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Campaign Setting Details!

Posted by Harebrained Schemes LLC (Creator)

Hey folks, Mike here again - we’ve got another big ol’ Lore update for you guys today, this time focused on the region of space the game’s single-player campaign will take place in. For this one I’m turning things over to Kiva Maginn, our Design Lead and resident historian. In addition to leading the charge on systems design, she’s been responsible for fleshing out all the detailed history and geography of our game - the setting material - essentially laying all the groundwork for our writers to build a great story with. What follows won’t contain any *story* spoilers, however it does provide some backstory and setting information that would otherwise only be learned during the campaign. I just love all the bits of history and context that Kiva and the team have come up with for the story campaign, and am excited to share this first peek at it all!

(And if you haven't seen our previous Lore Update about your home base during the campaign, the Argo-class DropShip, you can check it out here!)


Meet the Team: Kiva Maginn, Design Lead!

Hi! I’m your friendly Design Lead on the BattleTech project. You’ve maybe seen me on the forums trolling you as HBS_Thratchen.

I’ve been in the game industry for over 15 years, working as a designer for most of those years. I’ve designed MMOs, casual mobile games, browser games, and action games. Now I’m working on the kind of game I actually like to play: turn-based strategy.

I’ve been gaming since I was 8 years old, when my mom bought me the Moldvay edition of D&D (which dates me, unfortunately!) I’ve been a fan of BattleTech since 1987, when it competed for table time among my friends with Traveller and Gamma World. I’m a historian by education, and by far my favorite thing about BattleTech is the enormously detailed future history of the setting. I love future histories. I can’t get enough of them. If a sci-fi RPG comes with a timeline, it’s the first thing I read when I crack open the book. I’m the girl who read every. Single. Codex. Entry. in the first Mass Effect.

So when it was time to figure out where our game would be set, and how it would fit into the overall BattleTech world? That’s pretty much fun-time for me. Sometimes this job is just a job. Other times, you get to write fictional future histories for rich sci-fi settings.

So in this update I’m going to tell you about a little piece of the Periphery, way down in the Rimward region, caught between the Capellans, the Taurians and the Magistracy. We call it the Aurigan Reach.

(Oh, and since it’s traditional, my current favorite ’Mech is the Kintaro KTO-18. And my favorite House is not a House; it’s the Taurian Concordat. Unless I’m allowed to choose the Tetatae.)


History of the Aurigan Reach

The Inner Sphere, circa 3025.
The Inner Sphere, circa 3025.


At the edges of the Inner Sphere lies the Periphery. The systems there were far from the protective embrace of Earth, and were thus colonized by outcasts, misfits, renegades, and those who simply valued freedom and independence more than they valued comfort and safety. As a consequence, the Periphery has always been a somewhat lawless fringe, a haven for misfits and refugees, the Wild West to the civilized Inner Sphere.

In a very real way, though, it was the marginal nature of the Periphery that directly led to the chaos of the current era; the traitor Amaris was a product of the Periphery and was radicalized by two centuries of the Inner Sphere’s iron-fisted occupation of his homeland. His resentment and hate led to civil war, the catastrophic collapse of the Terran Hegemony, and with it the fall of the Star League.

A brief timeline of the history of the Inner Sphere (2271-3025).
A brief timeline of the history of the Inner Sphere (2271-3025).


In the wake of that fall, the Succession Wars have crippled all of humanity, and the Periphery is no exception. With the chaos of constant war, economies have shrunk, non-essential projects have been curtailed, and planets that might have once been worth colonizing have been abandoned, their colonists evacuated or left to starve in isolation.

The rimward area of the Periphery (what looks like ‘south’ on a map) includes a lightly-settled region that’s known as the Aurigan Reach. While once divided between the Magistracy of Canopus, the Taurian Concordat, and the Capellan Confederation, all three withdrew from the region during the wars, preferring to hold more secure borders and less marginal systems. The distant, poorly-developed worlds of the Reach weren’t worth the danger of overextending one’s power, given the sudden brutality of the Succession Wars.

