The world of Cascading Justice is not quite a full on dystopia... yet, but it's definitely a world heading towards chaos. A fragile international political climate currently exists in the Cascading Justice campaign setting as nations posture to hold on to their territories and natural resources from others that would steal them away. Total isolationism is almost impossible to achieve when global warfare, revolution, terrorism, and natural disasters affect the daily lives of many on the planet to one degree or another. Much like in our own world, the United States is a prosperous nation. Its citizens are privileged and shielded from the daily hardships that others in the world live with. Life goes on in the Cascading Justice America, but even that life has just a little harsher edge to it.
The information here will briefly examine the global state of affairs in the world of Cascading Justice as it is found at the beginning of the campaign in Spring 2022, including world politics and major current events. In the United States, AEGIS is the organization responsible for monitoring world events as they relate to national security. It is assumed that the player characters would generally have an awareness of this information or be able to look it up if they needed to.
- 1 AFGHANISTAN
- 2 AFRICA
- 3 THE MIDDLE EAST/ARABIAN WASTES
- 4 CANADA
- 5 THE EUROPEAN UNION
- 6 ISRAEL
- 7 THE SOUTH AMERICAN QUARANTINE ZONE, VENEZUELA AND COLOMBIA, CENTRAL AMERICA, MEXICO
- 8 THE PAN-ASIAN ALLIANCE
- 9 THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
- 10 RUSSIA/CHECHNYA JIHAD
- 11 SINO-RUSSIAN BORDER WAR
- 12 THE UNITED KINGDOM
This landlocked, mountainous country has historicallybeen a crossroads between the East and West since the days of the Silk Road linking China to the Mediterranean. Afghanistan has one of the largest and richest mineral deposits in the world today, making it an attractive resource to the major world powers. Tempted by Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, the Soviets invaded the country in the early 1980s until they were finally defeated, thanks in part to a covert American presence supporting the local tribal warlords. The United States currently maintains a low-key, clandestine presence in Afghanistan to protect its interests in the nation’s mineral resources. Russia, China, and Pakistan also have similar interests, making the region a hot spot for conflict. Because of this international involvement in Afghanistan’s affairs, Islamic militant terrorists have little to no presence within its borders. The recent discovery of oil in Afghanistan’s Northern provinces has led to an increased Chinese military buildup near the border, and there is also talk in Washington of sending a greater American military presence to the region.
Africa is a very large and diverse continent made up of many different climates, landscapes, and cultures. Its nations have historically been exploited by the United States and Western European powers, for both their abundant natural resources, and the slave labor of their inhabitants. It has been a long road to African independence after the shackles of nineteenth century colonialism were broken. Africa has also seen more than its fair share of violence. Warring states, corruption, ethnic cleansing, and famine still plague the continent to this day resulting in millions of refugees being displaced from their homes.
Today, the troubled nations of Africa once again face the threat of colonialism as many of the world’s most prosperous nations are scrutinizing the continent for its mineral and natural fuel deposits. The United Kingdom and the European States have mounted military campaigns to take over many of the struggling African countries. Much of northeastern Africa is suffering from famine and droughts following the fall of the countries in the Arabian Wastes which also brought an influx of radical Muslim extremists from those countries into the region to complicate the political landscape. There are reports of an East African warlord named Kibwe (which means “blessed” in Swahili) gathering power and support as calls for a unified African resistance to the Western invaders begin to echo throughout the continent.
THE MIDDLE EAST/ARABIAN WASTES
For many years, the Middle East was the world’s leading supplier of crude oil, but those in power, who benefit financially, always played a balancing game between the demands of their customers in the West and the religious leaders of the common people, who disapproved of immoral foreign influences on Islamic society. The supply of oil was not unlimited, however, and by 2016 it became apparent that the Middle Eastern oil fields were close to running dry within a decade. As maintaining a presence in the region began to lose a financial incentive, the United States chose to focus its occupation efforts on Venezuela and Colombia, and began to end its occupation in the Middle East. One-by-one the nations of the Arabian peninsula began to collapse, and these now impoverished lands reverted to strict Islamic fundamentalism and the old nomadic ways.
Desperate to maintain a constant supply of oil, the United States invaded Iraq in 1993 and seized the oil wells. The following year, American troops invaded Kuwait and Western Iran, as well, for the same purpose. During the 25 years of American occupation, resistance fighters and insurgents, many of whom were part of Islamic fundamentalist terrorist cells, fought with American forces in a brutal, drawn out campaign. The Americans slaughtered entire villages suspected of supporting the insurgents, and Islamic extremists responded in kind by employing radioactive dirty bombs in major urban centers occupied by American troops and around the oil fields. When the oil finally showed signs of drying up in Iraq and the surrounding lands, the Americans ended their occupation and left behind chaos.
