Road to Reaving – Frequently Asked Questions

Partial of TOA Chapter art

As promised, answers (of a sort) to the questions everyone posted over the last several days. The blog will continue apace as well with another posting tomorrow.

And now…answers to your questions!

Wars of Reaving: FAQ

Who would win in a fight: 1960′s era William Shatner or Jason Schmetzer?
Technically not a WOR question, but it’s too awesome to not answer. Schmetzer, hands down. His verbal tirade would cause the Shat’s ears to bleed, distracting him as Schmetzer laid down the smack. See, Schmetzer fights dirty…

Are any new Clans created?
Maybe. It’s certainly within a Khan’s power to do so; the question is, are any of them savvy enough to do it?

Whenever the Record Sheets for the book are(if) released will it just have RS for the new units in the book or will it have new variants for already existing units?
The plan, at the moment, is to have the record sheets for all of the units in the book. That’s four ProtoMechs and three OmniMechs; the Omnis will have their Prime and Alpha configs (as mentioned in the book) as well as up to four additional variants. I’m not sure if we have additional variants for the Protos.

What are the names of the new OmniMechs?
That’d spoil the surprise!

And probably asking for too much: which Clans designed said OmniMechs?
That answer would also tip a surprise, so as much as I want to say, I cannot.

Any chance of a WoR supplemental?
A very good chance, actually. Probably releasing 4-6 weeks after the book.

Does the Word of Blake have a hand in anything that goes on in the Cluster/Pentagon?
That’s actually a tricky question to answer without divulging a main plot point. I can say this: The Word of Blake is mentioned a few times in the book.

Are the Genecaste real?
Possibly. Their reality may or may not be as described in Interstellar Players.

Will the logo found in Blood Avatar be revealed to be true, or is it a red herring?
It’s a conspiracy theory espoused by a backwater community coroner who’s never left the planet, never involved herself in interstellar events, and yet apparently knows more about the Clans than the top leaders in the Inner Sphere. So…take that as you will.

How did Khan Amanda Carrol get to be such a cutie?
Because that’s how the artist created her?

Any in jokes for us to find?
Not really, no. There’s one oblique Babylon 5 reference, a snap at the BT cartoon, and a touch on the BOI series. Otherwise, no.

Did the One Star Faith or the Believers of the Saints Cameron participate in the Diet of Babylon? Did either make inroads into the Homeworlds?
Yes, though I don’t mention them by name. And I think you can answer the second part of that question at the end of the book. (If you can’t figure it out by then, ask me.)

Do we find out what happens to Adder Upsilon on their expedition to the IS?

Are the Tanites as scary awesome as we over speculate?
Probably not.

Do the Blood Spirit civilians become a ravenous zombie horde?
No, though the civilians are indirectly responsible for what happens to that Clan.

What became of the Mckenna’s Pride and General Kerensky’s tomb?
They’re both still around in 3085.

After the Wars of Reaving will a culture develop among the surviving Clans of isolation from the inner sphere and IS-based Clans or will a new Crusader culture develop?
The old “Warden” and “Crusader” philosophies are no more in the Homeworlds at the end of all this; there’s more of a reverse-philosophy that comes to the forefront. The Inner Sphere Clans still hold those ideals, but suffice to say how they interpret them will continue to change and evolve.

Sample sidebar design from layout

Can you give an idea of the repercussions of WoR on the universe between Jihad and Dark Age eras?
The Wars effectively severe all connections between the Spheroid Clans and the Homeworlds. As a result, the Homeworld Clans are mostly forgotten by the time of the Dark Age.

The incidents cause the Inner Sphere Clans to compile a comprehensive briefing of the whole sordid ordeal, which is then codified into a book that is intended to be passed on to future Clan leaders. The WOR sourcebook is that resource.

In your opinion, what’s the most exciting thing about WoR (that you can talk about right now) and why?
Partially because this is uncharted territory in the story; it’s been a decade since fans have not truly known what lies ahead in the plot. That excites me not just as the author, but as a fan. It’s also great to finally “connect the dots” with a lot of the various hanging plot points and hints we’ve had out there over the last several years, and laying out general groundwork for the future of the Inner Sphere Clans.

Given the writing of the story has there been a great picture (as final results of the WoR) you had to follow or were you free to do/create anything you wanted?
I was 99% able to do whatever I wanted in the Homeworlds, as long as I stuck with the “5 Clans destroyed” statement in Rending of Falcons. With the IS Clans there was more constraint, as we have plotted direction for them through the Dark Age era. Filling in the gaps as to how these Clans move in that direction was up to me, however.

Given the (probably) true ToC you posted which chapter is your favorite/you are especially proud about?
Chapter 9, Founder’s Future. That was a very fun section to write. And Chapter 11, the WOR Campaign; I really think people are going to love this twist on the Chaos Campaign ruleset.

Within the context of the book, what is the incident you wrote that spells out “S**T JUST GOT REAL” to the Clans as a whole?
The events of December 4-6, 3071.

Does this book detail the decision for Clan Diamond Shark to revert to using the Sea Fox as their totem?
No. The Sharks revert to Sea Fox in 3100, beyond the dateline of this book.

