The Sutra Of Genre

The bodhisattva gently opened her benevolent lips and began to expound the great dharma and proclaim the truth. She spoke on the wondrous doctrines of the three vehicles and the seven natures.

These natures are:

The beginning-nature;
The energy-nature;
The physical-nature;
The volume-nature;
The rules-nature;
The genre-nature; and
The ending-nature.

"The beginning-nature of Exalted," she said, "is that impulse within the world that causes Exalted to be. (O great impulse!) It is the conception and the crafting, the inspiration and the distribution, the marketing and the purchasing, and the impeccable essence of its illustrious definition.*

"The energy-nature of Exalted," she explained, further, "is the pattern that forms each book, once it has chosen to exist but before it takes a physical form. How does the beginning-nature give rise to the energy-nature? It is like a cherry tree, shaking off its blossoms.** When the beginning-principle exists in the context of time, it causes the energy-nature to ripen and blow free."

Dear Bodhisattva! In the twinkling of an eye she caused her eyes to twinkle.

"The physical-nature of Exalted is the form that the energy-nature takes. It has six components:

"It is the vision-essence that one sees when one looks upon Exalted;
"It is the sound-essence that one hears when one rustles the pages;
"It is the scent-essence that one inhales when one takes a scented bath with Exalted;
"It is the taste-essence that one experiences when sharing noble viands with Exalted;
"It is the touch-essence that one feels when one takes Exalted in one's hands;
"It is the mind-essence that one enjoys when one combines these sensations.

"These six components, taken together, form the physical-nature of Exalted."

The Bodhisattva, in the fashion of blood spreading in ten directions from a sword blow to the heart, spread her sweetly jasmine-scented hands.

"When one apprehends these things in the context of a human society, one arrives at the volume-nature of Exalted. More than an arrangement of molecules and energy, it is a book, with a cover, and pages, and words, containing information within them."

The Bodhisattva took a deep breath, as if to pull misconception from the gentle readers' minds.**

"The volume-nature of Exalted exists in a state of ignorance as to its contents. To understand Exalted, one must close one's eyes to its physical-nature. Then there are no pages; then there is no cover; then there are no words: there is only data and abstract algorithms for performing operations upon that data. This is the rules-nature of Exalted, wherein Solar Charms rely on stat blocks rather than the unchallengeable power of the Unconquered Sun.

"In like fashion, the rules-nature of Exalted exists in a state of ignorance as to its contents. To understand Exalted, one must close one's eyes to its volume-nature. There is no book. There are no words. There are no rules to refer to and there is no setting description. There are only ideas and implications permitting one to run a game of a certain kind about certain things. This is the genre-nature of Exalted.

"Woe!" she cried, in an expression of her infinite mercy towards all living things. "Woe to those who place the rules before the game. They cannot see the genre-nature that rests within the heart of the rules, even as the rules lurk within the volume's breast. They cannot understand the 'why' that creates the game.

"But even the genre-nature exists in a state of ignorance as to its contents. To achieve true understanding, one must close one's eyes to the rules-nature entirely. There is no data on the world, nor approaches to manipulating that world. In the end, all the rules and setting information manifest only an attachment to material things. This leads inevitably to sorrow! Escape from this attachment, and find nirvana. This is the ending-nature of Exalted."

The audience all folded their hands and cried in acclamation, "Wonderful! Wonderful!"

* Note that this sutra has been cleaned up somewhat in the course of its translation to English. In particular, references to Exalted's beginning-nature "springing forth like the white-capped ocean waves from the loins of the divine Grabowski" have been removed.

** Similarly, these two passages have been somewhat sanitized for our gentle readers' benefit

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