I've seen an old thread with a similar subject, and I'd like to approach this aspect of the game in a more fleshed out manner.
Cabals draws heavily from actual history and occult legends and myths, and shapes a universe that might have been, and it does this in a very subtle manner. The flavor text on the cards and the cards themselves reveal faint connections between recurring characters and sometimes even tell us a bit about them.
I'd like to make some kind of chart in the future but for now all I can do is write this post. Vril Society
An occult cabal commandeered by Karl Maria Viligut
, a member of the national socialist German party.
In the real world Wiligut was a severely disturbed man who claimed to descend from a race of ancient Germanic demigods. With his extensive pseudoscientific knowledge, he was a major contributor to the occult branch of the Nazi party until they realized he was completely insane and forced him into retirement.
The other Vril hero, Tarnhari, was the leading member of a cabal who opposed Wiligut and also claimed to descend from a different ancient race. Wiligut had him framed and jailed.
In Cabals, Vril Society is a cabal who has successfully found a way to exploit Vril, the all permeating energy which is the source of all life, and combines that knowledge with the latest technological advancements the Third Reich can dispose of.
Notable units include:
-Karl Maria Viligut, one of the two heroes. There is a quote by him on his card and on Bramin Engineer.
-Tarnhari, the other hero. There are quotes by him on his card, Underworlder, Vril Berserk, Undead Veterans.
-Bavarian Count. His name is Heinz Von Goring and there are quotes by him on his card and on Vril Rocketeer. According to the article
on Bramin Engineer in the archives, units are classified by rarity depending on how important their role is inside their respective Cabal; based on this, it can be assumed that the Count is a bored nobleman who has just recently taken up occultism and is mainly helping Vril by providing funds (symbolized by his ability giving you resources)
-Faustian Physicist. His name is Eckhard "the Wired". Quotes by him can be found on his card and on Mechanic. He is sort of a mad scientist overlooking the smaller, lesser units found in the Society. He is responsible for the creation of Mechanics and claims that his knowledge comes from studying the works of Goethe, an author mostly known for his novel "Faust" in which a man sells his soul to the Devil.
Other notable quotes are from the sociologist Max Weber, Friedrich Nietzsche, and one Hraban the Raven who I have not been able to find any info on. He might possibly be an upcoming unit?
All in all Vril explores the the theories popular in the old German occult circles, such as the Hollow Earth theory, Armanism and, of course, Vril. Order of Zahir
A cabal that harnesses the power of alchemy, whose heads are Fulcanelli
and Franz Tausend
Fulcanelli was a French alchemist who supposedly succeeded in transforming lesser metals into gold. His real identity is debated to this date and his techniques were handed down only to his single disciple.
Franz Tausend, "The Goldmaker", was a con artist who scammed the German government out of a lot of money to fund his research to be able to produce gold.
The heroes of Zahir are almost as mysterious in Cabals as they were in real life, and this cabal utilizes underhanded tricks and tactics to gain advantage over the enemy. This is also reflected in their units..
-Fulcanelli. One of the two yellow heroes; quotes by him are found on his card, Golem, Skull Machine, Rose of the Closed Garden.
-Franz Tausend. Quotes by him are found on his card and on Lamp of Illumination.
-Duke of Càdiz. His name is Jose Osario de Càdiz, and there are quotes by him on his card, Conspiring Beggar and Carve the Skin. Much like Bavarian Count, Càdiz turned to Zahir supposedly to get rid of the "human factor" in his life. We know that he has no human servants anymore, instead relying on Fulcanelli's artificial creations to do his work for him. Despite this he is quite streetwise and knows that Fulcanelli has eyes everywhere..
-Depraved Aristocrat. His name is Ibrahim, and he likes to spend money.
Other notable quotes are from Goethe, the philosopher Aristotle and again one unknown character with multiple quotes, Azab the Luminous.
Zahir explores the discipline of alchemy rather well, with units like the Homunculus, traditionally a man-made human, the Golem, a behemoth of living clay from the jewish folklore, and original units like Magician, representing the scientific aspect of the cabal, and Assassin, Cutthroat and Conspiring Beggar for the sneakier aspect of it. Danann CovenantMorgana le Fay
and Queen Mab
are the leaders of this nature centered Covenant.
Morgana is a mythical figure connected to the Arthurian lore: a powerful sorceress who would use her powers for her own interests rather than in somebody else's favour. Queen Mab is also a fictional character, figuring in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", although only briefly mentioned in a speech by Mercutio. She's a mischievous creature who physically enters the head of people in order to control their emotions. After her creation she has been used extensively by other authors in pop culture.
Danann forms the Primal alliance together with Bearclaw, and one aspect they share is drawing their power from folk legends and phenomena. As a result, a lot of their units are already well known to fantasy aficionados.
