BattleTech

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BattleTech Timberwolf2 1159.jpg

Battlemech initialization sequence, Mechwarrior 2

Humankind has set off into the galaxy, colonizing planets in a wide area radiating from the Earth, an area known as the Inner Sphere. With this work being more on the cynical side of the scale, the colonists were mostly “undesirables” thrown out of Earth. This, along with many other reasons, led to the almost non-stop wars of aggression and independence.

During one of such wars, the Terran Hegemony created the Battlemechs, the hulking mechanical bipedal titans that would soon became the dominating force on the battlefields of the Inner Sphere.

Eventually, the Terran Hegemony, now reformed as the Star League, succeeded in unifying the whole region, and humanity entered the Golden Age, until an Evil Chancellor killed the ruler and took power for himself. The Star League Defense Force (SLDF) turned on the usurper and defeated him, only for the remaining noble families of the Star League to start fighting each other over the right to succeed to the throne. In disgust, general Aleksandr Kerensky of the SLDF took his whole army and departed into unknown space, leaving the nobles to fight out their differences in devastating wars.

For three centuries, the five self proclaimed Successor States [1] along with numerous minor powers fought for dominance, transforming the Inner Sphere into quasi-feudal society, while the Earth-based semi-religious organization known as ComStar, formed by the remains of Star League’s Department of Communications, observed this for their own agenda (Having a monopoly on the only means of interstellar communications helps). During these three centuries of total war, humankind lost a considerable amount of knowledge, now called Lostech, almost descending into dark ages. Only a discovery of the Star League Field Library Memory Core prevented that.

The intensity of the conflict and the resulting technological regression had also caused a stalemate between the Successor States. This was only broken when Houses Steiner and Davion merged to form the Federated Commonwealth, which proceeded to nearly destroy House Liao in the Fourth Succession War, as well as seize a lot of territory from Houses Kurita and Marik. The newly formed House Steiner-Davion seemed poised to eventually conquer the Inner Sphere but in the year 3050 a new enemy appeared.

After three centuries of exile, the descendants of the SLDF, now calling themselves "The Clans", launched a Blitzkrieg invasion of the Inner Sphere. Following the will of Aleksandr Kerensky, their intent was to end the still-ongoing Succession Wars by force. The two most prominent Clans of this invasion were Warden Clan Wolf, the direct successors of Kerensky bloodline who feel that the Crusader Clans were using Kerensky's will as an excuse to take over Inner Sphere and thus take part in the war to minimize damage, and the Crusader Clan Jade Falcon, who see the Inner Sphere as their rightful domain torn apart by fake usurpers. The invasion was eventually halted by using the Clans' own rules against them, honor binding them from attacking Inner Sphere for 15 years, but not before the Clans carved a huge chunk of territory out of the nearby Successor States, and for the next several decades both the Inner Sphere and the Clans will be busy dealing with the consequences.

Within the Clans, the Crusaders led by Clan Jade Falcon were pointing at the Clan Wolf as a scapegoat, accusing their Khan, Ulric Kerensky, of a deliberate sabotage of the war effort, and were calling to break the 15 years truce and immediately restart the invasion. In return, Ulric initiated a Clan-scale Trial of Refusal in order to thwart Crusader ambitions, starting a war (which will be later known as the Refusal War) between the Wolves and the Falcons. The Wolves will lose the war with Ulric killed in action, but not before crippling the Falcon's might, effectively rendering all their invasion plans moot.

Meanwhile in the Inner Sphere, the Clan threat convinced the previously stubborn leaders of the Five Successor States to form an alliance, and eventually create the Second Star League. In order to show the Clans that they mean business, they launched a large-scale military operation against the most aggressive and brutal of the Crusader clans, Clan Smoke Jaguar, retaking the former Combine territories and destroying the clan entirely.

After this the Federated Commonwealth fractured and triggered a civil war that would ravage the two member Successor States. The conflict would also spill into the rest of the Inner Sphere and trigger more conflicts as the FedCom gains of the Fourth Succession War were gradually undone. When the fires finally died down the leaders of the Inner Sphere noticed that the Second Star League had effectively stood aside while its members mauled each other and the alliance was disbanded as a result. The idea of the Star League was effectively discarded as a foolish ideal by everyone. Everyone, except one group.

The Word of Blake, a powerful and very Church Militant splinter faction of ComStar, started a Jihad to restore the Star League. Using manipulation and communication white-outs they fractured the Inner Sphere even further, arranging constant wars to weaken the States with the intent of conquering them piece by piece, effectively forcing them into the Star League at the gunpoint. As years went on the States sought through their plot, and the Blakists were forced to use the more open, brutal and later more desperate methods to achieve their goals. These methods, including indiscriminate use of WMDs, pissed off every other faction in the setting, including the Clans, and were nuked to oblivion in retaliation.

While the Inner Sphere was busy dealing with the Word of Blake, the Clans had their own problems. The Homeworld-based Clans back in the Kerensky Cluster and Pentagon Worlds were engaged in political infighting fueled by the failure of invasion, resource shortages and the discussion of whatever the Clans that were living in Inner Sphere were even considered to be real Clans due to them being "tainted" by Inner Sphere's "dishonorable" ways of combat, which then after several proverbial sparks escalated into the full blown civil war that later will be known as The Wars of Reaving. It ended with the complete annihilation and absorption of several Clans, many bloodname gene vaults destroyed, the scientist caste purged and isolated the Homeworld Clans and the Inner Sphere Clans from each other.

From the ashes of Jihad, a man named Devlin Stone, one of the key figures in defeating the Word of Blake, created the Republic of the Sphere with the capital in Terra. The Republic carved a big slice of all surrounding Successor States planets, many of them frequently contested border worlds. Stone's intent was to end the constant wars, and with the general exhaustion in the wake of Jihad that left no one who was interested in starting another large scale conflict, he succeeded.

After all of that there might finally have been a possibility of peace, but you can't have a war game without war. So, someone blacked out the whole galactic communication grid. That left all the factions disconnected, without information, and suspicious of each other, eventually setting a lot of the conflicts going again.

The BattleTech board game was launched in the early '80s, evolving from traditional tabletop wargaming like Dungeons & Dragons, but influenced by the relatively new genre of mecha anime rather than fantasy. At the most basic level, a BattleTech game featured two teams of four 'Mechs, each with their own unique arsenal of weaponry, defenses, and movement capabilities, which would proceed to beat each other into the ground across a terrain map. As the background fiction developed, scenarios were written to provide specific settings and rules to "recreate" the fictional battles of the 31st century, and expansions to the rules included conventional units, space combat, and large-scale warfare, bringing the game right back to its roots.

In addition to the evolution of the original game, BattleTech has spawned numerous spin-off games, novels, computer games, and, in 1994, even an Animated Adaptation, one of the rare American-made (as opposed to Americanized) Humongous Mecha series. Among the most notable offshoots are Tabletop RPG rules, the Mechwarrior series of simulator-style Action Games, and the Mech Commander Real Time Strategy series. More details on all of these, particularly the novels and the animated series, are found under "BattleTech Expanded Universe."

In 1996, FASA ran into a licensing problem that has since become famous. When the game was first created in 1984, eight of the core mecha were based on designs from such anime as Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Fang of the Sun Dougram (yes, the Marauder does resemble a Zentradi Officer's Battlepod). The Macross designs were made with the permission of Bandai, the original creators. However, due to complicated matters of international publication law, the US rights were actually owned by Harmony Gold, the company who used Macross to create Robotech. Harmony Gold finally took offense to the use of the designs, many of which had become iconic to BattleTech fans, and took the matter to court. By the time the dust cleared, FASA was still allowed to mention (and use) the disputed mecha in terms of game statistics, but could no longer show them in artwork. These 'mechs quickly became known as "The Unseen". A Sourcebook would later be written, with new designs to allow them to at least show the 'mechs again. FASA had also previously had a legal squabble with Lucasfilm over the original game title...Battle Droids. In 2009, Catalyst Game Labs was able to (somehow) get the rights to see the unseen once more.... or at least most of them. The designs that were not derived from Macross are fair game, but the iconic Warhammer, Marauder, Phoenix Hawk and nine others are still officially verboten.


Tropes used in BattleTech include:


