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Exalted: Tropes I to P
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Averted, at least by Celestial Exalted. Exaltations specifically seek out hosts who will actually use their new found power. Thus, anyone who doesn't want to be Exalted is going to stay that way. White Wolf already has plenty of games devoted to this trope.
    • One particular Solar- Shadow's Grace- played this trope straight, though. She wanted to be Exalted, and she was- but into the wrong caste. As Scroll of the Monk puts it:
    Life as a spy and assassin, maintaining the peace of the fledgling Old Realm, did not suit her; she thought the Eclipse Caste better suited her temperament. She prayed daily, begging the Unconquered Sun to change either her caste or her spirit. He knew better and ignored her pleas: The needs of peace do not match those of war. He wanted an assassin who would not enjoy her job too much.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The Perfect of Paragon really, really wants to be an Exalt, and he's cursing the Unconquered Sun everyday for not making him a Solar despite all the things the Perfect has done for his people. Considering that the UCS has exalted the worst sort of people such as Havesh the Vanisher, the audience may well sympathize with the Perfect.
  • Impossible Thief:
    • Some of the more powerful Larceny charms have the effect of turning you into this. For example, Solars have a charm that lets them steal things from plain sight without the need to even touch it; Abyssals can steal people's faces, and Sidereals have a trio of charms that let you steal someone's thoughts, dreams or even their name. On some occasions, the Sidereal Dodge Charm Neighbourhood Relocation Technique may be employed to "steal" landscape marks, buildings or entire cities (red fedora and trenchcoat is appropriate attire while doing so.)
    • Infernals can get an Adorjan Charm that allows them to not only steal something from you, but also to steal the memory that it was ever yours to begin with. Even worse, the Charm also works on people that metaphysically belong to you. Like, oh, for example... your children.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • "Improvised Assassin's Trick," a very, very basic Abyssal Charm, allows a Deathknight to turn any small, heftable object into a deadly thrown weapon. Explicit examples given include pebbles, playing cards, and origami animals.
    • "Generalized Ammunition Technique" performs much the same role for Sidereals. It gives anything you can throw at someone "the fate of an arrow", including special arrows, from the normal (sand) to the esoteric (a flounder or a shout).
  • In a Single Bound: The Solar charm Mountain Crossing Leap Technique, among others.
  • In Their Own Image: The Cauldronists, a faction of Solar Exalted from the First Age who wanted to destroy Creation so they could make a new world to their own specifications.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Fire Aspect animas as well as some other select Exalts who might have flame motif banners (although those are cosmetic). Several charms from Fire Dragon Style have such an effect too, its pinnacle mimicking the Fire Aspect anima or strengthening it if used by Fire Aspects themselves.
  • Incest Is Relative: There are some...interesting rumors about what House Cynis gets up to in their private time. How much this turns out to be the case is up to the ST and players in any given game.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Black Ice Shadow (say it out loud) who embodies every "gothy" cliche in the book.
    • The Dextrous Midnight Runners, the First Age equivalent of the Post Office.
  • Informed Ability:
    • The Realm suffers from this. It supposedly dominated the world, but about 3/4ths of described locations in the Threshold never really were in its grip and its military history looks like an unbroken strings of defeats.
    • One of the 1st Edition books does note that the countries detailed are the interesting ones, the ones that are good places to adventure, whereas there are plenty of quiet generic Immaculate-Dragon-fearing agricultural principalities that pay their tribute and cause no trouble to the Realm which aren't listed because... well they're just not cool.
    • Part of the theme of the setting. The Realm is just the latest example of the decline that Creation has been undergoing since the First Age. In reality, it is only the Empress's control of the Realm Defense Grid that allows her to really control the Blessed Isle and bully some other cities and small nations into submission. But since using it causes collateral damage, it is not a threat she can bring to bear except in the most dire times of need.
  • Inherent in the System: Humanity NEEDS the Exalted. Mortals are not strong enough on their own to withstand all the forces that assail Creation, and sometimes the Exalted have to break eggs to make omelettes. It's just the way it is. That said, there are many, many times when the cynicism gets taken too far even for other Exalted...
  • Instant A.I., Just Add Water: The various Animating Intelligences found in Autochthonia, very minor spirits that give intelligence to various devices, from warstriders to food-processing facilities. They are made by mortals, and tend to have quirks... some quirks are more harmful than others.
  • Instant Armor:
    • Sorcery: one thing better than a Humongous Mecha is one you can create on the spot when you need it. For more personal scale, there is Invulnerable Skin of Bronze which, well, turns your skin into bronze.
    • Most Exalt types have Charms to produce personal-scale armour. On the Lunar side, the chain of Charms is Armor-Forming Technique > Stone Rhino's Skin > Invulnerable Moonsilver Carapace, which, in order, let you grow bone plate armor at will, toughens your skin to damage, and finally you simply flow moonsilver out of your pores into a perfect, gapless coating. And look like a T1000 turning into a were-(insert creature here). Solars go simply with shiny golden plate (or screeching black plate for Abyssals and brass alight with radioactive fire for Infernals). Alchemicals just pack normal artefact armour into hammerspace and don it when needed. Sidereals, in their usual fashion, spin fate of an armoured warrior around themselves.
  • Instant Expert:
    • Caste and Favoured abilities train instantly. Thus, a Twilight from an icewalker tribe with 19 xp stockpiled can go from "totally illiterate" to "one of the best-educated people in the world" immediately.
