BattleTech

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20 Year Anniversary of BattleTech logo

BattleTech (MechWarrior) is a science-fiction board game (wargame) (designed by FASA in 1984) which simulates warfare in the distant future of the 31st century, where humans battle in gigantic walking machines powered by fusion reactors (known as BattleMechs), tanks, spaceships and other aircraft, wielding weapons such as lasers, particle projection cannons (PPCs), Gauss rifles and autocannon. As the game and related stories are centered around the BattleMechs and warfare, it can be considered a type of a military space opera. BattleTech was originally released under the name BattleDroids, but was renamed with the release of the second edition due to George Lucas holding a trademark on the term droid. Battletech has won three Origins Awards and its various spinoffs and expansions several more.

A role playing game, called MechWarrior was released soon after the BattleTech wargame's second edition. Several computer, Xbox and forum games have been based off the game, as well as a collectible card game, a collectible miniature-based wargame, a animated television series, and more than 70 novels.

After FASA ceased active operations, the rights to BattleTech were sold to WizKids, a game company founded by Jordan K. Weisman (one of BattleTech's creators). A new tabletop strategy game in the BattleTech universe, known as MechWarrior: Dark Age, was released in 2002 using three-dimensional, painted models that use the same "Clix" system as Mage Knight. The Clix system uses combat and heat dials built into the base of the models that quantify each Battlemechs attack/defense and performance capabilities. A timeline jump accompanied the release of MechWarrior: Dark Age; the original BattleTech, now known as Classic BattleTech, has been licensed by WizKids to FanPro, who continue to release rules updates, sourcebooks, and other new material set in the original era.

While the sourcebooks do contain some storyline information, the focus for it is the novel line. More than seventy full-length BattleTech or MechWarrior novels have been published (originally by FASA, currently by Penguin Books) and translated into at least fifteen languages. The last FASA novel was Loren L. Coleman's Endgame in 2002, which wrapped up plotlines and character arcs dating back to the original novels beginning in 1986. The novels then jumped ahead timewise to accompany MechWarrior: Dark Age, with Michael A. Stackpole's Ghost War. It wasn't until mid-2005 that this story gap between Classic BattleTech and MechWarrior: Dark Age began to be filled, both by FanPro's sourcebook line beginning with Dawn of the Jihad and by serials offered by BattleCorps.

The computer and Xbox games for the most part bear the same name as the role playing game: MechWarrior. Those game are mostly 'Mech simulation/first person shooter games, with two real time strategy games under the title MechCommander. There also are fan-created mods that transform non-BattleTech real time strategy computer games into BattleTech games. An unofficial, online, open source version of the BattleTech game, MegaMek, has been created. It is licensed under GPL. Currently, all level 1 ("basic") and nearly all level 2 ("standard") BattleTech rules and technology are working. Even some level 3 ("optional") rules have been added. There is also a similar real-time, online/open source BattleTech game called Battletech:The Frontier Lands, which features a massive selection of units and technologies.

An estimated twenty-five million people have played a BattleTech or MechWarrior game or read a BattleTech or MechWarrior novel, and at least ten million people have played the BattleTech computer games. More than eleven million copies of MechWarrior PC games and a similar number of MechWarrior: Dark Age Collectable Miniatures Game figures have been sold to date. Over three hundred and fifty different BattleTech/MechWarrior game and toy products have been produced to date; several products, such as the Technical Readout series, the core rulebook and base box set, have been in continuous print (in on form or another) since publication. More than five thousand World Wide Web pages have been created to date by the online BattleTech community.

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Battlemechs from cover of the book The Legend of the Jade Phoenix by Robert Thurston, art by Fred Gambino
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Battlemechs from cover of the book Patriots and Tyrants by Loren L. Coleman, art by Fred Gambino
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Battlemechs from cover of the book Storms of Fate by Loren L. Coleman, art by Fred Gambino
Contents

Political Entities of BattleTech

BattleTech's universe is comprised of numerous interstellar human governments; these remnants of the effectively defunct Star League are fighting a war over control of the Inner Sphere and five Successor States.