The Capellans, hard-pressed by their rivals in the Inner Sphere, were first to abandon the Aurigan Reach, and by 2798 they’d withdrawn to a new, more defensible line, from Repulse to Rollis, leaving over a dozen systems to their own devices. The Taurians, in the wake of the disastrous and humiliating Taurian-Canopian War in 2813, turned away from expansionism, and likewise abandoned their Reach holdings. The Magistracy was the last to hold on to any Reach systems, but their claim was always more of a line drawn in the sand against the Taurians than any real colonial ambition; by 2840, their military forces were withdrawn to their own borders, leaving a vast and lawless region behind.

Power cannot tolerate a vacuum, though, and many of the abandoned systems had significant populations, industry, and commerce. Four of those systems were particularly well-suited to continue on as though still part of an interstellar civilization: Coromodir, Itrom, Tyrlon and Guldra. Trade between them continued, and the network of JumpShips continued to serve them, and through them some of the nearby, more marginal systems.

Of the four, Coromodir was the wealthiest and retained the most infrastructure and technology from the Taurian colonization. Two major mercantile houses, the Arano family and the Espinosa family, dominated the remains of the Taurian-led economy, and were natural leaders for the newly independent world. In 2820, the Arano family displaced the figurehead governor the Taurians had left behind, and with the support of the Espinosa family, Wiremu Arano ascended to the governorship.

This independence and leadership was needed as the Taurians withdrew from the remainder of the Reach over the next 20 years. By the time the withdrawal was complete, the Aurigan Reach was a haven for pirates and renegades, warlords setting up their own petty kingdoms, and worse.

In 2860, the Arano and Espinosa families approached their counterparts on Itrom, Guldra and Tyrlon with a proposal: a mutual protection and trade agreement that would allow coordinated and unified responses to the plague of piracy. As the primary financier of the agreement, the Arano representative was given executive authority over the newly formed Aurigan Trade Partnership.

By 2910, there had been a half-century for the ties between the four systems to deepen into alliances. Uniting the eight most powerful noble families of the Aurigan Reach, Keona Arano formalized the Partnership into a government, with herself positioned as High Lady. The other Founding Lords and Ladies sat at her side as members of her advisory council. This new state declared itself the Aurigan Coalition.

The Aurigan Coalition and surrounding environs, circa 3025. (We anticipate this map being roughly the traversable space of the campaign.)
The Aurigan Coalition and surrounding environs, circa 3025. (We anticipate this map being roughly the traversable space of the campaign.)


Over the next fifty years, the Coalition grew and incorporated many other nearby systems, most of them former Capellan holdings. This included the industrial world of Mechdur, which was already successful and self-sufficient; when Mechdur joined, the Coalition gained access to a powerful industrial and manufacturing engine that allowed for a much higher standard of living than other systems of the Reach could sustain.

The Coalition’s inexorable growth was not simply ignored by its neighbors, though. The Taurian Concordat wasn’t threatened by a simple trade partnership, but now the Coalition was beginning to look like an expansionist state, and a possible rival. It didn’t help matters than some of the systems the Coalition was annexing were former Taurian holdings, many with industrial and technological resources left behind in the withdrawal.

By the second decade of the new millennium, tensions had risen to the point where the Taurians sent a dedicated envoy to their new neighbor state to discuss the legal status of several border worlds, most particularly Qalzi, which the Taurians insisted was still a viable colony and thus under their control. The matter was quickly tangled in treaty negotiations and diplomatic red tape, and the conflict continued to simmer right up to the present day.

The High Lord of House Karosas, one of several Founding Houses of the Aurigan Coalition, entrusts the family ’Mech to his son and heir.
The High Lord of House Karosas, one of several Founding Houses of the Aurigan Coalition, entrusts the family ’Mech to his son and heir.


Now the powerful and indomitable scion of the Arano family, High Lord Tamati Arano II, has been lost in a tragic space travel accident. His daughter and heir, Lady Kamea Arano, must prepare herself to navigate her state through the dangerous pathways of the Succession Wars. Conflict with the Taurians threatens on one border, and on the other looms the vast power of the Capellan state and its devious ruling family, House Liao; meanwhile internal dissension threatens the prosperity her family has nurtured for over two centuries.


