard, but this depends on having total cover / being heavily obscured (barring some feature, like Mask of the Wild or Skulker that relaxes the requirements to hide). Typically, this would allow them to make one ranged attack roll at advantage (but probably not a melee attack roll, unless they are somehow already in position) which would then reveal them.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
A character might be hidden before they attack a surprised opponent, but this depends largely on what kind of attack they are making relative to the terrain and opponent's position. So you might be hidden during the first round of combat in which enemies are surprised, but you might not be. Generally speaking, it's going to be that ranged PCs will have advantage and melee PCs will not, since they have to move from their position to attack (but of course there may be exceptions to this). This is something the DM needs to establish and judge in each combat challenge.
 
I like to look at both Surprised and Hidden as conditions. Hidden grants advantage on attacks, and greatly increases the chance to make enemies Surprised. Surprised means you can't act or move until after the end of your first turn.

Given these two conditions, it depends on how one side became surprised. Bandits hidden by terrain will have advantage on creatures with passive perception lower than their stealth roll, who will also be surprised. If the party is loud in the next room, the bandits could choose to wait quietly with weapons at the ready for then the party opens the door, which would leave the party surprised, but the bandits aren't hidden.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
(1) There is no surprise round in 5E. There is only the Surprised condition. [Edit: as pointed out later in the thread, Surprised is not technically a condition. It's just easier to think of it that way.]

(2) You do not gain advantage against targets that have the Surprised condition.

(3) You do, however, gain advantage against targets that can't see you.

Therefore, if you jump out from behind a corner, rolling higher on your Stealth roll than the target's passive Perception, then the target is Surprised by your sudden appearance, but you do not gain advantage, because the target can see you as you attack.

You might, however, gain advantage if it's pitch dark and you have Darkvision but the target doesn't. Because then you can see them, but they can't see you.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
As others have said, attacks against a surprised creature don’t automatically have advantage. Being hidden from a creature does grant you advantage on attacks against it. Being hidden from a creature requires that the creature not be able to see you, though simply being unseen doesn’t necessarily mean you are hidden. Being attacked by a creature what was hidden from you would certainly qualify for you to be surprised, but you are not necessarily hidden from creatures you have surprised.

Isn’t 5e’s “natural language” intuitive? 🙄
 

Flamestrike

Explorer
(1) There is no surprise round in 5E. There is only the Surprised condition.

(2) You do not gain advantage against targets that have the Surprised condition.

(3) You do, however, gain advantage against targets that can't see you.

Therefore, if you jump out from behind a corner, rolling higher on your Stealth roll than the target's passive Perception, then the target is Surprised by your sudden appearance, but you do not gain advantage, because the target can see you as you attack.

You might, however, gain advantage if it's pitch dark and you have Darkvision but the target doesn't. Because then you can see them, but they can't see you.
Depends. If you snipe from around a corner or behind a tree etc, youre still hidden when you make the attack.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Depends. If you snipe from around a corner or behind a tree etc, youre still hidden when you make the attack.
Is there an official rule on this? I was looking for it the other day and couldn't find anything. My own ruling is that you have to remain unseen during the attack to get advantage. That means if you jump out from behind a tree, then you don't get advantage, because your target can see you. In other words, the only way to really get advantage is to be in a heavily obscured area, such as darkness or thick foliage.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
Assassins have the closest such ability:

Assassinate
Starting at 3rd level, you are at your deadliest when you get the drop on your enemies. You have advantage on attack rolls against any creature that hasn’t taken a turn in the combat yet. In addition, any hit you score against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit.

The only effect of being surprised is that (a) you can't take reactions, (b) you can't move or take actions, and (c) you are no longer surprised at the end of your turn.
 

Flamestrike

Explorer
Is there an official rule on this? I was looking for it the other day and couldn't find anything. My own ruling is that you have to remain unseen during the attack to get advantage. That means if you jump out from behind a tree, then you don't get advantage, because your target can see you. In other words, the only way to really get advantage is to be in a heavily obscured area, such as darkness or thick foliage.
The rule is for being hidden 'you have to be unable to be seen clearly, not be totally unseen.'

Imagine a hidden sniper observing his target and then shooting from around a tree or log from 100m away. Hes able to be seen at all times (hes peering over the log or around the tree) but is still hidden at all times until the attack is resolved.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
The rule is for being hidden 'you have to be unable to be seen clearly, not be totally unseen.'

Imagine a hidden sniper observing his target and then shooting from around a tree or log from 100m away. Hes able to be seen at all times (hes peering over the log or around the tree) but is still hidden at all times until the attack is resolved.
In that case, I think a ranged attacker can gain advantage as long as they're in a lightly obscured area and/or a long ways off. But I don't think there's any way for a melee attacker to gain the same advantage from hiding. If they jump out from behind a tree with a sword, then they are essentially un-hiding before they make their attack. They can still surprise their target, of course, but they don't get advantage.
 

