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Masquerade Enforcer

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A.k.a. The Unmasker Punisher

Sometimes, magic only works when unobserved by muggles. The moment you try to show off to impress your muggle friends, the Masquerade Enforcer works to punish any Breach of the Masquerade, literally forcing the existence of a Masquerade, usually through two means:

This is different from a Weirdness Censor, which stops normal people from seeing anything super via an illusion, BUT doesn't punish anyone from using their powers in front of people. By contrast, the Masquerade Enforcer actively punishes any super-person for getting their powers sensed by muggles. Often, it means getting Killed to Uphold the Masquerade. However, other fates including being banished to another dimension, or drawing the attention of dangerous entities.

Also, this is far more than just an Anti-Magical Faction or a group of The Men in Black. The Masquerade Enforcer is much more like a force of nature, effectively an invulnerable, permanent feature of the setting, like a Lord British Postulate or an Invincible Villain. Any direct challenge will result in complete loss.

Fear not! Just make sure that your super-powers don't look like super-powers. A fireball in public would backfire, but a gas main accidentally exploding is fine. In addition, the Masquerade Enforcer can be outwitted, its environmental effects can be evaded, and its agents can be overcome, via the masquerade.

Masquerade Enforcers tend to fall into 2 types:

  • Type 1: Villainous. Something wants to murder all super-people, and it's so powerful, it can easily do so. Here, human beings as they are serve as a domesticated animals, unwitting agents for their secret masters. As humanity spreads and increases in power, so do their secret masters. Here, "magic" means "whatever threatens the power of the secret tyrants that rule over muggles".

  • Type 2: Benign. There's a powerful authority trying to protect muggles from magic. The higher being must have a great interest in humans and in controlling their development, and again, it can't be humans themselves. Humans would leap at the chance for super-powers. Here, there would be a world where mere knowledge or awareness of magic could be some sort of mimetic infection, making the muggle open to being controlled or hurt in some way. The Masquerade Enforcer then would destroy the magic before it could threaten this muggle. Here, "magic" means "what can threaten the physical or mental health of muggles".

Scientifically speaking, this trope utilizes Operant Conditioning, specifically positive Punishment. Here, whenever a super-person uses their super-power in view of a normal person, they receive noxious or aversive stimuli, thus encouraging said super-person to keep their super-powers hidden. In an RPG with a Masquerade, it incentivizes players to respect the Masquerade.

The Masquerade Enforcer would be a good way to resolve the Masquerade Paradox, however, the author must still address why anyone bothers to use magic at all when it's so much safer not to. In some cases, the wizards don't bother, retreating to a Magical Land and leading to stories where The Magic Goes Away and the characters have to deal with it. compare Ancient Order of Protectors.


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    Anime & Magic 
  • In Night Wizard, an anime based on a popular Japanese rpg of the same name., there is the World barrier, which not only denies easy entering and leaving, but is also provided with power to repair the world. If something magical or supernatural happens, the World Barrier will return Earth's reality to conform to common sense. For example, even if someone who got involved in the fight between Wizards and Emulators dies, the World Barrier will manipulate people's memories and records, rewrite traces on the scene, so that this victim's death is treated as "a death due ordinary causes". Accordingly, to the circumstances, this victim might even be made as if not existing from the beginning so that the outcome called death is canceled. The World Barrier targets both Emulators and Wizards, forcing both to stay hidden.

