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Chapter 1: The Secret History (Unrecorded History: Voice of the Angel) of the new World of Darkness core book tells a story about a god-machine, angels, ancients, their children and whatnot.

How does this part relate to the "core themes" (mages, vampires, werewolves, etc) of nWoD? Is it just flavor text, "mysterious/mad rambling", or is this a "backbone" for the whole game world, with clues to be found here and there? If so, what are these clues and which books contain them?

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The God-Machine, its angels, and the elements you mention are slated to play an important role in the nWoD setting, starting with the God Machine Chronicles, a fiction anthology soon to be followed up by an adventure sourcebook that will include revisions to the Storytelling System that could be considered a stealth "second edition." (These rules changes will be released as a free download.) This entity will also play a key role in the upcoming Demon game.

Other authors have spun off ideas from that section. To wit:

Danse Macabre, a sourcebook for Vampire: The Requiem, details a mini-Covenant called the Holy Engineers, who receive transmissions from the God Machine that they strive to interpret. The intended effect is "oracles in reverse" — they'll receive answers and missions to undertake with the goal of figuring out the question or inciting incidents.

Imperial Mysteries, the archmastery book for Mage: The Awakening, says this:

It might also be possible to secretly change the world into an occult engine for a Fallen god: a Mystery Play that returns it to power. The ententes believe at least one such "God Machine" already exists.

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@OpaCitiZen I can understand your disappointment. A great many things that were introduced in the early days of the line weren't followed up or didn't become as popular one might hope. –  Jadasc Oct 31 '11 at 12:56
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I confess that once the answer was accepted, I stopped looking. I'll give another pass through my collection, as it's grown since then. I seem to remember an allusion in one of the Mage legacies. –  Jadasc Jan 2 '12 at 18:51
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@Jadasc I'm sure you're aware of this, but WW seems to have started an official chronicle detailing the God Machine etc. I haven't had the chance to read it yet... except for the excerpt whose "The Truth" section confirms that it all was just mysterious, mad rambling... until now. Do you think it would be worth updating the Q and your A somehow? Or start a new one and reference that one here in an edit? –  OpaCitiZen Feb 11 '13 at 9:50
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@OpaCitiZen I think you've got a point. The GMC (and its counterpart for Requiem, Blood & Smoke: The Strix Chronicles, are going to be an in-all-but-name second edition for the nWoD games. When more information is ready to go, I'll update the answer. (I haven't yet purchased the fiction anthology.) –  Jadasc Feb 11 '13 at 11:57
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@OpaCitiZen Oh, yes. Once I acquire the full GMC rules, I'll update my answer accordingly. Right now, I've just got the rules update, which is in itself an astounding bit of work. –  Jadasc May 8 '13 at 22:58
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