  • Abnormal Ammo: Needle pistols, which blast out needle shaped shards of plastic. There are missiles which deploy minefields, and artillery shells that launch radio and radar jammers. Some missiles can use Inferno rounds, which is basically napalm on crack.
    • Plasma Rifles seem to operate on this too, as they fire out clouds of what used to be plastic blocks, that have been lased and converted into a superheated plasma state.
    • Another special mention goes to the Fluid Gun, which, as the name suggests, can be adapted to spray a variety of fluids, including water, oil, coolant, Inferno gel, and acid.
    • BattleMech flamers vent the 'Mech's reactor plasma onto the target. Jump jets use it to propel the 'Mech through the air. A jump is one of the time-tested methods of clearing off infantry making a swarm attack, by crisping them.
  • Aerith and Bob: With all the cross-cultural influences going on, it's not too unusual. Probably the best-known example is Takashi Kurita and his son Theodore.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Cloud Ten airborne aircraft carrier. It's basically a zepplin with a fighter bay and surveillance equipment.
  • The Alliance: The Second Star League was a joint Inner Sphere front against the Clans; rather than a political union like its predecessor.
    • The Council of Six formed by the Inner Sphere Clans after the Wars of Reaving resembled the old Grand Council but, rather than acting as a ruling body, it was meant to allow the now isolated Clans to survive in th Inner Sphere. Mostly through jointly restoring the HPG network, their now purged Scientist castes and some of their military hardware and bloodnames that were devastated by the Jihad and the Wars of Reaving.
  • All Planets Are Earthlike: Within a reasonable limit, all inhabited planets have between 0.9 and 1.1 atmosphere pressure, 0.9 to 1.1 g-gravity, and Earth norm temperature ranges, though no planet is as comfortable for humans as Earth is. There are exceptions (like the dome-covered cities of Sirius V where the atmosphere is methane), but then again, humans would tend to pick earth-like planets to settle.
    • Quite a few planets have issues involving gravity as well as unpleasant (and barely survivable) biomes. Ice planets in particular seem popular.
    • Source materials also mention Star League-era terraforming technology. In addition, it is frequently noted that settlers introduce genetically modified variants of Terran flora and fauna to colonized planets.
  • Alpha Strike: The contextual trope namer. Step one: fire every weapon you have, simultaneously. Step two: hold your breath and hope to god your mech can sink the heat. - failure to skin enough heat can result in such conditions as death by internal ammunition explosion, death by heat stroke, or death by hostile fire while your machine shuts down and tries to cool off.
  • Ambiguously Brown: A lot of people in the Inner Sphere end up looking for this due to the interbreeding of Terran colonists.
    • Lampshaded in one of the Dark Age novels: a character possessing red hair and green eyes goes through the customs office as "Rabbi Martinez" and no one bats an eye at the juxtaposition.
  • An Axe to Grind: Some 'Mechs have giant hatchets built into them.
    • Crosses over into Exactly What It Says on the Tin with some models, as it is not hard to guess what a Mech with a name like Axman or Hatchetman are boasting.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Families will pass down Mechs from father (or mother) to son/daughter. Justified by the fact that a Mech usually costs millions of C-Bills and thus is a valuable heirloom as well as a tool of war. For some perspective, the C-Bill is worth at least three times as much as the US Dollar as of the time of this edit, and if A Time of War is any indication then the average peasant can save up 10,000 C-Bills at most during his lifetime.
    • Not to mention that, before the coming of the Clans with their OmniMech technology, 400+ year old Star League-era mechs were actually more technologically advanced than brand new 'Mechs being produced in the 3025 era. The constant war and strife has nearly "beaten humanity back to the stone age" where repairing BattleMechs is essential when the base technology is not even all that well understood. Same goes for the Kearny-Fuchida drives in the JumpShips, which nearly all date back to the Star League era since the technology to construct new faster than light drive engines had been lost until a recent resurgence. See also Ragnarok Proofing.
    • In one scenario from an early gamebook, a pair of Mackies from the original production run, the first BattleMechs ever designed and centuries old, passed down through a family from the days of the Terran Hegemony, are powered up to fight the Black Widow Company. They usually acquit themselves with great distinction.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: ComStar among others - there are multiple sourcebooks for the various ancient conspiracies lurking in the background.
  • Animal Motifs: Almost all of the Clans. The sole exception is Clan Blood Spirit, named for the concept of esprit d'corps.
    • And they eventually inverted the trope. The blood spirit, a genetically engineered vampire bat, was named FOR the Clan instead of the other way around. Granted, it was meant as a Take That, but there you go.
    • Clan Diamond Shark was originally Clan Sea Fox. The name change was due to the introduction of the diamond shark (also genetically engineered, by a rival Clan) into the sea fox's native habitat, where it promptly drove the former species to effective extinction. Some sea foxes did apparently survive in captivity, though, and Clan Diamond Shark is scheduled for a name change back to Sea Fox around 3100.
  • Arch Enemy: Dozens of cases here. If two factions have shared a border for any length of time they probably hate each other.
    • Secular Com Star and the Word of Blake hate each other as they believe that the other has perverted Blake's vision.
    • The Free Worlds League and the Lyran Commonwealth despise each other for both economic purposes and because their conflicts in the Succession Wars were among the most brutal.
    • The Cappellan Confederation is still bitter from all the losses the Federated Suns dealt it. The Taurian Concordat is pretty much an entire nation of General Rippers; to them the Suns are behind everything.
    • The Draconis Combine had the typical hate with the Suns and the Commonwealth but also had a sore spot with several mercenary units. The most notable case was Takashi Kurita's personal vendetta with Wolf's Dragoons; which lead to him losing the Fourth Succession War when he threw an entire military district worth of forces at five regiments.
    • The Wolves and the Jade Falcons have a history of bad blood; they lead opposing factions within the Clans and the Falcons are still upset that the Wolves possess exclusive rights to the Kerensky bloodname.
    • Clan Diamond Shark never really forgave the Snow Ravens for wiping out their original namesake the Sea Fox. Their revenge generally consists of jacking up prices though.
    • Clans Blood Spirit and Star Adder are constantly in conflict; though the latter is far stronger in this case and the Spirits usually end up losing. Completely, in fact, as of the end of the Wars of Reaving.
    • The Inner Sphere and the Clans as a whole; the former didn't appreciate losing a few hundred worlds and the Clanners blame the Successor States for ruining the Star League. Eventually the Ghost Bears and the Rasalhague Republic, the Ravens and Outworlds Alliance and the Wolves-In-Exile and the Lyran Commonwealth start to patch things up.
    • The Word of Blake is pretty much this to the rest of humanity; no one wanted a Succession War style conflict and weren't pleased at all when the Blakists started one over the break up of the, nearly powerless in practice, Second Star League.
  • Arms Dealer: The Lyran Commonwealth, the Free Worlds League and Clan Diamond Shark, as well as many other private businesses.
  • Art Evolution: Early BattleTech art was usually very basic black and white unshaded drawings (save for sourcebook covers). Later art featured shading, digital art, and more visually complex designs. Later sourcebooks got more covered artwork, whereas earlier sourcebooks typically had more simplistic black-and-white artwork.
  • Ascended Fanon: Apparently, Megamek is the official military strategic planning software of the Lyran Alliance.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Clans work this way.
    • Amusingly, they also get hit with the predictable downside: because their system selects on single-combat prowess, it also doesn't select based on organizational or unit-based tactical skills. In combat with the Inner Sphere at the strategic scale, they lose more often then they win.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Clan Ice Helion's preferred method of operation, in both politics and war. Combined with their impatience, it usually ends poorly. So poorly that most of them got killed by the Falcons and Horses and the rest were Absorbed by the Scorpions.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The raison d'etre of Battlemech combat. The invention of war machines much more expensive and much less effective than battalions of tanks or legions of infantry was supposed to make humans think twice about fighting each other, but of course that didn't happen.
    • In the early days of the game, the vehicle rules underwent several rounds of nerfing to keep Mechs the dominant unit on the battlefield. People kept spending their points on tons of hovercraft and swarming the big slow targets.
      • another related hampering of most non mech units is the inability for them to mount double heat sinks for better heat dissipation which is why energy weapons are not the to go weapons for most of them.
    • Most Solaris 7 inventions are beyond useless in an actual battlefield, but are used in the arena because of how flashy they are. Swords, bucklers, Bombast lasers, and Flails are all popular weapons.
  • Badass Army: The (larger) Mercenary company armies are usually made of the best of the best Mech Warriors, pilots, and crews.
  • Batman Gambit: Ulric Kerensky deliberately sabotaged the Clan Invasion by performing better than the other clans, which caused them, already poorly equipped logistically and mentally unprepared for the real warfare, to trip over each other and spread themselves thin trying to one-up the Wolves. When he was tried by the Clan Council after the war, it basically consisted of Ulric and his defense proving that he was just doing his job.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Word of Blake breaking the Nuclear Weapons Taboo pisses off every other faction enough to get them to collectively nuke the Blakists back.
  • Beam Spam: The state of any battle in which a 'Mech with more than five laser weapons is in, with bonuses for pulse lasers. A number of designs, such as the Nova/Black Hawk Prime and the Flashman, are built to bring this.
    • Honorable mention also goes to designs such as the Awesome, the Warhawk, and the Hellstar, which carry multiple particle projection cannons, easily the largest and most destructive energy weapons available in the setting. And the I-UK Timberwolf variant, what with packing 11 ER Medium lasers and an ER Large laser, is it's own walking rave party.
    • The Medium Laser is ideally suited to this. It is, succinctly, perfectly balanced: One ton, one crit slot, no ammo requirements, three heat, five damage, respectable (albeit still short) range, and cheap if you're going into more campaign-based play. You can cram a stupid amount of these on a modern medium mech design and still have enough weight left over for extra heat sinks (double type, natch) to at least allow for most of them to be fired. Offshoot variants don't manage it quite as well; either due to range and weight (pulse variant) or excess heat (extended range variant).
  • The Berserker: Clan Smoke Jaguar was absolutely brutal in battling their enemies and in treatment of civilians. Additionally their forces were poorly disciplined and usually only held in check by highly charismatic officers. This attitude didn't work out very well; their brutality led to the Inner Sphere singling them out of destruction (both for their atrocities and their poor strategic decisions) and the rest of the Clans standing by and allowing them to be destroyed.
  • Bigger Is Better: The favorite strategy of the Lyran military is to send a slow avalanche of metal at their enemies. Some of their generals use heavy 'Mechs for recon, and are stymied why anyone would bother with medium and light units at all.
    • Explicitly mentioned in the description of the Heavy Gauss Rifle in MechWarrior 4 ("Built around the concept that bigger is better, [...]"). No prize for guessing which nation commissioned that design.
    • Who was the first nation to field the Autocannon/20, the first headchopper weapon mountable on a 'mech, in centuries past? You guessed it... the Lyrans.
  • BFG: All 'Mech guns, really. But then there are Seriously Big Effin' Guns; Gauss rifles heavy and standard, any autocannon in the 20-bore size, Clan ER-PPCs, and Long Tom artillery pieces, any of which is sufficent to blow a suit of power armor to vapor or take a 'Mech's head clean off with one shot. And just as a modern tank's main gun is huge compared to a rifle but tiny compared to a battleship's turret, a Mech's guns are small compared to naval artillery as found on Dropships and Warships.
  • BFS: Starting around 3050, Mechs gained a new melee option in mech sized swords, which further got expanded into experimental Vibroweapons versions later on. Should be noted that except for the aforementioned Vibro weapons, the melee weapons are basically stylized 5 ton metal clubs.
    • Compared to hatchets, swords have a better hit chance (due to better weapon balance) with a minor drop in potential damage.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Retractable Blades, which fit onto the arm of a 'Mech for extra stabby-ness.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Clans, at least to the Inner Sphere.
