Reaving Raving – Ask the Author

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So the book’s been “out” for a week now and I know many have already devoured it from cover to cover. (When I say “out” I mean that the PDF is available for public sale; the print copy’s GenCon run was 240, of which only 28 survived the GenCon hordes. The book hits store shelves sometime after Labor Day – but don’t hold me to that. CGL reserves the right to override my pathetic attempts at guessing street dates.)

I’d like to give the chance to those who’ve read the book (or who can’t wait and instead consume spoilers) to ask me questions. You can be as pointed or as specific as you’d like; I’ll answer to the best that I can *without* breaking NDA. I normally don’t do this, but I had a lot of guys come up to me at the convention wanting to ask questions but I couldn’t really discuss the book due to the crazy-busyness that surrounded the booth. There’s a lot of answers I can now give about the story process that won’t “spoil” anything, and I’d like to share. But I need you, dear reader, to initiate the discussion.

Frankly, I’m quite proud of this book and have really enjoyed sharing its progress here on my site. Thus, I want to swing the doors open and give you, the reader, the chance to ask the most pressing questions you have, now that you’ve read it. And this isn’t time-sensitive, either; if you’re just now reading the book a year or five after its release, provided I’m still around and operating this site, I’ll answer your questions. No holds barred; I know some of it may rankle (and I fully expect that) but I do enjoy good criticism along with constructive praise. It’s how a writer gets better at his craft, and I’m always looking to get better.

I’ll drop responses in comment replies; I may compile them all in the future into a separate post but for now, we’ll keep the dialogue in comments.

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93 thoughts on “Reaving Raving – Ask the Author

    1. Simply put, it sounded cool. I threw together a list of about 20 names of animal predators and a bunch of adjectives and started mixing and matching to see what worked. Initially I started to settle on “Stone Raptor” but Paul told me it sounded too cheesey/Spielberg-y. I wanted a stalwart descriptor as I knew the Clan would a.) survive an Adder onslaught, and b.) would need a fast identifier as a stubborn defender. I ended up on Lion because, well, honestly lions are just cool. That, and our cats were rather insistent. 🙂

      Judging from the initial reception, Stone Lion seems to have struck the same chord it did me when I finally did their ‘bio.’

      1. and I had Clan Iron Wombat as my forum avatar for ages…guess that subliminal advertising didn’t work 😉

      2. There’s also a stone lion on your “About Me” page on this blog . . .

  1. What’s the reason behind none of Clan Wolf’s Omicron Galaxy clusters making it to the IS? As far as I can find only 2 clusters were specifically mentoned as destroyed.

    1. Vlad needed a slog of Wolf defenders because he knew things would go downhill quickly once the Kerensky Option went into play. Keep in mind that I do not (nor ever intended to) mention the fate of every single Cluster in the Homeworlds. The rest of Omicron got sucked into the chaos defending the last remaining Wolf holdouts while the Clan dropped everything and ran.

    1. Only on the Turkish Prison table. (This is one of my gaming group members, people. Pay him no heed.)

      😛

  2. Awesome work, it more than lived up to the hype!
    What were the factions you killed instead of kept and vice versa?
    How did you decide what/how to put in the teaser timeline?
    Will we ever find out where in the Horse touman the Adder 5th Assault went?
    Will you continue to be involved in the development of the home world story line?
    Will there be more Stone Lion info in the supplemental?

    1. a.) That list underwent repeated reworking; it’s safe to say all of them were on it at one time or another. It just ended up depending on how the story evolved as to who failed to survive.

      b.) Careful consideration, with one eye towards if the revelation would ruin the big surprises or not.

      c.) Maybe. Most likely, the Horses just scattered them across their touman as needed.

      d.) Yes.

      e.) Maybe. The Supplemental isn’t fully defined at this point and will depend greatly on how much space the RATs and record sheets suck up.

  3. What made you decide to wait until the very end to whack the Spirits?

    I get that it hurt Spirit fans more that way (the unexpected nature of ‘whew, we survived…oh, wait, CRAP.’) but other than shock value chock full of shock value, any particular reason?