    Comic Books 
  • The titular Department of Truth was created to prevent conspiracies from manifesting as a retroactive status quo. This makes them a zig-zagged example, as while most cases manifest as monsters or other things that can be killed or contained, most of the conspiracies would manifest as a Cosmic Retcon; the Department couldn't keep such abnormal things a secret if they tried because then they would have always been "normal", no matter how outlandish or horrifying it would be.
  • The Ultimates 2. Odin serves as this for Loki. As a Norse god, Loki has full-blown reality-warping powers, and uses them to aid the Liberators in attacking America and the Ultimates. However, when asked by his allies why he does not use his powers openly, he says that doing so would enable Odin would find him. When Loki finally does openly use his powers, Odin sends an army of warriors of Asgard against him, removes most of Loki's powers, and enables Thor to banish Loki back to Asgard for punishment.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Christopher Nolan's Inception, extractors design dreams with architecture like vaults, and then lure the target person to sleep. The target then fills the dream with their memories and secrets in those pre-designed vaults, as well as anthropomorphic manifestations of their memories that act to protect the dreaming target and their memories. The extractors then try to break into those vaults and get access to those memories. The extractors in a dream can start to change the dream for their own ends, like summoning weapons out of thin air, or altering the environment. However, the more they change the dream, the more attention from the projections, who sense the foreign nature of the dream, and work to protect the target dreamer and any foreign elements. In addition, the dream itself becomes more and more unstable.
  • The Matrix. The Matrix is a massive simulation maintained by Machines to entrap human minds. Anyone that is a threat to the Matrix will bring the Agents, nigh-unbeatable programs that will neutralize that threat with extreme prejudice.

  • Akata Witch: The Leopard Person society has Seers and judges to detect and punish any use of juju that "lambs" witness as overtly supernatural. Sunny falls foul of them twice: for a minor infraction, she's locked in a cellar with dangerous monsters for the weekend; after a larger one, she avoids the enforcement squad long enough to save the world, which gets her off the hook.
  • In Naomi Novik's A Deadly Education, regular people's disbelief in magic makes magic harder to do, and if they get the wizard disbelieving in it as well, the wizard's magical career might be permanently over. This also applies to the monsters that hunt wizards though; the monsters don't get any nutritional value out of normal people, and they have to "persuade normal people that they exist" before being able to attack or kill them. So monsters generally stay clear, and wizards who can't get into really secure magical enclaves tend to live in places with lots of normals' around, and especially send their kids to the largest, busiest schools they can find during early childhood.
  • The Freelance Familiar series by Daniel Potter has The Veil, a force put in place by The Fey that prevents normal people from seeing the supernatural. It eventually becomes a major plot point. If the supernatural gets too obvious in an area, then The Veil will destroy that place and pass it off as a volcanic eruption, or an accidental nuclear explosion, or some other disaster.
  • Elliot Kay's Good Intentions series has two major effects:
    • 1st mortal witnesses. In this urban fantasy series, magical power is inversely proportional to mortal witnesses. The more mortals witness a magical being, the less magical powers that magical being can use. A large crowd can reduce even a god-like character to the level of a mere human. In one book, the hero tricks a super-powerful arch-devil into fighting in a nightclub crowded with mundane witnesses. The presence of such witnesses reduces the power of the arch-devil to that of a normal human. This gives the otherwise outclassed hero a fighting chance.
    • 2nd, angels. The other rule is that mortals have a guardian angel and yes, they own a flaming sword. They're hedged around with a lot restrictions, which means they won't set you on fire on sight, but they'll still do it if you get too public. Also, those restrictions? Not set in stone. New angelic management can hurt. In the series, the main angel character managed to force a monstrous exodus from Seattle because she took her city protector role far more seriously than her predecessor
  • Pact. The Masquerade is incentivized by two facts: First, that introducing someone to the world of practitioners causes any mistakes they make to reflect upon your own karmic balance. Also, most magical beings (though not all) have been bound by the Seal of Suleiman bin Daoud, compelling them not to attack non-practitioners without some excuse. Bad karma comes from violating social mores and norms, like the Seal, or in failing to properly teach a newcomer, as their mistakes reflect upon their mentor. Bad karma generally causes small, deniable bits of bad luck, with the occasional piece of extreme bad luck to balance out large amounts of bad karma. People with a lot of bad karma find that everything that can go wrong going does so in horrible and painful fashion. Second, for the majority of people, ignorance of the supernatural is in fact a defense that prevents many supernatural creatures from acting openly against them. The fact that any practitioner can create a Perception Filter by cutting connections probably also helps.
  • Peter Pan has one in the form of Pilkington, who appears in The Little White Bird, Or Adventures In Kensington Gardens. He is a schoolmaster with a cane who makes Children go to school. He is described as a shade with a large cane which is described as a hook. The fear of Pilkington is what forces fairies to hide by day. Many consider Pilkington is a precursor of the more famous Captain Hook.
  • In Real Mermaids, the Mermish Council decides which mers will be allowed to go on land and live as humans, and sometimes it's for masquerade-enforcing reasons. For example, Michaela washed up on a beach during a hurricane, and by the time she got back to the ocean, she'd breathed so much air that her ability to breathe water was impaired. The Mermish Council decided that the risk of her being washed up again and spotted by humans was too great, so they ordered her to transform into a human.
  • Retired Witches Mysteries: The Grand Council of Witches maintains a crew of mind-wipers to make sure people won't realize magic is real. Werewolves have their own way, by murdering any of their own kind who change where they can be seen.
  • That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis has a subdued example in the form of the Dark Archon and his bent Eldila, (i.e. Satan and his Fallen Angels). While their ability to inflict direct physical damage is limited, they have the ability to whisper and tempt human beings, to such an extent that they bent Eldila effectivley control human civilization. Any attempt on the part of the heroes to expose the existence of the truth is immediately shot down:
    “It could not be done now. They have an engine called the Press whereby the people are deceived. We should die without even being heard of.
  • David Brin's short story "Those Eyes" has humans being able to kill fairies. Humans that look at fairies with skepticism can utterly disintegrate the fay.
  • Variations can be found in the scholarly book Various Children of Eve (AT 758) by Virginia Gaston Geddes. The book explores various stories wherein some of Eve's various children become humanity, and others become fairies hidden from humanity. Often, the fairies are caused to hide because of some misdeed of their mother.
  • The novel Zeitgeist, published in 2000 by Bruce Sterling, is very similar to Mage: The Ascension and Unknown Armies. In the book, reality is based on language and narratives. Narratives determine how a person's lives will go. The popular story to which people conform determine the shape of their lives. Individuals can try to change their lives by altering the narratives about them. If they act out their narrative, then reality will conform to that narrative. However, if they push their narratives too far, or try to push reality too far, then reality snaps back, and kills them in a way that conforms to the dominant narrative. For example, a Professor tries to insert himself into the narrative, to try to force people to acknowledge him as part of the dominant discourse. However, he pushed too hard to him to be a believable part of the story, and a Tornado (or at least what people think is a Tornado) showed up to erase him from the world.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 1990s series Charmed, there are the Cleaners, a race of magical neutral beings that were empowered by the Tribunal with the eternal task of protecting magic from exposure. Existing beyond time and space, the sole purpose of their existence is to ensure that mortals never became aware of the existence of the magical world, whatever the cost. According to the Charmed Wiki, they are invincible and cannot be harmed in any way.
    One of the Cleaners to the sisters: When magic is exposed, we're the ones who cover it up, remove all evidence, erase any memories, whatever is necessary.
  • The vampire community in Forever Knight has one literally called the Enforcers whose job is making sure humans don’t find out vampires exist. One episode has Nick trying to hypnotize a guy and get his videotape before the Enforcers get to him.

