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In the fictional BattleTech universe, the Clans are a warrior-based civilization founded by the self-exiled remnants of the Star League Defense Force, who were led by their founder General Aleksandr Kerensky into the Deep Periphery to flee the collapse of the Star League. There they evolved into an extremely aggressive and warlike society, founded on selective breeding and ritualized warfare, and dedicated to one day returning to former Star League space and reuniting humanity - which they first attempted in a massive invasion 250 years after their initial exodus.
- 1 History
- 2 List of clans
- 2.1 Clan Blood Spirit
- 2.2 Clan Burrock
- 2.3 Clan Cloud Cobra
- 2.4 Clan Coyote
- 2.5 Clan Diamond Shark
- 2.6 Clan Fire Mandrill
- 2.7 Clan Ghost Bear
- 2.8 Clan Goliath Scorpion
- 2.9 Clan Hell's Horses
- 2.10 Clan Ice Hellion
- 2.11 Clan Jade Falcon
- 2.12 Clan Jade Wolf
- 2.13 Clan Mongoose
- 2.14 Clan Nova Cat
- 2.15 Clan Sea Fox
- 2.16 Clan Smoke Jaguar
- 2.17 Clan Snow Raven
- 2.18 Clan Star Adder
- 2.19 Clan Steel Viper
- 2.20 Clan Widowmaker
- 2.21 Clan Wolf
- 2.22 Clan Wolf-in-Exile
- 2.23 Clan Wolverine
- 3 Culture
- 4 Ranks
- 5 References
The origins of the Clans are described as beginning with the fall of the Star League. The Star League, described as a utopian civilization spanning thousands of human-colonized star systems, is depicted as dissolving as a result of the assassination of its hereditary ruler, First Lord Richard Cameron, and a subsequent coup d'état. The resulting war left the military arm of the Star League, the Star League Defense Force ("SLDF"), caught between the various noble houses of the Inner Sphere vying for control of the disintegrated Star League. Instead of participating in these conflicts, SLDF General Aleksandr Kerensky chose to depart from the Inner Sphere and known space in year 2784 of the BattleTech timeline, leading most of the Star League Defense Force and their families beyond the borders of the Periphery (the edge of known space in the BattleTech universe).
The long journey of Kerensky and his followers is termed "the Exodus" and ends with the discovery of five marginally habitable worlds depicted as being located deep within the Milky Way galaxy, termed "the Pentagon Worlds". However, the former-SLDF quickly found itself ill-suited to the task of colonization. With too many soldiers and too few support personnel, General Kerensky decided to discharge most of his military personnel from service. In order to determine who would be discharged and who would remain under arms, General Kerensky set up a series of challenges and war-games. The top performers were kept on as professional military personnel and the rest were discharged as civilians. These contests foreshadow the ritualized warfare of the Clan society depicted in much of the BattleTech fiction.
Nevertheless, the society of the Pentagon Worlds is depicted as falling prey to the same infighting that had torn apart the Star League, forcing Aleksandr's son Nicholas Kerensky to conduct a "Second Exodus" in 2801 to a nearby star cluster with a handful of military personnel and dedicated followers. Nicholas' followers eventually settled on a planet that his mother, Katya Kerensky, named Strana Mechty (described in-universe as Russian for "Land of Dreams"). Nicholas is depicted as having used this planet as a base to build up an invasion force to retake the Pentagon Worlds and, in so doing, completely rebuilt his followers' society to create "the Clans". The actual formation of the Clans is described as resulting from the distribution of 800 warriors still loyal to the Kerenskys and 600 civilian families evenly among 20 newly founded Clans. Notably, Nicholas is described as instituting a eugenics program, whereby each warrior became the progenitor of a "bloodname" and "bloodline", thereby contributing his or her genes to a Clan-wide artificial breeding program. The products of this system form the backbone of the Clan military. Additionally, the Clans are depicted as having developed a caste-system with these genetically-enhanced soldiers placed at the top, and beneath them various scientist, merchant, technician and laborer castes. In the BattleTech lore, Nicholas spent years training his warriors and then returned to the Pentagon Worlds with his Clans and retook them from their inhabitants, who in that time had been reduced to banditry, cultism, and savagery. After the successful reconquest of the Pentagon Worlds in 2822, known as Operation Klondike, they once again formed the core of the Clan Homeworlds, but Strana Mechty remained the capital planet.
Over the next two centuries following the Exodus era (2784-2822), the Clans are described as gradually increasing in strength, colonizing new worlds, and developing new technologies. Clan history after this point generally divides into two eras, each lasting roughly a century: the "Golden Century" from 2822 to 2947, when Clan colonization, industrialization, and technological innovation grew by leaps and bounds, and the "Political Century" from 2947 to 3049, by which time the Clans had colonized the Kerensky Cluster to its saturation point and they began to heavily compete with each other over the limited resources of the area. Their environment of the Clan Homeworlds was and remains a harsh one. The "Kerensky Cluster", which formed the core of their space, is many jumps worth of jump drive travel from the Inner Sphere, and is represented as being totally cut off from it. The borders of the Inner Sphere (the former maximum extent of the old Star League) are roughly a 500 light-year radius around Terra, yet the Kerensky Cluster is stated to be 1300 light years distant from Terra (thus 800 light years away from the borders of known space). Even the ships of the original Exodus, using peak Star League technology, took over a year to travel between the Inner Sphere and what would become the Clan Homeworlds.
Depicted as a means to reduce collateral damage to their fragile and limited infrastructure, soon after their founding the Clans developed rules of ritualized combat and warfare to avoid damaging vital resources and harming civilians. These rules are a key feature of BattleTech lore. The most important aspect of Clan combat doctrine is that they prefer to fight one-on-one duels, and actually disdain attacking numerically inferior enemies as dishonorable. Indeed, important political debates within the Clans are often settled by formal duels between two champions. Political conflicts which in the Inner Sphere would be settled with open warfare are typically decided among the Clans by selecting two champions to represent each army, like two knights serving as champions on an ancient battlefield.
During the Political century leading up to the first Clan Invasion of the Inner Sphere in 3049, a great debate arose within the Clans about how to approach their conquests. The faction known as Crusaders felt that they should conquer the constantly squabbling Inner Sphere for the good of the Clans, while the faction known as Wardens wanted to uphold Kerensky's original vision of conquering the Successor States of the Inner Sphere so that they might reunify them, for the good of all humanity, into a new Star League. These were not two rival groups of Clans, however, as a single Clan might be internally divided between Crusaders and Wardens. Certain Clans, however, were noted as heavily skewing towards one or the other, such as the Crusader-dominated Jade Falcons and the Warden-dominated Wolves.
The First Clan Invasion (3049-3052)
In year 3049 of the BattleTech timeline, the Clans finally returned to conquer the Inner Sphere after two and a half centuries of expansion, preparation, and planning. The Clan codename for the assault was Operation Revival.
Unfortunately, when the Clans attempted to invade the Inner Sphere centuries after their exodus, these rules of engagement had become so thoroughly pervasive in their culture and so heavily indoctrinated into their warriors that they continued to apply them against the Successor States - who felt no compunction to reciprocate. While the first Clan invasion was devastating, the Successor States eventually rallied when they realized that Clan mech pilots are extremely inexperienced with fighting multiple enemies at once. While the Clans often possessed more advanced technology and better-trained warriors than the Successor States, concentrated attacks using disproportionately massed numbers of technically inferior units proved effective at overwhelming them. Essentially, the Clans approached large-scale warfare with the same mentality of a large-scale duel, with each unit only attacking a single enemy at a time. Moreover, the Clans had little experience with total war tactics, such as destroying the enemy's heavy infrastructure and technology centers. Infrastructure was so fragile and scarce in the Kerensky Cluster that it was forbidden to directly attack it - instead major factories or mines were awarded as prizes to the victors of a conflict. The Successor States began to employ Scorched earth tactics to great effect, destroying heavy infrastructure on frontline planets instead of letting it fall into the hands of the Clans. In time, they employed a full Fabian strategy to bring the Clan invasion to a crawl, sending lightning raids against worlds in the Clan invasion corridor to destroy their infrastructure before withdrawing, as well as harassing Clan supply lines - another tactic the Clans had rarely relied on, as supply lines were not a viable target in their battle doctrine. As the Clans' hoped-for interstellar duel turned into attrition warfare, their offensives ground to a halt and the front lines of the Clan invasion corridor largely stabilized. After three years, the stage was set for the climax of the first Clan invasion at the Battle of Tukayyid in May 3052. The resulting Truce of Tukayyid established a fifteen year armistice between the invading Clans and the Successor States,
The defeat of the first Clan invasion demonstrated a serious disparity between ritualized Clan battle doctrine and the realities of total war in the Inner Sphere. That is not to say it completely invalidated Clan martial abilities: these rules, paired with the Clan breeding program, and a ruthless level of martial training, resulted in both an extremely warlike culture and superbly capable warriors. Individual Clan warriors can utterly dominate any forces fielded by the Successor States in one-on-one engagements. Their defeat did not change that, as the Successor States simply switched to using asymmetric warfare tactics. Nonetheless this started a major debate within the Clans, between those factions which felt they should adapt to warfare in the Successor States, and those who were determined to rigidly uphold their battle doctrine.