  • Boring but Practical: All that double heat sinks do is the same job as classic single heat sinks, only twice as well for the same weight...which basically renders the former obsolete[2] and allows for unit designs with hitherto-unprecedented levels of firepower for their respective weight class.
    • In terms of weapons, the trope is embodied first and foremost by the medium laser. Modest damage, fairly short range... lightweight, compact, heat-efficient, no ammo needs, and arguably the most ubiquitous BattleMech weapon in the entire Inner Sphere.
    • Also, all those fancy BattleMech melee weapons and cool death-from-above moves? Frequently pale in comparison to a plain old 'Mech-sized kick, which comes completely free of charge[3] and tends to be accurate and do a fair chunk of damage—often to a target 'Mech's legs, which can cripple its mobility in short order once armor is breached. (Yes, there's a chance of overbalancing and falling yourself, but that's only if you miss in the first place.)
      • Add the Triple Strength Myomer boost to the battlemech kick and you pretty much can remove the legs from any foe who lighter then you and even some of the same weight class if they skimp on leg armor in one kick and against a downed foe results in some pretty brutal curb stomps and that's before you add the experimental Talon weapons for boosting kick damage which by the way ALSO benefit from the TSM boost.
  • Born Winner: This is what Clan trueborns are intended to be.
  • Brain-Computer Interface: Clan "Enhanced Imaging" and the Inner Sphere's "Direct Neural Interface". Both allow the pilot to effectively control his or her 'Mech with their mind. Possible side effects include delusions of godhood and insanity. Direct Neural Interface also kills you after about a decade.
  • Breath Weapon: The Berserker mounts a flamer where a person's mouth would be.
  • Car Fu: An interesting take on the concept, this is the premise from the popular lighter class mech urban tactic "Death-From-Above". Step 1: Realize your 40-ton mech can't go head to head with a 80-tonner. Step 2: Flee between skycrapers. Step 3: Jump-jet onto top of building, one that's taller than your opponent. Step 4: Wait until opponent is in jump range. Step 5: Gain as much altitude as possible before letting your "light" 35 tons of steel and armament come crashing down on top of your opponent. This is usually considered a last ditch tactic, as even a successful DFA is likely to cause some damage to the attacking unit.
    • Not just light mechs, either. The Highlander, a 90 ton Assault class mech, has jumpjets that allow it to DFA. Doing so is called the Highlander Burial, and can easily result in an instant kill by crushing the targeted mech's cockpit.
  • Catch Phrase: "This is [Rank] [Name] of the [Unit Name]! What forces defend [Objective]?"
  • Chicken Walker: Quite a few 'Mechs have reverse-joint legs, including favorites like the Marauder or the Timber Wolf.
  • Chest Blaster: Seen quite a bit, from BattleMechs that just install some secondary guns in the torso to support arm-mounted main weapons to such extremes as the Hollander light 'Mech that is basically just a BFG on legs (it's built around a Gauss rifle that by itself accounts for almost half its total weight and looks the part). The construction rules actually somewhat encourage this by generally making the left and right side torso locations the ones with the most room to install weapons and other equipment.
    • Slightly less insane than the Hollander is the classic Hunchback, whose variants (with very few exceptions) mount the biggest cannon possible for their tech level into their right torso. A Hunchback that DOESN'T have a gargantuan cannon jammed into its torso is such a different beast that most pilots will not call it a Hunchback at all (they're Swaybacks instead)
    • The Clans built a model that takes it Up to Eleven: the Hunchback IIC features two of those monster cannons, one over each shoulder. Of course, in order to fit that monstrous firepower, certain things had to be sacrificed... such as armor and speed. Getting assigned to one is therefore generally an invitation to die in a Blaze Of Glory.
    • Some 'Mechs have smaller weapons embedded in their torsos, and the models depict them with the bore situated not far from dead center on the machine. Examples include the Hermes II, the Peregrine, and the Spider.
  • Cool Helmet: The Neurohelmet. The pre-Succession Wars/post-Clan Invasion neurohelmet are similiar to jet fighter helmets, while the Succession Wars era helmets are massive 10 pound monstrosities that limit the wearer's field of view.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Atlas' fists aren't just for show.
    • A picture that proves a point. The Warhawk on the left is a Clan machine, and the Clans as a whole disdain physical attacks, seeing them as dishonorable and unseemly. As the Inner Sphere Atlas demonstrates, there is a perfectly good reason why a blow from a 100-ton war machine is a devastating thing.
  • Church Militant: The Word of Blake, its predecessor pre-schism ComStar, and Clan Cloud Cobra
    • Modern-day ComStar itself may be considered one as well, though with the religious aspects toned well down. Still, old habits die hard.
    • The Brotherhood of Randis straddles the line between this and Knights In Shining Armor. At any given time, a Knight can be studying the Bible, helping to build a hospital, or blasting the hell out of pirates.
  • The Clan: The different Bloodname families in the Clans work like this.
  • Crapsack World: Dozens of worlds are actually quite nice to live on. It's the hundreds of others - alternately exploited, ignored, and conquered by somebody or other - that are lucky to exist on the industrial level.
  • Critical Hit: Any sort of combat machine, be it 'Mech, aerospace fighter, Dropship, or vehicle, can suffer critical hits. These are applied once armor is lost, and generally speaking the loss of any single slot of a component rendered the whole weapon useless. Even worse, some components, like Gauss Rifles and most forms of ammunition, could explode if hit.
  • Culture Chop Suey
  • Culture Clash: The five Great Houses are each grounded in different Earth cultures, all butted right up against each other. And then there's the Clans...
  • Culture Police: The Draconis Combine's Order of the Five Pillars. The Word of Blake and pre-schism ComStar also had a department of ROM dedicated to maintaining ideological purity.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Clan Enhanced Imaging and the Word of Blake's Direct Neural Interface both allow the user much greater control over their vehicle. However they also cause psychological and physical problems; up to and including death after several years.
    • Generally averted for everything else; as long as you don't screw with the central nervous system than you can have as many Artificial Limbs and organs as you need. Even the extensively augmented Manei Domini, the above implant notwithstanding, are not merciless killers because of their augments; they are merely ideologically indoctrinated well before they were seriously upgraded.
  • Dark Messiah: Nicholas Kerensky to the Clans and The Master to the Word of Blake. Lesser examples for other factions come up with distrubing freqenecy.
  • Days of Future Past: The rapid expansion of humanity eventually results in a reversion to quasi-feudal governments. Almost every government is ruled by a noble family, and via Rule of Cool, BattleMech pilots are compared to chivalric knights. The inclusion of monarchical intrigue and royal romance help put the soap back in Space Opera.
  • Deadly Doctor: The Society
  • Death From Above: You can attack from higher ground to gain a chance to hit enemy 'Mechs in the vulnerable head area, call in air strikes or artillery, or perhaps just jump into the air and drop one multi-ton machine onto another. That last one is specifically called Death From Above in-game and in-universe. One rulebook even considers it good form to loudly declare Death From Above while attempting it in the course of a game.
  • Death Trap: The base model of the Hunchback IIC mech is in-universe called one by most clanners since with it's light armor (for a medium size mech ) and sparse armaments (once the UAC 20 ammo is gone it only has 2 medium lasers to fall back on) anyone put into one is not expected to make it out alive.
  • Death World: Many planets inhabitants depend on terraforming to stay alive on some of the worst examples. When the Star League collapsed and these technologies were lost, millions died in the Periphery to due disease and a lack of clean water and food.
    • The Clan homeworlds are at best considered sub optimal. Resources are in short supply, leading to wastefulness being a cardinal sin in Clan society. Many of the original SLDF exiles also contracted diseases in the early years. The Clans are also named for actual animals native (or modified and introduced) to their worlds, and these (which include lovely critters such as Steel Vipers, Ghost Bears and Smoke Jaguars) are often more dangerous than the Super Soldiers that took their names.
  • Defector From Decadence: Candace Liao pulled this when the rest of her family got a bit too Ax Crazy and started harming the Capellan Confederation.
    • Clan Nova Cat as a whole defected to the Inner Sphere once they realized that the Crusaders were going to destroy any chance of the Star League being reformed. Clan Wolf (In Exile) had this forced on them, they sought to protect the Inner Sphere from Crusader aggression (under orders and in accordance with the Warden philosophy) but then the Jade Falcons came along, cheated to win the Refusal War and then had the Warden Wolves Abjured without a Trial.
  • Designer Babies: The Clans' warrior caste are all test-tube babies, with their genetics manipulated to create Super Soldiers. Goes right down to "Freebirth" being a really nasty slur--"freeborn" is the neutral term for describing someone born naturally, but "freebirth" is a racial slur similar in offensiveness to the N-word.
    • Freeborns did sometimes join the warrior caste though; more than one series of the associated fiction involved a despised, bottom-caste Freeborn proving his worth as a warrior. In addition, certain Clans hold little or no value on test tube baby superiority, awarding rank and status purely on merit.
    • Clanner opinion changed after extensive warfare versus the Inner Sphere, especially in proving that older warriors weren't necessarily inferior (most Clanners past the age of about 30-40 were relegated to "cannon fodder" duty strictly on age).
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: Just when a lot of LosTech has been rediscovered and things are starting to stabilize into the Republic of the Sphere, somebody throws a wrench into the works by shutting down the FTL network. The setting more or lesss immediately reverts to the pre-3025 political arrangement.
  • Divided States of America (The USA hasn't existed since the 21st century in the setting, but the Terran Hegemony and the Free Worlds League are close enough to qualify. In the Terran Hegemony's case their territory was divided up by the Successor States in a series of brutal wars following the fall of the Star League. In the Free World League's case . . . well, it's pretty much a Running Joke in the franchise that there's a betting pool going for when their next civil war is going to break out.)
  • Divided We Fall: The Free Worlds League tends to fight itself as often as it battles as other Successor States. It has had numerous civil wars (which are always exploited by the other Houses, and some of them are actually triggered by foreign spies) and during the Jihad broke up into no less than three major powers who all claimed to be the "true" Free Worlds League and were willing to fight to prove it. All while fighting the Word of Blake.
    • Clan Fire Mandril is arguably even worse than the League and this was intentional on the part of their first Khan. Divided into several Kindras they battle amongst themselves so often that they routinely get pulverized by other Clans. It got so bad that they were eventually Absorbed during the Wars of Reaving.
    • The Draconis Combine began to have these issues during the Clan Invasion and it only got worse as time went on. The reforms of Theodore Kurita were opposed by the Black Dragon Society, a bunch of hardline samurai traditionalists, who eventually engaged in armed rebellion against House Kurita. At the exact time the Word of Blake started its Jihad.
  • Drop Ship: Literally called that, probably as a Shout-Out to the original Starship Troopers novel, which was published 25 years before BattleTech.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Geographically speaking, in this case—all the maps of known space have Earth as the center.)
    • Controlling Earth generally means you're the most powerful faction as well.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Castles Brian (or "Castles named after Brian Cameron"), with the average one being the size of an average planetary capital city and rivaling a Dwarf Fortress for how long they can hold out against a siege.
  • Elite Army: The Clans.
  • The Empire: The Capellan Confederation, and the pre-Clan invasion Draconis Combine.
    • The Star League was like this to the Periphery nations; who were heavily taxed, denied the rights enjoyed by thet Great Houses and were forced to join after the Inner Sphere attacked them in the Reunification War.
  • Energy Weapons: Lasers, PPCs, and their variants.)
  • Epic Flail: Mech sized versions of flails appear on mechs customized for the gladiatorial combat on Solaris 7.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Hatchetman and Axeman BattleMechs; guess what they carry? Likewise the UrbanMech. It's the slowest light 'mech in the games (both original tabletop and the video games based off it), but it works because it's intended to be used in the kind of cover that a city can give.
    • Some of the 'Mechs can have rather pretentious names, but quite a few are surprisingly apt. The Charger excels at physical attacks like ramming, the Ostscout is a great recon vehicle (and dead meat if anywhere within a kilometer of a proper battle), and the Annihilator has eight rather considerable guns, half of which can fire the tactical equivalent of BattleMech buckshot and will chew up most smaller targets if given the chance.
