I am still trying to understand the fundamental dynamics of Demon: The Descent. One of the main elements is a character's "Cover" - her appearance as a normal human. Loss of cover means discovery by the main antagonist, the God-Machine. The GM is simultaneously ubiquitous and extremely powerful (to maintain the equivalent of the tension of living in a totalitarian state for players) AND completely hidden from view.

I assume that, in public, a demon might get an angel to back down by threatening to escalate the battle so that its supernatural nature is publicly visible. But once a demon does "go loud", why doesn't she just go public and tell the world about the GM? Her existence as a biomechanical construct is pretty undeniable.

To put it another way, other splats in the CoD (vampires, werewolves, prometheans, mages) have an in-game reason to stay hidden. But the Unchained don't seem to have the same reasons, because the GM itself wants to remain hidden. It would only take one demon who has nothing to lose to blow the whole secret.


2 Answers 2


Angels and mortal servitors will hunt them and humans will refuse to deal with them.

Some demons completely abandon their pasts as angels or have nothing to do with their fellow Unchained. No demon who wants to last long ignores her Cover. Without a functioning Cover, a demon is a beacon to the God-Machine’s hunters, who pursue her mercilessly until she is destroyed or finds some way to hide her glow. Her true form is also revealed, making it nearly impossible to deal with humans. That said, some demons view their Covers as mere necessities — day jobs — rather than important parts of their identities. (p40 Demon the Descent)

So, if they blow their cover then the god machine will send angels at them to kill them or cut them up for parts. If they maintain or find a new cover, then angels won't come to kill them.

The god machine does want to maintain the world as is, without massive changes to it's Infrastructure.

Demons tell stories of natural disasters stemming from the gears getting jammed or broken, which point to that existence being necessary for humanity to survive in anything like its modern state. The God-Machine wants the World of Darkness as it is, a place of shadows and secrets, of monsters hiding in broken mirrors and strangely patterned spiders that invade the human mind. (p22 Demon the Descent)

But individual angels have missions. They will focus on that, though they will do their best to maintain their Infrastructure to avoid being found. You threatening their mission doesn't mean they'll back down- they may just decide to kill you and all the witnesses.

Above all, angels are supposed to do as they are told. For a loyal angel, disobeying the God-Machine’s commands is unthinkable. An angel might make choices — the God-Machine wants self-driven operatives, not mindless slaves — but they don’t decide what to do. An angel sent to kill all the humans in a building might decide on the most efficient approach to minimize the number of humans who might escape or find somewhere to hide. It has its choice of weapons or other strategies, such as setting the building on fire first or cutting off the electricity or disguising itself as a normal human and infiltrating its target. The angel isn’t free, however, to spare some of the humans or look for a solution that doesn’t involve murder. In fact, an angel in this situation probably doesn’t even know the context. It can’t know if there is a way to achieve its objectives without killing people; it isn’t expected to. It is supposed to understand and complete its mission without question. (p32)

If you're attempting to blow the supernatural out, the logical course of action for them is to murder you with their mortal and Angelic servitors.

Sometimes concealment just isn’t enough. Mortals and supernatural beings notice something unusual and wind up poking around to satisfy their curiosity in a way that might disrupt a God-Machine project or, even worse, actively work to counter the deleterious side-effects of said project in such a way that could create difficulties for the God-Machine. That’s when the GodMachine has to rely on more overt means of getting rid of these nuisances. From mortal cultists and supernatural creatures to spirits, monsters, and mechanical servants, the God-Machine has armies of allies (or pawns) at its disposal to get rid of inquisitive humans. It still tries to do so quietly, but when the God-Machine faces a real threat to its Infrastructure, “quietly” is more likely to involve a sniper on a roof or some nightmare creature waiting in the back seat of the troublemaker’s car (p62 Demon the Descent)

If you're ok with that, go ahead.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ But at that point a demon has nothing to lose - why wait to go quietly? Why not Go Really Loud and force the GM to blow its own Cover and shake up the world? You're going to be broken down for parts anyway - why not cause as much pain as possible for the GM? It would only take one demon in the world to decide this way. What mechanism does the GM have to cover it up? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 2:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ It takes time and effort to Go Really Loud. The media and such are infiltrated with a host of supernatural cults, and you'd need to overcome their efforts before a story got popular. During that time and effort the GM is sending escalating hordes of angels their way. They could instead run and get a new cover. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nepene Nep
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 14:16

First off, Nephene Nep has an excellent answer to the question as stated.