    And who and what do I have to sell my soul to to get one of those 24 other hardcopies, since I hate PDF for rule/source books?

    1. a.) That’s really just how the story evolved. I knew I would either move one Clan off into the Deep Periphery or have them die due to weakness; turned out after the Viper Annihilation, I had candidates for both. Since the Spirits wouldn’t be caught dead tampering with genetic lines (unlike the Scorpions), they fell into the abyss. Considering the amount of sheer damage they’d taken, it was really inevitable.

      b.) You’ll have to wait until the public street date, I guess.

  4. I haven’t seen any info on it, so if it’s out there I ask out of ignorance… but we know that some Clans maintain small outposts along the path between the OZs and the Homeworlds. Do any of the OZ Clans still maintain any of these with the cut-off? And if they do, are they likely to encounter Homeworld forces in skirmishes? And do the OZ Clans know about the Scorpion’s new setup, or has that gone silent as far as the IS is concerned as well?

    (Long-winded, I know)

    1. I mention in the book that the IS Clan outposts were ravaged/destroyed by the Adder’s Upsilon Galaxy after 3067; those that weren’t were simply packed up and moved during the various Clans’ exoduses from the HW.

      The book is from the Shark perspective and presented to the Council of Six, so everything through 3086 is known to the IS Clans, including the Imperio. None of the IS Clans have holdings beyond their Periphery borders (save the Sharks and their Chainelaine outposts) and won’t be colliding with HW forces. Which, honestly, would only be Clan Star Adder who is patrolling the Deep Periphery to protect the rest of the Clans (as mentioned in Banacek’s bio).

      You’ll notice in FR:Periphery there’s no mention of the Imperio or of the Scorpion contacts. That’s because the Inner Sphere has no clue, and the Clans aren’t volunteering that information. It’s safe to say that for the current time being, the Adders will quickly destroy ANY excursions – IS or Clan – that wander into the Deep.

    1. Simple answer? With all the devastation that occurred and the fact that Andrews was just itching to get back to the drive to Terra, he and his allies didn’t go for Annihilation simply because it would further gut Clan power. I’d say Andrews was probably hoping to cut the Coyotes down to a point that another Clan would then Absorb the remainders, keeping some Clan military power intact, rather than wholesale destruction. But then things got out of hand. Banacek probably came to the same conclusion.

      When you’ve got an invasion timetable looming, why cut off more limbs and reduce your power? Most likely, knowing how Clan leaders play politics with their war-making capabilities, they would’ve stuck the Coyotes in front to absorb the brunt of the first waves, saving true Clan force for later.

      It’s also possible Andrews was looking to firm up his political power block or find a way to bind the Coyotes to the Vipers in case his other allies decided to go their own way. Who knows?

      But then again, it’s all supposition anyway. 🙂

      1. There are also plenty of Coyotes who held true to the Clan way and did not deal with the Society.

        Plus, the Homeworld Clans can’t get reduced to just one, right? 🙂

    2. And from an in-universe perspective, there’s plenty of examples of individuals or parts of a Clan going traitorous, crazy, or plain unclanlike, and the rest of that Clan that “holds to the true Clan Way” turning on the first group and killing them. See the Jade Falcon Culling, The Coyote Blood Scandal, the incident between the Coyotes and Cobras where the Coyote ilKhan was murdered, etc.

      In this case two, or more, Coyote Galaxies held back on Tamaron and their other core holdings to protect them and then turned to fight off the Society and the “bad” Coyote forces.

      1. The “No True Clansman” arguement, except in the case of proving purity it has its place.

  5. Now that the book is out, and people have read it, would you be able to offer any further insight into plot lines that were considered but didn’t make it? I remember discussion about how you debated the fate of a couple of Clans near the end that Paul didn’t agree with- what was the alternative ending?

    While I realize you’ve already gone into that a bit earlier in your blogs… I find things like the ‘original’ Clan names that was unearthed when FASA closed it’s doors very cool.

