The fiction describes Aleksandr discovering five marginally habitable worlds, after years of traveling, called the Pentagon Worlds. He settled on these worlds with all the refugees in order to found a society like that of the old Star League. The travel to these planets is called 'The Exodus' by the clanners.
One point of fiction during this time is that there were too many soldiers amongst his refugees for the colonies to function, so he decided to transfer a fraction of his soldiers to the positions that were needed. The cutdown of soldiers was large since there was almost no fear of attack at such a remote location. To avoid the crushingly low morale made from choosing solders to transfer, he decided to setup a series of challenges and war-games between the soldiers, where the top performers were kept as soldiers and the rest were transferred. This plot detail is important as it gives a precedent that will later be used by the clans for the inspiration of their trial based combat system.
Two plot turns start the colonies transformation to become the clans. One is that the old rivalries and divisions of the Inner Sphere begin to show in Aleksandr's new society such that the colonies become a smaller parallel to the Inner Sphere's 1st Succession War. The second is that Alexandr dies from a massive stroke while fleeing the colonies in a second Exodus and his son Nicholas takes over command of the new refugees. It is Nicholas that forms the actual clans themselves, deciding to make a society that doesn't suffer the problems inherent in the Inner Sphere. Alexandr had compiled all his military knowledge in a book that Nicholas uses as a basis when designing the foundations of clan society.
The clan planet know as Strana Mechty ("Land of Dreams" in Russian) is introduced to the fiction as Nicholas' base while building up a force able to subdue the pentagon worlds. When ready, he returned with 800 of his best warriors and 600 civilian families and retook the wartorn Pentagon worlds. It is prior to retaking the worlds that he decided to forge all the people into the clans, dividing the 800 warriors evenly amongst the twenty clans, each warrior becoming the progenitor of a bloodname.
To summarize the history of the clans between their birth and the current state of the fiction; three clans were Absorbed (Widowmaker, Mongoose, Burrock), two were Annihilated (Wolverine and Smoke Jaguar), one was Abjured (Nova Cat), another was split in two (Wolf), and two eventually merged with Inner Sphere nations (Ghost Bear and Snow Raven, respectively).
Clan Smoke Jaguar joined Clan Jade Falcon in the campaign for the Clan Invasion. They were amongst the first Clans to launch into the Invasion, although they did not rush headlong into the battle like Clan Jade Falcon did. The Jaguar's deliberated on the situation for a time, choosing not to invade Lyran Commonwealth territory, closest to the Jaguar's, as the Falcons had, but rather to cross to the other side of the Outer Rim and launch an offensive against the Draconis Combine. The Jaguars penetrated deep into the Inner Sphere, but as mentioned before, they did not have the autonomy to maintain proper defense. A lot of claimed territory was lost when the Draconis Combine turned on the offensive. Clan Smoke Jaguar was in great peril, however Clan Ghost Bear soon followed the Jaguars into Draconis Combine territory. With a new threat, the Draconis Combine was forced into a defensive stance once more, and Smoke Jaguar returned to the offensive with the combined might of Clan Ghost Bear.
Clan Smoke Jaguar and Clan Ghost Bear came very close to Terra(Earth), however when the Clans were defeated at The Battle of Tukayyid and Clan Ghost Bear greatly weakened, they turned their attention to driving a straight line to Terra, leaving Clan Smoke Jaguar to handle the Draconis Combine on its own. Without the protection of Clan Ghost Bear, and with little improved autonomy, Clan Smoke Jaguar was forced to take a defensive stance once more, and the Clan was also weakened from Tukayyid. Although they did not concede any territory, they gave the Draconis Combine time to recuperate from the shattering offensive. When the war between Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf was over, Clan Wolf retreated towards the Outer Rim, leaving the remaining Clans to defend the abandoned worlds, causing the Clans, including the already wounded Clan Smoke Jaguar, to spread its forces paper thin. When the Inner Sphere reformed the Star League in the face of the Clan threat, they launched the biggest Inner Sphere offensive against the Clans. Operation Serpent, led by Morgan Hasek-Davion and later after his assassination General Ariana Winston of the elite Eridani Light Horse mercenary brigade; secretly attacked the Smoke Jaguar homeworld of Huntress. Meanwhile Operation Bulldog led by Prince Victor Steiner-Davion attacked the front lines forcing the Smoke Jaguar to fight a two front war. When Bulldog got to Huntress, they found Operation Serpent a success; however General Winston had been killed in battle. After the annihilation of Clan Smoke Jaguar, Victor led the new Star League to the seat of all clan power, Strana Mechty to stop the clan invasion once and for all.
