Exalted

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Welcome to Creation: here's your shovel.

Exalted is a tabletop RPG by White Wolf set in a mythic fantasy world known as Creation. The player characters are the Exalted, epic heroes and demigods blessed with cosmic power to reshape the world to their will. There are seven kinds of Exalted (potentially eight), each one chosen by a different god, titan, or cosmic force, and each one with a different role.

The Solar Exalted, the Lawgivers, Chosen by the Unconquered Sun, are celestial powerhouses who have the potential to be masters of all they put their mind to. Their powers grant superhuman skill and ability, from cutting down mountains with a single swordstroke to jumping into the clouds to seducing entire cities. In the First Age of the ancient past, the Lawgivers were rulers of the world.

The Lunar Exalted, Stewards of Creation, Chosen of Luna, are shapeshifting infiltrators and guardians of the world, boon companions and mates to the Solars. With powers that draw on mercurial shapeshifting and bestial power, the Stewards are the most adaptable and unpredictable of the Exalted.

The Terrestrial Exalted, the Dragon-Blooded, Chosen of the Five Elemental Dragons, are a race of superhuman soldiers who wield elemental powers. The Dynasts are the only Exalts who can pass their powers down to their children, and are at their best when cooperating in large groups.

The Sidereal Exalted, Viziers to the Lawgivers, Chosen of the Five Maidens, oversee Fate itself, and make sure that gigantic Creation-wrecking disasters do not come to pass. The Viziers wield bizarre and esoteric magic, weave fates, and are masters of cosmic kung-fu.

The Abyssal Exalted, the Deathknights, Chosen of Oblivion, are world-killing weapons destined to destroy Creation. Their masters are the Deathlords, ghostly servants of the dead Primordial deities, the Neverborn. The Deathknights are dark mirrors of the Solar Exalted, created by the Neverborn from Solar Exaltations they were able to capture after the Solars were overthrown. And if they dare to rebel, their lives start sucking. Really bad (This ranges from a minor supernatural marking...to the mortal they care most about dying. And Death isn't cheap in Exalted.).

The Infernal Exalted, the Green Sun Princes, Chosen of the Yozis, wield the power of the Primordial titans who created reality and were defeated by the Exalted at the dawn of history. Created from the Yozis' share of the stolen Solar Exaltations. Leaders of the Reclamation, the Yozis' plot to escape Malfeas (hell) and return to the world, the Green Sun Princes might free their masters—or they might become a new pantheon of titans all on their own. They get MUCH more leniency then their Abyssal counterparts from their Yozi masters, and it's entirely possible for them to slip the leash completely. And more often then not, they channel the powers of their corrupted Solar Exaltations into doing rather strange and awesome things, leading to the fan moniker "Rock Stars of Hell".

The Alchemical Exalted, Champions of the State, created by the self-exiled Primordial Autochthon, are machine demigods, forged from magical materials and imbued with the souls of heroes past. With Charms that take the form of magitech implants in their bodies, the Champions defend the mortals who live within the world-body of Autochthon from the corruption and blight that poisons the sick titan.

A potential eighth type, the Liminal Exalted, the Chernozem, have recently surfaced in the sourcebook Masters of Jade. These Exalted are, like the Abyssals, associated with the realms of the dead, and are said to be ghost hunters and sorceror-exorcists. Beyond that, little else is known.

The Exalted were created at the hands of the gods to overthrow the Primordials, the tyrannical cosmic superentities who created the world. They won, with the help of two traitor Primordials, Gaia and Autochthon, slaying some of the creators, and forcing the rest to surrender. The dead Primordials became the Neverborn, the nightmarish quiescent remains of entities for whom there is no beginning or end, and bound to sleep in the Underworld. Those who surrendered became the Yozis, crippled titans imprisoned within the hell called Malfeas, the world-body of their king. But the dead Neverborn cast a final curse on the Exalted, dooming them all to succumb to their own hubris and madness.

The Solar Exalted were made rulers of the world, but slowly fell to the Great Curse, becoming depraved and heartless monsters, mad with their own power. The Sidereal Exalted, blinded by the hubris of their own curse, conspired against the Solars. They incited the Dragon-Blooded to overthrow their masters in the bloody conflict of the Usurpation, and imprisoned the exaltations of the Solars, so that they could never again bless mortals with their power. The Dragon-Blooded reigned over Creation, but could not defend it from the infinite hordes of raksha, soul-eating faeries from beyond Creation, and the plots of the Deathlords, the ghosts of dead Solars in service of the Neverborn. Almost all Creation was destroyed, swallowed up into chaos as the raksha invaded and the Great Contagion engineered by the Deathlords wiped out nearly all life.

The chaos ended when one Dragon-Blood activated an ancient superweapon of the Solar Exalted, saving Creation and uniting it behind her. She would become the Scarlet Empress, founding a Realm that would span most of Creation. But now, the peace she claimed is falling apart. The Scarlet Empress has vanished. The raksha still creep across the borders of undefended Creation. And now, the Yozis and Neverborn have cooperated to free the imprisoned Solar Exaltations, stealing half of them to twist into their own dark champions. Harbingers of slaughter and entropy now stalk the land, while the champions of Hell work behind the scenes to free their masters. And into the midst of all this, the Solar Exalted have returned.

This backstory would be bleak, forbidding, and generally depressing in any other setting, but the basic premise of Exalted is that you are a Hero. A Big Damn Hero in a universe where Heroes Matter, and in fact are endowed with power to equal the rulers of the world. The Rule of Cool is the order of the day, and there is nothing you cannot do if you put some effort into it. In fact, the setting-function of the Primordial War is intended to show you that, given time and effort, you can overturn the foundations of the world and define your own reality.

See also Keychain of Creation, an Exalted Webcomic. See also Scion, which is basically diet Exalted meets American Gods IN AMERICA.

Has extensive character sheets in need of Wiki Magic.

Tropes used in Exalted include:
  • Abnormal Ammo / Trick Arrow: The Sidereal Charm Generalized Ammunition Technique lets them transform any object the size of their forearm and no heavier than their fist into arrows of any type. These objects need not be physical. Some examples given include shooting people with sand, fish, or even using the charm to shoot words near people as a way of sending a message.

Sidereals, #35.1: Or sex toys.

    • There's also another Sidereal archery charm ("Many Missiles Bow Technique") that does the reverse, turning your arrows into various objects and concepts. Examples given include boulders, love, and health.
    • Only recently were guns shooting actual bullets introduced. All gun-type weapons introduced before that would shoot anything but. And even the 'actual bullet' gun is actually a miniature handheld gun-shaped temple to the Unconquered Sun that shoots magic gold bullets propelled by prayers.
  • Action Girl: Any female Exalt, really.
    • Except for Brigid, who was known to be frail and unreliable... until she single-handedly invented Sorcery and changed the face of the world forever.
  • Alternative Calendar: A 420 day year divided into five elemental seasons, each of which is divided into three 28 day months, each of which is divided into four seven day weeks with days named after the Incarna and arranged like the days of the seven day Julian Calendar week. Then there is Calibration, 5 days which aren't part of any week, month, season or year, and is considered unlucky (and rightly so, among other things, it's the time of the year when it's easiest for demons to escape Malfeas).
    • Also, people live proportionally longer in Creation. That is, a 20 year old in the real world is a 17 year old in Creation and would exhibit most of the traits one would expect of a 17 year old in the real world, and not what little (if any) maturing occurs between being 17 and 20. In other words, ignore the extra days when determine how old someone is and just go with how many years old they are.
      • A day in Creation is 25 hours long instead of 24, so someone who just turned twenty in our world would only 16.5 years old. It gets even weirder when Word of God is that our hours, days, months and years match up, so a hour in Creation is a hour on Earth, a day is day and so forth.
      • The assumption of the setting is actually "a year is a year" with regard to age; that is to say, a sixteen year old in Creation is not physically twenty, but actually sixteen. Yes, the additional 55 days don't have any more effect; they're just there to make the calendar look nice and pretty.
  • After the End: Exalted features three of these. In the aftermath of the Primordial War, one of the titans destroyed almost all of reality itself in a final act of spite. This was followed by the Usurpation, in which the Dragon-Blooded massacred the Solars, consequentially destroying all the wonders that required Solar magic to maintain and reducing Creation from a modern utopia to a medieval dark age. And even worse was the end of the Shogunate, in which the Deathlords released a super-plague that killed nine people out of ten and the Fair Folk unmade most (i.e., estimates range from three-quarters to nine tenths) of Creation in the aftermath.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: Whenever She Who Lives In Her Name or Infernals with her Charms give it a roll, they decide how the dice land.
  • Alien Geometries: The Wyld, Malfeas, the blight zones of Autochthon, and the Labyrinth.
  • Exclusively Evil: Usually averted, and justified where it's played straight - Demons, for example, are not really that different from gods psychologically, but literally live in a reality is either actively or passively attempting to kill them at all times, and have it repeatedly ground into them that disobedience means worse than that. They live under a set of absolutely inviolable laws, imposed unilaterally by reality itself directly upon them, which structure their lives such that they understand that they are nothing but the possessions of their betters, and that they can and will definitely very soon be discarded and killed by the same. They are culturally afraid of love, since long and painful experience has taught them that love of anything but the self is unnecessary torture, and fealty to anything but the world they live in is death. Those who do build up the confidence to defy the Yozis and survive are usually converted into gods so that their ex-masters can't use them as People Puppets, and there are a vanishingly small number of these (somewhere in the vicinity of one-ish). Finally, they are made to know that if they are not discarded and killed by their betters, they will either be killed in a meaningless catalcysm that they could not possible have escaped, or they will die by their own incompetence while trying to benefit themselves at the expense of their cohorts, which turns out to be the only reasonable chance that any of them have of ever suffering less.
  • Amazon Brigade: Two of them:
    • The Brides of Ahlat, the God of War and Cattle. As the name suggests, he doesn't tolerate hetero relationships until they've retired (homosexual relations are fair game, though).
    • The Tya, sailors who have undergone a ritual that protects them from the spite of the storm mothers so long as they act like men. Hetero relationships are tolerated, although the process mystically sterilizes them.
  • Anatomy of the Soul: Human souls are divided into the hun, or higher soul, and po, or lower soul. The hun is the seat of willpower, intelligence, memory, creativity, and reasonable emotions, while the po is the seat of impulses, instincts, passions, and is the connection between the hun and the body.[1]
    • Things get more complicated and abstract when you realise some beings have more than one complete soul. The Primordial-deities that created the world, for instance, have infinitely many souls (called Devas) arranged in a descending hierarchy, with a handful of higher (Third Circle) souls, all of which are their own person and themselves have quite a few lower (Second Circle) souls, all of which are their own person and spawn infinitely many further (First Circle) souls, which are also all their own person, and all of which are components of the extended personality of the single Primordial.
      • It also gets a little more complicated, because some beings don't even have one soul - the Fair Folk, for instance, have no soul, but cobble together a passable imitation of one so they can mess with humans' heads.
  • And I Must Scream: Malfeas and the Yozis, though especially Malfeas. To get an idea, consider being an infinite, disembodied superbeing, whose every thought, whim, and emotion defines reality as you will it. Existence is your oyster, and it has always been so for unto ages of ages. Then, imagine that, for one moment, you are overwhelmed with existential terror, and in that instant of weakness, you're swarmed by ants whose venomous bites paralyse you and petrify you into a material form. The ants then lobotomise you to keep you docile, split your carcass down the middle, rip you inside out, mutilate your organs, and then stuff both your mutilated organs about a dozen of your mutilated, lobotomised siblings into the sack made from your inside-out flesh. You're then sewn back up, inside-out, with all this stuff inside you, and left to bleed and scab over and wriggle in disgusted self-loathing forever, except that the ants periodically tear holes in your outer layers and hernia your organs out to milk them for bile before pushing them back in.
    • This largely explains why, when mortals enter into Malfeas, they die horribly. He either instructs his organs to kill them, or he wriggles a bit and crushes them in the layered folds of his flesh - and if he doesn't do either of those things, he passively gives them radiation poisoning by hating them to death.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Exquisite Bride Obsession was originally suggested as the title for this trope.
  • Animal Battle Aura: You can have this, and you can make it even more awesome.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Lunars, of course, have Animal Abilities (they can use All Animal Abilities via shapeshifting, but each have one animal they're particularly focused on.) Many other Exalted, especially some Solars, have an Animal Alias and an Animal Battle Aura, like Panther, Swan, or the Bull of the North.
  • Anti-Anti-Christ: The Green Sun Princes look like they can turn out like this.
  • Anti-Villain: In a world where everyone is a bad guy to someone, everyone's an Anti-Villain... Except the Ebon Dragon, who pretty much is the concept of treachery and dickery. And the only reason it's "pretty much" is because the Ebon Dragon Even betrays himself by not betraying people occasionally
  • Apocalypse How: All over the place. Some of the lower levels have already happened, and the world has recovered, although a little worse for wear.
    • For example, the Three Spheres Cataclysm was a Metaphysical Annihilation event of unknown extent that made about 90% of the world Ret-Gone, to the point that even witnesses have no clue what was erased, although it is known that what was destroyed was not merely physical geography (most of which was destroyed as well), but also concepts and aspects of reality. Species extinctions and civilization collapses have happened repeatedly both before and since.
    • On the other hand, the Abyssal Exalted were created to bring about an Omniversal Metaphysical Annihilation event, permanently ending everything that has ever existed; The Fair Folk who want Creation re-absorbed into the Wyld are "only" trying to bring about something somewhere between Universal and Multiversal Metaphysical Annihilation, depending on whether the Wyld itself counts as a separate universe.
  • Arc Number: The number five pops up every so often.
  • Arc Words: "Once, there was a maiden..."
  • Artificial Human: The native form of the Alchemical Exalted, before you add in their Charms.
  • Art Shift: The quality of the illustrations in the First-Edition Core book varies wildly. Some of them are decent, some not so much, while still others may have you asking yourself whether the artist was actually paid to make it.
  • Artistic License Chemistry: The magical material of the Dragon-Blooded is Jade (known in the real world as a form of nephrite). It displays several different colors: 5 normal forms, one being for each aspect; and a rare form that allows creation of artifacts without essence attunement. However, the jade of Exalted is not the jade of the real world, judging from the descriptions of how and where it forms: not to mention the fact that it can be alloyed with steel. It just happens to share the same name, presumably as a reference to Chinese mythology and folklore, in which jade has various magical properties. All six different jade colors exist in real life jade, though only green, white, and red jade are common.
  • Ass Pull: An Infernal charm that Cecelyne teaches allow its user to make up new law on spot. That law is used to supernaturally defends against mental attacks by making those attacks illegal according to the authority of Hell. The law can be total bullshit, though the user can't make law that would put the weak above the strong.
  • Atlantis: Pretty much the entirety of the First Age, including a literal sunken city.
  • The Atoner: It's possible to play an Abyssal Exalt this way. However, this would require them to rebel against their Deathlord masters as well as their very nature, which makes their Resonance fly through the roof.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Lunars can do this with the Emperor Ox Expansion charm.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: All the Exalted can qualify to an extent: even when they have laws and mandates declaring their power, it ultimately comes down to their having had the brute force to overthrow the Yozis.
  • Automatic Crossbows: The Haslanti, Autochthonians and the Mountain Folk have 'em.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Death combos and secret techniques can be amazingly powerful, flashy, and over-the-top, but they still fail against basic Exalted perfect defenses.
    • Form charms, which form the centerpiece of supernatural martial arts, give hefty benefits for a whole scene, but add an extra surcharge if comboed with the setting's most powerful defense charms, meaning they leave the user vulnerable for the ticks they take to activate. And, if you're thinking to activate them BEFORE combat and just leave them activated for the scene, a lot of them are Obvious (a keyword that means everyone knows you're doing something supernatural and roughly what it does): so people will immediately know you're spoiling for a fight.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Universal. From the First and Forsaken Lion to Excessively Righteous Blossom to Perfected Principle of Consumption, cool names are an absolute must in this setting.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Lots of charms, but most notably perfect defenses. Easy to learn, easy to use, and it'll defend you against almost anything.
    • Not to mention the fact that they're so cheap that they render offensive charms almost completely useless because it only costs three motes to nullify even "undodgeable" attacks.
    • The errata has made it a lot costlier to use the Perfects, and reduced the need for them.
  • Background Magic Field / Mana / Minovsky Physics: Essence. Absolutely everything supernatural in the setting either is Essence, has something to do with it, or can manipulate it. Metaphysically speaking, everything in Exalted is made up of patterns of Essence, and supernatural power is known as Essence use, referring simply to the ability to gather and manipulate more Essence than is required for your pattern to perpetuate itself. Having an Awakened Essence comes when you suddenly realise, consciously, that you can do this (as opposed to just doing it unconsciously or automatically, which sometimes happens).
  • Badass: Absolutely encrusted in them.
  • Badass Abnormal: Exaltation takes an already heroic mortal, and blesses them with epic cosmic powers: and the Solar Exalted are more powerful than all of them. Of course, since the Abyssal Exalted and Infernal Exalted are corrupted Solars...
  • Badass Normal: Heroic Mortals without awakened essence or freaky mutations.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Some Yozi and Abyssal charms have this as a drawback, especially Ebon Dragon charms.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: A signature move of heroic martial artists.
  • Bastard Understudy: Thanks to the Yozis' incompetence when it comes to long-term planning, every Green Sun Prince is actually a nascent Primordial 2.0. One wonders how priceless the look on the Ebon Dragon's face will be.
    • He's the goddamn Ebon Dragon, embodiment of failure and betrayal. He's counting on it.
      • The Ebon Dragon considers his plan a sucess if other people come off worse than he does. Allow me to offer a possible conversation to serve as a rebuttal to the above bullet point:

Ebon Dragon: Nyeee-he-he-he! Now, with the Green Sun Princes free, all you dorks are going to get it!
Other Yozi: Right...So, which one of us has been the most overly-demanding, cutthroat, and generally ill-tempered towards them?
Ebon Dragon: ....Shit.

    • Averted with Autocthon, one of the Primordials (Not a Yozi, he didn't get locked up) also has the same problem with being unable to understand things outside his purview...Except he actually CAN due to spending thousands of years with humans. He just really SUCKS at doing anything outside of his purview. So to work with his followers and protect them, he created the Alchemical Exalted. His chosen which are linked with him, made of metal, yet with the souls of humans.
    • The Abyssals are this to the Deathlords, the corrupted ghosts of thirteen dead Solars who rule the Underworld on behalf of the Neverborn. The Abyssals have the potential to become even more powerful than their Deathlord patrons and can forge a bond directly with the Neverborn, pretty much making the Deathlords obsolete.
  • Battle Aura: The anima banner, a battle aura possessed by all Exalts.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The Sidereals are the ones who say so.
  • Beware the Superman: The Great Curse turns the Exalted into this.
  • BFS: Daiklaives, giant swords that only the Exalted can wield. There are also enlarged and en-badassed artifact versions of other non-sword weapons, too. Direlances and daikalbars, goremauls, grimcleavers, grimscythes, powerbows...there's generally a powered-up version of whatever Weapon of Choice you could want.
    • And you can stick Beam- on the start of most of those- Beamklaves, Beamlances, Beamcleavers, Beamfists...
  • Big Bad Ensemble: In the Age of Sorrows, there's at least a dozen separate Big Bads; the Ebon Dragon and First and Forsaken Lion tend to be the most commonly-used end bosses. In the First Age, the elders of the Deliberative fit this role.
  • Bigger Bad: The Neverborn take this role to the Deathlords; they're the dead Eldritch Abominations whose very existence empowers the Underworld, but they don't actually do anything except whisper insanely in the dreams of those who've touched the Labyrinth (though their whispers will fuck you up).
  • Bilingual Bonus/Meaningful Name: One of the Dynastic Houses, Peleps, has a household of privateers named Kaizoku, which as Super Sentai fans know, means "pirate".
  • Bishonen: Captain Moray Darktide and Swan are just two of many, many canonical examples.
  • Black Magic: Necromancy.
  • Blessed with Suck: Heroic Abyssals and Infernals, the latter significantly less so than the former.
    • Sidereals, while not having it even half as bad as Abyssals, also have a certain component of this. You have been blessed with the power of the gods, and the best paid job in the universe! Also, you have lost all your previous life because everyone forgets you even as you're in the room (including your own family), everyone you work with except your fellow Exalts hate your guts and will do their damnedest to make you feel like Dilbert, the paperwork is hard enough that your inbox counts as a behemoth, and the job is 25/7 forever, with no retirement plan other than a messy death. And you can't ever fail or deviate from the plan or the world starts glitching. Good luck!
    • And even with all that, as mentioned, is not even half as raw a deal as Abyssals get.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: Malfeas. Also doubles up with Circles of Hell.
  • Bloody Murder: The Abyssal Exalted can do this with their own magic, and certain spells or martial arts styles do so as well.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Most of the Yozis fit this to some degree. They operate off the same four virtues as most other sentient life, but they interpret these on a radically different level. Adorjan almost certainly has high Compassion. She just expresses her love for you by enlightening you, via your own torture and murder. The Principle of Hierarchy, on the other hand, is completely incapable of applying Compassion to help a single person if it conflicts with The Needs of the Many.
  • Blue Blood: The Terrestrial Exalted pass down their power by inheritance, and established an aristocratic dynasty that rules the world after overthrowing the Solars.
  • Body Horror: Lots and lots: Wyld mutations, the decanthropes, and particular species of parasitic flowers. However, the crown must go to Voidtech: it's so messed up it even freaks out the Yozi, and they're the ones who came up with the phylactery-womb.
    • To clarify: Voidtech is a kind of uber-powerful charm set you can give to your Alchemical Exalted (or even to normal humans). However, "installing" voidtech modifications will eventually cause you to develop Dissonance, which turns you into a sadistic psychopath that destroys everything around you. Even if that weren't bad enough, Voidtech modifications look disturbing: hell, one of them causes you to grow a giant mechanical tumor inside of your body.
    • There's also the "Casteless" Lunars, who are more suceptible to the Wyld energies than mortals and can turn into insane monstrosities called chimera.
  • Body to Jewel: The artifact named the Eye of Autochthon is this, maybe.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Cecelyne takes away Infernal limit if they do this.
  • Boring but Practical: Excellencies. Yes, they do nothing more than add dice, and may be the most flair-lacking thing in the whole book: you just shine a little and do things better. They are also the ones you'll most likely be using the most and tend to be very efficient, Essence-wise.
    • Perfect defenses, to the point of breaking the game; if you do not have and regularly use a perfect defense, you die horribly, but doing so is cheap and easy.
  • Breakout Character: The Alchemicals. They started out as a single adventure seed, and the fanbase promptly fell in love with them, culminating in them becoming a full-fledged playable splat.
  • Brown Note: Lots and lots. The Broken-Winged Crane, notably, is a demonological grimoire of infernal sorcery and metaphysical prophecy that tends to drive both readers and scribes who copy it insane; those who aren't driven insane, and who have the background to understand it at all, find that its most promising incantations instruct the scholar in how to successfully enslave themselves to the will of the Yozis.
  • But Now I Must Go: The Solar Charm Hero Rides Away rewards them for doing precisely this.
  • Came Back Wrong: If a Primordial's Fetich Soul is killed, it implodes and can't do anything until it redefines itself by spawning a new Fetich. This process changes the Primordial's identity, theme and powers. The Yozi are defined by having already been through this.
  • Canon Discontinuity: According to the Dev Diaries, the Locust War chapter of Autochthonians has been fed into a wood chipper for being toxic to the setting. This includes both events occurring in the adventure and certain hated setting elements introduced in the chapter (such as blacktog).
    • Although this was never canon as in, "This is going to happen." It was canon as in, "This is one way things could happen."
    • The comics and artwork also still assume that the Locust War or Locust Crusade is happening. The comics and art are non-canon ways of showing the reader what things look like, however.
    • The first three chapters of Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals was written by someone who was under the impression that they were supposed to be the "pure supervillain" splat. The writers have gone on to say that they ignore that bit completely, and in particular the part about mortal akuma (Word of God says that only an Exalt can become one, with the mortals becoming Yozi-Kin Demon-Bloods instead).
  • Canon Immigrant: Anys Syn, Ragara Myrrun. In less-clear form, Elegant Nova of Progression.
    • By Word of God, the "Light-Etched Interceptor Barrier" Charm for Alchemicals was based off one of Nova's abilities.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Yozi reward the Infernal Exalted for playing the role of villains, such as monologuing about their evil schemes, leaving their heroic foes in cunning deathtraps, or other cliched acts of villainy. One can be rewarded for going through said cliches...against people worse than they are...with deliberate flaws... the Green Sun Princes can become Noble Demons if they want.
  • Cast From Hit Points: Several Charms and spells are powered by this.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Heaven is run by this. And it's filled to the brim with the divine equivalent of Corrupt Corporate Executives.
  • Chainsaw Good: Chainklaves are, as the name suggests, chainsaw daiklaves. The Alchemicals have the Gyroscopic Chakram, which is for all intents and purposes a chainsaw frisbee.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:Mortals are capable of seeking enlightenment, allowing them to cast sorcery, learn necromancy, or wield supernatural martial arts.
  • The Chessmaster: Most of the present-day Sidereals see being one as their job. They are pretty good at it, but not as good as they often think.
  • Child Eater: Raksi.
  • Chrome Champion: The Alchemical Exalted can shrug off attacks by doing this.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: The magical materials, and the anima banners of each Exalt type.
  • Contemptible Cover: The 1st Edition supplement Savant and Sorcerer, often referred to as the "Camel Toe Book" or "Sex and the Sorceress."
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Infernal Exalted reduce their Limit by committing acts that tend to be violations of the rules displayed on the Evil Overlord List. These include building and using Death Traps instead of just stabbing people, giving enemies clues to their whereabouts and plans, and telling captured enemies all their secrets.
  • Cool Ship: the Dirigible Engine Daystar is a battleship powerful and awesome and pimped-out beyond all comparison. It's also the sun.
  • Corpse Land: The shadowlands, which are created whenever there's a massive act of slaughter in a concentrated area. They're half-open gates to the Underworld that open all the way when night falls, and are often populated by hungry ghosts and zombies.
  • The Corps Is Mother: The Cult of the Illuminated, set up to aid the returning Solars in reclaiming their old place in the world by the Sidereals of the Gold Faction, with full intent to ensure that they remain the powers behind the Solars' ridiculously shiny thrones.
  • The Corruption: The Yozis can transform Exalts into akuma, granting them even greater cosmic power but turning them into puppets without free will. Autochthon is infected with a bio-organic cancer that can corrupt Alchemicals: or even other Exalts: allowing them to use powerful magic that drives them mad. And the Lunar Exalted can become chimera, gaining great power and potentially immortality at the cost of their sanity.
  • Cosmic Horror Story—It looks bleak. The ghosts of dead titans are trying to drag all of Creation into Oblivion, the demonic creators of the universe want to reclaim rule of it, and the infinite armies of shapeless chaos want to dissolve all existence back into chaos. Of course, you're Exalted. You can solve all these problems by punching them in the face.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Every Primordial. Averted by Primordials 2.0. Though given that the average Heretical Infernal isn't going to exactly be a Complete Monster, that may not be such a bad thing.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The High First Age.
  • Damage Typing: Bashing damage for nonlethal wounds, Lethal damage for life-threatening wounds, and Aggravated damage for supernaturally deadly wounds.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Some magic requires that you sacrifice your life outright; others carry horrible penalties or costs.
  • Dark Is Not Evil / Light Is Not Good comes up a lot.
    • There are heroic and villainous examples of every splat type in the game, as well as every shade of gray in between. Though most Abyssal Exalted are likely to seem rather evil to anyone who doesn't see death and oblivion as a desirable state. However, the fate of an Abyssal is to destroy. They can not do anything else. However, they could 'destroy' things like corruption and slavery. All Exalted (excluding Akuma, who are essentially other Exalted that sold their souls) retain free will, though they sometimes face penalties for using it:
    • The Green Sun Princes, effectively "Exalted" of the Yozi, build up the ire of their patron Yozi if they defy their demonic Urges. If it gets too high, they undergo demonic torment, though they can appease their patron by acting like a sufficiently convincing B-movie supervillain.
    • The Abyssals are tainted with death and view things like graveyards and blood as comforting, but still have free will. If they act too human or do anything that creates life, though, they accumulate Resonance that eventually explodes outwards, causing things they like to die.