Today, the region devastated by years of warfare, and commonly known as the Arabian Wastes, is a collection of territories in a barren and radioactively contaminated wasteland. Many refugees have fled the area into Russia and Eastern Europe, but those who have stayed behind have managed to carve out a harsh, difficult life for themselves. Uday Hussein, the son of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, is now one of the many warlords of the Arabian Wastes and has established the Muslim Council to build a power base in the region. Perhaps most frightening of all, Uday has in his employ several super powered body guards who were once part of his father’s Hafaza super soldier program.
Formerly a North American territory of the British Empire, Canada has long lived in the shadow of its powerful neighbor, the United States. Today, Canada is one of the few countries to still have a good supply of natural resources in the form of oil reserves and mineral deposits, and receives military protection from the United States in exchange for a good share of these resources. Recently, Canada has come under intense political pressure from the United Kingdom to join its military efforts in Africa to restore the British Empire by reestablishing colonial rule. This would mean diverting its oil production to the UK at the expense of their American neighbors, and the Canadian people are leery of making an enemy of the formidable superpower on their doorstep. Canada is also dealing with the fallout following a meteor strike in the remote Mackenzie Mountains, but fortunately, there were few fatalities due to the obscure location of the impact.
In the heart of winter, a previously uncatalogued meteor was tracked entering Earth’s orbit over the Yukon-Northwest Territories of Canada, and making impact in the Mackenzie Mountains. Due to the remote location, there were very few casualties reported, but the two main roads into the area are now impassable, effectively isolating the region from civilization. The Mackenzie Mountains produce over two thirds of the world’s supply of tungsten, and the cessation of all mining operations has caused the mineral’s market value to skyrocket. Several mining camps near the impact site have been abandoned, and the nearby Nahanni National Park Reserve has been closed indefinitely as well.
THE EUROPEAN UNION
After a worldwide recession in 2008, Germany become the dominant force in Europe. When struggling European countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal started to collapse after the financial crisis, Germany stepped in to relieve the economic burden and effectively take political control. These German-controlled countries are now seeing a rise in right wing populism and fascist ideologies in order to survive and prosper. The European Union also become heavily militarized due to the influx of refugees from the Arabian Wastes, the Russia/Chechnya Jihad in Eastern Europe, and growing tensions with Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The State of Israel was founded with the support of the United States and Great Britain shortly after World War II ended. The new Jewish homeland was meant to be a shining beacon of hope after the horrific atrocities committed during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, but it soon found itself at war with its neighboring Islamic states over the displacement of the Palestinian people already living in the region. In the years following, the United States and other Western nations began to pull their support from Israel in favor of the Islamic states in the region due to their dependence on the oil they produced. In response, Israel turned to isolationism, self-dependence, and self-preservation. After fighting wars from all sides in the 1960s and 1970s, Israel expanded its territories into the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, the West Bank of Jordan, the Golan Heights of Syria, and southern Lebanon. Most of the Palestinian resistance was driven out into Egypt and northern Lebanon and Beirut.
Today, Israel is an isolationist state that refuses to get involved with the affairs of the rest of the world unless they directly affect Israel’s security. The entire country exists in a state of perpetual lockdown and boasts the securest fortified borders in the world.The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad is the most powerful organization in the country and is rumored to employ highly-trained super powered agents in its global operations. Additionally, Israel boasts one of the most powerful militaries in the region and is capable of defending itself with nuclear weapons. The country’s greatest resource, however, is its people who are some of the world’s most brilliant scientists from a variety of academic, scientific and technological fields. Israel has managed to survive the economic and environmental catastrophe that is the Arabian Wastes, but not without hardship.
THE SOUTH AMERICAN QUARANTINE ZONE, VENEZUELA AND COLOMBIA, CENTRAL AMERICA, MEXICO
In 2006, a major catastrophic event forced much of South America to be placed under international quarantine after reports began to emerge of bizarre and deadly "monsters" ravaging the country and attacking the populace, starting near Sao Paulo, Brazil and spreading from there. Survivors of attacks reported descriptions of the creatures that attacked them that varied widely from person to person. Some claimed to have seen animals resembling dinosaurs, some described lizards that walked like humans and spoke a strange language, and some just described inhuman monsters. The event seems to have been contained just south of the borders of Venezuela and Colombia, east and south of Peru, and north of the cities of Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Due to the influx of illegal immigrants from South America, The United States acted quickly to seal its borders with Mexico and established a no-fly zone over the impacted countries, stating only that an extreme biohazard had been detected. The use of deadly force was authorized to prevent anyone (or anything) from entering or leaving the quarantine zone. Today, that quarantine still remains in effect, but there has yet to be any official word on what caused the incident which remains classified. Rumors, however, ranging from industrial accidents, to failed US government experiments resulting in dramatic mutation of plant and animal life, to some kind of mystical phenomena related to the return of Age of Wonders, to alien involvement run rampant on the Internet.
