The Original Clans
After months of deliberation, Aleksandr convened most of the Star League forces still loyal to him (over 80%) and departed the Inner Sphere. After years of traveling, the massive flotilla of Star League refugees came upon five marginally habitable worlds, the so-called Pentagon Worlds (due to their near-pent metric relation to each other). There Kerensky's followers tried to forge life as they knew it once again, and for a time it seemed the Star League would still exist, far away from Terra, although this was not to be. Within a year, cracks were beginning to form along faction lines and soon the Pentagon Worlds were at war: an eerie parallel to the carnage unfolding concurrently in the Inner Sphere, a conflict now known as the First Succession War. At this, Kerensky prepared to gather the precious few troops still loyal to him, when he suffered a massive heart attack and as his dying wish, Kerensky left the reigns of the Exile Star League in the hands of his son, Nicholas. Aleksandr Kerensky's son took 800 of his best warriors and 600 civilian families away to a planet known as Strana Mechty where he forged a new order. This order was known as the Clans. Those who possessed exceptional military skill became the breeding stock of what would become a hereditary ruling class. They embodied the pinnacle of combat prowess, and were put through a variety of competitive and selective processes with each generation to produce virtual super-soldiers. They were charged to protect the weak and powerless, but primarily to take back the Pentagon Worlds and, some day, the Inner Sphere where they, the Clans, would reinstate the glorious Star League.
Clan Blood Spirit
Named for the esprit-de-corps that bound the original 800 clan warriors during the Exodus, ironically, the Blood Spirits are the most isolationist and bitter of the Clans. They believe that the other Clans have abandoned the way set down by Nicholas Kerensky, little caring that they too are guilty of abandoning Kerensky’s vision.
Founded by Colleen Schmitt, the Blood Spirits set about living up to their name by creating the post of ilChi-ambassador/messenger assigned to each of the other Clans to smooth communications and foster good will. Their dream did not live long. The Blood Spirits had expressed some sympathy for Clan Wolverine, and the Burrocks called for the Spirit's annihilation, too. The motion foundered but it was the start of a long feud.
The other Clans, predominantly the Burrocks and Mongoose, targeted the Spirits with near-constant raids, and the Spirits eventually lost their holdings on Albion and Homer, Abandoned by the other Clans, the Blood Spirits chose to abandon their former comrades. The ilChis were withdrawn and over the years the sense of brotherhood was replaced by hatred.
Years of fighting had shattered the Spirits, but their isolation, small size and lack of any resources worth fighting over probably saved them from absorption. They were surprised in the middle of the Golden Century when the Fire Mandrill Kindraa Smythe-Jewell approached them, offering OmniMech technology in exchange for land. Though wary, the Spirits took the deal and made a similar arrangement with the Snow Ravens a century later, trading a number of their little-used Warships for the bulk of the Snow Raven's second-line BattleMechs.
Although the Blood Spirits participated in the bidding for Operation Revival, they did so in a lacklustre manner that ensured their failure to win a place in the trials, let alone the invasion force. Though they follow the Crusader philosophy, the blood Spirits did not think the time was right for an invasion of the Inner Sphere. They derived some measure of satisfaction and vindication when the invaders faltered at Tukayyid.
In early 3059, the Spirits' long time foe, Clan Burrock, became the target of a Trial of Absorption, and the Blood Spirit Khans made a rare appearance at the Grand Council to support the measure. The Spirits were horrified when the honour of absorption went to the Star Adders and decided to take unilateral action; they launched their own attacks against the Burrock enclaves on Priori and Albion.
However, the Spirits underestimated the Adder and Burrock response. Though locked in a trial over the Grand Council's decision, the two Clans worked together to counter the interlopers. The Blood Spirits lost five Galaxies in the assault and gained nothing. They returned to their isolation, emerging only for the Great Refusal a year later.
The Blood Spirits believe that everyone is important to society and there is little of the inter-cast bickering found in other Clans. All the castes are bound by common training, re-creating the sense of brotherhood the Clan once had with the others. However, this does not prevent the ubiquitous trueborn-over-freeborn bias, although if a freeborn warrior can prove his worth to society the Clan does not place additional obstacles in his way.
To describe the Blood Spirits as insular would be a major understatement. They rarely take bondsmen, and often attempt Bondsref rather than be taken in by other Clans. Those few taken by other Clans rival the Fire Mandrills in their lack of cooperation.
Their isolation restricts the Blood Spirits' access to modern technology, and what technology they have obtained had been acquired through a circuitous route. This hardly bothers them, because they see technology as a means to an end. They believe that their abilities alone are sufficient, without the need for a technological "crutch." In a similar vein, they shun the use of cybernetics and related systems. They believe such systems detract from the warrior's spirit, and while a few individuals have cybernetic prostheses, no Blood Spirit warrior had enhanced-imaging (EI) implants (a neural network implanted in a MechWarrior that, along with a computer, provides the warrior with a virtual battlefield that can be viewed from any angle) prior to the Absorption War. Since then, a small number of more aggressive warriors have made use of the system.
Though they work together, all members of Clan Blood Spirit are protective of their privacy. Most have some form of hobby, often artistic, that they use as a distraction from the routine of their lives. The Khans and the caste heads have encouraged the practice, and it appears that by granting each member time to "be themselves" they have strengthened the Clan's internal bonds. Knowing the Clan respects them and their ideas, the individual Blood Spirits do their utmost to further the goals of the Clan.
And yet things appear to be changing in the Blood Spirits. Staunch believers in tradition, their actions in the Absorption War (as they call the action against the Burrocks and Star Adders) flew in the face of tradition and many have questioned Khan Schmitt's judgment. Furthermore, the Clan's defeat at the hands of the Genyosha in the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty has exacerbated their intense dislike of the Inner Sphere. Those once regarded as "uncouth barbarians" were now viewed as "rabid despoilers".
Further, the Spirits are horrified that the Inner Sphere has attained near-parity with their Clan technology, and may in fact be ahead in some areas. They cite the carelessness of the other Clans for this state of affairs, blaming them for the loss of the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty. The Spirits intend to exploit potential of the ProtoMech, which they gained in a Trial of Possession on Huntress following the Great Refusal, as their best chance of fielding advanced technology with their limited resources.
The Burrock is a large invertebrate indigenous to Eden. The Burrock is capable of burrowing through solid rock. It excretes a powerful, acidic mucous which allows it to move through rock.
Clan Burrock was absorbed by Clan Star Adder in 3059. For many years, Clan Burrock conspired with the Dark Caste for its own purposes, a secret the Burrocks managed to keep from the other Clans until late 3058. When the Star Adders brought the matter to the Grand Council's attention, the Council declared a Trial of Absorption. The Burrock's long time enemies, Clan Blood Spirit, moved against them simultaneously. With the official Star Adder absorption the Burrocks and Star Adders worked in concert to defeat the interlopers.
Many Clan Burrock units, appalled by their leaders collusion with the Dark Caste, staged pre-emptive Batchalls against the Star Adders, putting up only token resistance before being incorporated by that Clan. With the exception of the battles against Clan Blood Spirit, this was the least violent Absorption in Clan history, the bulk of Clan Burrock remains intact as part of Clan Star Adder.
Clan Cloud Cobra
Named for the species of snake that developed from the Terran cobras and released onto Arcadia where it resides in the planet's misty jungles, Clan Cloud Cobra is a study in contrasts. They are the most religious of the Clans, paying homage to a concept they call The Way that enshrines aspects of all religions. And yet they are also one of the most devious and political of Clans, equation The Way with the Warden cause, while seeking to further their own agenda.
Shrouded in mysticism, parable and dogma, the history of Clan Cloud Cobra reflects the Clan's founding by Windham Katib, an SLDF chaplain. Together with his saKhan, Vice Admiral Rafe Kardaan, Katib forged the Clan into a solid unit. Although ostensibly putting cultural differences aside, Katib fostered a number of debates to encourage understanding among his troops of different religions and ethnic backgrounds. Together the Cobras forged a new philosophy, comparable to the Inner Sphere "Unfinished Book" movement, which sought the common ground between all religions. Katib called this non-denominational system "The Way," and it would form a fundamental part of the Clan's existence.
Though badly bloodied on Babylon, the Clan fulfilled its objectives during the liberation of the Pentagon. However, an ambush by rebel forces cost the Clan almost half its number, leaving aerospace forces in the ascendant. The Clan sustained further damage in the internal strife that followed Operation Klondike. The Cloud Cobras avoided the fate of the Wolverines, but their internal fighting further weakened them. This prompted many raids against them for their most valuable commodity: technological expertise. The most prominent raiders were Clan Coyote, and counter-raids and captured Coyotes eventually netted OmniMech technology for the Cobras.
When a large number of civilians and warriors belonging to Clan Burrock defected to the Bandit Cast, the Cobras accompanied the loyal Burrocks on a mission to return their wayward kin to the Clan fold. The Burrocks claimed to have punished the transgressors, a story accepted until Clan Star Adder proved it a lie in 3058.
In 2935 the Cobras were honoured when their Khan, Tobias Katib, was selected as ilKhan. He ruled for more than a decade, doing much to advance the cause of the Cloud Cobras. However, Katib's indictment in 2947 tarnished the gains. Katib was found guilty of murdering his predecessor, and the Grand Council stripped him of his office and executed him. Suspicions of a wider conspiracy were never proven.
As the Clans chose sides in what would become the Crusader-Warden debate, other divisions within the Cobras came to the fore. Predominantly religious in nature, these divisions lead to a factionalization of Cobra society akin to that which consumed the Fire Mandrills. The Cobras divided into groups known as Cloisters, some of which supported the Wardens and others the Crusaders. However, The Way ensured that as a whole the Clan supported the protectionist policies of the Wardens. When the Outbound Light triggered a call for invasion, the Cloud Cobra Khans voted to attack, but lacking the strength to prosecute the war, the Cobras withdrew from the bidding, angering several pro-crusader Cloisters and triggering dissention.
When Clan Star Adder uncovered details of Burrock deception regarding their lost members and ongoing dealings with the Dark Caste, the Cloud Cobras were among the most vociferous in calling for the Burrocks' absorption. The venom of their call lead many to suspect a hidden cause for their actions, perhaps associated with the Burrocks' crime, but possibly the Cobra's revulsion at the treachery of their former allies.
Cloud Cobra society centres around the Cloisters and the religions of The Way. Their warriors serve also as priests and teachers, requiring a higher degree of philosophical and theological awareness than is found in other Clans. While the Cloisters are divided in their interpretations of The Way, their common devotion to it also serves to limit their divisiveness. The result is greater internal cohesion than is found in other splintered Clans such as the Fire Mandrills.
The Cloud Cobras accept bondsmen, but those taken by the Clan often have difficulty adapting to the theological debates that are part of everyday life. Cloud Cobras taken as Isorla by other Clans rarely abandon their faith, therefore enclaves of belief in The Way exist in many other Clans.
Cobra civilians, through the Cloisters, have a limited say in the governance of the Clan. In addition to the warriors, each Cloister contains ordained ministers of the civilian castes, who (in theory) advocate the interests of the people. And yet the Cloisters are elitist institutions, with menial work beneath their members, which reinforces the caste divisions. In fact, many regard the Cloisters as political rather than spiritual organizations, used by opportunists to further their own goals.
Most Cloud Cobras are pragmatic, realizing that many of their goals (largely unknown to the rest of the Clans) cannot be easily achieved and they are willing to take the long-term view. This may be one of the strengths of the Cloisters. While most Clansmen plan for now, or at best a few years into the future, the Cobras appear to plan generations in advance, Each Cloister, headed by an ecKhan, takes a proactive role toward attaining its goals, building or breaking alliances as needed.
Cobra technological expertise is among the best in the Clans, Although Clan Diamond Shark claims the credit for developing the current Iron Womb technology, much of the expertise in genetic engineering stems from the Cobras. Their military technology is similarly well developed, although much of their work is refinement of existing systems rather than new developments.