Invader Clans vs. Home Clans
In the two centuries between Operation Klondike and Operation Revival, the number of Clans had declined from 20 to 17. This was due to the Annihilation of Clan Wolverine in 2823, the Absorption of Clan Widowmaker by Clan Wolf in 2834, and the Absorption of Clan Mongoose in 2868.
When the decision to return to the Inner Sphere was first made, the Clans staged a round of Trials (duels) to determine which Clans would have the honor of taking part in the assault. The four Clans which won the right to take part in the invasion were Wolf, Jade Falcon, Ghost Bear, and Smoke Jaguar. However, three additional Clans were subsequently also added to the invasion as reserve forces - Steel Viper, Nova Cat, and Diamond Shark - bringing the number of invading Clans up to seven. This led to an increasing split between the seven "Invader Clans" and the ten "Home Clans" who had stayed behind in the Kerensky Cluster. The Home Clans became increasingly jealous not only of the glory the Invader Clans were reaping from their conquests, but the very real danger of the growing power of the Invaders from their conquests. The Clan Homeworlds are only marginally habitable, while the worlds of the Inner Sphere are rich (benefiting from many more centuries of terraforming), with dense concentrations of population and infrastructure. The result was that even the conquest of a small fraction of the Inner Sphere, in the Clan Occupation Zone, gave the Invader Clans enough resources from their new powerbases to rival all of the Home Clans combined. For a time, the Invader Clans began to heavily dominate overall Clan politics, alienating the Home Clans even further.
Refusal War (3057-3058)
The Refusal War of 3057 began when Clan Jade Falcon fought Clan Wolf in a Trial of Refusal to determine if they should break the Truce of Tukayyid and renew the Clans' offensives against the Inner Sphere, which the Warden-dominated Wolves opposed. The Jade Falcons were at least partially motivated to break the truce due to the opportunity presented by the secession of the Lyran Alliance from the Federated Commonwealth that same year. The conflict seriously damaged the Clans' military strength in the Inner Sphere, practically exhausting both sides and resulting in only a pyrrhic victory for the Jade Falcons (and a short-lived one at that). The Refusal War also resulted in the deaths of major Wolf leaders Ulric and Natasha Kerensky at the hands of the Jade Falcons.
The Jade Falcons were able to defeat the Wolves and then attempted to purge it of all Warden warriors, leaving only a Jade Falcon puppet-state of the surviving minority of Crusader Wolves, which they shaped into their own image as "Clan Jade Wolf". However, a small but significant number of the Warden-wolves escaped destruction and fled to the Lyran Alliance, uniting against their shared Jade Falcon enemies. The Warden-wolves formally split off from the Jade Falcon-dominated Wolves and officially declared themselves to be a new Clan, "Wolf-in-Exile", and the legitimate successors of the original Clan Wolf. The Lyrans granted them joint rule of one-half of the planet Arc-Royal: a far cry from the large invasion corridor they once controlled), but enough to inspire resistance against the Jade Falcons. The Jade Falcons' success was indeed short-lived: barely 19 days after the creation of "Clan Jade Wolf", its leader Vlad Ward assassinated the ruling (and Jade Falcon-backed) ilKhan of the Clans in January 3058, overthrew Jade Falcon domination, and declared his faction to be "Clan Wolf" once again. The new "Clan Wolf", while removed from Jade Falcon influence, was still dominated mostly by the surviving Crusader Wolves. A shadow of its former self, it still controlled most of the original Clan Wolf population and territory. In contrast, the Warden-dominated Clan Wolf-in-Exile (despite only controlling half of one planet) still maintained that it, and not Ward's faction, was the true successor to the original Clan Wolf. Technically Clan Wolf-in-Exile was Abjured by the other Clans at the time, but its continued existence created a complicated political situation.
Great Refusal (3060)
Ironically, given that the goal of the Wardens was to rebuild the Star League, the renewed Clan aggression directly led to the creation of the Second Star League in 3058. The Successor States put aside their differences to focus on presented a united front against the threat of the Clans - even the Lyran Alliance and Federated Suns put their internal conflicts on hold, despite the fact that the Lyrans were attempting to secede from the joint Lyran/Federation Suns alliance known as the Federated Commonwealth. Clan Nova Cat saw the creation of a new Star League as the fulfillment of the Clans' destiny and stated mission, and actively sided with it in opposition to the other Invader Clans. In response, the other Clans officially Abjured the Nova Cats, formally throwing them out of the Clans, but they took up residence within the Draconis Combine.
The Second Star League then declared that they would force the Clans into a "Trial of Refusal" of their own (referencing the Clan custom of dueling over a political prize), a "Great Refusal" whereby they would defeat the champions of the Crusader Clans in the Inner Sphere, thus shocking the rest of the Clans into submission. The new Star League decided that the best way to do this was to target and destroy an entire invading Clan, and they singled out the Smoke Jaguars for destruction, in a campaign known as Operation Bulldog. The Warden Clans attempted to sit out the Great Refusal: their logic being that they came to the Inner Sphere to foster the creation of a new Star League, not destroy one when it appeared. The Wardens did not give up on the ultimate progress of the invasion, as they correctly anticipated that the Second Star League, formed by the unstable and mutually loathing Successor States, would soon simply collapse on its own. Thus the threat of the new Star League was met by the Crusader Clans. Unlike the other Warden Clans, however, the Nova Cats actively fought for the Second Star League against the Smoke Jaguars, who ultimately were completely destroyed in the assault. Afterwards the other Clans declared the Smoke Jaguars officially Annihilated and it formally ceased to exist.
At the end of the Great Refusal, forces of the Successor States launched a last-ditch mission aimed at Strana Mechty itself, and on arrival engaged in Trial-based duels, with the possibility of a new full-scale invasion hanging in the balance. They emerged victorious, however, forcing the Clans to agree to uphold the Truce and abandon the renewed invasion that the Jade Falcons had hoped for. At any rate, so many men and resources had been wasted in the Refusal War that the Jade Falcons and Wolves were in no condition for renewed offensives.
The losses suffered from the Great Refusal in 3060 threw the Clans into Chaos. Clan Smoke Jaguar had been destroyed and Clan Nova Cat was Abjured, resulting in a major power vacuum back on the Clan Homeworlds as Trials of Possession began over their former territories. Moreover, Clan Ghost Bear had begun transporting the entirety of its population from the Kerensky Cluster to the Inner Sphere, and after the defeat of the Great Refusal it formally merged with the planets in its occupation zone which had formerly constituted the Free Rasalhague Republic to form the Ghost Bear Dominion. The Home Clans Abjured it in response, which led to another round of Trials of Possession for the Ghost Bear territories in the homeworlds. The massive power vacuum created by the removal of three major Clans, as well as the significant losses taken by the other Invader Clans, would ultimately instigate the Clan Civil War in 3075.
