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.
"It's like I've got 10 gallons of geek in a 5 gallon brain." - Brian - 8 Bit Theatre
The Raven Alliance, a merger of the old Clan Snow Raven and Outworlds Alliance, is one of the more interesting realms in space. Much like the Rasalhague Dominion, it is the result of two nations with much in common, despite having originated over a thousand light-years apart, coming together in war and staying together in peace. In this case, both nations prized the power of AeroSpace superiority and honored the pilots over all else. Not that the Ravens realized that before an Outworlder AeroSpace force defeated them in a trial of possession. They took greater notice of the small Periphery nation after that affair, and even helped them design a newer and better AeroSpace fighter the Outworlders then called the Corax, Latin for raven. That also held the Raven’s attention. The Outworlders did not forget those who helped them.
The Snow Ravens continued to take over and create outposts in the Old Periphery as they began the delicate courting of the Outworlders that would end with the merger, even if neither of them realized it. At the time, it was two nations simply beginning to know each other more. But matters would soon transpire that would force them to come together faster than either expected. In the Inner Sphere the Word of Blake was planning the Jihad to destroy the Successor States, and in the Clan Homeworlds the Blood Spirit and Star Adder feud was beginning to boil into a war that was sucking in the other Clans one by one.
Seeing the writing on the wall, many of the Invading Clans that still had access to the Homeworlds began to evacuate their enclaves. The Snow Ravens, having the single largest transport fleet in the Clans, helped make that possible as they kept enough of their fleet available for their evacuation. The evacuation did not go easily though, as the Star Adders attempted to disrupt them with heavy raids. Numerous Raven WarShips, including the Avalanche and Morning Violence, died to protect the transports taking their people out, but they and their escorts destroyed or crippled three times their number in the process. Their sacrifices have never been forgotten and the DNA of every warrior who died there is used to make new children on Ramora.
The main Snow Raven fleets began to arrive in early 3071, only a few months after the Word of Blake started their assault on the Alliance. The Outworlders were no match for the Word fleet that smashed Ramora and went on to hit the other Alliance factory worlds, ravaging one Alliance fleet after another. Seeing an opportunity to secure a new homeland, the Ravens moved into the chaos of the Outworlds Alliance and hunted down the Word forces. They gave the Word the justice the Clans reserve for all bandits, painful death, and stepped into the power vacuum to bring security back into the Alliance.
Many vocally disliked the idea of allowing the Ravens to "take over", but the Clan moved to deal with the various pirates and terrorists plaguing the Alliance. Their typical ruthlessness in dealing with the scum of the universe gained them much acceptance throughout the ravaged Alliance they wouldn’t normally have received. The Ravens also began work rebuilding the shattered infrastructure of Ramora, sending the vast majority of their workers to that world. It soon became the center of Raven power in the Alliance, and has continued to grow to this day.
By 3073 they had lost all contact with the Homeworlds, but had consolidated their holdings in the Alliance and become the de-facto military of the Old Periphery nation. They had also given up control of the various Old Periphery worlds taken to make their relocation to the outskirts of the Inner Sphere possible. An island of calm, surrounded by the chaos of the Jihad, the Ravens began looking around for worlds to add as a buffer zone to protect the Alliance. The most notable of the worlds they captured was Antallos, a lesson aimed at the Band of the Damned who fell back away from the Alliance.
In 3074, secure in their position, the Ravens sent Beta Nova, led by Montbatton and Arc Royal, to support the Star League invasion of Terra. Officially sent under the flag of the Alliance, many Outworlder fighters joined the Raven fleet and fought with them. Many Ravens and Outworlders alike died in the Terran system, but when they returned in 3079 the Veterans of Terra no longer saw their differences. They had fought and died together, and they returned together.
They became the nexus of the Raven Alliance, warriors of both cultures who respected and liked each other. They returned to their homes and units and taught their people the lessons they’d learned in Terra. The 3080s saw the evolution of the Raven Alliance we know today, spurred on by the Veterans of Terra. The civilian government that had commanded the Alliance for centuries remained, and continued to govern the affairs of the Alliance as before. It even continued to maintain a military, mostly limited to planetary militias and the two Alliance Air Regiments to survive the chaos of the Word assault. The majority of the military though remained in the hands of the Snow Ravens, with their own military government and independent decision making abilities. This duel government system worked well for the Alliance, keeping friction between the Outworlder and Raven populations low in the early days of the new Alliance.