-Morgana le Fay. Quotes by her appear on her card, on Decompose and Valburg's Night. It seems as if Morgana has managed to attain immortality and sprung right out of Arthur's times, landing in 20th century Europe just in time for a power battle with cabals that rival her magicks in power.
-Queen Mab. Quotes by her are found on her card, Fomhorian Brute and Spriggan.
-Lady of the Lake
: a figure belonging to the Arthurian lore, she is quite literally a woman in a lake. According to legend, she is the one who gives Excalibur to Arthur.
–Lady of Ulster: a wealthy woman from the Irish region of Ulster. Her name is Meghan O'Brien, and she's either the daughter or the wife of Caitlin O'Brien, who figures in several Danann cards: the flavor text on Banshee tells us that traditionally men of the O'Brien family are killed by the shrieking creature. Another quote is on Lady of the Painting. The O'Brien seem to have a good amount of relevance to the Covenant, but their role remains largely unclear.
-Spriggan: old forest spirits with shape changing abilities, existing in real life lore. Also quite popular in pop culture.
-Sidh: in Gaelic folklore Sidhe are hills that are used by the faerie folk as "residence", waiting for the time when they will reveal themselves to the human world. Danann
draws a lot from Irish folklore and reports of ancient history, a history that is as old as the world and as powerful as Mother Nature herself. By harnessing the old magic of the Faerie and calling upon them creatures of legend, Danann is probably the most supernatural Cabal in the game.Bearclaw Brotherhood
The brotherhood of the bear, whose two leaders are Rasputin
the Black Monk and Baba Yaga
Rasputin was a Russian Orthodox priest who befriended the Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna as she was looking for advice to treat her ill husband. He went down in history mostly due to the famous circumstances surrounding his death at the hand of a group of loyalists who poisoned him, shot him four times, beat him to a bloody pulp and threw him in the Neva River, while he was supposedly still alive.
Baba Yaga is a fictional character from Slavic folklore; she is a fickle old witch who may help or hinder those who seek her with her powerful magic. One of her most notable appearances is in the Russian fairy tale "Vasilisa the Beautiful
" (sometimes referred to as Vasilisa's Doll).
Bearclaw is the other side of the Primal coin; whereas Danann relies on spirits of old to overcome the enemy, Bearclaw challenges the enemy's psyche itself to immobilize and control their units.
-Rasputin: blue hero. Quotes by him are found on his card, Infest the Mind, Possessed Junker, Obsessed Monk. He is depicted in Cabals as an almost satanic figure inciting his apostles to sin in order to achieve godliness.
-Baba Yaga: other blue heroine, her only quote is on her card. I feel that her inclusion in Cabals is rather peculiar, but it is explained in detail by the developers themselves in this article
: a creature straight out of Russian folklore, Domovoi inhabits every single Russian home and "oversees" life in them. Domovois can be swayed in your favour by a simple gift of cookies and milk, or they can be angered by the excessive use of profanities by members of the household.. Domovoi in Cabals is also interesting for another reason, the introduction of a certain Ivan Petrovits, who appears on his card and on Bear Spirit. I originally speculated him to be Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
, a Russian physiologist famous for his study of conditioned reflexes in dogs (which would make sense considering how Bearclaw crosses into this kind of territory in more than one occasion), but the flavor text about him seems to indicate he is some sort of farmer. So there goes that theory.
-Vasilisa's Doll: as I've indicated Vasilisa's Doll is the alternate title of the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa the Beautiful, which tells the story of a little girl named Vasilisa who receives a wooden doll from her mother on her deathbed. The doll helps Vasilisa whenever she is in trouble in exchange for a little bit of food. Baba Yaga makes an appearance in the story, and just as you would expect of her threatens to kill Vasilisa unless she can perform certain tasks for her, in which case she will help her.
: a water nymph from Slavic folklore who attracts people with her singing much like a mermaid, in order to drown them. Rusalka presents a quote from one Nikolai Gogol, who may or may not be intended to be the Ukrainian dramatist
with the same name, and another quote by him is present on Devoted Bureaucrat.
-Spiritual Medium: named Iosif, has quotes on his own card and on Feral Shaman. He seems adept in the studies of Sigmund Freud
, the famous neurologist who theorized the human mind to be comprised of three distinct layers. In accordance to the themes behind Bearclaw, Freud's theories play a discretely big part for blue, and quotes by him are also found on Psychic Lapse and Guided Therapist.
Bearclaw is certainly one of the more interesting Cabals lorewise (and it's the only Cabal with a quote from Count Dracula), with themes that leave much to be explained and explored.
It has strong connections to the psychology theories that became popular during the very time period Cabals takes place in and makes use of them with a theme of "control" that is very apparent just by looking at the abilities of certain units.
More Cabals to come later
Stay in school.