FedCom Civil War (3062-3067) and Word of Blake Jihad (3067-3081)
While the Lyran Alliance had seceded from the Federated Commonwealth (FedCom) in 3057, any potential conflict was put on hold in the face of renewed aggression from Clan Jade Falcon. Once the external threat had abated, a full-scale civil war broke out in 3062 which lasted until 3067. The Federated Commonwealth itself had only existed de facto for two years from 3055 to 3057, when a marriage-alliance united the Lyran Commonwealth with the Federated Suns. The civil war was not really an attempt at Lyran independence, so much as it was Katherine Steiner-Davion attempting to use the Lyran Alliance as a powerbase in order to overthrow her brother Victor, and one day rule the entire Federated Commonwealth herself. Unfortunately the war ended in exhaustion: both Katherine and Victor abdicated and were succeeded by their younger siblings, who formally agreed to a peaceful secession by the Lyran Alliance and dissolution of FedCom in April 3067.
By late 3067 both Federated Suns and the Lyran Commonwealth withdrew from the Second Star League, which had been formed between the Successor States in 3058 to unite against the Clan Invasions, citing that they needed to focus on rebuilding their shattered core territories. The Capellan Confederation also withdrew from the League at this time for its own reasons. The Word of Blake, a fanatical religious fringe-movement within ComStar, was emboldened by the destabilization of two of the five great Successor States of the Inner Sphere and launched a Jihad to conquer known space six months later in October 3067. By late November 3067, after a vote of no-confidence by its few remaining members the Second Star League officially ceased to exist.
The Blakist forces concentrated around Terra, in the center of the Inner Sphere and five Successor States, established the "Word of Blake Protectorate" and began expanding outward from the center of inhabited space, in a Jihad lasting from 3067 to 3081. Due to this geography, the Blakist Protectorate mostly took territory away from the Draconis Combine, Free Worlds League, and Lyran Alliance. The collapse of the Second Star League only led to another round of warfare between the five Successor States, even as they were pressed by the Word of Blake Jihad: Federated Suns was attacked by both the Draconis Combine and Capellan Confederation, while the Lyran Alliance was attacked by the Free Worlds League.
While the Invader Clans had been exhausted after the Refusal War ended in 3060, the exhaustion of the Inner Sphere due to the FedCom Civil War, Word of Blake Jihad, and new round of petty fighting between the other Successor States emboldened the Clans to launch new offensives. The Jade Falcons launched a successful round of new conquests against the exhausted Lyran Alliance, while Clan Snow Raven arrived from the Kerensky Cluster to launch attacks of its own. Clan Ghost Bear also launched an offensive against the Draconis Combine in 3062 but were repulsed by the Combine, assisted by the Abjured Clan Nova Cat.
The power vacuum among the Home Clans after the Great Refusal in 3060 also encouraged two of the Home Clans to join the Invaders and carve out territory of their own. Clan Snow Raven chose not to attack the Inner Sphere directly but the bordering Periphery states - ultimately it joined forces with the Periphery state known as the Outworlds Alliance to launch offensives against the Draconis Combine. Clan Hell's Horses also attempted to invade the Ghost Bear Dominion, but were repulsed.
Two years after the Jihad ended, in 3083 the Snow Ravens formally merged with the Outworlds Alliance to form the new "Raven Alliance" - similar to the merger between Clan and Inner Sphere states which resulted in the creation of the Ghost Bear Dominion in 3060. Later, in 3103 the Ghost Bear Dominion peacefully united with the small rump state of the old Free Rasalhague Republic to form the Rasalhague Dominion. Both the Snow Ravens and Ghost Bears were Abjured from the rest of the Clans as a result. Clan Nova Cat remained Abjured and continued to reside within the Draconis Combine, but did not formally merge with it.
Wars of Reaving (3067-c.3100)
The power vacuum which began after the Great Refusal of 3060 resulted in major infighting between the Clans, which only worsened. With the Nova Cats and Ghost Bears removed to the Inner Sphere and the Smoke Jaguars destroyed, several other Clans tried to seize upon the opportunity to acquire new territory. Clan Snow Raven tried to use the distraction to carve out territory in the Periphery but then merged with the Outworlds Alliance (becoming Raven Alliance in 3083). Clan Hell's Horses attacked the Ghost Bear Dominion but were repulsed. Meanwhile, sensing weakness the Steel Vipers turned on the Jade Falcons in 3061, who nonetheless managed to crush the Steel Vipers and outright drive them from the Inner Sphere and back to the Clan Homeworlds. Clan Hell's Horses then returned to the Inner Sphere in 3071, this time to invade the already weakened Jade Falcon and Wolf occupation zones. At the same time, Clan Ice Hellions also decided to simultaneously attempt to invade the Jade Falcon occupation zone, to take advantage of the chaos. The Ice Hellions were not formally allied with the Hell's Horses nor did they formally coordinate major offensives, but there was tacit agreement to invade different regions of Jade Falcon territory so that they didn't get in each other's way. As a testament to the supremacy of the Jade Falcons, as well as the sheer amount of resources that a long-established Invader Clan could bring against newly arrived Home Clans, the Jade Falcons actually managed to once again repulse the assaults. The Hell's Horses did manage to opportunistically snatch up several worlds and maintained a foothold in the Inner Sphere, but the Ice Hellions were practically annihilated. Only a small fraction of their forces limped back to the Clan Homeworlds, but their numbers were too low to be sustainable, so they were voluntarily Absorbed by Clan Goliath Scorpion. The post-Great Refusal incursions, coupled with driving the Steel Vipers and Ice Hellions back to the Inner Sphere, ultimately precipitated the Clan Civil War.
The Home Clans became so disgusted with the Invader Clans, as well as jealous of their powerful conquests, that they actively turned against them, formally declaring all Invader Clans Abjured in 3075 - many had already been individually Abjured by that time, but now even the Jade Falcons and Wolves were Abjured. Clan Star Adder destroyed the meager remnants of Clan Steel Viper that had been driven back to Clan space, and it was declared officially Annihilated. Meanwhile, the Home Clans invaded any territory still held by the forces of the Invader Clans in the Homeworlds, until they were driven completely from the Kerensky Cluster. Further, the Home Clans used this as an opportunity to clean house and settle old grudges.
Known as the "Wars of Reaving", these internal conflicts explain why the Home Clans did not simply combine with the Invader Clans to conquer the entire Inner Sphere during the Successor States' time of extreme weakness during the Word of Blake Jihad. This period saw the rise to dominance of Clan Star Adder, which Absorbed one other Clan and Annihilated two others. Clan Burrock had long been feuding with Clan Blood Spirit, but when they realized that the Blood Spirits were on the verge of crushing them, they were voluntarily Absorbed by Clan Star Adder in 3059. This instantly gave the Star Adders the resources of two full Clans, which they used to Annihilate the Steel Viper remnants; they proceeded to fulfill their promise to the Burrocks and destroy the Blood Spirits in 3084. Clan Coyote, longtime rivals of Clan Star Adder, were badly crushed and subjected to decimations, but after the dust had settled they were at least allowed to continue to exist as a full Clan by the Star Adders. Clan Goliath Scorpion, which had absorbed the few Ice Hellion remnants, decided to remove itself from the Clan Homeworlds themselves and conquered the nearby Periphery state of Nueva Castille (located between Clan space and the Lyran Alliance), renaming it La Escorpion del Imperio (The Scorpion Empire). Nonetheless the Goliath Scorpions remain on civil terms with the other Home Clans and are still considered one of their number - they just felt that it was better to expand into new territory than fight over diminishing returns in the war-ravaged Pentagon Worlds. Lastly, while Clan Hell's Horses had been Abjured, this only applied to its forces which had actively traveled to the Inner Sphere to carve out a foothold from Jade Falcon territory. Clan Hell's Horses had actually been deeply divided over whether to invade the Inner Sphere or not, and the side composed of conservative Home Clan-minded members stayed in the Clan Homeworlds. As a result, for the second time, a new Clan was created by splitting an old one in two. The original Hell's Horses were considered Abjured, but the Home Clan-aligned faction back in the Kerensky Cluster was reformed into the new "Clan Stone Lion".
Clan Diamond Shark was among the Invader Clans that the Home Clans Abjured, despite the fact that it was only a reserve force that took part in minor actions in the Clan Ghost Bear invasion corridor. In 3100 it changed its name to Clan Sea Fox, which had actually been its original name during the Golden Century in the Kerensky Cluster (before the Sea Fox was driven to near-extinction by the Diamond Shark, which had been genetically engineered by their rivals Clan Snow Raven).
