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The API macros that have been implemented for the game enforce a way of handling combat, especially initiative and surprise.
In many situations, each side in a combat will be aware of each other at the point that combat begins. In this case everybody rolls initiative normally, and there is no surprise round.
Initiative is rolled at the point combat begins - not whilst preparing or waiting. As soon as it is possible for a combat action to occur, initiative is rolled, and not before.
If there is one person that clearly begins the combat, then they get surprise and also get to take 20 on their initiative check. This doesn't guarantee that they will go first, but greatly increases the likelihood.
This is implemented in the scripts by starting combat with a single token. If only one token is added at the start of combat, then that token takes 20 and has surprise.
Everybody else then gets added to the initiative, with a possibility of either being surprised, or having surprise.