The Human Sphere is a BattleTech universe set in 3100. The Jihad has come and gone, leaving in its wake dozens of small realms in a perpetual cycle of raids and small wars. Will you seek money or defend your nation? Or both? You decide.
"Let us not leap to judgment, dear Lord. But, if it appeareth that my fellow police person haveth an unnatural affaire with her tank, forgive her. Amen." - Deathshadow
The year 3063 proved to be a turning point for the Marian Hegemony. Until that year most considered it to be little more than a pirate realm trying to ape its betters. And those few who considered it more than that, knew it to be a threat to peace in the region. It’s conquest and subjugation of the Lothian League earned it few friends and persistent rumors that Sean O’Reilly killed his own father left other realms distrustful of his intentions. But in 3063, his son Julius O’Reilly came home in command of his legions, fresh from victory against the Illyrian Palatinate. What many had considered to be just another conquest of the Hegemony proved to be the stepping-stone to a new era for the Marians.
He threw out the Word of Blake whom he did not trust, and forged an alliance with ComStar that netted him Leonis Legion and numerous other forms of help. When he assaulted the Circinus Federation in 3066 and ComStar found evidence that the Word of Blake was supporting them, they gave Caesar Julius the aid he needed to hold off the Word and conquer Circinus. Caesar Julius himself killed President McIntrye and gave the remaining Black Warriors a simple choice. Surrender or die. They chose to surrender and Julius used those that could be trusted (mostly) to form the Aquilum Legion.
The time remaining to the Hegemony before the beginning of the Jihad was spent slowly consolidating their control of the former Federation and numerous other worlds in the region, including Comstock, Francas, and Decus Arae, site of a major ComStar base. This cooperation promised to bring the Hegemony many riches and new technology, but the Jihad reared its ugly head and ComStar found itself fighting the Word of Blake as the Inner Sphere fell into chaos. The Marian Hegemony remained out of the war, a bastion of calm for once in the chaos that surrounded it, but the Caesar continued to allow ComStar to move through Marian space at their need.
In 3070 that decision cost him his life, and the life of Elena Logan and thousands of others, when the Word of Blake dropped a neutron bomb on the capital of the Marian Hegemony. At the same time they assaulted Circinus, badly mauling the Aquilum Legion, Illyria, and the core Marian territories as the decapitated Hegemony struggled to survive. More Word forces and allied raiders, including the pirates of New Circinus, smashed the Hegemony on all sides and chaos reigned. With all fronts collapsing, Imperator David Gladding took command of the Hegemony and desperately shuffled the legions around in an attempt to confuse the Word of Blake. The children of Elena Logan and Julius O’Reilly he sent to other worlds under the protection of The Praetorian Guard while other legions assaulted the Word and their allies directly.
They finally arrived at Decus Arae, protected by ComStar and the only calm world left in the Hegemony, in 3071 and for a time it was hoped that they would be safe there. But as the other legions fell or were shattered the Word of Blake assaulted ComStar directly and Leonis Legion, The Praetorian Guard, and ComStar WarShips fought the Word tooth and nail. Unable or unwilling to defeat the troops on the ground, the Word of Blake nuked the ComStar complex after breaking through the orbital and WarShip defenses, but the deep underground complex protected the legions and the heirs. When what was left of the ComStar naval force proclaimed victory in the system though, the main fort and city in the interior of the world’s primary continent were gone. They dug the survivors out and the legions fanned back out into the shattered Hegemony to face the remaining allies of the Word.
The Praetorian Guard returned to Alphard with Sebastian O’Reilly and formed up with the Caesar’s Own and the Cohort of the Dead to bring order to the worlds of the Marian District. With HPG communications unreliable though Imperator Gladding found his ability to control the rest of the Hegemony impossible.
One symptom of this is fracturing is the flight of the remains of Leonis Legion to Lothario. They took Liesal Logan with them and formed Glacialis Legion to support her rule of the Lothian District. She was too young to rule of course but the Wheel of Fire Legion supported her, less as a betrayal of Alphard and more as a simple expedient to bring order to the worlds of the old Lothian League. Oddly, neither force nor Liesal’s regent ever claimed they were leaving the Hegemony, but simply worked to fight the Word of Blake and their allies on any world they could find. Communications with Alphard were almost nonexistent so they followed their own plans.
