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In the BattleTech fiction, the Clans are an extremely aggressive and warlike society founded on selective breeding and ritualized warfare.
The origins of the Clans are described as beginning with the fall of the fictional 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 fictional 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).
Within the BattleTech fiction, 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" 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 soon 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.
Over the next several centuries, the Clans are described as gradually increasing in strength, colonizing new worlds, and developing new technologies. Nevertheless, their environment remains depicted as a harsh one. The fictional "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. Depicted as a means to reduce collateral damage to their fragile and limited infrastructure, the Clans soon developed rules of ritualized combat and warfare to avoid damaging vital resources and harming civilians. These rules are a key feature of BattleTech lore. Nevertheless, partly as a result of the Clan breeding program, these rules were paired with a ruthless level of martial training, resulting in both an extremely warlike culture and superbly capable warriors. In year 3049 of the BattleTech timeline, the Clans are depicted as finally returning to conquer the Inner Sphere after two and a half centuries of expansion, preparation, and planning.
Since their introduction in the fiction, a number of the original clans have been destroyed, reformed, or otherwise lost; three clans were absorbed by others (Clans Widowmaker, Mongoose, Burrock), two were annihilated (Clans Wolverine and Smoke Jaguar), one abjured from Clan society (Clan Nova Cat), one was split into two (Clan Wolf), and two eventually merged with Inner Sphere nations (Clans Ghost Bear and Snow Raven).
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 the 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 to 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 conduct a series of trials. This would essentially trade Omni-Mech technology for some holdings on Planet Foster. Clan Blood Spirit also opened trade agreement 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 destroyed most of what they gained when they decided to interfere with the Clan Star Adder's Trial of Absorptions of their much hated enemy Clan Burrock. The Star Adder and Burrock force typically united to crush the Blood Spirits. After the battles 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 ask 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 3085.
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 short-lived Clan, the Jade Wolves existed briefly between the Absorption War between the Wolves and Jade Falcons, and when Khan Vlad Ward returned his Clan to full active status as the Wolves.
The Mongoose home planet of Shadow was also 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 their 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 are also quicker to 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 immensity 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.
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. Regardless of this, they participated in the invasion force, 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.
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 lead 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 Warden faction of Clan Wolf was led into the Inner Sphere by then-saKhan Phelan Ward during the Refusal War 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.
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"
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