    Mythology, Philosophy, & Religion 
  • In the Aetherius Society, the founder George King wrote about the existence of the Silence Group. The Society claims that the 'Space Beings' have contacted the leading Governments of the world in many ways but a rather sinister group of individuals called 'The Silence Group' have been deliberately suppressing this information so as to keep people uninformed, or misinformed, as to their true nature. According to King, the Silence Group uses fear and ignorance to control humanity.
  • In some versions of Gnosticism, the Archons can serve this function.
  • In Greek Mythology, the gods tend to be very protective of their secrets. From Greece:
    • Apollodorus (born c. 180 BC), who is traditionally thought to be the author of the Epitome, wrote how Tantalus was punished in Hades because, among other things, he "blabbed the mysteries of the gods" to his fellow men.
    • One episode is mentioned in the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes (first half of 3rd century BC). He mentions how Phineus was granted the power of prophecy. However, Phineus told mankind the future, angering Zeus who did not want his designs revealed to humanity. In retaliation, Zeus sent the Erinyes (the Furies) to blind him, and sent the Harpies to seal or defile whatever food Phineus had at hand.
    • Euripides (c. 480 – c. 406 BC) play Iphigenia in Tauris notes an episode where Themis loses control of the Pytho (a.k.a. Delphi), where the prophetic oracle Pythia lived, to Apollo. In response, Themis's mother the Earth starts sending prophetic dreams to all humans, rendering the Pythia obsolete. Apollo complained to Zeus, and Zeus took away the prophetic dreams from humanity, ending the Earth's efforts and restoring the authority of the Pythia, and thus Apollo, over prophecy.
    • Hesiod (circa around 750 and 650 BC) writes in Works & Days that the gods keep hidden the secrets of nature from men. This was done in retaliation for Prometheus cheating him at earlier encounter. Many scholars believe that this earlier event refers to an episode in Mekone in Hesiod's Theogony, where gods and mortal men were resolving some sort of dispute, and Prometheus cheated Zeus out of a fair portion of a sacrifice. Zeus then tried to hide fire from humanity, but Prometheus stole fire and gave it to humanity. In retaliation, Zeus arranged for evil to forever plague mankind (via Pandora), and condemned Prometheus to spend aeons shackled to a mountainside and having an eagle peck out his liver everyday.
    • Pausanias, c. 110 AD – c. 180 AD, provides an example in his Description of Greece with the death of Orpheus. While there are numerous examples of why Orpheus dies, Pausanias lists one such story claiming that Zeus killed Orpheus with a thunderbolt for divulging divine mysteries to humans.
  • Occultist Isaac Bonewitz claims that skeptics and scientific investigators generate "Catapsi", the psychic equivalent of static that prevents magic powers from working when scientifically examined. He claims that such skeptics have to be removed from the presence of magicians in order for magic to work properly, thus preventing magic from being scientifically verified. Psychics, dowsers, and other paranormalists who fail to perform in controlled settings (which prevent cheating) often make similar claims. Naturally, skeptics disagree.
  • Writer Ty Hulse has written several online articles about fairies and why they hide:
    • The online article entitled "How to Survive an Encounter With the Fairies" alleges to provide various suggestions on how to survive an encounter with fair folk. In addition to the use of Iron and apotropaic symbols, the article also states that humans have the power of the evil eye, a Deadly Gaze, which can hurt fairies by merely looking at them, or at least prevent them from using their magic.
    • Similarly, in another article entitled "The Natural Magic of Humans in Fairy Tales" he reiterates that humans have various "natural magical powers" that allow humans to overcome fairies, including the use of (1) various magical objects and techniques, (2) the evil eye, (3) the ability to withstand polluting influences which can drain magic, and (4) the natural ability to resist fairy magic.
  • Roman Mythology had its own episodes where the gods punished those who revealed their designs:
    • In the second book of Metamorphoses, the Roman poem Ovid recounts the fate of the centaur Ocyroe, Chiron's irreverent daughter. In this scene, Ocyroe's lengthy and vociferous prophecy concerning the fates of Aesculapius and Chiron angers Jupiter, who did not want his designs revealed to mortals. In retaliation, Ocyroe is transformed completely into a mare.
    • Again by Ovid, the third book of Metamorphoses has the story of Zeus, and one of his lovers Semele. Semele demanded that Zeus reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his divinity. Though Zeus begged her not to ask this, he was forced by oath to comply. Zeus tried to spare her by showing her the smallest of his bolts and the sparsest thunderstorm clouds he could find. Mortals, however, cannot look upon the gods without incinerating, and she perished, consumed in a lightning-ignited flame. The gods masquerade their presence from humanity to avoid killing them via Brown Note.
