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  • Accidental Innuendo: Anys Syn is named after real-world author Anais Nin; her name is not intended to be a joke about sex or headache medicine.
  • Broken Base:
    • The Ink Monkeys, a group of Exalted writers who continued Second Edition during a lull in publishing by posting (official) supplements online on the Exalted website. While the official forums adored them, the larger fanbase was markedly split.
    • And then, are the deliberately ambiguous bits. Vision of Bronze, anyone?
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    • Too many things to list! The Daystar, The Shining Answer, Samsara, Legends of the Titans, Lumina, Shrikes, Halta & Linowan, etc.
    • Michael Goodwin leaving caused more than a few fans to rage (and fueled speculation as to why).
    • Lunars are perhaps the ultimate case of this. Not because people don't like them, but because no two fans can agree why they like them, and get into huge Internet knife fights over which traits should be emphasised. On any given day, if you go to the Exalted forum on the White Wolf site, you will most likely find at least one Lunar-related Flame War, possibly several.
    • Infernals, if the White Wolf forums are anything to go by, are either the best or the worst thing to happen to Exalted. The dislike probably isn't helped by the fact that Infernals were released fairly late into the line and as such proceeded to have a stranglehold on the game books after release (To the point that Abyssals, the other "antagonist" splat present since 1st Edition, were subject to Out of Focus).
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    • And recently, it was confirmed that third edition would have new Exalt types. Plural. The fanbase immediately split into "hell yeah more Exalts" and "no this is a bad idea" factions.
    • And whether or not the 3E Abyssals Charm preview endorsed/railroaded the player into rape. Opinions varied from "The devs are misogynistic bastards ruining our game!" to, "These are Charms from the Deathlords, what did you expect?" to, "Who the hell cares?" to, "Why is Solar brainwashing and canon sex slavery acceptable, but not this?" to, "The Charmset is perfectly fine, you're imagining things," to, "The Abyssals are supposed to be evil (itself the cause of a Broken Base)" to, "No one is being forced to use it, what's the problem?" to, "My God, people, shut up. The whining about this is poisoning the forums," to... you get the idea.
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    • The massive success of the 3rd edition Kickstarter campaign resulted in the book's length doubling, with some sections being rewritten entirely, which pushed back the release date by over two years. This has lead to some disgruntlement in some fans.
    • Fans who want a dark, secretive bronze age setting versus fans who want cool Magitek and a chance to punch Eldritch Abominations in the face. Fans who want a chance to be true heroes and save the world versus fans who want a deep sense of doom and tragedy over it all. Fans who enjoy playing out cultures with strange and archaic moral codes versus fans who think that's just a shallow excuse to wallow in juvenile shock value. The list goes on. Exalted is a hotly debated game.
  • Cargo Ship: The April Fool's Day sourcebook Scroll of Swallowed Darkness mentions an artifact invented to allow a Solar to seduce a mountain. Not the spirit of the mountain, the actual mountain. Thousands died in the eruption at the, er... climax.
  • Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: People who quit the game over Ink Monkeys content, which was released for free online.
  • Complete Monster: The second edition version of The Dowager of the Irreverent Vulgate in Unrent Veils is one of the thirteen Deathlords ghosts, and easily the most vile of the bunch. She hunts people as a hobby, but her real wickedness comes into play with her two pet projects. First is her Orphanage of Fear; she abducts the entire populace of a village, kills everyone over the age of nine, and raises the children in homes furnished with soulsteel made from the children's families. She also takes this opportunity to create the Shoat of the Mire, a psychologically-tortured little girl given the Black Exaltation of a Dusk. But the Dowager's greatest work is the single most catastrophic event in Creation's history, the Great Contagion. Having discovered this virus in the Well of Udr, the Dowager unleashed it upon Creation, where it killed 90% of all living things. The Dowager is the cruelest and most vicious of the Deathlords; she would be Creation's most notorious murderer, if only her role in the Great Contagion were well-known in Creation. Her end goal is to find the opposite of Creation in the Well of Udr, and bring the two worlds together into a matter-antimatter cataclysm.
  • Crazy Is Cool:
    • The premise of the game.
