Lyran Commonwealth

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Crest of House Steiner
Lyran Commonwealth
Faction Profile
Time period: 2341[1] – present
Part of Federated Commonwealth from 3055 to 18th September 3057
Named Lyran Alliance from 18th September 3057 to 3084
Classification: Successor State
Controlled systems: over 300
Capital world: Tharkad
Ruler title: Archon
Military: Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces (LCAF)
Secret Service: Lyran Intelligence Corps (LIC)

The Lyran Commonwealth (also known as the Federated Commonwealth or the Lyran Alliance) is a large Inner Sphere Successor State in the BattleTech universe. The Lyran state is located in the coreward, anti-spinward region of space relative to Terra. For the majority of its history, the Lyran capital was located at the Triad on the icy world of Tharkad. While the Commonwealth was the realm of House Steiner, the Lyran Alliance was ruled by the Steiner-Davion family.

The Lyran Commonwealth is renowned for its strong economy, powerful nobility, and its military policy of promotion based on pedigree as well as talent. Unfortunately for the Lyran state, the promotion of so-called "Social Generals" has resulted in a military of varied capabilities. Even though incompetent "social generals" are not the rule, the prevalence of many poor officers has hindered the Lyran state throughout its history. Additionally, the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces tend to fight defensive campaigns with heavier BattleMechs.

Though the military history of the Commonwealth is filled with missteps, the Lyran state has endured for many hundreds of years based on the capabilities of its industrial base and by the merits of the rare, capable officers produced by the system.

History

The Lyran Commonwealth was formed in 2341 as a merger between three mercantile alliances, the Protectorate of Donegal, Federation of Skye, and Tamar Pact. The founding charter called for nine "Archons" to rule to nation, but the impracticality of this system led to a coup by the leader of Donegal, Robert Marsden, who declared himself Archon Basileus in August 2375. An invasion by the Draconis Combine in 2407 resulted in the death of then-Archon Alistair Marsden, brother of Robert, in 2408. Rule fell to his wife, Katherine Steiner, safely ensconced on the new capital of Tharkad. The reign of House Steiner had begun.

The Lyrans lost territory to their neighbors, but the tide turned when a 2455 commando raid gave House Steiner plans for powerful new war machines, BattleMechs. The Age of War gave way to the golden era of mankind, watched over by the Star League, which the Steiners pledged to join in 2558. The Commonwealth economy prospered during this era, but it did not last. The Amaris Civil War laid waste to many worlds in the Terran Hegemony, though the Commonwealth was enlarged when it absorbed many Rim Worlds Republic systems.

The First Succession War between the remaining five Great Houses broke out in 2785. The 1st and 2nd Wars blasted the Inner Sphere back into the industrial age as total war resulted in the deaths of millions, cities were destroyed, and JumpShips annihilated. The 3rd War lasted generations, but saw a return to the Ares Conventions that limited the collateral damage. The Commonwealth traded worlds with the Free Worlds League, but steadily lost ground to the Combine.

In 3020, the waning years of the Third Succession War, Archon Katrina Steiner circulated a peace proposal to the other Great House rulers. Though they all rebuffed her, First Prince Hanse Davion of the Federated Suns was intrigued and the duo began a dialogue that resulted in an alliance the betrothed Hanse to Katrina's daughter and heir, Archon-designate Melissa Steiner. Coinciding with their marriage ceremony on Terra in 3028, the two nations launched invasions of their neighbors. The Commonwealth used Rasalhagian revolutionaries to their advantage during the Fourth Succession War, taking many systems away from the Combine. These gains were neutralized when Theodore Kurita recognized their independence in 3034, forcing the Lyrans to give up their hard-won planets to the nascent Free Rasalhague Republic. The abortive War of 3039 was intended as a full-scale invasion of the Combine, but the surprising strength of House Kurita caused the allied nations to rethink their intentions, calling off the attack in short order. The two nations merged together more closely after the failed war, resulting in the informal creation of the Federated Commonwealth.