Similarly on Illyria, news of the death of the Caesar and a Word of Blake assault on the Imperial Legionnaires that killed its commanders resulted in the rise of the first of the new Caesars. Centurion Julie Gupton distinguished herself again by leading what was left of the unit into an ordered retreat that saved the survivors of the first assault. When it became apparent that no reinforcements would come from shattered Alphard or the rest of the Hegemony, she took the rank of legatus and commanded the cohort-sized remaining force in battle against the Word occupiers. Using unorthodox tactics to confuse and capture the Word troops while drawing volunteers from the locals, she had soon expanded the force back to a legion in size and was forced to take the rank of prefect. The legion hailed her as their new Caesar after they drove the Word of Blake from Illyria and she has held that rank ever since.
The rise of Michael Cirion on Circinus on the other hand was decidedly less loyal. The assault of the Word had cut them off from Alphard, like the other districts, and he took the opportunity to seize the world his father had once claimed and fought the Word off. It turned out to be as long and hard as it was for the other elements of the Hegemony, but when it was done outside observers assumed the Circinus Federation was about to rise again. They were wrong.
When Imperator Gladding and ComStar restored solid communications with the other districts of the Hegemony in 3076, he quickly came to the realization that to force them back under his rule would be nearly impossible. The Lothians and the Illyrians were proud of the young Dame Leisal and Caesar Julie while the Circinians looked like they were ready to tell him what he could do with himself if he tried to retake command. Instead of fighting another series of wars to reform the Hegemony he accepted the situation, officially gave the districts control over their own affairs, and named their leaders as official Caesars, much as the old Roman Empire had done three thousand years ago. In addition, he “accepted” the rank of Emperor and left the Caesars to rule their parts of the Hegemony as they saw fit.
And then he commenced to attempt to rebuild his shattered legions into an effective fighting force. The task soon proved impossible for the remains of the Hegemony, and most historians project the realm would have collapsed into anarchy in the 3080s if the Duchy of Tamarind-Abbey had not approached the Emperor with an offer he literally could not refuse in 3078. The Duchy had money while the Marian Hegemony had the ability to build BattleMechs thanks to pre-Jihad Word of Blake and ComStar efforts. The Duchy offered to pay the Hegemony to build factories for vehicles and BattleMechs in the Duchy and Emperor Gladding jumped at the chance to bring the much needed money into his realm.
By 3079, the increased trade and income that arrangement brought had shown a profound increase in the quality of life, and the quality of military forces, in the Hegemony and the Emperor was looking outward for a way of unifying the realm under his leadership. The Duchy suggested the Lyran Commonwealth’s StarCorps Supremacy, and their Son Hoa and Loburg factories, as a target for a joint operation and the Emperor agreed. He knew that Michael Cirion would be ecstatic to get his hands on the factories of Son Hoa and agreed to support the Duchy plan.
It only took a matter of months to convince Caesar Cirion to support it as well and the Emperor reformed Leonis Legion by requesting volunteers from the districts to support the invasion. From the Marian District he sent new graduates of the Collegium Bellorum Imperium while the Lothian District sent elements of Glacialis Legion and the Illyrian District sent the survivors of the Left Arm of Thor and a number of Legionnaires to watch over them. The Emperor then shipped the new Leonis Legion to the Circinus District and ordered them to work with Aquilum Legion to assault the StarCorps Line.
The assault on Son Hoa itself came in 3080, and though Leonis and Aquilum Legions failed to take the world, they sucked the defenders off the rest of the StarCorps Line, allowing the Duchy to smash into the border. By 3083, a slow advance by the Hegemony forces had surrounded Son Hoa and the Hegemony was prepared for another assault on the world but the Emperor realized that the two legions could not do so alone. He reinforced them with the Limitanei Legion and in January of 3084 the assault began again.
The second battle for Son Hoa was nearly as costly as the first, and all three legions suffered badly, but they secured the world in April despite their losses and Caesar Cirion ordered all forces to stand back and defend their new worlds while performing repairs. This allowed StarCorps to move what remained of their forces to fight the Duchy and forced the Duchy to end their offensive early, without claiming Loburg. The Emperor pushed Cirion to resume the invasion but the Caesar declined, stating that he would not lose any more men to support another realm. That stand brought the Limitanei Legion over to him, but gained him the hatred of Photon Brett-Marik of the Duchy.