For an additional perspective; say Angel Agnes is ordered to track down and destroy Demon Demarcus. If, when cornered, Demarcus threatens to go loud, Agnes should reply an unironic "I don't care." If Agnes deliberately aborts her mission because she feels it would endanger the GM, then Agnes has Fallen, and an Angel more willing to blindly follow its orders will attend to her shortly.

I'd also encouraging the question of the assumption

...the GM itself wants to remain hidden.

The GM certainly doesn't want its Infrastructure interrupted by bumbling insects, but "remaining hidden" isn't an active priority of it, even though it obfuscates its parts and actions.

An analogy: You want to eat food that isn't covered in ants. Ergo, you stock food in your larder, in you home.

This doesn't mean you go out and crush every ant that can see your home, but if you find ants in the larder, you squish them without a single thought. If they come back, you spray and put out traps, etc. Again, if ants can find a way into your larder, they will; so the only way to keep your food safe is to keep your home impregnable to ants. This is not saying "I want a home impregnable to ants - I want food without ants, ergo, I must have a home impregnable to ants." Ants that get in are just an annoyance, not a failure.

If you beloved child "goes rogue" and starts trying to bring ants into your home, tries to make sure every ant in the world knows where your twinkies are kept; they're on track for a grounding (or worse) and move ants are going to die.

However, the underlying question remains: since there is no Sybaris or Lunacy involved with the cogs of the GM, how would it suppress attempts to expose it by Demons?

The answer is, "By whatever means necessary" - again, Nep's answer is spot on.

It appears this answer is unsatisfying because you envision some Demon's scheme that would expose the GM - ergo, the question could be refined to "How would the GM suppress a Demon trying to expose it via...?"

Unfortunately, that invokes only subjective answers, because the GM is under the ST's control. This StackExchange isn't a good place for mining answers to "How do I stop this plot I envisioned?" type of questions.

Here's an example: Demon Darren resolves to expose the GM, regardless of whether it costs his life or not; he goes to Central Park, in broad daylight, sheds his cover, and preaches the existence of the GM to everyone there.

There's at least one Angel, an observer type, that witness this from Twilight. How does the GM respond?

  • One response might be to dispatch the moral police - "Psychotic cosplay enthusiast takes hostages downtown, shots fired" and, via corrupt cops in the system, order to shoot on sight. Either Darren gets killed, or, hopefully, is forced to kill some police in order to escape.

Then, control the narrative: every article about Darren and what he said gets flooded with comments - make it about police brutality, make it about mental healthcare. If he's dead, plant evidence, linking Darren to pedophilia and furries; spam videos with comments about CGI and crisis actors. If he's still out there, start a blog impersonating him revealing the "truth" about the moon being an optical illusion, that he's a reborn dragon, etc.

  • Send out the assassins to cut him down. Cue the marketing: Make this avant-garde play go viral! Street performance! Awesome special effects!

If there's any collateral, edit their facebooks to mention about them being extras, paid for realism, and that they had to sign a NDC and disappear for a few months afterwards. Meanwhile, city government is furious this "performance" was put on without a permit, and the company claiming responsibility has to "put this project on hiatus while it is re-tooled. But stay invested - more crazy, heretical, wire-fighting action to come!" (Yes, this could involve a GM-influenced governing body appearing to go against a GM puppet company. Happens all the time.)

  • Personally, my GM would just gas them. Keep some nerve agents in the warehouse that cause hallucinations, fever, seizures, and death. When the Central Park Angel reports this trouble, gas the whole lot with a generous margin of error. It's a terrible, horrible terrorist attack - that the nation can fortify itself against by ensuring electronic surveillance is even easier to obtain for faceless government agents (some of whom are Angels.)

Again, it's all down to the ST to step in and say, "What would I do to reduce or discredit this exposure?" bearing in mind the GM doesn't have a sense of morality that values human life.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I found this question/answer that agrees with you that in the nWoD it is ultimately up to the ST to maintain secrecy in whatever manner is consistent with the game they are running: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/12663/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 2:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's fair. Many good STs can take a "I figured out how to expose the GM/destroy the Masquerade/defy the New Dawn/etc" idea and turn it into a good plot, possibly even the center of a Chronicle. The GM is clever, and hasn't survived as long as it has by having a glowing "shoot me here" spot; but it's not infinite - perhaps it could be taken down. But, at its core, the CoD as a whole has a running theme of horror, and "happy endings" are tricky to make satisfying in the horror genre. \$\endgroup\$
    – C Geist
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 7:22

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