    • The Celestial Incarnae can spend a few motes to instantly become experts in about anything thanks to some of their unique charms. Luna can use Nigh-Inchoate Supremacy to reshape herself into any form with the skills she needs (max level 10 for abilities). The Maidens can use Fateful Puissance Integration to instantly boost any ability (max level 20!) by taking the knowledge from samsara (and they also have Many-Flowering Lotus and Library of Inner Truth to instantly learn martial arts and spells in the same way). The Unconquered Sun does not bother with such petty bonuses and simply has Perfection Beyond Imagining which lets him succeed at almost anything he does.
    • And then there was the first edition Locust War, in which the Alchemicals became geniuses at naval combat who utterly curbstomped the Realm Navy, despite the Autochthonians hailing from a world with no bodies of open water larger than a puddle, where the one major ocean they do have is a) very hard to access, and b) made of petroleum, and who are coming up against an island superpower whose navy is stocked with a surprising number of water-powered super-soldiers.
  • I Was Never Here: The Sidereal charm Avoidance Kata has you declare this and make the world accept it as a fact, teleporting you to a spot you would be if you took a different turn and erasing you from the memories of observers. General Sidereal Arcane Fate, practising Quicksilver Hand of Dreams martial arts and Adamant caste Alchemicals' anima power do the memory erasure as well.
  • Jerkass Gods: Not quite ALL of them, but a damn good majority of 'em. If you're willing to expand the definition of "god" past the setting's, there are many elder Exalted that fit this, too.
    • This trope is so prevalent that in one of the 1st Edition supplements dealing with gods, the writers had to include a sidebar specifying that no, not all gods are jerks. Lytek is a nice guy who's made some bad calls, the Censor of the South has essentially said "Fuck this" to Sidereal infighting and Heaven's corruption and does his job properly. And the Censor of the West just takes bribes so the other gods will just leave him alone. And the Celestial Incarnae aren't jerks...they're just INCREDIBLY drained from their jobs, and suffering from depression which only gets sated by a Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • Kaiju: The Behemoths, gigantic unique creatures made by the Primordials. Also, some gods like the Kukla (a five-mile tall dragon-god) definitely qualify. And, of course, there's a Lunar knack for becoming kaiju.
  • Kangaroo Court:
    • The Celestial audits that Sidereal Exalted frequently have to endure often end up being like this.
    • And on the other side of things, when Sidereal Exalted need more Starmetal (the material their artifacts are composed of, which is created as the result of a god's death), they go and get a god executed on trumped-up charges.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Avoiding the Truth Technique- on a success the target sees through your "lies". They sure caught you, eh?
  • Ki Attacks: Many, many different kinds, progressing all the way to the Kamehame Hadoken subtype.
  • Killer Robot: Apostates, Alchemical Exalts who have developed permanent Gremlin Syndrome, and their cousins, actual Gremlins.
  • Kill Sat: The Daystar, better known by most of Creation's population as the sun. It also knows martial arts, obviously.
  • King of All Cosmos: Most interpretations of the Incarnae (as gaming-addicted deities who ignore Creation almost completely), especially before the more sympathetic portrayal in Glories of the Most High, make them out as this. As far as the setting's actual creators go, the Primordials were even weirder. The one actually holding the title was Theion, who became Malfeas after the gods' rebellion, and now it belongs to the Unconquered Sun.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: There are Biblically inspired spells in the game and one way to describe a religious character is Kung-Fu Jesus. Hell, this is pretty much the textbook definition of the Zenith Caste.
  • Lack of Empathy: Most Raksha have trouble with the idea that creatures in Creation are independent beings, and not phantasms that exist solely by and for their pleasure.
  • Laser Blade: Beamklaves. Rather impractical, but no Alchemical would be complete without one.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: The Elemental Pole of Water, and thus Creation's single major ocean (and boy, is it a doozy of one), is in the West. This is somewhat justified (ha), as Creation has not stabilized at the borders of the map and runs off into the Wyld. They even state that the waters in the far western pole have no floor and simply flow on eternally. These regions also state that they are adjacent to the encroaching Wyld.
  • Legacy Character: The way Celestial Exaltations work, all 700 Celestial Exalted are effectively Legacy Characters to some degree. Infernals can take it further with The Flame of the Rising Phoenix charm.
  • Ley Line: Dragon lines, so named because the Dragon Kings were the first to map them out. Messing with them is a very bad idea. Geomantic weaponry is (one of) Creation's equivalent of nukes.
  • Lifetime Movie of the Week: What any portrayal of Lilith and Desus' marriage would be.
  • Lighter and Softer: Despite including the Phylactery-Womb and Deathknights going from Solars with dark tricks to potentially more horrifying harbingers of Oblivion, the 2nd Edition is this to the 1st. As noted above, the 1st Edition was a grim setting that narrated the end of the world in the first paragraph of the first book. In 2nd Edition, not only can your characters win, but do so meaningfully and heroically and not just as the latest in a succession of conquerors and tyrants.
    • Third edition, in turn, has been described in dev commentary as a more nuanced setting with 2e's possibility of hope but lacking the sometimes odious levels of darkness that led to so many cases of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Most Exalted, especially those who are focused on the arts of battle, fit this trope. They're skilled enough to deflect a falling boulder, fast enough to strike you eight times in one second with a sword, and strong enough to decapitate a woolly mammoth in one blade swipe.