Behind the Scenes

So! That’s the setting of our game, in a nutshell. I’m not including everything here, of course; there’s simply too much material to include in a Kickstarter update. And besides, some of what I’m not telling you is secret stuff that would spoil the game’s story!

There are a couple of things I want to share about this history and how we ended up picking this location.

Our first priority was to find a way to coexist with BattleTech lore. This is really a lot more challenging than you might think; after all, it’s just space, right? There’s always more of it. But to make this a BattleTech story, one that had the right tone and texture, we needed to be near the Inner Sphere. On the other hand, the Inner Sphere’s history is detailed across more books and supplements than we could possibly account for. We needed somewhere interesting, close but not too close, and basically empty. A blank slate where we could do whatever needed to be done to make our story work.

I kept noticing this empty spot between the Taurians and the Magistracy, a little horseshoe of unclaimed space. What was that space? What was there? I eventually found the history of the Fronc Reaches, but that was well after our game was set. When I looked at the Star League era maps, though, I saw that before the Succession Wars, the area that was blank on later maps was owned by the Taurians and the Capellans. Interesting. So it had been colonized, and then abandoned.

The problem is that no map had any details on those systems. There were some, with some really sketchy star positions, but nothing comprehensive.

So I downloaded every map I could find from Sarna, and mined our comprehensive library of BattleTech books (thanks to Jordan’s extensive collection and the digital archives kindly provided by Catalyst Game Labs) for more maps. And then I dumped them all into Photoshop, lined them up carefully, and made a master map that included every single system labeled on any map anywhere.

The first draft (if you can call it that!) of our master map.
The first draft (if you can call it that!) of our master map.

 Turns out there was a lot of stuff in that little horseshoe. Over 30 systems, in fact. The next step was to find out what we already knew about these systems. The answer, which was exactly what I was hoping for, turned out to be ‘nothing’. They were the blank slate we wanted.

It’s easy to look at the area covered by a map of the Inner Sphere and lose sight of just how massive space really is. The Periphery is 450 light years away from Terra. There are an estimated two million stars in that amount of space. The little nook we’re calling the Aurigan Reach is 120 light years across. That space contains something like ten thousand stars just in that region, and five hundred G-type (Sol-sized) stars. So this little horseshoe of space was much, much larger than we could possibly fill. Perfect.

The second draft of our master map.
The second draft of our master map.

 I already had a vague picture of what this ‘little’ nook of Periphery was all about, but it took a lot of discussions with Jordan, Mike and Randall about the political situation of the Inner Sphere in 3025, the kinds of meddling the Great Houses were likely to get up to in this abandoned corner of space, and the kinds of stories we wanted to tell there, before we really nailed down the shape of the history.

Our amazing Lead Writer, Andrew McIntosh, took the rough historical sketch and turned it into a grim tale of dynastic succession, murder, sabotage, intrigue and war -- and that’s just the backstory. We worked through the politics of the Coalition, the major personalities, the power players and their holdings, and the likely future of the region. We're not quite ready to share much of this material yet, but you can expect us to reveal concept art and character bios for some of the major players in our story later this year.

...but in lieu of story details, here’s a new piece of concept art of the Argo on approach to dock with an Invader-class JumpShip. (The main engines are burning to decelerate.)
...but in lieu of story details, here’s a new piece of concept art of the Argo on approach to dock with an Invader-class JumpShip. (The main engines are burning to decelerate.)


So what we’ve ended up with is a set of systems that appear in Star League sources but nowhere else, that have only minimal pre-existing history: a perfect canvas onto which you’ll paint your own tale of mercenaries, power struggles, upheavals and betrayals. We hope what we’ll create together will feel like a part of the BattleTech universe, like a missing puzzle piece we’ve found and placed right at the edge.


Swag Update  

This is Brian again, the guy making your Kickstarter swag, with a quick update on manufacturing and shipping for the Heraldry Set and Flight Jacket. As I mentioned in the last update, we’ll be sending out a reminder from BackerKit for you to double-check your shipping address. Those reminders will go out later this week, and will say something about a “48 hour” timer before addresses are locked down. Don’t get too excited -- we’re not shipping them 48 hours later - but we do need to export all of that data and transfer it to the warehouse’s shipping system. So please make any changes right away -- or you can always go to right now, if you’d like!