What was the single most difficult section/chapter to write for you? Why?
The biographies in Chapter 9 were the most difficult. It’s hard to make Clan warriors seem like individuals instead of common genetic stereotypes.

Do the Snow Ravens get to kick Steel Vipers for their attack on Lum?
No. Actually, the true destruction of Lum comes from two other Clans. And the Ravens do get a small measure of revenge on one of the perpetrators.

Do the Snow Ravens get to kick the Draconis Combine for their destruction of the White Cloud?
Well yeah; I thought that was clear early on in the Jihad: Hot Spots books with the rampage that lead to Galedon…

Will the rumor “new” WarShip mentioned in the early Jihad Hot Spots books that allegedly belonged to the Steel Vipers be highlighted?
Considering it’s the lynchpin of the Viper’s overall strategy, I’d say yes.

How *many* Clans are destroyed?
Enough of them.

Do the Homeworld Clans become more radical and withdrawn from any other human contact, a la Blood Spirits, or do the wars result in a less fanatical mindset due to the amount of destruction? This obviously has implications with regards to, among other things, Trueborn versus freeborn philosophies (some Homeworld Clans not admitting any freebirth warriors into their toumans versus the practice of most of the Invasion era Clans allowing freebirth participation and even rank within their toumans).
Well, as I said earlier, the Wars do force a re-evaluation of various philosophies. The Homeworld Clans now see things very differently, and the Spheroid Clans are forging their own path with the old philosophies.

To put it another way, do the wars result in an intensifying of Clan culture, or a move away from perspectives and habits that may have led up to the wars?
That’s best left for reader interpretation after reading the book as a whole.

Is this a Victor Hugo-style sweeping historical novel disguised as a sourcebook?
Probably. 🙂

With a book of this scope, covering over a dozen factions, where many unintended continuity errors are always a danger, how do you as the author organize your materials to avoid this? You mentioned working off Oystein’s stuff, but did you build your own additional system, or try to work from the master notes he had?
Well, first off, Oystein’s notes mainly dealt with Clan units that were still around in the 3090’s and beyond; he compiled a comprehensive list of Galaxies, Clusters, and WarShips that were still viable in the 3130’s. This was so I didn’t inadvertently kill something off. I still managed to boggle a couple of things, but we worked those issues out.

I did have my own system, though I had to cobble it together after I’d started. Using a printout of the FM:U rosters, I did my own pencil-and-eraser approach in damaging and destroying units as needed. I also used a master WarShip list to keep track of losses. I’m rather happy to say that there are few, if any, continuity errors in the book with regards to units, people, and other hard facts. Much of that comes from the dedicated help of two factcheckers who love the Clans.

Now we have the WOR coming out, what happens to the Clans afterwards?
See, answering that would be telling. There are plans for them in the BattleTech future, especially the Spheroid ones.

Will we see new some tech manuals from the rebuild or source books?
No, this is it for the Homeworlds for a while. There is nothing on the production schedule for at least the next 4-5 years and by Herb and my decree, the Homeworlds and Deep Periphery are “untouchable” by our writers after the in-game year of 3085.

If the WOR was the Clan “jihad,” a lot would have been destroyed. So new OmniMechs, DropShips, JumpShips and WarShip construction could happen. Think of all them new books a new golden age of building. What do you think?
First, I dislike the idea this is the Clan “jihad.” Let’s separate the two storylines and not call it that.

Second, there’s no other books planned and considering how this whole thing goes down, the Clans won’t be in much position to make new toys, much less recoup the ones already in existence they lose in the Wars.

According to the novels and “clickytech” MechWarrior: Dark Age products there are several new mini-factions that appear to have origins on the Clans. Do any of these mini-factions originate from the Clans involved in the WoR or their origins are exclusively from the IS clans? Is there any reference in the WoR book for any of these new/renamed mini-factions?
First, remember that MW:DA occurs in 3134 and beyond. The time covered by this book is 3067-3087.

Second, all of the mini-factions in the MW:DA era have origins in the various Inner Sphere Clans.

Third, no, there is no reference for these small factions (that end up disappearing by the end of the MWDA novel line) in the WOR book.

If Wars of Reaving was a buddy movie, who would be the lead actors?
Vin Diesel and John Malkovitch.

Brothers in Arms; photo by Peter Wort

Will there be any information about what happened to the Eridani Light Horse unit absorbed by the Goliath Scorpions?
Oooooooooh yes. And it’s their fault the Scorpions get their karmic comeuppance.

How much freedom were you given to determine the endpoint of WoR – was end result already dictated and you got to choose how to get there or was the end result something you chose, a bit of both, or the end result decided in consultation with Randall and Herb (and Herb’s cats)?
The only dictated endpoint was how many Clans were to be destroyed, to line up with Vic Milan’s statement in Rending of Falcons. How things ended up I was given complete control over. Herb and Randall did read over the first draft and had no changes, so it’s all on me.

Do any refugees from the home Clans come to the Inner Sphere and settle with either the Nova Cats or Wolf-in-Exile?
Nope. None.

