Well, we're now up to 200 literary meditations here at The Platypus of Truth. It's been a much quicker trip through the second hundred than the first hundred. I think much of that can be blamed on the last two "Summers of Shannara," but hopefully there's been an increase in more intellectual fair as well. Whatever fair you're here for, Great Books or pulp fiction, I hope you'll be able to find plenty more of in the next 100 editions of "The Platypus Reads."
Self-congratulations aside, let's move on to today's book: Exalted. Exalted is the core rulebook for Whitewolf publishing's "Age of Sorrows" line. I used to play this back in grad school when everything Whitewolf put out was eagerly gobbled up by those jaded with dungeon crawls and D&D. In contrast to other systems, the Storytelling System was much more fluid and dependent on those playing the game than on the rules. Not everyone likes that, but I loved it. Anyhow, it's been over six years since I last picked up Exalted, though it's crossed my mind a few times. This past week, I was visiting our local used bookstore with a friend and found a copy of the core rulebook for $5.99. I had a 15% off coupon so I thought "why not." I've been working my way slowly through the book over the last few days and have been thoroughly impressed. The world of Exalted is varied, intriguing, and richly detailed. I did my grad work in both Ancient Greece and late Qing China, so the game's eclectic mixture of East and West has a special appeal for me. The book itself is a small masterpiece of the role-playing genre deftly combining art, flavor text, references, and rules in a way that brings "The Age of Sorrows" to life. I think that was the great draw, even more than the fluidity of its system. Exlated is a beautifully realized imaginary world. It's not another sub-par Tolkien knock-off or a quick sketch designed just to get you into the game. When you've finished reading, a new world exists in your mind with the promise of new vistas to take in and new territory to explore. I don't have any plans to start gaming again (too busy and too tired), but if another volume of "The Age of Sorrows" happens to appear in our used bookstore I wouldn't be adverse to picking it up.