The Emperor recalled Leonis Legion home in disgust, and its component forces returned to their districts to rebuild and expand. The Illyrian contingent became the basis of the new Legion of Thor while the Lothian contingent rejoined the Glacialis Legion and began teaching the Wheels of Fire and Ice the lessons of the latest war. The Emperor did not disband Leonis Legion though, using the Marian contingent as the base to rebuild it and put his production into expanding it to a full legion in size.
The last fifteen years have seen the Hegemony doing little more than recovering and rebuilding, finishing new factories and forming the core of its new naval fleet. The majority of that fleet remains under the Emperor’s personal command, part of the Praetorian Guard, but he has assigned some ships to each legion in the Hegemony in return for oaths of loyalty and other more binding ties that hold the promise of keeping the Hegemony together in the years to come.
The modern Hegemony is advancing in technology and power, and the discovery of another stockpile of germanium in 3090 has given them the funds the Emperor needs to pay for those improvements. We understand that the majority of that stockpile has been spent though, leaving the future of the Hegemony in question. Will it find another source of income or be forced to cut back on military expenditures? And can it survive either path?
Only the passage of time will answer that question.
While there are numerous reserve forces in the Marian Hegemony, the capital of Alphard will not recognize a force as a Legion unless it has integral transport and naval units. This normally entails three Liburnia-class frigates and the fifteen Centurion-class DropShips required to move a full legion. A reinforced legion usually has one more Liburnia, three Centurions modified to carry an air-maniple of fighters, and two Incidio-class assault DropShips. The full squadron of fighters such a force can field, supported by the WarShips and DropShips, are a formidable force. A Caesar commands the legions of each district, while the Emperor personally commands the Praetorian Guard.
The Praetorian Guard, fanatically loyal to Emperor Gladding, is the most advanced and powerful legion in the Marian Hegemony. Comprising the ground elements, the required naval attachment, and the bulk of the Hegemony fleet, the Praetorian Guard is led by the Emperor personally from a maniple of Impavido-class WarShips. It rarely leaves Alphard and is tasked with the mission of protecting it and the throne against any threat to the Emperor or the Hegemony, in that order. Caesar Alexander commands the Cataphracti Legion and spends most of his time on the League and Magistracy frontiers, protecting the Hegemony from raids. The Stalking Lions, though having lost all of their original number to the Lothian Glacialis Legion, are the most mobile of the Legions and are generally sent to act as the Hegemony’s shock troops when on the assault. Otherwise they are left to defend the outer border of the Marian District from pirates. The Cohort of the Dead is and always will be the place where politic dissidents or vanquished rivals that are too valuable to be killed are sent to await their final sentence. Death or Commutation.
Martia Victrix Legion: The Praetorian Guard
Cataphracti Legion: The Caesar’s Own
Leonis Legion: The Stalking Lions
Cohors Morituri: Cohort of the Dead
The vast majority of the Lothian BattleMechs are Phoenix Hawks built on Lothario, making the Lothian legions highly mobile and very adaptable. Not able to withstand or dish out as much punishment as the other legions, they work well against the pirates they normally fight. The Wheel of Fire is the old Marian legion that protected the Lothian District before the Jihad while the Wheel of Ice was formed during the Jihad by the remnants of the Leonis Legion and her dependents when they brought Dame Liesal Logan to Lothario. Both legions are fanatically loyal to Lothario and Dame Liesal.
Glacialis Legion: Wheel of Ice
Ignis Legion: Wheel of Fire
The pride and joy of the Illyrian legions are the Marauder IIs built on Illyria, and they often stand up against League raiders. The Imperial Legionnaires are a battle hardened force of veterans that has guarded the Illyrian District since before the Jihad while the Legion of Thor is a new addition, originally formed around the survivors of the old Left Arm of Thor mercenary force. Since expanded, the Lightning Brigade is known for quick strikes and retreats against enemy forces that sow confusion.
Comitatensis Legion: Imperial Legionnaires
Legion of Thor: The Lightning Brigade
Constantly on watch against StarCorps and Duchy raiders, or raiding those nations, the Circinus legions are based around the Aquilum Legion. Formed out of the remains of the Black Warriors after President McIntrye died under the feet of Caesar Julius’ BattleMech in 3066, the Aquilum Legion has been trained into a superior combat force that holds Circinus and the neighboring worlds against Duchy predation. The Sentinels are now tasked with protecting the outer border of the Circinus District from pirates, mainly the New Circinus band, while the more mobile Cavalry holds the border against the StarCorps Supremacy when it is not out on “supply runs” to other worlds.
