Kabal was first introduced in Mortal Kombat 3, sporting long black hair, Hookswords, superhuman speed, and a respirator. He was a mysterious warrior who survived an attack from one of Shao Kahn's extermination squads and, as a result, gained a horrifying visage concealed only by his respiratory mask. His ending reveals that he was actually a member of the Black Dragon. At the time of his introduction, he appeared as a force for good, but eventually reverted to his evil ways, planning to place himself as the head of the new Black Dragon clan.
In the reset timeline of Mortal Kombat (2011), Kabal is shown to be on the side of good by the time of the Outworld invasion, although [Kano later attempts to convince him to return to the Black Dragon. It is also revealed that it was Kano who healed Kabal and gave him his respiratory mask. Before his disfigurement by Kintaro's flames, he was an NYPD officer alongside Kurtis Stryker. Both he and Stryker later join the Earthrealm warriors in their struggle against Shao Kahn, but are killed by a resurrected Sindel. Their souls are then collected by Quan Chi and reanimated as undead revenants. Under the sorcerer's spell, he serves the fallen Elder God Shinnok and aids Quan Chi in his quest to free his master and take over the Earthrealm.
In Mortal Kombat 11, the revenant Kabal serves Liu Kang and Kitana, who had by that point become emperor and empress of the Netherrealm, alongside Jade and Kung Lao. A younger pre-disfigurement Kabal appears as well, summoned due to Kronika’s meddling with timeline. This Kabal is still a member of the Black Dragon, and fights a younger Sonya after hearing from the older Kano that she is the one to disfigure him in the future (this being a lie in order to get the two to fight).
Due to his constantly shifting allegiances, Kabal's true underlying personality is somewhat vague. As a Black Dragon member, he is shown to be every bit as greedy, ruthless, and amoral as Kano. But at a certain later point, he leaves the Black Dragon and joins the police force to atone for his past crimes, although he is later brought back to the side of evil by Havik (in the original timeline).