With the coming of the Succession Wars, much of the Periphery stability broke down under the pressure of rival warring factions, both internal and external. From 2800 to 3000, hundreds of nation-states rose and fell in the Periphery, only to be replaced by still other powers, many no larger than a single world or continent. Although a rare few have managed to win a measure of comfort and security, their populations remain mostly down- trodden wretches scrabbling for mere existence.
[Editor's Note: For your convenience, below is a list of the independent planets and nations:]
Lying between the Marian Hegemony and the Free Worlds League, Astrokaszy is a planet with a distinctly Arabic ambiance. Inhabited by bands of roving hunters and slavers, it is divided into a number of local "Caliphates" under the control of local suzerains. The largest of these is the Caliphate of Omar Shervanis, a fifth-generation descendant of the mercenary leader who settled Astrokaszy in 2892 after breaking a contract with his Free Worlds League employers.
Caliph Shervanis has a well-deserved reputation for avarice and sadism, and his favorite pastime is seizing the dominions of neighboring Pashas. Captives taken in battle by the Caliphate's nomadic hordes are typically slain in a variety of ritualistic blood-lettings, which are staged as gala spectacles for the amusement of Shervanis's subjects. Shervanis maintains power through his possession of the planet's only BattleMechs, two aging Clints and a Warhammer, which are the remains of his grandfather's mercenary force.
For all his ruthlessness, Shervanis is a crafty statesman. Since murdering his father in 2992, the Caliph has encouraged visits from the occasional off-world trader and has permitted the establishment of a ComStar facility within his domains. Shervanis has been angling for increased ties with the Free Worlds League, with an eye toward trading a wealth of precious stones and spices for additional BattleMechs and trained MechWarriors, which would permit further aggressive expansion against his neighbors. Not surprisingly, many of Shervanis's rivals have also decided to open trade with the Inner Sphere to secure a similar arrangement. ComStar has attempted to reintegrate the inhabitants into the interstellar community by introducing non-military technologies and reeducation programs. To date, these efforts have met with only marginal success, as the various Pashas and desert sheiks of Astrokaszy continue to vie for dominance.
Barony of Strang
Located outside of the Lyran Commonwealth, the Barony of Strang (sometimes referred to as the Barony of Lost Hope) is a small planet ruled by the self-proclaimed Baron Otto Von Strang. The Baron is a descendant of Colonel Gunthar Strang, commander of the 18th Amaris Chasseurs, one of the last 'Mech forces that General Aleksandr Kerensky defeated in the Civil War. The current Baron Von Strang dreams of gathering enough MechWarriors to launch a Holy War of Redemption to reclaim the lost Rim Worlds Republic planets once ruled by the Amarises. While few seriously believe him capable of carrying out such a threat (most consider him a glorified crackpot), his family fortune, augmented by local diamond mines, is sufficient to lure the occasional MechWarrior into his service. Von Strang heartily despises anything pertaining to the old Star League government, and he extends this prejudice to all things originating from the Inner Sphere. Any material (or persons) arriving on his holdfast from the Inner Sphere is subject to immediate seizure and imprisonment.
Von Strang has turned his planet into a gigantic fortified camp to repel the "inevitable" invasion from the Inner Sphere. That is also how he justifies keeping the planet's civilians in a feudal bond to local Wardens, providing labor and related services for sustenance. In recent years, Von Strang's forces, estimated at over a full battalion of BattleMechs with two DropShips and a JumpShip, have begun raiding Lyran Commonwealth outposts along the border. Though the Lyrans have ignored the attacks to date, at some point, they may decide to confront Von Strang head to head.
An oddity even among the strange worlds of the Periphery, Elysian Fields is a private hold of the Inheritor philosophic movement. The Elysian worlds (Elissa, Mangringaine, and Nyserta) are temperate planets maintained in their pristine wilderness state. The people support themselves mainly as hunters and gatherers. Forswearing any military presence on their worlds, the Inheritors have entered into an agreement with the Oberon Confederation whereby Hendrik III guarantees to protect these planets in exchange for emergency repair and shore-leave rights for Oberon ships and personnel. As the Elysian worlds have no commercial or geological value, few see any need to violate their sanctity. In the last several years, however, Nyserta has hosted a number of clandestine meetings between representatives of Hendrik Grimm and various Inner Sphere governments. Recently, the Inheritors have established a small colony in the neighboring star system of Porthos, though that world has not yet come under the protection of Hendrik III.
