The Inner Sphere
The Inner Sphere is the territory located roughly within 600 light-years of Terra and claimed by the Successor States of the fallen Star League. These polities form a flattened sphere approximately centred on neutral Terra and divided between the five major powers of known space.
These states each consider themselves to be the natural heir to the grace and power of the Star League. These states are, arranged roughly clockwise, the Lyran Commonwealth, the Draconis Combine, the Federated Suns, the Capellan Confederation and the Free Worlds League. At the centre of the Inner Sphere is Terra, under the control of the mercantile-religious organisation known as ComStar.
Around the edges of the Sphere lies the territory known as the Periphery, inhabited by various independent worlds and minor powers.
Each of the Successor States is huge, either in distances spanned, the number of star systems controlled or, in the case of the Federated Suns, both. For ease of reference, each one of the States breaks their territory down into different sub-regions, though each State has its own method of determining how this is accomplished.
The States are as follows:
The Lyran Commonwealth
Founded in 2341 as an alliance between three mercantile states, the Lyran Commonwealth extends some 400 light-years anti-spinwards and corewards from Terra. Originally a much smaller nation, the Commonwealth benefited from the collapse of the Rim Worlds Republic during the fall of the Star League and absorbed much of its former territory.
As of 3025, the Lyran Commonwealth contains over 300 settled systems, with its capital located on Tharkad. The Commonwealth is ruled by House Steiner, whose current leader is Archon Katrina Steiner.
Reflecting its origins, the Lyran Commonwealth is noted for its mercantile and corporate power, with some of the Inner Sphere’s richest corporations located within the Commonwealth’s borders. The Commonwealth is the richest-per-head nation in the Inner Sphere and fields some of its best equipment, with a high preponderance of rare Assault BattleMechs and variants in the armed forces. The nation’s political power is concentrated in the hands of its nobility, to the point where officers in the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces (LCAF) often buy their ranks with little or no formal training in the military academies, resulting in the phenomenon known as “social generals.” This has left the LCAF in a precarious situation where many of the individual units, soldiers and MechWarriors are of a high standard, with top-of-the-line equipment, but they are often led by inexperienced officers with little or no front-line combat experience. Still, with 75 BattleMech regiments mobilised at any time, the Commonwealth is the third-most-militarily powerful nation in the Inner Sphere. The Lyran Intelligence Corps (LIC) is also a formidable intelligence organisation.
The Commonwealth has a fractious relationship with the Free Worlds League to the galactic south, and worlds exchange hands between the two sides along the border on a somewhat regular basis. However, the relationship with the Draconis Combine to the galactic east is considerably more dubious, with real hatred and dislike on both sides of the border. Many of the best LCAF units and their most experienced officers are located along the Combine border.
For the past three years, the Lyran Commonwealth has enjoyed an unprecedented alliance with the Federated Suns. The two empires, located on opposite sides of Terra and expanding in different directions, have no major border disputes and their philosophical and political goals are compatible. In particular, the overwhelming strength of the alliance has discouraged the Draconis Combine, sandwiched between the two powers, from making war on either. The Federated Suns have offered military advice and equipment to the LCAF in an attempt to bring it up to their spec, though some in the military and nobility resent the intrusion of new ideas.
The Lyran Commonwealth is divided between three bodies, each subdivided into smaller provinces.
- The Protectorate of Donegal: the largest of the three founding states of the Commonwealth, the Protectorate contains the overwhelming bulk of the Commonwealth’s worlds and industrial strength. Long without a significant military challenge, the Protectorate is considered safe but also soft. The Protectorate is divided into four subdivisions: Coventry Province, Alarion Province, Bolan Province and the District of Donegal, each ruled from the world of the same name. Tharkad, the Commonwealth’s overall capital, is located in the District of Donegal.
- The Federation of Skye: a frontier region, heavily militarised, located on the borders of the Draconis Combine, Terra and the Free Worlds League. The Federation is divided into the states of Virginia Shire (ruled from Alexandria), Rahneshire (ruled from Rahne) and the Isle of Skye (ruled from Skye). The Federation has some independent tendencies and its military forces tend to hold the rest of the Federation in some disregard.