  • Lizard Folk: One half of the ruling beastmen ethinicities in the spoilered 3E nation of Ixcoatli (Serpentfolk, actually, but they're still humans with scales). Unlike many depictions, they're a pretty sympathetic sort; the other half of the rulers are the rationfolk, who used to be vicious rivals of the serpentfolk...then were allowed to resettle and have important positions in Ixocatli after the Balorian Crusade destroyed their old nation (though that wasn't entirely altruistic-rationfolk records and thaumaturgy managed to survive, and the serpentfolk needed their expertise to replace what they lost).
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Each Yozi has at least one special third circle demon (and demons are their souls) known as a Fetich who acts as a load bearing boss. Killing a Fetich causes the Yozi to implode and come back wrong with a new theme and powers.
  • Logic Bomb: Infernal sorcerers can hide their nature by cajoling the concept of identity into proving that they can't exist.
  • Lost Technology: The First Age was a time of amazing magitech: indoor plumbing, advanced medicine, elevators, trains, robotic automatons, computers, A.I., a world wide web, Power Armor, giant mechs, super weapons, flying vehicles, flying cities, genetic engineering, and factory cathedrals to produced endless fabulous artifacts with all kinds of magical applications. In the Second Age, such technologies are mostly long destroyed, and the few First Age artifacts still intact are very highly coveted. The knowledge and especially the infrastructure necessary to recreate them is almost completely gone, and in several cases requires the Charms of Solar Exalted, which until recently weren't available.
  • Made of Iron: Nearly all Exalted and other magical beings are like this, even the most otherwise physically weak. They have an innate ability to reduce lethal cutting damage that mortals lack, plus there is the near-universal Charm called Ox-Body Technique which increases the amount of health your character has, allowing for such situations as getting pierced straight through the torso by a BFS and living to tell the tale. Ox-Body isn't invulnerability, though — outside of perfect defenses, Exalts are actually still relatively fragile compared to the damage they can dish out.
  • Made of Magic: Everything.
    • Most notably (and literally) the Essence equipment created by charms such as Glorious Solar Saber or Immaculate Golden Bow.
  • Made of Plasticine: The game has rules for what it calls "extras". These unfortunate souls exist only for your characters to scythe down by the truckload; they have only three health levels and if you beat their defenses by enough, they automatically die.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: In the First Age, they did some really crazy things.
  • Magic Skirt: In the Udon comic, Faka Kun's rather skimpy clothes seem glued to her body, despite the leaping and acrobatics she does, not to mention being thrown around by a Wyld Hunter during the final battle.
  • Magitek: You've got your guns that shoot fire, your automatons, your warstriders... It's even called Magitech in 2nd edition, though the developers are shying away from the term in 3rd ed.
  • The Magocracy: The Realm in the Age of Sorrows, the Solar Deliberative... pretty much any state in the setting where the ruling class channels Essence one way or another counts.
  • Manly Gay: Homosexuality is socially acceptable (even encouraged) in the Realm, but only if one at the very least projects either this attitude or Straight Gay outwardly. Effeminate behavior is NOT tolerated.
    • The main reason for this? Simple. The Dragon-Blooded Exaltation transfers through the blood, so they were designed to...be somewhat more open sexually to breed more frequently. In the modern Realm however, family ties are VERY important, and bastards clutter things up. So to eliminate the risk at all, Dragonblooded occasionally go for the other gender.
  • Marked Change: Celestial Exalted in general bear Caste markings as well as anima banners that flare out when expending heavy Essence, and then there are the moonsilver tattoos of the Lunars.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts:
    • If a Sidereal starts practising katas, run.
      • Sidereal Martial Arts allow them to punch people out of existence. Or into a horribly humiliating shape. The most popular by Memetic Mutation is a duck.
      • There's a Sidereal Martial art in the Scroll of the Monk whose first level technique permits you to dominate someone mind, body and soul by looking at them intently.
      • There is a specific combination of Sidereal Martial Arts Charms known by the fans as the Creation-Slaying Oblivion Kick, which would let you theoretically kill every living being in Creation in one blow, simultaneously. Or inflict any other effect listed here if you want. There is at least one canon NPC (Chejop Kejak) who has all the necessary charms to perform Creation-Slaying Oblivion Kick listed on his official character sheet in Scroll of Exalts.
      • There's a Sidereal Martial Art where you do a few katas and then everyone around you has their skin start sloughing off.
    • It might be a good idea to tread lightly around Solar and Abyssal martial artists as well. There's always that Million to One Chance that they've managed to find a willing Sidereal sifu...
    • There are Celestial and even Terrestrial martial arts that do such things as turn the hem of your dress into a lethal cutting blade, inflict horrible diseases on people, and fight off an assailant while relaxedly carrying on a conversation with someone else.
  • Master Computer: I AM in the First Age.
  • Mayincatec: Several different examples. First and foremost, the language of Old Realm is written with a featural alphabet that is vaguely similar to Mayan writing. Also, depending on whether you're talking 1st or 2nd Edition, the First Age was either loaded to the brim with this trope all over or it was mostly confined to Rathess and areas around it in the Southeast. Alchemicals have some of this aesthetic too, mainly in Melissa Uran art.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Alchemicals with the Charm balancing act, Lunars with shapeshifting, Exigents with the build-your-own-Charm system, 3e Infernals with point-buy shintai, Sidereals with...pretty much everything...
