What Was Before Is Not What Was to Come


I was cleaning through some of my older project files and stumbled over my Wars of Reaving material. It’s been four years since the Origins Award-winning book was published, and running through the depth of material I’d compiled over several years was nostalgic, in a way.

A glimpse into the WoR archive folder.

A glimpse into the WoR archive folder.

One of the gems I discovered was the second timeline version I’d created back in 2007, before the project was actually green-lit for publication. I’d been keeping data and adding to the timeline ever since 2004.

When you look through it, you’ll notice several stark plot differences between the final publication and my initial direction. I don’t remember what exactly caused me to scrap one of the bigger story arcs. I am a bit surprised at how short I had the War raging, with a wrap-up in 3076. I know later revisions were about how to push that time period farther out, creating a longer, more drawn-out war that resulted in an enormous amount of devastation. The final version also pushed into the death of two Clans that originally were slated to ‘survive’ in a way readers will find reminiscent of the final version of the Imperio.

I’m offering it up to readers to provide a glimpse on just how detailed we get on these projects, especially during our decade of Jihad product. (Keep in mind the final Jihad timeline – 3067 to 3085 – is well over 200 pages.) And if readers/fans want to use it as a basis for their own alternate timeline, feel free.

Just keep in mind that this document is in no way official to the BattleTech line, nor to Catalyst Game Labs. It’s a detailed work that I used as a tool that was eventually modified (mostly whole cloth) at least three more times before the final version was pushed out in 2011.

Hope you enjoy this peak behind the curtain!

War of Reaving 2007 Timeline (DEFUNCT)

Interviewed on Arbitration Podcast


(C) Ben H. Rome

James Bixby interviewed me back in November and the podcast was released just before Christmas. We cover more than just BattleTech; James asked about GMW, my other hobbies, and of course, some of my BattleTech projects.

A Very Arbitration Christmas

Enjoy. I’ll be back to regular posting shortly.

In Kurita Space, No One Can Hear You Complain


HBHK writing is in the winding down stage; I would’ve been done the other day except I completely forgot the role playing notes in the Rules Annex. A little shock there when I discovered I still had a bit more to write.

But then again, it covers more of the “general life” of a Combine citizen, by region…and that promises to be fun. So I’ll continue pecking away at it. Almost there…

In the meantime, the remaining chapters are complete and in various stages of factchecking and editing. The last piece of the puzzle is the short fiction story for the intro. Because Randall has been a huge factor in the Combine’s story for many years before handing the line off, I felt it only right to offer him the chance to write that story. Now, if I don’t get something from him soon… I will say, the original story he pitched was pretty sweet – but it was different than the pattern we’ve established with the other five handbooks. So we’ll see.

Obviously, you’re here not to listen to me ramble, but to devour more hints and teases from the book. And it’s time I oblige. Here’s some random stuff:

From History of the Nation

In 2620, Sanethia resigned as Coordinator on the same day Urizen II celebrated his thirtieth birthday. The Nineteenth Coordinator inherited his mother’s ambitious program on Luthien. Though Urizen was ultimately credited with the rise of Luthien as the jewel of the Combine, the project’s success came largely from both Sanethia and Siriwan’s oversight. The two “advisers” were tasked by Urizen to shepherd the project, leaving only the most major of decisions to the Coordinator. When it was completed, Imperial City would become the most ambitious, most expensive, most energy-consuming project ever undertaken by the Combine. The two women were also responsible for the placement of several other city locations on the planet and crafting the infrastructure design that persists today.

The project was plagued with problems from the start. It took five years to drain the enormous swamp that occupied the designated location for the new capital city. More than ten million laborers and craftsmen from all parts of the Combine were tasked with construction. Due to Sanethia’s original plan, the entire city was built without the use of modern construction technology. For inspiration, Siriwan and Sanethia patterned the city’s architecture and design elements after that of ancient Japan. Unity Palace was modeled after Himeji Castle on Terra and much of the outlying buildings maintained elements from the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Sections of the city remain dedicated to various Japanese styles throughout the millennia, including the neo-Fujimoto facades of the twenty-third century.