  • Evil Is Petty: Several examples come to mind. The most infamous is probably Jinjiro Kurita; who had over fifty million people executed because his father was killed as a legitimate military combatant.
    • When the Word of Blake realized that they were going to be defeated and receive no mercy for their crimes their tactics became even more destructive. During the Liberation of Terra they detonated cobalt laced nuclear weapons in key population centers, irradiating them for decades, not for any tactical purposes but simply because they wanted to pull If I Can't Have You on humanity's homeworld.
  • Eva Fins: Crops up occasionally. One of the main highlights of the Awesome's design.
    • The Awesome had Eva Fins roughly a decade before Evangelion was released.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: If any one faction succeeded, or even if widespread peace breaks out, the game ends! So when one faction does succeed, it must inevitably fall (Star League, Federated-Lyran union, Republic of the Sphere), and when widespread peace breaks out it must be betrayed (Clan Golden Century, Dark Age).
  • False-Flag Operation: Many examples crop up but the Blakists are the masters of this trope. One of the reasons the Jihad was initially successful (despite taking on all the major powers at once) was because the Word was able to trigger several brush wars, civil uprisings and succession movements to weaken their enemies.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Each of the Houses has roots in a different Earth culture: For instance, Kurita and the Draconis Combine are based on feudal Japan.
    • Many of the books expand this so the Houses have SEVERAL ethnic backgrounds. They're... kinda screwy. For example, the Capellan Confederation, while being heavily Chinese, has also Dutch, Russian and Belgian members. Figure that one out.
    • And once you really look at the material, the Draconis Combine are really just playing at being feudal Japan. They've also got sizable Indian and Russian communities which they haven't persecuted. And the Azami, whom they did persecute until the Azami fought back.
    • The Free Rasalhague Republic is extremely Norse, to the point of having a sea serpent for its banner and later merging with a winter-themed Clan.
    • The Marian Hegemony wishes it was Rome.
    • The Magistracy of Canopus is like Las Vegas (tons of slot machines everywhere) and the rest of Nevada (legalized prostitution) combined.
    • Clan Jade Falcon is becoming very Mongolian under the leadership of Malvina Hazen.
  • The Federation: The Federated Suns, and Lyran Commonwealth.
    • The Star League was this to the Inner Sphere; the member states handled their own internal affairs and major decisions were made via a vote by the House Lords who could and did occasionally override the First Lord.
  • Feudal Future: All of the Successor states are ruled by royal families and nobles, with individual nations having different amounts of feudalism. The Federated Commonwealth is a (largely) free society, while the Draconis Combine takes feudalism Up to Eleven
  • For Great Justice: The Brotherhood of Randis might qualify as a modest mercenary band, except they don't fight for profit, a rare thing in the pragmatic BattleTech universe. They do have an as-yet-undisclosed source of income though, so they can afford to be altruistic.
  • Free-Love Future: The Magistracy of Canopus has legalized prostitution (and sex tourism is a substantial part of their tourism and entertainment industry, which basically sustains their entire economy) and is pretty liberal when it comes to sex of any sort.
    • The Clans, despite being ruled by a military junta devoted to social engineering, also practice this. With no form of marriage in place, warriors reproducing through the eugenics program and civilians though arranged pairs (the resulting children are raised in communal creches), sex is treated like recreation.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The current developments of laser weapon technology (as described on that page) almost perfectly mirrors how the differing in-game laser weapons work according to the sourcebooks.
  • Future Slang: The Clans in particular embrace this. Though they insist on speaking proper grammatical English, they also added plenty of their own military and cultural slang. It's part Russian, and part easily figured out, but it's there.
  • Gargle Blaster: The PPC, so called because it can take your head clean off. It's four shots of grain alcohol diluted with two shots of another liquor associated with one of the great political powers - peppermint schnapps (Steiner), bourbon (Davion), ouzo (Marik), plum wine (Liao), sake (Kurita), and various others for minor powers, regions, and Clans... or just more grain alcohol for the Periphery PPC. It's popular throughout in-universe fiction as a Mechwarrior's drink, when "real" ones usually prefer something that won't make their mouths numb.
  • Gatling Good: Rotary Autocannons, and some machinegun models.
    • Awesome but Impractical: RACs like to jam up if you fire them like machineguns, making them of questionable utility due to their range and accuracy compared to the slower-firing but non-jam-prone autocannons.
  • General Failure: While they pop up in every faction, the Lyran Commonwealth's "Social Generals", who achieve their positions through money and connections, are responsible for the most economically powerful faction in the setting having one of the weaker armies in the Inner Sphere. Other factions do have have similar cases but have ways of dealing with them that the business minded House Steiner isn't willing to use.
  • Genius Bruiser: Most Clanners fit this trope. Especially Elementals.
    • Some Clan sourcebooks actually point out the stereotype of Dumb Muscle existing even among the Clans, and how many Elementals have proven otherwise. The RPG rules codify this, as their intelligence has the same range as anyone else's.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Redjack Ryan, depraved, leather-pants wearing Space Pirate is the King of the planet Butte Hole Hold. Subtle, FASA!
    • Then again, FASA loved doing that at times... on the back cover (and in the center color panels) is a picture of a Periphery carnival. Along with the expected rides and carny games (including "strip quick-draw"), there is a small, unobtrusive sign advertising an "Intergalactic Massage Parlor"...
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: One of the (more sadistic) options Mechs have for attacking Infantry actually has a point of use in that it saves ammo although generally when one can get away with it one generally uses a machine gun or a flamer for anti infantry.
    • Actually best employed against battle armor. Even the biggest 'Mech foot will usually only get one or two troopers out of a conventional infantry platoon, there's a significant to-hit penalty for trying to kick things in your own hex, and missing forces a roll to avoid toppling your own machine by accident.
    • This is a valid tactic against enemy 'Mechs that have fallen. A 50 ton 'Mech curb-stomping its downed adversary is every bit as effective as it sounds, and the tabletop game's fluff makes several mentions of cockpits being crushed under giant metal feet.
  • Global Currency: While individual states still issue their own currencies, they largely operate secondary to one currency that is accepted equally everywhere—the C-Bill (Comstar Bill). C-Bills have their value backed by the highly important resource of HPG transmission time, and tend to be a lot more stable in value over any given period than the House currencies as a result. Mercenaries are particularly fond of them due to this.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: It may be space feudalism but gender equality is nearly a completely dead issue. Three of the most destructive and vindictive leaders shown on-page are female.
    • To wit, there's one Ax Crazy Dragon Lady (Romano Liao), one ComStar leader who wants to plunge the finally recovering galaxy back to the good old dark ages where they control everything (Myndo Waterly), and Katherine Steiner-Davion, who apparently started out as the Daddy's Little Villain to the Magnificent Bastard of the entire franchise, Hanse Davion. Unfortunately for a lot of people, Hanse died prematurely of natural causes and no one else in Katherine's family had a clue of how to deal with their budding sociopath. It took her all of about three years to slide into Complete Monster territory and not much longer to depose or kill all members of her family that stood between her and absolute power. And that's just the first half of her reign...
  • Goomba Stomp: Death From Above attacks.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: The game's timeline started with the fall of the Soviet Union - in 2011; this was changed in later editions to the Russian Federation. The most recent edition puts it back to the Soviet Union, with history having changed from ours during the 1980s.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Everybody thinks they're doing the right thing. Everybody else would disagree.
    • Black and Gray Morality: The Jihad, with the Word of Blake clearly cast as villains in and out of universe, fell into this. The gray factions also tended to get darker. The Backstory involving the fall of the Star League also fell here; the SLDF was pretty ruthless but they were saints compared to Amaris the Usurper's forces.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: BattleMechs can lose limbs due to structural damage or a Critical Hit, but the limbs do not simply 'disappear' from the map. Another 'Mech (or the same one that lost the limb!) can go over to the hex where the limb was lost, pick it up, and proceed to brutally club enemy 'Mechs with the severed arm/leg/head. This is actually surprisingly practical—trees used as clubs will shatter after a single hit, and finding a good girder can be hard if you're not playing in a city map or are trying to avoid collateral damage. The club increases the 'Mech's physical combat damage and in no way inhibits weapons fire from the 'Mech carrying it, and it can't be damaged the way a traditionally carried axe or sword could.
    • Historically, Hanse Davion did exactly this in the Battle for the NAIS research center on New Avalon during the 4th Succession War, using a severed Marauder arm as a weapon after his 'Mech's hand-carried PPC was destroyed in a physical attack.
  • Gundamjack: Despite countermeasures (typically involving a voice-print check and pass phrase), acquiring enemy 'Mechs for one's own use right out of the hangar or more rarely on the battlefield while the fight is still going is a somewhat recurring plot element.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Principality of Regulus, one of the major regions of the Free Worlds League, who suffered greatly at the hands of the Word of Blake's nuclear attacks eventually got sick of it. Their response was nuclear bombardment of Blakist strongholds without any regard for collateral damage to civilians or biospheres. Unfortunately they got a bit trigger happy and basically ended up committing genocide on unaligned targets just to be sure. The other factions, particularly the Confederation (who had to battle the Blakists alone), did this as well to a lesser extent.
  • Historical In-Joke: The Reagan Defenses that were invented during the Star League era were named after "an obscure Terran leader who had dreamed of a similar system."
  • Hit Points: Generally split between armor and internal structure points. Incoming damage eliminates armor first (it's ablative); once that's gone, further damage to the relatively 'soft' internals forces rolls for possible critical hits, and enough of it will of course take out the location struck (and possibly the unit with it).
  • Hollywood Cyborg: The Manei Domini elites of the Word of Blake.
    • Even before the Manei Domini, several characters were shown or described as having visible cybernetic prosthetic limbs or facial features, and the tabletop game recognizes the less subtle variants are more common than the 'stealthy' ones.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Surprisingly averted with the Clan eugenics program. While they carefully control genetic pairings, they prefer to let nature determine the outcome and refuse to do any tinkering of their own (aside from the realistic purpose of correcting obvious random defects). Played more straight with some of the "modified" flora and fauna they introduced to many of their homeworlds, though the results are more reasonable than in most sci-fi.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Clans, all the way into Idiot Ball territory.
    • Inverted by the Black Angus Boys mercenary group; their motto is "Dishonor before death!"
    • The Kuritans got in on this at times too. This may have something to do with their fascination with all things feudal Japanese, and it occasionally got them their collective butts handed to them, such as when they tried to challenge the Clans to the sort of straight dueling that both parties favored, but for which the Draconians were woefully underequipped and initially under-skilled.
  • Hufflepuff House: The Free Worlds League kinda just.. sat around, for the majority of the universe's history. The FWL became much more important during the Clan Invasion and the Jihad, but it is still rarely featured in the novels.
  • Humans Are White: One of the more notable settings to completely avert this.
  • Humongous Mecha: THOUSANDS of them.
  • Impossibly Graceful Giant: Averted, hard. 'Mechs are basically tanks with legs. With a trained pilot and properly calibrated systems, they become agile runners, can negotiate rugged ground, and throw solid punches, but precise hand coordination is difficult. It's possible to use waldos to directly control the hands and arms on 'Mechs, but it's nearly impossible to use them for any sort of graceful action - you could not for example, use both arms to operate a giant 'Mech-sized shovel, without repeatedly jabbing the ten ton shovel into your mech.
