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 "bargained well and done" is spoken by both
members of the bid.
Blooding is another name for the Trial of
Position that determines if a warrior cadet will qualify as a Clan
warrior. The candidate must first demonstrate physical prowess in personal
combat by defeating at least one of three successive opponents. If he
defeats two, or all three, he is immediately ranked as an officer in his
Clan. If he fails to defeat any of his opponents, he is relegated to a lower
caste. If the candidate is successful in the Trial, a complex ceremony takes
place. He or she must be ritually defended by several Clan warriors when
challenged by other representatives of the Clan, or else face those
representatives in mortal combat.
Bloodname refers to the surname of each of the 800 warriors who stood with
Nicholas Kerensky during the Exodus Civil War . These 800 are the foundation
of the Clans' elaborate breeding program. The right to use one of these
surnames has been the ambition of every Clan warrior since the system was
established. Only 25 warriors, which corresponds to 25 Bloodrights,
are allowed to use any one surname at one time. When one of the 25
Bloodnamed warriors dies, a Trial 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 Council or are eligible to
become a Khan or ilKhan. Most BloodNames have gradually become confined to
one or two warrior classes, but certain prestigious names, such as Kerensky,
have shown their genetic value by producing excellent warriors in all three
classes (MechWarrior, Fighter Pilot, and Elemental).
BloodNames are determined matrilineal, 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.
A specific Bloodname lineage is called a Bloodright.
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 may be related only through their original ancestor. As with
BloodNames, certain Bloodrights are considered more prestigious than others,
depending largely on the Bloodrights history.
Clans can keep prisoners taken during combat. These are called Bondsman, and
are considered members of the laborer caste unless and
until the capturing Clan releases them or promotes them back to warrior
status. A bondsman is held by honor, not by shackles. Custom dictates that
even Bloodnamed warriors captured in combat be held for a time as a
bondsman. All bondsman wear a woven bracelet called a Bondcord. The base
color of the bondcord indicates to which Clan the individual is now bound,
and the striping indicates which unit captured him.
Clan society is rigidly divided into five caste: Warrior, Scientist,
Merchant, Technician and Laborer. Each caste has many subcastes, which are
based on specialties within a professional field. The Warrior Caste is based
on a systematic eugenics program that uses the genes of prestigious
successful current and past warriors to produce new members of the caste
(See Sibko). These products of genetic engineering are
known as Trueborns. Other castes maintain a quality gene pool by strategic
marriages within each caste.
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.
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
The minimum force necessary to win any Trial for which there has been
bidding. Bidders who can push their opponents into making a bid below the
cutdown are considered clever. Commanders who win with a force smaller than
the cutdown are greatly honored.
A fighting unit that disgraces itself is known as a Dezgra unit. The name
also refers to the ritual whereby that unit is marked and punished. Any unit
that refuses orders, panics in the face of the enemy, or takes dishonorable
action is disgraced.
Each Clan elects two leaders, or Khans. One serves as the Clan's senior
military commander and bureaucratic administrator. The second Khan's
position is less well-defined. He or she is called the saKhan, and is
second-in-command, carrying out duties assigned by the senior Khan. In times
of great internal or external threat, or when a coordinated effort is
required of all Clans, an ilKhan is chosen from among the Khans of all the
Clans to serve as the supreme ruler of the Clans.
A Kurultai is a Clan war council. A Grand Kurultai is a war council of all
Khans of the Clans. Only the ilKhan can convene a Grand Kurultai at any time
or place. A normal Grand Council, on the other hand, may only be convened by
petition of three or more Clans, and must be held in the Hall of Khans on
The Loremaster is the keeper of Clan laws and history. The position is
honorable and politically powerful. The Loremaster plays a key role in
inquiries and trials, where he is often assigned the role of Advocate or
The Oathmaster is the honor guard for any official Clan ceremony. The
position is similar to that of an Inner Sphere sergeant-at-arms, but 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 desires the honor), and is one of the few positions not
decided by combat.
This Clan expression is placed at the end of rhetorical questions. If an
affirmative answer is expected, quiaff is used. If the answer is expected to
be negative, quineg is used. The response customary if positive is aff, and
negative is neg.
Clan custom dictates that a warrior who has been successful at his Trial of Bloodright may be rewarded with a
gift by the Clan. Depending upon the warrior's success during the Trial, the
ransom might range from the right to choose what type of weapon he will use
as a warrior to the right to command a special unit.
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 the sides
of OmniMechs, fighters, and even battle armor.