  • Religion and philosophy gives us deus otiosus, and the closely related deus absconditus, addressing the question of why, if there is a God, is such a being hidden from the world? As with similar topics, various philosophies and schools of thought offer different answers.
    • The Jewish rabbi Jacob Emden and the Christian theologian Jürgen Moltmann promoted the idea of Tzimtzum. The idea is that for finite beings like humans to exist and have free will, God needs to hide himself in an act of self-distancing. Too much exposure to the Divine would remove free will and agency. So, a kind of Type 1.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The tabletop game Blood Games has the Nullity. Here, magic operates under Clap Your Hands If You Believe. The more people believe in magic, the easier it is, and vice versa. The 1600s gave rise to the belief in Science, and a corresponding skepticism toward magic. While this made good magic harder, it also forced evil magic and monsters to operate underground. It also gave rise to Skeptics, whose disbelief is so powerful that they generate powerful Anti-Magic. Magical creatures avoid Skeptics, as their presence is painful.
  • In City of Mist, the titular Mist paradoxically both grants people powers, but also hides them away. Depending on how blatant the supernatural event was, this can range from a Perception Filter (for example, a fireball spell being seen as a gas line explosion) to full on Laser-Guided Amnesia.
    • In addition, on the enforcement side, there are the Gatekeepers, whose job involves making sure that the truth of the City never becomes widely known, and they can manipulate the Mist to alter memories, cancel out Mythos powers, and even (in special cases) forcefully warp reality to ensure that the truth stays hidden.
    • Shrouding, the Mist-based ability that is the foundation for all the abilities and gear wielded by the Gatekeepers. It works by using the Mist to blanket out expressions of Mythos power, with especially talented Gatekeepers able to bind Mist into objects to create anti-magic weapons or even forcefully cancel out Rift powers mid-battle.
    • Rifts who lose their powers and become Sleepers once more can enter a state called "Denying the Beyond", where their former Mythos powers instead enforce the Weirdness Censor and suppress the powers of all Rifts who come in contact with them.
  • In addition, the games of the Chronicles of Darkness, and its older counterpart World of Darkness has its own version.
    • In both versions of the Vampire game, the enforcer is the entire vampire social structure. There's nothing physically preventing a vampire from being obvious about their nature, but every vamp bright enough to survive five minutes is also bright enough to realize that 1) revealing themselves to humanity will probably provoke a war, and 2) absolutely nothing good can come of such a war; if nothing else, it would be devastating to their food stocks. So vampire society is basically entirely structured around making sure nobody breaches the Masquerade and any slip-ups that do happen get covered up pronto.
    • In Demon: The Descent, there is the The God-Machine. Any eponymous Demons were former angels of the God-Machine that chose to Fall and try to hide amongst humanity from the wrath of their creator. The God-Machine works to hide the existence of anything magical in general, and the Demons in particular. You can defeat pieces of God-Machine, and make it concede. However, any Demon that tries to fight the God-Machine directly will get a painful reminder that the God-Machine had been holding back. The trick is to exert juuust enough amount of bullying to make it feel annoyed and say "Screw this, you want this so bad? Take it!" instead of actually making it feel threatened and decide "You Need to Die".
    • All of reality has this problem in Mage: The Awakening. When the Exarchs took up room upstairs, their ascension cut off humanity from the Supernal Realms, and the Abyss quickly moved in. To avoid anyone challenging their hold on the Supernal realms, the Exarchs made sure to determine that any use of Supernal magic runs the risk of attracting the Abyss. As a result, any non-subtle spell risks Paradox, which can make magic go wrong. And when an area is heavily tainted by the Abyss, the last thing you want to do is try throwing fireballs.
    • In Promethean: The Created, there's Disquiet. A Promethean constantly, invisibly sends off signals that they shouldn't be, that their existence is something wrong, and living creatures can pick up on this. If a Promethean spends too long around an ordinary human, the human becomes increasingly uncomfortable and suspicious of the Promethean, until it reaches the point where they gather a mob to have the Promethean destroyed. What makes it this trope is that if the Promethean does something that gives away their true nature (using supernatural powers or anything else that reveals their Disfigurements), Disquiet spikes, ensuring they'll have to run for it sooner than they otherwise would.
