Rules Index


Chapter 10: Game Mastering / Running Modes of Play / Exploration / Resting

Watches and Surprise Attacks

Source Core Rulebook pg. 499
Adventuring parties usually put a few people on guard to watch out for danger while the others rest. Spending time on watch also interrupts sleep, so a night’s schedule needs to account for everyone’s time on guard duty. Table 10–3: Watches and Rest indicates how long the group needs to set aside for rest, assuming everyone gets a rotating watch assignment of equal length.

If a surprise encounter would occur during rest, you can roll a die to randomly determine which character is on watch at the time. All characters roll initiative; sleeping characters typically roll Perception with a –4 status penalty for being unconscious. They don’t automatically wake up when rolling initiative, but they might roll a Perception check to wake up at the start of their turn due to noise. If a savvy enemy waits for a particularly vulnerable character to take watch before attacking, the attack can happen on that character’s watch automatically. However, you might have the ambusher attempt a Stealth check against the Perception DCs of all characters to see if anyone noticed its approach.

Table 10-3: Watches and Rest

Party SizeTotal TimeDuration of Each Watch
216 hours8 hours
312 hours4 hours
410 hours, 40 minutes2 hours, 40 minutes
510 hours2 hours
69 hours, 36 minutes1 hour, 36 minutes