Flamestrike

Explorer
In that case, I think a ranged attacker can gain advantage as long as they're in a lightly obscured area and/or a long ways off. But I don't think there's any way for a melee attacker to gain the same advantage from hiding. If they jump out from behind a tree with a sword, then they are essentially un-hiding before they make their attack. They can still surprise their target, of course, but they don't get advantage.
No, they still have to be hidden. And you need heavy obscurement or total cover to be hidden (barring elves, skulkers and the like).
 

Esker

Abventuree
No, they still have to be hidden. And you need heavy obscurement or total cover to be hidden (barring elves, skulkers and the like).
But I've always played that if you can make your shot from within 5' of heavy obscurement or total cover (and had previously succeeded on your stealth roll) then you count as still hidden for the purposes of that one attack. Otherwise how could you ever have line of sight to make the shot (other than having a vision advantage)?
 

Flamestrike

Explorer
But I've always played that if you can make your shot from within 5' of heavy obscurement or total cover (and had previously succeeded on your stealth roll) then you count as still hidden for the purposes of that one attack. Otherwise how could you ever have line of sight to make the shot (other than having a vision advantage)?
Why are you thunking in 5' squares? This isnt 3.5 or 4e.

You can become hidden with a successful stealth check to Hide (via the Hide action) any time you are unable to be 'seen clearly' and the DM agrees the circumstances are appropriate for hiding.

You can be hidden and peeking over, under or around your cover. Or even maybe through it (a dense bush for example).

As long as you make your attack from that hiding position, you gain the benefit of advantage on the attack. You dont reveal your position till after the attack is resolved (hit or miss).
 

Esker

Abventuree
Why are you thunking in 5' squares? This isnt 3.5 or 4e.
I almost always use a grid in combat. If you're running it TotM, then it's a judgment call on the DM's part whether you could make the attack from a position which is close enough to where you were hidden that it doesn't reveal your position until after the attack.
 

R_J_K75

Adventurer
(1) There is no surprise round in 5E. There is only the Surprised condition.

(2) You do not gain advantage against targets that have the Surprised condition.
You say that surprise is a condition but yet it doesn't appear on the list of the conditions in the appendix, has this changed with errata?

Surprise in 5E has always seemed clunky to me and it always seems to resolve awkwardly at the table. I don't know the rules as well as I did in other editions, they all blend together for me as I get older and the more editions they put out. Even 6 years into 5E Im always somewhat taken aback at how many rules were changed subtly that I never noticed by just reading the core books, but noticed when then come into play.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
You say that surprise is a condition but yet it doesn't appear on the list of the conditions in the appendix
You're right, it's not a condition. I guess I just think of it that way because it's easier to explain.
 
(1) There is no surprise round in 5E. There is only the Surprised condition. [Edit: as pointed out later in the thread, Surprised is not technically a condition. It's just easier to think of it that way.]
I meant 'the round in which a character is surprised.' I was trying to be brief. Sorry.

(3) You do, however, gain advantage against targets that can't see you.
Is there an official rule on this? I was looking for it the other day and couldn't find anything. My own ruling is that you have to remain unseen during the attack to get advantage. That means if you jump out from behind a tree, then you don't get advantage, because your target can see you. In other words, the only way to really get advantage is to be in a heavily obscured area, such as darkness or thick foliage.
But I've always played that if you can make your shot from within 5' of heavy obscurement or total cover (and had previously succeeded on your stealth roll) then you count as still hidden for the purposes of that one attack. Otherwise how could you ever have line of sight to make the shot (other than having a vision advantage)?
No, they still have to be hidden. And you need heavy obscurement or total cover to be hidden (barring elves, skulkers and the like).
I don't think any of you are wrong. This discussion just reinforces my original interpretation that it's a DM call to allow advantage. That call is based on Hiding and not surprise though.

Requoting the PHB re: hiding.

"In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the Dungeon Master might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack before you are seen."

You must be 'unseen' or sufficiently distracted(the latter usually being a DM's call. I'd rule that someone shooting from a bush or popping out from around a corner in the first round while you are distracted doing something else (ie: were rooting around in your knapsack or focusing on picking a lock just as the sniper steps out from cover) as being sufficiently distracted. But I would decide such things on a case-for-case basis.

Edit: also, it says creatures are alert 'in combat'. Surprise usually happens before -or initiates- combat and characters may not be 'alert for danger'.

Assassins have the closest such ability:
I think I mentioned that in my opening post.

Thanks everyone for the input.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If they jump out from behind a tree with a sword, then they are essentially un-hiding before they make their attack. They can still surprise their target, of course, but they don't get advantage.
What if the attacker comes from behind, remaining unseen until she strikes?

This is where the old 1e rules for backstrike might come in handy. Everything I've seen of the 5e surprise rules give far FAR too much benefit to the target, IMO.
 

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