Maximilian Liao

Maximilian Liao
Maximilian Liao
Also known asThe Diablo
Died21 April 3036[1]
AffiliationHouse Liao
Title(s)Duke of Liao
Duke of Sian[2]
ParentsTormax Liao (father)
SpouseElizabeth Jordan
ChildrenCandace Liao
Romano Liao
Tormano Liao

Maximilian Liao, nicknamed "The Diablo," was Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation during its darkest days in the Fourth Succession War.[3][4]


Early life[edit]

Born on Capella as the son of Tormax Liao, Maximilian was the nephew to Chancellor Ingrid Liao. In 2980, Ingrid died without issue, and Tormax became Chancellor with Maximilian as his heir. These were dark times for the Confederation, with House Liao surrendering territory on nearly every front.[5] This was the setting in 2990, when Maximilian orchestrated a coup of his father's throne, luring his father off of Sian by staging minor religious rebellions on various key worlds and winning the support of the Red Lancers and the Warrior Houses.[3] Maximilian had his father assassinated by poison in 2992.[1]


Early on, Maximilian imposed a number of successful military policies early in his reign, placing greater authority in the hands of regimental commanders. This gave the CCAF the tactical flexibility it needed to properly defend a domain the size of the Confederation. He also expanded the number of Warrior Houses from four to eight. These elite units would be loyal solely to him. Finally, he increased recruitment to the Death Commandos, an even more fanatically loyal unit.[6][1]

As early as 2997, he began allocating tremendous resources towards the Maskirovka, with the goal of undermining the Federated Suns with special projects ranging from minor global rebellions to sabotage to damaging their scientific community through kidnappings and assassination.[7][1]

In 3014, Maximilian supported Anton Marik in the latter's attempts to usurp his brother, Janos Marik, as Captain-General of the Free Worlds League. Maximilian contacted Anton in 3003. To that end, he transferred the contract to the elite Wolf's Dragoons regiments to Anton's control, and provided financial support as well. Some reports indicate he had even promised Anton the hand of his daughter, Candace Liao, should he have been successful. In the end, Anton failed in his bid and was killed. Nevertheless, House Marik had been weakened and distracted, and it would take time for them to recover. This served Maximilian well, allowing him to focus his attentions elsewhere.[8][1]

In 3020, he began dealing illicitly with Michael Hasek-Davion, Duke of the Capellan March and a rival of First Prince Hanse Davion. From that point on, Hasek-Davion began covertly supporting the Confederation with information.[7][9]

In 3024, in direct response to the FedCom Accords, Maximilian met with Takashi Kurita and his old enemy, Janos Marik, as they signed the Concord of Kapteyn. This was an agreement of mutual support against their common enemies, House Davion and House Steiner. Though some back-and-forth raids would continue between the Confederation and the Free Worlds League, his borders became more stable than they had been in decades.[4]

Operation DOPPELGANGER[edit]

The leader of a nation continually at war with House Davion and the Federated Suns after the dissolution of the Star League, Maximilian Liao almost managed to substitute a mind-wiped double for Prince Hanse Davion of the Federated Suns in 3025, a plan dubbed Operation DOPPELGANGER. Only ingenuity on the part of Ardan Sortek and the security system on Hanse's BattleMaster allowed Hanse to reclaim his identity and kingdom. Hanse later used this act by Maximilian Liao to justify the Fourth Succession War.[10]

Marriage and children[edit]

After the accidental death of his first wife, he married the ambitious Lady Elizabeth Jordan.[11] He had three children: Candace, Romano, and Tormano.

Fourth Succession War[edit]

On 20 August 3028, Maximilian attended the wedding of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner at ComStar Headquarters on Hilton Head, Terra. At the newlywed couple's wedding reception, as Hanse fed Melissa a piece of their wedding cake, Hanse announced the immortal words:

Wife, in honor of our marriage, in addition to this morsel I give you a vast prize. My love, I give you the Capellan Confederation!

Maximilian, along with everyone else present, was absolutely shocked by this revelation. Then Maximilian did the unexpected: he jumped to his feet, gathered up the dishes that he used for the wedding feast, and began screaming insults at Hanse.