  • Inner Sphere: Primarily dominated by the five Successor States and the Great Houses that rule them, the Inner Sphere has always been the heart of the BattleTech Universe.
    • Major Political Factions
    • Minor Political Factions
      • ComStar is a powerful semi-religious order which controlled Terra from the end of the Star League until after the Clan invasion. ComStar (which claims to be a neutral power) maintained a near-perfect monopoly over faster-than-light ("FTL") communication (through their control of HyperPulse Generators) ("HPG") until the Word of Blake schism.
      • Word of Blake is a radical splinter group of ComStar, formed after the death of Primus Myndo Waterly. Conquered Terra in 3058.
        • Initiated a massive interstellar Jihad in 3067, eventually leading directly to the founding of the Republic of the Sphere. This Jihad marks the ending of the Classic Battletech storyline and the start of the MechWarrior: Dark Age storyline.
      • Rasalhague Dominion
        • Formerly the Free Rasalhague Republic (FRR) and Ghost Bear occupation zone.
      • St. Ives Compact
        • Short-lived breakaway state from the Capellan Confederation, created after the 4th Succession War, absorbed back into the Confederation in 3062, following a brief war.
      • Terran Hegemony
        • The first star-spanning government, ended with the fall of the Star League.
      • Republic of the Sphere
        • Formed from the ashes of the Word of Blake Jihad. After defeating the Word of Blake forces, Devlin Stone took control all worlds within 120 light years of Terra in his effort to once and for all end the legacy of the succession wars. The collapse of the HPG grid in 3132 -- creating a virtual blackout of instantaneous intersteller communications -- lead to the Dark Age and the splintering of the Republic into several factions including:
          • Bannson's Raiders: Mercenary unit funded by the politically ambitious and ultra-wealthy businessman Jacob Bannson. Possibly might fold into House Liao.
          • Dragon's Fury: Draconis Combine allied faction.
          • Highlanders: Republic planetary defense and former mercenary unit. Possibly might fold back into Republic military.
          • Swordsworn: Federated Suns allied faction.
          • Spirit Cats: Clan Nova Cat allied faction.
          • Stormhammers: Lyran Commonwealth allied faction.
          • Steel Wolves: Clan Wolf allied faction.
  • The Clans: Formed after Aleksandr Kerensky took the majority of the Star League Army into exile. They were formed originally to prevent the factionalism that had caused the disintegration of the Star League and later they became the genetically enhanced and artificially-birthed warriors known today. Several Clans returned to the Inner Sphere as would-be conquerors in the late 3040s, and those that did still remain there. Some hone their skills and plan once again to drive towards Terra, the seat of the fallen Star League and the birthplace of humanity. Kerensky christened 20 original Clans, although many have fallen over the centuries and only 14 exist or are still considered 'Clan' in their present form.
  • The Periphery: Surrounding the Inner Sphere are a number of independent nations, known collectively as the Periphery. Some colonized even before the time of the Star League, these nations range from single independent planets, minor merchant alliances and pirate havens all the way up to major nations rivaling the Successor States themselves in power.
    • Circinus Federation (pirate kingdom, sided with the Word of Blake to stave of an invasion by the Marian Hegemony but were subsequently annihilated during the Jihad)
    • Elysian Fields (conquered by the Clans during their invasion)
    • Fiefdom of Randis
    • Filtvelt Coalition (Became independent from the Federated Suns during or after the Word of Blake Jihad. Little canon information has yet been published about this state)
    • Greater Valkyrate (Pirate kingdom conquered by the Clans during their invasion in 3050)
    • Lothian League (minor periphery state conquered by the Marian Hegemony in 3063)
    • Magistracy of Canopus (major periphery state. Allied with the Capellan Confederation)
    • Marian Hegemony (former bandit kingdom turned minor state. Noted for it's adoption of an Imperial Roman social model)
    • Mica Majority (minor collection of atmospherically domed colonies)
    • Niops Association (tiny collection of secular, isolationist colonies)
    • Oberon Confederation (conquered by the Clans during their invasion)
    • Outworlds Alliance (peacefully merged with Clan Snow Raven and renamed the Raven Alliance in the late 3060s-early 3070s)
    • Rim Collection(survivor state of the Rim Worlds Republic)
    • Rim Territories
    • Taurian Concordat
    • Tortuga Dominions (A Pirates Haven several light years away from the Inner Sphere)

Technology of BattleTech

Notable Battletech artists, designers, and writers

See also

External links

Official Sites

Unofficial Games Games

Game Information

Fan Sites

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