Q: Dear Sage,
The knight's code (Player’s Handbook II, 27) says that a knight cannot strike a flat-footed foe, but aren't all foes flat-footed in the first round of combat if their initiative is lower than yours? Does this mean that a knight cannot strike an opponent in the first round without violating his code?
A: Yes and yes.
A knight who routinely rolls high initiative scores should consider readying attacks to be triggered by an enemy’s action. Once the enemy’s turn has begun, he’s no longer flat-footed (even if your readied action interrupts the first action of his turn).
About the Author
The Sage is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central and southern China. Debate continues as to whether he is truly a bear or more related to the raccoon rather than the bear, or perhaps in a family of his own. When not eating bamboo and answering rules questions, he works under the nom de plume of Andy Collins as an RPG developer in Wizards of the Coast R&D, where his development credits include Complete Mage, Dragon Magic, and the Player's Handbook v.3.5. He can be easily recognized by his large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, ears and on his rotund body.