In 3050, the Clans invaded the Inner Sphere, and Commonwealth forces lost battle after battle to Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf. The 3052 Truce of Tukayyid stalled the Clan Invasion, thanks to ComStar, but many Commonwealth worlds remained vulnerable to attack. The 3055 assassination of Archon Melissa Steiner resulted in the formal union of the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns with the acceding of Archon-Prince Victor Steiner-Davion. Because of his younger sister's manipulations, he quickly became unpopular among his subjects. When Free Worlds Captain-General Thomas Marik discovered in 3057 that Victor had replaced his son Joshua with a body double, he allied with Capellan Confederation Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao and launched an invasion. Katherine Steiner-Davion seized on the opportunity and invoked war powers to secede the Lyran half of the nation from the alliance, calling it the "Lyran Alliance", and signed a peace treaty with Marik, resulting in the creation of the Chaos March. Grand Duke Morgan Kell all but seceded from the Alliance, creating a semi-autonomous region along the Falcon border known as the Arc-Royal Defense Cordon.

Crest of the Lyran Alliance
Lyran Alliance
Faction Profile
Time period: 30573084
Classification: Successor State
Controlled systems: 350+
Capital world: Tharkad
Ruler title: Archon
Military: Lyran Alliance Armed Forces
Secret Service: Lyran Intelligence Corps

A Clan Jade Falcon incursion in 3058 was stalled at Coventry by a multinational coalition led by Archon-Prince Victor. The powers recognized the need for cooperation to end the Clan threat, resulting in the resurrection of the Star League. Archon Katherine offered Tharkad to host the Whitting Conferences, though her scheming never resulted in assuming the mantle of First Lord for herself. When Victor led a task force to Clan space to ensure the destruction of Clan Smoke Jaguar, Katherine seized on the opportunity to take over the remaining half of the Federated Commonwealth. Though he initially did not contest Katherine's reign, Victor's hand was forced in 3062. The FedCom Civil War engulfed the Lyran nation for five years, including another Jade Falcon incursion in 3064. Katherine's loss in the civil war allowed Victor to set the lines of succession. He formally separated the Lyran Alliance from the Federated Commonwealth and installed Peter Steiner-Davion as archon in 3067.

In December 3067, the Star League fell apart as the Lyrans and others refused to support it any longer. The Word of Blake, a faction that was about to gain legitimacy with League membership, was furious and launched a Jihad against the other Inner Sphere and Periphery powers. The Lyran Alliance was devastated by the fourteen-year conflict because the Word targeted the Lyran's strong industrial base. The Alliance also faced off against the Free Worlds League and the Clans at the same time. Devlin Stone emerged as a state-less leader who united many of the various factions against the Blakists, eventually ejecting them from the Alliance and liberating Terra in 3079.

On 5 January 3084, the nation was renamed back to the Lyran Commonwealth. The nation enlarged at the expense of the fractured Free Worlds League, including a full-scale invasion in 3136. Archon Melissa Steiner's attempt to ally with Clan Wolf and settle them on the former League border backfired. The Wolves conquered dozens of worlds, batting aside every unit the LCAF threw at them. Simultaneous invasions by Clans Jade Falcon, Hell's Horses, and Wolf was more than the nation could take. The Wolves landed on Tharkad and routed the Lyran defenders, killing the archon, though the Clans did not attempt to hold the Lyran capital. After returning home and attaining the rank of khan, Alaric Ward revealed that he is genetically the child of Katherine Steiner-Davion and announced his intention to become archon.

Politics

The Lyran state has enjoyed remarkable stability throughout most of its history, thanks to a combination of a strong feudal monarchy and democratic representation which has given the government the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. When it was originally founded , inspired in part by ancient Athens, the Lyran Commonwealth was heading by nine Archons - the rulers and their deputies of the three founding members, as well as the military commander, treasurer and transportation minister of the Commonwealth. Beset by corruption and threated by the Draconis Combine, Robert Marsden deposed the other eight Archons in 2735. He then introduced the Estates General and the Articles of Acceptance, guaranteeing the rights of the planets and people of the Commonwealth, and winning enough popular support to become the sole Archon in 2736. Thus while the Archon theoretically has absolute power, basic rights are protected and the will of the people can and has forced many Archons to reverse unpopular decisions.[2][3]

