When combat starts, if you are not aware of your enemies, but they are aware of you, you're Surprised. If you know about your opponents, but they don't know about you, you Surprise them.
Awareness and SurpriseEdit
Sometimes all the combatants on a side are aware of their opponents; sometimes none are; sometimes only some of them are. Sometimes a few combatants on each side are aware, and other combatants on each side are unaware.
The GM determines who is aware of who at the start of a battle. They may call for Perception checks to see how aware the characters are of their opponents. Some example situations:
- The mission team enters a cantina and immediately spots a gang of Rodians. Alert and watchful, the Rodians also notice the heroes. Both sides are aware; neither is Surprised. The heroes and the Rodians make Initiative checks, and the battle begins.
- While exploring an abandoned armory, the heroes are being watched by a pack of Jawas. The Jawas lurk in hiding places, waiting for the right time to strike and defend their new lair from the intruders. Sia-Lan spots one of the Jawas as it tries to sneak behind a partially destroyed Battle Droid. The Jawas shriek and leap from their hiding places, surrounding the heroes. The Jawas and Sia-Lan each get to act during the Surprise Round. The other heroes, caught unaware, can't act. After the Surprise Round, the first regular Round of combat begins.
- The mission team advances down a dark corridor in the Space-Station fortress of Grumbog, an alien warlord, using Glow Rods to light the way. At the end of the corridor, three of Grumbog's soldiers have set up an E-Web Repeating Blaster. They fire the weapon, sending a powerful blast down the corridor. That's the end of the Surprise Round. After determining whether any of the heroes were hit, and calculating Damage, the GM announces that the first regular Round of combat begins. The mission team is in a tough spot, since they are facing a powerful weapon and still can't see who is attacking them.
The Surprise Round Edit
If some, but not all, of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a Surprise Round happens before regular Rounds begin. The combatants who are aware of their opponents can act in the Surprise Round, so they make Initiative checks. In Initiative order (Highest to lowest), combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each take a single Action- a Standard Action, a Move Action, or a Swift Action (But not a Full-Round Action)- during the Surprise Round. If no one is Surprised, a Surprise Round doesn't occur.
Unaware Combatants Edit
Combatants who are unaware at the start of battle do not get to act in the Surprise Round. Unaware combatants are Flat-Footed because they have not acted yet, so they do not apply their Dexterity bonus (If any) to their Reflex Defense.