    • The basic schtick of no small number of the characters therein, as well. In a specific character, Adorjan. Yes, she's an Axe-Crazy Yandere, but she loves running so much that she does it instead of sleeping. And the Infernals she powers can do so too. Really, the Infernals in general can become this, since most of their charms involve doing fairly mundane things in insane and alien ways. For example, what does an Infernal of the Ebon Dragon do when he wants to hurt someone? He warps the core of his being in such a way that his entire life becomes devoted to hurting that person, until such time as that person is dead. At higher Essence, he can become the target's Evil Twin, as well.
      • And Infernals who survive long enough begin to turn in Primordials.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Infernals are the Exalted of the Yozis, whose Charms can warp their minds and bodies, and are slowly turning into Primordials, yet are still loved by the fans.
    • The Abyssals are this as well, albeit to a lesser degree.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Exalted's had a lot of writers, and different writers have different opinions on where exactly Exalted should be on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, with individual chapters often reflecting the desired tone of individual writers, sometimes in the same book.
    • 1st Edition started, from the first paragraph of the first chapter of the first book, with the idea that the world was in fact doomed in the default setting, in the manner of a Greek tragedy.
    • Hoping to counter the trend, the developer's last outline at the beginning of 2nd Edition urged that Saving the World is neither hopeless nor pointless. This was not necessarily taken to heart by the writers.
    • However, some 2nd Edition publications worked hard to drive home alternative perspectives: the Incarnae are interesting and not just distant divine losers, Infernals sure are capable of a rebellion, and Autochthonia presents a fascinating world in which the mortals clearly matter as more than just scenery. The newer vision has set off more than one debate, and writers with strong opinions on exactly where Exalted belong on the scale have nicknamed the darker trends "shitdark".
    • Many of the later 2nd Edition publications, in an attempt to diversify opinion on the Incarnae and other topics, accidentally created one true way of interpreting these facts. One especially glaring example is the Daystar: while many loved it, many others hated it so much they swore off Exalted.
      • And the writers have revealed that the Daystar will not be appearing in third edition, out of a general move to shift the cosmic stuff back and refocus attention on Creation itself.
  • Demonic Spiders: Anuhles, ahaha. Seriously though, the Demon Spiders can be this for mortals. Exalts, on the other hand, tend to view them as minor inconveniences.
  • Designated Hero/Ron the Death Eater: Due to the Great Curse's effect on their First Age incarnations, many of the Solar Exalted are seen and depicted as this, as they became so jaded and perverse that their "heroic" designation came largely from what they fought against: Undead Omnicidal Maniacs, Demon Lords, and Eldritch Abominations from beyond Creation. This is largely why the Dragon-Blooded Took a Third Option and deposed them, although they now have kind of a Decadent Court thing going on, too. That said, depictions in this light can go too far, given repeated emphasis that Second Age Solars will largely not commit the same mistakes their previous incarnations made.
  • Designated Villain/Draco in Leather Pants: Similarly, due to their particular patrons, the Abyssals and Infernals are by default on the side of the setting's antagonists, but they can still try (and succeed) to be good, moral people. There is a lot of room to interpret them as sympathetic (if not necessarily nice) people forced into the service of terrible forces, with very nice aesthetics. It helps that they can simply use their rather unpleasant powers against terrible people instead of innocents.
  • Evil Is Sexy/Evil Makes You Ugly: While they can start out looking normal, as the Abyssal Exalted grow in power they must choose whether to spend experience to raise their Appearance to as high as it can go, or allow their bodies to decay hideously.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: While most of the Exalted have a lot of love, during 2e, Infernals in particular had the largest amount of homebrew material dedicated to them, thanks to the thematic structure of Yozi charms and to the general conceit that they can redeem themselves or even become nascent Primordials themselves. To some extent the same applies to their Yozi patrons.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Void Avatar Prana and some of the Solar Charms in Dreams of the First Age. Mention them on the White Wolf forum and people will claim they were never written. Errata either fixed them or nuked them outright (sometimes in fashion of replacing them with an entirely different Charm under the same name.)