Of the original 20 Clans only 12 still remained, though 2 new Clans had been created by splitting off from others, which brought the number up to 14 Clans. Four had been Annihilated: Wolverine, Smoke Jaguar, Steel Viper, and Blood Spirit. Four had been Absorbed by other Clans: Widowmaker, Mongoose, Burrock, and Ice Hellion. The remaining Clans were divided between the Home and Invader factions. The Invader Clans outright formed their own new Clan council, and declared that it was the Home Clans who should be considered Abjured. The Invader Clans consisted of Jade Falcon, Wolf, Diamond Shark (renamed Sea Fox), Ghost Bear (as the Rasalhague Dominion), Snow Raven (as the Raven Alliance), and the Hell's Horses. The Home Clans consisted of Star Adder, Coyote, Cloud Cobra, Goliath Scorpion, Fire Mandrill, and Stone Lion (formed from the Home-aligned faction of Hell's Horses). Meanwhile, both the Home Clans and the Invader Clans still considered Wolf-in-Exile and Nova Cat to be Abjured, because they were officially Abjured from Clan society prior to the Wars of Reaving. The difference to the Invader Clans is that even those of them that merged with Inner Sphere states - the Ghost Bears and Snow Ravens - are technically dominant or at least fully integrated with the Inner Sphere states which they control. In contrast, the Nova Cats and Wolf-in-Exile do not "control" anything (unless granted), but are actively working for and subject to individual Successor States (the Nova Cats with the Draconis Combine, Wolf-in-Exile with the Lyran Alliance).
Dark Age (3132-onwards)
In 3132, the blackout of 80% of the HyperPulse Generator network resulted in chaos, damaging the until then expanding power of the Republic of the Sphere centered around Terra at the heart of the Inner Sphere. Rival Successor States and the Clans seized upon the opportunity to launch wild new offensives in all directions, attempting to reclaim lost territories. The core territories of the Republic retreated from its outer ten Prefectures, becoming the isolationist "Fortress Republic" and leaving the Prefectures to dissolve into civil war. Victor Steiner-Davion himself was killed as a result of internal intrigue between Republic Senators in 3134.
A brutal civil war tore apart Clan Jade Falcon from 3135 to 3136, during which Malvina Hazen ultimately succeeded in killing Khan Jana Pryde and succeeding her as Khan. This civil war badly depleted Jade Falcon's forces, but this was partially offset by Malvina's controversial new war strategies. While in the first invasion of the Inner Sphere the Clans had strictly followed their battle doctrine of avoiding damage to planetary infrastructure, in a complete and radical departure Khan Malvina instituted a new "Mongol policy" for the Jade Falcons, emulating the ancient Mongol Empire's tactic that razing one village to the ground would shock a dozen more into voluntary submission. Utterly ruthless and of questionable sanity, Malvina began a new wave of expansion into Lyran space, bombarding entire planets into ashes in order to shock other targets of the campaigns into submission.
Meanwhile, in the immediate aftermath of the HPG network blackout and the collapse of the Republic of the Sphere, Kal Radick - a trueborn member of Clan Wolf who had risen to become governor of the Sphere's Prefecture IV - decided to declare himself an independent power in the chaos. Taking members from both the Crusader and Arc-Royal Wolves, he formed the "Steel Wolves" in the former location of Prefecture IV. When the Steel Wolves attempted to invade Dieron, however, they were repulsed by a local militia led by Tassa Kay. She joined the Steel Wolves but ultimately challenged Radick to a Trial of Possession in 3133, killed him, and took over as leader. "Tassa Kay" then revealed that she was actually Anastasia Kerensky, the genetic daughter of Natasha Kerensky, born in an iron womb on Arc Royal. Anastasia led the Steel Wolves in further civil war campaigns in the former Republic of the Sphere, attacking Northwind and even launching a failed assault upon Terra itself, but was beaten back with heavy losses by Tara Campbell (governor of Northwind and of the Sphere's Prefecture III). The remaining Steel Wolves disbanded into several splinter groups in 3135, while Anastasia reformed her own splinter faction into a mercenary company known as the Wolf's Hunters.
In 3137, the Lyrans managed to negotiate the reunification of Wolf-in-Exile with Clan Wolf. As part of the agreement, the Wolves were granted safe passage across Lyran space to migrate from the Clan/Draconis Combine border to the opposite border with the Free Worlds League. Clan Wolf, in turn, would carve out a new occupation zone from the League side of the border, forming a buffer state between the Lyrans and the former League territories which were splintering into civil war. In order for the exodus of Clan Wolf to succeed, however, they needed a major distraction, and thus mounted a new invasion of the former Prefecture IX of the Republic of the Sphere, close to Terra itself. Anastasia Kerensky aligned her Wolf's Hunters with a coalition to repulse the Clan Wolf invasion, and during this campaign Anastasia managed to capture Star Colonel Alaric Ward, but released him after this humiliation. The invasion was recalled, but succeeded in its goal to divert attention from the Wolves' migration. In 3145, Clan Wolf formally reorganized into the "Wolf Empire", led by now-Khan Alaric Ward. Alaric himself (originally known as Alaric Wolf before earning a bloodname) was born from an iron womb, but was actually the secret genetic son of Katherine Steiner-Davion and her own brother (and chief rival) Victor. Katherine somehow obtained a sample of Victor's DNA when she fled to Clan Wolf, and use it with her own DNA in an iron womb to create Alaric, whom she would groom to be her ultimate revenge against the Inner Sphere (though Katherine herself died in 3143).
In 3139, the Draconis Combine destroyed their one-time allies Clan Nova Cat. This was not the end of the entire Clan, however, as a dissident faction known as the "Spirit Cats" had broken away from the main Clan a decade earlier, but didn't bother to formally reorganize as a new Clan: given that they were hardline reactionaries who wanted to return to the original "spirit" of the Nova Cats, they had wanted to change it from within instead of striking out on their own. The Spirit Cats had already left Combine space for Marik in the Free Worlds League, and as a result, became the de facto remnant of Clan Nova Cat. Due to the collapse of the Free Worlds League due to the Jihad in the 3080's, now compounded by the blackout and chaos in former Republic territories that bordered them, the former League territories entered another bitter round of fighting, between micro successor states such as the Oriente Protectorate, Principality of Regulus, Duchy of Andurien, and the Marik-Stewart Commonwealth. Oriente brokered an alliance with the Spirit Cats and Clan Sea Fox to grant them territory around Marik in 3138, forming the Clan Protectorate. This was used as a springboard to defeat the Principality of Regulus and reform the Free Worlds League in 3139, with Clan Sea Fox and Clan Nova Cat (the former Spirit Cats) retaining their territorial grant. This means that by the 3140's there are no longer any free-floating Abjured Clans (barring the obvious Home vs Invader Clan divide): the Wolves finally reabsorbed Wolf-in-Exile, while the Spirit Cats broke away from Nova Cat because they wanted to go back to the original spirit of the Clans, not to serve Successor States as Nova Cat was doing. When the majority of Nova Cat was destroyed, the essentially Warden-minded Spirit Cats turned into the new "Nova Cat" by default, and were re-accepted by the other Invader Clans.
List of clans
Clan Blood Spirit
Clan Blood Spirit was founded by the granddaughter (Colleen Schmitt) of the last commander of the Royal Black Watch Regiment, Colonel Hanni Schmitt. The Clan founder Nicholas Kerensky authorized this clan, stating: "I name this Clan Blood Spirit, to honor the esprit de corps that held together the eight hundred warriors during the horrors of the Exodus Civil War." Initially, Clan Blood Spirit spent most of their time and resources aiding other Clans. The Clan started to isolate themselves after the other clans turned on them in the Grand Council. This is when the hatred toward Clan Burrock flourished. Clan Burrock took the most liberties to raid Blood Spirit holdings.
Once the Omni-Mech made its debut, the leaders of Clan Blood Spirit, knowing that they did not have the strength for a Trial for the technology, established the most brutal training programs. The leaders hoped that the grueling training programs would counterbalance this new technology.
