A war that is kept secret from the public at large. The involved parties may or may not be unknown to muggles as well, but the central concept of the trope is that the conflict itself is somehow hidden, covert or underground. Basic fodder for conspiracy theories and naturally fiction in general. In trope-speak, a war that is concealed behind a masquerade.
Examples:[[foldercontrol]] [[folder:Anime and Manga]]
- Itsuki Koizumi implies multiple times that a particularly big and violent one is revolving around Haruhi Suzumiya in the titular series.
- Iriya is also implied to be involved in one (with liberal doses of Or Is It) in Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu.
- The war between vampires and lycans in the Underworld series.
- Zion vs. the Agents inside The Matrix.
- The central conflict in Cats & Dogs.
- The long conflict between the Dark and the Light in The Dark Is Rising series.
- Harry Potter: The war between the wizards.
- The war between the Old and New Gods in American Gods.
- The Star Trek Expanded Universe retcons the Eugenics Wars into a secret war, in an attempt to maintain Plausible Deniability after they didn't happen on schedule.
- In Stargate SG-1 the US is involved in an interstellar war, and doesn't even tell the heads of other nations at first, never mind the world at large.
- Get Smart has CONTROL vs KAOS.
- Basically every supernatural species in the World Of Darkness fights all others, as well as among themselves (e.g. the vampires' Jyhad), and the Muggles don't notice anything.
- Nephilim. The eons old combat between the title characters and the secret societies hunting them.
- Call of Cthulhu supplement Glozel Est Authentique, adventure "Secrets of the Kremlin''. The Nodens Brotherhood has long opposed a cult that worships Shub-Niggurath.
- Bureau 13, AKA Stalking the Night Fantastic. The title Bureau fights against supernatural monsters.
- Chill. S.A.V.E. (Societas Albae Viae Eterniata AKA The Eternal Society of the White Way) does battle with supernatural creatures from The Unknown.
- Feng Shui has a secret war that spans at least four different junctures in time, along with the Netherworld that connects these junctures, each with their own different factions vying for the power to remake human history in their image.
- The game Conspiracy X also has a secret war involving reptilian aliens and other weirdness.
- The Shadowrun universe has rival Mega Corps waging a covert war against each other, with the titular Shadowrunners being the deniable assets that the corps call upon to do their dirty work.
- GURPS Black Ops. The PCs all work for "The Company", a secret organization with the twin objectives of 1) Kill all the aliens/psis/monsters trying to take over and 2) Don't let anyone outside The Company find out about the aliens/psis/monsters trying to take over.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the war is secret to the Earth King only. The Dai Li took pains to make sure it stayed that way to keep the people of Ba Sing Se from going into a panic and to limit the capital's involvement with the war that would screw up their way of living.
- Real Life: CIA vs. KGB, CIA vs. Al-Qaeda, etc. The public only knows a very little about what really goes on behind the scenes.
- During The Vietnam War the CIA had a whole lot of things going on, including the Phoenix Program (a program of infiltration, capture, terrorism, and assassination).
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