If a surprise test is failed, the character lose 10 initiative points and is considered surprised until his next action phase (p192).
If Bob (initiative 9) manages to suprise Bill (initiative 22), then Bill's initiative drops to 12 and Bill is considered surprised until his action phase at 12. Therefore, even if Bill is surprised, he can act before Bob.
Is it how surprise is intended to work, or shall the surprised character lose his next action phase (i.e. do nothing during his action phase and lose 10 initiative)?
In order to clarify my question, here is my understanding of how the rules work:
- Beginning of fight: Bob (init 9) surprises Bill (init 22), Bill initiative is reduced to 12.
- Action phase 1: Bill acts at 12, then Bob acts at 9
- Action phase 2: Bill acts at 2, no more actions for poor Bob
Here is how I would have expected it to work:
- Beginning of fight: Bob (init 9) surprises Bill (init 22)
- Action phase 1: Bill does notihing at 22 because he is surprised, then Bob acts at 9
- Action phase 2: Bill acts at 12, no more actions for poor Bob
- Action phase 3: Bill acts at 2
--> Bill and Bob still get the same number of action phases, but Bob is able to take advantage of having surprised Bill