    • Which is as realistic as anything else in the game gets, but raises the question again, why use the humanoid form at all?
      • The answer is that they often don't. A lot of 'mechs, particularly Clan 'mechs, can't be said to resemble humanoids at all. Bipedal and two-armed, yes. Even the freaky ones tend to have two legs and what could charitably be called arms (Or more accurately side-mounted gun turrets). Humanoid? Not quite.
    • It is possible to play this straight in the RPG, though it requires a highly skilled pilot and thousands of hours of computer programming to pull off. Than the pilot can do anything from moving through rough terrain more easily to Flipping the Bird with a 100 ton bipedal warmachine.
  • Insert Grenade Here: Infantry with jet packs or grappel rods can conduct "swarm" attacks on 'Mechs, which essentially means "climbing onto the 'Mech and stuffing demo charges into the leg joints". While not likely to destroy a 'Mech alone, swarm attacks are much-feared because of their ability to cripple them and leave them vulnerable to heavier units, or worse, knock them down. It's much easier to reach the cockpit of 'Mech that's flat on it's face, and then blow in the canopy...
  • Jet Pack: Infantry can wear light jetpacks, which allow them to jump long distances. Some mechs mount Jump Jets, which is basically an integrated jetpack that runs on the 'Mechs fusion reactor. There are also single-use jump jets for mechs, which are used once then jettisoned.
  • Kill It with Fire: Inferno rounds, which can overheat mechs and force them to shut down (making them a sitting duck), or trigger internal ammo explosions inside them. Of course, you can also imagine the effect that these weapons would have on exposed infantry.
    • Flamers, true to their name, vent superheated core plasma at targets and will crisp an infantry squad in no time. The Plasma Rifle and Plasma Cannon does the same, but even quicker, and from further away.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Averted. Kinetic weapons are balanced against Energy Weapons with both having their advantages and disadvantages; generally, energy weapons have the benefit of unlimited ammo and great accuracy, but generate massive amounts of heat and fire slowly. Ballistic weapons require additional tonnage devoted to ammo and are relatively inaccurate compared to a laser, but don't send your heat rocketing up as far and can fire more quickly.
    • Ballistic weaponry on Vehicles is generally better, as they don't spike heat at all. They still need ammo, and still have generally bad ranges for the most powerful ballistics. The heat issue is why Vehicles tend to favor missiles and autocannon, over lasers or PPC, in spite of the limited ammo.
  • Lady Land: The Magistracy of Canopus. It's mellowed out over time, though.
  • Legacy Character (The Bounty Hunter.)
  • Lightning Bruiser: 'Mechs themselves. While in specific situations other types of battlefield units can hold an advantage over them, in general they are better armored, swifter, more maneuverable, and more heavily armed than anything else on the battlefield, barring an even bigger 'Mech cresting the hill in front of it.
    • Clan 'Mechs tended to fit this trope better originally, due to their better technology. Then the Inner Sphere caught up...
    • Many heavy and assault Aerospace fighters are quite capable of engaging in dogfights with other heavy and medium weight craft as well as assaulting larger targets. Provided they avoid Interceptors that is.
    • Some models of Battlearmor are this compared to ordinary infantry; they shrug off small arms fire and can survive a few hits from medium grade support and vehicular weapons, can run over 30 kilometers per hour, and a squad numbering less than half a dozen can still bring down a Mech or slaughter an entire regular infantry platoon if left unchecked.
      • Most Battlearmor pilots also fit here; as the physical requirements are stiff. Most of them are over 6 feet in height and very strong but they are also quite fast; having a few hundred pounds of muscle hitting you like a freight train makes them a threat outside their suits. Clan Elementals go even further than most.
  • Lightning Gun: The Particle Project Cannon (PPC) and it's derivatives fires what is effectively a supercharged lightning bolt which melts the extremely advanced armor on BattleMechs.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Word Of Blake uses angelic motifs and names for their exclusive aerospace fighters, omnimechs and battlearmor.
  • Lineage Comes From the Father: Averted. Clan warriors only have a claim to the bloodname of their genetic mother.
  • Lost Colony: These show up from time to time, usually because the maps of the Inner Sphere only show currently inhabited systems. Plenty of planets were rendered uninhabitable or abandoned for some reason or another over centuries of warfare.
    • One of the more famous examples in New Dallas, which is actually situated right next to the Chaos March, one of the most heavily contested areas in the Inner Sphere. The planet was nuked during the Succession Wars.
    • The Periphery follows a different rule; planets are only marked on the map if they have a HPG or otherwise significant connections to the rest of the universe. There may be hundreds of unmarked, inhabited worlds out there.
  • Lost Technology: Lots of stuff from the Star League era. Pulse lasers, LB-X Autocannons, Gauss Rifles, Jump Ships, War Ships, and Extra Light reactors were all eventually rediscovered, though some technology has never been recovered, like the Star League Defense Force's adaptive body armor.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: In various densities and ranges. The biggest single volley from a 'Mech-mounted weapon currently comes from the MRM-40. Which, yes, does mean it shoots forty missiles at a time...and it reloads in under ten seconds, too.
    • Most fire-support 'Mechs are basically walking examples of this Trope waiting to happen. A couple of the more extreme examples include the Salamander and the Yeoman.
    • Rocket launchers rate a special mention. Yes, they're one-shot, they fire only unguided rockets with no fancy special ammo options, and their salvo sizes 'only' range from ten to twenty; but they're lightweight enough that it's easy to carry a bunch of them on a suitably dedicated unit, which can then potentially fire them all off at once.
  • Made of Explodium: Ammunition, while capable of reducing a 'Mech to scrap if a reasonably full bin is hit, arguably doesn't count; however, the game features non-ammo explosive components as well, most famously every model of the Gauss rifle.
    • There are optional rules for the Fusion reactor that powers the 'mechs, allowing them to explode messily when damaged, which is often easier than the amount of armor would indicate.
    • Game rules have VTOL vehicles like helicopters explode spectacularly if they're destroyed in a crash - which many of them are. Officially, it's because they use more volatile fuels than other combat vehicles.
  • Magnetic Weapons: The Gauss Rifle, one of the most quintessentially balanced weapons in the game. Headchopper-level damage, long range, low heat, non-explosive ammo in which you can acquire the "normal duration" ammo supply (12 shots) in just two tons. Only downside is it's rather heavy (but then again, it's a fair price to pay for its firepower and range). Variants also exist, such as the lower-damage longer-reaching Light Gauss Rifle and the Up to Eleven BFG Heavy Gauss Rifle.
  • Mama Bear: The aptly named Clan Ghost Bear (the actual animal is also known to display this type of behavior) is fiercely protective of its civilian castes. When the Word of Blake decided to drop neutron bombs on a few of their cities and introduced a virus that killed hundreds of thousands, they dumped the usual Clan restrictions on mass battles and orbital bombardment. They proceeded to savage several elite Word units and almost single handily turned the Combine front of the Jihad around.
  • Meaningful Name: Consider 'Mechs such as the Catapult, Trebuchet, Longbow, and Archer. All names with implications of arrows and projectiles flung at quite a range. It should probably come as little surprise these designs focus on long range missile barrages as their primary offensive tactic.
    • Quite a few other 'Mechs fall into this by virtue of resembling their namesake. The Raven is the most obvious candidate, being the most avian of the reverse-joint 'Mechs, but you can make a good argument for designs like the Shrike, the Fire Scorpion, and the Kodiak.
  • Meaningful Rename: Clan trueborns fight Trials to earn the right to use the surname of the Founding warrior they are matrilineally related to. This is a great honor, allows a warrior to serve in combat until they are unable (most warriors end up in rear line units by the age of 35) to, grants one a vote and a voice in the Clan Council, allows one to advance beyond the rank of Star Captain and, most importantly, ensures that your genes will be passed on in the form of new warriors.
  • Medieval Stasis: Over two hundred years went by during the Succession Wars, during which almost no new technology was created, and huge amounts of existing technology was destroyed, or hidden.
  • Mini-Mecha: Protomechs, which were designed to fill the gap between battlearmor and light Mechs. They stand at about half the height of the shortest mech and massing at just a tenth of a battlemech they were intended to allow the resource starved Smoke Jaguars deploy a lot of firepower in smaller packages.
  • Misplaced Retribution: During the Jihad the Word of Blake's regular armies and its elite Shadow Divisions committed brutal actions against almost every faction in human space, understandably resulting in equally brutal acts by their opponents once the Word went on the defensive. However this also extended to the Wo B Protectorate Militia, purely defensive formations that were not involved in a decade of nerve gas strikes, saturation nuclear attacks and populations being wiped out by biological weapons. Many found themselves faced with premier mercenary commands, elite House regiments and front line Clan clusters and were shown no mercy as the Word's enemies took the opportunity to get some payback for the horrors of the Jihad.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Happens in-universe when the Word of Blake starts using WMDs indiscriminately on civilian populations. This is considered such a heinous act that every other faction in the Inner Sphere unite and ignore the Ares Conventions rules in order to nuke them into oblivion.
  • More Dakka: The Rotary Autocannons fall under this, but a few mechs also mount enough normal machine guns to turn normal infantry into puree, like the base version of the Piranha Mech which has 12 of them.
    • The original poster child for More Dakka was the Ultra Autocannon class of weapons, which would literally double their rate of fire (and go through ammo twice as fast). This meant that an Ultra AC 20 would spit out 40 damage in a single turn... The Hunchback IIC was therefore the poster boy for this trope, as it could ostensibly deal nearly 100(!) points of damage in a game where the average ton of armor had 16.
    • Several assault 'Mechs get in on this by carrying multiple autocannons. Examples include the Annihilator with its quadruple LBX guns, the Jagermech and its dual double barreled autocannon arms, and some variants of the Dire Wolf, which carried what can only be described as a shoulder mounted AA gun.
  • Motion Capture Mecha: Partially. The pilot's neurohelmet reads his instinctive motor implulses and uses those to coordinate simple details like balance, foot placement, and arm movements. Four-legged 'Mechs are less agile because a human doesn't naturally "think" like a crawler, and a 'Mech operating without the helmet is every bit the clumsy, lumbering giant that it appears.
    • Mechs with hands may have waldoes in the cockpit that the pilot inserts his meaty arm into to control the giant mech arm with, for use in situations requiring delicate work that the computer will probably botch up.
    • Elementals use hand signs to trigger their weapons - folding their ring finger and pinky, and laying their thumb over it to fire their arm mounted laser.
  • Multiple Choice Past: The official explanation for any contradictions in the BattleTech Expanded Universe - ComStar deliberately altering or hiding historical records.
  • Mundane Utility: The BattleMechs. Mechs equipped with hands are very effective for light construction and combat engineering, high-power 6 ton lasers can be toned down for welding, Long ranged missiles are used like dynamite. Then ten seconds later they can pick up and crush a car, slice another BattleMech's torso in half with said high power laser, and user the LRMs to shower an area with a minefield.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Pretty much said word for word, complete with Tears of Remorse, by Khan Lincoln Osis of the Smoke Jaguars after he realizes that the Crusader ideology was only harming the Inner Sphere. He immediately commits Suicide by First Prince.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Aleksandr Kerensky?
    • The Kerensky in BattleTech is supposed to be one of the real Kerensky's descendants. Real-life ancestors to the setting's fictional characters are quite common.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Natasha Kerensky is ancient by the standards of the Clans and well into her 70's even as far as the Inner Sphere is concerned (excellent medical technology that makes her older than she looks notwithstanding). She is still far and away the absolute last person you want to get into a 'Mech fight with.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Ares Conventions, while fulfilling their objectives of protecting civilians and entire planets from the horrors of scorched earth warfare, effectively legalized warfare when it came to resolving diplomatic disputes. Combat became so harmless and sterile (to the average citizen and ruler, soldiers in this period were honored, few in number, and relatively safe so they didn't mind either) that Forever War wasn't that bad of a prospect. And since every power has accepted constant conflict things got really ugly when this situation kept going after the positive aspects of the Conventions, such as the restrictions on attacking key technology or using weapons of mass destruction, fell out of practice and the constant warfare evolved into the near apocalyptic Succession Wars.
