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So from what I've read in Demon: the Descent, it feels like covers can manifest in 2 ways? First is when a demon becomes someone else quite literally, the demon becomes Bob. Second is when the Demon Replaces Bob as Alice, so Bob's friends never know they were friends with Bob they were always friends with Alice. Is my understanding correct? that sometimes the Demon becomes the person and othertimes they simply replace the person themselves? Are all cases of replacement just partial soul stealing pacts and the case of full replacement soul pacts?

I'm trying to understand when a demon's human appearance would change, vs when it stays the same.

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So you want to know about Covers!

You are correct about there being two ways covers come into being.

  1. Soul Pact - This option is the more intense way to gain a cover. A demon (Let's call him Bob) makes a pact with a person (Let's call her Sue), Sue gets certain benefits, and Bob has the chance to gain a new cover if need be. When Bob calls in the soul pact, he kicks Sue out of their existence and takes over. As far as everything is concerned Bob is and always was Sue. So, in that cover, Bob is now a woman named Sue.

  2. Patchwork cover - This option consists of building your cover piece by piece. Say, for example, that Sue had been bit by a dog when she was a child and has a scar on her left arm as a result. Bob might offer to trade that dog attack for, say, a new fur coat. If Sue accepts the deal, everything related to the dog attack no longer applies to her. It applies to Bob's cover. Suddenly, everyone KNOWS that Bob was attacked by a dog as a child. Look! There's the scar from it on his arm! He went through years of therapy because of it! That dog remembers biting Bob. Sue's friends remember seeing Bob get bit by the dog. Sue remembers that she was the one bit, but if she tries to argue the point, everyone will assume she's crazy and hurtful for trying to deny that poor Bob went through that traumatic experience.

So! to address your question about the physical appearance of a demon... It depends on the nature of the change to the cover. If it is a physical change (like the scar), then the demon's physical appearance will change. If it is a mental change (like the new fear of dogs), then his physical appearance will not change. If it is a called-in soul pact, his current cover does not change. He does, however, gain an additional cover that does have a different appearance from the original cover (unless the new cover is the identical twin of the old cover... but at this point things are getting weird).

Oh, and regarding whether a non-soul pact is a partial soul pact... No. The soul does not get involved unless it is a full soul pact. What is happening in a regular pact is that you are signing away a part of Reality itself. You had claim to it, and now you have given it up to be rewritten.

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I think that the story Thnetosis in Demon: Interface demonstrates how Covers work wonderfully. I highly recommend this story if you want to understand a Demon getting Burned and how it can attain new Covers. SPOILERS BELOW

The following describes a patchwork cover, the pages preceding it describe other cover types and the pacts required.

The new Abe has an average height and build, somewhere between Cole’s height and bulk and Alex and Charlotte’s relative smallness. He has a slightly feminine shape to his lips and chin, but his eyes and nose are Cole’s. He has a piercing in his right eyebrow, a perfect mirror of the one that Charlotte has in her left. He has coffee-and-cream skin, exactly what you’d expect in someone made from the lives of a black man, a white man, and a black woman.

“I live with my two cats in Mr. and Mrs. Caruthers’ basement apartment,” he says, “and I work in the coffee shop on Grand and 15th. Everyone knows me at the Silver Spurs, where I have a beer and watch baseball at least two evenings a week. I once dated a lesbian named Robin Small. My name is Abraham, but you can all call me Abe. My friends call me Abe.” He opens his eyes and smiled at Cole. “And I have the bizarre habit of leaping into Lake Erie on the coldest day of the year. Yes...this will do. It’s a bit scattered, but it will definitely do.” Cole smiles, Charlotte starts laughing, and Alex, finally, lets himself slump down to the

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