The Strana Mechty coyote, a descendant of the Terran mammal from the North American continent, can be found on just about every inhabited world in the Clan sphere of influence, a fact directly attributable to Clan Coyote's one-time presence on each of those planets. This coyote is larger and apparently much more intelligent than the Terran species, perhaps because of genetic engineering. Sitting at the top of the food chain, the packs of coyotes have nonetheless slowly thinned over the last several decades, a fact that likewise describes the Clan.
Founded by Dana Kufahl, a close friend to the Kerensky family and, indeed, Andery Kerensky’s love, the Coyotes have from their inception practiced a number of mystical rituals. From their first days, they have also maintained a close association with the chosen Clan of the Kerenskys, Clan Wolf.
After a number of successes in Operation Klondike, in which they began the widespread use of Zellbrigen (one-on-one engagements) even as they clashed, the Coyotes quickly jumped ahead of the other Clans in economic and industrial potential. The Golden Century was exceptionally generous to the Coyotes, who, in pursuit of ever bigger and better weapons, developed the OmniMech and so became the pre-eminent military power in the Clan sphere of influence. The Coyotes were second only to the Wolves in absolute population and territorial holdings. Together these two Clans formed a political bloc in the Grand Council that none could hope to stand against successfully.
As the Coyotes grew in strength during the Golden Century, they butted heads with a number of other Clans. In 2742 they entered an alliance with Clan Hell's Horses to destroy the Fire Mandrill Kindraa Smythe-Jewel, who had used what has been called "dubious bidding practices" against both Clans. Six years later the Khans of Clan Snow Raven uncovered incontrovertible evidence that ilKhan Tobias' Katib, of the Cloud Cobras, had engineered the death of the Coyote’s own ilKhan Corian Tchernovkov some years earlier. The Coyotes embarked on a campaign designed to severely punish the Cobras for the actions of their former Khan. After twenty months of heavy action, in which they inflicted sever losses on the Cobras, they lost control of a number of worlds at the same time, the Coyotes scaled back their operations.
As the Warden and Crusader factions grew within all the Clans, the Coyotes experienced a deep division that could have brought about their Absorption by another Clan. Eight entire Bloodname Houses were eliminated because of that strife, later known as the Blood Scandal, but the Coyotes emerged seemingly stronger than ever and devoted to the Warden cause. Members of Clan Star Adder were implicated in this plot to challenge the Coyotes' legitimate authority, leading to yet another of Clan Coyote's long-time feuds.
But crack began to develop in the Coyote's foundation. Already deeply enmeshed in their existing feuds, the Coyotes became a prime target for Crusader Clans looking to crush Clans to weaken Warden resolve. By the time the Outbound Light made its appearance, the Coyotes laid clam to a mere quarter of the holdings they had boasted half a century previous. Lead now by a Khan who recognizes the perils facing her Clan, the Coyote Touman has recently undergone a radical reorganization, aimed at streamlining the organization and turning the Clan around again. Only time will tell if these changes will make a true difference.
The Coyotes have perhaps the most conservative mindset of the Warden Clans. The warrior caste commands, while the civilian castes are expected to serve their every whim. While not particularly unusual for the Clan, this situation has nevertheless led to some inter-caste strife, especially in the past several years, though nothing nearly as extreme as Clan Smoke Jaguar's actions against its civilian castes during the famine on Londerholm in 2912. Reports of warriors harshly punishing members of lower castes for real or imagined wrongdoing are not uncommon. Due to the successes they have experienced in the past, the scientist and technician castes enjoy a certain amount of freedom from supervision in accomplishing their tasks; but the punishments for failure are also accordingly severe.
Freeborns' hold little standing or regard within the Clan. That trend is slowly changing, however, as the number of Freeborns successfully serving in the Touman has increased, and several Coyote Council members have taken up their cause. On the other hand, Coyote Warriors are quite accepting of bondsmen, provided the bondsmen prove them selves capable and willing to serve.
Several of the mystical rites that Dana Kufahl taught her Clan in the early years are still practiced, but primarily by members of the warrior cast. Vision quests and other rites used by Native American tribes to better foster an understanding of nature have evolved more into celebratory practices, at least for the majority of Coyote warriors. A vocal minority in the Clan, however, still holds strictly to the spirit of the teachings of Kufahl's native tribe on Terra.
All members of the Clan have access to any number of diversions in their free time. The most popular are arena sporting events that pit combatants, both warriors and the occasional volunteer from the lower castes, against some of the more dangerous creatures to be found in the Cluster, or ever other participants, in deadly combat. Such so-called blood sports are held at least weekly in every major Coyote city, and usually more often in the largest of population centres.
These are not the only diversions practiced by Clan Coyote's members. The Coyotes have a highly developed artistic bent, especially in holography and laser sculpture, but this is found mostly in the civilian castes. Though widely regarded among connoisseurs of such art among all the Clans, most Coyote warriors shun or even deride this "pedestrian" fare.
Clan Fire Mandrill
The Kerensky Exiles introduced the fire mandrill, a member of the genus Madrillus sphinx, to Eden where it thrived. Name for its fire-red coat, the fire mandrill earned respect for its aggressiveness and loyalty to the pack, making it an ideal totem animal for one of the new Clans. It seems appropriate, therefore, that the rivalry and aggression between fire mandrill packs should also be reflected in their namesake Clan. The Fire Mandrills are a microcosm of the Clans; broken into a number of factions that each maintains their own traditions, philosophies and methods.
Since their earliest days the Fire Mandrills have fought among themselves. This factiousness began during Operations Klondike, when each warrior sought to demonstrate his prowess and the strength of his bloodline. The relationship between Bloodname houses was difficult but several banded together to share resources and to advance their own cause on the Clan council. These groupings were known as "Kindred Associations" or Kindrasc, although later this would be shortened to Kindraa. Political Tensions between the associations had reached the boiling point when the Kindraa Sainze claimed sections of the Widowmaker enclave on Dagda for their own. Recognizing the benefits this would give the Sainze, the rest of Clan Fire Mandrill sought to join one of another faction, leading to a virtual collapse of the Clan's organization.
The system remained stable for many years until the Kindraa Smythe-Jewel sought to strengthen their position. The Fire Mandrills had obtained OmniMechs from Clan Coyote through what the Coyotes described as dubious practices, and the Kindraa Smythe-Jewel gained immeasurably when they traded the system to the Blood Spirits in exchange for territory on Foster. Furthermore, Smythe-Jewel sought to enhance their power by using the Kindraa Payne as pawns in a raid on the Hell's Horses. This would prove Smythe-Jewel's undoing, as the Horses, together with Clan Coyote and allegedly aided by the Kindraa Payne, shattered the Smythe-Jewel association. This provided ample demonstration that while each Kindraa could be likened to a Clan in miniature, they lacked the resources to face another Clan alone. As a result, the Fire Mandrills returned more authority to the Khan and saKhan, which posts are decided by Trials of Possession rather than election, giving the Fire Mandrill leaders power closer to the levels possessed by the Khans of other Clans.
Having fought among themselves for years, the Fire Mandrill warriors were honed to a fine edge and should have won a place in the Operations Revival. However, their factional politics lead to a series of internal trials over who should represent the Clan in the inter-trials for the open slots in the invasion force. These battles shattered the Mandrill Touman, leaving them in poor position and resulting in their exclusion from the Invasion.
Further losses to the Ice Hellions in the "Fury" campaign and to Clan Burrock on Dagda persuaded the Clan that it was time to rebuild. Although Kindraa rivalry remains a focus of Mandrill life, the Clan sees the need for a unified front. Over the last decade the Kindraa have put aside some of their rivalries and have begun to work together. This has allowed them to retake much of their Dagda enclave from Clan Burrock, as well as to capture large swaths of former Jaguar enclave on Atreus. However, the internal divisions re-emerged in the force selected to represent the Clan in the Trial of Refusal on Strana Mechty, resulting in their defeat by the Capellan Red Lancers.
To the Fire Mandrills, the Kindraa and the Bloodname House is the centre of their existence. Each Kindraa contains elements of every cast (but not always a full range of sub-castes) and is largely self-sufficient. Kindraa rulers have powers akin to a Khan over their people. However, each Kindraa believes in its own superiority and rarely takes genetic material from others. Although genetic engineering prevents the usual perils of interbreeding, this lack of diversity and resulted in the stagnation of the lines. It is rumoured that to inject new blood into these Kindraa, a few have incorporated freeborn DNA into the breeding program.
The Fire Mandrill attitude to bondsmen is mixed. They are leery of outsiders and regard those they take with suspicion. However, they do not wish to waste resources and although few warriors can expect adoption into the warrior caste, use of bondsman in civilian castes is as prevalent as in other Clans. Furthermore, the Mandrill's insular and fractious nature makes them bad bondsmen, as the Jade Falcons, among others, recently discovered, and any taken in by other Clans, regardless of caste, will be disruptive. Members of the Kindraa Sainze routinely enact bondsref.
The Clan's civilian castes are well rounded, but while capable of supporting their Kindraa, the Clan's lake of overall cohesion limits their potential. For example, the scientist caste lacks the pooling of resources that has allowed the other Clans to make technological leaps, forcing the Mandrills to acquire technology from outside the Clan. To this end, the Clan's merchants, the least fractious of the castes, have achieved some prominence, frequently working with Clan Diamond Shark. The Shark merchants act as middlemen and mediators, minimizing the Mandrill’s contact with other Clans. However, there is no doubt that the warriors rule the Mandrills.
In most cases the honour of the Kindraa is placed above that of the individual, and this leads to surprisingly good relations between the castes. Most warriors are willing to help out with any work that needs to be done, strengthening the bonds between them and the civilians. The notable exception is the Kindraa Sainze, who value individual honour and consequently have a poorer relationship with non-warrior members.
While the Mandrills are a Crusader Can, many of the Kindraa hold to Warden principals. The current Khans are from the Crusader Kindraa Mattila-Carol and Sainze and have worked for the Crusader cause. Historically, the Clan has been more neutral in its politics, dominated by the pro-Warden Kindraa Payne and the Pro-Crusader Sainze. With the Clan's defeat on Strana Mechty, their politics are liable to return to the middle ground.
Clan Ghost Bear
Living in the arctic Southern Hemisphere of Strana Mechty, the ghost bear is a patient predator that waits hours, even days, buried in the snow, for its prey to come into view. When the moment is right, the massive animal strikes with such lightning speed and strength that the naked eye can barely see the ghost bear at all. The surface of the snow settles again and the only a faint bloodstain as evidence of the fierce and deadly battle.
Like its namesake, Clan Ghost Bear is a conservative hunter. Never hasty, the prevailing Ghost Bear attitude is "wait and see." When the Bear finally moves, the results are swift and often extreme. Once the Bear has its mind set on something, nothing can stand in its way. Such is the Way of the Bear.
The Ghost Bears are the only Clan to be founded by a married couple, and it almost did not happen. Hans Jorgensson and Sandra Tseng and Jorgensson agreed that they would rather die together than live apart, and so they set out on a journey into the Antarctic of Strana Mechty.
Their journey became the stuff of legends when a family of ghost bears reportedly saved them from death by starvation and exposure. Regaining their strength, they returned to the Clans. The solidarity shown by Tseng and Jorgensson so impressed Nicholas that he let them stay together as Khans of the Ghost Bear Clan.
The Ghost Bears thrived in the Golden Century, but their cautious attitudes kept them from standing out. The Clans' main advancements were industrial; the asteroid-mining techniques they developed during this time gave them a distinct edge in production.
