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The PC's are in hiding behind a cliff, they can see the unaware monsters but cannot attack them from their position.

If they move out of hiding in the open (in order to have a line-of-effect on the monsters), does this expend their surprise round, or does the combat only start at this point, granting the PC's a surprise round to make attacks?

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It all depends on when the monsters becomes aware of the adventurers, either through the monsters seeing (or in some way perceiving) the adventurers, or when the adventurers attack.

Lets say the heroes move out of hiding. If the monsters see the heroes appear from behind the cliff, this is the surprise round. Each hero acts and then the surprise round is over.

If the heroes manage to sneak up to the monsters, (or are not seen moving out from behind the cliff) then the surprise round would likely start with the first attack. So if all the adventurers managed to sneak up, they might all get to attack before the monsters get to react (their reaction coming in the round after the surprise attack).

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The move action that takes the PCs out of their hiding spot initiates the surprise round. The reason for this is because at that point it is possible for the creatures to spot them and participate in the surprise round.

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