    • Also, a more specific example of Dark Is Not Evil is Five Days Darkness, the god of Calibration, a time each year when the sun does not shine for five days straight (quite possibly the only universal holiday in creation). He's considered a Creature of Darkness (usually reserved for enemies of Creation) because of his nature and the fact he is The Unconquered Sun's shadow, and can grant others power while making them creatures of darkness themselves... but despite all these evil-seeming powers and traits, he's probably the nicest god you could meet.
    • And, of course, for Light Is Not Good: The First Age Solars managed a truly spectacular display. Bypassing the obvious (Desus), one semi-minor one was Admiral Arkadi... who was in the habit of raping his Dragon-Blooded subordinates and then using his Eclipse Caste powers to force them to keep it secret. (Really, the fact that Desus managed to be even worse than that is all you need to know about him.)
    • In more modern times, the Light side of the equation is played straight by Solar Akuma.
  • Dark Messiah: We'll leave it up to you to guess which type of Exalted can be a dark mirror of the traditional Messianic archetype. Handy hint: the Abyssals' signature martial arts style is called Dark Messiah Style...
    • Just about any Exalt can be this, of course. Saving Creation is by definition going to involve a ridiculously high body count.
    • Deliberately invoked in the case of the Yozi Cecelyne's Charms. As the supreme lawmaker and judge of demons, her powers are all based around building societies, which given her philosophy, are usually dystopic. Doesn't stop the redeemed Malefactor from happily using them to create something close to paradise (close, as being the Endless Desert, Cecelyne's charms tend to make, well, deserts).
  • The Dark Side: The Great Curse tends to cause this after a while, especially when using some of the Sidereal charms that rely on virtues or just Game Breaker charms like Zeal.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Regent Fokuf's primary pastime.
  • Deadly Dodging: One of the nastier tricks Lunar, Sidereal, and Terrestrial Exalted can fall back on.
    • In the short-lived '"Exalted comic book, it's how a Terrestrial Exalt got Demetheus, a Dawn Caste Solar, to kill his own circlemate, Kidale.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: There are charms specifically intended to help with this. Eye and Seven Despairs does this as part of his Reunion Revenge plot, too.
    • The whole system Lunars use via Heart's Blood grants this, and they can even assume the person's strands of fate. Of course, later they can eventually do this without actually killing the person, but is still the primary method of acquiring new shapes.
  • Deal with the Devil: Akuma are the most straightforward example, but Abyssals and the Deathlords also generally resemble this.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Actually, for quite a few slain First Age Solars. Their ghosts found a war raging in the Underworld, with Oblivion on the verge of overrunning it entirely. So, they did what Solars do best.... kick ass and take names, this time with their heads cleared of the Great Curse and a driving need to atone. The vast majority of them passed through Lethe apologizing for their misdeeds.... the ones who didn't stuck around and became Deathlords.
    • But depending on the ending for your Return of the Scarlet Empress game, there are still some hanging around... waiting for a force of good to inspire them to their former level of heroism, which will lead in turn to the UCS returning his gaze unto them and giving his blessing to kick ass and chew bubblegum in the Underworld. Death may equal redemption, but as Return says, "it's not the end of ambition."
  • Death in All Directions: Extra action charms.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Alternatives abound for the ranged-combat monkey who disdains bows. Firewands, concussive Essence cannons, alchemical-fire weapons (available in revolver and bazooka flavors!), prayer pieces...
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: The Abyssal resonance mechanic exists to make sure your Anti-Hero gets dicked over in a beautifully angsty way.
  • Did Not Do the Research: At least one Charm builder in every book tries to get around perfect defenses without knowing how they work. It. Doesn't. Work.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Exalted have days when they beat the stuffing out of eldritch abominations by the boxcar load. The Exalted call them Mercurydays.
    • Of course, that doesn't mean the end of the Cthulhu in question (Neverborn, hint hint).
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: The Dragon Kings. Despite their name they actually are roughly human-sized sentient dinosaurs who wield Essence, wear armor, can learn to breathe magical fire, and occasionally wield flaming claw weapons and enormous crystal warclubs that project laser blades.
  • Discontinuity Nod: Originally Exalted was intended to be the prehistory of of the old/classic World of Darkness. Despite them going away from this interpretation, the back cover still states that "science is a lie," implying that is written from the viewpoint of a Traditions Mage in the Old World of Darkness. There are still plenty of references to oWoD as well, the most obvious being Autochthon, as well as the Ebon Dragon and Scarlet Empress/Queen (to Mage and Kindred of the East respectively). Recently, they've also been sneaking in references to nWoD games such as Promethean (mortals who are capable of crafting Alchemical Exalted are known as demiurges) and Geist (Abyssals' "old laws" charms).
  • Divine Parentage: The God-Blooded. It doesn't get them as far as you'd think, compared to the Exalted. (Mind you, actually being a full-scale god doesn't get you as far as the Exalted, so this was perhaps inevitable.)
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Whether or not Exalted is still Old WoD's prehistory, the Lunars' "Thousand Streams River" project: grand-scale social engineering, aimed at creating societies that can survive and thrive without the need for Exalted leadership/control: can easily be interpreted, when viewed at a remove of hundreds of millennia, as the Impergium.
  • Double Entendre: Luna's stat block includes a ride specialty for Gaia. The Unconquered Sun has ride specialties for Greater Elemental Dragons, Jouten (Primordial bodies) and Luna, each of which could be Accidental Innuendo or Ship Tease.
  • Double Jump: One Alchemical charm lets an Exalt jump at any time - including while in midair.
  • The Dragon: Each Deathknight is effectively this to their Deathlord (a Circle of Deathknights can easily be a Quirky Miniboss Squad). But the Deathlords themselves fill the role for their Neverborn masters.
  • Drunken Master: Despite its name, Orgiastic Fugitive Style martial arts doesn't just cover sex. It also gives you bonuses for being drunk, stoned, or tripping on some heroin that was pissed out by a First Age dinosaur (preferably all three at once, with possibly a Blowjob thrown in for good measure).
  • Dying Like Animals: All sorts, really, but because of the Immaculate Faith most Celestial characters will find Lemmings to be a very common issue.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The Great Curse makes sure of this.
    • The Yozis are each directly associated with a particular form of mental illness, too (e.g. Word of God says that Cecelyne is Borderline Personality Disorder, while Malfeas is a fairly obvious Maniac-Depressive, SWLiHN is Obsessive-Compulsive, the Ebon Dragon is a textbook sociopath, etc.)
  • Dystopia: Subverted with the Autocthonians. While Word of God admits that their general culture was based on Nineteen Eighty-Four, with their caste system and unquestioning obediance to the state, they actually have less social problems than the Realm. Within a caste, an Autocthonian has the most prospect for upward mobility and personal freedom, and their worship of the state comes from the fact that their primary enemy is Voidtech. As a result, all rebellions could in fact, be inspired by Gremlin Syndrome, and thus really bad for reality at large.
  • Eldritch Abomination: As mentioned in the Cosmic Horror Story section. So, get your ass in gear, start grinding, and insert foot into crotch equivalent.
    • The Primordials and their composite souls (each Primordial is composed of multiple souls, which are semi-independent beings embodying their attributes) were truly bizarre and abstract even before being killed or imprisoned. Their true, whole forms are more akin to architecture or geological features than beings. Among the most noteworthy physical descriptions of them are the Ebon Dragon (composed on the shadows of all things that have and will exist), and He Who Bleeds The Unknown Word, who rode into battle "Clad in armored scales composed of impenetrably thick prose, armed with fangs and claws dripping with satire upon wings of elegant poetry" (i.e. as a big dragon made of writing).
    • Oh yeah, and the Infernals are turning into them. Or worse.
    • Less obvious, as revealed in Glories of the Most High, are the Celestial Incarnae themselves.
      • The Unconquered Sun was created by passing the green fire of the Primordial King through the Primordial equivalent of the Big Bang until it was so pure that it embodied absolute purity and perfection.
      • Luna was created when Oramus, the Primordial that defines what is and is not real, took a bunch of his nightmares and forced them into a cannibalistic cage match until only one was left, and then released the winner—the ultimate seductress and predator and shapeshifter that could be conceived of between himself and the Primordial power of evolution—into reality to make sure Gaia didn't wander away.
      • And the Maidens of Fate... well, no one is quite sure where they came from. They just showed up while the Primordials were making Creation and started weaving Fate. Every Primordial assumes someone else was responsible; it's more comfortable than thinking they just came from nowhere.
  • Elemental Powers: This is the schtick of the Terrestrial Exalted. Their elements are Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Wood. Interestingly, the game has this while generally averting the usual conclusion.
  • The Empire: The Realm
  • Energy Economy: Quintessence and Ambrosia, the currencies of Heaven, are formed from congealed prayer. Quintessence is made of prayers made to Heaven in general, while Ambrosia comes from prayers directed to specific gods in particular. All gods are required to tithe 10% of their Ambrosia to the Unconquered Sun, which then redistributes it to small gods as part of a divine welfare program (no, seriously).
  • Enlightenment Superpower: An implicit aspect of Supernatural Martial Arts. On a more significant note, this is how the entirety of the Dragon King's Charm sets work. Their Splat book spells it out: while the Exalted and similar types learn their powers through training and experimenting, this does not generally include a growth of wisdom. The Dragon Kings, on the other hand, explicitly involve growing intellectually and often morally; their Charms are set into the Paths of Prehuman Mastery and arranged around elemental-themed philosophies. As a Dragon King learns these Charms (called Steps, as in 'steps on a Path), they interalize that Path's lessons and grows wiser with them. Compounding this nature is the fact that each Path has an associated Virtue, and can channel them to briefly use a Step just above the one of their current mastery, and it's noted that studying the appropiate paths tend to make that Virtue more intense.
  • Eternal Engine: Autochthonia
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Yozi are the (still-living) former creators of the world, trapped inside their own bodies, filled with resentment at the world they created, and have done things like making an organ that makes beautiful music out of the screams of babies and virgin women. The Neverborn are the dead versions of the Yozi, who want to see nothing more than all of Creation thrown into Oblivion so that they can go along with the ride. Got that image in your head? Okay. Now understand that Voidtech and Gremlin Syndrome even scares them and you'll begin to understand how fucked up things are in Autochthonia.
  • Everyone Is Bi / No Bisexuals: Both averted. From what we see in the profiles of NPCs and signature characters, the world of Exalted seems to be a roughly even mix of straight, gay, and bi.
    • Everyone Is Bi is very common fanon, though. Although a decent number of canon characters are clearly not bisexual (interestingly, more are clearly gay than clearly straight), "everyone is bi in Exalted" is a commonly held belief.