When Operation Revival began, the Ghost Bears earned a place in the initial invasion force, attacking the Draconis Combine and Free Rasalhague Republic corridor. Easy victories in the Periphery and early encounters with Rasalhague troops lulled the Bear Khan into a false sense of security. Together with a lack of sufficient supplies, this resulted in a poor showing for the Bears through the first two waves of the operation.
The turning point was the death of Khan Theresa DelViller. The Clan's dynamic Oathmaster, Aletha Kabrinski, succeeded her and immediately called for the removal of the Clan's other Khan, citing poor performance in the invasion to date. Kabrinski nominated Bjorn Jorgensson, who handily defeated the sitting Khan to take over command of the Clan. Jorgensson and Kabrinski immediately initiated sweeping reforms, putting the Clan back on track, and their performance in the later stages of the invasion was impressive. On Tukayyid, they managed to take one of their objectives, while all other Clans but Wolf and Jade Falcon failed to achieve any sort of victory.
In the years following Tukayyid, the Bears moved to solidify their position in the Inner Sphere. Known for treating their civilians well, the Bears continued that course, working closely with local governments to keep the population as content as possible under their new leadership. Ambitious industrial expansion projects were wide spread, keeping employment rates up and enhancing the Bear Touman in the process.
The Ghost Bears were so successful in their Occupation Zone that Khan Jorgensson proposed a bold plan: to move the entire Clan permanently into the Inner Sphere, streamlining supply and manufacturing and strengthening the Clan. The matter was put to a vote towards the entire Warrior caste, as they did with any and all important matters that concerned all Ghost Bear castes, the clan voted to move. Although relocating from Clan space was not in violation of any Clan laws or traditions, the move was conducted in secrecy to prevent undue predation against Ghost Bear holdings or vessels during the relocation.
The return to the Inner Sphere began in early 3055, and by mid-3059 was nearly complete. A pair of massive Leviathan-class Warships transported huge numbers of civilians in secret. Each had the appearance of a fearsome battle cruiser, but was actually a large-scale armoured transport. Each Leviathan can transport more than a quarter of a million passengers, plus supplies and prefabricated settlements. Supposedly patrolling the Clan's Deep Periphery supply lines, they were in fact moving millions of Ghost Bear Civilians to the Inner Sphere.
The capture and adoption by Clan Ghost Bear of Ragnar Magnusson, Prince of Rasalhague and former warrior of Clan Wolf, put the seal on the Ghost Bears' relocation. Currently a Star Colonel in the Bear Touman, his presence legitimized the Bears' claim to their Inner Sphere possessions, and it seems likely that Ragnar will eventually be elevated to a high position within the Clan.
Hard work and dedication are cornerstones of Ghost Bear daily life. Though these values are typical of the Clans, the Bears further reinforce them with the concept of family. A word repugnant to all other Clans, family has a unique meaning to this Clan founded by a married couple. In their years as the Ghost Bears' first Khans, Tseng and Jorgensson imparted to their initial forty warriors a sense of camaraderie and fellowship. To them, the Clan was a family, and the father was the Khan.
As the years passed, those first warriors passed this sense of pride and belonging to those under their command. The intensity of the relationship faded as the Clan grew, but the general sense remained. Ghost Bear warriors maintain tight bonds with their trothkin and starmates. True friendship among them is widespread, and some even say love is common among the ranks (although the Bears deny this).
In the civilian castes, where families are common in other Clans, the concept is far closer to the Inner Sphere norm than in other Clans. Children generally stay with their parents rather than being raised in community crèches. In most cases, this means the crèches are more like day care than permanent homes for the children, and the parents take care of their own children as much as they can while still performing their duties for the Clan.
Clan Goliath Scorpion
The Babylonian goliath scorpion is renowned and admired for its suicidal defence of nests and its lethal venom. Many of the early settlers of Babylon lost their lives to this creature. The venom forms an important part of Clan Goliath Scorpion's rituals, which has earned this Clan's members equal measures of respect and disdain from their fellow Clans.
The Scorpions' founder, Cyrus Elam, was not a typical soldier-Clansman. He was a combat engineer specializing in bridge building and demolitions, skills that proved vital in the advance on Dagda. His saKhan, Jenna Scott, was equally unusual: an intelligence officer whose influence led to the Scorpions' specialization in information gathering. The Clan's third and unofficial founder was Ethan Moreau, a member of the SLDF who rejected Nicholas Kerensky's call for a second Exodus and remained in the Pentagon worlds throughout the civil war. After the liberation, he underwent the public confession and humiliation known as Thamzing. Moreau's genuine contrition for his error in remaining behind so impresses Nicholas that he created surkai, the Rite of Forgiveness. Moreau was allowed into Clan Goliath Scorpion, but was denied a Bloodname and a place in the eugenics program because he was not among the original 800 Clan founders.
As the Golden Century dawned, a flood of new warriors outstripped the available machines in the Scorpion Touman. In an effort to weed out lesser warriors, the Clan's leader created a coming-of-age ritual that required a new warrior to subject himself to the sting of a goliath scorpion. The death toll from the venom soon grew high enough to threaten the genetic stability of the Scorpion Bloodlines and force a halt to the practice. Khan Shandra Dinour then ordered the scientist cast to find an alternative that maintained the ritual's spirit while lessening it lethality, without destroying the valuable visionary effects imparted by the scorpion's sting. Two years later, the scientists introduced Necrosia, a derivative of the scorpion venom. Necrosia soon became a part of almost every cadet's induction into the Goliath Scorpion Warrior caste.
When Clan Coyote developed the OmniMech, the poor showing of the Scorpion military attempts to capture the new technology embarrasses the entire Clan. In an effort to increase the martial skills of her warriors, Khan Dinour created a series of tournaments known as the Circle of Honour, based on the Martial Olympiad of the Star League. This Gladiatorial tradition still thrives in the present day.
As the Golden Century progressed, Clan Goliath Scorpion's warriors increasingly sought personal connections to the half-forgotten glories of the past, using Necrosia-induced "vision quests" to direct their searches for ancient relics. The warriors claimed that the venom cocktail allowed them to see beyond the mundane world, making connections between artefacts from the past and events of the future. Many Scorpions became solitary wanderers, lacking the cohesion of the other Clans. The actions of these so-called seekers often led Clan Goliath Scorpion into skirmishes with other Clans-their only official contact with outsiders for much of their history. More often than not, the small groups of nomadic Scorpions fell prey to their better-organized and equipped neighbours, hampering their Clan's development.
In recent years the Khans of Clan Goliath Scorpion have recognized these weaknesses and undertaken steps to compensate for them. They have entered into negotiations with Clan Snow Raven, offering to trade Scorpion military backing in future enterprises for equipment-mainly aerospace fighters-and Raven tactical advisors. The Ravens are driving a hard bargain, but a deal appears imminent. In addition, Khan Ariel Suvorov's reforms of the Scorpion Touman have amply demonstrated their success in recent months through the Clan's victories in the Trial of Possession for Ghost Bear holdings on Tokasha.
The Goliath Scorpions are generally less disdainful of Freeborns’ than other Clans, having relied on them to compensate for the fatalities. Most of these were resulting from warriors using the scorpion venom for vision quests. Trueborns maintain something of their Clan-wide mystique, but are not regarded as the pinnacle of evolution. Similarly, Bloodnamed warriors are respected, but not put on a pedestal. These relatively egalitarian attitudes stem in part from the Scorpion "living heraldry" system.
Living heraldry seeks to turn the history of the Clan and its members into works of art that outlive them. Individual warriors use living heraldry as a visible codex, announcing their own abilities and the history of their bloodlines. Rather than medieval-style coats of arms, living heraldry involves collecting animals, objects and followers that somehow express the individual warrior's identity. Together with their vision quests, the Scorpions regard living heraldry as a form of practical mysticism that allows them to honour the pas-particularly the Star League- and to reassemble it with relics.
As part of this system, bondsmen are closely associated with their bondholders, regarded as living trophies and serving as squires. These bondsmen provide a tangible demonstration of a warrior's abilities. Members of the technician caste act as de facto bondsmen to the warriors they serve, remaining with an individual warrior through their careers rather than with a given military unit. Other Clans generally refrain from taking Goliath Scorpions as bondsmen or adopting Bloodnamed Scorpion warriors, as so many Scorpion warriors are physically and psychologically addicted to scorpion venom. With those liabilities, taking them into another Clan is frequently considered a waste of effort.
The nomadic lifestyle adopted by so many members of this Clan has hampered the Scorpions' technological and economic development; consequently, most other Clans consider the Scorpions backward. The Scorpions also consider an individual's vision quest a more important obligation than the Clan's military goals, a distinctly un-Clan like attitude that has led many other Clans to shun them. However, this same absence of a rigid infrastructure and relative lack of resources has spared them the raiding suffered by many other Clans.
The Scorpions are staunch Wardens, but their interpretation of the philosophy deviates from the norm. Like other Wardens, they do not believe that the Star League should be recreated through conquest. Instead, they believe it must be reborn through rediscovery of the past. They view the people of the Inner Sphere as misguided, to be brought back onto the true path through the teachings of their betters.
Clan Hell's Horses
Attempts to adapt horses to the deserts of Circe resulted in a carnivorous beast uncontrollable through conventional taming methods. The Prototypes of these horses were scheduled for termination by the scientists, but the animals were released by a sympathetic soldier and have since thrived on Circe. Respected for its tenacity and unadulterated aggressiveness, the hells horse make and ideal Clan totem.
Founded by the commander of the SLDF's thirty-fifth Infantry Division, Clan Hell’s Horses has believed in combined-arms operations since its inception. The Clan served in a support role during the campaign to liberate Eden, which earned its members less prestige than the other Clans but also meant proportionally fewer casualties. This gave the Hell’s Horses an advantage during the post-war era.
For many years, the Clan focused on colonization, expansion and self-improvement. In expanding the boundaries of Clan space, the Hell's Horses took a major risk that the increased freedom necessary for successful colonization might result in open revolt against he strictures of ordinary Clan society. Other Clans tightly controlled exploration and colonization for exactly that reason. Whether through careful planning or good luck, however, the Horses avoided any major incidents.
Apolitical for many years, they remained in the background, sparring with their neighbours only for resources or new technology. Many Hell's Horses encounters resulted in negotiated settlements-most notably the deal with the Wolf Clan for Elemental suits, which coloured the relationship between the two Clans until the present day.
The turning point in the relationship of the Hell's Horses with the other Clans came when the Horses developed the genetic enhancement techniques used to create the Elemental phenotype. This innovation forced the other Clans to re-evaluate the Horses. A series of Trials for the techniques and genetic material ensued, including a treacherous assault by the Fire Mandrill Kindraa Smythe-Jewel, in which Kindraa Payne unwittingly served as a diversion while the Smythe-Jewel forces took their objectives. Disgusted by the un-Clan like tactics, the Horses called for a Trial of Annihilation against the Mandrills, but were refused. Soon afterward, they allied with Clan Coyote and in 2872 crushed the offending Kindraa. These actions earned the Horses the respect of other Clans and demonstrated the benefits of inter-Clan cooperation.
In 2921, battles against the Ghost Bears for control of Tokasha escalated out of hand. The bitter fighting involved atypically large forces, with each side fielding an entire Galaxy. The Hell's Horses had the upper hand for much of the battle, until Bear Khan Kilborne Jorgensson was killed and the Bears went into a frenzy. The maddened Bears shattered Horses units, forcing them to withdraw. Both Clans have nursed a feud ever since-the Horses for the loss of their manufacturing facilities on Tokasha, and the Bears for the death of their Khan.
During the early thirty-first century, the Horses shifted drastically from political neutrality to clear support of the Crusader cause. They participated enthusiastically in the Trials of Possession held for positions in the Inner Sphere invasion force, but failed to win a place. The failure angered many in the Clan, and after Tukayyid they supported every initiative to resume the invasion.
