Cabal, in short, is a city. It is a metropolis established at some distant point in the past. No one knows who or what built it. All that is known that the stone used was hauled from many, many miles away from a mountain range. Over the past few hundred or so years people have filtered into this ruined metropolis to set up living. The buildings are in many cases still mostly intact. Why bother building a town when there’s this giant source of stone and already well constructed houses for you to move into.
Some concept art that fits the setting: http://fav.me/dk0gjm
Size & Population
Cabal is massive. Millions once lived in this city. However, the number of people in the city now is much less and it has been thousands of years without population. Monsters and plants have infested many areas of the city. A tree might be growing up from a former fountain, a forest could be where a city official’s house once was. The people that have moved in have each moved in with their own intentions, cultures and the like. The city spreads across a size that could, in itself, be nearly a nation.
The city itself is divided into 40 ‘Districts.’ Of these districts many are still completely abandoned, but in some exist Factions. There are quite a few of these. A faction is essentially a group of people who have, in general, the same beliefs who live in one or more districts of the city. Many of them are at war. Imagine it as small towns within the city itself with wastelands of abandoned buildings, trees and monsters in between.
So, what is Cabal? What is the point of this setting? There are four words I have tried to keep in mind when making it: Urban, Fantastic, Heroic, and Divided. Each of these represents something I want in the city. It is obviously urban. And the divided part is easy to see in the Factions. So here I’ll look at what I’ve been thinking with the other two.
This is a fantasy setting. I want to take the absurdity of real life, add magic, and throw it into the city. I’ve done this in several small ways: Places, Philosophy and Belief/Mythology. Examples. Places. The Library of Diff is a sentient, roving library that appears at random times in different places in the city. It is said to contain all knowledge of everything that has ever been and will ever be. Philosophy: Nihilists: I had a group of people who felt that the only true knowledge was that of no knowledge. As such, the idea to them that the sky is really filled with giant black birds, a portal to another dimension or just reflecting space are all equally sensible. This is actually derived from a real world philosophy. And finally, Belief/Mythology example: Star-Cutters, this is a belief found in scattered warriors of different factions. These soldiers cut a star shaped pattern over one eye to identify themself. A star-cut fighter is known to fight for no cause but the love of battle itself. They typically will nod to one another in warfare and, if on opposing sides, seek out the other to battle for the challenge. This is based on a myth.
I’m using 4E for this game. Not that the mechanics are that important. But one thing I’d like to make noticed is that this is a heroic game. Players are not just a man with a sword, a girl that can use magic or such. That man with a sword from the moment they learned to use it was well noticed by his teachers that he was a natural. PC’s are heroes from the moment they begin. Those around them that have seen them and watched them grow up have had the inkling that this is a person that can go places, that will be someone. Perhaps they’ll become a member of the Council that rules this or that faction. Perhaps they’ll become head priest to a church. Or maybe they’ll just disappear and send exotic gifts home from strange new places.