    • Once Charms get involved, sexual orientation can be changed or ignored by the determined.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: In addition to the Dragon Kings mentioned above, there are more traditional dinosaur-like animals; specifically the Tyrannosaurus-like Tyrant Lizards and the dromaeosaurid (y'know, Raptors?) Claw Striders.
    • Not to mention the Beasts Of Resplendent Liquid. Created in the first age to browse on plants and mix pharmaceuticals in their kidneys, the few survivors are owned by the Guild who feed them on opium. In short, dinosaurs that piss heroin.
  • Evil Albino: The Dune People are not simply evil, they're murderous, nearly subhuman cannibals who regard the entire rest of the human race as their enemies. They live in the deep desert, hide from the sun by day, hunt by night, and cannot be reasoned or bargained with. The only thing they want from any other group is for the other group to be dead.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Ebon Dragon cannot comprehend heroism save by its absence.
  • Evil Chancellor: There are many specific examples, but (while not specifically evil) the Sidereals' role in the Usurpation and the fact that they were originally supposed to be viziers to the Solars makes them, in effect, an entire "race" of Evil Chancellors.
  • Evil Overlord: Most of the Deathlords are pretty classic examples of this: and in some cases you can tell that just by looking at their black armor and Spikes of Villainy. The Scarlet Empress and some of the Lunar elders may also qualify, depending on your viewpoint.
  • The Evils of Free Will: Most Yozis have become firm believers in this trope. She Who Lives In Her Name believed in it from the start, loathing free will as part of her basic nature.
    • The Ebon Dragon is one exception. He loves free will. He finds it... amusing.
    • Subverted with Isidoros, the Yozi of Strength, however: as the very embodiment of domination, he understands the concept of self-interest as it relates to other people. As a result, he throws his support behind all forms of rebellion and self-determination, seeing as how one must be free to rule over others.
  • Expanded Universe: There is a novel based on the setting, Chosen of the Sun. There is also a Let's Read of it here.
  • Expy: The Alchemical Soulsteel Caste signature character Dreadful Adjudicator of Law. He IS the Law.
    • The Nameless Solar, a Solar gunslinger who (surprise!) has never been officially named, bears a decided resemblance to The Man With No Name
  • Eyes of Gold: Harmonious Jade, post-Exaltation.
  • The Faceless: Nara-O, God of Secrets but there is probably good reason for this, since if somebody saw him he may cease to exist.
  • The Fair Folk: The Fair Folk (but of course)
  • Fan Nickname: "Ketchup Carjack," "Hulk Hogan," "Sean Connery."
    • "The Mouse of Peace."
    • The First and Forsaken Lion is more commonly referred to as the FaFL, "the Falafel," "Foffles," or "Victor Von Deathlord." Also "First and Forsaken Megatron," after his subordinate Deathlord Princess Magnificent's nickname of Princess Starscream.
    • The Primordial She Who Lives in Her Name is almost universally referred to by her acronym, SWLiHN; one of the authors even bemoaned having to use her full name when writing Infernals, since it wasted so much wordcount. And of course, many just call her Swillin'
    • The Primordial named Autochthon is also known as Autobot. Or Auto-Kun. Alchemicals are sometimes called Autobots as well.
      • This adds a whole new dimension to one of the first edition scenarios for the Alchemicals, in which Autobot gets invaded by the First And Forsaken Megatron...
    • Gazellecarp: The capstone charm of the Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style transforms your character into a serpentine chimera whose features include a head like a gazelle foal and multiple carp fins down the sides.
    • Each of the Sidereal castes is Color Coded for Your Convenience:
      • Yellowsids, Bananasids: Chosen of Journeys
      • Bluesids, Berrysids: Chosen of Serenity
      • Redsids, Cherrysids: Chosen of Battles
      • Greensids, Mintsids: Chosen of Secrets
      • Purplesids, Grapesids: Chosen of Endings
    • Captain Shoulderpads: Dace, because of his Shoulders of Doom.
    • DEMETHEMANIA: Demetheus, a big, burly Dawn Caste fighter. In his back story, he wrestled giant lions with his bare hands and won; thus a Badass was born. He was also visibly inspired by The Rock.
    • The signature Malefactor, wearer of the rather interesting take on a nun's habit, is referred to alternately as Hellnun or Bondage Nun. Or occasionally Lady Gaga.(Her real name is Sulumor, by the way.)
    • "Mask of Illiteracy." In Mask of Winter's first stats write-up, fans noted he had no dots in Lore, and thus couldn't read.
    • "Her Redness," for the Scarlet Empress.
    • Bright Shattered Ice, Arianna's First Age incarnation, is also known as "Bright Shattered Buttfloss" due to her Stripperiffic choice of garb.
    • The Primordial who attacked in the Aftershock War (having optimized itself for combat) is frequently referred to (even by the game's freelance writers on the White Wolf forums) as Chungira: named after Jon Chung, who posts a lot about Exalted optimization.
    • Even after receiving both a pre-ascension name (Sol Incarnate) and title of address (Ignis Divine, his equivalent of 'your majesty'), a large portion of the fan-base still prefers to call the Unconquered Sun 'Sol Invictus'. Even John Mørke has admitted to wanting to use the term, in spite of being forbidden from canonizing it (in Glories of the Most High: the Unconquered Sun). Some who favor it do so because a Latin name would help Sol fit in better with all the other Incarnae... others cite that as an excellent reason not to use it. The Sun does, after all, stand apart from the moon and stars.
  • Fan Service: There's usually at least one illustration of a bare-chested girl per book.
  • Fantastic Fragility: The Exalted have perfect defensive charms that can make them invulnerable, but which always come with some sort of situational or tactical flaw. For example, a Solar invulnerability might only work in the presence of someone they care about, or might force them to advance on their most powerful opponent. For Abyssals, their invulnerability might fail in the presence of someone they care about, or force them to flee their strongest foe. For the Infernals, their perfect defenses possess a flaw based on the Yozi patron that grants it. Thus, invulnerability charms granted by Malfeas the Demon City only function in a developed area, while charms from the Ebon Dragon, made from the shadows of everything in existence, don't work in sunlight.
    • These can be somewhat worked around by purchasing multiple perfect defenses. However, characters can never have more than two different flaws among their perfect defense charms.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: By the score.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: There are guns that shoot fireballs, but no guns that shoot bullets. In light of all of the magitek and just plain ol' technology, it's rather conspicuous.
    • With the addition of prayer pieces in Glories of the Most High, it is now possible to shoot bullets. They are made of gold. And propelled by the power of tiny, tiny shrines along the barrel in place of rifling.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Creation is probably the ultimate fantasy kitchen sink. Highly-advanced technology, powerful sorcery, more empires and kingdoms of various stripes than can be counted, gods of everything, a magical martial arts style based around duel-wielding fire-spewing pistols, dinosaurs that pee heroin (don't ask) or life extension drugs, and of course, assorted gods of everything.
  • Fatal Flaw: This is a major part of the setting and the game mechanics; due to a Great Curse placed on them when they beat the Primordials, every Exalt is required to have one.
    • Alchemicals managed to bypass this through not existing at the time, and instead have Clarity: in which their Fatal Flaw is that after a while they become Straw Vulcans; Abyssals have had the Great Curse revoked, and instead have to deal with Resonance; and Infernals have Torment, but have in essence already had their bout with the old Fatal Flaw: the idea of Infernals is that they could have been a Solar but decided not to go do the epic thing that would have given them the decent Exaltation.
    • Another take on Infernals is that some of them tried to be epic, but failed due to the lack of an available, untainted Solar exaltation.
    • Solars who become Abyssals and then redeem themselves (becoming Solars again) are also freed of the Great Curse: they may only gain Limit through specific Charms that inflict Limit upon the victim or user. If their Limit reaches 10, they lose one dot of Permanent Willpower that regenerates after a month, assuming they do not reach 10 Limit again within that period. Charms that require the Great Curse to function no longer work, however.
    • Even without the Great Curse, having a virtue rated three dots or more(which all exalts have to) turns into a fatal flaw of some kind.
  • Faustian Rebellion: A possible outcome for Infernals and Abyssals who decide they like Creation the way it is and realize that their bosses are chumps who got their asses kicked.
    • Abyssals do it by destroying the coffins that bind their Exaltation and walking away.
    • The way Infernals do it. They become Titans in their own right and eventually obtain all of the powers of the Yozis, minus almost all of their weaknesses. They retain the Urge because it's tied to their Exaltation- but it becomes permanently identical to their Motivation, so they're probably going to want to fulfil it anyway...
      • And after the Broken-Winged Crane came out, that path is actually covered by a Charm tree. The Heresy keyword may well be best be described as "Fuck you, Yozis" as a mechanical effect.
  • Fertile Feet: Wood Aspects with a full anima flaring.
  • Fiction 500: Sidereal Exalted receive their Salary from the Celestial Bureaucracy in the form of Quintessence and Ambrosia, which can be converted into any mundane material, including money. In Heaven, this isn't really a problem, since money of all sorts is basically Worthless Yellow Rocks. In Creation, however, a Sidereal Exalted's starting pay would be enough to set them up as a millionaire several times over. Higher levels of Salary could allow a Sidereal to buy and sell nations, or bring the Realm's economy to its knees in a matter of days. Luckily, the Celestial Bureaucracy has already figured this out, and makes actually using Salary to its fullest extent in Creation a crime UNLESS you're doing it for a specific, work related reason and are given express permission to use more then is normally permitted. (You can still use enough to set yourself up with a rather nice home in Creation and keep yourself supplied)
    • In the First Age, the Celestial Exalted were so fabulously rich that it couldn't be adequately measured by the Resources Background; they got Wealth instead, which at its upper levels dwarfed even the Sidereals' Salary, at least partly because they had no restrictions on actually spending it. The two highest levels of Wealth are defined by how large a financial crisis you'd cause by maliciously dumping your holdings. (Answer: Wealth 5 = destabilize any single nation save the very largest. Legendary Wealth = crash most of Creation's economy.)
  • Field of Blades: Now an official Solar charm.
  • Field Power Effect: Some exalted charms, and Manses with the Well-Flavoured Aspect feature.
  • Finishing Move: Combos, which allow an Exalt to combine the power of multiple charms in one distinctive attack.
    • Abyssal Exalted take this one step further: They can have a Charm that literally terrorizes anyone who watches them murder someone in a particularly sadistic way. Yes, it's the "Fatality" Charm!
    • It's part of Dark Messiah Style martial arts, so any Celestial Exalt and even enlightened Terrestrials can learn it...
  • Five-Bad Band: The Architects of the Reclamation:
  • Five-Man Band: A Solar/Abyssal/Infernal Perfect Circle.
    • Dreams of the First Age takes this Up to Eleven by explaining that a "real" Perfect Circle consists of the following:
      • One Solar of each Caste.
      • All of the Solars' Lunar Mates.
      • The Gens sworn to each Solar and Lunar.
      • One of each Sidereal Caste advising the rest.
    • There's not even a canon example of the above Perfect Circle, but one imagines that they could kick quite a lot of ass.
    • Another example would be a Dragon-Blooded sworn brotherhood.
  • Five Races: There are five standard types of Exalts: the Solars, the Lunars, the Dragon-Bloods, the Sidereals, and the Abyssals. Each kind of Exalt also usually comes in five different castes. White Wolf is pretty sweet on this trope.
    • Lampshaded in the section about the Philosophy of the Abyss the Deathlords teach to all their Abyssals. The five Understandings are each linked to one of the five Elements to make them easier to remember-