    1. The fate that Paul and I disagreed with was that of the Scorpions; he believed they should just be Absorbed or Annihilated. I wanted to go a different direction that would spark new interest and spawn some new and intriguing storylines. Plus, I had plans (and still do) for the future of the Clans and that section of the Deep; the merging with the Castillans helped further that. In the end, he liked how I spun it, and that’s all the affirmation I needed.

      I can’t say there were other plot lines that were discarded; the original three are still there. First was the extreme expulsion of the IS Clans, second was the Society revolt, and third was the fall of the Vipers/rise of the Adders. Those never really changed.

      Minor plots, however…those got changed up here and there. Originally, Loremaster Amirault was to die defending the remnants of the Horses from an Adder assault; his death was to give N’Buta pause and consider forming a new Clan later. That still fell into place, just in a different way. The Titanic’s convoluted story changed a few times – it originally had the Swift Strike’s story to explain its re-appearance but Oystein wasn’t a fan of it. Vlad wasn’t originally supposed to die, but I realized we needed a few more of the “oldster” Clan leaders to go and with Vlad’s death being an unknown in the Dark Age, this gave a perfect ending to his reign. And I initially had proposed the Bear’s Society cells unleashing genetic viruses upon the Nova Cats, but that would’ve torn apart the plot ideas I’ve had percolating regarding the DC/GB war and the rise of the Cat’s mysterious “mystic” caste. Plus, the Cats weren’t Clan according to the book, so there was no need to involve them.

      There’s more than that, but you get the idea. Almost all of the sidebars from chapter 6-9 had different spin directions at one point or another; that should tell you how many changes I worked through regarding various minor plots. 🙂

  6. Based on forum posts it would seem like people are itching for exact vessels and their names for every warship lost. When you were writing WOR, did you maintain a full accounting of every ship involved/destroyed and will this information see the light of day in some future form?

    P.s. I’ve read WOR twice and it gets better. Great work!

    1. I did not keep a full accounting, no. (There are reasons for that, in part to give plot and story hooks for gamemasters and future writers.) Oystein did a masterful job keeping the carnage straight, though, so everything lined up correctly. Will it ever all be accounted for? Nope. After all, we’ve never accounted for every single Exodus fleet vessel or other mass invasion lists; why start now? Exacting detail is a recipe for disaster in a shared universe this large.

      What made it into the book is what was important. The “fluff” reason is simple and stated well by Loremaster Kelasa: there are some gaps due to scant (or no) reports, so they made do with what they had in creating the summaries.

  7. Nouveaux Paris gets a lot of screen time.
    Did you just pick a suitable Clan holding from the Explorer Corps map or is there more to this system than meets the eye? I mean, we never learned what exactly the Jags did with it or used it for, and now 3 Clans use it as main staging area…
    And is the system’s history known between the Explorer Corps reporting it as a colony occupied by the Jags as of “Explorer Corps”, and the Horses running the place at the beginning of WoR?

    1. Nouveaux Paris was mentioned in Blake Ascending (or, DOTJ/JHS:70) as the Horse waystation. It was an abandoned Jaguar outpost taken and expanded upon by the Horses.

      There’s nothing else to it, really.

  8. What ever happened to the IS outpost on Huntress? I thought after Operations Bulldog and Serpent IS put a permanent outpost in Clan Space on Huntress? Wouldn’t that mean that the IS should still know whats going on in the clan home worlds?

    1. The Huntress embassy functioned as an extension of the Star League embassy on Strana Mechty. Most of what happened to the Eridani Light Horse, who were stationed between both sites, is detailed in Dawn of the Jihad and Jihad Hot Spots 3072. The embassy personnel – what remained – departed in 3070 (IIRC) and the ELH remnants absorbed into the Scorpions. If you read the excerpts in DOTJ/HS70, you’ll see that all communication with any remaining IS personnel was lost.

      Which means no, the IS still has no idea what really went on.