    • Lunars were always social engineers and manipulators trying to create an alternate system of government after the fall of the Solar Deliberative. They were never rampaging barbarian anarchists that were ported wholesale over from Werewolf: The Apocalypse. No sir.
    • No, no, no; the Silver Pact have always been sponsors of guerrilla resistance and rival powers to the Sidereal/Terrestrial hegemony that followed the Usurpation, chiseling away at the Shogunate and then the Scarlet Dynasty as quickly and quietly as they could given their circumstances. Some of them hang out with barbarians, some of them make societies, but neither of them are really more than means to the end of wearing down a civilization that can't make more of its limited supply of superweapons and crippling attempts to swallow other nations and cultures. Also, there is no such thing as a "barbarian", there are cultures who happen to be opposed to the Realm and may not be as technically advanced as they are due to circumstances.
    • Scroll of Heroes was not ported to 2E purely at the behest of one particular freelancer who is completely ignorant of how Exaltation is implied to work in previous books, and the Merits and Flaws are not completely broken.
    • Scroll of the Monk for 2E is an example of what happens when a writer isn't experienced with the rules. There's some disagreement as to what extent, though; some regard the entire book as Fanon Dis Continuity, while others find that the Terrestrial Martial Arts and some of the Celestial Martial Arts are perfectly playable. It is all but universally agreed that the Sidereal Martial Arts cannot be used as written, however.
    • Some fans treat the Ink Monkeys Articles as non-canon, despite numerous affirmations that they are.
    • Dreams of the First Age triggered an explosion so bad that several people were calling for the line developer and his Number Two to be lynched. The damage was eventually contained, but this was one of the main reasons Errata Team Prime was formed.
    • The setting and storytelling chapters of Infernals has this in spades. People hated certain passages and felt they tainted the entire chapter. The setting chapters in particular— while the storytelling chapter isn't usually viewed too badly, chapters 1 through 4 contained such things as mandatory Primordial sex sessions and open statements that all Infernals were inhuman monsters who saw nothing wrong with solving disputes through sex sessions with Lilun, which really didn't go down very well.
    • Errata Team Prime gets this treatment every now and again, especially with more sweeping changes like the Fair Folk Charms.
  • Fan Wank: Since the Exalted developers specifically avoid any sort of metaplot, any discussion of setting on Message Boards at least toes this line, if not devolving into circle jerks, often with opposing sides.
  • Fridge Horror: Chejop Kejak, leader of the Bronze Faction, can theoretically perform a martial arts combo capable of killing (or at least attacking) every living being with ease.
  • Game-Breaker: Some authors don't seem to even try maintaining some mechanical balance when they write cool powers for Exalted. Some authors don't possess the necessary skill for it, but soldier on anyway. Some authors deliberately do not try, stating that the demigod status of the Exalted gives them carte blanche to wield unbalanced divine power. However, Exalted was created as a TCG-like roleplaying game - thus necessitating a careful and intricate balance for powers and effects — and the latter two attitudes can and have lead to a Broken Base.
    • There are various examples, but the most extreme and infamous is probably The Mirror Does Not Lie from the Obsidian Shards of Infinity Style. This technique, in exchange for a low one-time cost per scene, will allow a martial artist to automatically redirect any attacks against their person to any other target (and have it look like the attacker was attacking that target all along) as long as anyone (not just the martial artist, but anyone at all) can see the attack coming. On top of that, the technique (like all Sidereal martial arts) is massively secret, so the chances of anyone knowing even that extremely narrow limitation is essentially nil.
    • Black Mirror Shintai, an Ebon Dragon Charm in the Infernals hardback, has a Take That! at Obsidian Shards of Infinity Style, calling it the closest any mortal has ever come to duplicating the Ebon Dragon's "principle of antagonistic cheating." Many have noted the irony that one of the Obsidian Shards charms is named Shattering the Balance.
    • Zeal from Dreams of the First Age, which was an attempt to break the game by breaking perfect defenses. It didn't succeed (and the errata clarified this for all to see) but it still caused a legendary degree of backlash. Nearly all STs banned it before the errata came out, replacing it with a very different Charm.