After a bloody conflict between the Widowmakers and the Wolves for the honor of conducting the Annihilation, the Wolves won. The Wolverines, who had apparently been preparing for a third Exodus for some time, attempted to escape from clan space altogether, while the Wolves pursued. The Wolves lost most of their attacking force, but the Wolverines were destroyed altogether, with saKhan Hallis killed by Kerensky himself. All buildings belonging to the Wolverines were destroyed, warriors (of any clan) with Wolverine DNA were executed, and Wolverine civilians were forcibly sterilized.
McEvedy was never found, and many second-line troops and civilians remain unaccounted for.
BattleTech fiction usually ties these events to the appearance of the Minnesota Tribe, which caused an investigation by representatives of all Clans. The Council determined through study of genetic material seized from a captured Minnesota Tribe pilot, that indeed, these were the descendants of Clan Wolverine, the direct result of the generals and warriors of the former Terran battle regiment. Clan Coyote is rumored to hold a secret alliance with the Tribe.
The surnames were termed Bloodnames, and were traced matrilineally through mitochondrial DNA. Being a descendant of a person with a bloodline gives the person eligibility to enter in the trial rather than the right to use the surname without winning a trial. Each Bloodname can be held by a maximum of 25 warriors at any one time. Some Bloodnames have fewer than 25 holders, due to a process called a reaving.
When a clan takes a bondsman who is then reinstated as a warrior, the warrior is still eligible for competing for their Bloodname, or may already have a Bloodname. This has caused most Bloodnames to spread to other clans from their original clan. However, some clans have declared some of their Bloodnames exclusive, not allowing them to be claimed by warriors from other clans that have a legitimate claim. For example, Clan Wolf claims exclusive control over the Kerensky Bloodname.
Examples of Exclusive Bloodnames:
Examples of Non-exclusive Bloodnames:
Although any form of surname outside the warrior caste is frowned upon, the scientist caste secretly assigns surnames to people who make great scientific contributions. The surnames are after great historical scientists (Newton, Watson, etc.) and have nothing to do with the persons genealogy.
The Inner Sphere's typical lack of adherence to honor, and willingness to go to almost any lengths to win, are the primary reasons the Clans declared them to be "Barbarians". Many Clans now refuse to follow the rules of honor against Inner Sphere foes, or even against the "rebel" Clans (Wolf-in-Exile and Nova Cat) that "betrayed" the Clans as a whole by defecting to the Inner Sphere.
Clan society is based on a strict caste system. Births between members of two different castes are frowned upon. Any children born are locked into that caste (i.e. the child of two technicians will become a technician) unless they do not qualify during training. The five castes are the Warriors, Scientists, Merchants, Technicians, and Laborers, with the Warriors being the most prestigious. Among other things, the Warriors act as the military, police force, and rulers of the entirety of Clan society. The only Clan where a different caste is held in esteem comparable or possibly even greater than the Warriors is Clan Diamond Shark (formerly Clan Sea Fox), where Warrior-Traders are fairly common and Merchants are now the de facto rulers.
Castes are further broken down into sub-castes. So within the warrior caste are the infantry sub-caste, mechwarrior sub-caste and fighter pilot sub-caste among others. This is important for the warrior caste since each sub-caste requires different attributes and hence different gene-pools.
Washing out of a caste will usually mean demotion to a lesser caste. This is usually the case with warriors but can happen to others, for example a scientist caste child with learning difficulties. This demotion fulfills the clan ideal of reusing or recycling all resources and avoiding waste. The demoted person is supposed to embrace their new caste, and usually do with exceptions.
The warrior caste's eugenics program is a completely alien means of reproduction. It seems cold and analytical, making no allowance for the passion and love typical humans consider necessary to a full life. Warriors, however, gain great comfort and strength from their sense of belonging to the sibko, and from their unbroken lineage to Kerensky's 800. Each warrior's lineage is recorded in his codex, a copy of which is electronically stored in a band worn on his right forearm. A warrior's career, from his first sibko test to his dying oath, is recorded by the codex and analyzed by his Clan. If a warrior's deeds are judged worthy, his genetic material helps create the next generation. Failure means the termination of his or her line. It is little wonder that the drive to excel overshadows all other considerations.