What Else is Up At Harebrained Schemes?


In case you haven't heard, the Steam Summer Sale is on! This is a great time to pick up the Complete Collection or any of the games you haven't played yet since everything is on sale - including the Deluxe versions of the games which include soundtracks and art books. 



We’re also really excited about our upcoming game, NECROPOLIS, which is releasing on July 12th. It’s a 3D, third-person action-adventure game with procedural dungeon-delving which is really different than anything else we’ve made. If that sounds interesting, you can pre-order it now and receive a digital copy of the NECROPOLIS Original Soundtrack when the game is released as a bonus!  

We’ll also be live-streaming a special Twitch event on Hyper RPG that we’re calling the Co-Op Death Jam on July 9th from 10am-10pm. We’ll have a ton of streamers teaming up to compete against each other and hourly giveaways for the folks watching at home. You may have seen the single player version of the game but this will be the first time anyone will see the co-op version. Hope you can join us then!



Signal Boost


Randall here from Catalyst Game Labs. In addition to our work with HBS, we've been busy pushing out a slew of rocksauce for BattleTech including:

The First Succession War sourcebook is a great read that looks at the first of several Inner Sphere-spanning wars that lay the foundation for the era where HBS’ BATTLETECH is placed. If you want to know the origins of the universe as a whole that plugs into the Lore above, this is a perfect book to grab.

A series of five BattleTech Faction Dice sets in conjunction with Q-workshop.Here’s Each set includes two faction icon dice, three Combat Command icon dice, and finally a mercenary command icon die most associated with that House circa 3025!


We're also excited that the release of the penultimate core rulebook for BattleTech, Campaign Operations, is just around the corner! For the first time in over a dozen years, the most sought after rules for BattleTech are finally returning to print, fully updated and ready for a new generation of play: creating and running your own force, whether from a House, a mercenary, or even the Clans! A slew of additional rules bring a legion of campaign options to your table, including solar system/colony generation, formation building and the most comprehensive version of the fan-favorite Chaos Campaign rules ever published. A rulebook for any player in any era!  Look to the Catalyst Tumblr for that announcement!

And, finally, don’t forget our Legends Tuesday, where every week we release a BattleTech Legends epub, returning the entire back catalog of BatteTech novels to your digital library.


Mike here again - I wanted to throw in a quick personal plug for a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter that really caught my eye called Transmission. One of our artists passed this along to me and I was really struck by the game’s style and storytelling ambitions. They’ve still got a ways to go so just I wanted to help get the word out - it’s the kind of game I hope to see more of in the world, and I’m a sucker for exploration and minimalist sci-fi. If that sounds interesting to you, check it out here!


Steve Hayes, GI Joker, and 167 more people like this update.


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    1. Michael S. Pendergast IV on

      I'm SUPER psyched about this game and glad I backed it, even more so now that I know it's taking place in 3025! None of that stupid clan shit! Just raw heat management and great game mechanics! CHEER!

    2. RC on

      If you get an email shipping notification for Shadowrun HK, it's actually your BATTLETECH rewards. HBS is aware the email title is incorrect. They posted about it here: and we'll likely hear from them tomorrow on Kickstarter ^_^

    3. RC on

      The latest Q&A from HBS is on youtube. It's about art in the game ^_^…

    4. Missing avatar

      Tom Brazeau

      I'm with you, Kevin! I love a game with serious depth and backstory. Really looking forward to seeing the whole tale you're putting together for us!

    5. RC on

      @Joseph One of the more official responses on the forum to a similar question:

      "If you live in the USA and will be moving in July, but will still be able to receive packages at your old address through the end of the month, I would suggest you're safest keeping your old address in BackerKit for shipping purposes. Do make sure that you have mail forwarding properly set up when the time comes to move to your new address though.

      If you really want to be safe and ensure you'll receive your package in a timely manner during the chaos of the move, you might consider sending the package to a close friend or loved one, that isn't moving in the near future, to make sure that the move doesn't result in a delay in you receiving your rewards.

      If you live outside the USA and are moving in July or early August, you should definitely consider having the package sent to a friend or loved one with a stable address as the exact timing of the shipment is much harder to pin down."