    • Ebon Lightning Prana. Because it's a great idea to have an auto-initiative, auto-surprise, and damage multiplier in the same Charm.
    • Certain Charms, Martial Arts Styles, and concepts from the Ink Monkeys.
      • Stocked reflexive attacks (or shrikes), which can utterly demolish the balance of the combat system of the game.
      • Lightspeed Body Dynamics, which can make characters invincible by letting them regain resources whenever someone attacks them and misses, unless you're up against an opponent who never misses... which would be just as broken. In fact, it was so bad, the writers removed it altogether!
      • The Martial Keyword, whose purpose was to make multiple combat styles less of an XP-sink, can easily become a game breaker and remove a layer of choice for the sake of convenience (which has its merits).
      • Ivory Pestle Style and Cobra Styles, which are just much stronger than Martial Arts of their levels should be. Their Charms compare favorably to Charms that are supposed to be much much stronger than them. Both of those were removed.
    • The Twilight Caste ability was widely noted to be far and away the best anima power around in 2nd Edition, since it granted heavy Damage Reduction—intended primarily to avoid a caste of Squishy Wizards—for free. In comparison, the caste actually meant to be warriors, Dawn, received a far weaker defense boost that only worked on relatively weak creatures. It was nerfed, and of 2.5, removed completely. Whether or not the new See-Thru Specs version is a bit too weak...
    • Character creation. It uses flat costs, while advancement has each dot in a trait (except backgrounds) cost more than the last. If, during chargen, Dace buys his primary attributes at 5/5/1 and the Maiden of the Mirthless Smile buys 3/5/3, it will cost Dace 40xp to get to 5/5/5 while the Maiden will pay 56. Advancement in Exalted goes at 4-6xp per session, and that this is just one set of traits where this can happen - there are still two other sets of attributes, plus abilities, plus Charms, where careful investment can leave one player as Goku while another is left to be Krillin. For the fan response, see Scrappy Mechanic below.
    • Rune of Singular Hate, a Solar Circle sorcery spell, could be seen as this. Once cast, the target rolls the values of his Attributes, Virtues, Abilities, Essence and Willpower one at a time. Each success allows the target to keep one dot of that trait. However, the drawback is that the caster loses one dot from every Attribute, Virtue and Ability he has, and that it can only be cast once by a sorcerer. But when used against extremely powerful targets, such as behemoths, Deathlords or elder Exalts, it will weaken them to the point that all but the weakest group of player characters can take them on.
    • 2e Lunars had a combo based on Appearance Charms (specifically Perfect Symmetry)note  that turned them into rampaging social monsters. Appropriately, this acquired the Fan Nickname of "Pretty Kitty Revolution." (Despite the awesomeness of the name, it is not a well-liked mechanic and will not be around for 3e.)
    • 3e's backer draft (and to an extent, the final version) had the Solar Larceny Charm Fate-Shifting Solar Arete. While at first glance a mere 'dice trick' Charm, FSSA turned a fail-number into the equivalent of a 10. On any roll at all. This could turn dicey rolls into massive successes, and got even stronger with an E4 repurchase that let you choose a second number to apply the same bonus to. Essentially, the Charm made extended rolls like Wyld-shaping or Sorcerous Actions utterly trivial. The full release nerfed it into the ground, with a once-a-day no extended rolls restriction, but it still remains among the most potent dice adders in the entire book, with the advantage of applying to anything.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Whether serial killer in the making or undeserving victim, you can't argue with the fact that Autochthon both made some dick moves (creation of the Exalted, leading to the death or imprisonment of his siblings), and had very good reasons for making dick moves (the previous act was his response to what was essentially the vivisection and murder of his firstborn son).
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Szoreny, the Yozi of Mirrors, has this as the ideal he hopes to achieve. As of Return Of The Scarlet Empress, it turns out he's not just talking the talk — he's running a game of Xanatos Speed Chess on all the other Yozis since he realized he and his Heterosexual Life-Partner Isidoros are the only ones to remain halfway sane. Bonus humor points for being a glorified prison snitch.