Seldom do freebirths, those not born from the eugenics program, win a chance to join the warrior caste. Those who do are usually consigned to garrison and paramilitary police units, with little hope of advancing to a level where their genes would be incorporated into the warrior pool. This attitude does change from clan to clan, some being very oppressive and exclusive and some embracing freeborns more. The few freeborns that excel enough to be included into the eugenics program are necessary for introducing new material into the gene-pool.
The attrition rate for warrior training is extremely high throughout the entire training program, with slightly under a tenth graduating as a warrior. All drop-outs however are delegated to lesser castes. If they are clever enough they will become scientists, otherwise each sub-caste will have a lesser caste they are usually placed into. For instance, mechwarriors, pilots, and cavalry are often assigned to the Technician caste, because of their familiarity with the equipment; infantry are more often assigned to the Laborer caste.
The active life of a warrior is rather short so they have to gain all possible ranks in a short time. Even the first official trial just after the training may shoot somebody to higher positions in the clan military. According to clan customs, a warrior older than 35 years is considered to be waning.
The scientists caste is under control of the warrior caste, but it is usually allowed to operate without much interference or meddling, giving members of the scientist caste a freedom not seen in any other caste, including the warrior caste.
Though merchants own their own vessels, explicit laws require that all vessels carry warriors for protection and long journeys are allowed only with a naval escort. This arrangement effectively prevents merchants from gaining too much power.
The merchants still feel free, however, to indirectly criticize the warrior caste for the way the merchant caste's affairs are handled. Indeed, many suggest that the impetus for the invasion of the Inner Sphere originated in the merchant caste, which was eager to pursue new monetary endeavors. The merchants are the most rebellious of the lower castes, though some have suffered severe punishment for their protests. The Clan Widowmaker merchants, for example, precipitated an internal dispute with the warrior caste that ultimately led to the whole Clan's annihilation.
Clan literature is filled with stories of malcontents who fled to the bandit caste and came to unsavory ends. Bandit caste atrocities are the stuff of legends, but it is difficult to believe that the caste is strong enough to be more than a minor nuisance to the Clans.
Warriors who fail to test up or who grow too old to be of service sometimes slip away to this caste, as do scientists whose discoveries are deemed counterproductive to the Clans.
It is unknown whether the Clans allow the Bandit Caste to exist or not, but the caste serves two purposes. First, it is incentive to children to excel in their caste's profession to avoid needing to join the Bandit Caste if they are not deemed useful to the clan. Lastly, it provides an enemy, although a somewhat weak enemy, for the Warrior Caste to sharpen its skills against when a Bandit Caste settlement becomes strong enough to become enough of a nuisance.
Most trials begin with a ritual challenge called a Batchall, where the challenger declares his/her name, the type of trial and other parameters depending on the type of trial. In most trials, the challenger and the challenged then perform bidding for the forces each will use in the battle. Each bid is less than the previous bid, causing both parties to keep undercutting each other until they reach the minimum amount of force. This is partly because to win with fewer forces is more glorious, but also minimizes the military waste created by the trial.
The trial is fought in a circle of equals. The circle is an area that the combat occurs in while peer warriors encircle the perimeter. During the trial no warrior can enter the circle of equals. The circle is usually a circle or sphere that has a radius of about five to ten meters for melee combat, two to five kilometers for ‘mech combat and about a hundred kilometers for aerospace combat. The circle of equals ensures no non-combatants are caught in the conflict, and in larger battles, there is no collateral damage to surrounding building and equipment.
In individual trials, such as a personal conflict between two warriors, there is no batchall. The warrior who is being challenged will decide if the fight will be augmented, meaning that two MechWarriors will fight in their 'Mechs, or un-augmented, meaning a person to person fight using no weapons. The warrior who calls the challenge is allowed to choose the location of the fight. This may take place anywhere from a parade ground to a DropShip. One example was when Phelan Ward, of Clan Wolf fought un-augmented against an Elemental. He called for the challenge to take place in zero-g aboard a DropShip in orbit to negate his opponent's considerable size advantage.
If the issue is not resolved by the council, the parties may then call for a Trial of Grievance. The rules governing the trial are many and strict. If the combatants are MechWarriors or fighter pilots of different weight-class vehicles, the council must make the contest more even. Often, a vehicle type that is mid-way in size is chosen, and the disputants have several weeks to become accustomed to their new vehicles. If the disputants are from different branches of the warrior caste, then some kind of a middle ground, such as fencing with Medusa whips, is chosen. If the combatants are completely different from physical form (such as an Elemental VS a Pilot) then they have to either find a proxy- that is, a combatant to stand in for one party- or completely forget the trial of grievance.
