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I'm looking for sources that are a little off the beaten path. Everyone knows the conventional influences on Exalted; I want things that are still suggestive, but don't crop up quite as often.
- Lord of the Rings -- the adventure fantasy series has been heavily referenced, but Tolkein taught us that the world and the environment matter. Probably the best starting source for helping to bring the natural world to life in a game.
- The writings of H. P. Lovecraft -- Lovecraft was heavily inspired by Lord Dunsany, and his Dreamlands stories have a beauty and horror that can inspire - the Cthulhu Mythos stories aren't the only thing he wrote.
Anime and Manga Sources
- Bleach - a high school student is turned into a substitute death-god charged with slaying evil "Hollows" and rescuing human souls from them. Notable for its cinematic swordfighting.
- Escaflowne -- a fantasy series with a destiny-manipulation machine, giant fighting armor suits, and heroic swordplay.
- Ghost in the Shell -- Section 9 makes a fascinating cyberpunk analogue to the role the Sidereals play in Creation.
- Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind -- Nausicaa is the quintessential Zenith Caste Solar, and the world she lives in is full of the sort of war and intrigue that abounds in Exalted.
- Pet Shop of Horrors -- although ostensibly modern, the cursed creatures and strange happenings of this four-part miniseries can fit well with the sorcery of the game.
- Samurai 7 -- a sci-fi adaption of Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" - superhuman samurai versus giant cybernetic bandits, and some gorgeous stunts.
- Wolf's Rain -- an innovative and fascinating approach to the "werewolf", and one way of approaching the Lunar nature.
Other Movie and Television Sources
- Fong Sai Yuk -- Jet Li as an accomplished young martial artist. A revolutionary struggle, three (!) romantic subplots, and a martial arts tournament on heads.
- Iron Monkey -- if you need help understanding the role mortal friends can play in Exalted, watch this.
- Lawrence of Arabia -- Peter O'Toole shows what one man with a vision can do. Zenith material.
- The Lion in Winter -- Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn engage in royal intrigue. Make everything a dozen times shinier and bigger ("he's got a daiklaive!" "we all have daiklaives! It's RY 768 and we're all Dragon-Blooded!") and you have a day in the life of the Dynasty.
- What Dreams May Come -- the Robin Williams movie that shows one view of Heaven and Hell. A starting point for envisioning the promise and threat of the Wyld.
- David Arkenstone -- I started listening to "Quest of the Dream Warrior", but you can start almost anywhere with his music.
- ICO -- the PlayStation 2 game features eerie music and an engrossing setting. As an inspiration for a plot, it's not to Exalted's stature, but as an evocation of mood it's marvelous.
- Legend of Mana -- the PlayStation RPG has an interesting storyline, but its most valuable contribution is the imagery and music of the game.
Personally, I find a lot of inspiration in music - not just for Exalted, either. I find that sometimes a song can just give me an idea, or a feeling, that will influence me to want to do or create something. If you've ever had a similar experience, it might be somehting to put under "Other Sources". -Okensha