  • Metaplot: Originally intended to be averted, but Return of the Scarlet Empress does create a metaplot focused on the Infernals and the Reclamation. It's marketed as an adventure module, rather than a true advancement of the metaplot, however, and the current development team uses nothing from it except for the Yozi template.
    • Third edition has been confirmed to have a ten-year "soft metaplot" that consists mainly of non-immediately-world-ending things, with the expectation that your characters will go through it like a giant orichalcum truck.
  • Mind Control: Many of the best social Charms amount to that or even to...
  • Mind Rape: ...if applied with sufficient cruelty. And they also can make the victim love it.
    • What The Fair Folk typically do for their "meals" amounts to this, and leaves the victim as a near-mindless, will-less, identity-less husk capable only of unskilled menial labor.
  • Mind Screw:
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Wyld mutations, and Genesis engineering, can both produce things combining multiple species. Examples include gryphons and simhata (lion-horses).
  • Monster Sob Story: The Yozis may not be as outright pitiable as the Neverborn, but they can be pretty damn sad at times. Think about how you would feel if you were locked up and mangled for crimes when you think you haven't done anything wrong. Even the Ebon Dragon is kinda understandable: He cannot be anything other than a selfish, backstabber because his concept revolves around opposition; he cannot understand trust, love, or courage, because those things don't fall under his purview.
    • It is very easy to make the argument that things have only gotten worse since the Primordials have been locked up. The gods effectively rebelled just to get their hands on the Games of Divinity and have been neglecting their duties since.
  • Monumental Theft: The Sidereal Dodge Charm "Neighborhood Relocation Scheme" is exactly this. Make sure to fill out the paperwork beforehand.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted. Ganging up five-on-one with coordinated attacks is pretty much the only way mortals have any chance of killing Exalted (and even that is slim to none against anyone really built for combat); similarly, the Wyld Hunt doesn't fight even remotely fair against Solars.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Like you wouldn't BELIEVE in the First Age; remains an issue in the Second Age.
    • Also, the reason behind the Primordial War.
  • Morphic Resonance: Lunars each have a unique body feature called a Tell, which is retained regardless of what they transform into. Their magic makes their Tell difficult for normal people to notice, but once you do, you'll always be able to identify that Lunar at a glance, regardless of form.
  • Moses in the Bullrushes: Horribly subverted by a Wyld predator with a lure that resembles a baby in a basket.
  • Muggle Power: Among many examples...because people's souls reincarnate into new bodies after death barring enough unfinished business to cause them to become a ghost, Exalted in the First Age were often...less than concerned with the individual safety of the mortals under their rule, as nothing was really being lost. They did sign a treaty with Heaven, particularly the Bureau of Destiny, mandating that any mortal who died in the service of or as collateral damage from a Celestial Exalted's activities was guaranteed that their next reincarnation would be into the body of someone fated to have a happy peaceful life. Sadly, that treaty has almost certainly expired with the fall of the Solar Deliberative...
    • Towards the end of their Deliberative, the Solars stopped caring about the souls of the mortals either. Trumping up charges against a mortal to justify smelting their ghost into soulsteel was one example. Another was allowing the Wyld to unmake millions of square miles of creation, along with their tens of millions of inhabitants, all for the sake of a military training exercise.
  • Mundane Afterlife: The Stygia part of the Underworld. Everywhere else, it's an endless expanse of horrors. Of note is that the Stygian dead actively struggle to create (the illusion of) mundanity, such as the "sun" rising from the east and setting in the west, every "day". Otherwise, the Oblivion — which the city is situated right on — will drive the dead into suicide.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Many Solar charms, like the 2e one that lets you write down stuff really really fast. (Apparently Solar diplomats used it to transcribe political speeches and write treaties quickly. Not very impressive, but one imagines that it made their work a lot easier.)
    • There is also the infamous 2e Charm "Thousandfold Courtesan Calculations," which lets Alchemicals brainwash people through pillow talk.
  • Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: Completely in love with this trope. "The Princess Magnificent With Lips of Coral and Robes of Black Feathers," anyone?
    • And it's not just protagonists. Even minor characters have names like Coruscating Flame or Cold Bastion. Hell, even Autochthonia, which was divided from Creation millennia ago, has special pretty names for all its Exalts.
  • Name's the Same: Just to be clear: the Void that afflicts Autochthon isn't the same Void as Oblivion. Autochthon's Void is a manifestation of his robo-cancer.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Exalted names can get weird, but some really do fit here. Some groups more so than others:
    • The Lunars usually have ones that inspire animal and monster themes: Red Jaws, Swims In Shadows, Seven Devils Clever.
    • The Abyssals are probably the best example, including names like The Lady of Darkness In Bloodstained Robes, The Seven-Degreed Physician of Black Maladies, The Celebrant of Blood, The Knight of Ghost and Shadow, and many more. Not to mention their masters are The Deathlords. Their names include: Eye and Seven Despairs, The Walker In Darkness, The First and Forsaken Lion, The Mask of Winters...
    • The Neverborn tend towards this, with names such as Father of Murder, Abhorrence of Life and He who Holds in Thrall. But the most iconic of these isn't even a Neverborn (yet): in a future where Autochthon dies, he is called the Engine of Extinction.
    • The Sidereals have a few too: Crimson Banner Executioner and Black Ice Shadow (say it fast, and it loses some of the effect).