Situated along the border of the Outworlds Alliance near the Fiefdom of Randis, Novo Franklin is an agricultural world where feudal warlords exploit their family serfs. There are no less than 55 separate kingdoms, principalities, baronies, fiefdoms, and domains, each held together by a system of social rights and obligations (almost all of which are imposed on the peasant). Lords and ladies of the territories are given to ritualistic combats (BattleMech jousts are a common entertainment for the masses) and bashing in the heads of their subjects and sometimes each other to enforce family interests. As such, the planet is continually at war; only the occasional desperate peasant revolt interrupts the border wars between warlords. Social and scientific progress are all but absent. The majority of the planet's population of 100,000 persons remain illiterate and poor. Best estimates suggest a full battalion of various BattleMechs on the planet, but these are dispersed among dozens of political states over half the northern continent. It is unlikely that any state could muster more than two lances.
Founded in the late 2600s, Herotitus has the dubious distinction of being the center of the New Hedon movement, one of several Periphery philosophical sects that have sprung up in the last 50 years. Located between the Magistracy of Canopus and the Taurian Concordat, Herotitus is one of the few worlds in the Periphery that does not support a standing military. Instead, the inhabitants of Herotitus, the New Hedons, support a simple philosophy of "eat, drink, and be merry and let some other fool die fighting." In the decades since its founding, the entire planet has been given over to here-and-now enjoyment of earthly pleasures. Though not as elaborate as the Canopian Magistracy worlds in their prime, Herotitus is an oasis of sensual pleasures, which are supported by heavy trade tariffs and duties. Though occupied more than once in its history, Herotitus has remained untouched by the ravages of time and Inner Sphere conflicts. Meanwhile, the popular adage is still true: "On Herotitus, anything goes, and usually does."
The Illyrian Palatinate is a collection of four worlds lying between the Circinus Federation and the Lothian League. Ruled by an oligarchy of rich trading families, the Palatinate survives through modest trade with the Free Worlds League, primarily in iron ore and processed steel. The Scandinavian descendants of the original 24th-century colonists maintain a precarious hold on their star systems against continued depredations by the Circinus Federation. At present, their military consists of a minuscule trading fleet and several companies of BattleMechs, mostly mercenaries and officers who have fled the Inner Sphere for one reason or another. Supplementing the Palatinate's revenues are large sums of cash earned from staging annual MechWarrior games, in which contestants battle to the death for salvaged BattleMechs and spare parts.
The Lothian League:
The Lothian League is a collection of seven ice-and-snow planets located beyond the outer reaches of the Lyran Commonwealth. The League ruler is Dame Lorelei Logan, "the Ice Maiden" and the direct descendant of Angelina Logan (leader of a group of patriots from the Taurian Concordat who fled into deep space to avoid capture by the Star League). Settled in 2691, Lothario, the capital of the Lothian League, was discovered to be rich in metals. In the last century, these have been used to foster expansion deeper into the Periphery to form a confederation, with the Logan family at its head.
The only serious threat to the League's existence came in 2933, when renegade mercenaries from units shattered in the latest round of Succession War fighting stumbled upon the League quite by accident. For four years, both sides conducted a series of raids and counter-raids until, at long last, the mercenaries left to seek easier prey elsewhere. These actions cost the League its few JumpShips and damaged what little industry on Lothario had managed to emerge over the last three centuries. This destruction forced the ruling Logan family to renew trade ties with other planets of the Periphery in a desperate effort to avoid economic ruin. In the last century, the League has become a principal supplier of copper and iron ores to the Magistracy and the Taurian Concordat, receiving in turn agricultural and mining equipment to sustain its fragile existence.
Though on good terms with her Illyrian and Circinian counterparts, the Ice Maiden wants little to do with the Houses of the Inner Sphere. She has limited contact with the Inner Sphere to contract with small mercenary bands to defend League worlds against raids from the Marion Hegemony. At present, the Lothian League has two mercenary battalions within its territories, though the identity and quality of these units are unknown.
The typical Lothian citizen is a rugged individualist who wants little to do with the universe at large. As long as he and his family can eke out a marginal living, he is content to let the rest of the universe pound itself to dust. Literacy and technology levels are low, but the average standard of living is surprisingly adequate. The Lothian League remains an archetypical example of the old adage: let sleeping dogs lie.
The Mica Majority:
The Mica Majority consists of three mineral-rich worlds located near the Delos IV star system between the Federated Suns and the Outworlds Alliance. Known for their extensive deposits of gold, uranium, and other precious minerals, Mica ll, V, and Vll each have a harsh arctic climate that makes mining operations costly. With only the thinnest of atmospheres, the Micanites must live in pressurized dome-towns, similar to the raucous Yukon-Klondike towns of Terran North America. Miners, drifters, bartenders, and assorted ne'er-do-wells vie with one another to cash in on newfound wealth (or at least live long enough to spend some of it).