    6. Missing avatar

      Joseph on

      Quick question related to the 48-hour notice:
      I am moving cross-country in the next couple months, you say the physical rewards aren't shipping right away, but will they be shipped in a matter of weeks? Or should I be scrambling to set up someone else to receive my goods and hope they can forward it to me later?

    7. RC on

      The Update email went out to Paypal Backers. If you want to join in the discussion check out the forums here ^_^

    8. Harebrained Schemes LLC 4-time creator on

      @William Janak >>>I am just wondering how Canon will this be? <<<

      Ultimately, that's a BT fan decision - it's not our place to decide what is and isn't canon. We're doing our very best to make our game it fit into established canon.


    9. Ber on

      Very interesting update, especially the story part, sounds like you found a great spot to place the game in the BT universe!

    10. Missing avatar

      sMash on

      HEY HBS! Would anyone please pass a passionate physical high-five to Mr. McIntosh from me?
      (This is the first time I've heard that he is actually working on Battletech. I did not see any confirmation before, so I was worried. Uncomfortably worried. Now I am at peace.)

    11. William Janak on

      I am just wondering how Canon will this be? I understand that the Cat Labs is fine with everything for the computer game. But will the work you guys are doing get in to a table top source book?

      What ever the Labs wish to cook up I do like this update. I hope this game will come out before October or a good time afterwards because Civ 6 is coming in Oct. and that will devour me for some time.

    12. JusitnKase

      @Robert Graham : But who is to say that the 'Aurigan Coalition' didn't fall apart during the 4th SW? Or pre-clan invasion?

      Heck, the whole reason for MoC and TC deciding to resettle the area (and the resentment that it caused) could be because the Aurigan Coalition failed, and left a power vacuum - and they stepped in to colonize it as theirs once again. Especially with the Successor States busy with the Clans, the MoC and TC could focus on reclaiming/claiming that space.

    13. RC on

      The devs responded to some of the comments below, on the forum. Kickstarter's comment functionality really does suck. They started here:

    14. bonuswavepilot

      Feedback here is quite interesting: I'm not hardcore enough of a BattleTech fan to have much knowledge of the lore myself, but it is amazing (and impressive) to see the challenges arising from putting so much effort into keeping it consistent.

      Kudos for trying, Harebrained Schemes folks! I will be well impressed if you manage not to miss or overlook anything... Speaking of which, can one of you loremasters confirm whether the existing lore is actually consistent? If there are already contradictions in the history, that could only make things trickier...

    15. Missing avatar

      Robert Graham on

      Biggest issue is that you do know that interferes with later established cannon namedly the fact that region becomes the new colonial region for the concordant, magistry and commonwealth shortly after the clan invasion and the 1st whiting conference and leads directly into the Detroit conference.. by 3056 right? There's no mention of there being some other nation group down there in the fiction and it'd have been a rather biggen.. Would have thought Randall would have caught onto that one, given that he worked a lot on the Jihad books and they had to cover a lot of well.. undoing the work since 3025 - 3074 in that region..
      Still it is a backwater and one of the 'less' detailed areas.. (though really i think even you guys forget that there are 'autonomous' regions even inside the great houses that can easily be used and your gonna upset a lot of people who where hoping for a chance to play with the Drac's or the Lyrians etc or more than just cornor parts of the Fed Suns (not that it's the suns for much longer... given the 4th SS war is about to kick off) but nice work either way.

    16. JusitnKase

      Posted this in the main comments by accident... stupid KS.... or stupid me.

      I so so so love this map :) I seem to be in the minority, but it bothered me more that all those systems just 'vanished' from the maps, and I have been wondering about their stories for a while. I actually (pre)purchased the First SW and Second SW books in the hopes that reading through them would yield some new information about these systems.

      I think this is an elegant solution to allowing the game to make an impact on an area of space in a pretty well defined era (3025-ish) without messing up the established lore. Yes, it is a new 'entity', but who is to say it even lasted all that long afterwards, and just never received it's footnote in history until now?

      It also makes sense that the Taurian's wouldn't mind them being there too much, as it provided a buffer from MoC as well as pirates, and gave Liao another thing to worry about. Makes a lot of sense.