and because people who love systems and theories put everything into sets of five and devise correspondences between them.

    • The only exceptions to the five castes rule are the Lunars, (who only have three, but used to have a full five), and the Alchemicals (there's a secret sixth caste, but no one knows about them).
  • Flanderization: The first real introduction we got to the Unconquered Sun in Games of Divinity narrated how in between his turns at the Games of Divinity, he frequently provided his Chosen with prophetic dreams and visions from time to time in the First Age. And then someone just had to go and take his name in vain. Until Glories of the Most High, most fans would probably have envisioned his entire existence from ascension to Yu-Shan to the present day to be one long turn at the Games.
  • From a Single Cell: Chimeras (Lunars turned into insane monsters by the Wyld) can get this power. Strangely enough, so can mortals.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: the Deathlord known as the Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible has a "war form" that actually exaggerates this - not only is it naked, it sprouts multiple sets of genitals. Not many people like the form (once described by a snarky freelancer as a "monster made of dicks"), but it's there.
    • Canon Alchemical Thousand-Faceted Nelumbo runs around in nothing but a half-cape - and when she fights she takes off the cape.
  • Functional Magic: Pretty much all kinds under the sun, though Exalted usually make use of Inherent Gifts (Charms) and Rule Magic (Sorcery).
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Well, more Gameplay And Flavour Text Segregation. There are Charms that describe allowing the user to make their point in "moments"- and still use a Social attack with a Speed of several Long Ticks. That's in the region of five minutes, for the uninitiated.
  • Gender Bender: Luna and Lunar Exalted can have the power to change sex at will via the Twin Faced Hero Knack.
    • The Fair Folk have no fixed gender, and are male or female or both or neither depending on how they want to be imagined by others. Alternatively, they may have a preferred gender which they default to if it flatters what passes for their self-perception to do so (although this default gender may vary depending on the gender-rules of local human cultures, with a given Fair Folk taking on default gender forms which local humans most associate with traits the Fair Folk likes to perceive itself as having).
    • Most of the Deathlords also have this power as part of their disguise capabilities, although it isn't particularly relevant for them.
    • Alchemicals can do it with Husk-Sculpting Apparatus.
  • Genius Loci: The primary forms of most of the Yozi are entire environments; Malfeas is a literal demon city with the others trapped inside himself, while Cecelyne is an endless desert around him; others include an ocean of acid and a silver forest. They can make smaller human-form avatar bodies, though. The Unshaped raksha beyond the edge of Creation generally follow this trope too.
    • Autochthon, as a relatively intact Primordial (for given values of 'relatively') also has an environment-form; in his case, it's the machine-world of Autochthonia.
    • Ancient and powerful Alchemical Exalted can transform into cities known as Metropoli or Patropoli.
    • Gaia has a world-body of her own, which is off exploring the Wyld. Creation isn't one of her bodies: she's linked to it, notably through the Five Elemental Dragons, but it's not her.
  • Glamour: The Raksha's power over perception and seduction.
  • Glass Cannon: The Sidereal Exalted, but really, all Exalted are capable of dealing far more damage than they can take if not for perfect defenses.
  • A God Am I: Definitely the major reason why the Solars got bumped off in the First Age.
  • God Guise: Being worshipped by mortals grants the Exalted more power.
  • A God Is You: Almost all player characters are Exalts, possessed of epic strength and phenomenal cosmic power. While you can play mortals, life in Creation is not very happy for them.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: The Incarnae created the Exalted because they were unable to attack the Primordials themselves. Nowadays, this trope's purpose is filled by their addiction to gaming instead.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: The Incarnae, at first blush, though Glories of the Most High expands on this: they're not so much lazy as caught in a Lotus Eater Machine, the Games of Divinity. It's strongly implied that the Primordials deliberately let this happen as posthumous revenge vs. their usurpers. Then again, it could just be that the Primordials' gaming machine had No OSHA Compliance.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Any being in Creation that is worshipped by someone or something else receives Essence; this is the natural way for gods to sustain themselves. Furthermore, in Heaven, you can eat and drink prayer.
    • One interpretation of the background material suggests that this trope is why the human race was created in the first place: they breed a lot and are superstitious, so that equals lots of delicious prayer for the gods.
  • Gone Horribly Right: 700 persons of mass destruction powerful enough to kill the Primordials. And if they're killed, other humans will inherit their Exaltations.
    • The Green Sun Princes are all but stated to be the Yozis' ultimate mistake. As it turns out they've done such a good job with turning Infernal Exaltation into a clone of themselves that each Green Sun Prince is actually an embryonic Primordial, with the potential to assimilate all of the Yozis' positive qualities and almost none of their faults. Oh yeah, did I mention said Primordials are likely to realize that the Yozis are bugfuck nuts?
  • Good Hurts Evil: An interesting subversion: Celestial Exalted of all stripes (but especially Solar Exalted) have access to powers that specifically add extra hurt to "creatures of darkness," which include demons, ghosts, and Fae. However, the Celestial Exalted are not, intrinsically, Good, and the Creatures of Darkness are not, inherently, Evil.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Solar Hero Style. Fisticuffs taken up so far you can punch people into Hell.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: The Exalted heal at an extraordinary rate (though perhaps not at the level of a Healing Factor), and given some time can even grow back amputated limbs. However, given the sheer number, variety and power of attacks that the Exalted have to absorb, being able to heal this quickly is greatly appreciated.
  • Gratuitous Hungarian: Some names of demons and Yozi.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: This game isn't just Animesque, it's a world that works by rules of Shintoism. Naturally it uses Shinto terms loosely, the most Egregious being "shintai."
  • Gratuitous Sanskrit: The Raksha splat tell of a story of how everything came to be, borrowing a lot of concepts from Hindu cosmology.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Where it isn't Black and Grey, it's this. The game just comes this close of stating that most factions have at least some real points, and each has their own flaws as well.
  • The Greys: The Alchemical books for both editions make mention of a gaunt, triangularly shaped-headed race with huge eyes and a technological dependency that used to inhabit Creation until they attacked their Primordial patron Autochthon. They're now the primary source of Soulsteel in Autochthonia.
  • Groin Attack: If you're fighting a master of the Celestial Monkey style and he compliments your bravery, run.
  • Gun Kata: With at least two flavors: Celestial Righteous Devil and Terrestrial Golden Exhalation.
  • Guns Akimbo: Enter Kath wielding twin plasma tongue repeaters.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: TONS. Beastmen, God-Blooded, Fae-Blooded, Demon-Blooded...
  • Hammerspace: Justified : the "Elsewhere" is a specific space which characters can use charms to reach, stock then take back various weapons and items.
    • At least one person is stuck in Elsewhere, floating around in an infinite void utterly unable to move. How did he get stuck? He cooked up a portal to it in an attempt to rob nearly every Exalted in existence by stealing their Elsewhere-stashed items. It's generally agreed he got off lightly.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: The sole mark of capability in the game is the Exaltation: and without it, a character could train all his life and work his guts off, and won't ever be anything other than a footnote on some Exalt's backstory. To boot, the Exaltations are distributed pretty randomly, so you can't even count on hard work and effort "earning" you a shard, while Exalts learn what you have taken decades to master in weeks. The Perfect of Paragon is a wee bit miffed about this.
    • Exaltations are not distributed entirely randomly: future Chosen are usually already obviously gifted and always Heroic. But being the most awesome among mortals does not mean you'd make the best Exalt, and the Exaltations supposedly operate on an Omniscient Morality License which means that although the Perfect has probably one of the most stable governments in the area and endeavors to avoid falling into Evil Overlord territory, he's still found wanting by the unknown criteria of the Exaltation.
    • Much of it depends on if Lytek has an appropriate spark sitting in his cabinet right when you do something appropriate, such as stepping up to be the hero at a time it should be impossible to win (Solar) or persevering through a situation that shouldn't be survivable (Lunar). Or it's just the right time for you to be fated to exalt (Sidereal).
      • And even barring that, if you die, you might get chosen as an Abyssal. Or if you REALLY fuck up what you where trying to do, get picked as a Green Sun Prince.
      • Finally, becoming a Dragon-Blooded is based on your ancestry. You can also bribe a member of the Bureau of Destiny to make sure you reincarnate as a future Dragon, but A) good luck getting enough wealth as mortal, and B) you have to die first.
  • Hate Plague: What happens when an Infernal fills up his Torment, though the precise flavour depends on the Infernal's patron Yozi.
  • Heroic BSOD: There's a rule for that, and it's called a Limit Break. At best, you become the embodiment of eccentricity as your Virtue overloads. At worst, you develop the attitude of A God Am I or go Ax Crazy.
    • Limit Break Berserk Anger: You want to kill everything. Everything.
    • The Green Sun Princes have an interesting version, called Torment, effectively them becoming possessed by their Yozi patron's will: While it isn't that bad for them (despite what "will of the Yozis" would imply, it's just a particularly noticable personality change that still allows them to think rationally), it's also contagious, which can be bad for them, especially if your patron was Malfeas.
    • There's even an allusion to the Unconquered Sun undergoing one of these just before the Usurpation in the Daystar material: which is a helluva trick since gods do not suffer from Limit Break.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Crystal Chameleon Style is designed for playing Naruto-style ninja who use highly flashy and obvious moves. The thing is, it's still a highly effective method of stealth; instead of not letting your enemies see anything, you force them to see so much miscellaneous garbage that they can't tell when you're attacking. Sadly, it doesn't work with Thrown or Archery.
  • Hollywood Healing: The game has fairly detailed rules for dealing with bleeding from injuries, infections, and disease... which are mostly for use by/on mortals. Exalted get to ignore most of these rules, and are usually exempt from being permanently crippled or disfigured by injuries. They also heal faster than mortals.
  • Horny Devils: Neomah, though they don't take life-just a scrap of flesh so that they can combine it with other pieces of flesh to create new, unique demons (most of which die: they aren't exactly Mad Scientists).
  • Humans Are Special: Zig-zags quite a bit. Most books say that there's very little special about humanity. They were basically created to be pathetically weak prayer-batteries (and to mock Autochthon's Mountain Folk). This bit the Primordials in the ass, as Autochthon quickly realized that that humans managed to build coherent and functioning societies despite their flaws, and came to love them almost as much as the Mountain Folk. He and the gods also took note of how little attention the Primordials payed humanity—so little, in fact, that they created no safeguards against their possible betrayal. And so, Exaltation was crafted for humans...
    • It is indicated in "Graceful Wicked Masques" that human dreams are much more vivid and compelling than those of other species. This seems to imply that humans are blessed with much greater creativity and imagination than anyone else in the setting. On the other hand, such traits tend to attract the attention of The Fair Folk while providing very little defense against them, making it very much a case of Blessed with Suck.
  • Humanoid Abomination: What the Infernals are turning into.
    • A Primordial can manifest themselves as one, when they want to interact with something human-sized.
    • Raksha. They aren't actually 'people', they're a congerie of chaotic forces that have chosen to pretend to be a 'person'.
  • Humongous Mecha: Warstriders. They aren't very practical compared to normal Exalted weapons, though.
    • They're also Impossibly Graceful Giant of the Kung Fu Robo subtype.
    • The Sorcery spell "Incomparable Body Arsenal" turns the caster into one.
    • Alchemical Exalted turn into these if they get powerful enough; they're known as Colossi.
    • Hellstriders, which Infernals can access, are just like warstriders, only made from still-living demons fused into a kind of Eva-esque machine that's independently sentient and extends organic components when the pilot loses control.
  • Hurricane Kick: Honestly this trope is one of the least of the crazy physics-defying things you're encouraged to describe your characters doing to earn those stunt dice.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Infernals recently gained 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.