Clan Hell's Horses fought in the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty in defence of the invasion, and were horrified by the ease with which the Free Rasalhague's Third Drakons defeated them. In the months that followed, they took out their frustration on their neighbours. They fought under contract to the Wolf Clan on Hoard, as well as on their own to seize former Ghost Bear assets on Bearclaw and to reclaim their old possessions on Tokasha.
Clan Hell's Horses seems to be facing a brighter future; they recently took three Inner Sphere worlds from Clan Wolf. It remains to been seen whether they can capitalize on this de facto occupation zone.
The Hell's horses believe that everyone has his or her place. The Clan's castes cooperate with each other, enjoying generally good relations. The warrior caste remains dominant, but its members listen to and respect the opinions of the civilian castes. However, the Horses' relative lack of aggressiveness and absence of major politicking has led other Clans to hold them in low esteem until their recent successes in the Trials of Possession for former Ghost Bear assets. Despite these gains, however, the Hell's Horses clearly remain followers rather than leaders. On many issues they still defer to their "brothers" in the Wolf Clan, and rumours of Khan Fletcher's mental instability have not helped their cause.
The Hell's Horses refuse to take bondsmen from sources they consider dishonourable, including bandits and Clan Fire Mandrill (except for Kindraa Payne). Their ongoing feud with Clan Ghost Bear has not kept them from attempting to capture Ghost Bear bondsmen, whom they regard as living trophies. Many such prisoners are humiliated and abused, but not to the extent that the Smoke Jaguars used to abuse their prisoners. The Ghost Bears have begun reciprocating, and so the two Clans have little expectation of leniency when they clash.
While respecting the benefits of new technology, the Horses regard it as a means to an end. New technologies allow them to work better, especially the warriors who would otherwise be retired because of injury. Khan Malavai Fletcher is a staunch proponent of cybernetics-understandable, if one believes the allegations that cybernetic parts have replaced half of the Khans unstable body.
Politically the Hell's Horses are somewhat unusual. The Clan's rank and file are Warden, but to avoid friction with other Crusader Clans, Khan Fletcher has ensured that crusaders hold all senior posts. In general the Hell's Horses see the Inner Sphere as a lost cause in need of redemption, not territory to be conquered and ruled.
Honour and tradition bind this clan together, as expressed in its unique rituals. Most notable is the Branding, in which a team of warriors hunt and capture a Circian hell's horse to brand it. Those who succeed without losing any team members in the process are awarded the prestigious Mark of the Horse.
Clan Ice Hellion
Even though this cunning pack predator of Hector's snowy mountains preyed on many of the first Clan explorers, it was admired for its lithe shape and blindingly white fur. Nicholas Kerensky respected the creature for its predatory instinct and pack-hunting skill, and so named this Clan after it.
The founders of Clan Ice Hellion chose to mimic their totem animal’s speed and pack mentality. Using light and medium 'Mechs and aerospace fighters, they served as scouts in Operations Klondike. This role led to some friction with Nicholas Kerensky, as the Hellions felt he had denied them the fights they deserved. The Clan still bears this proverbial chip on the shoulder, aggressively defending its martial abilities.
Light but powerful, the Ice Hellions did well in the early years after the Pentagon campaign, using their speed to devastating effect in various conflicts with other Clans. The other Clans soon developed effective counter-tactics, however, and the Hellions found themselves assailed from all sides. For a time, Hellion saKhan Lucius Moore was a hero to his Clan for his seeming ability to win in hopeless situations. Then senior Khan Cage discovered that Moore was using drugs to enhance his troops' abilities. Enraged at what he took as a grievous slight against the Clan eugenics program, Cage brought charges before the Grand Council and called for a Trial of Grievance against Moore. The fighting that followed was essentially a civil war within the Hellions, costing them 60 percent of their strength but freeing them of the taint of saKhan Moore's dishonourable actions. Other Clans probed the Hellions' weakness, but the Hellions fended them off. To compensate for their lower numbers, they developed several new technologies, including the enhanced-formula endo-steel and ferro-fibrous armour used in modern OmniMechs.
In the debate over whether or not to invade the Inner Sphere, the Ice Hellions were avid Crusaders. When the Grand Council agreed to the Warden-sponsored Dragoon Compromise in the year 3000, Hellion Khan Jena Norizuchi was outraged. Going against the Grand Council's decision, she prepared to launch a pre-emptive invasion of the Inner Sphere. SaKhan Ernest Wick declared a secret Trial of Grievance against her for going against the Council’s mandate, and once again the Ice Hellions found them selves fighting a civil war. The details of this so-called secret Trial did not emerge until recently save that saKhan Wick won and the Hellions kept faith with the Grand Council.
When the call finally went out for the invasion in 3048, the Hellions fared poorly in the Trials for inclusion in the invasion force. Outraged, many Hellion warriors vented their frustration in the "Hellion's Fury" campaign. This series of raids throughout Clan space netted the Hellions many resources and much territory, but also alienated them from many of their fellow Home Clans.
In recent years, Khan Asa Taney has attempted to use the dissatisfaction among the Home Clans to form a coalition that would elect him ilKhan and elevate the Hellions to Invading Clan status. Even after the Khans of the Invading Clans destroyed his power base, Taney remained close to the centres of power, and was one of the four Khans who accompanied the ilKhan when they met Victor Steiner-Davion to negotiate the Great Refusal. During that Trial, the Hellions met the Nova Cats and were shattered. Khan Taney was badly injured by Nova Cat Khan Severen Leroux, and only returned to active duty in November of 3060.
Ice Hellion Society follows Clan traditions, with warriors regarded as clearly superior to the civilian castes. Inter-caste relations remain generally even, though the warriors distrust the merchant caste. Believing merchant ways inherently corrupt, the Clan Council assigns troops to escort and keep watch over all merchant vessels.
The people of Clan Ice Hellion are hard working, thriving on the marginal worlds that the Clans claim as their own. This work ethic has forged strong bonds within the technician and labourer castes. Both know that the other castes undervalue them, and are thus very supportive of each other. Family units show similarly strong ties, as do work groups and military units. Appreciation of others' abilities within the family or unit is a natural extension of the bond within Hellion "packs" (as they frequently term their various subgroups), and this willingness to recognize the talents of others has made performance arts a common pastime.
Bondsmen are a feature of Hellion life, particularly civilians taken in raids or when acquiring territory. Expansionistic and belligerent, the Hellions know that bondsmen are living evidence of their military strength. However, few captured warriors are allowed to become abtakha, principally because of problems adapting to the Hellion's emphasis on speed and other unique battle tactics.
The idealization of speed colours all aspects of Ice Hellion life. The Hellions place considerable emphasis on first impressions and snap judgments rather than long-term contemplation and its associated second-guessing. Such an attitude often works well in combat, where swift reaction time can mean the difference between life and death; in politics or business, however, it can pose major problems. The Hellions do not think things through, which has hurt their mercantile concerns as well as their leaders' political ambitions.
Almost all members of this Clan are strong believers in technology, but none more so than the warriors. Anything that enhances their machines' speed or a warrior's reaction time-more powerful engines, lighter components or EI implants-is much prized in Clan Ice Hellion.
Clan Jade Falcon
The jade falcon is a large bird that was genetically altered from the Terran peregrine falcon to live in the jungles of Eden. It has a distinctive, shimmering, emerald-green plumage and an ear piercing cry. Clan Jade Falcon has historically ranked among the most powerful and active Clans. Aggressive and tenacious, this Clan constantly strives to advance its own agenda without losing sight of Nicholas Kerensky's teachings (as the Falcons interpret them). Staunch traditionalists, the Falcons were the driving force behind the development of the Crusader philosophy.
The Falcons performed admirably in the liberation of the Pentagon worlds, but fell short of Nicholas Kerensky's expectations. His decision to join the Wolf Clan gave rise to a bitter feud between the two Clans that continues to this day. After shaking off the near-fatal malaise that had gripped them in the wake of Kerensky's choice, the Falcons transformed their Clan into one of the foremost advocates of the Founder’s ideals.
Viewed as hidebound by some other Clans, the Falcons developed mercantile and military interests simultaneously. Taking a slower approach than other Clans brought them sustainable growth with appropriate support from the civilian castes, and the Falcons ended the Golden Century as one of the most powerful Clans.
The Falcons led the Crusader movement to invade the Inner Sphere, and continued to push for invasion despite the Wolf Clan's blocking tactics. Their efforts ultimately won them a place in Operation Revival, and Falcon Khan Elias Crichell became one of ilKhan Leo Sowers' most trusted advisors. The Falcons did not perform as well as expected, however, and so ilKhan Ulric Kerensky paired them with the Steel Vipers-one of their bitterest rivals-after ilKhan Showers' death. Achieving a draw against the Com Guards on Tukayyid restored some of the Falcons' prestige, but they chafed under the truce signed by ilKhan Kerensky. They undertook several schemes to abrogate it, the last of which resulted in the removal of the Warden ilKhan and the shattering of the Wolf Clan. Their own Clan suffered as greatly, however, leaving the Falcons too weak to exploit their victory politically. Lincoln Osis of the Smoke Jaguars, rather than a Falcon Khan, became the new ilKhan.
With the Smoke Jaguars gone, the Falcons are once more on the ascendant. They repulsed a recent attack by Clan Steel Viper, in the process strengthening their Inner Sphere holdings. In addition, backed by the volume of resources only available to the invading Clans, the Falcons have rebuilt their military in record time.
The Falcons believe wholeheartedly in the right of the warrior caste to rule. Trueborn warriors look down on Freeborns, and all warriors look down on the other castes. Unlike the extremist Smoke Jaguars, however, the Falcons recognize the importance of the civilian castes to the war effort. While often brusque in their dealings with civilians, Falcons warriors recognize that the Touman would suffer without their efforts. Falcon civilians therefore enjoy a standard of living above average for the Clan worlds, in recognition of their contribution to society.
Given their martial bent, the Falcons have an unusually large mercantile network, second only to that of the business-minded Diamond Sharks. Without the materials to fight, warriors are nothing; because the merchant caste provides those materials, its members receive considerable support. Similarly, members of the scientist caste command considerable respect for their wide-ranging work on behalf of the Clan. However, this respect does not translate into much personal freedom; the Falcons have always crushed rebellion without mercy. Such a hard-line approach works well with Clansmen, who know what to expect, but has cause problems with the Falcons' Inner Sphere populations. Clan Wolf exploited Falcon heavy-handedness during the Refusal War, as did Archon-Princess Katherine Steiner-Davion more recently when she sent agents to incite unrest on Falcon-held words.
The Falcons frequently take bondsmen. Though a bondsman is often harshly treated while wearing the bondcord, little stigma is attached to those accepted into the Clan. The sole exceptions are Fire Mandrill warriors taken as Isorla during the recent Harvest Trials, largely because they have refused to integrate with the Falcons-a situation the leaves the proud Falcons completely mystified.
Historically, the Jade Falcons preferred deeds to words, but recent years have seen a number of politically astute Khans. After the political power games of Khan Elias Crichell brought the Falcons to the brink of destruction, his successor, Martha Pryde, immediately returned to the Clan's more action-oriented tradition and launched an invasion of the Lyran Alliance to prove her Clan’s strength. The events of the past few years, however, have convinced Khan Pryde not to neglect politics completely. In recent months, she shook the foundations of Clan society when she allowed a freeborn (albeit one born of two trueborns) to compete in Trials for the Pryde Bloodname.
Clan Mongoose was named after the sinuous predator found on the planet Shadow. It stalked and killed that world's large, dangerous venom worms, which endeared it to the Clan.
Clan Smoke Jaguar absorbed clan Mongoose in 2868. Overtly reliant on political manoeuvring, the Khans of Clan Mongoose were fond of quoting the writings of the Great Kerenskys to justify their actions. However, when they attempted to use such a manoeuvre to escape a Grand Council decision that ran contrary to their wishes, they were declared unfit to rule, and their Clan became the target of a Trial of Absorption.