    • In fan-made Genius: The Transgression, the enforcer is the fact that Inspiration and everything derived from it aren't quite real, being the result of pulling discredited and impossible theories into the real world. So, if any non-Genius gives your work a peer review, all your theories will come off as meaningless Techno Babble (because, by real-world standards, that's what they are), and your wonders will break if you're lucky, and go on a homicidal rampage if you're not- a phenomenon called Havoc. On the off-chance that whoever you're talking to is receptive to your insanity, they'll probably Catalyze into a Genius themselves- and that's just another lab to feed. Most Inspired learn their lesson after the first few times they make themselves look like idiots and keep things on the down-low.
    • In Werewolf: The Forsaken, the werewolves keep the Herd ignorant for much the same reasons as the vampires do: even the "good" faction frequently kill humans (and even more frequently kill things that used to be human and that the average human would think still are), there are a whole lot more humans than wolves, and way too many of them know to use silver bullets.
  • The World of Darkness gamelines have several examples:
    • In Mage: The Ascension, we have Paradox. Because a mage believes he can fly, he can. Problem is, that's not what the vast majority of people say, and popular consensus decides what the current rules of reality are. Do anything that's too explicitly magic, flaunt your ability to alter the way things have become, and Reality will give you a wedgie. Keep going, and you might summon a Paradox Spirit, or be exiled to a pocket dimension. Mages therefore have to make their magic look like coincidences or pre-existing technology to avoid Paradox. Various mage groups vie to secretly manipulate the popular consensus of reality so that they can use their magic.
    • The 3rd edition of Ars Magica was written to be a direct prequel to Mage: The Ascension. It introduced the Realm of Reason, which was the result of rational mechanical philosophy and manifested as Anti-Magic. This Realm of Reason would eventually grow into the Paradox of the modern day. However, later editions got rid of the Realm of Reason and made the setting of Ars Magica completely separate from the rest of the Old World of Darkness.
    • Another prequel to Mage: The Ascension would be Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade, which takes place in the Renaissance. Instead of Paradox, there is the Scourge. Like Paradox, the Scourge endangers any mage who wields their magic in open. There are significant differences. However, whereas Paradox is viewed as the result of violating the Consensus, the Scourge is seen as divine punishment for hubris. In addition, the Scourge is much more unpredictable, and could help a mage or hurt it. Instead of Paradox Spirits, Scourgelings can manifest, some of which embody Virtues and could reward heroic characters, while others embody Vices and could are much more dangerous. In the canonical timeline, Scourge will eventually become Paradox.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse has The Weaver, one of the three great Celestine spirits of the spiritual hierarchy. The Weaver is the embodiment of order and stasis. While it is a champion of human civilization, science and technology, it has gone completely overboard and wants to create a Worldof Silence. It is served by a legion of Weaver spirits and Drone that tries to stamp out anything magical or spiritual, primarily the titular Werewolves. Some of the Mages of the Technocracy of Mage: The Ascension may also revere her in one guise or another, often naming her as Stasis; certainly, the Weaver's supposed goal of unending perfection mirrors the Technocratic goal of a static reality.
      • In one book, the Book of the City, the Weaver even has its own version of The Menin Black, which here are Drone spirits. Despite their shared goals, the Technocracy's own Men in Black are rivals with the Weaver's agents.
  • A version appears in the tabletop game Esoteric Enterprises. The more criminal acts performed by the player party, and the more they draw attention to themselves, the more likely they are to have the police come after them. If the players keep drawing attention, then outcome this game's version of The Men in Black, who will show up to lock down the area, destroy evidence, suppress witnesses, contain supernatural fallout and hunt down those responsible. If these guys show up, then to quote the game itself: "You're a bit f***ed, really."