  9. Ben, as a Blood Spirit fan, I just have to say: Thank you for how you killed my
    faction. We might not have survived, but DAMN, we put up a fight until the
    very end.

    Though, does the Adders keeping an eye on Haven and Honor indicate a
    possibility that the Spirits are not necessarily truly dead?

    1. Nope. The Adders were more looking to make sure there was no resurgence of any civilization on the worlds, checking to make sure they were well and truly dead.

  10. Was the hypothetical but dropped “too powerful” tech some variant of Blue Shield for warships?

    Might the “bloodname viruses” also work on other genetic lines, such as, say, an Inner Sphere royalty “bloodline” (all descendants of Hanse Davion for example)? Given the narrative propensity for IS powers to be tied to almost inbred lines, using this type of virus to wipe out one or more of the big House families seems thematically possible.

    Is it likely that you’ll have future opportunities to pursue such a large and important plot arc? Are you interested in doing so, or is WoR your BattleTech Magnum Opus? Do you think you’ll be able to get that sort of freedom again (especially considering the success of this book) to mold the universe – or do is there not going to be much chance to have so much freedom in future? (the WoR seems to be an edge case where something big was left undefined)

    1. a.) Yes, that tech was deemed too powerful, so it’s alluded to but won’t be defined.

      b.) Not really. Because the Society’s been tinkering with the genetic legacies for well over a century, they’ve inserted the appropriate markers and whatnot to make the tailored viruses work as they envisioned. They would not be able to do that with freeborn IS genetics.

      c.) Yes. As the assistant line developer, I do have a say in a lot of the overall plots scattered throughout CGL’s BattleTech products. I’ve got a few going in the Combine, the Republic, and other areas. The WOR was just my biggest responsibility; before that, I had cut my teeth (so to speak) on coordinating Operation SCOUR and the liberation of Terra (Jihad era). With our coming plans and time jumps to outside of where the Dark Age is known, I’ll very much have a hand in helping Herb and our other contributors in molding and shaping the as-yet-untold BattleTech story from 3150 onward. And I’m looking forward to it!

      1. Will the Coyote’s mysterious WarShip shielding tech ever be defined or will it go down as a mysterious lost technology, never to be understood again?

  11. I understand it’ll be at least 4-5 years before we see the timeframe advance to where we can entertain notions of the Homeworlds rejoining the universe. _IF_ it were entirely up to you, if the clouds parted, angels sang, and Herb pointed his neutron-spitting finger at you and handed you the baton of decision, and if you were going to write the thing again…

    …what general ideas do you think would be cool to feature? Does the IS finally a-hunting they will go to the Kerensky Cluster, and go jab BattleMechs into hornet’s nests? Do you want the Homeworlds to eventually simply die out and fade away, never to return? Or other such ideas? Just to kick around thoughts of what you think would be cool, rather than trying to divine what might happen way too far out.

    1. See, that’s just going right into NDA territory! Herb and I have discussed the Clans post-WOR and if the opportunity presents itself for a product to continue the story, I’ll be first in line to pursue it.

      That said, I hope everyone enjoys the “open ending” left with the conclusion of WOR; I’ve always loved game settings that allow a lot of freedom to play and I’d like to think I’ve done that here for Clan fans.

      1. Well nevermind that then! I didn’t expect that situation, but if you’re helming the DeReaving then I can only say hot diggity dang. I just figured on asking as a pure hypothetical, not that the possibility would exist.

        I sure do enjoy it. There’s a LOT of time involved, so the chances for power plays and exploring the Cluster is there…there’s enough solid foundation for the various groups to extrapolate more or less whatever you want, it’s a lot like the situation when TRO 3025 came out. Here’s all this new stuff, here’s a snapshot of the situation, go imaginate yourselves.

        Then…on a question I THINK I can ask, how much of the Clans and the general grumpiness of the Warrior Caste is societal versus long-term genetic tinkering by the Society? It might certainly explain some of the kinds of paranoia, social control (or lack thereof), and violent mindsets that the Warriors fell further and further into over time. Or is that one of those “whatever works” answers?