- The Tamar Pact: also a frontier region, charged with defending a long border with the Draconis Combine to the galactic east. The Pact is divided into two subregions, Trellshire (ruled from Trell) and the Tamar Domains, ruled from Tamar itself.
The Draconis Combine
The Draconis Combine was founded in 2319, growing out of the former Alliance of Galedon formed between Galedon V and New Samarkand. The Combine controls a vast swathe of space extending some 400 light-years spinward from Terra and 400 light-years corewards. The Combine controls over 350 settled planets.
The Combine is ruled by House Kurita from the planet Luthien. Its current ruler is Coordinator Takashi Kurita. The Combine is something of an imperial power, believing that it is destined to resurrect the Star League and rule over humanity as its destiny. The Combine’s army, the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery (DCMS), is superbly trained, with the military rigidly trained in the concepts of honour and sacrifice. Combine units are noted for their greater tendency to fight to the death rather than surrender, though the extent of their fanaticism is often exaggerated by their enemies. The DCMS is regarded as a formidable war machine, but a somewhat inflexible one, often unwilling to embrace new ideas or doctrines. It is also not the best-equipped armed force, often over-relying on Heavy ‘Mechs and lighter classes due to a shortage of Assaults. However, this often makes Draconian MechWarriors formidable in battle, having to make up for in skill what they lack in equipment. With 80 MechWarrior regiments mobilised, the Combine has the second-largest military in the Inner Sphere.
The Combine’s intelligence branches, the Internal Security Force (ISF) and Order of the Five Pillars (O5P) are considered extremely effective. Despite the names, the ISF actually undertakes the bulk of external operations against enemy powers and the Order maintains internal security (the “internal” theatre of the ISF is actually the entirety of the Inner Sphere, as the Combine considers itself the heir to the Star League).
The Combine is based upon the Five Pillars: the Pillar of Gold (the government), the Pillar of Steel (the military), the Pillar of Teak (the people and culture), the Pillar of Ivory (philosophy and religion) and the Pillar of Jade (the economy). All five pillars have to work in harmony to ensure the survival and growth of the Combine.
The Combine has relatively few friends, though it does enjoy cordial relations with the Free Worlds League, from which it is separated by a large span of space, and the Capellan Commonwealth, with which it shares some common goals, principally the elimination of the Federated Suns. The Combine holds the Lyran Commonwealth in contempt, despite its large military, but it both hates and respects the Federated Suns, with which it shares the longest and most contentious border in the entire Inner Sphere.
The recent advent of an alliance between the Lyran Commonwealth and the Federated Suns has put the Draconis Combine on the back foot. The Combine is sandwiched between the two powers and in the advent of both attacking simultaneously, the Combine would be hard-pressed to hold them back. To defend against this, the Combine has entered into a strategic alliance with House Marik of the Free Worlds League and House Liao of the Capellan Commonwealth, although this alliance is generally considered to be less stable than the Lyran-Federated axis.
The Draconis Combine is divided into five military districts, each of which is further subdivided into prefectures.
- The Pesht Military District is ruled over from the planet Pesht, and contains the Kagoshima, Albiero, Bjarred, Qandahar and Ningxia prefectures, each ruled from the world of the same name. Luthien, the overall Combine capital world, is located in Kagoshima Prefecture.
- The Rasalhague Military District is located along the galactic northern border with the Lyran Commonwealth, opposite the Tamar Pact. The rebellious district is ruled over from Rasalhague and contains the Kirchbach, Radstadt, Trondheim, Thessalonika and Rubigan prefectures, each ruled over from the world of the same name bar Thessalonika, which is ruled from Alshain.
- The Dieron Military District is located along the border with the Federated Suns and Terra. Heavily-fortified, it is ruled from Dieron and contains the Vega, Kessel, Algedi, Al Na’ir and Ashio prefectures, each ruled from the world of the same name.
- The Benjamin Military District borders the Federated Suns. It is ruled from the planet Benjamin and consist of the Buckminster, Kajikazawa, Xinyang, Proserpina and Iruzun prefectures, each ruled from the world of the same name.