  • No Knees: Some early mech designs had legs that would be flat-out impossible to control due to tiny ranges of motion on knees, or in the case of the Stalker assault mech, crazy bendy-legs that bend in both directions
  • Nuclear Option: The only accepted use of nuclear weapons under limited warfare is the killing of Warships, which tend to be Made of Iron. Even the Ares Conventions inserted a caveat allowing atomic detonations tens thousands of kilometers above the surface of populated worlds for this reason.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: In-universe. The massive indiscriminate slaughter of civilians from nuclear bombardment from orbit during the Succession Wars caused all the Successor States to stop using nukes and bombardment entirely. Until the Word of Blake showed up and started killing everything with nukes and bioweapons, that is.
    • Breaking the WMD taboo tends to get you killed as the other factions stop fighting amongst themselves to eliminate the more serious threat. The most clear examples being Clan Smoke Jaguar, who were destroyed by a reformed Star League and abandoned by their fellow Clans, after the bombardment of Turtle Bay and the Word of Blake, who were destroyed by the rest of the human species after they got too nuke happy. The Taurian Concordat (historically the most WMD happy faction in the setting) was absolutely gutted in the post-Jihad era for using nukes against the Inner Sphere while aligned with the Blakists. Part of this was caused by Spheroid retaliation but most of it was due to a large number of Taurian worlds breaking off and forming their own state to escape the insanity.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: The Ares Conventions. Along with reasonable restrictions (captive abuse, no detonating nuclear weapons on populated worlds, no chemical weapons, avoid urban damage) it also included things like timeouts for refueling and rearming and armies often surrendered simply because they were "checkmated". War was turned into such a gentleman's game that the Age of War (which lasted over a century) killed far less people than the 20 year Reunification War and the 2 year Fourth Succession War.
    • The Clans' Zellbrigen dueling rules and the Inner Sphere's informal pact of limited warfare subvert this. While you are not allowed to unleash all the weapons and force at your disposal these (as proven by the Pentagon Civil War and the First and Second Succession Wars) restrictions are necessary to prevent the end of space faring civilization.
  • Odd Friendship: The Outworlds Alliance and Clan Snow Raven formed an alliance and eventually merged outright. The only things they have in common are a focus on space combat and some serious issues with the Draconis Combine. The Ravens consider the Alliance to be backwards barbarians and the Alliance thinks the Clanners are insane but the Outworld's need for defense and the Ravens' need for a home after they were expelled from the homeworlds and lost a large portion of their population during the Wars of Reaving cemented the partnership. By the Dark Age the Raven Alliance is relatively functional, with the Ravens defending the realm and allowed to keep their warrior traditions and the Outlanders free to control their own affairs.
  • Oh Crap: From the trailer for an unused version of a game: "My God!" "New target, designation Atlas."
  • Older Is Better: Those old mechs who cannot be built anymore are treasured over weaker, more recent models.
    • Recent sourcebooks have created new weapons (i.e. plasma weapons) and technology (i.e. compact engines) which simply did not exist during the Star League era (previously the sole source of advanced equipment). So the while the trope applied during the greater portion of the Succession Wars, it starts to become subverted during the Fed Com Civil War and Jihad eras.
  • Old School Dogfighting: Aerospace fighters behave this way when fighting in atmospheres, and normally are the same way in space. However, AeroTech includes a set of advanced movement rules that allow for more realistic combat in a vacuum, among other things.
  • One-Hit Kill: Nearly every unit is in danger of these in some way. Vehicles have these as one of their serious disadvantages; 'Mechs are more resiliant and harder to destroy in one hit. 'Mechs themselves can be removed from combat in one shot through blowing off their heads; even the largest mech is limited in how much armor can go on the head, which leaves the cockpit vulnerable. Weapons that can reliably do more damage than heads can have armor get the epithet "headchoppers". After all, 20 damage on an Altas's chest is almost laughable, but 20 damage on it's head has instantly removed a terrifying opponent from combat.
    • Then there's a type of Critical Hit commonly called the "through-armor critical", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - each hit, no matter how minor, has at least a small chance of getting lucky on the hit location table and being allowed to check for critical hits to the location struck even if the latter still has plenty of armor points remaining. (Under the stock tournament rules, this can only affect torso locations on 'Mechs, but there's a popular optional "floating critical" rule that allows this kind of hit to land anywhere—including the head.) This can potentially result in an otherwise-intact BattleMech getting its first hit from a small-caliber weapon like an AC/2 (the canonical "golden BB" example due to its combination of low damage and long range), having it turn out to be a TAC to the center torso, and get its engine or gyro shot out before the fight has even properly started; the chance of all factors aligning just right for this to happen is very, very small, but it's there. (I shouldn't need to explain what happens if a lucky TAC actually manages to hit a proper ammo bin...)
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. In the fiction, there are many common first names that pop up again and again.
  • One World Order: Averted. One World Order arose on Earth, then expanded, then the space colonies rebelled. It was repeated with the Star League, but that fell apart too.
  • Only Sane Man: The United Hindu Collective, a minor state that peacefully merged with the Federated Suns during the Age of War, was the only nation to point out that the Ares Conventions would effectively legalize warfare.
    • During the Reunification War, when the rest of the Inner Sphere got very brutal in their attempts to force the Periphery into the Star League, the Free Worlds League was the only power to hold to limited warfare during the conflict. This is the primary reason why the Magistracy of Canopus, the state conquered by the League, has positive relations with the Inner Sphere compared to the centuries long legacy of hatred and mistrust you find in the Concordat and Outworlds.
    • Andrey Kerensky was pretty much The Conscience to his brother and kept Nicholas in check while the Clans were being formed. When he was killed his brother had no restraint and his more radical and brutal ideals came into force.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Completely averted. All of the major religions have survived and thrived throughout human space and many new branches and faiths have popped up over the centuries.
  • Overheating: Weapons generate heat, which is dissipated by heat-sinks. If you fire faster than your heat sinks can remove the heat, your 'Mech first slows down, then the accuracy of your weapon attacks suffers, then the reactor tries to shut down barring the pilot managing to override the safeties, and at the extreme end there's a real risk of any explosive ammo you may be carrying starting to cook off, or the pilot dying within seconds to heat exposure since the life support systems can't keep up. For extra fun, some weapons that can help raise a 'Mech's heat level from outside also exist...
    • Just see Kill It with Fire for examples of weapons that artificially increase a mech's heat level.
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil: Prominent among many factions; there are codes of conduct for war but break the rules bad enough and you can expect to be treated in kind. The Word of Blake being blown to kingdom come is probably the best example.
    • Mercenaries tend to be unkind to other mercenaries who commit warcrimes or betray their employers; to the point that the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission (MRBC) will put out bounties on them. If you get kicked out of the commission you are considered a pirate and a criminal rather than a soldier; and pirates are considered free game by everyone.
    • Pull too many dirty tricks (or any at all beyond the mid 3050s) and the Clans will get annoyed enough to simply throw duels and honor out the window and turn their Super Soldiers and advanced weapons on you at their full potential. The Clans also punish piracy with battlefield executions and don't apply honor to criminals.
    • The fear this trope in the form of mutually assured destruction through Lost Technology was the only thing that kept the Great Houses from attacking jumpships during the late Succession Wars.
  • Pirate Girl: Morgan Fletcher, Suzy "One-Eye" Morgaine-Ryan and Paula "Lady Death" Trevaine.
  • Planet Terra: The Terran Hegemony.
  • Planetville: Played dead straight. Except for the local capital (with its attendant spaceport) and the occasional outlying settlement or three, planets in most BattleTech fiction might as well be completely uninhabited. (This is to some extent an Acceptable Break From Reality, since it helps prop up the illusion that the fate of an entire world could in fact be decided by the relatively small-scale battles played out at the actual gaming table.)
  • Politically-Correct History: Used in-universe. The Star League is generally considered to be golden age of mankind by just about everyone in the 31st century, while in actuality it was far from it. Sure, there was relative peace and a high technology level, but speak out about independence one iota and the SLDF would appear in-system to remind you who the boss was - with 'Mechs.
    • Various source books emphasize that, while Inner Sphere and Clan peoples remember the Star League's rule as 300 years of peace and development fondly, the Periphery states were forced to join after they were brutalized in the Reunification War and never really got over that. The Peripherary territories were poorly treated, overtaxed, and systematically abused until the collapse of the League.
    • There's also the little matter of never-ending shadow wars between what would become the Successor States that went on behind the facade of the Star League, though these smaller conflicts are nothing compared to the Succession Wars that started when the Star League fell.
  • Portmanteau: The Timber Wolf's Inner Sphere reporting name Mad Cat came to be when Precentor Focht was analyzing Phelan Kell's mech blackbox. The targeting system, not having data on the Timber Wolf, couldn't decide if it was seeing a Marauder (MAD) or the Catapult (CAT), constantly switching between MAD and CAT.
  • Powered Armor: From simple powered suits for special forces troopers, to one-ton suits capable of taking on 'Mechs in numbers, and even larger suits up to two tons. The best-known example is Elemental battle armor, which surprised the Inner Sphere military during its first appearance, on account of being so tough for such a small suit.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The main reason the Inner Sphere gave up total warfare and Weapons of Mass Destruction after the First and Second Succession Wars. Defeating your enemies simply isn't possible when your technological base is being blasted back to the 19th century, your civilians are all dead and unable to contribute to the war effort and the worlds you want to conquer end up as depopulated piles of wreckage. Centuries long stalemates aren't exactly fun but even the most ambitious House Lord realizes that you can't rule all of humanity if space facing civilization comes to an end.
  • Private Military Contractors: Many, many mercenary armies work for each of the Houses; some even own their own worlds.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Lyran Commonwealth is generally described as a nation of merchants first, politicians second, and warriors a distant third. Clan Diamond Shark combines this with Proud Warrior Race Guy.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Clans' warrior caste - in a half-twist, they are the enemies for once.
    • The soldiers of the heavily militaristic Federated Suns and Draconis Combine, based on Anglo-Franco knights and Japanese samurai respectively, tend towards this as well, to a much lesser extent.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: Properly maintained Mechs and Jumpdrives that are centuries old and still work far better than their more recently-made counterparts.
  • Ramming Always Works: The game's charge mechanics can lead to some...interesting results, depending on the unit being used. The aptly titled Charger BattleMech can deal a frightening amount of damage, mostly as a factor of mass and distance traveled. Given that the Charger is 80 tons and can move 86 kph on clear ground, its ramming attacks can be devastating (64 damage points to the target, while the maximum damage it can take as a result of its attack is often just 10 points).
  • Real Robot: 'Mechs average a bit more resilient than usual for the genre, but they are still gritty metal-and-grease war machines that get banged up and blasted to pieces all the time.
  • Recursive Import: The Game was imported to Japan, which resulted in a Studio Nue redesign of the mechs based on Macross/Dougram designs.
  • Recycled in Space: At first glance, most of the Successor States look like 16th-18th century nations, though they are actually more complex.
    • House Davion: Great Britain IN SPACE
    • House Steiner: Germany IN SPACE
    • House Marik: USA / France IN SPACE
    • House Liao: Imperial/Communist China IN SPACE
