Exalted is a game where one of your main antagonists is Death, Creator of the Underworld. Except there's several of him, probably six or seven. Oh, and he's got 13 dread henchmen, one of whom was probably you at some point in time. Also, Hell has a personal grudge against you this time. Did I mention Magical America regularly trains and sends ninjas out for you personally? Ninjas specially trained in ass-kicking? Which, if they won't work, they keep giant robotic suits of armor on reserve for. Oh, and the Transformers have united under Omicron, and are invading. The Jedi have corrupted Heaven and usurped your rightful place as the Masters of Everything. Your ex-wife just dropped by, and she's a two thousand year old shape-changing man-eating monster now, interested in maybe going on a date next Thursday. Your best friend from your last life and while growing up now seeks to cover all the lands of Middle Earth in darkness, if he can just find this damn ring. And your God has the world's biggest crack habit, and needs some serious rehab.
Solars do horrible things, Lunars are horrible things, and Sidereals make horrible decisions?
Creation is threatened by demons, undead gods, and Cthuloid elves. But don't worry, because tyrannical super-weapon self-righteous lunatics with incredible brain-washing powers are back! We're saved!
—The Wizard of Oz from the official White Wolf forums.
Most RPGs Jump the Shark. Exalted skis on a giant sword over lava from an erupting volcano, being pulled with quicksilver cables by an airship, and then does a quad somersault 1080 with a pike over a tank filled with evil robot super sharks with laser beam eyes made from an alloy created from the souls of DEAD GODS.
In ancient days, when mystical shit was BIG and IN YOUR FACE, somebody FUCKED UP and BROKE EVERYTHING and now THINGS SUCK.
Trying to portray societal consequences of being an disfavored minority in realistic manner is kind of difficult to do in Exalted. After all the default assumption is that the populace finding out that you are, as far as they are concerned, a horrific demon who will eat their children is considered to be at worst a minor problem until the Shaolin death squads show up.
This is Exalted. "Immortal" just means that a Solar hasn't put serious effort into trying to kill it yet.
Being a Solar Exalted means never having to say, "Maybe I should tone this down a little?"
Stories that have 'And Then the Celestial Exalt Was Horribly Raped...' do not classically work out well for the bad guys in Creation.
- Miss Maddy
Any sufficiently advanced kung-fu is indistinguishable from magic.
Any good act of Exalted epicry should not only alter the course of history, but if at all possible, the course of geography as well.
I am no mere God. - Uttered in complete seriousness during an Exalted game
(UCS) "These Exaltations won't catalyze. What am I doing wrong?"
(Autochthon) "Let me see that. Hm. Are you putting everything you have into this?"
(UCS) "Of course not. Nothing can withstand that."
(Autochthon) "These Exaltations are insufficiently awesome. You must push yourself to your limits."
(UCS) "But I have none."
(UCS) "Very well—but I warned you."
And on that day the sun flared so that it encompassed the entire sky, and Creation was taken with terror and wonder. Luna rose ahead of schedule to shield the world from that unbearable light, and beneath the apocalyptic vision of this eclipse, the first Exalted began to take the Second Breath...
Holden, freelancer and Ink Monkey, on the creation of the Solars
Cosmic power flows through me, yearning to build worlds and tear them asunder. I am that I am, and all that is bows before me or sickens and dies. In my left hand is cold fire. With my right, I raise monoliths to my glory and crush my enemies. Upon me rests the crown of the universe.
And do you know what else?
I am so fucking metal my name is a power chord.
Michael Goodwin, freelancer, Ink Monkey, and fandom Cullen, on how it feels to be an Infernal
1. If one of my players or my NPCs says he will take over the world, I will not have M. Bison spawn into existence just to say "Of course!"
—Things one is not allowed to do in Exalted: Storyteller Guidelines.
Exalted is in many ways like Call of Cthulhu. Both can be set in a largely negative world and both contain mind-numbing horrors whose gentlest sneeze could kill half of Malaysia. The difference is the scope of fear; humans fear Cthulhu, Cthulhu fears the Exalted.
Overheard on an rpg.net forum
Exalted not only jumped the shark, it jumped the whole damned ocean. The force of the leap was so great that water and hapless sharks alike were pulled along in Exalted's wake, scattering the sunlight into a million rainbow shards and ominous pelagic silhouettes. Just before landing, Exalted turned around and started running back along the backs of the sharks as they flew, razor teeth foremost, directly into the camp of Those Other Games, who were caught napping and consumed.
Its enemies defeated or awestruck, Exalted then proceeded to engage in an epic kung fu battle against a convenient local mountain range, merely as an encore.