- The Galedon Military District extends along most of the border with the Federated Suns, along with the Outworlds Alliance, and is also heavily guarded. It is ruled from Galedon V and consists of the Oshika, New Samarkand, Tabayama, Kaznejov and Matsuida prefectures, each ruled from the nation of the same name.
The Federated Suns
The Federated Suns – often called “The Federation” by its citizens – was founded in 2317 and is the largest, richest, most populous and most powerful of the Successor States. The Federation extends 400 light-years rimwards from Terra and over 600 light-years spinwards. It controls over 500 settled planets, representing the greatest concentration of humanity in known space.
The Federation is ruled by House Davion from the planet New Avalon. Its current ruler is First Prince Hanse Davion, widely known as “The Fox” for his cunning political stratagems and wily military prowess. Despite being an effective monarchy, the Federation prides itself on being the greatest bastion of personal freedom, liberty and democracy in the Inner Sphere. It often holds itself as being the moral conscience and defender of freedom in known space, an idea the other powers are sceptical of (to say the least), and quick to accuse the Federation of hypocrisy when it acts in the interest of realpolitik rather than its idealism.
The Armed Forces of the Federated Suns (AFFS) is regarded as the finest military in the Inner Sphere, with a strong balance between the fanaticism and emphasis on individual glory provided by the Draconis Combine and the reliance on superior equipment of the Lyran Commonwealth. The AFFS is a highly professional force with a superb military academy system, designed to find and promote the best military minds in the Federation. With more than 110 BattleMech regiments mobilised, the AFFS is the largest military force in the Inner Sphere, though it also has vastly more territory and worlds to defend than any other power. The Ministry of Information, Intelligence and Operations (MIIO) and Department of Military Intelligence (DMI) are among the best intelligence services in the Inner Sphere, operating agents in backwaters in the Periphery and deep-cover operatives in the very centres of power in the other empires, often playing the long game and employing patience to position agents at the very heart of enemy power.
The Federated Suns has tempestuous relations with both the Draconis Combine to the galactic north and the Capellan Confederation to the galactic west. The Federation has gone to war against both powers many times and usually been victorious, or held its own. However, the Federation has never been able to embark on a full war of conquest against either power for fear of exposing its flanks to the other. The Federation has the largest military in the Inner Sphere, but it is not large enough to wage full wars against both neighbouring powers simultaneously.
This geostrategic weakness was recently undone by the alliance with House Steiner of the Lyran Commonwealth, putting hostile forces on both sides of the Draconis Combine’s borders and theoretically allowing the Federation to put pressure on the Capellan Confederation with less fear of an attack by the Combine. The Combine, Confederation and Free Worlds League have responded by forming their own alliance, but this is considered a less stable alliance in contrast.
The Federated Suns is divided into three principalities or “Marches.” Each March is enormous in size, population and power. Each March is divided into military operation theatres and further subdivisions, as follows:
- The Crucis March is the largest subdivision of the Federated Suns and is ruled from the capital on New Avalon.
- The Coreward Theatre consists of the Achemar, Kestrel and New Avalon combat regions and is ruled from Markesan.
- The Edgeward Alpha Theatre consists of the Remagen, Islamabad and Kearny combat regions and is ruled from Chirikof.
- The Edgeward Beta Theatre consists of the Point Barrow, Broken Wheel, Anjin Muerto and Tsamma combat regions and is ruled from Minette.
- The Draconis March stretches all the way from Terra to the Outworlds Alliance and has to defend against the Draconis Combine, as well as the Capellan Confederation in the far galactic west. Robinson is the overall capital of the March.
- The Coreward Theatre consists of the Addicks, Kentares, Raman, Le Blanc and Dahar polymorphous defence zones (PDZs) and is ruled from Robinson.
- The Edgeward Theatre consists of the Bryceland, Bremond, Mayetta, Milligan and Kilbourne PDZs and is ruled from Woodbine.
- The Capellan March stretches along the borders of both the Capellan Confederation and the Taurian Concordat. New Syrtis is the overall capital of the March.
- The Coreward Theatre consists of the Valexa, Kathil and Alcyone PDZs and is ruled from Kathil, also the site of the Federation’s largest shipyards.