  • 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.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Black Ice Shadow (say it out loud) who embodies every "gothy" cliche in the book.
    • Also 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 first 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.
    • The Realm's predecessor state, the Dragon-Blooded Shogunate, did dominate the world post-Usurpation... until the Great Contagion wrecked everything. The Scarlet Empress claimed the mantle of the Shogunate when she formed the Realm, but she's never actually claimed to rule the entire Threshold, merely the Blessed Isle. (It didn't help her case when the other reasonably intact Shogunate successor state, Lookshy, responded to her claim to rulership and request for fealty with 'Go pound sand'.)
  • Inherent in the System: Humanity NEEDS the Exalted. Mankind is not strong enough on its 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 Armor: Again, the Warstriders. Better than a Humongous Mecha is one you can create on the spot when you need it.
    • Solars and Lunars also have charms that create instant normal-sized armor for them. Then there's the spell Invulnerable Skin of Bronze which, well, turns your skin into bronze.
      • 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).
    • Infernals have Viridian Legend Exoskeleton, which combines a history lesson and a huge soak increase in one resilient brass shell.
  • It Got Worse: Creation has basically been going through a continual cycle of things-getting-worse since the High First Age (or before, depending on who you ask), but one of the major Oh Crap events ones was the Great Contagion. During the Dragon-Blooded Shogunate (when Creation was ruled by Sidereals and Terrestrials, and a bit worse-off than the First Age, but still better than contemporary Creation), one of the Deathlords (finally) unleashed by far the most deadly disease to have ever existed in Creation, which wiped out about 90% of the human population. Then It Got Worse, and Raksha invaded in a massive swarm known as the Balorian Crusade, killing many of the survivors and literally dissolving much of reality into pure chaos.
  • I Was Never Here: The Sidereal charm Avoidance Kata and the Alchemical Adamant caste power.
  • 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 first 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 Heavens 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.
  • 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) make them out as this. As far as the setting's actual creators go, the Primordials were even weirder.
    • The Glories of the Most High series goes a long way to making the Incarnae sympathetic figures.
  • 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 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 second edition is this to the first. As noted above, the first edition was a grim setting that narrated the end of the world in the first paragraph of the first book. In second 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 he cannot exist.
  • 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.
    • Although the way the system is statted up, even a Solar with lots of Ox-Bodies can get killed in a hit or two by a BFS like a Grand Goremaul if the attacker gets lucky on the damage roll. Outside of perfect defenses, Exalts are actually still relatively fragile compared to the damage they can dish out.
  • Made Of Essence: Everything.
  • 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.
  • Magitek: You've got your guns that shoot fire, your automatons, your warstriders... It's even called Magitech.
  • 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 Invisible to Gaydar outwardly. Effeminate behavior is NOT tolerated.
    • The main reason for this? Simple. The Dragonblooded Exaltation transfers through the blood, so they where 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 practicing katas, run.
    • 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 and fight off an assailant while relaxedly carrying on a conversation with someone.
    • Sidereal Martial Arts allow them to punch people out of existence. Or into a horribly humiliating shape.
    • There's a martial art where you do a few katas and then everyone around you has their skin start sloughing off.
    • There's one particular Exalted martial arts combo that would allow you to kung fu the entire population of the Blessed Isle in the face. Simultaneously. And the Blessed Isle is larger than continental Asia. A variant of the said combo could outright kill everyone on the Blessed Isle. Or make every single one of them switch gender.
    • 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. Chejop Kejak, leader of the Bronze Faction, has published canon stats (in Scroll of Exalts) that would allow him to perform this combo with ease.
  • Master Computer: I AM in the First Age.
  • Mayincatec: Several different examples. First and foremost, the language of Old Realm is written with hieroglyphs that are vaguely similar to Mayan writing. Also, depending on whether you're talking First or Second 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mind Screw: The metaphysics of the setting[3] can be a bit of a trip, especially when you start getting creative with them. The Raksha and Unshaped are all entities for which metaphysical reality redefinition is not an exertion of awesome power, but the barest fact of their existence. They have no shape, form, or permanent reality of their own, and exist only because they interpret themselves out of the otherwise random chaos that is the background noise of existence. Think of it as Artistic Licence over everything.
    • Also, both books dedicated to The Fair Folk are notorious for being a little difficult to understand.
  • 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 literally cannot be anything other than a selfish, backstabby Complete Monster because his entire concept revolves around opposition; he cannot understand trust, love, or courage, because those things don't fall under his purview.
  • 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.
  • 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 the 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 Sidereals have a few too: Crimson Banner Executioner and Black Ice Shadow.
    • 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Every attempt at overthrowing the current masters of Creation has generally led to an overall drop in the wealth, quality of life and life expectancy of everything that... well, exists, really. Despite the fact that they were negligent and self-absorbed, the Primordials came up with a pretty decent way of running things. Overthrowing them was overall better for humans and gods, at least for a while, but the Exalted just couldn't compete with Primordial levels of power, intellect, and skill. The same could not be said of the Usurpation, when the Solars were overthrown, which slowly but surely let things go down into the crapper, culminating in the Great Contagion and the Fair Folk Invasion. Exalted heroism has, on the whole, kind of made things suck more and more.
    • On the other hand, it sucked pretty badly at first anyway, at least for some people. Autochthon sided with the gods and mortals because the rest of the Primordials were assholes who kept kicking him because he was weak; they would arbitrarily destroy things just because that's what they wanted to do; the Ebon Dragon only created the Unconquered Sun because he had to have something good to oppose, and She Who Lives In Her Name already despised free will before she even became a Yozi. So while things suck, they don't suck too much more than they did at the very start; it's just that everything sucks more equitably now than in the past.
    • Moreover, a particularly unorthodox interpretation of this trope in Exalted comes by the Raksha, who are normally seen as soul-eating monsters who want to destroy Creation, which is generally viewed as a bad motivation. On the other hand, before the Primordials made Creation, things were pretty sweet - the Unshaped Raksha swam around in a sea of perfect chaos called the Wyld, an environment to which they were perfectly suited, dreaming awesome dreams unconstrained by time, space, or logic, playing with concepts and fascinating abstractions, forgetting or remembering aspects of themselves as it pleased them, and exploring infinite possibilities either alone or with one another. Then the Primordials took out a patent on "reality", started claiming all sorts of real estate that wasn't theirs, and built a massive Lotus Eater Machine in the middle of it that had the nasty habits of killing Raksha stone dead if they touched it, poisoning them with the toxic pollution called "structure" that it pumped out into the chaos as a byproduct, and gradually began sucking them in and eating them even if they tried to stay away from it. And when the Exalted took over management, the Raksha were so excited that maybe they would tear down the machine and come join them in the Wyld to have a little fun - except that they then enlarged the machine by several orders of magnitude, and did so by systematically carpet bombing the Wyld first to get it out of the way. Nice job breaking it, Creator-deities.
  • 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 machinations, 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, my friends, 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.
  • 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). Justified in Dreams of the First Age, where life did actually seem to be pretty good (at least compared with "present day") for most people.
  • Nuke'Em: 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.
  • 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...
  • Odd Job Gods: To the point of hilarity. There are (admittedly non-sentient) gods of individual rice grains.
  • 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.
  • 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-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.
    • And, for anyone who is familiar with the disgustingly game-breaking Sidereal martial arts style known as the Border of Kaleidoscopic Logic, never forget Beauty Is In The Eye. Unlike the aforementioned spell, 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.[4]
      • Demon Emperor Shintai is 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.
    • 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
    • Dinosaurs: They're generally referred to as dragons (such as river dragons) or lizards (such as tyrant lizard).
    • The Dragon Kings: Dinosaur people.
    • Elemental Dragons: Powerful elementals, except for Gaia's five elemental dragons, who are elementally-themed devas.
    • Yozis: Oramus and the Ebon Dragon.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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, as well as 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).
  • Power Equals Rarity
    • Played straight and averted with different types of Exalted. Dragon-Blooded 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, Green Sun Princes and Abyssals are on roughly the same power tier as the more common uncorrupted 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 two 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: White Wolf released, as a semi-April Fool's joke, The Scroll of Swallowed Darkness, a sixteen-page PDF on exactly what you think it would be about. This being a White Wolf product, there's a fair amount of Power Perversion Potential mentioned in the main books as well.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 First 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.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: Justified, since First Age technology is self-maintaining. The comparative fragility of modern technology is also justified; the Solars were the only ones capable of making or obtaining the materials and enchantments that made Ragnarok Proofing possible, so anything made after the Usurpation requires periodic maintenance and repairs to remain in working order, as represented by the Repair stat.
  • Reality Warper: High-essence Solar charms (especially the charm cascade descending from Wyld-Shaping Technique) allow you to rewrite the rules of reality on a fundamental level.
    • Yozi charms do this all the time, especially at high essence. Given that they were the ones who warped reality into existence in the first place, this is not surprising.
    • The Wyld is rather short on "reality," except for whatever the Fair Folk create to screw each other over in "shaping combat."
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Chejop Kejak attempted to do that to the Gold Faction, giving them the tough job of dealing with Essence users. This comes back to bite him since it makes it much easier for the Gold Faction to hide and train Solars.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Infernals, unlike Abyssals, can't be redeemed while they still live. Akuma have it even worse, since cleansing the taint requires multiple reincarnations without consorting with demons again (and they get that impulse by virtue of their taint). The flipside for the Infernals is that their powers are far less inherently destructive than the Abyssals'; once they've slipped the Yozis' leash, they can pretty much do what they want.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The "preview" of the Scroll of Swallowed Darkness, released as an April Fool's Joke.
  • Refusal of the Call: Every last one of the Green Sun Princes. They were given their exaltation after failing to commit the heroic act that might have allowed them to become Solars: or when they Jumped At the Call and couldn't pull through because no Solar Exaltation was available at the time.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Solar and Lunar Exalts had their shards bound to each other upon the creation of the Exaltation. Thus, each Lunar is strangely drawn to a specific returning Solar. It doesn't ALWAYS manifest as love: sometimes it's even a rivalry: but it's common.
