You probably know what I'm talking about already I guess. If not, one (and I dare say, the most common) interpretation of the surprise rules in the DMG woud allow, in theory, a character that has the advantage of 5 segments of surprise (the maximum given a d6 roll for each party), to loose 30 arrows in 30 seconds of game time (a fire-rate of 2, times 3 for the "surprise bonus", times 5 for the five segments).
This makes zero sense to me either game-mechanically or "realistically". It wrecks a lot of things.
I have been discussing this recently and somebody else put forward a "house rule" to make this make sense ... but the more I think of it, and the more I re-read the pertinent paragraph (3rd paragraph on p62, DMG), the more I believe this, "house rule" may very possibly have actually been exactly what Gygax had intended all along, and the confusion has only arisen due to poor editing and the confusion of High Gygaxian.
The paragraph reads:
Because the party surprised is (relatively) inactive, the surprising party will be able to attempt telling blows during each segment of surprise as if the segment were an entire round! That is, a fighter able to attack twice during a normal round of combat will be able to do so twice during each surprise segment, so dice are rolled for hit determination accordingly. Even if distance prevents striking with weapons, the discharge of arrows, bolts or hand-hurled weapons is permissible at three times the normal rate providing the weapon/missiles are ready, otherwise at normal rates for rounds. Once surprise segments are over, melee proceeds normally on a round-by-round basis.
The common interpretation is of course that the discharge of arrows is permissible at three times the normal rate per segment.
Instead of that, I think it's entirely possible that what was actually intended, despite the confusing explanation is actually this:
During the surprise phase, melee combat occurs in each surprise segment just as it would during a normal round. However, if distance prevents striking with weapons, ranged weapons can be used at three times the normal fire-rate one time for the entire surprise phase, and only if they are readied.
This makes way more sense to me, both from a fun-combat-mechanics perspective and also it's much more realistic and believable than potentially loosing 30 arrows in 30 seconds. Thoughts?