    • Alchemicals, too, manage a decent job of it with some names — Dreadful Adjudicator of Law, Unhesitatingly Loyal Weapon, and most Apostates. Others... not so much. Excessively Righteous Blossom, we're looking at you.
    • Then they bat it out of the park with Oberashti, the Shogun of Genocide, Lesser Elemental Dragon of Smoke.
    • In other cases, amusingly subverted, such as The Shoat of the Mire, a Creepy Child murderer.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: Infernals have part of their Exaltation courier demon stuck in their soul. Sometimes, they give good advice, other times they keep on blathering inside the Infernal's head, causing the Infernal to choose between listening or risk losing the one good idea in the flood of mental chatter.
  • The Needless: Infernals with certain Adorjan charms never need to sleep (as long as they spend the time they would have spent sleeping exerting themselves), eat (as long as they kill someone every so often), or breathe (as long as they inhale corpses every few days). Throw in the Cecelyne charm Transcendent Desert Creature and they can also survive in any hazardous environment short of the actual Underworld without penalty and, should they decide to eat something, they won't produce any waste.
  • Nerf:
    • The main point of the periodically updated Scroll of Errata is to cripple the broken stuff. Since Exalted's game balance is held together with string and hope, this isn't exactly an easy task. Most notably, the very powerful Twilight anima power was drastically reduced in strength. The really broken stuff, in Dreams of the First Age, wasn't so much nerfed as nuked: several Charms weren't fixed, but instead had their existence utterly revoked. Goddamn Pattern Spiders
    • Most of the 2nd Edition Corebook weapons were nerfed repeatedly in the head with a sledgehammer, mote regain was kicked around quite a bit, stunts were normalised to one per action, and lethality was reduced across the board. This is known as 2.5. (While those may sound like serious mistakes in other RPGs, in Exalted this was considered good as this pretty much removed the phenomena of Paranoia Combat.)
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Yozis have a long history of screwing themselves over, the latest act of which was giving the Green Sun Princes true free will, with predictable results. Justified, in that the literal embodiment of screwing people over, the Ebon Dragon, is their main planner.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: This game has, among other things: a family of demon-worshipping pirates (who themselves have demonic blood); a lost city run by a mad shapeshifting sorceress and her army of half-man, half-ape hybrids; magical giant robots galore; ninja-themed martial artist assassins who help oversee fate; and armies of extradimensional steampunk robot communists seeking to strip mine Creation to feed their dying god/world. Then there's the Underworld's armies, which often feature gruesome combinations of dead flesh and unholy machines, and always involve the undead. The underworld also, of course, contains the ghostly versions of demon pirates from Creation, making them something akin to demon pirate zombies. And then there are precious moments of recognizing yourself in trouble when an effect that determines "types" used on someone you meet returns "Human Undead Exalted." That, dear reader, is Abyssal, the Chosen of the Void.
  • Noble Demon: A requirement for good Green Sun Princes, due to their particular way of staving off Torment.
  • No Name Given:
    • The Green Lady. She probably removed her true name as well as her destiny from the Loom of Fate in order to infiltrate the Underworld, or something like that.
    • Many Sidereals especially while under a Resplendant Destiny.
    • The Righteous Devil as well, being an expy of The Man With No Name.
  • The Nondescript: Mortals find it near impossible to remember a Sidereal's appearance, if they remember them at all.
  • Nostalgia Filter: What people see the First Age through (and when the timeframe you're living in is dubbed "the Age of Sorrows," yesterday is gonna look pretty good). Not without its justifications; even if the First Age as depicted in Dreams of the First Age was far from perfect, it was still far safer and more comfortable than Creation's current state.
  • Nuke 'em: Exalted is by no means shy about including WM Ds that make big booms.
    • Thousand-forged dragons, Creation's equivalent to nukes. Designed to re-sculpt geomantic energy in an area into a powerful soul-shattering explosion, they are stored in silos and armed with magical launch codes.
    • On a more portable side are the soulbreaker orbs, objects which cause destruction by ripping apart and destroying the souls of those caught in the blast. The detonation of one of these is just about guaranteed to cause a Shadowland to form.
  • Number of the Beast: Infernals who slip their primordial leash learn a charm that lets them create the most powerful demons, who exist through and serve the Infernal. Its cost? 66 motes and 6 willpower.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat:
    • One of the Bureaucracy charms permits you to throw these people out of your chosen organization. Another one lets you magically enhance their obstructiveness. As you may well guess, these can be used to influence the supply chain of armies...
    • The very Heaven itself is run by them, up to and including sun god's own throng of divine secretaries. This result in a very unpredictable result for prayers directed at the Sun himself: sometimes your prayers are handled by a honest god and you get a well-deserved miracle; the other days it might land on the desk of a particularly callous god who simply give you a nasty case of spontaneous combustion.
  • Odd Job Gods: To the point of hilarity. There are (admittedly non-sentient) gods of individual rice grains.
    • One that stands out is Dark Is Not Evil Nice Guy Nara-O. His title is "God of Secrets Only One Person Knows," which sounds cool, until you realize that means he's the god of privacy. Then again Nara-O knows where you hide your porn...
    • One weapon is a gun that runs on prayers, uttered by the gods of tiny shrines carved into the barrels.
    • It all makes sense when you realise they're not supposed to be conventional gods, but the Kami of Japanese mythology.
  • Oh Crap: The Yozis will have this reaction when the Heresy Charm Swallowing the Scorpion is first used. This is because it severs the Exaltation's bond to Lilun, letting it select a host of its own accord: in other words, the Yozis have just lost control of the Green Sun Princes' Exaltations. Uh-oh...