    • Deconstructed in that many elder Lunars are either A. not looking forward to being the second after about a millennium-and-a-half of being big and bad, or B. have been twisted by the great curse, and there's no telling how they'll feel about the Solars. This doesn't even bring up the Chimera...
    • Subverted in the fact that this link wasn't undone for the corrupted Abyssal and Infernal Exalted.
    • Recent errata states that protecting their bonded Lunar does not gain an Abyssal resonance, creating a strong candidate for a Love Redeems plot.
    • Return of the Scarlet Empress mentions that at least one Infernal drops the Reclamation like a ton of hot bricks after meeting their Lunar mate. (This is accompanied by a picture of Sulumor snogging Strength-of-Many.)
  • Ret-Gone: The Sidereal Exalted, who were almost totally erased from the memory of Creation. This also happens to any of their Resplendent Destiny they have that wear out: people just forget the person that that false identity represented.
    • Everything destroyed in the Three Spheres Cataclysm.
    • Prince Laashe after Luna struck him with the falcastra of Zatesh.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots: Alchemicals start out like this. As they grow in power, they turn into Humongous Mecha, and, finally, Genius Loci.
  • Riding Into the Sunset: One Solar Ride charm, Hero Rides Away, lets you regenerate Willpower and Essence for doing this.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In Return Of The Scarlet Empress, if the Unconquered Sun dies, his last act is to send each and every Solar on one of these. Every Solar in Creation immediately gains a dot of Essence, learns 10 charms of their choice, regains all of their willpower, virtues and motes, and gains an intimacy of vengeance towards the Ebon Dragon. The Ebon Dragon doesn't anticipate this.
    • Every other Incarnae has something like this, Luna gives out Knacks in addition to Charms, and the Maidens can hand out the same things the Sun does...in addition to unlocking the most badass Sidereal charms in existence and handing them to anybody they want. These charms are destructive enough that they where NEVER allowed to be used, not even during the Usurpation.
  • Rocket Punch: Alchemical Exalted can actually do this.
  • Royally Screwed-Up: The Scarlet Dynasty.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Solar Exalted as kings of Creation under the Celestial Incarnae. At least, that's how it was supposed to go. The Scarlet Empress also counts, and the Solar Queen of Ondor Shambal right before the Usurpation.
  • Rule of Cool: Is implemented by the rules. Describing awesome actions, called stunts, is rewarded by bonus dice. Succeeding at these awesome actions also gets you Essence or Willpower, which allows you to do more cool things, which gets you more Essence and Willpower, which....
    • Justified and/or lampshaded when one of the latter supplements revealed an in-world reason for this: the pattern spiders that maintain the loom of fate: the gods of the laws of physics, essentially: like things that are awesome, and facilitate them... It sort of helps that none of them have had a break since the dawn of Creation and seeing what Exalted do to the Loom is the closest thing they get to entertainment
  • Sanity Has Advantages: All of the Power Born of Madness effects in the game have serious mechanical drawbacks, frequently forcing the player to take actions that are clearly not a good idea.
  • Sarcastic Confession: The Sidereal charm Avoiding the Truth Technique forces anyone who hears you to rationalize what you are saying as a lie.
  • Science Is Wrong: Averted. While the laws of physics tend to be...flexible in this setting, magic runs in a predictable, measurable way and there's nothing stopping you from combining them.
  • Screw Destiny: All Exalted have the power to do this to an extent, though it's most obvious with the Solars, and any great use of Essence can screw up the Loom of Destiny as fate gets rapidly rewritten. There are also some creatures that are simply outside of fate and have no destiny at all; they screw destiny just by existing.
  • Screw You, Elves: The Mountain Folk of the Age of Glory were tall, inhumanly beautiful craftsmen who existed long before mankind did, live forever unless slain, and were craftsmen of superior skill. During the Primordial War, they armed the Exalted who fought the Primordials. After the War, the Exalted turned on them and forced their Great Maker Autochthon to bind and diminish them in lieu of slaughtering them en masse. Autobot's still kind of bitter over that.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: The two hundred eighty odd Solar Exaltations in the Jade Prison have been uncanned. One hundred fifty have been corrupted by the enemies of Creation, but the rest are free, active, and ready to pound said enemies of Creation into dust. (Quite possibly along with Creation itself.)
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Many, many examples, the foremost of which are the Yozis, who, after their defeat at the hands of the Exalted prior to the First Age, were sealed in a cage comprised of the inverted, imploded body of their still-living king.
    • The Yozis are rivaled by their deceased brothers the Neverborn, whose bodies fell into the Underworld and became vast non-euclidean cathedrals buried next to the Abyss, doomed to endless insane slumber until Creation itself dies. The main reason they haven't already destroyed the universe is because their can is sealed a lot more tightly than the Yozis'.
    • Could also apply to the Solar Exalted after the Great Curse drove them mad and they were sealed away by the Sidereal Exalted.
  • Serial Escalation: The heart and soul of the game. If you're not aiming for this every session, you're not playing it right.
    • Special mention could go to what the Charms detailed in the two part "Dawn Solution" allow you to do, the second part especially. Lift a non-Euclidean continent-sized Eldritch Abomination above your head and shake it like a rag doll! Create landscape-destroying spatial anomalies with your fists! Throw a guy so Goddamned hard that he breaks through the sky, crash-lands in Hell, and spends the next five days immobile as time catches up to him!
  • Ship Tease: Isidoros and Szoreny. One is a forest, the other is a giant boar.
  • Shoot the Dog: The Bronze Faction sees their actions in the Usurpation to be exactly this. Both canon and Internet Backdraft go back and forth on whether this was the right thing to do.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Kidale's story in the prequel comic ends in his death, and the Circle that was forming shatters. The nameless Eclipse youth featured in chapter comics in the 2nd edition Core and Sidereals book, while quite possibly a deliberate allusion to Yushuv, the protagonist of the first edition novels, doesn't have a background consistent with Yushuv's at all.
  • Shout-Out: Lots. 1st Edition has a lot to the Old World of Darkness games, and there's shout-outs to pop culture and mythology all over.
    • For example, the first place Desus was mentioned by name was in a myth where he treacherously blinded a one-eyed behemoth.
    • The chapter seven comic in the core book features an Abyssal talking to a skull who he calls Estragon. Subsequentally, he meets someone called Pozzo with his pet 'Lucky'.
    • Many fans of Hunter: The Reckoning like to speculate that the Imbued are related to the Solars in some way.
    • Also, the Infernal Castes share the names of the Demon Houses, save for the Devils and Devourers.
    • Elegant Nova Of Progression is an example of an Alchemical name in the new Alchemicals book. Bender Bending Rodrigeuz gets mentioned in the index.
    • Another Alchemical shout-out is in the name of one of the nations. "We have always been at war with Estasia."
    • The index to Graceful Wicked Masques holds a number of sneaky references. For instance, "Bear-killer" (an actual title) is followed by "Pedobear-killer" (and instead of a page number, it says "4chan").
      • Also, the introductory comic for "Graceful Wicked Masques" features a Fair Folk cataphract named "Lan-Shoki Hana" with a mortal squire named "San-Xiao." If that doesn't ring any bells, Don Quixote's real name is "Alonso Quijano" and his squire is, of course, "Sancho."
    • Gorol is one letter away from being the Big Bad in the Wraith: The Oblivion endgame book (Gorool).
    • Sacheverell is a Yozi that they keep asleep so as not to bind fate to his visions; the Red King is kept asleep in Alice in Wonderland to keep the world from falling apart. Oh, and his Primordial identity is "The Lidless Eye That Sees." Anyone else read that and get a vision of the Visine commercial from Hell?
    • The First Age developer of Primordial Principle Emulation made it to tap into Kimbery's (a giant poisonous ocean) charmset because she couldn't learn/make new charms for her new body: a "cephalopod horror," Glories of the Most High tells us. The name of that Solar Queen? K'tula.
    • The Ebon Dragon's driving Urge, as revealed in Return of the Scarlet Empress, is to turn the world into one where his evil is law.
    • Also, the section from Return of the Scarlet Empress about confronting the Ebon Dragon in direct combat is entitled Attacking the Darkness.
    • After destroying the Omphalos, The Ebon Dragon has to crate an N/A artifact to keep creation from falling apart into the Wyld. The artifact in question is called The Black Spiral.
    • Many other scenarios are grouped with thematic names; the Metagalpa section has its acts titled after WWII films, and several scenarios find themselves named after James Bond films.
    • One of the possible campaign styles in Infernals was titled "Grand Theft Yeddim."
    • The Martial Arts supplement Scroll of the Monk contains a chain daiklave, and the spread-the-water knife's illustration is not even trying to pretend it isn't a bat'leth.
    • In one of the adventure supplements you have a mayor named Carriker Thurfas. Thurfas is the name of a place in the Scarred Lands (another White Wolf product), which was developed by Joe Carriker.
    • In that same adventure there's a subtle nod to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
  • Shovelware: Splinters of the Wyld and Debris From the Fallen Races were made by, effectively, assigning the best members of the Exalted team and freelancers to publish White Wolf's wastepaper basket. And it's pretty damn good material.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Are you kidding? It's the entire point of the game.
  • A Simple Plan: The Great Curse of the Sidereals. There's a reason the Usurpation went so epically off the rails...
  • Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Action by Action, blended with Second by Second. Each action takes a certain number of "ticks," which are a system term for "seconds" (except when they're not).
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Excessively Righteous Blossom, Moonsilver Caste Alchemical Exalt. Fancies himself a brilliant general and orator, with no need for improvement. No one else agrees.
  • Smug Super: Dear gods, yes.
  • SNK Boss: The Deathlords, who come equipped with every published Solar and Abyssal Charm, all ghostly Arcanoi, all three Circles of both Sorcery and Necromancy, special powers of their own, can bend certain rules of the setting, and who, in the off chance you can find and use the ONE Secret Weakness that can actually destroy them, will be resurrected one year later by the Neverborn anyway...
    • However, it's important to note that the Deathlords are epically empowered ghosts: and thus they suffer the limitations of ghosts. Most importantly, they cannot naturally recover Essence while in Creation. This is why they need the Abyssal Exalted, and largely confine themselves to acting through them... outside the Underworld, they have severe endurance limits.
    • Also, Deathlords only have the Abyssal versions of mirrored Solar Charms. Now take a look at how many of those Abyssal versions carry the "Spectral" keyword, meaning that they cannot be used outside the Underworld or a shadowland without paying an additional + 1 Willpower to activate, which means they will very rapidly run out of Willpower in any extended combat. And this includes all but one (the Resistance-based one) of their perfect defense charms.
    • In addition, it is implied that while many Deathlords know Solar Circle Sorcery and can teach Solars the tricks they know, they cannot cast those spells.
  • Solid Gold Poop: The Beasts of Resplendent Liquids (although "liquid pharmaceutical piss" would be more accurate).
  • Soul Fragment: The Celestial Exaltations.
  • Sourcebook—In one key example, while the corebook makes the presumptions that players of the game will want to play the recently-returned Solar Exalted, various Splatbooks provide rules for playing the other Exalted—Lunars, Dragon-Blooded, Sidereals, Abyssals, Infernals, Alchemicals.
  • Special Snowflake Syndrome: Encouraged, since there's so many diverse things in Creation that insanely weird concepts are encouraged (and nothing's supposed to be stronger than Exalted Charms). However, the Merits and Flaws designed for accommodating weird, individual abilities are widely considered to be terrible.
  • The Starscream: The Heresy keyword from the Broken-Winged Crane is the result of the Yozis swallowing the Villain Ball again and not noticing that Green Sun Princes can design Charms for themselves, not just new Yozi Charms. As a result, each one is basically a variation on "Sir? Kiss my ass, Sir!"
  • Steampunk: Oh come on, you know this is the reason Autochthonia exists.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: Yeah, they can kill people in this game.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: In the First Age, the first Akuma Gorol poisoned the Lawgiver who killed him. The Lawgiver's mate was unable to heal her, but Gorol told him that the poison could only be cured by the lifeblood of one's true love. He opened his own wrists to save her...and she later awoke, explicitly healed not by her Lunar mate's blood, but by her own power.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Some mental influence charms can create sexual desire in defiance of the victim's established preferences.
