The Successor States (named as such due to their being the "Successors" of the Star League) are the major military powers of the Inner Sphere, each governed by one of the Great Houses and with its own customs and culture. After House Cameron was wiped out in the Star League Civil War, the five remaining Great Houses spent the next several centuries fighting each other to determine who would succeed as the next First Lord. By the 31st century the Successor States found themselves bloodied and no closer to their original goal when the Clans invaded. In response to this new threat the Successor States set aside their differences, eventually forming a Second Star League to beat back the invaders. This peace was only temporary though, and with the dissolution of the second Star League the Successor States have continued their struggle for dominance into the 32nd century.
The Great Houses of the Successor States
House Davion has ruled the Federated Suns since the nation's founding in 2317 by Lucien Davion, Prime Minister of New Avalon, who negotiated a mutual defense and assistance agreement with several nearby star systems. From their capital of New Avalon, the Anglo-French House Davion led the Federated Suns to become one of the largest and most militarily powerful states in the Inner Sphere. The Federated Sun traditionally sees itself as the champion of freedom, democracy, and human rights, especially compared to its authoritarian neighbors, although the reality is not so clear-cut. Additionally, the state's economic growth was uneven, with a small number of overdeveloped worlds making up for the larger number of underdeveloped ones. To counteract this deficiency and recover lostech, the pursuit of scientific knowledge was strongly encouraged by Davion leadership, and the New Avalon Institute of Science quickly became the premier research and development center of the 31st century.
For a brief period of time the Federated Suns joined with the Lyran Commonwealth to form the Federated Commonwealth, a massive super-state spanning the length of the Inner Sphere. There was internal resistance to this merger of the two realms, particularly in the Lyran half, which bore the brunt of the Clan offensive. In 3057 the Lyran worlds seceded from the alliance, splitting FedCom in two and creating the Chaos March. The split was made permanent after the FedCom Civil War.
House Kurita is the ruling family of the fearsome Draconis Combine, the only Great House that proclaims unabashedly its right to rule all of the Inner Sphere. House Kurita has dominated the Draconis Combine since its founding in 2319 by Shiro Kurita, who imbued the state with its strong Japanese culture and made Luthien its capital. Embracing "the way of the warrior," the Draconis Combine has had a long history of antagonism with and aggression against its neighbors. Personal honor and a self-reliance bordering on xenophobia are also encouraged by House Kurita.
The Draconis Combine suffered significant territorial losses to the Federated Commonwealth during the 4th Succession War, mitigated somewhat when it willingly allowed the creation of the Free Rasalhague Republic as a buffer between it and the Lyran state. Greater losses were suffered at the hands of the Clan invaders, but in a historical turn of events Luthien was saved when the Kuritans allied with their traditional enemies against the Clan invaders. This ultimately resulted in the reconquest of nearly all Combine worlds lost to the Clans thanks to the Second Star League.
The Capellan Confederation, and its ruling family House Liao, has long been considered the underdogs of the Inner Sphere. The smallest of the Successor States, the socialistic Capellan Confederation was the last to form, created on Capella by neighboring states in 2366 as a "temporary" alliance in response to Davion aggression. Tracing their lineage back to the controversial Elias Liao, House Liao gave the Confederation its Han Chinese character and ensured the survival of the realm through strong (if frequently erratic) rule from the Celestial Throne on Sian. Although popularly disparaged as a totalitarian police state, many citizens enjoy a high degree of personal freedom and willingly serve the State in return for the generous services it provides.
During the Succession Wars, the Capellan Confederation lost three-fourths of its original territory to Davion and Marik invasions. The Fourth Succession War was particularly devastating, with parts of the Confederation seceding to form the St. Ives Compact and Tikonov Free Republic. The Confederation was untouched by the Clan invasion though, and thanks to the efforts of Sun-Tzu Liao the realm was able to rebuild and reconquer much of its former territory, including the Compact.
The Free Worlds League, the oldest of all Successor States, was long ruled by House Marik as a matter of custom rather than decree. Founded in 2271 after the collapse of the Terran Alliance, the League was an open, multicultural state, consisting of many great and small realms loosely joined together. It was also the only one to lay claim to being (on paper at least) a true democracy, with Parliament meeting on Atreus. This same openness also left the state politically fragile and frequently riven with instability; throughout its history the League fought against itself almost as much as it did the neighboring Lyran and Capellan nations. House Marik relied heavily on free trade and technological advancement to keep pace with its rivals.
The Free Worlds League was untouched by the Clan invasion, allowing it to become the industrial base to supply the other Successor States in fending off the invaders. The League underwent an economic growth that made quickly made it one of the richest Successor States. However, during the ComStar Schism House Marik chose to side with the Word of Blake. The dire result of this alliance was the Free Worlds League's destruction during the Jihad, though efforts to reform the League during the 32nd century have taken place.
The Lyran Commonwealth, largely under the leadership of House Steiner, has long been considered the Inner Sphere's greatest economic power. Formed in 2340 from the combination of several smaller defense pacts, its original capital was on Arcturus before moving to Tharkad, where it came under the stewardship of the Steiner family and gained its Germanic trappings. With many resource-rich worlds, shrewd business acumen and a strong industrial base, the Lyran Commonwealth prospered even during the worst of times: in spite of the destruction of the Succession Wars, overall industrial output and average standard of living exceeded that of any other Successor State. This vast wealth helped the Lyran state weather any military reversals - especially self-inflicted ones - by quickly replacing their materel losses.
In the early part of the 31st century, the Lyran Commonwealth joined in a personal union with the Federated Suns to form the Federated Commonwealth, a vast super-state spanning the length of the Inner Sphere. Resistance to this merger was strong within the Lyran state, and both its economy and territorial integrity suffered heavily during the Clan invasion. Katherine Steiner-Davion successfully engineered the succession of the Lyran worlds from the FedCom alliance in 3057, forming the Lyran Alliance in its place.
- House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 4
- Classic BattleTech RPG, p. 166
- MechWarrior: Second Edition, p. 115
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 6, 8
- Classic BattleTech RPG, p. 167
- MechWarrior: Second Edition, p. 120
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 5
- MechWarrior: Second Edition, p. 127
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League, p. 6, 8
- MechWarrior: Second Edition, p. 124
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 8
- MechWarrior: Second Edition, p. 115-116