The Raven Alliance maintained its neutrality from the other realms in space as it consolidated itself, only expanding from time to time into systems abandoned by the larger powers. This neutrality ended when the Draconis Combine tried to destroy the Nova Cats though, and the Ravens began to launch heavy raids into the Combine. In 3090 those raids were expanded into a full-scale invasion designed to teach Coordinate Ricol of the error of his ways. The invasion netted many worlds at minimal cost and helped force the Coordinator to end the war with the Nova Cats, both meritorious goals to the Ravens. The Nova Cats may be Abjured, but there were few Clans remaining in the Human Sphere and they had to look out for each other.
When that war ended the Raven Alliance returned to running its own concerns, doing its best to ignore the outside galaxy except in matters of trade. Unfortunately the Trinity War involving the long allies of the Alliance and the Capellan Confederation forced them to look outward again. The Trinity War had become a struggle towards exhaustion that nobody could win, and the continued loss of life and materials was becoming critical. With the Trinity Alliance and the others in the region unable to fight pirates, piracy was on the rise and was spilling over into other areas. The Raven Alliance feared that one or more of the nations involved would collapse under the strain, and that no one else would have the power to maintain control over the systems. That would shatter much of what civilization remained in the Human Sphere and the Alliance really didn’t like that idea.
Rather than see that happen, the Ravens sent Gamma Nova, led by the Conqueror, to support the Taurians. It arrived over Mendham in 3093 and supported a Trinity alliance squadron in shattering the Capellan Second Fleet. With the Capellans on the run and unable to hold the world, the Ravens reminded the Taurians of the "promoting peace" section of the Treaty of Taurus. They also informed the Taurians of their projections about the future of the war and strongly suggested that the Taurians pursue peace. The Taurians listened and sent Janice Calderon to secure an end to war.
The Conqueror and Gamma Nova returned to Alliance space in 3094 and the Raven Alliance has successfully maintained its neutrality since. Raids are common, allowing the Ravens to gauge the quality of their neighbors, but full-scale warfare is averted. The Robinson Republic in fact buys many aerospace assets from the Raven Alliance, including fighters, some DropShips, and even some small WarShips. They also hire Raven technical support programs to keep them running, a business model the Ravens are rather proud of. Relations with the Draconis Combine are less friendly, but that realm is surrounded by nations unfriendly to it and lacks the ability to concentrate on the Ravens. Still the border is not friendly and raids tend to be more damaging on that border than on the border with the Republic. But the Raven Alliance continues to be a strong realm in the Human Sphere, with a powerful fleet to back up the growing power of its recovering economy.
Like both the Snow Raven Clan and the Outworlds Alliance that came before, the Raven Alliance emphasizes the might of a navy over that of ground forces. With one dozen ships of battleship class or greater in their fleet, they field a navy that is a match for any force in the Human Sphere. Escorted by smaller WarShips, combat DropShips, and fighters, the Alliance fleets have brought many pirates low. A regiment or galaxy of ground forces supports each naval formation, though these rarely see action due to the capability of the fleets to stop attackers cold. They prefer to remain in Alliance space though, minding their own business, or flying with Sea Fox trading convoys to make extra money as escorts on the side. Elements of the large Alliance transport fleet also often deploy with Sea Fox convoys, especially the Bold Venture convoy whose commander they like. The Raven Alliance military accepts anyone who can pass their tests, whether they are freeborn or trueborn. While some trueborns still hold to the old ways of denigrating freeborns, such actions are not accepted in the Raven Alliance. What you can do is what matters, not whether you were born in a tube or a womb.
The Combat Fleet
First Alliance Air Regiment: The Flying Nightmares – Conqueror-class Courageous
Second Alliance Air Regiment: The Thunderbirds – Conqueror-class Illustrious
Corvus Keshik – Nightlord-class Snow Raven; Aegis-class Blue Quest
Alpha Nova: The Swift Wings – McKenna-class James McKenna; Aegis-class White Terror
Beta Nova: The Storm Crows – Texas-class Montbatton; Conqueror-class Arc Royal
Gamma Nova: The War Hawks – Conqueror-class Conqueror; Aegis-class Black Justice
Delta Nova: The Shadow Griffins – Conqueror-class Colossus; Aegis-class Blue Lancer
Conqueror-class Implacable under construction
The Transport Fleet
Carrack-class Nestling, Venture Star
Potemkin-class Bonaventure, Eden Rose, Rook, Snowflake, Treachery, Wild Swan
Volga-class Scavenger and Tenacity
Alpheratz – The capital of the Raven Alliance, this world is simultaneously one of two hearts of Alliance industry and research, and a major grower of foodstuffs that support the population in the cities. It has been free of enemy raiders since the Snow Ravens moved in, a state of affairs that has kept the populace happy and willing to work with the Clan.
