5e SRD:The Order of Combat
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The Order of Combat
A typical combat encounter is a clash between two sides, a flurry of weapon swings, feints, parries, footwork, and spellcasting. The game organizes the chaos of combat into a cycle of rounds and turns. A round represents about 6 seconds in the game world. During a round, each participant in a battle takes a turn. The order of turns is determined at the beginning of a combat encounter, when everyone rolls initiative. Once everyone has taken a turn, the fight continues to the next round if neither side has defeated the other.
Combat Step by Step
- Determine surprise. The GM determines whether anyone involved in the combat encounter is surprised.
- Establish positions. The GM decides where all the characters and monsters are located. Given the adventurers' marching order or their stated positions in the room or other location, the GM figures out where the adversaries are–how far away and in what direction.
- Roll initiative. Everyone involved in the combat encounter rolls initiative, determining the order of combatants' turns.
- Take turns. Each participant in the battle takes a turn in initiative order.
- Begin the next round. When everyone involved in the combat has had a turn, the round ends. Repeat step 4 until the fighting stops.