The war separated Earth and Mars. We were supposed to be free, but none of us could agree on what that freedom should look like. Once the domes started gathering troops it looked like the sins of Earth were destined to rise again on Mars. But no one predicted the lengths some would go to rule the future of the Red Planet…
The world of Cabal teeters on the brink, dangerously close to a full-out war engineered by those who have the most to gain. These factions are embittered veterans from the Division War or M.A.D. weapon engineers, callous Martian separatists or transhumanist technophiles. Each has a claim on Mars and will stop at nothing to gain control over the emerging unified government. Everyday citizens are caught between the machines of war and the machinations of the powerful elite.
Cabal: The cyberpunk strategy board game that pits the players as factions against each other as Mars tries, turn by turn, to throw off their best laid plans. Turns are simultaneous as players choose missions against their enemies and political regions to gain influence and raise resources to further their corporate aims.
The main game is in playtest currently. An expansion (Cabal: Fear & Terror) is underway that adds new map pieces and up to 6 player capacity as well as additional World Events and R&D Missions.
Cabal: Defiance takes the themes of the board game and tightens the focus down to individual members of the emerging resistance movement. Set at ground level as the civil war obscures the view of international subterfuge, the RPG lets players fight for a Mars free of faction rule. Rules for the Augment process and an optional playstyle that lets players design faction agents will be included, as well as how to integrate assets from the board game into session design for the GM.
Cabal: Defiance is in development and will have playtest one-shots released digitally. The timeline for a setting book release is currently unknown.
The short history of Mars still casts long shadows. Reeling from the fallout (sometimes literal) of the War for Martian Independence, the planetary government has balkanized into splinter groups that pit dome against dome as the original colonies of Mars vie for control. Into this power vacuum step the cabals, shadow factions who pull the strings through front corporations, political action, and outright warfare to settle the question: Who runs Mars?
ANVIL: Formed from the Augmented veterans of the Division War, ANVIL works to secure themselves the reward they feel they are owed. Forged in battle, the high command knows best how to fight a direct war, adapting the strategies that served them so well recently to the subtler battles for dominance.
Aurora: Nearly every computer on Mars is built with Aurora components, but the end game for the transhumanist corporation is to have them in every man, woman, and child on the planet. While every faction has embraced the Augment process, few take to it with such zeal as the agents of Aurora. It is rumored that some of the inner circle have shed the last of their original analog parts and exist in a… purer state now.
Nova: A separatist movement with its roots in the original colonization of Mars, Nova has worked its way into every level of the planetary governments. One would assume that the first sons and daughters of Mars would limit the collateral damage of their actions upon the loyal populace. One would assume incorrectly.
Olympus: A front for weapons developers that have retreated to Mars to allow their research to proceed without restriction or oversight. The wide open spaces and deep crevices of defunct volcanoes provide ample cover for munitions research as well as constructing facilities of a more specific nature.
While these are the heaviest hitters on the Red Planet, more angles are being uncovered as the seasons pass. A resistance movement dedicated to outing or thwarting cabal activities has sprung up but have been largely dismissed in the media as conspiracy theorists or terrorists. Similarly, rumors abound regarding underground cults steeped in Martian lore and a movement for runaway replicants. Most of the time it’s just a broadcast as a sideline to the war, but there are some truly troubling events that can’t all be blamed on the primary cabals. All of that to say nothing of the restless leadership of our home planet Earth who watches the struggle closely for a sign that they can step in and take Mars back for themselves.