So I have been grinding on the road for a bit (I like buying plate asap and I play on a short break and save the main story for when I have an hour or two).
I have been dealing with what I consider to be rather bs surprise rates on the road. It’s really pretty absurd. I’ve had 12 of the last 13 encounters be an ambish against me. This has been a problem for some time, and no amount of spot or perception in the party seems to help. What USED to help was a feat (Acute Senses) that made one never surprised. In the past, I could just deal with this bs until 4th level and sacrifice an ASI on one guy to do away with it. But now I just reached level 4 and discovered that this feat is apparently just ... gone. I know it wasn't working exactly as advertised, because one could still get surprised, but it made a huge difference. (Maybe road encounters shouldn't always involve either one side or the other getting a surprise round every time.) I mean, is this seriously how road travel is supposed to go in your mind?!
(I will add that in those twelve ambush encounters a full 100% of the enemy’s first attacks have rolled a 12+ and that when the exact same encounter happens the first few dice rolls are always the same even with saved seeds turned off. In other words this crud is scripted. I really just cannot fathom the design choices here.)