One of the most important things to do when running an Exalted game is to break the setting and reshape it to suit your needs. We say it a lot in the books and occasionally we catch flak online from people who think such a statement is self-evident, but respectfully such people are not the target audience. For every person who understand that Exalted is a giant set of Legos that can be assembled in any which way, there seem to be a dozen who feel that if they deviate from the instructions provided they are "playing it wrong."
||Those of you who "get it" may find the rest of this uninteresting, but please understand we keep repeating ourselves so that more people "get it." We want you to have a larger pool of Exalted players who don't feel themselves hidebound or locked into playing the game just one way.||
"Playing It Right"
There is only one wrong way to play Exalted, and that's if you aren't having any fun whatsoever. This answer is trite, pat, and a bit of a cop-out, but it's also the truth. Exalted can do Dragonball Z as easily as it can do Ran, or Xenophon's The Persian Expedition as easily as Three Kingdoms. This is intentional, because different people tell stories in different ways. You and your players need to find out what kind of stories and influences you prefer, and you need to keep within the boundaries you set for yourselves, not any arbitrary lines drawn by a book. Make the game work for you; don't try to conform to the game.
If anybody tells you you're playing the game "wrong," feel free to ignore them. Are you having fun the way you play it? Are your players having fun? If so, that's all you need.
||Don't be That Guy who tells people they're playing it wrong. Nobody likes That Guy. Same goes for That Girl, if anyone is angling for the title. (Which none of you should be, as nobody likes That Girl, either.)||
This is not to say you should avoid trying to play different kinds of games, or that every game should be exactly the same. We certainly encourage you to try new things at a comfortable pace, simply because there are so many ways to play this game, but you don't have to if you don't want to.
Does the new Exalted book say a region looks one way when you've already depicted it as something completely different in your own game? Ignore the new book. Do you think it'd be cool to rework Lookshy as a loyal Imperial colony-state? Go for it. What if you hate the 200 Lunar cap on the Silver Pact? Change it to 2000. What if the Scarlet Empress suddenly returns from an extended trip to Yu-Shan where she somehow became a god, and wants all of the Realm to worship her? Awesome. Do it.
Your game is the important one, not the stuff in the books. New books will come out that say things you disagree with, and that's absolutely fine. In fact, if your reaction is "I think it makes more sense if it works this way!" then you should by all means go with your idea. Cannibalize as much as you can, because if you paid for 'em you should use 'em. We want you to get your money's worth out of your books.
Nicely said, Zach... Nicely said. And yes, I do break creation for the game I'm STing... if only to make it fun for my players. ^_^ ~ Haku
- Thanks, Haku! Glad to see another EC refugee, though I admit to leaping from the sinking ship much sooner than you did. :) ~ ZachBush