Clan Blood Spirit remained isolationists until Kindraa Smythe-Jewel of Clan Fire Mandrill offered to conduct a series of trials. This would essentially trade Omni-Mech technology for some holdings on Planet Foster. Clan Blood Spirit also opened trade agreements with Clan Snow Raven (exchange of Warships for Mechs) and Diamond Sharks (general supplies and trade goods). This allowed Clan Blood Spirits to finally fill out their ranks.
Clan Blood Spirit leaders lost most of what they gained when they decided to interfere with the Clan Star Adder's Trial of Absorption of their much hated enemy, Clan Burrock. The Star Adder and Burrock force typically united to crush the Blood Spirits. After the battle, Clan Blood Spirit recoiled even more into itself, isolating itself even more.
As the Wars of Reaving continued, Clan Blood Spirit fell victim to a Trial of Absorption by Clan Star Adder. Both sides fought hard, neither one asking for quarter nor giving it. Even the citizens of Clan Blood Spirit were armed and supported the final defenses of Blood Spirit enclaves (previously doing this was part of the evidence used to call the Trial in the first place). The forces of the Star Adders were too strong and Clan Blood Spirit was Annihilated in 3084.
Principal enemies of the Clan Blood Spirits. The Burrocks were Absorbed by Clan Star Adder in 3058, when it became known that the Khans of the Burrocks had been secretly dealing with members of the Bandit (Dark) Caste for nearly a century. The Burrock Absorption was interrupted by an unexpected invasion by the enraged Blood Spirits, resulting in severe casualties to all three Clans involved.
Clan Cloud Cobra
Known as being highly religious in nature. Their warrior monks are noted for having an affinity for aerospace fighting forces equal or superior to their ground force, of which nearly all BattleMechs are jump capable. They are also a mild Warden clan in their leadership, although their warriors are evenly distributed between both Warden and Crusader philosophy. It was this clan that invented the Slyph battle armor for their Elemental infantry, a power armor with limited flight capability to supplement their BattleMech force.
A tradition minded Warden Clan bearing cultural stylings of the ancient Terran Native Americans, the Coyotes are among the most powerful of Clans, having exclusive control of five worlds and partial control of many others in the Kerensky Cluster. Inventors of the OmniMech (among other things), Coyote scientists are renowned for their brilliance. Today, they are once again rising to power in the Grand Council. Proven combat veterans abound in this Clan, which remains one step ahead of all other Clans in terms of new technology. Coyote is renowned for having the most rigorous training program of all Clans, aside from the fanatical Blood Spirits. Coyote is influential in the Grand Council. Kerensky's own nephew foretold of this at the first Grand Council five years after the great Exodus. Coyote Mech pilots ritually drink Coyote Blood before a battle. The Coyotes are sworn enemies of Clan Star Adder.
Clan Diamond Shark
Clan Diamond Shark is the only clan to ever change its Kerensky-given name. Originally called Sea Fox after a marine mammal, the Sea Fox was wiped nearly to extinction by a vicious, genetically engineered predator purposely introduced to the ecosystem by Clan Snow Raven to disgrace them. This prompted the clan to alter their name to that of the predator, the Diamond Shark. They were a reserve Clan during the invasion and only captured one Inner Sphere world, Nyserta, before being defeated on Tukayyid. Nyserta was then lost to the Ghost Bears, leading to a renewal of Warden sentiments in the Clan leadership. This Clan is mercantile in its dealings, an intermediary between many Clans and promoter of scientific and mercantile breakthroughs. Clan Diamond Shark changed its name back to Sea Fox in 3100.
Clan Fire Mandrill
A fractured Crusader clan. The Fire Mandrills are divided into a number of Kindraa (Kindred Associations) based upon Bloodnames. Unlike the Cloud Cobras, this factionalism has cost the Fire Mandrills much and are often hard-pressed to deal with outsiders due to their internal strife. The Kindraas are: Kindraa Sainze, Kindraa Faraday-Tanaga, Kindraa Payne-Beyl-Grant, Kindraa Mattila-Carrol and Kindraa Mick-Kreese-Kline.
Clan Ghost Bear
Powerful Clansmen, the Ghost Bears are known for their conservative nature and their strong sense of family. They joined the original Clan invasion in 3050 and seized some fourteen worlds from the Free Rasalhague Republic and Draconis Combine. They won a minor victory against the ComGuards at the Battle of Tukayyid and bode their time since. During the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty, the Ghost Bears abandoned their Crusader beliefs and embraced the Warden Faction, leading them out of the Trial of Refusal being waged by the Inner Sphere. They subsequently relocated to the Inner Sphere after the destruction of Clan Smoke Jaguar and the subsequent peace treaty between the Inner Sphere and the Clans. They are a now a permanent feature of the Inner Sphere and are abhorred by many of the Crusader Clans, who view them as traitors to Kerensky. Currently they have merged with the InnerSphere faction Free Rasalhague Republic to form the Rasalhague Dominion. It was the first true merger between a Clan and an Inner Sphere nation where the citizens treat the Clan Warrior caste as the rulers but the ruling warriors give free rein to their Rasalhague citizens. The Ghost Bear Khan holds the main power and there is a Prince voted by the people to control all matters concerning the population. In 3103, the Ghost Bear Dominion was renamed the Rasalhague Dominion, ruled by the Dominion Council.
Clan Goliath Scorpion
Staunch Wardens, the Goliath Scorpions value precision over brute force, while believing strongly in visions and quests. They take Necrosia, based on the venom of the Goliath scorpion to aid in these visions. This Clan believes in looking to the past in order to rebuild the Star League, piece by piece. They are fiercely devoted to Clan Wolf. Many claim within the Clans if not for their visions and quests they would be an extremely powerful force to be reckoned with. Their unique organizational scheme within their touman (even more detailed than the Jade Falcons) and knowledge of the old Star League Defense Force strategy and tactics would make them a well-oiled engine of destruction. It was this clan that invented power armor for infantry. Early designs were based on underwater mining suits. Clan Wolf then perfected these early designs, and combined with genetically engineered super infantry led to the production of the Elemental. The Elemental is still the single most prominent Battle Armor for the Clans.
Clan Hell's Horses
A mixed Clan led by Crusaders, but with a large Warden makeup, the Hell's Horses are unusual for their heavy use of conventional (non-'Mech) forces and their beliefs favoring men over machines. Passionate and brave, the Hell's Horses succeeded where others thought they would fail. Their tolerance of freeborns is a rarity among the Clans, especially among Crusaders. Though they did not participate in the invasion, they were given three worlds by Clan Wolf along their border with the Ghost Bears, the Hell's Horses sworn enemies. The Hell's Horses attempted to invade the Ghost Bear Dominion while the Bears were busy fighting the Draconis Combine. The retaliation cost the Hell's Horses much, the three worlds given to them were lost and the Hell's Horses had to pull back from the Inner Sphere. After a tentative peace with the Ghost Bears, the Hell's Horses launched a successful invasion of Wolf and Jade Falcon occupation zones. Their plan to transplant their entire population, much like the Ghost Bear's shift was discovered and eventually led to the Clan civil war that separated the Inner Sphere Clans from their homeworld brethren.
Clan Ice Hellion
A fierce Crusader Clan renowned for their swift assaults, Clan Ice Hellion often grasps for prizes beyond their reach. Nearly destroyed twice by civil war, the Clan has never been as unified as their brothers. After failing to win a place in the invasion and having been defeated in the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty, some push for a return to the Inner Sphere while others wish to expand their holdings in Clan Space. The Ice Hellions attempted a foray into the Inner Sphere but were beaten off.
Clan Jade Falcon
The strictly traditionalist Crusaders of Clan Jade Falcon have long resented and been envious of Clan Wolf for their strength, holdings, and (most of all) possession of the coveted Kerensky Bloodname. The Jade Falcons participated in the initial invasion and seized many Lyran worlds from the Federated Commonwealth. Achieving a draw with the ComGuards on Tukayyid, they schemed and plotted to undo the Truce. They were nearly destroyed by their Refusal War with the Wolves in an attempt to do just that. They lost many warriors and both of their Khans in subsequent politicking. Their new Khan launched a daring strike at Coventry in the Lyran Alliance and managed to restore the Jade Falcons' strength by winning possession of other Crusader units in the Harvest Trials. The Jade Falcons beat the Com Guards during the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty and then pushed the Steel Vipers out of their Occupation Zone; after that, they seized (and lost) several more Lyran worlds during the FedCom Civil War. They still eye Terra and have not given up all hope of claiming it. In 3132, seeing an opportunity caused by the collapse of the HPG network, the Falcons have made an incursion into the Republic of the Sphere.