Clan Smoke Jaguar won the right to absorb the Mongoose assets, though actions by Clan Star Adder in advance of the official Trial limited the Smoke Jaguar gains. The Smoke Jaguars destroyed the Mongoose Touman, but refused to take any of the Clan's genetic legacies. The Cloud Cobras acquired eleven legacies, which they continue to use to this day.
Clan Nova Cat
The Dagda feline whose mane stands on end (like a sudden nova) whenever it is alarmed was the inspiration for this Clan name. Its mane is tipped with barbs containing a substance poisonous to most creatures. The nova cat is admired for its alert response to danger.
Spiritualistic, farseeing, deadly. The Nova Cats are unique amongst the warrior Clans. More philosophers and dreamers than warrior, these children of Kerensky differ from their brethren in that they rely heavily upon mystic visions that tell the future. While the other Clans scoff at the Nova Cats reliance of visions, it should be noted that a surprising number of these predictions have come true.
The Nova Cat's first Khan, Phillip Drummond, is the only one succeeded in Clan history by his own child. Sandra Rosse rose quickly through the ranks. When it became apparent that her father's health was failing, Sandra challenged him to a Trial of Grievance and took his place as Khan. Following in her father's steps, Khan Sandra Rosse guided the Nova Cats to many victories and helped set the standards to which all Nova Cat warriors adhere. Chief amongst her contributions was giving her Clan a spiritual way of life.
During the Golden Century, the Nova Cats, along with the Diamond Sharks, amassed tremendous wealth speculating on Clan explorations and mining. Khan Sandra Rosse allowed the Nova Cat merchants the freedom to do their jobs as they saw fit. This action contributed greatly to the Cats' future success.
In the intervening years since the Battle of Tukayyid, the Nova Cats have fought a number of pitched battles with both the Draconis Combine and the Smoke Jaguars. Notable battles during this period include the failed raid by the Black Summoners in 3056, which cost the Cats a full Trinary of OmniMechs and a DropShip. In summer of 3058, the Nova Cats were lured to the planet Wayland by members of the Northwind Highlanders and defeated the Smoke Jaguars new Tau Galaxy in a bloody battle reminiscent of Tukayyid.
It is also in this time period that Nova Cat Khans began a series of secret talks with the Draconis Combine. The two cultures, surprisingly, share a belief in mysticism and have cooperated on numerous occasions. In the years prior to Operation Bulldog, Khan Severen Leroux began having visions depicting a nova cat being devoured by a dragon. The events on Wayland gave credence to the implied warning. When Coordinator Kurita's ambassadors hinted at a possible invasion by Inner Sphere forces, Khan Leroux saw that as another sign. He ordered his emissaries to go along with the Combine's plans. In the weeks leading up to the invasion, Khan Leroux and Carns issued pre-emptive Batchalls to the Combine leaders. These battles, heavily weighted in the new Star League's favour, would allow the Nova Cats to return to the Inner Sphere with no loss of honour. All troops who were captured would be granted warrior status and, where needed, assisted in the conquest of several Smoke Jaguar worlds.
The Inner Sphere's invasion of Smoke Jaguar space has cost the Nova Cats their entire occupation zone and dozens of Clusters. These troops however have a new home as members of the new Star League Defence Force. These troops now serve as peacekeepers while the Combine reasserts its control over its recaptured worlds. This allows the Combine to shift troops to the Ghost Bear/Combine border.
With the defeat of the Smoke Jaguars in the Inner Sphere and on Huntress, the Clans found themselves with the unprecedented prospect of an Inner Sphere invasion of Strana Mechty. The Star League Defence Force soon challenged the Clans to a Trial of Refusal over the invasion. If the Inner Sphere won, the invasion was over and the invading Clans would retain the worlds they had conquered. If the Clans won, the invasion would resume. The Warden Clans refused to participate in the Trial, leaving the eight Crusader Clans to face the SLDF. As the Smoke Jaguars had only two Binaries of troops left, it was decided that each Crusader Clan would only commit two Binaries to the battle.
The Nova Cats played an unusual role in the Trial of Refusal declared by Prince Victor Ian Steiner-Davion. When Ice Hellion Khan Asa Taney made clear his intentions to renew the invasion, Khans Leroux and Carns saw little choice but to side with the Star League. Khan Leroux's visions foretold of certain doom for the Inner Sphere if anyone but the Nova Cats battled the Ice Hellions at Lyod Glacier. The two Khans convinced Prince Victor of this and led their troops in a hard fought battle that saw the deaths of Khans Leroux and Carns as well as Khan Asa Taney.
With their leaders dead, it is unknown at this time who will now lead the Nova Cats. Before his death, Khan Carns committed the entirety of Clan Nova Cat to the Star League. How the Nova Cats will serve the Star League is presently unknown.
Other Clans often point to the fact that Clan Nova Cat was the only Clan forged by a member of the Exodus who did not belong to the Star League Defence Force to explain that Clan's unconventional nature and sometimes disturbing customs. The freedom they allow their merchant caste, their emphasis and reliance on innovative economic measures, and their deeply spiritual nature set Clan Nova Cat dramatically apart from Nicholas Kerensky's other descendants. The beginnings of these policies can be traced directly to the founder of Clan Nova Cat, Phillip Drummond, and to the influence of Anna Rosse.
Clan Sea Fox
This Clan takes its name from the seal-like reptilian predator of Strana Mechty's freshwater oceans. The sea fox appears to honour its prey by bellowing and then bowing, as though in respect for its kill.
Originally named Clan Sea Fox by Nicholas Kerensky, this Clan quickly gained a reputation for free thinking liberalism and an openness with its lower castes that was remarkably different from the other Clans. Under the leadership of Khan Karen Nagasawa, Clan Sea Fox was soon known for its democratic ways and liberal attitudes toward all its caste members. Khan Nagasawa's policies paid off hugely as the Clan reaped substantial benefits from its exploration teams and the Clan-wide information network, the Chatterweb. With access to a number of extremely lucrative markets as well as being one of the first Clans to deploy OmniMechs, Clan Sea Fox rose to a high stature in a remarkably short time. All of these successes, though, came at a high price. The sea fox, once an endangered species, was soon to fall to a man-made threat.
Khan Howell of Clan Snow Raven, angered at recent losses to the hated Clan Sea Fox, ordered his scientists to create the ultimate aquatic killer. The Snow Raven scientists genetically engineered a Terran great white shark to become an even more fearsome predator. The new shark was dubbed the diamond shark, in honour of the diamond hard ridges on its flanks. The shark was then released into the sea in search of prey. It found it - in the sea fox. The sea fox of Strana Mechty knew no natural enemies. It was at the top of the food chain the planet's oceans and greatly admired by Clan Sea Fox. Within weeks, the diamond shark had decimated much of the sea fox's population. Soon the sea fox, which had already been saved from extinction once, was doomed.
No one knew of the sea fox's plight until Khan Clarke sailed out to give tribute. As Khan offered homage to the sea fox, he and his attendants were shocked to see a sea fox brutally killed by a previously unknown sea creature. Khan Clarke ordered the capture of the creature. A squad of Elementals managed to capture the beast, but the Sea Fox scientists were unable to identify its species. The arrival of the diamond shark left the Sea Fox Khans in a quandary. A quick survey indicated that the sea fox would be extinct before the end of the year. Clearly, the diamond shark proved the superior of the sea fox.
Khan Clarke called for vote allowing Clan Sea Fox to change its name to Diamond Shark. During the debates, it was revealed that the Snow Ravens were responsible for the destruction of the sea fox. Some of the other Khans were sympathetic to the Sea Fox's dilemma, but in the end the vote was cast against the name change. Khan Clarke immediately declared a Trial of Refusal and won the right to change the Clan's name.
After much pondering and soul searching, Khan Clarke came to a controversial decision. Khan Clarke threw the vote to change the Clan's name open to all members of the Clan. This enraged the warriors, but Khan Clarke stood firm in the face of opposition, defeating all challengers. In the end, the Clans name was changed to Diamond Shark. The Sea Fox was gone forever.
The foundation of Clan Diamond Shark is shrouded in controversy. Originally named Clan Sea Fox for the reptile-like amphibian predator native to Strana-Mechty, they were renamed in 2985 following the introduction of the diamond shark to Strana Mechty, where it supplanted the sea fox in the food chain.
The only Clan not to underestimate the defenders of Babylon, the Sea Foxes emerged from the Pentagon Campaign with the respect of their peers. The Sea Fox Khan's early initiatives to promote material prosperity and strength of the Clan's economy soon paid off. The Clan pioneered developments in the artificial womb technology, and worked with the Cloud Cobras on genetic engineering techniques. However, it was in trade, both material goods and information, that Clan Sea Fox made its reputation. They prospered for more than a century.
However, jealousy of the Sea Fox's success festered among the other Clans. Following a humiliating defeat in a trial of possession-and Sea Fox bragging about the victory on the Chatterweb-the Khan of Clan Snow Raven took extraordinary measures. Releasing a genetically engineered breed of shark into Strana Mechty's oceans, he sought to destroy his enemy's totem animal. Although one colony of sea foxes remained, the success of the diamond shark led the Clan to petition for a name change. Viewed as near heretical for casting off the name given them by Nicholas Kerensky, they were nevertheless allowed to do so after winning a Trial of Refusal. On September 30, 2985 Clan Sea Fox was renamed Clan Diamond Shark.
For many years the Clan attempted to keep out of politics, because political disputes were bad for business. Eventually the Sharks succumbed to the Great Debate. Though predominantly Wardens, their desire to return to the Inner Sphere led them to support the Crusaders cause, as much to limit the brutality of Clans Jade Falcon and Smoke Jaguar as to exploit Inner Sphere resources.
When the call for invasion went out in 3048, the Diamond Sharks failed to win a primary place in the invasion, but were designated third reserve after the Steel Vipers and Nova Cats. To further improve His Clan's position, Khan Ian Hawker entered into an alliance with the Jade Falcons. As the invasion progressed, Diamond Shark observers attached to the invasion force traveled with the fleet, identifying the goods the Invaders needed. The passed this information to the Clan's merchants, who made considerable profits. However, the situation soured when an arms transport fell into the hands of Kuritan rebels who used the captured arms against Clan Smoke Jaguar. The merchants were expelled.
When the Clan was finally activated after the death of ilKhan Showers, they were forced to fight the Ghost Bears for a base world, and looked set to share the Bears' invasion corridor. However, before the arrangement was formalized, the Battle of Tukayyid shattered the Shark Touman and they retreated in disarray. The Ghost Bears soon recaptured the Sharks' base world of Nyserta, leaving the Diamond Sharks little option but to return to Clan Space.
With the warrior cast in disarray, the Clan's merchant caste became ascendant, in effect determining Clan policy. Angus Labov, a retired warrior and head of the merchants, became de facto leader of the Clan and worked hard to rebuild the Sharks. The merchants established trade links with the other Clans and the Inner Sphere powers, always with an eye to strengthening their position. By the time of the Harvest Trials the Clan had returned to its former strength, and in the aftermath of the "Great Refusal," Khan Ian Hawker resigned.
Unlike other Clans, the Diamond Sharks view the civilian castes as supporting the entire Clan rather than just the warrior caste, allowing the lower castes to flourish. The Diamond Shark economy is the strongest in the Clans, which can be attributed to the strong bonds between the castes. This economic success has resulted in disparaging comments from the other Clans (the Coyotes have a saying, "when there are fins in the water, don't go swimming"), especially after the disaster of Tukayyid, but has allowed the Clan to rebuild quickly. The requirements of rebuilding forced the warriors to give up considerable power to the merchant caste in order to accomplish their goals, but the warrior caste recently regained some of that power by agreeing to allow the merchant caste to travel to and trade with the Inner Sphere.