The Lyran capital was originally on Arcturus until 2407, when Alistair Marsden moved it to Tharkad in response to the threat posed by the Combine. Tharkad City is the heart of the state and home to the Triad, the triangular compound which houses the three buildings that make up the government: the Royal Palace, the Royal Court, and Government House.[2][3] Below that are the provincial and planetary governments, a system of various feudal allegiances and political agreements made under the aegis of the Articles of Acceptance. Each planet is free to choose its own system of government, so long as they pay their taxes, provide military aid as needed, and adhere to the laws passed by the Archon and Estates General (with the right to ask for exemptions and alterations per local needs). The government also reserves the right to inflict punitive actions on any planet which fails to adheres to these rules or abuses the rights of its citizens.[4][5]

Archon

The Archon is the head-of-state of the Lyran state. He or she is also the commander-in-chief of all Lyran military forces, including local militias and private armies, and has the authority to make any and all decisions relating to domestic and foreign policy. The Archon also has ultimate authority over the nobility, being the only person who can grant or take away any titles. While an Archon's decisions are not bound by it, unless time is of the essence most will submit their proposals to the Council and the Estates General for consultation and debate, if only so that the final product can be issued in a form more palatable to the general public.[2][3]

The Archonship was not originally intended to be a hereditary title, but after Robert Marsden's death House Steiner quickly came to dominate the position and make it the birthright of their family. This was particularly thanks to the efforts Katherine Steiner, who created the Commonwealth Council as a check on other pretenders to the throne and used the Commonwealth Scout Corps to claim dozens of newly-discovered worlds and doling them out to create a base of loyal noble supporters.[2][3] Their power is also helped in no small part due to their vast wealth: in 3025 House Steiner directly controlled the four worlds nearest Tharkad (Gallery, Furillo, Porrima, and Duran), had major landholdings on 200 other worlds, and controlling shares in fifty Lyran corporations.[2]

The Council

Katherine Steiner created the Commonwealth Council in order to secure support from the leaders of the Tamar Pact and Federation of Skye in establishing the Steiner dynasty. While its power has waxed and wanned over the centuries, the Council has served as an advisory body to the Archon and a "middleman" between it and the Estates General. Legislation passed by the Estates General must first go to the Council to be debated and critiqued and, if it survives, is passed on to the Archon for final approval. Likewise the Archon can (as a courtesy) submit proposals to the Council to receive their advice before bringing them before the Estates General. The Council can also propose its own legislation for approval by the Archon and Estates General, though normally it refrains from doing so out of political safety.[6][7]

Membership in the Council has changed over the years. Prior to the FedCom coalition, the Commonwealth Council numbered eight: the dukes of the Tamar Pact and Federation of Skye, the Chancellors of the Departments of Finance, Internal Policies, Foreign Affairs, and the Lyran Intelligence Corps, and the Chancellor of the Peoples who is chosen by the Estates General.[6] After the schism with FedCom and reorganization of the Lyran state, the Alliance Council was increased to eleven members, consisting of the previous Chancellors and the dukes of the five provinces which now made up the Lyran Alliance.[7] Restrictions have also been added over who can serve: after 2812, only one member of House Steiner could serve on the Council (expanded to two during the FedCom years), a rule that was extended to all other noble houses in 2821.[6][7]

Estates General

The Estates General was originally a representative body with little actual authority, essentially an forum where three hundred Representative could air their grievances, but has since grown into a true parliament. Each planet (or group of planets as the case may be) can chose in their own way who will be their Representative, with delegates serving for six-year terms with no term limits. Strict rules govern who can serve as a delegate: no member of the nobility higher than a Baron or person convicted of a major crime in the last fifteen years may serve, and during their time as a Representative all of their personal property must be placed into a blind trust. The Estates General also recognizes delegates from planets which are occupied by a foreign power. The "Homeless" as they are known are housed in Tharkad City at the Archon's expense and are hereditary positions based on the last elected Representative before the territory's hostile occupation.[8][9]

The Estates General meets every spring in the Great Assembly at Government House on Tharkad for four-month sessions, though they may go longer as necessity requires. In the weeks leading up to the legislative session, the Steering Committee determines the itinerary of the session with its head, the Speaker of the Assembly, also controlling the debate in the Great Assembly. While intended as little more than a rubber-stamp to approve the Archon's policies, the Estates General has taken on more authority and responsibilities, including tax reform and creating the annual budget. Perhaps its most audacious action was its vote of no confidence against Archon Alessandro Steiner in 3007, an act which would lead to his resignation. Most of the time though, the Estates General works with the Council and the Archon on policy compromises for the good of the state.[8][9]