  • The Esoterrorists definitely has a negative version in the form of the Outer Dark, a place of chaos and madness, are separated by the Membrane, which is shaped by belief and perception. In our enlightened society, the laws of physics are strengthened, as we believe that reality is ordered and makes sense. If belief in that fades, the Membrane gets thinner. The titular Esoterrorists' modus operandi is to commit atrocities and fabricate hoaxes in order to make people believe that the world is unstable, weakening the Membrane. If the truth of the Outer Dark existing becomes widely known, said knowledge alone will greatly thin the Membrane, if not destroying it outright. As such, the player-characters has to keep the public ignorant of the struggle conducted behind the scenes. After all investigations, the veil-out process (covering up the supernatural event or entity after its defeat) is crucial to reduce public anxiety on about the possibility of reality not being as stable as we all believe.
  • Another RPG from the 90s was The Everlasting, which featured something called Backlash. Backlash is essentially bad karma from violating the laws of magick, nature, or morality. One of the ways to accumulate Backlash is to show off their powers and nature to the general public. In addition, showing off can sometimes cause mortals to "awaken" to existence of the Eldritch (what super-beings are called in this game), and some of those awakened mortals become hunters that target the Eldritch. As such, the Eldritch keep themselves a secret.
  • In Dark Alleys has the Powers-From-Beyond. They are the non-human entities that are responsible for the current shape of this reality, and one of their primary objectives is to prevent humans from discovering the existence of the supernatural. They act primarily through various agents, including various The Menin Black and Angels. The game explicitly mentions that they are not omniscient, nor omnipotent, nor omnipresent, and their servants do sometimes rebel.
  • In Nomine, all Angels, Demons, and other supernatural creatures have to hide their presence from humans. This is ordained by the Almighty in order to preserve secrecy on a case-by-case basis and to allow humans free will.
  • KULT: Divinity Lost has the Archons of the Demiurge, a solid Type 2. Our reality is an illusion, a Veil created to keep us captive. We have been imprisoned for ages by a dictatorial creator. The player-characters are working to break free of the Veil and regain their innate godhood. If you are witnessed doing anything in public that might threaten the Veil, the agents of the Archons, like the Lectors, will appear in force to shut you down.
  • In Night Wizard!, like the anime, has the World barrier, which enforces what's called "common sense". If something happens in the world that many (read as: more than a few) people recognize as "something that should not exist", the World Barrier kicks in and literally rewrites reality so that thing no longer exists—it's erased and forgotten.
  • The RPG Of Dreams and Magic. The game takes place in a modern-day setting with magic hiding in plain sight. "Magic" here includes basically everything "unreal", such as superheroes or super-science. These are all kept hidden by the Doubt, a malevolent force that represses the potential of humans. If a supernatural event takes place, the Doubt will either force people to rationalize it as best they can or else forget it entirely. The player characters have broken free of the doubt and can perceive and use magic. However, the threat of the Doubt is ever-present. If the players are not careful, the Doubt can manifest the demonic Reavers to hunt down the players. If the players are really not careful, then the Doubt can take over the player, causing them to lose their magic and return to the dreary world from whence they came.
  • In Planescape, the Masquerade Enforcer is the Lady of Pain, an invisible Lord British Postulate that rules the city of Sigil. The extraordinary activity that she punishes is the open worship of the Lady of Pain. Anyone who openly worships the Lady of Pain will, at least, get trapped in an interdimensional maze, and at worse suffer a horrific death.
  • In the rpg Scion, this takes the form of You Can't Fight Fate, in the form of Deific Fatebinding. Here, Fate is the collective force of humanity's mythologies, narratives, and stories about how the gods and other supernatural creatures work. Basically, the memes about the gods. In this setting, these memes can have a binding effect on the Gods, forcing the Gods to act in ways that conform to those memes. This is known as Deific Fatebinding. Whenever they do act in the world, the Gods, therefore act in ways that are subtle and hidden from humanity, less the stories generated from open action Bind them to roles they don't want.
    • Few have suffered so much from the inescapable hands of Fate as the Aesir, the Norse pantheon. The doom of Ragnarok is so prevalent in their prophecies and mythologies, that their leader, Odin, pretty much spends all his thought and time doing two things: Looking for a way to avoid it or making everything work out fine in spite of it. No success on the former, but potentially promising results on the latter. Keyword being "potentially".
  • Unknown Armies has the Sleeping Tiger. As the masses cannot deal with magic, any display that is too explicit will likely result in mass hysteria, possibly leading to mass violence, most likely directed towards the mage.

