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The Ship's Wheel
Once, there was a maiden...
... who lived in a tomb, and the tomb was made in her image.
Because she lived in a tomb, she became like the dead,
She slept, and dreamed,
And sometimes woke, and walked within the confines of her tomb.
"Why do you move?" her own ghost asked. "Why walk at all?"
"I am not trapped while yet I run", said she.
Once, there was a maiden...
... who fled a shadow, in the company of a friend.
They travelled through strange places, and among strange people.
"How can you trust me", he asked, "with such horror behind you?"
"Love endures", she said.
Once, there was a maiden...
falling forever in the water. She reached for purchase, but found nothing; her arms swung through the sea.
The water did not slow her, nor the chill,
but she could not breathe.
Each time she gasped and found no breath, a human child died; and thus, she lived.
"Survival is acceptance," she said.
Once, there was a maiden...
... and before her came all the peoples of Creation, and knelt.
They set aside their petty squabbles in her name.
They acclaimed her with many shouts.
Not one of them struck free her chains.
"To know the world..."
"Is to own it", she said.
Once, there was a maiden...
... who was the living embodiment of everything right in the world.
While she lived, no real harm could come to anyone. Oh, wounds, disease, even death, sure. But she stood between the world and anything worse.
"Except," she said, "I'm going to die." And no one listened.
"I'm going to die tomorrow," she said. And no one heard.
Into the silence, she said; "There's always an ending, after all."
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.
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 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 theyll 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 doesnt 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 its okay because the zombie gods (not gods of zombies, gods that are zombies) accidentally drove them back with a horrible plague.
The game where, if all goes well, you really should overthrow the gods before youre 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.
Well, I guess now that the baby's dead, it would just be wasteful...
- Dealing with a First Age Lunar's insane rules
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. Go punch important people in the gut, raise an army, raise a city-eating tyrant lizard, raise a cult of orphans who shoot fire from their eyes. Preach about the glories of the Sun and topple the Immaculate Order's grasp on the common man. Topple a Great Dynastic House, get yourself a Sidereal maid. What's a Sidereal? Figure that out, that'll help you a lot. See things nobody has seen in millenia, build things nobody has heard of in two. Fall in love so hard you sink a subcontinent. Marry that brown silver-tattoo'd girl at dawn and hold hands on top of the roofs of the steaming workshops of Nexus. Get fucked. Get fucked by a Deathlord and swear revenge in words so potent your eyes turn white from power. Scream "FUCK YOU!" so hard it makes demons around you explode. Try to bring her back, fail atrociously and curse the forefathers of Creation at the laws they set. Suplex a celestial lion at the gates of Heaven when they don't let you in, make a trip to the Underworld on a boat that sails faster than despair to search for her ghost. Learn to stitch spirit to flesh and turn the armies of your nemesis against him. Ride a motherfucking elemental dragon to battle and dive bomb into the Deathlord's corpse fortress so hard every pious man in the Direction falls over from fear. Go berserk. Lose your shit completely. Find yourself clutching a broken skull, drenched in blood and gore and impotent rage bleeding out of you. Sit on that same roof in Nexus and miss her so much your soul might fall into lethe. Watch the sun rise again and know that it's never going to be over for you.
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." In Exalted, I play a guy who was so incredibly cool, so much more hip than anyone else in the world, that God Himself showed up and said, "Hey, I thought this world was pretty dumb, but I saw how awesome you were just then, so maybe I was wrong. Go forth and kick much ass in my name." And I turned unto God and said, "Rock."
Don't worry! I'm an Exalt, and I'm here to help!
—Some of the most terrifying words in Creation
Currently, it is like FR, except Elminster actively works to kill you.