What has become known as the "Black Gold Campaign" was enacted when President George W. Bush initially sent troops into Venezuela and Colombia under the pretense of defending against the encroaching South American Event, but has maintained a continued occupation. Once the oil fields of the Middle East were no longer producing resources like they once did, the US had another reason to stay in Venezuela and Colombia - these two countries are major sources of oil themselves, and with the fall of the Middle East oil fields, Colombia and Venezuela are now two of the world's largest producers of oil. Officially, the governments of both Colombia and Venezuela welcome the American presence and the protection from the South American Event. However, there are large resistance movements in both countries that see the occupation as a repeat of the occupation of the Middle East and are fighting against American forces. Cuba, Peru, and Ecuador have sided with the resistance forces in Colombia and Venezuela, while Mexico and the nations of Central America, looking for protection from the South American Quarantine Zone, have allied with the United States. The rest of the world has so far remained silent about the Black Gold Campaign in Venezuela, as they are preoccupied with their own domestic and international crises.
THE PAN-ASIAN ALLIANCE
In 2009, after seeing the success of countries working together in the European Union, Japan formed a political and economic union with Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines to form the Pan-Asian Alliance and create a powerful economic and industrial complex to compete with China and the rest of the world. Today, the Pan-Asian Alliance has the world’s third largest economy, and its political influence over the Far East continues to grow. This unprecedented economic success has also led to a growing culture of greed and corruption, much to the benefit of powerful crime syndicates like the Japanese Yakuza.
THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
The history of China goes back thousands of years, but the People’s Republic of China was founded relatively recently in 1949 following a communist revolution. For most of its early existence as a communist state, China found itself in military conflicts with the West by supporting fledgling communist republics in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. China lost to the United Sates in the Korean War, but successfully defeated the capitalist superpower in Vietnam and South East Asia. In response to the founding of the Pan Asian Alliance in 2009, the communist states of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos reaffirmed their commitment as political and economic partners to China. While these countries maintained their current governments and statuses, they essentially moved forward functioning as a union.
Today, the People’s Republic of China and its allied nations consists of over one billion people and dominates global manufacturing. The old communist views are crumbling, however, and the country is slowly becoming the world’s first neo-capitalist state. China is currently embroiled in a brutal border war with Russia over control of the region’s natural gas and oil reserves.
As millions of Islamic refugees fled from the devastated lands of the Arabian Wastes into Russia and Eastern Europe, among their number were several terrorist groups of Islamic fundamentalist extremists. These Islamic terrorists are now attempting to establish a new Islamic state in Russia centered in Chechnya, and most of Eastern Europe and Western Russia has become a war zone.
SINO-RUSSIAN BORDER WAR
Like its neighbor China, Russia is a nation with a long history. At one time they were allies, two powerful communist nations standing up together against Western and Japanese imperialism and capitalism, but after the Korean War, their friendship started to deteriorate. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, tensions between the two states were at an all-time high and China broke off diplomatic relations.
Today, Russia is once again turning Red as its people have become fed up with the corruption and organized crime riddling the country since the collapse of the USSR and the economic instability brought about by the radical changes in who control's the world's oil supplies. Russia and China are now at war over their shared border and control of the oil and natural gas deposits underneath the region. Old Soviet hardliners are becoming popular again as Russia struggles with wars on two fronts both in China and Eastern Europe. Both China and Russia are painfully aware their very futures depend on the outcome.
THE UNITED KINGDOM
In the 19th century, the British Empire was the greatest colonial superpower on Earth, controlling over 75% of the world. Victory in World War II came at great financial cost to the United Kingdom, however, and one-by-one its colonies in India, Africa, and elsewhere became independent states as the United States and the Soviet Union took their place as the dominant world powers. The UK remained allies with the United States during the Cold War era until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. When the nations of Europe began to form an economic and political union of states in 1993, British conservatives, led by the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, expressed growing concern that the UK’s influence in world politics would be further diminished by such an arrangement. Convincing the citizens that membership would be detrimental to their national interests, the United Kingdom overwhelmingly rejected membership in the newly formed European Union.
The Far Right has since become the dominant political party in the United Kingdom, which has now become a more secretive and closed society. The UK has sealed its borders and expelled all non-British citizens and refugees from India, the Arabian Wastes, and other parts of the world. The country’s conservative leadership desires to bring back the ethos and power of the old British Empire, and has mounted a series of military campaigns in Africa to restore its former colonies. These actions have further strained their relationships with the United States and other former allies, but British leaders point to the collapse of the European Union and the rise of Germany and the European States as a fascist regime to justify their new course direction.