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.
This word is the ritual response voiced in unison by those witnessing solemn
Clan ceremonies, rituals, and other important gatherings. No one is sure of
the origin or exact meaning of the word, but it is uttered only with the
greatest reverence and awe.
A sibko consists of a group of children produced from the same male and
female geneparents in the warrior caste eugenics program. The members of the
sibko are raised together, then begin to undergo constant testing. As
various members of the sibko fail at each test, they are transferred to the
lower castes. A sibko consists of approximately 20
members, but usually only four or five remain at the time of the final test
to become warriors, the Trial of Position. These tests and other adversities
may bind the surviving "sibkin" together.
Solahma is the Clan designation for a unit made up of warriors who have
continued to live and fight past what their society considers a warrior's
prime. These units seek assignment to suicidal and otherwise doomed missions
in order to win the opportunity to die an honorable death in battle. Most of
these units, however, draw only garrison assignments.
The surkai is the Rite 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 Clan 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
The Rede of Forgiveness, or surkairede is the honor-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.
A Trial of Abjuration is a trial by combat between Clans, in which the
losing Clan's BloodNames are stricken from the rolls as if those BloodNames
had never existed. Clans only engage in this trial when another Clan has
committed an error so grievous that the stain on that Clan's honor cannot be
The rarest of the Clan trials is the Trial of Annihilation. Only the Grand
Council can invoke this trial, which results in a form of controlled
genocide. The genetic material of the losing warriors is removed from the
gene pool, and the lower castes of that Clan are often sterilized. On a less
drastic scale, this trial may also be declared against warriors, Stars,
Clusters, and so on.
A series of one-on-one, single elimination contests determines who wins the
right to use a Bloodname. Each current Bloodnamed
warrior in that Bloodname's House nominates one candidate. The head of the
House nominates additional candidates to fill thirty-one slots. The
thirty-second slot is fought for by those who were not nominated in a Grand
Melee. The nature of the combat is determined by "coining". Each
combatant places his personal medallion, a dogids, into the "Well of
Decision". An Oathmaster or Loremaster releases the coins simultaneously, so that
only chance determines which coin falls first to the bottom of the well. The
warrior whose coin lands on top chooses the manner of combat ('Mech versus
'Mech, bare-handed, 'Mech versus Elemental, and so forth). The other warrior
chooses the venue of the contest. Though these Bloodname duels need not be
to the death, the fierce combat and the intensity of the combatants often
leave the losing candidate mortally wounded or dead.
Also called an "Honor Duel", this form of combat is used to settle
disputes between two warriors. A "Circle of Equals", consisting of
a ring of warriors or BattleMechs, defines the boundaries of the combat. The
two warriors involved determine through bidding how the battle will be
fought. The first warrior to leave or be knocked from the circle is declared
the loser, and the disagreement is forgotten. This can be an on-the-spot
resolution, or may have to be arranged through the Clan Council or Grand
The Trial of Position determines whether a candidate will qualify as a
warrior in the Clans. To qualify, he must defeat at least one of three
successive opponents. If he defeats two, or all three, he is immediately
ranked as an officer in his Clan. If he fails to defeat any of his
opponents, he is reassigned to a lower caste.
This trial resolves conflicts in which two or more Clans claim the right to
the same thing, be it territory, a warrior's genes, or even supremacy in a
difference of opinion. This trial uses formal challenge of the attacker and
the response of defending forces, and favors those commanders from the
attacking Clan skillful enough to bid minimal forces.
The Clan councils and the Grand Council vote on issues and laws that affect
the community. Unlike Inner Sphere legislation, any decision can be
challenged and reversed by a Trial of Refusal. This trial allows the losing
side to demand the issue to be settled by combat.
The forces used in the Trial of Refusal are determined on a pro-rated basis.
The faction rejecting the decision declares what forces they will use. The
side defending the decision (the attacker) can field a force equal to the
ratio of winning to losing votes. For example, if the contested vote carried
by a three-to-one margin, the attacking forces can field a force three times
the size of the force challenging the decision. Bidding usually results in a
smaller attacking force, however.
This is the Clan word describing the body of rules used to regulate and
ritualize duels. Zellbrigen means that combatants engage in one-on-one
duels, even if both sides have many warriors. Those not immediately
challenged are honor-bound to stay out of the battle until an opponent is
free (meaning he has defeated his enemy). To attack an enemy already engaged
with an opponent is a major breach of Clan code, usually resulting in at
least loss of rank.