    • House Kurita: Feudal Japan IN SPACE
  • Redheaded Hero: YMMV, but Hanse Davion fits this trope to a T. It's one of House Davion's defining traits, which is actually appropriate since they are of Scots origin. Of course, some would argue that they are an entire family of Evil Redheads (especially if you're a fan of Houses Kurita or Liao).
    • Morgan Hasek-Davion has this in spades; depictions of him and descriptions from the background give him long red hair as a trademark. Several of the Scottish-origin Northwind Highlanders also exhibit this trope.
  • Reporting Names: Each of the Clan BattleMechs were given such names by the Inner Sphere. For example, the Clans' Timber Wolf is still widely known as the Mad Cat.
    • Some of these are better than others, and the mere mention of an Inner Sphere reporting name in the presence of a Clan supporter can cause arguments. Just to make it worse, the Vulture is the only Mech that ever went by three names. It was also called Hagetaka, which is Japanese for Vulture, in the Draconis Combine.
    • The Mauler is a FedCom reporting name for a Draconis Combine 'mech, back when it was so secret the other IS houses only had rumors of its existence. The 'Mech's prototypical name was Daboku (bruise), but the original prototypes were marked failures. While the newest models were superior and reasonably effective, the Draconis Combine used the FedCom reporting name to avoid the embarrassment of the Daboku's history. Before that, related models that (visually) called back to the Mauler went by Na-No-Kami (the Japanese god of earthquakes) and Linesman.
      • A similar story exists for the Wolf Trap BattleMech. Designed by the Draconis Combine, its original name was Tora (tiger), but it was quickly given the FedCom reporting name Wolf Trap in a hasty effort to make it not seem Draconian in origin, as the 'Mech was branded a failure.
  • Retcon: Certain early Mechs were inspired by Macross designs, and this caused legal problems for the game designers when BattleTech began to pick up steam. The designs were removed from the game, and fans took to calling these designs Unseen. With rights to the original artwork still not forthcoming, eventually the mechs were simply redesigned.
    • Word of God says this is officially NOT a retcon—the original designs still exist in universe, they just can't be seen in Real Life. The Project Phoenix redesigns are just that—revamped designs of the old machines meant to reflect the new styling of the 3060s.
    • Confusing the issue further, Catalyst has the rights to use, and does use, the artwork for the 'Mechs taken from all sources not Macross. The Thunderbolt, Shadow Hawk, Battlemaster, and others have reappeared in Real Life.
    • A more appropriate example would be the situation regarding 'Mech production. Initially there was ZERO production, just spare parts to fight over which placed a higher emphasis on the Schizo-Tech and Scavenger World themes. A fairly early retcon created working factories which allows scrapped 'Mechs to be replaced, but without making them numerous either, preserving to a lesser degree the sense of scarcity.
    • Similarly, the fact that the Inner Sphere had finally started to recover some lost Star League technologies on a useful scale beginning about a decade before the Clan invasion...was only introduced to the universe after the first novels about said invasion had already been written. This makes several viewpoint characters from said novel sound oddly ignorant on the subject of the invaders' technology in retrospect.
  • Revenge by Proxy: One of the many ways in which some of the more oppressive Great Houses of the Inner Sphere (such as Kurita) violated human rights.
    • Pre-Schism Com Star and the Word of Blake also used this as a mean of intimidation.
  • Ring Out: It is possible to knock enemy units off of the map by knocking them into an adjacent hex when they're right on the edge; game rules often treat this as "in retreat" or similar.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: How the Absorption of Clan Widowmaker went down after Nicholas Kerensky was killed. The results were...not pretty.
    • The rallying cry Clan Smoke Jaguar must die! had shades of this as well.
    • Early in the First Succession War, the Coordinator of the Draconis Combine was assassinated shortly after nearly conquering the Davion-held world Kentares IV. His son and successor decided the entire planet needed to die. He ordered his troops to kill every man, woman and child on the planet. This predictably caused a strong response in House Davion's troops, turning the tide in the war.
      • It also caused another, directly aimed at House Kurita—the Eridani Light Horse were repulsed by the massacre, and declared their mercenary contract null and void due to Kurita's violations of the laws of war. The governor of the planet they were based out of responded by killing all of the Eridani Light Horse's families and dependents. This was a grave miscalculation on Kurita's part—the unit sought out every representative of the Kurita government and military on the planet and systematically killed them in revenge.
      • Wolf's Dragoons also got in on this during both the Marik Civil War and the events surrounding the aptly-named planet of Misery. Given both their skills and considering their eventual origins, this proved to be a bad thing for the parties they were seeking revenge against.
      • The Dragoons had another big one when Blakist sponsored mercenaries attacked Outreach and killed Jaime Wolf, among other atrocities. They proceeded to kill every hostile on the planet, including those who attempted to surrender, in an action explicitly compared to a Clan Trial of Annihilation.
    • The Clans have a socially accepted version of this, the aforementioned Trial of Annihilation. Normally a badly tainted group or personage is Abjured, exiled in other words. If they are considered truly beyond the pale, however, Annihilation is proposed. An Annihilated Clanner is killed, as are all those descended from them, and then all those killed are unpersoned. Like all Clan Trials it is by combat and it's in theory possible to win...but this has only occurred a handful of times in Clan history. The mere proposal of Annihilation usually means all the political bridges have been burned; the vote for the trial determines the odds on the field, and 100 to 1 or worse is the norm.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Like ancient and medieval kings back on Earth, royalty and other leaders are expected to inspire the people by leading their troops in combat, or at least have combat experience. Does not apply to actual heads of state, usually, but if the excrement is well and truly all over the fan, it happens. Andrew Davion, Hanse's Davion's older brother and First Prince before him, died in his Atlas' cockpit, while Hanse and Takahashi Kurita both mounted up (and scored several kills each) in defense of their capital worlds.
    • You can't be appointed First Prince of the Federated Suns without spending five years on the front lines as a member of the Federated Suns military. This particular point becomes a big issue for the younger sibling of the First Prince, who stages a very artful coup but never has particularly much legitimacy because she never did any military service. Cue vicious Civil War.
      • Considering she was second-in-line for the throne and the first born nearly got killed a dozen times or more while his parents were still alive, you'd think they would have insisted that #2 join the army...
    • Lampshaded in Mechwarrior4: Vengeance, where the protagonist is from a royal family, seeking to restore legal rule to his planet (and the final battle is with his cousin), and after one of his missions, a lancemate actually says "I guess you're not one of those royals who let the rest of us do the heavy lifting."
  • Royally Screwed-Up: The Camerons of the Terran Hegemony, the Liaos of the Capellan Confederation, and the Mariks of the Free Worlds League to a certain extent. The other great houses also have had their examples throughout the ages, but those are the most prominent.
    • The Camerons were prone to excesses, and occasional bouts of Magnificent Bastardy. This actually managed to be a boon to their nation, until Richard was betrayed by his Treacherous Advisor.
    • The Liaos have a serious genetic predisposition to being batshit fucking insane. As in "self-mutilation to show your loyalty" and "kill a few thousand people because I'm convinced a handful are traitors" and "I'm convinced I can kill you with the power of my mind" kinds of insane. The ones that aren't insane are shrewd, competant leaders. The ones that are insane are shrewd, terrifying megalomaniacs.
    • The Mariks are known to two major traits: Being largely ineffective on the throne, and killing each other to take the throne. The most effective Marik leader in recent memory turned out to not actually be a Marik.
    • Other royal families also had problems with internal strife and political wrangling at each other, but usually not to the ridiculous extent the Liaos and Mariks would display.
  • Rule of Cool: The setting would not exist without this.
  • Scary Black Man: Franklin Osis, the first Khan of Clan Smoke Jaguar
  • Scavenger World: Much of the Inner Sphere.
    • The same applied to the Pentagon worlds before and during Operation Klondike.
  • Schizo-Tech: Some League technology has been retained, but much has been lost and has to be reinvented. For example, compact fusion reactors and neurointerface technology exists in the setting, but targeting computers weigh several tons and are less capable than WWII-era analog ones.
    • Targeting computers weigh so much because it's not just a computer, but more precise servos for weapon mounts, better sensors, and the like.
    • And thanks to many worlds experiencing a combination of poor support in the early colonial days and the setbacks of war, most can't produce a full range of modern technologies on-planet, and imports can get pricey. There are more than a few worlds where businessmen talk on sattelite phones while riding their horses (or possibly some other alien beast) to work.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them: Pretty much how IlKhan Andrews started up the initial Reavings that would plunge the Clan Homeworlds into all out war. He even got away with killing another Khan before he had a chance to defend himself. His taint doctrine had no precedence in Clan law and only served to allow the Homeworld based Clans to attempt to weaken their Invader rivals. Once the strongest of these allies, the Star Adders, got what they wanted they pointed out that Andrews' Steel Vipers had also been "tainted" and Annihilated them under their own doctrine.
  • The Scottish Trope: The Not-Named Clan Wolverine.
  • Series Mascot: The Mad Cat/Timber Wolf is the series iconic design. The Atlas and Warhammer are usually the Inner Sphere and Succession Wars mascots.
  • Secret Police: The ISF of the Combine, Comstar and the Word of Blake's ROM, The Free Worlds League's (comically inept) SAFE, the various Clan Watches, the Federated Sun's MI 6, the Confederation's Maskirovka, and the Commonwealth's LIC (though their LOKI department goes a step further, and Heimdall goes beyond that.
  • Seppuku: Brought back by the Draconis Combine
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: As with many tabletop games, this trope is in full force here. Long range weapons in Battletech rarely have a maximum range that exceeds 25 hexes, and each hex is 30 meters long. Most weapons have much shorter maximum ranges, and their effective range is even shorter than that. Apparently the tech level makes giant robots practical, but it can't arm them with anything that goes farther than half a kilometer.
    • This has been repeatedly called out, and repeatedly stated to exist for game balance. In real-world, all of the weapons would have ranges measuring "to the horizon", save possibly Lasers, as those would suffer diffraction. The designers have also directly said that it was for playability as well, as to model accurate ranges would force players into needing 12 or more maps end-to-end, and that it took away the "face-to-face" dueling romance of the game and instead making it a sniper contest.
    • One early version of the rules attributed the range problem to jamming of electronic sensors plus extensive use of smoke screens. By this rule, the battlefield's a continual pea-soup fog and no Mechwarrior can see his target well enough to hit beyond a few tens of meters. This didn't, though, explain why some weapons could target the enemy at twice the distance another weapon carried by the same 'Mech could.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: In the right hands, even lower-damage LBX autocannons can tear shit up with cluster munitions.
  • Shoulders of Doom: On the Atlas, pictured here. Quite appropriate given the name.
    • For the Shoulder Cannon variant, the missile racks of the Mad Cat's silhouette are probably the most famous. The Awesome and the Mauler get in on the action with the Eva Fins variant.
  • Shout-Out: lots of them, from various sources.
    • A recent sourcebook includes a news report by Kiva Cooper, on a battle where a 'Mech falls onto a Pop TV building.
    • Several famous mercenary units referenced popular culture. Examples included The Fighting Urukhai and Team Banzai, led by the mysterious "Dr. B. Banzai."
    • Wolf Dragoons also got in the act with its old Zeta company pre-misery mostly in having names of some of its members of that part of the Dragoons taken from a certain universe that goes by a U.C timeline
    • A small one: in the book Crusader Clans, there's a Clan Star Adder unit whose unit sobriquet is "The Answer." Their official designation? The 42nd Adder Cavaliers.
    • Some of the 'Mech and vehicle sourcebooks used minor shout-outs for the names of supposedly notable pilots. One 'Mech, for instance, was piloted by the "sexy, slightly disturbing" Yvonne Morticia, a member of "the equally weird Team Banzai." "Morticia" is obvious, especially since her BattleMech is named Lurch. Yvonne almost certainly refers to Yvonne De Carlo, who played Lily Munster.