  • Super Empowering: Some gods have the ability to improve the abilities of others. The Exalted have the ability to awaken the essence of mortals, too, granting them lesser (but still awesome) abilities. And then of course there's Exaltation itself, though that is mostly handled by the Exaltation itself aside from the paperwork.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: So very, very much.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Terrestrial Exaltation is an inherited trait passed from parent to child. It ends up being close to case 4 or 5, depending on chance.
    • Case 5s having a severe tendency towards becoming their families' Unfavorites, especially in Dynastic families.
  • Superpower Lottery: Most forms of Exaltation are, themselves, a matter of winning the superpower lottery, but even within that there are clear scales of power between different types of Exalted.
  • Superpower Meltdown: This is what happens whenever a Dragon-Blooded tries to learn Sidereal Martial Arts. More specifically, they explode.
  • Super Speed: Solars can run fast, Infernals can run really fast (an essence 10, dexterity 10 Scourge with ten purchases of Wind-Born Stride has a base dashing speed of about 360kph without using any other Charms), and provided a Lunar is chasing one of the above, he or she can run exactly fast enough to catch them.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: There is no White Veil Society, and, if there was, it would not be a powerful secret society spread across Creation. Furthermore, if such a society did exist (and it's ludicrous to think it might), it certainly would not teach a martial art that allowed practitioners to do battle and even deliver killing blows without even the victim noticing. This hypothetical martial art is not written up in Scroll of the Monk, and that nonexistent writeup does not deny, in suspiciously specific terms, the exact details of this entirely fictional society or its nonexistent style.
  • Sword Sparks: There is a Dragon-Blooded charm that makes good use of these.
  • Take That: Black Mirror Shintai, an Ebon Dragon Charm in the Infernals hardback, mocks the infamously poorly-balanced Sidereal martial art Obsidian Shards of Infinity Style, calling it the closest any mortal has ever come to duplicating the Ebon Dragon's "principle of antagonistic cheating."
  • Technicolor Eyes: Sidereals, upon Exalting, gain these in colors matching their caste. Their pupils also become flecked with little starpoints in the same color.
  • That Man Is Dead: A job requirement for Abyssal Exalted. They have to throw their original name and whatever was left of their destiny into the Void, and their overlords will punish them for answering to their old name.
  • That's No Moon: The sun and moon of the setting are, in fact, eons-old artifacts attuned to the Unconquered Sun and Luna, respectively: the Dirigible Engine Daystar and the Silver Chair of Night.
  • There Are No Therapists: And a lot of the anti-mind control charms can also be used as anti-therapy charms.
  • There Can Be Only One: As mentioned above, Luna and hundreds of other potential moon deities had to fight it out to the death and consume each others' power to actually become real.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Many, especially concerning demon-summoning and necromancy, but the one that takes the cake in this setting is known as The Broken Winged Crane. It's so evil, it hasn't actually been written yet; the evil from its writing actually went backwards in time and created many imperfect copies throughout the time stream. Some want to destroy the copies to stop the original from being written; others fear doing this, in case the destruction of those tomes accidentally causes the original to be written.
    • And now, thanks to Return of the Scarlet Empress we know that The Scarlet Empress wrote the original, and in so doing created a portal directly into the Ebon Dragon's infernal prison. Now she's the Queen of Hell, and she's here to help with the Yozi Reclamation with the full resources of the Realm and all of her descendants.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The return of the Solar Exalted was marked by the first Solar Eclipse in 1500 years.
  • Touch of Death: Some charms allow you to literally punch someone's soul off.
  • Troperrific: "The whole idea is that there isn't just one cosmic force about to destroy Creation, there's a whole bunch of cosmic (and not-so-cosmic) forces that are all about to destroy Creation. Between declining empires of elemental supermen, zombie hordes, vengeful elder ghosts, dead primal gods, imprisoned demon-Titans, Cthulhu elves, Satanic pirates, necrophagic dinosaur-men, miscellaneous ancient artifact-slash-WMDs, international mercantile conspiracies, curse-addled reality ninjas, Conan-wannabe werewolves, assorted Godzilla-knockoffs, well-meaning but terminally misguided anime heroes, mutants up the wazoo, and the Machine God and his Aztec Cyborgs, Creation is about ten seconds away from getting gang-banged to death by every epic-fantasy cliche in the book all at once.": Sir Bob
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Gods rebelled against the Primordials so they could rule over Creation benevolently.
    • This is a repeated cycle. The Gods bumped off the Primordials, the Dragon-Blooded and Sidereals bumped off the Solars and chased off the Lunars...
    • It doesn't even stop in Elsewhere, with Gremlin Syndrome among the products of Autochthon. This is because Autochthon started out sick, and this sickness manifests itself as his body's systems going rogue.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Averted horribly by the Infernal Exalted, who can punch you over the horizon... but you're coming back down the hard way. There is, however, one Third Circle demon called Orabilis who plays this semi-straight, hurling things that have learned too much into the sky where they spend a thousand years dying.
    • And of course they can modify it so the victim impacts with a nuclear explosion that leaves the area irradiated and nightmare-inducing...
  • Unholy Nuke: There are a few of these to contrast with the more enlightened ones:
    • The Solar Circle Sorcery spell Total Annihilation isn't automatically unholy, given who wields it... but it's still the equivalent of a fantasy nuke, and relies on calling on a portion of the energy of Ligier, Hell's green sun.
    • Mouth of the Void, a Void Circle Necromancy spell that does hideous amounts of damage to all creatures over a large area. Given its level, it can only be learned by Abyssals, who usually aren't on the side of goodness and light. Usually.
    • Soulbreaker Orbs, devices that can shatter the souls of everyone within a mile of the explosion, tainting the very Essence of Creation by doing so.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Part of the Great Curse. When an Exalt acts against their character or marshals their willpower against unnatural mental influence, they accrue Limit. When they reach a breaking point, they undergo a Limit Break and act either towards or against their guiding virtue in a fashion that makes "extreme" look mild. There are some Charms that also do this.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Lots of characters believe this. Most notable in the Second Age is the Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible, who wants to end all pain by ending all life. (Or at least that's what he preaches.)
  • Variant Chess: Gateway.
  • Verbed Title
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Lunars and Luna.
  • Walking Wasteland: Abyssal Exalted can cause this without even trying (and if they're renegades, without particularly wanting to do so either).
  • Warrior Monk: Immaculate Monks. Primarily Eastern-styled with a little bit of Western here and there. Their fighting arts can also burn you alive, make you drown in your own blood, or just vaporize your soul, just to name a few tricks.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Godspear of the Five-Metal Shrike is specifically statted out as doing infinite damage on a direct hit. Also, the main weapon of the First Age's Titan-class aerial citadels—which, interestingly, the Shrike was designed to be a far more resource-efficient version of, in terms of getting that level of firepower.
    • While not precisely a wave motion gun, the Realm Defense Grid/Sword of Creation is capable of the same degree of long-range super-destruction.
    • Above them both stands the Daystar's Apollyon Cannon, which fires "an unstoppable concussive bolt of solar Essence which can span a hundred thousand miles in an instant." It was used to push a rival Primordial's mock Creation back into the deep Wyld. In case you're not familiar with what that means: this is a weapon powerful enough to knock a world equivalent in size to a large rocky planet clear through to another dimension.
    • And there's the Eye of Autochthon. It does... well, something. Nobody's entirely sure what though, because people come to "mysterious" bad ends whenever they try to use it or even find it. It is known to have created the Glittering Desert, however - a region in the far South hundreds of miles long and tens of miles wide in which everything that wasn't a gas has been transmuted into finely shaped quartz.
  • Weirdness Censor: Several Sidereal Charms have them built in. For example, a Charm that allows a Sidereal to relocate an entire village by physically dragging it around causes the inhabitants to think nothing of the sudden change in their geography.
  • Weird Sun: Creation's sun is a giant flying battle fortress built to defend the world from the endless hordes of chaos, with enough weaponry to destroy the entire world in an instant. Also, it can turn into a giant robot. And knows martial arts. The sun of Hell is the demon-king's soul, and a demon in its own right. Also, it's radioactive, and its light is blocked by objects only because the demon in question is noble enough to allow this.
  • Wham! Episode: Return of the Scarlet Empress.
  • The Wild Hunt: Actually inverted with the Wyld (sic) Hunt. That consists of a force of men, led by Dragon-Blooded and sometimes Sidereals to hunt down and kill Celestial Exalts and other dangerous magical entities.
    • Played straight (or as straight as they wish it to be) with the Fair Folk, especially in the South.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Great Curse tends to do this over time.
    • Actually a number of Charms do this to some extent: Black Mirror Revelation, Power From Darkness, Primordial Principle Emulation... and perhaps most frighteningly, the Solars' age cap-breaker Charm, Glory to the Most High. Of course, they are completely unaware of the "great insanity" part of this trope.
  • Word of God: The game's writers post on various forums and discuss their vision of what they've written. A huge number of such quotes have been collected on a wiki for anyone who wants clarifications on their intentions.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: Several Charms let you kill someone by talking to them.
  • The Worf Effect: The Compass of Terrestrial Directions: The North suggests using the Bull Of The North for this. Return of the Scarlet Empress recommends having the agents of the Reclamation worf Chejop Kejak, followed by most of the Sidereals.
  • World of Badass: Creation was created to test the Wyld for badass.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Black Claw Style, a Martial Art based around the 'truth' that innocence is a lie.
  • Wuxia: One of the game's inspirations and influences.
  • You All Meet in An Inn: Since this is a Tabletop Game, it happpens. Some of the locations of the setting build this right in, such as Nexus, where for some reason there is a strange law that no one can eat alone after dark, so taverns and tea shops seat strangers right next to each other.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Played with. The Loom of Fate can influence a lot of entities, especially Mortals but including most Exalts. That said, all creatures who can channel Essence tend to direct Fate to adapt to them to some degree as well, and the altered Solar Exaltations (Infernal and Abyssal) don't even bother with it at all.
    • Played straighter with _samsara_, the pattern of the world that shall yet be. To the best of anyone's knowledge, it applies to everyone, including the Eldritch Abominations locked outside the world. Samsara is much less well known than Fate, however, and those entities whom we have seen who directly perceive it not only become aware of their future, but become compelled to fulfill it.
    • Word of God is that other entities are not necessarily compelled to fill the future that the Maidens and Sacheverell see, so much as thus far it's been pretty accurate.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Unusual hair colors are stated to be common in various areas of Creation; blue and purple in the West, green in the East, etc.
    • Justified; these hair colors tend to come about thanks to exposure to unusually high levels of Essence, either from an uncapped demense or from living too close to one of the Elemental Poles. It can also occur if you happen to be descended from something not human.
  • You Have Failed Me: What happens when an Infernal's Torment gets too high.
    • Also, originally if an Abyssal's Deathlord master has their "Monstrance of Celestial Portion" (soul cage), they can kill an offending Abyssal instantly. The rulebook suggests having the Deathlord treat any minor rebellion as part of their Gambit Roulette, to give them a little slack. This was later retconned, because having an automatic kill-switch pointed at your head at all times isn't particularly cool.

Notes

  1. think of the hun as the conscious mind, and the po as the unconscious
  2. of the class Z-3, "Omniversal/Metaphysical Annihilation" variety
  3. (which are actually important, since the PCs and some NPCs and the Big Bads all work by manipulating the underlying mechanics of reality on some level)
  4. For the record, this charm requires a bare minimum of Essence 3. That's 30 mutation points. You could be a Fire-breathing, two-headed, winged giant with quills, a scorpion's tail, three eyes, and pink hair. For starters.