  • Older than They Look: All of the Exalted. By default, anyone who Exalts at a young age matures relatively normally, but aging slows down or outright stops afterwards. Dragon-Blooded and Sidereals become Elderly Immortals near the end of their lifespans. Canon is less clear on Lunars and Solars: the Hierophant from Dreams of the First Age looks like a Type A Elderly Immortal, but he could've already looked like that when he Exalted, and there are Solars just as old as him who look like they could be in their twenties, and it's not clear if Raksi's stuck in her late teens due to Wyld mutation, Lunar tattoos or a combination of the two. Abyssals don't age as such, however if they go the Evil Makes You Ugly route, it can make them look like they're getting older.
    • This is particularly highlighted with Fire Aspect Karal Linwei and her, until recently, mortal daughter Karal Fire Orchid. Linwei still looks like she's in her early 20's - possibly even late teens depending on the individual - despite being over 72, while Fire Orchid looks several decades older. This results in Fire Orchid looking as if she were old enough to be Linwei's mother instead of the other way around.
  • Old Shame: Scroll of the Monk and the much-reviled Void Avatar Prana for Ink Monkey Dean Shomshak.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Abyssal Exalted are the purest example; they and their masters want to destroy everything and bring it to unending stillness and Oblivion. The Fair Folk (or at least their most coherent faction) want to blast Creation apart and return everything to formless Wyld. The Cauldronist faction of the Solar Exalted in the First Age wanted to annihilate Creation so they could build a new one In Their Own Image.
  • One-Hit KO: Soul Mastery lets you permanently sever a soul from its host. This is so horrifying to gods and spirits (who are essentially physical souls) that they automatically know if you have this charm and instantly fear you. Order Affirming Blow does this to Fae and their Wyld creations
  • One-Man Army: Being Exalted makes this look almost easy. There are even some powers which allow one to take on entire armies; Infernals actually have a Charm that gives them more bonuses the more outnumbered they are and Shintai charms that can turn them into army-destroying Eldritch Abominations!
  • One to Million to One: The spell Flight of Separation, which turns the caster into a flock of birds.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • The Necromancy spell Birth Of Sanity's Sorrow causes you to turn into a huge monster instead of dying when you would run out of health levels. (They decided to have a little Fun with Acronyms with that one.)
    • For anyone who knows the disgustingly game-breaking Sidereal martial arts style known as the Border of Kaleidoscopic Logic, there's Beauty Is In The Eye. Unlike Birth of Sanity's Sorrow, you can reuse it, and in some ways it's even more broken.
    • Some of the Infernal Shintai charms fall into this category.
      • Special mention goes to Devil-Tyrant Avatar Shintai; whoever uses it manifests Essence X 10 points of mutations. Mutating wolf legs is 1 point, being turned into a living hive is 6. note 
      • Demon Emperor Shintai is also particularly nasty. Even a combat-specced Dawn is strongly advised to step out of the blast radius and use a bow when that Slayer Caste goes Demon Emperor.
    • Lunars' Deadly Beastman Transformation. And that's just the starting-level character's Knack.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Justified in Under the Rose, which notes that Autochthon is physically unable to design defenses without including puzzle-based deathtraps in them somewhere.
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Deathlords have had 1500 years to destroy Creation, during which they were the most powerful free actors in the setting by a wide margin, and only the Dowager has really accomplished anything big. Granted, that something big happened to be killing 90% of everything alive, but they should have been able to finish the job by now.
    • It definitely didn't help when the Neverborn arbitrarily bound and punished the most powerful of the Deathlords, thus causing all his peers to feel somewhat less prone to take initiative.
    • The Bodhisvatta in Dark Water has been consistently working the entire time on his (very slow and subtle) master plan, which was intended to take over a millenium. He's been heard to remark that the disappearance of the Scarlet Empress has allowed him to shave 500 years off of his timetable.
    • None of Deathlords have a firm grasp on reality. For example, the Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible is attempting to destroy Creation through pure theological argument, whereas Eye and Seven Despairs is too busy with a labyrinthine gender-bending revenge plot against his own Deathknights. It's also been implied that at least some of the Deathlords prefer ruling over a large section of the Underworld to ending all existence and are deliberately dragging their feet.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Several kinds of creatures are called dragons in-game, and many creatures have draconic shapes:
    • Dinosaurs: They're often referred to as dragons, striders, or lizards (such as tyrant lizards).
    • Aquatic reptiles, such as pelagic dragons (huge plesiosaurs), sea dragons (sea serpents), and river dragons and swamp dragons (crocodile-like reptiles).
    • The Dragon Kings: Dinosaur people with inborn magic powers.
    • Elemental Dragons: Powerful elementals, except for Gaia's Five Elemental Dragons, who are her elementally-themed children.
    • Yozis: Oramus (the Dragon Beyond the World) and the Ebon Dragon. He Who Bleeds the Unknown Word also had a draconic shape before he died.
