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Okay, this has been bugging me for a while. What qualifies a character as being unaware of an attack, for purposes of dodging and parrying? If they're suprised? Attacked from behind? Prone? - DariusSolluman

I presume that it involves surprise. A prone character may have trouble dodging, but that doesn't make them unaware of attacks. - Quendalon

I would go with Quendalon, its when the character is surprised.

An attack "from behind" during combat is not an attack that one is unaware of; the defender in question is normally moving around all the time to defend against all attacks and all attackers.

And being prone does not mean prone on your face and unable to see, so the defender is aware of attacks here too.

There is one exception I know of, an Athletics charm in caste book Night I think, which allows you to jump over someone in combat and surprise them from behind. Even this charm is limited to once EVER per opponent. -- BrokenShade

It's just that awareness is made such a big deal of many defenses (FFBS vs FLB, f'r instance), I've the sense it should come into play more often...

Then its up to you to involve it more. The Wyld Hunt for example should try to use ambush whenever possible. -BogMod

Attacks from behind, in any event, are talked about directly on page 238 of the corebook. Normal characters cannot defend themselves against such attacks, while Exalted have to use charms to do so and their defenses "start at 0" against such attacks. -- CrownedSun

Do Melee attacks against blinded opponents count as 'Attacks from behind? How about ranged attacks? -- Reyemile

I don't see why they would; there's a separate rule for the effect of blindness on characters. "From behind" means "from behind". - willows
Because as written, being blinded only give penalties to attacking, not defending; generic mortals shouldn't be able to dodge arrows while blindfolded. Furthermore, the Attacking from Behind section refers to not "keep(ing) all opponents in view," which implies that you have the penalties because you can't see them. - Reyemile
Actually, it's in the players guide. p33, under Diminished Sense. Just apply the blindness penalty to all actions requiring sight. --FlowsLikeBits
Thanks! - Reyemile
I think "from behind" is basicly the same as a successful ambush(the next section), which is easier to understand. - FlowsLikeBits

In most situations, an "attack from behind" is also going to be an "attack one is not aware of." However, I can think of at least one circumstance in which a character could be "attacked from behind" even if the character was aware of the attack. If a character is standing in knee-deep mud, his movement is restricted and he would not be able to turn around to defend himself from an "attack from behind" even if he was aware of it. Other situations that severly restrict a character's mobility could have the same effect. Possibilities include being in a clinch, being at the -4 wound penalty, being inside an extremely confined space (like a tunnel the size of an air duct or something), etc. - catmandrake

Being in a clinch restricts what you can do anyway. Even if you can see every attack coming at you in a clinch, you are still stuck in the limitations placed upon you by the maneuver. I think your standing in the mud example is just plain ridiculous for anyone capable of performing a stunt, and even moreso for any type of Exalt. Even if you have an Exalt hog-tied using triple-thick lead chains, they are still capable of trying to defend themselves. That is the kind of crap Exalts are supposed to do. ~ Andrew02

"I think your standing in the mud example is just plain ridiculous for anyone capable of performing a stunt, and even moreso for any type of Exalt." No doubt. Like infection and bleeding, this is exactly the kind of thing that would only be a problem for mundane mortals. Exalts need not concern themselves with it. - catmandrake

I apply basically the same rules for almost all the combat modifiers (from above, from behind, knockback, knockdown, etc.): they happen either as a result of a stunt or Charm usage. (Note - all of these can be countered by stunts or Charm usage as well. I think it's fair.) If someone didn't stunt it properly but wanted it anyway, I would probably allow a Dex + Athletics roll resisted by Wits + Athletics, but the movement would be a dice action (and the resistance would be reflexive), so it's not something you should try regularly. Mostly, though, I prefer just to handle it as stunt fodder. - Hapushet

I have a problem with the surprise rules, mostly due to the amount of rolls you get prior to actually being surprised. maybe I misread it, and as I do not have my book with me at the moment I will just continue my ignorence, but I think it states that you get an awareness roll, and failing that another roll just prior to being attacked. if that is the case I think that is very biased against any kind of surprise attack. of course I may just be halucinating that particular rule, and this may indeed be a stupid thought. if I am wrong please tell me, and if I am right give your thoughts, thank you.

-- Gtroc

No, you're right, and I agree. I made the wits roll harder and the shifted the failure consequences a bit myself. If you make the perception test, you're fine... If you make 5 successes on the wits roll, you're fine, but 3 or 4 successes and all you can do is abort, refl defensive charms aren't allowed UNLESS they state you can use them against unawares, and 1 or 2 successes those charms are all you can do.
-- Darloth

You see, I disagree with house ruling it away without a huge degree of thought. the rule must have a reason for existing. I mean, they playtested the hell out of the game, and then they fixed a great many things in the errata, and such. so if the rule was broken, they probably would have cought it. at least, I hope they would. so what probable cause could there be for the ease of discovering an ambush. I have a theory, I think that it is due to other games propensity for ambush. I think they wanted to keep the ST from oer using ambush. of course this is just a pet thoery of mine. any thoughts?
-- Gtroc