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Old 02-10-2010, 03:05 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Newbie Question on Surprise rules

You mixed up total and partial surprise, for starters.

The Dire Wolf jumps out and then both sides roll 1d6 for surprise. The PCs get +1 for having more IQ than a wolf, and probably +1 for having someone with Combat Reflexes on the team. They may also get +1 for having a leader with Tactics or -2 for not having a recognized leader. The wolf gets +2 for having Combat Reflexes, and possibly a +2 for initiating the combat (you can give it extra bonuses).

So far, this is a somewhere between a wash or an overwhelming advantage to the wolf, and I'm not sure why you'd say the wolf automatically loses. But assuming the PCs are sharp or roll a 6 and the wolf rolls a 1, then the wolf is mentally stunned. It rolls IQ (at +1 per round) to recover, and being a monstrous predator, it gets a +6 bonus from Combat Reflexes on that surprise roll. So it stops for a second or 2 (the cumulative chance of the wolf failing 3 IQ+6 rolls is 1/20) while it recovers, and probably gets cut up if the PCs have weapons out.

Alternately and more likely in my opinion, the PCs see one of their own collapse when a dire wolf jumps him with surprise, lose the initiative, and see 1-2 more go down before someone with Combat Reflexes or a high IQ gets into action. Then the wolf gets chopped to shreds, but hey.

Another option would be to roll initiative before the wolf comes out to play. If the wolf is surprised, it freezes for a few seconds and then jumps out. If it isn't surprised, it jumps out and the PCs get to spend a few rounds mentally stunned and wishing they had Combat Reflexes.
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote