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MechWarrior Lore, A Beginner's Guide - History, Factions and Tech

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#1 Mahws


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 06:06 AM

Like many of us I played the games as a kid and loved every minute of them, but I never really got to the lore between running around in giant robots shooting my friends in the face, so I decided to sit down today and read up. And I figured that whilst I was doing it I'd divert my writers block by writing it down as I go.

I imagine there'll be more than one or two slip ups in here and I'm sure I'm missing a hundred things, so please send those suggestions and fixes my way.

The Factions

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Lyran Commonwealth (House Steiner)
Founded: 2340
Total Inhabited Systems: 319
Current Ruler: Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion
Government: Feudal Monarchy
Languages: English and German (official), Scottish Gaelic, Italian, French
The most economically successful of all the successor states, its military is well funded and equipped, though notoriously handicapped by the selection of its high ranking officers based on bloodline and wealth rather than skill or experience. Although feudal in governance the Lyran Commonwealth grants more rights to their citizens than most of the other successor states and occasions when freedom of press or assembly have been restricted have resulted in major civil unrest. Currently politically united with the Federated Suns as part of the Federated Commonwealth.

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Free Rasalhague Republic (None)
Founded: 3034
Total Inhabited Systems: 80+
Current Ruler: Riksforestandare (Prince) Haakon Magnusson
Government: Democratically Elected Feudal Monarchy
Languages: Swedish, Japanese and Swedenese
Although only a decade and a half old the Free Rasaslhague Republic is growing to be a formidable power in the inner sphere. A complex mix of Scandinavian and Japanese cultures (primarily evident in the commonly spoken hybrid language Swedenese) its government operates on a democratic system loosely based off of traditional feudal systems. The Republics primary concern is in retaining its hard earned independence, there is however some concern about lingering resentment between the Scandinavian majority and the oriental minority populations left over from the centuries long occupation by the Draconis Combine and the seeming push by the current elected Prince Magnusson to wrest power away from the parliament.

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Draconis Combine (House Kurita)
Founded: 2319
Total Inhabited Systems: 243
Current Ruler: Coordinator Takashi Kurita
Government: Feudal Military Dictatorship
Languages: Japanese (official), Arabic, English
The Draconis Combine is lead by the Coordinator of Worlds, an inherited position with absolute authority. Heavily influenced by Shinto and Bushido honour, respect and self sacrifice are the focus of the Combine's society, making the most respected members of society those enlisted in the military. It possesses one of the largest military forces in the Inner Sphere, however it was handicapped by strict and unforgiving traditions that severely limited military effectiveness until the Gunji-no-Kanrei (Deputy for Military Affairs) Theodore Kurita, the current heir, instigated extensive reforms.

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The Federated Suns (House Davion)
Founded: 2317
Total Inhabited Systems: 434
Current Ruler: First Prince Hanse Davion
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Languages: English (official), French, German
Though not quite as well funded as that of the Lyran Commonwealth the Federated Suns has an extremely well equipped and well trained military force. Although an inherited title like that of most of the successor states the position of First Prince is also the direct head of the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns and must have served five years of military service before being allowed to take the throne. The Federated Suns is arguably one of the more free states in the Inner Sphere incorporating strong regulations on its monarchy and having a representational monarchy similar to that of the 20th century United Kingdoms despite its heavy militarisation and martial focus. Currently politically united with the Lyran Commonwealth as part of the Federated Commonwealth.

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The Capellan Confederation (House Liao)
Founded: 2367
Total Inhabited Systems: Approx 150
Current Ruler: Chancellor Romano Liao
Government: Feudal Dictatorship/Meritocracy
Languages: Chinese (Mandarin, official), Chinese (Cantonese), Russian, English, Hindi
The Capellan Confederation has been in a state of decline for centuries and is now the second smallest Succesor State after their heavy losses during the Fourth Succession War. Although societally strong and with an effective military force House Liao has been plagued by mental illness for generations and the current Chancellor Romano Liao, though competent, is thought to be no exception to this rule. The Capellan Confederation is unusual in the inner sphere in its civil life, with the earning of citizenship through contribution to society creating a strong sense of personal responsibility and dedication to promoting the good of the society over that of the individual. Similairly the Confederation is unusual in its military organisations, the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces consisting of small cohesive units with a focus on command at the regimental, rather than strategic, level. The Capellan Confederation also uses Mercenaries more than any other state, which is reflected in the existence of loyal mercenary like orders that form the elite of their armed forces.

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The Free Worlds League (House Marik)
Founded: 2271
Total Inhabited Systems: 330+
Current Ruler: Captain-General Thomas Marik
Government: Democracy/Dictatorship/Miscellaneous
Languages: English, Chinese, Hindi
Often mistaken for a representative democracy, The Free Worlds League is only democratic on a large scale, although some of the provinces that it incorporates are democratic many are either dictatorships, oligarchies or monarchies. Although for centuries there was a balance of power between the Captain-General (an inherited House Marik title heading the military) and the Parliament (the collective elected speakers for each of the Leagues provinces) in recent years more and more power has gone towards the Captain-General, with the Internal Emergency Act of 3030 removing much of the autonomy of the Leagues states and essentially granting complete veto power over the parliament to the Captain-General. However the current Captain-General has shown little interest in power other than in using it to preserve the League. Its nature makes it the most diverse of all the successor states and most prone to internal strife, yet it remains one of the most successful economically and in size.

Minor Factions:

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Shortly before the collapse of the Star League Jerome Blake founded ComStar, an organisation dedicated to repairing and operating the Hyperpulse Generator Communications Network, the system that enabled faster than light communications between the colonies of man, severely damaged during the Amaris coup.

When the Star League collapsed Blake was able to use ComStars control over this network to garuantee the neutrality of Terra, now under the control of ComStar and to create a universal currency for the Inner Sphere known as the ComStar Letter of Credit, commonly called the C-Bill.

ComStars control over interplanetary communications and banking has made them a powerful, semi-religious organisation in the centuries since and although formally neutral they've been known to manipulate the Successor States in war and peace in an attempt to keep the currently profitable and stable balance of the Inner Sphere.

Mercenary organisations play a significant role in the Inner Sphere, often possessing armies larger than most worlds are capable of fielding, and in some cases in possession of worlds themselves. In times of war they form a part of any of the successor states fighting forces and in times of peace piracy and the petty wars of smaller planets provide no shortage of work.

Bandits and Pirates:
At the wild boarders of the Inner Sphere, or on worlds where poverty and anarchy have taken hold there is no shortage of organised, violent crime. These groups can range from small collections of thieves and thugs, right up to highly organised and efficient organisations fielding their own ships and mechs and in some cases even controlling smaller worlds. Though the line between bandit and mercenary is often blurred its often mercenary organizations that are hired to deal with these threats.

Periphery States:
Outside the regions occupied by the major nations (called the Inner Sphere) are the Periphery States. Although significantly smaller and less economically developed than the Inner Sphere nations the periphery states are far from irrelevent, some encompassing as many as fifty solar systems. Periphary states range from vast stable nations such as the Magistracy of Canopus, Taurian Concordat and Outworlds Alliance to smaller nations occupying around a dozen worlds like the Marian Hegemony and Oberon Confederation to minor powers only occupying a few or even just a single world. Piracy is rife and conflict frequent in the periphery, giving the periphery states a reputation of savagery and primitive society, one which is not always accurate.

The Clans:
When Kerensky left the Inner Sphere along with the great majority of the SLDF after the collapse of the Star League his roaming fleet would eventually settle a small cluster of worlds and develop their own unique societies, heavily influenced by their strong military and scientific population. Vanished for almost three hundred years and presumed dead they're not a part of the politics and warfare of the Inner Sphere in 3049. 3050 however is another matter altogether.


2086 - 2315 The Rise and Fall of the Terran Alliance:

Towards the end of the 21st century mankind had united under a single world government, known as the Terran Alliance and had begun to spread to the stars. Plagued by internal corruption and difficulties controlling their far off colonies the Terran Alliance collapsed and in 2242 withdrew all its military and government personnel from all but a handful of colonies, leaving the vast majority of worlds to fend for themselves. It would almost a century before it expanded again under the leadership of James McKenna to form the Terran Hegemony. However it would be several hundred years more before Terra would rule anything but a fraction of known space.

2570 – 2780 The Rise and Fall of the Star League:

Formed in 2570AD the Star League was a united government incorporating the great houses of the Inner Sphere and headed by the then Terran Hegemony. Lasting for just over two hundred years it was the peak of humanity, a period of technological advancement, peace and prosperity not seen before or since.

However being formed from several different independent empires it was plagued by constant diplomatic disputes and petty infighting, which would prove its ultimate downfall. In 2751 the First Lord Simon Cameron died, his successor, his son Richard Cameron the Second was only eight years old and as such the five leaders of the great houses elected Aleksandr Kerensky, the head of the Star League Defense Force as his Regent and Protector.

