When exactly does combat start and surprise take effect?

So say I’m going to ambush an orc. I successfully sneak up on him and I attack. The DM determines that the orc is surprised. The orc happens to get an initiative roll of 19, while I get a 10. How would this work? I can only think of two reasonable resolutions to this.

  1. The orc, having a higher initiative, goes first. Since he’s surprised, he does nothing. Then it’s my turn. If the orc survives my attack, it is now his turn, and being that the orc has already gone through his round of surprise, he can now attack me or whatever, and combat proceeds as normal.
  2. I, having started the combat, go first. If the orc survives my attack, but he is surprised, so he does nothing. It is now my turn again, I attack again. If the orc survives my second attack, it is now his turn, and being that the orc has already gone through his round of surprise, he can now attack me or whatever, and combat proceeds as normal.

Which one of these is correct? neither? Does starting combat secure me a turn/action at the start of initiative order like in option 2? If option 1 is correct, could I ready an action to shoot the orc, effectively granting me a similar first attack as in option 2?

Sorry if this makes no sense.

Ray Tracer – How do I fix fish eye effect on side walls?

I’ve come here because I can’t seem to find out what’s wrong with my ray tracer.

I fixed the fish eye effect when looking straight on at walls, but the effect remains when the player is looking at walls to the side.

I think it’s because most of the rays hit the surface close to the player, while fewer and fewer rays hit more distant walls, resulting in a curve. The only problem is I don’t know how to make it appear linear.

    float dist = distance*cos(angle); //fix distorted distance     float rat = (depth-(dis))/depth; //calculate ratio for wall height     float h = 64*rat; //calculate height     PImage slice = sprites[0].get((int)(inter/2),0,1,16); //get image slice     image(slice,i*4,768-h/2,4,h); //display image slice 

In this example, the top screen is the raw data while the bottom screen it the ray traced 2.5D image. I’ve made the rays visible.

enter image description here

How to measure on a grid the area of a sphere area spell or effect centered on a creature?

Per the Wild Magic sorcerer’s Wild Magic Surge table (PHB, p. 104)

07-08: You cast fireball as a 3rd-level spell centered on yourself.

There’s other questionable area spells in that list (grease is a 10 foot square, so your square and which three?), but I’ll focus on spheres like fireball (PHB p. 241):

(…) Each creature in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on the point must (…)

My problem is, the sources I found so far – including the other answers to similar questions here – talk about measuring spheres from grid square intersections, whereas this clearly talks about it being centered on the unlucky Wild Magic sorcerer. Plus, since it’s a wild magic effect, it doesn’t exactly have a caster that can pick a point of origin. Is there an accepted way to measure an effect like this?

Can you voluntarily suppress the effect of a continuous magic item you are wearing?

I would like to ask my DM if it is possible to craft a Continuous Cloud of Knives (Player’s Handbook II) Ring, but it could be a little awkward in certain situations, a swarm of knives orbiting around you is unlikely to help in social interactions. Is it possible to voluntarily suppress the effect of the spell?

Should I just opt for the Use-Activated item?

Cloud of Knives


Level: Cleric 2, Sorcerer 2, Wizard 2,

Components: V, S, M,

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Personal Target: You

Duration: 1 round/level

You conjure a cloud of sharp knives around you. The knives float in the air around your upper body, pointing in the direction you look.

Each round as a free action at the beginning of your turn, you can release one of these knives at any target within 30 feet that you can see. This is a ranged attack that uses an attack bonus equal to your caster level + your key ability modifier. Each successful hit deals 1d6 points of damage +1 per three caster levels (maximum +5) and threatens a critical hit on a roll of 19-20. Damage reduction applies to knife attacks from this spell. The knives are treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Material Component: A knife.

Optional Material Component: Using a silvered dagger (22 gp) in the casting of this spell allows the knives to overcome damage reduction as if they were both magic and silver, but the knives deal 1 less point of damage.

While under the effect of the invisibility spell, would using a wand of pryotechnics break the invisibility?

The wand of pyrotechnics is a common magic item in Dragon of Icespire Peak. The text reads as follow:

This wand has 7 charges. While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 of its charges and create a harmless burst of multicolored light at a point you can see up to 60 feet away. The burst of light is accompanied by a crackling noise that can be heard up to 300 feet away. The light is as bright as a torch flame but lasts only a second.

The wand regains 1d6 + 1 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the wand’s last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the wand erupts in a harmless pyrotechnic display and is destroyed.

If a person under the effects of an invisibility spell uses the wand, would it cause the invisibility spell to end? My assumption is no because it doesn’t count as a spell or an attack.

My follow-up questions is this:
Can an invisible person use other magic wands or items without ending the invisibility spell, so long as the item does not say it counts as casting spell or the item isn’t used to make an attack?

Does someone realize they were charmed after the effect of the Glamour bard’s Enthralling Performance wears off?

I have been playing a College of Glamour bard in the Tomb of Annihilation module. They get the Enthralling Performance feature at 3rd level when they choose the subclass (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p. 14):

If you perform for at least 1 minute, you can attempt to inspire wonder in your audience by singing, reciting a poem, or dancing. At the end of the performance, choose a number of humanoids within 60 feet of you who watched and listened to all of it, up to a number equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one). Each target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC or be charmed by you. […] This effect ends on a target after 1 hour, if it takes any damage, if you attack it, or if it witnesses you attacking or damaging any of its allies.

If a target succeeds on its saving throw, the target has no hint that you tried to charm it.

According to the description, the target does not become aware of the fact that someone attempted to charm them if they succeed at their saving throw. However, it doesn’t say anything about what happens if they fail their save and the charm wears off.

Once the effect of Enthralling Performance wears off, do those that were previously affected by it know they were charmed?

How does the Flaming Sphere spell’s area of effect work?

The description of the flaming sphere in the PHB reads:

Any creature that ends its turn within 5 feet of the sphere must […]

Does this mean flaming sphere affects a sphere with a diameter of 15 feet (5 feet from itself, 10 feet towards either direction)?

Also, does ramming the sphere require placing the sphere at the location of the enemy directly, or will it still do damage as long as the creature is in the affected range of the spell?

When does the kobold racial ability “Grovel, Cower and Beg” take effect?

The kobold racial ability Grovel, Cower and Beg is described as follows:

Once per short rest as an action, you can cower to distract foes. Until the end of your next turn, allies gain advantage on attacks against enemies within 10 ft. of you that can see you.

Suppose a kobold starts 5 feet away from an enemy and uses an action to Grovel, Cower and Beg, then spends all of his movement to run away. He finishes his turn 35 feet from the enemy. The kobold’s ally is next in the turn order.

I can interpret the ability’s effect in two ways:

  1. The kobold’s ally gains advantage when attacking the enemy because the kobold was within 10 feet of the enemy at the time the ability was used.
  2. The kobold’s ally does not gain advantage when attacking the enemy because the kobold is more than 10 feet away from the enemy at the time of the attack.

On a side note, I found plenty of other questions about kobolds and their abilities (e.g. Pack Tactics), but I haven’t been able to find a single question about this ability on RPG.SE.