Most of the laborers employed in the construction of Imperial City comprised of low-echelon members of the Kuritan military or chain gang criminals. As the project progressed, many of the lower castes on other Combine worlds clamored to join volunteer labor groups that were brought in to bolster the workforce. Because of the insistence the city be built without modern machinery, the brute labor jobs were dangerous. It was a good day if less than 500 workers were killed from accidents or other related incidents.

The massive project created an economic boom across the realm and bolstered the flagging spirits of the populace. Archaic building materials such as teak, granite, marble, and mosaic tile were in great demand. Progress reports became highly anticipated news items on other worlds.

The flow of materials and labor to Luthien prompted the need for lesser cities around the capital, a situation already prepared for by Sanethia and Siriwan. These support cities and infrastructure followed the careful planning and guidance of the Coordinator’s advisors, keeping order amidst the growing chaos. Within ten years of the first block being laid, Luthien’s population blossomed to fifty million and showed no sign of slowing.

From Pillar of Gold

Son of deceased Donal Kurita and grandson of the treacherous Marcus Kurita, Graeme is the planetary chairman of Multan in Qandahar Prefecture. Graeme was dishonored when the Black Dragons manipulated his son Angus into a failed plot to assassinate Theodore in 3057. By decree of the Coordinator, Graeme’s bloodline is no longer eligible for the throne. The governor has opted to remain celibate as an act of penance for his son’s choices.

From Touring the Realm

Founded during the twenty-seventh century, Matamoras has never been considered more than a collection of mines and heavy industry. Few choose to travel to the world; fewer still remain to eke out a living. For a time, the DCMS maintained a prison facility on Siberia, the southernmost continent. Notorious for its small guard detail and highly corrupt administration, the complex was abandoned in the mid-2700s—with over three thousand male and female prisoners still locked down within. A NSM shuttle made an emergency landing at the prison in 2913 and discovered a small but thriving community. The citizens of Krasnogorsk were welcomed back into the fold; the Red Clay yakuza clan made its presence known shortly thereafter.

New Samarkand Metals is the primary employer on Matamoras, with more than two million workers scattered across fifty mine and processing sites. Tozama Daimyo Voskoboynikov is the CEO of NSM’s Matamoras operation and is known to be fair and partial when carrying out official state business. He recently awarded a major contract to Deep Ores, which struck a large gold vein in the Black Urals in 3065. Rumors of Voskoboynikov’s affiliation with the Red Clay yakuza are still under ISF investigation.

From Rules Annex

In the mid-2900s, People’s Protection introduced the H-T Spec-5a, a low-cost, light sub-machine gun built for security personnel and private protection details. The -5a was popular despite its horrible reliability; the firing mechanism needed replaced every forty to fifty rounds. The latest version of the widespread SMG is the -7a, which debuted in 3053. Using composite materials, the weapon is extremely light, small, and sturdy. A self-enclosed magazine holds seven bullets in the grip. The bull-pup design includes an integral flash and sound suppressor, making it a favorite hold-out weapon for intelligence agents and important personages. Reloading is a bit complicated, as it requires sliding off the grip and then seating a new clip.

Rumors broke in early 3052 that People’s Protection were using Clan-occupied worlds as a test bed for the design. The rumors were proven true when the company used footage taken from Schuyler showing several children wielding the -7a in a firefight with a Clan police squad.

The Road to Reaving…Part I

Fleet Interference; photo by "Psycho"

Cat’s out of the bag, sorta. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and don’t go looking. It’ll be more fun that way.

With things winding down, I thought I’d do a short series on writing this tome. It’s my first solo sourcebook and maybe you’ll be interested to follow along on this crazy journey.

Continue reading