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> What is BattleTech?, A 31st Century Primer
post Dec 15 2005, 10:08 PM
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In the 31st century, war has broken out across the known universe, called the Inner Sphere. Due to the nature of life, many compare these times to the Middle Ages. Five great houses battle for territory, resources, and life itself in a feudalistic society of honorable knights and knavish politicians.

Foremost among the weapons used in this struggle are BattleMechs. Loaded with autocannons, missile launchers, lasers, and charged-particle beam weapons, these fusion-powered war machines of articulated armor stand upward of ten meters high. Piloting them are MechWarriors, the best, most intensively trained men and women available. Like the armored knights of an earlier age, MechWarriors are popular heroes, and their exploits are the stuff of legends. Whether they fight for their living as mercenaries, or for their life on the gladiatorial world of Solaris VII, they are the kings of the battlefield.

Part in truth, part in jest, the slogan for the times is summed up aptly by the advertising slogan by the Irian BattleMech Ltd manufacturing plant:

"Life is cheap, but BattleMechs are expensive."


The year: 3068
The location: The Milky Way Galaxy

Mankind has colonized deep space. The young states of the Inner Sphere - a collection of worlds centered around Terra, the birthplace of man - are comprised of hundreds of worlds and overseen by five Great Houses. The Inner Sphere has seen virtually nothing but conflict and division since the collapse of the original body which served to unify it - the Star League - centuries ago. It was long believed that nothing could again unify the Inner Sphere, except the eventual victory of one of the Great Houses - but no one foretold the coming of the Clans.

The Great Houses of the Inner Sphere are:

The Draconis Combine - ruled by House Kurita
The Lyran Alliance - ruled by House Steiner
The Federated Commonwealth - ruled by House Davion
The Free Worlds League - ruled by House Marik
The Capellan Confederation - ruled by House Liao

There is also ComStar, a powerful organization which controlled the flow of information and technology across the vastness of space for more than two hundred years. Fielding one of the most powerful armies in the Inner Sphere, ComStar was the sworn defender of Terra and its interests.

The Star League was the original unifying body of the Inner Sphere. Wracked by civil war, its death blow came when its ranking military commander, General Alexsandr Kerenksy, in an effort to save the Inner Sphere from endless warfare, took the majority of the Star League military on a supposedly one-way exodus into unexplored space. It was Kerensky's plan to find a new home for his people and forge a new society based on the glorified tenants of the Star League. His plan, however, was destined for failure.

Despite Kerensky's intentions by fleeing with the bulk of the experienced military, peace did not come so easily. Seeing an opportunity, the remaining lords of the five Great Houses used what remained of their personal armies to begin the cycle of war that would last until the present day.

The Clans

Kerensky's Exodus took he and his followers far beyond the edges of known space to a desolate corner of space where living was hard, and the abundant resources of the Inner Sphere a persistent memory. Due to the harsh conditions and the martial nature of those who came with Kerensky, his Utopia was not to be. Instead, a society formed based around a belief in a warrior's superiority and where the philosophy of survival of the fittest came to dominate even the most mundane elements of daily life.

The idealistic wanderers who left the Inner Sphere, looking for a society of peace, instead fractured into dozens of rival "clans", each named for various fierce animals and beasts either found on the new worlds they inhabited or imported from the Inner Sphere. For centuries, the Clans Wolf, Diamond Shark, Jade Falcon, Ghost Bear, Nova Cat, Smoke Jaguar and others struggled against each other and against themselves in preparation for the day when they would return to the Inner Sphere and attempt to reclaim it, out of a near-religious belief that it was their birthright. The Clans weild incredibly advanced battlefield technology and employ advanced tactics which give them an incredible edge over their Inner Sphere counterparts. The Clans are bound by rigid codes of honor and caste systems which define the structure of their society.


The art of warfare was forever changed with the advent of BattleMechs at the dawn of the 25th century. These ten-meter walking tanks were nearly unstoppable, crashing through the ranks of infantry, unloading lethal weapons faster than any artillery, and leaving trails of destruction in their wakes. An entire battalion of soldiers could be replaced by one pilot in one of these war machines.

The Age of War

Following the exodus of Kerensky, and the fall of the Star League, the Houses of the Inner Sphere sacrificed their youth upon the altar of greed, in a struggle for resources and territory. Far from making the Inner Sphere stronger, strife between Houses cost the Inner Sphere irreplaceable technology and generations of leaders. For almost 300 years, the guns were rarely quiet.

And then, in 3050, on a cold barren rock in the Periphery, everything changed. The descendants of Kerensky and his soldiers came roaring back to retake the Inner Sphere. They no longer called themselves battalions and divisions. Now, they were called the Clans. They cloaked themselves with the names of fierce animals, and they had everything the Inner Sphere had lost - technology, training, and unity of purpose.

Or so it seemed. In truth, the Clans were divided almost as bitterly as their Inner Sphere cousins. Some, like Clan Smoke Jaguar, were brutal aggressors. Others, like Clan Wolf, looked for a more diplomatic solution than war. Nonetheless, all the Clans fought with fierce determination and success.

Eventually, the Inner Sphere hardened itself for war. After a brief cease fire, the Clans returned to the battlefield, where they found a more powerful and more unified opponent. The battles raged from planet to planet, until the Clans announced their ultimate target:


The cradle of humanity.

Until this time, ComStar had claimed neutrality in the conflict. But now, the Clans were threatening the homeworld. They could claim neutrality no longer. Meeting the Clans with ComStar's fiercest forces, on the planet of Tukayyid, many brave warriors were lost in that engagement, but their deaths were not in vain. The battle was won - to the Inner Sphere.

A brittle peace was earned. For fifteen years, the Clans and the Inner Sphere have sworn to honor the truce of Tukayyid - but no one believes it will last that long. The hunger for battle and destruction grows like a cancer inside humanity, in the hearts of Clan and House alike.

Even now, House Kurita girds to retake the worlds it lost to the Smoke Jaguars, and House Steiner prepares to meet the Jade Falcons with no quarter given. The Word of Blake has declared a jihad against all the planets of the Inner Sphere, making the galaxy an even darker place. Again, we are at war...

For more information, visit Classic BattleTech.com
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