Ore from the mining fields is collected at central distribution points and shipped out to the system's Jump Point every summer when scores of merchants from the Federated Suns and the Outworlds Alliance arrive to trade with the Micanites. For several weeks and even months, thousands of miners compete against, barter with, steal from, drink with, lie to, wench with, gamble with, win from, and lose to merchants and other miners aboard the Micanite Space Center (built in the waning days of the Star League). Thus do the neighboring systems of the Federated Suns and the Outworlds Alliance gain badly needed resources at one tenth the price asked by Inner Sphere mining concerns. For their part, the miners receive machinery and modern conveniences, clothing and chemicals, brandies and brides, all of which they need to continue their precarious existence. Given time, a more stabilized form of economic exchange may develop. For the time being, however, both sides are satisfied with the present arrangement.
New St. Andrews:
A world of highland clans and Gaelic traditions, New St. Andrews hosts the remnants of the old Stewart Confederacy, which was conquered by the Free Worlds League. After fleeing the wrath of the Captain-General, the refugees were admitted into the Rim Worlds Republic. After fleeing the onslaught of General Kerensky's forces during the Amaris crisis, the survivors of the Brannigan, MacGregor, Sterling, and Stewart families withdrew to this remote world lying near the Circinus Federation. There, they licked their wounds and increased their numbers while the rest of the galaxy forgot that they had ever existed. In the years since New St. Andrews has been settled, the inhabitants have populated more than half the planet. Today, more than 120,000 people maintain an agrarian economy based on sheep-raising and horse-breeding.
Increased population pressures, political differences, and a scarcity of natural resources have combined to split the band of settlers. In the last century, there have been a series of limited but destructive border wars among the rival clans. With little technology to support them and only rare visits from wayward merchants to remind them of worlds beyond, the highlanders of New St. Andrews may one day descend into barbarity. If substantial contacts with these hearty mountaineers can be reestablished, however, the clans may develop a viable culture capable of adding social stability to the region.
The Niops Association consists of three worlds Iying between the Circinus Federation and the Marian Hegemony. In mid-2700, Star League scientific research teams settled these planets to observe stellar evolution, but they became cut off from the Inner Sphere at the start of the Civil War. Contact was later renewed when refugees from the Capellan Confederation arrived at the close of the First Succession War. The tales of mass destruction and loss of life convinced the locals that they would be better off forgotten by the galaxy. While the scientific community on the planet continued their elaborate research, the Capellan newcomers were gradually absorbed into the social order as skilled laborers and agricultural specialists.
As the descendants of the science teams became increasingly influential over the semi-skilled laborers and farm hands, a scientific technocracy developed in the Niops planets. Gradually, the majority of the planets' populace bartered away their freedoms in exchange for guarantees of economic survival and education for their children. This last element became a powerful weapon, as the ruling elite saw education as a way to keep the masses in check.
With Star League technology at their disposal, the technocrats have developed a "Master Purpose" that has grown to semi-religious proportions. Maintaining a cold-blooded aristocracy, the privileged elite are loyal only to themselves and their own petty desires.
Once a prosperous trade world located between the Outworlds Alliance and the Draconis Combine, Antallos has been sacked repeatedly during the Succession Wars for its depots of Star League technologies. The inhabitants of the planet have reverted to semi-barbarism, with Nomadic and Asian tribes holding sway on the planet's surface. Among these, the rulers of Port Krin, the planet's largest trading center, have imposed a social structure based on male domination and the widespread use of slaves.
Though much of the planet has been looted, there still exist largely unexplored pockets where Star League technology may still exist. Because roving bands of bandits control these areas, attempts to verify the existence of such technologies remain unsuccessful.
In recent months, the ruler of Port Krin, Controller Aden Vorax, has been negotiating with Draconis Combine officials for the acquisition of several large BattleMechs in exchange for the right to excavate possible sites of Star League depots. If such an arrangement develops, Port Krin could become the dominant political state on the planet, and the Combine could gain immeasurable scientific advantages.
[Prepared by Major C.G. Toho, Periphery expert for Wolfnet, Military Intelligence Division. Seventh Kommando]
Except for a modest military buildup in response to increased pirate activity, Periphery independents have changed little in the past 20 years.
This data file was originally obtained from the BattleTech 3056 MUSE. It was originally converted to HTML by Michael J. Flynn of The Company Store and Team SPAM! who believe "Information is in the noise!"