The Diamond Sharks take bondsmen wherever possible. One Star Colonel put it, "Bondsmen are a simple by-product of another action, one we can exploit." It is not unknown for the Diamond Sharks to return bondsmen to their original Clan in exchange for some form of concession. This allows them to repatriate any troublesome elements and still make a profit.
The Sharks understand honour, but their own application of it is somewhat flexible. They understand the need to display a honourable countenance to smooth dealing with other Clans, but believe strict adherence to the Honour Road is detrimental to the Clan's best interests. To do so would cut the Clan off from many opportunities, something even the warrior caste is loath to do.
Similarly, the Clan is not overly political. Their viewpoint wanders between the Crusader and Warden philosophies. Since Tukayyid and their ejection, they have espoused the Warden cause, but generally prefer to remain apolitical, because favouring one camp too strongly would be bad for business.
The primary reason for the Sharks to support the Crusader faction in the invasion was to gain access to Inner Sphere markets, which they regard as largely untapped. They fully intend to take up Prince Victor’s call for stronger ties with the Inner Sphere, and rumours circulate that they have established relations with Inner Sphere trading cartels.
Clan Smoke Jaguar
Smoke jaguar is an altered Terran jaguar let loose in the jungles of Strana Mechty, so named because its fur looks like greyish smoke. Nicholas Kerensky held up the smoke jaguar as the epitome of unadulterated aggressiveness, citing as proof the animal's ferocity and its habit of springing on its prey from above.
The history of Clan Smoke Jaguar is certainly one of the most violent of the Clans. Named for a genetically altered Terran jaguar, this Crusader Clan is every bit as feral as its namesake. Driven to be the best warriors in the Clans, the Smoke Jaguars are relentless in their desire to be the ilClan.
Hard hitting and totally unforgiving of the weakness of others, the Smoke Jaguars quickly established themselves as the most brutal and aggressive of the Clans. First led by Khan Franklin Osis, the Smoke Jaguars set themselves to extremely standards for their warrior caste. Khan Osis's lust for battle led the Jaguars to many victories in the Clan's early days. His vision of the Jaguars being the ultimate warrior Clan inspired his troops to greater feats of prowess on the battlefield, virtually insuring their prominence amongst the Clans.
During the campaigns during the Exodus War, Khan Franklin Osis' savagery and sheer fighting prowess set the pattern for Clan Smoke Jaguars future. However, the warrior castes view that they are the epitome of the Clan society and all others are beneath them has caused numerous problems with the lower castes over the centuries. Only by declaring dozens of Trials of Possession for everything from genetic legacies to OmniMech designs could the Smoke Jaguars maintain their viability as a Clan. The harsh discipline maintained by the warrior caste meant any transgression by the lower castes would be dealt with severely. This attitude has had numerous negative repercussions for the Jaguars.
When the first calls for invasion were issued, the Smoke Jaguars were at the forefront, demanding an immediate assault on the Inner Sphere. Using data from the captured Com Star vessel, the Outbound Light, Smoke Jaguar Khan Leo Showers won a call for invasion and the post of ilKhan. In 3049, the Clans swept through the Periphery destroying all opposition in their way. Confident that the warriors faced so far were typical of the Inner Sphere, the Clans proceeded with the invasion.
The invasion of the Inner Sphere was a mixed blessing for the Smoke Jaguars. The elite Jaguar Clusters cut through the opposing DCMS troops like a hot knife, but were still stung by their inability to deal with Kurita partisans. This trait was no more apparent than on the planet Turtle Bay. The Jaguars had unknowingly captured Hohiro Kurita, son of Theodore Kurita, but lost him during a jailbreak. Later after several weeks of non-stop rioting, the local Jaguar commander unleashed his Warships full power on the city of Edo Bay, completely destroying it and killing nearly a million civilians. On Wolcott, the Jaguars met their first true defeat when Hohiro Kurita tricked the Jaguars into attacking at a place and time of his choosing. As a result, the Combine captured several OmniMechs and two dozen suits of Elemental armour.
The shock of this defeat paled in comparison when it was learned that ilKhan Leo Showers was killed during the battle of Radstadt. Though the Jaguars protested a return to the homeworlds to select a new ilKhan, they eventually went along. During the year the Clans spent back on the homeworlds, the Smoke Jaguar Khans and several others conspired to elect Ulric Kerensky ilKhan, thereby forcing him to do things their way. Ulric proved better than them by adding Clans Steel Viper and Nova Cat to the invasion force. Ulric's subsequent pairing of the hated Nova Cats with the Smoke Jaguars coupled with his order that the Jaguars must cede worlds to the Nova Cats so that they would have a secure supply line further enraged Khans Furey and Weaver.
Shortly after the return to the Inner Sphere, ilKhan Ulric approved a plan that shook the Successor States. Using their combined forces, the Nova Cats and Smoke Jaguars launched a major offensive against Luthien, the capitol of the Draconis Combine. The Combine forces were hopelessly outgunned by the Clans, but received a major boost that would turn the tide of the battle.
Hanse Davion, Prince of the Federated Commonwealth, had sworn to Theodore Kurita that no AFFC forces would invade Combine space for the duration of the hostilities. When Hanse learned that the Clans were planning to invade Luthien, he found himself stuck in somewhat of a dilemma. He wouldn't break his word to Theodore, but found an alternate way of helping the Combine. Hanse ordered the elite mercenary Kell Hounds and Wolf's Dragoons regiments to Luthien to participate in the upcoming battle. The addition of these two elite mercenary units changed the tide of the war. Both the Hounds and the Dragoons had long, acrimonious relationships with the Combine and only reluctantly fought on Luthien.
The battle of Luthien was, in some ways, a precursor of the future for the Jaguars. A total of five Clan Galaxy's, two Nova Cat and three Smoke Jaguar, landed on Luthien in December 3051. The Combine force, including the mercenaries, totalled roughly 1300 BattleMechs. The Clans landed nearly 800 OmniMechs. The following three-day battle was remarkable for the savagery and no-holds barred mentality pervading it. The addition of the mercenary forces turned a sure defeat into a narrow victory. Less than a third of the combined Clan force withdrew from Luthien.
Utterly disappointed by their loss, the Smoke Jaguars took to raiding Nova Cat worlds and further restricting rights amongst the lower castes. To complicate matters more, the Jaguars were forced to slow their timetable while they recouped their losses. Time, however, was not on the Jaguars' side. In early 3052, ilKhan Ulric Kerensky met with Presenter Martial Anastasius Focht to determine the fate of the Inner Sphere. Focht proposed a proxy battle for Terra. If the Clans won, then Terra and ComStar would be theirs. If ComStar prevailed, the Clans would stop their advance for fifteen years. ComStar committed a force equalling fifty BattleMech regiments plus support units to the battle.
Word of Ulric's decision to battle ComStar shocked many within the Clans. The still-hurting Smoke Jaguars were outraged at the turn of events, but managed to convince the other invading Clans to leave the Wolves with the worst possible targets. Then, Khans Furey and Weaver managed to earn the Smoke Jaguars the right to land first.
The Battle for Tukayyid ranks as one of the biggest defeats in the history of the Smoke Jaguars. Khans Kinkaid Furey and Sara Weaver led their Galaxies in an all-out battle against the Com Guards, only to be beaten at every turn by their enemies. Outgunned and out manned, the elite Jaguar Clusters fell one at time to the relentless fury of the Com Guard forces. Even after both Khans were killed in the fighting, elements of Alpha Galaxy continued to fight until they were forced off planet. Only handful of Stars from Beta Galaxy and fewer from Alpha survived the debacle. Shortly after the battle ended, Lincoln Osis and Brandon Howell were chosen as Khan and saKhan.
In late 3060, an Inner Sphere task force, codenamed Serpent, struck at the Smoke Jaguar homeworld, Huntress. The Jaguar garrison commander, Benjamin Howell, had only two Provisional Galaxies to withstand the onslaught of ten elite Inner Sphere regiments. Both sides wreaked enormous damage upon another. Howell used the opportunity to unleash a deadly new war machine. Dubbed ProtoMechs, these miniature Mechs were piloted by washed-out aerospace pilots using the new enhanced imaging system. The EI system coupled with the improved armour and weaponry allowed the ProtoMech pilots to wreak considerable damage on the Serpent forces before they were destroyed. After several days of almost non-stop combat, Task Force Serpent crushed the last of the Jaguar garrison forces.
Task Force Serpent's respite from battle was swept away when the remnants of the Smoke Jaguar Inner Sphere forces returned to Huntress for repairs and refitting. Shocked at finding their homeworld in the hands of Inner Sphere troops, the Smoke Jaguars, led by Galaxy Commander Hang Mehta, launched a brutal counterattack. With barely two Galaxies of troops, the Jaguars hammered mercilessly against the elite Serpent troops. Several days into the battle, ilKhan Lincoln Osis and his bodyguard unit arrived on Huntress to coordinate the counterattack. Both sides sustained losses in excess of sixty percent, with many pilots dead and hundreds of Mechs laid strewn across the battlefields.
The Jaguars launched one final counterattack with their remaining forces. The battle was almost lost for the Inner Sphere if not for the skill and valour of the Eridani Light Horse. The ELH troops held the line but at a tremendous cost. Their leader, General Ariana Winston, was killed in the final moments of the battle. Winston's death marked the turning point for the campaign. Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, leading another task group to Huntress, arrived in-system just before the final battle began. The fresh troops he led quickly hunted down and eliminated all Jaguar resistance within a few days. Unfortunately for the Inner Sphere, ilKhan Lincoln Osis was able to escape with a handful of warriors to Strana Mechty.
Clan Snow Raven
The huge snow-white ravens of Strana Mechty's southern tundra are respected for their unwillingness to waste anything. The Clan named for these birds shows a similar reluctance to waste any resources or any opportunity, the sign of a true warrior. They are scavengers and politicians without peer.
Clan Snow Raven faced considerable hardship in the early years. The last Clan certified combat-ready, the Ravens were ill prepared for the challenges of the campaign to liberate Circe during the Pentagon civil war. They took massive losses storming rebel compounds and barely survived the campaign. Worse was to come not many years later, when Clan Wolverine rebelled against the Grand Council. The Wolverines beat back the small Raven force, and the Raven Capital of Dehra Dun, together with its genetic repository, was destroyed with a nuclear device. The repository was later rebuilt and the samples it contained replaced from the master site on Strana Mechty, but deep emotional scars remained.
Vowing never to allow such a catastrophe to strike them again, the Ravens set about becoming masters of their own destiny. They developed their navy and expanded their holding, making themselves indispensable as explorers, escorts and manufacturers of components for DropShips, JumpShips and WarShips. Behind the scenes, they sought to become master manipulators and purveyors of information.
In 2947, the Ravens brought before the Grand Council details of ilKhan Tobias Katib's complicity in the death of his predecessor, Corian Tchernovkov. Katib was impeached, found guilty and excited for his crimes. Suggestions that the Ravens had also been involved in the Tchernovkov affair were never proven, but their sudden betrayal of a former ally is a hallmark of Snow Raven political manoeuvres. More often, however, they prefer subtler manipulations. Raven Khan Ian Howell, who destroyed the totem animal of Clan Sea Fox by releasing the genetically engineered diamond shark into the waters of Strana Mechty, fell victim to his own inability to play such subtle games. After Howell admitted his guilt, his own saKhan challenged him to a Trial of Grievance and slew him-officially because he had disgraced his Clan, but more likely because he was stupid enough to get caught.
The Snow Ravens fought hard to join the Inner Sphere invasion force, but took too many losses before the Trials and were denied a place. However, the Ravens did gain from the operation; they contracted out almost a third of their fleet to Clan Jade Falcon to serve as escorts, an arrangement recognized by a formal alliance during the Year of Peace.