  12. Ben, you mentioned in one of the “Road to Reaving posts” that the fan speculation regarding WoR was mostly wrong due to the fans missing a key piece of information regarding the situation that you hadn’t divulged. Out of curiosity, what was this withheld linchpin that led to all the incorrect speculation? I’ve finished reading the main plotline, but since I purposely didn’t pay much attention to the wild speculation, I couldn’t figure out what in particular you were referring to.

    1. The missing piece was the sheer scientific brutality the Society/scientist caste would unleash on the Clans in their bid for power. That can of worms very much changed the entire dynamic of the Clans and the Homeworlds and forced a lot of Clans to re-examine their perspectives on things. That included the idea of “taint”, which in and of itself got warped and twisted from its initial inception to its current understanding.

  13. ERRATA: Reaving Raving, invitation post, last paragraph:

    “I’ll drop responses in comment replies; I may compile them all in the future into a separate pots but for now, we’ll keep the dialogue in comments.”

    Incorrect word. Should be post.

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

    1. *smack*

      I’ll say this: I’m rather pleased the list of errata isn’t actually that long, considering how rushed this product ended up being.

  14. Ben, you mentioned earlier in your blog that some of the units and equipment featured in WoR were intended only for that time period, and would then be extinct. Can you comment on the availability of these units and equipment after the Wars? I have some ideas involving a certain missile launcher…

    1. None of the BattleMech equipment makes it beyond the Homeworlds. ProtoMech-wise, the MagClamps, IJJs, and melee systems do, as well as Glider, Ultra-heavy, and Quad ProtoMechs (as seen in TRO:Prototypes).

      The reason is that most of that equipment is just too overbalancing for standard play; it was designed that way to help the Society even the odds, but not for general play among the Inner Sphere.

      1. Aww, I was a hoping to see the iATM spread. Simply because I like saying the name of the system as ‘I Ate ’em’. I assume the same dead end fate awaits the Society ‘Mechs?

  15. Ben, two questions:

    1. With their totemic creature being small and more of a pack hunter, is the Stone Lion touman probably the closest thing an honest man could find to the Ice Hellions these days?

    2. Your hair is so thick and lustrous. Do you use product?

    1. a.) If you’re looking for a Clan similar in style to the Hellions yes. But the Lions don’t have all that baggage, aren’t hasty in thought or action, and know how to fight in a group.

      b.) Ed…. You never fail to crack me up. 🙂

  16. Serious question – Is there a definitive paint scheme for the Society? Have you and the Camospecs guys concocted one yet?

    Not So Serious Question – What do suppose was going through Brett Andrews’ mind at the end (other than Hannibal Banacek’s ceremonial helmet)?

    1. Not So Serious Question – What do suppose was going through Brett Andrews’ mind at the end (other than Hannibal Banacek’s ceremonial helmet)?

      “Ouch! My skull!”

    2. RE: paint scheme – sort of. Scientists don’t really care about such frivolity (and I think I mentioned as such in the Society section). Flat gray/steel works fine. They mark their machines with ultraviolet or other non-visible markings that show up on sensors, but not discernible to the naked eye.

      RE: Andrews…probably a very fast “see the light” revelation before blackness, is my guess.

  17. O.k. how survived all the steel viper bloodnames. Shouldn’t the exclusive ones (Breen, Zalman, Andrews, etc.) not be annihilated? Is the continued use of a bloodname of an annihilated clan, “tainted” by their unclanlike behaviour, not against the spirit of a trial of annihilation?

    1. Good question. And may well be answered in future product, so I won’t go into detail. You’re the first, by the way, to catch that. Congrats!

  18. Yep, the ‘Mechs remain in the HW.

    But the information the Diamond Shark Watch collected provides statistics and information for them, so in theory a determined technical team could re-create them.

    Right?

    (I mean if they wanted a one-off prototype chassis that wasn’t supported by anyone else and was likely to fail at the most inopportune time because let’s face it they don’t have the plans from the homeworlds and that makes all the difference between success and failure.)