The trial itself is judged by members of the council, who ensure that trial and combat etiquette is strictly heeded. A Circle of Equals is defined, anything from ten meters in diameter for a hand-to-hand trial to more than 100 kilometers wide for an air duel. No one but the combatants may enter the Circle of Equals unless invited, and leaving the Circle before the contest is ended is a shameful defeat. All trials are defined as to the death, but they usually end before either combatant is killed, the definition is supposed to dissuade Trials of Grievances being declared unnecessarily.
This system of decisions and regulations is designed to outlast the anger that sparked the trial, and that is usually the case. Some records indicate, however, that sometimes the anger between two warriors, or two sets of warriors, outlasts even the Trial of Grievance, degenerating into what we would call a feud. The most notorious and well-documented failure of the grievance trial system involved the Nicholas Pride sibko and the Blue Devil sibko of Clan Smoke Jaguar. The Blue Devil warriors maintained a grudge for several generations, based on an imagined slight during a Smoke Jaguar Council ceremony.
Despite the formal version of the Trial of Grievance, there is an informal version that is much more common. These usually involve single low-ranking warriors over issues that are not considered important. Immediately after the Batchall, the two engage in negotiations, which are themselves quick. The trial is immediately fought in an ad-hoc circle of equals simply drawn in the dirt. This informal procedure is illegal in clan law but not enforced, since to force all disputes to be formally resolved would cause too much of an administrative burden.
The students demonstrate their current skills and those who aren’t at the level they should be at that time fail the trial. Failure at any of these trials causes the student to wash-out. They will leave their sibko and join another caste.
These trials are usually written exams during early childhood with possibly some practical demonstrations. Later in their development, the trials can be mock battles with sibkin, with instructors or mock battles between sibkos.
When somebody mentions a Trial of Position, they rarely mean this type since this is only applicable to schooling/training.
The use of live weapons for what is essentially an examination seems barbaric and wasteful of human life to those outside the Clans. An accident can easily cut short a promising career or life. It is one of the best examples of how little regard the Clans have for individual life in their quest for social supremacy. However, the clansmen, who believe the cause is worth everything and the individual is worth nothing, see this as an issue of rationalizing waste. This waste is justified since some cadets, though extremely brave throughout their upbringing, may shirk or not be able to think and react well under live-fire. The clan idea is that it is better to discover this in an artificial battle rather than during a real battle where their comrades' lives may be in jeopardy.
Each trial involves two cadets and six opponents in the one circle of equals. For each cadet is a set of three opponents, each opponent fighting one at a time in sequence. Defeating an opponent earns an imaginary kill. While an opponent’s cadet is engaged they will stay neutral, fighting only when it is their turn. If a neutral opponent is hit, either directly or accidentally, then all opponents become active and the trial becomes a free-for-all and the assignment of opponents on cadets is waived. Hence the opponents can engage any cadet and a cadet can defeat any opponent for a kill and a cadet can even earn a kill by defeating the other cadet in a free-for-all. There are also some other infractions by the cadets that can cause a free-for-all. Since the last thing a cadet wants is a free-for-all, cadets will try to ensure nothing happens that causes one and hence the free-for-alls are rare.
If a cadet doesn’t score a kill they are assigned to another caste and cannot retry the trial (with one exception). If they score a kill they are assigned the lowest rank of their sub-caste and for every kill after that they are moved up one rank. The first of their opponents will be a warrior of the lowest rank and each opponent after that is one rank above the previous, meaning that each opponent is a peer of the rank they are trying to achieve. Each successive opponent is also harder since the cadet will retain the damage sustained from the previous opponent. In 'Mech battles, the first has less tonnage, the second equal, the third more tonnage.
The maximum number of kills ever achieved is four, attained by Natasha Kerensky. Exceeding the three Battlemechs assigned to a candidate MechWarrior can only be honorably achieved if a melee is initiated by another candidate, or if the two candidates agree beforehand to allow an attempt on the others 'Mech if three kills are achieved.
A warrior may be required to repeat this Trial later in their career if their continuing ability to perform is in question, as it was with Natasha Kerensky.
A rarer case of this is that if a commander has endangered their unit unnecessarily through incompetence or otherwise that they are severely unfit for duty, a subordinate can challenge the commander to a Trial of Position. This is similar to a Trial of Grievance except the command of the unit is a prize of the trial. The trial needs some concrete evidence of great ineptitude before a subordinate can make the challenge and is otherwise frowned upon. If the commander wins, he/she is guilt free. If the subordinate wins, the subordinate gains the commander's rank and unit and the commander is investigated. This practice is rare though and only occurs in extreme circumstances.