Antallos (Port Krin) – A hot, dry world slightly smaller than Terra, Antallos consists mostly of rough terrain and hard baked deserts. A small patch of jungle runs along the equatorial belt, and the world has two small polar caps. Antallos' surface is a single landmass with no oceans. Several seas dot the surface, only one of which contains any sizable islands. It was originally colonized as an independent system by numerous businesses during the twenty-seventh century, but the Succession Wars destroyed its ordered government and left dozens of city-states vying for control. It once again became a neutral trading port, but the trades became more piratical, with slavery being common. The Raven Alliance captured the world from the pirates that controlled it in 3073 and have maintained loose control of it since then. Port Krin has become a safe city, guarded by their ground and air forces, and is the primary neutral port in that region of space, seeing traders from every realm in the Human Sphere. The rest of the world they have allowed to continue as the inhabitants wish, leaving the city-states to fight their wars with each other and the Free Zones remain a threat for anyone without an Alliance citizenship. All a citizen of the Alliance has to do is show their papers to any raider and they are fully cared for and given full freedoms as the Alliance has razed entire city-states for harming a single hair on a citizen’s head. Or for allowing harm to come to one.
Bad News – The headquarters of the Nineteenth Galedon Regulars, a force suspected of performing numerous piratical actions in the decades before the Jihad, when the Raven Alliance assaulted the Draconis Combine in un-official support of the Nova Cats, this was one of their primary targets. They hit the world in 3089, utterly destroying the Nineteenth while ignoring any attempted surrenders of the bandits. This is simply one of many instances where the Ravens have shown their complete antipathy towards pirates.
Baliggora – Once a major Explorer Corps headquarters, this world continues to be important to ComStar and they maintain an advanced base there to this day. Working with the Ravens, is believed that they have developed a number of new technologies here in the last twenty years.
Bryceland – Known for placing pragmatism over politics, the Bryceland DMM was quick to accept the Word of Blake’s demands during the Jihad. Wishing only to keep the worlds under their protection safe, they declared themselves neutral and the Word ignored them in favor of more important targets. After the Jihad ended, Bryceland continued to maintain its independence from the surrounding nations. In the years since, Bryceland found its systems slowly spinning away, some going independent, some returning to the Robinson Republic, and some joining the Raven Alliance as its power expanded. With only a handful of worlds still under its direction in 3095, Bryceland finally chose to join the Raven Alliance, seeing its growing power as the best chance for Bryceland to become stronger. The fact that Bryceland was once a member of the Outworlds Alliance oddly had little to do with its final decision, though the former Alliance worlds under its command were overjoyed in many cases. The worlds that had never been a part of the Alliance though either spun off on their own or joined Robinson, leaving Bryceland with only a fraction of the control it once had.
Budingen – The massacre of civilians by the Star League in 2582 has never been forgotten and it leaves this world heavily against the new Star League. It slipped into the Raven Alliance in 3090 without any measurable conflict though, an oddity considering the Raven’s ancestry as the Star League. This duel hatred of the Star League, odd acceptance of the Ravens, and even more odd acceptance of membership in the new Star League is a pattern in the Alliance where the Old Periphery peoples heavily dominate the population.
Cerberus – A desert world, this was one of many Alliance worlds to feel the bite of General "Baby Killer" Forlough during the Star League invasion of the Old Periphery. After Forlough was removed though, this world hosted the peace talks that resulted in the Alliance’s full surrender to the Star League. The Ravens have rebuilt its long-shattered industrial base in hopes that it will never again be forced to host such a conference.
Dante – An agricultural world with a mild climate, it grows many grains and other seasonal crops. Home to the remains of the Omniss cult, during the Jihad terrorists from this world caused much damage to the Outworlds Alliance. The Ravens made short work of the terrorists, destroying their primary training centers, though the ground occupation proved to be much harder than the initial aerial campaign. It took ten years for the terrorists to be fully rooted out, and even to this day small pockets remain. The Omniss cult itself, almost critically injured by the war, is oddly enough a pacifist cult that preaches the use of no technology. The Ravens have placed a constant garrison on the world, a reversal over 150 years of tradition, and have installed an HPG in the system to keep their garrison in touch with the rest of the Alliance. What few Omniss remain protest the presence of this technology, but so far incidents have been kept to a minimum.