- The Edgeward Theatre consists of the New Syrtis, Ridgebrook, Sirdar and Warren PDZs and is ruled from Taygeta.
The Capellan Confederation
The Capellan Confederation is the youngest of the Successor States, founded in 2367 as an alliance between several powerful, smaller factions in the systems surrounding Capella. At the time the Federated Suns were expanding swiftly from galactic east and the Capellan systems decided to band together rather be swallowed up by the rapidly-growing superpower. The Confederation extends 400 light-years rimwards from Terra, but is only around 200 light-years wide at its widest extent. The Confederation appears small on maps, but it is relatively densely populated, with 217 inhabited systems as of 3025.
The Confederation is ruled by House Liao from the planet Sian. Its current ruler is Chancellor Maximilian Liao. The Confederation is a highly autocratic power with a controlled economy and caste system. Power is concentrated in three bodies: the Chancellor, the Prefectorate and the House of Scions. Capellan society is rooted in service to the state: those born in the Confederation are effectively wards of the state until they are granted citizenship by service in the military, law enforcement, medical, scientific or intelligence communities. Those who are unable to earn citizenship become servitors, forced to work in crippling conditions for the bare amenities needed to survive.
The Capellan Confederation Armed Services (CCAF) are a small but professional and well-armed military force, with 45 BattleMech regiments under arms (augmented by a fluctuating number of mercenary forces, Warrior Houses and the elite Death Commandos). The Confederation government has long feared an insurrection of the CCAF and kept the military numbers to the bare minimum needed to dissuade attacks by the Free Worlds League or the Federated Suns, but this is insufficient to fulfil the Confederation’s long-term goal of claiming more territory from the surrounding powers. The Confederation bases much of its defence plans on information gained from the Maskirovka, the Confederation intelligence agency. The Maskirovka is noted for how incredibly widespread and tenacious it is, with sympathisers on many worlds in every Successor State and throughout the Periphery. The Federated Suns’ intelligence agencies are better-funded and resourced, but the Maskirovka is considered more ruthless and is more feared.
The Capellan Confederation has hostile relations with the Federated Suns, which it considers a rival despite the Federation having more than twice and not far off three times the Confederation’s size, military power and population. Much of the Federation’s anti-spinwards expansion came at the expense of the Confederation, either in terms of actual member worlds or worlds the Confederation coveted as well. The Confederation wants to bring down and destroy the Federation, but due to its inferior resources has employed assassination, subterfuge and sabotage as its preferred weapons of war. The Confederation also has a long border with the Free Worlds League, with which it has sparred several times over worlds of mutual interest, and the Rimward Periphery, a region where the Confederation has looked for allies and opportunities for expansion.
The Federation’s recent alliance with the Lyran Commonwealth has seen the Confederation open talks with the Draconis Combine and Free Worlds League, forming a mutual defence pact. This alliance is designed to counterweight the Davion-Steiner axis, but is considered a somewhat less reliable partnership.
The Capellan Confederation is divided into five major subdivisions, known as commonalities. Each commonality is divided into grand duchies, duchies and fiefdoms, although these titles change hands so often as factions and families rise and fall that tracking them becomes very complex.
- The Tikonov Commonality is the northern-most of the five major regions and borders Terra. The Commonality is divided into ten duchies, the most notable of which are the Tikonov and Liao duchies. Tikonov is the most independently-minded of the Confederation subdivisions.
- The Sarna Commonality consists of seven duchies, the most notable of which are the Highspire, Wei, Yunnah, Old Kentucky, Sarna and Remshield duchies.
- The Capella Commonality consists of seven duchies, the most notable of which as the Bithinia, Kashilla, Capella, Overton, Gei-Fu and Ares duchies.
- The St. Ives Commonality consists of four duchies: St. Ives, Denbar, Indicass and Warlock. St. Ives borders the Capellan March of the Federated Suns and is considered somewhat vulnerable to attack, located as it is between the Alcyone and Sirdar salients of the Federation.
- The Sian Commonality is the largest region of the Confederation, consisting of no less than fifteen duchies. The most notable of these are Krin, Altorra, Sian, Harloc, Housekarle, Betelgeuse, Shiba, Grand Base, Holloway, Decatur, Turin and Menke.