    • Certain Demons, such as Iyutha the Vitriolic Dragon, have draconic forms.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Mountain Folk subvert this trope. Worker Caste members are indeed 3-4 feet tall, squat, and broad (and often bearded). But Warrior Caste Mountain Folk are the size of smaller humans (around 5 feet average), though they retain the broad frames. And Artisan Castes? They're tall, lithe, extremely beautiful fae-like beings.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Better than the Muggles, certainly, and it would not be unusual for a Raksha noble to hand Dragon-Blooded and newly-exalted Celestials their asses. In fact, their betterness is enforced by game mechanics: every other character (including Exalted) starts with a minimum of one dot in each Attribute, before character creation begins. Raksha nobles, however, start with a minimum of three dots in each Attribute, so even in their worst area of physical, mental, or social ability, they will be better than average for a human. Plus, they receive enough dots during character creation that they will begin play with multiple Attribute ratings of six dots or more, which is both superhuman and better than even Exalted can start with. And just to rub it in, they have a special Charm, "Imposition of Law," which allows them to become so expert at any one skill that they receive an automatic success on every roll with it (which only fails to apply when they go up against another being with Charms or attempt to do something that is actually physically impossible). The Fair Folk are better than you, Puny Humans. It's the rules.
    • And following the Our Dwarves Are Different example above, and much more in keeping with modern versions of elves as something other than The Fair Folk (though they are cousins), there are the Jadeborn. The Raksha that got caught when the Primordials created the world were saved by Autochthon to be his assistants. They helped arm the Exalted during their rebellion... and then got neutered along with everything else that could pose the slightest threat to their rule, no matter how unlikely or how they may have aided them in the past. This left Autochthon a little miffed.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Human beings have two of them each. Exalted effectively have three. Primordials have many, many more: Second and Third Circle demons and devas are literally the souls of Primordials, each with semi-autonomous free will and a mind of its own. (First Circles are created by the higher Circles, but they're not part of the Primordial.)
  • Our Liches Are Different / Our Vampires Are Different: The Abyssal Exalted are masters of death and the Undead and drink blood to refill their Essence pools; they can also be courtly aristocrats or hideous monsters. However, they can't spread their curse, and they don't have any of the standard weaknesses other than being vulnerable to Holy effects. They can be killed by the light of the Sun, but that's because the Dirigible Engine Daystar is an enormous battle-station that can kill just about anything. Back when the setting was linked to Old World of Darkness, the Abyssals were the Vampire equivalent.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: There is a Charm (Order-Affirming Blow) that undoes Shaping effects. Guess what? The Fair Folk use shaping effects to create their bodies, and using said charm is a One-Hit Kill.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: It might be a good idea to take care around even Exalted's "bards," the Eclipse Caste. You never know if they've been learning the Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style, which permits them to turn a paper fan (or the hem of their dress, while we're talking) into a razor-edged implement of horrible doom.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Plenty of opportunity for this, with emphasis on Combat. You can actually kill someone with a sufficiently sharp insult.
  • Path of Inspiration:
    • The Immaculate Faith, though they're not unambiguously evil. Discussions on whether they're the good guys can be enthusiastic.
    • Less well known is The Tome of Endless Night, penned by one of the Deathlords. "Existence is suffering." OK, sounds like Buddhism, can't be that bad. "Therefore, work to destroy everything that exists, forever." Oh Crap, it's working...
  • Personality Powers: The Dragon-Blooded, most vibrantly. Keeping in tune with their elemental natures, Fire Aspects are deeply passionate in everything that they do, be it love or war, Water Aspects are street-smart, adaptable, and duplicitous, Air Aspects are clever and analytical but can be eccentric and absentminded as well, Earth Aspects are sturdy pillars of calm and reason, but can be annoyingly inflexible people, and Wood Aspects are lively, outdoorsy types who may have a libido bigger than even Fire Aspects'.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Virtually all Exalts, if they last long enough, can eventually graduate from being "just" a Lightning Bruiser and become this. Even Terrestrials.
  • Physical God: Played straight with the really, really important deities, but lesser gods are actually a subversion of the trope; reasonably skilled younger Exalted are entirely capable of taking many gods in a fight.
  • Place of Power: Demesnes, manses, and freeholds, places where large amounts of Essence pool/well up, often but not always due to the intersection of dragon lines. The main difference between them is whether they've been largely left undisturbed (demesnes), whether they've been harnessed for occult purposes (manses), or whether the Fair Folk have turned them into miniature Wyld zones (freeholds).
  • The Plan: A bad habit of Sidereal Exalted. The fact that they can literally predict the future with a disturbing degree of accuracy means that their plans sometimes approach Gambit Roulette territory.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: The Under the Rose scenario book openly advises setting up the traps in part of the Imperial Manse like this.
  • Point Build System: Specifically, it uses its own iteration of White Wolf's Storyteller System.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Lytek, the god of Exaltation, has known about the Great Curse that twists the Exalted for a long, long time; while he's been trying to solve it himself, he hasn't seen fit to tell anyone.
    • Jupiter, Maiden of Secrets, also knows about it, but her very nature prohibits her from telling anyone.
    • Fortunately, Nara-O appears to know as well, and has his Sidereal minion Black Ice Shadow working on the problem. This is because Nara-O is the God of Secrets Only One Person Knows, meaning he probably knows about the Great Curse precisely because of Lytek's poor communication skills.
  • Powered Armor: As part of Magitek goodness, this game features some really awesome examples.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child:
    • Soulsteel. Guess what it's made out of? And the victims don't get to spend the rest of eternity in peaceful oblivion; no, they're silently screaming in agony forever.
    • What the Fair Folk do. They eat forsaken children.