This alliance was doomed from the start, as the two Clans' philosophical differences over shadowed their mutual interests. Relations between the two Clans became strained in 3055 over issues relating to the Ravens' McKenna Bloodname House. The matter briefly escalated into skirmishes, but the Falcons were too engrossed elsewhere to prosecute a campaign in the Clan homeworlds, and so the trouble soon died down.
In recent weeks, since their defeat by the Steel Vipers on Homer, the Ravens have sought rapprochement with the Falcons, while consolidating their considerable gains in the recent Trials for Smoke Jaguar, Nova Cat and Ghost Bear Possessions.
Snow Raven Society is extremely tight-knit and distrusting of strangers, a trait stemming from the tribulations of the Clans' formative years. Snow Raven warriors let no outsiders past their guard, fearing that any associates will turn on them. In addition, no member of this Clan does anything without a reason. However, the Ravens' Byzantine politics and complex relationships mean that the readily apparent reason is unlikely to be the real one.
Much of the Clan's internal politics centres on its Bloodname Houses, frequently referred to as the Families, and any interference in their business is viewed as a mortal insult. The authority of House leaders is absolute, and the leader's will determines how the Bloodnamed vote. Cutthroat internal politics determine who becomes House Leader, and only the most politically astute remain in power for more than a few years.
The Snow Ravens take bondsmen from other Clans, but most wear the bondcord for many years before being accepted into the Clan. Few "outsider" warriors are adopted into Clan Snow Raven, and those few are barred from rising above the rank of Star colonel. The Snow Ravens' distrust of outsiders means that bondsmen often have difficulty integrating with their new Clan.
Caste divisions are readily apparent in Snow Raven society, as are the sub-groups within each cast. Individuals rarely mingle outside their immediate circles, enhancing the "us against them" attitude that pervades this Clan. Competition for promotion is fierce, and friends often find themselves battling for command slots or military objectives.
Snow Raven technology is tightly focused on aerospace and naval systems. The Ravens have the largest fleet in Clan space and control most of the shipyards and repair stations. Other Clans are obliged to seek them out for maintenance, either trading for use of the facilities or staging Trials of Position (for which the Ravens demand collateral, and win often enough to remain profitable).
The well-developed Raven merchant marine supports the Clan by trading and contracting its ships and personnel out to the other Clans. The Ravens made considerable profit by supplying invading Clans with transport assets and escorts, enhancing their status among Home Clans.
Clan Star Adder
The genetically engineered star adder is one of the most merciless predators in the Pentagon worlds. Unrelentingly aggressive, it punishes those who stray into its territory or whom it views as a threat. The same is true of Clan Star Adder, one of the strongest Clans and arguably the dominant force in the homeworlds.
The star adder was released into the northern steppes of Strana Mechty to control the disease-carrying crana, a rodent-sized insect. The snake's shimmering black scales, peppered with white spots, might be reason enough to call it the star adder. The real source of its name, however, is its nightly rearing and swaying in response to almost constant stellar displays resembling the aurora borealis.
Absalom Truscott, commander of the 149th BattleMech division, was one of the few of his rank to stand with Nicholas Kerensky following Aleksandr Kerensky's death, and was rewarded with command of one of Nicholas' new Clans. A friend of Nicholas Kerensky's for many years, Truscott was also allowed to select his own warriors. Truscott’s command surveyed the Pentagon in advance of the Clan assault, and planned the mission later known as Operation Klondike.
The Wolverine and Widowmaker treacheries reinforced this Clan's belief in presenting a united front, but the steady growth that resulted from the Star Adders' unity provoked jealously in other Clans. Perceived as a threat, they came under attack, most notably by Clan Mongoose. The attacks led to an escalation feud that hit infrastructure as well as the Clan military.
In a foreshadowing of the situation between the Adders, Burrocks and Blood Spirits in 3059, the Adders supported movies calling for the Absorption of Clan Mongoose, and were outraged when the right of Absorption went to Clan Smoke Jaguar. As the Blood Spirits would do centuries hence, the Adders launched pre-emptive assaults to regain lost territory. Adder successes sparked enmity with the Jaguars, who regarded the lost assets as theirs.
The Adders sought to strengthen their position by entering into a pact with Clan Burrock. Lick the Nova Cats and Diamond Sharks, they took part in futures speculation during the Golden Century, underwriting and supporting Burrock exploration in exchange for a share of the profits (which proved extremely lucrative).
When the Clans split into Warden and Crusader camps over the question of invading the Inner Sphere, the Adders stood solidly in the Crusader camp. Their belief in cooperation with the other Clans made them stand out from the other Crusaders, but vast numbers of them favoured a swift return to the Inner Sphere. However, they held themselves aloof from the petty squabbles of the two competing philosophies, preferring to focus on preparing for the invasion. Their decision to bid conservatively in the invasion Trials stemmed from their recognition that the fighting would be bloody; eventually, they reasoned, the Invading Clans would need to call for additional support, and the Adders would get their chance. In the meantime, they set about making themselves the dominant Clan Space Power.
In 3058, the Adders discovered that their erstwhile allies in Clan Burrock had maintained links with the Dark Caste. They brought the matter before the Grand Council, calling for the Burrocks' Absorption. As the Clan responsible for bringing the matter to the Council's attention, they were granted the right to carry out the task. Dismayed at their own leaders' perfidy, many Burrock units came over to the Star Adders after only token engagement-including many that did not fight alongside the Adders when Clan Blood Spirit attempted to intervene in the Absorption battles. Though the Trial of Absorption cost the Adders dearly, they suffered far fewer losses than the Blood Spirits, and the Burrock Isorla allowed the Adders to rebuild quickly.
In the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty, the Adders were one of only two Clans to defeat their Inner Sphere opponents, further enhancing the Clan’s prestige. However, the need to consolidate their Burrock holdings limited their gains in the Trails of Possession that followed.
Relationships between castes in Clan Star Adder stem from mutual understanding that allows the Clan to present a truly unified front. The civilians know they need the warriors to prosper, and the warriors appreciate that without the civilians, their fighting abilities would be seriously impaired. The civilian castes have no say in government, but the warriors listen to and take note of their view. An individual know as the Clan Adjutant serves as the de facto leader of the civilian population and reports to the Khans, fostering a strong bond among the people. However, warriors still regard themselves as superior to civilians; they steadfastly avoid menial work, and assignments to aid civilian caste workers are a favourite for of punishment.
The Adders see bondsmen as a way of enhancing their strength, and accept them as part of the Clan from the outset. Captured warriors who demonstrate fidelity to their new Clan can expect adoption with little fuss.
Like many Clans, the Star Adders claim to dislike politics, but are nonetheless adept at such manoeuvrings. They regard politics as a necessary evil, without which their Clan would be at a major disadvantage. The Adders' inter politics are almost as complex as those of the fire Mandrills or Snow Ravens, with loyalties first to the unit and the House, and then to the entire Clan. However, though they jockey hard for position, no Star Adder will do anything that threatens the future of his or her Clan.
The Star Adders are notable for their attitude towards Nicholas and Aleksandr Kerensky. Unlike most of the other Clans, the Adders regard them simply as superb leaders and warriors rather than demigods. In this the Adders are perhaps the most pragmatic Clan, and therefore one of the most dangerous.
Clan Steel Viper
The steel viper is one of the deadliest creatures in Clan Space. This tenacious Arcadian snake coils around its victims in a solid grip, and then slowly releases a poison. The word steel refers both to its unyielding embrace and the rigidity of its victims once they have been thoroughly poisoned. Clan Steel Viper has done everything within its power to mimic the lethality of its totem beast. Introverted almost to the point of complete isolationism, the Vipers believe that they alone know Kerensky's true vision: the creation of a new Star League through cooperation.
The early years of Clan Steel Viper were troubled. Though the Clan performed well in the liberation of the Pentagon Worlds, the descent into madness of Khan Ellie Kinnison and her attempt to assassinate Nicholas Kerensky's wife led to a long period of instability, which was finally resolved with the ascension of Khan Sanra Mercer in 2860. Claiming to know of meetings between ilKhan Nicholas and Khan Steven Breen shortly after Operations Klondike, Mercer won control of the Clan and instigated sweeping changes.
Her most significant action was to isolate the Vipers from other Clans, calling the others a divisive influence. Already sharply focused on martial prowess, the Clan's warriors set about improving themselves even further in order to fulfill Khan Mercer's vision: that the Vipers would one day lead all the Clans back to the Inner Sphere. Despite this goal, the Vipers were never staunch supporters of the Crusader cause; instead, neither Warden nor Crusader, they went their own way. This position, combined with their self-serving and seemingly erratic voting in the Grand Council, earned the Vipers the enmity of the Jade Falcons.
Though the Vipers secured a place in the Inner Sphere invasion force, they were initially unhappy at being relegated to reserve status. How could they fulfill their grand ambition to lead if they could not fight? When the death of ilKhan Showers forced the Invading Clans to return to Strana Mechty, Viper Khans Breen and Zalman petitioned the new ilKhan to make the Vipers a full partner in the invasion. IlKhan Ulric Kerensky agreed, but forced them to work alongside the hated Jade Falcons.
On Tukayyid, the Vipers were forced to withdraw just short of their objectives. However, the withdrawal enabled them to preserve much of their forces and take the fewest casualties of any Clan involved in the battle. Their relative strength left them in a good position to exploit the enforced truce, most notably in seizing nine worlds from the Jade Falcons in the Falcon/Viper occupation zone. Internal disputes, however, kept them from similarly exploiting Falcon weakness in the aftermath of the Refusal War. In 3061, they launched a major operation against the Jade Falcon occupation zone, gaining more than a dozen worlds, but an unexpected Falcon counterattack reversed these gains and resulted in the Vipers' being forced from the Inner Sphere completely.
Since the days of Sanra Mercer, Viper society has been tightly controlled. While other Clans allow limited mingling between the members of their civilian castes and those of other Clans, Viper society prohibits such fraternization. Aside from a few common-sense exceptions, such as the merchant cast-who must by definition deal with outsiders-all such meetings are closely monitored, and unnecessary contacts punished with death.
The Vipers' ultra-strenuous warrior training program results in an above-average level of dropouts and a proportionately higher number of trueborn personnel in their civilian castes. With a success rate of only two percent, little stigma is attached to failure. Failed trueborn warriors often serve as rulers of their new castes, forming a bridge between the warriors and freeborn civilians. This practice strengthens ties within the Clan, enhancing the idea that everyone is part in a complex machine, working together for the Clan's overall good.
The insular Vipers generally have trouble accepting strangers, but those taken as bondsmen are welcomed as foundlings who have "come home" to Kerensky's true vision. The Vipers believe that, once taken into the Clan, outsiders can be shown the error of their ways and the superiority of the Viper View. This works well with other Clansmen, who are culturally conditioned to accept such transfers of allegiance, but was less effective in the Inner Sphere occupation zone. The Vipers' increasingly tense relationship with the Spheroid citizens led to paramilitary police cracking down on frequent unrest. The Vipers' drift toward harder-line policies prompted a split within the warrior caste. Many feel the Khans have moved away from Sanra Mercer's teaching, and without the vision of Kerensky to guide them; they fear the Clan will founder.
Ostensibly a defeat for the Clan, a few Wardens have cited the Vipers' ejection from the Inner Sphere as "a victory for the Clans as a whole." This strange assertion originates with Perigard Zalman's defeat at the hands of a freeborn warrior on Waldorff. Though angry that his Clan was defeated, Zalman is pragmatic about his personal loss; reports suggest he acknowledges that his staunch anti-freeborn stance weakened his Clan. In further support of this theory, the Viper Khan has ordered the training facilities on Arcadia and New Kent to include a limited number of freeborn warriors in the next intake of cadets. Apparently, however saKhan Andrews has contested this order and may attempt to reverse the decision. Indeed, on the journey back to the homeworlds, Zalman defeated three challenges to his leadership.