Unfortunately this period of weakened rulership allowed the five lords of the great houses to impose greater taxation on the 'periphery worlds', worlds outside of the area occupied by the great houses known as the Inner Sphere. This resulted in increased conflict in the areas, resulting in a drawing out of the SLDF forces to the periphery.

Unbeknownst to the young monarch the situation was engineered by Stefan Amaris, a leader of the (seemingly) pro-Star League Rim Worlds Republic in the Periphery. Fearing that the great houses were using their tax revenue to incraese their individual armies whilst the SLDF was occupied in the periphery Richard accepted an offer by Stefan Amaris, then one of his closest advisers, for reinforcements from the Rim Worlds Republic.

In 2765, with the Terran Hegomony occupied by their Rim Worlds 'reinforcements', the 22 year old First Lord of the Star League was assassinated in a bloody coup by Stefan Amaris and his Rim Worlds Republic forces as they seized control of the star league.

What followed would be one of the bloodiest wars of human history. It took twelve years for Aleksandr Kerensky and the SLDF forces to fight their way in from the periphery to Terra and another two years of bloody fighting and a hundred million dead before Terra itself fell to the SLDF and Amaris was killed.

Destabalised by the murder of the entire Cameron bloodline and years of war the Star League quickly collapsed into conflict, with each of the leaders of the five great houses claiming to be the rightful successor for the position of First Lord.

As the Star League collapsed completely Kerensky gathered the vast majority of the Star League Defence Force personnel and hardware and lead the Great Exodus, leaving the inner sphere and vanishing.

What followed was three hundred years of almost constant war. Entire planets were wiped out by war or simply the collapse of trade and the vast majority of the Star Leagues technological advancements were lost or rendered unreproducible. The four major wars of this period are known as the “Successor Wars”. The First Successor War was the collapse of the Star League as the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere vied for dominance, the second, beginning in 2830 and lasting for three and a half decades was the most disastrous, the vast damage done resulting in a massive loss of life and technological and manufacturing knowledge, principal of which was the loss of the ability to produce new machinery for faster than light communications and travel, making existing ships and Hyperpulse Generators irreplaceable. Although the Third Succesion lasted for over half a century it was far less devastating as the great houses were vastly less capable of waging war after the massive loss to life and infrastructure.

3028 - 3030 The Fourth Succession War:

Despite the considerable blood shed and damage done in the first three succession wars none of the houses had managed to make much headway, though borders had shifted they were largely unchanged.

This would finally change in the Fourth Succession War, which started in 3028 and although only lasting two years changed the face of the inner sphere drastically. The origin of the Fourth Succession war lies in an agreement six years earlier when Federated Suns First Prince, Hanse Davion signed an agreement with Lyran Commonwealth Archon, Katrina Steiner to merge their two nations with the marriage of Hanse Davion to Melissa Steiner, heir to the Lyran Commonwealth.

The war itself started in 3028, when Hanse Davion toasted his young wife at their wedding ceremony, in front of the gathered leaders of the five Inner Spheres nations, by saying "My dear... I give you the Capellan Confederation.", formally declaring the war begun in secret the day before to invade the Capellan Confederation from two fronts in order to create a united border for their newly united nation.

What soon resulted was a war that embroiled all five of the successor states, with the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns, now in unity called the Federated Commonwealth on one side and the Draconis Combine, Free Worlds League and Capellan Confederation on the other.

Although the Federated Commonwealth would eventually be successful in their goal, seizing vast swathes of space in the centre of the inner sphere from all three of the opposing states, it was at great cost.

The Cappelan Confederation lost the most worlds, many of which were large colonies and important manufacturing bases, both to the Federated Commonwealth and to the small break away state of the St. Ives Compact, which placed itself under Federated Commonwealth protection.

The Draconis Combine lost many of its worlds to the Lyran Commonwealth who waged war along their shared border with the aid of insurgents from an area called Rasalhague, a region that was primarily scandinavian in ethnicity conquered by the Draconis Combine in the 2300's. After the succession war both the Draconis Combine and the Lyran Commonwealth withdrew from their occupied planets in this are, creating the Free Rasalhague Republic.

Although largely uninvolved in the war the Free Worlds Republic lost a handful of planets to the Titkonov Free Republic, a small state consisting of ex-Capellan Confederation planets which jumped ship to the Federated Suns early in the war in a surprise attack and never regained them.