    • The Ink Monkeys revealed Prince Laashe, a Raksha who, through the clever usage of Exact Words, a (not-really) Thanatos Gambit, and sheer chutzpah, managed to play the Unconquered Sun himself for a sucker and become a pseudo-Incarna. Were it not for the timely intervention of Luna, he probably would have gone on to become the Exalted Lucifer.note 
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom: Fans that consider the Ebon Dragon to be Evil Is Cool or a Magnificent Bastard due to the plans he can pull off to impede others miss that the whole point of his character is that's all he can do. He is, no matter what he does, in the end a loser, since all he can do is deny victories to others, and has no goals beyond that.
  • Moment of Awesome:
    • The game rewards players for creative and over-the-top descriptive. The highest level of reward is reserved for Crowning Moments.
    • On the part of the Ink Monkeys: They did a series of articles on the Daystar, following up on the successes of Glories of the Most High. For parts of the fandom, it was sheer concentrated awesome.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Enough for its own page.
  • No Yay: Consider this: the most powerful Malfeas charms can only function within the confine of a city. Meanwhile, Alchemicals eventually turn into a city. Judging from how Primordials interact with each others, this can only mean that Malfeas is really into Autochthon. Pass the Brain Bleach, please.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Lunars: Fangs at the Gate aims to do this with the elders of the Silver Pact, and seems to have done a fairly good job of redeeming Ma-Ha-Suchi from a cruel, fairly generic madman into a more noble Broken Ace who wants to rebuild the First Age as he remembers it, and making Raksi from an Ax-Crazy Psychopathic Manchild into a ruthlessly effective Evil Overlord without changing her being a monster.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Due in part to Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, there's a non-negligible amount of people who prefer to cheer for the Deathlords or the Yozis instead of the majority of the people living in Creation. Things can only get so terrible before people start to think that yes, perhaps the world would be better off sent into the Underworld, swallowed up by Oblivion, or (most commonly) reclaimed by the original creator deities, despite all their cruelty and alien whims.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Most traits bought up in character creation are paid for at a flat rate, but increase in cost exponentially afterwards when bought with experience points. Sub-optimal point investment in character creation, consequently, can leave a character behind literally the equivalent of hundreds of experience points (in a game where 4 per session is the baseline rate). This has persisted through the first and second editions of the games, and despite a vocal demand from parts of the player base for a more equalized character creation and/or XP mechanic, it persists through the new third edition. The developers have opined it would be "fake equivalence" to correct it, and "[they] never really bean-counted with any of [their] characters," and "[they] have a policy not to give people bad rules just because they think they want them."
    • Though not quite as widely maligned, due to having some positive upshots, the Resources system in the first and second editions is similarly problematic. The Resources trait gives a simple zero-to-five abstract rating of a character's general wealth, meant to avoid having to do painstaking math or accounting. It does avert this, which is the upside. A character can't buy something that costs more than their Resources rating. Purchases below it are "out of pocket" expenses and don't affect the rating. A purchase equal to the rating is a significant expense, and lowers the rating by 1. However, this means that characters can purchase "insignificant" things in infinite quantities, characters with Resources 1 literally cannot buy anything at all without bankrupting themselves, and merely buying the same items in a certain order completely changes their impact on your wealth. Ex: At resources 3, buying a resources 3 item, then a resources 2 item, then a resources 1 item would drop you to resources 0. If you bought them in reverse order, despite their prices and your wealth being completely unchanged, you would only drop to resources 2. In the third edition, frequently purchasing items at your Resources level puts you into debt without actually lowering your Resources, which is left to storyteller handwaving to enforce.
    • The Craft system in 3rd Edition is considered to be overly complex by some, often being compared to games like Cookie Clicker. The most important distinction in the system is between "basic" and "major" projects, which the former providing a special sort of experience point needed for the latter. This results in scenarios such as an armourer needing to forge a dozen knives to get the points needed to make a suit of armour, or a tailor needing to stitch embroidery samplers to get the points needed to cut and sew a dress. Exactly what these points represent in concrete, in-story terms is a bit abstract and nebulously defined. The Exalted do have charms that allow them to side-step this and pull superweapons out of nowhere whenever it's dramatically appropriate.
