Combat is played out in rounds, and in each round everybody acts in turn in a regular cycle. Combat usually runs in the following way.
1. Each combatant starts the battle flat-footed. Once a combatant acts, he or she is no longer flat-footed.
2. The GM determines which characters are aware of their opponents at the start of the battle. 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 roll for initiative. In initiative order (highest to lowest), combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each take one move or attack action. Combatants who were unaware don’t get to act in the surprise round. If no one or everyone starts the battle aware, there is no surprise round.
3. Combatants who have not yet rolled initiative do so. All combatants are now ready to begin their first regular round.
4. Combatants act in initiative order.
5. When everyone has had a turn, the combatant with the highest initiative acts again, and steps 4 and 5 repeat until combat ends.