Clan Jade Wolf
A very short-lived Clan, the Jade Wolves briefly existed for only 19 days (14 Dec 3057 - 2 Jan 3058). It was created after the Wolves lost the Refusal War to the Jade Falcons. Soon afterwards, however, Khan Vlad Ward assassinated ilKhan Elias Crichell and returned his Clan to full active status as "Clan Wolf". The Crusader-dominated Jade Falcons had attempted to purge the mostly Warden-dominated Wolves and reshape the surviving Crusader Wolves into their own image. However, many of the Warden-aligned Wolves escaped destruction, and declared their own "Clan Wolf-in-Exile" in opposition to the proposed Clan Jade Wolf. Thus while Vlad Ward did manage to throw off Jade Falcon domination, it resulted in the awkward condition of the original "Clan Wolf" splitting into two factions. The post-3058 "Clan Wolf" formed from Jade Wolf forms the overwhelming majority of the survivors, and are sometimes known as the Crusader Wolves as a result. In contrast, the Warden-aligned "Clan Wolf-in-Exile" considers itself to be the legitimate continuation of the original Clan Wolf.
The Mongoose home planet of Shadow was where the clan's name originated. The name was adopted from the animal that killed the dangerous Venom Worms which were a great threat to humans, and as such endeared the mongoose to the clan. No longer in existence. Absorbed by Clan Smoke Jaguar for attempting to use the words of Nicholas Kerensky to sidestep a Grand Council ruling that ran against them and to justify their actions and defend actions considered by their fellow Clans to be "un-clanlike" Being then deemed unfit to rule by the Grand Council, the Council called a Trial of Absorption. Already weakened by a conflict with the Star Adders, Clan Mongoose fell before the Smoke Jaguars. The Smoke Jaguars refused to take any of the defeated Clan's genetic legacies but they were acquired by the Cloud Cobra. Approximately 11 genetic legacies were acquired by Cloud Cobra, but the exact number cannot be confirmed due to the disarray Clan Mongoose was left in after the Trial of Absorption by the Smoke Jaguars. This also left the Bloodnames of Clan Mongoose in the hands of Clan Cloud Cobra, although insufficient records have prevented the exact identification of Clan Mongoose legacies to the present day.
Clan Nova Cat
A Warden Clan, the Nova Cats are known for their mystic ways and are governed by visions. They ignored such visions when they joined the attack on the Inner Sphere and shared the Smoke Jaguars invasion corridor. They were defeated on Luthien, then on Tukayyid. This caused the Nova Cats to heed a new vision that encouraged them to join with the Draconis Combine and the Inner Sphere against the Smoke Jaguars. They joined with the new Star League in driving the Jaguars out of the Inner Sphere and joined them again on Strana Mechty during the Great Refusal. For this, they were Abjured by the other Clans and forced to leave Clan Space under fire and resettled in the Irece Prefecture of the Draconis Combine. The abjuration often shrouds the Nova Cats' previous fame as excellent marksmen (they often competed with the Goliath Scorpions to see what Clan had the best sharpshooters), and as the developers of the Extended-Range Laser technology used by all Clans.
Clan Sea Fox
Original name of clan Diamond Shark. Clan Sea Fox and Clan Snow Raven had a falling out, and in response Clan Snow Raven created the Diamond Shark, a predator designed solely to hunt and kill the Sea Foxes in Strana Mechty's oceans. After most of the Sea Foxes had been killed, Clan Sea Fox petitioned the council to change its name to Clan Diamond Shark. Several Sea Foxes were preserved by the Clan and placed on other worlds, where they flourished. As a result, Clan Diamond Shark has recently changed its name back to Clan Sea Fox in 3100. Clan Diamond Shark has since its inception relied heavily on its Merchant caste, giving them more power than most clans. Though many believe them to be weak because of their democratic attitudes to their lower castes, the Diamond Sharks maintain one of the largest and most elite militaries among the clans. After the Jihad, the Diamond Sharks were forced to move to the Inner Sphere along with many of its fellow Clans, changing its name back to Sea Fox. Having few worlds of their own, Clan Sea Fox is a nomad trader Clan who all reside on giant ArcShips and CargoShips roaming throughout space. It is rumored that Clan Sea Fox has a relationship with the Minnesota Tribe.
Clan Smoke Jaguar
Clan Smoke Jaguar is easily the most violent and aggressive of all the Clans. They are, however, not as brash and headstrong as Clan Jade Falcon; they are quicker to battle, but also think before acting. This made a deadly combination, and Clan Smoke Jaguar was quite a strong Clan. However, Clan Smoke Jaguar didn't have the size of the larger Clans or the autonomy of Clan Ghost Bear to support its claim. As such, Clan Smoke Jaguar was dangerous in combat, but never a serious contender for the ilClan (ruling Clan).
During the Clan invasion from the years 3050 to 3052, the Smoke Jaguars suffered from instances of insurrection in their rear areas. The Draconis Combine was their area of operation, and the Combine citizens often rose up against the arrogant and hostile Smoke Jaguars in open rebellion on captured planets. This culminated in the infamous destruction of the city of Edo on the planet of Turtle Bay by bombardment from orbiting Smoke Jaguar warships. Adding to this problem was the planet Wolcott, which the Smoke Jaguars had promised never to attack again if defeated in their first attempt, which they were. Wolcott became a base of operations for attacks in the Smoke Jaguar rear areas and supply lines by Combine troops.
After the Clan defeat on Tukkayid, offensive attacks on the Inner Sphere stopped for 15 years. During this time, the Inner Sphere formed a new Star League and went on the offensive. They specifically targeted the Smoke Jaguars both in the Inner Sphere (Operation Bulldog), and also attacked their holdings in the Clan home worlds (Operation Serpent). Their goal was to wipe out the Smoke Jaguars to the last warrior. They were successful, and a final battle on the Clan capital world of Strana Mechty halted the Clan invasion of the Inner Sphere permanently. The Smoke Jaguar home world of Huntress was also successfully attacked.
Clan Snow Raven
Founded by Stephen McKenna (a distant relative of the famous James McKenna who hailed from the Terran Hegemony), the Snow Ravens are a complicated Clan that have taken a unique path due to several catastrophes in their early history. Famed for their heavy use of naval assets as well as their conniving and efficient nature, the Snow Raven Clan, despite being mistrusted and misunderstood by other Clans has nonetheless risen to power as one of the more powerful Clans in the past decade. Post-Jihad, the Snow Ravens merged with the Outworlds Alliance government, forming the Raven Alliance.
Clan Star Adder
Considered to be one of the most powerful Home Clans (a Clan that did not participate in the Inner Sphere Invasion), the Star Adders can now also be considered to be among the most powerful of all the Clans, rivaling even an Invading Clan like Jade Falcon or Ghost Bear and even surpassing Clan Wolf in terms of raw military power, thanks largely to their relatively easy absorption of Clan Burrock. However, despite essentially having the strength of two Clans at their disposal, the Star Adders are still considered to be somewhat lacking when compared to an Invading Clan in terms of raw materials and industrial potential since they can only rely on their Clan Homeworlds holdings while the Invading Clans have the vast resources of their conquered Inner Sphere worlds to draw upon. After suffering defeat and being forced to relinquish control of several Clan Coyote held worlds, the Star Adders have sworn a Blood Debt against them. While the Star Adders espouse a Crusader philosophy, they stress the need for inter-Clan cooperation and a tolerant attitude for freeborns that is more commonly found among Warden clans. Strategists rather than tacticians, the Star Adders are unusual for their meticulous nature, though their successes speak for themselves. With their Absorption of the Burrocks, they gained an incredible boon as other Clans were falling in size and stature. At the end of the Wars of Reaving the Clan Star Adder has become the most powerful Clan in the Homeworlds after they had led the Clans in annihilating Clan Steel Viper, and later they annihilated Clan Blood Spirit.