    Video Games 
  • In Planescape: Torment, much like the tabletop game that inspired it, there is the Lady of Pain. You can't kill the Lady of Pain because A) she has no stats and B) she never appears outside of FMV cutscenes. Pissing off the Lady of Pain is possible by becoming a believer of Aoskar, the dead god of portals, slaughtering large numbers of townsfolk, murdering Dabus, the servants of the Lady, or worshipping and/or making fun of the Lady dozens of times. The player may draw her attention exactly once and survive. The second time, she kills The Nameless One out of hand, causing one of the game's few game overs.
  • Planescape's Spiritual Successor Torment: Tides of Numenera has The Sorrow, a masquerade enforcer that violently prevents use of the Tides (a form of emotional manipulation magic local to the Sagus Cliffs area). It genocided the Precursors who first began meddling with it, and at present is busy hunting down The Changing God and every single Castoff simply for being naturally connected to the Tides — The Changing God found the Precursors knowledge and resurrected Tidal magic, and every single Castoff is connected to the Tides unconsciously.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has a Masquerade meter that falls when you allow humans to learn about supernatural forces, like by using Blood Magic in front of them. At zero, it causes a Non-Standard Game Over and your fellow vampires take you out as a liability.

  • El Goonish Shive: Magic itself is a sapient force that wants to be used, but only by a small number of people. It enforces its own Masquerade as best as it can, and relies on human governments to regulate how widespread it becomes. However, the masquerade is always eventually broken, at which point magic changes its own rules, causing everyone to lose magic until people rediscover magic again slowly over time. The cycle is finally broken due to a combination of modern technology and the growing human population. One in every seven million people are seers, born with an intrinsic ability to gain understanding of the new magic system if it were to fundamentally change... which would mean that magic changing would just result in potentially every seer quickly posting "how to get magic" tutorials on the internet, immediately destroying the masquerade again.