Aquilum Legion: In Blackest Night
Limitanei Legion: The Sentinels
Ripariensis Legion: The Caesar’s Cavalry
Alphard – Emperor and Warhammer OmniMechs; Locust BattleMech; Thraex, Gladiator, Murmillo, Hoplomachus BattleArmor; Gladius OmniTank; Thunderbird AeroSpace Fighter; Centurion (Union) and Incidio DropShips; Liburnia frigate
Comstock – Shadow Hawk BattleMech
Lothario – Phoenix Hawk BattleMech; Viking BattleArmor
Illyria – Marauder II BattleMech; Medauras BattleArmor
Baltazar III – Marauder BattleMech
Circinus – Goliath and Ostroc BattleMechs; Black Knight BattleArmor
Son Hoa – Cirion Industries – Avatar, Emperor, and Warhammer OmniMechs; Highlander BattleMech; Black Knight BattleArmor; Manteuffel OmniTank
The heart of Marian power and the seat of Emperor David Gladding, the Marian District controls what is generally accepted to be the “old” Marian Hegemony before the Great Expansion. The single greatest concentration of economic and industrial might in the Hegemony, it is from Alphard that power emanates into the Hegemony. Caesar Michael Alexander commands the military of the Marian District in the Emperor’s name.
Alphard – A treasure trove of old Star League storehouses, nobody knows how much germanium is stored on this world, but every few decades another vault or complex filled with that important material is found that helps the Marians flourish even more than before. The last major find was located in 3090 beneath the capital city. The capital and heart of Marian power, Alphard is the most heavily defended world in the Hegemony.
Comstock – Designed by the Star League to be a maker of shoes, this world continues to specialize in such endeavors to this day, though its people build BattleMechs for the glory of the Hegemony. Comstock shoes are seen throughout the Human Sphere and are known to be one of the best styles of shoes in existence with very high quality leather.
Decus Arae – On the fringes of the Hegemony, Decus Arae was originally colonized by a mercenary unit. Absorbed into the Hegemony after Caesar Julius supplanted his father as ruler, this world was reportedly the home of a Star League factory complex. Unfortunately, when the Word of Blake assaulted the Hegemony they made of point of performing a nuclear bombardment on the complex and nothing seems to have survived. The Hegemony does share the world with ComStar though, who uses it to administer their anti-spinward Explorer Corps expeditions.
Francas – A world of covered in ranches for various animal species, this world is the primary source of the high quality leather that Comstock uses to make shoes. Like Comstock, it was designed during the Star League for just that purpose but has diversified to survive since the fall of that government.
Horatius – A remote, desert world, it is the base of the Cohors Morituri, the Marian Hegemony's penal cohort. It is also the home of the Operationes Abscondites, the covert ops section of the Hegemony’s Ordo Vigilis.
Marius' Tears – Imperator Marius O’Reilly died in a climbing accident in 3048, on the Marian Hegemony colony world of Herculaneum. His son Sean, renamed Herculaneum as Marius’ Tears, instituted a 10 day period of mourning for his father, and then declared himself Caesar of the Marian Hegemony amid heavy speculation that he was somehow to blame for his father’s death.
The only district not bordering the Inner Sphere, the Lothian’s only major worry is of pirates. Though the New Circinus pirates are something to be worried about, the Lothian District is the least militarized of the Marian districts and her people have access to more luxuries than other districts. Dame Liesel Logan only uses her title of Caesar in official Marian functions and the independent Lothians rarely have those in their space. Many outsiders, and those within the Hegemony as well, consider the Lothian District to be the least dependable of the Marian districts, but as long as the Marians maintain a hands off approach to the Lothians we do not believe this district will ever run with the secessionist fervor that it had during resistance movement of Liesal’s mother, Elena Logan.
Dersidatz – Conquered by the Circinus Federation and renamed Blentleff, when the victorious Marian Legions came in 3066 to claim the world the Lothians happily renamed it Dersidatz and have maintained control of it ever since. Mainly known for farming, it is one of the few warm worlds in the Lothian District.