Clan Steel Viper
A perplexing Clan that is overall considered Warden, but is home to some of the staunchest Crusaders and anti-freeborn warriors in the Clans. They have a brutal training course almost on par with Clan Coyote, but its warriors are somewhat less tactically intelligent, due to the Coyotes dominance of Clan Bloodlines. Steel Vipers held a belief that the Star League will be re-established through cooperation with the Great Houses. Of course this would take place under the benevolent guidance of the Steel Vipers, following the complete destruction of the Inner Sphere's military forces. They participated in the invasion force, and shared the Jade Falcon's invasion corridor, and were defeated on Tukayyid. They were eventually forced out of the Inner Sphere altogether by the Jade Falcons, but this exacerbated to the breaking point the long-simmering tensions between the Home and Invader clans.
When Clans new Khan Brett Andrews became the ilKhan of the Clans he initiated Trials of Reaving amongst the Clans to root out what he states as the taint of the Inner Sphere. This had led to the destruction of several Clans and forcing the Spheroid Clans to move into the Inner Sphere. The remaining Home Clans declared a Trial of Annihilation on the Steel Vipers when Brett killed Khan Stanislov N'Buta of the Star Adders in a fit of rage. The invading Clans destroyed every last Steel Viper in their homeworld of New Kent by orbital bombardment an the Clan was annihilated in 3075.
Once absorbed by Clan Wolf for a brutal crackdown on dissenting merchants that proved their inability to rule. During their Trial of Refusal against the Absorption, the Widowmaker Khan slew ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky, which led to a grueling trial of Absorption that spelled the end of the Widowmakers.
The chosen Clan of Kerensky, the pre-Refusal War Wolves had always been a dominant force in the Clans since their beginning. They Annihilated the Wolverines, Absorbed the Widowmakers, and proved themselves expert warriors. They also perfected the Elemental body armor. They led the Wardens in the Grand Council and were the only Clan to oppose the Invasion in 3050. Although they lost a Trial of Refusal against the motion to invade the Inner Sphere, they participated in it nonetheless and soon outdid all other Clans in seizing more worlds and at a faster pace than any other Clan. A major motive for this is the belief that it would be better for the people in the invasion route to live under benevolent Clan Wolf rule than under the brutality of any of the other invading Clans who look down upon the people they would conquer. In effect the Wolves believe they were saving the people they conquer from a worse fate.
Their holdings were mostly taken from the Free Rasalhague Republic and the Lyran half of the Federated Commonwealth. Their capture of Rasalhague cemented their leadership in the Invasion and after the original ilKhan died, senior Wolf Khan Ulric Kerensky replaced him. It was Kerensky who orchestrated the Trial of Tukayyid and Clan Wolf was one of only two Clans to prevail, the other being Clan Ghost Bear who were awarded a "marginal" victory. Nevertheless, the Wolves were the ones who helped convince the other clans to adhere to the terms when the Trial was lost. They all but destroyed themselves in preventing the Jade Falcons from breaking the truce by instigating a Trial of Refusal (of a scale never before seen outside of a Trial of Annihilation against an entire Clan that this particular Trial of Refusal would be forever referred to as the "Refusal War") against the Jade Falcons. As a result of this war, the Wolves were split into two factions, the Crusader Wolves led by Vlad Ward and the Warden Wolves led, into self-imposed exile, by Phelan Kell. The latter left Clan controlled space and went to Arc-Royal in the Lyran Alliance and guarded the border against any Clan incursions. The other Wolves remained, despite an initially successful Jade Falcon attempt to Absorb them that was effectively made moot with the creation of the Jade Wolves, an offshoot of Clan Jade Falcon made up of captured Wolf warriors who were "absorbed" into the Jade Falcons. The Jade Wolves later changed their name by dropping the "Jade" part and simply going by "Wolf", effectively usurping the name of the original or pre-Refusal War Clan Wolf. These Crusader Wolves rebuilt their strength and have declared themselves one of two Crusader Clan not bound by the Crusader's defeat during the Great Refusal. Once the Fifteen-Year Truce of Tukayyid expires in May 3067, the Wolves will be on the prowl once more. As with the original incarnation of Clan Wolf, the Crusader Wolves consider the planet Tamar as their capital. It was the scouring of Tamar that made the Clans realize that they too would come under attack by the Word of Blake fanatics and had to fight back. During the Jihad the Wolves leapt across Jade Falcon borders to assist worlds under attack. The Clan later joined the Lyran Commonwealth in invading the fractured Free Worlds League, but afterwards they set about claiming worlds from the Lyrans and formed the Wolf Empire.
The Warden faction of Clan Wolf was led into the Inner Sphere by then-saKhan Phelan Ward during the Refusal War in 3057 with Clan Jade Falcon. After this break-away faction of Wolves were Abjured by the Grand Council, Khan Phelan Ward lost his Bloodright to the Ward surname. However, thanks to one of his final acts as ilKhan, Ulric Kerensky created a new Bloodname Kell. Clan Wolf-in-Exile settled on Phelan's original homeworld of Arc-Royal where his father, Morgan Kell, was the Grand Duke. Clan Wolf-in-Exile provided a strong defense for the newly formed Arc Royal Defense Cordon against future Clan Jade Falcon incursions, most notably fighting alongside Victor-loyal Lyran Alliance troops during the FedCom Civil War. During the Jihad the Wolf-in-Exile forces took in Wolf's Dragoons whose home planet, Outreach, was annihilated by the Blakists.
In 3137, the Lyrans negotiated the merger of Wolf-in-Exile back into Clan Wolf after an eighty year split. In return, the combined group migrated from the former Clan Occupation Zone to the Lyran-Free Worlds League border. The agreement was that the reunified Clan Wolf would carve out new territory from the Free Worlds League side of the border, former a buffer state for the Lyrans as the League splintered into civil war.
The democratic Wolverines were Annihilated early in the history of the Clans, in an incident stemming from a disputed Brian Cache. Khan Sarah McEvedy's father had commanded the 331st Royal BattleMech Division of Terra, whose 'mechs were in the cache, and felt that she was entitled to them. The Council instead awarded them to the Widowmakers. After being defeated in a Trial of Refusal, the Wolverines were publicly censured when they attempted to seize the cache anyway. Directly challenging the justice of the decision in a Council session, the Wolverines quickly escalated to a personal challenge to the authority of Nicholas Kerensky himself, and then seceded from the clans altogether. During the early fighting, they used a nuclear weapon to destroy a Snow Raven genetic repository. In response, the council voted to Annihilate them.
After a bad conflict between the Widowmakers and the Wolves for the honor of conducting the Annihilation, the Wolves won. The Wolverines, who had apparently been preparing for a third Exodus for some time, attempted to escape from clan space altogether, while the Wolves pursued. The Wolves lost most of their attacking force, but the Wolverines were destroyed altogether, with saKhan Hallis killed by Kerensky himself. All buildings belonging to the Wolverines were destroyed, warriors (of any clan) with Wolverine DNA were executed, and Wolverine civilians were forcibly sterilized.
The Minnesota Tribe is a semi-mythical entity that may be the remnants of the Annihilated Clan Wolverine that raid sites in the Inner Sphere for necessities. The fact that many of Wolverine's civilians and second-line troops were unaccounted for after its annihilation is considered suggestive. The Clan Wolverine insignia has also been sighted on the raiding group's 'Mechs. Minnesota Tribe has appeared only a handful of times in the Inner Sphere and is believed to reside beyond the Periphery.
A partially decoded message from an unknown source suggests that the remnants of Clan Wolverine had joined to Comstar, indicating that the Explorer Corps vessel Outbound Light had not discovered the Clan Homeworlds by accident, and that the Wolverines had a hand in the Word of Blake Jihad. At this time, the veracity of this message has yet to be determined.
The Clans use a five caste system of laborer, technician, scientist, merchant, and warrior castes, with warrior caste usually being the leaders. There is a very strong sense of personal competitiveness among warriors for top scores in training and combat prowess, as well as personal ethics such as truthfulness. A warrior who commits a crime will often immediately report to a commanding officer for disciplinary action without the need for an investigation, and few warriors attempt political decisions by back channel dealings, instead relying only on overt and public honor duels. Combat training is often done with live ammunition, deaths are frequent.