A bewildered Candace then tried to calm down her raging father, to no avail. Justin Allard, who was sitting at the same table, paid no attention to Maximilian's ranting. He calmly picked up his wine glass and raised it in a toast to Davion, congratulating him not only for his marriage to Melissa, but also for instigating the Fourth Succession War, and humiliating Hanse's (and secretly, Justin's) already mentally deranged enemy (i.e. Maximilian himself). Hanse further enraged Maximilian by completely ignoring him, instead lifting his wine glass and calmly returning Justin's toast.

Once Maximilian wound down, he angrily stormed out of the ComStar "cathedral" and led his delegation back to their DropShip, immediately departing for the Confederation.[12][13]

Hanse Davion launched the Fourth Succession War as a punitive measure against Maximilian. Liao's realm was crushed by the Davion onslaught; the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces was barely one third the size it was at the beginning of the war. Two of his three children defected from the Confederation. By the war's end, Maximilian was no longer mentally capable of acting as Chancellor.[14]


The Fourth Succession War broke Maximilian's mind and he was committed to an insane asylum. Though technically still Chancellor, his daughter Romano ruled in his stead. In 3036, he died of an apparent suicide, though it was speculated he had been assassinated.[1]

Personality and Traits[edit]

Though history would remember him as the madman he became during the Fourth Succession War, Maximilian was an extraordinarily clever planner and manipulator. He reversed what had been a collapsing military, ultimately achieving a position of surprising strength. He secured his throne by playing various sides against each other, and later secured his borders by playing the same game on a Sphere-wide level. He was even willing to play such games between his children, demonstrating a cold ruthlessness. For most of his reign, he was quite successful despite possessing considerably less resources than his rivals. His grandson, Sun-Tzu Liao, would use similar tactics decades later, reversing most of the losses that had broken Maximilian. Despite this, Maximilian was considered a megalomaniac and manic-depressive in the best of times. This helped to allow Justin Xiang to win his complete trust, with devastating results. The complete failure in the Fourth War was too much for his mind to stand, and he fell into complete insanity.[9][1]


It is obvious to me that most despotic forms of social organization are suitable for inert men such as we rule today. Our peoples are satisfied with the static station life has given them. For them, even the most abstract, the most symbolic forms of freedom are enough. Just keep in mind that your job is to keep them blissfully ignorant at all times, happy without exciting their senses to the point where they actually start thinking for a change.
  — Private letter from Maximilian Liao to his daughter Candace[15]
Treaties? Don't talk to me of treaties. Scraps of paper can never stand against a fully charged laser...Still, I'll use any weapon I can find.
  — Maximilian Liao to Tormano Liao[15]
I own the state.
  — Maximilian Liao, Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation, ca. 3020[16]
“Send him in. It has been too long since I have eaten a Davion envoy alive. This I shall enjoy.
  — Maximilian Liao, upon hearing of the engagement of Hanse Davion to Melissa Steiner, 15 October 3027 [17]
"Gather up the plates! They’re military intelligence! They show the worlds he means to conquer!"
  — Colonel Morgan Kell, paraphrasing Maximillian Liao's reaction to Hanse Davion's declaration of the Fourth Succession War via commemorative plates at his wedding reception. 21 August 3028 [18]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 14–15: "Maximilian Liao"
  2. BattleTech Third Edition, p. 46: "House of Liao"
  3. 3.0 3.1 House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 51: "Maximilian"
  4. 4.0 4.1 House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 55: "Concord of Kapteyn"
  5. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), pp. 50–51
  6. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 51: "Warriors vs. Regulars"
  7. 7.0 7.1 House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), pp. 53–54: "The Davion Question"
  8. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 52: "Dealing with Marik"
  9. 9.0 9.1 House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 123
  10. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 53: "Cloning Hanse"
  11. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 126: "Elizabeth Jordon Liao"
  12. Warrior: Riposte, p. 236
  13. FedCom Civil War, p. 9
  14. NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas, Vol. 2, pp. 92–93: "End of the War"
  15. 15.0 15.1 House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 51: "Recent History"
  16. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 58: "The Chancellor"
  17. Warrior: Riposte, ch. 2
  18. Warrior: Riposte, ch. 42