Themes

Inelegance
Exalted is baroque, not neoclassical; it consists of an in-principle infinite number of things not arranged in any particular pattern, rather than the minimum number of things necessary to fill out a pattern. Exception-based design is not just for Charms.

Weird Realism
In the next village over all the women have snakes for hair, which sing sweetly; people consider this beautiful and dangerous, and all the more beautiful because dangerous, but in the end nothing remarkable; the next year half of them die from cholera. Armies are led by chariots drawn by leopards and mostly win on logistics.

Tragedy
Most people are not "dicks," but they do follow the incentives given to them by their situation; heroes who set out in good faith to fix things have mutually contradictory ideas of what needs fixing and how to go about it; there is no common factor of morality such that there is any reason to expect truth, beauty, wisdom, kindness, and justice to be correlated.

Melodrama
The lives of the minority who matter are operatic and full of passion.

Vertigo
Everything is pointlessly big.
Weapons, timescales, The Gates Of The House Of Death, the map, etc.

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