Lammas – Orbiting a slowly dying star on the anti-spinward edge of the Lothian District, this is officially the coldest world under Lothian control. Used for training cold weather survival and combat, the population is small but hardy and more than willing to deal with the harsh weather in exchange for the peace and quiet they get from not having many neighbors.
Lothario – The capital of the Lothian District, Lothario is typical of worlds colonized by the Lothians. This small world has a thin atmosphere and is perpetually covered in ice and snow, with only marginal zones of habitation centered upon the planet's equator. A rather beautiful world, it is known for its spectacular aurora arising from the frequently intense solar winds of its parent sun. Lothario exports large quantities of furs, iron, and copper ores to worlds throughout the Human Sphere thanks to Sea Fox factors. Indeed, its trapping industry has created impressive revenues as demand for the rich pelts has grown in the last century. Most of the planet's inhabitants exist in subterranean conclaves, though a few hardy souls continue to scrap out sustenance on the planet's surface, fiercely defending their small agricultural plots. The average Lotharian is highly territorial and suspicious of any offworlder.
New St. Andrews – Ruled by Clans MacGregor and Stewart, New St. Andrews is more peaceful now than it has been in centuries. During the Jihad Clans Brannigan and Sterling used Word of Blake aid to nearly destroy the two stronger Clans. Elements of Glacialis Legion supported the larger Clans in 3071 and when they destroyed the smaller Clans and their Word aid, the battered world requested further protection. To this day, the remnants of Clans Brannigan and Sterling continue to raid the other Clans but their power has been broken.
Valerius – A colony founded by Caesar Julius to act as a secret base for his successful invasion of the Circinus Federation, this warm world has become a vacation spot for the Lothians. Still chilly by the standards of others, it is warm enough that it feels tropical to the cold-hardened Lothians.
Ruled by Caesar Julie Gupton since the chaos of the Jihad thrust her into the position after her commanding officer was killed, the Illyrian District borders the Free Worlds League and is constantly on the defensive should the League ever attempt to regain its lost worlds. Caesar Julie has allowed the rich trading families that ran the Illyrian worlds before the arrival of her Legion to maintain control of day-to-day issues but reserves a veto “in the interests of the District and the Hegemony” that she has rarely used.
Illyria – Ruled by an Oligarchy of rich trading families, Palatinate citizens live a relatively tranquil existence on this capital of the Illyrian District. Home to a number of major factories and repair depots, this world is also home to one of the largest Coliseums in the Hegemony. Hosting BattleMech fights much like those seen on Solaris VII, Illyria is second only to Alphard’s Coliseum in prestige.
Ruled by Caesar Fritz Cirion and defended by the elite Aquilum, Limitanei, and Ripariensis Legions, this district is second only to the Marian district in power. The factories of Son Hoa, Circinus, and other factories left over from the Word of Blake machinations before the Marian conquest flood its Legions with powerful BattleMechs. Primarily made up of farmers, the Caesar leaves local rule to the locals, preferring to guard his territory through force of arms and not deal with mundane matters.
Circinus – A dry world rich in crystals, gemstones, and radioactives, Circinus is the seat of Caesar Cirion’s power, the home of revitalized Star League training facilities and numerous factories, it is heavily defended from raiders at all times.
Khon Kaen – Khon Kaen is hot and humid because of the tropical rainforests and swamps that dominate the planet's surface. The world bears many scars from repeated raiding during the Succession Wars and the Jihad.
Poulsbo – A small world with a large moon that keeps the seas constantly churning, this isolationist world takes the rule of other thrones unhappily. Once a forgotten Lyran world, the people of the world offered little resistance to the Marian attackers but have proven less than willing to be Marian citizens. Caesar Cirion has wisely allowed them self-rule and only maintains military command, making them less likely to show their displeasure.
Sierra – Once a member of the Trinity Worlds, a pirate realm before being conquered by the Free Worlds League, Sierra is a hot, dry world who’s citizens are descendents of residents of the ancient Terran states of Chiluahua, New Mexico, Arizona, Sonora, and Israel. A curious mix of Cowboys, nortenos, Indians, and Jewboys, this world is also a major center of trade between the Circinus District and the Duchy of Tamarind-Abbey.
Son Hoa – The primary goal of the Marian invasion of the Lyran Commonwealth, after they captured this factory world they shut down their invasion and have sat back to rebuild ever since. A major source of BattleMechs for the Hegemony, it is heavily defended at all times.