By clan law, at any one time there are up to 25 active warriors with the same Bloodname (there can be less due to reavings). When one dies, a Trial of Bloodright is held to determine who should replace the Bloodnamed warrior.
The trial involves a single-elimination tournament of one-on-one combat duels. 32 candidates are chosen to compete for the Bloodname, so a candidate can only win a Bloodname by winning all five duels. The nature of the duels depends whether they are fighting for an elemental Bloodname, MechWarrior Bloodname or an aerospace Bloodname.
Each member of a bloodname nominates one warrior for the trial with the head of the bloodname nominating the rest to form 31 candidates. A 32nd slot is given to any potential bloodname holder who isn’t nominated but wishes to compete for the bloodname, these warriors then have a single free-for-all battle, called a Grand Bloodname Melee, to win the 32nd slot.
Once a warrior achieves a Bloodname, they may not participate in any other Trials of Bloodright; their Bloodname is permanent and they can only have one. Hence some ambitious warriors may decline a nomination for a Trial of Bloodright if they hope to earn what they believe is a better Bloodheritage.
It is initiated by an accusation by a third party (usually another Bloodname). The Clan Council then investigates and discusses the merits of the accusation and holds an internal vote over whether to proceed with the reaving or not. If the vote is in favor of the reaving, the reaving can then be canceled by a Trial of Refusal, where the members of the bloodline fight the accusers for the right to hold the Trial of Bloodright.
Trials of Possession are between Clans over particular assets. The challenged can demand something of equal value that they will get if they make a successful defense. The prize can be anything from a piece of equipment (a 'Mech or a DropShip), a quantity of material, an installation, a piece of territory, an entire planet or even just genetic material.
A circle of equals is created at a destination that serves as a proxy for the location of the prize. This proxy can even be on another planet. The circle of equals place is usually equivalent terrain to the location of the prize. It is always away from any assets that could become collateral damage and ensures no non-combatants are caught in the fighting.
This trial is needed to allow the Clans to compete for resources without quick unannounced raids, which will involve innocents and will damage surrounding assets and may even damage the prize that is fought over. Also the pre-battle bidding will reduce the amount of military force expended for the battle.
The ratio of forces involved in the trial reflects the vote. For example, if the vote was won 2:1, then the winners can field a force double that of the losers. However, after the pre-trial bidding, the ratio will be closer to even. The council members involved in the trial are determined by internal bidding. The member of a losing vote with a bid lower than the rest of the members with losing votes fights in the duel with their bid. Ditto for the members with the winning votes.
When the Comstar vessel was captured before the invasion of the Inner Sphere, a member of the Comstar crew asked what prevented a council member from casting a vote on the side they disagreed with if they knew it would lose so that, when they demanded a Trial of Refusal, the council member could bid an extremely low force that would definitely win the bidding but could not possibly win the trial. The suggestion that a warrior might consider this course of action was met with shock and frozen silence. One Loremaster refused any further interviews, and another prohibited the Comstar officers from any contact with the warriors of his Clan. Such a breach of honor is clearly unthinkable.
The absorbing clan is usually much stronger in assets than it was before, but usually militarily much weaker due to the difficulty in subduing an entire clan, not to mention after winning several Trials of Refusal before that.
Trials of Annihilation have been declared against warriors, Stars, and even Clusters, but only twice has an entire Clan suffered this ultimate punishment, and only one at the hands of the Clans themselves, (Clan Wolverine). This clan is known only as the 'not-named-clan' since saying its name out loud is punishable by a Trial of Grievance. The other Annihilated Clan, Clan Smoke Jaguar, was eliminated by the Star League Defense Force in 3060. Their destruction was swiftly followed by the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty, which both validated the Annihilation in the eyes of the Clans, and ended the Clan Wars with the Inner Sphere binding the Clans against invasion by honor.
The Points would be designated the numbers 1 to 5 and ranked on superiority, with 5 being lowest and 1 being highest. Point 1 is the most superior of the Points and hence the Point Commander of Point 1 is usually the Star Commander.