    1. You can go and find stats for most of today’s military hardware on Jane’s; does that mean you can recreate it?

      In theory? Anything’s possible, especially for an individual’s game. In canon? No. None of the Society-designed OmniMechs will see an Inner Sphere debut at this point. Future? Well, again – anything’s possible.

      1. You can go and find stats for most of today’s military hardware on Jane’s; does that mean you can recreate it?

        Hey, if I put my mind to it I can do anything. (Or so I’ve learned from many after-school specials and Hollywood films.)

        In theory? Anything’s possible, especially for an individual’s game. In canon? No. None of the Society-designed OmniMechs will see an Inner Sphere debut at this point. Future? Well, again – anything’s possible.

        But if you’re really interested, you can use the Watch reports to evaluate the progress of the units and pass them along to the appropriate engineering teams. I doubt Defiance Industries or GM would have too much trouble re-creating the Osteon.

    1. On Sheridan, where the Adders fought the Horses before the formation of the Stone Lions: the Plains of Nolrov. Think about it…

      1. That was pretty tricky, especially considering sometimes I read a strange word backwards to see if a writer reversed a more common word (but that usually only happens in comic books, I’ve noticed.). Well played, sir.

  19. Hi Ben,
    Greetings from a returning Battletech player just getting back into the universe. Great job on WoR — the behind-the-scenes blog on the making of the product really sold me on this book as a way to jump back into the universe’s narrative.

    Here’s my question: did any clans NOT participate in the counter-attack on the occupied Kerensky Bloodchapel? The text specifically notes the Snow Ravens, Cloud Cobras, Star Adders as being involved, and implies that various other clans were also present. What about the Jade Falcons, Ghost Bears, and Hell’s Horses? Would individual warriors from those clans respond, or would they have remained in their enclaves preparing for extraction?

    I ask because I’d like to create a grinder scenario based on the event and would like to know what factions to include.

    Again, great job on the book!

    1. Thanks, Dan!

      All the Clans participated in the counter-assault on the Kerensky Blood Chapel.

      Keep in mind, however, that the altercations were more of a mass of individual warriors (or small groups) acting out in rage against the Wolf temerity rather than any type of coordinated assault. The incident spiraled out of control and sucked in pretty much any armed warrior (or even unarmed) as the chaos spread.

      So your idea for a grinder scenario is spot-on and you can include any of the Clans you want.

  20. Are we going to get any more details on how septs are organized (like in the supplemental, perhaps)? There has been some debate on the boards about wether a trey of protomechs would be 3, 9, or some other number. I am also curious about the rank structure (if there is one).

  21. Hello,

    had there ever been the idea in the development process that the Society was going to win?

    I prefer as WoR was written (without heroes), but why not introducing a hero in the WoR as Devlin Stone in the Jihad?

    Best regards
    Andreas

    1. 1.) No.

      2.) It’s arguable that there are several heroes of WOR; cases can be made for Brett Andrews, Stanislov N’Buta, Hannibal Banacek, Ariel Suvorov, Kael Pershaw, and Vlad Ward – among others.

      Introducing a hero like Stone a la the Jihad would do nothing but parallel the Jihad plot arc, which is something I was determined NOT to do from the beginning.

      1. Thanks.

        To 1.) Is it possible to tell us more reasons why not?
        Maybe, would a scientist caste-ruled Homeworld society be in confrontation with CBT ideals?

        To 2.) I prefer you way, because I love those so very different characters.

        Best regards
        Andreas

  22. When Victor Milan mentioned in A Rending of Falcons that five Clans had died, was he told by TPTB to use that specific number? (If it’s not the case, then I must say I think it at once quite strange and amazing that TPTB would leave something as important as the number of Clans who died up to an individual author’s decision.)

    1. Yes, at the time Randall and Herb had worked out that several Clans were “dead” (a nebulous term) and gave Victor the five count.