Delos IV – This world’s only claim to fame is that it was here that the Wolf’s Dragoons arrived in the Inner Sphere almost a century ago in 3005. One wonders how they would have been accepted had we known at the time how drastically the future would change with their arrival.
Dormandaine – Dormandaine is a rich agricultural planet settled in 2990 by the Gregorian Creed, many of whom have managed to acquire considerable wealth by building large cattle and other meat-producing herds. The Gregorians live in large extended families, which reflects the basic Gregorian belief that multiple marriages are necessary to repopulate the many shattered and war-weary worlds of the Alliance. Most Gregorians are married to several different spouses, with internal family councils playing the role of political legislatures and councils.
Groveld III – Groveld III is an arid mining world, with its population centered in seven cities.
Haynesville – The citizens of this world still celebrate their victory over the Star League in 2582, where farmers and merchants forced the invaders to surrender their arms. General "Baby Killer" Forlough had the commander of the Star League force executed for "cowardice under fire" after he arrived to "teach the riffraff how to treat their betters." The date of Forlough’s death is a recognized planetary holiday here, much as it is on many other worlds.
Jordan Wais – This world is named after the founder of an ancient game company whose name is lost to time and corporate takeovers. Numerous companies claim to be the original, but none of their claims have been verified to this day. This world is devoted entirely to the art of gaming design, and the companies make anything from board games to hyper-advanced virtual reality computer games. MechWarrior 3098, the most recent game in the hyper-realistic BattleMech simulation genre, has sold hundreds of trillions of copies throughout the Human Sphere, making Microsoft’s Sony Gaming Division a very impressive profit. Of more interest is the tabletop version where players move small metal representations of BattleMechs that they paint across maps that represent the battlefield, using tablets and pointers or paper and pencils to mark off damage. Dice or random number generators are used to randomize the chances of victory or defeat, meaning that even the most perfect ambush can go horribly wrong with a string of bad rolls. The hardcore version without any computer support is taught in schools to help children gain the understanding of basic maths, though often adults use tablets to automatically generate the information they need, and sometimes even to role the dice for them. This game and derivations of it are played throughout the Human Sphere. One of the most famous players of the game is Doctor R. Raisley of Solaris who claims to have a Warhammer made out of the armor of the Black Widow’s old Warhammer, making it a very rare and very valuable miniature.
Kennard – This is one of the many agricultural worlds in the Raven Alliance. Denied basic technologies for centuries, the majority of the worlds in the Alliance have little need for technology beyond that needed to farm. The arrival of the Ravens has helped very little. The Ravens mainly send small recruiting teams with advanced technologies to the various worlds of the Alliances to find the rare freeborns capable of matching trueborn piloting and fighting capabilities.
Kilbourne – The Kilbourne Academy happily spearheaded a revolt against the Federated Suns when the Word of Blake gave them the choice of dying for the Davions or living alone. They remained independent until 3072 when a Raven Alliance force arrived to support them against the various raiders beginning to prey on the fracturing Federation Outback. The Academy has since become a valuable part of the Alliance, with the Ravens upgrading the AeroSpace pilot and technical training degrees to Clan education levels. With enrollment open to anyone in the abandoned Outback, as well as to Alliance citizens, the civilian side of the school especially sees a number of students from the Outback looking to improve their lot in life.
Lushann – A semi-arctic world, Lushann is the main source of petrochemical production and refinement in the Alliance. Because of the planet's lengthy orbit and the weakness of its parent sun, much of Lushann's northern hemisphere is covered in permafrost. A number of small domed cities house the planet’s technicians, and the arctic regions are home to a regular series of martial games where MechWarriors and pilots compete with others of their kind to prove their capabilities.
Medron – Home of Axel Industries, after General "Baby Killer" Forlough conquered this world in late 2581, he ordered one in ten civilians executed as an example to others. This "Red Christmas" has never been forgotten, even when most of the inhabitants fled the world after the Star League failed. Those that remained slowly recovered from the loss of Star League technologies and bootstrapped themselves back to self-dependency on a far lower level of technology than that enjoyed before. A Raven survey squadron found the world in 3083 on a routine mapping expedition of formerly colonized systems, meeting the world’s primitive chemical rocket propelled spacecraft in orbit. They have helped modernize the world’s industrial base and Axel Industries is now one of the Alliance’s primary BattleMech, AeroSpace fighter, and vehicle construction centers.
Pitkin – Another agricultural world, life here is simple, with little of the hustle and bustle of more technologically-rich worlds.