The Fonz "heyed", for at long last the phrase for lameness he had unwittingly inspired was so thoroughly subverted by Exalted's action that The Fonz was cool again merely by association.
Overheard on an rpg.net forum
In most RPG's chairs and bottles serve as improvised weapons. In Exalted, the nearby mountains qualify as well.
The Solars are the ancient god-kings of Egypt or China or Mesopotamia, the deific cultural heroes from the dawn of time – Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim, Moses, Horus, Herakles, Akhilleus, the Yellow Emperor, the Sage Emperors. These ancient solar princes have all sat up, and the great beards they grew in their slumber have shattered their respective stone tables, and here they are in the time of the Book of the New Sun, or the Dying Earth, or Zothique – a world at the end of history, without hope or fresh impetus. Wow, what a fucking lot of work they’ll have to do to bring back the glories of the dawn of time; a vast challenge, but not one out of reach for these mighty heroes.
- Geoffrey C. Grabowski, Exalted's first developer
The game where you can punch people into being so sick their organs fall out.
The game where you can turn yourself into a city.
The game where dinosaurs pee heroin.
The game where you can sign on with the fallen supergod that erased nine-tenths of Creation because it lost the war.
The game where you can kill five things with one knife throw, jump over a mountain, and still make it to teatime with a dragon.
The game where you can build a giant robot out of ghosts.
And then kill it with a giant sword made of dead gods.
The game where you can insult someone so badly they die.
The game where the sun is like a giant Death Star piloted by the king of gods and capable of blowing up anything he doesn’t like.
The game where you can be so sexy it hurts.
The game where you can be so sneaky you turn into someone else.
The game with magic lesbian stripper ninjas.
The game with fairies that are more like Cthulhu.
But it’s okay because the zombie gods (not gods of zombies, gods that are zombies) accidentally drove them back with a horrible plague.
The game where starting martial artists have to punch a river in half.
The game where, if all goes well, you really should overthrow the gods before you’re halfway done.
A Sidereal was hiding in my cereal bowl waiting to ambush me but I gave it to this guy I didn't like and the Sidereal jumped out and punched him and he turned into ducks. Seriously, it was like poof and he was three ducks.
- A pretty average encounter with a Sidereal.
And this, my friends, is what happens to Elder Solar Exalted.
The corruption of the Great Curse, the soul-rot that consumes all of them. The strongest, the brightest, the best and the noblest of them, it matters not. You live long enough, you turn from an exemplar of glorious perfection to one who perfectly embodies virtue corrupted.
Conviction becomes careless cruelty and a cavalier attitude to ever-increasing amounts of collateral damage.
Valor becomes sneering contempt at reason.
Temperance teeters back and forth between mortification of the flesh, one's own and those of others, for failing to adhere to impossible standards, and to the wildest excesses a thousand screaming souls sing of in their unending nightmares.
Compassion devolves into brutal micromanagement of lives, no matter what these objects - objects! - of affection want, because you know better.
And then you add Limit Breaks, which exaggerate all these titanic flaws to levels previously unseen, unheard and unimagined, for centuries upon centuries.
There is no escape from this fate, for so rot-blighted are these ancient souls that not even death can end their evil. There is only the time your Exaltation gives you before the Great Curse consumes you, and in that time, you can be the hero you were meant to be.
Just pray that you die long before one of your younger cousins stands before you, raging at you, casting words of fiery damnation at you for in your heart you will know that you have become the very monster your kind was made to fight.
Exalted: Where earthpolitics concepts meet irrefutable proof that god not only exists, but needs maintenance lest his continent-sized organs crush everyone.
I wanted to climb those mountains nobody ever had the guts to climb before, I wanted to stat what they said couldn't or shouldn't be statted. And we did. And looking back, I don't think it improved the game. [...] I looked up one day and the game was all about [...] Yozis and Solars hip-tossing people across the universe and characters hijacking the sun and flying it into the Ebon Dragon's face and it was like—this is not the game I fell in love with back at Scavenger Sons, what happened here? Where's the Realm? Where's Jubei fighting the Eight Devils of Kimon? Where's the Brotherhood of the Peach Orchard swearing to reform a corrupt and crumbling empire? Where's Conan carving his legend into the kingdoms of men in fire and blood? Where's Azhrarn, Prince of Demons, falling in love with a mortal man and taking vengeance when his heart is broken? When did everything become so noisy and gonzo and clumsy?
- Holden Shearer, writer for second edition and co-developer for third.
In Exalted, if it can't be solved with murder, you aren't murdering it hard enough.
- commonly held principle
"We'll start with the basics. Of course, since you're Exalted, the level is raised a little. Now punch that river in half."
Ten Winds discusses Exalted martial arts