  • Single Biome Planet: Averted most of the time. Exceptions are planets like Tharkad, which can be pretty much summarized as "tundra everywhere".
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Present in many factions; mostly in reaction to criminal activity or dereliction of duty. Ranges from political and social marginalization (Houses Davion, Steiner and Marik), labor camps, pressure to commit suicide or outright execution (Houses Kurita and Liao) to demotion/exile/execution for warriors and sterilization for civilians (the Clans).
    • Indeed, the Clan Trial of Annihilation takes this Up to Eleven. Should the guilty party be convicted not only are they executed but anyone related to them is put to death (if in the warrior caste, and this includes children still in training or even still unborn) or sterilized and sentenced to a life of hard labor (if in the civilian castes). Afterwards if someone mentions the names of the Annihilated it is grounds for censure. It should be noted that Annihilations are only carried out well after the Clans see the Godzilla Threshold crossed and it requires every bloodnamed warrior in the Clan (several hundred, apart from those who are targeted) to vote in favor to even commence the Trial.
  • Skull for a Head: The Atlas, the archetypal 100 ton mech, was deliberately designed as such.
  • Slap on the wrist WMDs: Played straight gameplay-wise for balance reasons, but in-universe averted to high hell -- using nukes or just about any Weapons of mass destruction is the quickest way to get everyone to stop shooting each other and start shooting at you.
    • Reunification War states that only the biggest ones (like city busters) were not stated for balance reasons. Even the smaller tactical nukes, orbital strikes, radiological bombs and nerve gas weapons will destroy anything unfortunate enough to be caught anywhere near ground zero and will severely damage things further outside it. The Wars of Reaving also saw weaponized viruses with a 100% lethality rate against units at the wargame level and player characters at the RPG level.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: A common tactic when dealing with enemy 'Mechs.
  • Smug Super: Trueborn Clanners are not exactly humble about their superior breeding and training; to say nothing of their tendency towards Cultural Posturing. Even the friendlier ones (who respect skilled freeborns and honorable Spheroids) are usually characterized as being confident well past the point of arrogance. To make things worse certain Clans, particularly the Falcons, Vipers, Ravens and Wolves, are considered prideful by Clan standards.
    • The Word of Blake's Manei Domini looked down on ordinary humans as "frails" and saw themselves as enlightened and closer to the Master's vision for humanity. Unlike the Clans, who recognize strength and are willing to swallow their pride if you beat them bad enough, the Domini have a tendency to throw tantrums if they lose; usually with massed WMD deploayment.
  • The Social Darwinist (The Clans: see Designer Babies. Ironically, real Darwinism bit them on the ass when the tried to retake the Inner Sphere. While the Clans had spent the last couple centuries honing their skills in ritualized honor-bound combat, the Inner Sphere had been fighting wars practically nonstop.)
    • Whilst the Clanners might have the upper hand in an organized fight, the Inner Sphere were more than capable and willing of employing tactics that the haughty Clan Warriors would see as cowardly. Or to put it simply, the Inner Sphere 'warriors and commanders were all versed in the art of Combat Pragmatism, quite happily exploiting the rigid rule and honour engagement structure of the clans.
    • The Clans got wise to it eventually, though. Nowadays Clan forces are permitted to flatly refuse any batchalls (challenges) from Inner Sphere forces without any loss of honor, if the Sphere challenge is blatantly intended to use the system to put the Clanners at a disadvantage.
  • Space Fighter: Aerospace Fighters.
  • Space-Filling Empire: There are a number of smaller states around the Inner Sphere, but most of it is controlled by the five Successor States.
  • The Spartan Way: The Clans.
  • Spheroid Dropship: The Trope Namer. See here for an example.
  • Spider Tank: Quadrupedal mechs do exist, though they're uncommon and generally less effective than the bipedal kind. In gameplay terms, as long as they manage to actually keep all four legs (which isn't as easy as it sounds), they're both more stable and can execute a special 'sidestep' maneuver...but lacking arms and the ability to torso twist, they have less room to spare for weapons than their bipedal cousins even when they can load the exact same tonnage as well as fairly large blind spots from which they can be attacked while being unable to return fire at all.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Army: Mecha may dominate the battlefield, but there still plenty of room for tanks, infantry, and power armor.
  • Standard Sci Fi History: Set during the Interregnum following the collapse of the Star League.
  • State Sec: The Lyran Commonwealth's LOKI, whose official mandate is state terrorism, occasionally gets overzealous. Their bad habits of attempting to overthrow the government and cracking down on the population triggered the formation of Heimdall, a group of Lyran intel agents from other departments who act as a loyal opposition, specifically to keep LOKI in check.
  • Super Soldier: Clan Mecha/Fighter Pilots and Battle Armor Troopers.
    • Clan fighter pilots subvert the Super Soldier trope. Despite being genetically engineered to be better pilots, and having better equipment, they consistently lose to Inner Sphere pilots. Clan aerospace inferiority arguably cost them the Invasion at the Battle of Radstat.
    • Elementals, meanwhile, take the trope and run with it. They're pretty much Space Marines minus the extra organs.
    • The Manei Domini are cyborgs originally designed to (hopefully) defeat the Clans, this would also make them Super Soldiers.
  • Tanks for Nothing: Averted. Ton for ton, tanks are generally inferior to comparable BattleMechs, but they are still far from helpless or useless. See also Tank Goodness below.
  • Tank Goodness: 'Mechs may be the 'kings of the battlefield'...but you would be well-advised not to tell an Alacorn Mark VII or Shrek PPC Carrier that to its face. Tanks are typically cheaper and far more numerous than 'Mechs, and quantity has a quality all its own. And those that do equal a 'Mech's pricetag are dangerous in themselves.
    • There's even an in-universe traning scenario that highlights Tank Goodness. Called the Scorpion's nest, it involves an absurdly high number of Scorpion tanks continuously ambusing the testee until the testee loses. In-game, one is far more likely to see the Savannah Master swarm, with equally absurdly high number of an even worse unit. Played properly, either of those "crap" unit swarms can topple Dropships. Even Assault 'mech groups don't want to face an opposing Dropship.
    • Players who underestimate ground vehicles are quickly relieved of the notion after their first Demolisher encounter. An 80 ton tank with a heavy armor shell and dual Autocannon-20s that cost less than a 35-ton 'Mech, the Demolisher can easily be hidden in a hull-down ambush and roll up alongside a 'Mech to deliver a crippling one-two punch.
  • Technology Marches On: The official line is that humanity ran out of most of its good ideas before the 22nd century, and spent most of the next several centuries refining existing technologies. Thanks to scarce resources on some worlds though, 20th-century tech is the usual standard, with internal combustion engines, radio, and CD-ROMS.
  • Transforming Mecha: Early versions of the game featured Land-Air 'Mechs, which could transform Macross-style into aircraft. (The results were predictably Awesome but Impractical.) This was seen as perilously close to outright copyright infringement, so they began to be phased out in the early '90s. Nevertheless, optional rules still exist for them, and updated rules are said to be in the pipeline.
    • Hilariously, some of the associated novels mention these very aircraft - and then ridicule them for failing miserably every time someone tried to design one.
      • It got so bad that FASA finally put in the fluff that there was one, and only one, factory by 3050 capable of producing LAMs. Clan Nova Cat, who had captured the world, had a typically Clanner loathing of LAMs (and the fact that they had very different phenotypes for aerospace pilots and Mechwarriors didn't help) and razed the factory to the ground.
    • The 3085 Technical Readout has updated LAM designs; they look much less ridiculous than the original ones, but still look like they'd topple over in a light breeze.
  • Trial by Combat: Present in the Combine and one of the key pillars of Clan society, who have several variations; including Position, Absorption, Refusal, Possession, Bloodright, Grievance, Abjuration and Annihilation.
  • United Space of America: Soundly averted. Because the American planetary colonies were the first ones settled, they were also closest to Earth and thus subjected to the most horrific bombardments in the 400-year long interstellar civil war. Little American culture survives in the 31st century save for the tequila-drinking Texans of the Capellan March, the Americans and Israelis on the Southwest Worlds of the Free Worlds League, and the far-flung Amish planet of Home.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Every book, from the TROs to the Sourcebooks, (except for the novels) is explicitly written as an in-universe book. Originally, this was done just for flavor, as a way to create immersion. It has practical considerations as well. The way canon works in BT is that the most recent books trump any previous material. This makes doing a Retcon or even a subtle Rewrite much easier; the older material is simply considered to be in error. It also allowed the BT writers to correct a lot of incorrect and inaccurate information in the earliest books, simply by calling the ComStar-induced errors or possibly even misinformation.)
    • At first, now the sourcebook writer seem to have developed a fetish for purposely giving out misinformation in the new releases. That's right, there's every possibility in the world that that brand new sourcebook in your hands is lying to you.
    • The misinformation took on a wierd new meta-level when the developers revealed a new 200-ton Omega "superheavy" 'Mech as an April Fool's joke to the players. Then at the end of the Jihad storyline, guess what one of the Word of Blake's new experimental weapons turned out to be? The joke's on you, heretics.
  • Unusual Weapon Mounting: Players are encouraged to throw weapons anywhere they want to.
  • Used Future: Some mechs and dropships have probably never been properly repainted and replated in centuries.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Nicholas Kerensky seems to have been doing this when he created the Clans.
    • This also seems to have been Devlin Stone's approach in building The Republic of the Sphere, especially with the revelation that he was responsible for the HPG network crash
    • Ian Cameron had this mindset as he was building the Star League; he wanted humanity united at any cost. While the League did herald 250 years of relative peace, technological advancement and economic propensity the Reunification War against the Periphery was the deadliest and most brutal conflict in history until the First Succession War broke out.
  • Vibroweapon: Exist at the mech level and, more commonly, as personal melee weapons. While a vibro weapon is capable of penetrating most personal armor the advantage is somewhat offset by the fact that the weapons run out of power quickly and make a very unstealthly humming noise.
  • War Is Glorious: If you ask the Federated Suns, the Clans, or the Draconis Combine anyway. The Suns' belief in this trope was a major sticking point during their union with the Commonwealth; whose position was that war should serve economic and political goals, no more no less.
  • Walking Tank: The majority of Clan 'Mechs and post-Clan Invasion Inner Sphere mechs are Walking Tanks, but most Succession Wars era 'Mechs are more humanoid.
  • Weaponized Car: The Star League-era Rotunda scout car, which is a combat vehicle disguised as a luxury sports car or other civilian vehicles, and is armed with a large laser.
    • Amusingly, its official gameplay stats give it a canonical weight of twenty tons...fairly light as BT combat vehicles go, to be sure, but by civilian road and traffic standards?
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Dropship liftoffs are capable of destroying anything near them.
  • We Will Use Wiki Words in the Future: Duh.
  • We Have Reserves: The main danger to the Clans from Inner Sphere units. A Clan cluster is 35 to 45 'Mechs, about the size of an Inner Sphere battalion. The Inner Sphere typically throws multiple regiments of 3+ battalions each at a Cluster.
    • Early in the invasion, the tech gap meant that most Inner Sphere forces considered that they'd require a 2-to-1 advantage over Clan forces to simply reach parity, and both sides would end up mauled into worthlessness during the actual battle. For any chance of a decisive victory, Inner Sphere forces needed to vastly outnumber the Clanners.
  • Wham Sourcebook: The Wars of Reaving, full stop.
  • Whip It Good: Clanners use laser-guided whips in single combat duels.
  • The Wiki Rule: In full effect.
  • Wild Mass Guessing: Three recent sourcebooks full of what amounts to canon WMG. It's up to the individual GM to decide what's actually true.
  • Yellow Peril: Most of the Capellan Confederation's Chancellors.

Primary Objective: inspect tropes page: successful. Mission accomplished.

  1. (The Federated Suns (House Davion), Lyran Commonwealth (House Steiner), Draconis Combine (House Kurita), Free Worlds League (House Marik) and Capellan Confederation (House Liao))
  2. In theory, double heat sinks should be balanced against singles by their considerably increased bulk, but the unit construction rules don't actually work out that way.
  3. Well, you can't have fired any leg-mounted weapons that turn... not a concern for most designs that aren't called Crusader.