The strength and size of Points differ depending on the units that it is made of. A Point is either 1 ‘Mech, 2 Tanks, 2 Aerospace Fighters, 5 Protomechs, 5 Elementals/Battle-armored Infantry, 25 standard foot infantry, or can mean a section or work-crew on a Navy vessel. Hence a Star is either 5 'Mechs, 10 tanks, 10 Aerospace Fighters, 25 Protomechs, 25 Elementals, or 125 infantry.
|Star Commander||Star||5 Points|
|Nova||1 ‘Mech Star and 1 Elemental Star|
|Star Captain||Binary||2 Stars and/or Novas|
|Trinary||3 Stars and/or Novas|
|Super Nova||2 ‘Mech Stars and 2 Elemental Stars|
|Star Colonel||Cluster||4-5 Binaries, Trinaries and/or Super Novas|
|Galaxy Commander||Galaxy||3-5 Clusters|
|Point Commander||Commands a section or a work crew on a vessel|
|Star Commander||An executive officer or a department head on a vessel|
|Star Captain||Commands a dropship or a jumpship|
|Star Commodore||Equivalent to a Star Colonel, commands a squadron of dropships or jumpships, or a single warship|
|Star Admiral||Equivalent to a Galaxy Commander, commands either a major warship, or a star of warships|
In Clan Coyote and Clan Hell’s horses, commanders of a Nova have the rank Nova commander, which is one rank higher than Star commander; and commanders of a Super nova have the rank Nova captain, which one rank higher than Star captain.
The rank the warrior holds is used as their title unless they hold the lowest rank (for example, Star Commander Zane). If they are warriors, they have a title denoting their sub-caste. E.g. a warrior who pilots a vehicle will be called ‘crewman’, and aerospace pilot will be called ‘pilot’ and so-on (for example, MechWarrior Aidan). Since the lowest MechWarriors are Point commanders, they have the title of MechWarrior instead of Point commander even though they have a Point commander rank.
When the clan requires military action above the small scale skirmishes that are Trials of Possession, the clan council becomes a Kurultai (War Council) and it elects from within a council member to become a Khan. The Khan (though having much more influence) can’t interfere with clan laws/society; that is still in the hands of the council. He/she is however commander of the entire clan’s military assets, including the touman (see below), and becomes the top of the military hierarchy that doesn’t exist without a Khan.
The first act of the Khan is to select a saKhan (junior Khan) from amongst the clan council members. The saKhan’s duties aren’t specifically defined. He/she is the second in command, performing any duties the Khan requires (like bidding or leading a campaign) but can’t do him/herself and enjoys a heightened status within clan society. The official term for the senior Khan of a clan is kaKhan, though this is rarely used (Khan with no prefix usually means the senior Khan).
When the clans face a time of crisis or all need to coordinate their efforts towards a common objective, each clan forms a Kurultai and the Khans from each clan then form a Grand kurultai. The Grand kurultai then internally elects a Khan to become the ilKhan who serves as an arbiter between Clans during the time of crisis, acting with the power of the Grand Council. The ilKhan enjoys wide-ranging but not absolute power, as he answers to the Grand Council. The ilKhan may not interfere with matters that are internal to a specific Clan. When the Martial code is in effect, however, the ilKhan may operate virtually unhindered.
Each clan has one of each of the following:Loremaster: The Loremaster is the keeper of Clan laws and history. The position is honorable and politically powerful. The Loremaster plays key role in inquiries and trials, where he is often assigned the role of Advocate or Interrogator. To determine who replaces a retired or deceased Loremaster, candidates engage in a one-on-one melee elimination tournament. The winner then sits a 'Forum of Law' where he/she is asked questions about Clan Law and Lore. If he passes he becomes the next Loremaster. If he fails the second place winner sits the Forum of Law and so on until one passes the Forum.Oathmaster: The Oathmaster is a counterpart to the Loremaster in Clan tradition. That position is similar to that of an Inner Sphere sergeant-at-arms, but it carries a greater degree of respect. The Oathmaster administers all oaths, and the Loremaster records them. The position of Oathmaster is usually held by the oldest Bloodnamed warrior in a Clan (if he or she desired the honor), and is one of the few positions not decided by combat.