The Black Widow spider was accidentally released into the jungles of Eden, where they grew to three times their Terran size. Their aggressiveness and the strength of their poison increased at the same rate. The spider uses the shadows to enhance its camouflage, remaining completely motionless, often for days at a time, remaining acutely aware of its surroundings all the while. Attacking its prey with speed and stealth.
Nicholas Kerensky chose this seemingly shy spider as the namesake for one of his Clans for more than its deadly prowess. He also admired its mating habits. Mating then killing the weaker mate, then caring for its many offspring represented the clan-birthing program.
Clan Wolf absorbed clan Widowmaker in 2834. Clan Widowmaker long had an adversarial relationship with Clan Wolf, most notably expressed during the run-up to the Trial of Annihilation against Clan Wolverine, when the Widowmakers forced the Wolves to bid below the accepted cut down. In the summer of 2834, the Widowmakers took brutal actions against their own civilians, leading Khan Jerome Winson of Clan Wolf to question their right to rule. The Grand Council agreed with Khan Winson and gave the Wolves the right to absorb them.
The Trial of Absorption, staged on Ironhold, had unforeseen and tragic consequences. When members of the Widowmaker Touman intervened in a duel between Khan Winson and Khan Cal Jorgensson of the Widowmakers, the referees--led by ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky--intervened. Whether by design or by accident, Khan Jorgensson killed ilKhan Kerensky, sending the Wolf Clan into a frenzy of vengeance. The subsequent attacks, a virtual Trial of Annihilation, left few Widowmaker warriors alive.
Though nearly twice the size of their progenitors, the Strana Mechty wolf is otherwise identical to Terran wolves. Wolf packs roam both the northern and southern continents, and the Kerenskys considered them the epitome of the warrior spirit.
Founded by Jerome Winson, Nicholas Kerensky's brother-in-law, Clan Wolf was the first of the twenty Clans and always seemed destined for greatness. It is little surprise the Nicholas chose to join the Wolves after their performance in Operation Klondike. The Wolves were Nicholas's right hand, dispensing the Grand Council's justice to Clan Wolverine and exacting revenge on Clan Widowmaker after warriors of the Clan murdered Nicholas Kerensky. Though the fighting against the Widowmakers left Clan Wolf bloodied and weak, their absorption of Widowmaker assets and the election of Jerome Winson as ilKhan enabled the Wolves to rebuild their strength.
A staunchly Warden Clan, the Wolves blocked moves by the Falcon-led Crusaders to launch an invasion of the Inner Sphere, staving off the most serious call with a plan later known as the "Dragoon compromise." Knowing that the Clans lacked solid information on the Inner Sphere, Wolf Khan Kerlin Ward proposed sending a reconnaissance force to grater intelligence. This force, composed of Wolf Clan freeborn warriors, would serve as mercenary troops with ever one of the Inner Sphere militaries and send data back to the Clan homeworlds. From this scheme was born Wolf's Dragoons, one of the Inner Sphere's most famous Merc units. Knowing that the Crusaders could not be forestalled forever, Khan Ward eventually ordered the Dragoons to remain in the Inner Sphere and prepare the Successor States to withstand the Clan juggernaut.
Selected for the invasion force as punishment for daring to vote against the Grand Council, the Wolves decided to beat the Crusaders at their own game. They sought to capture the largest amount of territory with the least impact on the existing population. This prompted the other Clans to accelerate their attack schedules, often with disastrous results. The Wolves were the undoubted leaders of the invasion, and the selection of their Khan as ilKhan after the death of Leo Showers was judged only fitting. In fact, it was an attempt to manipulate the Clan into the Crusader camp that misfired badly. The ilKhan of Clan Wolf, Ulric Kerensky, agreed to the proxy battle for Terra on Tukayyid, leading to the treaty that halted the invasion. The other Clans protested at the enforced fifteen-year peace, but eventually ratified the agreement.
In 3057, the Jade Falcons sought to remove Ulric and continue the invasion. In so doing, they plunged the Wolves and Falcons into war. After the Council tried Ulric for treason and voted him out of office, the Wolf Clan stood with him in his Trial of Refusal against the verdict. Knowing that the chance of victory was slim, Ulric, Natasha Kerensky and Phelan Kell moved to ensure that the Wolves would not be the only Clan to fall. War raged through the Falcon occupation zone as the Wolves pushed the Falcon forces back. To ensure the Wolves survival Ulric order Khan Kell to take a contingent of warriors and a cross-section of the other castes to the Inner Sphere while he and Natasha sought to break the Falcons.
They came close to achieving their goal, but eventually the Falcons slew them both. Their deaths ended the Refusal War, after which the Falcons Khans moved to absorb the Wolves who remained in the Occupation zone and to abjure those who had found a haven in the Inner Sphere. The Absorbed Wolves eventually won their freedom, first as the Jade Wolves and later as a "new" Wolf Clan. Under Clan law, this Crusader-dominated group was an entirely new Clan; free of the guilt-and history-of their forebears. Meanwhile, Khan Kell has continued to lead the exiled Warden Wolves.
Ever since then, the two halves of what was once a single Wolf Clan have lived separate lives. The Crusader Wolves sought to regain their strength, raiding the Smoke Jaguars and Staging the so-called Harvest Trials in Clan space to rebuild their Touman. In the Inner Sphere, the Warden Wolves work closely with the troops of the Arc-Royal Defence Cordon (ARDC) to bolster the defences of the Lyran Alliance against the Jade Falcons.
In the past three years, while the Warden Wolves helped strengthen the ARDC against the Falcons, Vlad Ward entered into a short-term alliance with Falcon Khan Marthe Pryde to ensure the survival of both Clans. After the Warden Wolves sided with the SLDF to eject the Smoke Jaguars from the Inner Sphere, the Crusaders fought alongside the Jaguars in the Great Refusal, gaining a draw against he St. Ives Lances. The Warden Wolves' most recent engagement was a Trial of Possession against Clan Ghost Bear on Utrecht that netted the Wolves considerable amounts of manufacturing equipment, but cost several warriors. Star Captain Ragnar, Prince of Rasalhague was among those lost to the Bears.
Unique among the Clans, the Wolves have and yet do not have a long and glorious history. They are Crusaders and Wardens. They are the oldest Clan, and the newest. Shattered in the aftermath of the Refusal War, the Clan exists as two separate entities: the Crusaders under Khan Vladimir Ward and saKhan Marialle Radick, and the Wardens under Khan Phelan Kell and saKhan Marco Hall. The dual nature of Clan Wolf makes the following biography somewhat different from those that preceded it. The two Wolf Clans share a common history, but are strikingly different.
The Wolf schism has had a profound effect on Wolf Clan society, but both factions have many aspects in common. Unless otherwise noted, the following description applies equally to both groups.
The warrior caste still dominates, but Wolf society is more open and egalitarian than most Clans. Personal freedoms form a major part of Wolf Clan life for every member, warrior or civilian. Each individual holds his or her own political views and attitude to religion, for example, and may express himself (artistically or otherwise) as he or she chooses. The "conformist culture" believed by outsiders to be typical of all the Clans is at the weakest among the Wolves; however, all individuals are expected to follow the orders of their superiors and to work for the good of the Clan.
In shaping the Crusader Wolves, Khan Vlad has adopted a more authoritarian stance, and his forcible recruitment of civilians as freeborn warriors to bulk out the Wolf Touman has strained inter-caste relations. The Warden Wolves hold true to the original principles of the Wolf Clan, treating the civilians who accompanied them into exile as the valued citizens they are. The support of the ARDC is a major help, leaving the Warden Wolves under less pressure to rebuild their military. The small size of the Warden Wolves has allowed them to develop strong inter-caste ties, helping maintain their sense of identity. However, they have their own problems with the people of the ARDC, many of who still mistrust them as "Clanners" and "traitors." The clash of cultures has led to several unpleasant incidents, which both sides are trying to live down.
The Wolves have always been consummate politicians, and both factions are adept at war of words. Vlad Ward of the Crusaders had displayed a ruthlessness that allowed him to rebuild his Clan as well as shatter the ambitions of the Jade Falcons and Ice Hellions. Though his hard-line policies have earned him few friends and cost the Wolves several allies his staunch Crusader viewpoint allowed him to remain at the heart of Clan politics despite being head of the newest Clan.
The Wolves have always believed in allowing bondsmen the opportunity to demonstrate their worth and earn adoption into the Clan. This practice formed the core of the Harvest Trials, which allowed the Crusader Wolves to skim warriors and other martial assets from other Clans. The position of the Warden Wolves is somewhat awkward in this respect. With a few notable exceptions, most other Clans regard them as bandits and refuse to cooperate with them when captured. On the other side of the coin, captured Crusader Wolves can expect honourable treatment, but Warden Wolves taken by another Clan will likely meet a bandit's death.
The original Wolf Clan's traditions form a major difference between the two factions. Khan Vlad has actively sought to destroy many "Warden" traditions in order to ensure the continued dominance of Crusaders among his Wolves, while the Warden Wolves cling fiercely to the old ways. Such rituals and traditions define them. They respect the beliefs of others (though most Wardens Wolves see the Crusader Wolves as misguided) and demand that others respect theirs in turn.
Both factions strongly support sibko units, and mix bloodlines and phenotypes to foster comradeship and understanding among the warriors according to Wolf tradition. However, the Clan schism has separated many Wolf warriors from their sibmates. The Warden Wolves allow contact with their Crusader brethren, but the Crusaders are under standing orders not to communicate with the "traitors" who fled to the Inner Sphere. Despite this prohibition, however, contacts are maintained through unofficial channels (and a few little-known official ones).
Eugenics is a respected branch of the sciences because it enhances the Clan's gene pool; cybernetics, by contrast, is reviled for seeking to turn individuals into something they are not. Few Wolf warriors use cybernetics, preferring vat-grown replacement limbs. Many Crusader Wolves use enhanced-imaging technology, however.
Both factions have complete copies of the Wolf Clan's genetic legacies and have pursued their own eugenics programs. Both have also held their own Trials for Bloodheritages, resulting in the existence of two holders of each-one Crusader, the other Warden. Unofficially, the Wardens have shown a willingness to arrange Trials only for the heritages they took into exile. However, Khan Phelan remains the only Wolf to accept the Abjuration of his Bloodname. Rather than fight to retain the name of Phelan Ward, He has chosen to take the Bloodname of Kell, awarded to him by ilKhan Ulric before his death.
Wolverines were introduced to the forests of Strana Mechty, where they flourished, growing in size and ferocity. Warriors admired them because they stood their ground against any intruder, no matter what its size or strength. The Wolverine Clan is the Not-Named Clan, which was annihilated.
Clan Wolf annihilated clan Wolverine in 2823. Clan Wolverine was among the most vocal critics of Nicholas Kerensky’s authoritarian rule over the Clans. Official Clan histories state that they were annihilated for espousing anti-Clan sentiments, such as democracy and independence, but the reality is somewhat different. Many Clans were suffering internal strife at the time of the Clan Wolverine incident, and Nicholas saw that the Clans as a whole were on the brink of rebelling against his authority. The Wolverines served as both object lesson and common enemy against whom the other nineteen Clans could unite.
Clan Wolf carried out the Grand Council's sentence against Khan Sarah McEvedy and her Clan, but a later investigation strongly suggested that some individuals--predominantly civilians and second-line troops--had been able to flee. Officially put down to bad bookkeeping, the whereabouts and disposition of any survivors remains unknown.
In actuality and unknown to most Clans, a large amount of Clan Wolverine, escaped the Wolves and fled Clan space. They later shed themselves of Clan laws and based their society upon the Terran Hegemony and the Star League and chose to bear the Minnesota symbol of the 331st Royal BattleMech Division. They consider themselves as the Star League in Exile and their mysterious unit has come to be known to the Inner Sphere as the Minnesota Tribe.