      Kind of hope we get another game that details the area between the Outworlds Alliance and Taurian Conordant (or Oberon Confederation)

    17. Harebrained Schemes LLC 4-time creator on

      Hey there! If you're looking for a spot for a longer conversation with *actual forum tools*, check out the conversation going on at our official site:…

    18. Bad_Syntax

      Oops, scratch those URLs, they are not valid anymore. Try for the most accurate battletech coordinate list ever created!

    19. Bad_Syntax

      Well I could have saved you a TON of time on the maps.

      I went through every single map ever published, entered in all the 3 digit illustrator coordinates, and then went through and fixed them all. I, with the help of Volt, created the most accurate set of coordinates in the game. Oh well, guess you didn't look for any help... then again, ya'll created a new entity in space that overlaps some other entities, and simply doesn't fit within canon. May as well just took a chunk of the Taurian Concordat or maybe the Chainlaine Isles or something not documented very well, at least it was canon :(

      You can find an old copy at, I'm not sure what happened to Volt's google drive he was sharing it on. I can send anybody the latest if they want it.

      Can't wait to see some gameplay footage.

    20. wayne-o-rama on

      Nice to know I'm not the only one who read every single Mass Effect codex entry! As long as you don't include a Starbrat in the campaign, I think we'll be okay

    21. Missing avatar

      Alistair Pope on

      @ Tuhalu the issue is that they appear to be important enough to bother the major periphery states and a successor sate seems like something that would have been noted I really question the need to add this when you have mass detail already and hordes of states

    22. Jan Haluza on

      Battletech Universe is full of planets, lot of them virtually blank. So it's always nice to read some description that is, how to say it, more official than what you get from somewhere on the net. I'm really looking forward to exploring this thus far mostly forgotten area...
      BTW Tetatae, huh? I wonder where Tamati Arano might've ended up... ;)

    23. Tuhalu on

      @Netzbummler Taking a look at the map shown and then looking at other maps showing the worlds of the Fronc Reaches, it is clear that they do not overlap (as was said in the update). No retconning is required. Like a bunch of other periphery realms, the Aurigan Reaches just weren't important enough to Inner Sphere politics to have been mentioned before now.

    24. Nohvarr on

      Personally, I think this backstory works well for what you all are trying to accomplish. Allowing us to have our own story in this sector of space allows us to make choices that have an impact on our game without running into the larger narrative already laid down by the games universe. Besides, I'm not here to conquer the inner sphere and restore the Star League, but this small Stellar Empire will do just nicely. No sense being greedy afterall.

    25. Missing avatar

      Corey on

      Last time I was on the Aurigan Trail I got Dysentery and died.

    26. Netzbummler on

      What Alistair and Woorloog said. Also, I'm a bit confused about the Fronc Reaches and the Aurigan Reach. Do they exist side by side, or have the Fronc Reaches been retconned? Can you guys please clear this up?

    27. Missing avatar

      Alistair Pope on

      I fear I agree with Woorloog that the rise of a random power within the periphery seems unnecessary with so many factions already there and so little used looks like a thing a developer does so he can cover things that seem out of place and say its only to this area and this system

    28. Missing avatar

      Woorloog on

      Not sure what to think of the backstory.
      I figure that BattleTech has a lot of stuff as it is, a lot of possibilities, i really don't see why a new nation (or is it would-be nation?) needed to be created for this game.
      I'm not really a fan of adding new significant things to times already covered rather well, feels retconnish in a bad way (there are good retcons too though). I mean, if something existed, why is it completely forgotten later on?
      Maybe it'll work, maybe the game will explain it away as well. Maybe. In any case, i expect i'll be way more interested in the game's gameplay than the story. (Note, i'm not a fan of the Argo either.)
      Figures backing a Kickstarter is risky...

    29. Justin Andrews on

      This backstory is very cool! :)

    30. drow on


    31. RC on

      AWESOME! ^_^

    32. Plague Beast on

      Woo hoo for everything except the cheap crap printed q workshop dice - esp as engraved dice were asked of so many times in this campaign :(


    33. Dan Spezzano on

      I seldom comment on KS updates but this one was so fantastic I wanted to throw some props to Kevin.