  23. I just finished reading WOR and I commend you on a great job on this entire project. Its been a fun easy read and I was sad to get to the end of it. I really enjoyed running into the snippets of the pieces you dropped on your blog as to if we thought (X) was in the book.

    My question for you is how much authority did you have in giving the conclusion to Vlad Ward and clarifying how Marthe Pryde died? I understand that in Marthe’s case there was some rumors and other lack of information and nothing was ever clarified as to how she met her end.

    In both of these popular characters cases, was their fate directed to you by higher up as to how/why or when? Was there any discussions to this with others on deciding their fate?

  24. I had complete control over both of their deaths, though Marthe’s death was something Herb and I hashed out a couple of years back. The idea then was to let readers of the JHS books think the WOB (and later the Society) killed her – as well as foment all those rumors of rebellion that you find out in WOR was actually the Falcons annihilating the Society taint.

    Vlad’s came at the last minute. While wrapping up the Wolf section, I shot an email question to Patrick and Herb, asking if Vlad’s death had been pinned down or mentioned in DA source material. When the response came back negative (save the whole “Alaric was a Vlad idea” bit mentioned in a novel) I had a green light to remove Vlad from the universe. I ran by his death with Herb, Paul, and Patrick to make sure it ‘worked’ (and by Oystein because it was during an aborted offensive).

  25. Mr. Rome;

    1) At any point did you entertain the idea of having Trent make a reappearance during the Wars of Reaving in the same way Russou Howell did?

    2) do you have any opinion on the comparison that arises in the Btech forums of the Society to the Word of Blake?

    1. 1.) No because a.) he was claimed by the Nova Cats, which are not germane to the book, and b.) would probably have been killed on sight.

      2.) I’m sure the comparisons are inevitable due to both being “secret bad guys” but beyond that, there are way too many fundamental differences between the two groups, so such comparisons really fall pretty flat.

  26. When you get an idea for a book, how do you know how many words or pages long it will be? It sounded as though the size of the book would change while you were working.

    1. When I draw up the proposal, I tend to guess at word length. If I feel it needs severe adjustment (as in, that section looks to be taking on a greater importance in the scheme), I’ll rework the outline.

      This one, yeah – the book changed in size constantly, and in the end turned out to be inflated by about 20% of my original outline. And I still ended up with more material that would need included in a supplement – but not enough for a second ‘volume.’

  27. Given the “five Clans dead” thing, was the random mention of the Blood Spirits being dead in Blood Avatar a weighing factor into your decisions of who lived and who died? Were they “dead from the get-go” or was it something that came around?

    Awesome book, btw. Its in my top five best Battletech SBs ever.

    1. Eh, I tend to (and have mentioned previously) ignore the musings of a forensic psychiatrist (or whatever she was) who’s never ventured off a backwater world. That falls into the feasible realm of supposition and assumption, which is something we all do regarding events that are much, much larger and more distant from us, when facts and details are more general and abstract.

      I honestly intended to keep the Spirits alive and “kill” two other Clans but as the story progressed, things evolved differently. It happens in fiction writing; characters tend to take on a life of their own and end up twisting and turning the story away from the author’s original intent. That’s what happened here: the two Clans I’d initially envisioned as dying off ended up not being in such a position (without major deus ex machina or yet another complete rewrite of their arcs) and the Spirits ended the Viper War in such a bad state… Their general character indicated to me that they’d pull off and withdraw to lick their wounds while being incensed with what had ultimately occurred (including their own actions). Those actions have consequences, and it simply rolled into being that the Adders would take advantage of their own strength and deliver the killing blow through political manipulation.

      So yeah, not planned – it just came around that way.

  28. Ben, I recently asked a question on the official Battletech Forums about the Battlearmour Fusillade Weapons, which you said was dropped because you couldn’t make it work the way you wanted. Could you comment on any other weapon systems that you may have thought of that didn’t make the grade? I can vaguely remember a reference to another type of self-repairing ProtoMech armour that was dropped as well.

