I might have to get back into Battletech again... kinda got out as the Word of Blake stuff was getting into swing. I guess after the awesomeness of the Clan Invasion followed up by the FedCom Civil War... A bunch of armed zealot telecom terrorist didn't seem as impressive.
Pardon my reply to a nearly year old comment, I'm about to sperg a bit.
In terms of sheer scale and human loss of life, the Jihad puts the Clan Invasion and FCCW to shame. Neither comes even close.
For an idea of how serious it was: before the Jihad supplementary books were finished, the previous Biggest Villains of the setting as it stood were the Smoke Jaguars, who had essentially exterminated a single major population center. At the time, this made them so heinous that the "terrible secret" of the MWDA-era Fidelis spec ops group was that they were descendants of survivors from that Clan.
And then the Word of Blake killed billions and billions and razed the capital worlds of every single major power and reducing the Federated Suns especially to an ineffectual wreck. They also killed off dozens of major characters all across the sphere. To top it all off, they also tricked other people (like Clan Snow Raven, who completely annihilated a planet, or the Taurian Concordat, who were overly fond of nuclear weapons) to commit planet-wiping atrocities against the Combine and FedSuns for them.
And this was just in the first year of the Jihad.
This was the first time in centuries that either the Inner Sphere or Clans had been faced with the outbreak of actual, cataclysmic Total War.
So the Fidelis got retconned into being descendants of Wobbies or Blakist survivors and the previous fluff was explained as being a cover story.
The only thing that exceeded the Jihad in brutality were the partly-concurrent Clan Wars of Reaving, which was essentially the Homeworld Clan civil war. The vast majority of the planets in the Kerensky Cluster were rendered uninhabitable thanks to nuclear fire, biochemical weapons, and simple eradication of any and all infrastructure capable of supporting human life on harsh worlds.
Also they killed off like all but four or so of the Homeworld Clans, which means keeping track of who's who is easier now.
Anyway, I was disappointed by the Clan Invasion which ended in, essentially, a fiat by exploiting Clan culture as well as the FedCom Civil War, which was the extension of the terrible Steiner-Davion family soap opera. The Jihad and Reaving era's flawed, too, but makes up for it with copious amounts of awesome, a truly despicable set of villains that you can sink your teeth into, and the introduction of some of the best-looking stuff in the history of the game line.
Lore wise wasn't as impressive. It seemed to me the WoB were out to kick the puppy, so to speak, as hard and as often as possible.
I liked the Clan Invasion because it was the return of what many saw as fabled Star League "saviors" only to realize they were pissed off and were wielding a crazy advanced beating stick. Hundreds of years of warfare was put aside to hold the line against this new threat, an alliance held together by more deceit and lies than honesty. Yet it somehow succeeded and bought the Inner Sphere time. And even though the Clans were defeated it gave the impression it only delayed the next Clan war.
The FedCom Civil war was all of those lies finally being brought to light and all involved had to face the consequences of such. It tore apart what had been the biggest alliance that had lasted since the last Succession War. Chaos spread through out the Inner Sphere and often the two opposing armies on a planet had been apart of the same garrison just a few years before.
Then came the Jihad. It just didn't have the same buildup. One could argue that's the horror of it all that nobody saw it coming but it would have been nice to have suddenly seen the signs after the fact but it seemed that after around a decade of interconnected plots and warfare it was suddenly decided to suddenly jump onto the "crazy zealots out to kill everyone" that was circulating around then in many franchises.
Yeah, the buildup to the Jihad was pretty weak and there's a lot of evidence that it was originally supposed to play out differently (WoB vs. Clans), but then WizKids came out with MWDA and derailed things pretty fast so everything else is damage control.
I didn't have a horse in the FCCW race since I wasn't really very interested in either the Lyrans or FedSuns and trying to read Stackpole dialogue, even as a youngster, proved incredibly difficult. That and I mentioned it sort of felt like a family soap opera with the added crinkle of the Lyrans turned into Space Nazis pretty much to let the Davion side play hero. So while it was the culmination of decades of plot, the plot itself didn't really catch my attention. I understand quite a few people were, so to each their own I suppose.
While the WoB were an admittedly more arbitrary villain, the interesting things about the Jihad era was how people dealt with it (and, in many cases, took advantage of it). Family dramas were mostly set aside in favor of international crisis control and resistance movements, with a false savior in Devlin Stone emerging to give the people of the Inner Sphere a heroic narrative they wanted while at the same time dropping hint after hint that the father of the Republic was more sinister than he appeared. And the FWL actually got to do SOMETHING. You really have no idea how much this alone redeems the Jihad era in my eyes. For decades they were largely ignored in the greater metaplot and for once they had a moment in the sun. Then they collapsed, but hey, at least someone noticed that for a time, they existed as something other than filler on a political map. Also the Black Thorns were implied to have gotten killed off on Galedon, which is another big plus. Thomas Hogarth getting the opportunity to commit war crimes on Terra is also fun times--you know you're bad when the Word of Blake is actually trying to save people from you!
Oh, the FWL eventually reforms, but that was a narrative thread written into the Dark Ages line and recently made official. (There's a lot of little MWDA stuff that was quietly retconned by CGL, and more power to them. For one, the idea that the entire Inner Sphere was demilitarized between the end of the Jihad and the HPG collapse was quietly mocked as propaganda and wishful thinking on the Republic's part.) Ah, but I'm rambling again.
I have to reemphasize that I do feel the Wars of Reaving in the Clan Homeworlds also more than makes up for any shortcomings the Jihad might have. The sourcebook itself starts out dry but quickly shows the bloody consequences of what happens when Clan society--a house of cards barely held together in spite of being dominated extremely aggressive, glory-hungry, hypocritical, and politically slimy supersoldiers--finally collapses in on itself.
Believe it or not, it's a good time to get back into BT. The game's undergoing a bit of a resurgence and I'm proud to be here for it.
Hmmm... I think my copy of the rules is still current (try getting a W40k fan to say that and you might get punched in the groin) and I've certainly grown outta my Lyran phase (MORE ATLASES) so I might take a look. Problem is finding someone to play with again. Most of my friends are either slack jawed Philistines or live hundreds of miles away.
Also I just realized: THAT'S A PROTOMECH!? What happened to the worst parts of power armor and mech combined into a obese retard!?
Yeah, the Society protos make the rest of the Clan midgetmechs look like chumps. And we've got FD to thank for that!
Shame about the lack of local players on your end, it's not quite the same if you have to resort to Megamek to play online. The rules generally ought to be the same, though the Total Warfare rulebook compiles a bunch of the older sourcebooks into a single "Tournament Legal" reference, which should be equivalent to Level 2 tech in older books. Tactical Operations has the rest, and maybe some new stuff.
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