    • Also Autochthon. And he's one of the nicest guys in the setting. Then again, considering the part of the souls he eats would normally dissolve or become a hungry ghost, his example may be justified (may be, since the part that does reincarnate gets stored in a tank, presumably forever unless the PCs do something about it).
    • The Phylactery-Womb is a forsaken child.
  • Power Equals Rarity:
    • Played straight and averted with different types of Exalted. Terrestrial Exalted are weaker and far more common than Celestial Exalted, and Alchemical Exalted fall in between them in both power and rarity. On the other hand, Infernals and Abyssals are on roughly the same power tier as the more common Solars, and Lunars are supposed to be on roughly the same power tier as Sidereals despite outnumbering them by 3 to 1.
    • Mostly played straight with spirits. For example Lesser and Greater Elemental Dragons are among the rarest and most powerful types of elementals. There are only a few canon Greater Elemental Dragons; one of them, the Kukla, is a dormant beast kept this way until the Unconquered Sun decides it's time to end Creation. Sure, you might try to summon it if you really want, but even the book calls you mad for it: not that this ever stopped the Exalted...
    • Played straight and averted with demons. Demons are divided into three power tiers, in order of ascending power and rarity: the first, second and third circles. Roll of Glorious Divinity 2 (which covers demons) specifically states that, generally, the most well-known and commonly-seen demons are the most powerful and useful ones, because those are the ones people summon the most often (duh).
  • Power Glows: Anima banners in general.
  • Power Levels: A character's permanent Essence score is a good rough measure of their power within their general type of being; it goes from one to ten.
  • The Power of Love: The Virtue of Compassion encompasses all forms of love, and when channeled by an act of will, can be frighteningly powerful even without magic.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
    • Lunar Exalted + Burgeoning Wyld Infliction = You can make your lover into anything you want him/her to be. Anything.
    • Thousandfold Courtesan Calculations + Hyperdextrous Tentacle Apparatus.
    • Initially, the Infernal charm Running to Forever makes it possible to run without fatigue. Once it's fully upgraded, it allows any intense physical activity to provide all the benefits of sleep. The book actually predicts this and has a RULE for the level of intensity it has to be. Gentle lovemaking doesn't count, but a passionate, loud, potentially destructive romp between rooms does.
    • Husband-Seducing Demon Dance. Bam! Instant orgy.
    • White Wolf released, as an April Fool's joke, The Scroll of Swallowed Darkness, a sixteen-page PDF on exactly what you think it would be about.
  • Powers as Programs: Charms, spells, and other abilities such as those used by the Fair Folk fall into this category. Also, there are a more portable variety found in hearthstones. And needless to say, this is standard operating procedure for the Alchemicals, especially with regard to Pattern Weaving, their answer to Sorcery.
    • However, while Charms embody this trope in every other way, in this case the compiler is right on hand: Exalts can (and, in fact, are encouraged to) invent new custom charms as they progress. The only exception are the Sidereal Exalted, who can't make new charms for themselves, but settle for inventing world- and game-balance-shattering Sidereal Martial Arts instead.
  • Powers That Be:
    • The Bureau of Destiny literally decides the fate of everyone in Creation. Of course, some things are outside of fate, and Exalted have the power to Screw Destiny.
    • The Sidereals, in addition to working for the Bureau of Destiny, also control much of Creation from behind the scenes in their own right.
    • The Celestial Incarnae (and, specifically, the Five Maidens) once filled this role, and are technically still supposed to, but thanks to their "WoW addiction" they generally don't.
  • Porn Stash: Nara-O is the god of things only one person knows, and knows all of these secrets. Therefore, Nara-O knows the location of every hidden porn stash in existence and its contents.
  • Prequel in the Lost Age: The Dreams of the First Age supplement is set in the titular First Age, a high-Magitek civilization ruled by the immensely powerful, and increasingly power-mad and deranged, elders of the Solar Deliberative. The supplement kicks off at the very moment that the Unconquered Sun turns his face from his Chosen. Furthermore, Exalted was originally billed as this to the Old World of Darkness.
  • Pride: The Sidereals. And how. It's actually their manifestation of the Great Curse; when they get together, they never second-guess themselves, and continue to carry out their already-laid plans no matter what.
  • Primordial Chaos: The Wyld, which still exists around creation and periodically tries to eat it. It's also home to The Fair Folk.
  • Principles Zealot: Anybody with Conviction 5. Willpower 10 is not strictly necessary for invoking this trope, but complements it wonderfully. And if you mix the two together....
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Lunars, to an extent, often fall into this. It's been toned down a lot since 1st Edition, and there are many other options or themes, but it still has a major influence on many of them.
  • Psycho Serum:
    • The Exaltation grants great power to those who are granted with it, but comes with the Great Curse. It invariably starts to turn the Exalted insane, especially when they get too stressed out and start building Limit.
    • Celestial cocaine is far more powerful and dangerous than the mundane version. It lets mortals temporarily channel Essence, and they can use it to train to channel Essence on their own, if it doesn't kill them first.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: The Raksha. Most of them don't mean to be horrific monsters. They just don't understand certain basic facts of reality. Like the sentience of other beings. And death.
  • Puny Earthlings: Played straight in the background (the supplements state that humans were specifically created to be puny worshippers with no other purpose, and this is the reason the Primordials didn't geas them into submission like everything else.) Obviously, averted with regard to the Exalted.
  • Punny Name: Everybody in the Modern Shard has a name which is an Incredibly Lame Pun based off their name in the regular setting.

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