Pondicherry – The capture of this world, and its impressive number of civilians so far out near the Old Periphery, was a major goal of the Raven Alliance when it attacked the Draconis Combine in 3090. Combine defense of the population center was minimal, due to their efforts in other sectors, and Ravens have defended the world well since then to keep the Dragon from taking it back. The world is constantly home to a large number of recruiting teams attempting to find the rare freeborns capable of matching a trueborn in warrior instincts and reflexes.
Praxton – Home to a major defense force designed to protect its fusion engine factories, this world rarely sends support to other planets when hit by raiders. This has generated a certain amount of friction between it and the rest of the Alliance, but the planetary presidents have enforced this policy for decades regardless.
Quantraine – A xenophobic world, resulting from a plague that wiped out 60 percent of its population in 3020. The Islamic survivors called out for support from the other Islamic enclaves in the Alliance and nearly five hundred thousand colonists now service the planet’s mines. Traders from outside the Alliance, except the Sea Fox traders that are known for being careful, are categorically banned from entering the system. This means that only Alliance factors and the Sea Foxes have access to the precious gems and metals mined here.
Ramora – The nexus of the Taoist religion in the Alliance, when the Snow Ravens effectively took over the world they were careful not to antagonize the locals. While they have greatly increased the manufacturing capabilities of the world, the Ravens live on reservations separate from the older Outworlder cities. This separation has allowed both the Clan and the Taoist cultures to thrive as they support each other with products while not interfering with each other. Ramora has the single largest concentration of Snow Ravens in the Alliance, as it was the first place Raven convoys arrived while they were evacuating the Clan Homeworlds. Most civilians have chosen not to leave their new home, only moving elsewhere when directed by the Clan. As there are more than enough civilians on other Alliance worlds, this is relatively rare, resulting in the large concentration of Clan civilians here.
Sevon – A temperate and largely unsettled world, Sevon was a principle target during the Reunification War, when most of its agrarian population was killed outright. Presently, some two million inhabitants occupy the planet, most gathered along the planet's equatorial zone. The planet's southern continent boasts House Avellar's private estate of several hundred square kilometers. Generally, Sevonities are hard-working but suspicious of any offworlder, whether he is a citizen of the Alliance or not. The principle city of Sevon is Shandahar, located on an island chain near the planet's equator.
Tabayama – Once the capital of the Combine’s Periphery Prefecture, the capture of this world from the Dragon effectively shattered what remained of Combine power near the Old Periphery. Menaced by whitetail deer for centuries, the world employs nearly 3 million hunters only to hunt the fast little breeders. The Ravens have offered to aid the planet with their advanced medical science, and have actually bred a deer with dominant genes that would make future generations of deer infertile. The Hunters’ International Labor Union has blocked the introduction of these methods of deer control to this day.
Tancredi IV – Not colonized until the 2570s because the original survey report was lost, this world promises bountiful harvests of food and rich metal veins beneath the surface. Once one of the production powerhouses of House Davion, the First Succession War shattered the world and its factories. During the Jihad it followed Bryceland into independence and used its remaining factories to support the Bryceland military. In 3095 it was one of the last worlds still under Bryceland control, and was one of the few that followed it into the Raven Alliance. The Ravens have since heavily retooled and expanded all of its factories, allowing it to now produce full Clan-tech weapons of war.
Tellman IV – An arctic mining world, this was the site of the Day of Vengeance in 2583, when the Outworlds Alliance trapped and stopped General Forlough’s "Baby Killers." Though the mammoth battle was not enough to stop the Star League, it did badly bloody Forlough’s troops. The Day of Vengeance is still celebrated every autumn, with burning effigies of the "Baby Killer" favorites of the locals.
Weisau – This system has two inhabited worlds, Fire and Brimstone. Brimstone, the first of the colonized worlds, is an extremely tectonically active world, thanks to its twin world Fire that continually assaults it with tidal forces. Rich metals are continually churned to the surface by volcanic explosions that taint the air and make it unhealthy, though not deadly, for humans. Brimstone’s density gives it a gravitational pull higher than Terran normal, and its natives tend to be stronger than the average human. It is here that the vast majority of freeborn elementals come from in fact. Fire was not colonized until after the Raven Alliance conquered this system in 3090. The colony is still very new, but it promises to be profitable in the future. It has a low density and gravity and lacks many of the riches of his larger brother, which is the reason it was never colonized before. The limited volcanism of the world makes it easier to build on though, and the Alliance has begun to use it as "off world housing and support" for the mines of Brimstone.