    • Inverted with the practice of having visual charts/trees of charm prerequisites in the books. The third edition was supposedly written so that these would be unnecessary, so they were not used. Considering the alacrity with which the fan base took the time to re-create them, this was not the case.
  • Squick:
    • Lillun. No, not Lilith, this is someone else. The Yozis realized that the Sidereals had locked up Solar Exaltations in the Jade Prison, and that the Deathlords were using the Monstrances of Celestial Portion to create Abyssal Exaltations, so they needed something to run the 50 Solar shards they got through the spin cycle. So they made their own storage device. Out of a little girl, whose body has been horribly twisted and tortured to provide a living cage for the Infernal Exaltations. That's right; the Yozis took a mortal girl, stuck her in Hell, and tortured her so that they could further their plans. Although the Scarlet Empress deserves her own share of the monstrousness here: Lillun was her youngest daughter, and it was the Empress who sold her to the Yozis in the first place.
      "In her calmer lucid moments, Lillun seems to appreciate these simple pleasures and the company of the innocent. To date, the feeling has not proven mutual."
    • There's also an artifact made of the corpses of dead children. And it sings. This one's in the 2nd Edition Abyssals book.
    • In fact, all of the Abyssals' necro-tech in Abyssals 2nd Edition.
    • In Dreams of the First Age, Volume 1, the artwork immediately before the appendix shows a (presumed) Fair Folk noble lady holding a dinner party. Only the guests are chained to the chairs. And when you look closely, you notice that the main course is a human baby served on a salad platter. The host's wearing a dress made of severed hands. HANDS.
    • How the Beastmen are created, at least in the first two editions. Third Edition, thankfully, gives several other more-practical options, but before that? Eugh.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • The Yozis. Not only do they choose their Infernal servants from failures and cowards, they actually punish them for resisting the Mind Control powers of their enemies, because they want them to follow orders no matter what. And how do they make the Infernals atone for their mistakes? By putting their enemies in Death Traps, playing Criminal Mind Games, and giving Just Between You and Me speeches. No wonder the chances of the Yozis actually winning are rated as slim to none by Word of God itself.
      • To top it off, they're on at least some level trusting the Ebon Dragon to handle the Reclamation. Yes, they're trusting a being composed entirely of treachery and vice — but, then again, the Ebon Dragon controls the Scarlet Empress and without her there is no Reclamation. Not much choice in the matter. In Return of the Scarlet Empress, he betrays them completely and utterly, dooming them for all time.
    • Autochthon's idea to trap himself in an infinite void without the resources his sickly body needs to survive is... interesting. He had plenty of non-idiotic reason to leave, but why oh why didn't he go somewhere comparatively hospitable, such as the Wyld? And what he did afterwards... Let's just say there's a reason ghosts are kept around after he eats the po soul for fuel, but the Divine Ministers quarantine them because they don't know what a ghost is.
      • On Autobot going to the Wyld: Wasn't he fleeing the Solar Exalted? 'Cause they can go through the Wyld. Don't they have a Charm that lets them impose Creation-standard physics anywhere?
      • Solars can — and have in book comics, albeit not in a very smart manner — reach Elsewhere and thus Autobot, too, and he left a gateway to himself in Creation that Solars poke with a stick every so often. He probably thought he'd have a better grip on solving his void-sickness issue before the soul economy wound down as far as it did, and we are talking the Patron Saint of Wonderful Design Poor Execution.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Part of the reason the Ink Monkeys were hired, why they browse multiple online communities—both the official White Wolf forums and elsewhere—and why some of them have become the developers and writers of the third edition. As with all things, whether or not they succeed depends on the viewer. Or even the individual book or article.
  • The Woobie: Been said before, on this page even, but poor Lilun... In fact, many, many, sympathetic characters could be up here in varying amounts. Most of them are Jerkass Woobies, such as Chejop Kejack or many gods, but it's implied that even the Unconquered Sun has had a nervous breakdown due to a combination of stress and betrayal, and fallen into a depression which he alleviates by submerging himself in the Games of Divinity.


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