Now - 3049

Although there has been no major outbreaks of warfare between the Successor States since the end of the Fourth Succession War there is still no shortage of border conflict and posturing between the Great Houses and no shortage of bloodshed and glory for those who serve them. On the horizon however is a new threat, unbeknownst to the Inner Sphere the descendants of the Great Exodus, technologically advanced and eager for battle, are gathering for their return, one which will bring with it fire and blood to a hundred worlds.


Mechs are the keystone of the Successor States armies. Although often working in cooperation with tanks, infantry, naval, air and space support mechs have been the principal fighting force for the last six hundred years. Heavy plates of advanced materials built over artificial muscles called “myomers” and powered by nuclear fusion engines they are not only powerful weapons of war, but a costly monetary investment by those fielding them in any class size.

New mech designs are few and far between, very few have been developed since the fall of the Star League (though many have been 'rediscovered') and those that have been are for the most part simply old designs modified in simple ways. Like most advanced technology the development and understanding of mech production has been stalled for centuries.

A technology almost a thousand years old by the thirtieth century Jumpships are capable of almost instantaneous travel between star systems, though the complexity and limitations of their designs mean they're incapable of much else and carry 'Dropships' to move people and cargo inside solar systems. All trade, travel and warfare requires the use of Jumpships and the technology for their manufacture is mostly lost in 3049, making each one immensely valuable, though there are tens of thousands in operation.

Faster than Light Communication:
FTL communications is only possible through the use of ComStars Hyperpulse Generator Communications Network, as such all military actions, trade deals and personal information travels through ComStar, making them the most important and influential organisation in the Inner Sphere.

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Want to know more?

Sarna.net is the BattleTech/MechWarrior wiki, a good place to start is here:

Want to know every minute detail about how mechs work? Look here:

For a more detailed timeline and a list of every major faction, including mercenary units, bandit organizations and periphery states see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Inner Sphere:

Edited by Mahws, 25 October 2013 - 06:53 PM.

#2 belakor502


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 06:31 AM

Does anybody know if bandits and pirates will play any role in MW:O? I would just love to be one of the bad ones :D.

#3 Jaroth Corbett


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 06:42 AM

I guess the lone wolves could be bandits/pirates.

#4 Mar Helmer


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 06:51 AM

Can someone please sticky this? It's one of the critically important newbie threads that lower the very high barriers to entry on these forums.

#5 Faenwulf


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 06:59 AM

Very nicely done, although I'm more or less a beginner on BattleTech history, too.

Nonetheless, this should be stickied! Very good help for new players to find their way around the vast spaces of Sarna and BattleTech Lore.

#6 Teralitha


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:14 AM

""Theodore Kurita, the current heir, instigated extensive reforms.""

Hence the rebellion of Jurai against House Kurita.

#7 Jaroth Corbett


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:20 AM

Forgot to mention, good job OP. I will see if there is anything that needs adding, but it looks complete at a quick glance.

#8 Easily


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:00 AM

Good writeup!
I'm confident this will benefit a lot of people.

This ought to be stickied.

#9 Hobo Dan


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:04 AM

Very nice!

#10 Atlas3060


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:13 AM

Very nice write up, I'm adding your thread as a link to my guide to this great gaming universe.

#11 Kass Dixon


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:16 AM

Indeed! Well done.

Especially good for newcomers or those who only know the universe as presented in previous video games, since those are only snapshots (and much later in the history).

#12 Kazzamo


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:22 AM

Since it's 3049 shouldn't the Steiner leader be Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion? She took lead in 3039.

#13 Yukichi Fukuzawa


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:25 AM

Nice. Thank you for the short history compilation. Not too long for people who want just a slight introduction.

#14 Merrik Stryfe


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:33 AM

I think I'm in love. This is exactly the kind of primer I've been looking for. Thank you so much!!

EDIT: And I second the sticky motion, this is an invaluble resource for new players trying to join the community.

Edited by Merrik Stryfe, 12 June 2012 - 08:35 AM.

#15 Maurice


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:34 AM

Very good

#16 Okami O


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:35 AM

Fantastic introduction! It is really nice to be back in the "classic" battletech universe that I loved so much when I was a kid. Thanks for your hard work in putting this together!

#17 Dorirond


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:41 AM

A very good and informative post nicely done :D

#18 Mech Wrench


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:54 AM

I've been keeping my eye out for a short read to explain the history, thanks!

#19 Vikkus


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:06 AM

Very nice :D

#20 Pht


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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:14 AM

Nice work Mahws :(

Also - http://mwomercs.com/...y-an-education/

You might throw this link into your first post; It was created for the same reason your first post was.

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