Words and phrases from their dialect include:"Abtakha": A warrior captured but then accepted into his new Clan as a warrior."Aff": "Affirmative""Batchall": The Batchall is the ritual by which Clan warriors issue combat challenges. Though the type of challenge varies, most begin with the challenger identifying himself, stating the prize of the contest, and requesting that the defender identify the forces at his disposal. The defender also has the right to name the location of the Trial. The two sides then bid for what forces will participate in the contest. The subcommander who bids to fight with the least number of forces wins the right and responsibility to make the attack. The defender may increase the stakes by demanding a prize of equal or lesser value if he wins. All batchalls and bids are closed and finale when the phrase "well bargained and done" is spoken by both members of the bid. "Bloodheritage": The history of the Bloodnamed warriors of a particular Bloodright is called the Bloodheritage. "Bloodcount":The Bloodcount is the number of active Bloodrights associated with a particular Bloodname, and thus is the number of individuals that may hold that name at any given time. Traditionally, this number is twenty-five, but it may be less in the case of inferior Bloodnames or Bloodheritages found useless or unworthy. In some cases, the Bloodcount has been known to drop as low as five. The process for reducing a Bloodcount is known as ‘Reaving’, and the process for increasing it is called ‘Propagation’, both of which demand an associated trial. A Bloodcount may also be reduced by Abjuration, or by decree of the ilKhan."Bloodname": Bloodname refers to the surname of each of the 800 warriors who stood with Nicholas Kerensky during the Exodus Civil War. The right to use one of these surnames has been the ambition of every Clan warrior since the system was established. Only a maximum of 25 warriors, depending on its Bloodcount, are allowed to use any Bloodname at one time. When one of the Bloodnamed warriors dies, a special Trial, called a Trial of Bloodright, is held to determine who will assume that Bloodname. A contender must prove his Bloodname lineage, then win a series of duels against other competitors. Only Bloodnamed warriors may sit on the Clan Councils or are eligible to become a Khan or ilKhan. Bloodnames are determined matrilineally, at least after the original generation. Because a warrior can only inherit from his or her female parent, he or she only has a claim to one Bloodname. "Bloodright": A specific Bloodname lineage is called a Bloodright. Up to twenty-five Bloodrights are attached to each Bloodname. A Bloodright is not a lineage as we define the term because the warriors who successfully hold the Bloodright need be related only through their original ancestor. As with Bloodnames, certain Bloodrights are considered more prestigious than others, depending largely on the Bloodright’s history. "Bondcord": A woven cord worn on the wrist to indicate the wearer's status as a bondsman. The color and highlighting indicate the Clan to which the wearer is bound and the capturing unit."Bondholder": The person that takes a Bondsman and is the primary determiner of when a Bondsman has fulfilled his Bond obligation."Bondsman": A prisoner taken during combat, of any caste or rank. Considered a member of the Laborer caste until freed or promoted back to active service. Custom indicates that any prisoner remain a bondsman for at least a token amount of time, even high-ranking and Bloodnamed warriors. Some Clans do not free bondsmen to certain castes, especially the Warrior caste."Bondsref": Ritual suicide to prevent becoming a Bondsman. The person performing Bondsref must have the permission of their Bondholder and perform said act before taking a Bondcord, otherwise the performer is considered Dezgra and their genes won't be used in the Clan breeding program."Chalcas": Someone or something that is either outside acceptable Clan culture or that challenges it."Circle of Equals": The area in which a trial takes place. The area can be anywhere from a few meters across for personal combat, or thousands of kilometers across, or even span several worlds for large scale trials. A contestant that voulantarily leaves or is forced to leave the area is considered dishonorable or weak, and is disqualified. The area can be of any shape, though it is traditionally a circle."Codex": The Codex is each warrior's personal record. It includes the names of the original Bloodnamed warriors from which a warrior is descended. It also records background information such as a warrior's generation number, Blood House, and Codex ID, an alphanumeric code noting the unique aspects of that person's DNA. The Codex also contains a record of the warrior's military career. "Contract": A Contract is an agreement between the commanders of two units that allows the commander of one to include the units of the other in his bidding for rights to a battle or trial. During the invasion of the Inner Sphere, Cluster commanders within Galaxies frequently made contracts to allow greater, and often more extravagant, bidding, while still maintaining a good mix of Battlemech, Elemental, and fighter combat units. "Cutdown": The lowest acceptable level of force that can be bid to take a military objective. To force a rivial to bid below Cutdown is considered to be either a mark of craftiness or just plain underhanded, depending who is asked. To win a battle with a force that is below the accepted Cutdown is considered to be a mark of superior skill."Dezgra": Adjective referring to the disgraced state of the subject, such as a unit that disgraced itself in battle, or a person or unit without honor. Units or persons marked as