    1. Only two other systems: the ProtoMech ‘memory armor’ and the as-yet-and-never-will-be-named defensive system on the Ancestral Home.

      1. Due the enigmatic defense system of the Ancestral Home, even if we will never get detailed specifications, will we get information how to play with (e.g. reduce damage by energy weapons by 20 percent et cetera) in own scenarios?

  29. Ben, you know the wild speculation the players were doing for some long years in the web since the War of Reavings was firstly mentioned, did some get close to what was intended. Or did even some speculations give you ideas?

    1. I tended to read-and-forget speculations, usually with some bemusement when I had a few moments to spare. I honestly don’t know what came close or not, because I tend to not get caught up in forum discussions unless and until I’m done with a project (and it can’t be changed). And as a rule, I don’t pay attention to any ideas tossed out; I tend to skim long posts that posit theories or suggestions simply so I remain as unbiased as I can in my creativity.

  30. The tiny bit of information given about the dead Homeworld Clans prior to this book, really left a massive opening for a story. I am impressed with the final result.

    The declaration of the ilKhan about tainted bloodlines, which really touches off the Wars of Reaving, was a shock to me as a reader. I am still surprised that there was no vote on the matter – every Clan present simply interpreted the ilKhan’s words to their own benefit. I did not think the position of ilKhan held such unilateral power, that his/her words were considered authoritative and binding without vote. (For example, ilKhan Ulric Kerensky could not simply call off Operation REVIVAL; he had to get very sneaky through the Tukayyid deal to end the invasion.) Can you explain this wrinkle in Clan law?

    Oh, and one more thing: thank you for finally getting the Clans off of the Warden/Crusader axis, and pushing them into the Homeworld/Invader axis. It’s a nice change, after all these years! 🙂

  31. Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  32. And somewhere in the great unknown..the ghosts of Natasha and Ulric Kerensky are laughing loudly

  33. Sorry it’s taken me so long to leave this comment, but I’m just getting back into battletech, and I just finished Reaving…anyhoo, the reason I’m here…

    I was really looking forward to reading this book when I got back into the game, and it was,as expected, great. The Blood Spirit’s death totally made sense (though a bit sad, I love the underdog), the rebirth of the Burrocks was intruiging, the Vipers getting theirown words thrown back in their face awesome; I was in love with this book….

    until Nueva Castile, and the takeover of the Scorpions. You literally broke my heart, and murdered my favorite”battletech-fantasy”.

    The story of the Umayyad invasion was the most legitamate “Clan Wolverine” theory I’ve ever enjoyed. Unknown warriors with advanced tech and a warrior / honor-centric culture, with democratic undertones, coming out of nowhere, purging their data-cores and past, etc. Beautiful, and made a hell of a lot more sense than all the “Wolverine-Wobbie” theories. I even used the excuse to paint little “331”‘s on my mech’s. With the Scorpion takeover, though, this effectivley killed any hope of that paticular theory having any legitimacy, as tenacious as the link was to the Not-Named Clan.

    Why, sir….why?

    1. I take it you’ve not picked up and read the Wars of Reaving Supplemental, then? 🙂 You’ll find that the ‘weenie theory remains…intact.

  34. Well then… touche, good sir 🙂 . Still, the Clans have an almost psychoticcally OCD gene-testing system in place, which even covers their civilian caste. Within the realm our our current ‘real world’ tech, we can trace down a persons’ ancestors thousands of years back with the correct genetics. The Clans must have a “genetic red-flag” system in place, a cross-file of stored Wolverine genetic material that would alert a scientist of a match, so as to alert the warrior caste that the Not-Named are roaming around. Considering the Imperio Scoripon is still kickin’ it during the Dark Age era, it can be assumed they have gotten to testing the members of their tiny, sparsely populated empire by then, again effectivley ending the theory at that point.

    Sorry if I seem a bit fanboy-ish, i’m just an old gamer still in love with the “331st” mystery. Heck, if all else fails, I can always return to my original plan… trying to return the Rim Worlds Republic to it’s former glory… 😉

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