The Clans are a warrior-dominated culture, stressing honor in combat. Nearly all important political positions are occupied by warriors and often require trials of combat.
Clan warriors abide by a code of honor called Zellbrigen, which is comparable to chivalry or bushido. Zellbrigen emphasizes fair combat between opponents and never "ganging up" on outnumbered or outgunned enemies. It is common for commanding officers of opposing Clans to send each other data on all their warriors before a battle. Targeting civilians, resources, or infrastructure is forbidden. Certain weapons, such as land mines or stealth-equipped Battlemechs, are also considered dishonorable. Zellbrigen was created in the early days of the Clans, when resources on newly colonized planets were scarce. By structuring combat, the Clans aimed to minimize the death and destruction of warfare and avoiding the waste of lives and resources.
Clan warfare is often fought with the minimum force necessary. The defenders are allowed to set the scale of the battle, and the attacking force will allow its various units to declare which forces it will use in the attack in a bidding process. The force actually deployed will be the unit commander who bids the least amount of forces.
The Clans' adherence to Zellbrigen put them at a disadvantage when invading the Inner Sphere, whose warriors did not abide by such codes. Despite the Clans' superior military technology, the Inner Sphere's "dishonorable" tactics ultimately led to the invasion's failure. After the invasion, some Clans decided that Inner Sphere warriors should not be fought according to Zellbrigen.
Most members of the warrior caste are genetically engineered from the DNA of the Clans' greatest warriors. They are born from artificial wombs and raised in sibling companies or "sibkos" and do not have parents or families. They are instead raised in military training facilities by retired warriors. These genetically engineered soldiers are called the trueborn. The term for humans born from sexual reproduction is freeborn. The freeborn are considered genetically inferior. Some, but not all, Clans forbid the freeborn from entering the warrior caste.
Neither trueborn nor freeborn Clanners have traditional surnames. However, trueborn warriors can enter a Trial for Bloodright, which would earn them the right to use a Bloodname. A Bloodname is a surname used by the warrior's genetic ancestors. To earn one is considered a great honor and gives them the right to vote in clan council meetings.
Crusader and Warden Clans
Over time, the Clans split into two ideological camps, the Crusaders and the Wardens. The Crusaders favor the immediate conquest of the Inner Sphere in order to reestablish the Star League. They believe that conquest by the Clans will save the people of the Inner Sphere from their self-destructive ways. Wardens, however, believe that the Clans should intervene in the Inner Sphere only to protect it from extreme threats. Wardens opposed outright conquest and believed that the Clans should maintain a culture separate from the decadent Inner Sphere.
The Clan Invasion of the Inner Sphere was begun by the Crusader Clans, though both Crusaders and Wardens participated. It was ilKhan Ulric, a Warden, who informed ComStar that the ultimate goal of the invasion was the conquest of Terra, their neutral homeworld. This caused ComStar to join the war against the Clans and ultimately led to the invasion's failure.
Solahma units are made up of old or dying warriors who have not yet gained the honor of dying in battle. They are normally given inferior equipment and sent on extremely risky missions in the hope they will die honorably.
When a Clan warrior defeats an enemy, he is permitted to take that enemy as a bondsman, which is a type of indentured servant. Bondsmen wear cords around their wrists called "bondscords." The bondsman's master is called a "bondholder" and decides when the bondsman's time as a servant is over. The bondholder will usually make efforts to assimilate the bondsman into his Clan's culture. When a bondsman's term is up, his bondcord is ceremonially cut and he is released into whatever caste his bondholder chooses. Some Clans allow bondsmen to join the warrior caste but others do not. Clan warriors have taken bondsmen from both the Inner Sphere and other Clans.
To avoid becoming a bondsman, a defeated warrior can commit ritual suicide called "bondsref." However, he can only do this with the permission of the bondholder.
The origin of the Stars
Nicholas Kerensky decided to do away with the old military rankings and organized the Clan military using units called Stars. Because (at least in Kerensky’s culture) normal stars are usually drawn with five points, the military Stars would consist of five units called Points. The Point Commander of Point 1 is usually the Star Commander. The strength and size of Points differ depending on the units that it is made of.
In Clan Coyote and Clan Hell’s Horses, commanders of a Nova have the rank Nova commander, which is one rank higher than Star commander; and commanders of a Super Nova have the rank Nova captain, which one rank higher than Star captain.
The rank the warrior holds is used as their title unless they hold the lowest rank (for example, Star Commander Zane). If they are warriors, they have a title denoting their sub-caste. E.g. a warrior who pilots a vehicle will be called ‘crewman’, and aerospace pilot will be called ‘pilot’ and so-on (for example, MechWarrior Aidan). Since the lowest MechWarriors are Point commanders, they have the title of MechWarrior instead of Point commander even though they have a Point commander rank.
Military command higher than Galaxy commander rests with the clan council. Each caste of a clan is governed by a caste council. The warrior caste council is also the clan council which rules the entire affairs of the clan and clan law. This council is self elected and is almost always made up of Bloodnamed warriors.
When the clan requires military action above the small scale skirmishes that are Trials of Possession, the clan council becomes a Kurultai (War Council) and it elects from within a council member to become a Khan. The Khan (though having much more influence) can’t interfere with clan laws/society; that is still in the hands of the council. He/she is however commander of the entire clan’s military assets, including the touman (see below), and becomes the top of the military hierarchy that doesn’t exist without a Khan.
The first act of the Khan is to select a saKhan (junior Khan) from amongst the clan council members. The saKhan’s duties aren’t specifically defined. He/she is the second in command, performing any duties the Khan requires (like bidding or leading a campaign) but can’t do him/herself and enjoys a heightened status within clan society. The official term for the senior Khan of a clan is kaKhan, though this is rarely used (Khan with no prefix usually means the senior Khan).
When the clans face a time of crisis or all need to coordinate their efforts towards a common objective, each clan forms a Kurultai and the Khans from each clan then form a Grand kurultai. The Grand kurultai then internally elects a Khan to become the ilKhan who serves as an arbiter between Clans during the time of crisis, acting with the power of the Grand Council. The ilKhan enjoys wide-ranging but not absolute power, as he answers to the Grand Council. The ilKhan may not interfere with matters that are internal to a specific Clan. When the Martial code is in effect, however, the ilKhan may operate virtually unhindered.
Each clan has one of each of the following:
- The Loremaster is the keeper of Clan laws and history. The position is honorable and politically powerful. The Loremaster plays key role in inquiries and trials, where he is often assigned the role of Advocate or Interrogator. To determine who replaces a retired or deceased Loremaster, candidates engage in a one-on-one melee elimination tournament. The winner then sits a 'Forum of Law' where he/she is asked questions about Clan Law and Lore. If he passes he becomes the next Loremaster. If he fails the second place winner sits the Forum of Law and so on until one passes the Forum.
- The Oathmaster is a counterpart to the Loremaster in Clan tradition. That position is similar to that of an Inner Sphere sergeant-at-arms, but it carries a greater degree of respect. The Oathmaster administers all oaths, and the Loremaster records them. The position of Oathmaster is usually held by the oldest Bloodnamed warrior in a Clan (if he or she desired the honor), and is one of the few positions not decided by combat.
- Yee, Bernie (1995). "MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat: Strategies and Secrets". pp. 6-7. ISBN 0-7821-1857-7
- Activision, (1995). MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat.
- Thurston, Robert (2003). "Way of the Clans". The Legend of the Jade Phoenix Trilogy. pp. 13-172. ISBN 0-451-45951-2
- Field Manual Crusader Clans, FASA 1706
- Classic BattleTech Historicals: Operation Klondike
- "Classic BattleTech Historicals: Operation Klondike"
- "SourceBook: 01644 Clan Jade Falcon"
- "SourceBook: 01642 Clan Wolf"
- "SourceBook: 01664 Clan Troops"
- "SourceBook: 01711 Warden Clans"
- "SourceBook: 01710 Twilight of the Clans"
- "SourceBook: 01725 Guide to the Clans"