The Free Worlds League
The Free Worlds League is the oldest of the Successor States, founded in 2271 as an alliance between the Marik Republic, Federation of Oriente and Regulan Principality. Unlike the other Successor States, which are cohesive nation-states with a strong central authority, the Free Worlds League is more of an alliance of semi-autonomous polities banded together for mutual defence against their neighbours. Its constituent regions have the greatest autonomy of any in the Successor States, although this has come at the expense of security. The League extends approximately 400 light-years rimwards from Terra and 400 light-years anti-spinward. There are more than 330 settled systems in the League.
The League is ruled by House Marik from the planet Atreus, although “ruled” is perhaps a strong term. The League is a somewhat diffuse organisation which places high degrees of autonomy in each member world and sub-body, many of which are responsible for maintaining their own military forces and government. Broadly speaking, the League is organised as a federal state with the League acting as the federal government and each member-state organising their own affairs. The nominal head of state is currently Captain-General Janos Marik.
The Free Worlds League Military is nevertheless a professional and respected force. It can mobilise 60 BattleMech regiments at any time, but, in times of warfare, the FWLM can call upon reserve troops from individual planetary militias or state governments. The quality of these troops can vary extremely wildly. The FWLM is notable for its focus on combined operations, with armor, infantry and aerospace forces existing in large numbers and its relative numbers of BattleMechs being quite small compared to conventional forces. In addition, the FWLM fields one of the largest navies in the Inner Sphere, a product of its large number of shipyards, with the Free League’s doctrine of war focusing on denying space and air superiority to enemy forces and destroying enemy forces before they can land on target worlds.
The Free Worlds League also maintains an efficient intelligence-gathering operation: SAFE. SAFE is considered the least-effective intelligence body of the five Successor States, with a low number of successful missions outside its borders. SAFE (the acronym’s origins are unknown, with popular myth suggesting it stands for “Search and Find Everything”) is better employed as an information analysis bureau.
The Free Worlds League has varying relations with other powers, including long-running border disputes with the Lyran Commonwealth and several major border clashes with the Capellan Confederation, particularly over the Duchy of Andurien. The League’s federal structure and devotion to the freedom of its member worlds, not to mention their lack of a common border, makes it arguably a natural ally of the Federated Suns, but the two powers have had generally apathetic relations over the centuries. The League does enjoy arguably the closest relationship of any of the major powers with ComStar on Terra, and has a moderate relationship with the Magistracy of Canopus, one of the largest Periphery powers on its galactic southern border.
Since the formation of the Davion-Steiner Alliance, the League has entered into a strategic alliance with the Draconis Combine and Capellan Confederation. The League is not a natural friend of either state but considers working with them preferable to possibly being conquered by the Lyran Commonwealth.
The League has the most confusing hierarchy of the five major powers, a result of it being more an alliance of lesser states and independent worlds than an empire as such. Most star systems in the Free Worlds League are autonomous systems maintaining their own governments and militaries, sending representatives to the League Parliament on Atreus. However, multiple systems have banded together into smaller states for greater protection and representation
- The Marik Commonwealth was one of the founding powers of the League and remains the largest and most powerful state within the League’s borders. The state capital is Marik and the overall capital of the League is located on Atreus.
- is ruled from the planet Stewart.
- consists of three systems.
- The Principality of Regulus is one of the founding powers of the League.
- The Duchy of Oriente is one of the founding powers of the League.
- The Stewart Commonality, the Duchy of Graham-Marik, the Principality of Gibson, Regulan Free States, Duchy of Orloff, Protectorate, Ohren Province, Zion Province, Mosiro Archipelago and Rim Commonality are mid-ranking powers of the League.
- The Duchy of Tamarind and Abbey District are located near the border between the League and Periphery.
- The Duchy of Andurien is the most heavily-militarised region of the League, due to its hotly-contested border with the Capellan Confederation.
Sarna, the BattleTech Wiki, was an exhaustive source of information, canon, star locations and facts, as well as providing some symbols and information.
The recent 2018 BattleTech video game was a source of information, inspiration, expanded lore, new maps and faction symbols, as well as being a fantastic video game in its own right.
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