Royal Court

The Royal Court refers to one of the three buildings of the Triad, a massive complex of recreational facilities, museums, ballrooms, and the Throne Room where the Archon sits under the protective gaze of a pair of Griffin BattleMechs. It also refers to the social sessions sponsored by the Archon to entertain important visitors from across the Lyran state; everyone from nobles and generals to scientists and artists are invited (or expected) to attend these festivities. Typically there will be three such sessions in a year, each lasting two months with at least a month in between to allow the Archon's Entourage to plan and execute the events. To be one of the young people appointed to the Archon's Entourage is considered an honor and a path towards greater service in the Lyran state. Less opulent that similar gatherings elsewhere in the Inner Sphere, the Royal Court is nevertheless an important event for the Lyran elite to meet and make decisions which might affect the entire state.[10][11]

Military

Since the fall of the Star League, the Lyran Commonwealth's High Command had a reputation for being bloated, inept, and ineffective. Early in its existence, the Commonwealth created the title of "Social General" for those important individuals who lacked other titles. Social generals are not unique to the Lyrans, but there is a preponderance of them compared to other nations. These individuals are officers (not necessarily high-ranking, despite the term) who received their position through networking as opposed to martial talent. These social generals decided in time that they possessed military authority and began overseeing actual military operations. Rank and awards were handed out like so many party favors and the structure soon became top-heavy. The incompetent leadership of the Lyran military has been responsible for many a bad decision, and poor leadership has reflected in the performance of their troops.

To compensate for the shortcomings or their High Command, the Lyrans are known for their use of large 'Mechs. Using their well-established industrial base, the LAAF fields a higher ratio of Assault 'Mechs than any other nation in the Inner Sphere. This has not always been a boon, however, as their enemies have been able to use more balanced forces to outmaneuver and defeat the Lyrans on many occasions.

The problems with the Lyran military only began to be reduced during the Archonship of Katrina Steiner, but even then, the command structure was often distrusted by the regular troops that engaged in battle. During the Third Succession War, the Commonwealth lost several worlds to the Draconis Combine due to poor planning, logistics, and support by the Lyran command structure despite strong commitment by ground forces. The Federated Commonwealth Alliance did much to change that, even eliminating social generals for a short time. Though the Federated Suns tried to help the Lyrans bring their military up to par with the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns, much of that effort was undone when Katherine seceded the Lyran Alliance and removed many of the quality officers because they remained loyal to her brother. In addition, Katherine brought back the so-called "social generals."

Recruits can enter the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces (LCAF) at the age of sixteen. The LCAF has and does implement drafts to bolster unit strengths, especially in periods of intense warfare (such as the start of the Fourth Succession War in 3028).

Military Ranks

The military ranks for the Lyran Commonwealth were originally established in 2413 by Archon Katherine Steiner's Brandenberg Edicts. They were merged with those of the Federated Suns during the formation of the Federated Commonwealth, but re-established after Katrina Steiner-Davion separated the nation from the FedCom, forming the Lyran Alliance.

Economy

Manufacturing centers

A detailed list of some Lyran manufacturing and company centers.

Heavy Aerospace Industry[12]

3067

Major Defense Industries[13]

3067


Era Specific Data

3130

  • Location (Terra relative): Coreward and Anti-Spinward quadrant[14]
  • Total (Inhabited) Systems: 319
  • Estimated Population (3130): 955,000,000,000
  • Government: Constitutional Monarchy (with German feudal stylings)
  • Dominant Language(s): German (official) , English, Scottish Gaelic, Italian, French
  • Dominant Religion(s): Christian (Protestant), Judaism, Muslim
  • Unit of Currency: Kroner (1 kroner = 2.13 C-Bills / 3.88 C-Bills (3145)[15])

Maps

Historical Maps

See Also

References

  1. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 14, "False Start: Reign of the Nine"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 85-86
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Handbook: House Steiner, p. 91, 93
  4. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 94
  5. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 100-101
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 86-87
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Handbook: House Steiner, p. 93
  8. 8.0 8.1 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 90-91
  9. 9.0 9.1 Handbook: House Steiner, p. 94-95
  10. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 87
  11. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 100
  12. Strategic Operations, p. 14
  13. Tactical Operations, p. 14
  14. Touring the Stars, p. 55
  15. Era Report: 3145, p.194, "Currency Conversion Table"

Bibliography