    Web Original 
  • The Horror Shop universe features the Veil Treaty. Often been compared to the United Nations, the Veil Treaty was an agreement signed by representatives of various supernatural factions in 821 AD, swearing to limit their interference with the mundane world. It was brought forth by the horrors of the Shadow and the angels of the Empyrean as a means to limit supernatural abuse and depredation. Most of the supernatural world can't stand up to the angels of the Empyrean, so they have lived under its purview ever since. The Veil is further reinforced by the manifestation of various types of monster slayers such as Hunters.
  • Mythcreants has a couple of articles exploring the Masquerade, where the notion of a Masquerade Motivator is brought up:
    • "Explaining the Urban Fantasy Masquerade" goes into great detail as to why the presence of an appropriate Masquerade Motivator is necessary as a motivating force for a Masquerade. He suggests two types of Masquerade Motivators: 1) a big scary thing that wants to murder all the super-people and has the power to easily do so 2) a higher authority, a god-like figure, that works to keep humans from being affected by magic.
    • A later article "Five Common Masquerade Explanations and Why They're Bad" goes into further detail about the necessity of a Masquerade Enforcer.
  • One way to interpret the SCP Foundation. There are specific interpretations that argue that the Foundation itself is a manifestation of some higher power working to contain, and knowledge of, the various anomalies.
    • Among the proposals for SCP-001, Dr Clef's Proposal is arguably one of these. A being of immense power, it can erase from existence any object that it strikes, and it literally has unlimited range. It's heavily implied if not outright stated to be the Archangel Jophiel, who chased Adam and Eve out of Eden and took up the flaming sword to keep humanity out. This article postulates that it was responsible for inspiring the creation of the SCP Foundation.
    • Another SCP-001 proposal is Scantron's Proposal. Here, the Foundation itself began as an anomaly that took over a High School. The ruling council of the Foundation, the O5 council, is also revealed to have been an FBI field team that never returned from their field op. And whatever they encountered in there, it turned them into the Council with a drive to secure, protect, and contain, using their training from the FBI to run their new operations. The field team that followed them in later reappeared as guards, staff, and other personnel that became the Foundation. Essentially, it was an anomaly that became a counter-anomaly.
  • "Urban Fantasy Reloaded" by Youtuber Terrible Writing Advice explores many of the clichés of Urban Fantasy. One of the problems clichés mentioned is the lack of some sort of Masquerade Enforcer, which is covered from 06:28-06:56.