What was the single “coolest” (in your opinion) idea that had to be cut, for whatever reason?
Two WarShip equipment ideas I had I ended up dropping early on because they were too close to our standard “never-ever use” aesthetics for the universe. And it was a good call; in retrospect, they would’ve seriously overbalanced things.

I do mildly regret not cramming in the invasion of the Hanseatic League, but that idea came pretty late to the table and exceeded the time frame of the book. Maybe one day it’ll happen, but maybe not. It’s an extension of a plot string that I’d like to develop, possibly in a PDF-format, but that story idea may never pan out in that direction, either. It’s a placeholder, nothing more.

Do you literally piss excellence? And does being a Penguins fan help keep you grounded as a human being? Honestly, I only wonder how many fan/joyboys do you think are going to internally combust because of your book? No, “hopefully none” is not an acceptable answer.
Being a nearly lifelong Penguins fan is its own train ride, so yeah, I’d say that grounds me. 🙂 As far as internal combustion…Well, what I want is for fans to walk away from this book pleased from a good story, even if their faction gets whacked. Then I know I’ll have made an impact.

Will we get a full rundown/list of the clan TOE’s post WoR? For some reason I am not feeling very confident my CHH Zeta Galaxy is going to make it. Please prove me wrong!
Not a full “every single ‘Mech and warrior name” TO&E, no. This isn’t like the Wolf and Falcon “phone books.” But the surviving Homeworld Clans do get a partial-style TO&E similar to that in FM:U, though without locations. I nixed doing that for the Spheroid Clans, as that’ll be covered in a separate print product on the schedule and I didn’t want to add to the continuity barrel. Besides, I make a very good in-universe justification for it.

As far as Zeta goes…well…I can prove you wrong but I’m sure you may not like how wrong you’re feeling.

Are ProtoMechs widely deployed in the Clan Homeworlds? Outside of the Blood Spirits?
Widely deployed? No. Deployed? Yes. And it also depends on where in this 20 year span you’re talking…

What goes into deciding which Clans survive and which ones don’t? Did those lists change many times?
Initially, I came up with three lists, based on various directions I could go as I vaguely saw my plots working out. Aside from one firm decision from the outset (due to one of the plotlines we’d nailed down), that list changed a lot. As I wrote (and rewrote and rewrote and rewrote), the list fluctuated as to who survived and who died. Even up to the end, I wavered on at least two factions. Finally I flipped one to survive (but in a very different way) and killed the other. Despite some last-minute haranguing by Paul on one decision, I stayed firm as I was tired of reworking everything. What was done…was done.

If the book is perfect bound, why do you have to fill signatures of 16 pages?
Because that’s just how we do it.

Do we finally find who out Coyote Delta Galaxy’s Commander really is?

What kinds of movies and music did you use as background noise to write to (like Blaine Pardoe’s mentioned he does)? (This was an emailed question.)
During the writing frenzy of April-May-June, I re-watched (on the side) the entire Babylon 5 series and seasons 1-4 of Burn Notice. At various times, I also had on Kelley’s Heroes, Midway, Tora Tora Tora, The Great Escape, and the Halo Anime movies. Music-wise, I tended to have on a random mix of several movie soundtracks in my collection, which is too numerous to mention all the titles.

So that does it for the FAQ. If you have more questions, simply add them in comments and I’ll try to answer them.

The Road to Reaving blog series continues tomorrow with a look at layout and the wrapping up of writing, all within the crushing deadline of less than two weeks…

6 thoughts on “Road to Reaving – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Thank you! Great stuff here.

    Being a Flyers fan keeps me grounded and perpetually unhappy, much like a one-time Crusader. I’m really looking forward to this book. (I especially like the watched movie list. Reads like a couple of weekends I had a few months ago.)

    Congrats on finishing and the home stretch.

  2. Given how frustratingly fluid some of the “facts” can seem in the Battletech universe (many things seem frustratingly contingent and open to interpretation) – might you have had leeway with the 5 clans thing if you’d wanted it? (the old “unreliable source” thing which I do feel is slightly over used in BattleTech to the point where its sometimes impossible to know if something “really happened” (within the framework of an admittedly fictional universe)). Is there a list of stuff that “really happens” or if you can bend an interpretation far enough is that interpretation fair?

    1. Five Clans die. How that’s interpreted (and how I arrive at it) depends on “points of view.” And something to keep in mind; this book is from a Shark perspective – and the character in that novel that said the statement was a Sea Fox/Shark.

      So there’s a 99% chance she was right on the money.

  3. Thank you for your FAQ, it was really refreshing to read a frank tale on how things come together with book like this.

    Since you collected your information from old MWDA novels, i was surprised that there wasn’t any hidden guide that kept track of all these loose ends and leads left in those books.

    1. Well, TBH, there weren’t many loose ends and leads left in the MWDA novels that regarded the Wars of Reaving, so…

  4. Will there be any information about what happened to the Eridani Light Horse unit absorbed by the Goliath Scorpions?
    Oooooooooh yes. And it’s their fault the Scorpions get their karmic comeuppance.

    Yay! Go Horsemen!

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