dezgra are not considered worthy of zellbrigen, so normal clan rules of combat can be suspended when facing such opponents. Also the noun referring to a ritual by which a unit is marked as Dezgra and punished. "EcKhan": The leader of a Cloister."Founder, The": The name the Clans use when referring to Nicholas Kerensky."Freebirth": Pejorative version of "Freeborn". Considered an insult and curse."Freeborn": A person born naturally, a person not born into the Clan genetics program."Hegira": Victorious Clan warriors sometimes extend the courtesy of Hegira to defeated opponents. Hegira allows the opponent to withdraw honorably from the field without further combat or cost. "Giftake": A DNA sample taken posthumously from a warrior who died honorably in battle. Considered by custom superior to previous samples taken, and more likely to produce superior warriors."Great Father, The": The name the Clans use for Alexander Kerensky. "Isorla": The spoils of battle taken by warriors. Includes Bondsmen as well as any military supplies, lands, or equipment taken."Keshik": The unit which provides a Khan's bodyguard."Kindraa": Specific to Clan Fire Mandrill. Denotes a specific set of Bloodnames that have banded together for mutual protection. There are a number of these, each of which is in competition for resources, power, influence, and prestige with the others. This competition, in effect, creates a model of the Clans in miniature."Neg": "Negative""Martial Code, The": The Martial Code is a set of rules governing Clan actions during a time of war. It is designed to minimize the political maneuvering that normally prevails during Grand Council meeting, and forces the participants to concentrate on the matter at hand. When in effect, this also gives the ilKhan a wide range of powers, such as the right to dismiss any charges brought before the Grand Council he or she deems frivolous. "OvKhan": A term of respect for a person of higher rank."Powless": A shortened term for powerless, denoting the vulnerability that a warrior feels when forced to fight without his accustomed weapons. For example a heavy 'Mech pilot using a light 'Mech or an aerospace pilot fighting an elemental in melee combat. In other words, the feeling of taking a test you haven't studied for."Quiaff": Used to query the subject's agreement, but specifically with an expected affirmative answer ("Aff"). Often used rhetorically."Quineg": Used to query the subject's agreement, but specifically with an expected negative answer ("Neg"). Often used rhetorically."Ristar": This term refers to a particularly gifted warrior on his or her way to high position. "Rede": A promise or oath that reflects on the swearer's honor is considered a Rede. Breaking a rede is considered extremely serious, and is sometimes punishable by death."Remembrance, The": The Remembrance is an ongoing heroic saga detailing Clan history from the time of the Exodus from the Inner Sphere to the present day. The Remembrance is continually expanded to include contemporary events. Each Clan has a slightly different version reflecting their own opinions and experiences. All Clan warriors can quote whole verses of this marvelous epic from memory, and it is common to see passages from the book lovingly painted on a warrior's vehicle or armor. "Satarra": A Clan council may cast a veto, or satarra, to settle or postpone disputes between castes within their jurisdiction. Satarra is invoked only when negotiations seem at an impasse and/or threaten to disrupt the work order of the Clan. It seems to be more a ritual than an act of legislation. "Savashri": A Clan epithet."Seyla": A word uttered only in the most sacred and respective of manners. The origin is Hebrew, but it works like "Amen". It is found in Psalms as Selah. It is a way of saying 'so shall it be'."Sibko": A group or "batch" of Trueborn people born from the same genetic makeup; also the smallest element used for early training above a single person. Usually separated only by death until testing decides final placement in Clan society. Bastardized form of "SIBling COmpany". Individuals in this unit are referred to as "sibkin," meaning brother or sister, or brothers and sisters in this context."Stravag": A Clan epithet."Surat": An epithet referring to a cute, monkey-like mammal native to the Clan Homeworlds that the lower Castes keep as pets."Surkai": Surkai is the Right of Forgiveness. The Clans honor uniformity in thought and belief above all else in their society. When warriors disagree, when a Clan disagrees with the Grand Council, or when a member of one caste offends a member of another caste, surkai is expected. It is a matter of pride that the offending party freely admit his wrongdoing and request punishment. Those who show great surkai are held up as examples to others for their willingness to accept the consequences of their independent thoughts. Those who do not show surkai when it is expected of them are viewed with suspicion. "Surkairede": The Rede of Forgiveness, or surkairede is the honour-bound agreement between the majority and any dissenters. According to the surkairede, once a dissenter accepts punishment for having disagreed with the majority, he should be allowed to resume his role in society without suffering any further disgrace for having spoken out. "Touman": The term used for the fighting arm of a Clan. "Trashborn": Used by freeborns to insult a trueborn in the same way they use the name freebirth."Trothkin": A member of the same sibko or a respectful name."Trueborn": A lab-raised result of the Clan selective breeding program, coming from gene pools modified to accentuate positive attributes and eliminate negative ones."Zellbrigen": The body of rules defining dueling behavior and honor in combat.