So another question about surprise...
Scenario: My group makes a ruckus looking through barrels, and alerts the guards in the next room of intruders. The guards ready themselves by hiding on either side of the door. They have no stealth bonus. The group approaches the door and makes a perception check to listen to the other side, rolls a 20, so I say that they think they hear a quick shuffling and a faint "shhh" noise.
What happens next?
In my case, the group slowly and quietly opened the door without walking through it, and didn't see anything, so they stepped inside.
Can the guard swing his sword right away? Would it be a surprise round? Should I get them to roll initiative and maybe be able to dodge (move away from) the sword strike?
I want to make the game fluid and realistic, but don't want to bend and break rules all over the place. What should happen here, and how do other DM's carry out such a scenario?
Here is what I think happens, but I'd appreciate any input. Because both PCs and NPCs are on alert, there is no surprise round. Once the character walks into the room, combat "technically" starts and thus initiatives are rolled. If the PC outrolls the NPC, they can run backwards, or run past the guard further into the room. If the NPC wins initiative, it makes its attack on the PC. Correct?